I feel compelled to begin with a short account of an event that took place some weeks after the conclusion of my expedition, though it is not directly related to the subject of my research. I believe that that there are certain forces in the universe that press us to do things that do not make sense at the time of their execution, and sometimes never reveal their purposes to their executioner. Because of the unexpected way that the memory of this event has weaved itself into my consciousness, I believe my compulsion to relate its happenings to the reader of this document may be an example of such forces at work.
At some point in June, or maybe July, I had an accident while exploring a cave in the Northwestern United States. I was attempting to back out of the upper portion of a cavern when my skull collided with a protruding rock. It made a soundless crack that reverberated down the length of my body. A sweet taste filled the sides of my mouth, my legs wavered, but held, and I groped in the dark to sit down. In the pitch black that enveloped me when my headlamp got knocked to the ground I felt the warm ooze of blood trickle down the side of my head. My eyes closed briefly as I fumbled to apply pressure with my hand. I struggled along towards the then-invisible entrance, slipping on the ancient ice that had covered the floor of this particular cave for eons. I hastily tore off a part of my shirt to use as a bandage so I could free my hands to probe in the freezing dark. When at last I emerged into the daylight, the flickering sun radiated against my flushed and freshly exposed skin.
The moment that my head cracked into the damp protrusion and the following minutes filled my body with what I have only been able to sufficiently describe as a queasy ecstasy: the hazy realization that I was injured; the various effects and complications of head injuries specifically; the sticky blood leaking down my cheek; the blind stumble towards a speck of light in the distance; the frantic application of an iodine pad to the gash on my head once back in my vehicle. All of these particular recollections are puzzlingly saccharin. Even months later, while sitting down to finally record and analyze the findings from my weeks of research prior to the incident, I recall the sweet metallic taste that filled my mouth.
It has lingered like a palimpsest throughout the creation of this document.
THE PLAUSIBILITY OF DOCUMENTED EXTRA-TERRESTRIALS
As humans, we seek to categorize our existence as one of significance in the universe. For example, we tend to anthropomorphize extraterrestrial intelligence. Whether these depictions are of aliens, deities, or spirits, we often project familiar forms outwards into the universe. Perhaps these likenesses make things that we cannot know or prove with certainty easier to accept. But in places or dimensions that exist beyond our comprehension, how likely is it that intelligence will take a humanoid form?
Our exploration has thus far extended our sight to distant galaxies, transported our instruments and scanners to Pluto and its moons to gather data, and within the next few decades intends to send teams of humans to walk on the surface of Mars. We are reaching a climax of what started thousands of years ago, if not more, when humans began to apply evolving scientific methods to studying the sky. There is a chance, however, that we do not need to look so far away from our planet to investigate the mysteries of space.
The city of Roswell, New Mexico is most well know for a 1947 crash in a remote location northwest of the city. Thirty or so years later, a renewed interest in the incident catalyzed conspiracy theories involving Unidentified Flying Objects, Extraterrestrial Biological Entities, secret military research and governmental cover-up operations. Some theorists even go so far as to hypothesize about a global alien invasion. Whether or not postulations about the crash are true, the mythology that has arisen surrounding extraterrestrial contact with Earth is pervasive. But what if there is credence to the seemingly fanatical claims of sightings, recovered technology or abductions? What if there are forces at work on the Earth that only a select few individuals— who are easily written off as delusional or psychotic—have experienced first hand?
An itch in the back of my mind sparked when I first began to research the origin of human belief in extraterrestrials. The feelings it aroused resided somewhere between fear and apprehension. It persisted and nagged, and eventually led me to begin a search for my own answers at the mecca of those who believe, in the city and surrounding area of Roswell, New Mexico. I did not know what I would find, but I knew where I needed to begin looking. I made the 1600 mile drive from the Pacific Northwest alone, in just under 27 hours.
ROADS OF WORLDS
Though investigating Roswell was my original goal, I felt myself stray. My attention diverted from my initial destination to its peripheries and to the journey as a whole. My once-specific course of inquiry became an open-ended exploration that I felt was leading me, rather than the other way around.
The journey from Oregon to New Mexico felt like a dream. The towering fir trees shrunk into high desert juniper bushes. Nighttime canyonlands that foregrounded far-off lightning strikes evaporated into rolling farmlands backlit by the morning sun. The New Mexican desert wavered hazily in the heat with ant-like trains crawling by in the distance silhouetted by the hot white sand and sky.
I became absorbed by the watching the subtle geographical changes that take place as one travels. Aside from moments such as the sudden emergence from a forest into a clearing, or the cresting and subsequent descent from a mountain-top into a canyon, landscapes change by mere blades of grass and minute densities of foliage at a time. The more abrupt changes are like punctuation. They are the obvious portals between different worlds that a journeyer steps through. The attention that the jarring transitions warrant, however, makes it easy to overlook the less noticeable ephemera that litter the stretches that span countless gradually morphing miles between the punctuational gateways. During my 3600 mile round trip I managed to turn over pieces of one world that had slipped into the next, and other pieces that were stuck in between, scattered along the shoulders of the roads between worlds.
I returned with some of these objects. The pieces that I was able to collect were limited to those that would fit in 3x4” specimen bags I brought along. My decision to use these specific bags was practical: I did not need an additional car-load’s worth of curiosities taking up space in my laboratory upon returning. At first it was a nuisance, as I was forced to pass over abandoned machinery, discarded books, and complete samples of plants and animals. As I spent more time looking at my surroundings throughout the trip, however, I noticed that because my focus shifted towards minutiae, many objects that I would have easily overlooked or stepped upon had rich stories to tell if I was willing to listen.
Despite my scientific background, my findings seem to protest my carefully applied methods. Though I did not travel with the thought that I would be the first researcher to provide undeniable proof of the existence of extraterrestrials, and I did stray from from my original intent, I expected to at least be able to make sense out of the objects and images that I collected. I have adequately cataloged what I discovered, but empirical conclusions elude me. Looking at my archive now, the individual pieces of my collection still recall in me a distinct yearning. It is the same feeling that overtook me when I chose to pick them up in the first place. The only striking commonality between items is that I did most of my collecting in the previously mentioned areas of in-betweens, outside of my intended destination of Roswell. Perhaps the liminal spaces themselves—those that the objects had slipped into—imbued the items with a strange power that caught my eyes and drew my touch.
My search for objects to collect took priority over my interest in theories surrounding alien life. Now, I do not consider the two to be all that different; Both my initial and final motivations were driven by a desire to better understand why we can be so invested in theorizing about things that lie beyond our current bank of knowledge and comprehension.
As I conclude my introduction and leave you, my readers, to interpret the content of this document for yourselves, my thoughts are that perhaps I did in fact come to better understand that interest in what lies beyond. I believe that the reasons I picked up an object, or shot a photograph are tied to my own desire for there to be something more than what a cursory inspection could reveal. I wanted to hear the stories the objects had to tell, and I wanted to feel the secret forces of the universe at work. It may, however, be the case that I am still too close to the project to analyze it with any amount of objectivity.
To me, the town of Roswell, NM is a symbol of generations of human inquisitiveness, superstition, and speculation. I am now beginning to believe my journey to it was more of an excuse than a purpose. We project ourselves and our intentions towards places, things, and goals. Sometimes we arrive, and sometimes we eventually return to wherever it is we came from, or whatever new thing that place has become since our departure. Sometimes, though, we confuse projecting and theorizing with traveling, and have in fact never left.
-Bertrand Morin, 2015