in the news 1952
Above: From the November issue of Coronet Magazine. 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...
OCTOBER 29, 1952:
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania Daily News - 29 Oct 52
4 Report Seeing "Flying Saucers"
S. Harold Fisher, Huntingdon County civil defense director, said today he had four phone calls last night from area persons who saw "flying saucers."
Only one of the callers identified himself, Fisher stated.
The strange object was described to Fisher as having "pretty bright lights" and travelling "fast." One person said half of the "saucer" was light, while the other half was dark.
Due to the cloudy sky, the "saucer" was visible for only a short period of time.
Fisher added that the air observation post at Juniata College did not report sighting any "flying saucers" during the night.
Marseille, France Le Meridional - 29 Oct 52
"Flying Cylinder" surrounded by saucers above Gaillac
Albi. -- Big amazement in Gaillac, in the Tarn. The inhabitants of this city known for its vines, saw Monday at 5 p.m., evolving in a blue sky without cloud, the strange objects absolutely comparable to those noticed last week in Oloron.
Alarm was given by Mrs. Dore, aged 64, residing road of Toulouse, in Gaillac. She was intrigued when she heard her hens quack in a strange way in the hen house. Thinking that some buzzard was circling above her farmyard and caused this fright, she looked up instinctively and discovered the phenomenon.
Her son tried to distinguish the objects, while Mr. Corbières and his wife ran by, and later, Mr. Corbières father, aged 63, neighbors of the Dore family. These people claim that they were probably flying saucers which passed on Gaillac in the direction from south to east. They whirled slowly, grouped by two, and scintillated in the sun. There were first four of them, then a dozen.
In the middle of the saucers a kind of long flying cylinder appeared, whitish, which let escape a white plume of smoke. At the end of some twenty minutes, the phenomenon disappeared, while white wires resembling glass wool fell on the ground. Two hours after, many filaments of this matter were still hanging on electric wire and the branches of trees, but they became gelatinous and melted.
Again a flying saucer
Auckland -- A "flying saucer" has been seen, yesterday morning, above Nedin, in the suburb of Auckland in New Zealand, by Mr. J.P. Burke, aviator pilot for eight years.
Mr. Burke states to be awaked by a metallic noise rather similar to that which a jet plane does. Going to the window at once, he saw within approximately 1.800 meters an object which resembled a gigantic cymbal, about the size of a Dakota, which was surrounded by a blue gray gleam.
Mr. Burke estimates that the speed of this "saucer" was between 400 and 450 kilometers per hour.
OCTOBER 30, 1952:
Coshocton, Ohio Tribune - 30 Oct 52
Gastonia, North Carolina Gazette - 30 Oct 52
...Run for the hills. Sam Katzmkan's forthcoming "The Planet Men" will show flying saucers over the White House, platoons of human robots, and a Dr. Grood from the outer spaces trying mass hypnotism on all earth dwellers...
Elyria, Ohio Chronicle Telegram - 30 Oct 52
[Note: The following are pictures from a local Halloween parade.]
WHO KNOWS WHAT this might be? Maybe the person spends his days riding around on a flying saucer. Actually he said he was Rudy Rehm Jr. of 230 Bell avenue.
A JUNIOR MEMBER of the space patrol also showed up in the parade. Underneath all the equipment is Roger Stephan of 266 Marseille avenue.
Newswire Report Agence France Press - 30 Oct 52
[Note: This was a translation found in Project Blue Book files. The comments in parentheses were made by the person forwarding the translation.]
Oloron, Oct. 30 -- The mystery of the "flying saucers" seen on October 17 in the sky of Oloron appears to be solved. On Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 27 & Oct. 28), in brilliantly clear weather with the sun resplendent in a cloudless sky, the phenomenon of multicolored balls was repeated. Dozens of persons were able to scrutinize them with more attention, and were able to observe that, according to the angle of vision, the spheres appeared or were invisible.
Just as on the 17th, the filaments were very numerous between 1 and 2 p.m., collecting on rooftops and telegraph wires. After that time they rapidly disappeared.
It must therefore, it would seem, be an effect of refraction of sunlight. The fibres, which all observers were able to touch, disappeared almost at once, and resembled the fibres of gossamer, very abundant in the fields in autumn. It seems that these threads must have been spun by spiders (cigar-shaped spiders?-TRB), very numerous at present.
On this subject it may be recalled that in 1900 an important migration of spiders was reported in England. It is said even that at that time they threw a veritable bridge of spiderwebs across the Thames.
Oakland, California Tribune - 30 Oct 52
U.S. Bent On Ruling Space, It Says Here In Red Press
By Peter Lisagor
Chicago Daily News Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 30. -- Moscow's newspaper readers have been given "proof" by their communist commentators that the United States is "possessed by the mad idea" of conquering "the universe.
Well, it's simply the fact that the U.S. Air Force is studying reports of flying saucers and other mysterious objects in the sky.
No matter how you read an article in Izvestia, communist organ, you get but one impression -- American "imperialists" are bent on mastery of interplanetary space.
"The inhabitants of the Pentagon," says the red author, "are already dreaming of fair, beardless, and gigantic men from the planet Venus, who are chasing after U.S. atomic secrets."
Moscow blames this "fantastic idea of conquering interplanetary space" upon the U.S. press.
Stimulated by press accounts, the Soviet writer continues, the Air Force has announced that the flying saucers appear most often over atomic centers.
To protect atomic secrets, the account adds, U.S. rulers "plan to build interplanetary ships and an interplanetary station" to serve as a springboard for conquest of space.
Although he seeks to ridicule the U.S. in his heavy-fisted approach, the communist author is careful to leave an escape hatch whereby Moscow can, in some indeterminate future, claim title to any discovery in outer space.
American newspaper reports of "the possibility" of attack from other planets, he writes, are aimed at justifying Washington's "claims for the conquest of the universe."
OCTOBER 31, 1952:
Manitowoc, Wisconsin Herald Times - 31 Oct 52
Every year, for at least 2,000 years, a weird pagan rite has been celebrated in the Western nation. We now call it Hallowe'en and tonight the witches will ride their brooms across the moonlit sky.
Children in the cities as well as in the rural sections of our county, like children all over the country, are getting ready for it gleefully. They've already prepared masks and costumes of goblins and witches and if they can't enjoy the fun of a bonfire in the leaves they at least have the largesse of indulgent folk in the neighborhood who yield goodies under the threat of "trick or treat."
The rite of Hallowe'en started with the Vigil of Saman, the Lord of Death. The vigil was practiced by the Celts before the coming of Christianity. The Celts who lived in what is now England, Ireland, Scotland and France, were Druids. Their religion held that Saman called together the wicked souls on Oct. 31.
On that night, the Celts believed, an honest guy hardly had a chance, what with ghosts and witches flitting around the sky like flying saucers. Consequently the brave Celts banded together for an all night vigil to meet the threat. They burned bonfires and used images of goblins to scare away the evil spirits. Later the pagan vigil was combined with a Roman festival celebrating the winter store of nuts and apples.
Thus hand in hand, the goblins and the apples have come down through the centuries. The name Hallowe'en or Hallowed Evening developed later from Hallowmass or All Saints Day. But whatever the history of the day youngsters everywhere have fun. And if you are skeptical about whether or not they do enjoy themselves, the next day ask an adult. All he has to do is survey the mischief done by these tyke's the night before or the "loot" they have obtained from him under duress and you'll realize it's true.
Greenville, Mississippi Delta Democrat Times - 31 Oct 52
No Women Drivers
Television Emcee Runs Airborne Taxi Line
By Mel Helmer
Democrat Special Writer
New York -- It is stretching a point a little, but Bill Cullen likes to think of himself as the happiest taxicab driver in Manhattan. He hasn't a woman driver, a traffic light or a low tipper to violate the monotonous peace of his days. It could be because his cab is an airborne one.
At 32, the amiable, good-looking Cullen is president of Appointment Airlines, a private service comprising four airplanes that will pick you up, deliver you to your destination, wait and then ferry you home again. The only thing different from a taxi is that there's no meter ticking. "And you don't have to worry about parking space," adds Cullen, a whimsical soul...
He's never wearied of flying. "It can be pretty exciting, I tell you," he says, "what with the possibility of flying saucers, meteors, lightning, storms, fogs, high-flying birds and whatnot. However, it's still a lot safer than getting behind an automobile containing a woman driver."
Chicago, Illinois Daily Herald - 31 Oct 52
'Flying Saucers' To Highlight Lions Meeting
An interesting and unusual topic, "Flying Saucers," will headline the program at the regular dinner meeting of Palatine Lions club Thursday evening, Nov. 6 at the Lutheran church.
Gordon Vold, superintendent of the bellows division of the Flexonics Corporation, Elgin, will present a comprehensive and interesting discussion on this interesting subject, which has excited the imagination of people everywhere. For the last two years, Vold has gathered a great deal of material on flying saucers tracing the subject back to 1650 A.D. He will present several unusual case histories, discuss the air corps angle and document incidents where persons have actually been killed by the strange objects.
WOLD [sic], WHO lives in Palatine, was graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1937 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He spent several years with Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, Calif., and two years with the Union Asbestos and Rubber Co. before joining the Elgin firm. He has been a practicing engineer for more than 15 years...
Huron, South Dakota Huronite And The Daily Plainsman - 31 Oct 52
Flying Saucer Pictures Go On Display
The best of 563 flying saucer drawings were announced today by the Huron Chamber of Commerce, and the winning "saucers", drawn by youngsters in the Huron area, will be on display Friday and Saturday in each of the Huron banks.
The contest was sponsored by Huron businessmen and netted the winners a plane ride or $5 as first prize, $3 second prize, and $2 third prize. In addition, all entries received free tickets to the Shrine Circus which is coming to the Huron Arena Nov. 13-14-15. Originally, only the first 500 entrants were to receive the tickets.
The drawings that flooded the Chamber of Commerce office while the business' promotion contest was in session showed many real works of art as the youngsters worked hard for their prizes.
Winners, in the order of their awards, were as follows: Kindergarten through fourth grade: Judy Rae Crabb, Huron, fourth grade; Ward Nickisch, Huron, third grade; and Wallace Val Gutzner, Woonsocket, second grade. Fifth through eighth grade: Sharon Luke, Dennis Oviatt, both Huron eighth graders; and Roger Bruer, Iroquois, fifth grade. Ninth through twelfth grade: Billy Heyer, Nancy Betts, both Huron ninth graders; and Ivan L. Loesch, Wolsey, eleventh grader.
Drawings other than the winning ones will be on display at various Huron business places and any Chamber member desiring to use the drawings for display may get them from the Chamber of Commerce office in the Marvin Hughitt Hotel.
Valparaiso, Indiana Vidette Messenger - 31 Oct 52
Sunday School Will Launch Flying Saucer
A facsimile of one man's conception of a jet propelled flying saucer will be launched in the auditorium of the Liberty Township church Sunday school this Sunday at 10, as the Christian Life nationwide Sunday school contest draws to a close.
The "flying saucer" created by Robert Mitchell will actually move across the auditorium powered by chemicals.
The Sunday school also launched a number of flying saucers by plane this week over the areas from which members come. Awards will be given at the Sunday school hour for those who bring in one of these saucers.
Record attendances of the past have been exceeded on three of the four Sundays during the contest. Every facility is taxed to capacity because of the enlarged enrollment...
NOVEMBER 1, 1952:
Coronet Magazine - 1 Nov 52
Flying Saucers: Myth Or Menace?
By Lawrence Elliott
IT ALL BEGAN on a sparkling day in 1947. Businessman Kenneth Arnold, flying his plane past Mt. Rainier, saw a strange line of disc-like aircraft sweeping by with incredible speed and in perfect formation. They looked like flipped saucers in flight, he said later. Soon, the nation was deluged with reports of other unaccountable objects in the sky. Some called it mass hallucination. Others were sure the craft came from another world. There has, as yet, been no definitive explanation. So far, the answer lies hidden in the vast, trackless sky above.
It first appeared over Madisonville, Kentucky, in the early afternoon of January 7, 1948. State police called Fort Knox: "One of those flying saucers just flew over, headed in your direction." A few minutes later a lookout at nearby Godman Air Base spotted a red glow in the sky. It was then that Capt. Thomas Mantell got the order that sent him to his doom: "Investigate!" Roaring up to 18,000 feet, the pilot reported: "It looks metallic . . . of tremendous size." Then: "I'm going up to 20,000 feet . . ." That was his last message. Later in the day his shattered plane was found near Fort Knox. The Air Force guessed that Mantell had chased the planet Venus into the sky until he blacked out. But what of the other officers at Godman who had seen the "thing"? And wouldn't an experienced flier have recognized the oncoming effects of oxygen blackout, and descended? What was it, then, that killed Mantell? Fifteen months after his death came the official report: "The mysterious object . . . is still unidentified."
On January 22, 1948, the Air Force assigned technicians to probe into some 270 saucer-sightings. On October 1, 1948, Lt. George F. Gorman pursued a light through the skies until it finally eluded him at 14,000 feet. On December 26, 1949, a balloon expert averred that the flying discs bore observers from the planet Venus. on December 27, the Air Force terminated Project Saucer, attributing the sightings to "a mild form of mass hysteria." The very next day, residents of Hamlet, North Carolina, spotted another odd-shaped craft in the sky. By now, the whole nation was asking: Are the saucers real? Where in the world -- or out of it -- do they come from? One group insisted that atomic explosions had disturbed a lost race of men who lived in Polar caves. These underground men, flying magnetically controlled craft, were trying to discover what had set the earth a-tremble. And even as people gasped at theories that dwarfed even the most lurid science fiction, new saucer reports poured in -- and new theories poured out.
Soon, the inevitable question arose -- could it be that the saucers came from Russia? Leo Bentz, a pioneer auto-builder, came forth with an answer: Almost 20 years before, he had witnessed a secret demonstration of crude, saucer-like craft. Their designer? An inventor named George De Bay, who had made detailed blueprints for space ships that would skip through the air like a flat stone. Where was De Bay now? No one knew, but Bentz made an ominous guess: "It is my belief that George De Bay went to Russia before the war and is still there." Instantly, a storm of controversy arose: "The Russians are using saucers to ferret out our deepest military secrets," said some. "If the Russians did have such a craft," replied others with heat, "they certainly would not be foolish enough to fly it over the U.S. and risk it falling into our hands if it crashed." In the end, the consensus was that the Russians were hardly equipped to have made such radical aeronautical progress, and men of science turned to other theories.
Between Earth and the planet Venus, some now said, seven mysterious "planes" travel through space. One of them, according to the Borderland Science Research Associates, is Etheria. Until now its very existence has eluded ordinary scientific investigation. Only when atomic blasts on Earth attracted their attention, did the Etherians evidence interest in us. In space ships whose outer skin was wrought of a metal tougher than steel, they flew along magnetic lines of force into the atmosphere of Earth. We saw their craft at night as flashing fire balls of red and green. We saw them by day as discs that flew at incredible speeds and executed fantastic maneuvers. Troubled and confused, we dubbed them Flying Saucers and went to weird lengths to explain their existence. We failed utterly to recognize the truth. Such is the elaborately worked-out theory of the Borderlanders. Does it hold up? Until there is a definitive report on the saucers, the Etherians can appeal to our credibility as well as anyone -- or anything.
Midway through 1950, new coals were heaped on what had developed into a nationwide debate. In a book called Behind the Flying Saucers, author Frank Scully took a stand, not on the shifting sands of theory but on what he claimed to be the hard ground of fact. Quoting an anonymous scientist, Scully described the eye-witnessing of a grounded saucer -- as well as its crew of 16 -- deep in the New Mexican desert. Its occupants were men no taller than 42 inches, who wore dark blue uniforms. They were all dead. The craft was 99.9 inches in diameter and had a cabin 72 inches high. All other measurements were divisible by nine. It bore radios no larger than a cigarette package, no weapons, and was covered with a tough, heat-resistant metal. Later, the same scientist saw three other such craft. Where did they come from? The unnamed observer was certain that the answer was Venus. Was there any reason to believe that Scully had daydreamed his fantastic story? To date, no one has disproved any part of it.
The sightings continued unabated. On the evening of April 27, 1950, Capt. Robert F. Manning, veteran TWA pilot, spotted a fiery red ball in the sky. Puzzled, he nudged his copilot, Robert Adickes: "What do you make of that?" Adickes looked, reached for his microphone and called Chicago: "Ask ATC if there's any traffic near us?" Back came a negative answer. Quickly Adickes alerted the passengers, while Manning tried to sneak up on the mysterious red craft. It was no use. No matter which way he turned, the fast-flying disc eluded him and, in the end, simply vanished into the night. When they landed, the fliers made a full report: never before had a saucer-viewer been solidly backed by 21 witnesses. Now the nationwide sightings reached a peak. Fireballs, discs and projectile-like flames were reported over areas as widely separated as New Mexico, Alaska and Korea. And more than one amateur photographer had an enduring pictorial record of what many persisted in referring to as mass hysteria.
Reporters crowded into the summer White House at Key West. A magazine had just revealed that the flying saucers were really a revolutionary aircraft, and word had gotten around that President Truman would make a statement. Was the mystery solved at last? Into the room strode a press secretary: "Gentlemen, the President has asked me to tell you that he knows nothing of any flying saucers being developed by this or any other country. We know nothing to support these rumors." Immediately a new flood of theories was unleashed: if the saucers weren't ours, that proved they came from another planet; they were really weather balloons; according to a respected astrophysicist, they were "optical ghosts," caused by a displacement of warm air. Whatever they are, sightings are constantly being reported -- even on radar screens. Hidden somewhere in the skies from which the saucers come and into which they vanish, lies the answer. Some day soon, the truth may break in the greatest news story of all time.
1. Translations of foreign news reports are as found in the files of Project Blue Book.
2. A report on the talk given by Gerald Vold to the Lions Club as mentioned in " 'Flying Saucers' To Highlight Lions Meeting" is included in Part 54 of this series.
3. Unfortunately, there were no images of the children's drawings included in "Flying Saucer Pictures Go On Display".
4. The story of Captain Mantell, related in "Flying Saucers: Myth or Menace", will be covered in full in a future series.
5. "Flying Saucers: Myth or Menace" gets wrong the size of one of the saucers told of in Behind the Flying Saucers, giving its dimension as 99.9 inches rather than 99.9 feet.
6. The statement in "Flying Saucers: Myth or Menace" regarding Behind the Flying Saucers, that "to date, no one has disproved any part of it" neglected the fact that two months earlier a lengthy exposé of Scully's sources had appeared in True magazine
(reprinted in Part 36 of this series).
7. The April 27, 1950 sighting by the crew and passengers of a TWA flight near Chicago is not found in Project Blue Book investigative files. A contemporary news report from the April 28, 1950 edition of the Reno Evening Gazette gives the following details...
Pilot Tags Saucer With Plane Load of Witnesses
KANSAS CITY, April 28. -- Capt. - Robert Adickes, veteran Trans World airline pilot, can hardly believe it either but -- he thinks he saw a flying saucer.
And he has witnesses to back him up -- his 'first officer, his hostess and some of the 19 passengers aboard a flight from Washington to Chicago last night.
It happened between Goshen, Ind., and Chicago about 7:25 p.m. (CST).
Adickes, 29, of (6804 Holmes st.) Kansas City, reported he was flying about 2000 feet when his co-pilot, Robert Manning, also of Kansas City, called his attention to the strange object.
Manning couldn't believe his eyes and he said he observed it for a minute or two before he told Adickes about it. To confirm what they saw they called the hostess, Miss Gloria Hinshaw, also of Kansas City. Then they told the 19 passengers aboard about it.
"Most of them said they saw it," Adickes reported, "but it was difficult for them to observe it because the cabin was lighted."
"The object was about a half mile away when we first saw it," Adickes related. "It was flying along side our plane in the same direction and going about 200 miles an hour."
Adickes said he decided to try to approach the object, which glowed like a giant red cherry In the sky. He had heard stories of how others had tried to approach them with planes and how they suddenly veered off. He said he decided to sneak over and come up from behind it or from above.
Each time he tried to move into a closer position, he said, the flying saucer moved with his two-engine plane, a DC-3.
"It is my personal opinion," he said today, "that it was equipped with some sort of repulse radar. The object from the distance we saw it appeared to be about 20 to 50 feet in diameter and about five feet thick.
"It was a disc sort of an affair and appeared to fly on its edge just like a wheel going down the highway."
Adickes said that every time he stepped up his plane to try to get closer to the strange object that it, too, speeded up. He estimated that it jumped up to 350 to 400 an hour.
Adickes said he and his crew observed the object for seven or eight minutes; that it appeared to have no direct light but that the "entire disc glowed a cherry red, like a red-hot piece of metal."
He added that he believed there was "nothing super-natural about it."
"It was very evident," he said, "that it was man-made and a man-controlled machine."
Adickes has been flying for TWA eight and one-half years, the last six years as a pilot. The flight ended at Chicago where the crew, with the exception of Adickes, spent the night. Adickes came on to Kansas City on another flight.
In his 1953 book, Flying Saucers From Outer Space, Major Donald Keyhoe gives the following account...
One carefully reported encounter, which I had personally investigated, was the dramatic incident near South Bend, on the night of April 27, 1950. Because of this check-up, I was able to get the passengers' stories as well as the crew's account.
At 8:25 P.M., a Trans World Airlines DC-3 was droning westward over Goshen, Indiana. In the left-hand seat, handling the controls, was Captain Robert Adickes, a stocky ex-Navy pilot with ten years' service in TWA. Over on his right was Robert F. Manning, also a four-stripe captain, who was acting as first officer on this flight to Chicago.
The DC-3, Flight 117, was cruising at 2,000 feet when a strange red light below and behind the airliner suddenly caught Manning's eye. Moving swiftly, it climbed up on the right, overtaking the plane.
Puzzled, Manning watched it close in. This was no wingtip light - the red light was too bright. The DC-3 was cruising at 175 m.p.h., but the mysterious object overtook it rapidly, the light steadily growing in size. It was now an orange-red color, like a round blob of hot metal sweeping through the night sky. Craning his neck, Manning looked down on a spherical shape which glowed brightly on top, its lower half in shadow.
"Look over here," he said to Adickes. "What do you make of this?"
Adickes stared down through the starboard window, then told Manning to crank it open to make sure it was not some freak reflection. The saucer was still visible, now almost at the airliner's level. Over the top, the pilots could see scattered ground lights, cars moving on a highway. Adickes hastily called Air Traffic Control, but ATC had no record of any craft near their ship.
By this time the saucer was parallel with the DC-3. As they watched, it slowed down, keeping pace with the plane. To Adickes it looked like a huge red wheel rolling down a road. He banked toward it, but the disc instantly slid away, keeping the same distance. Again he tried, with the same result.
Calling the hostess, Gloria Hinshaw, Adickes told her to alert the passengers. To make sure he had plenty of witnesses, he went back into the cabin, watching the passengers' reaction. When he returned to the cockpit, he tried once more to bank in for a closer look. When the disc again slid away, he cut in sharply, at full throttle, for a direct chase.
Instantly the glowing disc dived, racing off to the north past South Bend. Adickes estimated its speed at nearly 400 miles an hour. Since it had been pacing the airliner at 175 m.p.h., this meant it had doubled its speed in about three seconds. For a few minutes more the weird light remained visible - a diminishing bright red spot. Then it faded into the darkness.
Before meeting the two pilots, I checked on them with TWA.
"Quiet ... conservative ... serious ... careful," were the reports on both men. Nobody in TWA questioned that Adickes and Manning saw exactly what they described.
Captain Manning, the first one I saw, was an ex-Air Force pilot. He had flown six years for TWA, and his flight time was over 6,000 hours.
When he first saw the saucer, Manning said, it seemed a brighter color than when it flew alongside. Apparently the reduction in power as it slowed to pace the DC-3 decreased the heating effect. He also agreed that the device had evaded attempts to get near it.
"It was like flying formation with another plane. The thing seemed to slide away when we turned toward it."
"How large do you think it was?" I asked.
"That's hard to say, because we could only guess at its distance," said Manning. "But it had to be fairly large. When I first saw it, the thing was near the horizon, perhaps ten miles away. Even then it was big enough to stand out."
He quietly spiked the idea that the saucer had been a jet plane's tail pipe.
"I've seen jets at night. If you're directly behind one, you see a round red spot. But this was huge in comparison. Beside, I saw it coming up from behind us - a jet's exhaust would be invisible from that angle. You wouldn't see much from the side, either."
Manning wouldn't speculate as to what the machine was.
"All I can say is that it definitely was there. And it was uncanny enough to startle anyone first seeing it."
Captain Adickes agreed with Manning on all the main points.
"Before then, I wasn't convinced by the saucer reports. Now I know they do exist. One thing, it wasn't cherry-red, as some papers said. It was about the color of hot metal."
Beside trying to close in on the saucer, Adickes also had attempted to get above it.
"Each time it veered away, as if it were controlled by repulse radar. And when I went straight after it, the thing was off in a flash. Manning and I estimated its diameter at 50 feet or more. When I tried to cut in toward it, it streaked away at twice our speed, but even then it took several minutes to fade out. So it had to be fairly big - maybe a lot larger than 50 feet."
As it speeded up to escape, Adickes said, he caught an edge-on glimpse of the saucer. It seemed to be about one tenth as big as its diameter. Though he couldn't be sure of its distance, while it was pacing the airliner, Adickes believed it was at least half a mile away. It had not been close enough to affect his instruments or radio.
Hostess Gloria Hinshaw had seen the disc from both the cabin and the darkened cockpit.
"It looked like a big red wheel rolling along," she told me. "It was certainly a strange-looking thing. If I hadn't seen it, I don't think I'd have believed the pilots."
Later, by long-distance calls, I interviewed 11 passengers. The first was S. N. Miller, manager of a jewelry company in St. Paul. He had watched the saucer, he said, for several minutes.
"The thing was the color of a neon sign - just a big red disc. I used to laugh at saucer stories -- but not any more.
Among other passengers who confirmed the sighting were C. H. Jenkins and D. C. Bourland, engineers with the Boeing Aircraft Company, and E. J. Fitzgerald, vice-president of a metal equipment corporation in Chicago. Later several officials of the International Harvester Company also admitted they had seen the glowing disc as it paced their plane.
Though there were some variations in the passengers reports, most of them were minor differences -- estimates of size, distance, and speed. Their combined testimony left no doubt that some kind of controlled machine, a type unknown to the pilots and the Boeing experts, had been flown near the airliner for a careful observation.
8. The story behind President Truman's statement as told in ""Flying Saucers: Myth or Menace" can be read in Anatomy of a Hoax - Part 5.
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