New Book Tells the Inside Story of the Roswell UFO Crash and Other Paranormal Events

The inside story of the world's most famous UFO case is revealed in a new book by Roswell, New Mexico historian John LeMay. "Roswell USA" transports readers into a bizarre world of flying disks, alien autopsies, unearthly beasts, and other wonders.
March 27, 2011 - PRLog -- A new book by Roswell, New Mexico, historian and author John LeMay provides a fresh new look at the world’s most famous UFO case, the alleged 1947 crash of a flying saucer in the desert north of Roswell. The 254-page paperback, Roswell USA, available from, looks at the so-called “Roswell Incident” from the unique perspective of someone who was born and raised in the “Alien Capital of the World.” LeMay’s childhood was filled with tales of flying saucers and alien autopsies, and, in his youth, he rubbed elbows with several key Roswell eyewitnesses, including Robert Shirkey, who said he saw UFO debris being loaded onto a B-29 bomber at the Roswell Army Air Field in 1947.

In his book, LeMay discusses how the UFO phenomenon has radically changed Roswell, beginning with what occurred in the summer of 1997, when about 40,000 tourists and reporters descended upon the desert town to celebrate the 50th anniversary of an event that skeptics claim did not even happen. Never had the world seen such an amazing spectacle – an entire town celebrating the crash of a flying saucer and the alleged recovery of extraterrestrial beings. Despite controversy that persists to this day, UFO tourism was born that summer in the New Mexico desert, and the annual celebration of the Roswell Incident became a fixture that continues to fill the town’s coffers to overflowing every July. Indeed, in a town once known as the “Dairy Capital of the Southwest,” UFOs and “Little Green Men” have become Roswell's top tourist draw.

Relying on his extensive personal knowledge of all things Roswell and his unlimited access to the archives of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico, where he works as an archivist, LeMay presents a careful reconstruction of the famous UFO crash, including details that many readers may not have previously heard. In describing the discovery of strange metallic fragments at a sheep ranch north of town, LeMay writes, “At daybreak, Monday July 7, the three men arose and went out to survey the debris field. Sheridan Cavitt, Army counterintelligence agent, and Mack Brazel, local rancher, on horseback, and Jesse Marcel, intelligence officer, in a military jeep, soon came upon the mystery that would haunt the rest of their lives. Marcel and Cavitt finally understood what had caused Brazel’s agitation on the previous day as they came upon a vast field littered with the same type of strange metallic debris that Brazel had taken into town. Marcel speculated that the stuff must have come from some type of aircraft that exploded over the ranch.”

In addition to revisiting the 1947 UFO incident, LeMay also provides a unique glimpse into what it’s like to live in the one place on Earth most closely associated with flying saucers and extraterrestrials. His analysis of the odd things that happen in Roswell, especially during its annual UFO festival, is priceless. For example, he tells the story of an object that surfaced during the 2008 Roswell UFO Festival that subsequently went “viral” and generated interest all over the planet – a small rock.

“The most enigmatic piece of debris yet, if it can even be called debris, is the Roswell Rock,” LeMay writes, “Small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand the rock’s decidedly alien looking nature comes from the fact that on its surface is depicted several lunar phases. More startling is that the raised pattern on the face of the rock identically matches a crop circle found at Liddington Castle in England in 1996."

LeMay’s keen insight and marvelous sense of humor also focuses on some of Roswell's other, lesser-known mysteries, such as the “alien ghost” that haunts the New Mexico Rehabilitation Center. “In July 1997, when interest in the Roswell Incident was peaking due to the 50th anniversary celebration, Josephine Morones, stepped out of the staff kitchen one night and was struck by a very odd sensation,” LeMay says in his book, “Turning to look down the hall, she saw the most bizarre sight of her life - a small figure that looked somewhat human but clearly was not.”

LeMay quotes the eyewitness as saying, “My thing was very weird. The hands weren’t like fingers; they were like mittens. All I could see was the thumb. The skin, or whatever it had on, was like silk tape. We have [silk tape here] and it looked to me like someone wrapped up in that silk tape. It had the egg/pear shaped head. You know how people talk about the slanted eyes and all of this? This one had round eyes. That’s what really got me. It didn’t have a nose; as far as a mouth it had a little bitty mouth. At first I thought somebody was playing a trick on me. I really did. I couldn’t explain the feeling.”  

Written with an eye to historical accuracy, and an occasional wink of the eye, LeMay’s book also chronicles some of Roswell’s “other” mysteries, such as the "second" Roswell UFO Crash (in 1949); Bottomless Lakes where cars sink into the depths and monsters emerge to the surface; the Headless Horsewoman of Lover's Lane, a Victorian Era Spook with an axe to grind against young lovers; and others.

Roswell is by no means the only town to use strange events and bizarre creatures to draw tourism dollars. Nor was it the first.  In the second part of LeMay’s book, he takes us on a tour of other towns all over the U.S. that celebrate weirdness – such as Churubusco, Indiana, where a nine month long hunt for a giant turtle in 1948 has served the town well in tourism for the last 60 years, and Flatwoods, West Virginia, where a one-time alleged sighting of a strange alien monster has since resulted in the “Flatwood Monster Days” festival and toy figures of the creature being sold all the way in Japan. Also, there is Lake Champlain, New York, which has since become America’s very own Loch Ness. Point Pleasant, West Virginia, celebrates Mothman Days and has its own Mothman Museum. In the White River Monster Reservoir in Arkansas, it is illegal to harm a river monster that may or may not have existed in the river’s depths. Kelley, Kentucky, is the site where aliens from outer space laid siege to a farm house in 1955. And, many UFO enthusiasts visit a lonely country cemetery in Aurora, Texas, wherein lie the remains of an extraterrestrial, or so they believe, that crashed there in 1897. The list of weird creatures and bizarre events goes on.

Are all of the stories in his book believable?  LeMay says, “Do cars really disappear in Bottomless Lakes only to reappear into Carlsbad Caverns? Was an alien ghost really spotted in the halls of the old Army base hospital? Did some guy really see a dinosaur on the outskirts of town? Did an alien really survive the 1947 crash and end up in Nevada’s mysterious Area 51? Who knows? The fun kicker to all of these stories, or any other good yarn, though, is usually nobody can prove that they didn’t happen.”

Roswell USA is published by RoswellBooks, and is available in paperback for $14.95 from the author’s Web site at It is also available on and other major online retailers, and in the Roswell area, may be purchased at Roswell Landing, 205 North Main Street (Phone: 575-622-3036). It features over 50 photographs and illustrations, cartoons by Doug Ogg and Keith Bell, original illustrations by Neil Riebe, and impressive cover art by Brian Norwood. The book was edited by Noe Torres.

Author John LeMay was born and raised in Roswell, New Mexico, where he grew up among the aliens. He is the author of several books about the history of New Mexico. His works include Images of America: Roswell, Postcards of America: Roswell, Images of America: Chaves County, and Images of America: Towns of Lincoln County, all published by Arcadia Publishing of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. LeMay is also an archivist and serves on the board of directors for the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico, located in Roswell.

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