This post has been updated.
The FBI is stirring up conspiracy theorists and spy-minded folk across the Internet, with its new online reading room, “The Vault.” Just last week, it made headlines for crowd-sourcing a previously unbreakable code letter and posting files on the murder of the Notorious B.I.G.
Now, an even bigger scoop is rippling through the Web: the Vault has resurfaced a memo pertaining to one of the most mysterious moments in the annals of FBI history, Roswell, N.M., that seems to give some credence to the UFO researchers.
Roswell has been the ground zero of alien conspiracy theorists for decades, ever since a disc-like object crashed into a ranch in the Southwest in 1947. The military maintained it was a surveillance balloon, but UFO researchers claimed otherwise.
The memo making the rounds Monday is the Hottel memo, written March 22, 1950, by Guy Hottel, a special agent in the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The memo was sent to J. Edgar Hoover, then the director of the FBI.
According to Mr. [Redacted] informant, the saucers were found in New Mexico due to the fact that the Government has a very high-powered radar set-up in that area and it is believed the radar interferes with the controlling mechanism of the saucers.”
Hottel never wrote that he was discussing Roswell, or even if the observations of the aforementioned informant turned out to be true. However, the description of the bodies calls to mind the infamous Roswell autopsy videos and the memo’s mention of New Mexico is enough to set off a flurry of conspiracy theories.
“Creeped out? I am,” writes Javier Ortega at the blog Ghosttheory.
The FBI told CBS that other than a surge in Internet traffic, there was no news in the news: “[The archive] contains information about the most frequently asked for files,” according to FBI spokesman Bill Carter, who said the top two subjects of public interest were UFOs and Elvis Presley. “They've switched back and forth for No. 1 a few times.”
The memo has been available, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act, for some time, but the Vault has made nearly 2,000 records all the more readable and searchable, so expect more conspiracies to bubble up in the future.