In 1947 I was 15 years old, and Papa 41. Papa worked for the FBI but he had been demoted for having urinated on some classified documents. Then he was assigned the task of making up alternative explanations for UFO incidents. But Papa had no imagination, so I used to bail him out. Do you remember the version that the Battle of Los Angeles’ lights was actually the reflection of the Arizona State Fair? That was my idea. As for the Roswell incident, the night of June 14 Papa came home very agitated saying that there was no possible explanation for THAT. I asked: “What’s THAT, Papa?” Then Papa told me that an alien spacecraft had crashed in the desert of New Mexico. “Let me think,” I said, and started flipping through the American Educator. After five minutes I already had the answer: “Listen, Papa: What happened in Roswell was the explosion of a cannonball from the Franco-Prussian war”. Papa breathed a sigh of relief and went to inform the press. But you know, in those days newshounds were increasingly bothersome: “The Franco-Prussian war occurred in 1870 (they alleged) How do you explain this delay in exploding?” Luckily I always accompanied Papa at the press conferences: “It was a time-release cannonball” he said to my dictation. But newshounds were not giving up without a fight: “How do you explain why a European cannonball ended up in New Mexico?” “It was a misfire” we counterattacked. “Are you implying that a cannonball flew across the Atlantic until reaching the Pacific Coast?” “A Prussian gunner overdid it with the gunpowder” we explained. “And how does the FBI know all that?” They were totally over the line, so I decided to settle the issue sharply: “Because the explanation came on the label!” That caused quite a stir: “A label?” “What label?” “A label in an exploded cannonball?” “Are you kidding?” “That’s really bizarre.” “It makes no sense.” “How do you expect us to believe that?” That’s when Papa, instead of keeping listening to me, took out his pistol: “It will be better for you to believe it!” he yelled pointing the gun at the newshounds. Which was misinterpreted as a threat in the headlines.

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