Mystery May

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.06

     challenging words:    alfalfa, alleged, coerce, cover-up, nonhuman, spaceship, unexplained, controversy, on-going, experimental, original, throughout, rancher, mainly, military, irrigation
     content words:    New Mexico, Eastern New Mexico State University, Roswell Museum, Art Center, Bottomless Lakes State Park, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, International UFO Museum, Research Center, In July, Mac Brazel

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By Jennifer Kenny

1     Do you believe in UFOs? Throughout history, there have been many reports of UFOs, or unidentified flying objects. Many of them have been hoaxes or misunderstandings. However, a handful of them, to this day, remain unexplained. One of the biggest and strangest incidents involves an alleged crash in Roswell, New Mexico.
2     Roswell is located in the southeastern part of New Mexico, a little over 200 miles southeast of Albuquerque. It is mainly a trade, processing, and shipping area for cotton, alfalfa, grains, and livestock. It was settled in the late 1860s. It had good irrigation and springs for watering cattle. In 1894, the railroad arrived. Roswell became incorporated as a city in 1903. There's a branch of the Eastern New Mexico State University in Roswell. There's the Roswell Museum and Art Center which contains many of Robert Goddard's experimental rockets. Nearby the Bottomless Lakes State Park and the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge can be seen. Today, in this city, there's the International UFO Museum and Research Center. You may be wondering how the city became home to such a unique museum.
3     Well, Roswell, New Mexico, is probably best known for an incident in the summer of 1947. In July 1947, Roswell had experienced intense thunderstorms. A rancher named Mac Brazel went to check on his sheep following the storms. He discovered unusual metal debris just north of the city on the land he was tending. He felt the debris possessed some strange physical properties. Unsure what it was, he showed it to his neighbors. They urged him to contact the sheriff, George Wilcox. The sheriff contacted the Roswell Army Air Field, which began an official investigation. The commanding officer was Colonel Blanchard and Major Jesse Marcel and Captain Sheridan Cavitt were the intelligence officers. Based on the officers' report, the area was closed off. The debris was removed and sent to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. On July 8, 1947, the first press release from Army Command called the debris material from a flying disk, or flying saucer, or what today is deemed a UFO, or a spaceship from another planet. The release made the headlines of 30 papers that very afternoon. Phone lines to New Mexico and to the Pentagon became jammed.

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