in the news 1952
Above: Illustration of optical effect in "How to See Flying Saucers", story below.
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 29, 1952:
Newport, Rhode Island Daily News - 29 Aug 52
They Still Fly
The flying saucers continue to bemuse, amuse, frighten and intrigue millions. What they may mean, if anything, whether they actually exist, whether, if they do, they are explainable as natural phenomena, are questions that may be answered in time.
"Why do newspapers print stories of the alleged appearance of these things?" a woman wrote recently to a newspaper. "I don't believe anyone ever saw one, or ever will."
The newspapers print such stories for what they are worth. If they did not print them, they would not be giving the people all the news. No newspaper that we ever read ever said, "John Jones saw a flying saucer last night at 9:16, hovering over his home, and so did several of his neighbors."
If John Jones and his neighbors are reputable citizens, and believe they saw flying saucers, the newspapers say just that. The press does not authenticate these stories; it simply prints what Jones and his neighbors say they saw. And every reader of the story can form his own opinion as to the reliability of Jones and his friends.
Rocky Mount, North Carolina Evening Telegram - 29 Aug 52
"Mothers, get set. Your children may take off for Mars at any time."
That's the admonition of the Toy Guidance Council, Inc., which comes up with the latest in Christmas toys. While lots of people don't realize it, our toy dealers purchased their stock many months ago and the toys already are piling in -- and even being bought.
The tongue-in-cheek warning sounded above preceded a prediction by the Council that the newest fad to hit the children's play world -- space travel and atomic energy -- will be in full "blast" this year from coast to coast.
Among a score of unusual science-fiction toys being manufactured this year, reports the Council, are an atomic rocket ship, a space inter-com system that works up to a half mile away, light ray guns, flying saucer pistols, Flash Gordon space outfits equipped with magic goggles that have one-way lenses (Junior can look out but Mom can't look in), an atomic energy laboratory with a real Geiger counter and cloud chamber, and a super jet plane that simultaneously squirts six streams of water out of its machine guns.
All these toys, plus hundreds of others selected by Toy Guidance Council experts as "the most outstanding examples of their type for 1952," will soon be available in Rocky Mount.
No longer can the father buy a little trinket or two, possibly only one with wheels, and keep them carefully stored away until that happy, eventful Christmas morning. No sir. There must be atomic weapons, things that really will do something and not merely trinkets that used to be classed as toys. There also must be quite a selection. And to cap it all, toys are fashionable all the year round and not just at Christmas time. We suppose it's very good for the toy business, but it's bound to be mighty hard on the pocketbook.
Lowell, Massachusetts Sun - 29 Aug 52
Man About Town
We've heard quite a few reports about flying saucers lately but last night we heard about a "flying sun." We received a report from North Tewksbury that some residents out there had spotted a yellow globe surrounded by rays hovering over the Christian Hill section. After a short time the strange object started to diminish as if it were moving away until finally it was out of sight.
Lumberton, North Carolina Robesonian - 29 Aug 52
Maxton Now Has 'Flying Saucer' Story Also
A delayed "flying saucer" report dating back to August 12, six days after the supposed sighting in West Lumberton, has just been received from Maxton.
Mrs. J.C. McCaskill of Maxton was startled by the sight of four saucer like objects flashing across the sky as she sat on the front porch of her home about 8:30 on the night of August 12.
Mrs. McCaskill tried to show them to a friend but when she turned back to point them out they had disappeared. She described the objects as being round, white discs with one moving in the lead position, two following and one in the rear. The discs were proceeding on a horizontal course and from what she could judge at a very high rate of speed. According to seen through and were definitely of a solid nature [sic, entire sentence].
Well known and much respected, Mrs. McCaskill has made her home in Maxton for a number of years. She said she had mentioned the saucers to several friends but had not realized that a report of it was of interest to any authorities.
Mrs. McCaskill said that she knew her story lacked the color of the recent report from West Lumberton as no saucer landing had been attempted at the McCaskill homestead nor had she seen any thirty inch men with long white beards who were doubling for Moses.
Thomasville, Georgia Thomasville Times Enterprise - 29 Aug 52
Dom Center Members Report Seeing "Big Ball of Fire"
Great Balls of Fire! Or was it a flying saucer?
A group of 13 men at the VA Domiciliary have reported seeing a "big ball of fire" in the sky, and stated that they watched it for about ten minutes before it disappeared.
The phenomenon was sighted about 10 p.m. and appeared to be situated somewhere above the Metcalf road and moving due south. After several minutes it moved out of sight, reappeared for about one minute, then disappeared finally, the report stated.
Described as being "pinkish" in color, the object was said to have moved up and down slightly while travelling. Its speed, viewers said, was less than that of an airplane.
Chester, Pennsylvania Times - 29 Aug 52
'Saucers' Were Vapor Trails from Plane
READING, PA. -- Authorities today cleared up the Berks County "flying saucer" mystery.
Many resident reported sighting saucers last Monday over the area.
But, said a spokesman for the Air National Guard, what they saw actually were vapor trails of a B-36 bomber and a jet plane flying at about 40,000 feet.
Harry Feinauer, 43, Birdsboro, who reported he saw a plane release a flying saucer, probably saw a jet stage a practice attack on a bomber, the spokesman said.
It was all part of an aerial display by the 112th fighter wing of the Pennsylvania-Maryland Air National Guard.
Elyria, Ohio Chronicle Telegram - 29 Aug 52
Saucers Still Fly, No One Knows Why
Flying saucers continue to fly, and still no one seems to know why.
The latest report here was made by Mrs. C.E. Parker, assistant clerk in the county commissioner's office, who saw one last night.
Mrs. Parker was driving home from Amherst on Leavitt road when, at the railroad crossing, she observed an unusual light in the western sky.
She said she stopped her car and watched the light for a while. It had the general shape of a saucer seen edgewise and seemed to remain stationary.
She then drove on, hoping that she could reach home in time to show it to her husband and children. It was gone, however, when she arrived home.
Salt Lake City, Utah Tribune - 29 Aug 52
Saucers in Triplicate
LONDON. Aug. 28 -- The British came up Thursday with something better than a flying saucer -- they had a report of a plane that gives birth to triplets.
Three friends reported to the Ministry of Civil Aviation that they saw a high-flying plane suddenly disgorge one small plane, then another and finally a third.
Each of the three ejected planes then shot off in different directions high in the skies over London, the three persons reported.
AUGUST 30, 1952:
Zanesville, Ohio Times - 30 Aug 52
Just Hot Air
There are no flying saucers. As nearly as we can decode Pentagon gobblededook, that is what Air Force brass wishes us to believe. The air chiefs and their technologists, aided and abetted by sundry civilian scientists, are converging on "temperature inversion" as an explanation.
This, it seems, is when some hot air of which there is always an ample supply in Washington, becomes trapped between layers of cool evening air, and forms a lens in the sky. Such a lens, we are told, will reflect "ground targets" as far as 90 miles away from the observer. It is not explained why the reflections always look like "saucers" to radar and veteran pilot alike.
Captain Roy L. James, of Air Force Technical Intelligence, at Wright Field. Dayton, O., was asked about flying saucers in a radio interview. He claimed not to understand what the questioner meant, since "the words do not describe anything". He ought to hang around the flying people at the Washington National Airport, where the radar scopes picked up these "objects" on July 13, 26, and 29. If you know any aviation people, whether they're clerks, mechanics or pilots, they're a pretty calm lot, and if they're mirage happy, it's something distinctly new.
So, all-in-all, we're just as glad the Air Force plans to follow through and photograph these phenomena with special, new defraction-grid cameras that will reveal the source and nature of the light emanating from these, well, these flying saucers.
Reno, Nevada Evening Gazette - 30 Aug 52
September Sky Review
Stories of Skies
By J. Hugh Pruett
Astronomer, Extension Division,
Oregon Higher Education System
If you have the energy to do early morning stargazing, you will be rewarded by the view of two fine planets. An hour before sunrise Jupiter is gorgeous high in the south. Mercury, although less brilliant, is a very conspicuous object a little above the horizon somewhat north of east. Jupiter rises late in the evening.
For evening observation let us start about an hour after sunset. The most brilliant of all star-like objects, the splendid planet Venus, can be sighted a little above the horizon almost exactly due west. When the sky gets slightly darker, down and nearly west.
To the left of Saturn at about the same height and of almost equal brightness, the star Spica twinkles. Saturn, being a planet, does not twinkle.
Low and toward the southwest, the observer will easily locate two reddish objects. The one to the right is the brighter. This is the planet Mars. The other is the distant star Antares, the heart of the celestial Scorpion. Here again the star will be seen to twinkle while the planet does not. Mars is gradually getting farther from us and consequently growing dimmer. Note that the moon is quite low in the sky. From night to night now it will go across the south somewhat higher than the preceding night.
The rest of the bright sky objects are so-called "fixed" stars. Spica and Antares also belong in this class. They are distant suns, so very far away that they appear small. Many of them are far larger and intrinsically more brilliant than our sun.
Very high in the heavens, a little to the left of due west, we see the orange star Arcturus. This is at the lower end of a rather large kite-shaped group of stars. To the left of the top of this kite, the small half circle of dim stars outlines the Northern Crown. The open end of the crown is the higher part.
Look at the big dipper as it seems to be sliding down the northwest, bowl first.
Almost directly overhead, blue-white Vega gleams in the Harp of Orpheus. A little to the east of the zenith, the somewhat dimmer Deneb heads the Northern Cross, winch runs toward the south. High in the southeast Altair is prominent with a dimmer star on each side of it.
Note the five main stars of Cassiopeia high in the northeast. The stars are arranged in a rather awkward letter W.
Two hours after sunset, sooner if your position is favorable, the bright yellow Capella will be glittering violently low in the north northeast. Because of atmospheric disturbances, it will seem to be dancing around and changing colors rapidly. This causes many to mistake it for a flying saucer.
Logansport, Indiana Press - 30 Aug 52
Carl Harrold, trustee of Wayne township, has turned in a report of a flying saucer over Grass Creek at 9:04 p.m. Saturday, August 23. Harrold was watching television when he first saw the lights start to cross his living room. The saucer appeared in the form of brilliant pale blue light traveling due south and then turning slightly to the east. No sound accompanied the light which was shaped in the form of a comet with a large head trailing off into a tail.
Newswire Report Agence France Presse - 30 Aug 52
Rome, Aug. 30 -- Last night, a flying saucer was seen in the sky of Rome by four persons, who gave perfectly concordant descriptions of the objects.
The disc was very luminous and of a bluish color. Coming from the NW, it passed over the Italian [sic] at a blinding speed and disappeared in the southeast. The round form of the disc was plainly observed by the four witnesses.
AUGUST 31, 1952:
Panama City, Florida News Herald - 31 Aug 52
'Saucers' No Secret Weapon -- AF
The Air Force is making more scientific its study of "flying saucer" report [sic].
An outline of Future Air Force plans, received from Washington and released at Tyndall Air Force Base here Saturday by Public Information Officers, maps out a program through which the service hopes to implement its present study with sensitive instruments "wherever possible."
What are the saucers? The air Force says it doesn't know.
But they say they know what the "saucers" are not.
They are not, they say, a secret weapon, missile or aircraft, developed by the United States.
"None of the three military departments nor any other agency in the government is conducting experiments, classified or otherwise, with flying objects which could be a basis for the reported phenomena."
They are not, they say, "as far as is known" . . . material or vehicles that are directed against the United States from another country or from other planets."
Washington believes that recent developments of special photographic equipment may make it possible to gather data on the strange aerial objects "hitherto unobtainable through ordinary photographic methods."
The equipment consists of a diffraction grating camera which separates light into its component parts -- a spectrum -- and registers them on film.
The principle involved, the Air Force says, is that used by astronomers in determining the composition of the stars.
In this manner, they say, it may be possible for scientists to the project to determine "the characteristics of the phenomena and subsequently identify the source."
They also hope to make use of a continuously operating Schmidt telescope equipped with a camera. The telescope has a wide aperture lens and is capable of covering a cone of 150 degrees, nearly the entire sky from horizon to horizon, the Air Force says.
Use of the equipment, they believe, will make it possible "to capture on a series of photographic plates, a complete record of what happens in the sky at night."
20 Per Cent Unexplained
At the same time, the Air Force admitted they still have been unable to identify about 20 per cent of the approximate 1,500 reports they have undertaken to investigate.
It is this "unknown quantity" the service hopes to break down.
Air Force investigation of the "flying saucers" first began in December, 1947, when a special project was set up at the Air Material Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, to look into persistent reports of strange objects in the sky.
To aid in the investigation, the Air Force employed the services of civilian and military astronomers, psychologists, electronic specialists, meteorologists, mechanical engineers, and physicists.
Two years later, after making 375 investigations of individual sightings, the Air Force announced its findings.
"The evidence at that time," this week's release stated, "indicated that the majority of the reports of unidentified flying objects could be accounted for as misinterpretations of various conventional objects, a mild form of hysteria, meteorological phenomena, light aberrations, or hoaxes.
"There remained, however, a number of unexplained sightings and the Air Force has continued its investigations inasmuch as it is an
Air Force responsibility to identify and analyze aerial phenomena that could possibly be a menace to the United States," the report continues.
"To date, the air Force has undertaken to investigate and analyze about 1,500 reports dealing with this phenomena. As before, most of these reports were identified and disposed of as friendly aircraft erroneously reported, known electronic and meteorological phenomena, light aberrations, hoaxes and other known natural occurrences of manmade objects.
"The unexplained reports, however, which are in the order of 20 percent of the total, cannot be definitely associated with these familiar things."
Need Accurate Data
Chief difficulty, the Air Force says, in identifying this unknown 20 per cent "is based largely upon the insufficiency of accurate basic data such as size, shape, composition and light characteristics of the objects.
Some sightings, the Air Force reported, have been made with instruments. But they say "even these reports have not included much of the information required."
"Because of the inadequacy of this base data," the release says, "the Air Force has in the past devoted its efforts primarily to determining whether those unexplained sightings indicated the existence of a menace to the United States."
They do not now believe the "saucers are a menace.
Strangely, the sightings of weird aerial phenomena go back to Biblical times, the Air Force says.
Reports have "probably increased in recent times because of the increased aerial activity originated by man, and because of increased efficiency of communications and news media."
Since the flurry which began about six years ago, about eight percent of the sightings have been made by civil airlines pilots. Another 25 percent have been made by military personnel. Some of the balance of the reports have come from "highly qualified scientists," the Air Force says.
The release denies reports that Air Force planes have been given instructions to fire upon the "saucers."
"Attempts at interception by aircraft are not made every time that unidentified images appear briefly on an Air Force radar scope," the report says.
"The Air Defense Command is charged with air defense of the United States, and its mission is to attack anything airborne which is known or appears to be hostile."
This should not be interpreted to mean "that our pilots will fire haphazardly on anything that flies," the report continues.
The Air Force has received many reports of unusual images on radar scopes. "It is fairly well established that some of these images are ground objects reflected from a layer of warm air above the earth temperature inversion.
"Temperature inversion reflections can give a return on a radar scope that is as sharp as that received from an aircraft. Speed ranges of these returns are reportedly from zero to fantastic speeds. The 'objects' also appear to move in all directions.
"Such radar sightings have resulted in hundreds of fruitless interception efforts by jet aircraft."
Ionized clouds also are believed to be the cause of some unidentified radar returns, the report explained.
But there is that 20 percent of unexplained sightings that keeps the investigation active.
The Air Force "believes that most of these phenomena will gradually be understood as more is known about occurrences in the upper atmosphere."
Oakland, California Tribune - 31 Aug 52
SO MUCH space has been devoted to the subject of flying saucers, a New York steak house named McCarthy's has just printed a special menu for Space Men they claim is out of this world. Some of the items include Chlorophyll Green Pea Soup, Soup de Jupiter, Guided Mussels, Venus Schnitzel with Mars potatoes, Flying Sausages with grav(it)y, Egg Planet with radarshes, and Chicken Rockettes. The bar service offers Marstinis, Planethoppers and Rocketails. A postscript notes "No Space-Women Permitted at the Bar".
SEPTEMBER 1, 1952:
Popular Science - September, 52
Can you guess which of these kitchen saucers was furthest from Ken Swezey's camera and which nearest when he made this trick picture? Here's a tip: the photo was shot to demonstrate that unless you know the size of an unfamiliar object outlined against the sky, you can't judge its distance, and until you know its distance you can't possibly judge its speed. After making your guess, turn to the end of the story to see the answer.
Ken Swezey Shows You
How to See Flying Saucers
Kitchen-table tricks suggest that those strange sights in the sky may be just optical illusions -- and nothing more.
YOU don't have to stay up all night sky-gazing to catch a glimpse of some flying saucers. You can see them right in your own home, using just a milk bottle filled with water, a flashlight and a few other common gadgets.
Flying saucers that cannot be accounted for as pure hoaxes or as misinterpretations of known objects are not necessarily space-ships or missiles from another world. Dr. Donald H. Menzel, professor of astrophysics at Harvard, declares that they may be mere optical illusions -- akin to mirages and rainbows -- projected into the sky by tricks of light. You can duplicate these tricks on a small scale.
In some cases, the sky phenomena may originate as automobile headlights, searchlights or distant street lights. Striking a layer of warm air above, the rays from these sources are bent downward toward the earth. To an observer on the ground, this bending of the rays makes the light source seem to be overhead.
In other cases, a pilot flying above a warm layer of air sees the light from the sun, a planet or a brightly lighted cloud bent upward. Such a light seems below him. The ghost light might seem to move if its source -- or the observer or the layer of warm air -- moves.
Flying saucers are probably seen most frequently over desert areas because the atmospheric conditions necessary to produce these strange mirages are most common there. During the day, the air and the ground get very hot. At night, and also under certain cloud conditions during the day, the ground cools rapidly by radiating its heat toward the sky. As a result, the air for a few feet up cools off by contact with the cool earth, but the air higher up stays warm.
Because light rays travel faster in light warm air than they do in cold dense air, they are bent back into the cold air whenever they strike the layer of warm air at an angle.
You can't experiment with miles of atmosphere in your home, but you can show the principle by substituting water for the cold dense air and ordinary air for the warm light air, as shown by the illustrations on these pages. -- Kenneth M. Swezey.
You might see flying saucers from the ground as demonstrated here. A square milk bottle containing water is supported high enough so that you can see the underside of the water surface. The beam from a 1/4" hole in cardboard covering the flashlight, aimed at the center of the water surface at an angle from below, is bent downward to the eye of the observer. As a result, the light seems to be coming from above the surface of the water. In the same way, although less abruptly, a warm air surface above cold air could bend back a distant ground light so that from the ground it would look like a saucer in the sky.
Duplicate of the Lubbock Lights was photographed by Swezey with the milk-bottle setup shown at top of page. In this case, a pattern of pinholes was punched in the cardboard covering on the flashlight. Dr. Menzel claims that the flying saucers photographed in the Texas city were probably ghosts of distant street lights turned down by a warm air surface as explained above. Undulations in the surface made them move. Lights viewed through a milk bottle can be made to dance around by jarring the bottle. But how a mirage like this could make such lights travel across the sky has yet to be explained by the experts.
From a plane flying in cold air above a layer of warm air, you might see saucers below you this way. In this case, less water is put into the bottle and a layer of mineral oil is then carefully poured on it. Mineral oil bends light more than water does. When the flashlight beam is viewed as shown in the photo it seems lower than the reflecting surface.
Fluctuations in air density distort light waves. To see this, stand your masked flashlight on one side of a gas range and sight across the unlighted burners as the top photo shows. The lighted hole and background will be sharp and clear, as at [bottom photo, left]. When you light the gas, the waves of irregularly heated air bend the light waves, distorting them as at the right and causing the light to seem to blink on and off and move around. Rapid fluctuations in a warm air surface could also explain why "saucers" seem to dart about. Moreover, irregularities in the reflecting surface might produce extra images from a single source of light.
A lens theory may explain saucers seen darting around at great heights after launching of weather balloons. This theory pre-supposes a layer of warm air sandwiched between two cold layers. Rising balloon punches hole through warm layer, allowing cold air from above to flow into hole and forming a sort of imperfect lens. By holding a small magnifying glass at arm's length toward flashlight, you can see what then happens. Through the glass you see a small image of the light. In the balloon case, the air lens also forms image of balloon. Being smaller, it seems much farther away than the balloon. Changes in the lens shape could cause image to dart about.
A searchlight beam lights up clouds and dust layers because they reflect and scatter the light. The beam itself will be invisible if the air between earth and clouds is clear and dust free. You can see this effect by shining flashlight through bottom of a glass dish containing water to which a little milk has been added (left above). In some cases, what appears to be a flying saucer might be merely a searchlight or headlamp beam sweeping across a cloud layer at night or a reflection of such by a mirror or other polished object on layer [sic] by day. In both cases, the light could cross sky in a fraction of second. A mirror or other reflecting surface could send a beam through the whole journey by moving only half as much as the original light source. The above setup shows how this would work. The "horizon" is a semicircular strip of cardboard set on edge. By rotating the mirror through only 90° you can cause the reflected light to move from horizon to horizon -- or a full 180°.
How trick photo was made. To get the picture [at beginning of article], Swezey enlarged a negative of a saucer various amounts, and mounted these enlargements on the ends of wires. He then photographed the photos. The largest, which seems the closest, was actually the farthest away. Since there is no yardstick to judge speed and distance of flying saucers, speeds attributed to them can be no more than guesswork.
Popular Mechanics - September, 1952
A Scientist Diagnoses The Flying Saucer
by Dr. I.M. Levitt
Director, The Fels Planetarium, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia
ONCE UPON A TIME the only place where flying saucers were seen was in the far West. In the desert areas of western United States the lone prospector looked up, saw the momentary appearance of strange lights, and went about his work.
Today there are hundreds of thousands of persons in the desert regions working for the Atomic Energy Commission and the armed services. Today, the tremendous population in that part of the country has brought to the attention of scientists the fact that there are strange illuminated features in the sky. Make no mistake about it. Something is seen -- but that something is not a flying saucer from another world nor is it an airplane from any other country on earth.
The features are mirages pure and simple. They are generally associated with hot, dry countries and are most commonly seen over desert regions. As one goes higher and higher in the atmosphere the air gets cooler and cooler, but occasionally there is found a warm layer riding on top of a cold layer of air. This is usually brought about by the ground cooling more rapidly than the air after the sun goes down. As a result, there is found a temperature inversion and the light normally going up and being lost in the sky is bent. Thus light sources from distant cities will be seen against a black sky. If there is any motion of the air layers, the lights will move across the sky at incredible speeds.
In newspaper reports which appeared in past weeks there seem to have been a great many of these observations in the East – particularly around Washington, D.C. Why should we see them over Washington when that city is far removed from the desert regions which father mirages? The answer to this question is very likely found in the unbearably hot weather to which we have been subject this summer.
The advent of the prolonged hot weather simulated desert conditions which gave rise to the mirages appearing over Washington and the eastern seaboard, and the flying-saucer scare was on again.
It is this writer's opinion that the flying saucers will continue to be seen until the weather moderates. When the temperature inversions cease to exist, the flying saucers will disappear.
Jet planes pursued these saucers, but as yet have not succeeded in catching them and they obviously cannot catch them because they are mirages. It is true that they have been picked up on radarscopes and clocked at about 100 miles an hour, but this does not substantiate their existence.
The problem of their appearance on radar screens has set many people wondering. Radar, because of its magnificent use in the past war and its high level of attainment, has been looked upon as infallible. The truth of the matter is that radar is as unstable as any other electronic device in use today.
During the last war it was not uncommon for the radar screens to pick up "twilight ghosts." Almost every evening, when the sun set, there would appear sharp "pips," or "blips," which would last for perhaps 10 minutes. This effect was the most pronounced in the tropics, again, where there was the maximum possibility for a temperature inversion. There are many effects in radar scanning which cannot be explained.
In a way, the effects are similar to the television anomalies which we experience today. Some of you have turned the dial and suddenly picked up a station which is several hundred miles away. This is normally an impossibility because we receive television signals purely as a line-of-sight wave. When the station is farther than 90 miles away, in most cases the signal is to attenuated for reception. However, television anomalies appear at certain times which are probably governed by atmospheric conditions and these conditions include ionized portions of the atmosphere.
Similarly, there appear radar anomalies that can give rise to the "indistinct" blips which are reported in the daily papers. Just why or how these originate is not understood except that electronic engineers know they exist. Even the wavelengths of the two systems are not too dissimilar. Normal television is transmitted at a frequency of about 200 megacycles. The normal radar signal is 5000 megacycles. There appears to be a definite connection between the anomalies in the two systems.
There is one interesting aspect in the reports on the flying saucers. About 100 years ago the Durham lights appeared over northern England. The century before, "lights" were seen by the French. Now, Americans are seeing weird lights, calling them flying saucers and attaching wholly unjustified significance to them.
The curious angle to these apparitions is that in every case the lights were seen by the people of the leading nation of the world at the time. When France was a great power, her people saw them. When England was dominant in the world, the English saw them. Today, the United States is in its prime and we see them.
It may well be that people who have most to lose from a change are the very ones most likely to see mirages. Perhaps a psychologist will explain why the inhabitants of the leading power in the world are most susceptible to strange sights in the sky.
Up to this point we have only mentioned the lights which appear at night. Flying saucers have also appeared in the daytime. But in every case the source was found to be a meteorological balloon, a very high flying aircraft or particles of dust or spiders which float lazily through the air in the general vicinity of the sun. The daytime appearances of these objects have not been a problem -- the problem is strictly one of the night lights and these can be explained as mirages.
The next time you hear or read of flying saucers ask yourself a question: Why do not the people of the other countries see these objects? With the answer will come an understanding which will remove the fear and hysteria the flying saucers have engendered.
Ogden, Utah Standard Examiner - 1 Sep 52
Utahn Skeptical No More, 'Sees' Discs in Formation
SALT LAKE CITY -- One "flying saucer" skeptic says he's been convinced there are such things.
Russell H. Hendricks of Salt Lake City saw four of them yesterday -- flying in diamond formation. Says he:
"I'm convinced they were not optical illusions or hallucinations. They moved silently, as fast as a fast airplane, were about the size of a fighter plane, moved in a diamond formation and were about 2000 feet above the Oquirrh mountains."
Hendricks and his wife saw them from Lakepoint, Tooele county, where they had driven to watch the new television tower being constructed on a mountain peak.
"I have always been skeptical of the existence of flying saucers, but seeing is believing," he said.
Kalispell, Montana Daily Inter Lake - 1 Sep 52
Saucer Seen Over Japan
KYOTO, Japan -- Firemen on lookout duty at four different places in this southern Honshu city reported sighting, a "tennis, ball" type of flying saucer early Monday, Kyodo news agency reported.
Kyoto is 326 air miles south of Tokyo.
The firemen said they saw the object "flying southeast at tremendous speed." All four said the object was round "like a tennis ball" and gave off a bluish-white glow.
They were certain it was not a shooting star or fireworks.
SEPTEMBER 2, 1952:
Long Beach, California Independent - 2 Sep 52
[Click on graphic for full-size version -- opens in separate window.]
Chester, Pennsylvania Times - 2 Sep 52
'Saucers' Reported In Two Communities Several Miles Distant
Flying saucers, or something, chose Labor Day to make their second appearance in the county in less than a month.
This one -- or maybe these two -- were reported from locations in Collingdale and Woodlyn. The first saucer reported was spotted two weeks ago from a backyard on Concord road, just outside of Chester.
Calls to the Chester Times were made simultaneously Monday night by Peter Fowlery, 717 Andres av., Collingdale, and Nick Tulcinella, 165 Washington av., Woodlyn. Fowley said that he and a group of men saw a "bright object circling around a jet plane."
SEVERAL SAW IT
Mrs. Tulcinella, who was among the seven or eight persons spotting the aerial phenomenon at Woodlyn, this morning said the group was watching a jet plane headed southwest over their homes.
"We often watch airplanes over the house," she said, "and that's what we were doing last night.
"All of a sudden we saw this saucer come out from behind a cloud and make several circles clear around the airplane, then both of them disappeared behind another cloud."
Mrs. Tulcinella said the airplane and saucer were in sight for about two minutes, and she set the time of the spotting at 7:10 p.m.
Once again Operation Skywatch failed to verify the saucer spottings. Al O'Donnell, deputy chief of the county's ground observation corps, which keeps an eye peeled for strange objects in the air, said this morning that no saucers or other unusual aircraft had been reported by any of the county's observers Monday night.
A telephone call to the headquarters of the 53rd AAA Brigade at Swarthmore also failed to turn up verification of the saucer. An officer there said that the anti-aircraft brigade's own spotting system had shown "nothing" for the time and place reported.
Then the reporting officer said, "Still, I wonder?"
Redlands, California Daily Facts - 2 Sep 52
With a Grain Of Salt
By Frank and Bill Moore
It was 1:25 a.m. when we answered the telephone.
"I hate to wake you up at this hour," he said, giving his name. "But there is a flying saucer in the sky and you can see it if you go out of doors. It is in the East and we've been watching it for about 10 minutes."
The night was clear and looking to the east we could only see the black mass of a big eucalyptus tree, in a neighbor's yard, and many stars.
Telephoning our informant back we asked for more explicit directions.
"It's just to the right of the Pleiades," he replied.
Going outside for another look we promptly saw the cluster of stars that he had named and near it a shiny object. Focusing a pair of binoculars on it we saw it dance a little -- you can't hold a glass absolutely steady without a solid support -- and recognized it at once as a planet or star. At 1:25 a.m. we weren't too particular about the fine points of astronomy.
Telephoning back for a second time we reached the lady of the house who advised us that she had also been routed out to see the saucer but confided that she was no more able to see it move than we had been.
The next day we contemplated upon this strange incident and could only find a poor clue. The Pleiades are situated in the constellation Tarus [sic]. In English Tarus [sic] means The Bull.
Huron, South Dakota Huronite And The Daily Plainsman - 2 Sep 52
Don't Scoff At Outer World
It strikes us, just as it struck an editorial writer on the Chicago Daily news, that University of California astronomer Dr. Otto Struve is being entirely too skeptical in trying to brush off theories that "flying saucers" are visitations from the Outer World of space.
Dr. Struve claims that studies of the solar system show that earth is the only planet which can support life, that Mars and Mercury are too hot and dry, Venus is bathed in carbon dioxide and Saturn and others have an atmosphere of ammonia and methane.
"What makes Dr. Struve conclude that a race of beings couldn't live under those conditions?" asks the News. "We know men who drink alcohol and wash it down with a chlorine solution. We know others who eat tabasco, inhale smoke and exhale garlic. Why shouldn't there be men who breathe ammonia, drink petroleum and eat fried rocks?
"Perhaps we ought to play safe and offer them a loan, instead of calling them impossible."
It may not be wise to start a Marshall Plan for the universe. The rest of this planet is biting into the U.S. taxpayer's pocket enough, as it is. But it is wise not to assume that everybody has to be made in the image of man on earth in order to control a planet.
We'll take the unfettered imagination of the science fiction writer when it comes to that subject, rather than the limited skepticism of the scientist.
1. Translations of foreign newswire reports come from Project Blue Book files.
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