in the news 1947
PART THREE 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 12, 1947
Port Arthur, Texas News - 12 Jul 47
Bet Your Idea on Dizzy Discs Can Beat Some of These!
Forest ranger says the saucers are merely picnic plates carelessly left lying around by some campers.
Bus driver says they are just high misses with the crockery thrown by irate housewife at her husband.
Columnist says they are merely publicity stunt for forthcoming film "Duel in the Teacup."
Sports writer claims they are discuses thrown by new champ discus thrower in Pacific Northwest.
Historian decides they were tossed by Paul Bunyan 60-odd years ago when he didn't like his coffee one morning and they're just coming back to Earth.
Everybody, including you, dear reader, has a pat solution of the mystery. Space above is left vacant so you can join the parade by sketching in your idea of whodunit, how and why.
Syracuse, New York Herald Journal - 12 Jul 47
Quite A Dish! Miss Sybil Lamb, of New York City, a junior in summer college at Syracuse University, was picked as "sauciest girl on campus" at flying saucer party Friday night.
Emporia, Kansas Gazette - 12 Jul 47
Flying Saucers Emphasize Lack of Warning System Against New Weapons
By Joseph and Stewart Alsop
Washington, July 12 -- The flying saucers have served at least to pound one lesson home. That is that the United States has developed no effective warning system against surprise attack in this age of the new and terrible weapons. For if such a system had been in existence, the military authorities could instantly have ended speculation. They could have given those assurances which an effective warning system would instantly provide: "We know all that passes through the American air. You saw sunlight on the wings of highflying aircraft -- or you saw nothing -- or you saw a meteor in the night sky." No such assurances were forthcoming. We do not have an effective warning system. We are not prepared for the worst.
Adequate defensive preparation for an all too possible worst will mean, in the opinions of those charged with planning for national security in this era of the atom bomb and the guided missile, two things. First, it will mean a radar umbrella extending over the whole continental United States, to give instant warning of any object which passes through the air over America. The incidental benefit of such an umbrella will be considerable: for example, it will undoubtedly serve to decrease air accidents. But its real purpose will be to flash in a moment to all defense headquarters news of the direction and weight of any enemy attack.
Such a system will be expensive. But the second prerequisite of an effective warning system will be more so. For advance warning bases, pushed out beyond the borders of the country will also be necessary, to provide those extra minutes or seconds for the launching of the American defensive counter-attack. To meet this dire necessity, very little has been done. The chain of joint American-Canadian warning stations and air bases projected along the Arctic frontier is still in the dream stage. One such base, at Churchill on Hudson's bay, does exist, for preliminary testing purposes. But its value even as a test base is doubtful. For it is the northern terminus of a Canadian railroad, whereas the Arctic bases, on the other hand, must of necessity be utterly isolated by endless miles of Arctic waste. They must be so planned that the technicians who man them will be able to support life in sub-zero isolation for long periods at a time, and so that these men can be supplied not only with the means of life, but with the necessary equipment, when and where needed.
Moreover, such bases, each in itself a major project, must be spaced at 200-mile intervals across the Arctic frontier. For the outer limit of radar range is 100 miles and any gap might render the whole system valueless. Present estimates indicate that such an advance warning system will require an initial investment of at least a billion and a quarter dollars.
Yet unless the nightmare of surprise attack conjured up by the flying saucer scare is to become hard reality, or unless a really secure world settlement is unexpectedly achieved, the money must be spent. The reason is simple. Long-range supersonic aircraft and guided missiles have yet to be built, either by ourselves, by the Russians, or by anyone else. Yet such weapons are universally acknowledged to be possible, and therefore, unless there is a world settlement, certain to be built within a few years.
Lethbridge, Canada Herald - 12 Jul 47
Flying Saucers Now Complete Tour of World
LONDON, July 12 (Reuters) – "Flying saucers," which have been puzzling citizens of 41 states and of Canada since last month, now have made a complete tour of the world, according to messages received here.
The mysterious flying discs were reported Friday from Japan and yesterday from Chile, Holland, Britain and Northern Ireland.
A police officer in southern Japan said today he saw some brilliant objects last Wednesday flying over Kagoshima Bay in a wave-like manner. An official of Kagoshima weather bureau said that the "saucers" might have been balloons released by the bureau.
A dispatch from Leyden, Holland, said the Leyden naval radio service saw, according to press reports, a "flying saucer" moving at great speed and at great height.
An air mechanic of Santiago airport, Chile, also said he saw "flying discs," which were flat and oval.
"Flying saucers with holes in the middle" were reported by two girls to have been seen yesterday flying over Birmingham, England, and two people near Rochester, in southern England, also reported seeing the discs.
W.A. Nesbitt of Belfast disclosed yesterday that Tuesday evening he sighted a dozen rapidly moving round white objects which trailed "a whispy grey cloud which hung in the air for some time."
Tipton, Indiana Tribune - 12 Jul 47
Norwegians Sight Flying Saucers
Stockholm, July 11 (INS) - Norwegians reported today that "flying saucers" have appeared over southern Norway.
Three persons asserted that they had seen such an object at Skotfoss. They could not estimate its altitude but said that it blinked like the stars.
Lowell, Massachusetts Sun - 12 Jul 47
Man About Town
The payoff on the flying saucers business was the story that came out of Nashua the other day. A lady called up and told a reporter that her dog had seen some saucers. Queried by the reporter as to how she could know what the dog saw, the lady replied as follows: "Well, he was looking up into the sky and barking and I looked up then, and I think I saw something that looked like saucers. So I'm sure that's what we saw." Logic, thy name is woman!
Hagerstown, Maryland Daily Mail - 12 Jul 47
From Our Reporters' Notebook
Leslie C. Lounsbury, manager of the local Social Security office, is paying for a joking remark.
He's learned his lesson.
Last Sunday afternoon during the thundergust that produced a sort of twister that singled out the trees in his yard at 1009 Beachwood Drive, in the Hamilton Homes section, it seems that nobody else's trees were knocked over, just his own.
Discussing the freak wind with a neighbor, Lounsbury jokingly remarked that it must have been one of those "flying saucers" that descended upon his yard. One of the neighboring children overheard Lounsbury's remark and took it seriously. The news spread like wildfire among the several hundred juveniles in the community and they descended upon the Lounsbury abode to see the "flying saucer." They had also reported to their mothers that a "flying saucer" had fallen in the Lounsbury yard. Then the phone in the Lounsbury home began to ring and Mrs. Lounsbury spent most of one day answering the queries. It is needless to say that Mr. Lounsbury was in the doghouse for a spell.
Clearfield, Pennsylvania Progress - 12 Jul 47
Huntingdon County Citizen Observes Flying Disc
HUNTINGDON -- The first Huntingdon County citizen to observe the "flying disc" was Mrs. Harry Theys of Robertsdale, who noticed it as she was hanging up laundry in her backyard at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. She described it as being about the size of her dishpan with a white ring around it.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Compiler - 12 Jul 47
Says Frat Members Held Picnic In Rain
A Philadelphia newspaper said today that (purported) members of the Sigma Chi fraternity of Gettysburg college on a picnic (allegedly) held near the Pennsylvania memorial on the battlefield here (in the rain) at 3:30 o'clock Monday afternoon, claimed they saw the much-publicized "flying saucers" in the sky.
Park officials here said today they knew of no picnic held (in the rain) Monday afternoon on the battlefield. Persons answering the telephone at the Sigma Chi house on Carlisle street Tues. dodged all inquiries for either confirmation or denial of the (?) story.
A state law provides a penalty for anyone giving "false" information to a newspaper.
Galveston, Texas Daily News - 12 Jul 47
Resident Sees 6 Disks Here
Incoming disks -- four.
Outgoing disks -- two.
That was the score on the local phase of the nationally discussed flying disk mystery shortly before midnight Friday. The figures were phoned in to The News by Mrs. Pearl Redman, 2605 Q.
Mrs. Redman explained at 10:15 p.m. that she and several other residents of the same address viewed from their back yard at 9:45 p.m. four flying disks coming in from the gulf and traveling in a westerly direction. One hour later came her second report that she had seen two disks traveling south toward the gulf.
The last two disks, Mrs. Redman described, were "flying very high." Earlier, she reported that of the four initially seen three were flying extremely high and the fourth
was traveling at a lower altitude.
The latter, she continued, was the biggest and resembled an orange ball of fire.
"It was low enough to distinguish."
When asked if the flying disks could have been airplanes Mrs. Redman replied "No, definitely not. However, the three smaller ones which were noticed in the first group may have appeared smaller because they were flying at a higher altitude."
"I don't know what they could be, however, they might be results of erupting mountains," Mrs. Redman added.
Also in the group which saw the flying disks, Mrs. Redman said, were Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Johnston, Mrs. Witterburg and the latter's four children.
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche - 12 Jul 47
'Flying Discs' Are Reported Sighted By Lubbock Residents
Two 'flying discs' flying at an estimated 1,000 to 1,5000 feet, were reported seen here about 10 o'clock last night by Joe Boyd, who lives at 1812 [Illegible] Broadway.
Boyd said two men with him, one of them a former Army pilot, also saw the discs and verified the report.
The objects were traveling east and were probably flying 500 miles per hour, the three estimated. If the approximate height was correct they were believed to have been at least 40 feet wide.
The multi-colored lights of the city cast a 'creamy orange' reflection on the discs, Boyd said.
Charleroi, Pennsylvania Mail - 12 Jul 47
Saucer Story To End All Saucer Stories
CHICAGO, July 12 (UP) - It was a beautiful starlit night, and there was Peter Connelly just standing on the street corner minding his own business and waiting for his flying saucer.
He was clutching a lamp post and gazing impatiently into the heavens when Policeman John Keyes came by.
He too scanned the skies.
"Looking for something, pal?" he asked.
"My pilot," Connelly explained. "He's late."
"What pilot?" asked the skeptical Keyes.
"The one that flew my saucer here and dropped me off," said Connelly. "He's going to pick me up for a quick trip to the old country."
Keyes began to suspect that Connelly was seeing saucers in his
cups. He called the wagon.
It arrived, but Connelly squinted indignantly at the sleepy driver.
"You are not my pilot," he said sternly.
But he climbed aboard with a little help from Keyes.
"People who have never ridden a saucer," Connelly sighed, "never
seem to believe in 'em."
Emporia, Kansas Gazette - 12 Jul 47
Idaho "Disc" Story Revealed as a Hoax
Twin Falls, Idaho, July 12 (AP) - Four lads with imaginations that run to flying discs may or may not be laughing up their sleeves today after their version of a flying saucer had practically the local populace, the FBI, Army Intelligence officers and police on the run.
The boys created and planted in a local yard Friday an object that looked to them, as well as to the Army and civilian officers, just like a flying disc should look.
Their hoax was exposed after Assistant Police Chief L.D. McCracken was tipped one of the boys knew something about the disc.
The creation, which took two days to complete, was made from parts of an old phonograph, burned out radio tubes and other discarded electrical parts. It had a plexi-glass dome, radio tubes, burned wires and glistening gold and silver sides.
Since the boys are juveniles their names were withheld. They will not be prosecuted, McCracken said.
Salt Lake City, Utah Deseret News - 12 Jul 47
Our World Today
Maybe your parents think you teen-agers are only interested in crooners and jive-talk, but here is your chance to show them and your fellow teen-agers that you also have an eye open to the what's going on in the world.
In the new forum column "Our World," which will be a regular feature on the kid's page, we are selecting teen-agers to give their opinion on world events. This week the topic is about those much talked-about flying discs...
Question: What do you think about the flying discs?
Edward Paul, 16, East High School senior -- I think about 50% of the people who have reported seeing flying discs were having hallucinations. Maybe 50% have seen them. There are three things I think they might be: 1. Hallucinations or mirages. 2. Some sort of a scientific research experiment. 3. A natural phenomena -- perhaps like flat hail stones forming. However if this were the case it really should have happened before now. It's possible it could be from Russia, but probably not because they would probably be experimenting over their own country and not over the United States.
Barbara Lish, 17, West High School graduate -- There must be some reasonable explanation for the flying discs. I believe it is man-made because it couldn't just come from nowhere. Maybe it's just something dreamed up by some crazy inventor. I don't think the government has much to do with it or we'd know more about it. Maybe some aircraft company or some other industry is testing out some new war invention.
Richard Aldous, 17, West High School graduate -- When I first heard about the flying discs I was quite skeptical, but after so many reports I began to wonder. I haven't the faintest idea what they might be, but I do think they are man-made even though the U.S. government knows nothing about them. A few astronomers have said they didn't have any idea what they might be, but they didn't think they were meteors or anything like that. The only thing I could think that they might be some weapons some foreign country is testing. I have glanced in the sky occasionally but I have never seen any sign of one. One article I read said that when one person sees something it's easy for a lot of other people to imagine they saw it too.
JULY 13, 1947
Twin Falls, Idaho Times News - 13 Jul 47
Editorial: "Flying Saucers"
One thing about the "flying saucer" epidemic, it has the people of this country guessing. Much as they would like to laugh it all off, these saucers have them baffled. Of course there are those who would appear very sophisticated and who would make you believe that all this talk about "saucers" is just so much twaddle. Others prefer to make a joke of the whole business.
But underneath it all, "flying saucers" are running through the people's minds. At first, no one would believe reports of "discs" and "saucers" skimming through the skies at terrific speed with apparently little, if any effort.
But when such reports by responsible individuals continued to pour in, it became apparent that these mysterious missiles were not merely sun spots, bottle caps, gas bubbles or anything of the kind.
Of course it seems fantastic, but no more fantastic than the atomic bomb, radar and other new scientific discoveries.
Although youngsters will be youngsters, it is unfortunate that a makeshift "saucer" was contrived in Twin Falls as a hoax. This business of "saucers" and "discs" may be far more serious than we realize.
If they are man-made, let's hope they are ours. No one can afford to be too sophisticated, too skeptical or too cocksure about anything that puts in a mysterious appearance nowadays.
This world of ours, as we should all realize, is resting on a tinder box which could easily burst into flame, and it is not impossible that "flying saucers" might play an important part in the showdown.
Charleston, West Virginia Gazette - 13 Jul 47
Psychologist Says Discs Are Real -- They Float Around in Human Eyeballs
By Dr. Donald A. Laird,
Ph. D., Sci D.
A lot of reputable folk were left out on a limb when the astronomers and military scientists told the truth about those baffling "flying saucers," which had the country agog for days.
There was nothing wrong with the people who claimed to see the discs. In fact, there may be something wrong with you if you didn't see them, or something akin to them.
The funniest aspect of the entire excitement is that most people have been seeing flying saucers for years, but are such poor observers of their own sensations that they have blissfully paid no attention to them.
Those mysterious whirling discs were nothing more than particles which are always inside the eyeball. These particles float around in the jelly-like substance inside the eyeball, and can be seen when the eye is gazing idly into space, or at a neutral background. This is merely an entopic phenomenon or, in plain English, projecting into the sky something that actually originates within the eyeball itself. The saucers do not exist, yet they are not figments of imagination.
As the excitement over flying saucers developed there were doubtless suggestible people who merely imagined they saw the things, but these particles are as real as the eye itself.
Most students of laboratory psychology or physiology have seen the shadows of their own particles as a demonstration of the existence of the phenomenon.
The particles themselves are not seen, since they are too close to the retina of the eye. What is seen are the tiny shadows cast by the particles.
The shadow of a particle the size of a pinpoint would look less than the size of a dime across a room. When the shadow is noticed on a distant cloud it appears to be the size of a saucer, or even larger and the shadow seems to be whirling because the particles inside the eye are in motion.
Each of us has these particles, and there have always been their whirling shadows to look at. In most daylight conditions the shadows are too faint to be noticed. In dim light, and against a soft background -- such as a bank of clouds -- the "flying saucers" are easier to notice.
When the eyes are sharply focused on some object, the image of the object usually covers over the faint shadows and they are not observed. Day-dreamers, who are "looking at nothing," are most likely to see the shadows.
When the eye moves, however slightly, the shadows projected from the particles also move. When the eye moves only a fraction of an inch, the distant shadows dart for miles across the clouds. That is what made the saucers seem to be flying at terrific speed.
The hundreds of frightened people who reported seeing flying saucers tearing through the sky (usually in-and-out of a bank of clouds), were for the most part reporting something they were actually seeing. But they gave the wrong interpretation to it. It is another example of the advice that what counts is not what you see, but what you know about what you see.
That so many people, fully grown and in their right minds, noticed these particles for the first time is an unpleasant indication that they had been only half using their eyes for years.
Of course, we habitually suppress our faint impressions of these shadows, paying attention instead to the world as a solid thing, rather than riddled with revolving holes made by the shadows of the particles. We are most likely to notice the shadows when gazing idly into the distance, without the eyes being focused directly on anything.
Victims of delirium tremens are also more likely to notice these shadows for the first time. These inebriates interpret the moving shadows as writhing snakes or crawling bugs.
Seeing the flying particles as 'flying saucers" became an epidemic at the present time because of a widespread undercurrent of apprehension.
Too many people are expecting the worst, and imagine that the war will start over again with mysterious new weapons used against us.
There is ignorance about the possible uses of atomic energy and rocket missiles.
These dreads made people more inclined than usual to look for and worry about such things as "flying saucers".
Back in grandfather's day when "millerism" had thousands frightened about the coming end of the world, the "flying saucers" would also have been a cause of excitement.
But under the Miller delusion (which drove many people crazy) the "flying saucers" would have been taken as a sign that the world was actually falling apart right in front of their own eyes.
Thus do the fears people carry around inside their heads make them give unwarranted interpretations to perfectly ordinary natural phenomena.
The unknown but inspired newspaper man who called the mysterious objects "flying saucers" also helped the craze along. That was an easy name to understand and remember, vastly better than the 50-cent words "entopic phenomena" which scientists use.
The beginning of hot weather also helped. The first days of summer seem to usher in the silly season. That is when sea serpents are "seen."
It is also when there is an increase in the number of people who have to be carted off to insane hospitals.
I hope one does not have to be crazy to see "flying saucers", for I have been seeing them for a third of a century. But I did not get excited or fearful about them, for I first saw them from my own eyes in a laboratory demonstration.
I have shown thousands of students how to see them, although nearly half of the students could not relax their eyes voluntarily toward some distant point to see the projected shadows clearly.
There are other faint sensations people have and which they usually fail to notice. If you listen well, for instance, you can hear the pulsation of your own blood in your own ear. Occasionally, when a person notices this blood-beat for the first time, he becomes panicky that he has developed some serious heart disease.
With the right amount of ignorance and fear, these blood sounds in the ear could start an epidemic of reports that people were hearing telegraphic signals from the men on Mars.
But the mass hysteria about "flying saucers" accomplished something good. It got more people to learn something about their eyes.
Few crazes have such a happy ending. Crazes usually start from ignorance and superstition, and end in the same mire. This one ended differently.
Human nature seems to crave the mass excitement of crazes, especially when the summer doldrums set in with drowsy days and fitful nights. Keep watching for the next craze -- and have the fun of viewing it from the sidelines while others go out on the limb.
Wilmington, North Carolina Morning Star - 13 Jul 47
"Yep, They're Reported Again"
Two High Point Pilots Report Seeing One Headed Over State
Associated Press -- High Point, North Carolina, 12 July -- Two pilots flying in a plane at 1000 feet about 10 miles south of High Point at 7:20 pm on the 11 July saw a "ball of fire," ... "a huge red object" traveling at a rapid rate of speed ... they noticed a glare to the left of their plane. Glancing to their side they saw a huge object, round on top with a black band through the center, flying in a northerly direction at a rapid rate of speed.
"The bottom part of the object was revolving, and periodically a burst of fire came from underneath as if from some sort of exhaust."
The pilot said when he noticed the object he swung his small, two-place plane to the left in the direction of the 'thing' but that before he had travelled far in that direction, the object passed him and disappeared in a northern direction. The path it was traveling, he said, indicated that it was headed in the direction of Winston-Salem on a route leading between High Point and Thomasville, he added.
Anniston, Alabama Star - 13 Jul 47
"SAUCERS" FLY HERE -- O.R. Lovett, JSTC student, caught this shot of the nationally famous "flying saucers" at midnight Thursday from the college grounds. Lovett, an amateur photographer, waited two nights for a chance to shoot the flying discs. No completely satisfactory explanation of the mystery discs has yet been reported.
Anniston, Alabama Star - 13 Jul 47
Flying Saucer Reported Seen Here Last Night
Three Anniston girls last night reported having seen a "flying saucer" in the northern sky over the city.
Those who said they saw the disc were Bernice McElroy, Alice Brown and Vernell Messer.
Miami, Oklahoma Daily News Record - 13 Jul 47
Tulsan Films 'Flying Discs'
Cameraman Says Sky Gadget Similar to a Catcher's Baseball Glove
TULSA, July 12 (AP) - A flight of eight "flying saucers" with a hurriedly-shot picture to prove it, was reported here today in the newest version of the disc stories.
First reports of the "saucers" was furnished by Enlo Gilmore, Tulsa free lance photographer, who took a split-second picture showing eight spots high over the city of Tulsa.
According to the picture, and Gilmore's statement, the objects were not round but somewhat oval in shape. He said they glistened in the sunlight as they passed and had a silvery color.
No names of other persons witnessing the flight were obtained by the photographer although he said a number of the nearby crowd saw them.
Gilmore said he was standing on an overpass over the Frisco railway tracks when nearby persons called, "There are some of those saucers."
Gilmore said he turned quickly, pointed his camera toward the sky and snapped the lens. The negative was overdeveloped but clearly showed eight spots although slightly blurred.
He said they were flying at an elevation of about 22 degrees above horizon and at a high rate of speed. The movement was described as taking about two and one-half seconds between the First National Bank of Tulsa building and a hotel four blocks distant, Gilmore added. The overpass is seven blocks north of the two buildings used as "sight points" and the objects were reported traveling in a westerly direction.
Gilmore, 23, and a navigator in the European theater during the war, said the objects appeared to him to be oval in shape, somewhat similar to the shape of a catcher's baseball mitt. He added they did not look to be very large although it was impossible to determine accurately the distance they were from him.
Galveston, Texas Daily News - 13 Jul 47
News Besieged With Reports of Flying Saucers
Galvestonians were apparently seeing things Saturday night, and if they were not flying saucers or disks, they were evidently something which caused considerable speculation and a deluge of telephone calls to The News.
Shortly before 8 p.m. the first call was received from P.B. Ragland and Mrs. Dorothy Bruanard of Airport Homes, who reported a "flying saucer" going westward about 1000 feet high travelling about three times faster than a transport plane, which was also traversing the heavens about the same time. The saucer, according to the report, was following the coastline westward and resembled a bright bulb.
Shortly thereafter Robert Tabor of Island City Homes reported a "flying saucer" suspended somewhere in the heavens going back and forth.
Then the deluge began. About every few seconds masculine, feminine and childish voices queried The News. Did The News know what it was?
Finally a voice from Texas City reported five of the "saucers" traveling at tremendous speed over the area, and reported landing somewhere near Texas City. The informant said he would try to find out where they landed and would inform The News. At a late hour, no further report of the "invasion" was received.
And still the phone calls came. One man in an excited tone urged the city editor just to look in the northwest and view the phenomena. The city editor and other staff members gazed expectantly but apparently there was something wrong with their vision. The heavens looked serene, with but a few bright stars and their satellites shining down upon the earth.
About 8 p.m. H.K. Prichard, 2517 38th reported that he with his wife and Mrs. Tap Griggs, 2515 38th, sighted the disks over the Galveston end of the causeway.
"The disk was traveling low and going back and forth across the sky about six or eight times at a very high speed," Mr. Prichard said. "It appeared large in diameter and was orange in color and appeared very much like the flash of an engine exhaust," he said.
A crescent-shaped object moved swiftly across the sky from the west to the northeast at 8:30 p.m., Miss Cecile Chambers, 1520 Market, reported to The News. Several persons, including herself, saw the speeding object, she said.
"It was not a falling star," Miss Chambers stated.
At 11 p.m. there was an apparent lull in activities -- evidently the flying saucers had gone west, or some such destination, much to the satisfaction of The News staff.
However, there was a note of chagrin evident. Reporters who are expected to see, hear and know everything had not even caught a glimpse of the latest celestial constellation -- the flying saucer -- otherwise known as disk -- which is causing universal excitement everywhere -- even in Galveston.
Mexia, Texas Daily News - 13 Jul 47
Another Mexia Citizen Sees Flying Disc
Mrs. J.W. Bonnet of 504 East Commerce Street in Mexia is the latest Mexia citizen reporting the sight of a "flying disc."
Mrs. Bonner told the Mexia News reporter that she had not believed in the stories of the discs. She said that she had felt that they were all a hoax or some sort of joke.
She said that she sighted the discs Thursday evening about five o'clock while sitting on her front porch. Mrs. Bonner said that she wasn't looking for any discs, but that she just happened to glance up in the sky, and there it was. She stated that the round, shiny object came from the west and went out of sight in the east. She said that it was very shiny, and could be seen very plainly. It was flying rather high, according to Mrs. Bonner, and she said it appeared to have some thickness, having something of the appearance of the metal hats worn by oil field workmen.
Paris, Texas News - 13 Jul 47
Still They Come --
Add "barrel-head" to the divers descriptions of the famous flying discs.
"It looked like the revolving end of a barrel skirting across the sky." said Joe Elliott of Detroit in describing an object he observed about 9 o'clock Thursday night. Light in color, circular in shape. It was moving in a southwesterly direction at a great rate of speed, according to Mr. Elliott, who says he watched it until it disappeared from sight.
Clovis, New Mexico News-Journal - 13 Jul 47
Another Disc Seen Over Silver City
S1ILVER CITY (AP) - Another flying disc was spotted over Silver City early Friday evening. Mrs. Dave Robertson and Mrs. Fred Villio said they watched the object from their adjoining yards. They said it was intensely brilliant and was moving with incredible speed from west to east and upward and was out of sight in a few seconds.
Twin Falls, Idaho Times-News - 13 Jul 47
Four "Ambitious" Local Youths Get Credit for Saucer
Take four teen-age lads seasoned with a normal amount of prankishness and American ingenuity, give them access to an assortment of junk including a ready-made disc and radio parts, and the result is a "flying disc" such as was tossed into the backyard of the T.H. Thompson residence at 219 Seventh avenue east at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday night.
Take the "home-made disc," place it over the fire of nationwide excitement about "flying saucers," add a dash of FBI hush-hush, and cover it with a veil of the traditional cloak-and-dagger secrecy of military intelligence agents, and the result is a frenzied "investigation," such as was seen here Friday, along with a ripple of excitement across the country as speculation mounted concerning the "flying disc" found here.
Only after army investigators left here was announcement made that the disc was a hoax perpetrated by four youths. That announcement might not have been made if an FBI agent had not asked Assistant Police Chief L.D. McCracken if he had released the news to the press.
McCracken wanted to know what news, and the FBI agent said the army investigators had told him to tell McCracken that the news could be released that four teen-age boys confessed to making the object and throwing it into the yard.
As is the usual practice with Juvenile cases, McCracken withheld the names of the four boys, and also withheld the name of the person who telephoned police that one of the
[Remainder of article unavailable.]
Twin Falls, Idaho Times News - 13 Jul 47
Another 'Saucer' Viewing Told as 'Quiet' Prevails
With the statement that the "flying saucer" found here Friday was a fake, citizens of Twin Falls and the nation settled down to searching the skies for the still "elusive" discs.
First report received came from Max Miller, who claims to have seen, along with some 30 other people, nine objects in an oblique echelon formation traveling in a northeasterly direction over Jerome at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
Miller described the "things" as being about 12 feet in length, three feet in diameter, shaped like a stove pipe and light tan in color.
The description fits that of aerial target "sleeves" towed by planes for aerial and anti-aircraft gunnery practice, although Miller reported that no planes were seen with the objects.
Walla Walla, Washington Union-Bulletin - 13 Jul 47
Carrier Sees Disc
Ted Hastings, 5 South Blue, a carrier for the Union-Bulletin, Saturday afternoon reported "having seen a flying disc over this city. It was observed at 1:45 p.m. while he was waiting for a bus at 1081 Boyer. The disc was revolving rapidly when he saw it, Hastings said.
Billings, Montana Gazette - 13 Jul 47
Tokyo Man Sighted 'Discs' During War
Tokyo, July 12. (AP) - A businessman came up with a story Saturday on "flying hot cakes" he had seen over Tokyo after wartime air raids.
"Roundish objects -- like hotcakes -- about 20 square yards flew at taxicab speed after B29s raided Tokyo on the nights of May 23 and May 25, 1945," Tooyo Okado told Tokyo newspapers.
"They were blue -- maybe grey -- and flew over my shelter. They were followed several times by 6-feet wide and 30-feet long colored air waves."
The objects flew noiselessly and did not crash, Okado said. Asked if what he saw were "flying discs," he said they "might coincide, they might not." One thing is very certain, he added -- "in those days, we saw things."
Helena, Montana Independent Record - 13 Jul 47
THE WORLD THIS WEEK
Aerial: Saucers or Sorcery
Pie in the Sky
It was hot. The nation, unaccustomed yet to prickly heat, was depressed and irritable. The foreign news was bad. Russia had walked out of the Paris conference. Europe was splitting into armed camps.
Like heat lightning before a storm, reports crackled from coast to coast about mysterious "flying saucers" skimming through the skies at speeds up to 1,200 miles an hour. Soon they were seen in most states of the Union and around the world.
The strange missiles were seen by hundreds since Kenneth Arnold, businessman-pilot of Boise, Idaho, first reported them flying in loose formation high over the Cascade Mountains in Washington on June 25. They generally disappeared into the distance.
Most agreed that they were round or oval but guesses as to their size ranged form that of a five-room house to one of a "silver ball, six inches in diameter."
An Army Air Forces captain in Washington said the AAF had decided there must be something to all the stories but was mystified. He said reports of flat round objects zipping through the skies were too widespread to be groundless and noted that a number of observers had been competent airmen.
Military planes, armed with long range cameras, patrolled skies over the Pacific coast in search of flying saucers. A Seattle Coast Guardsman said he had photographed one of the flying discs and his negative, magnified nearly 20 times, showed a white dot near the center of the picture.
The Army, Navy and State departments officially checked all their units to see if any were sending aloft objects which might account for the phenomena. The answers were negative.
David Lilienthal, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, said the discs had nothing to do with atomic experiments. Nuclear experts branded as "pure gibberish"' reports linking the mysterious saucers with "transmutation of atomic energy."
Some scientists suggested that reflections of light, such as from aircraft, might account for the bright spots. Others said they must be mirages. Psychologists said unkind things about mass hysteria, autosuggestion and hidden fears.
"America's reply to the Loch Ness Monster," chortled one British newspaper. Europeans generally took the view that the flying saucers, like Sweden's "ghost rockets," would go away if everyone would take a good stiff bicarbonate and the pledge, in that order.
Syracuse, New York Herald Journal - 13 Jul 47
By Peggy McCarthy
QUESTION: What is your theory of the flying saucers?"
ASKED: Court House.
FRED BALITZ, 255 Girard av., bank auditor: I think perhaps they are due to some reflection in the sky. So far it has been a matter of report and theory and no definite explanation has been found. These flying saucers are evidently not just a product of the imagination as the reports have come from many reliable sources.
DONALD BROCKWAY, Cortland, biologist: Although I haven't the answer, my theory is that they are due to something more than the imagination of the beholders. With a little more investigation, the cause of the matter should be discovered and it is possible that experiments are being conducted by a special group who would know, of course, what is happening.
EDWARD A. GARABEDIAN, 340 Montgomery st., law clerk: The imagination is a powerful thing and I believe that the "flying saucer" idea originated with someone who thought he saw something and after he gave it an idea and received publicity everybody was more or less on the lookout for the same thing.
CHARLES H. KEEN, 130 Lincoln Park dr., attorney: Well, I haven't seen any saucers flying around and am inclined to think there has been a lot of fuss over nothing. I wouldn't be surprised if someone saw a shining plane or something and thought it was a disc and then the idea spread with imaginative people lending a big hand.
RICHARD G. COULTER, Phoenix, civil engineer: I don't hardly feel qualified to form a definite opinion but I disagree that it is mass hallucination. So many experiments are being made for scientific purposes that it may be that these flying saucers are a result of some experimentation. It's hard to say yet.
Cumberland, Maryland Times - 13 Jul 47
Snapshots Along The Way
By THE WANDERER
IT IS QUITE likely that there are few human beings who know less about the phenomena of science than does the writer of this column. As a schoolboy, both mathematics and science, however elementary, were entirely beyond his comprehension. With great difficulty he managed to get enough arithmetic to pass through what would be the equivalent of the eight grades of the grammar school.
In prep school he encountered algebra but earned no credits in it. Geometry was likewise a mystery. It was possible, of course, to memorize the propositions as one would memorize a poem, but when it came to original propositions, it was something else. It is fortunate that The Wanderer did his preparatory school work before the standardizing agencies assumed dictatorship over the American educational system and when school authorities were permitted to exercise their own good judgment in regard to students who were unable to grasp certain subjects although they were outstanding in others.
AND THE DIFFICULTY the Wanderer had with mathematics extended into the field of science, despite the fact that his father, a highly trained physician, was scientifically far in advance of his own time, science meant nothing to this writer. He never earned a credit in either chemistry or physics and the only chemical formula he ever learned was H20.
In the mechanical realm it was just the same. That is why The Wanderer never tried to drive an automobile and why to him a radio is only a box that reproduces sound under certain conditions. In his ordinary household chores he is the slave of the plumber, the electrician, the carpenter.
ALL OF WHICH is prefatory to saying that this column will not attempt to explain from any scientific angle, that so-called phenomenon which has the nation on edge and is called the "flying saucers." Perhaps it is a phenomenon as some hold. Perhaps it has something to do with the atomic bomb. Perhaps it is a deadly weapon which some foreign power is trying out against a possible war with this country.
All this must remain a mystery so far as The Wanderer is concerned. But when it comes to forming an opinion about human nature -- well, The Wanderer has spent almost 40 years in the newspaper business, and nobody knows to what extremes ordinary humans will go, better than do the newspaper men.
Every experienced newspaper man will agree that the vast majority of persons, both men and women, have a longing to stand in the limelight. This is likely an outcome of human vanity and unsatisfied ambition. Dr. Crane, whose column "The Worry Clinic" is a regular feature of The Evening Times, could doubtless write at great length on this subject.
Anything that will make one stand out from the crowd is welcome. Criminologists are of the opinion that considerable crime is committed for no other reason than that those who perpetrate those crimes have never had any distinction. They have always been on an average level and have done nothing to warrant the publication of their names in the newspapers. They are hungry for notoriety.
AS A RULE the first thing a criminal demands after his arrest is to see the newspapers. He will read every word published about himself and treasure the clippings.
He becomes indignant when his crime ceases to find first page position and is relegated to the less important news section inside the paper. He will often assist in the development of a brand new angle, because he knows this will revive interest and give him more publicity.
And it is this same vanity -- it is really a psychotic condition -- which causes hundreds, even thousands, of persons to declare they have been witness to things that never happened. Two such incidents have long lingered in The Wanderer's memory. They are small, when compared with what has occurred in connection with the flying saucers, but they may be used to prove a point.
FRANK HUNTER was a reporter on the Morning News at Marion, Indiana, back in the days when The Wanderer, still in prep school, did newspaper work in his home town during the summer vacations.
Frank was an unusual character who early made a reputation for himself as a brilliant feature writer. He had a streak of humor in him that was delightful and he was destined in later years to win high reputation for himself on several metropolitan newspapers.
During the year or so he spent on the Morning News at Marion, Frank regularly covered the police beat. In addition he was expected to write a daily local feature story which always appeared in the lower left hand corner of the first page. These features were so popular that they were the first thing to which many readers turned upon receiving the paper.
ONE SUMMER night Frank, in covering his regular beat, met several of his old friends who had come to Marion from Indianapolis and were stopping at a local hotel. It was a congenial crowd and when Frank looked up at the barroom clock, he discovered that it was later than he thought. The deadline was approaching and he had neglected to write his daily feature. In fact, he had given it no thought.
Rushing back to his office he began to write. His vivid imagination conjured up the story as he went along. He told how, late that night, dozens, scores, hundreds, even thousands of rats had been observed in the public square. He worked in a lot of colorful descriptive matter with references to the Pied Piper of Hamlintown. Where the rats came from was unknown. Where they went was likewise a mystery. But it was a good story -- a story of the sort Frank liked best and in which he had been entirely unhampered by facts.
BOB BUTLER, the news editor, read the copy Frank threw on his desk and was doubtful. Was it good policy to print such a downright fabrication? But press time was near at hand so Bob salved his conscience with the thought that it would be interesting to see just what reaction such a story would bring.
"It will be easy enough to explain later that the story was written just in the spirit of fun," he argued with himself, "and I am sure our readers will enjoy the joke."
SO THE STORY was sent to the composing room, put into type and that same morning appeared in the paper.
It caused as much excitement around Marion as has the flying saucers story throughout the United States. Some tried to laugh it off, but the majority took it seriously. Speculation was rife. And then came a reaction entirely unexpected.
All day long the office phone rang and people declared that they too, had seen the rats. Some claimed to have seen them on the public square. Others had seen them in their own neighborhoods. At least one person said he had seen them go north on Adams street after passing around the square, where they disappeared into the river.
Many of the stories told were fantastic, but none more so than the one which, originating in the fertile imagination of Frank Hunter, had found its way into print.
But there were no rats, and when the paper explained the true situation and full confession was made that the story had been published merely as a joke, the editorial department was deluged with more telephone calls and letters from those who still were willing to take oath that they had seen the rats and were indignant that the paper should say there had been no such rodents.
SOME YEARS after this, when The Wanderer was working in Indianapolis, he went back to Marion for his vacation. One day, sitting in Cubberly's cigar store, he recalled the rat story for the benefit of a little group of old friends including the city editor of the Chronicle. "That story must be about forgotten by this time," the latter said, "and I think it would be interesting to repeat it in different form."
The next day the Chronicle contained a story which was much like the rat story except that this time it was a large number of Chinamen who had slipped into the town under the cover of darkness. There were only three Chinese in Marion and these operated a laundry. But according to the Chronicle's story, a few persons who had been on the streets late at night had seen Chinamen singly, in pairs and small groups -- all in the region of the public square.
They seemed to come from the eastern part of town, but as there were no trains due at that time of the night, it was evident that, they must have walked. No conveyances of any sort were in sight.
UNLIKE THE rats of years before they did not travel in crowds. All were described as wearing native Chinese garb. Where they went, those alleged to have seen them could not tell. Nobody was reported as having seen them leave.
The reaction to this yarn was exactly the same as had been that to the rat story. Scores of persons informed the Chronicle that they too had seen the Chinamen. It was reported that several of these aliens were carrying large boxes.
This story came near causing trouble, for there were excited persons who scented some sort of international plot and were all for raiding the Chinese laundry in the belief that all the Chinamen supposedly seen the night before were concealed there.
The Chronicle took the police into its confidence and the three Chinese laundrymen, unknown to themselves, were protected. The Chronicle made acknowledgment that the story of the mysterious Chinamen was only a joke and the old story of the rats was recalled, but as had happened years before, there were still those who persisted in saying that they had seen Chinamen slinking along the streets of Marion in the wee small hours of the morning.
MANY NEWSPAPER men have had similar experiences, and as The Wanderer said earlier in this column, newspapermen have a fairly accurate idea of mob psychology and also of that individual psychology which leads so many persons to go to unbelievable extremes to get their names into print.
Therefore, although The Wanderer knows nothing of science or of what strange weapons may have been devised in the United States or elsewhere, he is not going to be too credulous about the flying saucers until some of them are found where they have landed or the evidence as to their existence comes from more reliable sources than those mentioned thus far.
It seems strange that if such phenomena are in the skies, they have not been spotted long before this by the men who man the astronomical observatories in various parts of the country.
These men are scanning the skies night after night and are in a better position than anyone else to detect any foreign bodies that may be flying about. When the director of one these great observatories issues a statement to the effect that a flying saucer has been spotted by members of his staff, it will be good time to take the saucers seriously. In fact, it will be time to be greatly concerned about them.
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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