This from Guardian Unlimited: News blog
RIP, the man who created Roswell’s tourism industry
“RAAF [Roswell Army Air Field] Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch In Roswell Region.Ã¢â‚¬Â That was how the Roswell Daily Record reported (the text is here), on July 8 1947, that a UFO had crashed in the remote New Mexico desert near the town of Roswell.
The press release which sparked over half a century of fevered speculation about aliens and conspiracy theories was written by a young army officer, Walter Haut, who has died aged 83.
The initial reports suggested that a local couple had seen a flying disk come down. There was widespread belief that when the army arrived they found dying aliens. The Times in London reported the find, though in a somewhat more reserved way than might be expected today.
The official version of what happened was soon altered and by the following day the army said it find was actually a weather balloon that had crashed. Claims of a government cover-up, fuelled by a decidedly dodgy film purporting to show autopsies being carried out on the dead aliens, continued. The US air force published its definitive report on the incident in 1994.
Without Roswell and Area 51 we wouldn’t have had the X-Files and I will leave it up to you to decide whether or not this would be a good thing.