21 - Clovis, to Roswell - International UFO Museum and Research Center -
Bottomless Lakes, S.P.
Well, Bart and his wife Sue, in the Eurovan left the campground just before I did this morning. I didn't have very far to drive today.
I have always been curious about Roswell, New Mexico. World famous for the disputed events that took place here in 1947. Witnesses, and now even grown children of witnesses and other believers say extraterrestrial spacecraft crashed on a ranch outside of Roswell that evening, the government has been saying it was nothing more than a weather balloon for years. I don't have a doubt in my mind that something out of the ordinary happened near Roswell in 1947, no doubt at all. I don't think it was a weather balloon, there are just too many inconsistencies and conflicting reports to take the official explanation. Did two spacecraft really crash? Were bodies autopsyed? Did one of the creatures actually survive the crash and undergo interrogation by Air Force personnel? I'm not sure, but there are plenty of folks in Roswell who'd like to talk to you about it. I knew when I pulled into the Wal-Mart for supplies that something about this place was a little different, and that they really revel in the fact that they are the "UFO Capitol of the World".
My first stop was the visitor center. Right down town and very convenient. I stopped in to ask directions to the UFO Museum and get some brochures about other places nearby.
I asked the
girl at the counter.....18 or 19 years old...her name tag said "Peanut"
on it, a nickname perhaps? I didn't ask.
I hopped back in the van and rolled down a few blocks to "The International UFO Museum and Research Center". The building must have been an old movie theater, it has those kinds of windows out in front and a big marquee. I parked about a block down....a nice little downtown area, it reminded me of old Ohio farm towns, old downtown buildings, storefronts, Roswell was more crowded though, bustling rather. As I approached the entrance I saw a sign in one of the windows announcing "FREE ADMISSION!", and another sign flashing "Internet Connection! Check Email!".
As I looked
in the different window displays I noticed a Mexican couple, in their
mid 60's, New Mexicans, Mexican Americans, whatever.....born here of Mexican
parents, first generation, but not recent immigrants. The woman was dressed
well, the way Mexican women do, full dress, scarf, purse, shoes, shades.
Her husband was carrying a clipboard and notebook, wearing khakis and
a red polo shirt. He was somewhat hunched over, as if he hurt his back
and must walk not quite doubled over. They looked to be waiting for someone,
like someone was going to pull up in a car and pick them up. Their grand
daughter waited with them....sitting down on the concrete in the shade
of the UFO Museum marquee, not 14 years old, she looked bored out of her
mind. Her grandfather was ranting, in very slightly accented English....
I figured this was a conversation I had to be a part of so I sidled over under guise of looking at the wrap around window displays of UFO stuff...close, closer....
The old man rambled on as his wife and grand daughter nodded......he'd look up the street for their ride every few seconds.
Inquisición Español? I announced in Spanish, just to see
what kind of response I'd get.
God, I just can't help but think of Monty Python when I hear the words "Spanish Inquisition", those guys had it right, anyway......
some things about the Spanish Inquisition." I announced.
Through the doors of the museum I went to find that the sign outside announcing free admission was indeed accurate, no charge to get in, but the internet access thing was more like a reverse ATM with a timer and computer hooked up to it. You put bills in it, face up, and you get minutes...no thanks.
I went up
to the counter where I was greeted by a man in his mid 50's.
The museum is kind of set up all through this old theater. Exhibits on the sides and in the middle, but a clear stage where speakers can get up and address crowds. They have conventions and things. The first big exhibit is of course the Roswell crash story. Well done, full of newspaper clippings from the day the story broke from several places, in several time zones proving the cover up.....papers on the east coast got the news to the papers announcing the ufo crash, afternoon additions. In Texas the UFO story appeared with the balloon story next to it, thus discrediting the wild UFO claim. The same evening in L.A. the balloon story was the only story in the paper. There was a 40's vintage radio on display that repeats the first radio reports of the UFO crash when you press the red button. Mostly lots of letters and statements from people close to the events, or their children who remember the men in the dark suits and sunglasses that visited their homes and intimidated them into silence over the years. Lots of UFO related art work, some parts looked like a high school art show. See, if you make a UFO painting, or a model of a UFO, paper mache, maybe even a huge macaroni UFO, send it to this museum and they will display it. As a result of this policy you get a wide range of things. From school children's UFO drawings to sculptures and intricate dioramas...they come in from all over the world. They had a map of the world at the entrance where you can put a colored tack in the place where you're from. Asia and Europe were the two most represented areas, Western Europe was wall to wall tacks.
I was about half way around the museum when I began to overhear a woman asking one of the museum volunteers about the exhibit she was looking at, an exhibit dedicated to crop circles.
they've done tests on the plants after the crop circle designs have been
made and apparently the physiology of the plants DOES change. Now scientists
have looked into this and the only thing on earth that altered the plants
in the same way was a microwave oven." he said with affirming nod.
The woman moved on through the museum, but I figured I just had to talk to this guy.
amazing place you've got here. Really interesting." I said...and
I was serious, they have a lot of interesting things there, enough of
an argument anyway to make you really wonder.
I thought to myself...."eleven of 'em huh? eleven what....no, no, don't ask that question, you know what he's talking about."
huh? Wow, I guess I'm looking in the wrong place then, I haven't seen
any." I said.
I asked if
I could take a picture of him in front of one of the displays....this
man's name was Jim Forrester by the way.
then," he began after I took the picture," let's get you into
"Now this is the largest collection of UFO information and research material in the world. We've got all the books, videos, micro film...everything. Let's get you some movies to start with. Doris? Doris? We need to set this gentlemen up with some videos." he bellowed behind the counter.
Doris appeared, "Oh okay. Let me get you the remote control for the VCR."
went about getting the remote Jim took me over to the movie shelf.
So before I knew it I was in a small, all white room with a chair and T.V. in it.....would a doctor with 3 green fingers be in to examine me soon? The whole thing happened quickly it was rather surreal. In my hand were several videos...UFO documentaries. I decided to watch "UFO's Are Real!" first. I had seen similar programs on The Learning Channel or Discovery. I watched the whole thing and decided I would return the other two films (unviewed) to Doris at the counter. Jim's shift was over so I wasn't able to say goodbye.....All in all it was an eye opening afternoon. And hear me now...before the end of this year I will have sent "International UFO Museum and Research Center" a UFO model to be displayed. I think it will be my first piece of anything in a museum.
I left the museum after buying a magnet in the gift shop advertising the "International UFO Museum and Research Center". I got the idea of buying magnets at all the places I stop first at the "World's Largest Totem Pole" back in Oklahoma, partly because I enjoyed talking to the little lady there so much and because I wanted to support the place. All they offered for sale were postcards and magnets. That was a very humble little place.....so I've started buying magnets at the different stops. They stick well to the shelf above the stove in the Westy.
I camped for the evening at Bottomless Lakes, S.P. not too far from Roswell, maybe 15 miles away. The landscape out here is vast and dry, the road often seems to never end. The "bottomless lakes" are actually pores in the rocks, kind of like "cenotes" in Mexico. Right in the middle of the desert there are a few of them. I ate dinner under a beautiful sunset then went to bed watching the stars through the pop top window....really wondering what else, who else is out there.
remembered a joke my dad used to tell.....
Reminder: agnostic questions the existence of God, dyslexic confuses letters in words, insomniacs can't sleep.
PUNCHLINE: Lies in bed at night wondering if there's a Dog.
UFO Museum & Research Center
Jim Forrester, witness to 11 UFOs.
Library area at the museum.
Headed out of town towards the campground.
Arrival at Bottomless Lakes, S.P.