The evidence for the existence of UFOs and aliens is largely inconclusive. There are indeed photographs of metallic-shaped objects and bright lights in the sky and eyewitness testimony of direct contact with aliens, but there doesn't seem to be a single shred of irrefutable evidence, such as a living (or dead) alien or a piece of equipment from an alien ship.
A large portion of the "evidence" that does exist can be explained away as hallucinations or hoaxes. There are those on the fanatic fringe who insist UFOs exist, and who will dismiss any evidence to the contrary. Then there are the hard-core debunkers, who refuse to even consider the idea that we are being visited and studied by extraterrestrial intelligences. I like to avoid these types of mindsets. I keep my mind open to both possiblities.
I will admit that like Fox Moulder of the X-Files, I want to believe; proof that aliens are among us would be the most groundshaking discovery in the history of mankind. I personally can't conceive of anything more exciting than making contact with a race of beings from somewhere else in the universe.
However, believing is faith, whereas knowing is science. We cannot allow our personal convictions to cloud our judgment. We must consider both sides of the UFO controversy, and we must apply the scientific method in determining which explanations best fit the facts. In general, the simplest and least fantastic explanation for a given phenomenon is usually the correct one. But if all of the simple "earthly" theories fail to explain the phenomenon, then we must take a second look at the ones that remain.
The rest of this document chronicles my search for the truth, which
took me to Roswell, New Mexico; and to Rachel, Nevada,
near the boundary of the infamous Area 51. A map outlining my
entire trip may be found at the bottom of this page. You may click on
any thumbnail image to see a more detailed version.
|Heading south.||Rock formation in Utah.|
Night began to fall as I reached the "Devil's Highway"...US 666. Route 666 stretches for some 200 miles through the desert in the Four Corners area. It's one of the darkest roads I've ever travelled on, and probably the ideal setting for an alien abduction to take place. But, alas, nothing out of the ordinary broke the monotony on that leg of the journey.
It was approaching midnight when I arrived in Gallup, New Mexico. There, I spent the night at a hotel facing historic Highway 66. I slept well past the checkout time the next morning, but the hotel management was kind enough to let me sleep in.
That next afternoon, I made my way to Albuquerque, where I attempted to look up a friend. Unfortunately, she had moved, so I pressed on toward Roswell.
The 200 miles between Albuquerque and Roswell were even more dreary
than the Devil's Highway. The three population centers along the
way--Encino, Vaughn, and Ramon--were little more than ghost
towns...forlorn clusters of cinder block buildings. I arrived in
Roswell around 8:00 pm and checked into a hotel, where I relaxed and
prepared for the next day's sight seeing.
|Roswell's museums.||The Roswell Crash re-creation exhibit at the UFO Enigma Museum.|
After looking over the museum's various exhibits, I sat in on the showing of a documentary on the UFO incident. According to this film, there was enough wreckage at the crash site to fill six large army trucks; a weather balloon would have fit easily inside the trunk of a passenger car. And there were evidently many Roswell citizens indirectly involved in the retrieval operation. The Roswell coroner, for example, received an urgent phonecall from an official at the Roswell Army Air Field, who instructed him to deliver several baby caskets and a large amount of dry ice to the base. He was warned by personnel at the base not to speak of the incident to anyone.
I walked away from the Enigma Museum with t-shirts, stickers,
and other UFO memorabilia, as well as many unanswered questions.
|Welcome, UFO buffs!||Reconstructions of the "tinfoil" and "I-beam" wreckage.||Making fun of the Military's weather balloon story.|
Before leaving, I picked up some more memorabilia and Stanton Friedman's book TOP SECRET/MAJIC. Stanton Friedman is a UFO researcher with a background in nuclear physics. His research is meticulous and unbiased, which makes him a very important source of information on the UFO phenomenon. I'd seen the book mentioned on TV and thought it might be a good addition to my personal library.
Both museums enjoyed a good turnout; most of the attendees drove cars
with California and Arizona license plates. It seems that people of
all ages and persuasions find something of interest in the UFO phenomenon.
|The sign at the head of the road that leads to the 1947 crash site.||Somwhere out there is the alleged crash site.||Heading out with my I Crashed in Roswell bumper sticker.|
|Pit stop at the shore of Lake Mead.||More scenes of beautiful Lake Mead.|
|Arid Moapa Valley.||Nevada's famous Extraterrestrial Highway.|
The ET Highway crosses some of the most desolate countryside I have
ever seen. If the US Government does have alien spaceships in its
possession, this is the place to hide them. I hoped that maybe here I
would see or experience something unexplainable--missing time, strange
lights in the sky--but alas, the Aliens eluded me once more.
|The world-famous trailer park that is Rachel, Nevada.||The nucleus of Rachel: The Little A'Le'Inn.||Earthlings are always welcome at the Little A'Le'Inn.|
I booked a room and sat down at the bar to have some
tacos and a coke. As I sat there eating, I noticed an ice cream
cooler behind the bar that was completely covered with anti-Democrat
bumper stickers. I snickered. At the other end of the bar, a group
of people were having a very earnest discussion about UFOs being test
flown at Area 51. The girl working the bar (presumably the
proprietor's daughter), came over to talk to me. I asked her if it
was likely that I'd see something strange in the night sky. She told
me that people see strange things all the time; just recently, she
told me, a group of people had observed a bright white light hover in the
sky and then shoot a red "laser beam" down to the ground.
|The UFO gazer's landmark, the "Black" Mailbox.||Approaching the perimeter at night on Groom Lake Road.||The perimeter signs threaten the use of "deadly force."|
At the mailbox I turned right onto Groom Lake Road, a dirt and gravel road which ultimately leads into and through the Area 51 installation at Groom Lake. As I drove the 15 or so miles to the perimiter sign, I recalled all the stories I'd heard of unmarked white Cherokees and armed guards. But aside from being passed twice by tourists heading back from the perimeter, I had no encounters with anyone.
Before long, the perimeter sign was in sight. Its warnings written in an ominous "we mean business" tone. From inside my car, I snapped a picture of the sign ahead with my camera. A bright light on a hilltop to my right immediately flashed on; it appeared to be pointing directly at me. I assumed that some nearby photosensor had detected the flash of my camera and had triggered the light. I sat in my car for another minute and the light remained on. Only when I began to turn my car around did it wink out and leave me in total darkness once again.
I headed back to Rachel, feeling somewhat dejected about not having seen anything interesting. Back at the Little A'Le'Inn, I spoke to the barmaid once again. She explained that sometimes it took days of patient waiting to see something strange; people would camp out at the perimeter night after night, searching the skies, cameras ready. I told her it seemed like a good idea, but not this time around; perhaps on my next trip.
I spent the next day driving home. Though I hadn't seen any UFOs or
strange lights, I did feel good about the trip. I had been to places
that before I had only seen on television or read about in books. And
I had come away with some good books, T-shirts, and bumper stickers.
The new information I had gathered was inconclusive of course. I
still don't know whether there's any truth to the myriad of UFO and
alien visitation theories out there. But whether it's a case of
contact with extraterrestrial beings, or simply another form of human
folklore, I think I'm destined to remain intrigued by the UFO
The Sci-Fi Channel's Dominion.
The Roswell Homepage.
Area 51 Related Links.