Roswell finally cracked
It appears that we finally managed to crack open the mother of all UFO crashes, Roswell 1947.
For many years there have been speculation about the crash being a research balloon of some kind, a sensible explanation enough, though the idea that it was a Soviet contraption was absolutely ludicrous (the Soviet Union had spies pretty much everywhere at the time so no need for "secret" devices).
This explanation proved to be correct, though there are very interesting twists in the story.
Starting in 1945 NATO intelligence knew that it was only a matter of time before the USSR denotated an A-bomb: PROJECT MANHATTAN had been infiltrated by Soviet spies and the USSR had first class physicists of her own.
The Americans started a crash program to detect nuclear blasts from the propagation of sound waves through the upper atmosphere. This program was code-named MOGUL (Americans have this obsession with all capitals project names...) and was highly classified. It used high-flying balloons loaded with sound-recording equipment and apparently leveraged heavily on Japanese fusen bakudan technology (during WWII the Japanese had launched hundreds of high-flying balloons, named fusen bakudan, loaded with explosive and incendiary devices to bomb the US). The program turned out to be a fiasco and was shut down in 1950.
Incidentally Roswell was at the time home to a bomber squadron trained to use nuclear weapons and as such had very high security clearances. Not only that but local conditions were considered to be very well suited to ballon launches so it was an obvious choice.
On the 4th of June 1947 a MOGUL balloon fell due to technical problems after the launch. And the rest as they say is history. Apparently the base PR department came up with the UFO story as an half-baked attempt to cover up the loss of their secret airship (what probably happened during the Rendlesham case) but when some high brass in Washington got wind of the story they were ordered to back pedal immediately in no uncertain terms since a nuclear-armed air force believing in little green men from Mars was felt to be rather embarassing!
Curiously there's another twist in the story: the "UFO" was said to be covered in "hierogliphics". It has since turned out that MOGUL ballons carried radar-reflective stripes and that these reflectors were built by a toy factory using large stripes of decorative tape printed with flowers, teddy bears and other amusing figures.
It has been alleged in the past that the balloon was actually launched as part of the HELIOS/SKYHOOK project and that the test monkeys carried aboard were mistaken for little aliens.
This is incorrect: the first HELIOS balloon was launched in September 1947, three months after the Roswell incident. Not only that but SKYHOOK was never a classified project and in fact ballons carried messages on the line "if you find this please contact... You will be rewarded" in a number of languages.
Again truth turned out perhaps less exciting than a flying saucer carrying a full crew of little green men but is nonetheless worth investigating!
"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"
-Kalevala, Rune XIII-