in the news 1952
Scene from "Destination Moon", 1950. 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...
SEPTEMBER 10, 1952:
Rocky Mount, North Carolina Evening Telegram 10 Sep 52
Flying Saucer Explanations
CHAPEL HILL -- As a result of widespread public interest in mysterious objects reported seen in the skies during the last five years, the new show, "Flying Saucers," was presented in the Morehead Planetarium at the University of North Carolina last night (Tuesday). The performance will continue through October 8.
A.F. Jenzano, manager of the Planetarium, says the new presentation comes in response to many inquiries into the stories printed in newspapers concerning "flying saucers."
In this presentation, the astronomical and physical phenomena, which have provided plausible explanation to many 'saucer' reports, are taken into account. Special effects designed to reproduce such phenomena are being used throughout the performance.
The shows will be presented daily at 8:30 p.m., on Saturdays at 3, 4, and 8:30 p.m., and on Sundays at 2, 3, 4, and 8:30.
Each adult visitor will receive a flying saucer "report sheet" to fill out and return, should he sight a heavenly apparition at some future date, Jenzano said.
A feature of the show is a transcribed interview by Ed Higgins of station WDNC, Durham, with Robert Oegner, Ronald Roy and Guy Davenport, all of Fort Bragg, who spotted and tracked a strange star-like object in the sky on August 13 of this year. Their story and several other narrations are included in each performance.
The principle used to create the fantastic light phenomena in a bell jar by Neal Scott, physicist at Fort Belvoir, Va., this year, is described during the performance with the visual aid of the Planetarium's 40-inch glass discharge tube conducting a potential of 4000 volts through its low pressure area to produce the ionization effect, Jenzano explained.
The show also includes an official helium-inflated weather balloon eight to 10 feet in diameter, supporting an aluminum foil radar tracking device, which is sent aloft in the Planetarium chamber at each performance.
Visitors will see an impressive array of meteors, a Bolide or "Fireball," a comet and reproduction of strange objects photographed by eye-witnesses in other parts of the country, Jenzano said.
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania Express - 10 Sep 52
Camera Snaps "Mystery Shot" When Flashlight Falls
This picture, snapped by Jack Widan, brother-in-law of Ira Council of this city, who is a staff photographer of The Philadelphia Bulletin, has been turned over to Air Force Intelligence officers working on the "flying saucer" phenomena. The lights appeared on a negative which should have been blank, for the flashbulb failed to explode when Mr. Widan aimed it high from a low position, as he photographed some tennis players in action at Mount Holly, N.J., where he also serves as a photographer for The Mount Holly Herald. (Herald Photo by Jack Widan).
Odd Lights Show Up on 'Blank' Film by Widan, AF Studies It
A Philadelphia photographer, whose wife has a brother and three sisters residing in Lock Haven and vicinity, snapped a picture last month which has aroused the interest of Air Force Intelligence and has been sent to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base at Dayton, O., the center for study of "flying saucer" phenomena.
Wife's Relatives Here
Mr. Widan, who is married to the former Esther Counsil, who has a brother, Ira, in this city, and four sisters in Mill Hall, Beach Creek and Blanchard, is a photographer for the Philadelphia Bulletin. He also does feature photography for the Mount Holly, N.M. Herald.
It was while making pictures of Mount Holly tennis players for The Herald
that he got the picture reproduced herewith, containing odd light formations which the photographer did not notice when he took the picture. He had pointed the camera upward from a low angle to take a flash picture, but the bulb did not explode. Ordinarily, in such circumstances, the film would have been blank. The shot was made about 7:45 p.m.
According to an article in The Herald, by George R. Thompson, the description of the picture, when phoned to Air Intelligence, brought an Air Force officer to The Herald office within two hours.
"The officer wanted to see the photograph. He wanted to see the place where the photograph was taken. He checked the area. He asked countless questions and went back to McGuire AFB with a perfunctory 'extremely interesting'. He told us nothing.
"He did say, however, that his office is 'swamped' with calls concerning 'lights, objects, saucers, images, balloons and parachutes -- everything but the kitchen sink.'
"He said Air Force bases along the entire eastern seaboard 'were in the same boat'. But he had no answers."
Mr. Thompson began his article with the statement:
"Before we write another word, let's get one thing straight -- we have not seen any flying saucers'."
Later, describing the technical side of the picture, he explained that "the photograph was made on an ultra-fast press type film on a new camera shortly before dusk. The exposure was 1/200 of a second at f16 -- calculated to admit only the tremendous amount of light of a flashbulb, which didn't fire. The negative should have been completely blank. But the images were there. They could only have been made by a series of brilliant 'lights' moving at tremendous speeds through the sky."
Mr. Thompson says the Air Force has requested more prints of Mr. Widan's picture, although giving out no more information. He adds that Mr. Widan, as one of the outstanding newspaper photographers in the area, holds a dozen or more first prizes for his safety pictures entered in local, state and national contests, and eight other press photography awards. His picture is being used this month as the cover on the New Jersey Press Association magazine.
Mrs. Widan's four sisters are Mrs. Edna Freeze of Mill Hall, Mrs. H.D. Lindsay and Mrs. Ralph Bowes of Beech Creek, and Mrs. Lulu Gardner of Blanchard.
SEPTEMBER 11, 1952:
Florence, South Carolina Morning News - 11 Sep 52
Real 'Saucers' Are Years And $-Billions Away
STUTTGART, Germany, Sept. 1 -- Take it from the rocket scientists who expect to fly to Mars some day -- flying saucers are not space ships from another planet.
Moreover, they said, it will take earthmen many more years of research and billions of dollars in expenditures before they can fly rockets into outer space.
These were the almost unanimous opinions of 20 scientists from 12 countries gathered for the Third International Astronautical Congress.
These are the men who firmly believe travel between planets is possible. It would seem that they, of all people, would be first to suspect a Martian hand in those unexplained things seen in the sky which have become known as flying saucers.
"Absolutely not," said the earthmen space scientists.
Most of the scientists here say "flying saucers" are perhaps nothing but optical or atmospheric illusions.
As for man flying into space, Dr. Helmut Krauser of Stuttgart reported that he had figured out how to control a man-made satellite if it could be hung 1,000 miles out in space to serve as a way-station for rockets enroute to another planet.
He covered a huge chart with figures showing how to keep it spinning on a safe course around the earth.
Others discussed the best ways to build rockets capable of flying thousands of miles through space.
Gordon V.E. Thompson, London metallurgist, predicted it would cost from two million to four million dollars for fuel alone for a single flight.
Penn Yan, Pennsylvania Chronicle Express - 11 Sep 52
Seen and Heard in Penn Yan and Vicinity
Flying saucers? Jets? Did anyone besides Richard Jayne of Indian Pines notice the two bright red discs, about five feet in diameter with a vapor trail behind them moving northeast, over that area about 9:30 p.m. Thursday?
El Paso, Texas Herald Post - 11 Sep 52
A Weather Bureau official said the "flying salami" reported seen over Miami, Fla., may have been the reflection of light on a small cloud. "It looked just like a small salami," Abe Friedman told the bureau. "I saw it through my binoculars."
Greeley, Colorado Daily Tribune - 11 Sep 52
Air Force Says Many Saucer Reports Are Still Unexplained
COLORADO SPRINGS -- An officer of the Air Defense Command said Wednesday that the Air Force has analyzed about 1,500 reports of flying saucers and about 20 per cent of these remain unexplained.
Col. William E. Persons Jr., ADC public information officer al Ent Air Force base here, said in a statement a large percentage of reports of mysterious objects could be attributed to patterns in the upper atmosphere.
He said none of these has been identified as a menace to the country.
After about 315 reported sightings had been investigated, Col. Persons said, the Air Force, with Army and Navy concurrence decided the majority of the reports "could he accounted for as misinterpretation various conventional objects."
"There remained. however, number of unexplained sightings," he said, "and the Air Force has continued its investigations in as much as it is an Air Force responsibility to identify and analyze serial phenomena that could possibly be a menace to the United States."
The Air Force is planning to provide additional equipment to help trained and experienced observers to study the reports.
Persons said in 1951, near Oak Ridge, Tenn., "two Air Force aircraft attempted to intercept an unidentified object and actually established a radar lock on the object."
The planes were at 7,000 feet.
"In each instance the pilots reported that their radar led them first upward and then down to a specific point on the ground," Persons said.
He said "no orders have been issued by the Air Defense Command to fire on unidentified aerial phenomena."
SEPTEMBER 12, 1952:
Kerrville, Texas Times 12 Sep 52
Edingtons Host To S.I. Faculty Thursday P.M. At President's Dinner
Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Edington were host to the faculty, their wives and invited guests of Schiemer Institute at the Presidents Dinner last evening.
President Edington spoke on "Education For Flying Saucers." He stressed the importance of Christian Education in our day as the best spiritual bulwark against flying saucers or any other unexplainable phenomena.
Flying saucers was the theme called out in the decorations of the dinner table and dining room. Waiters wore saucer hats that became animated with a [illegible] as they served.
Clearfield, Pennsylvania Progress - 12 Sep 52
Grassflat Man Says He Saw Flying Saucer
GRASSFLAT -- Adolph H. Olson of this place reports that he saw what he believes was a flying saucer Tuesday evening.
Mr. Olson, manager of the Grassflat Cooperative Association store, reports that he sighted the object in the sky while he was lying in a hammock in the back yard of his home about 7 p.m.
"I saw something silvery twirling around," he said. "It was very high and travelling in a northeasterly direction. The sun's rays hit it so that it was plainly visible."
Uniontown, Pennsylvania Evening Standard - 12 Sep 52
Flying Saucers Are Reported Over Hopwood
Flying saucers -- more eyes than two at 8:45 o'clock last night saw unusual lights in the Hopwood skies.
Mrs. Marie Cunningham, Brownfield, South Union township, reported seeing "unusual lights," and that other residents were also attracted by the display.
"The unusual white lights would go dim, then reappear in red and white hues and vanish again.
"We never saw anything like it before. I never saw a flying saucer, but it was a dazzling sight," she said.
Bismarck, North Dakota Tribune - 12 Sep 52
Beach Women See 'Saucer' Chase
BEACH -- Three Beach women are one up on the unusual [sic] flying saucer sighters.
The women were returning to Beach from Glendive, Mont., about 5 p.m., when they spotted a white, shiny long streak, going at terrific speed.
They also saw a dark colored airplane in pursuit.
Walla Walla, Washington Union Bulletin - 12 Sep 52
Fiery Object Seen in East
BALTIMORE -- A fiery object that streaked through the night sky with a "great greenish-white light" stirred "flying saucer" talk among residents of four states from Maryland to Tennessee last night.
Weather Bureau observers here saw the object but made no official report of it. One observer, who wished to remain anonymous, said it probably was a meteor.
The streak of fire first was reported over Baltimore shortly after dusk.
No blips showed on Washington area radar screens to record the object's passing.
Persons throughout Virginia saw what they variously described as "a big star," "a flying saucer" and something "like a flaming jet plane."
They said it ranged in color from pale yellow to greenish and reddish and was noiseless. It moved from east to west.
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche - 12 Sep 52
THE reported conclusion of scientists who attended the recent International Astronautical Congress in Stuttgart, Germany, that the so-called flying saucers are "optical illusions" is not likely to convince anyone that the explanation is correct.
Too many people -- scientists among them -- have observed mysterious objects in the sky to allow the supposition that all can be brushed aside as figments of the imagination. At least a few of the people who have reported observations of "saucers" unquestionably have seen something which cannot be explained as illusion, imagination or deception motivated by the desire for a little publicity.
The mystery as to what those objects are is as deep as ever, despite the reported opinion of those attending the astronautical congress. The only conclusion that elementary logic allows is that strange things have been seen in the sky -- and if anyone knows positively what they are, the information is a well-kept secret.
SEPTEMBER 13, 1952:
Chillicothe, Missouri Constitution-Tribune - 13 Sep 52
Science Group Feels Flying Saucers Still Are for Comic Books
LONDON, Sept. 13. -- The British Interplanetary Society said today you are more likely to see a flying saucer if you keep up with your comic book reading.
The society went into the whole subject in its September Journal. It said it could not buy any of the current flying saucer reports but conceded it would "rather like to believe that space ships were already flying in the neighborhood of the earth, even if they were not our own."
The society said it prepared to "retain an open mind, tinged with skepticism" until one of its members spotted a saucer. A few members have written in, however, saying the society would do well to avoid being too flippant on the subject.
According to the society, there is a possibility that some observers are "enjoying a large practical joke at the expense of their fellow men."
Newport, Rhode Island Daily News - 13 Sep 52
15 N.E. 'Saucers' Report Unsolved; More Sighted
Reports of unidentified flying objects in the New England area continue to reach the Air Force, but all but 15 have been explained to date, officials said today, the Daily News Washington bureau reports.
Most of the sightings of so-called "flying saucers" have been identified and disposed of as friendly aircraft erroneously reported, known electronic and meteorological phenomena, light aberrations, hoaxes and other known natural occurrences or man-made objects.
The 15 unexplained reports from New England are those which the Air Force says cannot definitely be associated with these familiar things."
The "unknowns" include two sightings in South Brooksville, Maine; one at Grenier Air Force Base, N.H.; one at Bellevue Hill, Vt., and one each at or near the following Massachusetts points: Bedford, Beverly, Boston-Provincetown, Cambridge, Cape Cod, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Milton, Teaticket, Vineyard, Haven and Westover Air Force Base, Chicopee Falls.
These are among, the 400 "unexplained" sightings out of 2,000 reports from all over the country which the Air Force has attempted to investigate and analyze since it first took official notice of the phenomena five years ago.
Letters continue to pour into the Pentagon from many parts of the country, some seeking information, others offering theories as to real nature of the aerial phenomena, and others criticizing the Air Force for "wasting" its time and money chasing after the "saucers."
Somehow, many persons have gotten the notion the Air Force has ordered its fighter units to fire on these objects. No such orders have been issued.
Traverse City, Michigan Record Eagle - 13 Sep 52
Queer Objects Cross Sky In Four States
Jittery Citizens Flood Phone Offices With Inquiries
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 13 -- Authorities sought an explanation today for the flurry of meteor-like objects sighted over four states that caused jittery citizens to report airplanes plunging from the skies in flames.
Residents of Washington, Pittsburgh, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio swamped telephone switch boards in police stations, newspaper and government offices last night with reports of "balls of fire" streaking through the heavens. In Washington, residents of the nation's capital feared they were in for another siege of "flying saucers."
Civil Aeronautics Administration officials at Wheeling, W. Va., Pittsburgh and Zanesville, O., were deluged with telephone calls reporting great numbers of aircraft plunging from the skies in flames.
Residents in Harrisburg, Va., reported a "cigar-shaped object trailing blue-green flame" streaked across the sky.
Three commercial pilots told the CAA that meteor-like objects flashed past their planes. One pilot said one nearly hit his ship.
Police in the "bombarded" states reported they were searching the countryside for some clue to the strange phenomenon. However, police officials said they believed the objects sighted were meteors.
A spokesman at the U.S. Naval observatory said the reports "sound like a typical meteor display."
Descriptions of the weird spectacle varied widely, but all witnesses agreed the blazing objects moved horizontally and zoomed "awfully low."
W.A. Garrison of West Liberty, W. Va., told the Wheeling Intelligencer newspaper that he sighted objects which resembled "Roman candles" at 8:06 p.m.
Mrs. Mary [Illegible] of McMechen, W. Va , reported an object which "appeared without noise and was spitting blue and white fire from one end."
The Ohio highway patrol reported calls from all over the eastern section of the state.
Pulaski, Virginia Southwest Times - 14 Sep 52
Flying Saucer' Seen Here Is Described As Meteorite
A "flying saucer," that turned out to be a meteorite, was seen by a good many Pulaskians Friday night around 7:05 o'clock.
Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Tate and E.G. Tice, were in the yard at the Tate residence, 1009 Prospect Avenue, when they saw a very bright flaming light streak across the sky. Mrs. Tate was the first to notice the light and called it to the attention of the others.
Seen At Ball Game
It was reported that several persons attending the Pulaski-Pearisburg football game saw the light. Others called the CAA station at Loving Airport wanting to know the origin of the strange missile. Different descriptions have been given as to the size, color and direction of the meteorite.
Mr. Tate stated it was a blue-white color and came very close.
At first he thought it was a jet plane trying to make a forced landing at the airport. It came from north to south, he said, and seemed to be coming into the runway at the local field. While they were watching it blazed up, sparks flying, and disappeared behind some trees.
Similar lights were reported seen throughout the state and at Washington, D.C.
Jack Norman, United States meteorologist at Woodrum Field, Roanoke, said it probably was a meteorite.
The meteorite "apparently was very close" when it burst, Norman said. By "very close" he meant "ten or 15 miles" from the earth.
Norman said meteorites usually come in showers, and it was likely that not all observers in the state Friday night saw the same one.
Winona, Minnesota Republican-Herald - 13 Sep 52
Fiery Baltimore Object Rekindles 'Saucer' Rumors
BALTIMORE -- A fiery object that streaked through the night sky with a "great greenish-white light" stirred "flying saucer" talk among residents of four states from Maryland to Tennessee last night.
Weather Bureau observers here saw the object but made no official report of it. One observer, who wished to remain anonymous, said it probably was a meteor.
The streak of fire first was reported over Baltimore shortly after dusk, about 8 p.m. EDT. In quick succession came reports from the west from Frederick, Hagerstown and Cumberland, Md., and Charleston, Wheeling and Parkersburg, W.Va.
Washington viewers flooded the Weather Bureau, Naval Observatory and even the Pentagon there with calls. No blips showed on Washington area radar screens to record the object's passing.
Persons throughout Virginia saw what they variously described as "a big star," "a flying saucer" and something "like a flaming jet plane." They said it ranged in color from pale yellow to greenish and reddish and was noiseless. It moved from east to west.
A ball of fire seen in the sky over Kingsport. Tenn., about the same time, set off a fruitless search for a wrecked plane. There were no reports of missing aircraft, but Tennessee highway patrolmen, the Kingsport lifesaving crew and several ambulances combed an area of about 15 square miles after an aerial object was reported to have struck the ground after streaking across the sky.
A spokesman at Tri-Cities Airport near Kingsport said the object had been identified as a meteor.
Operations personnel at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington put a similar label on it. And Naval Observatory officials said reports they received made it sound to them "like a typical meteor."
Reports of the size of the object ranged from "as big as a football" to "the size of a washtub."
The Civil Aeronautics Administration said its tower men in
Wheeling and Parkersburg saw the bright object and a pilot en
route to Wheeling from the east reported sighting it in the vicinity of Front Royal, Va.
Persons In Southwest Virginia saw at least three flashing objects that were described as meteors.
Uniontown, Pennsylvania Evening Standard - 13 Sep 52
Flying Saucers In District Once More
Reports Of Sighting The Discs Coming In From All Sections; Some Citizens Jittery
Flying saucers have again been reported over Fayette county with most persons who profess to have seen them setting the time yesterday at between 8 and 8:30 p.m.
Reports of sighting the "saucers" have streamed in from all corners of the county and surrounding district.
A call was received here this morning from Mrs. John Collins, Confluence road. She reported having seen what looked like a "ball of fire" about twice as long as it was wide fall near a neighbor's house.
At first, she stated, it looked like it was about to hit the house but as it neared the ground it seemed to go out.
Other reports received in Uniontown stated that the saucers were seen in Franklin township, Smithfield, from the Jumonville Methodist Training Center, Smock, Greensboro as well as Uniontown.
Another report received here this morning came from Mr. And Mrs. George Dodson, Bitner. They stated that while sitting on their front porch at shortly after 8 p.m. yesterday they saw a round light in the sky.
A call from Markleysburg by Mrs. Mary Myers revealed that her husband saw a bright light fall from the sky into the woods near their residence.
Connellsville, Pennsylvania Daily Courier - 13 Sep 52
South Connellsville, Ohiopyle Residents See "Flying Saucers"
The "flying saucers" hit Fayette county Friday evening.
A South Connellsville man and four Ohiopyle women reported spotting the "object."
Nick Redick, 65, of South Connellsville, said it was around 8 o'clock when he saw something that looked "like a big sun" that was going over the hill in the direction of Uniontown. Redick said he was sitting on the porch when he saw the "saucer" and called to his wife but "it" had disappeared when she got to the porch. He then inquired of a truck driver nearby who told him it was a "flying saucer."
"It was flying low and sort of fast, like a jet plane," said Redick. Mrs. Wanda Himinsky, Mrs. Lenora Fleming, Mrs. Inez Floming and Joyce Burnworth of Ohioplyle spotted the "saucer" a little after 8 o'clock as they were sitting on a porch.
"It was a big saucer with what looked like a string trail," Mrs. Hominsky said. "It looked like it was on fire. It was a flaming bright white. When we first saw it we thought it was going to land because it was flying so low. Then all of a sudden it shot upward and soon disappeared."
Mrs. Hominsky said the object was noiseless. It was circular, "shaped like a big saucer." It had a "whitish glow," she said. It disappeared in a southerly direction.
Pottstown, Pennsylvania Mercury - 13 Sep 52
Reported Plane Crash Is Just Another Meteor
It wasn't a flying saucer and it wasn't a burning plane that flashed across the sky to the southwest of Birdsboro about 8 o'clock last night -- it was nothing more than a particle of dust speeding through the atmosphere.
Dr. I.M. Levitt, director of Fels Planetarium in Philadelphia, said a meteor passed over the area at that time, lasting three seconds.
"A meteor is no bigger than a pea," Dr. Levitt said. "It is a small piece of dust that travels through the atmosphere with such velocity that it generates tremendous heat when it meets with resistance of the air and dust particles."
Mrs. Eva Hilbert, Monocacy, reported to The Mercury soon after she had seen the "flaming object" in the sky that she and her sister saw a burning airplane fall to the earth.
"I could see the outline of a plane," she said. "It looked like it was burning in the center and the flames were shooting back."
Dr. Levitt explained, "A meteor creates a brilliant ball of flame leaving behind it a long tail caused by burning dust particles."
Edward Rea, 738 Haycreek road, Birdsboro, saw the meteor but it didn't excite him.
"It looked like a comet to me," he said. "When I told my wife about it and I said to her, 'You watch in the papers tomorrow and you'll see all the reports of flying saucers.'"
Titusville, Pennsylvania Herald - 13 Sep 52
Hilltop Teen-agers See Flying Objects
Beverly Conler, 15, and Marilyn Waddell, 14, both of Pleasantville, reported to The Herald last evening that they saw a "flying saucer" at 8:15 p.m. while they were standing on a Pleasantville street corner.
Larry Sturgis, who also reported seeing the object, claimed it was of a greenish-silver color and streaked across their line of vision in about a half minute, almost touching the top of the buildings before it disappeared.
About 8:45 p.m. Larry reported seeing another object of the same color, but the second one was higher and farther away, disappearing in about a minute.
Sandusky, Ohio Register Star News - 13 Sep 52
Falling Meteor Startles Ohioans
COLUMBUS, Sept. 13 (INS) -- The State Highway Patrol said today its stations throughout Ohio were flooded with calls Friday night that a "burning plane" and "balls of fire were streaking" across the sky.
The mystery seemed cleared up, though, with statements from aerial experts of the Civil Aeronautics Administration that the spectators saw a falling meteor of great brilliance.
The same spectacle was reported by veteran sky watchers in Washington, D.C., West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Portsmouth, Ohio Times - 13 Sep 52
'Flying Saucer' Seen By Several Groups In County
A "flying saucer" caught the eyes of a number of Scioto County folk Friday night.
The "saucer" was believed to have been a reflection of some kind of light from the ground on a layer of heavy air up in the sky. Witnesses reported it dipped quickly toward the earth, lasting only about a second.
At least five residents on Route 335 three and a half miles north of Sciotoville saw the phenomenon. They were: Mrs. Irene Sieting; her son, John, and James, Carl and Harold Ray White.
Another couple, driving on U.S. Route 23 between Waverly and Piketon, saw the same bluish green light in the same location at the same time -- 7:15 p.m.
Portsmouth, Ohio Times - 13 Sep 52
Bright Flash In Sky Two Nights Seen At Seaman
SEAMAN -- A bright flash of light which appeared two nights in succession at approximately the same time and site, startled several Seaman residents this week.
Joseph Smittle, an employe of the Williams Cutlery Co., reported having spotted the strange "flash" between 6 and 7 p.m. Thursday over the Seaman school building in the southwestern part of town. He stated that at the same time he also heard a rumble, but was unable to spot any planes in the vicinity.
Mr. And Mrs. Wilbur Williams reported spotting the flash at approximately the same time Friday night. This time, the "flash" was east of the school, a short distance reported to have appeared southeast of the school, a short distance from the appearance of the first "flash" [sic, entire sentence]. Mrs. Joseph Smittle also reported having seen the second "flash." Mr. Williams is manager of Williams Cutlery Co., and is Civil Defense director at Seaman.
He announced that he had reported the strange "flashes" to Eugene Day of West Union, county Civil Defense director.
SEPTEMBER 14, 1952:
Council Bluffs, Iowa Nonpareil - 14 Sep 52
L.F. Drake . . . with wrecked remains of unexplained object -- Nonpareil Photo.
Could Be Flying Saucer, But Looks More Like Kite
A flying saucer might well be defined these days as any object, or part thereof, found any place where it should not normally be, composed of material not readily recognized, and the whole of which is not readily definable as anything else.
On this basis L.F. Drake, Route 3, reached the only logical conclusion when he came across the wrecked remains of an unexplained object in his pasture this past week. He brought it to town Saturday.
The object resembles a kite.
The material from which the object was constructed was a metallic foil substance.
Neighbors who observed the find are struck by the close likeness of this material to the aluminum foil paper rather widely used in the country. However, as Drake cautiously observed, "Who knows what it really is?"
Although severely damaged in striking the ground, a considerable portion of the object is still intact.
On several of these undamaged surfaces there appear a series of perforations which might be bullet holes, although again the skeptical say they could be holes punched by the stubs in Drake's pasture.
Since the object stands only about four feet high over-all, there is little or no conjecture that any Martian creatures could have accompanied the vehicle to pasture.
Drake knows only where he found it but not, as yet, what it is or how it got there.
Rocky Mount, North Carolina Evening Telegram - 14 Sep 52
Strange Sky Object Viewed By Many People In This Area
People all over this area saw the unusual fiery object that floated across the northern sky about 7 o'clock Friday night.
Most of them professed to believe that it was a meteor and they failed to pay much attention to the popular idea of flying saucers.
Howard F. Rinehart, who is associated with The Evening Telegram, said he saw the phenomenon quite plainly. Mitchell Russ, ACL fireman, said he saw it from the cab of his engine in the vicinity of Fayetteville. When he returned home to Rocky Mount his wife reported that she also had seen it. W.H, Stevens, the engineer, also a Rocky Mount resident, witnessed the spectacle with Russ.
Joe Newman, filling station attendant, said he saw the flaming object slowly wend its way across the sky. Several others in Rocky Mount also said they saw it. All agreed that it was moving from east to west and that it was almost as brilliant as the sun. Most said they thought it was of a bluish-greenish hue.
An Arcola farmer putting in hay was amazed but not excited when he witnessed what appeared to him to be "a bright meteor" at dusk dark Friday.
Residents of four states from Maryland to Tennessee viewed a fiery object as it streaked through a clear night sky, but descriptions were varied. Some identified the ball of fire as "a flying saucer," while others thought of it more as "a big star" or "a flaming jet plane."
George D. Hunter of Arcola said here Saturday afternoon it was sometime before 8 p.m. when he noticed the unusual object in the region of the North star. "It looked like it would have hit the ground in the northwest if it had reached that far."
Hunter said the object travelled slowly enough to enable him to call his father's attention to it. Hunter's son and two neighbors in the same distance field from the barn also witnessed the
streak of fire.
What did it look like?
"It was like a bright meteor -- brighter than any I've ever seen before. It was almost as wide as the moon when the moon's up in the sky and it was about five times as long. And it had a short tapered tall."
Hunter feels that he probably would have seen the light from the object even with his back turned. As it happened, however, he was looking directly at the object as it streaked towards the earth. Just as it went out of sight, some distance above the horizon, Hunter said there was a shower of sparks.
Arcola is located on NC 43 between Rocky Mount and Warrenton.
A weather bureau observer indicated the object was a meteor, although at Kingsport, Tenn., the fiery streak set off a fruitless search for a wrecked plane. Official observers at both military and civilian airports in four states expressed the belief that the object was a meteor.
Radar screens In Washington failed to pick up a blip to record the passing of the object.
Florence, South Carolina Morning News - 14 Sep 52
Meteor Hunt Today
Fifty-Ton Flaming Object Seen Falling Near City
A search by ground and air will begin this morning for remnants of a meteor believed to have fallen north of Florence last night.
The meteor, thought to be "four to five feet in diameter" and weighing possibly 50 tons, was reported to have fallen on farm land near the residence of Smith Barnes on the Douglas Street Extension.
The Civil Aeronautics Administration office here reported the meteor was observed in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Lumberton and Fort Bragg. A woman in Mars Bluff also reported having seen it.
Barnes said the object, first glowing red and then flaring brilliant white as it approached the ground, moved earthward at a 45 degree angle. It made no noise but lighted up sides of trees indicating it might have fallen in woods about 1000 feet from the Barnes home.
The highway patrol conducted an initial investigation but found nothing. The CAA spokesman said two local fliers, Freddie Huggins and [Illegible] Fowler, plan to conduct an air search today. The highway patrol and Barnes also will search afoot.
Long Beach, California Independent Press-Telegram - 14 Sep 52
Seven 'See Monster off Flying Disc'
SUTTON, W.Va. -- Seven persons reported, Saturday, seeing a 10-foot glowing "Frankenstein-like monster" which gave off a sickening metallic smell when they climbed a wooded hill in an isolated sector near here Friday night to investigate reports that a flying saucer had landed.
Mrs. Kathlyn [sic, should be Kathleen] May, of Flatwood [sic, should be Flatwoods], W. Va., said she and six members of the National Guard climbed a hill in back of town after her two small sons told her they had seen a bright object come down.
However, state police laughed the reports off as hysteria. They said the so-called monster had grown from seven to 17 feet in 24 hours.
Gene Lemon, a member of the National Guard, was leading the group up the hill when he said he saw what appeared to be a pair of bright eyes in a tree. He said he thought at first it was a "possum or a 'coon" but when he shone his light on it he saw a 10-foot monster with a "blood-red face and a green body that seemed to glow."
Mrs. May and the other persons in the group said Lemon let out a scream and fell over backwards. She said the monster, which appeared to be about four feet wide started toward them, moving with a floating, bouncing motion.
"There was an overpowering gaseous smell that burned my nostrils and made me sick," Mrs. May said. "Several of the party passed out and vomited for several hours after returning to town."
Both Mrs. May and Lemon described the thing as having the shape of a man, blood-red face, bright green body, protruding eyes, hands forward and seeming to give off an eerie light. They said it had a black shield affair in the shape of an ace of spades behind it and wore what looked like a pleated metallic skirt.
Lubbock, Texas Avalanche-Journal - 14 Sep 52
Fort Worth Worker Watches Flying Saucer For 20 Minutes
FORT WORTH. Sept. 13 -- W.K. Melver, a Convair worker, said he sighted a flying saucer shortly after 11 a.m. today.
Melver and two other men saw the circular object, which Melver described as being "greenish white and luminous."
He said they watched the strange object for 20 minutes. Most of the time it remained stationary but at times it would travel at a "tremendous speed" and then "stop on a dime." Several times it would turn over and "flip like a pancake," Melver said.
The Convair worker said he was familiar with all types of airplanes and he was positive it was not a plane nor a weather balloon.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa Gazette - 14 Sep 52
Saucer Trap Set To Catch Naval Laughs
NORFOLK, Va. -- Several officers attached to the Norfolk naval supply center put their tongues in their cheeks and announced they have installed flying saucer traps in the skies above Norfolk.
Cmdr. William F. Muller wants to capture a saucer soon so it will be available for display in the National Air museum in Washington -- when and if the museum is built.
Muller disclaims credit for the saucer traps. "Just as I do with any problem around here," he said, "I asked for beneficial suggestions."
And he got them.
Full details of the traps cannot be released for security reasons, the officers said.
However Lt. Cmdr. Glen Darst says the traps are nothing more "than an astral intertwining of supersonic electronic impulses strategically placed at likely spots on the most heavily traveled vapor trails.
"They are secured in place by magnesium sky hooks, fabricated from scrap aluminum alloys at no expense to the government. They may be left exposed to the weather for as long as 18 months without need for maintenance.
"The basic physics involved in developing the trap," Darst said, "was simple. It was simply a practical application of nuclear physics as applied to the hydrogenation of aerial reactors. The real problems were finding a bait for the trap and a means of extinguishing the saucer's fire tail, which a number of plumbers and postmen have reported is 400 feet long."
Cmdr. Kenneth M. Beyer has been assigned to inspect the traps regularly. The only inspection made so far, Beyer reported, disclosed nothing except that the vapor trails are in a bad state of repair and show little evidence of good housekeeping.
Salt Lake City, Utah Tribune - 14 Sep 52
by Louis Berg
This Week Movie Editor
The Martians are staging still another invasion of our groggy planet. But they've picked a new target -- they're landing smack in the movie capital
THANKS to a producer with the unlikely name of George M. Pal, Hollywood has finally caught up with the flying saucers. Mr. Pal -- just finishing up the most ambitious science-fiction film ever to be made in motion pictures -- a screen version of H.G. Well's famous story of a Martian invasion of Earth, "War Of The Worlds."
Mr. Pal is the same fellow who made "Destination Moon" -- the first Hollywood fantasy ever to soar off into space from a platform of real scientific speculation.
Before he pepped up the field, Hollywood's ventures in the field of science fiction were of the old-fashioned variety. The thriller-chiller specialists out on the Coast never got much further than the quaint 19th-century notions of Frankenstein, Dracula, vampires and zombies. When this limited Gothic vein threatened to peter out, they resorted to clumsy sequels -- "Bride of Frankenstein," "Son of Dr. Jekyll," etc.
"Destination Moon" got away from the philters and potions, it abandoned the old-time chemical laboratory for the supersonic, electronic, atomic science of tomorrow. Others followed suit.
It Scared Us Before
LAST year there was a rash of films dealing with space travel and the possibility of life on other planets -- "The Thing," "The Man From Planet X," "The Day The Earth Stood Still," and Pal's own "When Worlds Collide."
None of them topped "Destination Moon." "War Of The Worlds" may, however. This is the same fantasy with which, you may remember, Orson Welles years ago on the radio frightened some good citizens of New Jersey and elsewhere clean out of their wits.
Mr. Pal has added some modern touches. In his film the Martian invaders are met with atom bombs. Even this awesome weapon of modern science cannot prevail against them. In the end it is a tiny germ that wipes out the menacing men from Mars.
You will not see these Martian men on the screen in the George Pal version, save in dim outline. Mr. Pal had devised a most frightening monster and then decided that it was too scary for the public. It looked like a walking piece of raw liver -- if you must know -- and you ought to be glad the producer decided to spare you. The All-Seeing Eye that the Martian men send snooping around corners where their victims are crouching is frightening enough (see opposite page).
Mr. Pal has a sizable budget for a change. "Destination Moon" was made on a relative shoestring, representing all the money that he owned himself and what he could borrow on so novel a venture.
The producer, who is nothing if not candid, will be the first to admit that the picture ended abruptly just at the point where it got most interesting. "We didn't run out of story ideas," he said. "Only out of money."
The picture was a decided financial success, and Paramount promptly signed him up to make as many science fantasies as he could dream up, under their banner.
Mr. Pal has the extraordinary record of never having made an ordinary film. Everything be has turned his hand to has been fantasy. He got into pictures as the creator of "Puppetoons," the first animated puppets on the screen. His first live-action picture was "The Great Rupert," (THIS WEEK, Feb. 5, 1950) which had an animated stuffed squirrel as the leading actor opposite Jimmy Durante.
He is a strange figure of a producer to be dealing with unearthly subjects, because in habits and manner he is as plain as an old shoe. Hungarian-born, he was trained as an architect, married his childhood sweetheart and lives with her and his two sons in modest suburban style in Brentwood, Calif. He has few friends in the movie colony, doesn't drink, avoids night clubs and is no conversationalist, being much too modest a man to hog the floor.
He admits to a scant knowledge of either science or fiction, and credits Robert Heinlein, scientist and writer, and Chesley Bonestell, the interplanetary artist, for the phenomenal success of "Destination Moon." So meticulous were these scientist-artists that they were incorrectly criticized for an "error" in their firmament -- the stars didn't twinkle.
"They weren't supposed to," says Pal. "In the absence of atmosphere, the sky would actually look like a backdrop "
Pal's stars, he is fond of saying, are the cameramen and the special-effects artists. He is unusually frank in admitting his large use of miniatures and trick photography -- a subject that is usually taboo in Hollywood. "I'm not going to pretend that we built an actual rocket ship and sent it into space," he said "The camera did it -- a wonderful instrument."
A Small Universe
"YOU can come over to Stage Three," he continued, "and take a look at the cities and canals of Mars. You are apt to be disappointed." And sure enough, his planets were painted, his universe a backdrop, and his stars peeked out of canvas. Mr. Pal's world is not to be seen on this earth, save through the camera's eye.
Recalling that science-fiction writers anticipated the airplane, the submarine, the tank, the rocket ship, the atom bomb, the strato-suit, Mr. Pal takes his science fiction seriously. Hollywood is the place for it, he argues, more than in the pages of a book.
"If a thing doesn't exist," he says, "then the special-effects man is the fellow to shape it up for you. We'll build you a universe and destroy it in three days."
This is the man talking who landed you on the Moon and wiped out the city of New York with a tidal wave.
He looks harmless.
1. The reported investigation of the photograph told in "Odd Lights Show Up on 'Blank' Film by Widan, AF Studies It" could not be located in declassified Project Blue Book files. Blue Book summary files carry an incident on August 10, 1952 at Fort Dix, New Jersey, which is directly adjacent to Mount Holly (evaluated as "Astro (Meteor)"), but there is no separate file to be found. The reference in that article to the unidentified officer from McGuire Air Force Base saying his office was "swamped" with reports is reflected in a special six-page report which was submitted to Project Blue Book by Air Force Col. Frank P. Dunnington, District Commander, Office of Special Investigations, on New York/New Jersey area, giving details of sightings between June 19, 1952 and July 24, 1952.
2. The story of a creature sighted by Kathleen May, Eugene Lemon and several children told in "Seven 'See Monster off Flying Disc'" would eventually come to be known variously as "the Flatwoods monster" or "the Braxton county monster". More articles will be appearing in future parts of this series. Their complete story can be found in the "Past Weeks" portal of this site under the title "Here There Be Monsters". The story included in this post erroneously states that Mrs. May was accompanied by six members of the national guard.
3. The "philter" referred to in the article on George Pal is a term for a magic potion or charm.
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