in the news 1948
Above: From the January 9, 1948, edition of the Louisville, Kentucky, Courier Journal, a photo of the wreckage of the P-51 flown by Captain Thomas F. Mantell, Jr. Story below.
JANUARY 9 THROUGH JANUARY 14, 1948:
Valparaiso, Indiana Vidette Messenger - 9 Jan 48
ITS EIGHT JET ENGINES producing the equivalent of 32,000 horsepower, the Northrop Flying wing is the successful result of experimentation to cut down drag. This has been done by eliminating the familiar tail assembly.
Aviation's New Era
In 1947, Air Research Made its Greatest Gains; But 1948 Production Will Decide U.S. Supremacy
By Jerome Dreyer
The year 1947 will be remembered as one in which the United States aircraft industry was given a goal -- to again make this country the top air power, a title it won and held during the war and relinquished in the immediate period afterwards.
The results of this stepped-up campaign will be evident in 1948 when the radically new flying weapons tested in 1947 will be incorporated into our armed services. We will see jet planes exploring the supersonic, guided missiles flaming through the heavens at better than 1,500 miles an hour, jet bombers hitting higher than 500 miles an hour, helicopters with 2,500-pound payloads and multi-engined aircraft carrying 400 fully-equipped troops.
ONE OF THE MOST controversial aircraft of all time. Howard Hughes' 200-ton flying boat, capacity 700 passengers, took to the air for the first time in 1947. The plane, which cost $40,000,000 to develop, figured prominently in Senator Ferguson's investigation of wartime contracts.
IN THE "500-MILE-AN-HOUR" class, the experimental six-jet XB-47 Stratojet is the first bomber to incorporate swept-back wing and tail
surfaces. Addition [sic] power for heavy-load takeoffs is provided by 18
JATO (jet-assisted takeoff) motors set in both sides of the fuselage.
POISED FOR a better than 1,000-mile-an-hour assault on the supersonic, Douglas Aircraft's Skyrocket differs from the XS-1 in that it has a jet engine in addition to a rocket motor and takes off under its own power. Once aloft, rocket motors give it a two-minute high speed run.
THE 265,000-POUND XC-99, shown with its potential 400-pasenger payload, is an indication that tomorrow's armies will move by air. The Consolidated Vultee-built global transport has a range of 8,100 miles and is now being tested before delivery this year to the Air Forces.
In carrying through this program the nation's aeronautical scientists and plane builders were charged with the correct solution of two of the most vital defense problems ever to face a nation -- one immediate, the other long-range.
The former was given priority and the aviation industry was requested to design and build piloted jet planes superior in speed and armament to those of other nations. That they have been successful in this task is evidenced by the fact that the United States recaptured the speed record from England in September, 1947, when a Douglas Skystreak flashed across California's Muroc Dry Lake at an official 650.3 miles an hour. It is interesting to note that the Skystreak's single jet engine, which produces the equivalent of 8,000 horsepower, generated as much power as the combined four reciprocal engines in a B-29.
THE GAPA, or Ground-to-Air Pilotless Aircraft, is a pencil-slim guided missile built by Boeing Aircraft to seek out and destroy enemy aircraft.
DURING 1947 several piloted experimental rocket craft were built to crack the sonic wall. Of these, the XS-1, shown inset, and above, before being launched from a B-29, is reported to be the first to fly faster than sound.
The long-range program calls for our engineering brains to develop "Flash Gordon" robot-guided missiles Already built and being tested, among others, are the "Little Joe," a shipboard launched rocket-propelled missile guided by radio against enemy aircraft formations. A proximity fuse causes it to explode when it reaches the vicinity of a plane. Perhaps the most spectacular missile is the "Bumblebee," a 1,500-mile-an-hour projectile powered by a ram-jet engine.
Despite the electronic and navigational problems encountered in this program, U.S. scientists are pushing ahead to their ultimate goal: A guided missile able accurately to carry an atom bomb more than 4,000 miles.
Walla Walla, Washington Union-Bulletin - 9 Jan 48
1948 Season for 'Seeing Things in Sky' Opens
TACOMA (AP) -- The 1948 season for "seeing things in the sky" has probably been declared open.
A subscriber phoned a News Tribune reporter here Thursday night that there was a bright object in the southeast sky that jumped up and down. He wanted to know what it was, and even inquired if the flying saucers had returned.
The reporter dutifully gazed long and carefully at a bright spot in that portion of the heavens indicated. It actually did give somewhat of an appearance of moving as whisps [sic] of clouds scudded by.
He then returned to inform his caller that it was not a saucer -- but failed to convince him.
Note to gem experts: The bright object also "twinkled like a diamond in the sky."
Lansing, Michigan State Journal - 9 Jan 48
Flying 'Discs' Again Seen Here
Those "flying saucers" are whizzing through the Lansing skies again.
Bert Goffer, paying teller at the American State bank East Michigan avenue branch, claims to have seen the latest "flyin' disc."
Goffer scoffs at the idea his vision was affected by the report of "saucers" being seen in Kentucky and Ohio, because he saw the disc about 10 o'clock Wednesday night.
A serious minded fellow, not given to seeing things, Goffer claims the comet-like "saucer" was seen whizzing over buildings in the 300 block of North Washington avenue.
He described the object as round in front, with a long tail streaking in its wake. The front "saucer-like" part of the astronomical phenomenon was red in flight, while the tail, according to his eyes, was somewhat tan in color.
Goffer was waiting to catch a bus at Washington avenue and Ionia street, when he sighted the flying object. He said it whizzed by at such a speed that only one look could be had at it.
The "saucer," he said, disappeared in a northwesterly direction beyond the buildings.
Greenville, Mississippi Delta Democrat - 9 Jan 48
Flying Saucers Zip Over Delta?
Flying saucers are zooming over Delta skies these days, at least that's what one Greenvillian who usually is a reliable person said Friday.
Declining to be identified because "everyone will think I had a snootfull and saw pink elephants too," this person said that he was traveling in his automobile Thursday evening on the way up to Scott when he saw a flaming disc streak across the skies above him.
"It was about seven thirty in the evening when I first saw it," he said, "a bright red object traveling at a tremendous rate of speed from West to East."
"The 'Thing' had a pale greenish tail, like a comet's, that trailed off into an orange color toward the end. It went perhaps three times the distance of an ordinary shooting star or meteorite and then it exploded in a burst of yellow orange flame."
"I got the impression of a rocket when I first saw the object," he explained, "and I noticed it thinking that it must be some sort of a projectile, propelled by rocket power."
He swore that he had been drinking nothing lately and in fact, his doctor had forbidden him to take a drop, "so you see, I was completely sober."
"Funny that I should have seen it," he mused, "but don't print my name, no one will believe it."
Oakland, California Tribune - 9 Jan 48
Flying Saucers? No, Just Army Airplane
SPOKANE, Wash., Jan 9 -- (U.P.) -- A high-flying B-29 superfortress and the setting sun combined to set off widespread reports late yesterday of a comet or flying saucer spewing fire across the skies.
The B-29, based at Inyokern, Calif., was making high-altitude tests at 27,000 to 33,000 feet over the city. It churned up long vapor trails which reflected the rays of the sun toward astounded residents in a 30-mile radius.
Mexia, Texas Daily News - 9 Jan 48
Speculation Revived On 'Flying Saucers'
Mysterious objects seen floating in the sky over Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio revived speculation about "flying saucers" today.
The latest report on the phenomena was at Wilmington, O., where personnel at the Clinton County Air Base reported a flaming ball of red fire which was seen for 35 minutes until it disappeared over the horizon.
National Guard headquarters in Kentucky blamed the death of a pilot on a mysterious gleaming object which he was chasing. They said pilot Thomas F. Mantell, flying without oxygen equipment, apparently flew too high, became unconscious and lost control of his plane. He crashed near Franklin, Ky. Two pilots flying with Mantell turned back after they had climbed to 20,000 feet.
A bright, bulb-shaped object also was reported seen at Clarksville, Nashville and Columbia, Tenn., and at several points in southern Kentucky yesterday. Officials at the Chicago Weather Bureau said there were no weather conditions which would have produced an aurora borealis and they also ruled out the possibility that it was St. Elmo's fire.
Findlay, Ohio Republican Courier - 9 Jan 48
"Saucers, Cones" Seen In Skies
Pilot Loses Life in Chase Of 'Saucer,' 'Flaming Cone' In Ohio
Louisville, Ky., Jan. 8 -- (AP) -- Several areas of Kentucky and adjoining states were excited today over reports of a "Flying Saucers" [sic] which led to the death of one National Guard flier and fruitless chases by several other pilots.
The National Guard headquarters at Louisville said Capt. Thomas F. Mantell, Jr., 25, was killed late Wednesday while chasing what was reported as a "flying saucer" near Franklin, Ky.
Two other members of the Kentucky National Guard, also assigned to a flying investigation of reported "Flying Discs" in the area near Fort Knox returned to their Louisville base.
Two Hopkinsville pilots, James Garret and William Crenshaw, said they chased a flying object which they believed to be a balloon.
Astronomers at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., reported they saw some object in the sky Wednesday afternoon which they believed to be a balloon but the Nashville Weather Bureau said it knew of no balloons in that vicinity.
Col. Guy F. Hix, commanding officer at Godman Field, adjoining Fort Knox, said he observed the "Flying Saucer" for some time. He said three National Guard planes were contacted by radio and instructed to investigate.
"We lost contact in about 20 minutes," Col. Hix said. "Two of the planes later called back and reported no success."
Capt. Mantell, an air hero during the Allied invasion of Normandy, was the third pilot. His mother, Mrs. Thomas F. Mantell, Sr., said at Louisville she was informed her son flew too high in his pursuit of the object and lost consciousness.
Glenn Mayes, who lives near Franklin, said he saw the Mantell plane flying at an extremely high altitude shortly before it apparently exploded in the air.
"The plane circled three times like the pilot didn't know where he was going," Mayes said, "and then started into a dive from about 20,000 feet. About halfway down there was a terrific explosion."
Parts of the plane were scattered over an area two miles wide, Mayes said. None of the craft burned.
- - - - - - - - - -
WILMINGTON, 0., Jan. 9 -- A phenomena of the skies, a flaming red cone trailing a gaseous green mist, appeared near the Clinton County Army airbase last night, and today continued to provide a mystery for the thousands of people who saw it.
The Army airbase late today issued a formal statement on the matter, but, a spokesman said, officials there still had no idea of what it was or what it might mean.
"The sky phenomena appeared in the southwest skies of Wilmington Wednesday night between 7:20 and 7:55 P.M. (EST) it was said in the army statement.
The statement continued:
"Staff Sgt. Gale F. Walter and Cpl. James Hudson, patrol tower operators at the airfield, first saw the phenomena at 7:20 P.M. and observed its maneuvers in the sky up to 7:55 P.M. when it reportedly disappeared over the horizon. The sky phenomena hung suspended in the air at intervals and then gained and lost altitude at what appeared to be terrific bursts of speed. The intense brightness of the sky phenomena pierced through a heavy layer of clouds passing intermittently over the area and obscuring other celestial phenomena.
"Master Sgt. Irvin H. Lewis. Staff Sgt. John P. Haag, Sgt. Harold E. Olvis and Tech. Sgt. Leroy Ziegler, four members of the alert crew, joined the patrol tower operators in observing the sky phenomena for approximately 35 minutes."
Louisville, Kentucky Courier Journal - 9 Jan 48
Chase for Flying Disk Blamed In Crash Death
Mantell Going Straight Into Sun, Buddies In Air Guard Say; Believe He Blacked Out
Captain Thomas Mantell, Jr., 25, was "climbing into the sun" after what he thought was a flying disk shortly before he was killed in a plane crash near Franklin, Ky., Wednesday.
So reported two of Mantell's buddies in the Kentucky National Air Guard, who were in the air with him at the time. The Air Guard yesterday said Mantell, World War II hero, who lived at 6301 Third, died because he flew too high while chasing an aerial object.
Capt. R.L. Tyler, Louisville operations officer for the Air Guard at Standiford Field, said investigation convinced him Mantell had "blacked out" from lack of oxygen at 30,000 feet. Tyler theorized the plane went into a dive and began to disintegrate at 15,000 feet.
Quit At 22,500 Feet.
Two other Air Guard officers who were flying in formation with Mantell in P-51 single-seater pursuit ships told of the high-altitude disk-chasing mission.
Both said they "peeled off" at 22,500 feet with Mantell "still climbing into the sun."
National Guard headquarters here said Mantell and his companions were asked by the Fort Knox radio to "look for" an object resembling a "flying saucer" reported sighted southwest of Godman Field.
Only One Had Oxygen Gear.
Only one of the trio, Lt. A.W. Clements, 2123 Ratcliffe, had oxygen equipment. Captain Tyler said oxygen had not been issued generally to the guardsmen because they were training at comparatively low levels.
The three, along with Lt. Robert Hendricks, were returning from a routine flight to Atlanta. Clements said Mantell apparently picked up the Godman Field radio signal as they neared Fort Knox and changed his course. Clements and Lt. B.A. Hammond, 3117 Sonora, followed. Hendricks, however, flew on to Standiford Field.
Mantell and Clements were linked by radio, but Hammond's communications set was tuned to a different frequency.
It Looked 'Like a Star.'
Clements said Mantell informed him they were to look for something "but didn't seem to know exactly what it was." Soon, Clements related, Mantell shouted through the loud speaker, "Look, there it is at 12 o'clock." Clements said this meant it was "right over our nose."
Clements gazed straight ahead and saw a "bright shining object that looked like a star." He and Mantell started after it.
Hammond, who had received no word of the flying saucer, was bewildered.
"At first I thought we were lost," he said. "Then we started climbing and I assumed we were looking for Louisville." Hammond was depending on Mantell and Clements for navigation and went on up with them to avoid losing his bearings.
"I felt a little shaky at 15,000 feet," he declared, "because I realized we were supposed to take oxygen at 12,000."
"By the time I hit 22,000 I was seeing double. I pulled alongside Clements and indicated with gestures that I didn't have an oxygen mask. In fact I circled my finger around my head to show him I was getting woozy. He understood the situation and we turned back."
Neither saw Mantell crash. His plane ripped down out of the sky some 80 or 90 miles from where they changed course after learning of the disk, Clements estimated.
Tyler blamed Mantell's headlong dash after the "saucer" on the fact that Mantell's World War II experience largely was limited to low-altitude flying. From the stories of Hammond and Clements, Tyler surmised Mantell was "climbing at full force at 23,000 feet." Mantell probably lost consciousness seconds later, Tyler said.
Eyewitnesses had reported seeing Mantell's plane arc high in the air and Tyler said this indicated Mantell, an expert pilot, was unconscious at the time.
Believes Object Was Star.
Recalling the appearance of the object, Clements remarked, "The more I think about it the more I'm convinced it was a star or some other type of celestial body."
Some reports indicated the object may have been a weather balloon. An object seen near Nashville was identified as a balloon from which a rope was dangling. Two pilots at Hopkinsville, Ky., also said they followed a flying object and believed it was a balloon. At the Madisonville weather station it was reported that Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., had sent up 21 weather-observation balloons.
Louisville, Kentucky Courier Journal - 9 Jan 48
Spyglasses Search Through the Southwest Sky But Great What-Was-It Keeps Out of Sight
One Flier Reports Something Like a Star; Colonel Hix Still Isn't Sure It Was Venus
That gleaming object seen in the southwest sky from Fort Knox Wednesday did not show up at all yesterday as Godman Field officers kept telescopes and powerful binoculars trained skyward from dawn to dusk.
Only report bearing on the celestial phenomenon came from 1st Lt. Ray J. West. He said that while flying yesterday afternoon he saw an object that "looked like a star" about where the mysterious object was seen the previous day. Lieutenant West said he was flying at 7,000 feet over Godman Field and spotted the star-like object just above the horizon.
Capt. C.W. Carter, operations officer, said that no planes had been sent up to determine whether the ob1ect was still visible yesterday.
Col. Guy F . Hix, commander of Godman Field, was not convinced yesterday afternoon that it was the planet Venus that he watched for 2 hours through 8-power binoculars. "If it were a celestial body," he reasoned, "surely it would have moved sometime during the afternoon."
"The object we saw, which was very white and resembled an upside-down open parachute, remained in practically the same spot from 2 p.m., when it was first sighted, to sundown at 5:18 p.m.," Colonel Hix explained.
Dr. Walter Lee Moore, University of Louisville astronomer, had said that under "very exceptional atmospheric conditions," the planet (Venus) might now be visible to the naked eye during the day.
Colonel Hix said he received about 35 calls Wednesday afternoon and night from various persons throughout the state who reported seeing the object. The calls came all the way from near Lebanon, in Marion County, to Morganfield, in Union, he said. No calls were received yesterday, he added.
Some persons reported the object just 150 feet above ground while others estimated the distance as high as four miles, Colonel Hix said. Descriptions varied, but most of those calling said the object was cone-shaped, he added.
Sgt. Quinton A . Blackwell, on duty in the Godman Field control tower Wednesday afternoon, was the first to see the shiny object. He described it as a silver disk, about the size of a silver dollar. "It gleamed like the reflection from some shiny, metallic surface," he said.
Reported From Ohio.
Officers of the Clinton County Army Air base near Wilmington, Ohio, also reported seeing a "flaming red cone trailing a gaseous green mist" there Wednesday night, according to an Associated Press dispatch.
The phenomenon appeared in the southwest skies at 6:20 p.m., about an hour after the strange object was seen last at Godman Field. It was visible for about 35 minutes and then disappeared over the horizon, the report stated.
Colonel Hix will make a report on the phenomenon to the Air Defense Command headquarters in New York when all the information is collected.
Danville, Kentucky Advocate-Messenger - 9 Jan 48
Military Funeral Set For Mantell
Danvillian's Kin Said To Have Chased 'Disc'
A military funeral with the Reserve Guard serving as an escort of honor will be held at 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon at Shawnee Baptist Church, Louisville...
New Castle, Pennsylvania News - 9 Jan 48
From Me To You
Something or other is flying around in the heavens above . . . and it has the scientific mind and the non-scientific minds going at great speed to determine just what is going on . . . Last summer when the flying saucers were first spotted many people made fun of the idea . . . many articles were written, many pictures were made . . . many people made up fake finds of flying saucers . . . and after awhile the idea slowed down to a slow walk. In other words the idea was poopooed . . . But this week again the men of the Air Corps are on the alert . . . who will be the first to explain just what the flying saucers are . . . did the flying saucer that was followed by three Air Corps Planes have anything to do with the destruction of one plane? There are many questions . . . Who will be the one to answer them?
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania press - 10 Jan 48
Uncle Ray's Corner --
Questions on Rockets
Questions about rockets have been asked of me by several high school students.
"What is the temperature of space between the earth and the planets?" asks Robert Edwards. "If a rocket ship is launched, will it go in a straight line to a planet, or will it have a steering device? At what speed will the rocket travel? Will you have to aim the rocket ahead of the planet because the planet is moving?"
No one knows the temperature of space above the air which surrounds the earth. It has been supposed that this space has "absolute zero," which would mean 459 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Yet we are without complete proof.
An object in space might become greatly heated by the sun's rays. Without air to spread the rays of the sun, it could become too hot for comfort. The moon is believed to become so hot during its long day that water would boil on its surface.
Yet meteors seem to pick up very little heat from the sun. Meteors blaze through the sky because they grow hot while passing through the air around the earth, but some meteor cinders have been found to be very cold inside at the time of landing on the ground.
The chances are that a great deal of testing with colors will need to be done to get the right temperature inside a rocket. Black paint on the outside of the rocket will make the inside warmer, but a silver, or white, shell will mean less heat from the sun.
It has been estimated that a rocket will have to travel about seven miles a second to get away from the gravity of the earth.
Yes, it will be necessary to aim a rocket ahead of a planet. The planets travel at different speeds, and to a great distance in an hour of time.
Let us say that we plan to reach the planet Mars after a trip of 55,000,000 miles. To cover that distance at a speed of seven miles a second would take 90 days and 23 hours, or almost exactly three months.
In the same amount of time, Mars would travel about 121,000,000 miles. That would mean a great deal of "aiming ahead." It would be well for the rocket to have a steering device, in case there was a mistake in planning.
Other questions about rockets will be taken up a week from today.
Traverse City, Michigan Record-Eagle - 10 Jan 48
It's good to have the flying saucers back again. Things are getting a bit dull.
It would be dangerous to poke fun at the soaring discs because they could easily turn out to be messages from Mars, dangerous bacteria bearers as the first step in an undeclared war on the United States by Pago-Pago, or containers of the Japanese corn borer to be released over American fields.
Or they could be boomerangs being tossed about by Henry Wallace, who specializes in boomerang throwing as a warmup for his campaign for the presidency.
They could be a lot of things but, no matter what they are, they're fun.
We need flying discs and mysterious things like that to keep us from growing too morbid or too stale. If you walk along the street with your head tipped back, watching for the saucers, you can't be looking down at the tips of your shoes worrying over your income tax. They give us something to talk about over our downtown coffee cups instead of local scandal.
Just this afternoon one coffee club member suggested that the discs might be the Southern Cal helmets which the University of Michigan football team jarred loose in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. See how they bring out deep thought?
From now until the trout season opens a lot of us will have very little to do or think about, so the flying saucers furnish excellent diversion.
Our only fear is that they will turn out to be a "teaser" advertisement for some brand of coffee.
Albuquerque, New Mexico Journal - 10 Jan 48
[Note: the following was a sidebar to a lengthy interview with Secretary of the Army Kenneth C. Royall.]
Royall Hasn't Seen Discs And Doesn't Expect To
Secretary of the Army Royall put flying saucers in a similar category to pink elephants in his interview. "Some people claim they see them. I have no belief in them. I have never heard any reason to believe there are flying discs. I refuse to believe in them."
Dixon, Illinois Telegraph - 10 Jan 48
Coast Guardsmen See Strange Light
Chicago, Jan. 10 -- (AP) -- The south Chicago Coast Guard station reported today that two Coast Guardsmen noted a strange light in the sky on Nov. 23 similar to those reported over Youngstown, Ohio, Thursday.
Chief Boatswains Mate John Kinnunen, in charge of the station, said he noted a single shaft of white light "50 to 60 degrees above the skyline to the south and off to the east of the station" as he was making a routine search of the lake from the observation platform. He said he noted the light between 9:30 and 10 p.m.
Capt. Nathaniel Fulford, head of the local office of the Coast Guard, who was visiting in the station, was called out and said the light was "almost vertical, but not reaching to the ground, nor moving in any way. It seemed to get brighter, then dimmed, and after about 10 minutes it suddenly disappeared."
Capt. Fulford said he was certain the light was not a part of search or airplane lights.
Charleston, West Virginia Daily Mail - 10 Jan 48
Kentuckians See 'Flying Pencil'
DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The skies over southern Boyle county Friday produced something new in "flying saucers," a "pencil-shaped" one that left a trail of smoke, exploded in a brilliant burst of colors, and then continued its flight.
That was the description given by most who witnessed the phenomenon.
John D. Marcum, Lexington insurance representative, traveling in Boyle county, reported that his attention was attracted to a glow in the sky. He said he saw a trail of white smoke stretching from the horizon to a point overhead.
He said he stopped his automobile and, with two passengers, watched the spectacle from the roadside. Other motorists joined them. Marcum said he noticed a "dark, pencil-shaped object with the smoke trailing behind it."
"Then it exploded," he said, "with all kinds of colors, principally red, yellow and blue, showing for a minute or a minute and a half."
After the explosion, which he said wasn't heard, the object continued its dash across the sky in a straight line until it disappeared from vision. The trail of smoke grew in size, he said, "until it appeared to sink behind the northwest horizon."
Marcum said he could not estimate the height, size or speed of the thing because it was "a great distance." It was visible seven to 10 minutes, he stated. The description of other witnesses, including a state policeman, conform.
Waterloo, Iowa Sunday Courier - 11 Jan 48
New Blazing Pencil Flies Over Kentucky
By JIM GALLOWAY
INS Staff Correspondent
Kentucky continued to hold the interest of flying saucer hobbyists yesterday as numerous witnesses in the area of Danville, Ky. told similar stories of a new "Flying Dutchman of the air" over central Kentucky.
The stories -- which checked in almost every detail -- were also similar in many respects to those which came out of Ohio Wednesday where army air force officers issued a formal statement admitting the presence of a mysterious object in the sky over Wilmington, Ohio.
The best version of the latest mystery was that told by John D. Marcum of Lexington, Ky.
Marcum travels for an insurance firm and was accompanied by his wife and the latter's sister of Ashland, Ky., Mrs. Everett McGuire.
They were driving south of Danville Friday afternoon when Marcum noticed a flame in the sky -- so bright that he thought it was a plane burning.
Calling it to the attention of the others in the car, he stopped the vehicle and they got out and watched.
More than 20 other motorists stopped and watched within the next 10 minutes.
A pencil like object was moving high in the sky, trailing smoke always all the way from the eastern horizon from whence it had come.
As they watched, there appeared to be an explosion at the end of the object, and beautiful colors shot out from the object in a bright display that reminded Marcum of skyrockets seen at night -- when he was a child.
Mrs. Marcum said:
"It was beautiful and awe-inspiring. I've never seen anything before just like it."
The object then moved off, apparently still very high in the air, towards the west and disappeared.
From the time the Marcums first saw it, the object remained visible for 10 minutes.
The smoke trail was still there in the sky, scattered some by the wind, when Marcum stopped in Danville, and pointed it out to a Kentucky state patrolman.
The army statement at Wilmington, Ohio, said that two non-commissioned officers had watched a flaming red cone trailing green hang suspended in the air, occasionally shooting up and down with tremendous bursts of speed.
It was watched by the army men and numerous other Ohio residents of the neighborhood until it disappeared to the southwest.
St. Louis, Missouri Post-Dispatch - 11 Jan 48
Technique Said To Exist To Guide Rocket To Venus
Few Mechanical Details Delaying Trip, University Scientists Say.
BERKELEY, Calif., Jan 10 (UP) -- University of California scientists are ready to navigate a rocket ship to neighboring planets as soon as a few mechanical details are worked out, the university alumni publication said today.
Writing on problems of interplanetary travel, astronomy Prof. Samuel Herrick admitted "it won't be easy," but said that "techniques already exist to make it possible."
Herrick, who teaches at U.C.L.A., said it would be necessary "to turn the rocket ship into a tiny asteroid with its own orbit around the sun, or at least far enough around to intercept Venus."
To shoot directly to the other planet would require too much speed and too much fuel, Herrick said.
Abilene, Texas Reporter-News - 11 Jan 48
'Atomic Alley' of Big Three
By ROBERT N. COOL
Associated Press Writer
The weapons which some experts fear may extinguish civilization in the event of future wars, are being tested far from the world's population centers. A rough arc drawn from western Australia up across the southwest Pacific to the Lake Baikal region of Siberia would link newly-reported experimental ranges of the three major powers.
Thousands of miles -- mostly of sea or wilderness -- separate these top-secret reservations which Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union have staked out since the war for testing their rockets and A-bombs.
* * * * *
The most recent official arrival at this atomic playground is the United States, which has designated 39,000 square miles around Eniwetok atoll in the far Pacific as a hazard area due to "routine experiments and tests of atomic weapons." But though this sector was designated in December by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the Navy had made use of nearby Bikini atoll for its experimental explosion of two atomic bombs in June 1946.
In its announcements, the government suggested that new tests will be on a large scale. It said Eniwetok -- part of the island empire which was turned over to the United States by United Nations action, after being controlled by Japan -- was chosen partly because "it is isolated and there are hundreds of miles of open seas in the direction in which winds might carry radioactive particles." New Guinea, the closest large land area, is about 1,500 miles to the southwest. San Francisco is about 5,000 miles to the northeast. To make way for the atomic testing reservation, some 147 Marshallese inhabitants of the atoll have been persuaded to move to another island. The cleared region will be subject to rigid security control, and may overtake New Mexico as a rocket-testing preserve.
* * * * *
The British Commonwealth rocket-testing range, estimated to cost 6,000,000 Australian pounds, was announced late in 1946. A plan approved by the Australian cabinet was said to call for a launching base near the south-central coast from which rockets would be directed toward British-owned Christmas Island, 3,000 miles distant in the Indian Ocean. The range would traverse the desert of Western Australia, with radar stations and observation posts on the line of flight. Radar-equipped ships on the trans-ocean part of the route were also mentioned as likely to form part of the project.
* * * * *
Known types of present-day rockets have a range of only a few hundred miles, but the Australian-Indian Ocean site was evidently planned with more advanced, radio-guided missiles in mind.
The scheme was reported to call for the manufacture of rocket bombs in a huge wartime explosives plant at Salisbury, 14 miles from Adelaide.
* * * * *
Aside from a statement by Foreign Minister V.M. Molotov hinting that the atomic bomb "secret" is known in Moscow, Russian activities in atomic weapon development have been kept well under cover.
Last November, a Paris newspaper said that the Soviets had exploded a "12-1/2 pound atom bomb" which was heard for 20 miles around the proving ground near Irkutsk, Siberia.
That this remote region is a new center of Soviet work with atomic energy was also indicated by Pravda, while a former chief of the U.S. Army's Russian Economic Section has reported that several new industrial cities are being built in the area.
This authority, Ellsworth I. Raymond, said that Irkutsk and the surrounding region bordering Lake Baikal is intended to become a Soviet "Tennessee Valley Authority" set-up for developing atomic energy.
Like Oak Ridge, Tenn., where the U.S. wartime atomic bomb was developed, Irkutsk is in the center of a region abounding in potential hydroelectric power.
Since it is also largely an unbroken wilderness, extending to the Arctic circle, Siberia has been viewed as a likely place for the Russians to test whatever secret weapons they may develop.
Kingsport, Tennessee News - 12 Jan 48
Flying Saucer May Have Been 'Bowl' Balloon
Miami, Fla. -- AP -- Tennesseans and Kentuckians who saw "flying saucers" last week will be relieved to know they probably were nothing but helium-filled balloons released at the Orange Bowl football game here Jan. 1.
F.J. Routon, Miami real estate man, received a clipping Sunday from the Jan. 7 Nashville-Tennessean headlined "Comet Over City Is Just Balloon," describing the flurry caused among citizens and astronomers by the appearance of a "round object, apparently made of glass."
Some thought it looked like a "gold star," others said it looked like the planet venus [sic, uncapitalized] and some astronomers guessed it was a "daylight comet."
One observer, viewing it through a telescope, said it "unquestionably was a balloon," and described a rope hanging from it, with knots or small objects attached to the rope.
The description fits that of the five 10-foot balloons released between halves of the football game here. Long streamers of crape [sic] paper, with smaller balloons hooked on, were attached to the large balloons.
At Fort Knox, Ky., National guard planes chased a "flying saucer" which was reported at "an altitude of more than 20,000 feet and going at a speed of 180 miles per hour."
Middlesboro, Kentucky Daily News - 12 Jan 48
Hammond Flying in Mantell Formation
Lt. B.A. Hammond, son of Mr. and Mrs. B.C. Hammond of Middlesboro, was flying in formation with Capt. Thomas F. Mantell, Jr., just before a plane crash near Franklin, Ky., Wednesday, put an end to Mantell's search for an object which appeared to be a "flying disc."
Hammond was not connected with Capt. Mantell or Lt. A.W. Clements by radio, and not knowing what the trio was searching for, turned back with Clements after getting "woozy" at 22,000, feet. He did not have an oxygen mask. Neither Hammond nor Clements saw Mantell crash.
Circleville, Ohio Herald - 12 Jan 48
Saucers And Scientists
IF YOU SEE a strange object in the heavens, don't expect scientists to take much interest. Dr. C.C. Wylie of the University of Iowa told the American Association for the Advancement of Science at their December meeting that it is almost impossible to find the real facts about such reports. The flying saucers of last Summer are an example. Some were hallucinations, some hoaxes, and the rest had a natural and simple explanation. Yet a lot of people worried about them.
Not the scientists, however. And henceforth, they say, they will not take time off from their own work to soothe the baseless fears of others. Let them fill their own cups of woe, along with their saucers.
Bridgeport, Connecticut Telegram - 12 Jan 48
Those Saucers Again
Those flying saucers are back in the news again. We thought they had been definitely dished or busted, but now they are reported in great numbers from various parts of the country, and in some cases, with apparently good witnesses to prove their existence.
Already we have lost one airplane in Kentucky pursuing one of these objects. A report from Fort Knox shows that the so-called flying saucers were spotted by a number of observers simultaneously, pursued by airplanes, and chased by police cars -- all without results except the fatality when one of the pursuing planes crashed.
In other words, the things do exist. They are not merely dreams or hallucinations, Three national guard pilots who followed one of the "saucers" after it had been spotted from an airport observation tower, reported that at the height of 20,000 feet, it was still far above them and traveling at an estimated speed of 180 miles an hour.
The present time is a period of maximum sun spots, and according to the astronomers who follow the sun spot cycle, the spots this year will be bigger and more active than at any time within the past quarter of a century. Sun spots are caused by enormous storms on the surface of the sun, and these storms are largely electrical in character. They affect our own atmosphere very noticeably.
A period of maximum sun spots produces a period of maximum "northern lights," and interference with short wave radio. It may be therefore that there is some connection between the sun spots and the flying saucers, the latter being electrical disturbances in our own upper atmosphere. This is only a guess, but then if an object is flying higher than 20,000 feet at the rate of 180 miles an hour, and can't be tagged by our fastest planes, it seems that one guess is as good as another.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press - 12 Jan 48
As We See It ---
NEWSPAPER copy readers, who are the principal molders of the American language as it is spoken, have made flying disc the generic term for any unidentified object seen in the sky. The term started out to be flying saucer, but disc is more convenient in headlines.
We point this out in connection with the sighting of a strange aerial object over Kentucky, which had tragic consequences in the death of a young National Guard pilot who tried to catch it. What passed over Kentucky doesn't seem to have been exactly a disc, whatever it was.
But it was something. Heretofore we've been inclined toward putting down flying disc stories to a kind of mass hysteria. We still doubt that the gyzmos [sic] so many people claim to have seen in the sky are anything sinister, but admit we'll be a little easier in our minds when somebody does finally identify and catalog one of the things.
Kingsport, Tennessee Times - 13 Jan 48
Flying Saucers Traced to Va. Kem Gem Mines
St. Charles, Va. -- (Spl.) -- The flying saucer mystery has been solved in this area.
Ray Baker of Kemmerer Gem mines told the story Monday of how he and others at Kemmerer Jem sent up queer objects from the mines.
A package of balloons, a can of lye and some aluminum dust have been components of Kem Gem "flying saucers." The aluminum and acid is mixed in a bottle, dampened to create a gas. When the acid begins to give off gas, the balloons are partly blown up then placed over the neck of the bottle to receive the escaping gas until filled. When fully inflated, they are released. "Gee, how they take off and go places," said Baker.
Laughingly, Baker said you can say we have had a lot of fun with them for a long time and now we'll tell them how we did it.
He also said the balloons would travel many miles at a rather fast speed but eventually the acid would burn its way through the rubber and the balloon would then burst and vanish.
Greenville, Mississippi Delta Democrat Times - 13 Jan 48
Okay, So We're Sorry
AFTER poking fun at a friend a few days ago, who claimed to have seen a "flying saucer" streaking through the skies above Scott, we read a description of the objects flying about over Kentucky and we apologize to our friend.
Remarkably, the description of the "saucers" tallied closely with that the Kentuckians describe. Despite the fact that we are still dubious of "flying saucers" in general, we admit being impressed with the closeness of the two unrelated descriptions.
Still doubting, we'll keep our eyes peeled for the next few nights and we ask our readers to do the same. As long as these airborne saucers are going to be reported by people all over the country, Greenville might as well see its share.
(Bob Peck at the Chamber of Commerce, please note.)
Lowell, Massachusetts Sun - 13 Jan 48
Flying Saucers Over Concord
LOWELL -- 1948 models of flying saucers made their debut in this section within the past two days.
Dr. C.H. Vaughan of Burlington, Vt., reported that he saw an object -- "bluish-white with no tail" -- while driving between Concord and Lexington yesterday. Others reported seeing something resembling a ball of fire Sunday in Vermont and Mass.
Portland, Maine Press Herald - 14 Jan 48
Vermonters See More Flying Saucers
Burlington, Vt., Jan 13. (UP) -- Bemused officials of this city said today that 20 persons had reported sighting flying saucers -- round ones, square ones and a few with handsome blue tails.
Most reports came from Chittenden and Franklin Counties. One Vermonter, Dr. C.H. Vaughan of Burlington, said he saw a "bluish-white" flying saucer land in Massachusetts between Concord and Lexington. He said he was driving an automobile when he saw the object.
The fresh wave of celestial fireworks started Sunday when Robert H. Streeter of West Bolton notified authorities that he had sighted a flying saucer at 4:40 p.m.
Three hours later, Mrs. Ralph Holmes, wife of a University of Vermont physics professor, said she observed a fiery object whizzing through the sky.
Dothan, Alabama Eagle - 14 Jan 48
'48's Flying Saucers
The Russians started it last year with their rocket experiments over Sweden.
Then people began seeing things in this country. "Flying Saucers", they called them. It caused some jitters. Not so much because people were scared. It was the mystery, the unknown. People are never comfortable when something isn't understood or can't be explained.
And then the whole affair died down. Until last week. The "flying saucers" were seen over Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. Remembering the saucers of six months ago and recalling that nothing happened, most people laughed. There was no excitement this time. In fact, people were decidedly more sensible. It's just as well. The saucers this time turned out to be balloons that were released at the Orange Bowl football game in Miami on New Year's Day. They have been so identified, by one citizen who had the gumption to get out his telescope and be sure of what he saw . Orange Bowl officials agreed with him that what he saw was what they had turned loose.
Perhaps this doesn't explain last year's phenomenon, since no one has confessed turning loose balloons then. But it certainly nips in the bud a recurrence of the 1947 mystery of the year -- and quick.
Billings, Montana Gazette - 14 Jan 48
Those Disks Again
What they are, where they are coming from and where they are going nobody knows, but apparently too many people who are not given to just imagining things are seeing them to dismiss as hoaxes the stories of "flying disks," the appearance of which is again making headlines. A number of explanations have been offered to account for them but they remain nothing better than guesses. One suggests that they are flakes thrown off by some astral body, but if the law of gravitation works in the outer reaches of our universe that doesn't seem to be logical. Anyway, unless they are something supernatural, as has been ventured by some folks who delve into such mysteries, and they keep flying through the air, one of them would doubtless be chased to earth eventually and the nature of the object determined.
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