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in the news 1952



Above: Photo featured on front page of August 5, 1952 edition of the Baytown, Texas, Morning Star. The caption read: "NO, IT ISN'T -- This could account for some flying saucer rumors. It is a weather balloon being released at Mitchell Air Force base, Long Island. Balloon carries radio equipment and battery-powered light, which resembles lightning in photo."

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...


Time Magazine 4 Aug 52

Blips on the Scopes

Air traffic was light at Washington Airport one midnight last week, and the radar scope of the Civil Aeronautics Authority was almost clear. At 12:40 a.m. a group of bright blips showed. The operator estimated that they were about 15 miles southwest of Washington. Then the blips disappeared abruptly and reappeared a few seconds later over northeast Washington. The operator called his boss, Senior Controller Harry Barnes, 39, a graduate of the Buffalo Technical Institute who has worked for the CAA as an electronics expert since 1941. The operator told Barnes: "Here are some flying saucers for you."

Barnes laughed at first, but the blips kept popping up all over the scope. They sometimes hovered, sometimes flew slowly and sometimes incredibly fast. Technicians checked the radar; it was in good working order.

Over the White House. Barnes began to worry when he saw the blips apparently flying over the White House and other prohibited areas. He called the airport control tower. Sure enough, its radar showed the strange blips too. When the towermen measured the speed of a fast blip, they found that it had flown for eight miles at 7,200 m.p.h.

Now the blips on Barnes's scope were moving towards Andrews Air Force Base about ten miles to the east. Barnes called the Andrews tower. Nothing strange showed on its radar, but both towermen and an enlisted man on the field saw a single, round, orange light drifting in the southern sky. That was enough for Barnes. He called the Air Defense Command and reported an unidentified object was over the Washington area. Then he told an airline pilot, C.S. Pierman of Capital Airlines, who was about to take off for Pittsburgh, to watch for mysterious objects. Pierman climbed to 6,000 ft. and headed northwest. Barnes & Co. saw a group of strange blips cluster around the blip made by Pierman's plane and Pierman spotted a white light "like a falling star." It sped away, and its blip disappeared from Barnes's scope.

Air Force to the Rescue. Over from a Delaware base came a flight of radar-equipped F-94 jet fighters. Before they reached Washington, all the blips vanished. The jets saw nothing at all. But when the jets departed the blips reappeared, playing all over the scope. Barnes said: "like a bunch of kids." He called all airliners flying near Washington, asked their pilots to report any strange objects. One pilot saw a white light, moving fast. But during all this uproar, other radars near Washington (e.g. Quantico and Fort Meade) saw nothing unusual.

All the rest of the week, a few strange blips appeared now and then. Then on Saturday night they broke out all over, criss-crossing the capital as they had the week before. This time, the radar at Andrews was seeing the things too. One blip hung over Bolling Field, across the Potomac from the airport, but observers at Bolling saw nothing in the sky. Some airline pilots saw mysterious lights; others saw nothing.

The Saucer Flies Again. Down from Delaware roared another flight of night fighters. This time the blips did not vanish. They stayed on the ground scopes while the jets screamed among them. But only one pilot saw a light, another saw a doubtful blip on his scope. It vanished before he could shoot.

What were the mysterious blips? The Air Force, unless it was trying to conceal some mysterious gadget of its own (e.g. a radar countermeasure), was as baffled as everyone else. As might be expected the phantom invasion touched off a whole new rash of flying-saucer stories. But if the men from Mars were really overhead, the oddest part of the whole story was the fact that among all the conflicting reports, no radar outside of a ten-mile radius in Washington reported seeing anything unusual at any time.

Cumberland, Maryland Evening Times - 5 Aug 52

Those Saucers Again

NOW THE AIR FORCE says that flying saucers are as non-existent as those 14-carat gold ones on your kitchen shelf. All right, Air Force, but did you have to keep things up in the air so long? The latest saucer rash soared to some sort of a dizzy record over Washington a few days ago. First the Air Force wouldn't even send up interceptor planes to investigate "unidentified objects" flying over the capital. A week later the Air Defense Command ordered planes to take off instantly to chase saucers, spoons, teacups, or any other unidentified eating utensils sighted flying over the country, anywhere, any time. So the Civil Aeronautics Administration got on its horse -- and right away saw some things in the sky that needed chasing.

BUT IT TOOK MORE than two hours for the Air Force to get interceptor planes up. The flyboys said this reflected no lack of alertness on their part, only confusion. O.K. A couple of days later, Civil Aeronautics Administration radar observers, which had busily been sighting everything but pie in the Washington sky, cooled off suddenly and completely. The CAA traffic control center spotted things in the air for six hours but didn't even tell the Air Force. "We were too busy with other things," was the surprising explanation. "And besides those objects aren't hurting anybody." And the Air Force didn't seem to mind, despite the fact that only a couple of days before jet pilots had been ordered to take to the sky immediately to chase everything that couldn't be identified.

BY THIS TIME, the public, already a little unhinged by the heat and two political conventions, was about ready for the trembly ward. Various official and unofficial explanations were forthcoming in bewildering variety. The things were everything from tracks to the product of war-jumpy nerves. So the Air Force held a press conference to allay things. It said it was getting some scientists in to investigate the matter and meantime there wasn't anything to worry about. The consensus on the latest saucer business was that the hot, humid weather had produced some reflections in the sky which looked like solid objects. But, as Hal Boyle has pointed out, if the saucers are merely the result of atmospheric conditions, why weren't they seen years ago, when the atmosphere was much as it is now? Likewise, why blame Washington's recent hot spell, when the saucers were seen at various points over the country for a year or so when the weather was quite normal?

Reno, Nevada Evening Gazette - 5 Aug 52

Other Editors


Elko Daily Free Press: U.S. intelligence officers are pooh-poohing the notion that mysterious objects swooping over the American capital city are flying saucers, or that they portend any danger to the people of that great city. Today the U.S, air force said the "saucers" could be summer heat waves, and optical and radar illusions.

But it is easy to understand that the capital city dwellers are uneasy. Our troubled world is not made easier to live in when persistent rumors of flying saucers are heard and when the mystery continues to deepen.

However, officials were confident that new scientific investigations with powerful telescopes and special cameras would show that the "saucers" are nothing but mirages and will be satisfactorily explained.

It would be a great thing for the country if modern science could explain this "flying saucer" scare as a physical phenomena -- once and for all.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Press - 5 Aug 52

Saucers Real, Prof Here Says

"Flying saucers' are secret man-made weapons, a Duquesne University professor said today.

But most other scientist here disagreed. They insisted the saucers are neither weapons nor man-made.

"Maybe God is just trying to confuse us," said Dr. E.C. Creutz, director of the Carnegie Tech Nuclear Research Center.

'Not Man-Made'

"I certainly don't believe they're man-made objects of any kind," added Dr. David Halliday, head of the University of Pittsburgh physics department.

Dr. Thomas Donahue, assistant professor of physics at Pitt and an expert in optics, said he doesn't think the saucers are optical illusions but they could be optical delusions.

Dr. Donahue said too many credible witnesses have reported sighting saucers to explain away the whole business as a mirage or a hallucination.

No Way to Tell

"They are actually seeing something," he declared. "But there's no way whatever for a person to tell whether he is looking at a collection of articles or an optical image unless he goes up and actually touches the thing -- and that nobody has been able to do."

Dr. Harry H. Sezmant, associate professor of chemistry as Duquesne, is the scientist who feels the saucers are "man-made objects."

"And," he adds, "I hope they are made by our Government."

He believes they are "secret weapons, remote controlled and capable of terrific speeds."

Some Hallucinations

"Some," he added, "are hallucinations but undoubtedly some are real. Like the Manhattan Project, which produced the atom bomb, the facts are covered up pretty well."

Dr. Donahue said the saucers probably are caused by mirror-like reflections from an advancing cold front.

As a cold surface moves onto a warm weather region, he explained, a highly-curved surface forms in the atmosphere which "can act as a fairly-well polished mirror."

He said the lights people see in the skies thus could be reflections from the ground, mirrored by this curved surface in the clouds.

Reflections Do Tricks

He said this mirror in the sky is capable of reflecting for 100 to 200 miles even such a small object as an aluminum pot in the backyard.

And the distances involved, he said, multiply the object's speed so that if somebody moves the dish at about 10 miles an hour on the ground the reflection 100 miles away would zip at 1000 miles an hour.

The astounding speeds, sudden somersaults and disappearances of "saucers" could readily be explained by this theory, he explained.

He pointed out that most of the saucers have been reported in the Southwest United States, where meteorological conditions are most suited to such phenomena.

Dr. Halliday said he also thinks natural phenomena are involved.

"I certainly don't believe they're man-made objects of any kind and I don't believe they're anything from beyond the earth."

Dr. Creutz, before departing for a Wisconsin vacation, said he was inclined to dismiss all reports of saucers as pure fiction until radar screens began picking them up.

But he still feels the saucers are natural atmospheric phenomena which we can't understand because we still don't know enough about them.

In Atmosphere

Dr. J.G. Fox, associate professor of physics at Carnegie Tech, agreed. He said the saucers are probably "little-understood things that go on in the atmosphere."

"In research," he related, "one always runs into things he doesn't understand. That happens every day in the laboratory. Now it's happening in the sky.

"When we finally determine what such an occurrence is, we nearly always find it was an error or it was too complex to understand at the outset."

But suppose the saucers are man-made. Could they be of Russian origin?

"Hardly likely," says Dr. Fox. "If another country did develop such a secret weapon it would be foolish for that country to send it over here, where one might be intercepted."

For the same reason, Dr. Fox is inclined to frown on the remote possibility the saucers contain visitors from outer space.

If that should be true, he related, why would these space visitors be concentrating on the Western Hemisphere and especially on the U.S.? Why aren't more of them reported from other countries all over the Planet Earth?

'Difficult to Explain'

"Most of the reports of observed saucers have apparently been well explained by people seeing conventional objects," summed up Dr. Arthur Draper, director of Buhl Planetarium.

"There are still a few puzzling reports, however, and I think it is difficult to explain them on the basis of available information."

Corpus Christi, Texas Times - 5 Aug 52

Top Scientists Believe Disks Due To Natural Phenomena

By ARTHUR J. SNYDER, Chicago Daily News

CHICAGO -- Men disciplined in the ways of science won't buy the proposition that flying freaks could be defying nature's rigid laws.

Anything within our celestial city limits must obey its laws of gravitation, of motion, and of conservation of energy, they point out.

The mid-century mystery of the flying saucer does not fit into scientists' present knowledge of time, space, mass energy and other long-established truths.

No Scrap of Evidence

They've found no scrap of bona fide evidence, not even a loose bolt, that would indicate that the disk phenomena will fit into anything other than a sensible theory when and if it is scientifically explored.

"What impresses scientists, almost holds them spellbound as they unfold one bit of knowledge after another about the universe, is its supreme orderliness," one said.

There is nothing chaotic, nothing haphazard, nothing capricious in the cosmos.

As an example of nature's precision, scientists were able to discover the planet Neptune by means of mathematical computation long before its existence was confirmed by observation through the telescope.

Venture a Guess

With no research facts to go on, scientists can only venture an educated guess as to the dancing disk puzzle.

They immediately write off an interplanetary possibility.

Dr. Marcel Schein, professor of physics at the University of Chicago, says:

"We must realize what an accident our life on earth is. A few particles of ozone in the atmosphere are shielding us from too much ultra violet rays and keep us from perishing.

"It's too much to expect that a complicated civilizations could develop on other planets."

Dr. Schein, whose cosmic ray balloons have admittedly added to the public confusion says of the saucers:

"We must remember there are many complicated atmospheric and optical disturbances occurring now," he said.

"Solar activity is heightened in the summer. Meteorites are prominent right now."

'Natural Phenomena'

"Natural phenomena" was also the explanation of others.

Dr. Warren C. Johnson, University of Chicago chemist: "They may be caused by changes in the density of the atmosphere, weather conditions or reflections of light."

Dr. W.S. Haxford, Northwestern University: "They may be temperature inversion layers in the atmosphere from which light may be reflected."

Dr. Martin Kilpatrick, chemist, Illinois Institute of Technology: "Most of these observations will quite probably be explained away in terms of weather situations and atmospheric disturbances caused by temperature fluctuations."

Light Refractions

Dr. Le Roy Stutsman, head of chemical engineering, Northwestern university: "It is my feeling they are either light refractions or solar material that is plopping around."

Dr. Roger Adams, head of chemistry, University of Illinois: "It is inconceivable, judging from erratic motions, that these objects are man made. I'm certain they are natural."

Dr. Harold C. Urey, Nobel prize winning physical chemist, University of Chicago: "I'm puzzled. My personal guess would be some sort of natural phenomena."

Dr. Howard C. Hardy, physicist, at Armour Research Foundation; "There is certainly some phenomenon here, but I am certain it is not incapable of being understood."

Gaseous Phenomena

The Rev. J. Donald Roll, chairman of physics, Loyola University: "They could well turn out to be gaseous phenomena."

Dr. Raymond P. Mariella, chairman of chemistry, Loyola: "If reports of their movements are correct, the human body could not stand the rapid change in speed and direction."

Dr. Frank P. Cassaretto, Loyola chemist and Air Force meteorologist in World War II": "Thunderstorms move with high velocity and could vary in direction. Electrical disturbances could ionize and be picked up by radar."

El Paso, Texas Herald Post - 5 Aug 52

Thinking Out Loud
It's Time for Officials to Speak on Saucers

By J. B. Clason

For a great majority of American people, the flying saucer business currently manifest over our Nation's Capital, is rapidly replacing the comic section in amusement value. Commercial airline pilots who are not blind and radar watchers who are not crazy are furnishing convincing and detailed evidence of "things in the sky," while officialdom, though maintaining or attempting to maintain an attitude of "there ain't no such animal," are sending up Air Force pilots to investigate and in doing so are making fools of themselves.

I wonder just how naive the brass hats think the American people are. How come, for instance, that radar -- for the first time that I know about, and many other persons I know about who know radar -- is recording weather turbulence as oscilloscope blips? I know that clouds appear as interruptions on the receiving screen, but wind or temperature changes -- never.

By now, the majority at Americans are awaiting the official disclosure of a major secret concerning these "saucers." Few are still convinced that these objects are figments of the imagination, distortions of the eyesight or observations of alcoholics. Obviously they are real, and the indifference of officialdom toward these elusive lights and radar blips, more or less has convinced the majority of us that the United States is now the possessor of a mighty interesting and effective gadget. All we are waiting for now is to hear someone -- perhaps the President would be the appropriate person -- admit that the saucer is not a saucer but is an advanced type of missile capable of tremendous speeds and rapid changes of direction while in flight. A disclosure of this nature, I am sure, would have a great morale value during these precarious times and would also take certain high members of officialdom out of the hocus-pocus business which belongs to Thurston and Houdini and not Vandenberg. This would be confirmation of a situation millions of Americans already suspect exists and which would in no way imperil our security program.

Burlington, Iowa Hawk-Eye Gazette - 5 Aug 52

Flights Between Planets Would Take 2 To 3 Years

WASHINGTON -- If those alleged "flying saucers" were ships from outer space, they'd have to be manned by chaps with tolerant wives.

Roundtrip travel to the earth from Mars and Venus -- the only two planets in our solar system given even an outside chance of supporting life -- would involve nearly three years for the Martians, just over two years for the Venusians.

And they'd have to spend that much time away from the wife and kids even though they had spaceships capable of travelling at a 25,000-mile-an-hour clip!

Just suppose, for a minute, that Mars and Venus were populated by some kind of intelligent beings capable of launching a spaceship -- saucer-shaped or what-have-you -- and that they wanted to do some fancy spying on the earth.

Here's what they'd be up against:

While Venus is "only" 25 million miles from the earth at its closest approach to our planet -- just a breeze, you might say, for a spaceship travelling 25,000 miles an hour -- there would be much more to the problem than that.

Venus makes such a "close" approach only once in every 470 days. Meanwhile, in its orbit around the sun it gets as far away as 160 million miles.

Moreover, while Venus and the earth travel in the same direction around the sun, Venus hurtles along at a 22-mile-a-second clip, while the earth moves at 18-1/2 miles a second.

This means that any take-off from Venus -- and the return takeoff from the earth -- must be made several weeks in advance of the time the two planets would be closest to each other.

That is, the Venusian spaceman wouldn't aim right for the earth. He'd direct his spaceship at a point in space where it would eventually "rendezvous" with the earth.

Estimates have been made that for minimum fuel consumption, a roundtrip between Venus and the earth would require 146 days for the actual trip, a 470-day wait at the destination point until the two planets were "close" again, and then another 146 days for the flight home, or a total of 762 days.

As for the Mars-to-earth-and-return junket, the figures go like this:

Closest approach of the two planets: 35 million miles.

Two hundred and fifty-eight cruising days on the outgoing voyage, a wait of 485 days at destination point, and another 258 days going "home." Total, 871 days.

That would mean that interplanetary visitors would have to find some place to hide during the stopover.

Of course, a spaceship with a limitless supply of fuel wouldn't have to undergo the so-called "waiting period." It could take off even when the objective planet was at its maximum distance 160 million miles between earth and Venus, and 248 million between earth and Mars. But, of course, that would mean a longer time in flight.

Coming back again to the alleged "flying saucers" -- and the big "IF" on whether they are something manned by interplanetary space-navigators -- here's another thought:

They've certainly licked the interplanetary fuel consumption problem if they can afford to do all the nocturnal cruising around the earth that has been credited to them.

Albuquerque, New Mexico Tribune - 5 Aug 52

Many Radar Sightings Could Be 'Saucers'

Science Service Staff Writer

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5. -- Radar can "see" any of the following things -- and all of them can be mistaken even by experienced operators for flying saucers:

Meteors. Thunderstorms. Clouds of raindrops. Clouds of insects. Birds. Aurora borealis. Pockets of moisture from discontinuities in the atmosphere. Reflections of ground objects by temperature inversions. Balloons.

The Defense Department has a top scientific group, investigating radar reflections, trying to determine just what all these things look like on a radar scope and discovering what other physical phenomena besides all these things radar picks up. This is the panel on radar reflections of the Defense Department's research and development board. It is headed by Martin Katzin, scientist with the Naval Research Laboratory.

The full potentialities of radar as a scientific instrument which can see and measure what man, with his eyes, cannot see and measure are not yet known. This group is one which is trying to find out what those potentialities are. Its findings should also help to dispel the mysterious aura around many of the unexpected blips which appear on radar screens throughout the world.

Spokane, Washington Spokesman-Review - 5 Aug 52

Letters to the Editor

EDITOR: So much progress is getting me down.

The other night I went to a baby shower and the expectant mother received a bottle warmer that plugs into her cigarette lighter. Also flying saucers were never even heard of in the good old Republican days -- I hope they have something their platform that will promise relief because we will soon be taxed to support them. Flying saucers are only a part of the Democratic waste.

GRANT HATHEWAY. 215 Brooks, Missoula, Mont.

New London, Connecticut Day - 5 Aug 52

Sighting 'Flying Saucer' Wipes Grin from Electric Boat Worker

"It will stop me from laughing," today said Harold Pollock of 24 York court, Poquonoc Bridge, in reporting a flying saucer a few hours before had passed directly over his head as he worked at the wet dock of the Electric Boat.

As he had previously done himself toward those reporting such sights, Pollock took a ribbing from other early shift workers at the bustling submarine plant. "I told them to go ahead: I saw it."

He was quite sure three fellow employees also would not scoff at future reports. He named one as Warren Schultz of Niantic, a driller at Electric Boat who was a little nearer the river than Pollock's tool crib. Two other men at another point in the yard shared the sight, he said, but he did not learn their names.

Pollock had begun work a short time before he spotted the saucer at 12:40 a.m. At that moment it was rising "like a rocket" in the northern sky. Then he saw it was coming rapidly south. It passed right overhead and vanished, "all in a split second."

The object glowed with a steady white light against the darkly clouded sky, he said. Only to the east did the full moon lighten the clouds at the time, although ten minutes later Pollock said the sky had largely cleared.

At the time he estimated the object was not much bigger than a breakfast plate but after others at considerable distance from him also said it passed directly over their heads he concluded the saucer must have been a lot bigger and flying much lower than he had guessed. It went so fast that it was gone before he could call a companion's attention to it, he related.

He described the shape as oblong with the edges feathered somewhat as side rays show when looking directly at a light. There was a streak stretching behind it, about four or five times as long as the main diameter of the oblong.

This saucer report came close on the heels of the first made in the area when Mrs. Daniel O.M. Hanscom yesterday described what she saw pass over her home on Butlertown road, Waterford, on Friday night.

Connellsville, Pennsylvania Daily Courier - 5 Aug 52

Flying Saucer Reports Heard At Uniontown

Flying saucers have been reported in the Uniontown area.

One unidentified Connellsville resident notified Harold "Bud" Stevens at Connellsville Airport that he had seen an "object in the sky."

Four Uniontown people reported seeing "two brilliant lights high in the sky and going fast," a "bright red light traveling as fast as a jet" and unusual light formations.

In Washington, Major General Roger M. Ramey of the U.S. Air Force said yesterday that six years of flying saucer reports had "reasonably well" convinced him there is no such thing.

Titusville, Pennsylvania Herald - 5 Aug 52

Flying Saucer? Well, Not Exactly

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 4 -- Military officials were interested when Daly Niel Bolling, 14, reported seeing a flying saucer chasing a plane and in turn being chased by another plane.

The "saucer" was a sleeve target used by aircraft for machinegun practice. The plane it "chased" actually was towing it. And the plane "chasing" the saucer really was following the tagget [sic] back after firing at it.

Madison, Wisconsin State Journal - 5 Aug 52

Boys' 'Flying Saucer' Believed to Be Meteor

Two Madison boys Monday night said they saw a "wide streak of light" in the sky which they thought was a flying saucer, but the Truax Field weatherman guessed they might have seen a meteor.

The boys, Bill Schweers, 15, of 621 Chapman st., and Charles Crampton, 14, of 417 Franklin st., both said they saw the light while they were standing in their respective back yards.

Crampton said two friends with him also saw the streak which moved from east to west at high speed.

The weather forecaster said a greenish streak of light in the sky could possibly be a meteor.

"I saw one myself two nights ago," he said.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa Gazette - 5 Aug 52

Motorist Sees Flying Saucer

An Amana man, Harry Leonhardt, told The Gazette Tuesday that he saw a flying saucer Saturday night while he and his wife were returning to Amana from Cedar Rapids.

Leonhardt said he saw the saucer three different times between 10:30 and 10:45 while driving between Fairfax and Walford. He estimated it was flying in the approximate vicinity of Norway.

He said it was turning counter-clockwise and flying in an arc. He estimated it to be about 25 feet in diameter. Leonhardt said it did not make a clear outline but was more on the fuzzy order and gave off a phosphorous glow.

Mount Pleasant, Iowa News - 5 Aug 52

Observe What Appears To Be "Flying Saucer"

Mrs. Marguerite Mertens, Mary Jo and Danny, have returned from a vacation trip to Gull Lake and Beaver Dam, Minn. They found the weather quite chilly and rainy while there. En route home they stopped to visit Saturday night with friends in Clinton, Ia. The Mertens family, their friends, and others in Clinton saw what they thought to be a "flying saucer" about midnight Saturday.

The scary object was round in shape and glowed with a "big light" (not a bright one though). It kept going round and round in the sky. They kept seeing it for nearly an half hour's time.

Albuquerque, New Mexico Tribune - 5 Aug 52

Springer Editor Reports Seeing 'Saucer' 100 Feet in Diameter

At least three more persons who have witnessed the "flight" of unidentified objects in the sky today had joined the ranks of flying-saucer "believers."

Two-reports came from northern New Mexico and the third from a Wyandotte, Mich., man who reported what he saw to The Tribune.

The longest and most-carefully detailed account was made by Ed Guthmann, Springer Tribune editor and publisher and Republican candidate for Congress.

The second report was that of a Raton man who asked that his name be kept secret because "previous reports of what I had seen only made people laugh at me."

Sees Object In Missouri

The Michigan resident told of seeing an object pass from horizon to horizon while he was parked at a-drive-in movie at Rolla, Mo.

Mr. Guthmann, who will publish a full account of his sighting in this week's issue of his newspaper, wrote:

"From a cynical skeptic, this writer has changed into a confirmed believer of the actual existence of the phenomena which are commonly referred to as "flying saucers."

He said he was on his way to Santa Fe last Friday at 11:30 a.m. to attend a meeting, accompanied by Mrs. Guthmann when he sighted a disc and was able to observe it about eight minutes.

His observation was casual, he said. Eyes "pinned" on a torn-up stretch of highway, he was startled by the sudden appearance of an object "floating in the sky just ahead."

"Its sudden appearance and its unusual shape caused me to exclaim, 'Look at that!' to my wife," Guthmann wrote. "She replied, 'Yes, I see it. I have been watching it for some time.' "

Began Studying It

" 'But it has no wings,' I said with surprise. 'I think I see small ones,' she replied. 'Well, it doesn't have any tail,' I stated firmly. And then we began to study it."

Guthmann explains his method of calculation and his reasons for reaching these conclusions:

"It was about a mile away. It was around 100 feet in diameter . . . about four or five times as long as its thickness . . . the saucer approached from the rear at about an angle of 35 degrees from us and, seemed to be loitering along, the weather was clear and there was no haze . . . object was limned against a blue cloudless sky . . . it gave off a dazzling flash as would come off polished aluminum . . . then in a second the flash faded away and it resumed its soft but bright aluminum appearance . . . in outline it had an appearance which would be best described as like a short, stubby sausage.

"The ends were rounded . . . the top line made a slight, graceful sweeping-upward curve, while the bottom, after curving under a short distance, formed practically a straight line . . . I could make out the outline which my wife said was a small wing . . . outstanding fact which pins 'flying saucer' on this object is that it faded away in the distance, even though it was disappearing at an angle of approximately 145 degrees, it did not change shape."

Hear No Noise

Guthmann said they heard no noise. "It had none of the devices which we have come to think are necessary to keep aloft and to steer. Like the bumblebee, scientific, theory would say that it could not stay up. But it did," he wrote.

The Raton man, as quoted by James B. Barber, Raton Daily Range editor, said he saw a bright orange object May 17 near Thatcher, Colo.

"It was almost light enough to read a newspaper from the orange fireball directly above Thatcher," the man is reported as saying. "There was a low 'humming noise, not very loud. It gave me the chills."

A truck stopped near the Raton man's car and the driver asked, "What in the hell is that?" The sky was overcast, he reported, and the orange light seemed to be close to the base of the clouds, "maybe 2000 feet high."

"It was perfectly motionless but seemed to give off emanations . . . as if you were squinting at a street light," the account quotes the man as saying. The object disappeared through the clouds in a moment and "shot upward at what seemed a terrific speed and dimmed as it went higher."

Going 10,000 MPH

The Michigan man, Robert Williams, 36, a commercial pilot who was ferrying a car to Pomona, Calif., said he saw a "fireball" cross the sky just at dusk.

He said he had been a "confirmed skeptic" about the saucers until he saw "a green flash out of the corner of my eye. It must have been going 10,000 miles an hour, in absolutely level flight." He reported --

"It was the size of a grapefruit, travelling from northeast to southwest under the constellation Orion. When I saw it first it was 20 to 25 degrees above the azimuth. It passed from my view 190 degrees away from the point where I first sighted it.

"The striking thing about it was that it seemed to defy the pull of gravity. It seemed to glow until it passed out of the earth's atmosphere. The green was a copper green."

To Report to AF

Mr. Williams said he planned to make a detailed statement to officials at Wright-Patterson AF Base near Dayton, Ohio, upon his return from California.

The base is headquarters for Air Force efforts to learn the nature and source of the phenomena...

Salt Lake City, Utah Tribune - 5 Aug 52

2 Hill Tower Aids Report Seeing 'Flying Saucer'

HILL AIR FORCE BASE (Special) -- An object described as a "flying saucer" was spotted early Monday by two air traffic control tower operators just over the Wasatch Mountains east of this Air Force base.

S. Sgt. Ralph E. Gillespie, senior air traffic control tower operator, said he and Pfc. John D. Roth, junior tower operator, spotted an object "bright white like hot iron" circling about Weber Canyon and over the mountains early Monday.

They reported the object about 1:25 a.m., stating that they had been watching it for "34 minutes." Shortly afterwards it disappeared.

Sgt. Gillespie said he discussed the phenomenon with operators at the Salt Lake Airport air traffic control tower, who dispatched a search plane. Before the plane could approach Weber Canyon, the disk was gone.

Ogden, Utah Standard Examiner - 5 Aug 52

Latest 'Saucers' Are Round-topped And Varicolored

SALT LAKE CITY -- Add "flying saucer" reports:

Charles Malmborg: Five smoke-colored, round - topped, flat-bottom objects over the state capitol.

Samuel H. Burton: Varicolored mysterious object over the Oquirrh mountains.

Joan Cooper: "Ball of fire" sailing straight across the sky.

Reno, Nevada Evening Gazette - 5 Aug 52

Flying Disc Reported Seen By Sparks People

With flying discs being reported almost every day somewhere in the country, it had to come. A speeding flight of mysterious objects was sighted flying fast over Sparks at 3:53 p.m. Monday.

Merrill I. Stewart, 737 Stanford way, Sparks, saw light colored objects flying in formation from north to south over the rail city, and performing maneuvers as they went.

Stewart's son and his wife also saw the objects.

Stead air force base was notified immediately. Stead's officer of the day had only to pick up a special direct phone to inform Hamilton air force base, California. Hamilton is the headquarters for Fourth air force and the western air defense command.

Reporting of any unidentified aerial objects is standard procedure throughout the air force.

At the time, Hamilton was having its own troubles. People throughout California, including an air force pilot, saw objects in the sky over Sacramento, Chico, San Francisco, and other points.

Weather bureau men in San Francisco said the weather was ideal for seeing flying saucers, the Associated Press reported, but did not define what ideal weather was.

F-86 Sabre-Jets rocketed into the air from Hamilton at 6 p.m. Sunday in search of "saucers" in response to one call, but found nothing.

Even if Stead men want to chase saucers they just don't have the equipment. Most reports of the unidentified mysteries give their speed at about 400 m.p.h. and nothing at the local base can come close to moving that rapidly.

Stewart reported that the "things" his family saw in Sparks "looked smaller than basketballs" and maneuvered constantly, although they maintained a steady course to the south. They disappeared from view after about 30 seconds.

Butte, Montana Standard - 5 Aug 52

Californians Sight 'Gyrating Objects'

EL CENTRO, Calif. Aug. 4 -- Imperial valley residents reported Monday the sighting of six to eight gyrating objects which seemed to burst into flame as they moved across the sky.

Charles Hoffman, fire chief at the nearby naval air base, said the disc-like objects appeared over Mount Signal, in the area west of here, Sunday night.

A burst of flame followed by a long luminous streak seemed to come from the gyrating bodies, according to Hoffman.

The same night, Mr. And Mrs. Terence P. Nelson, El Centro, reported sighting eight moving objects in the sky, "throwing out orange-red and blue-yellow lights."

The couple, joined by Mr. And Mrs. Raul Caro, El Centro, followed the phenomena with binoculars and said at one time they flew in "an almost perfect square."

Later they reported eight discs in a circle, "came up and went down twice."

They also told of seeing Navy jets in the air. Navy officials confirmed that there were jets on routine flight at that time.

Tokyo, Japan Pacific Stars and Stripes - 5 Aug 52

S&S Korea Chief Spots Flying Discs Northwest Of Seoul
By M/Sgt. Bill FitzGerald [sic]

SEOUL (Pac. S&S) -- Flying saucers are a reality over Korea. I didn't believe it before Monday evening, but now I'm on the sinners' bench, as I swear it's the truth.

So does Yun Jung Kyoo, the Korean driver for Stars and Stripes at Seoul, who was with me at the time some five miles out in the mountain country northwest of Seoul.

IT WAS A CLEAR day, for a change, and a glorious sunset was beginning to form over the mountains. It was about 7 o'clock. We lurched our jeep over a rocky road.

Then I looked up at the western sky, and there it was -- a blazing bright flying saucer, spinning eerily through space like a fleet crane. It moved lazily, gracefully, and then it swooped upward out of view.

ALMOST AN hour later I still marveled at the sight, but I wasn't prepared for the second act when the zooming drone of jets caused us to look skyward.

Two jets, probably flying at an altitude of 10,000 to 14,000 feet, raced across the pattern of evening clouds slashed with streaks of red and gold. But -- what was more amazing -- a cluster of four or five flying saucers spinned weirdly in their wake.

Both of us watched this amazing sight until the saucers detached themselves from the wake of the jets and floated upward out of sight.

Rabat, Morocco L'Echo du Maroc - 5 Aug 52

Luminous Disk Or Ball Seen Over Moulay Bousselham

On 2 August 1952, at about 2045 hours, a group of five trustworthy persons saw a luminous disk or ball in the sky over Moulay Bousselham, French Morocco. The object, red in the center and bluish around the edge, flew very rapidly from southeast to northwest, remaining visible for at least 20 seconds before it disappeared over the horizon.

San Antonio, Texas Express - 5 Aug 52

New Inter-Planetary Gadgets Designed To Replace Junior's Old Sling Shot

NEW YORK -- Junior's off on a real inter-planetary binge this year.

Toys for Christmas 1952 are so out of this world . . . literally . . . it must make a parent wonder what became of the sling-shot and air rifle.

Just listen to the space toys included in the new collection assembled by the Toy Guidance Council, from the nation's manufacturers.

There's a rocket gun which shoots rubber darts; a flying saucer gun which projects a spinning top as far as 100 feet into the air; a Flash Gordon space suit which comes complete with a radio antenna hat and magic glasses with one-way lens; and inter-planetary space phones. The last are supposed to enable the youngsters to chat at distances up to half-a-mile.

Plane Squirts Water

There's a jet plane which fires six streams of water simultaneously from its rocket guns; a three-way light ray gun; a space helmet with a rear propeller; a space port with rocket launcher and space cadet goggles and compass.

As if those weren't enough to drive a parent to distraction, there also will be a special seven-foot-high rocket ship which can be made from erector sets.

"The trend towards space-toys can be traced to many things," said Melvin Freud, president of the council. "Television dramas, motion pictures and news reports about rockets to the moon and flying saucers . . . all have affected children's tastes."

El Paso, Texas Herald Post - 5 Aug 52

Expect Failing Stars to Give 'Disc' Reports Shot in Arm

WASHINGTON. Aug. 5. -- There probably will be more reports about "flying saucers" this month than ever before. Numerous bright objects will be seen to flash across the sky, not just here in Washington but throughout the country. They will be picked up on radar screens. But they will be "shooting stars," not flying saucers.

The perseid meteor shower will reach its height Monday night after dark and early Tuesday after dark and early Tuesday before dawn. Then hundreds of shooting stars will flash across the sky and end in a blaze of glory their mad rush into our atmosphere.

Face the northeast if you want to see the meteors, which will appear to radiate from the constellation of Perseus. In the early evening, this constellation will be to the right of the North Star and below the constellation of Cassiopeia, easily spotted because its bright stars form a "W." Later in the evening the region in the heavens from which the meteors will seem to radiate can be spotted higher in the northeast, directly above Capella, one of the brightest stars in the heavens.

Unfortunately the moon, which becomes full tonight, will interfere several hours later, will still appear with the brilliance of the meteor display. It now rises shortly before dark and the next week, though rising before the height of the shower, reached in the early morning hours. The moon's light thus will keep the fainter shooting stars from being seen, but even so numerous meteors will be spotted during August.

Charleston, West Virginia Daily Mail - 5 Aug 52

The Inquiring Reporter
by John Hancock

Scene of today's question was the corner of Capitol and Lee streets.

The Question

What do you think the flying saucers are?

Mrs. William James, 425 Columbia Av., credit interviewer: "Men from Mars who are observing us. They must be friendly because they always run away when one of our planes pursue them. They must be trying to find out what kind of a world we have here. I've never seen one, but there must be something to it because so many other people have seen them.

C.W. Entsminger, Beech Park Acres, St. Albans, telephone repairman: "I'm inclined to agree with the air force that they are being caused by atmospheric conditions and the heat. It seems to be a logical explanation. Of course, they could be our own aircraft."

Mrs. Julia (Johnny) Sweeney, 918 Sixth Av., St. Albans, secretary and housewife: "I think that all these atomic explosions we have been having might have something to do with it. I don't think the saucers are our planes because the air force always declares that it doesn't know what they are."

Miss Emogene Samples, 811 Grant St., receptionist: "I think they are just fakes. People's imaginations are running wild. The heat is affecting them, and they are going crazy. Well, they might be piloted by little men from another planet, but probably they are afraid to land after taking a look at this world."

If you have a question for the general public, mail it to the Inquiring Reporter, care of the Daily Mail.

Oneonta, New York Star - 5 Aug 52

The Gunny Sack
By Gerald (Gunny) Gunthrop

...And the mail bag brings a neatly typewritten letter from 11-year old Rita Nachen of Morris, RD 1, who says she has read our articles on the Flying Saucers, but she has "never read that they are seen in the countries of Europe, Asia and so on. Are they?

"I am very anxious to know. Do you?"

A very good question, Rita. We believe that flying saucers have been reported over Korea, but you've got us stumped on Europe...

Oneonta, New York Star - 5 Aug 52

The Voice Of Broadway

by Dorothy Kilgallen

Those Much-Headlined "flying saucers" of the past several days are no joke -- and Government officials, in hush-hush off-the-record talks, admit it . . .

Hagerstown, Maryland Morning Herald - 5 Aug 52

The Once Over
by H.I. Phillips

Letters For Special Delivery

Dear Professor Einstein:

I am still thinking over the answer you gave to a man who wrote to you asking your opinion on flying saucers. "These people have seen something. What it is I do not know, and I am not curious in knowing," was your complete, concise and all-informative reply. Never has a flying saucer been given such a brush off. Those things will know their place from now on. I am also sure that you have given a new technique to the countless quiz program contestants who are fumbling all over the lot instead of coming out with a clear, sharp ringing answer to a plain question and no beating around the bush.

A man tells you about the thousands of people all over the U.S.A. who have seen flying saucers and asks an opinion. Do you quibble? Do you hem and haw? Do you ask time to go to the library or write a letter to the editor? Do you hesitate while urging, "No prompting, please?" Not a chance, professor. Your answer is swift: "These people have seen something." You do not even hide behind "No comment." Whatever they have seen it is "something," you state without fear of contradiction, and you have something there, professor.

With that cleared up, you tackle the next question, "What was it they saw?" and again you come out of your corner swinging. "What it is I do not know," you answer firmly. No stalling and no waiting for a hint. (So many people give rash answers like, "I think they saw saucers," or "Maybe they represent phenomena.") Naturally, the third question of your recent correspondent was, "What are you doing to dope it all out?" Once more your mind flashes the reply, "I am not curious to know." Translated to plain language for the flying saucer groups that boils down to "Phooey on flying saucers! Can't you see I'm busy?" Your ultimatum to any and all saucers is a firm "GET LOST!"

This is not a nice way to treat saucers. It is being pretty short with them, giving them the bum's rush and heave-ho like that. But I feel better, professor. (If Albert Einstein ain't worried over flying saucers, why should I be?) However, I am suspicious. I have a hunch you know all about them and have studied them as they flew over Princeton express to Washington and scattered points. You have fallen a victim of American quiz programs. And you are just holding out until somebody raises the jackpot to $10,000, a year's free use of Sheffield Scientific School, and your theory of relativity painted inside and out. I am a hard saucer-watcher to fool.

Love and kisses,

Gastonia, North Carolina Gazette - 5 Aug 52

The People Speak

Speculates On Trend Of The Times

To the Editor of the Gazette:
Are we to go the way of the American Indian? Will a more intelligent race from another world drive us out?

The report of more flying saucers being seen -- some having been photographed -- the speed at which they travel, their maneuverability, the denial by the military that they are secret weapons belonging to our government and other things we have heard lead us to believe they are from another planet. Please do not laugh; it does not seem nearly so impossible to the people of 1952 that some day we will travel to other planets, as it must have seemed to those living prior to 1492 that beyond the Atlantic lay a great new world that could be reached by the crude vessels of that day.

We know there are other planets, we can see them with the naked eye, and the telescope has told us much about them; but far beyond the reach of any telescope yet made may be thousands of planets so immense they are indescribable and inhabited by beings as far beyond us intellectually as we are above the lower animals of Earth.

If it should be proved that we are being visited by beings from another world it will not be the first time it has happened. The Bible tells us we had some distinguished visitors from, we infer, another world thousands of years ago. In the 5th chapter of Genesis we read: "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose."

Where these sons of God were from, or what became of them, we are not told. We know there are none on earth today. Mankind may have become so sinful these supermen could not live among them and left for their homeland, wherever that may be. These may be the creatures to whom God said, "Let us make man in our image -- after our likeness." We should be careful about trying to shoot down one of these saucers, it would be better if we could induce one to land and try to learn something definite about them.

Harry Reynolds

Connellsville, Pennsylvania Daily Courier - 5 Aug 52

Those Flying Saucers

Despite Air Force statements to the contrary, reports of flying saucers, peculiar lights which whiz around at unheard of speeds and other eerie aerial phenomena, must have some basis in fact. The Air Force itself tacitly admitted this when it asked its air technical intelligence center at Dayton, Ohio, to check on the saucers and try to determine exactly what, they are.

One reason why there must be something to the reports is that if they were reflections of auto headlights or phenomena brought on by special climatic conditions they would have been reported long before five years ago -- which is when the sightings began in number. The coincidence in time also lends further credence to the supposition that they may have something to do with the explosions of atom bombs.

Those who do not believe the flying things are natural phenomena have only three other theories to fall back upon: That they are secret experimental craft sent aloft by our own Air Force or Navy, that they are products of another nation, or that, they come from another planet.

The first theory has been denied by all American branches of the Armed Forces, and the second is hard to believe in that the spottings have not been numerous in countries aside from the United States. That leaves the third -- or "other planet" -- theory, and it is not so hard to swallow today as it would have been a scant few years ago. It is not hard to believe that beings on another planet thousands or millions of years older than Earth might have progressed to the point where they can build and control such unearthly contraptions as the saucers when we realize that United States scientists have got to the point where they believe rocket trips to the moon are not far off.

As to other planets being inhabited, there are also those who firmly believe they are. Hard-headed scientists believe at least that, there are "forms of life" on some of the remote planets and theses have been written supporting this belief. Nostradamus, the ancient philosopher, wrote that such was the case and Emanuel Swedenborg (also called Swedberg, 1688- 1772) Swedish scientist, philosopher and religious writer, wrote in "Earths in the Universe" that men do indeed inhabit such planets as Saturn and Jupiter. Although Swedenborg has been referred to as a mystic or spiritualist, he was considered highly capable during his lifetime and was the guest of most of the royal houses of Europe on various occasions. He also has to his credit the forecasting of the invention of the submarine, airplane and many other modern day developments.

Whatever their origin the sky gadgets so far have done no harm so it may be presumed they are here -- over Washington and near various defense bases -- for observation purposes only. As long as they remain visitors on that basis there is little to worry about. But until they are explained more honestly and believably than the Air Force has done to date the public will continue to wonder about, them -- and will continue to flood officialdom with reports of their presence.

Washington, D.C. Washington Afro-American - 5 Aug 52

The Big Parade
By Ralph Matthews

When The Saucers Land Instead Of Fly

The bags beneath my eyes are not, as my enemies would have you believe, due to riotous living, but evidence of the price I have paid in the interest of human progress.

I have been lying awake nights trying to get a glimpse of the Flying Saucers. With the dogged determination of the dedicated scientists I have kept a lonely vigil until the wee hours of the dawn. It seems irrational that every other person in America should feast his eyes upon this great phenomena but me.

"Are We On The Beam?"

With field glasses trained upon the sky, I have watched patiently but fruitlessly for the men from Mars to come zooming out of the night not at all certain what I would do if they should pause suspended and ask, "Hey, buddy, are we on the beam for Washington?"

Of course, my field glasses know exactly what I would do.

Just about this time last year I was standing on a hillock far above the 38th parallel in North Korea peering at the Chinese Reds lugging their machine guns up the other side. A hardened and mud-covered veteran touched me on the shoulder and said, "Sir, you won't need your glasses if you come over here a little further to the left you can see some of them with the naked eye."

Too Close For Comfort

I got away from there as fast as I could because anytime you can see a shooting enemy without field glasses you are too darn close.

I refuse to scoff at the idea of Flying Saucers because I believe passionately that this tiny earth is not the limit of God's creative powers and man is not the most perfect thing he has devised.

Somewhere stashed away in the mysterious universe He has something better and wiser and in His own good time He will reveal it to us.

That's why I am watching for the Flying Saucers.

A Modern Sagawan

I am a modern Sagawan. Our Nordic history books are replete with the trials of Columbus and his struggle to convert heathen Europeans to the idea in what was to the become America that there were other people in the world besides the Indians.

At first he was welcomed by the camp fires and listened to in awe as he told of other lands across the seas peopled with strange men whose skins were as white as the sunbleached sands.

The "Wise" Men??

The wise men looked upon Sagawan as a harmless lunatic who smoked weird concoctions in his peace pipe and dreamed fantastic dreams, but some more ignorant tribesman began to give chase to weird apparitions on the ocean which the wise dismissed as white caps or albino whales far from their spawning fields.

The idea of other men and other worlds was too fantastic for intelligent consideration.

The people turned on Sagawan and drove him from the camp.

But then one day the Indian world awoke and rubbed its unbelieving eyes for there riding at anchor were the great canoes of the strange creatures with faces like the sunbleached sands.

The miracle! Fleet-footed braves were sent to scour the wilderness and fetch back Sagawan that he might explain what had come to pass.

And Sagawan, old and wrinkled, gazed upon the sight and went down to the water's edge and bade a welcome to Columbus, saying, "Emoc dluow uoy meht dlot I," which spelled backwards means "I told them you would come."

So like Sagawan, I shall not join the unimaginative hordes who doubt and scoff, but shall be waiting for the signal which will say the saucers have ceased to zoom and zip across the uncharted sky but have at last come to rest somewhere along the New Jersey flats or the foothills of North Dakota.

I shall make all haste to get there to welcome our neighbors from the strange new world.

go to comments on this entry


1. The statement "As an example of nature's precision, scientists were able to discover the planet Neptune by means of mathematical computation long before its existence was confirmed by observation through the telescope," found in "Top Scientists Believe Disks Due To Natural Phenomena" is not quite accurate. The planet had probably been observed by telescope as early as 1612 by Galileo and as late as 1795 by French astronomer Joseph Jerome Lalande, but had gone unrecognized as a planet. A lengthy and fascinating account of the discovery of Neptune -- and the petty squabbles and jealousies of the scientists at the time -- may be read here, and a much shorter piece here.

2. The use of the term "limned" by Mr. Guthmann in "Springer Editor Reports Seeing 'Saucer' 100 Feet in Diameter", when he writes that the "object was limned against a blue cloudless sky", is an alternative word for "delineated" or "outlined".

3. The English translation for "Luminous Disk Or Ball Seen Over Moulay Bousselham" is found within CIA documents of the time, now released under the Freedom of Information Act

4. In "When The Saucers Land Instead Of Fly" the awkward sentence "Our Nordic history books are replete with the trials of Columbus and his struggle to convert heathen Europeans to the idea in what was to the become America that there were other people in the world besides the Indians" is verbatim from the article.


The Arrival

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