April Fools joke or Roswell confirmation?

Right, the FBI has released a memo here:

Which says the air force had picked up three stereotypical flying saucers, and some funny looking little alien fellahs.

Now, it’s been released at about the start of April but I can’t find the exact date, so I’ve got three questions:

Has it been released as an April Fool’s Joke?

Is it a legitimately released document which was originally an April Fool’s Joke (I notice March 29th stamped on it, which just seems suspiciously close)?

Is it a genuine report of the recovery of the weather balloon/radiation detection balloon/alien space ship which was retrieved from Roswell?

Given its close similarity to modern ufo lore, I’m going for modern hoax, but I’ve no evidence for that.

The document appears real enough, but it doesn’t have anything to do with Roswell (that document you can find here, and some others that may interest you here), and when you think about it, it doesn’t really say anything terribly extraordinary: it’s just a memo sent to the FBI’s director by a certain special agent Guy Hottel about an unnamed Air Force Investigator who apparently reported something about flying saucers and aliens (possibly presented to him via yet another unknown ‘informant’). Qualitatively, it’s no different from presumably thousands of reports about various such phenomena, and the lack of any corroboration makes it entirely possible that there just isn’t much more to it, too. I mean, anybody can tell tall tales to FBI agents, and those agents are entirely entitled to write memos about that…

Fair enough. Does make me wonder when April Fool jokes started, I shall have to look that up.

On an unrelated note, is “Half Man Half Wit” a reference to the legendary band “Half Man Half Biscuit”?

I think that goes way, way back. I remember something about Chaucer?

Only in the sense that that was certainly somewhere in the back of my mind when I came up with the name; it’s more of a play on the general ‘half man, half …’ construction (think ‘machine’, ‘beast’ etc.).

Anyway, as for the memo, it’s also mentioned in Bruce Maccabee’s 2000 book UFO/FBI Connection:


Oh, there’s more here:


It (apparently known as the ‘Aztec UFO hoax’) made the skeptic’s dictionary, too.

I didn’t realise it was part of the Aztec UFO hoax, which I have heard of. I only own the one book on ufos (“Confessions of a Grave-Robbing Ufologist”, by James Moseley of Saucer Smear! fame).

Google books is really useful for reference hunting for the amateur – I just entered ‘Guy Hottel’, and out came, among others, the book and passage I quoted upthread.

Thankfully, for once the FBI agent wasn’t called ‘John Smith’. :wink:

Roswell was confirmed a long time ago: Some folks really did find the remains of a top-secret balloon launched by the US government, and the government really did have a conspiracy to cover it up by spreading rumors about aliens.

As an example of the degree of “telephone” involved, note that, “SAC” is FBI-speak for “special agent in charge”. But in the book quotes above the author has transmuted it to mean Strategic Air Command, just on the strength of the “Air Forces” person involved.

I agree and find it interesting to note the amount of time between when the clear debunking of the urban legend took place and when Roswell became synonymous with ‘secret alien/US conspiracy’.

Apparently, we still need legends and little people.
Used to be Realm of Fairie and the Fey
Now it is Outer Space and Aliens.

That’s my favourite UFO based conspiracy theory, certainly.

Well, the one I think most likely, not my favourite. That’s the one which has UFOs and grey aliens being demons released from the hellish abyss by Aleister Crowley’s Amalantrah Working, or possibly the Babalon Working, a bizarre masturbatory ritual carried out by commie-loving sex-magician and rocket-scientist Jack Parsons and malingering, tax-dodging fraudulent religious founder Lafayette Ronald Hubbard Senior.