Conspiracy theories are stubborn. Even when disproven, they tend to stick around. Many of them seem improbable or even outlandish, so why do they have such staying power? Perhaps it’s because we’re fascinated by the “what ifs,” or maybe the explanations provided seem weak.
Thanks to the Roswell Incident, New Mexico will be forever linked to aliens. We now have multiple UFO-related conspiracies bouncing around the Land of Enchantment. Do they contain any grains of truth?
1. The Roswell Incident, where it all began.
In July of 1947, an unidentified object crashed outside Roswell. Civilian witnesses saw the metallic debris left behind. “Roswell Army Airbase now has the disk reported by a local rancher. The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell last week,” stated the Roswell Army Airbase in a press release. That statement was quickly retracted and the object was reclassified as a weather balloon.
It sure seems like something was being covered up. According to a common conspiracy theory, a flying saucer containing aliens crashed and the government was conducting autopsies on the victims and studying the survivors.
Years later, a 1995 Air Force report stated that the object was “most likely from one of the Mogul balloons that had not been previously recovered.”
Project Mogul was a secret operation during the Cold War. It used adapted weather balloons to drift at high altitudes over Russia to monitor nuclear tests. That seems feasible and a classified mission would explain the lies. Then again Walter Haut (pictured), the Roswell Army Air Field public affairs officer who was responsible for that first press release, signed an affidavit claiming he saw alien corpses and a craft…
2. The Aztec Incident
In 1948, A UFO supposedly crashed outside the town of Aztec in northwestern New Mexico. A man named Frank Scully wrote a popular book called “Behind the Flying Saucers.” He claimed that the entire crew of the saucer – 16 aliens in all – died in the fire that followed their crash. The UFO debris and aliens remains were transported to Wright Field air base in Ohio.
Many thought the Aztec incident was a hoax or that Scully was fooled by dubious sources. It’s worth noting that part of the FBI file on one of these sources, Leo Gebauer, is still classified for reasons of national defense.
3. Dulce Alien Base
Conspiracy theorists believe that a secret military base lies under the Archuleta Mesa, near the town of Dulce, New Mexico.
A man named Paul Bennewitz, who lived in Albuquerque, believed he was picking up alien transmissions. This sparked his curiosity and led him to discover the alleged underground base at Dulce.
The base is supposedly a multi-level facility, known as a D.U.M.B. (Deep Underground Military Base). Humans and multiple types of aliens are stationed there. It’s linked via underground tunnels to Area 51 and Los Alamos National Laboratory. In these depths, aliens allegedly experiment on humans.
Strange things did happen around Dulce. There were cattle mutilations - why do poor cows always suffer in these tales? – along with unexplained lights, and sightings of military choppers.
A structural engineer named Phil Schneider claims to have witnessed a gun battle at Dulce between the military and aliens. Schneider went on to become a regular speaker at UFO community events. He died in 1996. Some say he was murdered…
4. Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Manhattan Project
No one really knows what goes on at Los Alamos National Laboratory today. Clearly, it’s sensitive enough for the town to have a checkpoint. The driver of cars passing through Los Alamos must present I.D. and “vouch” for anyone else present in the vehicle. However, during World War II, it was a different story.
Now, we know that the scientists at Los Alamos were working on the Manhattan Project. But, at the time, several different rumors circulated: people up the hill were doing some kind of work with submarines, or the site was actually a camp for pregnant Women’s Army Corps members.
The truth has since emerged proving that, on occasion, reality is stranger or more unexpected than any conspiracy theories floating around.
So, what do you think? And have you heard of any other conspiracy theories relating to New Mexico?