Working on a forthcoming review of David G. Robertson’s UFOs, Conspiracy Theories and the New Age (2016), I’m reading Mark Pilkington’s Mirage Men (2010), an important source for Robertson’s history of the phenomenon.
On the pages concerning the Roswell crash, one reads, first, in a passage from the famous FBI memo of 8 July 1947, that: “Major Curtain further advised that the object found resembles a high altitude weather balloon…” (39).
Pilkington then draws our attention to USAF General Nathan Twining’s memo of 23 September 1947, to the effect that the USAF lacked “physical evidence in the shape of crash recovered exhibits…” (40).
Finally, there’s reference to the USAF’s official version of events The Roswell Report: Fact Versus Fiction in the New Mexico Desert (1995), whose author is retired USAF Colonel Richard Weaver.
What must strike someone with a literary mind or training is how telling all these names are in the way they evoke textuality (Curtain, Twining, Weaver). One of the delights of reading the UFO myth is just how patterns of this sort present themselves, as if the myth itself were being written in a manner as self-reflexive as Homer’s Iliad or Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Here, the very names wink at us, suggesting an unsettling fabrication of the real itself….