in the news 1952
Left: Photo taken by Guy Marquand. Right: March 1952 telex from Air Force investigator to Project Blue Book, saying Marquand contended the photo -- a 1937 Ford hubcap tossed into the air -- was meant as a "gag" and had "mushroomed" beyond Marquand's control.
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...
JANUARY 3 THROUGH MARCH 23, 1952:
San Antonio, Texas Express - 3 Jan 52
Spot Flying Saucer
DUBLIN, Ireland, Jan. 2. -- The first of 1952's flying saucer stories comes from Dublin, the home of stout and Irish whiskey.
It was seen early on New Year's Day. Some observers said it moved quickly. Others said it was slow. Some said it dived and looped and disappeared.
Athens, Ohio Messenger - 3 Jan 52
FLYING SAUCER OR FLYING CUP-IDITY – Object above the skyline, and shown in inset (lower right corner), is purported to be a "Flying Saucer" sighted and photographed near Riverside, Calif., by Guy B. Marquand, Jr. Two friends who were with Marquand when he saw the object said he photographed the "thing" as it flew by them for the second time on a mountain road.
Oakland, California Tribune - 4 Jan 52
Debunking the "flying saucers" at this week's meeting of the Metropolitan Unit Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association at Hotel Leamington, were (from left) G.H. Fountain, unit president: Dennis McDaniel, chairman; Lorene Misener, secretary-treasurer; William Besler, speaker of the evening who discussed the controversial subject.
Madison, Wisconsin State Journal - 5 Jan 52
The Flying Saucer
Editor, The State Journal - I would like to see this single happening this year 1952: Myself find out the science of the flying saucer that fly in the air and can be seen by the light of the silver moon. Then we all would know when and where they came from and what was their aim and what used for in this civilized country of United states we reside in. - Minnie Hanson, Box 216, Oregon.
Tokyo, Japan Pacific Stars and Stripes - 10 Jan 52
Sgt. Tells CO Superman Busy On Korea Front
By Sgt. George Buttery
WITH U.S. 2D INFANTRY DIV (Pac. S&S)- Superman has finally arrived in Korea, according to infantrymen of the Indianhead Division. As yet they are not quite certain which side he is on, but it has been definitely established that he has entered the fight.
For the past several days men of the 2d Division have noted strange lights flashing over their positions. Reports have described them as rockets, comets, flying saucers and a multitude of other things.
THE MYSTERY CONTINUED until late Sunday when a soldier of the 9th Infantry Regiment positively identified the aerial flashes. Col. Joseph I. Gurfein, Brooklyn, received a report from M/Sgt. Raymond C. Adams, Muckesgon, Mich., informing him that "Superman just passed overhead, traveling south-southwest at a high rate of speed."
So far the elusive "man of tomorrow" has not yet reported to Gurfein's headquarters, but the first sergeant has been instructed to pick him up on the morning report.
Syracuse, New York Herald American - 27 Jan 52
Bedouins See Saucers Fly Over Sahara
By ALEC DE MONTMORENCY
New York (NANA) – Lighter side of the news from the world press:
Flying saucers have crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and are appearing over the mountains of Morocco, and in the sky above the Sahara Desert. At least that is what the frightened Bedouins report -- and they are certain that the luminous objects they saw high in the air were not flying carpets!
Some, however -- those in particular who had been around the new U.S. air bases in French Morocco -- are inclined to believe that the mysterious visions are guided missiles from the American base at Port Lynuley. -- (Diario de Africa, Tetuan, Spanish Morocco).
El Paso, Texas Herald Post - 10 Feb 52
Mother and Children See Mystery Missiles
Mrs. Anna Lee Austin of 8275 San Jose road in the Lower Valley and her three children today joined flying saucer spotters.
Mrs. Austin say she has seen 10 or 12 of the mystery missiles during the past three weeks.
The most recent was yesterday, Mrs. Austin said, when she saw a dark, cigar-shaped object directly over Mt. Franklin at about 9 a.m.
The object appeared to be flying west over Mt. Franklin, followed by several jet planes at some distance.
The planes drew close to the "rocket," then veered off to one side and flew around it, Mrs. Austin said. The object turned around and flew straight up in the air out of sight.
Mrs. Austin sighted her first mystery missiles about Jan. 15. Four of the "flying cigars" flew slowly over the city from west of Mt. Franklin eastward. Each appeared to be about a block long, she said.
The cigar-like object halted in mid-flight for a few seconds while three objects, shaped like "flying saucers," were let down from inside, she said. The "saucers" glowed with a phosphorescent light, Mrs. Jackson [sic] said. They started flying upwards at a high rate of speed and disappeared. The "rockets" continued westward until they were out of sight.
Mrs. Jackson [sic] said the objects were seen by her three children, aged 10 through 13, and other children in the neighborhood. She has sighted six or seven other single "rockets" during the three-week period, she stated.
Long Beach, California Press Telegram - 10 Feb 52
Do Green Fireballs Hint At A Secret Space War?
BY WALLACE A. SPRAGUE
WE FACE A MYSTERY of outer space even more arresting than the unsolved "flying saucers."
It is the mystery of the giant green fireballs.
Nine of them flashed across the skies of the Southwestern U.S. late last year. Each vanished as though its light had been switched off. No trace of a single one has been found. People here are used to "mysteries." They live next door to the super-secret atomic energy plant at Los Alamos. At the edge of town is the armed forces Sandia Base, where the atom bomb is assembled. Across the state is the rocket laboratory of White Sands. They know what technical wonders our scientists can produce.
But when they see a green ball bright as the moon streaking silently across their skies, they know no ordinary event is taking place.
They know, too, that this is no flying saucer hoax, based on flimsy evidence from a few observers. Already, more than 165 separate written reports are on file concerning one giant fireball seen on November 2. Sober scientific observers are beginning to think that the answer to the fireball riddle may mark a milestone in our knowledge of outer space.
What is the green fireball seen only in our Southwest? A brand new meteor - or something much more frightening, possibly long-range guided missiles or even space vehicles?
One place to start unraveling the mystery is on a dirt road snaking across the New Mexico desert one Sunday night last November.
Overhead, stars glistened in the clear, light air. Along the rutted road trundled a rebuilt jeep at 25 miles per hour. Riding inside were three University of New Mexico students, Ted Chamberlain, a tall, lithe senior in geology, his friend, Gus Armstrong, owner of the jeep, and a third lad, Tom Debooy.
It was nearly 9, and the youths were returning from an antelope hunt on the San Augustin plains near Magdalena. In the rear of the jeep lay their kill, a medium-sized buck. Suddenly, all three were blinded for a half-second.
The Jeep Ran Wild
FAR IN THE northwest sky burned a giant green fireball falling fast at an angle of about 35 degrees. Its tail was whitish, but the ball itself was the radiant color of a green neon tube -- or, as Chamberlain recalls, of copper burning in a laboratory burner.
"Look!" yelled Armstrong. As he did so he lost control of the jeep, which hit a rut, vaulted a five-foot bank, and dumped its occupants on the gravelly desert. Overhead, the fireball silently vanished. Minutes later the three dazed young men re-started the jeep, and rolled on toward Albuquerque.
Something similar had had almost happened two nights earlier.
Lester Miller and his wife, of Palo Alto, Calif., had been driving east on Highway 60 near Globe, Ariz.
Not long after dark they, too, saw a great blue-green burst overhead. "It was so intense that I nearly drove off the highway. I was temporarily blinded," said Mr. Miller.
This was no ordinary meteor display.
Watchers across a 1,000-mile span from Santa Fe N.M., to Vista, Calif., watched the green fireball flame in the heavens.
Conductor J.B. Hale of a Santa Fe freight train was sitting at his desk aboard a caboose at Flagstaff, Ariz. "One of the brakemen outside yelled for me to hurry up, for a terrible looking blue-green flash had just lit up the sky," he reported.
"I Saw a Fireball.. ."
RAILROAD conductors are not excitable people. Neither are airline pilots. Yet the same night Capts. Grady C. Kelly and Thomas R. Ballard of Slick Airways watched the same fireball off the left wing of their DC-3 plane as they approached Kirtland field here.
"We both commented at the time that it was by far the brightest meteor we had seen, in 10 years of flying," Ballard said later .
Elsewhere, a convalescent soldier, Bill Henderson, at Ft. Bayard, N.M., watched the ball of fire from his hospital window. An observant 12-year-old girl, Livinia Ann Rife, of Santa Fe, saw it and described its head as rounded, bluish-green, with an orangey-red tail.
Scientists at Los Alamos saw the display and reported on it. So did the Civil Aeronautics Administration's tower man at Truth Or Consequences, N.M. So did Walter Haas of Las Cruces, an experienced observer of meteors. So did Julian B. Blue Jacket, a Navajo.
Some westerners blamed the collapse of a water tower at Tucumcari, N.M., (which killed four), on such a fireball. Investigation showed the flash seen at the moment of collapse came from short-circuited electric lines.
But to all who have seen them, sight of the great green fireballs flashing through the heavens is an unforgettable experience.
They, like thousands of other American here, have wondered what they are.
No government source knows -- or if any does know, it isn't saying. That goes for the Atomic Energy installation at Los Alamos, and for the careful technicians at Sandia Base here. The Department of Defense is also mum, although various intelligence and scientific agencies of the government have shown interest in the fireball mystery.
But one authority will speak.
He is Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, a friendly, intense scientist of the Mathematics and Astronomy department at the University of New Mexico here, and also Director of the University's unique Institute of Meteoritics (meteor studies). He says this: The green fireballs of 1951 could be a brand new kind of meteor.
Certainly they differ from ordinary fireballs -- big meteors bright enough to cast a shadow and which usually end in an explosion.
They're different because:
They are more brilliant -- some reported much bigger and brighter than the moon. Ordinary fireballs are rarely this impressive.
They are silent, where ordinary fireballs of comparable size fall with a roar.
They follow a straight line -- where big meteors, penetrating our atmosphere, always have curved trajectories, concave toward the earth.
Most unusual of all is their green color. The livid shades, as green as a traffic light or neon sign, are absolutely new.
"Conservative observers might pass off the green fireballs as merely Bielid meteors, which fall early in November," says Dr. LaPaz.
"Actually, they're like no Bielid ever seen before. Finding them with the Bielids is about like watching a 240-mm howitzer firing bright green starshells during a bombardment of red hot B-B shot."
Such facts lead to one conclusion: if the green fireballs are meteors, they are of an absolutely new type. Their coming may mean that the solar system (including our earth) has lately reached a new corner of the universe where totally unexpected events can occur.
And science may even have a hint of the "unexpected events."
For 15 years, Dr. LaPaz says, scientists have speculated on the possible existence of what they call "contraterrene" material.
Such material -- if any could ever be found and handled, which is impossible -- would look just like ordinary matter.
But it would be matter built backwards.
Where the nucleus of ordinary atoms has a positive charge, its nucleus would have a negative charge. And where ordinary electrons have a negative charge, contraterrene electrons would have a positive charge.
This means just one thing: the instant contraterrene matter struck ordinary matter, a terrific explosion would occur!
Could this be the explanation of the swift, traceless green fireballs? If it is, it would form one of the most dramatic scientific discoveries of our time.
But there is another possible explanation, Dr. LaPaz thinks:
The green fireballs could be thrown by man -- ominously enough in the form of guided missiles.
In the region of White Sands Proving Ground and the Sandia Weapons Base, such a hypothesis is tempting. But Dr. LaPaz does not endorse it. He does, however, offer two suggestive facts:
Fact 1: Any tests of long-range guided missiles by friendly or enemy countries would probably take place during a meteor shower, as suggested by Dr. Louis Ridenour in 1946. The missiles could appear to "hide" behind meteors, and so could not easily be detected by radar. Last fall's fireball display did occur during the annual visit of the Bielid meteor shower.
Fact 2: Green fireballs have been observed only once before -- in 1946, when they were reported seen over the Baltic Sea and Sweden. Military commentators then were quick to suggest that the Russians might well be testing advanced types of missiles captured from the Germans at their nearby rocket base of Peenemunde.
Suppose the green fireballs do give away some gigantic new secret of guided missiles or space travel? Who is responsible?
Again, because of the nearness of U.S. scientific centers, the temptation is great to say they're ours. But Dr. LaPaz says this: "If the Russians possessed missiles capable of intercontinental flight, it would be natural for them to make ranging tests over the Southwestern U.S., where we have important targets."
Why They Disappear
IF THE Russians have such rockets, it would also be perfectly natural for these devices to be made self-destroying, so that we could find only tiny fragments of them."
How can we solve the riddle?
"We must try to do as we have done with countless celestial objects before," says Dr. LaPaz. "We must find a piece of one and examine it in a scientific laboratory."
"We already know of several places to look. But to search effectively, we must have as many as 5,000 men, who can examine the 'strewn field' yard by yard, and foot by foot. And even then, if the fireballs are contraterrene matter, we shall have no success.
"But if we do find bits of metallic alloy which could burn with a green flame, we may well have a piece of a green fireball.
"And from this piece we can surely say whether it originated in space, or in some frighteningly advanced laboratory.
"For science, and for our own safety, we should make such a search soon."
- - - - - - - - - -
GREEN FIREBALLS may continue to fall. Should you observe one, write a description of the circumstances and mail it to:
Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, Institute of Meteoritics,
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M.
Tokyo, Japan Pacific Stars and Stripes - 13 Feb 52
One Year Ago
FEB. 13, 1951
• Allies forced out of Hoengsong by big Red attack along central front.
• Britain opposes crossing of 38th parallel in Korea until after UN consultation.
• "Flying saucers" exist, asserts Navy scientist; identified as research balloons.
Redlands, California Daily Facts - 19 Feb 52
'Flying Discs' Sighted By Pilots Over Korea
WASHINGTON -- The Air Force disclosed today that objects resembling "flying discs" have been sighted over Korea by crew members of two U.S. bombers. Top officials have ordered a full investigation of the reports, which came through regular military intelligence channels.
A spokesman said the objects were described by four witnesses as globe-shaped, bright orange in color, and emitting an occasional flash of bluish light.
He indicated that several were sighted, but did not give the number.
Both From B-29s
The Air Force, which has thrown cold water on hundreds of previous "flying saucer" stories, apparently was impressed by the circumstances under which the new sightings were reported by its own personnel. The first report reached Air Force intelligence officers from two crew members of a B-29 Superfortress who said they saw the objects flying parallel to their plane at about midnight on the night of Jan. 29. The plane was over Wonsan, Korea at the time.
This report might have been discounted as over-imaginative. But on the same night, a B-29 from a different squadron returned to its base after a flight over Sunchon, Korea, a considerable distance from Wonsan.
Time The Same
Two crew members told intelligence officers that they had seen "flying discs" moving parallel to their plane at a high altitude. They fixed the time at about midnight. "The objects remained with the B-29 over Wonsan for five minutes and with the B-29 over Sunchon for one minute," the Air Force said.
While officials declined to elaborate on the bare announcement that a full investigation is under way, the open-minded Air Force attitude toward the new reports contrasted sharply with the blunt skepticism it has voiced about previous sightings of mysterious objects in the skies.
San Antonio, Texas Express - 19 Feb 52
Weeding Out Nonsense In Reporting
by Joseph and Stewart Alsop
WASHINGTON -- What is nonsense and what is worth reporting? Are facts to be taken seriously if they are undoubted as facts, and have already caused a considerable stir among the chiefs and technical experts? Or are they to be laughed off, because they may mean nothing, and quite probably do not mean as much as their sheer mystery suggests? All these questions are raised by facts that follow:
On Jan. 29, one of our B-29 bombers performing a solitary mission in Korea, was flying at somewhat more than 20,000 feet above the town of Wonsan. The bomber's speed was slightly under 200 miles per hour. The time was shortly before midnight. Simultaneously, two members of the B-29's crew, the lonely rear-gunner in the tail and the fire control man in the waist, saw the same peculiar object.
IT WAS ROUND, and both airmen thought it was disc-shaped. It was orange in color, and around its circumference it seemed to have a series of small bluish flames, subsequently described as being like the flames of a gas stove. Judging its distance and size was naturally difficult, but both airmen thought close to their B-29, and only about three feet in diameter. To both of them, it seemed to fly with a revolving motion. For a full five minutes, this object moved parallel to the plane -- or at least the two airmen thought it did -- and then it disappeared.
When the B-29 completed its mission, the two airmen reported what they had seen to their squadron intelligence officer. Both men had experienced combat in World War II as well as in Korea, and both were considered steady, sensible fellows. Hence the intelligence officer, might otherwise have been inclined to ignore their tale, rather gingerly transmitted a routine report to headquarters.
AT HEADQUARTERS, the report might also have been ignored as the product of fantasy, if another, almost closely similar report had not been almost simultaneously received. This second report, which came from an entirely different B-29 squadron, also concerned the observation of a fire control man and waist gunner in a B-29 on a mission on the night of Jan. 29.
This second B-29 had been flying, again at about 20,000 feet, over the town of Sunchon, which is considerable distance from Wonsan. At about midnight, the rear gunner and fire controlman saw a round object moving level with their aircraft or a little below. As subsequently described by them, what they saw or what they imagined was almost exactly what the other airmen saw or imagined, except that they were inclined to think the object was globular instead of disc-shaped. It followed their plane -- or so they thought -- for a minute or a little more.
SUCH ARE THE FACTS. When queried about them, the highest sources in the Air Force have replied that "There is no doubt about the facts but the Air Force still does not believe in flying discs."
Apparently the idea of an elaborate hoax has been ruled out, since the crews of the two bombers did not know each other. That leaves the experts picking and choosing between all the other possible explanations, ranging from an oddly simultaneous illusion produced by the reflections of bright objects in the B-29's Plexiglass windows, to a Soviet test of a new form of disk-shaped guided missile.
Whether as hoax, or as illusion, or as intimation of something unpleasant to come, the facts none the less seem worth recording to these reporters, simply because they are symbols of the opening of the Pandora's box of science. Here is a tale, in source at least not laughable but close to laughable in substance, which is not being laughed off. In fact, it is the subject of anxious inquiry at high official levels.
THE PLAIN TRUTH is that this now-opened Pandora's box of science may contain almost any kind of disagreeable surprise; and thus the experts can no longer say with assurance, "This is silly, that makes sense." The further truth is that the Korean experience has convinced American experts of our earlier folly in underestimating Soviet technical capabilities.
Much more solid evidence than the two queer intelligence reports from the B-29 crews, continues to pile up. Most recently, for example, information has come in of Russian production of a genuinely supersonic jet fighter, the MIG-19. The raised estimates of Soviet atomic output are in the same category. There is, of course, counter-balancing evidence, such as the startling withdrawal of the large Soviet air forces formerly stationed in East Germany and the European satellites, which suggests Russian air production problems. Yet over-all, it is clear that we can no longer rely drowsily on "superior American know-how."
It is also clear, one might add, that the habits of democracy demand much wider ventilation and more serious public consideration of the huge issues raised by the Soviet rummaging in Pandora's box.
Long Beach, California Independent - 20 Feb 52
AF Orders Inquiry Into Korea Flying Disc Reports
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 -- The Air Force disclosed today that it has ordered a full-scale investigation of reports that objects resembling "flying saucers" have been sighted in Korea by crewmen of two American B-29 bombers.
An Air Force spokesman said four fliers described the objects as disc-shaped, bright orange in color and sending off occasional flashes of bluish light. Two of the fliers were said to have estimated the discs were about three feet in diameter.
In the past, the Air Force has forcefully discounted widespread reports of "flying saucers" or "discs." But it was sufficiently impressed by reports from its own personnel to order a full inquiry.
The reports from the U.S. crewmen were sent to top officials here through regular military Intelligence channels.
The first report was submitted to Air Force intelligence officers from two crewmen of a B-29 bomber who said they saw the object flying parallel to their plane at about midnight the night of Jan. 29. The plane was over Wonsan, Korea. Their "sighting" might have been dismissed as an optical illusion or imagination working overtime. But the same night, a B-29 from a different squadron returned to its base after a flight over Sunchon, Korea, some distance from Wonsan. Two crewmen said they saw flying discs moving alongside their plane at a high altitude. The time also was at about midnight.
"The objects remained with the B-29 over Wonsan for five minutes and with the B-29 over Sunchon for one minute," the Air Force said.
Ever since "flying saucers" first were reported nearly five years ago, they have been attributed, in parts of the public mind at least, to interplanetary visitors, secret U.S. weapons, planets or meteors or perhaps a Russian guided missile. When the reports were at their height, the Air Force set up a special investigating body, dubbed "Project Saucer," to investigate them. Within two years it looked into nearly 400 separate sightings. In December, 1949, the Air Force issued a report saying there was no such thing as a flying saucer and that they were due either to mass hysteria, hoaxes or the mistaken identification of such objects as balloons or meteors.
Logansport, Indiana Pharos Tribune - 21 Feb 52
Congressmen Scoff At Korean Reports Of "Flying Saucers"
WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress, who are seldom loathe to demand an investigation, Thursday studiously ignored the, new "flying saucer" reports from Korea.
The attitude of the House Armed Services committee was summed up by one member In these words:
"Let the Air Force investigate. We wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole."
A spokesman for the Senate Armed Services committee said gravely:
"There is no discernible sentiment in this committee at the present time for an investigation of the Air Force reports."
Unofficially, he added the plea:
"Don't ask us to take a stand on flying saucers in an election year."
Albuquerque, New Mexico Journal, - 21 Feb 52
Neither LaPaz Nor Air Force Wants Saucers
Spokesmen for the Air Force and the Institute of Meteoritics at New Mexico University Wednesday tossed back and forth the responsibility for official say-so on flying saucers.
The verbal tossing began after a new rash of reports of seeing the things.
Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, head of the university division, said his work was with fireballs and meteorites, and "from the first, identification of flying saucers has been an Air Force problem."
The statement came after State Police reported a "saucer" to the Air Force at Kirtland Air Force Base, and the Air Force referred the question to the university.
"Long ago," LaPaz stated, the Air Force set up a separate agency, Project Saucer, and has spent large sums of money and even suffered casualties.
Reno, Nevada State Journal - 22 Feb 52
Tokyo Air Leader Refuses to Comment On 'Disc" Reports
TOKYO, Feb. 21. -- Lt. Gen. O.P. Weyland, Far East Air Forces commander, said today his headquarters could "add nothing" to an Air Force announcement that "flying discs" had been seen over Korea by B-29 bomber crews.
The crew members wish to remain "anonymous," Weyland said.
Charleston, West Virginia Gazette - 28 Feb 52
[At end of an article on Chinese air strength in Korea...]
Weyland said he still was investigating reports that "flying saucers" had been sighted over Korea.
"We can't say there's nothing to it," he added, "but unless we can get more data, I don't think we can expect a conclusive answer."
Two B-29 Superfort crews reported seeing orange discs while flying a night mission recently. One conjecture was that they might have seen night flying jets, but Weyland demurred.
"You'd have to be looking right up the tail pipe of a jet to see the glow," he said, "and I can't say that I ever have."
Time Magazine - 3 Mar 52
People who believe in flying saucers got encouragement last week from the skeptical U.S. Air Force. On Jan. 29, an Air Force spokesman said, strange things were seen in the night sky over North Korea. The tail gunner and fire-control man of a B-29 over Wonsan saw a disk-shaped object that seemed to fly with a revolving motion. It was orange in color, and around its rim were small, bluish flames. For five minutes it flew along with the bomber at 200 m.p.h. Then it disappeared.
On the same night, the tail gunner and fire-control man in a B-29 of another squadron saw much the same thing over Sunchon, 80 miles away. The flyers reported that the object looked globular rather than disk-shaped. It followed their plane for more than a minute. Then it vanished too.
The orange disks or globes may well have been the exhausts of Communist night fighters. Under some conditions, jet engines have luminous exhausts that glow orange and blue. The interesting point is that the Air Force, after investigating hundreds of flying-saucer stories and pooh-poohing them all, has apparently decided to become less hostile toward mysteries in the sky.
Latest Fashions. The Air Force is not alone. In spite of firm squelching, flying saucer stories have not died. They have changed somewhat with time; the first ones reported, sighted near Mt. Rainier in 1947, were round and shiny, and they flew in daylight with no unusual maneuvers. The saucer-conscious public duly reported many more like them. Then the fashion changed when two airline pilots told about seeing, near Montgomery, Ala. one night, an enormous, wingless, cigar-shaped craft with glowing portholes.
The cycle of flying-saucer romance had another revolution in 1950, when Hollywood Columnist Frank Scully produced a book called Behind the Flying Saucers. The saucers, he wrote, are space ships from a foreign planet. They are manned by extraterrestrial midgets who are almost exactly like miniature humans except that they have no beards, only fuzz, and no cavities in their teeth. Their ships fly on magnetic lines of force, and are built of metal harder than diamond which stands up to temperatures that would wilt any earthly substance. Three of them crashed, said Scully, in the U.S. Southwest, and were impounded by the secretive Air Force, the villain of Scully's book. (The Air Force denied everything.)
Green Fireballs. The latest turn of the saucer cycle began last year when Professor Lincoln LaPaz, a reputable meteor expert of the University of New Mexico, announced that there was something very odd indeed about a series of eight bright green fireballs seen over the Southwest during a 13-day period. Meteors are seldom green, said LaPaz, and big ones seldom pass in close sequence over the same place. He suggested that the green meteors might be man-launched missiles.
Since the LaPaz pronouncement, many reported saucers have been brightly luminous. They have been seen all over: in New York, Virginia and especially in the Southwest. Both New Mexico and California had a rash of reports last week.
Most of the reports are certainly imaginary; many of the "sighters" are newspaper delivery boys, excitable old ladies and other people with no technical training. But a considerable number of technical men have sighted, or believed they have sighted, mysterious flying objects. In New Mexico, the rocket experts of White Sands Proving Ground and Holloman Air Force Base are interested -- and baffled.
Baffled too are many of the aerodynamic experts who work for the great aircraft manufacturers of Southern California. Some of them, led by Ed Sullivan, a technical writer for North American Aviation, Inc., builders of the Sabrejet, have formed an organization called the Civilian Saucer Investigation to give proper scientific analysis to the swarming rumors. The organization maintains a post-office box (Box 1971, Main Post Office, Los Angeles 53), and invites all "sighters" to report accurately everything odd they see in the sky.
Sullivan, a sighter himself (30 luminous, zigzagging objects over the Los Angeles area), apparently believes that the saucers are space ships from some other planet. He does not think they are either U.S. or Russian super-aircraft.
Most impressive believer is Dr. Walther Riedel, a scar-faced German rocket expert who was chief designer at the Peenemunde V-2 center and now works for North American Aviation, Inc. Riedel has seen nothing strange himself, but for years he has kept records of sightings all over the world. He is convinced that there are strange craft in the sky, and that they come from outer space.
Advanced Planet. The saucers cannot be of terrestrial origin, Riedel reasons, because: 1) their skin temperatures must be too high for any material known on earth; 2) they perform maneuvers that require a pilot, but which would kill any human pilot; 3) their propulsive systems leave no trails at high altitude, as all systems known on earth do. Therefore, thinks Riedel, the things must come from a planet where air and space technology is more advanced than on earth.
Skeptics -- and there are still a few, even in Southern California -- ask the following questions:
1) Why have none of the space ships crashed on earth and been found?
2) Why are there no firm reports of saucer-sightings by radar, which would give a flying object's speed and distance?
3) How can a conspicuous flying object pass over metropolitan Los Angeles (pop. 4,000,000) and be seen by only two or three people?
Until such questions are answered, the flying-saucer problem will continue to fascinate psychologists as well as physicists.
Corpus Christi, Texas Times - 7 Mar 52
by Drew Pearson
The Pentagon has hushed it up, but radar units have actually tracked 25 "flying saucers." Each was sighted by at least one eye-witness and also picked up on the radar screen. The Air Force is still skeptical, points out that radar, too, is subject to illusions. For example, radar once picked up a formation of unidentified bombers heading for Washington. President Truman's private warning signal was even sounded before the Air Force discovered the "enemy bombers" were nothing but harmless, ionized clouds.
Florence, South Carolina Morning News - 07 Mar 52
Truth About Flying Saucers
Up in the northeast corner of this page, Drew Pearson mentions, sort of off-handedly, in his column that the Air Force radar has tracked 25 flying saucers that have simultaneously been identified by visual observers.
We wish the Air Force would get organized on this. So far, they have spent most of their time conducting what it calls investigations and reporting the whole thing is a fake. Now it says that radar sets too can make mistakes and see things that are not there.
We have personally had considerable experience with radar and know that is true. However, we do not believe it likely that radar sets in combination with visual observers could have been wrong 25 times in succession.
Instead of shrugging off flying saucers, if it is really doing that, we think the Air Force should remove the veil of secrecy surrounding its findings and give us more of the facts than we feel have so far been divulged. Official explanations leave the distinct impression that somebody knows more than he is telling. If there is nothing to the flying saucers, the Air Force should be able to say so in a more convincing manner.
Alton, Illinois Evening Telegraph - 8 Mar 52
Robert S. Allen Reports
The signal corps of the army has some new and highly intriguing information on flying discs!
However, it's not talking, at least for the present.
But this much can be reported:
For the first time since the appearance of these mysterious objects, a number of them have been tracked on radar by the signal corps.
This is of the utmost significance.
Most of the trackings have occurred in the Southwest, where the great Los Alamos atomic plant is located. However, strange flying phenomena also have been tracked in other parts of the country.
A detailed report has been made on each case, but there is no chance of getting at them. All are cloaked in tightest, secrecy.
Coshocton, Ohio Tribune - 13 Mar 52
Mystery Aircraft Seen in Columbus
COLUMBUS -- Columbus residents wondered today if the fiery streak they saw flash through the sky last night was a new-type jet plane or just the old standby "Flying Saucer."
A flood of telephone calls to local newspapers condensed to this: That a lot of people saw something high in the sky that they've never seen before. Albert Wasserstrom, who seemed to have sighted the "thing" for the longest time, said it was long, shiny, wingless, and tapering from nose to tail.
"It was flying southwest, then made a circle and headed north. Then it turned west again and a bright light flashed on in the front -- it must have burned about two seconds. After a short time, it whisked off to the north."
Paul Grandinetti, an employee in the engineering department at North American Aviation, Inc., here, said the "thing" was unlike any aircraft he saw before.
"At first," he said, "I thought it was a comet -- it made a brilliant orange-colored streak in the sky." Grandinetti believed it was at least 50,000 feet up.
Other persons gave varying estimates of the object's height, ranging from 3,000 feet up to "out of the earth's atmosphere."
A base operations sergeant at nearby Lockbourne Air Force Base said he told anxious callers it was probably a jet aircraft leaving vapor trails.
Long Beach, California Independent - 16 Mar 52
DOES PLANET X Lie Behind Mystery of Flying Saucers?
Big "If" Of Science
Rocket Men Search Space For Flying Saucer Key
(Editor's Note: This is the first of two articles on the latest theories and research on the aerial phenomena called "flying saucers.")
By STERLING BEMIS
IMAGINE A PLANET hurtling through the black corridors of space.
Call it Planet X.
Assume that X the Unknown is a thousand, two thousand -- yes, you may as well say ten thousand years ahead of us in its sciences.
Dare to think that centuries ago the engineers of Planet X began experiments to perfect space travel. Concede that in the on-rolling span of time -- or give them only a relatively few centuries of research uninterrupted by war -- the scientists of X might build a type of aerial craft so advanced as to make a moon trip look primitive.
Imagine, assume, concede these things and you have the IF . . . IF . . . IF -- always the BIG IF -- that may lie-behind the hundreds of reports and rumors of so-called "flying saucers."
THE THEORY OF the BIG IF in 1952 on this corner of the backward earth is being seriously weighed and debated, along with scores of other theories and shadings of theories, by the Civilian Saucer Investigation.
Represented in CSI are the major laboratories of aircraft and guided missile research of Southern California.
Chairman Ed Sullivan and the 30 or so "charter members" from Greater Los Angeles all abhor the term "flying saucers." To them it has too many connotations of wild rumor, mass hallucination and crackpot hysteria.
Their stated mission is to sift rumor from fact, to pin down the truth behind the hundreds of reports from those who claim to have sighted the ghostly aerial mysteries from nowhere.
By weighing the veracity of the reports and charting their pattern, CSI aims to reach a "final decision" on the meaning of the flying phantoms.
CIVILIAN SAUCER INVESTIGATION has a post office box -- Box 1971, Main Post Office, Los Angeles 53 -- to which all sighters are invited to report "any unexplained aerial phenomenon which is not a part of the war effort.
The PO box gives sighters a place to report without fear of being dubbed crackpots. It works against "me, too" statements such as might be obtained in oral interviews among groups of sighters.
CSI's Chairman Sullivan has first-hand experience of the sense of frustration which may surround a sighter.
At a Downey aircraft plant last April, Sullivan says, "four of us and the gate guard saw a flight of somewhat over 30 of them. Trying to be helpful, I telephoned the news to a Los Angeles newspaper. There was absolutely no reaction."
BOX 1971 IS GETTING a reaction. "We have received enough letters to pick up a-pattern from reported sightings," Sullivan told The Independent.
"Within the span of two days this week we received letters from widely separated spots -- San Mateo, Puente and Hollywood -- all reporting a giant bubble moving slowly across the skies.
"These are the first reports of this type. Previously we have had fire balls, disc-like phenomena, cigar-shaped craft, but no bubbles.
"Also it previously was believed that flying mystery reports were peculiar to the Southwest. Our letters have brought a sizeable enough batch of reports from New England, Pennsylvania and the entire Atlantic Seaboard to indicate that 'saucers' are seen as frequently in the East as in the West."
Sponsors of CSI maintain that they are not attempting to prove any theory -- that in fact they are divided in their opinions as to what the flying shapes mean.
BEST KNOWN EXPONENT of the Planet X theory is Dr. Walther Riedel, head of guided missile research at a Downey laboratory.
Dr. Riedel was chief designer of the World War II German V-2 rocket center at Peenemunde. Since his arrival in America as a "war prize" he has kept careful records of reported sightings. With subscriptions to a score of newspapers from the nations of the Baltic basin and the borderlands of Russia, the German expert has looked for hints of "flying saucer" developments beyond the Iron Curtain.
Are they of enemy origin?
"Hopefully we say no," Dr. Riedel told an Independent interviewer.
Although he concedes that the facts may prove otherwise when all the reports from Box 1971 have been analyzed, Dr. Riedel now theorizes that the phantoms of the sky are of NO EARTHLY ORIGIN, friend or foe. He has his reasons. But that is another story.
- - - - - - - - - -
TOMORROW: Does Planet X control flying discs?
Dr. Riedel, foremost rocket and guided missile scientist, tells in an exclusive Independent interview why he believes the flying mysteries may have their origin far out in space!
Long Beach, California Independent - 17 Mar 52
Big "If" Of Science
Does Planet X Control Flying Discs?
(Editor's Note: In the following exclusive Independent interview, Dr. Walther Riedel, one of the world's foremost authorities on the rocket age, outlines his theories on the so-called "flying saucers.")
By STERLING BEMIS
LED BY ED SULUVAN, technical writer for an aircraft laboratory
at Downey, Southern California aviation experts have organized
the Civilian Saucer Investigation.
CSI aims to analyze scientifically reports of so-called "flying
saucers" and reach a "final decision"
as to their meaning.
The group has set up a post office box -- Box 1971, Main Post Office, Los Angeles 53 -- to which all sighters are invited to report "any unexplained aerial phenomenon which is not a part of the war effort."
From letters already received, Chairman Sullivan states that a pattern is starting to take shape indicating that reported sightings of the strange aerial craft are nationwide.
SO FAR THERE HAS been no official explanation of the discs, cigar-shaped phantoms, burning globes, green fireballs that range the skies of this earth, according to scores of sighters, accredited and otherwise.
In CSI the number of theories almost equals the total of attendance.
Most provocative is the theory Of Planet X. Bluntly stated, it raises the possibility that the brains behind the flying ghosts may be at home on some distant planet.
Planet X would be advanced far beyond Earth in its aviation science for any of a number of reasons -- greater age, relative freedom from the interruptions of war, perhaps climatic advantages.
A LEADING SPOKESMAN for the theory of Planet X is Dr. Walther Riedel of Los Angeles, leader of guided missile research at a Downey laboratory. One of America's "war prizes," Dr. Riedel was the World War II chief of design at the V-2 rocket center in Peenemunde, Germany.
Like the rest of the scientists of CSI, Dr. Riedel will await the results of the organization's research before making his final assessment of the meaning of the saucers.
But in an exclusive interview he told The Independent that "if only 30 per cent of the reports from sighters are true, the aerial phenomena are not likely to be of earthly origin, either by friend or foe."
Why? Always considering the Big If of science -- the accuracy of the reported sightings -- Riedel believes there are several reasons why the sky mysteries may represent a scientific and technological advance far beyond anything Earth's laboratories can either produce or conceive.
REASON NO. 1 IS SPEED. Dr. Riedel: For our own guided missiles "velocities of 2000 miles per hour are within reach or have been achieved."
If reports are true, the sky discs reach speeds of three times our limit.
(Some estimates of saucer speed are 18,000 feet per second, or roughly 3 miles per second, 180 per minute, 18,000 miles per hour. One faction puts it as high as 18,000 mph.)
"Reported aerial phenomena speeds, however," said Riedel, "are at low altitude. Earth's aerial projectiles reach peak velocities at altitudes of 15 to 20 miles," where they meet less resistance in the thin cold air.
Dr. Riedel considers the theory of remote control for the discs.
"In the temperatures at such accelerations a human being could not survive," he told this reporter.
REASON NO. 2: The power plants of the discs and globes leave no trails at high altitude, as all earth-created power systems do.
REASON NO. 3: Skin temperatures of the mystery craft must be far higher than any earth-made materials could withstand.
Dr. Riedel: "If our own missiles operated at such velocities at low altitudes the metals would simply jellify."
The scientists of Earth have made fantastically rapid progress in a little over 100 years, producing high speed planes, the magic of television, rapid surface transportation, radio and other inventions that would be beyond belief to the peoples of the past.
"We may look to the developers of the discs" (Planet X?) "as the people of Christ's time look to ourselves in the scale of human progress," said Riedel.
The foremost rocket authority said that even if in the next hundred years we produced a ship capable of flying to the moon and back we still might be a thousand or two thousand years behind X the Unknown.
"Consider," pointed out the German scientist, "the fact that we have had only about 16,000 years since the Ice Age."
SUPPOSE PLANET X has had far more favorable climatic conditions, plus the possibility of long centuries of peace for a people who, as Riedel puts it, "forgot to fight wars."
Under such circumstances there might be no limit to technological advance.
At any rate the "evidence" -- as yet unverified -- is piling up.
In the five years since the first "sighting" near Mount Rainier, flying discs have been reported as far away as the Korean war front.
On March 7 the U.S. Signal Corps leaked a report it had finally made radar trackings of unexplained aerial craft.
LAST WEEK Dr. Werhner von Braun, technical director of the Army Ordnance guided missiles Project in Huntsville, Ala., forecast "within 10 or 15 years" a man-made moon circling the earth 1075 miles above the globe at 15,840 MPH.
Dr. Von Braun's estimate of the flying satellite's speed is remarkably close to the speeds estimated of the fastest the flying discs by some of the Southern California experts on the Rocket Age.
Chairman Ed Sullivan of the Greater Los Angeles area's Civilian Saucer Investigation grins at suggestions that CSI might run into conflict with national security rules.
"I thought one of our men put it very well," reports Sullivan, when he said:
"How can you have security when, you are dealing with objects that travel 18,000 miles per hour?"
Sandusky, Ohio Register Star News - 17 Mar 52
Strange Objects In Sky Puzzle Ex-Plane Spotter
DURHAM, NC -- March 17 -- A man who spent "considerable" time in Alaska as a plane spotter during World War II claimed Saturday he had seen "strange objects flying from the North to the South."
J.D. Hunnicutt, now a fire tower watchman at Duke University, admits he does not know if the objects are "flying saucers," but he pointed out:
"I never saw anything like them in Alaska."
He said: "Some looked-like baby carriages. They were square, long looking objects -- the rest of them were round."
Vienna, Austria Die Presse 29 Mar 52
Flying Saucers Over Belgian Congo Uranium Mines
By Fritz Sitte
Recently, two fiery disks were sighted over the uranium mines located in the southern part of the Belgian Congo in the Elizabethville district, east of the Luapula River which connects the Meru and Bangweolo lakes. The disks glided in elegant curves and changed their position many times, so that from below they sometimes appeared as plates, ovals, and simply lines. Suddenly, both disks hovered in one spot and then took off in a unique zigzag flight to the northeast. A penetrating hissing and buzzing sound was audible to the on-lookers below. The whole performance lasted from 10 to 12 minutes.
Commander Pierre of the small Elizabethville airfield immediately set out in pursuit with a fighter plane. On his first approach he came within about 120 meters of one of the disks. According to his estimates, the 'saucer" had a diameter of from 12 to 15 meters and was discus-shaped. The inner core remained absolutely still, and a knob coming out from the center and several small openings could plainly be seen. The outer rim was completely veiled in fire and must have had an enormous speed of rotation. The color of the metal was similar to that of aluminum.
The disks traveled in a precise and light manner, both vertically and horizontally. Changes in elevation from 800 to 1,000 meters could be accomplished in a few seconds; the disks often shot down to within 20 meters of the tree tops. Pierre did not regard it possible that the disk could be manned since the irregular speed as well as the heat would make it impossible for a person to stay inside the stable core. Pierre had to give up pursuit after 15 minutes since both disks, with a loud whistling sound which he heard despite the noise of his own plane, disappeared in a straight line toward Lake Tanganyika. He estimated their speed at about 1,500 kilometers per hour.
Pierre is regarded as a dependable officer and a zealous flyer. He gave a detailed report to his superiors which, strangely enough, in many respects agreed with various results of research.
Walla Walla, Washington Union Bulletin - 17 Mar 52
QUESTION: Are there, or are there not -- flying saucers?
PLACE: CAA station, City-County Airport.
"In my opinion, the biggest share of the reports were hallucinations," stated Bolek Wojtasek, 638 S. First.
"The small share of the reports had some basis in fact. Many of the objects seen were, I believe, weather balloons. Some of those weather bureau balloons are huge affairs and get up to 30,000 or 35,000 feet. And, as they go up, they lose their true shape, usually spherical or tear-drop, and become elongated in shape. However, many professional men have reported seeing objects and all those reports can't be discounted. They saw something, but I don't know what. As far as calling the objects flying saucers, that's nothing but a guess, a pure, unadulterated guess. Any other shape is as likely as a saucer shape."
Dick Smith, 803 Valencia said:
"Lots of people in better positions to judge than I are puzzled and arguing among themselves about flying saucers. I think some cases concerned other planes, some weather balloons and many were figments of people's imaginations. But there have been some sort of unidentified flying objects seen -- there have been too many reliable reports to ignore. People in our type of work spend a lot of time looking at the sky and there has been only one case of a report coming from CAA personnel. That time several stations in Montana reported seeing the same object -- a long, cigar-shaped object trailing a wake of flames -- at approximately the same time. The object was traveling at terrific speed. That must be considered a reliable report I doubt very much if any of the objects seen are aircraft which are capable of interplanetary travel."
Norman Swanson, CAA station, cast his vote in favor of flying somethings:
"I say there is definitely something to some of the reports. Many of them are certainly reliable. For many of the reports, I imagine the causes could be attributed to unusual combinations of circumstances -- play of light on clouds or balloons, for instance -- that could fool even an experienced observer. Flying saucers is just a name given to describe something people don't know anything about -- a wild name to cover the wild subject. The saucer-shape aspect could be explained but the terrific speeds reported are much more difficult to explain I haven't heard or read any logical explanation for that. I don't think any of the objects seen were from another planet."
Joplin, Missouri Globe - 23 Mar 52
By WHITNEY BOLTON
And now, with a whisk of the concealing veil, we will reveal to view a crystal ball in which I have no great pride but which proves, if nothing else, that fate, as well as providence, moves in mysterious ways . . . A friend of mine named Frank Scully wrote a book about flying saucers . . . I went along with the book, but not because Scully is a friend . . . I defended it for a variety of reasons, the least of which was logic, and at the end, joining him in a sneer at the pouter-pigeons of the air force who have been denying flying saucer stories, I said: "By next February they no longer will be in a position to deny anything." . . . That was written in, I think, April or May . . . And, sure enough, to my utter amazement, the air force announced last month (February) that enough bomber crews had seen strange disc-like objects over Korea to warrant a serious investigation . . . I am human enough to have felt a surge of pride because of a long-distance prophecy coming true right on the nose, but more importantly I was excited by an air force command which had stopped denying and had begun, reluctantly, to admit . . . Now all I want to know is what has happened? . . . Since that one-day story not one line of any kind has appeared anywhere and a deep, vast silence once more has settled over the air force . . . Boys: Did you or did you not find flying saucers over Korea, and if you did what are they like and what is your guess as to their origin?
1. Many of the foreign publications quoted in this series come from translations provided within CIA documents of the time, now released under the Freedom of Information Act. A lesser number come from the (now-defunct) French site Ufologie.net.
2. The Pacific Stars and Stripes article headed "One Year Ago" and stating "Flying saucers exist, asserts Navy scientist; identified as research balloons" refers to an article in Look magazine entitled "A Nuclear Physicist Exposes Flying Saucers", in which Dr. Urner Liddel of the Office of Naval Research 'revealed' that "all reliable reports" of saucers were in reality misidentified Skyhook balloons. From the February 13, 1951 edition of the Madison, Wisconsin Capital Times...
The physicist said 2,000 reports of "flying saucers" were checked, and those considered "whimsical" were eliminated. Of the "reliable" reports, he said "there is not a single observation which is not attributable to the cosmic balloons."
If the Capital Times report was not in error, then Liddel's claim of investigating "2,000 reports" was in itself noteworthy, as the Air Force publicly placed the total number of reports received since 1947 to be in the mid-hundreds.
3. The Long Beach Independent article headed "AF Orders Inquiry Into Korea Flying Disc Reports" says... "the Air Force set up a special investigating body, dubbed 'Project Saucer,' to investigate them." "Project Saucer" was the name used by the press in 1948 for the Air Force's Project Sign.
4. Selected documents from Air Force Project Blue Book files relating to the Korean reports are available here. Of ancillary historical interest is a point made within "Status Report Number 4", dated February 29, 1952. These reports by Capt. Ed Ruppelt on the status of Project Blue Book investigations were made monthly and widely distributed to the "brass". The report notes:
The report is somewhat similar to the reports of "fireball-fighters", a type of phenomena observed in Europe during World War II. The exact nature of this phenomena was never determined but bomber crews reported large fiery balls, similar to the sun, passing through or near their formations. There is no documented evidence or data available on this phenomena, and all the information that has been obtained is verbal from World War II bomber crewmen, consequently, few actual facts are available.
5. The Long Beach Independent two-part article on "Planet X" was conflated with another current news topic presumably without the foreknowledge of Civilian Saucer Investigators (CSI) and Dr. Riedel, which were the actual subjects of the article. In fact, talk of a "Planet X" within the solar system was a conventional astronomical theory being given widespread currency at the time. From the February 1, 1952 edition of the Greenville, Mississippi Delta Democrat Times...
Astronomers Scanning Skies Seeking Tenth Or Eleventh Planet-X
PHILADELPHIA -- Astronomers today are searching the skies for a gigantic, hitherto-unknown member of the solar system which may be twisting the planet Neptune out of its normal orbit, according to Dr. I. M. Levitt, director of Fels planetarium.
He says scientists have observed that Neptune is being lifted above its normal path in the heavens and that the cause may well be a huge tenth, or perhaps even an eleventh, planet slowly circling in space millions of miles beyond the presently-known limit of the solar system.
"Perhaps in the near future,” Dr. Levitt declares, "astronomers will again be pointing their telescopes to predetermined points searching for the dot of light called Planet X."
He bases his statement on the fact that quirks in the movement of the planets Neptune and Pluto can be explained by the existence of some now-unknown planet or planets. Perhaps we don't know nearly as much as we thought we did about the composition of our solar system.
From the way Neptune circles the sun, scientists long thought its neighbor, Pluto, must contain about the same amount of matter as the earth. However, now the 200-inch telescope at Mt. Palomar reveals that Pluto's mass is only about one-tenth that of the earth.
Dr. Gerald Kuiper, professor of astronomy at the University of Chicago, has been watching Pluto. He says his findings, which hint at the presence of one or more additional planets, are "established beyond doubt."
For Pluto to be the force lifting Neptune out of its orbit, Pluto would have to have at least 10 times the mass it is now known to possess. Therefore, Planet X which is influencing Neptune must lie somewhere beyond Pluto, the farthest planet from the sun. For the influence of bodies lying between the sun and Pluto have already been included in the astronomers' calculations.
This is not the first time scientists have suspected the existence of another planet and decided just where in the heavens to look for it by measuring its influence on other bodies. It was the same way with Neptune.
Since prehistoric time, men had known there were six planets. In 1781 the seventh, Uranus, was ‘discovered.' In 1846 Neptune was found under circumstances similar to those which apply to today's Planet X.
In 1820 a French astronomer, Alex Bouvard, found that Uranus was not moving across the sky as the laws of mathematics would predict. Some huge force was slowing it down. Scientists wondered if the force was a comet, a wandering star or another planet.
In 1841 an Englishman, John Q. Adams, set out to find the answer. Four years later he told experts at the Cambridge Observatory approximately where the then unknown planet, Neptune, could be found. By scientific deduction, Adams also gave its mass, longitude and general orbit. However, his report was pigeon-holed.
Similar work was being done at the same time, however, by a French astronomer, Urbain-Jean- Joseph Leverrier. He asked an expert German astronomer, John Galle, to test his prediction on the position of the unknown planet.
"Direct your telescope," Leverrier told Galle, "to a point on the ecliptic in the constellation of Aquarius, in longitude 326 degrees, and you will find within a degree of that place a new planet looking like a star of about the ninth magnitude and having a perceptible disk."
On the night of Sept. 23, 1846, Galle did so, and found Neptune. It is possible that soon another astronomer will sweep the heavens to a predetermined place and see the pinpoint of light now known simply as Planet X.
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