If ever you are in Downtown Roswell, (and why wouldn’t you be?) You may see a very singular place. As a matter of fact you’d have to be blind and pretty messed up not to see it (or on your way to see Carlsbad Caverns only an hour and some down the road.) What could it be it that draws high-school aged kids from all over replete with tinfoil beanies (i’m not making that up. )
It’s the International UFO Museum and Research Center.
Also known to some people as “the freak show.”
Maybe that’s not fair. The museum happens to be the center-point for for UFOlogy in the US if not the world. It’s the epicenter, ground zero for the advent of CONTACT between a hired hand on a sheep ranch, some sheep and A MIGHTY INSTERSTELLER CIVILISATION!!!!
What could be more titillatingly important than that! I’m sure the sheep thought it was cool.
It’s also more or less the only thing going on in Roswell if you don’t count Sam’s Club and the stinky factory farms scattered around the region. And the MacDonald’s -in-the-shape-of-a-flying-disk. The saucer houses a playroom, most appropriate I thought.
I had an opportunity to see this place for myself. Donning a cleaver disguise as a run of the mill human I soon found found myself wandering this shrine of “UFO facts” like a lot of other sheep, who were probably wondering what in the blazes they were doing in Downtown Roswell too. And no sheep herder either. I kind of liked it, I mean the sheep did think it was cool.
I must say I was impressed with er, some of the museum. It’s housed in an old movie theater in downtown Roswell.
I imagined people lined up on a rainy evening to watch Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, and Gort in The Day the Earth Stood still. The women in long dresses and the men in suites and Fedoras. This is more relevant than you might think.
(Oh don’t be silly, it seldom rains here!)
Once you step into the lobby of the museum you are greeted by a couple of geeks and a really old lady. The geeks were chatting with themselves, the old lady took my money. Truthfully I’ve been back there several times and this plays out exactly the same. At least the old lady knows what it’s all about.
Once you give them your money (which is only about six bucks or so) you get a nifty color sticker and permission to see the spine tingeing displays within. Otherwise you can only hit the gift store or the library which looked pretty interesting all by itself. The lobby is done up with flashing lights and little monster sculptures, about what I would expect in a movie theater.
But when you go into the museum proper, you go down a short hallway into … First there is lots o’ text things. Newspapers and other documents plastered on the walls. WTF! I came to SEE ALIENS BITCH! Not NEWSPAPERS! GAAA!
What are they thinking!
Soon though, I can tell I’m in the right place. There are aliens here all right. Me for one (I’m sure as hell not from around here!)
There are several interesting newspaper articles. (Really most of them of the 1947 UFO flap) if you like reading them on the wall (which I don’t)
Let me back up a moment, I like reading about flying saucers in the newspaper, just not on the wall, makes my neck hurt.
There are a bunch of old teletype machines and recording equipment that are JUST LIKE the ones that broadcast the “flying disk story” to a news hungry world (since WWII was over.) Or perhaps they are the actual ones – I – don’t know! Actually I don’t care. There is a landfill around here with truckloads of this kind of junk. Remember Roswell once had a humongous USAF base which in 1947 was the ONLY nuclear base in in the world. That’s relevant too, but not in the way most saucer fanatics think.
Down the center of the museum is a small theater where they show loops of UFO movies – er I mean “reality documentaries” like “Roswell” and “Fire in the Sky.” I didn’t stay long enough to see if there was any consistency to the films, like – you know in a documentary. It looked like a nice dark place to hide and I noticed a lot of people were doing justthat. Most of the films about Roswell were, you know; not actually filmed in Roswell ether. Why?
Because Roswell is four hours from anywhere and Carlsbad has those cool caves and shit.
There are a number of dioramas which depict – I guess reality to the saucer fanatic. Many show aliens in bottles or some other nutty things.
Many depict the UFO debris as it really was, not like in all of those bogus photographs showing mylar and other shit that we know isn’t real. Others show ETRBEs (Extra Terrestrial rather Buff Entities) standing around scowling at us silly humans looking at all of the newspapers stuck on the walls.
They may have been wondering what happened to their pants.
They have a small area devoted to the retarded notion that the whole Roswell phenomena was created by some oddball stuff with the US Air Force when they were doing secret R&D stuff at the world’s only atomic weapons base. Nobody takes that Project Mogul shit seriously. Not in this enlightened age that we know aliens travel millions of miles just to crash in their spacecraft in the desert because of (gasp) 1940s era radar!
I love saucer fanatic logic, I really do!
There’s a horse sculpture with newspapers stuck on its ass. (not kidding.)
They have a LOT of blown up photos of alleged interstellar galactic cruisers, only they look like 1950s era movie flying saucers. Most of the material (read ALL of the material) was stuff I encountered one way or another during my childhood, between pages written by Berlitz, Vallie and Kehol (I had a strange childhood.)
There was nothing new at the museum, other than some pictures of folks trying to dig up saucer crap at the Foster Sheep ranch. It looked hot and boring, much like Roswell.
For all that effort they didn’t find even one intergalactic cruiser!
They have movie posters for Forbidden Planet in Portuguese for some reason (and I found those interesting too, for some reason.) They also have a humongous wood carving of the Mayan tomb cover depicting Pakal descending into Xibalba, the Maya underworld. This of course is the image most saucer fanatics believe is a Mayan operating the controls of a V2 rocket and V2 rockets didn’t even HAVE controls. Weird!.
Why aliens would travel billions of miles in a flying saucer that goes faster than light, only to stick some poor sod into a skyrocket then blast him to the moon is quite beyond me. Perhaps aliens just like to throw people into the sky, you know For fun! They must have been pretty sick aliens. I mean the Mayans were not above human sacrifice – really!
But the carving is pretty neat. Someone spent a lot of time carving it so that it could sit here for no reason.
I did wander into the “research center.” A part of the building which really had a nice collection of UFO literature, larger than mine too! That’s the first time I’ve seen more UFO books in one place than in my office library, true story! They won’t let me borrow the books (darn it!) I’ll be back , hope they allow my Starbucks venti mocas because I’ll need them!
Also nobody ever goes in there. I’ve been back several times and I always have the place to myself.
All and all the Museum is a good way to blow an hour or two. It’s about 80 miles from Carlsbad (which is a better place to kill a day or two.) The UFO Museum is pure kitch and I guess that’s why it’s charming in it’s own way. People are not going to be educated about UFOs unless they already believe UFOs are alien spacecraft or whatever.
People who are skeptical are not going to change their minds over this place.
I was a bit disappointed that the museum didn’t really cover the sociological impact of UFOs and the idea of aliens on popular culture. That I think is not only more important than trying to prove they are from another planet.
Why? Because the sociological impact is real, if UFOs were PROVEN to be figments of the imagination (difficult,) the sociological impact would still be there and still be just as potent. I actually agree with UFO pundants like Regan Lee on that score.
I think that actually makes the sociological impact more important than the phenomena itself, but I’m strange that way.
The museum is showing it’s age too. it might have looked keen in the 1990s, now it looks kind of sad.
It was supposed to be relocated a few blocks north at a brand new stat-of-the art facility, across the the street from the McDonald’s (the one in the shape of a saucer.) Alas, the backers pulled out and the giant saucer shaped UFO museum is just a figment of the imagination and wishful thinking, much like the UFOs themselves.
I’m told that the museum is moving down the street to another (probably cheaper) building.
Kind of like the whole aliens and Roswell crash thing! Getting older, smaller and cheaper
I wonder what will become of the old movie theater?
Someone should turn it into a cool art-movie theater with Rocky Horror as the midnight feature.
“Michael Rennie was ill the day the Earth Stood Still….”
Yes, Quite appropriate I think.
The Odd Emperor