in the news 1952
Above: Graphic accompanying syndicated news article (story below). Click on image for full-size version.
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...
OCTOBER 5, 1952:
Madison, Wisconsin Capital Times - 5 Oct 52
Panama City, Florida Herald - 5 Oct 52
GAA President Says:
'Flying Saucer' Appearances Usually Can Be Explained
By N.K. McKinnon, President
Gulf Amateur Astronomers
Since it seems that the flying saucer has come to stay perhaps a little thinking together on the subject might be in order. The name immediately conjures up visions of disc-like or cigar-shaped objects sailing through the air at incredible velocities at various altitudes and performing right angled turns at high speeds. All this, seemingly is in defiance of every law of gravitation and inertia that the average individual knows.
It is perhaps in accordance with the law of self-preservation that mankind is fearful of anything which might pose a threat and which can not be readily accounted for. This is particularly true of any mysterious or unexplained happening or appearance in the sky. So, if we see any peculiar celestial apparition let's not be too hasty to jump to an unfavorable conclusion.
About a year ago near sundown, I was crossing Harrison Avenue in the five-hundred block when I noticed what appeared to be the planet Jupiter in the eastern sky in the vicinity of the moon. I began hurrying home to take a telescopic look at it but had gone only about a block when I noticed that the object had disappeared. The idea of the flying saucer immediately came to my mind and I thought seriously about it for a while.
Several weeks later it came to me that in all probability what I had seen was one of the elastic meteorological balloons sent aloft by the military forces for the purpose of weather observations. This one was high enough in the sky to reflect back the rays of the setting sun before it burst in the rarefied upper atmosphere and disappeared.
A few of the miniature radio transmitters these balloons carry have been found in this vicinity and that fact helped me to understand something that I had definitely seen and could not explain at the time.
A few weeks ago shortly after dark I received a phone call from a friend about an object in the western sky that was behaving mysteriously. This object was bright, seemingly moving about too much to be a star and was exhibiting the colors of the rainbow. Another member of the astronomical club and I immediately went around to this friend's house to find that the object was the star Arcturus. Since there was no moon and no other prominent stars nearby, Arcturus appeared exceptionally bright. A clear sky helped this out, too. The rays of the star passing through successively denser layers of the atmosphere as it approached the horizon caused it to twinkle more and likewise due to increasing refraction the colors of the spectrum were more pronounced.
The star's apparent moving about was very likely caused by its twinkling more than ordinary and by the fact that it is impossible to stand upright and keep the head absolutely steady without some form of firm support for it. This illusion is helped out, too, by the vague outlines of near-by objects after dark which cause the eye not to catch and automatically correct movements of the head. The remedy is to look at the star over the roof of a nearby house choosing a viewpoint that places it barely above the building, or by the side of a building or light pole or some similar object.
In case something unusual is seen up there that can't readily be explained and seems to be important, get in touch with some person or some organization whom it is felt can explain suitably what has been seen. We must remember that things like the "flying saucers" have been reported for the last hundred years and more.
Miami, Florida News - 5 Oct 52
High School Students Join 'Saucer Spotters'
Ocala, Oct. 4 -- Seven high school students were members of the "flying saucer" spotters club today after they reported seeing a bright saucer-shaped object in the sky.
The boys told yesterday of seeing the "bright, yellowish light -- bright as the light from a flashbulb." They said it was a saucer-like object and "you couldn't look at it long without closing your eyes."
Fred Blair, a high school senior, said he and six other youths watched the object Thursday night. They said it moved from side to side and back and forth almost continuously and turned a bright red in color. After several minutes, they said, the "saucer" speeded off to the southwest.
Long Beach, California Press Telegram - 5 Oct 52
Not Saucers, But Carrots
Flying saucers are passe. Now they're flying carrots.
D.L. Bellot of 3701 Vermont St. and his son, Lee, 14, reported that Saturday at 5:24 p.m. they spotted in the west-southwest portion of the sky a luminous object they described as carrot shaped.
The pair said they observed the object for two minutes and then saw it fade away in a matter of only five seconds.
Long Beach, California Press Telegram - 5 Oct 52
NEW SKY MYSTERIES are double rings that resemble giant smoke rings.
Giant 'Smoke Rings' Mystify In Roundup Of Flying Saucers
by James Sterling
There are flying saucers. They are not mirages or weather balloons.
They are encountered all over the world.
They come in all shapes.
They are NOT new.
There's a summary of findings to date of the Civilian Saucer Investigation.
CSI is a nonprofit group of scientists and aviation engineers founded last December. Best known honorary members is [sic] Dr. Walther Riedel, chief engineer of the World War II German rocket center at Peenemunde, now head of guided missile research at a Downey aviation laboratory.
The group last January invited sighters of "unexplained aerial phenomena" to report in writing to Box 1971, Main Post Office, Los Angeles.
The first 220 reports of saucer sightings received at Box 1971 are analyzed in the new quarterly review of CSI.
The summary shows reports of 63 flying discs, 18 cigar-shaped objects, 16 spheres, 11 strings of lights, 33 green fireballs, 74 colored lights and 13 "unusual shapes."
Double rings that resemble giant smoke rings are the newest sky mysteries reported frequently to CSI.
Night sightings of the rings totaled 72 and day sightings 65.
California led the states in saucer reports, with strong competition from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Texas.
"Although the bulk of the first 220 sightings were for 1951 and 1952." CSI's Quarterly Review states "every year back to 1947, when saucers first came into public consciousness, is well represented.
"In addition there was a good sprinkling of sightings extending through the 30's and several as early as 1896, 1898 and 1907 were reported to CSI by old-timers relieved after a lifetime of mystification to tell someone of their strange experiences."
CSI Investigators visited Long Beach Air Force Base to check the theory that weather balloons are often confused with flying saucers.
"The observers particularly noted that the balloon in the air did not appear to hover," states CSI Review.
"The constant upward movement was apparent at all times. The speed-over-ground was too slow to be confused with any other object than a free-floating balloon."
While retaining its faith in saucers, CSI attacks reports of saucer crashes.
Writes President Ed Sullivan: "CSI has received hundreds of letters from people seeking the facts behind reports of crashed flying saucers, unknown metals which defy laboratory analysis, mysterious top-level rendezvous in the Australian bush, and the little man from outer space preserved in a pickle jar.
"We do not believe that any facts are in anyone's possession to support such claims.
"We ask you to beware of the man who tells you that his friend knows the man with the pickle jar."
Long Beach, California Press Telegram - 5 Oct 52
Remarkable! No Disc Scare
LOS ANGELES -- It wasn't a flying saucer, and what is more remarkable, no one reported it was.
Astronomers at Mt. Wilson observatory confirmed Saturday that the brilliant multicolored streak which appeared over San Fernando Valley Friday was just what observers thought it was -- a meteor.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa Gazette - 5 Oct 52
The G.I. Gazette
By Bruce Fishwild
Squelching Rumors We Never Heard
Squelching rumors before they get started is the best way to stop them. But the navy recently moved just a little too fast.
It squelched a couple that would have made good conversation for a few days if only they had been able to reach these parts before that denial.
We'll let the navy speak for itself by quoting two paragraphs from "Press Queries", a mimeographed digest of the navy department of information's answers to questions put to it by reporters throughout the country.
"The navy is not issuing dehydrated beer to naval personnel in Korea. The navy knows nothing of so-called 'beer pills.'
"The 'flying saucers' being seen by the air force throughout the country are NOT navy vehicles."
Long Beach, California Press Telegram - 5 Oct 52
TAILORED BY THE AIR FORCE at Wright Development Center, Dayton, O., the suit worn by this test pilot is designed to provide protection when pressurization is lost at high altitudes. Tubes on the sides are used to pump pressure into the suit. The pilot also is modeling the new one-piece helmet featuring electrically heated face plate to prevent frosting. -- (Air Force Photo via UP Telephoto).
USC Scientist's Suit Protects Stratopilots
WASHINGTON -- The Air Force Saturday revealed the development of a space suit that already has enabled airmen to fly above altitudes where human blood boils and pure oxygen alone is insufficient to keep a man alive.
Officers said such a suit had to be perfected before progress could be made in developing the jet and rocket aircraft of the future.
At altitudes above 50,000 feet, the normal breathing of pure oxygen alone will not sustain life and the lungs must be directly supercharged to function in the thin atmosphere. Above 63,000 feet human blood at body temperatures will boil, resulting in the body expanding to twice its normal size and death in a matter of seconds.
The T-l resembles the popular conception of a space suit. It combines altitude protection with that now given by slip-on garments which protect an airman against sudden changes in gravity pull and also includes a crash helmet, oxygen mask, earphones, microphone, goggles, defroster and oxygen bailout bottle.
The suit is worn uninflated and inflates automatically whenever the pressure in the airplane cabin is lost. The inflated suit and helmet supercharge the airman's lungs with high-pressure breathing oxygen. The suit also automatically applies counterpressure to the body surface, thus protecting the wearer from collapse.
It proved its effectiveness during high altitude flights at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., when worn by Lt Col. Frank K. Everest His rocket-powered research plane lost its cabin pressure due to a cracked canopy, but the automatic inflation of the suit enable the test pilot to complete his flight.
The suit was also worn by William Bridgeman, Douglas Aircraft Corp. test pilot when he flew a Douglas plane to an altitude of 79,000 feet.
The garment was perfected at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio. Early studies on the problem were begun in 1943 at the University of Southern California under the direction of Dr. J.P. Henry.
OCTOBER 6, 1952:
Gastonia, North Carolina Gazette - 6 Oct 52
GREATEST THRILL COMBINATION EVER PRESENTED at this THEATRE! LIFE Magazine Says:
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7:30 - 10:20
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FIRST AUTHENTIC PICTURES OF
A FLYING SAUCER!
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Manitowoc, Wisconsin Herald Tribune - 6 Oct 52
Two Rivers Washington High School Notes
By Bob Murphy
"Atomic Ball" was the theme chosen for the first dance to be sponsored by the senior class on Friday evening, Oct. 10, at the Washington High School gym. Dancing will be from 8 to 11 p.m., and music will be furnished by Dick Fricke and his band, according to Wayne Cornils, general chairman.
Decorations will feature scenes of space ships with a large "Flying Saucer" hanging from the ceiling. Student admission is by activity ticket or purchase of a ticket at the door for 35 cents.
Chicago, Illinois Daily Tribune - 6 Oct 52
Saw 2 'Saucers' 50 Years Ago, German Claims
BONN, Germany, Oct. 5 (Reuters) - Flying saucers were seen more than 50 years ago, according to Wilhelm Blunk of Hamburg.
"All children and the teacher of our elementary school near Segeberg saw two of them on a sunny day in 1883 or 1884," he said in a letter to a West German weekly magazine.
"They were two fiery balls about the size of full moons and traveled comfortably side by side from north to south. Finally, they disappeared on the horizon. Flying saucers are nothing new," he added.
Newswire Report Reuters - 6 Oct 52
STOCKHOLM, October 6, 1952 (Reuters) -- The army said today that a flying saucer seen in south Sweden last week was a light phenomenon from the planet Jupiter. The Swedish defense staff said it was believed to have been caused by abnormal light refraction due to strong winds and varying humidity in the upper atmosphere.
Kokomo, Indiana Tribune - 6 Oct 52
[Note: Article itself had no headline, but appeared directly under a version of the graphic at the top of this post with the heading "Unexplained 'Flying Saucer' Sightings".]
By WARREN BENNETT
Associated Press Staff Writer
What are these things popularly referred to as "flying saucers?"
The Air Force, which has spent five years chasing will-o'-the-wisps from coast to coast, still hasn't a short, hard, precise answer to the question.
The Air Force is continuing to investigate reports of so-called "flying saucers" with what it characterizes as "adequate but not frantic" attention. It believes that eventually most aerial phenomena will be understood as more as known about the upper atmosphere.
But if the Pentagon doesn't know exactly what all the supposed objects are, it can tell you definitely what they are not.
The Department of Defense says they are not a secret weapon, missile or aircraft developed by the United States. Neither the Army Navy, Air Force, nor any other government agency is conducting experiments that could be the basis for the rash of sightings.
And so far as is known, says the Defense Department, there is no indication that anything is being directed against the U.S. from another country or from another planet.
Since 1947, the Air Force has investigated and analyzed 1,500 reports dealing with aerial phenomena. The majority of these reports came from civilians. About eight per cent came from civilian airline pilots and about 25 per cent from military personnel.
To help evaluate and interpret these reports the Air Force obtained the services of civilian and military astronomers, electronic specialists, meteorologists, aeronautical engineers, physicists and psychologists. The evidence indicated most reports of unidentified flying objects could be accounted for as misinterpretations of various conventional objects. They stemmed from what psychologists call a mild form of mass hysteria. Reports of similar phenomena go back to Biblical times. There have been flurries of them in various centuries.
Most of the reports were identified and disposed of as friendly aircraft erroneously reported, known electronic and meteorological phenomena, light aberrations, man-made objects such as weather balloons, and hoaxes. About 2 per cent of the reports proved to be outright hoaxes.
There remained, however, a number that did not fall into any of these familiar categories. Some came from highly qualified scientists. About 300 -- 20 per cent of the sightings -- had to be classified as presently unexplained.
That is why the investigation is being continued. It is an Air Force responsibility to identify and analyze aerial phenomena that possibly could be a menace to the nation.
At first it was believed that some pattern might evolve from study of a large volume of these reports. Up to now, none has materialized.
The accompanying map shows the location of single and multiple reports of unexplained phenomena.
A big difficulty in disposing of unexplained reports stems from the lack of accurate basic data, such as size, shape, composition and flight characteristics (speed, acceleration, altitude, exact maneuver pattern) of the objects.
It is now felt that reports from people whose training and experience in observing aerial objects qualify them to obtain essential data are the only ones likely to produce material suitable for systematic analysis. The Air Force is acquiring new specialized tools for these observers.
New developments include a diffraction grating camera which separates light into its component parts (spectrum) and registers them on film. The principle is used by astronomers in determining composition of the stars.
Another involves use of a continuously operating telescope equipped with a camera. This telescope has a wide aperture lens capable of covering a cone of 150 degrees, nearly the whole sky from horizon to horizon.
The Air Force has received many reports of unusual images on radar scopes. Speed ranges of these objects have been reported from zero to fantastic speeds. Such radar sightings have resulted in many fruitless intercept flights by jet pilots.
It is fairly well established that some of these images are ground objects reflected from a layer of warm air above the earth as shown in the accompanying sketch. These temperature inversion reflections can give a return on a radar scope as sharp as that received from an aircraft. So can electrified clouds.
Bearing out this theory is a January, 1951 incident near Oakridge, Tenn., site of the atomic installation. Two Air Force planes attempted to intercept an unidentified "object" and actually established a radar "lock" on it. Their altitude at the time was 7,000 feet. On their radar, the object appeared to be at an elevation of 10 to 25 degrees. The pilots made three passes in an attempt to close on the object. In each instance the pilots reported their radar led them first upward and then down toward a specific point on the ground.
On September 2, 1952, a jet fighter flew right through a spot in the sky over Chicago while radar scopes on the ground were showing blips from an unexplained object. Said the pilot: "We didn't see anything. We didn't hit anything. We went through the target showing on the scope and there was nothing there -- not even a cloud."
In any event, the subject is hot. Probably it will continue so until there is a logical explanation for reports of all unexplained aerial phenomena. Until such time the Air Force isn't writing the subject off.
OCTOBER 7, 1952:
Syracuse, New York Post-Standard - 7 Oct 52
More Saucers Flying Around
To the Editor of The Post-Standard:
Chamber of Commerce President of Chateaugay, Mr. Gerald Rushford, says he isn't kidding about the "flying saucer" he and several of his neighbors saw from their Churubusco homes last Friday night, Sept. 26. The report of object in the sky northwest from 'Busco' coincided with the report that a similar observation was made from Camp Drum earlier that week. Mr. Rushford stated that the "saucer" moved erratically, first up and down, clearly visible for several minutes. The Camp Drum report described the object as being 20 feet in diameter with an exhaust tail of reddish, orange sparks.
I shall check with residents on that street immediately and send in a complete report next week with names of people who watched the "saucer."
MRS. TESSIE HUMPHREY
Syracuse, New York Herald Journal - 7 Oct 52
"Saucer" Is Planet Jupiter
GOTEBORG, Sweden -- On a night walk in the small town or Munkedal near here, a young Swedish fisherman took a picture of what he thought was a "flying saucer" moving up and down in the sky. The Swedish defense staff studied the photo and conferred with leading astronomers. They concluded the fisherman had taken an excellent shot of the Planet Jupiter.
Newswire Report Reuters - 7 Oct 52
NICE, Oct. 7 -- Airport worker Jacques Fonesca today reported he saw a "flying cigar" streaking over Nice from the Mediterranean yesterday. Pilots of an airliner also saw the object. It was traveling at "incredible speed" at about 20,000 feet.
Newswire Report Reuters - 7 Oct 52
Nice, Oct. 7 -- Mrs. Charles Govern, 76, of (Orchard Farm) Greenwich, Connecticut was among several persons who today reported having seen a "flying cigar" over the south of France yesterday.
Air France pilot Francis Cavasse, who first reported sighting the cigar, described it as as "a luminous cigar-shaped object, bigger than any transport aircraft and quite different than a meteor, moving in a straight line at some 1,200 to 2,000 miles an hour."
Mrs. Govern, who is on vacation at the Riviera resort of Beaulieu-sur-merchant, phoned a Nice newspaper to say she saw the "cigar" while waiting at the Nice Airport for her son, Morton Govern, who was flying from Paris on the DC-4 piloted by Cavasse. Her description of the object tallied with that given by the airman and his co-pilot Michael Clement.
Unknown Publication, - Unknown Date
[The following translation was found in the same Blue Book files as the two newswire stories directly above. The original article was written in German, however there is no publication date or name included. The reference to "Ghost Plane" has a connotation similar to "flying saucers", i.e., unexplained aerial phenomenon. The reference to "UP" is probably the United Press.]
Ghost Plane Experienced Pilots Say: No Meteor
Cigar Shape - Blueish-White Smoke Trail
Nice, 7 Oct. -- According to UP two experienced pilots of Air France report that they encountered over Draguignan, Dept. Var at 7:28 PM central European Time, a cigar-shaped flying machine that could not have been anything else but a flying saucer. The pilots reported this Monday night upon landing at the airport of Nice.
The object was said to have crossed in front of the airliner, about one and a quarter miles distant and with a speed three times that of a jet plane. It was luminous and left a smoke-trail, blueish-white, twenty times its own length.
The pilots followed the path of the object for thirty seconds. Then it disappeared.
The witnesses expressed the opinion that they saw a controlled flying craft and not a meteor.
OCTOBER 8, 1952:
Walla Walla, Washington Union-Bulletin - 8 Oct 52
ESCAPE AT 2000 MPH -- This is an artist's conception of a device to enable pilots to escape safely from planes going 2000 miles an hour, recently proposed by the Douglas Aircraft Co. The entire forward part of a fighter plane operating in outer atmosphere would be shot clear by rockets, similar to the convential [sic] jet assisted takeoff. A parachute would open to stabilize the fall to earth. The capsule, with the pilot safely sealed inside, would float if water landing were necessary.
Big Spring, Texas Daily Herald - 8 Oct 52
'FLYING SAUCER' ON GLASS PLATFORM -- This is the new livestock judging pavilion, nearly completed on the North Carolina State Fair grounds at Raleigh.
Big Spring, Texas Daily Herald - 8 Oct 52
Picture Of A Dream
When a flying saucer, presumably from Mars, fell in the area between Lomax and Elbow recently, the Field and Range photographer rushed out and searched it. Among the most unusual scientific equipment found undamaged in the wreckage was a camera for taking pictures of dreams. He galloped to the Cauble home to report his discovery, but finding Rexie asleep got permission from Mrs. Cauble to set the instrument, the only one of its kind on earth, up and photograph Rexie's dreams. When the negative was developed this is what it showed -- fat Herefords, plenty of grass, running streams and trees that sprang up out of the sandhills in a flash. All of which only goes to prove that at least one of Howard County's leading Hereford breeders has found a way to escape from the drought.
With Inter-Planetary Camera
Long Beach, California Press Telegram - 6 Oct 52
Meteor Sighted In Fallon Area
Or, Of Course, It May Have Been a Saucer
What might have been an unusually bright meteor -- or, of course, a flying saucer -- was sighted in the Fallon area last night.
Two Reno residents, traveling Highway 95 near Fallon, watched the unusual light for about 20 seconds as it followed a straight path from west to east. They described the object as a round, white, glowing ball, which trailed a bright tail of reddish and green-tinged fire. They were positive the tail was actual fire, and not just a radiance.
The object appeared to blink out rather than disappear over the horizon, the witnesses said.
Chester, Pennsylvania Times - 8 Oct 52
Cosmic Ray Projects
Navy Has Another Spectacular Weapon
By Robert S. Allen
WASHINGTON -- The Navy is all set to take the wraps off of another of its spectacular "pushbutton warfare" secret [sic].
This one is an astounding cosmic ray project in the Arctic.
The experiments may provide the U.S. with its best anti-aircraft weapon against hostile bombers carrying A-bombs.
That is the confident belief of the scientists and Navy authorities working on the sensational project. Their results to date are beyond expectations; also, they stagger the imagination.
For obvious security reasons, the Navy will reveal only a few details of these results in the information and photographs that will shortly be published. But they will be sufficient to give a graphic concept of the extraordinary nature and fabulous possibilities of this undertaking.
Following are highlights of what will be disclosed:
The Navy has been launching guided missiles from balloons at immense heights.
A ground-controlled device has been perfected by means of which it is possible to produce an atmospheric explosion of awesome violence at great height.
This device has nothing to do with atomic weapons. It's entirely different.
Penetrations by the Navy's guided missiles of layers of ice air masses at the vast height produced amazing photographs of "light rays" and "ringlets" that bear remarkable resemblance to "flying saucers" and other objects that have been reported in the past year.
The Navy will not claim that it [sic] photos are an answer to the mysterious flying objects.
However, two facts will be pointed out: The extraordinary similarity between the accounts of flying saucers and the photographs of the "light rays" and "ringlets," and that the latter can be seen at tremendous distances.
No hint will be given as to the exact location of the cosmic ray experiments. All the Navy will reveal is that they are taking place in the Arctic.
OCTOBER 9, 1952:
Oakland, California Tribune, October 9, 1952
Coast To Coast
More than a hundred so-called flying saucer sightings and explanations have been reported to Mitchel Field in the last three weeks. . . .
Benton Harbor, Michigan News-Palladium - 9 Oct 52
Flying Disk Near Grayling Is Balloon
GRAYLING. Oct. 8 -- People in northern Michigan saw a strange bright object in the sky yesterday, but the Air Raid [sic] Filter Center in Grand Rapids said it was nothing to get excited about.
Authorities at the center said the sighted object probably was one of three high-flying weather balloons on the loose from somewhere on the West Coast.
The Filter Center plotted their course from reports from West Branch, Grayling and Grand Rapids.
At least 20 persons at Camp Grayling, the Michigan National Guard encampment, reported spotting the object.
They said it hovered in the eastern sky from about 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., finally fading away slowly in the east.
OCTOBER 10, 1952:
Syracuse, NY Post Standard - 10 Oct 52
At The Post
By Grace Lewis
...Dr. Wernher von Braun, billed as the world's leading rocket expert, contends that men will go to the moon in the next 25 years and that when the trip is made, all the rest of us cowards will sit around watching the affair by television.
The good Dr. von Braun says we have the knowledge and tools to go moon-exploring right now. But he prefers a few years of planning and of building an airport a mere 1,075 miles up...
Indiana, Pennsylvania Gazette - 10 Oct 52
Cosmic Ray Study To Launch "Flying Saucers" Over India
WASHINGTON -- Columns of soaring spheres in the sky over India soon may have startled Indians seeing "flying saucers." But these will be saucers of science.
A nine-month program of cosmic ray research, sponsored jointly by the National Geographic Institute, and India's Muslim University, will begin in mid-October at Aligarh in the United Provinces (Uttar Pradeshi).
From various sites over a 23-degree range of latitude, cosmic ray scientists will launch tandem-linked "trains" of plastic balloons, capable of carrying Geiger counters and miniature radio transmitters into the cold silence and rarified air 100,000 feet or more above the earth.
"TOP OF THE ATMOSPHERE"
Even at this 19-mile altitude, the balloon trains often are clearly visible from the ground. Having them reported as flying saucers is no new experience for Dr. Martin A. Pomerantz, Bartol cosmic ray physicist in charge of the research program.
Since 1946, he has sent many such flights into the upper stratosphere from his headquarters at Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, from other points in the United States, and from the bleak and lonely shores of Hudson Bay, at Churchill,
Carrying instruments supplied by the Office of Naval Research, the gas-filled balloons rise to a point where 98 per cent of the earth's atmosphere lies below. Radio pulses send back information on the invisible but enormously powerful cosmic radiation that constantly bombards the earth from outer space.
The highest altitude so far reached by any such balloon flight was 136,000 feet, a record set on October 4, 1949 over Swarthmore. At such heights, the cosmic ray balloons sometimes encounter high-speed winds of stratosphere "jet streams" and are blown great distances.
OUT TO SEA
A U.S. Navy vessel picked up one balloon hitch, released at Swarthmore, several hundred miles at sea. Another was found by an Argentina cruiser, which turned it over to a U.S. Navy installation in Puerto Rico, the first port of call.
Cosmic ray balloons from France have landed in Pennsylvania, and a 20-foot weather balloon released in New Mexico traveled more than 7,000 miles, at an average of 120 to 180 miles per hour, to land in Norway 48 hours later.
One of the Bartol cosmic ray balloon trains was found by a New Jersey game warden. Once a poacher himself, he saw a use for the rubberlike plastic envelopes never intended by science. A gun wrapped in the deflated ballons [sic] could be submerged under water, he told Dr. Pomerantz, whenever a game warden came near.
Another flight came down in Brooklyn. It was spotted by painters working on a rooftop and was retrieved by a policeman off duty. He took the instrument gondola to the nearest station house, where a lieutenant began too hurriedly to read the note attached.
"Cosmic rays . . . hydrogen gas . . do not smoke -- Clear the house!" he shouted, and the precinct headquarters emptied into the streets.
It was some little lime before the officer mustered up courage to return and finish reading the full instructions and the station house could return to normal routine.
Fitchburg, Massachusetts Sentinel - 10 Oct 52
Report Flying Saucers Seen At Gardner
GARDNER, Oct. 10 -- Scores of Gardner residents will testify today that they saw flying saucers last night. For nearly an hour between 7 and 8, elliptical circles of light raced over low hanging clouds on the eastern horizon as though they were motor cars racing around a huge track. About 7:30 the standard green and red lights of an airplane were seen plodding steadily along the same course at a speed of about 1/10th of the saucers, if saucers they were.
The appearance of the plane led many to believe that the craft was trying to track down the saucers as Air Force officials say their planes have tried in the past. If the plane were trying, it never caught up with the saucers. One Woodland avenue resident who saw the lights while enroute to the home of a neighbor was so upset that she ran back to her home, putting her call off until another evening.
Holland, Michigan Evening Sentinel - 10 Oct 52
'Flying Saucer' Really Navy Weather Balloon
A small round white object that was sighted high in the sky over Holland today has been tentatively identified as a Navy weather balloon according to information received from the Grand Rapids Filter center by Martin Japinga.
Japinga, co-ordinator for Ottawa county air warning service, said Grand Rapids informed him the Navy had been releasing weather balloons in Washington and Oregon, earlier this month.
Two other balloons have been sighted in the area and several have been reported down around the Grand Rapids area. The object was first sighted over Holland by Parke Davis employes.
Pottstown, Pennsylvania Mercury - 10 Oct 52
Flying Saucer Scare Is Advertising Trick
Flying saucers reported to be flying across the sky north of Pottstown last night turned out to be nothing more than a fancy way of advertising the sale of fruits and vegetables.
The mysterious lights flashing "greenish" and "yellowish" hues were coming from searchlights at an Allentown farmers' market over 30 miles away.
Charles R. Slider, Pottstown RD 3. said, "They weren't searchlights that I saw at first although later in the night that's what they appeared to be."
His neighbor, Lawrence Sweigart, said, "They couldn't have been searchlights because the light was shooting from the sky to the earth."
John Weaver, Douglassville RD [Illegible] stated positively, "I'd say they were flying saucers."
OCTOBER 11, 1952:
Syracuse, New York Post-Standard 11 Oct 52
Washington Merry Go Round
by Drew Pearson
Flying Saucer Rings
THE NAVY IS SAVING THE SCOOP FOR Life magazine, but Navy scientists have photographed "Phantom" flying saucers in the Arctic. They believe this will explain, in part, the flying saucer mystery.
The Navy saucers were produced during experiments in cosmic-ray research, but were kept secret because of the project's highly classified nature. However, the Navy has finally decided to declassify the pictures and slip them first to Life magazine.
The pictures show rings resembling flying saucers, which the Navy scientists say were caused by firing small guided missiles thru cold air masses. The missiles are fired from balloons high in the Arctic stratosphere as part of the cosmic ray experiments.
The missiles, themselves, do not look like flying saucers. But as they penetrate the cold air masses, they produce rings of light, which are nothing more than a natural phenomena caused by the atmospheric conditions.
The rings are plainly visible and could be seen in some parts of the United States.
1. Translations of foreign news reports are as found in the files of Project Blue Book.
2. Further information on the incident reported by pilots in France as told in the two October 7, 1952 newswire reports as well in " Ghost Plane Experienced Pilots Say: No Meteor " shows up in Project Blue Book files as a memorandum sent from Commanding Officer, 1994th AACS Squadron, Loan AB, France, in his semi-monthly Intelligence Report dated 16 October 1952 to Intelligence Division, Hq, MATS, Andrews AF Base in Washington. The report is signed by Capt. Charles J. Powley. Names which have been blacked out in the declassified file are included in brackets (Francis Cavasse was the pilot, Michel Clement was the co-pilot, and Mrs. Charles Govern was the American witness from Connecticut.) The relevant portion of Powley's report...
TWO AIR FRANCE PILOTS ENCOUTER A FLYING EGG
1. Statement by the pilot Francis Cavasse reads: "At 1928 hours, local time, (7 Oct 52) we noted (the town of) Draguignan, when my co-pilot [Clement] brought to my attention the formation of a luminous object of a strange form. We immediately approached through form of an elongated egg. The course of the object was absolutely straight and level. Its speed was continuous and regular. The egg was entirely alight, but it was a white, not blinding, light, like a neon light. Thus, we were able to follow its course for 30 seconds without taking an eye from it. When it left our sight, it was following a straight and level course. The object left in its wake, a trail appearing to be 20 to 25 times its length. The exhaust had formed a pointed form. It was a bluish white.
2. We have estimated the lightning-like speed of the object at 2 or 3 times that of a jet aircraft at full speed. Over-determination of that value is not the result of mechanical impressions, the Flying Egg reached two or three thousand kilometers per hour. From what we saw, we had the feeling that it was in front and about 3 kilometers above us. It seemed to us, much larger than a normal transport aircraft."
3. Joint Statement by the Pilots: "There is nothing in common between this and those oddities we have seen in the sky. We had clearly, the impression of having run onto a machine, perfectly driven. Comets and meteors following, in effect, curved and non-straight courses. The intensity of their light changes constantly. Towards the end of their course, they slow down, partially stopping, and usually burn out. There is no resemblance. In spite of their speed, comets and meteors remain at such a distance their speed seems to be slow, while tonight, we were in the presence of an object flying not far from us, as a high rate of speed. It was flying a course of 230 degrees; that is to say, from Northeast to Southwest, making toward Toulon."
4. In the 9 October edition, "France Soir" followed up by running another article: "The Flying Egg seen in the sky of Provence (Riviera area) has raised considerable emotion along the Cote d'Azure, where dozens of witnesses are said to have observed the phenomena under the same conditions as pilots [Cavasse] and [Clement]. An American, vacationing at (the town of) Beauleiau, Mrs. [Charles Govern], whose home is in Connecticut, told your reporter: "I was, day before yesterday, at the Airport of Nice about 1930 hours. I saw a luminous object. I can't describe it more exactly than the Air France aviators. I had clearly the impression of seeing a machine, driven or radio directed, by persons unknown".
5. The article then goes on to state that, although the observatory at Nice did not see the Flying Egg, there were many witnesses who are sure that it was not a celestial body or meteor.
3. The statement in "Cosmic Ray Study To Launch "Flying Saucers" Over India" that "even at this 19-mile altitude, the balloon trains often are clearly visible from the ground" is questionable. At best, it would be seen as a pinprick of light reflected from the sun.
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