in the news 1952
Above: From the August 10, 1952 edition of the Salt Lake City Tribune.
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...
AUGUST 9, 1952:
Williamsport, Pennsylvania Gazette And Bulletin - 9 Aug 52
If You See 'Em America Will Make 'Em
America is a great country. Even if you see something or just think you see something and no one can find what you see, it won't be long before America will make what you saw to prove you saw it.
Silly, isn't it? But that's almost the way one must view the latest effort of scientists to explain the flying saucer reports. Story now is that a scientist is demonstrating how miniature masses of illuminated air can be produced to explain what folks are downright certain they are seeing in the skies these days and also on radar screens.
For a few weeks when this year's crop of saucer reports came in we were on the verge of abandoning an old saying when pilots and others saw things and after chasing them found nothing.
But now with science saying something resembling the saucer can be produced by man our faith in "seeing is believing" is once more restored.
As we said isn't America a great country?
Chester, Pennsylvania Times - 9 Aug 52
'Shooting Stars' To Begin Tonight
NEW YORK -- There'll be flying lights in the sky tonight and through next week -- but it won't be "saucers", the Hayden Planetarium's astronomers said today.
The speeding lights will come from the "exhaust stream" of a comet that hasn't been around these parts itself since 1862.
The annual crop of Perseid meteors -- our most dependable shower of "falling stars" -- is expected to start blazing in the skies tonight and to continue through Aug. 13.
"It is likely that they may best be observed between midnight and dawn on the morning of August 12," planetarium chairman Robert R. Coles said. Lucky watchers -- outside of cities where ground lights dim the skies -- may see as many as 40 or 50 meteors an hour.
These "falling" or "shooting" stars show up every August as the earth passes through the orbit of Swift's Comet.
They are called the "Perseid Shower", Coles explained, "because the meteor trails, extended backward, appear to converge in the constellation of Perseus, the Champion. This star group may be found at present rising in the northeast at about 9 p.m. (e.d.t.). At dawn it is situated high in the north and may be recognized as a double chain of stars arching the heavens from the W-shaped constellation of Cassiopeia in a southeasterly direction to Taurus, the Bull."
"There will probably be a larger than average crop of flying saucer reports around Aug. 12," Coles said resignedly
Lebanon , Pennsylvania Daily News - 9 Aug 52
Meetin' The Farm Folks
By Hal Fox
Lebanon Daily News Farm Editor
They're not flying saucers but flying fluorescent bugs -- over Ohio, at least . . . entomologists (they're the bug boys) seeking to determine how much of an area must be sprayed to halt insect damage to crops or orchards are putting fluorescent lacquer on captured pests and then letting them go so they can watch from where to where they flit.
Syracuse, New York Post-Standard - 9 Aug 52
Eyeball Makeup 'Saucer' Source
To the Editor of The Post-Standard: Long before "flying saucers" became the topic of the day, I had observed a phenomenon of the eye, which to me at least, is the true explanation of those little (or big) things that clutter up the atmosphere.
A logical explanation might be that the saucer is on the eyeball of the observer. These objects are simple, disconnected body cells, either single or in groups, and often in long chains. These cells float in the moisture which covers the eyeball.
The double convex lens of the eye is situated a little behind the surface of eyeball and therefore acts as a magnifying glass of short focal length. The image seen is erect and greatly enlarged. Since the retina of the eye is on the opposite side of the lens from the cell, the virtual image will be seen in the position of the intersection of the rays produced, thus the enlargement of the cell is evident.
No notion of the size of the image is possible to the observer since there is nothing with which to compare it. Some people see them as large high altitude saucers; others as small low altitude objects. Anyone, who cares to look up into a clear blue sky can see them. Locate a chain of cells, then blink the eye. They will be seen to move with the blink.
A virtual image cannot be shown on a screen but is visible by looking thru the lens as is always true in case of the eye.
Some of us are too ready to accept another planet or a supernatural explanation when the laws of physics offer a logical explanation.
L. HOWARD BONNEY.
Phoenix, Arizona Republic - 9 Aug 52
The People Speak
Editor, The Arizona Republic: There will be no more flying saucers after November.
The American voters will end all mystery saucers at the next general election by voting out the left-wingers who have been creating a fear psychology in the minds of our people.
Every time bad, disgusting news has leaked out of Washington, a flying saucer release was issued to make scare headlines, and drown out the stench of traitorism and corruption.
Such releases were timed to swamp the news about the Alger Hiss, Lattimore, and Service exposures; as well as various Korean and tax bureau smells.
Whenever a citizen dares to question the possibility of saucers flying many light years of distance, the left-wingers hint that the saucers may be from some potential enemy on our earth, here to spy on us, but they leave the identity of the potential enemy to conjecture, to further mystify us into fear of our earthly neighbors.
What potential enemy that really had the intelligence required to create and build saucers would be dumb enough to use them for spying on us from above, at the risk of an accidental capture of one, and the loss of their secret when they can purchase Scientific American or Rand & McNally at any newstand [sic]?
Yes, the flying saucer lies will end with the next election, and a healthy confidence will replace the fear psychology now being used.
(Mrs.) LERA A. HEGEL
Zanesville, Ohio Times Recorder - 9 Aug 52
By BUD HARSH
NIGHT BEAT. We wish somebody besides us had the new newspaperman's disease, "flying sauceritis."
The symptoms are a sore throat and an earache. The sore throat comes from asking so many questions when someone calls in to report another "saucer." The earache comes from listening to guys who are just kidding you along.
The first report wasn't so bad.
"There's a funny-looking thing in the night sky just west of the city. It might be one of those flying saucers," a voice tells you.
"Thanks," you shout and hurry to the window. You look in the western sky until you get a crick in your neck but all you see are stars.
The next call comes and you have to let the guy tell you his life history before he gets around to the point, or in this case; a flying disc.
Twenty calls later you are ready for the booby hatch.
OH WELL, maybe the mathematicians will figure it out.
A math expert, according to our Cambridge "Noah Webster" is a man who draws a precise straight line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion.
Benton Harbor, Michigan News-Palladium - 9 Aug 52
ARE you concerned over the flying saucers? Are you afraid that they might be space ships from Mars or from some other planet spying on the earth? If so, dispel your fears. They are probably only a natural phenomenon.
Arnold Badt, local ham radio operator residing at 169 Britain avenue, has his own theory about those saucers. Not being a scientist or an authority, he wants it understood the idea is entirely his own. He feels that it is just plausible that he might have the right answer.
He says the increased power of present television stations might be
striking the unusual conditions in the heavy side layer of the gassy atmosphere, 124-250 miles up and then bouncing back to the earth, causing the picture, or flash of light, which we call saucers, in much the same way that radio waves hit and then bounce back to earth, causing sound.
Remember, he recalls, how in the early days of radio folks heard strange music coming out of the furnace and often bedsprings were reported to have played weird tunes? The newspapers were full of such stories.
The reason for the musical furnace was that a clinker, which had formed there, happened to have the same resonate frequency as the radio station in the vicinity and picked up the tune like the crystal of the old-fashioned radio receiver set.
Likewise, the bedsprings had the same resonate frequency as the radio station and picked up the tune. Neither was bewitched. There is probably an explanation just as reasonable for the flying saucers.
Isn't it possible, he reasons that the gassy atmospheric conditions reflect the television rays to form the light which we call saucers? The unusual phenomenon of the gassy atmosphere shifting its position in the heavens, he believes, could cause the saucers' appearance and disappearance and speed. The clouds, he reasons could act as a television set like the clinker in the furnace and the bedsprings acted as radios.
Badt has observed that the saucers occur most frequently in areas where there is a prevalence of television stations. He claims he has never heard of any saucers in Canada or Mexico where there are few stations.
His idea, he says, may be worth something; it may be screwy. A scientist would know.
Badt has been a ham radio operator since 1940 and has elaborate transmitting and receiving equipment at his home with sufficient power to talk all over the world.
During the recent tornado in the south and the previous floods there, he has been of invaluable service in getting messages through for people in this area concerned over kin in the devastated regions, making contacts when regular radio stations could not get through.
The twin cities' best known amateur radioman, Badt, who is blind, has often covered top news at distant places with direct radio connections for The News Palladium. His call letters are WBVBW. In 1949 he was first in the U.S. with news of an ice cap rescue in Newfoundland. At another time he reported a Porto Rican plane crash in San Juan harbor ahead of regular newspaper coverage.
Pottstown, Pennsylvania Mercury - 9 Aug 52
All Around The Town
He Saw flying Saucers…
Believes They're Ours...
By Bob Moyer
SAUCERS NO MIRAGE -- When Staff Sgt. John R. Brynan, Pottstown lad, saw an unidentified target on his radarscope at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., he investigated and discovered a red light traveling across the dark sky. His first experience with the strange light convinced him flying saucers are no hoax. Brynan, son of Charles and Gertrude Brynan, 616 Chestnut street, saw the red light several weeks ago when sauceritis struck the Washington, D.C. area. Other radar men saw the targets and checked the results. All are convinced flying saucers are no mirage.
Dunkirk, New York Evening Observer - 9 Aug 52
Brilliant Lights Seen At Niagara
NIAGARA FALLS -- A mass of brilliant, colored lights resembling recent descriptions of flying saucers has been reported by residents of nearby Youngstown and Coast Guard and Air Force personnel.
The strange lights were seen sweeping over Lake Ontario Thursday night.
Officers of the 763rd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron and the 166th Fighter Interceptor squadron said they were preparing reports of the eyewitness accounts.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Star And Sentinel - 9 Aug 52
See Strange Light In Sky Over County
There may be no such thing as a flying saucer -- but a number of Adams Countians Tuesday night of last week saw' something they claim resembled one.
At Bonneauville a group of neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Cloyd 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, travelled 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.
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.
Biloxi, Mississippi Daily Herald - 9 Aug 52
Nine Persons In Louisiana Town Sight "Saucers"
FARMERVILE La. -- Nine persons reported what they said "would have had to be flying saucers" last night over Truxno, a small community near here.
The objects were described as about 10 feet in diameter and as having a sparkling appearance.
One couple reported they spotted three circular objects and later called two visitors who varified [sic] the report.
Mr. and Mrs. Alden Auger of Truxno said they saw the disc at an altitude of about one-half mile. The visitors, Mr. and Mrs. M.D. Yarborough of El Dorado, Ark., said they looked like firey [sic] balls and were making 100-yard spurts back and forth.
Yarborough said he timed the objects and they stayed aloft for about 30 minutes and were joined by a fourth. The four, he said, remained over the area about 15 minutes before they all disappeared.
Others See Discs
Five other persons reported they saw the discs and confirmed that they were traveling fast. Yarborough said he thought because of their rapid maneuvering they must be radio controlled.
He added. "I've been calling them bosh and a big fake, but seeing is believing."
The aircraft control tower at the new Shreveport, La. airport discounted that they could have been jet planes. They said one jet left Shreveport last night and that it would not have been in the area. The Shreveport weather bureau said it had no reports of meteors in the area and that weather balloons usually were released one at a time.
Lima, Ohio News - 9 Aug 52
Ohio Saucers 'Dodge' Radar
No 'Blips' visible At Bellefontaine
BELLEFONTAINE, 0. -- Operators of Ohio's radar center have not had much luck getting any "flying saucer" reports on their screens.
They have investigated scores of "flying saucer" reports, says Maj. William F. Wilkerson, but not a single "blip" has turned up.
Wilkerson is commanding officer of the 66th aircraft control and warning squadron, which is located atop the highest hill in the state near Bellefontaine.
A few weeks ago the radar center guided jet interceptors from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in a "flying saucer" chase. A ground observer also was in radio contact with the planes and was describing the objects. The pilots, however, saw nothing.
Maj. Wilkerson said the ground observer may have been seeing reflections from lighted billboard signs.
Portsmouth, Ohio Times - 9 Aug 52
Quartet Here Sees 'Flying Saucer'
Joseph Cooper of Frant St., Sciotoville, is among local persons seeing strange sights in the sky, and he reported today it was probably a "flying saucer."
Mr. Cooper and two of his children and Mrs. Mabel Clark of Dogwood Ridge were in the front seat of the Cooper car on Sand Hill, southeast of Pine Creek Bridge east of Wheelersburg, about midnight, when the strange object was observed.
According to Mr. Cooper it was of varied colors and left a trail of a light color. He said the object, which was below heavy clouds, was moving slowly toward the southeast.
Greeley, Colorado Daily Tribune - 9 Aug 52
Air Line Pilot Claims He Saw Flying Saucers
Durango, Colo., Aug. 9. -- A dozen observers at the Durango airport last night, including a Denver airline pilot, said they saw four disc-shaped objects darting thru the sky.
Homer Gedney of Durango, U.S. messenger, said he first sighted the objects and notified Capt. Ben Stewart of Denver, a pilot for Frontier Air Lines, his co-pilot and passengers on a Frontier plane who were waiting take-off.
Stewart said the discs appeared to be about 12,000 feet above this southwestern Colorado airport. He estimated their speed at between 300 and 400 miles an hour.
Gedney said the saucers looked to him "sort of like flattened out clear balloons."
The observers told reporters the objects appeared to keep a perfect angled line formation and were in sight for two and one-half to three minutes.
Lodi, California News-Sentinel - 9 Aug 52
'Flying Saucer' Report Denied
SACRAMENTO, Aug. 8 -- A brilliant object moved through the sky over Sacramento with an airplane apparently in pursuit early today, law enforcement officers reported.
But Air Force authorities at McClellan Field said no Air Force planes were in the area, the sheriff's office said.
The first report of the object came from Mrs. Beatrice Wilbur, of Sacramento. While sheriff's deputies were investigating, Sacramento police reported seeing the object with an airplane in pursuit.
The Sacramento Filter Center said nothing was seen on radar screens.
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche - 9 Aug 52
MUNICH, Aug. 8 -- A German aviation writer claimed today that the Norwegian Air Force has captured an atomic-powered flying saucer "which is undoubtedly of Soviet origin."
Waldemar Beck, writing in the aviation monthly "Der Flieger," cited "a Norwegian report" as his source and said "the theory that, flying saucers originate on some other planet can now be dismissed."
He said the purported craft was made of "shiny metal" and "contained an undamaged atomic pile with a plutonium core." Beck's article alleged that the saucer first was sighted and "secured" by Norwegian jet pilots.
According to the supposed Norwegian reports quoted by the author, the object was 120 to 150 feet in diameter, driven by remote control, and made of an unknown steel alloy.
Beck said it was equipped with 46 jets mounted on the rim, which spins around a central gondola "carrying a set of instruments bearing Russian markings."
Walla Walla, Washington Union Bulletin - 9 Aug 52
Twice Told In Walla Walla
By Bonnie Lamb
The man was just curious, that's all. But if he hadn't knocked on the door nobody would know the secret of the flying saucers as an East Chestnut street resident does.
The Walla Wallan answered his doorbell to see a mechanical looking type individual with strangely human characteristics and heard his visitor say, "I just wanted to see what you look like." That was all, the stranger had vanished, but seconds later citizens all over the area were reporting "bright, shiny, saucer-like objects soaring through the air at tremendous speeds."
The Walla Wallan just stood there holding the door knob in his hand and saying to himself, "Wish that guy hadn't left in such a hurry." But he didn't know the power of the fourth dimension, for the character was right back on the front steps and asking "Why?"
The visitor warned the Walla Wallan, "Don't ever fool around with the fourth dimension until you learn to operate inter-planetary spare machines," and, with a parting gesture said, "You know what happens to people who buzz around in the skies without a pilot's license."
Elementary school physics had taught the fellow that a person living a normal three-dimensional life could be in the same plane with another person vertically, but thousands of miles away horizontally, but, this scientific revolution which has been sweeping the Chestnut street area brought to mind that there is a fourth dimension and therein lies the secret of why interplanetary travelers can come to Earth without spending several years en route.
"What is the fourth dimension?" we asked.
The man just smiled and said he couldn't tell, but reminded us that some law of geometry or physics or something has stated that no one object can be in more than one place at the same time, and no space can be occupied by more than one object at the same time.
"Even in the fourth dimension?' we asked. The man didn't answer, but lay down on the davenport with an icebag on his head. We heard his wife in the kitchen emptying bottles.
AUGUST 10, 1952:
San Antonio, Texas Express - 10 Aug 52
Nation's Scientific Brains Say 'Saucers' Are Natural Phenomena
By RICHARD AMPER
United Press Staff Correspondent
NEW YORK -- Some of the best scientific brains in the nation agreed today that "flying saucers" are natural phenomena and definitely not space ships from mars or any other planet.
The scientists were asked, "Do these stories of saucers in the air have a down to earth explanation?"
Sixty per cent answered, "yes." Thirty per cent said "I don't know and stop bothering me."
Other answers varied, including one fellow who said he had a sneaking suspicion saucers were a new secret weapon the Air Force invented and was keeping mighty hush-hush.
The anxiety over saucers has reached new heights. It's become so bad here one mother, convinced the saucers contained citizens of another planet come to look us over, started reading her son's amazing science stories to learn defense against ray guns.
One of the best scientific brains in the business, Dr. Harold C. Urey, of Chicago, who helped whip up the atomic bomb, said, in Chicago:
"I'm puzzled. But my personal guess would be that the saucers are some sort of natural phenomena."
Dr. Donald H. Menzel, astrophysicist at Harvard, said jet fighter pilots trying to overtake these saucers might as well go chase rainbows.
"There's as much chance of catching a saucer as there is of picking up a 'rainbow,"' he said. "Much of the evidence suggests these sightings are of the same character as rainbows."
Said Dr. L.W, Phillips, head of the physics department of the University of Buffalo:
"It's nonsense. I consider all the reports piling in to be imagination or weather balloons. . . If I do see one (a flying saucer) I will go to my eye doctor for a change of glasses."
Dr. James B. Conant, president of Harvard, said he's in the wrong department to comment; he's a chemist.
In Minneapolis, Jean Piccard, retired aeronautical engineering professor and internationally known balloonist, said:
"If they were Russian craft, it would be unlikely that they would be sent here for observations. Spies do that. And I cant believe they are from another planet because it is unconceivable that any possible civilization elsewhere in space would coincidentally begin space travel in the very same century in which we are ready to do so."
Dr. J William Buchta, physics professor at the University of Minnesota: "I'm willing to bet they are natural, phenomena which are not always recognized. They are probably produced by a process not suspected at present and may be 'new' inasmuch as they haven't been noticed until recently. But I don't accept any space-man theories."
The head of the university's department of aeronautical engineering, Prof. John D. Akerman, said, "I want to keep an open mind until enough facts are available to draw a conclusion."
Dr. Ira S. Bowen, director of the Mt. Wilson and Palomar observatories, at Los Angeles said:
"We have never observed any flying saucers, and we have no information about them."
"I do not know those flying saucers are in existence, so I cannot say what they are," said Dr. Walter Riedel, of the guided missile division of North American Aircraft Corp.
Albert Einstein already has stated he doesn't know what they are and isn't interested, either.
Physicist Noel W. Scott reported in Washington, D.C., that he produced miniature saucers with static electricity in a vacuum jar to his laboratory.
The man who's in charge of investigating this sort of thing for the air force, Maj. Gen. Roger M. Ramey has said he's reasonably sure the saucers are "not solid objects."
Since the saucer stories started, the navy has kept mum about them, leading to speculation that perhaps IT was behind the chinaware in the wide blue yonder.
Asked to take a position on saucers, one way or another, now, the navy said it's a problem for the air force, which is responsible for the nation's air defense, adding:
"The navy does not expect to say anything officially on the matter unless a saucer-borne battleship appears in our skies."
Salt Lake City, Utah Tribune - 10 Aug 52
Saucers in the Lab
The physicist who created miniature "flying saucers" in his laboratory deserves a vote of thanks. His experiment should discourage those persons who like to see strange things in the sky. "Should," however, is the word that must be used, for while the physicist's efforts may scare the saucers away for awhile, there is little reason to believe that the effect will be permanent. The idea of saucers is so intriguing, and there are so many persons who yearn for phenomena that can be explained only in terms of fantasy, as to guarantee another return. These mysterious visitors have been flitting in and out of public attention for five years and have established a sort of squatter's rights which mere logic finds it difficult to challenge.
Their latest appearance was substantiated m a way, by science itself. Radarscopes in Washington picked up blips which were quickly interpreted as being caused by saucers -- even though the accurate diagnosis would have been "unidentified objects." The physicist, Noel W. Scott of Ft. Belvoir, Va., ionized air in a vacuum jar to produce blobs of light which he could make move about at various speeds, change color and otherwise behave like the so-called saucers. He also says that they would show up on radar.
His explanation is no less confusing to the layman than the idea of the saucers themselves. Yet the layman's respect for the science he does not understand is so great as to send the saucers into temporary limbo. The average man in the street would be hard put to explain satisfactorily why the world is round, a fact he accepts without question just as he accepts nuclear fission or television. They exist, don't they?
For the same reason, the layman may decide to believe in saucers. They "exist" too, if the conditions are right. But the layman should remember three things: 1. If the saucers ace a secret American project, there's nothing to worry about. 2. If they're of Russian origin, it may be too late to worry. 3. If they come from another planet, beings intelligent enough to build such contraptions also would be smart enough to get as far from the earth as possible once they saw what was going on.
Racine, Wisconsin Journal Times - 10 Aug 52
By Drew Pearson
"Flying saucer" letters pouring in on the civil aeronautics administration and other agencies indicate that the American people have matured considerably since Orson Welles almost panicked the nation with his "Men From Mars" scarecast some years ago.
This may be clue to the many less-provocative radio and television programs as well as published articles on "outer space," plus intelligent news reporting, which has handled the flying-saucer stories with objective candor. Most editors long ago have scrapped the idea that the public is too dumb to be given all the facts.
At any rate, the CAA has received no panic letters. Most of the mail is either scientific or religious. A Kilgore, Texas, man wrote that the phenomena are due to our splitting of the atom. "The atomic charges are now coming back together again (in the form of flying saucers)," he concluded.
An Oklahoma City man compared the strange sky lights to "ignis fatuus" (foolish fire) caused by gas explosions over marshes, while a skeptical lady from Van Wert, Ohio, is convinced that what a lot of people mistake for flying saucers are airplane beacons.
A Morgantown, W. Va., woman is certain, however, that the lights are a spiritual portent of the "coming of Christ." She wrote the CAA:
"The mystery can be cleared up by turning to St. Luke, chapter 21, verse 11, and Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2, verse 19."
NOTE: The Biblical quote from St. Luke reads: "And great earth quakes shall be in divers places, and famines and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from Heaven." The alluded part of the "Acts" says: "And I will show wonders in Heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood and fire, and vapour or smoke."
Reno, Nevada State Journal - 10 Aug 52
Flying Saucer Hoax Found by Patrolmen At Munitions Depot
CRANE, Ind , Aug. 9. -- A "flying saucer" fell at the U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot here two days ago, officials revealed today.
But it was man-made and obviously the work of a practical joker, according to Capt. E.C. Rook, commanding officer of the depot.
A roving patrol combing the 63,000-acre installation early Thursday found a cluster of six pink and yellow gas-filled balloons tied together with string and supporting a battery-powered light bulb. Crepe-paper streamers were stuck to the balloons with tape.
The battery was worn out and the gas nearly gone when the object was picked up.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa Gazette - 10 Aug 52
Around The Town
WE HAVE NO BELIEF in flying saucers but we do understand a little about meteor showers and we'd like to report something that happened to Charles DeLong, 1339 Eighteenth avenue SW, Thursday night. Charley was fishing near the Curtis bridge on the Iowa river about 10 p.m. when out of the sky came an object about the size of a laundry tub. It plummeted into the river, sending up a geyser about 20 feet high and causing a boiling cauldron in the water for ten seconds or so afterward.
We called Prof. Charles Wylie at the University of Iowa, who is known as the country's foremost meteorite sleuth, but the professor was out of town. Right now is a period of meteor shower activity, Wylie has told us, and it could be that a fragment of a meteor just missed Charley DeLong.
Incidentally, Prof. Wiley believes that saucer-sleuths are seeing reflections from an airplane, reflections of auto lights or searchlights, mirages, or reflections from meteorites. Most if not all scientists agree with him.
Atchison, Kansas Daily Globe - 10 Aug 52
How Time Flies!
[Note: The column title was the same daily, and the column regularly featured many local events from the past.]
...Flying saucers are not new to C.H. Falk, 1026 North Third, who saw them as a boy of 12 or 13 near Watertown, Wis., where he was born. He and other boys were walking across a pasture when they saw a large object on the eastern horizon, which resembled pillows, shoot across the sky and disappear in the west. He doesn't know yet, and he is in the eighties, what it was. The large object remained partly hidden on the horizon and was grayish in color. It was a clear night and the stars were bright but there was no moon. There was a war going on in Europe (it was about 1877 and 1878) but Mr. Falk does not recall what countries were fighting. It was about 9:30 o'clock in the evening and he and the other boys were walking home, facing north, from the home of a neighbor named Hartwig...
Hutchinson, Kansas News-Herald - 10 Aug 52
Service Man's News-Herald
...Flying Saucer seen near Meade by Harry Reach, manager of Meade airport...
Albuquerque, New Mexico Journal - 10 Aug 52
Jet Planes in Area Where 'Discs' Sighted
DENVER, Aug. 9 -- Lowry Air Force base said today that four jet planes were flying over the Durango, Colo., airport last night at the same time a dozen observers reported sighting "flying discs" streaking through the sky.
Air Force officials said the four jets were flying in a tight formation at 30,000 feet from Phoenix, Ariz., to Denver.
The air base said the planes were. flying 450 miles an hour when they passed over Durango in southwestern Colorado at 7:08 p.m. (MST).
That was the time a Denver airline pilot and others at the Durango airport noticed the objects in the sky.
Phoenix, Arizona Republic - 10 Aug 52
The People Speak
Was It A Saucer?
Editor, The Arizona Republic: I have often wondered what these so-called flying saucers look like. So I am wondering if I saw one about 10 or 15 minutes after 4 p.m., Aug. 1.
I was coming home down Garfield Street, going west when I happened to look up and saw something as big as a hub cap from a car shining aluminum in the sky. Thought at first it was a plane with the sun shining on it. But then as it disappeared it looked like a long object. So I was wondering if it was a plane or a so-called flying saucer.
MRS. FRED LAMBERT
Walla Walla, Washington Union-Bulletin - 10 Aug 52
More Needed For Watches
WAITSBURG — Dolph Egelston, local chairman of civil defense, announces that 158 more volunteers must be added to the present roster of ten now aiding the project if "operation Skywatch" is to fulfill the task assigned it. Service in the organization calls for two hours duty per week. Enrollment offers one way to observe "flying saucers". Objects answering that description were recently spotted and reported maneuvering about a B- 36 which was in flight over this area. Subsequent information revealed the saucers were in reality F-94's from the Spokane base.
Beatrice, Nebraska Daily Sun - 10 Aug 52
The Upper Room
...Flying saucer nuisance. A French scientist asks why all the saucer-seeing is in America, particularly in and around Washington, D.C. If the things are coming from another planet -- Mars is a favorite -- how come they don't appear over European countries? A very good question; it should dispose of the Mars myth...
Salt Lake City, Utah Tribune - 10 Aug 52
Flying Saucers Subject of Harvard Book
"The Truth About Flying Saucers," Prof. Donald Menzel, Harvard University Press.
Flying saucers actually are optical effects -- like rainbows or mirages -- according to Donald Menzel, professor of astrophysics at Harvard University and a leading authority on radar and solar research. In a new book, "The Truth About Flying Saucers," Dr. Menzel explodes the theory what the saucers are space ships from another planet. Drawing on an extensive series of laboratory experiments, as well at on theory, he presents a thorough scientific analysis of these mysterious objects.
According to Dr. Menzel, the sight of saucer-like objects flying silently through the atmosphere at incredible speeds, usually results from the trick refraction or light under special weather conditions called "temperature inversion."
In this natural phenomenon, the air at ground level becomes cooler than in regions above, the reverse of normal conditions. Inversion occurs in all climates, but is most common in deserts, where both the ground and the air get very hot during the daytime. As soon as the sun sets, the ground starts to grow cold. The air for a few feet up cools by contact with the earth, but the air higher up remains warm. This causes a layer of warm air to settle between the cool air near the ground and the cool air of the upper atmosphere.
Under these conditions, light rays shining through the layer of less dense warm air into a region of heavy cold air are refracted. For someone on the ground below, they project displaced images against the sky. The interface between the two layers acts as sort of a lens, turning downward the light from such sources as street lamps, or auto headlights.
Thus, light from far away cities may be reflected over a wide area, and may take the form of bright cigar-shaped objects that seem to sweep across the dark skies. This is the explanation, says Dr. Menzel, for the famous "Lubbock Lights," which have been taken for interplanetary space ships flying in neat formation.
Can't Catch Rainbow
Layers of cold and heated air are only one cause of flying saucers. As Dr. Menzel says, the saucers are "the rags, tags, and sometimes literally the old paper bags of optical meteorology." Some are due to reflections in water drops or mist. Others are caused by refractions in layers of ice crystals. When U. S. Army Captain Mantell crashed recently, Dr. Menzel explains he was chasing a "sundog" -- not an interplanetary ship. "He could no more catch it than you can catch a rainbow."
Weather conditions, Dr. Menzel points out, are known to be responsible for the optical ghosts that everyone sees from time to time. Most usual is the "water-in-the-road" caused by a thin layer of warm air above the sun-heated pavement.
This air refracts the light reaching it from the sun and the motorist sees the distant sky in the road ahead of him as a pool of water. Similarly, in the desert a mirage simply is the illusory refraction of the light of the sun through layers of air. Radarscopes also show deceptive ghosts caused by atmospheric irregularities. Dr. Menzel believes that the flying saucers are simply rarer types of mirages.
AUGUST 11, 1952:
Time Magazine 11 Aug 52
Science: Something in the Air
Off the Aleutian Islands, in the dangerous summer of 1943, the radar watch of a Navy task force picked up the blips of enemy warships. In a brisk, 45-minute fire fight, the battle fleet expended more than 1,000 rounds of 14-in. and 8-in. ammunition. From their battle stations, lookouts reported the flares and star shells of the otherwise invisible Japanese. Radar operators called in corrections for what seemed to be near misses. But there was no return fire. Eventually, a bewildered Navy decided that it had been slugging it out with phantoms.
Last week in Washington, Vice Admiral Robert C. Giffen (ret.), who had commanded U.S. forces during the great Alaskan "Battle of the Blips." had reason to recall his embarrassing adventure. Washington itself had just lived through a phantom invasion when unidentified blips on a Civil Aeronautics Authority radar brought jet fighters screaming over from Delaware to hunt "flying saucers" (TIME, Aug. 4). The fighters had shot down no night-flying saucers, but two of them had found radar targets. It appeared later that they had been drawing a bead on each other.
The Navy, said Admiral Giffen, was convinced by now that its Alaskan battle force had steamed in under a high-riding layer of warm air that acted as a kind of electronic ceiling. Radar pulses bounced off the "inversion" layer and echoed back from the Amchitka mountains, more than 100 miles away. A similar temperature inversion was hovering over the capital when the saucers flew in. Admiral Giffen thought that atmospheric conditions were still the best explanation for the ghostly targets...
Lumberton, North Carolina Robesonian 11 Aug 52
Flying Saucer Story Teller Misused Mail
James J. Allen of West Lumberton, the man who claimed that a "flying saucer" landed in his yard last week, has been identified by several witnesses as the same James J. Allen who received a suspended sentence in U.S. district court five years ago for mailing obscene letters.
The Allen case is listed as a postal law violation, No. 259S-CC, in the federal district court office at Fayetteville. The court judgment, filed March 19, 1947, sentenced Allen to 12 months imprisonment on each of three counts, and stated that the three sentences were to run concurrently. The judgment was suspended, and Allen was placed on probation for one year.
Allen attracted nation-wide attention last week with the report of a "saucer" landing in his yard.
Several bricks were missing from the chimney of his house, and he said these were knocked out by the "flying saucer" before it landed.
He reported seeing what looked like a little man, about 30 inches high, who "went off in a whiff" when he asked if he was hurt. The "saucer" was said to have disappeared along with the little man, leaving a spot in the yard that looked like some heavy object had been there.
The "flying saucer" report produced this recollection of the court case in which Allen was involved:
The letters that he was accused of writing contained some mention of an evil spell or hex that was used as a threat.
The letters, unsigned, were addressed to a married woman whose home was in Allen's neighborhood at the time. The letters, asked her to be at a certain place al a certain time, and threatened that a spell would be cast upon her husband if she said anything to him about it.
The woman gave the letters to her husband, who turned them over to the post office. A postal inspector made an investigation, and Allen was charged with writing them. The case was not contested when it came before the court.
Rocky Mount, North Carolina Telegram - 11 Aug 52
'Twas Just The Moon, But Offered 'Saucery' Appearance
By Clarence Lane
No one's said anything today about seeing flying saucers over Rocky Mount Monday night. Probably it's because there weren't any.
But I sat and watched them streak the sky for a couple of hours.
While sitting on my front door steps in Riverside Apartments, packing my fingernails with mosquito legs and my own ankle-skin. I watched the greenish-orange objects burst into view, leave their long tail of light stretching behind, then suddenly disappear again, their tails fading slowly like when you turn off a light with a rheostat.
I knew they were coming, so I sat out and waited.
They weren't really flying saucers, but probably just as much so as those seen by hundreds of other observers who reported that they were.
It was the highlight of the August 'shooting star' showers.
Science reports for the last week had been predicting the showers, and Monday night, from dusk 'till dawn, was announced as the time to see them at the height of their downpour.
I had no desire to fight mosquitoes from dust 'till dawn, but from about 9 to 11 p.m. I scanned the clear sky from north to east to south. After a while, when I would turn my head, it would take my whole body with it.
After sitting there for quite a while and seeing nothing but the winking stars and a bright street light shining directly in my face, I began to think that for two cents I'd pick up a rock and turn off the street light. And as if someone had read my thoughts, all the street lights went out.
It was like when you sit in a theater before the beginning of a movie' when the lights go off and the show begins. And it did. Directly across the top of the darkened street lamp, a green-orange streak lit up the sky, then faded.
That was just the beginning. The reports had stated that the showers would be seen in the Northeast, but most of them last night, according to my mental compass, were almost directly east, about 75 degrees up and dropping straight for the earth. Within a short time, I had seen no less than half a dozen.
While the radio in the living room behind me provided the music, I sat back and enjoyed the show.
Then I saw, traveling from north to south at about a 45 degree angle, a green light, going at high speed and keeping its brilliance. It had no tail.
At first I thought it was a plane, but I could hear nothing but the radio and the window fan behind me. And if it were a plane, far enough away that the sound of its engines couldn't be heard and still going at that speed, I knew I was looking at a genuine flying saucer.
I quickly motioned for my wife to cut off the radio and fan, and then I wished I hadn't because I could easily hear the plane's engines.
By that time, the crick in my neck and the mosquito snouts penetrating my now skinless ankles had caused enthusiasm to ebb considerably and I was ready to call it quits.
It was 10:45. I saw a flash in the northwest. I jumped up. It couldn't be anything but the moon, but it began to rock back and forth and the shape of a giant section from an orange and the same color. It would glow brightly then fade out.
Neighbor George Freaner walked up, trying hard not to let me see his hair floating above his head.
"What the heck is that thing?" he whispered, jerking his thumb over his shoulder, not daring to look back.
"It's just the moon," I said, hoping it was. It would disappear, show up again and continue to rock back and forth.
We sat down and, not looking to the northeast, began to discuss automobiles, taxes, politics and salaries.
I risked a glance Northeastward . The three-quarter moon which with the help of my imagination looked to be about 10 times as big as it should have been, appeared to perching atop a big tree that was swaying back and forth in the breeze about a half mile away.
"See that?" I said, as if I knew it all along. "It's just the moon."
He looked at me and grinned and said good night.
I turned in too.
Odessa, Texas American - 11 Aug 52
THE LATEST RASH of flying saucer reports has brought a new confusion of theories and announcements from scientists, Civilian Defense and Air Force top brass.
The Air Force, which for several years has tried its best to pooh-pooh the saucers by calling them weather balloons, products of fertile imaginations and optical illusions, has finally broken down to admitting the flying saucers are real.
In fact, the Air Force has jet interceptor planes ready to take off into the wild blue yonder to chase any flying saucers in the area. Just what the jets will do if they are lucky, or unlucky enough to catch a saucer, was not explained.
Some scientists have stated they believe the saucers come from another planet. Others contribute them to an earthly source. The latter could not, or would not, give any indication as to why they believed this, nor would they state which nation they thought might be putting the saucers in the air.
OF COURSE, the Russians are suspected. However, in view of Russia's belligerent attitude toward non-communist nations and her apparent desire to control the world by any means, it's hardly logical to assume that Russian-controlled saucers would fly over our cities and military installations without dropping some tokens of their visit -- say an atom bomb or two.
Another theory has it that the saucers contain visitors from another planet who might be trying to establish contact with us earth people. If this theory is tenable, the inevitable question arises: "Why don't they land?"
Since the flying saucers are a current top mystery and everybody seems to be coming out with a theory, perhaps we may be allowed to advance a theory or two.
Let us assume the flying saucers are from another planet that is trying to establish contact with earth people. First of all, if the men from outer space were going to land, they probably would want to be reasonably certain that their lives would not be in danger -- that they would meet a friendly, intelligent people.
If the saucer men should get a glimpse of the way American drivers needlessly slaughter each other on the highways of the nation, it is safe to assume they would have some large doubts as to how safe they would be upon landing.
And if the visitors should get around Korea and see human beings locked in a useless war where the dead and maimed are forming a horrible monument to governmental stupidity, they certainly would not land.
IT MAY BE SAFE to say that if the people from another planet are scientifically advanced enough to build a space ship, they may also be advanced enough to have learned to understand our language and perhaps to look at us through some super radar machine.
Latest reports have flying saucers around Washington, D.C. If our theoretical space travelers can get a glimpse of the inner workings of the nation's capital and hear what's going on there, there's not much chance that they will land. In fact, if they are intelligent enough to recognize the rampant greed and dishonesty there, they will fly on to another planet. Just in case the saucer travelers are from another planet, and just in case they should get hold of a copy of this newspaper, here's a bit of advice we'd like to leave with them:
"For the present, why don't you seek to make contact with another planet where people may be operating on a higher plane than they do on earth at present? For the past several decades, if you have observed us closely, you must have seen some of the terrible things that were inflicted on this nation and on other nations by some of our leaders who willfully forgot to put duty and honesty above personal gain and selfishness. Some of the people are trying their best to get things straightened out here on earth and to return to living by the principles set forth in by Jesus Christ.
"While now you see a world torn by strife, and nations being ground under the heels of ruthless political parties and dictatorial regimes, we have hopes that the earth people still have the courage and will to seek out a better life.
"It is our earnest hope that when you come back in some future year, you will find this earth of ours a place where free men can live in peace and prosperity.
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