Ufologists and many of the general audience who believe that extraterrestrial lifeforms have visited Earth in the 20th century often consider the Roswell incident to be one of the most important ones in ufolofgy.
During the first week of July 1947 a ranch farmer from New Mexico named Mac Brazel discovered a great amount of strange debris in his land, which was scattered over a large area, and seemed to posess strange physical properties. Shortly, the authorities were informed. Military personnel arrived to the area, retrieved the wreckage and transported it to Roswell Army Airfield, and later flown to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio.
The official reports of the time state that this crash was in fact a weather balloon, but some conspiracy theorists hold that this is disinformation and that the Americann government of the time were witholding information.
According to the ufologists, though, what crashed on that day was an alien craft. It is also said that an alien body was found at the crash site, and then moved by military to the infamous Area 51 in Nevada. Official reports state that the body was actually a dummy often used during tests.
The incident has greatly inspired fiction relating to UFOs.
Today, UFO tourism is a major income for people around Roswell. The place has also been featured in many books, comics, movies and television series - for example, in the Star Trek universe, the object was a Ferengi ship from the future. Another notable example is the Roswell television show.
In 1994, the "Roswell case" was officially closed (see ), though Ray Santilli, a British film producer, produced a film in 1995 supposedly showing the autopsy of an alien from the crash.
Additionally, in 2003, the Sci-Fi Channel funded a scientific investigation at Roswell that revealed some anomalies, and collected many samples of local soil.
The question remains that if it wasn't a flying saucer, why the initial reports of UFOs and the veil of secrecy? Here are some probable explanations by Karl T. Pflock in his book "Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe":
There is some speculation that the Roswell incident is the result of a broken arrow, or an accident involving a nuclear weapon. Major Jesse Marcel, a staff intelligence officer with the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office, was responsible for the initial press release that a "flying saucer" had crash-landed. It is conceivable that Marcel created the cover story that a UFO had crashed, rather than admit that a nuclear weapon had accidentally fallen out of military hands.