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UFO Enthusiasts Pack Roswell for Festival

By William Booth
The Washington Post
    ROSWELL— Attention all aliens: Come on down. Because, seriously, this is your crowd, as 50,000 of your closest admirers are gathering this weekend for the Roswell UFO Festival, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the nearby crash landing of a flying saucer— and, naturally, the ensuing government coverup.
    A weather balloon? Please. We are not fools.
    At least that's the thinking here. Not up on the latest ufology? The debate today is all about "disclosure," meaning not if, but when. When is the government finally going to open its top-secret files to reveal its voluminous data on the sightings, abductions and close encounters dating back until at least July 5, 1947?
    "The secret world will fall. We want the truth embargo to end," says Stephen Bassett, the founder of X-PPAC, the first political action committee established to target the politics of UFO/ET phenomena. Bassett spoke at the festival's conference, which, along with the Alien Chase fun run, costume parades and carnival rides, have filled every motel room in Roswell, once the home of the world's only atomic warfare unit and the Enola Gay B-29 bomber.
    Lectures at the festival include, "Body Snatchers in the Desert," "Were Early Contactees Ritual Magicians?" and "UFOs and the Occult: Reptilian Overlords, Abductions, Mind Control and the New World Order."
    Reptilian overlords aside, the aliens have been pretty good for Roswell, population 45,000, which in recent years has embraced the 1947 flying saucer crash as a boomlet for tourism dollars. "We're told the motels are absolutely packed," says Roswell assistant city manager Bob Thomson.
    The crowds at the festival appear relatively sane. Many are from New Mexico, and they say they are here for the fun carnival atmosphere in tidy, laid-back Roswell. Some of the out-of-towners, the real enthusiasts, can be a little intense. They're like trekkies at a Star Trek convention, except they pepper their conversations with the phrase "and that can be authenticated."
    Guy Malone is one of the official organizers of the weekend event. "There are a lot of views expressed here and I share them all," he says. "Angels, fairies, demons, succubus, ETs and aliens. They might all be the same phenomena.
    "Hundreds of years ago, it was elves and fairies taking you to a cave and poking you with wands or having weird sex in the woods."
    And today?
    "We call them aliens."