in the news 1947
PART ONE OF SEVEN PARTS
By the end of July 1947 the UFO security lid was down tight. The few members of the press who did inquire about what the Air Force was doing got the same treatment that you would get today if you inquired about the number of thermonuclear weapons stock-piled in the U.S.'s atomic arsenal. No one, outside of a few high-ranking officers in the Pentagon, knew what the people in the barbed wire enclosed Quonset huts that housed the Air Technical Intelligence Center were thinking or doing.
-- Captain Ed Ruppelt
Chief of the Air Force Project Blue Book
The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (1956)
FOR THE FIRST two to three weeks of summer, 1947, the so-called "flying saucers" or "flying discs" were a public phenomenon covered in newspapers regardless of whether the source was civilian or military. But beginning in early July, and for decades to come, witness accounts of the sightings began to diverge onto two separate tracks -- civilian reports continued to be publicly featured in newspapers, while military reports were confidentially referred to military intelligence and not shared publicly. By the end of 1947 the military intelligence effort had coalesced into the first official Air Force investigation of the phenomenon, under the code name Project Sign.
But by that time six months had passed, and although Project Sign looked back briefly at a few of the most notable civilian reports, its declassified files today give only a part of the story of 1947. This then is the other "half" of the story, the publicly-reported accounts, opinion and analysis -- and especially the public's reaction -- exclusively as told through the newspaper and magazine articles of the time.
Note: News reports for the period from June 25, 1947 to July 9, 1947 (plus a few from July 10, 1947) were featured in the eight-part series It Seemed Impossible -- But There It Is. The story of Project Sign will be covered in an upcoming series.
JULY 10, 1947
Ada, Oklahoma News - 10 Jul 47
WHERE THE 'FLYING SAUCERS' PLAY -- Nobody knows what they are or where they come from, and many people doubt that they really exist. But people in the 17 shaded states (above) say they have seen the mysterious "flying saucers," which are supposed to zoom through the sky at supersonic rates of speed, giving off a shiny light. They were first spotted June 24, at Boise, Ida., (1) and a U.S. meteorologist saw them at Louisville, Ky., (2). Their picture was supposedly taken at Seattle (3) and an airliner chased a group of them for 15 miles between Boise and Portland, Ore. (4).
Twin Falls, Idaho Times News - 10 Jul 47
These "flying discs" were photographed by Albert Weaver at Pontiac, Mich., when he and two companions saw them. The trio said the discs traveled about 100 miles per hour and were about 150 feet high. Weaver reported them to be about two feet in diameter and approximately two inches thick at edge, rising to four to six inches in center, with apparent holes in the objects. His companions agreed on his observations. (NEA telephoto)
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche - 10 Jul 47
DISCOVERED DISC -- W.W. Brazel, 48-year-old rancher living 75 miles northwest of Roswell. N.M., puffs on a cigar as he is asked about an object he discovered on a ranch and turned over to Army intelligence. Rumors that the object was a real "flying disc" were exploded when the object turned out to be a weather balloon. (AP Wirephoto)
Charleroi, Pennsylvania Mail - 10 Jul 47
These are Saucer Days to be sure, with Americans from Oregon to Vermont watching the skies for the mysterious "flying discs."
The list of observations is becoming hardened -- a big "saucer" here, a series of small ones there, and a good representation virtually everywhere.
The pranksters, too, have entered the picture, as could be expected. One pilot, who told of bumping a saucer, admitted last night that his story was a hoax. Still others are fashioning discs to scare the neighbors.
The publicity men, who never miss a bet, have jumped the bandwagon. A "Miss Saucer of 1947" will come along at any minute, now, to pick the girl they would like most to wash saucers with.
Hollywood, if the film industry is running true to form, should be at work on the script for a big saucer production, complete with the introduction of a saucer dance and production numbers carrying out the new motif.
All of this is in keeping with the American way of recording a phenomenon, even of the skies.
However, it still fails to explain what the saucers are, or what, in high probability, people are seeing as they spot soaring discs and rush to call the newspapers.
The saucer reports have been around a long time. Several months ago an aviator told of seeing one darting through the ozone off the West Coast. Since then, and without much effort, the reports of similar observations have piled, one on top of another, until we now have a national sensation.
It is difficult, even for the stodgy scientists, to deny that something strange is happening above. A few have expounded a theory of light reflections, but admit that this fails to explain away the details, even of flopping saucers, as supplied by the startled observers.
So we can continue fascinated until a real explanation is offered, or the weariness of repeated reports deadens our interest. Then we can return our attention to old mundane affairs, thankful, at last, for the refreshing interlude in which we had our heads in the heavens.
Source: Charleston, West Virginia Gazette - 10 Jul 47
The Great Saucer Mystery
By Kenneth L. Dixon
Just how long it will last is anybody's guess, but right now the number one subject of conversation in the nation's capital is the ubiquitous "flying saucer" which seems to have cropped up everywhere in the country.
And, while there are as many opinions as there are conversations, it is pretty generally conceded that the mysterious now-you-see-them-now-you-don't missiles are direct descendants of the atomic bomb -- either physically or psychologically.
And there is the point where the two schools of thought part company...
Out on Capitol Hill, there's a lot of muttering in congressional beards these days, for a surprising number of the solons are (quite anonymously, of course, until they know something) taking the mystery with deadpanned seriousness.
They believe there definitely is something to the spreading stories and that the flying saucer is some sort of new secret weapon. Some believe that our Army, Navy or scientific experts know all about the mystery -- and simply aren't letting Congress in on the secret yet. That's what hurts!
Others think it's some sort of Russian secret weapon and, needless to say, that hurts much worse!
The official Army and Navy attitude, of course, is quite definitely negative on the subject. And it may well be that in the upper echelons of military brass the boys are quite sure that they know nothing whatever about the spinning platters in the sky.
But the average Army or Navy officer you talk to is in the same boat as the average civilian. He doesn't know. At first, he smartcracks about the mystery and gives out with the hearty laugh. Then, when sure that no one will start kidding him, he begins to discuss the subject quite seriously.
The scientific response about town is as uniform as the official military attitude. Atomic experts and leading physicists say that the saucers certainly aren't an American secret weapon -- as far as they know, and they think they'd know if they were.
Dr. Vannevar Bush, president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, who was in charge of all the nation's wartime scientific developments, says the saucers simply don't fit into any current scientific experiments. Therefore, he doesn't take them seriously and thinks they must be illusions.
Ditto Dr. Merle Tuve, director of the Carnegie Institution's department of terrestrial magnetism -- the guy who had a lot to do with the development of America's jet plane.
If any such scientific didos were going on, Dr. Tuve is quite sure he'd know something about it.
"But," says the wee, small voice of the non-scientific citizenry, "how do we know he'd tell us if he did know?"
Which is where the saucers become at least the psychological offspring of the atomic bomb.
Leading psychologists tell you that one of the greatest shocks ever handed the American people was the sudden realization that the terrifying atomic bomb was developed in almost perfect secrecy right here in our midst.
"Long after Hiroshima and Nagasaki--long after the war was over in fact," one psychologist said recently in a public meeting, "the effectiveness of that secrecy continued to prey on the mass mind."
For that reason, he added, the average skeptical citizen today puts little if any credence in the official denials of Army, Navy and atomic experts. Such a frame of mind would make it a cinch for a purely mythical secret weapon to excite and frighten millions of citizens who would feel there was almost no one to whom they could turn for the truth.
And in the midst of all the capital chatter and confusion on the subject, the jokesters still hold forth.
"This," said one in mock dismay, "is what we get for bouncing those light rays off the moon. We made somebody mad up there and now they're throwing things back at us!"
Connellsville, Pennsylvania Daily Courier - 10 Jul 47
"Saucers" May Be Airfloat From Atomic Plants
HARRISBURG, July 10 – Industrial Chemist J.J. Markle of nearby Hanover submitted today his carefully detailed explanation of the flying saucers that begins at the west coast atomic plants.
Markle's theory, described by one college professor as the "first plausible answer" to the sky mystery, dubs the flying disc a "will-o-the-wisp" -- an airfloat containing a radioactive radiation accumulation.
The airfloats, which Markle says look like floating balls of light, supposedly form over the waste material piles at atomic plants on the west coast and are swept across the country by tornadic winds.
"A certain maximum accumulation within one unit is to be expected," Markle said, "and of course could cohere to the volume or sizes reported throughout the nation. They could be as much as 100 feet long, rising like the fog bank and moving on. A series of such masses would then form. The speed and height of the saucers would be attributed to the presence of atomic energy or radiation particles."
Hagerstown, Maryland Morning Herald - 10 Jul 47
Spider Webs Latest Solution Of Saucers
James Lyne, Virginia avenue, last night told The Herald that there's no need to wonder what the "flying saucers" really are -- he said that they're nothing more complicated than spider webs.
The local resident explained that he believes that a few spider webs get mixed up with one another, then are borne into the air by the breezes. The sun shines on them, is reflected brightly, and that causes people to think that they're the celestial crockery.
Lyne said that no one ever finds them later, because they disintegrate later, the nature of spider webs when they finally come to earth.
Troy, New York Watervliet
Times Record - 10 Jul 47
'Flying Saucers' Used To Promote Army Recruiting
Flying saucers fell on Watervliet, Cohoes and Albany yesterday afternoon but the air attack proved to be a scheme for promoting Army enlistments.
Investigation revealed the flying disks were paper plates with information attached concerning opportunities afforded youths by enlisting in the Regular Army.
T/Sgt. Joseph Brookstein, in charge of recruiting. in Watervliet, disclosed he went up in a plane about 3:30 p.m. from Albany Airport and dropped the plates over Watervliet, Cohoes and Albany while flying at about 1,000 feet.
Several reports came in today that the disks had been found.
Capitalizing oh the current public fancy for celestial crockery, Sergeant Brookstein said approximately 300 "saucers" were dropped over the three cities. On each was pasted literature concerning the Army and its opportunities for youths today.
The single-wing Fairchild plane was borrowed from a friend and was piloted by M/Sgt. William Pelesz of Cohoes, also of the recruiting staff and former Army pilot. Since the flight was not strictly S.O.P. as far as Army procedure was concerned, the two recruiting sergeants financed the flying saucer venture out of their own pockets.
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania Daily News - 10 Jul 47
County List Of Saucer Spotters Still Growing
The list of Americans who have been seeing saucer spots before their eyes was one greater today with the addition of another Huntingdon County woman, this time from Warriors Mark.
Although preferring to remain anonymous, she swears that on the Fourth of July she spotted something that fits the description of the flying saucer seen some time ago by a woman in Mifflin County.
Between 9 and 8:30 on the evening of the Fourth as she was sitting on the porch of her parents' home she suddenly noticed what she immediately thought was the moon. Almost automatically she exclaimed to her sister and father, who were seated with her on the porch, "Oh look at the pretty moon."
The unfortunate thing is that they didn't have a chance to see it, for as the woman goes on to explain, "just that quick it was gone."
But when they later told her that the moon couldn't possibly have been out there because it rises in another direction, our lady friend decided she'd do better keeping mum about the whole thing.
Then yesterday she read about the Lewistown lady who reported having seen a similar object on June 26, and so finally today she was able to suppress her inhibitions and follow her desire to tell the world that she too has become a full-fledged saucer spotter.
New Oxford, Pennsylvania Item - 10 Jul 47
George W. Nicholson Sees "Flying Saucer"
G.W. Nicholson, New Oxford R.D. 1, disclosed Tuesday that he was seated on the porch of his home in Irishtown on Saturday evening at about 7:30 o'clock when his attention was attracted by a luminous object speeding across the sky south to north.
Nicholson ran into the house and summoned his wife, three sons and aunt and pointed out the object to them. All saw the saucer, Nicholson said, although it had diminished considerably in size while he was getting members of his family to the porch.
The Irishtown man, who is employed at the Montgomery Ward store, Hanover, said that when he discovered the disc it appeared to be about the size of a wash tub, "perhaps 30 or 36 inches in diameter."
Nicholson said that the saucer must have been of a luminous color since skies were overcast at the time and there was no sun to shine upon the object which was below the clouds.
The Nicholson family watched the disc until it disappeared from sight. It did not go behind clouds, the observers said, but was lost from sight in the distance. The saucer made no sound as it sped through the sky, the Adams countian said.
Mr. Nicholson said that he has been obliged to take much "kidding" since relating his story to friends. He insists, however, that he knows what he saw.
Titusville, Pennsylvania Herald - 10 Jul 47
Warren Policeman Reports Seeing 'Disc'
Police Officer Hugh Wolcott of Warren while on patrol there yesterday morning at 1:02 sighted what he thinks was one of the mystery "flying discs" over the southern horizon. According to the report made at the police station, the disc was visible for about three minutes until it passed over the rim of the horizon. Officer Wolcott said that to his eye the object was about the size of one of the clock faces in the Warren Bank and Trust building, but, due to unknown distance, it was hard to judge.
The night man at the Carver Hotel and one of the hotel guests and a passenger and driver of a taxicab were also observers. A tourist who stopped at the Carver House later reported that he had sighted the disc over Youngsville. He was much perturbed and highly nervous over the sight.
Charleston, West Virginia Daily Mail - 10 Jul 47
Saucers Reported Skimming in Air Over Charleston
Flying saucers -- so-called -- were reported seen twice over Charleston Wednesday afternoon.
Three deputy sheriffs answered a call at 4 p.m. which reported the illusive objects had struck a house in South Hills.
When they arrived, Deputy Byrne Given said, there was no evidence of damage to any house, a large crowd of curious was being dispersed by rain and the disks, if there were any, had vanished.
Mrs. Ottis Stipp of 1321 Lee St. reported that several persons saw saucers flying over Broad street at 4:30 p. m. in an easterly direction.
Mrs. Stipp described the objects as about the size of a dinner plate, dark gray in color. They circled slowly and disappeared into the east.
She said they were seen just as the first drops of rain were falling. They were flying very high.
The South Hills call was answered by Deputy Sheriffs Given,
Robert Slack, and Edward Guthrie.
Anniston, Alabama Star - 10 Jul 47
Flying Saucers Believed Seen At Oxford Lake
Disks Also Reported In Other Parts Of The Country
More "flying saucers" were reported over Anniston today, while
from Atlanta the United Press reports that the mystery of the flying discs has been explained at last by officers at the Naval Air Station.
The latest report here came from E.T. Ragsdale, of Oxford, Rt. 2, who told The Anniston Star that he and several other persons saw two of the airborne plates at Oxford Lake this morning.
In Atlanta, Lt. R.Z. Moore of the Naval Air Station's aerology department launched a "ray wind" -- a tinfoil screen carried aloft by balloons, and newspaper offices there were immediately swamped with reports of "flying saucers" over Stone Mountain.
The 'Ray Wind'
The "ray wind," a four-by-ten foot structure of wood crosspieces with a tinfoil screen stretched across it, is used by the Navy to determine wind velocity and as a radar target, according to UP.
The "ray wind" reaches an altitude of 25,000 feet, where the balloon bursts, allowing the "saucer" to be blown hither and yon by air currents, a Navy spokesman said. The "ray winds" reach a speed of 165 miles per hour, and look completely round at high altitudes, the Navy said, adding that the gadget had been invented several years ago, but has only recently been put in use.
In North Hollywood, Calif., construction engineer Russell Long insisted
today that a galvanized iron disc which plopped into his flower garden last night was a radio-controlled, jet-propelled "flying saucer," and applied for the $1,000 reward offered for one, United Press reported.
The disc soared into Long's garden late last night, exploded 15 feet above the ground with a bluish flash heard around the neighborhood,
plummeted down and skidded along the edge of the house, dislodging five bricks, according to the U.P. report.
"This disk was puffing a heavy yellowish smoke out of two exhaust pipes, like a car burning too much oil," Long said. "A glass tube in the middle had a cherry-red glow that gradually died down."
"It obviously landed because it was running out of fuel."
Police, Army Intelligence officers and FBI agents were skeptical.
Statesville, North Carolina Landmark - 10 Jul 47
Asheville Woman Tells of Seeing a Flying Saucer
Asheville, July 8. An Asheville woman -- Mrs. J.D. Norwood -- says that she, too, has seen those "flying saucers." Mrs. Norwood says that she, her son John Norwood, and two neighbors -- Mrs. Medloek and Miss Martha Medloek -- were riding near Asheville just before dusk when the bright object swung into view. "It was so bright that we thought it was the Evening Star" says Mrs. Norwood. She adds that the object became much larger and appeared rather low -- lower than an airplane normally flies. She says the "Flying Saucer" swiftly disappeared to the westward as the four watched.
Statesville, North Carolina Landmark - 10 Jul 47
S.C. Attorney Sees 10 to 12 Flying Saucers
Darlington, S.C., July 7. -- Seems that almost everyone in the Carolinas has seen at least one flying disc, or saucers. However, a young Darlington Attorney -- J.U. Watts, Junior -- has seen "ten or twelve." Watts says he was swimming in Black Creek Lake near Darlington when he saw ten or twelve winged-shaped objects flying in a northeasterly direction. Watts says he pointed them out to other members of his family. The Attorney estimated that the flying discs were moving at between 175 and two-hundred miles an hour at about three thousand feet. He described them as "shiny" and "metallic."
Mattoon, Illinois Daily Journal-Gazette - 10 Jul 47
Maybe Flying Saucers Were Flying Fish
Linton, Ind. (INS) - Three Linton fishermen today claimed they saw what appeared to be two flying saucers fastened together strike the bank of a strip mine pond and then take off again last night.
The fishermen, Joe E. Turner Jr., a printer, and Fernand Simon and Ralph Odell, both coal miners, described the "saucers" as about six feet in diameter fastened together and flourescent in color.
O'Dell said that when the three ran to the spot where it dropped it suddenly took off again with a sound similar to a jet airplane. The men said the "saucer" came from the south and took off towards the west.
Cambridge City, Indiana Road Traveler - 10 Jul 47
Milton Veterinarian Sights Flying Disc
The first of the mysterious airborne saucers to be reported in this vicinity were sighted by Doctor Charles C. Albertson, Milton veterinarian, who saw three of them at about 10 o'clock Saturday night when he was walking from his barn to the house.
He saw two together, and then in a few seconds here came another, flying faster, and accompanied by a sound similar to that of a motor, with whistling effects. All three, he said, had a silvery cast, and they appeared to be about 2,000 feet high. They were traveling over the south part of Milton, and disappeared in the distance.
There was no sign of a plane, Dr. Albertson said.
Chicago, Illinois Southeast Economist - 10 Jul 47
Flying Disks Seen Here
6 Witnesses Insist They Saw 'Plates'
Rounder Than Egg and Glistening Like Aluminum Are Descriptions on Which All Agree.
Flying disks, those illusive, perpetual motion gadgets that have the nation in a looking upward uproar this week, seem to be avoiding the skies above the Southeast side in great numbers. However, three persons have reported seeing saucers in this section of the city.
Since it is probable that Southeast siders are just as much interested in what is going on in the sky above them and are gazing upwards in increasing numbers just as people are doing from Northern Canada to Mexico City, the silver saucers of the skyways "must be" skirting this community as they wing their way from border to border.
No Reports -- Police.
Police have been untroubled by reports of the winged objects of mystery and speculation that have been described as everything from flights of secret weapons to flights of fancy, a check of Woodlawn, Grand Crossing, Burnside, Hyde Park and South Chicago police stations revealed yesterday.
"It wouldn't do a lot of good to call us anyway," a desk sergeant said yesterday. "If there is something flying around in the air, I'm sure they would be out of our district before our squad car could catch them."
A harried security officer at Glenview navy station said yesterday that he had no record of calls from Southeast siders who had spied the gadgets. He said the station has received so many calls from disk watchers in the past few days that it has been impossible to keep records.
Thomas Gorman, 7241 South Park ave., and his daughter, Rosemary, were the first Southeast siders to report sighting a silver saucer. They were driving east in their automobile on 75th st. near Jeffery ave., at 8:35 a.m. Monday when they saw two brilliant, oval disks seemingly suspended in the air at a level generally traveled by transport planes.
"They weren't going anywhere," Gorman said. "They were just floating."
The disks remained in view as the Gorman's continued riding from Jeffery ave. to Exchange ave. There a building east of the Illinois Central tracks on Exchange ave. blocked the saucers from view, Forman said. When their view was again unobstructed, the disks were gone.
Robert Washer, 8536 Bennett ave., and W.E. Fleming, 6208 South Park ave., are also reported to have seen a disk, but they could not be reached for comment on the sky phenomenon.
In other sections of the South side the disks have been flying in greater numbers. They have been seen racing, spinning, gliding, hurtling and sailing through the air, and almost all observers agree that they look like aluminum objects, are oval in shape and are definitely not objects of fantasy.
There were others on the South side who lent their testimony to the accounts filtering into pressrooms from all over the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico. Adding to Chicago's sailing saucer lore were Joseph Shaughnessy, 640 W. Garfield blvd., and Mrs. Jean Dorsett, 10406 Wentworth ave. Each reported seeing a flying disk during the past three days.
Winona, Minnesota Republican-Herald - 10 Jul 47
Chicago (AP) - Flying disks were seen in all sections of Chicago last night, illuminated and whirling -- but there was an explanation.
The flying clouds caught the beam from the 2,000,000 candlepower beacon atop the Palmolive building and played tricks in the sky.
Where clouds caught the end of the beam they reflected fast moving circles of light which many observers identified as flying saucers. Irregularities in the cloud surface caused variations in the reflected light.
Alton, Iowa Democrat - 10 Jul 47
First "Flying Disk" Seen Over Alton Late Tues. Night
Bill Karssen Sees Disk While On Vigil Here
A "flying disk" was reported seen over Alton Tuesday night by Bill Karssen of Chandler, Minn., who was here staying during the night with his sick brother, Gerrit Karssen.
"I was in the yard when at eleven o'clock," says Mr. Karssen. "I heard a whishing sound and looked up to see a circular, shining object sailing over the house. In a second's time it was behind the trees and out of sight, but I had a good look at it. It was traveling southwest. The front edge had a redish-amber light and there were a few sparks at the back edge."
Asked to estimate the height of the object, Mr. Karssen said it was close to the earth, not far above the trees, and to indicate the size he made a circle with his arms the size of a wheel. Realizing that many people will think the strange sight was only a figment of his imagination, Mr. Karssen looked at his watch after the "disk" went out of sight and found it was just eleven o'clock. He was emphatic that he had distinctly seen what appeared to be one of the "flying saucers" which have been mystifying the nation and evidently at much closer range than most of the hundreds of people over the nation who have reported seeing the mysterious disks. Thirteen persons in Sioux City have reported glimpses of the disk.
So far there has been no official explanation of these flying objects which have been seen in the sky by so many reliable people all over the nation. Scientific observatories have disclaimed all knowledge of them. However, now comes a report that they may be a "ray wind target" used to determine the direction and velocity of winds at high altitudes and sent out by Air Force weather stations.
When rigged up the object looks like a six-pointed star, attached to a 10-gram balloon, is silvery in appearance and rises in the air like a kite, according to an Air Force weather station officer at Fort Worth, Texas.
Mr. Karssen arrived here Tuesday afternoon to assist in the care of his brother. Another brother, Richard Karssen of Milaca, Minn. is also in Alton.
Many Skeptics Here
No other report of the disk has been heard at this office and comments around town are skeptical, as they no doubt would be if any local resident had reported the incident.
Weather Observer W.S. Stagle shook his head and said it must have been the reflection from automobile lights. Lou Goebel smiled and said the visitor was "seeing things" (though we are informed that Mr. Karssen is not a drinking man) and Carlo Gruber was quick with the story about seeing "flying object with Stars and stripes painted on one side."
Air Ship Story of 1897
All very much like the speculation and comments back in 1897 over the mysterious airship reported over Northwest Iowa towns. According to files of the Democrat the mysterious airship was seen half an hour after midnight April 11 "passing over Hawarden in a northerly direction," says a dispatch in our issue of April 17, which was copied from the Sioux City Journal.
"Monster of the Clouds"
"Seven or eight reputable citizens will make affidavit to having seen this monster of the clouds while it was so close to the earth that they could hear plainly the working of machinery and the sound of human voice. Among those who saw the airship were Landlord Moody of the Hawarden eating house, Dr. John Peterson, B.T. French, William Swearingen, E.K. Rowley and John Gehan Senior.
"Doctor Peterson and Conductor Rowley describe the airship as being of conical shape about sixty feet long and with four sets of wings, plainly discernible . . . Two red lights were located about the stern of the ship and a large searchlight was placed in the bow. The men who saw the wonder say the light was turned upon the town for a moment. Conductor Rowley says he is confident the ship came within 600 feet of the earth and he distinctly heard human voices among which was mingled the laughter of women. The object was in sight about three minutes. It passed overhead and disappeared to the north."
But Editor Wells doubts the story and comments: "We have heard of Hawarden men seeing alligators, rattle snakes, centipeds . . . But this is the first time in history they have seen a flying machine . . . As Sam Lincoln says it must have been an airship manufactured out of corn. Or as Milo D. Gibbs says this airship must be entirely different from the usual heir-ships that startle staid Hawarden husbands."
Emporia, Kansas Weekly Gazette - 10 Jul 47
Emporia Women See Flying Saucer Floating Slowly Over Flint Hills
One of the mysterious silver saucers that are baffling the nation was seen floating over the Flint Hills Sunday evening, according to an Emporia woman. Mrs. W.L. Obley, 822 Merchant, said today that she saw a strange flying spot Sunday about 5:30 while walking through a wheat field on the Harris Stewart farm south of Saffordville, about 14 miles southwest of Emporia.
Holding out her hands to describe an object about the size of a silver serving tray, Mrs. Obley said the saucer was circular and shiny. While other reports tell of the objects traveling at great speed, the saucer seen by the Emporia woman was reported to be moving slowly across the sky. "It was floating like a feather, or a dirigible," said Mrs. Obley.
The flying saucer was first spied by Mrs. Will Becker of Saffordville who with Mrs. Obley and the latter's mother-in-law. Mrs. Edna Obley, was walking through the field.
She called the attention of the other women to it and the three watched the object move slowly toward them from the south and then veer off toward the southwest and slowly disappear over the Flint Hills.
Mrs. Obley said that when first seen, the object was thought to be a silver airplane but as the women studied it they saw that the outline was distinctly circular. The saucer was seen at a low altitude, scarcely clearing the tops of the low hills, she said.
Mrs. Obley offered no explanation of the phenomenon. She said she was not worried about the observations her relatives and friends are making concerning her sanity. Neither does she think the Russian are behind the mystery of the flying saucers.
Ada, Oklahoma News - 10 Jul 47
Enid Comes In On 'Saucer Reports'
Looked Like Aluminum Pancake; Oklahoma Cityan Reports One
ENID, Okla., July 7 (AP) -- Add Enid to the cities where "flying saucers" have been reported.
Ed Herbig, formerly of Tulsa and now employed on a highway project near here, said he saw one of the saucers flying at an altitude from 10,000 to 12,000 feet.
"It looked very much like an aluminum pancake," Herbig said. "I glanced up into the clear sky and saw the thing flying south over the east edge of Enid.
"It was going at a terrifying rate of speed."
At Oklahoma City, W.E. Marshall said today he saw a strange object, saucer shaped and bright like aluminum, darting in a southeasterly direction high over Tinker field aft 5:15 p.m. Sunday.
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche - 10 Jul 47
Few Reports Of Discs Are Received In Area
Reports of 'flying discs' in the Lubbock area dropped sharply Wednesday although at least one person sent in remnants of what he said might be a part of one of the much talked of objects.
The latest report of a 'saucer' in the area Wednesday was made by Aubrey Mayfield, Ropesville high school student, who reported seeing a 'plate sized' object sailing through the sky and finally disappear in the west while he was working in a field at Ropesville. His mother, Mrs. R.M. Mayfield, a visitor in Lubbock Wednesday, said her son said he had never seen 'anything like it' before.
The Avalanche-Journal also received a piece of tinfoil, some oily paper and a piece of thin white paper, which the sender said he believed might be part of one of the 'discs.' However, marks on the paper indicated that someone had drawn a circle and cut it out in an obvious effort to confuse its finder.
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche - 10 Jul 47
The Woman's Angle
By Margaret Turner
DEAR MISS TURNER:
While my little girl, my nephew and I were coming home from church Sunday we saw one of the "flying saucers." It was in a northeast direction and so bright and shiny one could hardly look at it. It seemed to be traveling at high speed and also in a whirl.
I decided to stop the car and while I was doing so the "flying saucer" vanished. We didn't see it again, although the sky was a clear blue.
Mrs. L.N. (Jack) Farris,
Slaton, route 2.
Harlingen, Texas Valley Morning Star - 10 Jul 47
Mysterious 'Saucers' Get Around -- Iran Sees 'em Now
Mystery of the flying disks remained just that Wednesday night although reports of 'saucers' in the sky continued to be received from over the nation and as far away as Iran.
W.W. Brazel, the rancher near Roswell, N.M. who found what was credited for a while with being the nation's first bona fide disk said he was sorry he had said anything about it.
The object, going from the Roswell sheriff's office to the 509th bomb group intelligence officer, and then to Eight Air Force headquarters at Fort Worthy, attracted nation-wide attention from both civilian and military circles.
But it turned out to be quite harmless -- only a high-altitude weather balloon.
Meanwhile, "disking" reports continued.
At Zabool, Shosef and Sardishen, near the Afghan frontier in Iran, press reports told of residents observing strange "starlike bodies" in the sky.
Flaming flying disks flashing through the night skies near Palestine, Tex, sent negroes to their knees fearing the end of the world, while a white man there grabbed his gun and shot at the objects.
Other disks were reported seen in Orange, Big Spring, Sherman, Melissa, and elsewhere.
Flying balls of fire were reported circling a wide area near Palestine Tuesday night. Sheriff Paul Stanford of Anderson county described them as orange basketballs of fire. He said numerous persons reported seeing them. It was the first time they had been seen in that community.
Twin Falls, Idaho Times News - 10 Jul 47
BOISE, July 10 (U.P.) -- Aviation Editor Dave Johnson of a Boise
newspaper today awaited return of a roll of color film from San Francisco where it is being processed to determine whether he was able to photograph a speeding "round and black" object he sighted near Boise yesterday.
Johnson was flying near Boise at 14,000 feet when the object skidded across the sky ahead of him. He was able to aim his 8MM movie camera at it and expose about 10 feet of film.
Twin Falls, Idaho Times News - 10 Jul 47
"Flying Disc" Seen June 17 At Murtaugh
MURTAUGH, July 10 -- Another report of a Magic Valley resident seeing a "flying disc" was received today when Mrs. Clyde McFarland said she and her daughter saw one of the "flying somethings" on June 17.
Mrs. McFarland said her eight year-old daughter came running into the house and asked what was that "big white thing in the sky."
"I went out scanning the sky and saw what appeared to be a large flat silver-colored object with vapor pouring around and behind it for a great distance," Mrs. McFarland said. "It came straight down at a terrific speed and for a great distance, then leveled off and eventually disappeared in the distance, casting off bright rays at intervals. It was in sight for about one-half hour."
She said she had just returned from a trip to Seattle and now realizes that the object she saw was a "flying saucer" and not a meteorite, as she first believed.
Mattoon, Illinois Daily Journal-Gazette - 10 Jul 47
Flying Discs Navy Product: Winchell
Columnist Declares They're Latest Flying Wings
New York – (INS) – Walter Winchell, New York Daily Mirror columnist, wrote today that despite vigorous denials by army and navy officials the flying saucers actually are flying wings being developed by the U.S. Navy.
Good for Carriers.
Winchell said that they can land at a very low speed -- making them good for carriers, and that there "is said to be an entire squadron at Muroc
"The above is not a rumor -- it is a fact, according to 'insiders' who were promised that the source would be protected.
"About eight months ago, the newspapers carried a story to the effect that a retired U.S. admiral had said that the navy was developing a completely new type of rocket weapon far more useful than the atomic bomb and that it involved an entirely new principle.
"I clearly remember it in all of the papers, but never saw anything further about it. I can't even remember the name of the admiral, but I believe he was addressing a meeting."
Winchell said the War Department has denied that it knows about the flying discs. He added:
"Many people assume that the army and navy are one and that all of their aerial and scientific developments are joint projects. This is not so. The navy, I am certain, has its own laboratories for aerial experimentation.
Tells of 1943 Experiment.
"It is also alleged that in 1943 an American firm (in Chicago) pioneering in jet propulsion in planes sent an experimental test ship through the so-called supersonic wall. In other words, in this test flight in 1943 the jet plane traveled with a pilot aboard faster than sound. Thus it supposedly went through the supersonic wall where it was traveling in space ahead of itself.
"While I have not confirmed information on the above, I understand these facts are in existence and that the plane was not heard of again for more than three weeks when it was found crashed somewhere in lower Montana. The pilot was dead. He was 38, but his teeth and body were those of a man of 25. He got younger, not older."
The Mirror columnist continued:
"I do know that the U.S. army air force is reported to have on order a designed plane that will travel almost twice as fast as sound.
"Then there's the latest rumor in New York. A general (inactive) visiting me Wednesday night said he heard the discs were nothing but a new toy balloon which eastern manufacturers were experimenting with -- via a new form of special helium. He said the toy makers were 'probably located in Maryland.'"
Logansport, Indiana Pharos-Tribune - 10 Jul 47
"Flying Saucers" Hysteria Also Has Grimmer Sides
NEW YORK, July 10 (UP) -- Three scientists said today that the hysteria stirred up over the "flying saucers" could well mean that psychological casualties in an atomic or rocket war would far outnumber deaths from atomic bomb explosions.
One of these experts, Dr. Edward Strecker, director of the Philadelphia hospital for mental and nervous diseases, described many of the reports on the "saucers" as a mental condition known as "pathological receptiveness."
Dr. Strecker said that at the beginning of the saucer episode, some persons "may have seen something such as the glint of an airplane in fast flight."
This probably led to a misinterpretation of an illusion, he said, recalling that illusions are common.
He said that the emotional state of many persons had been overactive since the first atomic bomb exploded, and that he had examined patients who still believe they had been made impotent, or sterile, as a result of the bomb that wrecked Hiroshima.
Another expert on human behavior, who requested that his name not be used, said there are "certain types of group hysteria that is latent in all of us." He said it was common for some people to have spots "in front of their eyes."
He said the hysteria over the saucers might be an example, on a small scale of what would happen if an atomic bomb was dropped on this country, or if actual rockets from a foreign power started zooming over the countryside.
"The psychological casualties among civilians would he tremendous."
he said. "You have a hard time getting any one to do any work."
The Japanese, he recalled, did not react hysterically to the atomic bomb. But at that time, they didn't know what hit them. Americans, by now, know the disastrous results of atomic bombs.
This same psychiatrist also said it may not be necessary to drop atomic bombs on large cities. The suburban areas might do just as well with the psychological results making a nation unable to defend itself.
He flatly said that most of the persons reported seeing the saucers were "thinking in their primitive state."
The third scientist, an internationally famous astronomer and who also helped on the atomic bomb, said:
"The hysteria we see today over these reports would be mild compared to what would happen if bombs or other destructive weapons really started falling here." He and the other scientists said it was time for the nation to "calm down."
Greensburg, Indiana Daily News - 10 Jul 47
Cohee To Examine Webs On "Saucers"
Reports of the appearance of the "flying saucers" have led to
various predictions by Indiana prophets.
One of these prophets is Omer Cohee, of Columbus and formerly of near Leets.
Known as the "spider man", Cohee is getting ready to peer into his skein of spider webs in an attempt to let mankind in on the secret of the future.
The last time he peeked at the webs -- on Aug. 4, 1946 -- he came, up with the prediction World War III would come in seven years.
He is credited with accurately predicting the date when the war in Europe would end, as well as foretelling within six or seven days the date hostilities in the Pacific ended. Before starting his Web inquiry, he said:
"Frankly, it sounds like a lot of optical illusion to me."
Chicago, Illinois Southeast Economist - 10 Jul 47
A Penny For Your Thoughts
Each person is given a shiny, new penny for his thoughts. Today s
interviews were conducted at the Municipal airport. The question
asked was, "What do you think the mysterious flying disks are?"
Woodrow P. Wilson, 6018 Princeton ave., cargo man: "I can't very well form an opinion from what others say, but the disks might be some training device for the purpose of testing electronic equipment or they might be a means of controlling flying objects. It might be possible to adapt them so that they could carry the atom bomb."
Lillian Walsh, 8448 Drexel ave., stewardess: "The disks are probably some sort of army or navy experiments which the government is hesitant to disclose to the public. I don't believe that they are weapons. They might be radar devices to counteract the atomic bomb. They must be real because so many persons have seen them."
Mrs. L.H. Clifton, Columbus, O., housewife: "It's like the mythical monsters and the serpent stories that bob up every year when persons imagine that they see strange creatures that are never found. Right now, it's largely a matter of mob psychology -- people think they see things because others have said that they do."
James Miller, 1938 York st., Blue Island, cargo man: "The whole thing is probably a war department project -- I saw similar experiments going on during the war that the general public never knew about. I believe the disks are definitely man-made and must be ground-controlled because they could not get their power any other way. Perhaps they are a secret weapon or an observation device."
Tom Shaugnessy, 4068 Wells st., cargo man: "I really haven't the faintest idea what the disks are -- they could be practically anything. I've read about them, but it's hard to form a conclusion on the basis of radio and newspaper reports. I might have an idea if I were able to see one of the disks myself."
Ellen G. Maxwell, 8338 Vernon ave., passenger agent: "Scientists haven't answered the question -- far be it from me to offer a solution. However, I do think that they may be some sort of guided missiles that the army and navy and air forces don't care to talk about. They must be guided because they don't land anywhere.
El Paso, Texas Herald Post - 10 Jul 47
Truman Compares 'Discs' With Moon Hoax
By United Press
WASHINGTON, July 10 - President Truman today compared the "Flying Saucers" controversy to the famous moon hoax of more than 100 years ago.
The moon hoax was printed in the New York Sun and told of the discovery of man-bats living on the moon and seen through a secret, powerful telescope.
Mr. Truman said he knew nothing more about the saucers than he had seen in the newspapers.
1. In 1947 -- having just lived through five years of world war -- much of the U.S. population had at least passing familiarity with the concept of describing aerial objects in terms of their "apparent size". This was part of basic civil defense training intended to avoid estimations of actual size, which is notoriously difficult to gauge accurately for an object at an unknown distance and/or elevation (for instance, an aircraft at a certain distance and elevation might visually appear to an observer on the ground to be only two feet long). Both military and civil defense training included such things as comparing an aerial object to the size of a coin held at arm's length, so that, for instance, an object might be reported as the size of a dime or as the size of a quarter. Another common descriptor was comparing an object to the apparent size of a full moon. Therefore it is sometimes extremely difficult to discern whether witness reports given to the newspapers refer to an object's actual size or its apparent size, and such descriptions as "the size of a serving tray" or "the size of a washtub" should not necessarily be seen as a literal description of size.
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