A Pair of Roswells

Mike McAvennie (editor) Sci Fi Declassified: The Roswell Dig Diaries. Pocket Books, 2004.

In order to appear to be a serious and socially responsible TV station, Sci Fi Channel decided to sponsor some Real Science. Their choice on this occasion was to sponsor an archaeological excavation at the so-called Roswell debris site in September and

October 2002. This was headed by a real archaeologist, Dr Bill Doleman, head of the University of New Mexico’s contract archaeology team. As resident UFO consultants Sci Fi channel had Don Schmitt and a sidekick Tom Carey. These two still seem to believe the same old tales told by the likes of Glenn Dennis et al, and have built a timeline based on their tall tales, rather than actually contemporaneous sources.

Despite this Doleman does actually seem to have done real archaeology and real science, but alas for ufologists there are no smoking guns or massively anomalistic finds. Doleman is intrigued by a sort of gouge in the ground some way off from the alleged impact site, but this turns out to be already visible in an aerial photograph taken in 1946. True believers are likely to be disappointed by this lack of sensation and finds large parts of the book rather heavy going, sceptics will sniff out some of the little asides which illuminate ufological relationships, and perhaps some people will decide that archaeology can be a lot more fun than they imagined

Noe Torres and Ruben Uriarte. Mexico’s Roswell: The Chihuahua UFO Crash, with an after-word by Stanton T. Friedman. The authors, 2007. [Republished in 2008 as The Other Roswell, see Amazon link below]

It has to be said at the outset that this Mexican UFO crash case has a quite different evidential standard than Roswell. At Roswell there is no doubt that something occurred and some artefacts were actually picked up, the dispute is to their exact nature. In this case absolutely no evidence exists to back up the wild tale of a UFO crashing after colliding with a light plane. The tale simply appears in one of those mysterious anonymous documents which float around ufology.

The authors visit the location to track down witnesses; there are none, though as the local tourist board and local businesses catch on, that might change. No trace can be found of the mysterious light aircraft or of its mysterious flight. That must be because it was being piloted by drug smugglers, perish the thought that it never existed in the first place.

Of course the mysterious document is a hoax, and this story is a complete piece of fiction. That it receives an appreciative afterword by Mr Friedman tells us all we need to know about that gentlemen and the people who take him seriously. That this story appeared on the History Channel tells all we need to know about that TV channel in particular and much of television in general. -- Peter Rogerson.


No comments: