#everythingisRoswell

These videos contain long interviews claiming to be “witness testimony” of the Roswell Incident in New Mexico in 1947 (more after the jump). There are many hundreds like them. What are we to make of them?

I assume that these accounts are not historically correct. I don’t take that for granted, but it seems the most likely the case, given the evidence I have seen in my research. However, it should also be noted that even if I accepted that the Roswell Incident was in fact a UFO crash, I wouldn’t be advocating that position in my work. I am methodologically agnostic – which is to say, I don’t have a horse in this race.

Are these people are lying? Given the history of disinformation campaigns by intelligence agencies (see Mark Pilkington’s Mirage Men), this may well be true in some cases. But in the majority, I don’t think so. For one thing, there’s little to gain, except maybe a little celebrity in the UFO world. While it might be to Moore and Berlitz’ financial benefit to elaborate on the Roswell story, the “witnesses” wouldn’t have made any money. Moreover, I found in my fieldwork that in many cases, such witnesses are rather reticent to talk publicly about their experiences for fear of ridicule or professional censure.

Perhaps their memories are at fault. Can we elaborate such a tale if it didn’t in fact happen, and convince ourselves it did? We’re not talking about a mental event that might be abduction or fairies or temporal lobe epilepsy here. Certainly, we can do this in smaller ways – like the people who remembered seeing Bugs Bunny at Disneyland – but so much detail? An event which actually, physically happened, albeit probably with a weather balloon rather than a UFO, and involved other people? Difficult as it may seem, this may be the most likely explanation. The ability of the human imagination to trump reality – for good and for ill – is one inexplicable phenomenon I do believe in.

After all, as Ethan Quillen likes to say, everything is fiction. Maybe the best way to think about this material is as new chapters in an open-source fiction, a fiction which has taken on a life outside of its original authors and is feeding back into the real world.

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