The truth may finally be out there. This week, the FBI released a memo from 1950 that appears to confirm an account of "flying saucers" crashing in New Mexico — three years after the supposed alien crash in the same state's town of Roswell. In the document, an FBI agent reports that "an investigator for the Air Forces states that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico." He further claimed that "three bodies of human shape... dressed in a metallic cloth of a very fine texture" had been recovered with the craft. The shady origins of this account have many skeptics howling. So is this memo just parroting a hoax, or fresh evidence that the government covered up a close encounter of the third kind?
This could be the real thing: Maybe all those conspiracy theorists "might not be so crazy after all," says Liza Eckert at Death + Taxes. Although the "details of the report are pretty scant," this official FBI memo clearly suggests there were "multiple sightings" of UFOs in Mexico during the late 1940s and 1950s. "Maybe it's not so far-fetched or utterly insane to think there's other life out there."
"Vague FBI documents are clearly all the proof we need that aliens exist."
The memo itself seems suspect: Yes, the FBI document is official, says Steven Novella at SkepticBlog. But it contains "hearsay" rather than proof, and the details sound rather sketchy, complete with UFOs straight out of "1950s science fiction." What's more, the FBI didn't appear to take it seriously. It was neither classified, nor investigated further. This sounds more like evidence of the sci-fi mania of the time than the "smoking-gun UFO enthusiasts have been hoping for."
"Guy Hottel document - UFO proof?"
This is not the truth, and it was already out there: Any seasoned UFOlogist would be able to tell you this memo "is not secret, nor is it new," says Benjamin Radford at LiveScience. The document has been circulating since at least the 1990s, and the "third-hand report" it contains originated from a con man named Silas Newton, who was later convicted of fraud for trying to "convince investors that he had access to crashed alien technology." Shocking that this ancient hoax is still fooling gullible media outlets, 50 years later.
"FBI's UFO file: Proof of Roswell?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The Obama administration's nonstop incoherence on ISIS
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 6 super-helpful iOS8 tricks you probably don't know about
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
Subscribe to the Week