It seems like some people will believe almost anything as they continue to pursue the so-called “truth” behind Area 51.
And that’s why the infamous “Hottel memo” hoax fooled so many people hook, line and sinker.
The Hottel memo – supposedly released for the first time this week – was said to contain previously classified information regarding an alien crash in the late 1940s and a subsequent cover-up by the FBI.
Appearing on multiple news sites as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “vault,” the news reappeared on the Internet this week and spread like wildfire.
The memo describes an Air Force investigator who described finding an alien craft crashed in the New Mexican desert with alien bodies in it.
Written by FBI agent Guy Hottel, the report is based on what Air Force investigator told Guy Hottell of the FBI.
After reading a story published in a Kansas City legal newspaper called the Wyandotte Echo, the investigator simply repeated it to Hottel verbatim.
The story started with the account of Rudy Fick, a local used car dealer who got the story from two men, I.J. Van Horn and Jack Murphy, who said they heard the story from a man named “Coulter,” who, in turn, heard it from Silas Newton.
If you think this sounds like the game “telephone” where the story gets more and more warped every time it passes hands, then you’re absolutely right.
To be sure, the hoax began with Newton and his accomplice, Leo A. Gebauer who were peddling “doodlebugs” – devices supposedly capable of magically locating oil, gas, gold, or whatever else a random sucker was hoping to find.
Newton and Gebauer decided they could sell more doodlebugs by telling their targets it was based on alien technology they had found at the site of the UFO crash.
Although there were no other witnesses to the crash and no evidence ever recovered, the story took off, showing up on the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle and eventually True magazine. After the story ran in 1952, multiple people came forward admitting to being scammed by Gebauer and Newton. The two were eventually indicted for fraud.
Strangely enough, the story reappeared on the Internet this weekend, giving newfound hope to alien enthusiasts and Area 51 conspiracists. Sadly, it’s still a hoax, some 60 years later after the supposed event.