HOAXES, PSEUDOSCIENCE AND ALIENS
The most viewed file in the FBI’s Vault has nothing to do with Roswell.
The FBI noted that not only is the Hottel Memo simply a “second- or-third-hand claim” but that the Bureau never even bothered to investigate it.
“Sorry, no smoking gun on UFOs“, says FBI.
Beginning January 24, we are going to be treated to another six episodes of The X-Files, one of the most enduring television series of all time.
In the world of the show, FBI agents Mulder and Scully clash with the federal government, which is overrun by byzantine conspiracies and hidden knowledge about extraterrestrial life (as well as genies, God, werewolves, and other mysterious and elusive creatures.).
Given the popularity of the series, and the tenacity of UFO conspiracy theorists in general, it’s unsurprising that the most viewed file in the FBI’s online FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Library—also known as the Vault—is what some believe to be a real life X-File. Known in more paranoid circles as the “Hottel Memo,” this officially filed UFO report has been accessed and viewed over a million times since it was uploaded in 2011.
The memo dates back to March of 1950, three years after the much more famous Roswell incident, and is little more than a single page detailing a vague report about recovered UFOs. The memo was filed by FBI agent Guy Hottel, who was, at the time, the head of the Bureau’s Washington Field Office. His report relays an account said to have been given by an Air Force investigator who claimed to have recovered a trio of flying saucers, with crew intact.
(Here is the full text of the document, dated March 22, 1950:
“The following information was furnished to SA (redacted) by (redacted).”:
An investigator for the Air Forces stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots.
“No further evaluation was attempted by SA (redacted) concerning the above.”)
Hottel’s memo says that the investigator told him that the ships had been salvaged in New Mexico, describing the craft like something out of a B-movie. They were “circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 meters in diameter,” reads the report.
The description of the UFOs’ crew members is no less retro science fictional, reading, “[The aliens had] bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed fliers and test pilots.” It is speculated in the memo that the craft were downed after high-powered military radar in the area interfered with the UFOs’ controls. How this conclusion was reached is unclear.
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