Above: Illustration accompanying a September 26, 1952 story in the Italian journal La Nazione. 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...
SEPTEMBER 26, 1952:
Centralia, Washington Daily Chronicle - 26 Sep 52
Says Soviet in Reach Of U.S. Jet Bombers
SEATTLE -- A top U.S. Air Force official said Friday targets in Russia are within reach of jet bombers flying from American-operated airdromes abroad and refueling in the air en route.
The assertion by Undersecretary of Air Roswell Gilpatric was contained in a prepared address during which he also cited other instances of progress in air power rearmament -- and replied to critics who charge lagging production.
Among other things Gilpatric said:
1. The Boeing B-47 jet bomber -- "the highest performance medium jet bomber in volume production today anywhere in the world" -- is coming off the line at a rate better than one a day from one plant. Two more plants will start producing the bomber later.
2. The combined output of Republic Aircraft, making the F-84 jet fighter, and North American Aviation, producing the F-86 jet interceptor, now is about 250 a month, or better than a dozen a day. Two years ago, after the start of the Korean War in mid-1950, the total monthly production was about 55.
3. Two manufacturers, Allison and General Electric, between them are producing about 60 jet engines a day, compared with 17 daily two years ago.
4. The changeover from World War II piston-engined fighters to jet planes has reached the point where "practically 100 per cent" of the fighter units are equipped with jet aircraft.
"We have developed a complex of advance bases -- some to the north and west of us, such as Alaska and Okinawa; others in the northeast, such as those in Newfoundland, Greenland and Iceland; and still others overseas in the United Kingdom, North Africa and elsewhere in the Mediterranean area," Gilpatric said.
"From these advance bases we could, if compelled to by Soviet aggression, make retaliatory counterattacks with jet planes which even though they have less range than the piston-powered B-29's could reach their targets by virtue of these forward take-off points."
Gilpatric, in the prepared text of his address to the Seattle Chamber of Commerce luncheon honoring the Boeing Airplane Co., made no direct mention of recent criticism by congressional committees of slow production. However he asserted:
"You may find it hard to reconcile what I have just said of the strides made over the past two years in military aircraft production with statements emanating from other quarters on the supposed lag in production. The answer lies in the choice of standards or targets against which the performance is to be measured."
Long Beach, California Press Telegram - 26 Sep 52
Air-raid Drill Set For Next Thursday
When air-raid sirens wail next Thursday morning, persons at home, pedestrians, bus drivers and school children are expected to do certain definite things, according to police Lt. W.J. Mooney, assistant director of civil defense here.
Sirens will signalize a county-wide civil defense drill. Purpose is to familiarize people with the "warbling" sound of the sirens. Local sirens are atop fire stations and at the Municipal Airport.
At first blast of a siren, a person at home should disconnect all electrical appliances, such as irons, toasters, etc. Then he should pull the blinds and go to his home shelter area. The radio should be left on, so as to obtain information about the "raid."
LEAVE GAS ON
Lt. Mooney warns: "Do not turn off gas, water or electric utilities, nor gas pilot lights."
Persons on streets should go into the nearest air-raid shelter, or any other available building, and remain inside until the "all clear" sounds.
Busses will halt for one minute and drivers will inform passengers of the drill.
School children will go to assigned shelter areas.
A three-minute warbling blast will be uttered by the sirens. It will mean that an enemy "air attack is imminent."
Ten minutes later, sirens will utter three one-minute blasts, with a two-minute silent period between blasts, which will mean "all clear."
Traffic will not be stopped on the streets.
Sirens here will be activated from the new civil defense control center by means of a handy-talkie radio, operated by the fire department. Division heads of the Long Beach Civil Defense and Disaster Relief Council will report to the control center, but there will be no general mobilization of defense groups.
NEW YORK, Sept. 26 -- The butcher and the baker -- if not the candlestick maker -- are well represented in the current non-partisan drive to encourage all eligible citizens to register and vote in the November elections.
Even "flying saucers" are playing a part as the campaign sponsors, representing nearly 28 million Americans, devise novel and ingenious methods of dramatizing the importance of voting as a fundamental responsibility of good citizenship.
The flying saucer idea is the brainchild of the Junior Chamber of Commerce at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where three airplanes have been hired to drop midget "flying saucers" on the city between now and election November 4. Each saucer has an inscription reading:
"This is your souvenir flying saucer -- don't forget to vote."...
Brownsville, Texas Herald - 26 Sep 52
Little Old New York .... Ed Sullivan
Fibber McGees -- From Sutton, W. Va., emerged a Monday story of local residents hunting a flying saucer. Instead, they stumbled on "a 10-foot tall, evil-smelling, fire-snorting monster with a bright green body and blood-red face that waddled with a bouncing, floating motion."
Newspapermen all over the country immediately were reminded of the exploits of the craft's most famous Fibber McGee. He was Louis T. Stone, managing editor of the Winsted, Connotation., Evening Crazen, and he made the town famous by his concoction of bizarre stories which newspapers printed tongue in cheek, because of their amusement value. Typical of Stone's imagination was his account of a watch found in the stomach of a Winsted cow. This was the first self-winding watch, according to Stone, it never lost a minute because the inhalation and exhalation of the cow served to wind it.
Then there was the baldheaded Winsted man who solved the problem of lies [sic] alighting on his pate. He painted a fearsome spider on his bald noggin.
Stone was a latter-day Mark Twain. Twain even invented his pen name. His real monicker as you know, was Samuel Clemens. Just as Twain related the fable of the Jumping Frog, Stone found a tree in Winsted which grew apples and a Wyandotte chicken that observed July 4th by fashioning a red, white and blue egg.
Huron, South Dakota Huronite and The Daily Plainsmen - 26 Sep 52
Flying Saucers Seen By Eight At Mobridge
MOBRIDGE -- It took a long time for the flying saucers to get over Mobridge.
But one of them did Tuesday and it stuck around long enough for eight persons to get together and compare notes.
The "saucer" hovered for seven minutes high in the sky southeast of the Bridge City, the observers said.
And when it decided to move on, they reported, it did so "faster than a jet plane," disappearing to the southeast in four or five seconds.
The object's speed convinced the eight, all employes at the Milwaukee Railroad roundhouse, that it was no balloon, mirage, or anything like they had ever seen before.
It was estimated the "thing" was 5,000 to 10,000 feet high. The witnesses said it hung perfectly still directly under the sun, reflecting the sun's rays brightly at times and with little or no reflection a moment later.
They hesitated to estimate the size, but agreed that "it was bigger than an airplane."
Hope, Arkansas Star - 26 Sep 52
Many See Saucers -- Magnolia Sees Stars
MAGNOLIA -- Columbia county folks are looking skyward these nights -- but not for flying saucers. Flying saucers are for everybody -- but Columbia County has a "dancing star."
At least a dozen citizens of Magnolia and nearby Brister community reported seeing the oddly-acting star several times in the night sky just below and a little to the left of the big dipper.
Dean E.E. Graham of Southern State College said the star acted as though "it was trying to get settled in one spot in the sky, or else trying to get loose of something holding it." He said "it was like a kite wiggling on the end of a string."
Mrs. Graham and the couple's daughter, Dona, saw it, too. So did J.N. Williams, manager of the Ark-La Cotton Oil Co. Williams said the star "moved up and down and sidewise," He also said he didn't believe it was a so-called "flying saucer."
Graham said he had seen nothing like it in his 30 years as a weather observer. He said there was no chance of hallucination or imagination.
"I don't know if we are supposed to have a dancing star in the firmanent [sic]," Graham said. "But the situation was real and the star definitely moved."
Newark, Ohio Advocate - 26 Sep 52
Koon Holler Reporter
By Sam Stille
A long, long time ago a man named Noah built a great ark large enough to carry samples of life of his time safely through one of the world's greatest floods, so the Bible says. It was supposed to have landed on Mount Ararat.
Some have reported that they saw remains of a large craft on the mountain top. Several have tried to reach the spot but have been stopped in their search by a great Red A rat in the Kremlin.
It wouldn't do communism any good to discover that craft and prove again the Bible story. As per communism there is but one God and Stalin is that God. He will brook no opposition for the time being. There will come a day when the old boy will take a tumble and have all men who have measured arms with God.
From what I have been reading in the papers I think we had better start building a space ship if the flying saucers keep on busing through our heavens. Of course people would laugh as they did at Noah.
We should give some attention also to another ship called "The Ship of State," which at the present is in a terrible shape. It needs a heap of repairs if it is to ride the stormy waters of the near future. November is the time to do the job if it is done. Get out and vote.
Yours for preparedness,
Uncle Cam Stille
Rocky Mount, North Carolina Evening Telegram - 26 Sep 52
You're Telling Me!
by William Ritt
Central Press Writer
...A SOVIET scientist claims that nobody in Russia has reported seeing a flying saucer. In view of the Kremlin's attitude toward free information, would they dare say it if they did?...
Alton, Illinois Evening Telegraph - 26 Sep 52
Robert S. Allen Reports Flying Saucers Real?
WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 -- The Air Force has a breathtaking report on "flying saucers."
The study, prepared by noted scientists and Air Force experts, expresses the belief that some of the mysterious flying objects are genuine and that they originate from "sources outside of this planet."
That is, these devices are inter-planetary aircraft of some kind.
The Air Force document contains two other sensational findings. In some instances, flying objects that have been sighted were actually secret U.S. missiles undergoing tests. Russia is profoundly mystified and worried by "flying saucers" and strongly suspects they are a new U.S. weapon. The Kremlin now has four different investigations underway in an effort to discover the identity and source of the strange devices.
The Air Force study is based on more than 1,800 sightings in the past five years.
One important point stressed in the report is that the most authoritative and detailed sightings come from atomic plants and military bases and research centers.
These highly significant sightings number around 20 per cent of the total reported.
Following is a list of the location of the most important of these sightings:
New Mexico -- Los Alamos and White Sands atomic plant and testing grounds. Albuquerque and the Holloman, Kirtland and Walker airbases.
Tennessee -- Oak Ridge atomic plant, Knoxville and Dickson airbase.
Arizona -- Williams, Davis-Monthan and Luke airbases.
Alabama -- Maxwell airbase.
Illinois -- Scott and O'Hara [sic] airbases.
New Hampshire -- Grenier airbase.
New York -- Mitchell airfield.
Mississippi -- Airbases at Jackson, Keesler and Biloxi.
Michigan -- Selfridge airfield.
Massachusetts -- Westover airfield.
North Carolina -- Chapel Hill and Pope airfield.
South Carolina -- Spartanburg and airbase at Greenville.
Texas -- Kelley and Randolph airfields and other bases at Carswell and San Marcos.
Washington State -- Mount Rainier, Mount Jefferson and McChord airbase.
Oklahoma -- Tiker airbase, and Norman.
South Dakota -- Airbase at Rapid City.
Ohio -- Air Force research center at Dayton, and Lockbourne airbase.
The sensational study is the work of the Air Technical Intelligence Center, Wright Patterson Airbase, Dayton, O. A number of top scientists are devoting their full time there analyzing reports on flying objects. Their activities are so secret the Air Force will not permit the publication of their names.
In fact, no one connected with the project or the report would permit his name to be used.
However, Air force authorities are considering publishing certain portions of the report. Chiefly detering [sic] them is fear the sensational nature of the findings may cause undue public alarm.
These findings were described by a high Air Force official as "fantastic but true."
Commenting on the recent flurry of "fireball" reports, Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, noted head of New Mexico University's Institute of Meteoritics, said, "Sightings here and in Scandinavia lead me to believe that fireballs and so-called flying saucers may be guided missiles, possibly ours or possibly Russian. In any case, they are earth-born."
SEPTEMBER 27, 1952:
Ludington, Michigan Daily News - 27 Sep 52
Summit Float Awarded First
By Mrs. Frank Barclay
SCOTTVILLE -- Twenty-three floats took part in the rural school float parade at Scottville Friday afternoon with first place going to the Summit Township unit, which presented Noah's Ark...
Marble school played up the popular theme of "Flying Saucers" with a large saucer-like plane, marked "From Planet X"...
Buffalo, New York Courier-Express - 27 Sep 52
Jet Plane Scares Off Flying Objects
Poughkeepsie, Sept 26 -- Civil Defense observers today reported seeing six colorful flying objects that disappeared when a jet plane arrived on the scene to investigate.
Mrs. Arthur D. Benson, supervisor of ground observers at Dover Plains, said ten ground observers saw the objects in the sky the night of September 11th near the Connecticut border.
She described the objects as "flashing on and off" -- a greenish color with red flash.
She said she called the civil defense information filter center at White Plains, which advised her to hold the line open to give a running report while a jet plane was sent to investigate.
Mrs. Benson said when the plane appeared the objects changed to a bluish color and disappeared.
The Herald, Gloversville, New York, 27 Sep 52
'Strange Object' In Skies Takes Half-Hour Peek At Camp Drum Installation
CAMP DRUM -- Who or what took an uninterrupted 30-minute peek at this Northern New York Military installation from the heavens?
Military authorities said yesterday an unidentified object zoomed through a half hour of weird aerial gyrations over this base last Monday.
The incident was classified as confidential military information until yesterday.
The object was described by camp officials as 20 feet in diameter with an exhaust tail of reddish orange sparks.
Eight soldiers who saw the object reported it sounded like the whine of a generator or rotating disks. Griffiss Air Base at Rome was notified of the incident immediately, officials stated.
The observers said the object hovered, circling rapidly, and occasionally stopped completely.
Noticed at Midnight
It was noticed by a soldier firing boilers about midnight. He notified the others who all claimed they saw it in a starless sky. A duty officer was among the witnesses.
Air Force officers from Griffiss Base questioned the men about characteristics of the object the next day.
The Air Force would not comment.
Canandaigua, New York Daily Messenger - 27 Sep 52
No Comment On Flying Object
CAMP DRUM -- The Air Force has no comment on an unidentified flying object that reportedly paid a half-hour visit to this Northern New York camp.
Military authorities said yesterday that the object hovered over the base last Monday night. The information at first had been classified as confidential.
Eight soldiers said the object was about 20 feet across and trailed red orange sparks. It circled rapidly and sometimes hovered, they reported.
Officers from Griffiss Air Force Base at Rome questioned the men on Tuesday. The officers declined comment.
Middlesboro, Kentucky Daily News - 27 Sep 52
Flying Saucer Reported Sighted Near Barbourville
Mrs. [Illegible] Wagner of Middlesboro called the Daily News office excitedly yesterday afternoon to report she saw a "flying saucer" while driving toward Barbourville.
Mrs. Wagner said she and her daughter and son were driving to Barbourville yesterday when she saw this bright oval-like metal object in the sky and called to her daughter, Mrs. Madgeleen Carmony to look. They, together with her son, J.C. Wagner kept sight of the object for approximately two minutes when it disappeared "in the elements," she said.
"I'm sure it was no airplane because it was a round object bright and shiny," Mrs. Wagner said.
Phoenix, Arizona Republic - 27 Sep 52
No Flying Saucer
Editor, The Arizona Republic:
I found in The Republic of Sept. 1 what I had been looking for. The mention of the meteor of the evening of Aug. 31. I was sitting in the camp on the flat country near the north end of White Tank Mountains when it passed by and continued on a practically northern course. I was near the range line of Range 4 west, and north line of Township 3 north, Gila and Salt River B&M. It traveled approximately north and appeared to have finished somewhat northwest of Seligman, but most likely was up in Utah. At its distance from me, it appeared about the size of a full moon, but of course it was not because it was not so far away. It was at most not more than 50 or 75 miles from the earth. I have seen several in my life just like it. Saw one from the White Tank Mountains in 1945, traveling in about the same path and about the same size. We heard the explosions when it busted up. It took the noise several minutes to reach us. I didn't hear the one I saw the other night, but my ears are not so good as they used to be. I hadn't thought very much at the time of saying anything, with everybody seeing flying saucers, and presumed everybody had seen it.
Tokyo, Japan Stars and Stripes - 27 Sep 52
Saucer 'Attack' Claimed Italian Eludes Mystery Man's Ray Gun, Poisoned Cigaret
FLORENCE, Italy, Sept. 27 -- Perhaps the greatest flying saucer story of them all came out of central Italy today. It was told by a man who says he not only saw one for ten minutes from a distance of a few feet but that one of its "ray guns" took a shot at him and missed and that a mysterious man then tried to silence him with a poisoned cigaret [sic, throughout] because he had seen too much.
The cigaret didn't do the trick so the "full story" was published by the newspaper La Nazione of Florence -- a serious journal which said that, true or not, the story at least was interesting.
ON THE BASIS of the man's story, La Nazione printed an artist's reproduction of the disc -- a circular platform about 75 feet in diameter, five propellers along the rim of its bottom side and three others, helicopter fashion, sticking out of a glass blister on the top. Peering out of a porthole was a man of earthly variety.
La Nazione said it could not give the name of the man who had seen the disc on the night of July 24 "because of his justifiable fear of ridicule." But it said his first name was Carlo and gave other particulars to show Carlo was not an imaginary person. The paper said Carlo is known as a solid citizen by his parish priest.
1. The Fibber McGee mentioned in "Little Old New York .... Ed Sullivan" was a character in the top-rated national radio program Fibber McGee and Molly. Fibber tended towards tall tales and wild schemes.
2. The precise background and nature of the secret Air Force study told by Robert S. Allen in "Flying Saucers Real?" remains obscure, with only hints to be gleaned. In his 1956 book The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects the head of Project Blue Book at the time, Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt, makes several mentions of at least one group engaged in behind-the-scenes research. Ruppelt's first mention comes in respect to his description of the events known as the "Lubbock Lights"...
The only other people outside Project Blue Book who have studied the complete case of the Lubbock Lights were a group who, due to their associations with the government, had complete access to our files. And these people were not pulp writers or wide-eyed fanatics, they were scientists -- rocket experts, nuclear physicists, and intelligence experts. They had banded together to study our UFO reports because they were convinced that some of the UFO's that were being reported were interplanetary spaceships and the Lubbock series was one of these reports. The fact that the formations of lights were in different shapes didn't bother them; in fact, it convinced them all the more that their ideas of how a spaceship might operate were correct.
Ruppelt's next possible reference to a group making a behind-the-scenes study came in relation to the Washington National-Andrews AFB radar-visual reports of late July, 1952...
A few days prior to the incident a scientist, from an agency that I can't name, and I were talking about the build-up of reports along the east coast of the United States. We talked for about two hours, and I was ready to leave when he said that he had one last comment to make -- a prediction. From his study of the UFO reports that he was getting from Air Force Headquarters, and from discussions with his colleagues, he said that he thought that we were sitting right on top of a big keg full of loaded flying saucers. "Within the next few days," he told me, and I remember that he punctuated his slow, deliberate remarks by hitting the desk with his fist, "they're going to blow up and you're going to have the granddaddy of all UFO sightings. The sighting will occur in Washington or New York," he predicted, "probably Washington."
Ruppelt also refers to a study undertaken by Major Dewey Fournet, liaison to Blue Book in the Air Force Directorate of Intelligence...
I don't know who would get credit for originating the idea of trying to analyze the motion of the UFO's. It was one of those kinds of ideas that are passed around, with everyone adding a few modifications. We'd been talking about making a study of this idea for a long time, but we hadn't had many reports to work with; but now, with the mass of data that we had accumulated in June and July and August, the prospects of such a study looked promising.
The basic aim of the study would be to learn whether the motion of the reported UFO's was random or ordered. Random motion is an unordered, helter-skelter motion very similar to a swarm of gnats or flies milling around. There is no apparent pattern or purpose to their flight paths. But take, for example, swallows flying around a chimney -- they wheel, dart, and dip, but if you watch them closely, they have a definite pattern in their movements -- an ordered motion. The definite pattern is intelligently controlled because they are catching bugs or getting in line to go down the chimney.
By the fall of 1952 we had a considerable number of well-documented reports in which the UFO's made a series of maneuvers. If we could prove that these maneuvers were not random, but ordered, it would be proof that the UFO's were things that were intelligently controlled...
The idea of the motion analysis study sounded interesting to me, but we were so busy on Project Blue Book we didn't have time to do it. So Major Fournet offered to look into it further and I promised him all the help we could give him.
Whether Fournet's project was in any way related to the scientists and intelligence officers who "banded together to study our UFO reports" is unknown. And whether a few months later, in January 1953, it was Fournet's study or the secret study of the scientists and intelligence officers who "banded together to study our UFO reports" -- or as seems likely, a combination of both -- the next iteration of a study told by Ruppelt occurred during a presentation of the CIA's so-called Robertson Panel...
By early January 1953 the scientists who were to be members of our panel of experts had been contacted and had agreed to sit in judgment of the UFO. In turn, we agreed to give them every detail about the UFO...
The next item on the agenda, when the panel had finished absorbing all of the details of the fifty selected top reports, was a review of a very hot and very highly controversial study. It was based on the idea that Major Dewey Fournet and I had talked about several months before -- an analysis of the motions of the reported UFO's in an attempt to determine whether they were intelligently controlled. The study was hot because it wasn't official and the reason it wasn't official was because it was so hot. It concluded that the UFO's were interplanetary spaceships. The report had circulated around high command levels of intelligence and it had been read with a good deal of interest. But even though some officers at command levels just a notch below General Samford bought it, the space behind the words "Approved by" was blank -- no one would stick his neck out and officially send it to the top.
Dewey Fournet, who had completed his tour of active duty in the Air Force and was now a civilian, was called from Houston, Texas, to tell the scientists about the study since he had worked very closely with the group that had prepared it.
The study covered several hundred of our most detailed UFO reports. By a very critical process of elimination, based on the motion of the reported UFO's, Fournet told the panel how he and any previous analysis by Project Blue Book had been disregarded and how those reports that could have been caused by any one of the many dozen known objects -- balloons, airplanes, astronomical bodies, etc., were sifted out. This sifting took quite a toll, and the study ended up with only ten or twenty reports that fell into the "Unknown" category. Since such critical methods of evaluation had been used, these few reports proved beyond a doubt that the UFO's were intelligently controlled by persons with brains equal to or far surpassing ours.
The next step in the study, Fournet explained, was to find out where they came from. "Earthlings" were eliminated, leaving the final answer -- spacemen.
Both Dewey and I had been somewhat worried about how the panel would react to a study with such definite conclusions. But when he finished his presentation, it was obvious from the tone of the questioning that the men were giving the conclusions serious thought. Fournet's excellent reputation was well known.
But Ruppelt was not the only one to write an insider's view of one or more "secret" studies. In 1952 Major Donald Keyhoe -- the preeminent journalist-researcher of the time -- was granted unprecedented access to Blue Book files. In his 1953 book, Flying Saucers From Outer Space, Keyhoe wrote both of a variety of incidents revealed in Blue Book files and also of some of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering within the Air Force. His information was "horse's mouth" -- the result of a strong personal bond he had formed with Al Chop, the Washington-based Air Force press officer responsible for "flying saucer"-related public announcements as well as inquiries from the press.
A major theme throughout Keyhoe's book was the build-up to an official Air Force press conference. A major focus of the press conference was to be the then-still-secret film shot in early July, 1952 by U.S. Navy Warrant Officer Delbert C. Newhouse while on vacation in Utah (Newhouse was a navy photographer). In his 1956 book, Ruppelt told the story of the film as part of his description of the Blue Book presentation to the Robertson Panel...
We also drew a blank on the Tremonton Movie, a movie that had been taken by a Navy Chief Photographer, Warrant Officer Delbert C. Newhouse, on July 2, 1952.
Our report on the incident showed that Newhouse, his wife, and their two children were driving to Oakland, California, from the east coast on this eventful day. They had just passed through Tremonton, Utah, a town north of Salt Lake City, and had traveled about 7 miles on U.S. Highway 30S when Mrs. Newhouse noticed a group of objects in the sky. She pointed them out to her husband; he looked, pulled over to the side of the road, stopped the car, and jumped out to get a better look. He didn't have to look very long to realize that something highly unusual was taking place because in his twenty-one years in the Navy and 2,000 hours' flying time as an aerial photographer, he'd never seen anything like this. About a dozen shiny disklike objects were "milling around the sky in a rough formation."
Newhouse had his movie camera so he turned the turret around to a 3- inch telephoto lens and started to photograph the UFO's. He held the camera still and took several feet of film, getting all of the bright objects in one photo. All of the UFO's had stayed in a compact group from the time the Newhouse family had first seen them, but just before they disappeared over the western horizon one of them left the main group and headed east. Newhouse swung his camera around and took several shots of it, holding his camera steady and letting the UFO pass through the field of view before it disappeared in the east.
When I received the Tremonton films I took them right over to the Wright Field photo lab, along with the Montana Movie, and the photo technicians and I ran them twenty or thirty times. The two movies were similar in that in both of them the objects appeared to be large circular lights -- in neither one could you see any detail. But, unlike the Montana Movie, the lights in the Tremonton Movie would fade out, then come back in again. This fading immediately suggested airplanes reflecting light, but the roar of a king-sized dogfight could have been heard for miles and the Newhouse family had heard no sound. We called in several fighter pilots and they watched the UFO's circling and darting in and out in the cloudless blue sky. Their unqualified comment was that no airplane could do what the UFO's were doing.
Balloons came under suspicion, but the lab eliminated them just as quickly by studying the kind of a reflection given off by a balloon -- it is a steady reflection since a balloon is spherical. Then, to further scuttle the balloon theory, clusters of balloons are tied together and don't mill around. Of course, the lone UFO that took off to the east by itself was the biggest argument against balloons.
Newhouse told an intelligence officer from the Western Air Defense Forces that he had held his camera still and let this single UFO fly through the field of view, so the people in the lab measured its angular velocity. Unfortunately there were no clouds in the sky, nor was he able to include any of the ground in the pictures, so our estimates of angular velocity had to be made assuming that the photographer held his camera still. Had the lone UFO been 10 miles away it would have been traveling several thousand miles an hour.
After studying the movies for several weeks, the Air Force photo lab at Wright Field gave up. All they had to say was, "We don't know what they are but they aren't airplanes or balloons, and we don't think they are birds."
While the lab had been working on the movies at Wright Field, Major Fournet had been talking to the Navy photo people at Anacostia; they thought they had some good ideas on how to analyze the movies, so as soon as we were through with them I sent them to Major Fournet and he took them over to the Navy lab.
The Navy lab spent about two months studying the films and had just completed their analysis. The men who had done the work were on hand to brief the panel of scientists on their analysis after the panel had seen the movies.
We darkened the room and I would imagine that we ran each film ten times before every panel member was satisfied that he had seen and could remember all of the details. We ran both films together so that the men could compare them.
The Navy analysts didn't use the words "interplanetary spacecraft" when they told of their conclusions, but they did say that the UFO's were intelligently controlled vehicles and that they weren't airplanes or birds. They had arrived at this conclusion by making a frame-by-frame study of the motion of the lights and the changes in the lights' intensity.
The relevant film...
Note: Tremonton, Utah film. With special thanks to MrCL10 who prepared and posted this clip in 2009 at the request and for the use of Saturday Night Uforia.
And this was the film which, according to Keyhoe, would be the centerpiece of the planned Air Force press conference. But the idea of a press conference was causing controversy behind the scenes, as told in Keyhoe's 1953 book (using the pseudonym "Henry Brennard" for a friend and "former service man whose contacts I'd often envied" who had first tipped Keyhoe off about the Utah film)...
For two days after my return from New York, I heard nothing from the Pentagon. Finally I called Chop, but a PIO told me he was in a conference. I left word for him to call, and a little later the phone rang. But instead of Al, it was Henry Brennard, the man who had tipped me off to the Utah pictures.
"Did you hear about yesterday's blow-up over the saucers?"
"No," I said, "what happened?"
"There's been a rush of new sightings -- "
"I know that. Chop told me."
"Well, most of them have been kept quiet. Then one hit the papers -- a huge disc over Lake Erie. It's worried some of the Pentagon crowd. They're afraid it's the beginning of another scare like the one last summer. Then on top of it an Intelligence colonel got an article cleared -- "
"You mean the Odell piece? They let me see it."
"That set off another row," said Brennard. "Some of the Air Force people are sore that Review passed it. They're afraid now that it might be tied up with that AP story from the International Medical Conference."
"I missed that," I said. "What was it?"
"It said they were on the track of a way to prolong life so people would live indefinitely -- hundreds of years, anyway. The AP had a statement by Colonel J. E. Ash -- he used to be head of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. He said the earth would be so crowded we'd have to start colonies on other planets."
"Oh-oh," I said.
"Yes -- it's bad. If Odell’s piece gets published, some smart newspaperman would be sure to remember what Ash said and tie the two together. It's another argument for slamming the lid down on saucer stuff."
"You mean they've done that?"
"No, but the Central Intelligence Agency recommended it," said Brennard. "At least that's what I heard."
"How did the CIA get into this?" I asked.
"The Air Force gave some of their top men a secret briefing. The CIA people advised them to put out a new report, debunking the saucers the way they did in '49 -- tell the public the project was ended, and then carry it on underground. It'd probably be top secret."
"They'd never get away with it -- not with all they've let out now."
"I don't think they'll even try. Some of the Intelligence boys were mad as the devil at CIA for even suggesting it. Well, that's the picture. I thought you'd like to know -- it's turned into a knockdown fight."
I had barely put down the phone when it rang again. This time it was Al.
"I've resigned," he said bluntly. "You'd better come in and meet my relief."
"What the devil happened?" I exclaimed.
"This hasn't anything to do with the saucers," Al said quickly.
"Look, I heard there was a big row over the Utah film -- "
"I don't want to talk about that now," Al broke in. "Come out to my place tonight and I’ll tell you what I can."
Then he hung up.
When I saw Al that night, he told me that two Air Force groups were deadlocked over the secret film.
"But I'd resigned before that," he said. "I'm going out to California -- I've been wanting to get into private industry."
He could see I didn't believe him.
"It's the truth," he insisted. "I might have put it off a while -- they wanted me to stay on. But the way this thing's worked out, I'm glad I'm going."
"How does the Utah deal stand now?"
"They're arguing over the statement." Al gave me a mirthless smile. "One group wants to say the objects might have been balloons or light reflections from gulls' wings."
"You're kidding!" I said incredulously.
Al shook his head.
"But the analysis!" I said. "Those speeds and maneuvers proved the things couldn't be birds or balloons -- or even jets. Both ATIC and the Navy agreed on that."
"Yes -- but the statement doesn't have to go into that."
I stared at him.
"You mean all the analysis conclusions would be left out?"
"It's not decided yet," Al said evasively. "They -- some of the people -- are talking about running other pictures along with the Utah film."
"Pictures of what?"
"Balloons and gulls. You know, with the sun reflecting from them."
"You call that a fair deal?" I demanded.
Al's face got a little red.
"It's not my suggestion -- don't get mad at me." Then he added, soberly, "And don't get the idea that the officers who suggested it are just trying to fool the public. They honestly think they're right -- that it's better to keep the thing quiet and not stir up people."
"It's a dangerous gamble, Al. If something happened suddenly and nobody was prepared -- "
He nodded. "I know. But it isn't settled -- we may win yet.
"You're still in on the fight?" I said, surprised.
"Yes, my resignation doesn't take effect for a few days." Al squashed out his cigarette. "There's one thing they've lost sight of, in all these arguments. The country's top newspapermen and commentators will be invited to that showing. They're no fools -- they're bound to see through a setup like that."
I thought it over a moment.
"You're dead right. They'll want to know why the big build-up over nothing."
"Absolutely. They'll want to know why we've got them in for this special showing, if the Utah film is just pictures of balloons or birds. The film was shot in July, and they’ll ask what we've been doing with it all this time. Even if we don't mention the ATIC and Navy analysis, they’ll smell a mouse. Before it was over, the Air Force would be in a real jam."
"You going to tell them that?"
"Yes, I think somebody ought to warn them." Al gave me a dry grin. "Maybe I'm a fool for sticking my neck out but I'll give it a try."
As I was leaving, he told me the final decision would probably be made by the next afternoon.
"If you want to, come in about 4. I'd rather not discuss it on the phone."
In the end, and as it turns out right on the brink of announcing the press conference, the Air Force decided to stay silent. Keyhoe tells what happened next...
When I went in to the Pentagon, next day, Al was not at his desk. It was almost an hour before he came back.
"Is it settled?" I asked quickly.
He gave me a grim look.
"It's settled, all right -- the whole thing's killed."
"They're going to keep the film secret?"
"There won't be any public showing -- you can take it from there."
"How'd it happen?" I said.
"After they saw my point, it boiled down to telling all or nothing. So it's nothing."
Al sat down and looked dully at the floor.
"It's not right," I muttered.
"The other side thinks it is," Al said. "They think it's the wisest decision. But some of the Intelligence people are pretty sore. They don't think the public's getting a fair shake."
"I don't either. And the more I think about it -- Al, I'm going to break this story!"
"There's nothing to stop you -- you got the facts cleared. And plenty of our people will be glad to see it come out, so long as you don't give the whole Air Force a black eye."
"Don't worry. I know it's only a small group that blocked this."
Anger over the decision, I found, went far beyond Air Force Intelligence. Next day I received an unsigned note on plain paper, urging me to tell the Utah film story. I recognized the handwriting of a Defense official who knew I was writing a book. Like Al, he asked me not to blast the entire Air Force. Then he added an acid comment:
"There are some human ostriches in the Air Force, and outside as well, who stick their heads in the sand and refuse to accept the most positive evidence. It is no accident that these people haven't correlated the saucer sightings -- they obviously fear it will prove facts they don't want to face. But there is a definite pattern, with clues which eventually will give us the final answer."
The tone of his letter didn't surprise me. After the licking the "A" group had taken, they were bound to be bitter. What their defeat would do to the clearance policy, I could only guess. The lid might go down again on all ATIC cases. But I didn't need any more sighting reports -- the evidence I had was enough to prove the main points.
Keyhoe then turned to the subject of a report, which he only suspected might exist...
Only one thing was missing -- an Air Force report that the saucers came from space. Considering all the facts they had, it seemed almost certain there must be such a report. But the chance of finding out now was about one in a thousand.
Then it suddenly occurred to me that Brennard might have a lead. When I phoned him, I found he already knew about the Utah film decision.
"I'm not surprised," he said. "I never really thought they'd let that out."
"It'll be out, all right," I told him. "I got it cleared."
"How the devil did you finagle that?" Brennard exclaimed.
"I just asked for it and Chop OK'd it."
"I'll bet somebody higher up told him to, so the public would get the story if the showing was blocked."
"Maybe, but if so he didn't let on."
"With that and all the other cases," said Brennard, "you've certainly got proof the saucers are interplanetary."
"Everything but an Air Force admission. I've got a hunch there's a secret report with that conclusion. Any leads?"
"I heard one thing, but it isn't absolute proof. A month or so ago an official I know was secretly briefed on the saucers. He used to think they were a joke. But after that briefing he told me he was convinced they were extraterrestrial."
"That's the biggest break yet! The Intelligence officer must have said it was the Air Force conclusion."
"It sounds like it, but it could be just his personal opinion."
"Even so, that's still a break. I'm going to ask Chop about this before he leaves for the coast."
By a coincidence Al phoned just as I was about to dial his home number -- he had already quit the government.
"I've forgotten your street number," he said. "I've got something to mail you."
"Hold it -- I'll be right out," I said. "I want to see you for a minute."
When I saw Al, I told him what I'd heard about the briefing.
"Doesn't this prove there's a secret report?" I asked.
Al was silent so long I gave up.
"I can't violate security," he said finally, "even if I am out of the service. But I can tell you this. Last fall there was a detailed analysis of all the evidence. I can say that because it wasn't classified when I saw it. After ruling out all other explanations, it came to a definite conclusion. I can't tell you what that conclusion was -- by now it's probably top secret."
The "last fall" referred to by Chop would have been at around the same time as Robert S. Allen's September 26 news article. The fact that Chop notes that "it wasn't classified" would have facilitated its availability -- whether as a leak or as an anonymous background story -- to Allen. As it turns out, Allen's news article is the only publicly-known iteration of the specifics of the study, though even those are meager.
There is, however, another indication of what might have been either contained or referenced within the study as part of much-larger overview. In his 1955 follow-up book, The Flying Saucer Conspiracy, Keyhoe revealed another aspect of the cancelled Air Force press conference regarding the Utah film...
Early in '53, when intelligence planned to reveal the Utah film, a long press statement was prepared. After the silence group killed the plan, an officer who had fought them met with me privately and gave me a copy of the canceled press release.
"This officially has been killed," he said. "But it has not been classified, so I'm letting you have it. It covers the main points of the secret analysis. Maybe somebody in the Navy will confirm it for you. Don't use it publicly unless you have to -- it will set off an unholy row."
The "secret analysis" in this case would have referred to the Air Force and Navy scientific examination of the film and not the "secret" study told of by Robert Allen in his September 26th news article. Keyhoe reprinted the entire Air Force press statement in his 1955 book…
FOR THE PRESS
The color movie film footage which you are about to see was taken seven miles north of Tremonton, Utah, on U.S. Highway 30, at 11:10 A.M. (MST), July 2. 1952.
The photographs were taken by Warrant Officer Delbert C. Newhouse, Aviation Supply Depot, Naval Supply Center, Oakland, California, and were forwarded to the Air Technical Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, for evaluation purposes.
The camera used by Warrant Officer Newhouse was a Bell & Howell auto Master with a three inch telephoto lens. The camera was held by hand. The first few feet of film were taken at F-8; the balance at F-16, at sixteen frames per second.
This film is the property of Warrant Officer Newhouse, the Air Force thus cannot make the film available to the Press or other media for publication purposes. Any such request should be directed to W.O. Newhouse.
The account given by W.O. Newhouse and his wife was generally as follows: On July 2, 1952, Newhouse was driving from Washington, D.C. to Portland, Oregon, when his wife noticed a group of objects in the sky which she could not identify. She asked Newhouse to stop the car and look.
Newhouse saw the group of 12-14 objects, which bore no resemblance to anything he had seen before, milling about in a rough formation and proceeding in an apparent westerly direction.
He opened the luggage compartment of his car, go his movie camera out of a suitcase, and proceeded to take the pictures. There was no reference point above the horizon so he was unable to make any estimates as to size, speed, or distance. Toward the end of his observation one of the objects reversed course and proceeded away from the rest of the group. Newhouse held the camera still and allowed this single object to pass across the field of view of the camera, picking it up again later in its course. He repeated this for two or three passes. By those time all the objects had disappeared.
The pictures obtained by Newhouse have been studied by the Photo Reconnaissance Laboratory, Wright-Air Development Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, and by the U.S. Navy Photo Interpretation Center, Washington, D.C. The Laboratories are of the opinion that these photographs would be extremely difficult to produce under simulated conditions.
Since there was no known object, such as a cloud, tree, or mountain in the film, it has been impossible to determine accurate distance, speed or size of the objects.
It has been impossible also to determine what the objects are, because of their being beyond the resolution power of the lens used. However, certain observations can be made based on analysis by the photographic laboratories:
1. They appear to be a light source rather than reflected light. It is felt that if they were reflected light some blinking would have occurred as they passed through the flight movements observed on the film.
2. The size of the objects could not be determined as they appear merely as points of light, however they all seem to be of the same size.
3. The shape of the objects could not be determined for the same reason, but they appear circular.
4. The general color of the objects seems to be bluish-white, the other colors noted apparently being due to color aberration in the lens and to processing defects.
5. Speed of the objects can be calculated only on the basis of the distance from, and their movements relative to, the observer. It is felt that if the objects were balloons or aircraft of known dimensions, they could have been identified if within a distance of 5 miles. The resolution power of the lens is insufficient to identify objects of such dimensions if in excess of five miles. If the distance is assumed to be five miles and the movement perpendicular to the line of sight, the average velocity would be 653.3 mph; likewise at 2½ miles distance the average speed would be 326.75 mph, and at 7½ miles 980.25 mph.
6. Generally, the movement of the individual object in flight appears to follow an elliptical or circular pattern within the group.
As was stated, it cannot be determined what the objects are. However, there are a few things which it is believed they are not:
1. Balloons -- with the telephoto lens used, weather balloons within five miles distance could have been identified. The speeds calculated for the objects if only 2½ miles away of 326.75 mph is in excess of any wind blown balloons.
2. Aircraft -- within a five miles range an aircraft of 40 foot wing span could be identified clearly. At the time the photographs were taken, there was no group flying by aircraft capable of the assumed speeds, and certainly not capable of such maneuvers at those speeds.
3. Birds -- these objects appear to be a light source rather than reflecting light, but should they be only reflecting light no bird is sufficiently reflective to cause the film to react as strongly as it has done.
Lack of detail in the images caused by the objects and a corresponding lack of accurate data as to size, speed, distance, etc., makes it impossible to explain the sighting. In view of this lack of data the Air Force will not speculate concerning the nature of the objects.
In light of the above press statement, it is of interest to note that Robert S. Allen in his piece noted "authorities are considering publishing certain portions of the report" -- leaving Allen's September 26 news article and the press statement above as the only clues to the breadth of the "secret" study of autumn, 1952.
3. The story related in "Saucer 'Attack' Claimed" has an oblique history which grew in the telling. Two years after publication in La Nazione, the 1954 French book Les Soucoupes Volantes Viennent d'Un Autre Monde ("The Flying Saucers Come From Another World") by Henri René Guieu (under the name Jimmy Guieu) reviewed the incident, quoting the witness' story (apparently from the original article, translation by Patrick Gross as found on the French site UFOs At Close Sight)...
"Other people who saw flying saucers state to have seen them evolving at terrifying speeds and they only glimpsed at them; as for myself, I managed to observe one during 10 good minutes. It was moving without noise above the river, letting a tube hang; which plunged in the water. The disc had some twenty meters in diameter. Its back carried five propellers and on the top of the apparatus, three rotors emerged from a kind of cupola."
"During its evolution, a flow of orange color ran starting from slits on the edge of the principal platform of the apparatus."
"I was paralyzed with stupor. Suddenly, a porthole opened and a man appeared, his face protected by what reminded me of the helmet of a diver. The man saw me... I threw myself back but almost at the same time a green ray streaked the night and dazzled me. I was shaken from head to toe. As I managed to look up, the disc was disappearing towards the East at the speed of lightning."
"Six days later, I fished at the same place when a large man, thin, with gray eyes, came towards me and approached me. He spoke in Italian marked with some foreign tones; it was not the American accent but a language with Scandinavian inflections. He asked me whether I had ever seen, close to the river, planes or even "flying things"."
"I answered 'not', perhaps too quickly for he remained silent, looked at me and finally offered me a cigarette, a long cigarette, with gilded end. Hardly I had sucked two puffs, that I believed I was going to die. My head started to turn, I quickly withdrew the cigarette from my mouth, extinguished it and slipped it into my pocket; but the man grabbed it brutally, broke it apart and threw the remains in the river; then he moved away, leaving me lying on the bank and almost dead..."
Gross also summarizes Guieu's reaction to the story...
...noting that the propeller propulsion excludes an extraterrestrial origin, that the propellers are incompatible with the reported silent flight, that all the story appears to him "quite far fetched!" with only few details in agreement with previous sightings, and that this man of Scandinavian accent and his "poisoned" cigarette feel like "melodrama... and trickery."
In January 1969 Dr. Jacques Vallée -- noted French researcher and close associate of Dr. J. Allen Hynek -- had the following letter on the incident published in Flying Saucer Review...
This was followed some time later by an article in Flying Saucer Review by Mary Boyd (click on image to open a full-size version in another window)...
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