Roswell, New Mexico in real life: What is the supposed alien mecca really like?

CW’s newest series ‘Roswell’ is a fictional take on one of the most talked about places in the world, but is there any truth behind the legends that surround Roswell, New Mexico?

                            Roswell, New Mexico in real life:  What is the supposed alien mecca really like?

‘The Vampire Diaries’ creator Julie Plec has done it again, creating a science fiction young adult drama with her newest CW series ‘Roswell: New Mexico’. The reboot of the 1999 cult classic series of the same name is about to take over our small screens and it’s sure to be a hit. While popular culture depicts Roswell as the epicenter of alien activity in the US, many people simply consider it a tourist trap.

Why is it that everyone links Roswell to aliens, you ask? It all started in 1947 right after the end of World War II when a rancher discovered unidentifiable debris thought to be the remains of an extraterrestrial flying saucer. Since then, theories, legends and conspiracies have surrounded the small town in New Mexico, making it a center for alien activity. However, the truth is, there are far more interesting incidents that have taken place all over the world that point towards more alien activity than Roswell ever had. So why does Hollywood have this obsession with this small town? What is it really like?

Both ‘Rosewell’ television series even poke fun at the idea of the town being a tourist trap, filled with alien bobbleheads and other extraterrestrial memorabilia. According to paranormal investigator Kitty Janusz, Roswell is just as the shows make it out to be. 

When the Dead Speak -Source
When the Dead Speak -Source

“Roswell is as kitschy as the new show will be, I’m sure. They have a McDonald’s that is built like a spaceship, the street lamps look like little flying saucers. They totally embrace the alien culture there, it’s a very cute little town.”

Janusz also explained why she personally thinks it is that Roswell got chosen as the alien mecca and the historical relevance surrounding the 1947 incident. Additionally, she points out the slew of other places in the world that likely have a lot more alien activity going on than Roswell does.

“We were just getting out of the war, we were scared of being attacked and the last thing we needed was something coming from another planet attacking us. I think Roswell has been glamorized because of that one time. I think that there are areas in the UK where there are ley lines. There is also Stonehenge and different areas where there are crop circles. Also, Mexico is a hot bed for UFO sightings too. I think just because the craft was retrieved in Roswell it was glamorized and that’s about it.”

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Robbie Graham, the author of Silver Screen Saucers, is an expert on all things pertaining to extraterrestrials in popular culture. According to Graham, the Roswell incident was something that Hollywood took and ran with, creating a narrative that truly started the fictional exploration of aliens within the entertainment industry.

“Popular culture definitely portrays Roswell almost exclusively as an extraterrestrial crash event covered up by the air force. There is a whole narrative that was spun out of that which actually originated within the UFO subculture. That narrative is that one or two extraterrestrial space crafts crashed in Roswell in July of 1947. The craft and bodies were recovered and soon after, an effort was launched to try to reverse engineer this alien technology and seed it into human industries. That story was then appropriated by Hollywood for entertainment purposes.”

That said, something most definitely happened in this small town in 1947 which then led to the beginning of the alien narrative within popular culture. However, the truth about Roswell today is likely something far less entertaining than people perceive it to be. According to investigative reporter Gabrielle Burkhart, who currently works for KRQE in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but worked as the chief bureau reporter for KRQE in Roswell for two years, she knows what the real bread and butter of the town was.

“Interestingly enough, I did not do a lot of reporting about aliens. Anything alien related was related to the economy and tourism draw. Roswell is a big farming community. There are a lot of farmers that grow alfalfa, there are pecan orchards. I probably learned more about drought, agriculture and the military living in Roswell….not aliens.”

After Burkhart left Roswell, fellow reporter Elena Mendoza took over her position and is currently working in Roswell today.  Mendoza spoke more on what the town is like today, and how the crash in 1947 that made Roswell famous actually was outside of the town itself.

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“In regards to the rumors about Roswell, I actually think it’s a big misconception because the crash in the 1940s wasn’t actually in Roswell, it happened more than seventy miles outside of Roswell near a tinier town called Corona. Even though Roswell is rural compared to bigger cities, it’s even more rural where the actual crash site was.”

However with all of that said, if aliens are real and lurking among us, Roswell would be the perfect place to go. Former CIA agent and expert in all things extraterrestrial Derrel Sims pointed out that while Roswell might not be the alien epicenter like people want to believe, the tourism that the town’s legacy provides creates the perfect environment for an alien encounter.  Additionally, Sims touched on why the United States itself is the best place for extraterrestrials to visits, research and more.

“Consider this: If a lot of people come to Roswell to search for extraterrestrials, it is certainly a decent hot spot for abduction or alien contact. The picking should be very good for the alien. It's the same logic for why we have more contact experiences in the United States than many other places on earth. The selection here is worldwide. We're a melting pot of nations.”

Whether Roswell is just a tourist trap or is truly the epicenter for alien activity, it certainly is one of the most fascinating cities in the United States and maybe even the world. To explore the theories, conspiracies and fun the town provides, the ‘Roswell’ reboot on the CW is a must watch. 

‘Roswell: New Mexico’ will premiere on the CW at 9pm on January 15.