Over the past two years, thanks to the Internet, one file held by the FBI “Vault” has been viewed nearly a million times.
It’s little wonder. An FBI memo noting the alleged recovery of three UFOs in New Mexico is the law enforcement agency’s most requested and viewed document. By far.
Not that you need to make an official request. The truth is out there. It’s available to anyone who navigates to the FBI’s website.
Dated Mar. 22, 1950, and addressed to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the memo relates a third-hand claim as told to an FBI agent.
The person, whose name is redacted, told the agent that an Air Force investigator had told him “high-powered radar” had jammed the steering mechanism of three “flying saucers” causing them to crash to Earth.
The FBI doesn’t investigate these things, not since 1950. This is connected to a hoax anyway. But I’m not sure people know that part. The chain of this document, called the Hottel memo and described in the article, is long and a bit convoluted. While many may be impressed with it on face value, it can not be taken at face value. Too many paranormal researchers are overly credulous. They believe the stories they are told and every bit as true if it makes for a good story. And some are not willing to give up a good story if the truth is less exciting.
The document was never classified and had been circulating for years before 2011. The FBI made this clear on their blog this week. It had always been in their files but when the online repository became available, it looked like the memo showed proof of government knowledge of UFOs.
[W]hen we launched the Vault in April 2011, some media outlets noticed the Hottel memo and erroneously reported that the FBI had posted proof of a UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico and the recovery of wreckage and alien corpses. The resulting stories went viral, and traffic to the new Vault soared.
More from Skepticblog from 2011.