in the news 1952
Above: 1967 Look Magazine illustration of Captain Thomas Mantell's P-51 Mustang climbing to meet an unidentified object in 1948, resulting in his death. Story below.
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 19, 1952:
Hobart, Australia Mercury - 19 Aug 52
Is The "Flying Saucer" A Reflected Image?
From Kenneth Harris -- Exclusive to "The Mercury" in Tasmania
WASHINGTON. -- For five years reports have been coming in from all over the United States of curious, shining, fast-flying apparitions in the heavens, some seen by day, others by night.
FROM the reports, these objects have seemed to possess so many of the characteristics of power-driven machines, and yet have been so completely unlike all machines known to man, that even sober scientists have wondered if they had been directed here by a scientifically-minded people, far more advanced than ourselves, living on some other planet.
To all these phenomena, in spite of the fact that they differ enormously from one another, the public has given a general nickname -- "flying saucers."
At the beginning of this month "flying saucers" made a dramatic appearance over Washington, the civil, political, and military capital of the United States. They could be seen with the naked eye, but they were first spotted on a radar screen.
The public began for the first time to get somewhat alarmed about what was going on. Consequently, top level military men were instructed to prepare a complete round-up of all the information which had come to hand about "flying saucers."
Of the several hundred "flying saucer incidents" reported, since the first was seen in June, 1947, it has now been revealed that 80 p.c. have been explained satisfactorily.
Not From Mars
About 20 p.c. of the incidents remain mysteries. But Major Gen. John Samford, Chief of Intelligence to the United States Air Force, has given information which he is sure explains even these.
Gen. Samford begins by pointing out what "flying saucers" are not. According to him, if these apparitions were airships or missiles of any kind, in the remarkable way they have been seen to behave -- shooting up vertically or turning at right angles at immense speeds -- they would have to have "no mass and unlimited power," a description which, as anybody who has opened a physics textbook knows, makes them forces, not material things, let alone airships or planes, and rules out the possibility of their being planes or rockets or missiles sent over by the Russians.
It also rules out the possibility of men from Mars or the moon cruising around the earth in ultra-powerful space-ships.
If these "flying saucers" are none of these things, then, what are they? They are, apparently, reflected images, rather similar basically to that already familiar kind of reflected image known as the mirage.
In the case of a mirage, a layer of very hot air a few feet off the ground acts as a kind of mirror which sends a reflection of the thing being reflected along the length of that layer, perhaps at a distance of 50 miles, where it is seen by a bystander who thinks he sees the thing being reflected standing or lying only a couple of hundred yards away from him. This is a "horizontal" kind of reflection.
In the case of the "flying saucers," the reflection is more of a vertical kind. For instance, in the middle of the day the slanted windshield of a car climbing a hill sends a beam of sunlight into the air. High in the atmosphere the beam strikes a vertical layer of hot air which transmits the reflection at an angle down to some other part of the earth, perhaps many miles away from the motor car.
The speed and size of the reflected image can be much faster and bigger than that of the thing reflected, just as by having a little mirror in your hand you can make a huge "saucer" of light "fly" at great speed.
This theoretical explanation of "flying saucers" fits in very well with the classics of "flying saucer" history. This history began in June, 1947, when a pilot flying in the mountainous State of Washington saw "nine saucer-like objects . . . flying like geese in a diagonal chain-like line" and swerving in and out of the peaks about 1,200 m.p.h.
The reflection theory would say that what the pilot saw on that cloudless afternoon was a bright light caused by the sun shining onto a balloon or plane, beyond his vision, being reflected within his vision by a huge layer of hot air.
If the layer had nine facets -- like a diamond -- each would show a separate reflection just as a diamond made up of nine facets on one side would show nine reflections of its image of your face.
The reflection theory had some vogue some years ago, until somebody pointed out that though it was possible to believe that a pilot could be taken in by what was nothing more than a fleeting reflection, a reflection miles away would not appear on the radar screen of an instrument in the control tower of an airport unless something was producing it.
Let us look at the most striking of the cases reported in Washington's "flying saucer" invasion. A radar operator in the Washington control room spotted several unaccountable blips on his radar screen. Checking showed that these were also registering on radar screens at two other airfields. A pilot flying a plane near the spot where the blip was coming from was asked if he could see anything.
He reported he could definitely see a strange bright glow. The reflection theory would explain this as follows: Airport radar beams were going up from the three stations, but parts of them at any rate were meeting a layer of excessively hot air, and were being deflected by it to the ground. There they happened to alight on something like a motor car. The motor car was shown as a blip on the screen but was shown, owing to the peculiar hot-air mirror effect, not in its actual location on the ground but up in the sky -- at the point where the radar beams landed on the hot-air mirror.
The same hot-air reflector showed a ground-light also in the air -- perhaps the lights of the motor car, or some other nearby light, possibly from another car. A radar image and a ground-light image, therefore, were now in the sky together and at roughly the same place. The men in the radar towers picked up the radar signal, and asked the pilot of the nearest plane to look in that direction. He did so, and saw the ground light image reflection just about where the radar was recording a radar "blip."
Though the United States Air Force is pretty confident about the reflection theory, it is not giving up its attempts to get a complete scientific explanation of what is going on which will be substantiated by actual proof.
With the Air Force's energy and equipment being produced and deployed, and with a good working hypothesis already established, it looks as though Public Mystery No. 1 -- the old "flying saucer" -- is on the way out.
The Charleroi Mail, Pennsylvania - 19 Aug 52
COMMENT and THEN SOME
SHOOT 'EM DOWN
The U.S. Air Force has issued orders to its jet pilots to shoot down any strange object seen in the skies over America.
This is comforting in view of the flying saucer reports. We don't want men from Mars getting the draw on us.
But what if there were interplanetary "saucers" and space men on them, and they were flitting around the earth with the most peaceful of intentions?
What if we would, in some impulse of fear, shoot such visitors down? Wouldn't that be a sign of the viciousness of earthmen?
Most of us, of course, aren't vicious at all. We're civilized people with good will in our hearts. Especially is this true of us Americans.
Yet the air force order to shoot down the "saucers" appears as correct as any order, under the circumstances, could be. We can't take a chance, so we're ready to fire first.
In this we become, before the mystery of space itself, as primitive as the South American aborigines who draw bows and let their arrows fly at the strange airplanes winging over their tribal huts.
As we think about things like this, we see our civilization as a thin veneer over our basic instincts to kill quickly in self-protection.
Regrettable as is the conclusion, we come by it to understand our troubles and how far we humans still must go to achieve the concert of mind which would make us what we like to think we are.
If there are saucers, and if we shoot them down, we might regret the act, but we always will be able to explain it away as an expedient deed countering a possible danger.
We even might say that we had no idea that the saucers bore little men from Mars, but thought there might be Russians at the controls. And then, everything would be understandable and militarily proper in this still improper world.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Press - 19 Aug 52
Letters to the Editor
Editor, The Pittsburgh Press:
It seems to me that scientists don't know any more about flying saucers than we ordinary mortals do.
If they are caused by certain atmospheric conditions, the question is why didn't anything like that happen before? Why doesn't it happen over other countries?
It can't be a Russian contraption because the Commies, having boasted that everything from the spots on the wooden horse to the submarine was invented by the Russians, would long since have let us know about their latest achievement.
The scientist and philosopher Charles Fort gathered 37000 clippings from newspapers, magazines and scientific publications which dealt with phenomena which the scientists could not explain.
In my humble opinion, the flying saucers belong in the same category.
Naugatuck, Connecticut Daily News - 19 Aug 52
Flying Saucers Crop Up In State Skies
Flying Saucer reports are cropping up in Connecticut. Six New Britain residents -- including four airplane spotters and a college professor and his wife -- report they saw unusual objects in the sky.
Dr. R. Heber Richards -- educational philosophy professor at Teachers College of Connecticut -- says he and his wife spotted a flying saucer in Westfleld, between East Berlin and Middletown. The Richards described the saucer as "exceedingly brilliant" and a "magnificent reddish green color."
Four airplane spotters on duty at New Britain saw an object at about the same time. They say it appeared to be a Roman candle or flare. Then -- some 90 minutes later -- the spotters reported they saw another light in the sky.
Pottsdown, Pennsylvania Mercury - 19 Aug 52
Area Woman Sees 'Green Light' Flying Toward Limerick
Mrs. Joseph L. Taggert, Pleasantview road, Sanatoga, reported last night that she and an 11-year old neighbor, Virginia Shultz, saw a "flying saucer" streaking across the sky toward Limerick at about 8:15 o'clock.
"I was just about to go into the house from the porch," Mrs. Taggert said, "when I saw this green and yellow thing heading toward Limerick at a tremendous rate of speed. It looked like a saucer and it looked as if it was landing down by Limerick."
Though she could not estimate the altitude or size of the object, Mrs. Taggert described it as being "pretty big" and emitting a "whirring noise."
"I know what shooting stars are like," she continued, "and it wasn't one of those."
Winona, Minnesota Republican Herald - 19 Aug 52
Only a Piece of Kaolin
Flying Saucer Discovery Spiked by Rocks Expert
STOCKTON, Minn. (Special) -- Reports of a flying saucer in this area were quickly denied today both by the finder and also by a Winona man who is a geologist by hobby.
The "saucer," which turned out to be a rock of the kaolin family, was found on the George Gaulke farm, two miles west of here on the Haase Hill road. Marcella Gaulke, daughter of the owner, first saw the rock last Tuesday evening.
The Gaulke family had never thought of its find as a "flying saucer" but somewhere rumors started to that effect.
K.E. Chick, the Winona geologist, examined the rock this morning and identified it as a member of the kaolin family. He said that it had a high calcium content, which made it soft and also which caused it to crumble when touched.
The rock is not common to this area, Chick said. He put forth the theory that it had been carried into this region either by storms or by some person.
Marcella was on her way to the farm's south pasture when she sighted the rock in a wheel rut on the road to the pasture. Her brother, Leroy, brought it back to the house the following morning when he went down to the same pasture to bring in cows.
The road is used every day and it is used only by the Gaulkes. Mrs. Gaulke stated that the rock had not been there Monday since one of the family would have seen it. In the meantime, the Gaulke family was more interested in preparing for a Stockton style show than it was in building up "saucer" reports.
Phoenix, Arizona Republic - 19 Aug 52
Observer On Job
Scribe Gets Starry-Eyed Over Whatsit In Color
By Orren Beaty
THE FLYING WHATSITS are real. At least the one that a number of Phoenicians saw Sunday night and early Monday is genuine.
A glowing object, brighter than most stars, and flashing red, blue, and green lights in addition to the twinkling white glare, was seen low in the northeast sky from most parts of Phoenix.
"There's something white hovering over Camelback Mountain," reported the first of many callers to The Arizona Republic office. We were just leaving the office for a cup of coffee, and it was just before midnight. So we took a look in that direction -- four of us -- and we all saw it.
There was no illusion of movement but it was flashing the multi-colored lights and looked brighter than any star we could see, except the planet Jupiter, which was a little higher and almost directly east.
We watched it for awhile without being able to detect any motion. From where we stood, it was about half way up on a palm tree at the southwest corner of St Mary's athletic field. Finally we left to get the coffee.
On the way we passed The Republic's press room, and the pressmen, having completed the bulldog run, were resting outside.
"See the saucer?" one of us asked.
"We see it nearly every night," one of them replied, which might have raised some doubts, but didn't.
Later, two of us went up on the roof of the Republic and Gazette building to get a better look. The downtown lights were too bright tor us to identify many stars, but the unidentified whatsit was still higher, still farther south, and still flashing in technicolor.
It was now 45 minutes after the first call, and William A. Rhodes, Phoenix amateur astronomer, was roused from bed to provide a little expert opinion. He looked for a couple of minutes, then came back to the phone to report:
"It's a first magnitude star -- either Capella or Canopus.
I'VE NEVER seen a star jump around quite so much. It must be because of atmospheric conditions -- a layer of very cold air on top of the layer of very warm humid air hanging over the Valley.
"This often makes low stars appear to be giving off flashing varicolored lights."
Later, as it climbed high enough for other stars in the constellation to be seen, it developed that the star really was Capella.
In the meantime, one of the callers phoned again: "Now there are eight of them. I used to laugh at flying saucers, but now I'm worried."
He was worried! I was beginning to feel relieved.
Yuma, Arizona Daily Sun - 19 Aug 52
Phoenix Saucers Prove to be False
PHOENIX -- The flying saucers started sizzling over Phoenix about 1 a.m. Monday -- or at least a lot of people thought they did.
Many phoned United Press and the Phoenix newspapers about two or more strange, bright, moving objects in the eastern and northeast sky.
For a while reporters jammed the windows, climbed upon the roof and muttered speculations in the streets.
Suddenly a brilliant white light flared in the west and moved toward town.
That one was a big C-51 airliner's landing light.
The one in the east -- Jupiter -- really looked like the McCoy through bifocals. And when you bobbled your head you could see it jumping around.
But there was still a red-and-blue flashing object off to the northeast.
Somebody got a local astronomer out of bed. But the man took one look, mumbled something unscientific about "twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are --" and hung up.
The northeast twinkler turned out to be the star Capella. Seems weather conditions made it change colors and also appear to move from time to time.
Bakersfield, California Californian - 19 Aug 52
by Jim Day
"Northern Lights" Cal Collins says he believes these "flying saucers" being reported at intervals are atmospheric phenomena and that they are in reality manifestations of the "northern lights" or the Aurora Borealis. They were particularly brilliant and moving over the dessert of Southern California about 30 years ago, he said.
Phoenix, Arizona Republic - 19 Aug 52
Venezuela Saucer Reports Persist
CARACAS, Venezuela, Aug. 18 -- Reports that "flying saucers" had been seen at various points in Venezuela poured in Monday despite official reports to cry them down.
Military authorities were inclined to ascribe reports of saucer sightings southwest of here to recent high-altitude jet fighter maneuvers in the area. Some saucer reports, however, came from interior points where no warplanes are known to have operated recently.
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania Daily News - 19 Aug 52
Post Is Set Up To Spot Flying Discs
Lima, Peru, Aug. 19. -- Folks in the Peruvian capital city are making sure that no "flying saucer" will fly over without their knowing it.
A "flying saucer observatory" has been set up on the roof of a radio station. "Spotters" are assigned to watch the sky throughout the night. Extra-sensitive microphones have been set up to detect any strange sounds from above and relate them to loudspeakers on the street.
Albuquerque, New Mexico Tribune - 19 Aug 52
Flying Saucers Secret Weapon Theory Blasted
By David Dietz
Scripps-Howard Science Editor
I feel quite certain that we are not being visited by little men from Mars. The flying saucers are not space ships from the ruddy planet now shining brightly in the southwestern sky.
It is easy to understand why many folks link flying saucers with Martians in the age of rockets.
Not only imaginative novelists, but serious-minded astronomers are discussing the possibility of a trip to the moon. The star-gazers would like to establish and observatory there.
Cold on Mars
But astronomers do not go along with the idea that Mars must be inhabited by a civilization which is older and superior to ours.
Let us take a look at he planet. It is about half the diameter of the earth, ruddy in color with bluish-gray markings and white polar caps.
It has an atmosphere but present studies indicate that the amount of oxygen present is about a tenth of 1% of that in the earth's atmosphere. There is likewise a tremendous shortage of water vapor. Night-time temperatures on Mars are about 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
The excitement about life on Mars started in 1877 when the Italian astronomer, G.V. Schiaparelli, announced the discovery of a network of long, narrow dark streaks on the surface of the planet. He called them "canali."
Two American astronomers, W.H. Pickering and Percival Lowell, became the chief champions of the canals on Mars. Lowell made maps showing some 400 of them.
Photo Attempts Fail
But most astronomers insisted that they could not see them at all. Whatever fine structure there is on the surface of the planet is just on the limit of visibility.
Attempts to photograph the fine structure failed until 1939 when Dr. E.C. Slipper obtained pictures that support Lowell's idea of a network of lines.
However notions of intelligent life on Mars received their worst setback on February 17, 1948. On that day the planet made one of its periodic close approaches to the earth and Dr. Gerard P. Kuiper turned the 82-inch telescope of the McDonald Observatory in Texas on it.
Types of Mosses
The telescope was equipped with a special photo-electric cell sensitive to infra-red light that German scientists had developed during World War II.
From his studies Dr. Kuiper concluded that he bluish-gray areas on the planet could be simple types of mosses or lichens. They could not be more advanced vegitation [sic] such as grass or trees.
His findings support the view that Mars is an unfriendly environment with little air, little oxygen, and little water, able at best to support some primitive sort of plant life.
Oakland, California Tribune - 19 Aug 52
Top Astronomer Lauds Amateurs
BERKELEY, Aug. 19. -- "Some of the world's greatest astronomers have come from the ranks of the amateurs," Dr. Otto Struve, famed University of California scientist, yesterday told more than 300 of the "backyard" stargazers meeting on the Berkeley campus.
Speaking before the opening session of the fourth annual convention of the Western Amateur Astronomers, the head of the U.C. astronomy department and director of Leuschner Observatory, told the meeting that the achievements of the amateurs have contributed much to the advancement of the science.
Several kinds of observations are especially important at this time, he emphasized. They include:
(1) Discovery of new variable stars -- those whose light intensity varies -- and discovery of new variables of special kinds, especially those with small ranges in brightness.
(2) Accurate study of known variables.
(3) Studies of the planets, a continuous survey of their surfaces, and the moon, especially effects upon it by meteoric impact.
(4) And continuing study and observation of visual double stars, comets, meteors, meteorites and the sun.
Dr. Struve also called upon the amateurs to acquaint the public with "the wonders of astronomy" by means of public nights at observatories and cited the program of the East Bay Astronomical Society at the Chabot Observatory.
Last night, the amateur astronomers adjourned to the John Muir School grounds for a "star party" where they used a multitude of telescopes and other instruments, many of them homemade, for observations of the sky.
Today's final session will include presentation of scientific and technical papers by members and another talk, at 8 p.m. in California Hall, by Dr. Struve on "What I Don't Know About Flying Saucers."
AUGUST 20, 1952:
Oakland, California Tribune - 20 Aug 52
No Men From Mars on Saucers, Astronomer Says
BERKELEY, Aug. 20 -- Next time you see a flying saucer, just relax, because it can't be piloted by a man from Mars.
And it can't be from any other planet outside the earth's atmosphere.
At least that's the opinion expressed last night by Dr. Otto Struve, internationally famed astronomer, before the Western Amateur Astronomers convention at the University of California.
"There is absolutely no evidence to support the idea that the phenomena described as 'flying saucers' are of extra-terrestrial origin," the chairman of the U.C. astronomy department told his audience of 300 backyard stargazers.
The idea that saucers are directed from another world was discounted.
Dr. Struve pointed out that within the solar system the earth is the only planet capable of sustaining "intelligent forms of life."
"Most popular writers indiscriminately speak of the 'the man from Mars'," he said, "but Mars does not appear to be a planet capable of supporting advanced forms of life."
"And the other planets and satellites in the solar system are even less promising with regard to the problem of flying saucers," he added.
"If planets like the earth, capable of supporting intelligent life, do exist in other star systems, the chances are that they would be at least 50,000 light years away -- and one light year is equal to nearly 6000 billion miles."
"The beings on such a planet, if they exist and if they had adequate instruments for detecting the light of the earth's sun, would receive such light emitted by the sun 50,000 years ago."
So if they had any knowledge of human beings on the earth, Dr. Struve theorized, they would now be aware only of the type of human beings that populated the earth at the lime of the Neanderthal man.
"And chances are that they would be completely disinterested in what the Neanderthal man was doing or thinking," he concluded.
Dr. Struve's address was at the final session of the two-day meeting, which featured discussion, scientific papers and displays of homemade and professional telescopes and other astronomical instruments.
Phoenix, Arizona Republic - 20 Aug 52
Chances Nil 'Saucers' From Another Planet
BERKELEY, Calif., Aug. 19 -- There probably are thousands of planets in the Milky Way capable of supporting intelligent life, but the chances of any of their inhabitants reaching us via "flying saucers" are nil, a noted astronomer said Tuesday.
Mars and the other planets of the solar system are out of the running because observers have learned enough about them to know pretty well that they can't maintain life as we know it, he added.
This leaves flying saucers exclusively an earthly phenomenon Dr. Otto Struve told a convention of western amateur astronomers.
MOST LIKELY explanation for them, he added, is that they are either man-made or that they are the result of natural forces such as temperature irregularities which produce mirage-like apparitions, or electrical phenomena which cause fireballs and play tricks on radio transmission.
From what they already know to be facts, astronomers can figure conservatively that in the Milky Way or galaxy of which the solar system is a tiny part, there are 1,000 to 10,000 planets resembling the earth, Dr. Struve said.
But one of these planets, picked at random, would be about 50,000 light years or 300 quadrillion miles (3 followed by 17 zeros) away. If any creature on that planet is seeing light from the sun or earth it is light which left these parts 50,000 years ago, about the time the Neanderthal ape-man was getting his start in Europe.
AND IF THE saucers carry beings from this far-distant planet they must have started their trips 50,000 years ago and traveled at the speed of light.
It is inspiring, Dr. Struve said for scientists to be able to figure within reason that in the Milky Way, which is only an infinitesimal part of the universe, there are thousands of planets which may be supporting intelligent beings. But it is unfortunate that the other worlds are so very far away.
Dr. Struve is one of America's foremost astronomers. He is head of the astronomy department of the University of California and formerly was director of the University of Chicago observatories, Yerkes and McDonald.
Bismarck, North Dakota Tribune - 20 Aug 52
Posin, NDAC Physicist To Speak At Legion
"Flying Saucers and Space Travel" will be the subject of a speech at the American Legion Club here Thursday evening.
The talk will be delivered by Dr. David Q. Posin, noted physicist from the North Dakota Agricultural College in Fargo, at the close of the regular Legion meeting scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
All Legion members, their wives and members of the Legion Auxiliary are invited to attend both the meeting and the lecture. Lunch will be served.
Dr. Posin, a graduate of the University of California, has had wide experience in the field of nuclear science. He worked on problems of radar during World War II at Oak Ridge, Tenn., engaged in studies for peaceful uses of atomic energy at the Institute of Nuclear Studies and has given over 500 lectures on atomic bombs in the past six years throughout the United States, Canada and England.
Charleston, South Carolina Daily Mail - 20 Aug 52
Saucer Stories Laid To Light On Guard Plane
Scores of Charlestonians and those in the nearby valley area last night were convinced they had seen a flying saucer -- and most of them called a harried employee in the office of the Civil Aeronautics Administration in the Kanawha airport terminal building.
The CAA said there was no flying saucer cavorting about in the skies above the city and identified the somewhat eerie appearing sight as the light on the underside of a comparatively slow moving National Guard aircraft.
Tyrone, Pennsylvania Daily Herald - 20 Aug 52
'Saucer' Takes Erratic Path As It Travels Over Tyrone Area
A "saucer", or at least an eerie light with an erratic path in the heavens, took over last night from the flying milk bottle at Tyrone.
In contrast to Monday night's taproom performance in which a patron was cut by a hurled bottle, last night's show was outdoors and the object, its source and ultimate objective were not definitely determined.
Depending upon the location of observers, the sky visitor appeared to be riding high above the Reservoir Park area or in the general direction of Philipsburg. To some it appeared to disappear toward Clearfield. Others reported that it took off to the northwest in the direction of Bellefonte.
But it did result in an alert being sent through the borough's air warning service to the U.S. Air Force filter center in Pittsburgh.
Herbert Henderson, 1709 Columbia avenue, an employe at Black Brothers Garage, said he notified Donald Gates, assistant chief air
observer in Tyrone of seeing the object.
"I happened to go out the back door of the house and notice a light moving through the tree. It was over in the general direction of Philipsburg. I watched it for about 45 minutes, from about 10:45 until 11:30. Then it disappeared after moving toward Clearfield," Henderson told a Herald reporter.
He said it looked like a "star which jumped around in sky." At one tine, he said, "it dropped down below the horizon, then came up and made a circle." He said it was changing colors" and they were shades of "yellow, red and green."
Mrs. John F. Molnar said she and her husband saw the light from their home at the Triangle between 12:30 and 2 a.m.
It appeared to be brighter than a star and had varied colors, she said. It was mostly reddish-orange, she continued, but the top seemed to be blue and green. At one time it "dimmed out", she added.
The Molnars called Dr.[Illegible] who took a look through his field glasses. He was out of town today and reaction could not be obtained.
Also there was no report of any action at the filter center.
Odessa, Texas American - 20 Aug 52
Shaggy Saucer Story From Odessa Girl
"Say, whatcha 'sposed to do when you see a flying saucer," 11 year old Charlcia Smith asked the editor about noon today.
"Well, I don't know, but what did it look like," he answered.
"Oh, it was just an ole round silvery thing, and I saw it about an hour ago in the northeast," the sixth grader answered.
"How fast was it travelling," the editor queried.
"Not very fast . . . in a few minutes it just went out of the sky," Charlcia said.
The saucer reporter is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. R. Smith, 1410 N. Muskingum.
Odessa, Texas American - 20 Aug 52
KELLUS TURNER, 210 Santa Rita, reported he saw a flying saucer last Saturday night while sitting in his backyard...
Yuma, Arizona Daily Sun - 20 Aug 52
New Report on Saucer Display
Judging from the reports coming in to the Daily Sun, Yuma was being raided last Friday night by a flock of saucy saucers.
The latest communique to the Sun saucer editor is from Mrs. Goldie Thornburg, 961 6th Avenue. Mrs. Thornburg reports that she saw two flying saucers at 8:57 p.m. on the now-famous Friday night.
Describing the flying objects as "about as big as wash tubs," Mrs. Thornburg said that they were flying towards the northwest and that they were "copper color and glowing."
Apparently not believing her eyes, Mrs. Thornburg told a few neighbors but didn't report them until the stories and picture came out in the Sun. Then her neighbors insisted that she call.
A total of six persons have now seen the flying objects on the night
Newswire Report Agence France Presse - 20 Aug 52
Dublin, August 20 -- "Flying saucers" have been seen three times in the last few days.
The "News Record" reports today that "a green object emitting a fluorescent light" was seen last Saturday (Aug. 16) evening by two electrical engineers over the West Meath [sic, should be Westmeath] town of Kinnegad. The next day, in full daylight this time, a farmer and a fisherman observed for about 15 seconds over Baltimore, in Cork County, an "object of circular form apparently emitting a certain amount of light, and traveling towards the sea."
Finally, last Tuesday (Aug. 19), near Shannon Airport, another farmer, Mr. John Bourne, notified the police after observing 'a green thing resembling a flatfish, traveling at a terrific speed above the airport."
Albuquerque, New Mexico Tribune - 20 Aug 52
Local Inventor Believes Faster Saucers Built on Other Planets
An Albuquerque inventor who will begin building his own flying saucer in the near future has advanced startling theories on the mysterious dinnerware sighted in the skies.
"It's obvious that the U.S. has finally developed saucers, duplicating those from another planet," said Dick Walters, 1524 Lead SE.
Recent sighters of saucers have reported some which are only a few hundred miles faster than jet planes, and others which seemed to travel at inestimable speeds. This indicates two distinct types, Mr. Walters noted: Slower disks built by the U.S., and faster ones built "on other planets."
The U.S. has probably copied its saucers from ones which have fallen onto Earth because of magnetic faults in its structure. Maybe, said Mr. Walters, the saucers are copied from the one reportedly fallen at Aztec, N.M.
To Build Own
But the U.S. hasn't developed the magnetic propulsion or gyroscopic stability that the out-of-space saucers must have to turn so rapidly and fly so fast, he said.
In about a year Mr. Walters plans to put in more time on developing his saucer theory by building one himself that will incorporate the magnetic and gyroscopic principals.
He hopes to harness the gyroscopic principal and to maneuver his saucer by tilting the whirling gyroscopes. Eventually he hopes to build in the magnetic propulsion -- reversing the poles of the saucer so they will repulse the earth's poles, thus ejecting the disk from the earth, and bringing them back to normal position to land it.
These are the principles which he thinks the saucers from other planets use. The faster saucers sighted in the sky are from Mars, more than likely, he said.
"Mars would be the planet most affected by the Earth's activities," he said. "And if it were peopled, which I believe it is, Earth is probably becoming a source of anxiety to it."
He explained that the atmosphere is so thin on Mars that the sun's rays are deflected very slightly. The heat would be too intense for life to survive were another sun to appear in this solar system.
"Suppose something went wrong during a hydrogen bomb explosion experiment on Earth, and this planet were turned into a flaming sun -- or if the experimentation here were to cause other disturbances in this solar system -- this would destroy the Martians," he went on.
The Martians would either try to keep the Earth from exploding any hydrogen bombs or warn its people of the consequences, Mr. Walters said.
That is why Earth has been under observation by the saucer beings for a long time -- since 1783 when the first mysterious saucer-like objects in the sky were reported, Mr. Walters continued.
"They probably have been sampling Earth's atmosphere for radioactivity periodically," he added, "and around 1945 they discovered traces of radioactive elements when the first atom bomb was exploded and knew it would only be a few years until we began hydrogen experiments."
Since that time closer watch has been kept, explaining why more saucers have been sighted.
Sandias Form 'Screen'
And possibly, Mr. Walters thinks -- after observing that the U.S. has the scientific know-how to lead the other nations, and would be the best nation to deal with in instigating universal peace -- possibly the men in-the saucers have contacted Washington.
The inventor gave his explanation for the numerous reports of saucers being seen in Tijeras Canyon from Albuquerque.
"Suppose they had a patrol system set up so they could observe
Los Alamos and Kirtland AF Base daily," he theorized, "from behind the Sandia Mountains they could watch both places at once and the mountains would serve as a natural barrier so they wouldn't show up on Kirtland radar screens -- except for a brief blip when they rose up over the top."
AUGUST 21, 1952:
Tokyo, Japan Pacific Stars and Stripes - 21 Aug 52
AF Bares Pilot's Death Flight
Pursuit Of Mysterious 'Flying Object' Ends With Crash
WASHINGTON -- A strange and tragic drama of the skies was bared Wednesday when the Air Force made public a pilot's own description of his "death flight" in pursuit of a mysterious "flying object."
Long secret details of radio communication with Capt. Thomas F. Mantell just before he perished when his P-51 fighter crashed in Kentucky on Jan. 7, 1948, were revealed without official comment.
Disclosure of Mantell's messages to the control tower at Godman Air Base, Fort Knox, Ky., was authorized upon completion of exhaustive investigation which, the Air Force said, leaves the crash unexplained.
APPARENTLY, the last words of the 25-year old airman, a World War II hero, were these: "I'm trying to close in for a better look."
Fantastic aspects were given to the sky mystery by a 14-year old school girl who said she heard Mantell's plane explode in the air, and a farmer's wife who said the P-51 roared over her house and "fell apart" at treetop height.
The object which directly or indirectly caused Mantell's death was sighted during a routine training flight involving four P-51s.
All four pilots saw the weird device. Mantell and two other pilots gave chase.
T/SGT. QUINTON A. Blackwell, a radioman at the Godman tower, gave this account of the air-ground radio contact:
"About 2:45 p.m. the flight leader reported sighting the object ahead and above . . . still climbing.
"At 15,000 feet he (Mantell) reported 'object directly ahead and above at about half my speed. It appears metallic and of tremendous size. I'm still climbing . . . object is above and ahead moving about my speed or faster. I'm trying to close in for a better look.'
"This was about (3:15 p.m.). Five minutes later the two other aircraft turned back."
LT. PAUL I. ORNER, who was in the tower at the time, said Mantell's "closing-in" message was his last.
Capt. J.F. Dassler Jr., said that Mantell, during radio contact, described the object as "bright and climbing away from me . . . Moving about 350 miles per hour."
Capt. Cary W. Carter, Godman operations officer, said he heard Mantell say he would climb to 20,000 feet and abandon the chase at that altitude if he failed to close in on the object.
Sgt. Blackwell recalled that Mantell spoke of the object as looking "like the reflection of sunlight on an airplane canopy."
The Air Force, still probing "flying saucer" reports, has included the Mantell case in a file of unexplained air crashes.
1. The August 19 article "Flying Saucers Crop Up In State Skies" gives no date of the reported sightings by Dr. Heber and corroborated by "four airplane spotters on duty at New Britain", but presumably the on-duty spotters would have notified the Air Force filter center. However there are no Blue Book reports for anywhere in Connecticut for August 11 through 19, making it likely that the reports never made it into Blue Book files.
2. The varicolored twinkling light reported in "Scribe Gets Starry-Eyed Over Whatsit In Color" does indeed match the description of Capella in terms of its position and the time of the reports. It is obvious though that the assumption was that all reports were of the same thing, which may not have been the case, as in the reported call stating "Now there are eight of them. I used to laugh at flying saucers, but now I'm worried." Likewise the following article "Phoenix Saucers Prove to be False" states "Many phoned United Press and the Phoenix newspapers about two or more strange, bright, moving objects in the eastern and northeast sky". Neither Capella nor Jupiter is a "moving object". And the sheer number of reports indicated by the article raises the question as to why Capella, which had been prominent by one a.m. since late July (though rising earlier every night since), was suddenly the center of attention for so many on a single night only.
3. Astute readers may have noticed that the headline for the article "Flying Saucers Secret Weapon Theory Blasted" had absolutely nothing to do with what was printed. It was evidently intended for a future article by science writer David Dietz, which will appear in a future post in this series.
4. Dr. Struve's statement in "No Men From Mars on Saucers, Astronomer Says" that an extraterrestrial civilization would be "completely disinterested in what the Neanderthal man was doing or thinking" remains to this day a baffling public announcement for a leading astronomer to make.
5. The article "Posin, NDAC Physicist To Speak At Legion" gets the first name wrong of Dr. Daniel Q. Posin. Posin will be featured in a future post in this series.
6. The reports contained in "'Saucer' Takes Erratic Path As It Travels Over Tyrone Area" do not appear in Blue Book files. A reports is listed for that same date from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, approximately 140 miles northwest of Tyrone, but those files are either not easily locatable or may not exist in declassified files.
7. The references in "New Report on Saucer Display" concerning "the now-famous Friday night" and "the stories and picture" published in the newspaper relate to a picture and article which may be found in Part Twenty-Nine of this series.
8. The statement in "Local Inventor Believes Faster Saucers Built on Other Planets" that "the saucers are copied from the one reportedly fallen at Aztec, N.M." most likely refers to allegations found in Frank Scully's book "Behind the Flying Saucers", published in 1950.
9. The story of Captain Mantell, covered briefly in "AF Bares Pilot's Death Flight", will be featured in an in-depth Saturday Night Uforia series this summer. The article itself got wrong the name of Captain James F. Duesler.
10. Translations of foreign newswire reports in this post come from the files of Project Blue Book.
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