Roswell – New Mexico, U.S.A.

UFO Capital of the World

They say that on July 8, 1947, an unidentified flying object crashed at the Hub Corn Ranch, some 20 miles north of the desert town of Roswell, leaving wreckage strewn across an area half a mile long. An official government-issued press release at first reported that “the incident” did involve a spaceship, perhaps two. Four hours later, the U.S. military retracted the story, saying it was a weather balloon, and in 1997 it changed its story again, saying it was a spy balloon.

Allegedly, the bodies of four aliens were taken in secret to the nearby military base for autopsy and have never been seen since.

Every July marks the anniversary of America’s real-life X-files mystery, when Roswell hosts the UFO Festival, a mix of fun, fantasy, and fact that draws the quirky, the curious, hard-core spaceheads, self-proclaimed alien abductees and UFOlogists, and generalized lovers of the absurd.

There are lectures on alien breeding by “world- famous” specialists, a flying saucer (read: pancake) eating contest, the Intergalactic Food and Fashion Show, and a trade show that sells alien-emblazoned everything. The fes­tive hoopla does its best to distract from the earnestness of the International UFO Museum and Research Center. It’s all pretty much out of this world.

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