in the news 1952
Above: Diagram from the September 9, 1952 issue of the Yorkshire, England, "Post". At the time a "flying saucer" had been reported to have tailed a British Royal Air Force jet aircraft during the major NATO exercise "Operation Mainbrace". Follow-up 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...
DECEMBER 1, 1952:
Albert Lea, Minnesota Evening Tribune - 1 Dec 52
JET ZEPPLIN? -- Yesterday you may have seen the first photo in this series taken by Tribune Photographer Russ Yoder, well known for his photos of the unusual. This scene seems to indicate that yesterday's flying saucer may be growing a tail, or perhaps a jet stream. (Tribune Photo)
Bakersfield, California Californian - 1 Dec 52
Flying Saucer Skims Across Kern Horizon
The flying saucers are back again, according to Mrs. Fannie Newman, 1107 King St. Mrs. Newman reports that sometime between 7 and 8 p.m. last night she went outside to get her dog when she noticed a bright light moving across the sky from the north.
She watched it until it disappeared behind a cloud.
What did it look like?
"Well it looked just like a flying saucer," Mrs. Newman reports.
Charleroi, Pennsylvania Mail - 1 Dec 52
New Age Shown In This Year's Galaxy Of Atomic Phase Toys
By Harman W. Nichols
United Press Staff Correspondent
WASHINGTON (UP) -- Santa Claus, old as he is keeps up with the times.
He used to slide across the rooftops, via reindeer, and then squeeze his "little round belly that shook like a bowl full of jelly" down the chimney, shuck off his pack, and put surprises in the stockings and under the tree.
Then came the airplane. The reindeer were put out to graze and Santa speed up his annual job.
And this time, what do you suppose he's using ?
A space ship.
That seems to be the trend for the jolly old man in the white whiskers and red suit, if the store windows are any indication.
One of the biggest stores in our Town -- the Hecht Company -- has a space ship show window. It was the idea of Harold K. Melnicove, billed by the store as "assistant vice president in charge of visual merchandise."
Melnicove is only 35, and probably does not remember what Mr. Claus has gone through across the decorating store windows.
The business men in my home town of Farmer City, Ill., used to fuzz up toy Santas with common cotton and let them just stand there among the teddy bears and rag dolls.
Then somebody got the idea the windows should be active. Toy trains were wound to run a wobbly trail around the tree. The wind-up of the spring in the locomotive kept a clerk away from his counter every few minutes.
Finally, electric trains came in.
Now we come to the atomic age.
The old Farmer's Almanac refers to 1953 as "atomic year 9."
In the old days a merchant -- even some of the big ones -- could pretty up a show window around the Yule season for not much money. It's big business today. The Hecht display runs something like $40,000 and took months of planning.
There are space ships, which appear to be floating through the stratosphere. There are all sorts of atomic weapons, harmless and play size, and jet planes. A toy space-skipper wears a helmet that jumps a foot or so every few seconds, floats around in space, and makes a perfect landing back on his head.
Young Melnicove has been with the store for 15 years, he began as a sign painter. He got tired of drawing pictures of things he did not understand and decided real art was the thing for him.
Maybe he would get $35 a picture; more often he didn't.
So he turned to the business of window display. "That pays a lot better," he said.
DECEMBER 2, 1952:
Mansfield, Ohio News Journal - 2 Dec 52
Join the Christmas Fun at O'Neils Tomorrow
This futuristic space target and rocket gun set adds the thrill of interplanetary battle to the fun of shooting darts. The sturdy, all-metal board pictures an all-out attack by flying saucers, space forts, rocket ships and jets on a city of the future. The rocket gun has three tubes and an all-new principle of gun construction. Darts are safety-tipped with rubber suction cups.
Triple Rocket Gun and Space Target
Dunkirk, New York Evening Observer - 2 Dec 52
Items of Local Interest From OBSERVER FILES
TWENTY YEARS AGO -- 1932
...Col. Charles A. Lindberg now believes in the practicability of freight airplane service. He has helped design huge planes capable of flying over either the Atlantic or Pacific...
DECEMBER 3, 1952:
Billings, Montana Gazette - 3 Dec 52
Fairview Farmer Reports Seeing 'Flying Saucer'
FAIRVIEW -- The third of the "flying saucers" to be seen in this area was reported by E.E. Martin, farmer living north of town. Martin reported seeing the object in the sky about 11 o'clock in the evening.
It appeared as a red light about 50 feet from the ground and was about 20 feet across. The object lit up the ground for several feet around it. It traveled rapidly southward.
No sound was heard from the object which swept across the sky and disappeared.
DECEMBER 4, 1952:
Oak Park, Illinois Oak Leaves - 4 Dec 52
Santa's Atom Age Toy Shop Is Super(sonic)!
Six Shooter, Chaps Step Aside for Little Men With Heads Like Water Coolers, Radio Brains
TIME was when "space" was something the kids had plenty of when they wanted to romp about in vacant lots with their cowboy and Indian antics.
Time was when a six-shooter that went BANG was good enough for killin' off unpleasant hombres who wouldn't get in line and act the part of the rustler.
How lovely -- and simple -- time was then.
BUT THEN came the atom age. Toy town went berserk in 17 different directions. Robots supplanted rustlers, cosmic cuties replaced the chaps of the old west and man began living with long antennas in his head.
Being a one-time vacant lot rustler, ourself, "we decided to take a tour through a few village toytowns the other noon with an eye to wrapping up our holiday shopping for the kids early.
Our first encounter was breathtaking. It was a plastic "man" with a bubble for a head. You wind him up and he joggles forward waving his arms up and down menacingly, pointing a pair of guns at you. His head may be in a bubble but that doesn't stop him from hearing what's going on in the outside world.
He apparently has a radio inside his head for there is an antenna protruding from the top of the dome.
THE MAN FROM MARS
. . . bubblehead.
THAT'S OUR man from Mars, the lady in the toy department says.
"Hrumph, we answered. As we near the end of the counter, a matronly looking saleslady dressed in a Space Cadet helmet steps out from behind an inflated supersonic man five feet high and lets us have it with both barrels.
The first barrel is a blast of air that dents our coat.
"Can't possibly hurt you," she intoned, smiling happily.
The second barrel was some sort of whirring thing that we observed to be a flying saucer when it settled down.
. . . both barrels.
"THE KIDDIES should have a flying saucer," she insists. We disagreed.
We exhaled deeply, feinted to the left, pivoted and slipped past her without further suggestion. And of another salesgirl we asked:
"Pardon me. Miss, but could you show me some toy soldiers -- a set of toy soldiers?"
Her eyes lighted up like Rudolph's nose. She wheeled around and laid before us seven little men. They looked like something newly escaped from "The Wizard of Oz."
"TOY SOLDIERS" ON PARADE
. . . water coolers serve the purpose.
NOT SO, though.
"This," she added gleefully, "is an atom age battalion. Don't need as many men to do the same job. Just, pffft, the enemy's gone."
These little characters, plastic, of course, also had heads like water coolers. They waved objects that even Buck Rogers would have stopped to examine.
Our time was growing short, our mission still unaccomplished. We pressed on, thinking, thinking, thinking.
Aha! Why not a little car to push around the floor or perhaps a little pistol with a trigger that goes click?
. . . pfft, you're dead.
WE FOUND the car but it wasn't exactly what we had in mind.
Instead of the kind that we see on the streets every day -- the kind daddy has -- we find ourself examining a futuristic auto with -- that's right, a bubble up front. It was made of (natch) plastic!
And the gun -- well, we saw two models. One had a torso like an airplane -- Supersonic style with | delta wings -- and the other a muzzle that looked more like some sort of physical therapy device.
Now we always imagined ourself to be a modern, up-to-date parent. But what is this craze ? Who is the culprit? Why ? Where ? When?
TOMORROW'S GUN AND DEATH GUN
. . . plastic blister? Try physical therapy aid.
BUT JUST as we appeared headed for a supersonic, atomic, futuristic nervous breakdown, we spied something that probably saved us from further frustration.
. . . vehicle for escape.
We whipped out a five dollar bill, handed it to a somber-faced floorwalker, seized a bright colored box, ripped open the lid, strapped its contents on our feet, and went happily bouncing out of the store on -- rocket shoes, what else!
DECEMBER 5, 1952:
Bakersfield, California Californian - 5 Dec 52
Put Them Back
Editor The Californian:
Will you please print this little plea.
To the parents of the children who carried away the lids from garbage cans to use for flying saucers: Ask them to return the lids as we will an have to buy new cans if we do not get them.
Celia J. Hicks
525 Crawford St
Baytown, Texas Sun - 5 Dec 52
Plane's Vapor Trails Create Flying Saucer Scare Here
Hundreds See 'Flaming Tail' High In Sky
By Rosalie Myers
Was it or was it not, a flying saucer which a couple of hundred Baytonians saw floating around in the sunset Thursday?
Some believe it was a B-36 or a P-38 with the sunlight reflecting on the vapor trail. Others are certain that the peculiar black object with a flaming tail was a flying saucer.
A few insist it could have been nothing but a fish-shaped creation from another planet.
And only a very few were willing to accept an Ellington Field officers word that it was only a training plane on a routine flight.
L.R. Bird of Denubina Acres was one of the two persons who was willing to have his name used in connection with the incident.
He said the object looked similar to a plane when viewed from the front. When he last saw it, it was going toward Ellington Field with a long string of fire behind it, he said.
Three women employes of the Baytown Sun said they saw a "flying saucer that looked like a big star in the sky. It was a bright ball."
T.W. Gunn of 912 Davis Road said he first saw it in the sky about 30 degrees south of due west and 30 degrees up from the earth. It looked about a foot long and two-inches wide. Gunn said he took a sight on it, and the object didn't seem to be moving, but was just suspended in the air. Then it passed on toward the north, continuing to keep the form of a long slender fish. The front fourth of the object was dark and the remainder was glowing.
Gunn said he called Ellington Field to report what he had seen and after considerable difficulty got in contact with someone at the field who said he had no authority to give out definite information on anything. The man said, however, that the objects people were seeing were high flying planes with the sun reflecting on them.
Yorkshire, England The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - 05 Dec 52
Vicar Tells of Flying Saucer
The vicar of Doddington, Northumberland, the Rev. C.W. Rawson, and his wife believe they saw a flying saucer over the Wooler area. "It was white and luminous and I estimate it to have been about 20 to 30ft. deep," he said yesterday. "It was travelling very fast."
Mr. Rawson was standing at the kitchen door of his vicarage when his attention was attracted to the object about a mile and a half away and 2,060 to 3,000ft. above the ground. It was travelling towards the north-west. The vicar called his wife and together they watched the object for about half a minute. They think it was very brilliantly lit by fluorescent lighting.
Winnipeg, Canada Free Press - 5 Dec 52
Russia Has Flying 'Aircraft Carrier'
LONDON -- Russia has developed a mother plane which can carry two jet fighters at high altitude until they are needed for combat, says Jayne's "All the World's Aircraft."
The unofficial but authoritative aviation handbook describes the flying aircraft carriers as a modified version of the four-engined TU4, a Soviet copy of the United States air force B29 Superfortress.
Jane's edition for 1952-53, out Thursday, said the TU4s have been fitted with a girder-type structure on the leading edge of each wing to which MiG15 jet fighters can hook themselves after take-off. The fighters can disengage when enemy planes are sighted.
The object of the mother plane fighter combination is to conserve fuel which the short-range jets otherwise would have to burn.
The new method seems to adapt a ferrying idea used in experimental work of other countries in the past. A F84 Thunderjet was dropped last spring from a U.S. air force B36. B29s have been used in launching speedy research Skyrocket.
Jane's said a new Russian jet fighter, now in production, is believed to be slightly faster than the MiG15, itself in the speed-of-sound class doing 10 miles or more a minute.
The handbook also passed along a few new reports about the Russian type 31 bomber, a six-engined monster believed by the U.S. air force to be capable of flying from Russia to American targets and back.
Existence of this plane was confirmed this year by Thomas K. Finleter, U.S. air secretary, and Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, chief of staff of the U.S. air force.
Kingsport, Tennessee Times - 5 Dec 52
Kingsport In Alert Area For Unknown Aircraft Tomorrow
Tomorrow the air corridor through Kingsport will become the traffic lane for unidentified aircraft, and approximately 20 Kingsport citizens will be watching for their approach in the fist [sic] alert of the area's Ground Observers Corps.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. watchers will take turns viewing the horizon around Kingsport from the football pressbox in J. Fred Johnson Stadium and notifying the Knoxville Filter Center of what they find. The alert takes in Ground Observers working in cooperation with the Knoxville center in this Virginia, Kentcky [sic] and East Tennessee region.
Charting of the various aircraft that will be flying tomorrow, expected to be spotted and identified correctly, will be studied in Knoxville, and the results of the area alert will be used to make suggestions for better defense precautions in the Ground Observer Corps.
Kingsport persons who are the first to participate in this skywatch are: Alan Bell, Harry W. Coover, George C. De Croes, Webber Earthman, William M. Gearhart, William L. Highsmith, Raymond F. Hunt Jr., E.S. Hurt, Jr., R.F. Maness, Jr., Emmett V. Martin, C.R. Niel, Herman Spreight Pridgen, Leighton Thetford, Clarence E. Tholstrop, G.P. Touey, Edmund Barber Towne and Robert A. Woodham.
DECEMBER 6, 1952:
Mount Pleasant, Iowa News - 6 Dec 52
Other Winfield Items
...Santa Claus will make his first visit this year to Winfield on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 6 at 2:00 o'clock and will visit all the local stores. Before his arrival Santa's "flying saucers" will appear. These "flying saucers" will be in the form of small paper plates on which will be given a number designating the amount in trade each will be good for at a local store...
DECEMBER 7, 1952:
Lima, Ohio News - 7 Dec 52
Astronomers Claim Saucers Are Fact
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 6 (INS) -- Flying saucers are a fact, not a fancy, say astronomers at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute.
They add, however, that they are natural facts, arising from natural causes as simple as meteors, air movement, or feathers which have fallen from birds.
Nor are we the first to be perturbed about strange aerial lights. They appeared in Durham, England, when that country was most powerful a century ago, and over two centuries ago they appeared in France, again at a time when the nation occupied its most powerful position.
The scientists think there possibly may be a psychological relation between power and the ability to see flying saucers.
THEY SAY that only 20 per cent of the saucers are unexplained. The rest of the reports are caused by flying balloons, lights on planes, and cosmic. occurrences like meteors or the northern lights.
Temperature inversion is perhaps the most interesting cosmic explanation for the saucers. This theory gives some reasons why the objects are so often seen flying in formation.
According to the theory, warm air is sometimes trapped between two cold layers, one near the ground, the other high above. When this-warm layer rises, it acts as a mirror, reflecting rays of light which often have a wavering affect.
WHEN the lights come from street-lamps, they are often regularly spaced, which gives the appearance of flying saucers proceeding in formation.
Charleston, West Virginia Gazette - 7 Dec 52
Uncle Sim's Small Fry Column
"When Santa Lost His Gift List"
One year, not so long ago, Santa Claus was very, very busy -- just as he is every Christmas -- getting together long lists of gifts to deliver to children on Christmas Eve. He had letters stacked high in his North Pole workshop, and all the elves, who are Santa's helpers, were busy at typewriters making up a master list of the presents each child would receive.
Santa Claus, being a kind, lovable, trusting soul, left the workshop one night, and went home to Mrs. Claus. The day shift elves went off duty, and the elves on the night shift came on duty, punched the time clock, and went straight to work.
But trouble was on its way. If Elmer Elf, the night shift boss, had taken a close count he would have- noticed that 222 elves went off duty with the day shift, but 223 elves came on duty with the night shift.
The extra worker was an evil little creature named Gruesome Gary, the horrible hobgoblin. Gary had once been a good elf, but he became jealous of Santa and had turned all his reindeer loose one Christmas Eve. Santa was a whole hour late making his deliveries that night, and when he returned, he sent Gruesome Gary far off to the South Pole, where he soon turned into a horrible hobgoblin.
Now Gruesome Gary was back. He had just one thought in his evil little mind -- he was going to ruin Christmas for all the children in the world, and then everyone would hate Santa Claus.
He crept off into a dark corner of the workshop and sat at a typewriter. Soon he had made up a master list of presents that was all wrong. He waited until none of the elves was looking, and then he crept up to the main desk and substituted his false list for the real one. Then he slipped out the door and went off into the cold Arctic night, shrieking with fiendish laughter.
When Christmas Eve came, Santa hitched up his reindeer and rose like lightning into the sky to begin his deliveries. He raced clear around the world on his first circle, dropping presents at every home. Just when he finished the first round, he noticed something was horribly amiss. Because --
Children in the desert, where it is always hot and dry, were receiving sleds and skates.
Children in the northland, where it is always cold, were receiving beach umbrellas and sun suits.
Little boys were, being given dolls and toy china sets.
Little girls were getting popguns and toy soldiers.
Little "cowboys" were receiving spacemen's suits.
Little "space-rocketeers" were getting Hopalong Cassidy suits.
Big children were getting rattles and teething rings.
Tiny children were getting "brain-twister" puzzles and footballs.
Everything was all fouled up.
Santa looked around to see what he had done, and when he realized the mess things were in, he sat down and cried big salty tears into his beard. He knew all the children in the world would be unhappy on Christmas morning and that they would blame poor Santa.
He cried and cried. There seemed to be no way out of his dilemma. He was just about to give up and go home to the North Pole when he heard a whizzing sound past his ear. He heard a screech of brakes and suddenly he was looking at a flying saucer, containing a little man dressed in a red suit with a white beard. It looked just like Santa himself, except --
He was only two feet tall.
He had large, gold-colored eyes.
He had four arms and five legs.
Something like a television antenna protruded from his forehead.
"Who-wh-who are you?" asked Santa, completely amazed.
"Why," answered the little man, "I'm Santaxquv Clauspbtks, the Martian Santa Claus. I've already finished my deliveries, and I thought I'd zoom down and see how you folks were getting along down here."
"Oh, Santaxquv Clauspbtks," cried Santa. "Things are a mess." And he proceeded to relate what terrible misfortune had befallen him.
The little man from Mars smiled when Santa finished. He patted Saint Nick on the shoulder and said, "Why, you have no troubles. Hop in the flying saucer here and we'll solve your problem in jigtime."
Santa parked his reindeer behind a cloud and
climbed into the saucer. As they sped away,
Santaxquv explained what he planned to do.
He showed Santa a tiny instrument that looked like a flashlight and said, "This is an X-ray pistol. We'll just flash it into each home, see who lives there, and leave appropriate presents."
Santa agreed, and off they sped. They retraced the route where Santa had mixed everything up, and redistributed the presents. Then they quickly covered the rest of the world.
When all the presents had been delivered, the little man from Mars took Santa back to his reindeer. Santa Claus thanked Santaxquv Clauspbtks, and then the little man zoomed away in his flying saucer on his way back to Mars. Santa returned to the North Pole.
When he found out who was to blame for the Christmas mixup, he banished Gruesome Gary, the horrible hobgoblin, far beyond the Milky Way, where He was never heard from again. And that was the last time Santa ever lost his Christmas list.
Madison, Wisconsin State Journal - 7 Dec 52
Sterling North Reviews the Books
Give a Child the Universe
"Exploring Nature with Your Child." By Dorothy Edwards Shuttlesworth, Grey, stone. $3.95
In contrast to the sensational misinformation about our solar system being spread by Sunday supplements, comic books, and irresponsible radio and television shows, may we suggest this completely reliable introduction to the marvelous but logical universe in which we live?
Dorothy Edwards Shuttlesworth, author of this scrupulously honest but exciting book, is editor of the highly successful Junior Natural History magazine, published by the American Museum of Natural History. Her approach is thoroughly informed but simple, lively and readable.
She does not avoid any of the questions which our jet-propelled, over-stimulated, offspring may ask about flying saucers or rocket ships to the moon. But neither does she answer such questions from the depths of scientific literacy typical of the writers of "science" fiction.
If you wish your children to be curious hungry for knowledge, civilized, you will give them this book -- an excellent one volume approach to the knowledge of birds, flowers, mammals, fish, reptiles Insects and spiders, trees, our fellow planets and the far-flung stars.
San Antonio, Texas Light - 7 Dec 52
Parade of Books
ACROSS THE SPACE FRONTIER, edited by Cornelius Ryan (Viking: $3.95).
A symposium on problems and prospects of interstellar travel by scientists and professional writers on rocketry, illustrated in the graphic style adopted by Life, Collier's and other magazines from the Sunday supplements. Most of the material is familiar to readers of science-fiction, but the impressive presentation of it makes the book a handsome gift for one who doesn't scoff at flying saucers.
DECEMBER 8, 1952:
Logansport, Indiana Pharos Tribune - 8 Dec 52
Perfect Robot Pilot To Fly Jet Airplanes
MINNEAPOLIS -- An electronic marvel that takes the guesswork out of flying jet aircraft was announced today by Minneapolis Honeywell Regulator Co.
It's an automatic pilot. Hooked to radar and fire control systems, the device flies the plane, locates and attacks the target, then homes the plane, company engineers said.
The autopilot was developed by Honeywell's aeronautical division and officials said it is already on order by the Air Force for installation in their new twin-jet bomber, the Douglas RB-66.
Troy, New York Times Record - 8 Dec 52
'Flying Saucer' Reported Seen Near Albany Airport
Ho-hum, we have another report of "flying saucers!"
Last night a Latham man claimed he saw "a burning ball of fire, with sparks shooting out of the tail like a Fourth of July sparkler."
The object reportedly was seen by Bernal Newton, Latham. He said the object was going at great speed toward the Albany Airport.
Three planes were reported over the airport at the time the saucer was observed.
Yorkshire, England The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - 08 Dec 52
Topcliffe object still a mystery
From our London staff
The circular silver object which followed an R.A.F. Meteor aircraft over Topcliffe Aerodrome during exercise Mainbrace last September remains a mystery.
An Air Ministry official told The Yorkshire Post last night that, as far as he was aware, the matter had not been cleared up. Three aircraft captains with many years flying experience all saw the object. It flew at a height of between 10,000 and 20,000 feet about five miles astern of the Meteor. When the Meteor turned towards Dishforth, so did the object.
It now seems that the Air Ministry have abandoned hopes of arriving at an explanation. Eleven weeks have passed, and all reports have been carefully examined by R.A.F. Intelligence officers. The Special Branch dealing with the matter is reported to be keeping an open mind on the subject. But the Air Ministry official interviewed last night said that he had no idea whether active investigation was still being conducted. He had no idea when (or if) an official statement would be forthcoming.
Was there any chance that it might turn out to be a flying saucer? One gathered from the low chuckle of the official that there was not the remotest chance. "We take those stories with a large spoon of salt, old boy," he said.
1. The same night of the report told in "Plane's Vapor Trails Create Flying Saucer Scare Here", approximately 270 air miles southwest, a report appeared in Project Blue Book files of a pilot encounter that night, described by Major Donald Keyhoe in his classic 1953 book Flying Saucers From Outer Space...
On the night of December 4, 1952, a frightened Air Force pilot landed at Laredo, Texas. Since actual names are deleted, in clearing Intelligence reports, I have called him Lieutenant Earl Fogle.
Twelve miles from the field, Fogle told air base officers, a mysterious, blue-lighted object had almost crashed into his fighter. It had been no accident -- the strange device had raced head-on at his lighted F-51. At the last instant it had flipped to one side, streaking by at terrific speed.
Badly shaken, Fogle watched it flash up in a vertical climb. After a moment the blue-lit object turned, circling back as if for another pass. Fogle hastily switched off his lights, nosed down in a steep spiral.
The unknown machine dived to 2,000 feet. Apparently missing Fogle's plane in the dark, it circled toward Laredo Air Force Base, then swiftly turned away. Again climbing straight upward, it disappeared in the night.
Keyhoe further elaborated on the report in a later chapter...
Lieutenant Earl Fogle, the Intelligence report showed, was an experienced jet pilot. But on the night of December 4 he had been flying the slower F-51, which has a top speed of about 400 miles per hour.
At 8:49, after a two-hour practice flight, Fogle called the Laredo tower and asked permission to land. But since several jets were ahead of him, the tower told him to circle outside the traffic pattern.
Flying at 6,000 feet, several miles from the base, Fogle suddenly noticed a bright, fast-moving light. At first he took it for the after-burner of a jet. Then he realized no jet could make such a swift, tight turn. As he banked toward it, he saw that the light had a queer blue tinge.
The unknown machine rose quickly to his level, circling at tremendous speed. All that Fogle could see was its bright bluish-white glow. Whether it came from an exhaust, a light on the object, or some other source, he was unable to tell.
After a moment the strange device shot up in an odd, flitting ascent. Fogle watched it, astonished. In a few seconds, it climbed almost 9,000 feet. Then it dived back to his level.
Fogle went after it at full power. The UFO seemed to stop, or turn tightly, almost in one spot. Abruptly he realized it was coming straight toward him. The terrific closing speed gave him no time to turn. Paralyzed, expecting a head-on collision, he watched the thing streak toward him.
Three hundred feet away, the machine wavered for a split second. Then it flashed to one side, hurtling past his right wing, so fast it was only a blur.
Looking fearfully over his shoulder, Fogle saw it shoot up in another flitting climb. When it plunged back, as if for a second pass, he hurriedly cut off his lights. Afraid that a straight drive would make him too easy a target, he threw his fighter into a screaming spiral.
For a moment he thought his unknown pursuer would follow him all the way down. But at 2,000 feet the blue-lit device swiftly turned away. Climbing sharply, in another flitting ascent, it vanished in the dark ...
2. The following have appeared previously in this series regarding the "Operation Mainbrace" sightings...
From the New York, New York Herald Tribune - 15 Sep 52...
COPENHAGEN, Sept. 14 -- Lt. Comdr. Smidt-Jensen [sic, should be Schmidt-Jensen], second in command of the Danish Coastal destroyer Willemoes, said today he observed a mysterious glowing object moving across the sky at great speed north of Bornholm last night, heading southeast.
He described it as a bluish glowing triangle and estimated its speed at 1500 kilometers (937 miles) an hour.
From the Phoenix, Arizona Republic - 17 Sep 52...
Saucer? Seen Near Russ Base
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Sept 16 -- Lt. Cmdr. Schmidt Jensen said Tuesday that he and crew members of the Danish destroyer Willemoes spotted a "flying body traveling at terrific speed" over the southern end of the Baltic Sea 50 miles from a Russian guided missile base.
The Willemoes, participating in Operation Mainbrace, was north of the island of Bornholm when the object was sighted. Jensen, second in command of the destroyer, said the object came out of the south and disappeared to the north.
Jensen said the body flew silently at a very high altitude and was followed by three glowing streams of red and white. The Danish officer said he was sure it was not a shooting star but added:
"I'm sorry I cannot give any acceptable explanation."
The area where the object was sighted is about 50 miles northeast of the German island of Ruegen where the Russians are reported to be using German wartime proving grounds for rockets and guided missiles.
From the Helena, Montana Independent Record - 20 Sep 52...
Naval Maneuvers Report 'Saucers'
TOPCLIFFE, England -- "Operation Mainbrace" headquarters here opened a new signal file today: "Flying saucer sightings and movements."
The air ministry said they are investigating a report a silver colored circular object was spotted yesterday by RAF planes from this airfield taking part in the big Atlantic pact naval exercises.
Crewmen of a bomber said they saw the object moving through the sky about 15,000 feet up at a speed faster than a shooting star.
During the brief glimpse -- between 15 and 20 seconds -- the object was reported to have switched its course and then seemed to descend.
Later an air ministry meteorological office spokesman suggested "the object could have been a meteorological balloon. They are released daily."
The silver-colored balloons are about six feet in height.
From the Winnipeg, Canada Free Press - 20 Sep 52...
'Flying Saucer' Joins In Manoeuvres
TOPCLIFFE, England -- A "flying saucer" entered the eight-country Operation Mainbrace today.
The R.A.F. base here reported to exercise headquarters that an unidentifiable circular silver object had been sighted 15,000 feet above the airfield.
The object, which appeared five miles behind a jet fighter, maintained a slow forward speed before descending in a swinging pendulum motion. Then it began a rotary motion about its own axis and accelerated at an incredible speed in a westerly direction but later turned southeast.
It was seen by R.A.F. officers and men on the airfield. No one could identify it. The whole incident lasted between 15 and 20 seconds.
One R.A.F. officer said it might have been a smoke ring caused by one of the jet engines suddenly clearing after a temporary blockage. The ring might have been caught in an air current, and with the sun shining on it it could have looked like a "flying saucer," he said.
From the New Castle, Pennsylvania News - 20 Sep 52...
British Airmen Report 'Saucer'
PITREAVIE, Scotland, Sept. 20. -- RAF officers in the NATO maneuvers operation Mainbrace headquarters today investigated a report that a flying saucer was sighted.
Ten officers and enlisted men in an RAF bomber plane reported yesterday that they saw a silver circular object following a British pursuit plane over Yorkshire.
They said the object, with a rotary motion about its own axis, suddenly accelerated at incredible speed and vanished before they could get closer.
From the Yorkshire, England Evening Press - 20 Sep 52...
Topcliffe Airmen Sight A "Flying Saucer"
THE captain of a Coast Command Shackleton aircraft at R.A.F. Station, Topcliffe, to-day told an "Evening Press" reporter about the "flying saucer" which he saw while he was standing near a hangar on the station.
He is Flight Lieutenant John William Kilburn (31), of Thornhill, Cumberland, who has been in the R.A.F. for 16 years, 11 of them as aircrew. He said: "I noticed a white object and assumed that its height was between 10,000 and 20,000 feet. It was five miles astern of a Meteor jet aircraft. It was silver in colour, circular in shape and looked to be solid. The sun was glistening on it."
It appeared to be travelling at a much slower speed than the Meteor but on a similar course. It maintained its slow forward speed for several seconds before it started to descend, then began swinging with a pendulum action, something similar to a falling sycamore leaf.
"I thought it might be a parachute or an engine cowling at first sight.
"The Meteor turned towards Dishforth and this object followed suit. After a few seconds it stopped its pendulum motion and started to rotate about its own axis. It then made off at an incredible speed towards the west turning southeast before disappearing."
Matter Of Seconds
Flight Lieutenant Milburn added: "All this was in 15 or 20
[Remainder of article unavailable]
From the Sydney, Australia Sunday Herald - 21 Sep 52...
Ten R.A.F. Men See "Flying Saucer" In NATO Exercise
LONDON, Sept. 20 -- Ten R.A.F. men saw a "flying-saucer" enter part of the NATO manoeuvres in Yorkshire to-day.
The Royal Air Force station at Topcliffe, York- shire, reported to Exercise Headquarters to-day that at least 10 officers and crew of a Shackleton aircraft saw a silver object, circular in shape, appear five miles behind a Meteor fighter flying at 15,000 feet. The object maintained a slow forward speed before descending with a swinging pendulum motion.
When the Meteor turned back towards base the object appealed to follow.
It then began a rotary motion about its own axis, suddenly accelerated at incredible speed in a westerly direction, but later turned to a south-easterly course.
R.A.F. officers and men who saw it said its movements were not identifiable with anything they had seen in the air.
The acceleration was greater than that of a shooting star, they said. The incident lasted from 15 to 20 seconds.
An R.A.F. spokesman would not say whether the report is being regarded seriously or not. "Reports are being investigated," he said.
Some observers of the incident believe the object might have been a parachute or cowling from the Meteor aircraft, but none is reported to have landed in the vicinity.
From the Lowell Sun, Massachusetts Sun - 21 Sep 52...
Flying Saucer Mystery in War Games
LONDON, Sept. 20 -- The Allied mainbrace war games testing the newest in naval-air practices turned up a flying saucer mystery today.
It was taken seriously by some, scoffed at by others. The saucer report was made formally at a briefing in Scotland to U.S. and chief of operation mainbrace.
The saucer got a lot of attention since it was reported by six British airmen over the area where the western Allied force and 80,000 men are practicing. Russia, in a backseat position, is interested in the maneuvers.
Officers at the Pitreavie, Scotland, base of mainbrace said the saucer story was being treated seriously.
The British Air ministry in London pooh-poohed it. A ministry spokesman said the airmen probably saw a searchlight being operated in daytime producing an optical illusion by reflected light.
The six airmen said they saw the intruding object careen through the skies yesterday, change course over the maneuver area, then swoosh off at a speed faster than a shooting star.
From the Long Beach, California Independent Press-Telegram - 21 Sep 52...
Report of Flying Saucer Jolts Exercise Mainbrace
OSLO, Norway -- U.S. Marines sailed in World War II landing craft Saturday night toward a landing on the Danish Coast in the second phase of a giant mock struggle for Scandinavia that is being staged by eight North Atlantic Powers.
A new element entered the Exercise Mainbrace Saturday when operation headquarters recorded a "flying saucer" scare. RAF airmen based at Topcliffe, Eng., said they saw a silver colored circular object while taking part in the maneuvers. A British Air Ministry spokesman said the "object could have been a meteorological balloon."
But U.S. Adm. Lynde McCormick was briefed on the report at his headquarters at Pitreavie, Scotland, and authorities there said the reports were "being treated seriously."
The Marines were scheduled to swarm ashore on a Northern Danish beach at 2 a.m. today. They will reinforce friendly forces ashore.
The 2000 Leathernecks of the reinforced Third Battalion of the Second Regiment from Camp Lejeune, N.C., were supported by a Blue armada of light carriers.
The U.S. Carpelotti, a fast destroyer escort, carried a contingent of frogmen, underwater demolition experts, toward the landing area.
An "enemy" force of Orange submarines, torpedo boats, frigates, minelayers and destroyers was reported assembling.
AID RUSHED TO NORSE
Exercise Mainbrace, biggest combined air, sea and land maneuvers since World War II, pre-supposes that Gen. Matthew B. Ridgeway's North Atlantic Command in Europe is hard-pressed to save Europe from a mythical invader, and has called on U.S. Adm. Lynde McCormick's NATO Sea Command in the North Atlantic for aid.
In the first phase of the maneuver, the Naval forces demonstrated they could rush effective aid to Norway. The second phase is aimed at showing how the Danish Peninsula could be kept from being knocked out by an enemy in wartime.
Denmark is of strategic importance to control of the Skagerrak and Kattegat Straits and the Kiel Canal, sole passages to the Baltic which Russia regards almost as her private lake.
Nearly 200 ships and 80,000 men are engaged in the exercise.
From the Great Britain (national) Sunday Dispatch - 21 Sep 52...
Here are five of the R.A.F. men who saw the Flying Saucer. Left to right standing: L.A.C. Grime, Sgt. T.B. Dewys, Master Sigs. A.E. Thompson, Flight-Lieut M. Cybulski, Flight-Lieut. J.W. Kilburn
What Intruded Into 'Exercise Mainbrace'?
'Saucer' Chased R.A.F. Jet Plane
Say 6 Airmen
NOT Smoke-Ring Or Weather Balloon, Says Pilot
By Sunday Dispatch Reporter
SERIOUS investigation was being made last night by the R.A.F. into the mystery of a silvery-white object that chased a Meteor jet-plane over Yorkshire during "Exercise Mainbrace."
It was seen by two R.A.F. officers and three aircrew as they stood near Coastal Command Shackleton Squadron H.Q. at Topcliffe.
They had just landed after a flight and were watching a Meteor coming into land at the neighbouring Dishforth R.A.F. station.
One of them, Flight Lieut. John W. Kilburn, 31, of Egremont, Cumberland, then spotted "something different from anything I have ever seen in 3,700 hours flying in a variety of conditions."
He told me last night:
"It was 10:53 a.m. on Friday. The Meteor was coming down from about 5,000ft. The sky was clear. There was sunshine and unlimited visibility.
"The Meteor was crossing from East to West when I noticed the white object in the sky.
This object was silver and circular in shape, about 10,000ft. up some five miles astern of the aircraft. It appeared to be travelling at a lower speed than the Meteor but was on the same course.
[Remainder of article unavailable.]
From the Dundee, Scotland Courier - 22 Sep 52...
The silvery white object which chased a Meteor jet over Yorkshire has been freely discussed today.
Opinion throughout the country for many months has been divided over the possibility of there being such objects as flying saucers.
Now even the most incredulous are arguing that six experienced flying men have established a basis for the belief that there must be something at the back of all these stories from all parts of the world.
At the Air Ministry, the report has been taken more seriously than ever before, but until experts have carefully considered all the evidence no official statement is to be made.
It has so far been established that the object seen was neither smoke ring nor weather balloon. But what was it?
From the Yorkshire, England The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - 23 Sept 52...
Flying Saucer went like this, says R.A.F. officer
The movements of the flying saucer reported in yesterday's Yorkshire Post to have been seen on Friday near Topcliffe Aerodrome are traced in this diagram, which is based on information of Flight-Lieut. John William Kilburn, of Thornhill, Cumberland, one of the R.A.F. officers who have reported the object. Last night, an R.A.F. officer at Topcliffe told The Yorkshire Post that a civilian living in Alne, near Easingwold, had written to the Adjutant reporting that he, too, had seen the flying saucer.
From the Sydney, Australia Morning Herald - 23 Sep 52...
R.A.F. Sift "Saucer" Reports
LONDON, Sept. 22 -- R.A.F. experts are studying reports from 10 experienced officers and men who reported seeing a "flying saucer" over a Yorkshire airfield on Saturday.
They described with almost identical details the "Saucer's" appearance and behaviour during the 15 or 20 seconds it remained in view.
They said it was a circular silver object which travelled slowly before suddenly accelerating with incredible speed.
A "flying saucer" was also reported to have flown over Gothenburg, west Sweden, on Friday night.
Two men said they saw a noiseless, brightly shining object with a phosphorescent tail moving at great speed across the sky at about 6,500 feet.
In central Sweden on September 13, a former Air Force flier, Mr. Ture Innala, reported that he had seen a "snowplough-shaped cloud with smoke bubbling from its tail" streak across the sky at colossal speed.
He said it dropped a "blue-green shimmering plate, which changed course and disappeared equally as fast in the opposite direction."
His wife also saw the object.
3. The following is one of three photos taken by Metropolitan Group news photographer Wallace Litwin on September 20, 1952 while aboard the USS Roosevelt during Operation Mainbrace.
On October 2, 1952, a letter was sent to Major Dewey Fournet at the Air Force Directorate of Intelligence under the letterhead of the "Metropolitan Sunday Newspapers, Inc." of New York City, forwarding "three Ansco transparencies" of photos shot by Wallace Litwin aboard the USS Roosevelt during Operation Mainbrace. The letter included "a quote from Litwin's letter of yesterday describing the circumstances surrounding the shooting of these pictures", which was quoted as follows:
On September twentieth, at a few minutes after four p.m., I was standing on the forward flight deck of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, biggest carrier in the world. With me, at the time, was Lt. Robt. M. Greer, helicopter pilot. It was a bright day and there were occasional clouds in a very blue sky. As we were talking, I saw this round object about five hundred or a thousand feet in the air, directly above the after end of the ship. I shouted something to Greer and ran aft a bit to shoot it with a bit of the ship's 'island' in the picture to establish where. I had time to take a meter reading and three exposures before the rapidly rising thing was out of sight. The weather man man [sic] aboard sent a balloon up at three thirty, and says it rose up and out of sight in the overcast in about fifty seconds. This was not it. The shots were in color.
The next day there was an item on the teletype as follows…
At this point Litwin repeats from the news stories datelined Pitreavie, Scotland included in this post, then continues…
This took place in the same part of the world and could be part of the same situation. I have Greer's affidavit, not stating what it was that we saw, but that he saw it too, at the same time as I was photographing it.
In 1974 Danish researcher Ole Henningsen was able to contact Wallace Litwin, and received the following letter, in which the details about the launching of weather balloons differs as does the number of photographs...
Yes, I did take a number of 2¼ x 2¼ color photographs from the flight deck of the Carrier FDR during "Operation Mainbrace" off the coast of Norway. They were of a white sphere directly overhead and quite high up against a bright blue sky. I included some of the carrier's superstructure and parts of some planes so as to relate the sphere to the ship.
I naturally thought that they were shots of one of the weather balloons which the Carrier FDR sent up every other day, alternating that duty with the second carrier with the fleet, the Midway. To clarify that a bit, on alternate days the FDR or the Midway sent up weather balloons which would rise higher and higher, with their recording instruments, and, when they had sent all their messages, they reached an altitude at which they burst. They were, of course, observed by ships' personnel until they were seen to "self-destruct."
When I had taken the three or four shots, I went below to the officers' lounge, where I jokingly announced to the correspondents there that I had "shot a flying saucer". The ship's executive officer asked what I meant and I explained that I had just photographed today's weather balloon. He said that our ship had not sent one up on that day, checked to be sure, and then radioed to the Midway. They said that they had not yet sent up the balloons for that day and that there were no unaccounted-for balloons around from previous days. In other words, the skies above this NATO fleet were very carefully observed and nothing flew around overhead unobserved. But I knew that I had taken a picture (4) of what looked like a ping-pong ball ten feet over my head.
I sent my film back to New York, to my editor, who, when it arrived, as yet unprocessed, was told by the U.S. Army Air Force at Wright Field, that they had to see it first.
They took the roll of 120 Ektochrome to Wright Field which was then the headquarters field of the (then) Army Air Force. Months passed. Finally my editor went to Wright Field, which I think is in Kansas, and saw black-and-white blow-ups of my transparencies which were wall-sized, tacked to the walls of a huge room. They apparently made such huge prints (perhaps twenty feet square) in order to see the little men looking out of the little windows. But keep in mind that these were the top "Brass" of the U.S. Air Force!!!
Finally they returned one of the transparencies to my editor, about two years after the fact, and said that it could be published.
I have that one transparency, which, luckily, has not faded with the years, and still shows the bright blue sky, laced with fleecy clouds, and the virgin white ping-pong ball, ten feet over my head.
I swear on my soon-to-be dead body that all of the foregoing is true.
It may be of personal interest that we journalists discovered that the FDR was at the time carrying an atom bomb, in a small room far below decks, and constantly guarded by a U.S. Marine guard. The Navy denied this most vehemently, but we reporters plied some of the navy people with charm, money, and booze, and made sure of the fact.
Perhaps it relates to the white sphere?
As to prints for you, price, and so on, who knows?
What is the first professional, well-focused picture of an UFO worth? Perhaps you can tell me.
I must say that I have been delighted to hear from you.
As stated previously, the letter varied in some details from the statement included in the October 2, 1952 letter. Whether the Ansco transparencies were personally delivered along with the letter is unknown. The October 2, 1952 letter ended with "As I said during our telephone conversation today, I would appreciate a quick return of these transparencies and any comment which the Air Force is willing to make about these pictures for publication". It is unknown how accurate Litwin's much later recounting of their eventual retrieval is, and it may be pertinent to take note that Litwin was apparently offering his photo for sale (it was apparently bought by contacts through APRO -- the Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization, headed by Coral Lorenzen -- and then forwarded to Ole Henningsen). The precise detail of Litwin's recounting of the "atom bomb" aboard the USS Roosevelt could not be confirmed, but it is known the USS Roosevelt carried aboard aircraft with both conventional and nuclear capabilities during some of its missions.
4. In his 1956 book The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Capt. Ed Ruppelt -- at the time the head of Project Blue Book -- wrote of Operation Mainbrace...
In late September 1952 the NATO naval forces had held maneuvers off the coast of Europe; they were called Operation Mainbrace. Before they had started someone in the Pentagon had half seriously mentioned that Naval Intelligence should keep an eye open for UFO's, but no one really expected the UFO's to show up. Nevertheless, once again the UFO's were their old unpredictable selves -- they were there.
On September 20, a U.S. newspaper reporter aboard an aircraft carrier in the North Sea was photographing a carrier take-off in color when he happened to look back down the flight deck and saw a group of pilots and flight deck crew watching something in the sky. He went back to look and there was a silver sphere moving across the sky just behind the fleet of ships. The object appeared to be large, plenty large enough to show up in a photo, so the reporter shot several pictures. They were developed right away and turned out to be excellent. He had gotten the superstructure of the carrier in each one and, judging by the size of the object in each successive photo, one could see that it was moving rapidly.
The intelligence officers aboard the carrier studied the photos. The object looked like a balloon. From its size it was apparent that if it were a balloon, it would have been launched from one of the ships, so the word went out on the TBS radio: "Who launched a balloon?"
The answer came back on the TBS: "Nobody."
Naval Intelligence double-checked, triple-checked and quadruple- checked every ship near the carrier but they could find no one who had launched the UFO.
We kept after the Navy. The pilots and the flight deck crew who saw the UFO had mixed feelings—some were sure that the UFO was a balloon while others were just as sure that it couldn't have been. It was traveling too fast, and although it resembled a balloon in some ways it was far from being identical to the hundreds of balloons that the crew had seen the aerologists launch.
We probably wouldn't have tried so hard to get a definite answer to the Mainbrace photos if it hadn't been for the events that took place during the rest of the operation, I explained to the group of ADC officers.
The day after the photos had been taken six RAF pilots flying a formation of jet fighters over the North Sea saw something coming from the direction of the Mainbrace fleet. It was a shiny, spherical object, and they couldn't recognize it as anything "friendly" so they took after it. But in a minute or two they lost it. When they neared their base, one of the pilots looked back and saw that the UFO was now following him. He turned but the UFO also turned, and again it outdistanced the Meteor in a matter of minutes.
Then on the third consecutive day a UFO showed up near the fleet, this time over Topcliffe Aerodrome in England. A pilot in a Meteor was scrambled and managed to get his jet fairly close to the UFO, close enough to see that the object was "round, silvery, and white" and seemed to "rotate around its vertical axis and sort of wobble." But before he could close in to get a really good look it was gone.
It was these sightings, I was told by an RAF exchange intelligence officer in the Pentagon, that caused the RAF to officially recognize the UFO.
5. Relevant Blue Book documents on the Operation Mainbrace sightings may be found in PDF format at NICAP. The USS Roosevelt picture was evaluated by Project Blue Book as "balloon".
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