in the news 1952
Above: Editorial cartoon from the August 6, 1952 edition of the San Mateo Times.
NINETEEN FIFTY-TWO might be remembered for many things, large and small. The election of Dwight Eisenhower as President of the United States. Fifty thousand American families afflicted by Polio. The British A-bomb. The first issue of Mad magazine. The theory of the Big Bang.
But for those of a certain bent, 1952 will also be remembered for the second great 'flying saucer flap' which climaxed with the reports of radar and visual sightings over the nation's capital in late July.
Part of the story of that event-filled year is now available in declassified government files. But for the public back then -- at a time when only one in three families in America had a television set -- the story was mostly found in the newspapers and magazines.
This then is a look back at those stories, as they first appeared in print...
AUGUST 6, 1952:
Ada, Oklahoma Evening News 6 Aug 52
'Blips' Keep Radar Screens Busy At Nation's Capital
Jet Pilots Go Up, Find Nothing; Operators Say Most Puzzling Yet
WASHINGTON -- Radar screens showed signs of mystery objects flitting slowly through rainswept, pitch-dark skies over the nation's capital last night and early today.
The Washington Post said one official called it "a veritable fleet." It also quoted an experienced radar operator as saying "this is the most puzzling phenomenon we have ever observed. We have definitely not been seeing spots before our eyes."
But again, the Air Force -- assigned to look into all "flying saucer" reports -- seemed to write off any theory of strange nocturnal visitors.
An Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon noted that the radar sightings -- tiny blips on a fluorescent screen -- started just about the time a thunderstorm hit the Washington area with heavy rain. Two jet fighters were sent up from Newcastle, Del., shortly after midnight, but pilots saw nothing unusual.
In recent weeks radar screens around Washington have shown unidentified objects. Air Force chiefs have said they are personally satisfied that the sightings were caused by weather phenomenon.
A spokesman at Andrews Field said two unidentified objects showed on the field's radar screen at 10:20 p.m. moving slowly from Washington to Mount Vernon, George Washington's home. A few minutes later two more images appeared on the screen, four to six miles east of the field, which is about seven miles southeast of Washington. These objects appeared to move slowly, then stop, then fly away,
A similar image appeared shortly after midnight.
At one point, the Civil Aeronautics Administration control tower at Washington National Airport asked Andrews to investigate an object showing up on its radar screen. Andrews located the object by radar and a visual check from the Andrews control tower showed it to be an airplane approaching Washington.
Madison, Wisconsin Capital Times - 6 Aug 52
Navy Officer Hits Gag Rule, Saucer Quiz
Blasts Top Brass, FBI 'Witch Hunts' In Telegrams to Truman, Lovett
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Navy Cmdr. Dave Lott, former deputy commanding officer of the armed forces radio service in Hollywood, lashed out at the armed services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation today for "gross injustices."
One minute after he returned to inactive duty Tuesday midnight, Lott sent telegrams listing his complaints against the services and the FBI to President Truman, Air Force Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, Defense Secretary Robert Lovett, FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover and Sens. William F. Knowland (R-Calif), Richard Nixon (R-Calif) and Robert Taft (R-O).
He flayed a "gag rule" which, be said, prohibits members of the services from engaging in political discussions or criticizing the armed forces.
The Air Force's handling of the flying saucer investigation, Lott said, was "one of the most inept, disgraceful and downright ludicrous displays of inefficiency ever displayed in a governmental operation."
Lott charged that the FBI has "begun to allow its anti-Communist activities to assume the aspects of 'witch hunts.'"
Fort Pierce, Florida News Tribune 6 Aug 52
'Saucers' May Be Produced By Vacuum Bell, Reported
WASHINGTON -- The Evening Star reported Wednesday that Army engineers, working with a vacuum bell in a laboratory, have produced atmospheric phenomena which may explain the widespread reports of "flying saucers."
In a copyrighted story by W.H. Shippen, the Star said the experiments created airborne objects which "can speed up, hover indefinitely, or disappear and re-appear in a flash."
"The man-made saucers occasionally fly in formation. Moreover, they are believed to have substance enough to show up on the screen of a radar designed to track them."
What the experimenters did, the Star said, was use the vacuum bell as a tiny working-model of the stratosphere and reproduce "two forces -- very low air pressure which are balanced against static electricity in a way to give off light."
"Experimenters in the research and development laboratory at Fort Belvoir, Va., believe those two are the primary factors responsible for saucer sightings by competent observers," the story added.
The Star published its report on the experiments following a night of rain during which radar screens, scanning the skies over the Capital, showed a flurry of mystery objects.
In line with the theory that they are atmospheric phenomena, an Air Force spokesman noted that the radar sightings -- tiny blips on a fluorescent screen -- started about the time a thunderstorm hit the area.
Two jet fighters were sent up from Newcastle, Del., shortly after midnight but the pilots reported they saw nothing unusual. During the time the planes were aloft, the radar screens picked up none of the usual "blips."
Repeatedly in recent weeks radar screens around Washington have shown unidentified objects in the air. Air Force chiefs have said they are personally satisfied that the sightings were caused by weather phenomenon.
The Star said the experiments at Fort Belvoir were carried out by Noel W. Scott, a physicist who is also an amateur astronomer. In doing some other research, he had noted lights which appeared to him to be "flying saucer" phenomena in miniature.
Tuesday, the Star said, Scott gave a demonstration for Lt. Gen. Lewis A. Pick, chief of Army engineers, and others. He used a vacuum bell 18 inches across and a little less than three feet tall.
The paper gave this account of the demonstration:
"Mr. Scott produced a near-vacuum within the bell or roughly corresponding to pressure believed to exist at an altitude of 200 miles above the earth. Very thin air within the bell was ionized through exposure to static electricity fed into a metal circle at the base of the bell.
"When minute quantities of air were let into the glass container, a bubble-shaped glow of orange light began to rise from the center of the base. The light expanded into the shape of a small electric globe. Here it remained poised, or could be induced to detach itself from the base, or float off against the glass wall.
"When the light floated free, a faint purplish glow developed at its base, as if the object was propelled or sustained in position by a jet exhaust. To some observers it resembled a glowing orange balloon emitting a purplish gas or flame; to others, a new model for a space ship.
"The motion of the objects developing within the bell could be controlled to some extent from the outside. The lights tended to follow a small electric magnet drawn along the glass, or even the wave of a man's hand. This occurred when the man's body contained enough static electricity to influence the lights."
"At times, small orange lights about the size of marbles rolled across the base and made minute flashes on the glass. Mr. Scott said these lights sometimes float in formation. He believes they are drawn into position and into the same motion by ionized layers of minute cloud masses within the jar.
"The experimenters say their method of producing the phenomena may be new, but the principles involved have been known for years to students and physicists."
The New York Times published last Sunday a letter from James A. Browning, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Dartmouth College, suggesting that ball-lightning was the "culprit" in the saucer mystery.
Charleroi, Pennsylvania Mail - 6 Aug 52
Uniontown Receives Flying Saucer Reports
UNIONTOWN, Pa. -- It had to happen!
First reports of "flying saucers" in the Uniontown district.
Robert Boyle, S. Gallatin Ave., and Harry Mulligan, Ben Lomond St., reported shortly after 9 o'clock they saw two brilliant lights high in the sky and going "fast." The youths were sitting in Boyle's convertible near his home and said there was no sound to attract their attention.
A few minutes later Halbert Hickle, Uniontown, R.D. 4, called to report seeing a "bright red light traveling as fast as a jet." Harold B. Stevens, of Stevens Flying School, also received a call from a Connellsville resident who said he had seen "an object in the sky."
Mrs. J.T. Shepler, Morgantown Rd., called at 11:20 last night to report she saw unusual light formations in the sky over the Dutch Hill area near the Uniontown Country Club.
Meanwhile, in Washington yesterday, Maj. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, the Air Force "saucer man," said six years of flying saucer reports had "reasonably well" convinced him there is no such thing.
Bradford, Pennsylvania New Era - 6 Aug 52
Round The Square
BRADFORD, TOO: With flying saucer stories on the wires of the Associated Press practically every day, we thought you might like to know that Bradfordians, too, are getting into the act.
Several residents of Euclid Ave. between Penn and Fisher Aves. called the Era editorial offices Friday night to say that they saw what looked like flying saucers in the sky.
The informants said that they were standing in the shade at the time and could see the objects when they looked into the sun. The Air Force has received numerous reports of "sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena" in the past few weeks.
Wellsboro, Pennsylvania Agitator - 6 Aug 52
Billy Woodin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Larry Woodin, saw some Flying Saucers over the Y Drive-In last week Thursday.
Connellsville, Pennsylvania Daily Courier - 6 Aug 52
Hunker Man Says He Observed 'Flying Saucer'
GREENSBURG, Aug. 6. -- Continuing their travels across the country, flying saucers have been visiting the Greensburg district lately. At least that's what James W. Storey of Hunker reports.
"At 6:15 o'clock Friday evening," Storey related, "I sighted a flying saucer proceeding south over Hunker. The sun was bright and the sky clear."
The disc appeared to be traveling at about twice the speed of a passenger airplane which had just flown overhead, Storey said. He said the saucer was going straight and seemed to have a destination.
"It appeared to be round and didn't seem very high, although it could have been because it looked so small. The disc continued on until it was out of sight," he said.
Storey said he felt certain the disc was tangible and not an optical illusion or a ray of light caused by weather conditions.
The Air Force has previously discounted the theory that flying saucers create a menace to the United States.
Connellsville, Pennsylvania Daily Courier - 6 Aug 52
Charles Balsley Beats Einstein To Punch; "Solves" Saucers In Skies
One of the most discussed subjects in the land today are "those things" reportedly being seen in the skies -- day or night -- over parts of the United States. Designated generally as "flying saucers" there has been no substantial explanation of them and people ponder their origin.
A local citizen came up yesterday with his version.
Charles. H. Balsley, former health officer, in the city, walked into The Courier office with the declaration:
"I've come to 'explain' those flying saucers to you. I think television is causing it. If TV waves can travel horizontally across the land for as far as Chicago, they can travel an equal distance up into the skies. They're probably causing a reflection which is being seen as flying saucers."
Then, with a grin on his face, he backed out of the door saying:
"I thought if Einstein couldn't figure it out I'd do it myself."
So there you have it: The flying saucers are reflections caused by television waves.
Annapolis, Maryland Capital - 6 Aug 52
COMPARING NOTES ON 'SAUCERS' -- Buffie Thurlow (left) and Juanita Anne Ramer (right) discuss the "sky-borne shapes" they saw on Monday and Tuesday nights over Annapolis skies.
Was It Or Wasn't It? Two Youngsters Give Their Views On Local Saucer Issue
By Pat Meid
The orange-colored body spotted here Monday night wasn't a flying saucer. It was a meteor. That's the opinion turned in today by "Buffie" Thurlow, 10- year-old Annapolis Elementary school fifth grader, who speaks knowingly of "astroids" [sic] "meteors" "Constellations" [sic] and "flying saucers".
"I was outside studying the stars on Monday night," recalls Buffie, son of Mrs. Betty J. Thurlow, 13 Bloomsbury Square, "and I saw something that flashed across the sky. It seemed to come in the constellation Cygnius, [sic] the Northern Cross, but it acted like a meteor, not a flying saucer, because I've seen flying saucers before."
Buffie patiently proceeded to explain the differences between these two heavenly phenomena.
"Flying saucers don't have a tail," he said, "but a meteor does. This orange object began at one point of the constellation, flashed across the sky, and ended at another. But it left a tail behind it for a couple of seconds."
The object, according to Buffie, was orange and "in the shape of a line."
"Meteors travel at 60 miles or more through space," young Thurlow pointed out, "and when they plunge into the atmosphere they become hot and have a tail. They usually burn up before they get to the ground."
Where do meteors come from?
"We're not sure," replied the young astronomer cautiously, "they might come from astroids, [sic] but science isn't absolutely certain about that."
But Buffie, who has been studying, is certain that Monday night's object wasn't a flying saucer.
"I've seen flying saucers before," he said. "There were two that flew across the sky here last April, about 15 degrees apart. They were dark red in color, and were straight, swift, and made no noise."
Juanita Anne Earner, of 811 Bay Ridge avenue, however, isn't so sure. She saw something strange hi the sky last night and it frightened her. In fact, she doesn't feel comfortable about it even today.
Eleven-year-old Juanita's experience began when she went out to bring her dog "Shep" in last night around 8:45 P.M. As she went into the yard, she happened to look toward the eastern part of the sky.
And there "it" was.
"It was awfully large and orange-colored and had yellow streaks through it," declared Juanita, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John C. Earner. "The object resembled a huge ball of fire and its yellow streaks looked like lightning that was going to crack it."
The object rose from the ground until it reached the height of the tree-tops and there it hung there [sic] for several seconds. Then it continued skyward where it disappeared from sight, according to the Bay Ridge youngster.
Strange sights were bad enough, but to make matters even worse, strange sounds accompanied it. At the same time Juanita saw the "ball of fire" with its lightning-like fingers that seemed to tear it apart, she said she also heard a "buzzing noise."
Juanita, who has not been reading about flying saucers in the newspapers or listening to the reports of them, streaked back into her house where she tried to drink a glass of water to calm herself. But Mrs. Ramer said her daughter was still so frightened she couldn't swallow and couldn't sleep well either. Juanita's little four-year-old brother, David, had a different reaction however. He wasn't worried about his sister's experience, but only keenly disappointed when he went out to look at the sky.
The flaming orange object had disappeared.
Panama City, Florida News Herald - 6 Aug 52
Mysterious Rock Shower Investigated
EVANSVILLE, Ind., Aug. 6 -- For seven successive nights limestone rocks about the size of a fist have rained down from somewhere onto the roof of Lewis Schattin's farmhouse.
The Schattin farm, five miles north of Evansville, is on level ground, and stands in the open. Neighbors and curiosity seekers have stood guard at the house, and in surrounding fields, yet the rockfall continues from an as yet unknown source.
Deputy Sheriff Leonard Denton went out Tuesday night and was just as mystified as the next one.
David M. Bigelow, director of education at the Evansville Public Museum, suggested that limestone layers under incinerators sometimes explode.
Lewis thought that interesting, but he has had no fires on the premises. The showers of rocks continued for more than three hours Tuesday night.
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche 6 Aug 52
Carolinian Reports Seeing 'Pilot' In Hovering Saucer
RALEIGH, N.C., Aug. 5 -- North Carolina's civil defense director, E.Z. Jones, plans to interview a 49-year-old retired mechanic Wednesday concerning a letter he wrote in which he saw a low-flying "flying saucer" with a pilot.
In a letter addressed to Jones and dated Aug. 1, Sam Coley said he and his daughter saw a "saucer" come across a 15-acre field near their Red Springs, N.C., home last September.
Flew At Slow Speed
"We saw this thing coming at a slow speed. It was getting closer all the time. It came about 100 yards from where we were standing. It came to a complete standstill, not more than seven feet from the ground and we were amazed at it."
Coley described the "saucer" as having "something inside it that looked like a bright electric light." He said it "seemed about six feet from top to bottom and it seemed to be bulged out." He continued:
"It also had something in it which seemed to be a man and not a dummy. It stood in one position for about 10 minutes and we took a real good look at it."
Jones said the report was one of nearly a score of "saucer" stories his office has received within the past two weeks. He added:
"Coley said he had not reported the object earlier because he was afraid he might be ridiculed."
Jones said reports are pouring in from persons who have seen strange objects in the sky.
One report came from a Guilford County woman who said she saw a red, glowing object last Saturday. She described it as "making a sound like a cat's purring."
Jones is checking all "saucers" reported to his office. In fact, he is encouraging people to report "flying saucers." He explained:
"People shouldn't be ashamed to report whatever they see no matter how fantastic it may seem because we are simply after as much information as we can get."
Greensboro, North Carolina News - 6 Aug 52
Army Names Man To Collect Data On Flying Disks
Seen any "flying saucers" lately?
If any of the mysterious craft are seen in the Greensboro area, Army intelligence is interested. In fact, the Army's Sherlock Holmes staff is so interested, it has named Col. Ralph L. Lewis as collector of information on the aerial discs.
Lewis, who is a top officer of the civil defense organization in Greensboro, said he will be glad to receive and investigate any and all reports on airborne crockery at any time, day or night. His phone numbers are 4-5401 and 2-5043.
Panama City, Florida News-Herald 6 Aug 52
St. Pete Driver Has Flying Saucer Story
ST. PETERSBURG -- A newspaper delivery truck driver reported that an object, so brilliant that it momentarily blinded him, swooped down on his vehicle Monday morning.
He said it hovered less than 300 feet above him for almost five minutes before shooting straight upward and disappearing.
The driver, John McGorrisk, said he jammed his truck to a halt when the light blinded him. After recovering his wits, and his sight had become adjusted to the brilliance, McGorrisk said he got an excellent view of the object which he described as being 50 feet in diameter, flat on the bottom and dome-shaped on top.
McGorrisk said the object appeared out of the north, moved toward him slowly, hovered, and then disappeared completely in three seconds after it started to move upward.
Other reports of flaming objects speeding through the night skies in the St. Petersburg area were reported today, but none as vivid as McGorrisk's.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin Daily Telegram - 6 Aug 52
Don't Want To Be Quoted
Women Sight Saucers
The flying saucers have found Eau Claire.
Or at least so it would appear from a flurry of reported sightings of the mystery objects over the city this week.
The first rumor that the saucers were paying nocturnal visits to the city was reported Tuesday morning. Three members of one family, the rumor went, had observed the saucers on three successive nights as they soared over Shawtown.
One woman named as a saucer spotter in the rumor was contacted and admitted seeing the objects, but said "The less said about it the better."
Then, Tuesday afternoon, a breathless feminine voice phoned in another report.
"Flying saucer in the northeast sky," she said. "We're out on East Side Hill and my daughter saw it first. There are a lot of people looking at it now."
She too declined to give her name and a hurried search of the sky from the Press Co. roof and a trip to the hill by a reporter and photographer failed to disclose any sign of the reported object.
With the Air Force again denying that there is any substance to the saucers perhaps the flights over the city will stop.
However Ken Esslinger, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, repeated his prediction today that there would be saucers over the city in force August 14.
Huron, North Dakota Huronite 6 Aug 52
Oil Boom Area In N.D. Is Latest Center Of Flying Saucer Activity
WILLISTON, N.D. -- The possibility of "flying saucer" activity of northwestern North Dakota's oil boom area is getting consideration here.
At least seven persons in the Williston area recently have seen unusual lights or alleged objects in the sky at night.
Maj. Robert I. Jones, commandant of an air force installation at Fortuna, N.D., about 60 miles north of here, disclosed Monday. that "a private pilot" two weeks ago reported seeing a dish-shaped object flying "at 3,000 miles an hour."
The pilot described a disc, "bright orange around the fringes," which he said approached Williston from the northeast to a distance of 15 miles and then suddenly turned and went back the way it had come.
Maj. Jones wouldn't disclose the pilot's name, but said his report had been filed with air force authorities.
The air force officer said he knew of no jets or any other military planes in the area at the time the strange lights have been seen, and that nothing unusual has been picked up by radar.
Farmer Carl Pergande said that last Saturday evening at Springbrook, N.D., 10 miles northeast of here, he saw a light shoot across the sky and then return five minutes later.
The light was "10 or 12 feet long," declared Pergande, who heard no noise, such as a jet plane might have made. It was a quiet night.
Last Friday evening, an adult and three children driving past Pergande's farm saw a bright light "like a star" ahead of them above the road.
"Drive fast, mother," said 11-year-old Karen Korsmo to Mrs. Earl Korsmo. But when their car reached the summit of a hill the light was shooting over the prairie horizon. It faded from view.
Jack Daniels, Williston airport manager, reported Dexter Lilly, an official of a Sidney, Mont., beet sugar firm, said he saw a flash of light streak toward Williston from the north and then suddenly veer off to the east.
One Springbrook resident commented: "If I saw five or six flying objects, I still wouldn't admit it. People, would laugh."
"Sure, some people laughed at me," Pergande said, "but I saw the streaks of light."
Another farmer noted the alleged objects have been mostly spotted over Washington, D.C., and defense areas.
"Maybe the" saucers are investigating North Dakota's oil boom," he said.
Williston is 35 air miles from drilling activity at Tioga, N.D., and serves as headquarters for several firms operating in the Williston Basin.
Mitchell, South Dakota Daily Republic - 6 Aug 52
Flying Saucers Are Reported In Carthage Vicinity
CARTHAGE -- Mrs. Ida Nylund, who lived [sic] in the south part of town, and her three grandsons, Larry, Glen and Raelyn Sutton, reported seeing flying saucers m the sky July 30.
The boys were the first to see the strange object and called to their grandmother to witness the spectacle. She went outside in time to see a large, round object flying through space toward the ground. While she was watching, another came in sight much like the first, and when she looked for the first one it had disappeared.
The boys claimed there had been four or five before that.
The incident was reported to J.B. Harmon, civil defense director of Carthage.
Rapid City, South Dakota Journal - 6 Aug 52
'Saucers' Also Lurk In Skies Over Oil Areas
Springs Woman Saw Saucers
By Leonard Inskip
About 10 mysterious objects came down, stayed for some time and one by one took to the air in formation, a Hot Springs woman reports. "They disappeared at terrific speed," she adds.
The landing was near the Black Hills Ordinance Depot, Igloo, "before the general excitement in 1947," according to this source. Many employes at the depot witnessed the event, she said, but the crafts landed too far away to approach.
The Hot Springs woman mentioned the event in a letter reporting a more recent sighting the evening of July 28 when three employes of the depot saw one of the saucer-shaped disks.
Corsicana, Texas Daily Sun - 6 Aug 52
Texan Describes Sighted Saucer
GAINESVILLE, Aug. 6 – A former Gainesville mayor who is a member of the board of education has joined the ranks of the "I Saw a Flying Saucer" society.
H.A. Latham said he spotted the "thing" in the sky last night while fishing at a lake 10 miles south of here. His son, Jimmy Latham, and his brother, Jack Latham, of Valley View, also said they saw the object.
"It was between 8:30 and 8:46 last night," the former mayor said. "I'd been skeptical up to then of all these flying saucer stories, but all three of us saw it at the same time."
He described the object as cylindrical in shape but comparable in size to the fuselage of a large airplane, although not to [sic] long.
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche - 6 Aug 52
Lubbock Man Sees Sky Objects While Driving To Idalou
Latest flying saucer report here comes from Dan Johnston, insurance man, of 3105 Ave. L. He saw three of them Monday as he was en route to Idalou, he says.
"When I was six or seven miles out of town," he relates, "I noticed three traveling north, one above the other two. I drove a mile to a mile and a half while I was watching."
Johnston estimated that the objects were 20 miles away, flying at from 2,500 to 3,000 feet.
"They definitely had no wings," he explains. "As I watched, they veered slightly from their course without change of altitude and seemed to put out a vapor trail behind them. Then they blended into the clouds and disappeared. In 10 seconds, they were gone."
The insurance man says that he continued to watch but never saw the three aerial objects again. He has a private pilot's license, and he is familiar with current types of aircraft.
"I'd guess that the objects were larger than any airplane, but I can't be too sure," he continues. "They were too far away. I'm sure they were larger than any medium plane. They seemed to be traveling at no more than 100 miles per hour." He watched the objects for about two minutes.
Woman Sights Object
Another mystery object was reported over the city last night.
A small, round, shiny aluminum colored object which she took to be a flying saucer was spotted by Mrs. J.W. Collins at 3203 Itasca at 9:15 p.m.
Mrs. Collins was sitting in the back yard when she saw the object, which came out of the northwest and moved toward the southeast. "It frightened me at first," she said.
Mrs. Collins reported that the disc appeared to be very high in the air and was moving very rapidly. "It was past me in the space of two seconds," she added. She called to her daughter, Miss Bettye Collins, who was with her, but the saucer was gone before she could see it.
Mrs. Collins and her daughter are from Gainesville and have been visiting her son, Joe Bill Collins, of the Itasca address, for the past week.
Lubbock, Texas Evening Journal - 6 Aug 52
More Saucers Are Spotted In Lubbock Area Early Today
Three more flying saucers were spotted in the Lubbock area early today.
C.E. Goen of Anton reported he saw three bright lights in the sky between 12:10 a.m. and 1:10 a.m. today while he was watering his cotton. One appeared to be over Plainview, one over Lubbock and one to the east of Anton.
"These lights," he said, "were much bigger and brighter than stars and moved in from the northwest. They turned on and off but remained stationary for about an hour so they couldn't have been airplanes."
Left "String Of Fire"
He said the first light to disappear, the one near Anton, went out in the direction of northeast, leaving a "string of fire" behind it. The lights moved up and down, and one moved horizontally, he said.
Other flying saucer reports this week have come from Dan Johnston, insurance man of 3105 Ave. L, and from Mrs. J.W. Collins at 3203 Itasca.
Saw Three Of Them
Johnston reported seeing three of them about six or seven miles out of town as he was en route to Idalou Monday. He said they were larger than any medium airplane and seemed to be traveling at no more than 100 miles per hour. He estimated the objects were 20 miles away, flying at from 2,500 to 3,000 feet.
Mrs. Collins, who is visiting here from Gainesville, says she saw a small round, shiny aluminum colored object from the back yard at 9:15 p.m. Tuesday. "It was past me in the space of two seconds," she explained.
Mr. and Mrs. W.E. Pharr. 2702 30th St., also reported seeing three objects in the sky at 8:06 p.m. Tuesday as they were driving along the Slaton highway a few miles out of town.
"They were about 15 or 20 miles away," Mrs. Pharr said, "and flying close together in a row. They looked almost like they were connected." She said they were so bright they looked almost like a part of the moon, but they had such a definite shape, they couldn't have been a mere reflection. One disappeared after about 30 seconds and the other two were gone in another 30 seconds.
Twin Falls, Idaho Times-News - 6 Aug 52
BOISE, Aug. 6 -- Another Boisean, who formerly had been of the opinion "flying saucers" were so much hogwash, admitted today he saw one.
Clifford Higby, 60, said he was driving near King Hill Saturday, July 26, when he saw a pale green light, half the size of a full moon.
Higby said the object fell almost perpendicularly toward the earth and then seemed to turn sharply to follow a course parallel with the ground before it disappeared behind a hill.
At first Higby said he thought his eyes were playing tricks, but his wife told him she had seen the same thing.
If his wife saw it, too, that was enough for him, he said, so he decided to own up and admit he'd seen the "blamed thing."
Darmstadt, Germany European Stars and Stripes - 6 Aug 52
Europeans Take Reports Of 'Saucers' In Stride
LONDON, Aug. 5 -- Europe is "flying saucer" conscious again after a week of reported appearances of the discs over Western Europe, the Near East and the U.S., but Continentals, slightly cynical after two years of spheroid suggestion, are taking them in stride.
France headed the standings for "saucers" sighted during the last few days, with a score of more than 20. Italy had a few. Teheran reported some but later found they were meteors.
Most other countries reported all quiet on the celestial front.
"Flying saucers" have provided welcome space-fillers for European newspapers ever since the first reports of strange objects in the sky started filtering through from the U.S. back in 1949. Most of the tabloids still keep the story going, but public interest has flagged of late and the "saucers" don't provide the unending topic of conversation they once did.
Cases crop up in Britain about once every three weeks, but only the most sensational get more than a passing mention on an inside page of the newspapers.
French newspapers have dropped their "saucer" campaign in the face of traditional Gallic scepticism. The latest attempt to revive French interest came July 24 when an engineer from the mountainous Puy de Dome region offered "exclusive pictures" of a flying saucer to a Paris newspaper for $2,875. The newspaper declined his offer after scientists had given their opinion that he had submitted several excellent photographs of a weather balloon.
In Italy, children are playing a "flying saucer game" and an Italian movie company has started a film about the discs.
The "saucer" game consists of throwing pieces of elliptical, colored cardboard through the air and shrieking "disco volante" (flying saucer) at the top of one's voice. It is the current vogue among Rome's younger set.
Germans are even more sceptical of the saucers than their French neighbors. Fed for 15 years on a Hitler diet of supersecret, futuristic gadgets, they just couldn't care less.
Most German reports of "saucer" activity have come around midnight on weekdays, just as Willy and the boys are returning from the local beer garden. Officials say they have given up investigating.
Biloxi, Mississippi Daily Herald - 6 Aug 52
Clips In Formosa
TAIPEH, Formosa -- Superstitious Formosans beat drums and exploded firecrackers early today to drive away evil spirits they believed responsible for a partial eclipse of the moon.
A mild earthquake was noted in Taipeh this afternoon but no damage was reported.
And the official Chinese Nationalist newspaper Chung Hua Jih Pao reported that Yung Hung-Hai of the Hauualien water conservancy bureau saw a "flying saucer" -- a disc-shaped object -- rising from the southwest part of Huhualien, east coast city, Sunday night. There were no details.
Charleston, West Virginia Daily Mail 6 Aug 52
Charlestonians Agree There's Something To 'Saucer' Stories
Do the so-called "flying saucers" actually exist?
A cross section of Charlestonians and other persons -- some who have seen mysterious objects zooming through space and some who have studied the subject -- all agree that something is there.
However, most of them have different opinions as to what that "something" is.
None of those interviewed would come right out and say the people who had seen the "saucers" were imagining things. Those who have actually seen the objects swear that they saw "something."
One of these people, Joe Hudson, a city fireman, who last summer spied a large, black object in the sky which he described as "round like a skillet but with no handle," said he doesn't know what it was but he is sure it wasn't an airplane.
A member of the fire department for eight years, Joe declared that while in the navy he spotted a lot of airplanes and this object was unlike any he had ever seen. "It made no noise and it sort of hovered in the sky for a few minutes. Then it zipped out of sight," he related.
JOE'S theory has always been that the saucers are aircraft developed by the United States. He says the airplane pilots who have seen them and chased them were not imagining things.
Mark L. Smith, a private pilot from Detroit, Mich., said at Kanawha airport that he has never seen one, but is inclined to believe people who claim to have seen flying saucers have in reality seen the northern lights (aurora borealis).
"I do know that the navy is experimenting with an elliptical-shaped aircraft," he said. "This could be what people have seen. And then it could be atmospheric conditions. I don't think they are from another planet. That would be improbable."
Opinions ranging from weather conditions to cosmic dust were expressed by several persons interviewed. Weatherman at the airport said they had never seen a flying saucer and thus were in no position to comment.
HILLS TOWNSEND, Charleston attorney and amateur astronomer, voiced this opinion:
"They may be meteors. Each day, several million meteors -- small fragments of iron or stone -- fly in close to the earth from outer space. They travel several miles a second and are heated to incandescence by friction with the earth's atmosphere." He added:
"We see them as shooting stars or fireballs. They are usually vaporized by the heat and burn out, but occasionally one strikes the earth. There are several theories as to their origin, one being that they are fragments of a disintegrated planet. Although well known to astronomers, they are regarded as of little consequence."
Townsend pointed out that in daylight, these meteors would appear as a flash of light in the sky.
A control tower operator at the airport who asked that his name not be used said that the saucers are possibly interplanetary. He said too many men qualified to speak on the subject have seen the saucers.
JERRY Parrish, eastern airlines pilot, said he has never seen a saucer, but said he had talked to pilots who have. He said he doesn't know what they could be, but they are something that "can outfly the best we have."
Elbert Williams and John Phillip Cox, Charleston funeral home attendants who saw a "big ball of fire" Sunday night, said they never saw anything like it before.
"It was about 18 inches in diameter, white and shining, and it had a long trail behind it," Williams said.
Cox said the object didn't look like any falling star he had ever seen. "It traveled in a straight line like a plane and it was going pretty fast."
MISS VIRGINIA Kelly, director of audio-visual education for Kanawha country schools, thinks the saucers are our own aircraft.
"I think the air force is like the lady in Hamlet who 'doth protest too much'," she said. "Every time a flying saucer is reported the air force strongly denies that it is one of our planes."
Pointing out that Americans are great faddists, Dr. Ralph Merry, professor of psychology and philosophy at Morris Harvey college said: "It has gotten to the point where everyone must see a flying saucer."
The professor did say that he doesn't think the objects are hallucinations or imaginary. He said many of them are optical illusions.
"Astronomers tell us there is much cosmic dust in space," he said. "When this dust gets into the earth's atmosphere in large enough amounts, it would glow and appear as moving lights."
Frederick, Maryland Post - 6 Aug 52
Mirages of the Sky
This is one of our days for being skeptical, scornful, maybe a bit scampish about flying saucers. For the record we will state it is our belief, as of today, that there is no such thing as a flying saucer. Our authority of the moment is Dr. Harlow Shapley, director of the Harvard Observatory. This astronomer says it all boils down to cases of (1) hallucination or (2) mistaken identity.
Dr. Shapley's remarks, which were detailed, all dealt with what can happen to the human imagination on a hot summer night, with or without optical illusions or radar scopes to complicate matters. Pilots can often be foolish like anybody else, says he.
We warned you. This is just not our day for being even half-way serious about flying saucers. Maybe you're just as glad the responsibility for them is the Air Force's -- not ours.
Saint Charles, Missouri Daily Cosmos Monitor - 6 Aug 52
March of Events
"Flying Saucers" Fail To Alarm Washington
But There's Lots of Talk Now About Objects in Sky
WASHINGTON -- Washington officials refuse to be alarmed over scare reports of "flying saucers" seen in the vicinity of the nation's capital. They insist there is no evidence that the objects detected on radar and seen in the skies have been under any intelligent direction or control.
That would seem to put at rest the idea that they may be skycraft of an enemy power or investigative space ships from another planet.
The phenomena are attributed in part to the power of the human imagination to see things that do not exist, or to attribute fantastic characteristics to commonplace objects. There is a well-founded suspicion that some of the saucers may actually be weather balloons.
It is also intimated that defense authorities are not telling all they know and that in some cases the saucers may be experimental craft protected by airtight secrecy.
As for radar picking up objects in the skies, it is recalled that in World War II the United States confused the German radar by dropping tinfoil from planes. Tinfoil registers on radar. Then, on the hysteria side, there is the remark attributed to a naval officer that the United States expended more ammunition shooting at the planet Venus than at Jap planes during the war in the Pacific. In fact, a few years ago pilots in North Carolina detected Venus in daylight (a little silver ball just above an airport) and after a chase reported they lost it when it "darted" between them and the sun!
Kirkland Lake, Ontario Northern Daily News - 6 Aug 52
Just What Are These Flying Saucers?
Are there or are there not, such things as flying saucers?
The answer to this question will quite likely depend on what you have been reading the past few days.
Some "experts" claim there are flying saucers, and that they hail from one of the planets, probably Venus, while other "experts" claim they are a new aircraft developed by Russia.
Still other groups declare the flying saucers are just illusions, brought on by (A) cloud formations (B) mirages (C) fast flying aircraft (D) overindulgence in alcoholic beverages.
What about radar?
The United States Air Force gives the following explanation:
"Air temperature decreases with altitude. However, when a warm air mass passes over a relatively cooler one, temperature temporarily increases and an inversion layer of warm air is formed. This inversion will cause radar beams to bend earthward. Radar impulses then bounce off ground "targets." What then appears as unidentified "pips" or tiny white lights on radarscopes are not objects in the sky but objects on the ground. With a large inversion street or automobile lights may be similarly reflected, as if in formation, on clouds. If there is sufficient wind velocity, these lights will appear to dance or "dog fight" with the phenomenal gyrations attributed to flying saucers."
In contrast, a U.S. scientist declares there is no question but what the flying saucers are real and that they come from another planet.
It might be added here the scientist was a little embarrassed when a writer asked him why the visitors from space did not land on earth but kept flitting around the skies. However, the scientist had an answer for that one too. He said they probably landed on the sea or in some uninhabitated part of the earth.
Shy little fellows, we must say.
One flying saucer was tracked down a couple of days ago. A man reported he had seen an aircraft being chased by a flying saucer which in turn was being chased by a second aircraft.
Investigation showed the first and second aircraft were real. The flying saucer? A target drogue being towed by the leading plane while the pilot of the second plane tested his marksmanship.
A well known magazine jumped on the bandwagon with a feature story quoting leading authorities as saying flying saucers are not only real but that the United States is in possession of a couple that crashed. No mention was made of what happened to the crews, although it is to be supposed that friends in other saucers carried them away.
Now you tell us. Are there or aren't there flying saucers?
Phoenix, Arizona Republic - 6 Aug 52
Nothing To Frighten Us
One thing we do know about the "flying saucers," or whatever they may be: Whenever a pilot chases one, or two, or a dozen of them, it or they invariably disappear.
No one has yet been able to say, positively and without possibility of contradiction, that the unexplained phenomena are actually material. All anyone now knows is that "they're lights."
We have had these mysterious unidentified sightings now ever since 1947, but the summer of 1952 will probably go down in history as the Saucer Summer. Fortunately, no one seems to be unduly worked up about them.
The facts seem to be that people really are seeing things -- sometimes on radar, sometimes with the naked eye. The objects range from super-speed planes and highflying balloons to tricky beams or reflections of light that look solid. The air force and the scientists are looking into every report, and they state positively:
1. The United States isn't being spied on by outlandish contraptions from Mars.
2. Russia is not scouting us with fantastic air devices, piloted or pilotless.
3. No saucer convoys are hovering overhead.
Most of the things observed can be accounted for. There is a sound, reliable explanation for most of the rest. Many "objects" are reflections in air layers of automobiles on the ground. Anyhow, there's nothing to be scared of.
Salt Lake City, Utah Tribune - 6 Aug 52
By Our Readers
Editor, Tribune: It is with great interest that the writer of this letter has followed scientific and lay expressions of opinion concerning the flying saucers that have made their appearance on this earth.
Surely these articles must be explicable. For any man claiming to dwell in the realm of science and still be unable to qualm the nerves of the unfortunate and uneducated certainly does not attract the admiration of a Free Thinker who at least will venture an opinion.
Recent newspaper reports stating that images or blips on the radarscopes are visitations from another planet, or another nation hostile to the interests of America, should not be allowed to remain dormant in the minds of men who have graduated from the greatest universities in the world.
Magnetic ionization of innumerable particles of meteorites are bombarding the earth and can easily be detected when a globule-like shape has materialized.
Long Beach, California Press Telegram - 6 Aug 52
'Saucers' Warning to Demo, GOP Politicians?
Editor Press-Telegram :
Those mysterious manifestations which have been seen in the air in various parts of California and elsewhere in the United States seem to be puzzling our scientists, they can only theorize and about their appearances. They are commonly called "flying saucers" for want of a better name.
Some say they come from Mars, or another planet. Others say that they are some sort of natural phenomenon.
Wasn't it Shakespeare that wrote: "There are more things in Heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy."
The late Dr. Clem Davies in his "Voice of Prophesy" said the year 1952 would be one of the most eventful years in history.
Isn't that true -- what with and rumors of war, and earthquakes, floods, famines, etc.?
In this materialistic age we seem to be going ahead too fast with our jet planes, atom bombs, radios, television, speed boats, automobiles.
Yes, we are going speedily ahead and not backwards, and where are we going to end? I wonder!
It has been recently reported that some of the celestial visitors have been seen hovering over Washington, D. C. Maybe they have been sent by the Supreme Power as a warning to our Democratic and Republican politicians to watch their steps and play straight during the forthcoming campaign. Who knows?
Leo E.H. Koch
Corona Del Mar
Tucson, Arizona Daily Citizen - 6 Aug 52
Flying Disks Worth $100
If you happen to have a picture of a"flying saucer" around your house, you can win a neat $100 check from radio station KTUC.
The announcement was made last night on Lou Silverstein's program, "Tucson Tonight." It came as the result of more and more listener interest in "strange objects in the sky," and Silverstein has had many telephone calls from persons who have either seen them or had some ideas about the how or why of the shining disks.
All photographs will be judged by Dr. Lincoln La Paz of the University of New Mexico, one of the nation's leading meteorologists and an expert on things astronomical.
The $100 checks will be given for as many photographs as Dr. La Paz says are unexplained objects possessing mass.
So far, no photographs have arrived at the radio station. But when (or if) they do, the Daily Citizen will print all those which are deemed authentic by the New Mexico professor.
Lubbock, Texas Evening Journal - 6 Aug 52
WE are certainly listed among the 154,999,990 out of the 155,000,000 Americans who do not know what these "flying saucers" are, or are not. But at the same time, we also are one of quite a few, too, who believe "there is something up there." We don't go along with the theory that the flying objects are purely illusionary, or figments of the imagination.
Joe Bryant has a theory about the saucers which may or may not be original. He didn't say. But anyhow, he thinks they very likely may have something to do with television. This doesn't sound too much out of line, especially when one remembers that the saucers began to be seen just about the time TV began to spread over the country.
Television, like radio, doubtless produces some queer, inexplicable things.
Everyone knows that occasionally a kitchen stove, or a furnace, will start "broadcasting" a radio program.
Up in Indiana, recently, some radio technicians were testing out a new station, received orders from police to "turn down that loudspeaker. People living nearby are complaining of the noise."
Now the engineers weren't using a speaker; hadn't used one in their testing. Yet a mile and a half away a farm woman was being driven nearly crazy by terrific noise blasting a radio program around her house. A check out at the woman's house found that a set of bedsprings and her plumbing pipes somehow were picking up the program being checked by the engineers.
The engineers grounded the bedsprings and the plumbing pipes and all was serene again.
THIS sort of occasional goings-on via radio lends credence to the suggestion that television might be the source of the saucers, but, even so people are actually seeing something -- if only light beams. At least, that's our guess and until something better comes along, we'll stick with it.
It is interesting to note, too, that the saucers began to be seen about the time various tests were started on the atomic bomb and atomic power.
It is not beyond the realm of the imagination that the constant setting off of A-bombs, and other experimentations with the atom, have caused the saucers; have actually produced materials in the sky.
Man's monkeying with atomic power beginning with his first splitting of the atom, gets pretty close to the source of all nature.
Up in New York, there is a collection of people going around demanding that all experimentation with atomic power "cease and desist."
They claim a continuation will "blow the world up," and further depose that the "flying saucers" are a warning of direr things to come if man keeps fooling with the atom.
There are many perfectly sane people, too, who blame fooling with the atom for unprecedented drouths of recent years and of some radical changes in the weather pattern.
Certainly, the atom tests, the drouths and the saucers have given people a lot to talk about...
1. The only documentation for the early August reports concerning Washington, D.C., are two project cards -- one for the date of 5 Aug 52 and the other for the date of 6 Aug 52. The first gave the following description:
Large orange object remained motionless over Washington then disappeared. Object was seen by a yeoman third class and others.
The project card gave the conclusion of "possibly balloon".
The description on the second read:
Two discs, the size of a fifth-cent piece, "floated" towards Andrews AFB at jet speed. One disc maintained constant course other sidc [sic] circled it.
The project card listed the conclusion as "insufficient data for evaluation".
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