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of a hoax

This Spotlight 1952 entry focuses on events from In The News 1952.

True Magazine

Above: From November, 1952, Coronet Magazine feature entitled "Flying Saucers: Myth Or Menace?", telling of Frank Scully's claims in his 1950 book "Behind the Flying Saucers". The article gets wrong the size of one craft as described by Scully, giving the diameter as "99.9 inches" rather than "99.9 feet".

THAT IT WAS ALL an elaborate hoax should have been self-evident from the beginning.

Mexia, Texas Weekly Herald - 11 Oct 46

Radar Detects Shooting Stars From Comet Train

Scientists in astronomy hailed radar today as a potential "watchdog" for pilots flying space ships to the moon and other new worlds in the universe -- if that day ever comes.

Radar proved Wednesday and Thursday that it can detect flying meteors, shooting across the sky at many miles away from the earth.

The tests were made during the best celestial show of the century for the northern part of the western hemisphere. The show was the shooting meteors or "stars" coming out of the train of the Giacobini-Zinner which passed within 132,000 miles of the earth.

Overcast skies prevented visible observation of the meteor shower in many sections of the country, but that didn't stop radar.

It penetrated the heavy clouds, bounced against the shooting stars and sent back echos [sic] which were recorded on screens at two stations -- one at Sterling, Va., and the other at White Sands, N.M.

All of the eastern states were blacked out from visible observation of the comet's train, but a rare show was given thousands of persons in the middlewest [sic], the west and the far west.

Dr. C.H. Cleminshaw, associate director of the Griffith observatory, Los Angeles, and his crew used many cameras to make a compilation of the meteors, and said the facts obtained may "make our first flight to the moon safer than one without the information we gathered."

Oxnard, California Press-Courier - 14 Oct 52

Shooting Stars Put on Show; Radar Tracks Meteorites

Meteorites flashed through the sky last night, and the streets soon showed clusters of people who came out to watch the show.

Many stayed a few minutes, then rushed in to call their friends so that no one would miss the sight. This particular meteor shower was one that occurs only every six years, when the earth passes through the tail of the Giacobini-Zinner comet.

Most of the meteorites flashed only briefly, then went out forever, but there was one rivaling the best sky rocket ever watched on a Fourth of July, and it plunged visibly for several seconds, straight at the public library, before it disappeared.

The United Press reported that overcast skies spoiled the show in some sections of the country, but scientists used radar to penetrate the heavy clouds. The radar struck the burning rocks and sent back echoes recorded on screens at Sterling, Va., and White Sands, New Mex.

Success of the radar, said the scientists, point to its eventual use by pilots flying space ships, enabling them to dodge the rocks of the heavens.

The following dialogue occurred on an Oxnard street corner about 8 p.m.

Little Roy: "Gee! Who's shooting all those rockets?"

Wise Adult: "Those are rocks flying in space, the tail of a comet. The earth is flying in space, too, and when the rocks hit the air around the earth, they are going so fast the friction burns them up."

Little Roy: "Hey, Mom! Come out and look! Somebody's throwing rocks."

Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard - 14 Oct 46

San Diegans (See?) Visitor

LOS ANGELES -- (U.P.) -- The Los Angeles Daily News said in a story from San Diego, Calif., Monday that many persons there believed a "space ship from another planet" had tried to contact earth during last week's shower of meteors from the Giacobini-Zinner comet.

At San Diego, authorities said they received no reports of such a phenomenon and were frankly skeptical of it. Police said they had received no calls at the time.

The Daily News said at least a dozen persons testified that on the night of Oct. 9 a "large and weird object," with something that looked like wings had appeared over the city.

"It was shaped like a bullet and it left a thin vapor trail behind it," the News quoted William L. Nabers, San Diego County Hospital attendant, as saying.

Meade Layne, editor of an occult publication called the "Round Robin," was reported as putting a medium to work on the supposed sighting. The medium claimed it was a "space ship named Careeta" from an unidentified planet, the News said. He added the "ship" didn't land because "they're afraid of the reception they'll get."

Borderland Sciences Round Robin - Oct 46


(Round Robin, minuscule minnow amid WHALES and HIPPOPOTAMI of journalism, presents with blushing modesty a tale, which time may yet reckon as of high import.

Many and many are the accounts of strange objects seen in the skies, and passing thru them, and falling therefrom. To these we add the latest and (in our opinion) the most significant of them all. §§

We offer you first certain facts, the statements of observers, select a few out of many. You will explain and interpret them according to your own best judgment . . . And then in the next place we set down an explanation acceptable to ourselves, tentatively, temporarily, and which many people will (temporarily also?) regard with amusement or contempt . . . We print today what we believe today, hoping that on some tomorrow we shall all be wiser).

The Observers:

The first report of the "Kareeta" came to this writer about 7.45 p.m., October 9 (night of the meteor fall). It came as a telephone call from Mr. Mark Probert of San Diego, who with a boy named Fernando Estevane was watching the meteors from the top floor of a building. His description was substantially as follows:

"This object was about the size of an extremely large plane, and carried two reddish lights. At first it was moving with extraordinary speed, faster than any plane. I saw it twice. The second time it crossed the face of the moon, and the flapping of its wings was plainly visible. The whole object seemed somewhat luminous." To this Fernando Estevane added later:

- "It had two lights. It certainly was nott a plane. No plane could manoeuvre that way."

On the next day, October 10, many telephone calls were received. The names and addresses of all informants are in our files. All are from San Diego or vicinity.

Mr. W.L.N., Hospital Attendant.

"I saw this object about 8:00 p.m., it was visible for about 3 minutes -- on the right hand as one faced the moon, in motion and coming toward the moon. It was blueish-white in color but I did not see any lights. I saw something similar in South Carolina about 2 years ago; it was more bullet-shaped than this and left a vapor trail behind it. I did not see any wing motion last night. A nurse at the hospital told me she saw a very strange construction in the sky near the moon about 3:00 a.m."

- - - - - - - - - -

§ Note: Our reason for giving this name to the sky visitor will be found on a following page.

§§ Note: The record of such strange craft, objects, appearances in the sky has greatly increased since Charles Fort began his astonishing memo, and still grows. Most of it is incredible, unintelligible, undeniable. But Kareeta is certainly no phenomenon of nature, nor any craft or projectile known to us -- and it is navigated, controlled, guided. It is neither delusion, nor miracle, nor yet a work of earth production; it is our best evidence, so far, of other-world visitors. Once again, we speak only from the limited data now at hand.

- - - - - - - - - -

Mrs. E.M.S.

"I saw this object or something like it, some time between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 9. It was on my left hand as I faced the moon and it was coming toward the moon, moderately fast . . . It certainly was not a plane . . . There certainly was wing motion. The wings were much too wide for any bird, and they were shaped like the wings of a butterfly. Nearly the whole object had a deep rosy glow, but there were no definite lights."

Mrs. A.H.

"I saw the object once, about 8.00 p.m. or maybe later. It was whitish and flying away from the moon toward my left. It looked as if it might have just crossed the moon but I did not see it do so. It was low down toward the horizon when I saw it. It definitely had a wing motion -- there was a flapping motion of the wings."

Miss J.V.

"I saw this object about 7.25 and again about 9:00 and I made a sketch of it on a scrap of paper. It looked to me like a pelican. It crossed the moon disk and I did not see any flapping of the wings, but it was nearly stationary for a long time. When I saw it the second time it was nearly in the same place but had moved a little."

Mrs. W.H.S.

"I saw the object some time between 8.15 and 9:00 p.m. Oct. 9. It looked like a large bat -- very large -- and weird. It was to the left of the moon to me. I saw no lights on it; the body was dark but it seemed to be lighter on the outer wing tips. The wings were in slow motion. It was not a plane, and not likely to be a bird on account of its large size. I saw it in between two houses and it took about a minute and a half to cross that much space, so it was going slow."

Mr. B.I.M.

"My friend Capt. Scheffel and I observed some object between 8.30 and 8.45 in the west opposite the moon, moving south to north. It left a kind of flash or trail behind it, in a straight line. It moved very fast. We saw it only about three seconds. Captain S. says he thought it had something like a swing with a square tip, like a Grumman plane. There was a kind of reddish glow about it. We thought it might be a rocket because one had been fired in New Mexico and could possibly have reached here. But that doesn't fit in with the other facts, either."

Mr. W.J.M., La Jolla, Calif.

"I saw something near the moon, either stationary or in very slow motion. I did not see any lights and could not make out any particular shape. It might have had wings, I couldn't say. It was very high up. I saw it about 9.00 p.m. Oct. 9 but I took only very casual notice of it."

Mrs. O.I.

"My husband and I saw this object from Presidio Hill about 9.00 p.m. It looked like a huge bat. It was in slow motion and crossed the moon from right to left. There was a wing motion but very slow, and there were no lights on it. We saw it for several minutes."

Mrs. R.M.

8.30 p.m. Gull-like object, faintly luminous, moderate speed, definitely a wing movement, visible about 1 min. (Summary)

Mr. Bob Stevenson, El Cajon, Calif.

(Amateur astronomer). A friend and I saw this object. Moon was low and it was distant from the moon by about the moon's diameter. It was in slow motion tending downward. Dark body, too large for a plane. Shape hard to make out but seemed slightly crescent in outline. (Summary)

Mr. T.H.H. and wife.

8:00 p.m. Oct. 9. Object in very fast motion, in level flight, coming in toward moon from the left. No wing motion seen -- it was as if gliding. No sound. We thought at first it was birds flying in formation. But there was a diffused glow of yellowish-white light, as if coming from 5 or 6 lights near together. The object had a wing, all right, but we did not see any wing movement. Mrs. A.H. next door also saw it. (Summary)

Mrs. O'Callaghan, Pacific Beach, San Diego.

(Professional photographer) Mrs. O'Callaghan reports that she took a time exposure of the moon, 4 x 5 film, speed graphic, about 2 minutes. The film showed an extraordinary effect of fragments of concentric rings, dropping down from one side of the moon -- somewhat like fragments of smoke rings or halations on films or plates. "They look like fire coming out of the moon." If a passing object had left a trail of vapor perhaps that would affect the moonlight in that way". Photo taken about 8.30 p.m. Oct. 9.

- - - - - - - - - -

So much for data concerning our sky visitor. We could add a great number of similar comments and observations, but they contain very few additional facts. Our readers will note, that this strange craft was apparently overhead all night, travelling at different rates of speed, sometimes almost stationary, sometimes dark and again showing lights or a luminous outline, probably leaving a trail of light vapor or smoke, sometimes a flash or trail of light. With these constantly changing positions and rates of speed, it is obvious that reports of observers would vary a good deal. But we have not tallied to single observer who believed that this craft was either: (1) a plane, (2) a bird, (3) a projectile. We should note that all accounts imply that the object was navigable -- and being navigated. Selah!

What we are now about to do will delight our enemies, make the blood of our best friends run cold. We are going to declare our personal, editorial, present and tentative acceptance of certain 'psychic', mediumistic and clairaudient 'communications'. We have been a student of these subjects for the last three decades, and are not going to stop to argue about them just now. This is a semi-popular psychic research publication, and data of the so-called supernormal sort has right and proper place in it. We submit that when phenomena of an extraordinary sort are in question, and when alleged data are offered, of a coherent, lucid and pertinent nature, only a great fool will throw them aside without a hearing, simply because they happen to come by 'supernormal' means. (Yet such fools there are in plenty, of course, and we shall hear from them). With regard to what follows here, it has our tentative acceptance. We know the psychic well, and have [6] never yet been deceived in him nor by his Controls. Yet, anything can happen to an unwary psychic research investigator -- and usually does. The account of the Kareeta, received clairaudiently by Mark Probert, may be an elaborate hoax by the communicating intelligences. But we don't think so, and at present have no faintest reason to believe so. Merrie gentlemen all, who despise unworldly things, and all ye fish-blooded scientists with frozen sneers, you are enjoined to stop reading at this point, before your blood-pressure goes higher than the space-ship Kareeta knows to vault and curvet in the empty blue! But there are, even among our own friends, learned men and wise who do not despise the founts of the 'supernormal' -- as well as a great number of well-educated folk who are much too smart to ignore such sources.

By a curious coincidence it was the psychic sensitive Mark Probert who telephoned us the first report on the Kareeta, and thru him we received, on the 10th of October, by his clairaudience, the following statement:

"The Kareeta, the bird-like object seen winging its way around the moon about 7:45, was a mechanical bird from a planet many thousands (sic.) miles away. It is called Kareeta. It was purposely sent into the earth's sky at this time because it was known to the people of the far-off planet that the skies would be carefully observed by many earth people. The Kareeta is taken thru the air by our full knowledge of levitation, and is also run by this power. The flapping of the wings is used only when the Kareeta comes into the earth's atmosphere. It has 10,000 parts. The outer structure is made of balsam wood coated with a thin layer of alloy. The wings are operated by electrical power. The motors are very small but their power is great."

The speech of this communicator was difficult and broken, and has been smoothed into intelligibility. The name is unknown. He was followed, later, by a communicator "Ramakalo," who spoke thru the medium as a control, M.P. being in light trance.

"This ship comes from west of the moon. No, I cannot get the name of the planet. It is many thousands of miles. No, I cannot say now many thousands, but very many. It is a mechanical bird. These people have been trying to contact the earth for many years. The earth is now sending forth a strong ray or column of light and this makes it easier of approach from other planets. Yes, these people come in peace . . . They are much more advanced than you are . . . Their bodies are similar to yours but much lighter. They would like to make a landing out they are afraid of their reception. They know they will not be understood. They want you to get a group of scientists who will meet them at some isolated spot. The matter must be kept secret from the public at present. Do not say anything to scientists about psychism or these communications, they would not understand and might reject the whole matter . . . But these people are most anxious to cooperate with you . . . much will come thru psychics in the next six months . . . You must work quietly at this . . . The new telescope (Palomar?) will amaze the scientists."

The communicator "Lingford" then followed (medium in trance):

"Well, I don't know much about this space ship business but it seems to have stirred up quite a furore. It sounds plausible to me. I'm going to try to find out where this ship comes from?"

Communicator "Kendrick" (English-German who became a Tibetan monk).

"Yes, the ship was seen by a great many people but very few of them took any note of its strangeness, they were too busy watching" (the meteorites).

An obvious question, unanswered by anybody so far: If these visitors can speak thru a medium in English, why do they not establish radio communication is some earth language, with the earth? Especially if they are much further advanced, as "Ramakalo" asserts. Or do they want to meet a select group only, at first? Is it impossible (as seems likely) to get any scientist of distinction to listen to such radio communications -- much less join a reception committee . . . You can't blame them much, considering what our sapient press and prejudiced public opinion would do to their reputations.

About 'previous attempts' -- there are two-three chapters in The Book of the Damned which every student of the sciences should be forced to memorize. But very few of our learned brothers have even heard of the B.D.

Incidentally, we recall that the VAU Communicators, indubitably Intelligences of a very high order, said flatly, "Interplanetary communication will take place within three years." Maybe readers of Charles Fort will remember the "vast black bat-like thing, poised like a crow over the moon." That, and perhaps a dozen other instances of strange "constructions" voyaging thru the heights of our atmosphere!

Brethren and sistern, on the night October 9, 1946, some vast contraption was afloat in our upper air. It not only was afloat, it was navigated. It was no plane or bird or projectile, which is now publicly known. One conjecture is, maybe a space-ship built here on earth, off for a try-out. That's our one hope of even pseudo-normal explanation -- and we think it's a slim one. For ourselves, we fall back on "Ramakalo" -- especially since we have not, as yet, heard a single intelligent chirp from our contemporaries.

And we take a kind of malicious satisfaction in observing that our 20th century folk have become so stupidly smart and smartly stupid that their friendly superiors can't help them -- are even afraid to try to land. Maybe they won't be back for a long time.

But maybe they will! (unless they are really wise).

Maybe, just maybe, the tale of the Mark P. communicators is God's truth. And if so, fratres et sorores, the human tragi-comedy on which the curtain is about to rise, will be a scene for the Gods to remember between nectar and ambrosia.



go to comments on this entry


1. Both Silas Newton and Leo GeBauer were subsequently arrested, charged and convicted of defrauding investors of tens of thousands of dollars. The full story can be read in a True Magazine 1956 follow-up piece by J.P. Cahn here (PDF document opens in new window).

2. A somewhat more sympathetic view of Scully's sources and story can be found in a Fortean Times article here (Webpage opens in new window).

3. So far as is known, Frank Scully never publicly recanted "Behind the Flying Saucers".


The Arrival

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