in the news 1952
Above: An initial telex to Air Force headquarters from Hamilton AFB reporting a sighting, followed by a letter and completed "Tentative Observers Questionnaire", mailed out and received back by Project Blue Book (news story on general questionnaire below). Developed under an Air Force contract with Battelle Memorial Institute, the intent of the questionnaire was to quantify sighting reports into "discrete data" which could be transferred to IBM punched cards for a computerized aggregate statistical analysis of factors such as places of sighting, shapes reported, weather conditions, times of day, etc., on sighting reports dating back to 1947. The narrative sections of the questionnaire were partly designed to "reveal reasoning ability, suggestibility, and general mental attitude" in order to enable "the rating of the observer, the probability of accuracy of reported facts, and the identification of what was reported by the observer as unidentified". Some of this data was then transferred to a worksheet (bottom two images), where it would receive a "final evaluation" (item number 23 in bottom image). Aside from enabling a computerized statistical analysis, the questionnaire was also seen as relieving Air Force personnel from the need to conduct any in-person field investigation, and the questionnaire in and of itself was generally used as the basis for Blue Book's final "evaluations" -- with the exception of a relatively few instances. In the incident above the objects reported were evaluated as being "possibly balloon", based on a balloon release program originating out of Oregon. However, the balloons of the launch program in Tillamook, Oregon were expected to float cross-country, rather than north to south (Cotati is 488 miles south of Tillamook, and the objects were reported moving north at the time of the sighting), and contemporary news reports portrayed the balloons as singular, rather than the "skytrain" mentioned in the worksheet -- nor would a "skytrain" stretch from horizon to horizon, nor would one hover for five minutes while the rest moved on (news stories on this particular balloon program are available in Part Twenty-Nine and Part Thirty-Three of this series, as well as in a news story below). Also unresolved is the mention in the initial telex that the objects were "flying against wind" (the file for above contained a worksheet giving winds of four knots at 1,000 feet coming from the north-northeast). Despite such discrepancies, these "final evaluations" -- with qualifiers such as the word "possibly" removed -- became the basis for Air Force claims for the percentage of reports which had been "solved" and the percentage which remained "unidentified".
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 27, 1952:
Titusville, Pennsylvania Herald - 27 Aug 52
"Right there," is what Scoutmaster J.D. "Sonny" Desvergers is saying as he points to the spot on his arm where he says a "flying saucer" shot at him in the woods near West Palm Beach, Fla. The Air Force in Washington said it did not have enough information on Desvergers experience to draw a conclusion, but added that the incident is "explainable."
Charleston, West Virginia Gazette - 27 Aug 52
FLYING SAUCERS, three of them, hover over Bream St. while F.D. Roberts points them out for the photographer. His nephew, Hubert H. Roberts, Jr., of 714 Bream St., took the picture, but admits that things aren't always as they seem. It's a trick photography stunt, Roberts said, declining to say how he did it.
Lubbock, Texas Evening Journal - 27 Aug 52
Drew Pearson's Column
Work Of CAA Makes Airliners Less Risky Than Automobiles
(EDITOR'S NOTE: While Drew Pearson is on a brief vacation, the Washington Merry-Go-Round is being written by several distinguished guest columnists, today's being Charles F. Horne Hume, Civil Aeronautics Administrator, U.S. Department of Commerce.)
WASHINGTON. -- It's late on a dark and stormy night. The place, an airport at Paris, Rome, Cairo, or in the Far East. Passengers are watching the wind and rain beat against the windows of the airplane when they notice the stewardess unlock the door to the pilot's compartment and a man in a business suit enter. He sits on the "jump seat," and as the plane takes off, checks all phases of the flight to determine whether safety standards for operation and maintenance of U.S. flag carriers are being observed.
In aircraft plants throughout the United States, other CAA safety agents constantly inspect pieces of fabricated equipment to determine whether they meet the safety specifications set by the CAA.
A year ago artillery-shell fire struck the U.S. embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, as insurgent naval officers revolted and attempted to establish a new government. In the hostilities which followed there were approximately 3,000 casualties and the U.S. embassy was struck four times by artillery-shell fire and about 100 times by small arms fire. All normal communications were cut off and the stand-by generator at the embassy would not work. U.S. commercial aircraft were en route to Thailand, and there was no way either to warn them off or to notify the Department of State and military authorities in Washington.
The head of the CAA international region office in Bangkok made a dramatic night dash under fire through the front lines of the opposing forces to an aeronautical radio station which was situated within the Thai naval compound. Although stopped and forced to leave his vehicle, the CAA representative managed to talk his way into the radio station. There he warned off and diverted all U.S. commercial aircraft, and transmitted the first word of the uprising to reach the outside world.
It is rarely, of course, that CAA personnel have to operate under gunfire, but they do cope with an amazing variety of emergencies in order to make flying the routinely safe experience it is for the average American. In flight-testing the competency of applicants for airman certificates, CAA safety agents frequently must cut one of an airplane's two engines, to see whether the pilot reacts promptly and correctly. If he does, he gets the CAA certificate which is an assurance of safety to the public. If he doesn't the CAA agent has to move fast to save his neck. Reports in our files show that in 23 test incidents, quick thinking by CAA safety agents saved almost half a million dollars worth of airplanes and the lives of 60 persons. A typical, terse report is that on case 8-120-0:
"Air transport rating applicant in DC-3. Making low approach with left engine out. Over airport at 900 feet, Hood was removed and applicant started turn to left. Suddenly changed mind and rolled aircraft rapidly into an R turn. Airplane spun to right. Coordinated efforts of company check pilot and agent stopped spin and recovered. Barograph in airplane showed recovery was 50 feet above level of airport."
A majority of the CAA "saves," however , are achieved by CAA ground personnel, who man the more than 70,000 mile network of federal airways. From their posts in communications stations, control towers and control centers, they have "talked down" hundreds of lost pilots. Although the highways of the sky are clearly marked by CAA radio beams, every now and then some pilot will become confused.
Then CAA communicators or controllers go to work as they did when a night-flying National Guard pilot contacted our Macon, Ga., radio during a thunderstorm and reported his position unknown. The communicator thought of the searchlight used to advertise a drive-in theatre. He asked the operator to leave the searchlight on. The pilot finally saw the beam, determined his position, and proceeded to a safe landing.
All branches of the military depend heavily on CAA services, particularly on its air navigation and traffic control facilities which, for the last four years, have been improved and operated under a "common system" concept. Thus, the Air Defense Command uses information obtained and correlated by CAA to identify friendly aircraft flying in our coastal and border defense zones, so that it can "scramble" interceptors against unidentified targets appearing on radar or reported by ground observers.
ON THE civil defense side, CAA has worked closely with state and local officials to plan for the effective use of smaller airplanes. How these can be marshalled in an emergency was demonstrated at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where 309 private airplanes hauled 110,000 pounds of simulated supplies into the "stricken" city within two hours after a mock attack. While we all pray that this type of disaster will not occur, it is good to know that airplanes can and do perform such mercy missions when Midwestern rivers overflow, or when areas of the Northwest are isolated by a blizzard.
The airplane has an important humanitarian role to play in our world relations, too, and CAA is proud to have participated in one its first such demonstrations. When locusts threatened the food supplies of Iran in 1951, CAA experts assisted the Department of State in rushing two four-engine planes, one loaded with small spray planes, the other with pilots and spray liquid, to the endangered area. They beat off the insect plague, and set a pattern which promises to help wipe out hunger, and thereby remove a major cause of wars.
But while CAA activities overseas tend to be more spectacular -- witness the recent episode involving our safety agents who worked with the CAB and the Brazilian government to investigate an accident in the heart of the jungle -- the day-to-day activities of CAA people are concerned more with the safety of the 23,000,000 passengers who ride our domestic airlines and of the people who fly our 60,000 civil aircraft.
Any time of day or night you are likely to see a CAA safety agent board an airliner in the United States, and make the same kind of "en route" inspection that is conducted on our carriers abroad.
At the same time, CAA "range riders of the sky," more prosaically described as airways patrol pilots, may be check-flying the courses of a radio range, or the accuracy of an instrument landing radio beam, to make sure that all pilots can follow them with confidence. Three of these range riders gave their lives in 1948, when they crashed into mountains near Ward, Colorado, apparently as a result of extreme turbulence in the area.
But it is because of their work and the work of other CAA employees that United States civil aviation has been able to set world records for safety. You can board an airliner today with less risk than you can drive your car, thanks to the teamwork of government and industry in the field of civil aviation.
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche - 27 Aug 52
'Saucers' Claimed Real
NEW YORK, Aug. 26 -- The weekly magazine, "People Today" said tonight that its editors are convinced, after investigations, that "flying saucers" not only are real but actually, are guided missiles launched by Soviet Russia and the United States.
In an article by the editors, the magazine sated:
"The inescapable conclusion from world-wide reports is that
Red saucers are launched from Atomgrad No. 3, a heavily guarded missile center in a barren waste near the Finnish border.
Launching Platforms Revealed
"Swedish authorities have detected their passage as they hurtled
across Scandinavia in a direct line for this hemisphere."
"Other Red launching platforms are in Siberia," the article stated.
The magazine said that three of their editors worked independently interviewing top physicists and ultrasonic flight experts before they came to the same conclusion -- that saucers are American and Russian guided missiles.
The magazine described the Soviet missiles as "crewless" and said they are between 50 and 75 ft. long, 14 ft. thick in an ovoid shape. It said that rockets provide the main source of power "but they also carry auxiliary motors, possibly jets."
Loaded With Cameras
The missiles are loaded with "cameras and electronic observation devices," and at present seem only interested in reconnoitering U.S. atomic and military installations, the magazine said.
But, the article added, an atomic war-head could be substituted for electronic equipment.
The Russian missiles, according to the article, are guided by remote control by means of a chain of Soviet specially equipped snorkel submarines placed strategically across the Atlantic. The magazine said that with this method of control the Soviets could direct a missile from one target to another during flight.
Can Be Blown Up
In explaining why none of the missiles have been found, the magazine said the saucers could reach an altitude of between "80-100,000 feet and attain speeds of 2,500 M.P.H." as well as having "a high-explosive destructor charge that can blow it to bits when a button on the sub is pressed."
The article stated that there is no doubt that we have a similar type missile and that it is a highly guided military secret.
It gives this as the reason that in some areas officials are not at all worried about saucer reports. But, it added:
"They are jolted however by the 400-odd 'unexplained' saucers and fireballs that have criss-crossed our skies appearing in the biggest concentrations over vital atomic and defense centers."
Naugatuck, Connecticut Daily News - 27 Aug 52
Take Planet Venus For Flying Saucer
New Haven, Conn. Aug. 27 -- That object in the sky last night wasn't a flying saucer, it was the planet Venus.
That's the opinion of Yale astronomer Joseph Ashbrook. He said that when seen through binoculars the planet looks like a disc, or saucer.
Right now Venus is setting in the west and is visible for a half hour or less after sundown.
Connellsville, Pennsylvania Daily Courier - 27 Aug 52
Kutztown Veteran, Two Girls Report "Hovering" Saucer
KUTZTOWN, Aug. 27 -- A Kutztown insurance salesman told today of seeing a "flying saucer" 25 feet in diameter and showing "some signs of activity or movement" inside before it swished skyward with a tremendous burst of speed.
Herbert Long, a 28-year-old veteran of the Army Medical Corps in World War II, said the object hovered motionless in front of his automobile for five minutes before it roared skyward. He said the crown of the saucer contained windows or portholes and had an "antenna-like" device extending from it.
"I was too darned scared to approach it any closer," said Long.
He described the object as "resembling a large serving tray with a cover." Long said he did not notice any wheels or landing gear.
Two teen-aged girls also reported seeing an object in the vicinity which hovered several hundred feet off the ground and then took off with a loud "whoosh." They said it was a flattened sphere and aluminum in color.
Reading, Pennsylvania Eagle - 27 Aug 52
Here is a sketch of a "flying saucer" drawn from a description provided by Herbert Long, 29, of 340 Main St., Kutztown, who said he sighted the strange craft hovering over a field near Maxatawny Monday evening. Below, Long leans over the drawing board as LeRoy Gensler, Eagle staff cartoonist, draws the mystery craft from long's description. (Eagle Staff Photo).
Fleetwood Couple Sees Yellow Ball of Light in Sky Today
Fred Snyder Says The 'Thing' Headed Toward Kutztown
It almost seems like "flying saucers" are based somewhere in northeastern Berks County.
Early today two more residents of that area saw a strange object in the sky.
Latest observers were Fred Snyder, Fleetwood furniture man, and his wife, Nora, who reside at 118 Walnut St., Fleetwood.
Snyder said he arose shortly after 2 a.m. And looked out of the bedroom window "to see what the weather was like."
"As I looked into the skies I saw something moving. At first I thought it was a plane. I kept watching it," Snyder said, "but it was like a yellow ball of light -- like the light of a coal oil light. Then I knew it wasn’t an airplane.
"When it started to make a turn to the right, I called my wife who was sleeping. She came to the window and we watched it together. It made a wide right turn and headed into Kutztown. Our bedroom faces west and I saw this thing almost directly in front of me," Snyder said.
Snyder could not estimate its altitude or size, but said it was traveling "at a good rate of speed." Because it made the wide sweeping turn, Snyder said the "thing" was in view of his wife from three to four minutes.
Snyder said he could detect no noise from the "thing" in the sky although the bedroom windows were open. There was no auto traffic at the time and the night was still.
Continuous Glow Reported
Snyder, who is 65 years of age, said he often has seen falling stars, but what he observed last night was not one. The glow was continuous and not faltering like that of a falling star, he said.
Mrs. Snyder recited a story similar to that of her husband.
Neither of them said they were frightened.
Snyder observed: "If there are such things as flying saucers, I guess that was one of them. I never saw anything like it."
After the observations of Herbert Long, 29, Kutztown insurance salesman came to light yesterday, several more "saucer" viewers were found. Carol Hauch, 15, and Mary Kerr, 17, employes of the Kutztown swimming pool, said they saw a strange object zoom through the air between 1 and 2 p.m. Monday, several hours before Long, a resident of 340 Main St., Kutztown, said he saw a "saucer" hovering 15 feet above the earth near Maxatawny.
Long visited The Eagle office this morning to bring in a sketch of the strange craft he observed. he explained that between the bottom platform, which was of a light-colored metal and the dome, was a revolving ring with some sort of exhaust pipes protruding around the entire ring. This ring, which included the exhausts, was black. The dome, or crown, of the "saucer" also was made of a light-colored metal, he said.
Trail of Smoke Claimed
Long watched the "saucer" for about five minutes from a distance of about 30 feet, but he reported he was too scared to approach it any closer. As the revolving ring turned faster, the "saucer" took off, trailing black smoke.
On July 9, John Mittl, of Kutztown R.D. 1, took four pictures of a strange object in the sky." The pictures reveal a disk-like object, which defies identification.
A reporter, who talked to Brig. Gen. Lance Call, commander of the 112th Fighter Wing, at General Spaatz Field this morning said that his unit was not ordered to conduct an investigation. He declined personal comment.
Maj. Gen. Milton A. Reckard, adjutant general of Maryland, who came here for Maryland Governor's Day at the airport, joined in the discussion while waiting for the governor and observed: "I don't think people are imaging [sic] all these things." But he did not elaborate on his remarks.
Albert H. Early, chief of the air observers of Berks County Civil Defense Council, said none of the observers on duty in Berks has sighted any "saucers" or unidentifiable aircraft.
Stilwell, Oklahoma Democrat Journal - 28 Aug 52
"Flying Saucer" Is Spotted by Westville Couple
An unusual object was seen in the sky by Westville residents Monday night.
Mr. and Mrs. T.E. Harrell of Westville were returning to their home a few minutes past midnight Monday and had just been talking of the stories they had been reading and hearing about flying saucers when they sighted a glowing red ball in the sky. It appeared to be quite high in the sky and seemed to be motionless at first, they said, and it seemed to suddenly drop or rise at will and move about very rapidly.
The Harrells stopped their car and turned the lights and motor off to see if they could hear any noise form the object. They could hear no noise, they said, but continued to watch the ball of fire or "flying saucer" some four or five minutes as it bounced and flew about the sky.
Until last night the Harrells reported they hadn't heard of anyone else in the vicinity who had seen the "flying saucer" Monday night.
Mrs. Harrell said that every time she steps out of the house after dark now she looks for "flying saucers," but hasn't sighted any new saucers since Monday night.
Mr. Harrell is employed by the Peoples Bank, and Mrs. Harrell is an employe of the Westville post office.
Albuquerque, New Mexico Journal - 27 Aug 52
Disc Observer Claims Saucers Secret Weapon
Dr. Lincoln LaPaz's testimony in the Sept. 10 issue of People Today magazine that "flying saucers" are earth-made missiles was upheld Monday by deductions of a saucer observer.
Charles Kowall, 710 Lead Ave. SW, who has seen a group of "flying discs" on five different occasions; has decided that because Air Force officers haven't contacted him about his observations they "know all about saucers."
"Or," he adds, "they are instructed not to do any investigating."
In his article, LaPaz, head of the Institute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico, says about the same thing:
"Compare the-saucers with the atomic bomb. If someone had asked a Manhattan Project official for an explanation of the brilliant mushroom of light at Alamogordo, he would have received a blank stare and been told that no such thing ever happened."
The weekly magazine set forth the belief the saucers are guided missiles fathered by both the U.S and Russian governments.
Kowall, formerly a British Air Force observer, feels about the same way since he has seen a formation of "saucers" fly through the night sky five times, the last time on Sunday.
Again, the formation of discs flew above the clouds from south to north about 65-70 degrees up from the horizon and were in view some 10 seconds. The time was 9:27 p.m., within a few minutes of the other three observations this month and one July 21.
On Friday night, Steve Bennett, 202 Wildwood Ln. SW, and some companions reported they saw a glowing white object shaped like a boomerang fly first east from the center of the sky, disappear, then a few minutes later cruise in a circle almost straight overhead, and disappear again.
"These things are no secret to the Air Force," Kowall asserted, "but they are to me; so, since the officials won't tell me about them, I'm going to try to find out about them myself."
This week, he said he is going to plot the position of the objects with a compass at his home, then the next time he sees them he will note the compass reading from several miles away from his house.
With this as a start, he hopes to be able to estimate the altitude and possibly the size and speed of the discs.
Albuquerque, New Mexico Journal - 27 Aug 52
Huge Plastic Balloon Floating Across Nation
TILLAMOOK, Ore., Aug. 26 -- A huge plastic balloon was cruising across country at 35,000 feet today after being launched at this Oregon, coastal town.
A group of scientists employed by General Mills launched the balloon despite foul weather. The balloon carried special instruments designed to study high-altitude radio wave characteristics.
This is the first balloon to be released during the current experiment. In the past similar balloons have been blamed for many flying saucer reports in the Pacific Northwest. Five more balloons will be released in the next few weeks in these tests being conducted for the Navy.
Holland, Michigan Evening Sentinel - 27 Aug 52
Belling The Saucers
The Washington Star, in a copyrighted article, adds details of how the Army Research Laboratory at Fort Belvoir, Va., has synthesized the "flying saucers" that have been plaguing the nation's capital and many other areas in the nation since 1947.
Scientists simulated the atmosphere from the earth's skin out to the stratosphere by using a vacuum bell 18 inches across and approximately three feet high. First they took most of the air out of the bell, matching the pressure believed to exist at an altitude of 200 miles. Then they fed into this near vacuum static electricity to get the conditions which are probably present as a result of this summer's scorching heat.
Feeding small quantities of cool air into the bell produced some hair raising results. An orange colored globe appeared and floated up toward the top of the bell. At times it had a bluish halo around its base. By employing their imagination, eye witnesses said, they could see a space ship being propelled by a purplish jet exhaust.
But that wasn't all. From time to time "strings of orange marbles" ran across the base, then floated up to the top, darting erratically but almost always in formation.
The experimenters said the physical principle involved was an old one, but that this synthetic production of "saucers" was brand new.
Belling the saucers, as the Army engineers have done, bolsters the case of those who have been applying cold, scientific logic as a compress to the public's fevered brow. Now if they could only introduce miniature jet interceptors into the bell it would cause considerable happiness among pilots at various air bases who have been following a night owl routine lately.
-- Niles Daily Star.
Rocky Mount, North Carolina Evening Telegram - 27 Aug 52
Professor On Saucers
While it is possible that intelligent beings do exist on earth-like planets in other solar systems, the chances that such beings would have anything to do with the "flying saucer" phenomena are virtually zero. In fact, there is no reason to believe that "flying saucer" phenomena are extra-terrestrial.
These are the opinions expressed recently by an internationally renowned astronomer, Dr. Otto Struve, of the University of California.
We like to read what astronomers have to say because we feel that perhaps a lot of things have been happening since we last studied about astronomy and one of these days many questions are going to need answers if somebody suddenly takes off for the moon or something. Dr. Struve's observations, furnished in an interview with Science Service, help to fill in some of the gaps in the average person's knowledge of astronomy. As far as the "flying saucer" idea is concerned. Dr. Struve points out that the "green fireball" type of objects undoubtedly are ordinary meteorites.
As for the shining objects, or lights, Dr. Struve said these must be attributed to some ordinary physical phenomena, either produced artificially by man or explainable in terms of ordinary laws of physics. One possible explanation, proposed by Prof. D. H. Menzel, of Harvard, is temperature inversion in the case of ordinary visible light.
Dr. Struve discounted the idea that the "flying saucers" may be directed by an intelligence that somehow surpasses the intelligence of man and, moreover, is capable of violating some of the fundamental rules of science and mechanics.
He pointed out that evidence is very strong that no planet in the solar system besides the earth is capable of supporting intelligent life. Lichens, a primitive form of life, might exist on Mars; but it is improbable that higher forms exist.
If we go beyond the solar system, Dr. Struve said, we may find earth-like planets in other star systems within the galaxy. From a statistical knowledge of the universe, the scientist said that roughly 1,000 planets may exist in the depths of space which could support life. These planets would be, like the earth, satellites of stars similar to our sun.
Even so, the vast distances in the universe and the laws of science rule against any possibility that there might be communication between the earth and these hypothetical intelligent beings.
The average distance of a star, for example, is about 50,000 light years (one light year is nearly 6,000 billion miles).
"Thus," Dr. Struve said, "we receive now the light of the stars, possessing one of these planets, which left its source 50,000 years ago and, conversely, any intelligent beings on such an average galactic planet would see the sun, and (if they possess adequate instruments) the earth as it was 50,000 years ago.
"We see at once how erroneous are the speculations of those who believe that the visitors from another planet might have chosen this particular time to send their flying saucers to the earth because they were aware of the sad state of affairs in the community of nations of the earth.
"If they have any knowledge of human beings, they would be aware now of the type of human beings that populated the earth at the time of the Neanderthal man. Chances are that they would be completely disinterested in what the Neanderthal man was doing or thinking.
"Thus to an astronomer, the evidence of the flying saucers appears to be completely negative. Nevertheless, as astronomers, we are not primarily concerned with the question of flying saucers, and to us it should be a source of inspiration that science now favors the belief that within our galaxy there must be thousands of planets that now support life that is not too different from the kind we observe on the earth."
New Castle, Pennsylvania News - 27 Aug 52
Flying Saucers Only Imaginary Professor Says
ST. LOUIS. Aug. 27 -- Astronomer Roy K. Marshall believes those so-called flying saucers people have been seeing lately are strictly the figment of their imagination.
The noted television science professor spoke at a get-acquainted dinner of some 1,200 Ford parts dealers in St. Louis last night.
He noted that it's "flying saucers" now while back in the 12th and 13th centuries, it was "flying dragons."
Both, Marshall indicated, are strictly imaginary.
The former director of the Fels Planetarium in Philadelphia said he believed that sometimes those "flying saucers" spotted by airplane pilots are actually only the half moon.
Hamilton, Ohio Daily News Journal - 27 Aug 52
Former Journal-News Staffer Gets Low Down On Flying Saucers From Expert On Rockets
By BILL BUNGE
(Former Member of The Journal-News Editorial Staff).
MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. -- "I don't doubt the veracity of the statements made by hundreds of people who saw or thought they saw flying saucers. And based on my past experience in the rocket and aircraft power plant fields, such a device could be designed whose operation would be feasible."
That is what Lovell Lawrence Jr., says about flying saucers. Lawrence is a past president of the American Rocket Society, and now a member of the society advisory board.
In 1945 he left private industry to investigate rocket and missile development in Germany for the Navy, and in 1949 attended the London missile conference. Lawrence also holds the Robert H. Goddard medal of the rocket society.
"However," Lawrence continued, "I don't know that our advancement in nuclear science is far enough along to produce such a thing as flying saucers. But if they do exist I doubt if they come from outer space."
He also said they would not necessarily have to be a self-contained unit.
Lawrence probably is the only expert to come up with a theory on how these saucers could be propelled.
"Assuming that there are such things, there could be several ways in which they could be propelled," Lawrence said, but here are perhaps the best possible three:
"1 -- Nuclear energy, not relying on or getting power from the atmosphere."
"2 -- Some form or jet propulsion, self-contained power as in a rocket."
"3 -- The fantastic idea of an electronic beam -- light beam."
Of the three, Lawrence said the third is most doubtful "because if this were true the objects wouldn't come so close to the earth as to be seen by people, even though a light beam could produce reactive force."
Lawrence pointed out that, the saucers have appeared over a number of our military proving grounds, especially rocket and missile test bases and airfields.
"It seems to me," he said, "that if someone were sending these objects out to gather data or to attract, attention they or it would send them over places where people gather, like a New York railroad station or airfield."
Can't Explain Some
Lawrence reasoned that "there actually could be something to this saucer thing, since 20 per cent of the objects can't be explained. If this percentage amounted to around only two we could discount them and forget that anybody saw anything."
There also could be a device not using air for lift or motion, he said. Up to now flight has been based on aircraft using air as a means of lift.
However, lately we have realized, Lawrence said, that the power plant is the thing that does the work. "The flying vehicle of tomorrow probably will rely on motive force entirely," he said.
Lawrence added: "If some intelligence has a device like a flying saucer, let's hope that he or it is a friend."
Phoenix, Arizona Republic - 27 Aug 52
Flying Saucer Queries Issued
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 26 -- The U.S. Air Force has issued a standard report form for flying saucer spotters.
Containing 25 questions, the form is in four sections: "brief description of object or objects"; "time of observing object"; "manner of observation" and "location of observer."
It is to be used as a basis for possible follow-ups by air intelligence.
Among the questions on the report form are the following: shape, size, color, number, formation, aerodynamic features, condensation trail or exhaust, propulsion type, approximate speed, sound, maneuvers executed, manner of disappearance, unusual features, location of observer, time of sighting, duration of sighting, approximate distance, altitude and direction from observer, direction traveled, weather conditions and air traffic at the time.
A final question: "Did you get any photographs -- or fragments?"
An average of four flying saucer reports is received every day by the main U.S. air intelligence center near Los Angeles.
AUGUST 28, 1952:
Oakland, California Tribune - 28 Aug 52
Here is a view or the Gloster Javelin, Britain's newest jet flying triangle, described as faster than sound and "the most effective fighter in the world." The plane is the first twin-engined fighter of triangle wing design. It can operate in any weather, day or night.
Albuquerque, New Mexico Tribune - 28 Aug 52
Secretary Pace Spoofs Flying Saucer Stories
NEW YORK -- The Secretary of the Army, Frank Pace, says he thinks flying saucers "are products of the imagination."
"I think we have enough real problems to worry about without conjuring up imaginary ones," Pace said on a television program last night.
Albuquerque, New Mexico Tribune - 27 Aug 52
'Seeing' Saucers vs. 'Believing'
By David Dietz
Scripps-Howard Science Editor
It is dangerous to apply the old adage that "seeing is believing" to flying saucers. It is far safer to assume that things are not what they seem.
Experts of the U.S. Air Force, meteorologists, and psychologists unite in the opinion that 80 per cent of all flying saucer reports can be brushed aside as mere cases of mistaken identity.
Meteors or "shooting stars," the trails of jet planes, searchlights on clouds, reflections of sunlight from planes, the running lights of planes at night, birds, and even scraps of paper floating in the breeze, have turned out to be the basis of hundreds of flying saucer reports.
Balloons Go High
Balloons carrying meteorological instruments sent aloft by the U.S. Weather Bureau or various university laboratories have been responsible for many reports. These balloons reach immense heights. They are often sent up in clusters tied together with a line. At night the balloons carry lights so that they can be followed with theodolites.
Many of the reports of flying saucers moving in formation have been traced to these balloons.
Bright planets have been mistaken for flying saucers. Fantastic as it seems, there have been cases of airplane pilots taking off in pursuit of Jupiter or Venus.
However, when all such incidents have been ruled out the task remains of explaining the 20 per cent of the reports that do not fall into the category of mistaken identity.
But here again it would be a serious error to assume that things are what they seem.
A lot of emphasis has been placed upon the fact that many of these reports were made by airplane pilots who are trained observers.
The reports of such persons as to the exact appearance of what they saw can be extremely valuable. But it is a mistake to assume that their judgment as to size, distance, and speed of the object can be taken at face value.
These pilots can make excellent estimates of the distance and speed of planes because they start with a knowledge of the true size of planes.
Their judgment of how far away a mysterious object is or how fast it is moving will be influenced by their subconscious assumption that its size is comparable to that of an airplane.
Let us suppose that a fairly small object is moving with moderate speed across the line of sight. If the assumption is made that it is a large object, the judgment will then be that it is much farther away and moving much faster.
Rocky Mount, North Carolina Evening Telegram - 28 Aug 52
Invention May Show Cause Of Saucers; Patent Is Issued
By WADSWORTH LIKELY
Science Service Staff Writer
WASHINGTON -- An instrument which might be of help in tracking down the cause of some "flying saucers" received a patent this week.
While the inventor does not mention flying saucers in his patent, his instrument is designed to measure heights and thicknesses of layers, strata or discontinuities in the atmosphere. The reflective and bending qualities of these weather phenomena have been blamed by some authorities for the appearances of flying saucers, both to the naked eye and on the radar screen.
The inventor is George W. Gilman, Summit, N.J., and he received patent number 2,606,443 which is assigned to the Bell Telephone Laboratories, New York. This was one of 716 patents issued this week.
Mr. Gilman points out that changes in temperature, moisture content and density give rise to a variation in the propagation characteristics for compressional waves and brings about a compressional wave discontinuity which brings about reflections of these waves.
He mounts a loudspeaker for sending out compressional waves in vertical beams toward the sky. A compressional wave receiver catches the reflections from the sky and instruments measure them.
Rocky Mount, North Carolina Evening Telegram - 28 Aug 52
Tom Easterling Sees 'Saucer'
Tommy Easterling, son of Mr. and Mrs. T.R. Easterling of Rocky Mount, has joined the ranks or "flying saucer" witnesses.
Easterling, operator of the control tower at the Greensboro-High Point airport, made "visual contact" with a strange object from the tower in which he was working about 1:30 Tuesday night.
His attention was called to the "vari-colored and bright" object by a Greensboro family who had seen it traveling slowly near the horizon to the northwest of Greensboro.
"It flickered as a flame and in succession turned orange, red blue, green and white." That was the report received by Easterling.
Using a telescope, he obtained a fix on the object, which he described as being about three degrees above the horizon.
He and other control tower personal watched the object for about an hour before it faded out of sight.
Panama City, Florida News-Herald - 28 Aug 52
Scoutmaster Intends to Make Money Out of 'Saucer' Story
WEST PALM BEACH -- A Scoutmaster who intends to make some money out of his story of being attacked by a flying saucer refused any further interviews today -- but several other persons were ready to talk.
The Scoutmaster, "Sonny" Desvergers, a hardware salesman, conceded he was free so far as military authorities are concerned, to tell all about his experiences the night of Aug. 19.
That was the night, he claims, when a strange object hovered over his head in a wooded area and fired a "ball of fire" which knocked him out for a few minutes.
Today back at work in the hardware store, Desvergers told the Associated Pres on telephone, "I've had a couple of offers from magazines and feel I can make a little money out of this. That's why I want to keep quiet."
Desvergers told the West Palm Beach Post-Times that he already had started writing his account of the incident.
Less reticent however, were:
1. Three Boy Scouts who waited in Desvergers' auto while he went to investigate strange lights they saw. All three said they saw bright lights in the area -- some 300 yards from the car -- when Desvergers said he was attacked.
2. An employe at the West Palm Beach International Airport and his wife who told of seeing a strange silvery object in the sky on the morning of Aug 20 -- nine or 10 hours after the Scoutmaster's experience -- at a point some 14 miles north of spot which Desvergers claimed as the site of his ball-of-fire knockout. The couple, Mr. and Mrs. S.W. Carroll, said the silvery object was "shaped like a raindrop flying sideways with the heavy end down and the pointed end pointing up a little."
3. Persons at Belle Glade, 40 miles west of West Palm Beach, gave belated reports of seeing strange objects in the skies, on the night of Desvergers' experience.
The three Boy Scouts who accompanied Desvergers were Bob Ruffing, 12; Charles Stevens, 11; and David Rowan, 11. They agreed on these points:
They were riding in Desvergers' car on a country road known locally as Military Trail after a Scout meeting the night of Aug. 19. The Scoutmaster stopped the car and got out to investigate when he and two of the boys saw a light. Then they drove on.
They had gone less than a half mile when two of the boys, looking back, saw lights again. Young Stevens said he observed several white lights in an elliptical pattern which went out and reappeared as red lights.
Young Ruffing also saw something, but he described it as "white lights in a straight line eight feet off the ground."
The Scoutmaster drove back to the spot where the lights were first observed. He instructed the boys to go for help if he failed to return in 10 minutes, then entered the woods carrying two flashlights and a machete.
Ruffing gave this version of what followed:
"I could see about the top half of his (Desvergers) body. Then the beam of his flashlight pointed up and reflected back on him like it had shined on a mirror. Then a reddish white ball of fire like a Roman candle came down toward him from the sky. Then he fell down and disappeared.
"The flashlight fell too. The ball hit the ground and bounced twice and I saw a reddish mist shaped like a disc floating up above where Sonny fell. There wasn't any sound at all."
The Stevens boy said he saw the same "Roman candle" effect but did not see Desvergers.
Young Rowan said he saw "bright red lights like railroad flares." He added: "They made a crackling sound like popcorn popping." And he said he saw some flares again from the vicinity as the boys left the scene to telephone the sheriff's office.
Doylestown, Pennsylvania Daily Intelligencer - 28 Aug 52
'Flying Saucers' Reported Hovering Over Kutztown
Kutztown. Aug. 28 -- Two residents of this area have reported unusual experiences with flying saucers. One witness declared that he saw a saucer-like object dropped from a large jet plane while another reported he saw a saucer in front of his car on the road.
Harry Feinauer, 43, of Birdsboro, a veteran of World War II, employed at the Reading airport, said he saw a four engine jet plane release a "saucer" over Birdsboro.
"At first I thought the wing had fallen off the plane." he said. "The small object was the shape of a clam and the color of aluminum. It must have dropped several hundred feet before it zig-zagged sharply and turned Northwest. The plane continued flying from East to West."
The incident occurred at 8 a.m. Monday, just twelve hours before Herbert Long, 29, of Kutztown, came upon a saucer hovering 15 feet off the ground along the Allentown pike near Maxatawny.
Long reported that the saucer-like object hovered motionless above the ground for about five minutes and by that time he was "too darned scared to approach it any closer."
He described the object as being 25 feet in diameter, resembling a "large serving tray with color."
The object contained windows and portholes in the crown of the saucer, he said. He also reported detecting "some signs of activity or movement" within the object. Before the object took off, the Army Medical Corps veteran of the Second World War said there appeared to be an "antenna-like object" extending from the top of the dome of the saucer.
So far six other witnesses have reported seeing flying saucers in the area on Monday.
Titusville, Pennsylvania Herald - 28 Aug 52
Youth Reports Seeing Strange Object Hover
An 18-year-old youth who lives just beyond the Central Avenue Extension reported to The Herald that at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday he saw what appeared to be a flying saucer hover within three feet of the top of the billboards at Second Bridge.
Wallace Weatherby, son of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Weatherby, said he saw the object, about 10 or 12 feet across with an airplane-like hood, swoop down and hover over the billboards. He added he could not see it very plainly. A few moments later some cars came along Route 27 and the object appeared to take off rapidly, with no noise or vapor or flame. His sister, Karen, also saw the object, he said.
Greenville, Pennsylvania Record Argus - 28 Aug 52
First appearance of flying saucers over the Grove City-Mercer area were noted recently when an Amsterdam couple sighted the objects in the wake of an airplane.
Mrs. Martin Uber, Mercer R.D. 2, was watching the flight of the plane when she noticed two white, silvery objects circling oddly in the sky behind the aircraft. Calling her husband, Mrs. Uber showed him the location of the discs.
According to the couple, the "saucers" made eccentric circles with sharp turns and appeared to hover at times. They stated that the objects resembled "white chicken feathers" and seemed to gain altitude with one preceding the other.
Eventually the discs disappeared in the southern sky.
Lebanon, Pennsylvania Daily News - 27 Aug 52
Strange Light Spotted Over Fredericksburg
A strange oblong object was spotted, circling the sky, above Fredericksburg last night by Peter Baal, local jeweler, who maintains a store at 31 North Eighth Street.
Baal, a resident on a farm north of Fredericksburg, said he spotted the light at about 11 p.m. while he was driving his cows out of the orchard and into the lane on his farm.
He said he watched the light for a short time and then went into the house to call his daughter. When they returned, he said, the light was gone.
"At first," he declared, "I thought it was a searchlight, but when I did not see a beam I became curious as to what it was." The sky, he said, was very clear and a beam would have been visible.
He pointed out that he is not dreaming up a flying saucer, and docs not think they exist, but he thinks whatever he saw last night was extremely peculiar. The light he said did travel in a circle but not always at the same height.
No further clues have been found today as to what the apparition might have been.
Cambridge City, Indiana National Road Traveler - 28 Aug 52
Red And Green Saucer Hovers Over Cambridge City
A "flying saucer" that hovered a low altitude over Cambridge City before climbing high in the sky was described Monday by Mrs. John McGuire, who watched the object for 45 minutes with her husband Sunday night.
"I never thought I would see such a thing, but I can say I have seen what other folks are reporting they have seen," Mrs. McGuire said.
She said the "light" first looked like a roof fire. The egg-shaped object appeared to be red and green. She and her husband watched it from 10 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.
As the object climbed higher and higher, it traveled on a straight northeasterly course, "veering only slightly from side to side."
Mrs. McGuire's attention to the strange object was attracted first when she went to the kitchen of her breezeway addition home to get a glass of milk. Looking out the kitchen window she said she "saw a flame near Riverside Cemetery."
"It seemed to be standing still and I first thought it was a house on fire. It moved west across the cemetery just above the treetops, it seemed.
"I called my husband from the living room. He went outside to listen for a noise. Everything was quiet. It wasn't an airplane.
"Every so often there would be a flash of light between the green at the bottom and the red at the top. The red part looked like a parachute.
"We watched it through field glasses until it climbed so high it looked like an ordinary star.
"Without a doubt, we saw whatever other folks are seeing."
North Bay, Canada Daily Nugget - 28 Aug 52
Saw Glowing "Saucer" In Field Taking Off
WINDSOR, Ont. -- A Windsor man told today of seeing a luminous disc-shaped "object" 30 feet in diameter in a field south of this city.
Gabriel Durocher said he was walking home about 1:30 a.m. when he saw the object in the field. "It was sort of blue all over and glowed like phosphorus."
He ran to within 30 feet of the object and "started yelling at it," he said.
"Then I saw these sparks come out of one part of the sides. They were blue and yellow and red. The saucer started spinning and there was a sort of blue mist formed under it and it went straight up and away."
Four other persons said they saw "something" hovering over that area of the city where Gabriel said he saw his object.
Sydney, Australia Morning Herald - 27 Aug 52
"Flying Saucer" Was Probably A Balloon
Many people thought they saw a flying saucer over Sydney between 10 a.m. and midday yesterday, but investigation showed, with reasonable certainty, that the object was a weather balloon.
First of many reports was that detectives and staff at the C.I.B building had seen a large white disc float across the sky about midday.
Detectives said later that the object could have been a "strip of film" being blown through the air.
Two officers attached to Central District Ambulance also reported seeing the object.
Mr. J.H. Taylor of, Miowera Road, Turramurra, also saw the object. He said last night:
"During the war I was in the Meteorological Office in England and I used to send half a dozen balloons up a day. I ought to know a balloon when I see one, you would think. This was a balloon. Flying saucer, my eye."
The Weather Bureau said last night that a "met-balloon" had been released by the radio physics laboratory at the University at 9.16 a.m.
The balloon would have travelled over the city as it climbed to 65,000 feet.
It would take about two hours to reach this height. So it could have been seen over the city between 10 o'clock and midday.
Mr. Lindsay McCready, spokesman for the Radio Physics Laboratory, said last night: "For the last six months we have been sending up silver-coated balloons almost every morning between 10 and 11 o'clock to measure wind velocities at high altitudes.
"We track the balloon by radar.
"These balloons are about 6 feet in diameter when they commence their flights and expand to about 30 feet when they reach heights of 80,000 feet. They do not look any larger, however."
Racine, Wisconsin Journal Times - 28 Aug 52
Listeners Believe 'Saucer' Fiction
MENOMONIE. Wis. -- Radio Station WMNE went on the air to explain that its flying saucer broadcast Wednesday night was only make believe.
The broadcast Wednesday night, staged by program director Douglas Weikle, was tagged as fiction before and after the 15-minute "conversation" supposedly between a ham operator and flying saucer men.
"We expected some reaction, but nothing like what happened," Weikle said. He estimated about 400 calls came into the studio shortly after the program. Some callers were highly excited, others were seeking more information, and some were openly skeptical.
"You've been reading too many comic books," one caller told Weikle.
The flying saucer men were supposed to be bringing the arts of peace to this world. The station explained today that it was only a publicity stunt to bring attention to a local fair.
Lowell, Massachusetts Sun - 28 Aug 52
The science fiction magazines are happy over all the recent flying saucer stories in the newspapers. Their sales have zoomed as a result...
Long Beach, California Press-Telegram - 28 Aug 52
Beach Combing with Malcolm Epley
A MOTHER writes that her little daughter is terrified by flying saucer stories. After hearing news reports about saucers, she takes some little weapon to bed with her to protect herself from the men from another world or whoever is supposed to be flying around on whirling discs.
What disgusts the mother -- and some of the rest of us -- is that a lot of these saucer reports are based on things that are easily explainable as natural phenomena or orthodox objects. It seems too bad, she says, that a lot is made out of nothing and little kids are scared by it.
Things have happened so fast in the modern world that people are willing to believe almost anything. But an official agency, the U.S. Air Force, has undertaken to investigate all saucer reports, and it is fair to assume that, if and when (and that's a mighty big if and when) the Air Force ascertains that there are really some mysterious objects flying around, it will so state. That ought to be enough.
BUT that doesn't help the woman's little girl, who can not be expected to reason such things out. The saucer reports make news, and it probably would be impossible to shut them out of the news.
I don't know this little girl, but I have a hunch, based on personal experience, that if she wasn't scared by saucer talk, she might find something else that would frighten her.
There may be those who will be a little doubtful, but your columnist thinks he was a normal child. As I remember, I worked pretty hard, when about 10 years old, to dig up things to be scared about. For a time I was afraid there was somebody under our house, and when I wore that one out, I got myself frightened by some ghosts in the attic.
I didn't tell anybody about those things. If I had, my father would probably have taken me into the attic and under the house and disposed of the issue then and there.
I think it is encouraging that the little girl in question has revealed her fears to her mother. That gives the opening for explaining to the youngster that flying saucers can be airplanes flashing in the sunlight, or weather balloons, or blobs of light on clouds from searchlights and things like that. She might get the little gal interested in trying to figure out what ordinary thing it could be that is getting the grownups all excited.
That's the most constructive suggestion I can make in response to the serious question asked by the mother.
1. The People Today article featured in the "'Saucers' Claimed Real" will be covered further in a future post.
2. The assertion in "Take Planet Venus For Flying Saucer" appears to be a bit of journalistic license, as there were no known reports to which it applied. There were reports from 70 miles east occurring three days before the article, of five objects seen in the morning and a further two in a separate sighting that afternoon. The second report was made by Lieut. Col. William W. Spruance of the Delaware air national guard.
3. The same day as the reported sighting by Herbert Long told in the articles "Kutztown Veteran, Two Girls Report 'Hovering" Saucer'" and "Fleetwood Couple Sees Yellow Ball of Light in Sky Today" a reported sighting of a 75-foot wide object hovering above a field was made by William Squyres -- 1043 miles west of Long's reported sighting. Squyres report was investigated and evaluated as "unidentified" by Project Blue Book, but Herbert Long's report does not appear anywhere in Blue Book files.
4. The story of farmer John Mittl reported in "Fleetwood Couple Sees Yellow Ball of Light in Sky Today" appears in two different Blue Book files, one a letter from Mr. Little and completed Tentative Observers Questionnaire, the other a transcript of a short passage from a September 4, 1952 radio broadcast by Frank Edwards mentioning the photos. Available copies of the Blue Book files contain only poor reproductions of the photos. The photos themselves are referred to at the NICAP site as "case file includes three vague photographs." Selected Air Force documents may be viewed here. The incident was evaluated as "unidentified".
5. A March 19, 1992 article in the Lehigh Valley Morning Call included the following about John Mittl, presumably the same person reported in "Fleetwood Couple Sees Yellow Ball of Light in Sky Today"...
John Mittl, a Lehigh Valley-area UFO lecturer and astro-projectionist who claims to have had many first-hand sightings and has photographed numerous UFOs.
Mittl's first sightings were during the 1930s and '40s. At that time he believed UFOs were real "physical" ships from space.
"I was always looking for one that would crash. I was like everybody else until I began to think about it. Suppose it isn't physical? There were some things that didn't make sense to me."
For example: "UFOs going 50,000 mph and then making right-angle turns? That (beings inside) would be mush if it was physical ... but these things all fit into the spiritual world."
Mittl's theory about UFOs being spiritual manifestations was reinforced one night, he says, when he was sleeping and a man sporting very long hair appeared at the foot of his bed.
"The man with long hair said if I wanted to know the answer to flying saucers or the secret to them, I should move up to the Pinnacle (a Lenhartsville-area mountain in Berks County). I used to drive up there a lot. He said I should move up there.
"That's how I got this whole thing; when I came up here to the mountains, there were all kinds of experiences that went on."
Mittl, who claims to have had out-of-body experiences, did indeed live on the Pinnacle for a time.
"I found out after I did astral projection that there is no 'physical' ship," he said. "It's like finding the key; then everything fit in. Then you could apply everything to the spiritual. Nobody could ever tell me they're physical; I've had too many first-hand experiences."
6. Previous sightings of Charles Kowall mentioned in "Disc Observer Claims Saucers Secret Weapon" can be read in Part Eight and Part Twenty-Nine of this series.
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