Well, last week brought a big moment in America's paranormal calendar. Sunday was the 66th anniversary of the exciting day when a UFO crashed -- or didn't -- at a ranch near Roswell, N.M.
The following day, July 8, 1947, an information officer at Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release saying base personnel had recovered a wrecked "flying disk." Various newspapers printed dramatic headlines. But an Air Force general issued a corrective release saying the wreckage was from a secret high-altitude surveillance balloon.
Despite the denial, the UFO report took off like a rocket, forever entering America's carnival of fantastic tales retold fervently by True Believers. Roswell became the world capital of space alien lore. Dozens of movies have depicted flying saucers bearing visitors from outer space.
UFO buffs contend that the U.S. government secretly sends "men in black" to hide evidence of spacecraft landings. Further, multitudes of Americans claim they were abducted and transported to hovering UFOs, where aliens experimented on them. Supermarket tabloids blare headlines such as "Elvis Seen on Flying Saucer."
Frankly, we consider this hoopla a national sport -- tantalizing fun that breaks the monotony of the daily struggle. It's rather like West Virginia's "Mothman" and "Braxton County Monster" thrillers. Or supposed photos of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.
Former Charleston newsman L.T. Anderson once wrote a column titled "Look Out, They..." He voiced a UFO witness who knew that government agents would silence him. The last line said: "There's one thing I must tell you. It's...."