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A theory that the Roswell crash was a cover for a nuclear accident has been proposed.
Media producer and sceptical UFO blogger John Keeling revealed the theory this month, saying he stumbled upon it years ago while researching for a potential TV documentary in the 1990s.
Mr Keeling said the theory was proposed by former Major Robert Friend, who was lead investigator of UFOs for the USAF from 1958 to 1962.
Major Friend had been at the helm of the infamous Project Bluebook when the USAF actively investigated incidents such as Roswell and other UFO phenomena at the height of the Cold War.
Mr Keeling said he contacted Mr Friend to take part in the series and received the startling claim in a letter of response.
Roswell has been at the heart of the UFO scene since July 1947 when the military sensationally announced in a press release it had found the remains of a crashed flying saucer in the desert nearby.
But the following day it retracted the statement, saying it was in fact a damaged US Air Force air balloon.
Witnesses later came forward to say there had been alien bodies within the “crashed craft”, which along with the wreckage were then taken to a top-secret military base.
It has remained the most infamous UFO conspiracy theory ever since.
According to Mr Keeling, Mr Friend replied: “I do have personal views of some of the cases that differ from the official explanations.
“Notably I believe that an unarmed nuclear device was inadvertently released at Roswell and that initially someone felt that a story regarding a UFO landing would cover the recovery operations.
“There is evidence that points in this direction.
“If you are interested I will provide you more detail regarding what leads me to this conclusion.”
Mr Keeling is not clear in his blog if he asked for further details and if they were provided.
He continued that there could be “a precedent” for this type of nuclear accident.
He wrote: “In 1945, while practising bombing runs from Utah for the atomic attack on Japan, a massive dummy warhead containing an explosive trigger was accidentally dropped from an aircraft, embedding itself several feet in the ground close to the Californian desert town of Caliapatra.
“A massive security operation hastily retrieved the device and bulldozed the crater in what must be the first ever ‘Broken Arrow’ incident – one that resonates as a precursor to the many ‘something strange crashed in the desert’ tales that would later form a colourful ‘crashed disc’ folklore.”
In 1994, due to increased interest in the Roswell incident, the USAF reinvestigated the case.
It concluded that the balloon that had crashed was part of a top-secret spying project called Project Mogul.
The balloons in question were fitted with devices to spy on Soviet Union nuclear tests.
The USAF concluded there had been no real attempt at a cover up through.
Mr Keeling added: “Of course Friend may have evidence to refute the leading conventional hypothesis: that a Top Secret Project Mogul balloon train and acoustic package to detect evidence of Soviet atomic bomb testing from the atmosphere had come to ground.
“But there is certainly no evidence for an extraterrestrial origin.”
However, the 1994 report did actually consider the possibility of a nuclear mishap, but ruled it out.
Notably I believe that an unarmed nuclear device was inadvertently released at Roswell and that initially someone felt that a story regarding a UFO landing would cover the recovery operations.
It said: “One of the areas considered was that whatever happened near Roswell may have involved nuclear weapons.
“This was a logical area of concern since the 509th Bomb Group was the only military unit in the world at the time that had access to nuclear weapons.
“Again, reviews of available records gave no indication that this was the case.
“A number of records still classified TOP SECRET and SECRET-RESTRICTED DATA having to do with nuclear weapons were located in the Federal Records Center in St. Louis.
“These records, which pertained to the 509th, had nothing to do with any activities that could have been misinterpreted as the “Roswell Incident.”
Nigel Watson, author of the UFO Investigations Manual, said: “The US Government’s report concluded that there was no evidence to say an alien spacecraft or its occupants were recovered.
“It also dismisses the idea that this was a nuclear accident.
“This would at face value be a logical explanation as the only military unit that had access to nuclear weapons, the 509th Bomb Group, was based at the nearby Roswell Army Air Base.
“Instead the report suggests that the top secret Project Mogul was probably responsible. This involved launching high altitude balloons that could travel over the Soviet Union
to detect the testing of atomic weapons.
“The nuclear accident theory does not hold water even if it does seem more credible than the alien spaceship theory.
“Over the passage of time Roswell has reached mythological status, with the result that
even now ‘new’ theories and explanations are put forward, or new ‘evidence’ and witness testimony is uncovered.
“Roswell is now a circus geared to entertaining our beliefs and prejudices, and that just about sums up the state of UFO research today heldback by the dead weight of a metaphorical lead Zeppelin (or in this case lead balloon).