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in the news 1952


National Airport Radar

Above: From the News-Palladium, Benton Harbor, Michigan, July 30, 1952. The caption reads: WATCH OVER WASHINGTON: Watching the radarscope late last night at National airport in Washington are airway operation specialists at the CAA air route traffic control center. It was here that mysterious flying objects -- "saucers, whatzits or leaping lights" -- were recorded early yesterday and the past several days in the skies over the nation's capital. (AP Wirephoto).

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...

JULY 30, 1952:

Huron, South Dakota The Huronite - 30 Jul 52

Flying Saucers Are Substantial

The reports that radar stations of the Civil Aeronautics Administration have picked up radar blips from objects which the laymen know commonly as "flying saucers" certainly take the stories clear out of the rumor class.

Now even the air force has confessed that it can't explain away the things. So it has called in top physicists for a thorough "flying saucer" investigation.

The most cheerful item about them, so far, is that they have been hovering over the nation's capital. Not that it is unusual for anything to be over the heads of the administrative executives, however.

Since 1947, the reports of "flying saucers" have been investigated by several nongovernmental sources and they have resulted in conclusions that they are mysterious, but real, and apparently not from another terrestrial country. The official government sources, on the other hand, have continued to pooh-pooh the idea that they were anything other than some kind of hallucination. Very contrived explanations were offered by scoffers.

But radar beams do not bounce off a mirage or a hallucination. There has to be something solid for a radarscope to produce a radar blip showing that a radar beam has hit and bounced back from some object. And when radar blips which cannot be identified are observed in the area around Washington, where the air force has the best possible logging of all military and civil aircraft in the air, then it would seem to be time for the scoffers to get to work and produce an explanation.

Jet planes cannot catch up with the things, which they report as "steady white lights" when they searched the area where the radarscope showed "saucers" were. In at least one case, when a commercial ship pilot was directed to check on radar blips he could not see them, and people scanning the radarscope observed that the blips disappeared while he was in the area but then "came in behind him" as he left.

During the war, the navy ran into an interesting mystery with sonar, which Rachel Carson described interestingly in her book, "The Sea Around Us." Sonar from submarines found that sonar beams were bouncing back from mysterious objects. After long research, it was found that it was a mysterious layer of some form of sea life which unaccountably moves up and down, in the vast ocean. The scientists learned how to interpret that particular bounce and licked the problem. Again, electronic submarine devices were interfered with as they approached a certain part of the Atlantic coast by "singing fishes," which made noisy sound waves that interfered with sonar and radar.

There may be some such physical explanation in the sky above us. But until such an explanation is proved, most people will inwardly believe that there is something more substantial to the theory that the mysterious discs are spaceships of some kind. They have believed sillier things.

Lowell, Massachusetts Sun - 30 Jul 52

Well, That's Settled

The Army and the Air Force have emphatically denied that such mysterious things as "flying saucers" over Washington are nothing but natural phenomena and that there is no guided missile or man from Mars involved in the strange little dots in the skies that alarmed so many residents and caused about 2000 reports from amateur observers.

The official report says that warm air strata and cold air strata get mixed up and minor disturbances on radar screens result. However, the report does not go into what was seen by the naked eye, nor does it make too much allowance for the fact that of the 2000 Washingtonians who reported, not one has a radar screen in his living room.

At any rate, the scare angle of the saucers has been removed, and the armed forces have impressed the people with the fact that there is absolutely no danger.

What actually may be taking place is United States experiments which are so super-secret that the armed forces are not permitted to even utter a suggestion of knowing what it is all about.

The Navy has come up with a small plane that will travel at the rate of 1300 miles an hour and no doubt when that starts to streak across the sky, it is something that the human being, if he is able to follow it without instruments, just can't believe.

Most of the reports of strange objects that flash around in the clouds probably can be traced to experiments by the armed forces. We have no doubt that if the Army and Air Force could not provide, for their own satisfaction, a suitable answer to what is going on, there would be a fast alert for the east and the whole country.

In these days the United States is not taking long risks. It had some sad experiences in the past and the tragic results make drab pages in our otherwise illustrious historical record. Henceforth, the nation is going to be alert at all times -- it will run down subversives, it will defend the shores against invaders, but, most particularly, it will make certain that the skies are well logged and charted by radar at all times so that potential enemies cannot get the jump on us.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire Herald - 30 Jul 52

Bay State Skies Swarming With Unidentified Discs

MANCHESTER -- The skies over Massachusetts were alive with unidentified flying objects last night, according to the Air Force Filter Center here.

The Filter Center is the point to which all reports of unidentified objects in the sky are made in the middle Atlantic and northeastern states.

A spokesman said today that between 5:18 p.m., EDT, and 11:44 p.m. EDT, four Bay State communities reported sighting strange flying objects. All reports came from Ground Observer Posts -- a component of the nation's Civil Defense System.

The communities making the reports were Marlboro, Leominster, Plymouth, and Northfield.

A spokesman at the Filter Center said the last report -- the one from Northfield -- came at just before midnight and was attested to by Cpl. Howard Neubert, regularly assigned to the Filter Center staff, who was at the observation post at the time on a routine inspection.

The Northfield report was made by observer Ed Towell Jr., the Air Force reported. He said he sighted a "ball of fire" at about 10,000 feet eight miles southwest of the post.

Cpl. Neubert verified the report.

At 8:40 p.m., EDT, the observer at Leominster, who was not identified, called in a report of a light in the sky. He said he trained binoculars on the object and observed it to fly straight up into the air out of sight.

He said it was 14 miles east of the observation post. He said four single-engined aircraft passed over the post a few seconds later flying east to west.

The report from Marlboro, the first of the night, was made by observer Lester Poll. He identified the object as a "large red ball."

George Barrett, the observer at Plymouth, called in and reported a bright light four miles southeast of the station, which "faded" as he watched it.

The Air Force spokesman declined to elaborate on the reports.

Today it was revealed that "Aircraft Flash" messages from observation posts to the Filter Center have been given a priority over all emergency calls.

Chester, Pennsylvania Times - 30 Jul 52

Jersey City Saucer
NIGHT PHOTOGRAPH taken by a plane spotter atop an observation station in Jersey City early yesterday is reported to show a "flying saucer" hurtling through the air. The glowing object at the upper right is the mysterious "saucer." The fixed circle at lower left is the light on the Metropolitan Insurance Building.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Times - 30 Jul 52

Countians See Strange Light Last Evening

There may be no such thing as a flying saucer -- but a number of Adams Countians Tuesday night saw something they claim resembled one.

At Bonneauville a group of neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Miller, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hahn and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Sanders witnessed the antics of a "strange light" in the sky at 10:30 o'clock.

At exactly the same time Ira Lobaugh and his family and other residents of East Berlin sighted a "similar object" in the sky. And at the same time residents of North York reported sighting a "flying saucer."

The Bonneauville group reported the orange-red light as being to the north of Bonneauville. Mrs. Miller said she estimated it as being about three feet in size, and said there seemed to be a tiny white light above the orange disc. The disc, she added, traveled very fast in one direction, stopped, and traveled just as fast in the opposite direction. Then, she said, it repeated the back and forth travel a number of times.

Yorkers See Light

Reports from North York residents said the light appeared in the north and "seemed to move 50 to 60 feet from east to west about a half dozen times before disappearing." Twelve residents of North York, living in different sections of the town, were reported by York papers as having seen the light, "moving back and forth in the sky."

At East Berlin Lobaugh first saw the strange light and called a number of neighbors to witness the aerial manifestation.

Air Force officials, who Tuesday were reported as saying the air force is studying the recent "flying saucer" reports, gave as one possible explanation of the fact that the "lights" have been seen by radar that they are caused by cold air being compressed by warm air in the sky.

Huntingdon, Pennsylvania Daily News - 30 Jul 52

Mysterious Lights Are Seen In Sky Over Huntingdon

Did you see them? Those lights in the sky last night? If you did, don't be afraid to tell your neighbors and friends, for others saw them too.

We have had several reports today at The Daily News office about the mysterious lights in the northwest, between 10:30 and 11:30. From downtown they appeared to be "up over Juniata College." They were described by one observer as being under the big dipper, very close to the horizon. They seemed to be moving in a horizontal course across the heavens in a northwesterly direction.

While one observer was watching the phenomenon, two airplanes flew over, one going east and the other west. By the time the plane coming from the west neared the area, the lights had disappeared, but they were still in evidence when the plane from the east appeared.

Yes, they've been seen in the daytime, too. Well, perhaps not lights, but "things in the sky." One afternoon late last week a globular object, about the size of the moon, was observed by a resident of Stone Creek Road. It appeared about 4:30 in the afternoon. The sky was clear and blue. The great white ball was moving somewhat erratically. It was not glistening, but was definitely white.

Our observer watched the object until it faded from view and that evening learned by radio that similar objects had been observed near Syracuse, N.Y.

Charleston, West Virginia Daily Mail - 30 Jul 52

Man Almost Swept Off Road By 'Ball'

ENID, Okla., July 30 -- A photographic supply salesman told police he was almost swept from the highway last night by a huge "flying saucer" which swooped low at terrific speed.

Sid Eubanks, 50, Wichita, Kan., told his bizarre tale to Desk Sgt. Vern Benel, who said the man was still trembling when he walked into the police station.

Eubanks said the mystery, object, appearing as a "yellow-green, then yellow-brown streak about 400 feet long," suddenly swooped low over U.S. Highway 81 and completely reversed directions, disappearing in a few seconds into the west.

He said the "tremendous pressure nearly threw my automobile off the road."

The object loomed suddenly out of the night between Bison and Waukomis, south of here, Eubanks said. He described it as a huge round ball when directly over him.

Lowell, Massachusetts Sun - 30 Jul 52

Pilot Says His Plane Was Attacked by Flying Saucer
Says Incident Happened a Year Ago On Warm Sunny Day Over Augusta, Ga.

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Press, a Scripps-Howard newspaper, today told of a veteran air force pilot whose F-51 fighter plane was "attacked repeatedly by a flying saucer."

The story was told by the Press aviation editor, Charles Tracy, captain and former assistant wing operations officer of the 117th tactical reconnaissance wing, Lawson Air Force base, Columbus, Ga.

Tracy said the incident "never before revealed to the public" happened a year ago over Augusta, Ga., on a "warm, sunny, clear day."

The pilot was First Lt. George Kinman of Birmingham, Ala., a veteran of seven years service, now flying jets in Germany.

Tracy said he never saw the official report but was "repeating the pilot's conversation with me." Here's Kinman's story as told by Tracy:

"I was cruising at about 230 mph.

"All of a sudden I noticed something ahead, closing in on me head-on. Before I could take evasive action -- before I even thought of it, in fact --this thing dipped abruptly and passed underneath, just missing my propeller.

"The thing was definitely of disc shape . . . white . . . pretty thick . . . it looked like an oval . . . it was about twice as big as my plane . . . it had no visible protrusions like motors, guns, windows, smoke or fire."

Kinman immediately turned round but couldn't see anything.

Within 15 seconds, he estimated, the disc came directly at him again and once more dipped suddenly at the last possible moment to avoid a collision. This happened repeatedly, he said, for from five to 10 minutes.

Kinman tried to put his plane is position to use the cameras in his fuselage, adjusted to shoot the ground while in level flight. He was not successful and his films, when developed, showed nothing," Tracy said.

"On its final pass, the disc whirled upward. Kinman thought it was going to take a piece of his canopy with it. Then, he said, it disappeared.

Tracy said the pilot's own startling story is in the top secret files in Washington.

Miami, Florida Daily News - 30 Jul 52

Jersey City Saucer

Four views of the "flying saucer" that flashed over Miami Beach last night are reproduced here from the film taken by Marine Pfc. Ralph C. Mayher. The film was released without comment by Third Marine Air Wing officials. Miami Daily News artists did not retouch the "saucer" itself, which loses some detail in reproduction, but did retouch scratches on the film and designated the object with arrows. The photos show the "orange, yellowish object" was bowl-shaped with a projection on top. It speedily vanished, after being watched for more than three minutes.

Miami's Saucer
Marine Here Snaps 'Disc'

By Larry Birger, Miami Daily News Staff Writer

A strange "orange, yellowish object traveling at more than 2,000 m.p.h." was photographed last night by a Marine cameraman watching from a Miami Beach home.

Forty feet of film were taken of the object as it flashed across the sky, the marine reported.

however, showed any image. [sic, entire paragraph missing]

The "object," which observers said they saw for about three minutes and 30 seconds, was photographed around 9:35 p.m. by Pfc. Ralph C. Mayher, 22, of 60 NE 78th St. and Cleveland, O.

Officials at the Marine Corps Air Station in Opa-locka released the pictures and information at 2 p.m. today without comment.

Shot From Patio

The films were shot from the patio of the home of Herman Stern, 8200 Byron Ave. Stern and his wife two days ago reported spotting 'flying saucers" in the sky above their residence.

The film showed a bowl-shaped image with a projection on top.

The object looked like a ball of fire. It was not clear enough, however, to be diagnosed as a flying saucer or meteor.

Mayher said what he saw in the sky was "crystal clear" and that as fast as it was traveling, he noted detail in the object, or phenomenon.

The Leatherneck said he went to the home of the Sterns on a hunch. He was not acting officially for the Marines but on his own initiative. He checked out the .16-millimeter camera from the MCAS yesterday afternoon.

He had requested permission of the Sterns to watch the sky from their home. Along were his wife, Eleanor, and a friend. They arrived at the Stern home about 9:05 p.m.

Neighbors Shouted

About 9:30 p.m. they heard neighbors shout, "Look there, in the sky!"

For several seconds, Mayher recalled, "We saw nothing. Then an orange, yellowish - shaped object [sic] appeared. I pulled out my camera and shot about 40 feet of film."

After more than three minutes, the object disappeared. Mayher said his wife and the friend saw the object, along with other residents in the area.

The Marine then called the officer-of-the-day at Opa-locka, and he and a Public Information Office sergeant went to the Stern house and obtained the film.

Marine officials at the Air Station had no comment to make on the photos. They stressed the fact that Mayher was acting in a non-official capacity. "All we did was process the film," one officer commented.

Mansfield, Ohio - 30 Jul 52

See Mystery Lights In Sky Near City

WILLIAMSPORT -- Three Morrow county ground observers, one an admitted skeptic of flying saucer tales, today joined the ranks of persons who have reported seeing mysterious traveling lights in the heavens.

Robert Chapman, his wife, and Howard Cover, observers at the Skywatch post at the A.R. Gramly home here, approximately 17 miles south of Mansfield, said they saw an object streak across the sky in a straight line and disappear near the horizon at 10:50 p.m. EST Monday.

CHAPMAN, a post office employee at Mt. Gilead gave the following account of what happened Monday night just as they were about to go off duty at the post.

"We were standing in the yard when I first saw the object coming from the east at an altitude of about 2,000 feet. It was a very deep, brilliant blue and about half the size of the full moon. I shouted to Howard Cover and he looked up in time to get a good view of the 'sphere' which had a jet tail about three times as long trailing behind it. The tail had greenish tinges around its edge and there was an empty space between the sphere and the jet as if some kind of vacuum had formed there. My wife heard us yell, and she also looked up and saw the glowing object. We were all standing within a 20-foot radius of each other.

"The sphere didn't fall in an arc like a meteor but continued in a horizontal line due west, even gaining altitude slightly. The entire period during which we sighted the object lasted approximately 12 seconds. It seemed to "surge" through the air. This is what made us practically sure that it wasn't any type of falling star or meteor. As it traveled it seemed to increase and decrease its speed only very slightly. Shortly afterwards it entered an atmospheric haze above the western horizon and we lost sight of it. The rest of the sky in all directions was perfectly clear except for the filmy haze to the west.

"THE jet behind it was horizontal and seemed to stem from a small point in the sphere, fanning out, and then trailing off into a kind of vapor. We were dumbfounded for a few seconds when we first saw the light. We've never seen any star act like that or appear so big and bright," Chapman said.

"I've been rather skeptical about flying saucer stories but after hearing the owner of the land on which our post stands tell about sighting three objects two weeks ago, and after what we saw Monday night we don't know what to think" he added.

Mrs. A.R. Gramly of Williamsport said her husband saw three green objects far to the north two weeks ago Monday, but thought it was the northern lights. The objects, according to Gramly, didn't glow steadily but seemed to "act like a fluorescent bulb when turned on and off." This was the same night that several of the lights were reported near Norfolk, Va.

Cleveland sky watchers also reported seeing several objects Monday night.

CHAPMAN said the sphere which startled him and the two other observers Monday was "very bright" and of an entirely different nature than the lights seen by Gramly two weeks previously. He estimated that the over-all circumference of the sphere first sighted almost directly over the Williamsport area, was about 26 feet, according to the height at which it was traveling.

"The object didn't seem to be shaped like a disk at all," Chapman added.

Owosso, Michigan Argus Press - 30 Jul 52

Seen Near Flint

FLINT, Mich. -- Three Flint men and a Linden woman reported today they saw a flying disc in the skies last night.

One who reported seeing the object was Don Cameron, a member of the news staff of Radio Station WFDF and a former member of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Flint men described the object as reddish, and Cameron said it did not act like a celestial body but like a mechanical one.

The Linden woman reported that she saw an orange disc at a "fairly low altitude," about the size of a big star. She said it remained almost stationary, then disappeared.

All four observers reported spotting the object between 11:15 and 11:45 p.m.

Ironwood, Michigan Daily Globe - 30 Jul 52

U.P. 'Saucer' Stories Denied By the Air Force

The Air Force today denied reports that some of its jet fighters engaged in a 600-mile-an-hour tag game with mysterious flying discs over Northern Michigan last night.

The reports, emanating from usually reliable sources, said the Selfridge Air Base jets were sent aloft to investigate the mysterious aerial visitors.


The informant said the jets caught up with the flying discs or saucers near the Upper Peninsula and flew along on their trail for several minutes. The discs reportedly varied their speed from very slow to highs of around 600 miles an hour.

According to the source, the jets gave up their flight after a while and turned back towards Selfridge, only to have the discs change from pursued to pursuer and follow the Selfridge jets for a brief time.

An Air Force spokesman at Selfridge said some jet units were aloft last night on routine maneuvers, but said they saw no discs or saucers.

The story about the tag game between the jets and discs came amidst a rash of reports that the mysterious aerial visitors had been sighted over Michigan.


Several of the reports came from people with a sound background of aerial knowledge. They included a wartime B-17 pilot in Detroit, a former Canadian Air Force flier and a sergeant at an Air Force warning station at Battle Creek.

The former B-17 pilot, Henry Tison of Detroit, said he saw a silvery, disc-shaped object over his home yesterday afternoon. "It was not an airplane, not a dirigible, not a weather balloon. I've seen all of them," said Tison.

The Selfridge Air Base said it had received many calls since the weekend from citizens who told of seeing mysterious flying objects.

Logansport, Indiana Pharos-Tribune - 30 Jul 52

Propose "Saucer" Watch

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Air Force and a newspaper appealed to thousands of persons in two states today to spend two hours watching for "flying saucers."

The South Bend Tribune enlisted cooperation from the Air Force for a sky search between 9 and 11 p.m. CDT Aug. 2, in seven northern Indiana and two southwestern Michigan counties.

"We hope to obtain the cooperation of thousands of volunteer observers who will go out in backyards and up on roofs Saturday night to watch the sky,"  said Capt. Forest R. Shafer, commanding officer of the Air Force filter center, here.

The Tribune and its radio station, WSBT, set up an elaborate communications system and urged residents to notify the Tribune of "anything unusual" in the sky

Shafer said Air Force radar teams would be used in the search.

Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, Wisconsin - 30 Jul 52

Chicago Saucer
Among the rash of flying saucer sightings breaking out anew is this one drawn by George Charney, Chicago Daily News art director.

He said he saw "coppery orange football-like shapes as big as blimps" about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday and sketched these on a photograph of the area at his suburban Highland Park home.

Logansport, Indiana Pharos-Tribune - 30 Jul 52

Declares He Took Picture of Flying Saucer a Year Ago

CULVER CITY, Calif. -- Alan Dumas, a former Air Force photographer, said today that while stationed at, Scott Field, Ill., a year ago he took a picture of a "flying saucer" that looked like "two straw hats pasted together brim to brim."

Dumas disclosed that he took the picture June 1, 1951, at 3:15 p.m. He said the object zoomed out of the north, did a 'flip' above the airport and sped off to the east.

Dumas, a former Pfc, said the flight from horizon to horizon lasted "no more than 20 seconds." He said the object also was seen by airmen in the field's control tower.

He happened to be aboard a plane in flight with a camera when the object crossed the sky, and got a quick shot of it.

The sighting was reported to intelligence at Scott Air Force Base, he said, but was explained as possibly a "weather balloon or a conventional jet plane."

Tucson, Arizona Daily Citizen - 30 Jul 52

Dumas Saucer

As more "flying saucer" reports cropped up across the nation several people reported Monday seeing round, luminous objects streaking over Los Angeles at a terrific rate of speed. Allan C. Dumas, Culver City, Calif., claims to have made this photo of a saucer he saw a year ago. It looked like "two straw hats stuck together" with a dome on the top and bottom.

Council Bluffs, Iowa Nonpareil - 30 Jul 52

Burlington Crew Sights 'Objects'

Several silvery objects -- not airplanes -- were sighted high over Council Bluffs about 9:20 a.m. Wednesday by the crew of a Burlington switch engine.

The spokesman for the crew, Switchman A.W. Wintersteen, did not know whether the objects might be the so-called "flying saucers." But, he did say, they were not airplanes.

Wintersteen sighted one or two of the objects by himself about 9 a.m. Later, the whole crew watched the sky objects, high over the Burlington tracks near Twentyninth avenue.

"We saw 8 or 10 of them hovering around the sun," Wintersteen said. "Then one by one, they took off like a shot and disappeared."

He said they were "about the size of a pin head."

Other crew members who, Wintersteen said, saw the objects were: Woodrow Hansen, engineer; Al Frieze, fireman; Don Rath and Earl Loder, both switchmen.

Abilene, Texas Reporter-News - 30 Jul 52

Brilliant, Mysterious Light Sighted by Abilene AF Vet

A veteran pilot of 5,600 flying hours Tuesday night told Civil Aeronautical Authorities here of being momentarily blinded by a brilliant light from a mysterious object in the skies as he and his wife were returning home by automobile from Uvalde Sunday night.

Dick Dickenson, of 2149 Beech St., World War II pilot and a Civil Air Patrol lieutenant here, first caught sight of the light, which he described as a "big welding torch running across the skies," about 15 miles south of Balllnger.

Dickenson made the report to Max Emery, chief of the CAA control unit at Municipal Airport, in compliance with a request from the Air Force for information about unidentified objects in the skies.

The strange light, Dickenson said, made a pass in a 30 to 40 degree elevation in the horizon dead ahead of his automobile, the light flicking intermittently.

Its route was east to west. The Dickenson car was headed north.


"It was a terrifically bright light, such as I have never seen before," Dickenson related. "It was like a welding torch flame, a brilliant blue-white."

Dickenson said the light was making a rapid downward plunge when first sighted, suddenly leveled off, and then shot down again before disappearing behind a grove of trees.

Dickenson, a World War II pilot in the Air Training Command, said the object switched its course sharply in turns physically impossible for any aircraft, including the jet.

"It couldn't have been a falling star. For one thing, the star's glow wouldn't have been that bright. Also, had it been, wouldn't it have continued falling rather than veering back up? It left no trail as falling stars do," Dickenson said.

Dickenson said the object appeared before him for only a brief moment before vanishing. "I have stood and watched F-86s (jet fighter planes) buzz me  and I can say right here the F-86 couldn't have matched this thing."


Glare of the bright light left Dickenson partially blinded. The light, he said, would flash briefly, then black out, then flick back on. It did this about four or five times in the course of its passing. Dickenson recorded the time of object's encounter as 9:46 p.m. Sunday. After it disappeared, the light was never sighted again.

Dickenson recalled remarking to his wife, "Hey, did you see that light?"

"Yes," replied Mrs. Dickenson.

The Dickenson's two children, also in the car, were asleep in the back seat.


The light was brighter than the brightest star in the heavens, Dickenson, who has logged night flying time, reported. His first reaction upon sighting the light -- as if running head on into the blinding lights of an approaching car -- was, "How did that firefly get inside the windshield?"

"But this certainly was no firefly. It came down from a 45-degree angle, leveled off at a 2-degree angle, and then shot up again in a 45-degree angle. It had the power or the force to resist gravitation, that being my argument why the light was not a falling star."

Dickenson did not stop the car, but kept driving while the light was in sight, he said. Because of the car's motor and high wind, Dickenson could detect no sound of engines, nor could he estimate the object's speed or altitude.

The light appeared to be powered by propulsion of great speed, Dickenson noted.


"Just what this thing was, I don't know. I'd like to know myself. I've been wanting to see one of these things for five years, and this is my first time."

Advancing the theory some foreign power or another planet may have found the secrets to gravitational aviation, Dickenson said the light appeared to have been powered by some terrific internal force, suggesting atomic power.

Dickenson is a traveling salesman for the Amarillo Hardware Co.

Baytown, Texas Sun - 30 Jul 52

$500 Reward Offered For Saucer Pix

AMARILLO -- Five hundred dollars was waiting Wednesday for the person who notifies the Amarillo Daily News about a flying saucer in time for the paper to get a picture of the mystery object.

The paper "believes there is more than fantasy in the stories of the strange objects in the skies," says a front page story saying "Wanted: $500 reward for information leading to a photo of a genuine flying saucer."

The paper said it would keep a photographer standing by to take pictures of saucers sighted over the city.

In San Antonio, however, military authorities said their radar has not found any mysterious objects over the recent months.

Civil Aeronautics Traffic Control Chief W.F. Lanior said about ten "saucer" reports have been received by his office in the past two weeks, but said the armed forces have been unable to monitor the reported sightings on radar screens.

One saucer reported by the Randolph Air Force Base control tower and an Air Force Stratofreighter last Monday turned out to be the planet Jupiter.

Walla Walla, Washington Union-Bulletin - 30 Jul 52

Montana Air Base Reports Flying Discs

GREAT FALLS. Mont. -- Flying saucers which hovered over the Great Falls area and then took off at "a tremendous rate of speed," were reported Tuesday by a sergeant at the Great Falls Air Force Base.

Sgt. Charles Boden said he was listening to a direct communications system with McChord Air Force Base in Washington and learned that saucers were sighted over that Air Force Base "heading toward Great Falls."

Boden said he immediately began scanning the skies, about 2:30 p.m. M.S.T.

Objects Sighted

About four and a half minutes after hearing the McChord report, he said he sighted the objects.

He reported that two of the saucers appeared stationary at first, then another came "whipping going West" and the two stationary objects then appeared to take off, following the third.

(A McChord spokesman said Tuesday night there were several flaws in Boden's story. He denied there had been any conversation between McChord and Great Falls bases about 2:30 p.m. concerning flying saucers over McChord. And he also pointed out that saucers would not be "going west," as Boden reported, if they were traveling from McChord, in Washington state to Great Falls.)


("I can say categorically we logged no unusual sightings over McChord this afternoon," the spokesman declared. "Two unusual objects at high altitude and traveling at great speed were sighted in the morning, but a check showed definitely they were jets from our own base.")

Later in the afternoon Boden said he sighted four traveling in the opposite direction. He described the objects as circular in shape and not thick and added they gave off no sound or left no vapor trails.

If the saucers over McChord and the ones Boden reported were the same, a rough estimate of the speed would be 3,360 miles an hour.

Other persons in Great Falls also said they saw saucers.

Greeley, Colorado Daily Tribune - 30 Jul 52

Woman Claims She Saw Flying Saucer Southwest of Niwot

Longmont, Colo. -- Illuminated and moving at great speed, a flying saucer was sighted by Mrs. M.L. Swearingen from their home southwest of Niwot between 10:30 and 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Mrs. Swearingen said the "saucer" was moving westward, apparently just over Longmonth "much faster than planes fly." There was no sound discernible, the Niwot woman reported, but the object was illuminated with one complete ring of light which formed a circle, apparently at the bottom of the saucer.

There also appeared to be an unlighted, or shadowed, portion extending above the lighted ring. Mrs. Sweringen said she was unable to determine accurately the height or exact size of the object, although she would judge it to be a very large and at a great distance above the earth.

Albuquerque, New Mexico Tribune - 30 Jul 52

Flight of Luminous Objects Maneuvers Over City

A flight of luminous objects -- at least 10 -- passed over Albuquerque at 9:30 last night.

Whatever they were, they made a "flying saucer" believer out of me. They resembled nothing I had seen before.

Their flight, if it was flight as we know it, was soundless and graceful. At first they appeared overhead from the south. They were clustered together in no apparent pattern, heading due north.

Then they shifted to a perfect V. The shift was done with great precision. The formation resembled a flight of geese.

Within a second or so they formed a new pattern.

This formation presented two rows with the objects in front spaced at exact intervals. Take your pencil and place five dots on a piece of paper. Then at a distance as far behind the dots as the dots are apart, start a new row. Place the second row of five dots so they center between the openings of the first row and you'll see how the formation appeared.

Incredible Performance

If the objects were about 2500 feet over the city, as they appeared, they moved only about as fast as an F-86 Sabre jet. Going on this assumption, their shifts in position were incredibly swift, fantastically violent -- in terms of our experience.

But if their nearness to the ground was an illusion -- and the Air Force has said it believes such phenomena may be tricks of the atmosphere -- their performance takes on even more incredible aspects.

Their size appeared about one third the size of the moon when it is overhead. But the light they emitted was very different. It was not as intense as a star, nor as bright as the moon. There was no color except white.

It was soft, almost suggesting reflection from lights of the city. The objects appeared low -- yet at a great distance, if such contradiction is credible.

If they were at a great height, and this observer would like to believe they were, their speed must be beyond comprehension.

Witnessed Fireballs

I was a witness on several occasions when fireballs, both green and blue white, flashed through the skies at various points in the southwest. On one occasion I reported in detail what I saw to Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, director of the University's Institute of Meteoritics and a nationally known authority on such things.

Dr. LaPaz told me today that the objects I saw last night "definitely are not associated with the Perseid meteor shower." He said the meteors are coming from the northeast, that they do not change formation nor exhibit "intelligence or coordination."

Col. William Matheny, commander of the 34th Air Defense here, reported he knew nothing of any military flights at the hour of the "saucer maneuvers" and requested me to relate what I saw to his air defense intelligence officers.

The flight of aircraft also is familiar to me. The "lights" indulged in maneuvers impossible to modern aircraft.

I have witnessed the flight of rockets, German and American, at White Sands Proving Ground in daylight and at night. The saucers were something different altogether.

Four years ago in Albuquerque one resident telephoned The Tribune and said a "flying saucer" had landed in her yard, I went to see it and it turned out to be the radio unit from a weather balloon.

Two years ago near Holloman Air Force Base a group of persons was peering into the sky at a "saucer. Inspection through binoculars convinced me it was a balloon of some sort, reflecting that intense June sunlight. The objects last night resembled no balloon.

In April, I witnessed the detonation of an atomic bomb in Nevada. The light the saucers emitted last night was of a different order.

My observation of the objects last night was accidental. I was convening with my landlady, Mrs. Georgia Gibion, 910 Gold SW, on the front steps of her home. The quick movement of the "stars" caught my glance. Mrs. Gibson, who was under the porch roof, failed to see the objects before they passed from view behind trees across the street.

The Air Force can call the objects hallucinations, tricks of the atmosphere or perhaps anything falling within the limits of logic.

Several persons, on and off the record, have said they believe the saucers are visitors from space.

But if you see them, you will be struck with the impression that it is much easier to say what they are not, than to suggest what they are.

Ogden, Utah Standard-Examiner - 30 Jul 52

'Object' Seen Near Moon; Speedy 'Cloud' Sighted

A flying object was sighted near the moon yesterday about 7:30 p.m. by a group of eight persons at 2633 Liberty Ave., Fred E. Benson of 1841 Kiesel Ave. said today.

Mr. Benson said he and his wife were visiting his son and family at the Liberty Ave. address when some painters working next door saw the object near the moon.

He said another man in the party, a government engineer also saw the object and said he didn't believe it could be an air force weather balloon.

Mr. Benson said his son, Fred William Benson, went in the house and got a pair of binoculars and they all looked at the mysterious flying object.

It was round and a sort of reddish, orange color, he said, and it was bobbing up and down erratically. He said the object appeared to him to be about 30,000 feet high, traveling south and east at terrific speed. He said every member in the group sighted the object.

Fred William Benson, who works in Clearfield, said he had seen many balloons released from Hill field but the object in the sky did not behave as did the weather balloons.

When the elder Mr. Benson returned to his home on Kiesel Ave. he got his own binoculars and looked for the object. He sighted it first this time with the naked eye, he said. From the Kiesel Ave. location he said he could still see the round, reddish orange object and it was still bobbing, still heading south and east.

Somebody Else Sees One

And somebody else saw another one.

This one didn't look too much like a saucer, but it was flying -- and fast.

Mrs. C.E. Tribe saw this one while spending the week-end at their summer home in South Fork canyon, about 22 miles east of Ogden.

She said Saturday, about 10 p.m., she went out to "admire the beautiful night before retiring. I was watching the stars when I saw a brilliant white light, somewhat resembling a fleecy white cloud traveling across the sky. It was going from east to west at a speed greater than that of the average airplane. I watched it, I would judge, for a little longer than a minute, until it disappeared over the mountain. I have never before seen anything like it."

Salt Lake City, Utah Deseret News - 30 Jul 52

'Flying Saucers' Appear Again In Salt Lake Area

"Flying saucers" made another late evening appearance over Salt Lake City Tuesday night.

Among persons who watched the vari-colored object cavort about the sky for 20 minutes was the J.M. Hays family, of 7415 West 2400 South St.

Mr. Hays reported the object, whose color shifted from red to orange and green, made erratic motions in the sky, darting to the rear, straight up, and to the side. It would hover for a minute and would then suddenly move forward at a tremendous speed, he said.

Officials at Salt Lake Municipal Airport said several planes landed at the field during the time the object was seen.

Mr. Hays later said he saw a plane land at the airport at the time and that the "saucer" was radically different.

Two staff members of the News also watched the strange objects move about the sky.

The missile had a strange orange-white-blue color that is difficult to describe, one newspaperman said.

Idaho, Pocatello, Idaho State Journal - 30 Jul 52

Pocatello Couple Reports Saucer

A Pocatello couple reports having seen what they believe were "flying saucers."

Mr. and Mrs. Bill Bales of Jason avenue in South Park addition say they were looking out the door of their home at cloud formations when they saw a large orange colored object. The Bales said the object was extremely bright.

The object was seen for about 20 minutes and at first appeared to be in the shape of a half-saucer. After the saucer disappeared, the Bales said the clouds in the sky remained, but became splurges.

Spokane, Washington Spokesman-Review - 30 Jul 52

Disk At Boise

BOISE, July 30 -- Now it's Boise that's seeing those things in the skies again -- a total of 13 about midnight.

Jack Heller said he and Earl Allen saw two "sausage-shaped" lights hover over Gowen field for almost 30 minutes before they vanished. An unidentified man told police he saw four scoot east over town and a short time later watched seven speed west over the foothills.

Long Beach, California Press-Telegram - 30 Jul 52

This One Has Split Personality

LOS ANGELES, July 30. -- A "flying saucer" that can split in two and keep right on flying, was reported by a former Air Force pilot.

Ted Golin, 28, said he saw the object last night and watched it break into two halves, with both pieces flying independently.

"I know it sounds nuts," said Golin, "but I actually saw it. My eyes are good and my flight experience is enough so that I know it wasn't a hallucination or my imagination running away with me."

Ogden, Utah Standard-Examiner - 30 Jul 52

They Amuse Korea Vets

SEOUL, Korea -- Gen. James A. Van Fleet, commander of the U. S. Eighth army, said today the recent flurry of "flying saucer reports in the United States has provided interest and amusement" in Korea. However, he said no such objects have been spotted in Korean skies.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Times - 30 Jul 52

Reflection Of Street Lights May Be Disks

PHILADELPHIA -- Two Philadelphia scientists agree that the warm weather may be responsible for the latest list of flying saucer sightings.

Dr. I.M. Levitt, director of the Fels Planetarium, and Dr. Roy K. Marshall, director of education of the Philadelphia Inquirer Radio and Television station, find no evidence that the saucers have ushered in a "Buck Rogers" age.

Levitt pointed out yesterday that, in warm weather, mirror-like atmospheric conditions might reflect street lights from miles away causing the now familiar illusion of flying discs.

The "blips" reported on Civil Aeronautics Administration radar screens could be produced, Dr. Levitt said, by ionized clouds, or other natural phenomena.

Meteors, according to Dr. Marshall, as they build up a mass of ionized air, glowing at a temperature of 3500 degrees or more, would register on radar screens.

Marshall also pointed out that professional and amateur astronomers, although they spot dozens of meteors nightly, have never reported seeing a flying saucer.

Over the desert regions in Idaho, where the first saucers were sighted, Dr. Levitt said, different strata of air -- of varying temperature -- tend to form. These strata, Marshall added, could reflect street lights from miles away like a mirror, forming the "mirage" familiar to many persons who have traveled across the western deserts.

A disturbance in the air would make the reflected lights appear to maneuver at high speeds.

Dr. Levitt suggested that the prolonged eastern heat wave had produced effects similar to those seen in the desert regions.

Charleston, West Virginia Daily Mail - 30 Jul 52

"Flying Saucers: True Or False?"

If Peter Pan had been created by a latterday Sir James Barrie, now in 1952, his famous curtain line possibly would have been . . .

. . . DO YOU believe in flying saucers?

Whether you believe in them or not, the mysterious discs and lights are again hogging the skyways and headlines and you would do well to drop in at the Children's Museum at 11:15 Saturday morning to see a planetarium demonstration by John E. Norvell, III, and hear his accompanying lecture on "Flying Saucers: True or False?".

Young Norvell, a Morris Harvey biology major and avid amateur astronomer, has closely followed all reports of the sighting of these fascinating objects. According to his scorecard, up until yesterday only 34 of the so-called saucers have not been definitely identified.

All the others have been ruled out as hallucinations, mirages, hoaxes, weather balloons, distant airplanes, city lights, the Planet Venus, etc. . . .

The unaccounted-for so-called saucers have been sighted by pilots, astronomers and scientists trained in observation. It has been established, according to John, that the objects could not possibly be man-made . . . since they travel at terrific speeds that no known metal could stand nor any human pilot survive.

Are they rocket ships from another planet? Or optical illusions?

No one knows for sure, but John has, some interesting theories on the subject and held one large audience spellbound while expounding them in a similar lecture at the Museum earlier in the summer.

Interested in astronomy ever since he can remember, John has collected a large library of scientific books and pamphlets on the heavenly bodies, and has kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about saucer sightings which the children at the museum may consult at any time. He is especially interested in the objects that have been observed . . .  in alarming numbers, he thinks . . . over and near atomic plants and other vital defense installations.

Son of Mathilde and John Norvell, Jr., of 1605 Quarrier street, the budding young scientist will next spring receive his B.S. degree from Morris Harvey, and plans to continue study for a master's degree with a future research job in mind. He is president of the M.H. chapters of the West Virginia Academy of Science and Chi Beta Phi, national honorary science fraternity.

Those who attend John's lecture Saturday morning will be intrigued with the special "saucer" effects that will be projected on the dome of the Hillis Townsend planetarium. The objects will move across the pseudo heavens most convincingly as he outlines all available and authoritative information on the subject.

While the talk will be keyed to 6th and 7th grade level, grownups too are sure to enjoy the talk and demonstration.

Do YOU believe in flying saucers? . . . Before answering, be sure to hear John's opinion at 11:15 a.m. Saturday at the Children's Museum, on the second floor of the library building.

go to comments on this entry


1. The awkward first sentence "The Army and the Air Force have emphatically denied that such mysterious things as "flying saucers" over Washington are nothing but natural phenomena and that there is no guided missile or man from Mars involved..." and other awkward phrasing in the Lowell, Massachusetts Sun editorial "Well, That's Settled" is as it appeared in the original.

2. Pfc. Herman Mayher's film, as told in "Marine Here Snaps 'Disc'", was the subject of subsequent news stories in the following days which will appear within future posts in the next several weeks. Declassified Project Blue Book documents will be included in notes at in the final post.

3. The results of the Indiana-Michigan coordinated watch for aerial phenomenon told in the article "Propose "Saucer Watch" will be included in future posts.

4. John E. Norvell, III, subject of "Flying Saucers: True Or False?", went on to a distinguished medical career and died on November 22, 2010. His obituary can be read here.


The Arrival

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