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in the news 1947


PART SEVEN 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.



AUGUST 15 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 1947

Corpus Christi, Texas Times - 15 Aug 47



The Gallup Poll
Guesses on 'Flying Saucers' Range From Practical to the Miraculous

By GEORGE GALLUP
Director, American Institute
of Public Opinion

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Now that the uproar over the "flying saucers" has subsided it is a good time to take a look at what the general public thought about them.

In the first place the results of publicity received by the discs would have been the answer to a press agent's prayer. Nine out of ten Americans have heard about the phenomena, which were first reported June 25.

As a test of the public's knowledge about current events, this looms very large indeed and places the saucers on a par with Orson Welles' "invasion from Mars," the Loch Ness monster and Tom Thumb Golf. As an indication of how the saucer story spread, it need only be pointed out that at the same time only about half the people had heard about the Marshall Plan, and only 61 percent had heard or read about the Taft-Hartley labor bill.

Among college graduates two percent said they had not heard of the saucers, while 17 percent of those with grammar school education or less were ignorant of the subject.

When it comes to having an idea what the "celestial crockery" really was, answers that people give are divided among (1) no idea at all; (2) imagination or hoax; (3) something real.

"What do you think these saucers are?"

No answer, don't know...............33%
Imagination, optical illusion,
mirage, etc.........................29
U. S. secret weapon, part of
atomic bomb, etc....................15
Weather forecasting devices..........3
Russian secret weapon................1
Searchlights on airplanes............2
Other explanations...................3

Total..............................102%*

*Adds to more than 100 percent because some gave more than one answer.

Guesses ranged all the way from the practical to the miraculous. Among the latter was a woman citing biblical text, who said it was a sign of the world's end. A man in the West thought the discs were radio waves from the Bikini atomic bomb explosion, while another man saw in them a new product being put out by the "DuPont people."

A few people smelled a publicity or advertising stunt, while others felt sure that the saucers were after all only some kind of meteor or comet.

Further study of earlier "information" polls shows that the 90 percent who know about the saucers compare with the eight out of ten voters who last January did not know what the Wagner Act contained, the 51 percent who couldn't tell what "balancing the Federal budget" means. A recent event which approached the saucers in penetration of public consciousness was the Georgia governor battle last winter of which 84 percent of the people had heard.


Amarillo, Texas Daily News - 15 Aug 47



Formation Flight Of Disks Sighted

Flying disks in fact or fancy were spotted over Amarillo about 9:40 o'clock last night.

According to Buddy Moreman, 400 Monroe, the celestial saucers pursued an erratic course, "like a flock of geese," in a south-southeasterly direction. Moreman said the objects looked "all lighted up."

He said he lost sight of the fast-flying glimmers after they changed course to due south and whizzed out of sight.


Long Beach, California Independent - 15 Aug 47



Blackburn to Address Ad Club Meeting

Advertising and Sales club members will hear Joseph Blackburn, industrial agent for the Pacific Electric railway, speak at their luncheon meeting today at the Masonic Temple. His subject will be "Industrial Future of Long Beach."

Added color for the meeting will be the appearance of a Long Beach resident who claims to have seen the flying saucers during a recent visit to Hot Springs. He will show sketches he made of the much publicized discs. Bill Booker, Ad club president, will preside.


New Castle, Pennsylvania News - 16 Aug 47



Flying Discs Seen In 1731?
'Book Of The Damned' Reveals Persons Of That Time Saw Flying Objects

CHICAGO (INS) - Those flying discs are nothing new after all -- or else people have been "seeing things" in just the same way since 1731.

Research in Chicago Newberry Library turned up a rare copy of the "Book of the Damned," by George Fort. The tome contains four accounts of persons who sighted flying objects similar to discs -- ranging from the 18th through the 20th centuries.

Florentians Saw Cloud

On December 9, 1731. citizens of Florence, Italy reported a "luminous cloud moving at high velocity."

And then, Fort says, one M. Acharius from a town near Skeninge, Sweden, came up with a similar claim almost a century later.

On May 16, 1808, Acharius said: "There appeared on the western horizon a number of round objects dark brown in color and seemingly the size of a hat crown. They passed overhead and disappeared on the eastern horizon."

Describes 'Illuminated Aeroplane'

A Warmley, England, resident described "a splendidly illuminated aeroplane traveling at a tremendous rate" through the sky on March 6, 1912.

Even merchant mariners -- not to be outdone by landlubbers -- had a contribution to make. Fort describes the report of Capt. F.W. Manner of the barque Lady of the Lake, who on March 22, 1870 saw a cloud "of circular formation which travelled against the wind . . . retained its shape . . . and was in view for half an hour."


Lawton, Oklahoma Constitution - 17 Aug 47



City Residents Report View Of Flying Saucers

The mention of flying saucers may bring a wrinkle of doubt to the brows of most persons, but two Lawton women Saturday night were among those who are convinced there is such a thing.

They are Miss Evaline DeVaughan and her mother, Mrs. C.N. DeVaughan, who reside at 111 S. Third.

"We were out walking about 10 o'clock Friday night, when we paused and glanced to the southwest. There they were. About five or six of the discs," Miss DeVaughan said.

Miss DeVaughan, a receptionist and clerk in the dental office at Fort Sill, admits she could hardly believe her eyes, "but I'm convinced they were discs," she declares.

"They were there only for a moment, then they were gone. They were traveling southwestward and were fairly low on the horizon. From our house they appeared to be crossing one corner of the court house square," Miss DeVaughan said.

The mother and daughter attempted to describe in detail their impressions of the discs.

"They appeared about one-fourth the size of the moon and were silver colored with a reddish cast," Miss DeVaughan recalled.


Annapolis, Maryland Capital - 23 Aug 47



RED SAUCERS: Soviets Curious

Those flying disks were fun while they lasted, but by this time everybody has practically forgotten them.

Well, almost everybody.

Latest report having to do with the aerial chinaware is that Soviet agents in the United States have been ordered to solve the mystery of the disks. Presupposing the report to be true, it means, at least, that the saucers were not of Russian origin as many at first believed.

Soviet espionage agents here are said to have been advised that the Kremlin believes the flying saucers might have some connection with army experiments on methods of knocking out enemy radar during bombing raids.


Burlington, Iowa Hawk-Eye Gazette - 23 Aug 47



Local Happenings

Fred Gulden, 126 S. Central avenue, reported he saw a flying saucer in the sky between the high school stadium and the river Friday afternoon about 3 p.m. The object looked like a big piece of glass and was headed south, he said.


Helena, Montana Independent Record - 23 Aug 47



You Never Saw, Sire, Such Sights, Sirs, as Flying Saucers Now Seen Above Veracious Livingston

Livingston, Aug. 23 They're at it again!

Who?

The men from Mars, or whoever 'tis flying about these parts in aerial contraptions that resemble nothing in this world so much as saucers.

Two railway men, of grave nature, incapable of pulling jests, solemnly aver they sighted the saucers over Livingston within the past few days. J.A. Martin, watchman at the Northern Pacific shops, saw the fliers; so did Kenneth Smith, also an employe of the railway system.

Both say the machines were traveling south, just before sundown, at 0 to 60 mph. The fliers glided smoothly, without a sound, the men declare, and were plainly visible. Just before that, three small boys saw the saucers, they report. This time, the things were flying north.

A Belgrade man, convinced there is something in all this, is selling stock in a factory to manufacture cups for the saucers -- or so he says.


Naugatuck, Connecticut Daily News - 25 Aug 47



Around The Clock

Now Naugatuck has seen them -- flying discs -- or some object buzzing around the skies Thursday night was visible to quite a few localites. . . Patrolman George Smith, who resumed his duties Friday morning following a vacation with his family in the White Mountains and Vermont, told of seeing lighted objects, which he termed "flying saucers" about 8:45 o'clock . . . a couple of little boys standing nearby as the story was told agreed they'd seen the same thing. How about searchlights ? ?


Winnipeg, Canada Free Press - 27 Aug 47



Flying Saucer

LISBON, Aug. 27 (Reuters) - Portugal's first "flying saucer" brought traffic in the northern town of Villarcal to a standstill Monday as crowds gazed skywards. A golden disc was seen flying north, leaving luminous traces and making a shrieking noise.


Greenville, Pennsylvania Record-Argus - 27 Aug 47



Better Late Than Never

A flying saucer has made its belated appearance in Sharon.

It was flying at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday over the southeastern section of the city toward Youngstown, William Pancy, 15-year-old Sharon High School sophomore, reported to police.

Pancy, who lives at 273 Orchard Street, described the "saucer" he saw as being about four inches in diameter, black in color and looking like a cup cake. He estimates it was about 200 yards above the ground.


Walla Walla, Washington Union-Bulletin - 30 Aug 47



Dayton Man Sees Saucer

DAYTON - Local residents report seeing their first flying saucer Thursday afternoon at about 4:15. W.A. Moser, who was standing at the corner of Main and Second streets, first noticed the object flying very high towards the east. For a time it disappeared in a small bank of clouds, then emerged, and was soon lost to view. Others who saw it were Mrs. Laura Davies and Mrs. Raymond Foster, who were summoned from the lobby of the hotel to observe it.


Vancouver, Canada Sun - 3 Sep 47



'Flying Saucers' Stampede Pigeons

NANAIMO, Sept. 3 -- Flying saucers wheeling back into the news stampeded a flight of pigeons here and sent them racing back to their coops in fright.

Thomas Naylor, well-known West coast pigeon fancier, reported the phenomenon Tuesday. Mr. Naylor swears he saw one of the whirling discs scatter his Birmingham rollers, which were flying at great height.


Denton, Texas Record-Chronicle - 5 Sep 47



Forgotten Disks Still Seen Here

Flying disks have apparently forsaken the rest of the nation, but not Denton county.

Five of them, taking a Labor Day excursion through the sky toward Fort Worth, were reported seen at 4:30 p.m. on that day by Mrs. M.V. Hays, who lives three miles northeast of Cooper.

Hays, who reported the incident to the Record-Chronicle today, said his wife, who had long been disk-appointed, at last felt rewarded in the sight. She said the disks appeared to be made of tinfoil.


Helena, Montana Independent Record - 6 Sep 47



Flying Disks Make Spectacular Appearance Here

Sonny Sathern, young son of Mr. and Mrs. Clair W. Sathern, 412 North Beattie, was evidently on the uncomfortable side last night when he was wrestling with a neighbor boy. He was on his back. However, life is not without its compensation, and Sonny saw a flock of flying disks.

They looked quite like all the others that have been reported -- bright, some of them dark-centered, of indeterminate size, silent, fast and eerie.

Within minutes he had the entire neighborhood sharing the spectacle. Everyone agreed that the disks actually existed. They agreed on their appearance. And there harmony ceased. Altitude, speed, substance, origin and destination became matters of individual logic and intuition. The show started at about 9:30 o'clock and ended about 10:30 o'clock. The conjecturing, began at 9:30 o'clock and hasn't ended yet.

The most popularly accepted explanation is that the disks are plant spores -- aerial seeds to you, Junior -- which float through the air with the greatest of ease like dandelion seeds. The spores are very deceptive in appearance, being only about as big as 25-cent pieces, but seeming much larger when aloft. The altitude and maybe the atmosphere cause them to seem like larger objects farther away. The dark centers reported in many disks might be the seeds, and the bright perimeters might be the fluff that keeps them flying.

In this particular instance, there's one more conjecture: Sonny might have won the wrestling match if the disks hadn't interrupted.


Amarillo, Texas News-Globe - 7 Sep 47



High-Flying Objects Reported Going South

A formation of high-flying objects, described as possible flying disks, was reported headed south over Amarillo last night about 9 o'clock by newstipper Joe Denman, 1012 Harrison.

The objects were described as flying from 500 to 700 feet high, moving swiftly in a formation of about 30 units. Two wing units in diamond shape were flying in a guard position. The objects were sighted slightly east of Mr. Denman's observation post.


Salt Lake City, Utah Tribune 10 Sep 47



Four Couples In Logan See 'Saucers'

LOGAN - Flying saucers came into prominence again here Wednesday when four Logan residents reported they watched flights of illuminated objects over Cache Valley for a half hour Monday night.

The new story of flying saucers came from Mr. and Mrs. Ceylon Caldwell and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Anderson, two young couples who have been to college, "don't drink and don't go about looking for omens." They reported that they saw three brief flights of saucers, the first at 10:40 p.m. and two more before 11:10 p.m.

After playing bridge and discussing domestic affairs along with the chances of Utah State Agricultural college football team this year, they were outside the Anderson residence, 128-1/2 E. 3rd North, when they noticed the phenomenon.

Another report was made Tuesday by Keith Hughes and Joan Crookston, Logan, and later another by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Thunell, Logan.

All three reports were made from different points of the city and neither of the groups of persons know each other. None claimed to have seen the flying saucers during the recent nationwide "flurry."


Lowell, Massachusetts Sun - 20 Sep 47



Flying Saucers Are Back Again

TORONTO, Sept. 20 (AP) - Those flying saucers are back again.

Raymond Johnson and Jim Harrison, who came here from England last month, said they saw one winging over Toronto's west end Sunday and what's more they took a photograph of it.

Johnson said the object "appeared as a yellow ball, with a tail, streaming out behind it like the vapor behind an airplane on a misty day."

In the picture he presented as proof, the "saucer" showed up as an oval white spot trailing two long milky streaks of light


Bridgeport, Connecticut Telegram - 7 Oct 47



Flying Missiles Seen

STOCKHOLM Oct. 7 (AP) The newspaper Aftonbladet declared mysterious cigar-shaped missiles were seen flying high over the city of Hudikevall in northern Sweden, at noon today.

The objects emitted a sound similar to a motor noise and streaks of fire from the tail. Aftonbladet said. They came from the north it reported, and disappeared at a slow speed in the southwest.

Reports of "ghost bombs" over southern Sweden developed during the summer of 1946, but official Swedish sources discounted them after investigation. Observers suggested a possibility that meteors were responsible for some of the reports.


Salt Lake City, Utah Tribune - 9 Oct 47



Editorial: Sweden's Flying Cigars Vie With Saucers

Inhabitants of Sweden have their own version of the "flying saucers" that caused such flurries here in the United States last spring and summer. The Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet reports that mysterious "cigar-shaped missiles" have been sighted over an area in northern Sweden.

Whether the Swedish ghost bombs are similar to those reported seen last year, and discounted by authorities, has not been determined. Nor has it been reported from what direction they were coming. The American "flying saucers" have not been active lately and it is to be hoped that they have been successfully "grounded."

The fact remains that no serious explanation has been forthcoming for the phenomena reported so widely in this country, although it is true that no bona fide missiles were located and placed on view. But the day of the guided missile is undoubtedly here. The army and navy have made extensive experimental use of them over land and sea. They will likely be on the list of weapons to be used if another war comes.

In the meantime one may hope that the "flying saucers" of America and the "soaring cigars" of Sweden are not the precursors of aerial attacks on either of the two peace-loving nations.


Estherville, Iowa Daily News - 13 Oct 47



Iseminger Sees Flying Saucer; He Isn't Kidding

Just when "Flying Saucers" seemed to be out of season and news concerning them is almost non-existent, Harold Iseminger absolutely and unequivocally reports that he saw one soaring through the sky north of Esthervllle at 11:50 this morning.

When Harold came to the Daily News office to report what he had glimpsed, he immediately reassured the writer that he'd been drinking nothing stronger than water from the new city well and that he had had no easy job convincing himself that he wasn't seeing things.

IN ADDITION, not trusting his own judgment, he called to Mrs. Iseminger who called two neighbor women, Mrs. G.R. Connolly and Mrs. Roy Marriott, all of whom saw the saucer, Harold said. Added witnesses were a number of school children who were going past Iseminger's house at 414 N. 6th street at lunchtime.

The 'saucer' or whatever it was that Harold saw was perfectly round and had a tail. It was white in color with the tail a shade whiter than the saucer-like object itself. The saucer was traveling east and going at an exceptionally high rate of speed, Iseminger said.

IT WAS high in the air, Harold added and appeared to be about a foot In diameter. It didn't change its shape a particle and it could be distinguished clearly until it traveled out of sight.

Harold said he was painting in the corner of his house when he first saw the object and thought at first he was "seeing things" or that maybe a drop of paint had fallen into his eye. He watched the saucer-shaped object with the tail for sometime before he was convinced beyond any doubt that he was most assuredly watching something shoot across the sky with a tall that resembled a "Flying Saucer" more than anything else.


Paris, Texas News - 26 Oct 47



Russia Defeated On Warmongering In U.N. Committee
'Flying Saucers' Called Part of War Propaganda by Red

LAKE SUCCESS (UP) - The United Nations Political Committee last night refused to send Russia's "warmonger" resolution to a drafting sub-committee, thus handing the Soviet Union a setback in the first test ballot on Moscow's key play before the 1947 General Assembly.

The vote was 29 to 12 with four Latin American countries, India and Ethiopia joining the Soviet bloc in the minority...

In the last hour before the test vote, Russia took a conciliatory stand and appealed for a joint resolution acceptable to all. Previously Russia had pumped strenuously for adoption of its proposal with a series of slashing attacks on "war propaganda" in the United States and on the American press.

Andrei Y. Vishinsky, Soviet deputy foreign minister, spoke nearly two hours in his last-ditch fight for the Soviet proposal, repeating many of his old charges against "reactionary" circles in the United States, Greece and Turkey.

In the 57-nation Social Committee, meeting in a nearby chamber, Russia's V.A. Zorin said "the time has come for us to cease to believe in the myth of the freedom of the press in America." He ridiculed stories about "flying saucers" in the American press and said they were published by "American newspapers as a part of their propaganda for war."...


Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Compiler - 15 Nov 47



Two Claim They Saw Flying Disc

The flying discs that alerted the nation a few months ago, have now been seen over Emmitsburg.

Peter F. Burket Wednesday reported seeing a flying disc about 6:30 o'clock in the morning. He was on his way to mass at St. Joseph's Catholic church when he noticed the "shiny object in the sky travelling at a great rate of speed." The same object was also seen by James J. Kelly, of Emmitsburg.

Both men admit that probably they will not be believed, but add that they saw what they saw and the object, which was very plainly visible appeared to be similar to the flying discs described by other residents of the U.S. earlier this year when the objects were reported sighted in various sections of the country.


Ogden, Utah Standard-Examiner - 23 Nov 47



Flying Disks Seen Again, Idaho Newsman Declares

Boise, Nov. 22 (AP) One of aviation's greatest mysteries, the flying disks, have appeared again. Dave Johnson, aviation editor, said in his Sunday column in the Idaho (Boise) Statesman.

Objects sighted during the summer by persons on the ground and pilots in the air have been sighted off the Pacific coast, he said.

Here is Johnson's story:

The second officer of a tanker, the S.S. Ticonderoga, reported he saw two flying disks Nov. 12 when 300 miles north of San Francisco and 25 miles off the coast.

The report said "two flying disks were sighted flying southwest at high speed. They appeared about 35 feet in diameter and were 20 feet apart. They emitted a very bright glow and left a streak about 50 feet behind them. They were first sighted bearing west at 0620 Greenwich central time. The fix (position of the vessel) was latitude 43 degrees 15 minutes north and 124 degrees 54 minutes west."

"After receiving the report," Johnson said, "we telephoned an intelligence officer assigned to one of the air forces in the United States. This air force had received 'orders from the top' to expend every effort in tracking down the possible source of flying disks.

"We cannot give this officer's name. But, he said he is now convinced that something has been flying over the United States, and the source of that something, as far as he understands it, is not known to either the army or the navy.

"We have also learned that the army has asked what it considers its most creditable witnesses of flying disks to draw pictures of what they saw. These drawings have all been generally the same."

Johnson said the sketches show an object with a rounded nose and a tail with a sharp point, much like a tadpole.

He added that he had been informed the army has photographs it considered "reliable" and that he has seen two of them, although not the original negatives.

"The pictures," Johnson wrote, "show the objects to resemble the structure we have come to associate with supersonic aircraft. The front portion resembles a flying wing. In the center of both photographs is a dot of light. We don't know what it is. It could be either a hole or a glassed-in dome creating a reflection."

Johnson concluded, "What are or what were, the flying disks?"


Olean, New York Times Herald - 3 Dec 47



Generally Speaking

FLYING SAUCERS. "A few months ago, I wrote a letter concerning the 'flying discs', the chief topic of conversation at that time," says Babs Horton, 927 Buffalo Street.

"It was just an idea of mine on the possibility that the discs (so-called) could be from Mars.

"The earth is known to science as one of the youngest planets, and therefore it was a logical thought that the Martians are at least a million years in advance of the earth's civilization and scientific knowledge.

"It could be that the Martians were trying to get to the earth. Probably, if they did, they could teach us how to live together in peace, instead of a state of chaos and turmoil constantly.

"Maybe the idea did sound idiotic, but I am happy to see in Saturday's TH, an article by Dr. James R. Randolph, Brooklyn, a rocket expert.

"He believes Mars has a high degree of civilization . . . and that a rocket ship could reach Mars on a six months' flight and that man could live on Mars.

"So I'm glad to know that people smarter than I and better, thinkers entertain the same sort of thoughts I do."


Lowell, Massachusetts Sun - 11 Dec 47



Flying Saucers Arrive in Japan

TOKIO, Dec. 11. (AP) - It's Japan's turn.

Kyodo News agency said today a policeman and two companions in Fukushima, 125 miles north of Tokio, reported seeing a flying saucer in mid-afternoon October 10.

It was described as about a yard in diameter with a tail like a rocket, and traveling from west to east at about 650 feet altitude.


Corpus Christi, Texas Times - 19 Dec 47



Air Force Still Studying 'Discs'

BOISE, Idaho, Dec. 10. (UP) Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, chief of the United States Air Force, revealed to a Boise newspaper today that military authorities are still investigating the flying discs reported over the United Stales this year.

The general reported the continuing investigation in a letter answering several questions submitted by the Boise statesman. Spaatz said he's not convinced that discs were or are flying over the United States, but it "would be unfair to discard the possibility" that the discs are the result of foreign experimentation.


Portland, Oregon East Oregonian - 20 Dec 47



Mystery Of 'Flying Discs' Unsolved

Six months after the first "flying disc" report the elusive "aircraft" are as much a mystery as ever -- to civilians at least.

There was some indication that the army air forces, which made an exhaustive study of the various reports, knew more of the objects than it would divulge.

Dave Johnson, Boise, Ida., Statesman aviation editor, recently wrote:

The air material command at Wright Field, where the air force develops its top-secret weapons, said Sunday, approximately six months after reports of flying discs first swept the nation, that it still doesn't know the answer to the saucers.

A spokesman for the military experimental center near Dayton, Ohio, told The Statesman by telephone that the air material command "knows of nothing by which flying discs could be attributed."

Military Still Interested

However the spokesman said military authorities are still interested in the discs, and Wright field will still make prompt investigation of any "tangible evidence" concerning them.

The spokesman said that the air force is not conducting experiments with any objects that would resemble flying discs.

In response to a question suggesting that he might be attempted to keep from the public any information about a "secret weapon resembling flying discs or being flying discs" the spokesman said:

"I believe the air force is entirely honest about this. I don't believe the air force is playing innocent about it."

FBI Bows Out of Picture

It has been learned, meanwhile, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which conducted extensive investigation into the flying discs and collected statements from persons who said they had seen the objects, has turned back to the military all further work along that line.

There has been no official explanation from the FBI as to why this was done.

In response to a request from The Statesman for access to files containing the results of the Fourth Air Force's investigation of flying discs, Brig. Gen. Ned Schramm of Hamilton field, Calif., commanding officer of the Fourth wrote:

"I am bound by the directive from higher headquarters not to release the information obtained through our interest in the flying discs."

Feels Files Uninformative

Although he said he was not permitted to release the information, Schramm added in the same communication that "I feel our files would not contain anything that is not already generally known to the public."

A list of eight questions concerning the source of the discs (providing discs existed) was submitted by The Statesman to headquarters of the air defense command at Mitchell Field, New York.

The air defense command replied that "due to lack of complete details your query has been referred to the air force's headquarters in Washington for reply."

That was on Nov 20. There has been no reply forthcoming.

Believed Story Had Basis

Previously, The Statesman had been informed by an intelligence officer of one of the air force divisions under instructions "to run down the discs," that he, personally, was "convinced" something out of the ordinary had been flying over the U.S. continent, but that he could not speak thus for official quotation.


Kingston, New York Daily Freeman - 22 Dec 47



Ellsworth Says Saucer Epidemic Red Experiments

WASHINGTON, AP - Rep. Ellsworth (R-Ore) revived reports Monday that last summer's "flying saucer" epidemic may have stemmed from Russian rocket experiments.

Claiming that he has received reliable information concerning the development of high velocity missiles by soviet scientists, the Oregon lawmaker added in a statement, "Strangely enough, this development might be the solution of the now almost forgotten mystery of the flying saucers."

He said the Russians are reported to have a rocket of amazing speed and "almost limitless range" propelled by a series of explosions occurring several seconds apart.

"Each successive explosion shoots the missile forward at increased speed," Ellsworth said. "Apparently the charges are packed separately and are held apart by metal discs. As each charge is fired, the metal disc is discharged as an empty cartridge shell is ejected from an automatic rifle. The discs are made of thin metal and possibly disintegrate in the air not long after they are discharged."

Ellsworth suggested that American scientists might have been working on some similar device, but he held it more likely that any discs actually seen had come from Russian military proving grounds.


Brownsville, Texas Herald - 26 Dec 47



U.S. Ship Flies Faster Than Sound

WASHINGTON, Doc. 26 (AP) - An American plane is reported to have flown faster than sound.

The magazine Aviation Week says in its issue dated yesterday that the Bell XS-1, an experimental rocket craft, has pierced the so-called sonic barrier on several occasions during the past month at Muroc Air Base, Calif.

Marvin Miles, aviation writer for the Los Angeles Times, also wrote today that he had "learned from reliable sources" that the long-sought speed had been attained.

Col. S.A. Gilkie, commandant of the Muroc Base, neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

Secretary of Defense Forrestal has issued an order forbidding official disclosure of progress in high speed flight.

The speed of sound generally is stated at 760 miles an hour. This is based on a temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level. It varies up to 100 miles an hour in either direction as the temperature rises or falls.

The magazine said the first faster than sound flight was made by Capt. Charles Yaeger [sic, should be Yeager] has been duplicated several times by Yaeger and Test Pilots Howard Lilly and Herbert Hoover of the National Association of Aeronautics -- the government's top research agency.

Robert H. Wood, editor of Aviation Week, said he had withheld publication of the story for several weeks at the request of air force officials. He told a reporter the understanding was that the air force also would withhold publication.

Wood said he decided to release the story after learning the air force was preparing a news release on the XS-l's record. An air force spokesman said no such release is in preparation.

The Bell XS-I is powered by four rockets. It is launched from the belly of a four-engine B-29.

When the XS-1 was first announced, the air force said it was expected eventually to reach a speed of 1,700 miles an hour.


Valparaiso, Indiana Vidette-Messenger - 26 Dec 47



Faster Than Sound

Great interest has been aroused in aviation and martial circles by the assertion of Aviation Week, a trade magazine, that an experimental rocket plane, the Bell XS-1, has flown faster than-the speed of sound...

To the average layman, who had read predictions in the past that planes would eventually be built that could fly faster than sound travels, the reported accomplishment may not seem as important as it does to aviation experts. Speed records have been set and broken with such bewildering regularity in the air that this will seem to be merely another new record...

In actuality, it is much more than that. The speed of sound heretofore has been regarded as a barrier beyond which speed limits could not go. But it was long conceded that if this barrier could be pierced, there was no limit to possible supersonic speeds...


Harlingen, Texas Valley Morning Star - 27 Dec 47



Coast-to-Coast Sky Patrol Is Recommended for Nation

by PAUL F. ELLIS
United Press Science Writer

CHICAGO, Ill. (UP) A scientist recommended Friday the establishment of a coast-to-coast sky patrol, charged with the duty of determining whether flying objects may be rockets, meteors, atom bombs -- or imaginary flying saucers.

This expert on meteors, Dr. C.C. Wylie, of the University of Iowa told the American Association for the Advancement of Science that such a patrol is needed in these days of international tension.

He chided his fellow astronomers and meteor experts for not having a quick explanation for "flying saucers" that were reported in virtually all areas of the country last summer. He said the mass hysteria could have been prevented had a sky patrol been operating.

"In these days of international tension," he said, "it seems that as a matter of national security we must be ready to recognize authentic reports of V-2 bombs, robot high-speed planes and bomb-carrying balloons seen in the air."

Wylie said that the present national policy "is to ignore reports of objects seen in the heavens" and that there is no provision for finding the "real facts" back of the reports.

"We believe that our citizens have plenty of real troubles without adding the burden of imaginary dangers and that in these days of robot planes, bomb-carrying balloons, V-2 bombs and atomic bombs, neither individuals nor communities should be allowed to get hysterical because of our failure to explain some simple phenomenon, well-known to us, but not understood by the general public."

Wylie recalled that meteors had been mistaken for airplanes crashing in flames, that the planet Venus had been mistaken for a comet. He said the first "flying-saucer" report probably was based on the mistaken identity of an airplane.

He said that a group at Iowa already had set up a system of gathering reports of flying objects in the sky, and the plan might well serve as a model for national patrol under the direction of the American Meteoritical society.

"To cover the nation effectively," he said, "we are suggesting a national director, several regional directors and a considerable number of volunteer workers. As volunteer workers we could expect to have eventually a science teacher in practically every college and high school, and a number of cooperative observers of the U.S. Weather bureau.

"These are the persons to whom questions on celestial phenomena naturally come where there is no astronomer in the community."

Under Wylie's plan the national director would have several associates including an astronomer, a psychologist, and whatever technicians, computers and secretaries are required.


Walla Walla, Washington Union-Bulletin - 28 Dec 47



Oregon Plane Crash Is Tops

(By Associated Press) The disaster in which Oregon's governor, two other top state officials and their pilot died in an October 28 plane crash topped Oregon's news stories in 1947.

Associated Press editors and news editors of Oregon Associated Press newspapers and radio stations we're unanimous in selecting as the year's major story the crash which took the lives of Gov. Earl Snell, Secretary of State Robert S. Farrell Jr., Senate President Marshall Cornett and Pilot Cliff Hogue...

Voted into second place, by a wide margin, was the story of the flying saucers -- those peculiar discs which flashed before the eyes of hundreds of persons in late June and early July.

The story started at Pendleton, where Kenneth Arnold, Boise businessman told of seeing the discs while flying over Southeastern Washington. Although, as the days passed, the disc reports spread to all parts of the country and even into Canada and Australia, the Northwest retained its position as the center. With the year's end there was still no explanation -- whether the saucers existed or were evidence of mass hysteria.

Each side had its adherents...






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Notes:

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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