Alien geeks unite in Roswell
UFO convention attendees dressed the part -- even representing sumo aliens and alien babies.
July 31st, 2012
02:58 PM ET

Alien geeks unite in Roswell

Editor's note: Emma Loggins is the editor of Fanbolt.com, a fan news site that specializes in behind-the-scenes information and interviews with the casts and crews of entertainment franchises with organized fan bases.

This year marked the 65th anniversary of a mysterious object crashing down just north of Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, and launching decades of speculation about the truth behind the wreckage.

The Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) released an initial statement claiming that a "flying disk" had been recovered. The following day, a second press release was issued which stated that the 509th Bomb Group had been mistaken, and the wreckage was actually that of a weather balloon.

Years later, believers and skeptics alike flock to Roswell for the annual UFO convention. The event attracts scientists, doctors, engineers, and of course alien enthusiasts. This year, there were two festivals commemorating the event: One was put on by the city, and the other festival was hosted by the International UFO Museum.

Cameras in hand, Barry and Ann Lasky stood outside the museum waiting for the opening ceremonies to begin Sunday. The couple moved to Roswell a few years back after attending an earlier festival and falling in love with the city. They moved to Roswell from Los Angeles, California, and began selling collectible memorabilia.

"My official reason for moving to Roswell is I wanted to be kidnapped and probed by aliens," Lasky joked. "But the other reason is it's too expensive to live in Los Angeles. We know people out here, and we're into the science fiction. We sell comics, magazines, and collectibles, so this seemed like a good place to go. We're having a lot of fun here."

Between the two festivals, attendees indulged in lectures from well-known UFO researchers and authors, vendor tables, and quirky events such as costume contests, a parade and an alien chase 5k and 10k.

The Laskys weren't the only ones having fun. More than 4,000 UFO enthusiasts moved through the International UFO Museum during the festival, and it also offered some of the most engaging events of the weekend according to Roswell resident Kelly Keith.

"The UFO museum and the people that are here are very sincere as to what they believe, and they've enlighten me," said Keith, who was attending his first UFO festival in Roswell.

The speakers at the International UFO Museum celebration included well-known UFO investigators such as Stanton Friedman, Don Schmitt, Tom Carey, Dr. Kevin Randle, Robert Salas, Freddy Silva, Kathleen Marden, and Yvonne R. Smith. These experts are no strangers to the annual festival; some have been coming to speak at the event for well over a decade.

Don Schmitt, co-author of "Witness to Roswell" and the upcoming "Beneath the Radar, the Real Area 51," is another member of this fraternity. He has been attending and speaking at the UFO museum's festival since 1995 and investigating the Roswell incident itself for the past 23 years.

"Most exciting is when a new witness connected to our research makes the effort to seek us out at the Roswell museum," he said. "They're finally stepping forward to tell us first-hand about what happened back in 1947."

These confessions, along with reputed “death bed confessions,” are top-of-mind for festival attendees as evidence by the questions they ask Schmitt and fellow investigator Tom Carey.

"People are interested in what the witnesses have waited a lifetime to finally admit and why would they possibly withhold information about something as silly as a weather balloon," Schmitt said.

Schmitt called the Roswell festivities the "grandaddy" of alien enthusiast conventions, which attracts over 10,000 people a year.

"Other such venues take place in Arizona, Oregon, and California and draw around a thousand attendees at best. Roswell can rightly take the title of the number one UFO festival in the world."

Stanton T. Friedman, nuclear physicist and original civilian investigator of the Roswell incident, agrees.

"I don't know of any other incidents with a full museum for visitors and a fine research library along direct access to investigators such as myself, Tom Carey, and Don Schmitt," said Friedman who has attended nearly every annual Roswell UFO festival since 1997.

"It's truly a cosmic 'Watergate.' The government has given out four different explanations of what happened," Friedman explained. "The sheer number of witnesses that have been found and spoken on the record is very impressive."

"As a UFO skeptic, a trip to Roswell was pretty exciting and informative for me," said Louisiana State University student Jennifer Hager. "Learning the facts surrounding the Roswell event as well as some other interesting cases about aliens and UFOs in general has me questioning the possibility of life on other planets." The festival programming included information about UFO crashes, alien abductions and crop circles in addition to run-of-the-mill unidentified flying objects.

But as attendees from as far away as the U.K., New Zealand, and Australia shuffled through the International UFO Museum, they all asked the same question – what was it that happened in July of 1947? Was it a flying saucer or a weather balloon that crashed down that summer?

Thanks to the UFO convention, the debate about what actually happened there in Roswell continues.

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soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. hotel gran bahia principe en la riviera maya

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    May 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
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    March 16, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  3. Calling Occupants

    And I always thought Halloween was at the end of October. Silly me!

    August 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  4. Mitt Romney

    Look at what the poor people do.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  5. Mlaaaaajk PIahuiwthw9

    I am form a planet orbiting Epsilon Eridani. There are two planets there. One is inhabited. No one believes me. Life here is strange. Going home when the samples are obtained. Once you achieve fusion, your life will change. You could even travel out of your Galaxy

    August 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Les

      Is the "9" silent?

      August 6, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  6. Clayton

    We had a good time, people need to have out lets. Wheather its true, or not who cares, it's not like we don't other make believe things Santa, the Easter Bunny. So have fun, and if you don't have anything nice to say go watch TV test patterns, and talk to yourself about how much fun your having in life.

    August 4, 2012 at 2:45 am |
  7. Clete

    And why isn't this show on the History Channel?

    August 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Clayton

      It was in 2009.

      August 4, 2012 at 2:46 am |
  8. Tower Lowe

    I'll try to post again...I love Roswell and the International Folk Art Museum. The people of Roswell are a friendly bunch. For this reason, I wrote a mystery short set in Roswell that includes the International Museum and a few alient abductions, some real, some not. The story is called In Roswell, Re-Abucted. It's available free for the next couple of days in amazon.com, but it's only 99 cents anyway. It's a hoot, like Roswell and the UFO festival!

    August 3, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  9. Tower Lowe

    This is the perfect time to read about UFO encouters in In Roswell, Re-Abducted a mystery short. It's free on amazon.com kindle for the next two days. http://amzn.to/SEOK7y I love Roswell!

    August 3, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  10. ippy

    this is why when i travel abroad, i wear a canadian maple leaf patch on my jacket

    August 3, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Alan S

      Ippy: The Roswell event is harmless fun. No reason for Americans to be embarassed about it.

      August 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • fredo corleone

      ippy=idiot

      August 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Clayton

      Why not move to Canada, then you will not have too make believe you come for there.

      August 4, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  11. palintwit

    Tell me that doesn't look like a Palin family reunion !

    August 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • ippy

      dont be insuting to the aliens. thay have death rays

      August 3, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Clayton

      Yes it does, but not all of them are family. Tea Party members in the back ground

      August 4, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Angie

      Your a Hoot!......so funny thanks for my morning humor.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  12. BatSymbol

    Ok, just once second. How can we even think about this topic when there's such pressing news as "7-Eleven clerk gives customer 'the finger'" today? For shame.

    August 2, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  13. theresa

    Of all the billions of stars in all the billions of galaxies that make up the universe, it seems very likely that at least some thousands of them would contain intelligent life- it would be ignorant not to think so (this is even taking into account the rarity of us being the only intelligent life in our solar system). However, unless the laws of physics are very different from what we know, it would be impossible for any of us to "visit" each other in any kind of reasonable time, due to the vast distances between us. How desperate it would be for a civilization to literally live on their spaceship for thousands, if not millions, of years just to get to the lesser-populated areas of our galaxy (where we are).

    August 2, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Russells Teapot

      Uh hate to bust your bubble, but due to relativistic effects of traveling faster than light, they would not experience thousands of years aboard the ship, but rather several, maybe a decade... This really just means its rather impractical to utilize ftl travel since that by the time one reaches their destination, conceivably (depending upon distance traveled) thousands of years would have elapsed 'back home' where as the traveler himself would only perceive but a couple of years elapsing...

      August 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • Psi

        Gee, Teapot, you really don't get the Lorentz Factor, do you? If the "alleged" speed traveled is equal to or greater than the speed of light, the Lorentz Factor and the observed speed become imaginary. There is no explanation for what that means. You'll also have to explain where the infinite energy required to go the speed of light comes from.

        August 5, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • ippy

      you've been listening to too much carl sagan

      August 3, 2012 at 2:36 am |
  14. Janet

    What are the Sumo aliens about? One of the Sumo's chest area has deflated. Also, if Aliens had a bad experience in Roswell, don't you think they are "visiting" somewhere else? I guess these people are harmless and seem to enjoy the alien fun.

    August 2, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • ippy

      we have been observing you for years, our anal probe is wamed up and ready to go

      August 3, 2012 at 2:37 am |
      • Steve

        ippy would be the guy on the ship huddled in a corner crying like a 2 year old.

        August 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  15. dada

    If only instead of wasting time , these kids have gone to school or do something meaningful !!

    August 2, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Clayton

      Let the kids have fun, if you don't like it stay home, and watch tv test patterns.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  16. Boo

    Mitt Romney didn't show? If he's not an alien, I don't know who or what is.

    August 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • lilDinbigD

      Who else, Obomb-a.

      August 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  17. LetsHaveAMeeting

    First world problems.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  18. Carla Vazq

    Wrong!

    "Thanks to the UFO convention, the debate about what actually happened there in Roswell continues."

    August 1, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  19. Mike H.

    Smith continued: “So we get into the Situation Room and Jaden gets the look in his eyes and he leans over and he says, ‘Dad, what’s my punishment?’ And I was like, ‘Jaden, do not…’ and Barack Obama is talking about the Situation Room, and Jaden says, ‘Excuse me, Mr. President?’ And Barack said, ‘Don’t tell me.’ And in perfect form—like, this is why he’s the President—he stopped and looked at Jaden and said, ‘The aliens, right?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, shoot!’ And he said, ‘Okay, I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of extraterrestrials but I can tell you if there had been a top secret meeting and if there would have had to have been a discussion about it, it would have taken place in this room.’”

    "Neither confirm nor deny"... Isn't that Intelligence lingo for "Even if I know, I wouldn't tell you"?

    August 1, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  20. guildwarsize

    Elyos and Asmodians are both the main race of wow. Mortal regard them as angels who protect the tower of eternity in the ancient time. http://www.guildwarsize.com This race broke into two part because they disagree with each other.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • ippy

      and you need to take your meds

      August 3, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  21. Tatiana Covington

    Either we are alone or we are not. One or the other. If not, then either we have visitors from afar or we do not. One or the other. If we do, then they must have some way to get around the speed-of-light barrier. Else the time, energy, and distance requirements forbid it.

    So, if UFOs are real (which I do not believe), then FTL must exist first.

    One or the other.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Les

      Unless..... Their entire civilization (or colony of such) is on a giant mother-ship. If this is the case, than the "time required to get back home" and the "time required to get here" becomes moot. Their "world" could be far enough away that we cannot detect it. They could have been "sightseeing" and stopped on Earth for grins. (potty break)

      August 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  22. lynn

    sumo aliens ?

    July 31, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • marie

      You have to give them points for creativity

      August 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
      • Les

        agreed, at least they are green

        August 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  23. jimzcarz

    She painted her baby..

    July 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Pliny

      An alien dingo ate my baby.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Les

      Maybe... maybe not....

      August 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  24. Jason

    Ugh, these people...

    July 31, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Biggs

      I know. Comic con, ok I can see it. Alien people....oy....and look at hose bad Halloween costumes. Low rent convention.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  25. GIUK

    WOW WEEE! Ron Paul has put on weight, and green is not his color. But I do like the red thong. Very nice.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  26. Concerned in Mentor nxt to clev.

    HA! that made my day great comment

    July 31, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  27. Concerned in Cleveland

    I would like to blame the President for this. But I just can't. And that hurts me.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • ANNALY

      R U ON CRACK??

      July 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
      • Seans

        The joke went right over your head. Zooom!

        July 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Bill

      How's this one? See what you get when you let the aliens into the country? Enjoy.

      August 2, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • ippy

      blame rummy

      August 3, 2012 at 2:40 am |
    • Rip Rig & Panic

      Not captured in the above photo.
      A man who looked surprisingly like George Bush,
      was seen with a metal detector.
      He kept mumbling to himself over and over,
      I know them dang Weapons of Mass destruction are here somewhere, i just know it.
      He was last seen wandering into the desert.

      August 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm |