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Salt Lake City Weekly Alien Inva$ion

Absolute UFOria in Roswell, N.M. -- but don't forget your charge card

By Phil Jacobsen

July 21, 1997:  Like Christians who flock to apparitions of the Virgin Mary, Muslims to Mecca and Clinton to controversy, alien lovers, believers and news media from around the world transported themselves to Roswell, N.M., for the 50th Anniversary of a "flying disk" crashing in the desert. Coincidentally enough, it was also the 50th Anniversary of the bumper sticker: "Question Authority."

From an objective point of view, as presented by top UFOlogists during the July 3-6, 1997 Alien Conference, in Roswell, N.M., the facts are certain: Aliens live on planet Earth — Run for your lives.

From a more Joe Friday "just the facts ma'am" point of view, 50 years ago, in the remote desert of New Mexico, something crashed. According to the official press report, that something was labeled a "flying disk." And we're not talking pie tins and Tupperware lids. The Roswell Army Air Force (RAAF) had in their possession a self-described, genuine object from outer space. For a day, that is. Until the powers that be fluffed up their powered pillows and slept on it.

The next press release from the official government headquarters said (roughly translated): When we, the officials at RAAF, stated we had in our possession a flying disk, we misspoke. What we actually meant to say was 'We have in our possession a weather balloon.' Sorry about the confusion, go back to your normal lives, and, Roswell, you can expect mostly cloudy skies with a 43 percent chance of rain.

That was back in 1947. The Brooklyn Bridge had been bought and sold numerous times. World War II had just ended and the Cold War was hovering slightly above zero degrees celsius. Our relationship with Russia was bearish, at best, and our rocket scientist had yet to put a man on the moon. A handshake was a contract and cherry pies cooled on window sills. We liked Ike, and Dwight D. Eisenhower liked us. In God We Trust. And if the government trusted in God, then by God, you could trust your government.

Hook up the battery cables and jump start that Cold War 50 years. America is Number One! But the red, white and blue Baskin Robbins' road has been rocky. Since 1947, there have been times when the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government have resembled less a three-rum-filled layered cake of democracy for the people and by the people and more a three-ringed circus of embarrassment operating without a net.

Cynicism has replaced trust, because the past is our forecast to the future. When lies are promulgated as the truth, we must question all truth in order to weed out the white lies of governmental red tape (Iran-Contra, Anita Hill, Watergate, Persian Gulf Illness, Jenny McCarthyism, JFK, Marilyn Monroe, Milli Vanilli, Elvis).


THE FINAL WORD

With this cynicism intact, the Alien Conference began, but not before the United States Air Force (USAF) cast the first stone. A week prior to the conference, the USAF published its third version of the final word on the "Roswell Incident." Apparently, the two previous "final words" on Roswell were not final nor accurate.

According to our fair-weather friends at the Air Force, after 50 years, they are still sticking to the "weather balloon" story. The only difference now is it was a super secret weather balloon (project Mogul) that had crash test dummies and studied nuclear weapons-testing from those blasted communists. "If," the Air Force says, "four-feet-tall aliens [ha ha] were actually seen at the crash site, they were really dummies. Crash test dummies being used to test, um, future ejection seats, one-hit-wonder bands and a bunch of other stuff much too technical for you lay folks to understand."

Men in Black? No, they're Mormon missionaries in Roswell. What have you heard about aliens, and would you like to know more?
Crash test dummies? Mmmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmmm and weather balloons? If after 50 years, "weather balloon" is still the best excuse our rocket scientist can come up with to explain Roswell, I think it is high time we change the age-old axiom, "I'm no rocket scientist, but ..." Because, besides the remote controlled Tonka-esque truck on Mars, what have rocket scientists actually given us lately? The Challenger, Mir and the 1993 Mars probe that was lost in space? And what did happen to Tang?

I propose, when tasked with a difficult situation, we start saying, "I'm no VCR programmer, but ..." Forget Mensa, Mars and the Moon, you pencil-packing, pocket-protecting programmers, I want to be shown how to watch more TV.


DIATRIBE ASIDE: CAPITALIZING ON ALIENS

Roswell, N.M., July 3-6, 1997 was home to an Alien Conference. And, no matter how many times this was thrown in my face with alien memorabilia, paraphernalia and propaganda, I would find myself staring around a desert community that, straight-faced, has proudly accepted the title "Alien Capital of the World." Certainly, a few Romuleks and Pleiadeans are shaking their oversized heads and four-fingered fists in disbelief. But the only thing being shaken in Roswell were pockets for loose change and billfolds for credit cards.

The Aliens may, or might not, have crash-landed in 1947, but the commercialization of aliens has reached a crescendo of an 1812 Overture magnitude. The "Alien Capital," if nothing else, is the capital of capitalization.

In 1990 on a cross-country trip, while looking for a bite to eat and chew the fat, I stopped in Roswell. Seven years ago, when I asked the waitress at the Golden Corral if Roswell was known for anything, she said, "Buses." In other words, "No." One more quick trip to the buffet bar, and I was back in my car out of Roswell. Oh well. Nothing here.

Now, driving through Roswell, you'd have to be traveling at the speed of light not to notice the legal green-tendered alien population. The Tastee Freeze has tin-foiled alien mascots on their marquee and "Alien Shaved Ice" on their menu. Denny's must have missed the memos, because they had quickly scrawled on third-grade science poster board an illogical well-wishing to the UFO lovers. Hotel signs read, "No Vacancy." And Arby's had aliens painted in plywood, crashing into a roast beef sign. Different is good, but if every business is different, is that good?

David Presley says, "No." David drove his family from Indiana, for the second year in a row, to come to a place he holds sacred: Roswell. He will not return next year. "I am a true believer," David says, "Not for the money. Not to be on TV or quoted in newspapers."

My press pass had become a hinderance in the intermingling with the alienites, so it was in my back pocket. Replaced around my neck was a glow-in-the-dark alien head pendant. Scary. I felt like "Dateline" at Food King. "Last year," he continued, "my family had a religious experience here. This year, in trying to escape, we've been caught."

Coming to Roswell was, indeed, a religious experience to many. And a religion to others. If you don't believe this, direct your questions to Hale-Bopp.

The members of Heaven's Gate believed they could shed their earthly containers, and their families, and join the Hale-Bopp comet be-bopping past planet Earth. Because Heaven's Gate members believed in a cosmic spaceship god, they were looked upon as a cult and not a religion by the media and the moral majority. Why was this? Was it because they committed suicide, when their religious leader came a' knocking on their door? Knock, knock. Who's there? Abraham and Isaac.

When the Heaven's Gate members packed Nikes, nickels and $5 bills to bring to Hale-Bopp, this was the type of faith that could have moved the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast. If they would have packed gold, frankincense and myrrh, would this have made them legitimate? Or, perhaps, they were crazy because they allowed themselves to be castrated in order to hinder thoughts of sexual desire.


DO YOU BELIEVE?

The buzzwords at Roswell were: Do you believe? What is the truth? The Truth Is Out There and We're Not Associated with Heaven's Gate. Like many who may have strong religious beliefs, believers in aliens are subjected to ridicule, even amongst themselves. The dark cloud of a tweaked episode of the "Brady Bunch" ("Barbiturates and Applesauce") hasn't made matters any easier. As a result, the alien-leaning left are left wide open for proselyting by established religions.


Phil Jacobsen lends a helping hand to the curious as well as the true believing who wanted a picture of a real UFO.

Several religions were at the conference to convey and convert. The most notable was Christ's Church in Roswell — not the one in New Zealand. Every 10 minutes or so, not exactly Old Faithful-like, one man would stand on a kitchen footstool and start screaming he knew the truth about the aliens crashing in Roswell. At the precise moment of his revelation, three Men In Black-dressed teen-agers (who more resembled Men In Eurkel) would tackle and accost the governmental whistle blower. Then, all four would jump up, in extremely grass-stained clothing by the end of the day, and preach about the "original alien who crash-landed on Earth 2,000 years ago." Dick Clark? Or maybe it was someone else. I found it difficult to follow their illogical tie-in, let alone understand it.

The Mormon missionaries, on the other hand, simply wandered the crowd, bought souvenirs and posed for hundreds of thrill-seeking photos. If you look like Men In Black and don't know it — clap your hands. If life ain't funny, then stop the world, because I'm getting off.


NEXT STOP: EXPERTS IN THE FIELD OF UFOLLOGY

The UFOlogist conference speakers were very similar to a walk through Southern Utah without water. How do you like your Martini? Dry. I remember falling asleep in physics classes that were more entertaining. But, at that moment in between being awake and sleeping like a Lincoln Log, that moment where it's possible to dream the sound of your alarm clock is actually the sound of a dump truck backing up, I would hear, palpitating from the pulpit, what certainly could only be fiction stated as fact.

Linda Moulton Howe, an expert in the field of unusual animal deaths (by alien abduction), said "that ridicule is the most effective tool the government uses to discredit sightings and UFO's." First, I am here to prove her right. Second, I will state I'm not unbiased — I am a believer. Third, why does it appear that all believers are copulating with pecans (somewhat nuts), thereby allowing themselves to be held up to this ridicule?

Linda Howe spent two hours defending the accuracy of Fox's film Alien Autopsy. Strike One. Even the guy I was sitting next to, who had a Jim from "Taxi" look about him and a Bottofucco paralysis to his face, knew the Autopsy was a fake. Jim knew the film was an exact fake of the real autopsy done in 1947. Hence the reason for confusing Linda Howe and her Masters Degree from Stanford.

"It was meant to be confusing," Jim explained. "So that it would throw you off the trail of the original autopsy film." If I followed his you-can't-get-there-from-here derailed train track of logic correctly, the fake film, the one on Fox, was done in 1947 with a circus freak, who had six fingers and toes — a girl, if that is at all relevant by this point.


HOW MANY FINGERS?

Her head, of course, was manipulated to look alien and her organs were changed to have "alien-looking" organs. I wondered what Amy Fisher would think of this man? Then I changed seats and Mrs. Howe changed the subject to Six-Fingered vs. The Four-Fingered Alien. She believes aliens have six fingers. In fact, she gave the Six-Fingered Alien two thumbs up and seven to one odds in Las Vegas. I gave her Strike Two.

Linda also had pieces of a spaceship tested and its metal rated a perfect 10 — a metal rating virtually impossible on planet Earth. The metal then went on to receive 9.78, 9.89 and a disappointing 6.43 from the Uranus judge. Sadly, the metal was later disqualified because of random intergalactic drug testing.

The final speaker of the conference, Stanton Friedman, says he knows for certain all aliens have four fingers. As I was wondering which lecture was a waste of two hours, I saw that Linda Moulton Howe had two spare fingers on her hand. So, she gave one to Stanton Friedman. And I gave her Strike Three.

Mr. Friedman was later asked, "Why haven't we returned to the moon?" He stated, "Either because, if you believe Nixon, budget constraints, or the aliens told us not to go back. And when was the last time you trusted Nixon? What we have here is a Cosmic Watergate."

No, Friedman, what we have here is an overuse of the word "... gate" for any governmental cover-up: Iran-Contra Gate, Hillary Gate, Whitewater Gate, etc. So as we are sitting at this mass meeting of alien lovers (AlienStock — If I can be so boldly going where no man has gone before) expanding our minds, let's try to be a bit more creative with our labels.

I must give credit where credit is due. After Stanton Friedman's lecture, a man approached me and said he just knew aliens had four fingers and not six. He said he felt like Mr. Friedman had given him "A dose of Jesus." That's powerful. Take two doses and call me in the millennium.

The only other believable speaker, according to his credentials, was Col. Philip Corso (ret). His book, The Day After Roswell, gives amazing credibility to the existence of aliens living on Earth. Col. Corso had "Above Top Secret" clearance at the White House and knows for certain Truman and Reagan have met with the aliens. He claims that the crash site at Roswell is the reason for the technological explosion in the 1960s. The government took apart an alien spaceship and through reverse engineering came up with integrated circuitry and fiber optics. And, although the Germans and Americans had night vision in WWII, the third eyelid taken from the eye of the real alien during the real autopsy is the reason we have portable night-vision goggles.

At this point, I was like an 18-year-old at his first strip club. Very interested. Unfortunately, Col.Corso is very old and he tends to ramble — keep in mind, I love rambling. But, as he went off on a tangent about the crashed aliens being exact clones of the super-intelligent race that created them, I went off on a tangent as to how he could tell the difference between a supreme being and an exact clone. The clown.

And then I started counting cloned sheep. One Dolly. Two Dolly. Three Dolly. I wished, by Dolly, that Col. Corso would have ended his press conference before his mind dementiaed. And before I realized that if Col. Corso were a game of bowling, he would have five strikes in a row and then five more open frames. Col. Corso, get on your horse and ride it. Not to the sunset, but out to pasture.

How I wanted to believe. I was in Roswell. I went to the crash site and watched Native Americans consecrate the land. This Holy Alien land. If aliens did crash here, if three- or five- (depending on which UFOlogist you believe), four- or six-fingered aliens did die on this ranch site, did they not deserve a religious ceremony? A memorial and celebration of life or cloning.

As the Native Americans chanted in the land of enchantment, I pulled out a $5 space craft made from paper plates, three marbles, nail polish and an egg (tourists will buy anything) to duplicate the crash landing. If only the original crash had happened after the advent of video cameras and funniest home videos, I would not have had to resort to such campiness, and Fox television may actually have had an "Actual Alien Crash" videotape.

History being what it is, though — a midget circus freak losing her life to an autopsy and a chicken that crossed its legs and lost an egg to an alien craft — I had to make do without much adieu, or so I thought. When I took my picture, I realized there was not a dry eye in the arid desert. The chanting had stopped and I had become the pariah of the media. My cheesy souvenir snapshot had turned into a media flashing frenzy. Mi crasha es su crasha.

I went to Roswell to observe, and became the observed. One moment I'm part of the media, the next I'm an authority on aliens in the media zoo. I wasted five minutes of fame to answer questions I had been asking others earlier that day. With two paper plates and a glow-in-the-dark pendant, I was perceived to have a penchant for the paranormal.

Then who were the authorities I had met? A woman who claimed to have seen alien hieroglyphics. Her proof: She painted herself silver and could move her hips to duplicate the hieroglyphics. Call Dr. Ruth, but not Carl Sagan. Did she indeed do a hieroglyphic hula, or was she an out-of-work exotic dancer?

Another man had slept with an alien woman, and said she was as cold as sleeping with the dead. An abductee who got lucky? And how did he know what it was like to sleep with the dead? Was the real story a bottle of Tequila, a woman, a poor performance on his part and an angry wife waiting at home?

Roswell is a small town and they have aliens. They could have called an exterminator; instead they called the entrepreneurs. I went to Roswell to believe. I left believing you don't have to be from planet Earth in order to sell out.


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