in the news 1952
Above: 1951 bubble-gum card showing menace of hypothetical Soviet rocket plane. There were a total of 48 cards to the set, illustrating the communist threat, including a Soviet atom bomb attack on the United States. Story on Soviet rocket plane 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...
NOVEMBER 1, 1952:
Fitchburg, Massachusetts Sentinel - 1 Nov 52
MITE FROM MARS -- Francis Kurtyka, five-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. John Kurtyka, 380 Fairmount street, paraded on Main street last night during Halloween celebration as a "flying saucer" visitor.
El Paso, Texas Herald-Post -1 Nov 52
That was no flying saucer over the Lehigh Valley. It was Santa Claus in a crimson and gold flying sled and 10,000 children have gifts -- and maybe a few stomach-aches -- to prove it.
The 10,000 were guests of Max Hess Jr., Allentown. Pa., retailer, who each year brings Kris Kringle from the North Pole to eastern Pennsylvania just to convince unimaginative doubters.
For the more literal-minded, Hess explains that the flying sled was a helicopter and he adds:
"It took months of searching for the top display artists and aeronautic al designers in the country to get together and create this flying sleigh. [sic, no end quote]
The calendar says Christmas is a month and 24 days off, but to the children who left the fairgrounds clutching their gifts, Santa has arrived.
NOVEMBER 2, 1952:
Syracuse, New York Herald American - 2 Nov 52
Eerie Object Seen in Sky At Endicott
WEST ENDICOTT -- If you live the West Endicott area and haven't seen a strange object in the sky, you're in the minority.
People aren't calling the object they see a flying saucer, unless you count the ones who say it might be the edge of a saucer.
Most describe it as a silvery pencil-like object. It is reported to be in the sky at about dusk each day and more and more people are noticing it.
All give about the same description: It's a very thin, white wire-shaped object. The object is tilted at an angle of about 45 degrees.
It remained stationary then turned horizontal and scooted off. Although some say it leaves in a vapor trail, most agree that it just seems to fade away into the northeast.
For more than a week reports of the object, and most agree on its size, shape and disappearance, have come in.
Lima, Ohio News - 2 Nov 52
Research by Dogsled
Cosmic rays, which bombard the earth's atmosphere constantly from outer space, are still a scientific mystery. It's difficult to go about studying them because the atmosphere screens out a great deal of their power. Fortunately, that is.
So the study room must be taken to the cosmic rays, most of the time, by balloon and rocket.
The Navy has long been a cosmic ray student because, among other reasons, a method of navigation which is not subject to the vagaries of weather and other atmospheric disturbances may possibly emerge.
But cosmic rays are where you find them and ingenuity is required to get next to them.
A great deal of cosmic ray research has been done in the past by means of high altitude balloons. Some of the Navy's big plastic spheres have probably been the source of some of the numerous "saucer sightings."
But as the Navy saw it, balloons were not enough, so rockets were hooked to the balloons, thereby projecting research instruments to altitudes of 40 miles.
THE LAUNCHINGS were made from the deck of a Coast Guard cutter in the arctic waters of Baffin Bay. Apparently this spot, close to the magnetic pole, offers the best possible conditions under which to study cosmic radiations. The balloons go up 17 miles after being launched from the cutter, then the rockets add 20 more miles to altitude.
Some of the information sought is automatically radioed back to the ship while the rocket is in flight, but the parachuted instruments still must be recovered. This is accomplished successfully at times by handsome rewards to eskimos and trappers who return the gear to the Navy. But of course some of them have yet to be found. Proving that while some aspects of research have reached the rocket age, others are still limited to the best pace that can be made by a sledge and a team of arctic-wise dogs.
NOVEMBER 3, 1952:
Massillon, Ohio Evening Independent - 3 Nov 52
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NOVEMBER 4, 1952:
Medicine Hat, Canada News - 4 Nov 52
Winnifred Resident Finds First "Flying Saucer" In District; U.S. Weather Bureau Balloon
WINNIFRED (Special) -- Mrs. Eugene Angle, district resident, has found a "flying saucer" . The appearance of a "flying saucer" through this district a week ago was well authenticated by RCMP. It was found over the week-end by Mrs. Angle, who lives two miles south and one mile west of Winnifred.
Mrs. Angle noticed the family's dog pulling something off the fence and went out to investigate.
She found a large red rubber balloon, about the size of a gunny sack, surmounted by a white parachute. Attached to the balloon was a small battering with a bulb of the size used in flashlights. The battery was marked "U.S. Weather Bureau, aBttery [sic] No., R5-3CA, manufactured December, 1951.”
This is the first direct evidence in Medicine Hat district of the finding of some explanation to account for the several "flying saucers" which have been spotted in the area in the past year.
Lowell, Massachusetts Sun - 4 Nov 52
BOSTON, Nov. 4 -- They're back again -- those flying saucers. Residents of Revere, Mattapan and the Back Bay reported last night they saw two bright, circular objects in the sky, one circling the other. "I don't think they were merely searchlights on the clouds because you couldn't see the beams," one woman said. Another woman, Mrs. Maxine Clampi of Revere, said they resembled objects her children reported to her two weeks ago.
Hattiesburg, Mississippi American - 4 Nov 52
Stone Countians Tell Of Seeing Flying Saucer
WIGGINS, Miss. -- A mysterious illuminated flying object which traveled at twice the speed of a jet airplane and then hovered in one spot for several minutes before climbing up out of sight was observed here late last Wednesday afternoon by a number of Stone County residents.
One of the persons who witnessed the phenomenon was Forrest "Sonny" Holleman, a fire patrol pilot for Dantzer Lumber Co. who was returning from a patrol flight at dusk.
Holleman has been flying since 1939 and was a liaison pilot in World War II. However, the strange object was like nothing he has ever seen, he said when interviewed today.
"I didn't want to talk about it -- I thought perhaps I would mention it to some of the Civil Aeronautics officials," Holleman related.
He said he spotted the swiftly moving oblong object flying high and fast as he was heading back to the airport at Wiggins from the Nugent area.
"There was no vapor trail but there was a bluish flame like the tail of a comet. It was going about twice the speed of a jet when I first saw it.
"It went toward Hattiesburg, then hovered in one spot for a long time. I clocked it and I saw it for a total of 18 minutes. After it hovered for several minutes it started climbing swiftly at about a 60-degree angle and went up out of sight," he said.
Holleman said he didn't believe what he was seeing and radioed the fire tower observer at the Dunlap tower. He said she replied that she could see the object, too, and that it appeared to be a big ball of fire.
"It was big and radiant," Holleman said. He talked to many people at Wiggins after he landed and found that the object had been observed by a number of people.
One housewife, he said, told him that at first she thought it was the moon and had remarked to her husband that the moon looked very strange.
There were a number of persons at the Cameron and Ward Sawmill who also observed the strange object, Holleman said.
NOVEMBER 5, 1952:
Oakland, California Tribune - 5 Nov 52
SUNDAY NITE AT 7:45 P.M.
1. What is the Mystery of the Flying Saucers?
will we soon be
MONDAY NITE 7:45 P.M.
"ARE WE AT THE END OF THE
2. Why the Drought-Floods?
3. Why War instead of Peace?
OAKLAND REVIVAL TABERNACLE
10th AND BROADWAY
"THE TABERNACLE HOUR"
Radio Station KWBR Sun. 10:30 p.m.
C.J. Lawry, Pastor
Biloxi, Mississippi Daily Herald - 5 Nov 52
Balloon Contest Set For Saturday For Biloxi Youth
James D. Hadaway, Biloxi recreation superintendent, Tuesday outlined plans that the recreation department has for Biloxi in the recreation field for the 1953 year. Hadaway, while addressing the Biloxi Rotary Club at their weekly meeting at the Buena Vista Hotel, told the group of a special monthly event program which will get under way in the city Saturday.
He said that at 8 o'clock Saturday morning all youths of Biloxi, 16 years and under, will meet on the Biloxi High School athletic field to take part in a balloon "flying saucer" contest.
According to Hadaway, the contest will be held to see how far the inflated balloons will soar before coming to earth. The balloons are to be filled with helium and attached to each will be a saucer (a cardboard pie plate).
On each of the saucers will be the sender's name with instructions to the finder to return to the Biloxi recreation department stating where found.
Hadaway said that this Saturday's program would be conducted for the white youth of the city and that on the following Saturday a similar program would be conducted for the colored children...
Freeport, Illinois Journal Standard - 5 Nov 52
Flying Saucer (?) Seen Over Freeport
Mrs. John Stevens, 812 S. Liberty Ave., reported seeing a circular, silver object flying high above Freeport at 1:10 today.
Mrs. Stevens said she wouldn't go so far as to say that it was a flying saucer but she "has never seen anything like it before." It was round and silver and had a long trail of smoke behind it, she reports, and it was mlying [sic] in a southeasterly direction.
The object was also seen by her father, Frank Meier, and a neighbor, Mrs. George Carroll, 219 E. Pleasant, St.
NOVEMBER 6, 1952:
Florence, South Carolina Morning News - 6 Nov 52
Flying Saucers Again; Report One Seen Here
A bright orange-red "flying saucer" was reported seen flying over Florence at 7:30 last night.
Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Hutchinson, 1120 Sherwood Drive, said an egg shaped object about six inches long flew over their home twice and was last seen heading southwest.
"It looked like a huge star," Hutchinson said. "I first noticed it when I went out to my car. It was heading due west. I watched it until it went out of sight, then I went back in the house to get my briefcase.
"I stepped outside a few seconds later and I looked up to see it coming from a northerly direction. Later it turned toward the southwest and disappeared."
Hutchinson estimated its speed to be about 100 mph at a height of half a mile. He said it made no noise and emitted no rays. A check by the Civil Aeronautics Administration indicated that the light probably came from a low flying jet returning to Shaw Air Force Base.
Akron, Ohio Register Tribune - 6 Nov
Might Possibly Have Been One Of Those Ike "Specials"
The first instance of a "flying saucer" in this immediate area came when Mrs. Emil Johnson and son, Roger, driving to their home, west of town one evening a couple of weeks ago, were very much startled to see a bright object flash across the road ahead of them just after they had reached the top of a hill and started south toward their home. The "thing" appeared as a flat object with a revolving motion, traveling rapidly from west to east and seemingly at not too great height. It passed out of sight so quickly they had no time to get a very good view of the eerie object. Roger has always been very skeptical of such phenomena -- but now he is not so sure the "flying saucer" is just a myth or a figure of someone's imagination. No other reports have been heard of whatever it may have been.
NOVEMBER 7, 1952:
Walla Walla, Washington Union-Bulletin - 7 Nov 52
Russ Flying Rocket Planes With Speeds of 1,700 MPH
WASHINGTON -- Russia is flying experimental rocket fighter airplanes at speeds up to 1,700 miles an hour and altitudes upward of 100,000 feet, American Aviation Magazine said Thursday.
Even mightier rocket planes, under Russian top-priority development, may be able to fly 2,500 miles an hour at altitudes of 200,000 feet, the trade publication added.
The known world speed and altitude records, set last year by
the U.S. Navy's Douglas Skyrocket, are 1,238 miles an hour -- about twice the speed of sound -- and 79,494 feet.
The Douglas X-3, which made its first flight at the Air Force's Edwards, Calif., test center Oct. 20, started out as a design study aimed toward development of a plane capable of a top speed of about 2,000 miles an hour and a ceiling of more than 200,000 feet.
However, the current X-3 has jet engines, and is not expected to do anything sensational in speed or climbing until modified to take rocket power.
Russia, notorious for claiming "firsts" and world records in every field, has been significantly silent about the skyrocket's achievements which were made public only last July after almost a year's lapse.
A member of American Aviation's staff said this probably was a case where the Russians have clammed up, rather than boasted about, their accomplishments.
The magazine said pilots in the new Russian rocket fighters handle the controls while lying on their stomachs, to reduce the pull of gravity at extreme speeds. It said several of the experimental models are being test-flown in the Moscow area. It added that the planes:
1. Weigh about 15,000 pounds, are about 38 feet long and have 25-foot wing spans.
2. Are to a great extent the product of German research and German engineers.
The magazine said its information came from "sources in contact with aeronautical research beyond the Iron Curtain."
It added that the Communist rocket program, "if realized, may well make the Soviet Union invulnerable to attack by piloted air craft."
Winona, Minnesota Republican Herald - 7 Nov 52
Dr. Posin Coming Monday to Talk On Flying Saucers
Dr. D.Q. Posin, who came here several years ago to explain atomic energy, will be back again Monday evening, this time to talk about "Flying Saucers, Space Travel and Atomic Energy."
His talk at the Senior High School Auditorium at 8 p.m. is sponsored by the Winona Public School Teachers Association as part of the American Education Week observance. There will be no admission charge.
Doors will open at 7:15 p.m. to permit inspection of an exhibit brought here by Dr. Posin.
The speaker, who is chairman of the department of physics at North Dakota State College, Fargo, will talk to high school students in the afternoon. At the public evening meeting, he will be introduced by Glenn Anderson, association president.
Dr. Posin is the author now of six books, one of them having appeared with an introduction written by Professor Albert Einstein and another of them having won a national award in a contest on books of science written for the layman.
He has been chairman of the department of physics at the Fargo college for seven years where he is now doing some research work in atomic energy, teaching classes, lecturing and writing books. Before that he was a research man and professor at a number of other institutions including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked on radar; University of Montana, where he was president of the Montana Academy of Science; the University of Panama, where he was chairman of the department of physics; and the University of California, where he was an instructor and received his doctoral training while doing research on the nature of lightning and electrical sparks.
He has lectured widely both at home and abroad on the subjects of atomic energy and flying saucers, has appeared often on radio and television.
Albuquerque, New Mexico Journal - 7 Nov 52
Saucer Reports Still Unexplained
WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 -- The Air Force announced today that two of last summer's "flying saucers" reports have been thoroughly investigated and that they remain unexplained.
One of the "saucers," said to have burned a Scout leader's hand when he walked under it, was reported Aug. 19, at West Palm Beach, Fla. The other, which a radio engineer said took off perpendicularly at a distance of 100 yards, was reported Aug. 25 at Pittsburg, Kas.
The Air Force said: "In neither case was sufficient evidence available upon which to base a conclusion. The incidents remain unexplained."
A spokesman said that there was little or no material evidence
to corroborate or amplify the statements of the witnesses about what they saw.
Hutchinson, Kansas News Herald - 7 Nov 52
Pittsburg Flying Saucer Branded False
WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 -- The Air Force Thursday tabbed a couple more flying saucer reports with its custoramy [sic] "insufficient evidence" label.
In a brief statement it said it had made a thorough investigation of an object reported last Aug. 19 near West Palm Beach, Fla., and studied a report on one seen near Pittsburg, Kas., on Aug. 25.
"In neither case," said the Air Force, "was sufficient evidence available upon which to base a conclusion: The incidents remain unexplained."
This is substantially the same language used to discuss the rash of other flying saucer reports.
Albuquerque, New Mexico Journal - 7 Nov 52
Could Be Reasoning Beings on Other Planets, Argues an Authoritative Catholic Publication
ROME, Nov. 6 . -- An authoritative Catholic publication said today there could be reasoning beings on other planets subject neither to illness nor death.
Such beings, said Civilta Cattolica, fortnightly review of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) would not be part of the Human family which has its head in Adam.
"Thus, they would not have (the stigma of) original sin, at least that of Adam."
But, added Civilta Cattolica, there could also be reasoning beings who, like Adam and Eve, failed in a test set them by the Creator. "They would not have been redeemed, at least directly, by Jesus Christ."
The Civilta Cattolica writer, the Rev. D. Grassi, S.J., noted that recent flying saucer reports have intensified speculation on beings from other worlds. He said no satisfying explanation has yet been given of the saucer reports.
But, even before the discs appeared in the sky, theologians had for centuries considered the possibility of human life beyond the earth, he wrote.
If, in a more or less near-tomorrow, science should ascertain the existence of human beings outside the world, neither dogma nor theology would be in difficulty."
Such beings, however, would be outside the providential order of which original sin -- due to Adam and Eve's eating of the forbidden fruit -- and man's redemption by Jesus Christ are the central events, he wrote.
"For them," wrote Father Grassi, "God conceived and actuated a plan different from ours -- one of many possible in regard to intellectual creatures. Which one it is, we do not know."
The Civilta Cattolica writer said extra-terrestrial beings could be of three kinds.
1. They could be endowed with free will and intellect and enjoy supernatural grace such as Adam and Eve had before their fall. If, unlike Adam and Eve, they were subjected to a test and passed it they would be "living in a world of spiritual and material well-being such as we do not know."
2. They could have fallen, as did Adam and Eve, and, if so, could have been left in their sin, without possibility of pardon, or saved in a manner different from ours. Or God might have redeemed them by applying the merits of Jesus Christ, revealing to them the redemption wrought by Christ on earth. In this case, they would have much the same troubles and ills as do men on earth.
3. They could have been created by God without any supernatural destiny, in a purely natural condition. After death they would live in simple natural happiness such as that which Catholic doctrine says is the lot of babies that died without baptism.
NOVEMBER 8, 1952:
Ironwood, Michigan Daily Globe - 8 Nov 52
Outer Space 'Saucer' Home, Woman Claims
GREEN BAY -- The United States and the rest of the world is being visited by interplanetary space vehicles, Mrs. Coral Lorenzen of Sturgeon Bay declared in an interview Friday night.
Mrs. Lorenzen, international director of the Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization, was here under the sponsorship of the Green Bay Filter Center of the Air Force.
She said the group was formed at the beginning of the year and has a membership in the "high hundreds," with headquarters at Sturgeon Bay.
She said the sighting of "flying saucers followed a definite pattern, with the greatest number appearing in the fall and winter.
She said all of her information had been taken by observations of the objects in the air and that none of her group had ever examined wreckage of an interplanetary craft.
NOVEMBER 9, 1952:
Lubbock, Texas Avalanche Journal - 9 Nov 52
Big Lights In Sky Next Week Will Be Meteor Showers, Not Flying Saucers
NEW YORK, Nov. 8 -- Those lights in the sky next week will not be flying saucers, but merely "sudden trails of light caused by solid particles from outer space that enter our atmosphere at tremendous speeds and are heated to incandescence by the resistance of air to then-flight."
They'll be especially bad about the 10th and the 16th of the month.
Robert R. Coles, chairman of the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History, gave fair notice of the lights Saturday.
The two principal meteor showers in November, Coles said, are the so-called Taurid meteors, which show off best about the 10th of the month, and the Leonid meteors, which steal the show about the 16th.
They take their names from the fact they seem to come from the constellations of Taurus the Bull and Leo the Lion.
Fort Pierce, Florida News-Tribune - 9 Nov 52
'Buzzing' Cost Him $800 and Hat
WEST PALM BEACH -- Dunham S. Desvergers [sic throughout, should be DesVergers], the scoutmaster who claimed he was "buzzed" by a flying saucer last August, says the experience cost him $800 and a new hat.
He said Friday he hoped a statement by the Air Force that the episode still was a mystery would not stir up new public interest.
Desvergers explained be has had to answer more than 1,000 letters and telephone calls from as far away as London and hasn't yet sold the story of his experience.
"I insist that the story be told the way it really happened," he said. "All the book and magazine people want to jazz it up. And I don't sell it on that basis."
He said curious persons visited the store where he worked as a hardware clerk and that "people threatened my wife and I had to hire a private detective because if I had asked for police protection it would have looked like a publicity stunt."
Desvergers reported that he was knocked unconscious by a blast from a flying saucer when he plunged into some woods to investigate mysterious lights spotted while returning from a Boy Scout meeting.
Three holes were burned in his scout hat. Deputy sheriffs who investigated the incident said they'd never seen a man so scared.
Oakland, California Tribune - 9 Nov 52
Flying Saucers Made to Order In Laboratory of Scientist
Human gullibility dies hard. But we may just as well prepare to bid a long farewell to the "secret weapons" or "visitors from another planet" that have enlivened free-wheeling, uninhibited speculation about those flying saucers. This death blow to fancy is dealt by Donald H. Menzel, professor of astrophysics at Harvard University and leading authority on radar and solar research.
Dr. Menzel's factual demolition of the latest example of man's myth-making faculty is contained in "The Truth About Flying Saucers," announced for fall publication by Harvard University Press. Flying saucers, the scientist finds, are not even new (they were sporadically reported in the 19th century and even earlier).
From a complete investigation of all the reports, including the jokes and hoaxes and the effects of mass-suggestibility, Dr. Menzel presents the scientific conclusion that "flying saucers" are peculiar optical effects occurring under special atmospheric conditions. He has even succeeded in producing them artificially under laboratory conditions.
They are somewhat akin to the rainbow and the mirage -- but not to any space-ship from Mars, Venus or even the Pentagon.
NOVEMBER 10, 1952:
Dixon, Illinois Telegraph - 10 Nov 52
Second Ogle Deputy Fired By Sheriff
Beaman Tells Telegraph of Saturday Action
OREGON -- The second eruption in the Ogle county sheriffs department within a month occurred here today when William Beaman told a Telegraph reporter that Sheriff James White had fired him Saturday "for political reasons."
Beaman has been a deputy sheriff for the past 14 years. His firing follows by one day short of a month the heated resignation from the sheriff's department of Chief Deputy Joe Powell.
Beaman said that he was fired Saturday afternoon by White as result of pressure that has been brought against the sheriff in the wake of an alleged beating of a 20-year-old youth, who reported to White last month that he had seen flying saucers.
The youth, Robert Cross, former hospital attendant at Warmolts clinic, at that time charged White and Beaman had beaten him after he had told them, while under a hypnotic spell, that he had seen flying saucers.
It is as a result of this alleged incident that he was fired by White, Beaman asserted today.
"White told me when he fired me that there was nothing wrong with my work. He said it had been very satisfactory," Beaman said.
White could not be contacted this morning for comment on Beaman's charge.
At the time of Cross' charges against Beaman and White, the sheriff declared that "if Cross was beaten he probably received it somewhere around town -- not here (in the sheriff's office)."
Beaman said that he had "slapped" Cross when he "cussed and became unruly," but asserted that it was the only time Cross had been struck.
Beaman has served as desk deputy for White since July 12. White has appointed Maynard Cross, Polo, to succeed Beaman. He assumed his duties Saturday night.
He is not related to the youth who reported seeing flying saucers.
1. In the midst of the time period covered in this entry, a presidential election was held on November 4, 1952. The winner was Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe during World War II, and commonly known by the nickname "Ike".
2. The two men variously referred to in the articles "Saucer Reports Still Unexplained", "Pittsburg Flying Saucer Branded False", and " 'Buzzing' Cost Him $800 and Hat" were Bill Squyres of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and D.S. 'Sonny' DesVergers of West Palm Beach, Florida. Squyres' story can be read in In the News 1952 - Part 33. DesVergers' story can be read in Spotlight 1952: The Scoutmaster's Tale.
3. Coral Lorenzen's APRO organization, featured in "Outer Space 'Saucer' Home, Woman Claims", went on to become one of the most respected and successful civilian research groups of the time.
4. Dr. Donald Menzel, Harvard astronomer featured in "Flying Saucers Made to Order In Laboratory of Scientist" is remembered as a leading -- though rarely judicious -- skeptic of the time.
5. The saga of Robert Cross, mentioned in "Second Ogle Deputy Fired By Sheriff", can be read in In the News 1952 parts 46 and parts 47.
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