Not all that long ago I asked a general question about the effect of the Roswell Slides on UFOlogy as a whole. Seems that most of those responding on line suggested that the impact was little, especially outside the UFO community. Most seemed to believe that those who did not hold much interest in UFOs were unaware of the whole sorry fiasco.
But that came from those inside the UFO community. Those outside, or those who had an interest but didn’t consider themselves part of our community, had a much different take on it. To them, it was a disaster that changed their opinions. In the last couple of weeks I have had occasion to speak with some of those people and by some, I mean four and by speak I mean both on the telephone and through email.
One man called me, apologized for the intrusion, and then said that he had been interested in UFOs for decades; that interest beginning as a teenager. He said that it seemed to him that in the last year or so, many of the classic cases had been explained and that the mystery seemed to have been solved. He brought up the Roswell Slides as what he thought of as almost the last straw. The will to believe had been so strong in some that they had missed the red flags waving all over the landscape according to what he said.
Another, who emailed me, said that for her the destruction of the slides so quickly once independent researchers had the opportunity to review the data had proved that much of the information being printed in books and magazines or used in documentaries about UFOs was next to useless. The slide investigators had overlooked the information that disconfirmed their belief structure (which, I think, is a problem that we all face). We sometimes look at information that provides a clear alternative view and then find all sorts of reasons to ignore it.
There was a guy who wanted to know what to believe and what books to read because he was so unhappy with how the whole Roswell Slides investigation had progressed. Oh, he understood that the investigators had wanted to proceed without interference and speculation until they had some answers. But, once the information had leaked, they should have been more forthcoming, especially now that we had the answers to the questions. He thought it ridiculous that some still clung to the idea there was something alien on the slides and that further damaged his reliance on UFO researchers.
The point here is that no matter how we attempt to dress it up, the Roswell Slides was the final straw for some who had suffered through MJ-12, the Alien Autopsy, and the collapse of so many of the Roswell witnesses who had claimed to have been involved deeply, regardless of their positions in the military at the time. I, myself, was fooled by several who seemed to have the proper credentials, who supplied robust stories, and who turned out to have been inventing their tales (and their confirming documentation which is not a phenomenon restricted to UFOs) and claiming higher ranks than they held.
The Roswell Slides, which didn’t receive any real reporting by the mainstream media (because of all the other nonsense about UFOs that has been “leaked” over the years) did considerable damage to the Roswell case in particular and UFO research in general. People who had not studied the Air Force report or understand some of the content of it will tell you that it explained Roswell completely and that is that. They won’t have read the report, can’t tell you what was in it, but they remember the Air Force explained Roswell at a press conference that was carried by the cable news channels and in many newspapers. And that is all they remember no matter what else is said or done. The Roswell Slides underscored that point of view, another case of great claims destroyed by proper research and that is the damage that has been done. At one point we had many people interested in learning about Roswell and it seemed that we had evidence to support the alien answer, but the Air Force had better PR than we did. We are left with a negative image of UFO research and researchers by those slides which did not show an alien creature but an unfortunate child. Under those circumstances, what would you think?