The FBI has insisted that a formerly secret document about UFOs which became an internet sensation after its release does not prove the existence of aliens.
The so-called Guy Hottel Memo was published in 2011 after a Freedom of Information Act request.
The document dates from 1950 and states that an investigator "for the Air Force" had reported three "flying saucers" had crashed in New Mexico.
The memo to the FBI's director from Guy Hottel, the Washington DC field office chief, says they were "circular in shape with raised centers [sic], approximately 50 feet in diameter".
It adds that three bodies "of human shape but only three feet tall" were recovered "dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture".
"Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed fliers and test pilots".
It is further claimed - by the memo's source, not Hottel - that government radar could have interfered with the craft, causing it to crash.
The memo was not followed up at the time, and was not the result of an official investigation. But at the time of its release various sites including HuffPost reported on the reaction from UFO hunters, many of whom saw it as evidence of a government conspiracy.
The memo has now had more than a million views and is comfortably the most popular page on the FBI archive.
But the FBI has now acted to dispel its enigmatic mystery. In a statement it said that the memo was originally published in 1970 and that the report was unverified then - as now.
"It is only a single page, relaying an unconfirmed report that the FBI never even followed up on," the Bureau said.
It went on:
Second, the Hottel memo is dated nearly three years after the infamous events in Roswell in July 1947. There is no reason to believe the two are connected. The FBI file on Roswell (another popular page) is posted elsewhere on the Vault.
Third, as noted in an earlier story, the FBI has only occasionally been involved in investigating reports of UFOs and extraterrestrials. For a few years after the Roswell incident, Director Hoover did order his agents—at the request of the Air Force—to verify any UFO sightings. That practice ended in July 1950, four months after the Hottel memo, suggesting that our Washington Field Office didn’t think enough of that flying saucer story to look into it.
Finally, the Hottel memo does not prove the existence of UFOs; it is simply a second- or third-hand claim that we never investigated. Some people believe the memo repeats a hoax that was circulating at that time, but the Bureau’s files have no information to verify that theory.
Of course, that's exactly what they would say... Still, there is at least one US government agency which seems to think aliens exist. So all hope is not lost.