in the news 1952
Above: Movie theater ad from the Monessen, Pennsylvania Daily Independent, June 30, 1952.
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...
JUNE 17 THROUGH JULY 12, 1952:
Washington, D.C. Post - 17 Jun 52
Flying Saucer Search Begun by Air Force
New York, June 16 -- Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg disclosed today that the United States Air Force has launched a secret search for "flying saucers," and said "with the present world unrest we cannot afford to be complacent."
"The Air Force is interested in anything that takes place in the air," said Vandenberg. "This includes aerial phenomenons commonly known as 'flying saucers'."
The Air Force Chief of Staff's statement was made in the current issues of Look magazine, which reports that the Air Technical Intelligence Command is mounting a new hunt for flying saucers.
One highly placed intelligence officer was quoted as saying, "Our job is to detect any weapon that might be used against the United States. In the future a weapon that 'probably was a meteor' may prove to be a global rocket."
A methodical and scientific plan has now been blueprinted, according to Look, and includes these steps:
1. A special camera being developed at the University of California which will be able to break down the image so scientists can determine the saucer's composition and source of light. Plans call for 200 such cameras to be built and distributed to key atomic and military locations.
2. Cine-theodolites, instruments for tracking guided missiles, will be used to trace the location, flight patterns and speed of flying saucers. Tracking crews will be able to fix their exact location and movement patters and then photograph them with cameras built into the theodolites.
3. Radar combined with cameras and telescopes as well as modified sonar to find out why saucers appear soundless.
Lieut. Edward Ruppelt of Ames, Iowa, is project officer for the hunt. He will work out of ATIC's closely guarded headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.
The Air Force, according to Look, feels the final solution will prove that saucers are one or more of the following: misinterpretations of known objects such as balloons and jet planes; reflected light from the earth; man-made vehicles, most possibly Russian, and space ships for interplanetary missiles.
Mitchell, South Dakota Daily Republic - 17 Jun 52
Flying Saucers Spotted Over Jamestown, N.D.
JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- "Flying saucers" were reported over North Dakota again Monday night.
Mr. And Mrs. Carl Hahn, Jamestown, reported they saw a strange object flying very high over the Jamestown airport Monday evening. They said the object, which they watched through binoculars, had "a luminous top and a red bottom." They said several other persons also saw the object before it moved out of sight across the sky.
Tokyo, Japan Pacific Stars and Stripes - 18 Jun 52
Discs Reported Over Paris
PARIS, June 17, 1952 -- The Paris newspaper France Soir reported Tuesday that operators of Le Bourget Airport sighted "flying saucers" over the French capital last Thursday.
Anniston, Alabama Star - 19 Jun 52
Weather Observer Sees Another 'Flying Saucer'
PUEBLO. Colo. -- Orville Foster of the U.S. Weather Bureau at the Municipal Airport here said he sighted "an object commonly called a flying saucer" on the bureau's theodolite last night.
He said the nondescript object circled leisurely for 10 minutes and then disappeared toward the northeast.
A theodolite is the instrument the weather bureau uses to observe its weather balloons.
Ironwood, Michigan Daily Globe - 21 Jun 52
Capital Sees Hot 'Saucer'
WASHINGTON -- Washington had a foreign visitor last night, right out of this world.
The new arrival -- reported by dozens of phone calls to newspapers, police and the naval observatory -- was variously described as a fireball, a glowing plate and a flying saucer.
Astronomers said the object was probably a meteor. "The skies are full of them at this time of the year," it was explained.
One irate motorist said it zoomed right over the top of his convertible as he drove near the White House.
Most reports indicated the object descended in a diagonal line from a great height and disappeared while still high up.
Marseille, France Le Meridional - 21 Jun 52
A ship commander and his crew saw a mysterious machine in the sky of Black Africa
Dakar. -- A mysterious craft was seen in the sky of Black Africa, above Port-Gentil, last June 1st, by a commander of a merchant ship and several members of his crew.
The commander, who arrived yesterday in Dakar, specified that the object in question was seen at 2 o'clock in the morning and that it described a double loop before diving towards the ocean at high speed.
Still according to the commander of the boat, it was a great and extremely luminous and phosphorescent orange gleam, moving at a vertiginous speed, following an appreciably rectilinear trajectory. The gleam was followed with the binocular during three minutes. The craft did not make any noise, it was to be at three or four kilometers altitude and its visible diameter was that of a planet.
The second of the ship has as for him saw the object whereas it came from the interior of the land above Port-Gentil. He could note that it stopped, then that it veered on its right taking again its initial path, and it did this twice.
The commander believes that it was neither a known celestial phenomenon, nor a flying machine of the current type, and he added that he had obtained confirmation that during the same night, June 1st, no plane had been announced above Port-Gentil.
Salt Lake City, Utah Tribune - 22 Jun 52
UNCERTAIN. About the time we first read Arthur Gordon's realistic fiction story. "The Warning," on Page 8, we also read a United Press dispatch which began: "A noted French scientist is waiting for a closer look at Mars before he discounts the flying saucers theory." Until then we'd always felt that interplanetary travel was impossible, but now we're beginning to waver. Especially since our office astronomer chimes in with the information that Mars, on May 8th, was only 52,000,000 miles away from Earth -- a mere hop, skip and jump, astronomically speaking. Right now, incidentally, you can see it about sunset -- a bright, reddish star in the southern sky.
Winnipeg, Canada Free Press - 23 Jun 52
Flying 'Saucer' Seen At Dauphin
DAUPHIN, Man. June 23 (Special) -- A flying saucer has appeared over Dauphin for the second time in the past year. This time it was spotted by Mrs. Dorothy Holling, a recent arrival from England and former member of the wartime observer corps.
Mrs. Holling saw the object, believed to be a flying saucer, at about 7:20 p.m. (CST), Friday. It emerged from one cloud formation which was lying at 2,000 feet, tilted upwards and flashing across a patch of blue sky made for another cloud strata about 1,000 feet higher.
Mrs. Holling, as former wartime plane spotter, felt she would have recognized the object if it had been any standard type of aircraft. She described the object as being twice the size of a civilian transport aircraft and was black in color with red facings on the trailing edges that faced her.
Mrs. Holling would not estimate the speed of the object but said it was travelling much faster than any aircraft she had ever seen.
Last fall, M.F. Sczewczyk, also of Dauphin reported a brilliant object flashed across the sky at approximately the same time of day. He described the object as being dark in color and travelling at a fantastic speed.
A check with airport officials revealed that no civilian or military aircraft were in the vicinity on either occasion.
Great Bend, Kansas Daily Tribune - 24 Jun 52
We were getting provincial, that's what we were.
And these flying saucers are our comeuppance. For us humans, at least those of us who inhabit this planet, it has been hard indeed to realize that there are "hills beyond Pentland and firths beyond Forth". A few far-traveled spirits among us, a few cosmopolitan souls have realized that moral virtue is not the monopoly of one nationality, and that all intellect is not cornered by one color of skin. But on the whole we've been a pretty smug race -- nationalistic, clannish, intolerant. And all of us have been pretty cocky about our vaunted "scientific advancement".
Probably we had it coming to us, these visitants from outer space, these flying devices "far beyond the known capacities of aeronautical science" -- at least the aeronautical science of this planet. And stories which are appearing in conservative and reputable magazines indicate that some of our most conservative and reputable scientists are accepting the saucers as just such visitants.
Reader's Digest quotes Dr. Walther Riedel, once chief designer and research director at the German rocket center at Peenemunde: "The skin friction of the missile (the flying saucer) at those speeds at those altitudes would melt any metals or nonmetals available". He means, of course, available to us on this planet.
The Digest quotes Dr. Maurice A. Biot, leading aerodynamicist, as saying flatly, "My opinion is that they (the saucers) have an extra-terrestrial origin".
This is a hard pill for us humans to swallow, this idea that we are not supreme among all creatures, that there are, on other planets, men and women far smarter than we. It's hard for us to believe that, in other worlds, men and women are building aircraft capable of speed and maneuverability we have only dreamed of, men and women capable of using metals we've never discovered, capable of devising motive power quite beyond our ken.
Yet we must either accept this as fact or we must believe that God himself, grown weary of our bigotry, is flaunting titanic miracles before our smug noses. But either explanation of the flying saucers is enough to send us to our shuddering knees in prayer.
Salt Lake City, Utah Tribune - 25 Jun 52
Effects of Atom Blast Tied To Weather Conditions
The blast damage an atomic bomb will do at great distances depends more on weather conditions than on the size of the bomb itself. And the paths that will be followed by damaging air blast waves "can be reasonably well forecast by acoustical means."
This was disclosed Wednesday by Dr. Everett F. Cox of the Sandia Corporation, Albuquerque, N.M. in a talk before the Fluid Dynamics Division, American Physical Society, which is meeting at the University of Utah.
These discoveries were made through studies in connection with the atomic weapon tests conducted last year and early this year at the Atomic Energy Commission's Nevada Proving Grounds. They will serve as a guide to the AEC in timing bomb blasts to minimize possible damage at distant, inhabited places.
The 150 or more scientists attending the meeting from various parts of the country, also heard Dr. R.E. Gibson, director of the Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, say that while "there are still many problems in principle and in practice to be solved . . . the supersonic missile is no longer in the realm of fantasy."
Paralysis of Thought
While science in recent years has brought many near-miracles, such as guided missiles, rockets, radar, television and atomic fission, Dr. Gibson said one effect on the general public has been "inducing paralysis in the centers of higher thought and discrimination."
"There has been an abandonment of all restraints on imagination and credulity," he continued. "After these spectacular advances people are willing to believe anything and unwilling to accept any of the restraints which established scientific theory or sound engineering practice must impose on the trained mind. This is becoming an age of unbridled fantasy and superstition, an age devoid of critical discrimination."
He said while he would not venture an opinion as to the possible explanation of the "alleged phenomena of flying saucers," he would regard the evidence of so-called "reliable observers" as evidence of a "complete disregard for the most elementary principles upon which scientists and engineers have built so surely and successfully for hundreds of years." ...
Hammond, Indiana Times - 26 Jun 52
Sees Flying Saucer
CHICAGO – A flying saucer was reported over Chicago last night by Mrs. George Wilson of 329 S. Honore St.
She described the object as being very high in the air, wobbly and traveling a zig-zag course.
Mrs. Wilson described the object a "shimmering red, as if illuminated from inside." She said it disappeared into the southwestern sky.
Conakry, French Guinea La Guinee Francaise - 26 Jun 52
Luminous Object Seen Over Port Gentil
The master of a cargo ship anchored in front of the wharf of Port Gentil in Gabon, French Equatorial Africa reported that at 0240 hours on 1 June 1952 a mysterious object came up from the area behind Port Gentil, made a double loop, passed over the roadstead, and then dived toward the sea at great speed. He submitted the report to the local authorities and to the Administrative offices of his company. The following is a summary, of his story.
On 1 June 1952 at 0240 hours, the ship was riding at anchor in the roadstead of Port Gentil, heading 150 degrees. The northern sky was clear and starry; the southern, slightly cloudy. Visibility was excellent, a slight southwest breeze prevailed, and the sea was calm. There was a quarter moon.
The first mate was at his forward post ready to weigh anchor while the master was on the bridge with the officer on duty. With the exception of the mooring lights, the ship was in complete darkness, thus permitting excellent night visibility.
At 0240, the first mate telephoned the master informing him that be had just sighted an unknown luminous object in the sky which came from Port Gentil and passed directly over the ship. Training his binoculars (Zeiss 7 x 50, for night vision) skyward, the master was able to see quite clearly, on the port quarter, a very bright and phosphorescent orange light, circular in shape and moving at a great speed in a seemingly straight-line course. Standing on the wing of the bridge, and with the aid of the gyrocompass repeater, the master estimated its average direction to be about 10 degrees.
He followed the light quite easily in his binoculars for about 3 minutes and lost sight of it when it moved at great speed over the Prince buoy, about 7 miles from the ship. The master was unaware of any accompanying sound and admits that it was difficult to estimate the altitude of the object, yet he judged this to be 3,000-4,000 meters. Its diameter was that of a planet.
The first mate stated that before he telephoned the master, he saw that object come from the direction of Fort Gentil, stop, make a right turn, and resume its initial course. As it passed directly over the ship, it repeated the same sort of gyration.
The master stated that his 20 years of sea duty enabled him to affirm that what he saw was neither a known celestial phenomenon, such as a falling star or meteor, nor a current type of aircraft.
Furthermore, it was confirmed that there were no planes in the air that night over Port Gentil.
Lebanon, Pennsylvania Daily News - 27 Jun 52
What's Right, What's Wrong
Space patrol . . .
A new observation post is planned at the end of a runway at the Pottstown Airport, but it is not expected to aid pilots to land or take off.
The Pilot Club of Pottstown, which is building the lookout tower, said the post will be manned 24 hours a day for "flying saucer studies."
Eldora, Iowa Hardin County Index - 27 Jun 52
Rumblings of Your Town Pump
Eldora is mentioned in the current issue of the Reader's Digest in an article "Flying Saucers -- New in Name Only" by James R. Aswell.
According to the author Eldora was one of the first towns to report flying saucers and it was before the 1900's. In 1897 U.S. newspapers gave front page space to a cigar shaped "airship" supposed to be cruising around Chicago. In March the same year, dispatches described a "cigar shaped" object without motive power. New items streamed into the Chicago Tribune, one which reported:
"Reputable citizens of (Eldora, Ia.) say they observed the gigantic airship. One man said it resembled an immense bird of polished silver."
Long Beach, California Press Telegram - 28 Jun 52
The Flying Saucers Again
This time actual photos from England of flying saucers taken in May last, will be shown on the screen.
DR. ORR 10:30 A.M. DR. ORR
Hear why these messages are so popular as Dr. Orr explains the inter-planetary and prophetic significance of the strangest of all last-day
Town Hall 835 Locust Town Hall
Winnipeg, Canada Free Press - 28 Jun 52
Czech Astronomer Believes Saucers Just Propaganda
VICTORIA, June 28 -- A Czech astronomer has compared flying saucers to Hitler's propaganda techniques.
Dr. Karel Hujer, of Chattanooga, Tenn., made the comparison when addressing the joint session of the American Astronomical society and the Astronomical society of the Pacific here.
He said flying saucers, reported by many people throughout North America, have never been seen by a qualified astronomical observer.
"I do not say there are no flying saucers," he said. "I say there is no scientific evidence to support claims of their existence."
Dr. Hujer said periods of unrest bring reports of weird objects.
"When people of the world are troubled, they unconsciously seek escape in the unreal," he said, "They see things, like the Loch Ness monster.
"And, like Hitler's technique of repeating lies until they are believed, the unreal becomes believable through a process you might term mass hysteria."
Winnipeg, Canada Free Press - 28 Jun 52
Well, Here's Another!
PRINCE ALBERT, Sask., June 28 -- A flying saucer was "spinning like a top and bobbing around" the skies in the Prince Albert district.
Mrs. Lea Fast said "The light was spinning from east to west and seemed to curve upward," she said. She thought it might have been a falling star but they don't curve upward.
"I never believed in the story of flying saucers but now I've changed my story and belief."
Pottstown, Pennsylvania, News - 30 Jun 52
Let's Reward Our Pranksters
CONGRATULATIONS to another Pottstown group of boys who never grew up.
Congratulations to the Pilots club members who scared the wits out of a large segment of Pottstown's citizenry the other night.
These grown persons who certainly ought to know better, sent up some illuminated balloons over Pottstown.
The president of the club, who confessed the prank, said he wanted to test the "sensory acuity," whatever that is, of members attending an outdoor meeting.
All those queer balloons did was to make jittery a populace that already was nervous because of an intense heat wave.
People's nerves are on edge because some other nitwit attempts to "make us conscious" of the Korean war. People are jumpy because they've been fed hysterical propaganda about atom bomb attacks.
Their nerves are frazzled because they're subjected to the shrieking of sirens without apparent reason.
They're scared because of flying saucer accounts.
So our Pottstown pilots club, a group that certainly should have more intelligence, frightens more people.
"It definitely was not a gag," said the president of the club who released the balloons.
Neither is it much of a gag when some clown pulls out a chair when a person is about to sit down. It isn't very funny when guys get shot from guns that aren't loaded either. It wouldn't have been very funny if some persons, weakened by the heat, might have been frightened into fatal heart attacks.
Not too many years ago it wasn't considered a gag when the East was thrown into turmoil by a radio report of an invasion by men from Mars. People fled their homes; huddled in terror in forest fastness.
The past week's "flying saucer" scare sent frightened persons to the telephones begging for explanations. Even the United States Army airport at Reading was excitedly called to find out if it had sighted any unusual aircraft.
No, it wasn't a gag. It wasn't quite as funny as that flag-tearing prank around Flag Day. Not even the village halfwit could be expected to be as funny as that! The balloon incident was very unfunny!
Pottstown borough council should call in those flying saucer heroes and pin large medals on their puerile chests. Big vacuum medals.
Then the council should bestow good, swift kicks on their rears!
Long Beach, California Independent - 30 Jun 52
See Mystery Lights Racing Over City
Were flying saucers over Long Beach last night?
At least four people reported strange phenomena, strange lights moving faster than an eye could follow.
And the lights were not searchlights -- because searchlights which were moving in the sky at the time couldn't match these lights in speed.
The most authentic observers of the unusual sight were William K. Channell and B.O. Bobp, both of Seal Beach, who were fishing off Belmont Shore at the time, approximately 10:30.
Channell is employed by Douglas Aircraft and knows his planes. Bobp is employed by the Seal Beach Ammunition Depot, and also knows his planes. Added to their story is that of an unidentified couple who had just emerged from a church in Long Beach and reported they saw the same thing.
But the story of Channell and Bobp, verified by the couple emerging from the church service, was this:
Two lights, apparently on planes or flying saucers, moved over the area at tremendous speeds.
According to Channell, the two lights were moving at far greater speeds than any U.S. plane has ever achieved.
They were moving so fast, in fact, that they outdistanced the sweep of a searchlight beam across the sky.
One, Channell said, appeared to bank above the ocean as the two lights swept out to sea.
Yes, Channell admits he has read about flying saucers, usually with his tongue in his cheek.
Now he is wondering. And so is Bobp.
Winnipeg, Canada Free Press - 30 Jun 52
Around the World
Royal marines handed in Malta's first flying saucer report. They said a saucer-like object flying at high speed and height was sighted over the island last week.
Salt Lake City, Utah Deseret News - 2 Jul 52
Flying Disc, Crew, Seen By Red Refugees
BERLIN -- Western intelligence officials are investigating the claim of a Russian zone political refugee, the former mayor of an East German town in Thuringia, to have seen a flying saucer and two members of its crew on the ground at close range in a forest in the Russian zone, three miles from the border of the U.S. zone.
The mayor, Oskar Linke, who was forced to flee from Eastern Germany to escape Communist persecution, Wednesday sat in his emergency home in Berlin's British sector and quietly described his experience. He has been "screened" by intelligence officials.
Linke said: "It was an uncanny experience. I was returning home in the evening by motorcycle with my 11-year-old daughter in the side car when we glimpsed something shimmering white through the surrounding trees.
"We were in the neighborhood of Meiningen, a town in Thuringia. We crept through the undergrowths, and to our amazement, saw a huge oval disk about 25 feet across lying on the ground in a clearing.
"It looked like a huge phosphorescent warming pan without a handle. In the center was a square contraption, a sort of upper works which rose about the 'saucer' like a top hat, and was slightly darker in color than the rest of the aluminum-like disk.
"Then, to our astonishment, we saw two figures who appeared to be wearing metallic overalls, approach the object.
"My daughter let out a scream when she saw them and the figures hastily entered it through a porthole on the top of the square upper works in the center.
"It was then that we noticed also that the disk had two rows of circular portholes around its edge, about the size of ship's portholes.
"As we looked the square upper works began to retract and simultaneously the object started to rise slowly off the ground.
"We both noticed that a similar square-shaped based was emerging out of the bottom of the disk and apparently forcing it off the ground.
"Then the object began to rise slowly into the air. It rose to about a hundred feet, hovered for a moment, and then spun away out of sight.
"There was hardly any sound as it rose, but the sides of the 'warming pan' glowed dark red and we felt a swish of air as it left the ground."
After seeing the "saucer," Linke wrote a description of it in the form of an eight-page eye-witness report, with diagrams drawn from memory. He hid the report for fear that the East German secret police would find it and arrest him as a spy.
"This has been the first chance I have had to mention the matter to anyone," he said.
"I was too frightened before."
His 11-year-old daughter confirmed the story in detail: I was so terrified I did not know what to do," she said. "Father told me I was not to mention it to anyone as long as we were in the Soviet zone as it would have meant our arrest."
Western intelligence officials refused to comment on the report until they had made further investigations.
Linke was a senior official of the East German Farmers' Association and was returning to his home from a meeting of the association when he made his flying saucer discovery.
Williamsport, Penn. Gazette & Bulletin - 2 Jul 52
Flying Saucers Again!
Shamokin -- Reports of 'flying saucers' emanated from this Northumberland County community tonight.
Mrs. Bernice Kocur, who lives in the Springfield section of town, said she saw a silvery, soundless object move across the sky toward nearby Mt. Carmel before it disappeared. She said she and several other women sighted the object while they were standing in front of their homes awaiting news from an independent coal mining operation where three men were burned today in a gas explosion.
Mrs. Kocur said her niece, Miss Theresa Lehner, living some distance away, also saw the object.
A motorist approaching Shamokin from nearby Brady gave a similar report.
Galveston, Texas Daily News - 3 Jul 52
Those Saucer Tales Again
CHICAGO, July 3 -- O'Hare Air Force Base officers said Thursday that "flying saucer" reports have picked up lately. The public information office said it has received 16 reports of mysterious objects in the sky in the Chicago vicinity this week. But officers denied reports that a special "flying saucer" alert has been ordered.
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche - 3 Jul 52
Two 'Flying Saucers' Reported In State
HUGO Okla., July 3 -- Joe Swink, news editor of the Hugo Daily News, reported Thursday that he and 15 others saw two "flying saucers" over Fort Hood, Tex.
Swink, just returned from Fort Hood where he took two weeks reserve training, said he and others saw two whirling discs, traveling at tremendous speeds in daylight. He and other soldiers were on a field problem when they saw two objects travel from horizon to horizon in a span of some 30 seconds.
"The objects appeared silver in color," Swink said, "and went through maneuvers no ordinary plane could accomplish, including a 90 degree turn from the horizontal to the vertical -- then shot out of sight into the upper atmosphere."
Swink said Fort Hood officers said similar discs had been sighted in the area before.
Big Spring, Texas Herald - 3 Jul 52
Around The Rim -- The Herald Staff
People Back In The Early Days Saw More Than Flying Saucers
The opinions contained in this and other articles in this column are solely those of the writers who sign them. They are not to be interpreted as necessarily reflecting the opinions of The Herald. – Editor's Note.
People who get excited -- or alarmed -- over reports and visions of flying saucers and such phenomena don't have anything on their ancestors. Neither do the ones who see and report the mysterious objects and events.
Apparently Americans have been "discovering" all sorts of strange creatures and situations for decades, and the persons they related their experiences to became just as excited, and sometimes alarmed, as Snuffy Smith when Ol' Snort comes to town.
If you need convincing, take a look through ancient newspaper files, advises a group who classify themselves as folklorists and who go around investigating legends.
They've found some dillies, too, in their look-around.
Take, for instance, the report of magnetic caves that snatched picks out of the hands of unwary prospectors in the Rocky Mountains. Or the one about the winged alligator seen by a pair of Arizona ranchers. The cowmen spotted the flying creature over Tombstone, flapping along with a wingspan of 160 feet, a head eight feet long, and a proportionately expansive tail.
There's also the story, sworn and subscribed to, about the California man appearing in the home of his son in Texas an hour or two after he was crushed to death beneath an automobile near his own home.
Nearly everyone has heard of "bottomless" lakes and holes. Yarns of fish flowing from artesian wells of boiling water are a little more rare (in contrast to the fish). So are the ones that have to do with mountains of soap, mines of molasses, and chicken soup wells, but they've all been seen and described by "persons known to be truthful."
Probably the most remarkable report was the one from Death Valley which had a real, live, full-sized dinosaur grazing on the sagebrush of that area. That was back in 1892 and the story was verified in a report from a representative of the Royal Academy of Sciences, London. He apparently just happened to be on hand.
The newspaper accounts of the monster's activity were so convincing that western cowboys converged on the area with stout rawhide ropes with which they hoped to capture the prehistoric predator.
These and other gems were hashed over by the folklorists at a recent convention. They didn't laugh at the stories, or attribute them to over-active imaginations, the demon rum or other unworthy sources. Henry Winfield Splitter, a Venice, California, researcher, probably spoke for all his associates when he credited all the reports to a "pseudo science" that he said, is "not blind credulity," but something based on a "germ of truth."
Which seems to mean that the reporter actually saw something, but his story gained in the telling (and re-telling). Or it could be that what was seen was misinterpreted.
Whatever the origin and treatment, all of the yarns were good enough to repeat or I wouldn't have had a subject for today.
-- WAYLAND YATES
Long Beach, California Press Telegram - 5 Jul 52
BIBLE PATTERN OF FLYING SAUCERS
A whirlwind -- a fire -- intense brightness -- swift movement --
rings -- living creatures -- and their message from Ezekiel,
Zechariah and Isaiah.
DR. ORR 10:30A.M. DR. ORR
Be sure to hear this prophetic message of coming events which will shake America, Britain, France and Germany.
Town Hall -- 835 Locust
SIGNS OF GREAT WORLD CHANGES
Albuquerque, New Mexico Tribune - 5 Jul 52
Pilots Sight Saucer Near Original Area
ELLENSBURG, Wash., July 5 -- Four veteran pilots today reported sighting a "pancaked flying saucer" about 75 air miles east of an area where the first of the mysterious objects was reported six years ago.
The Civil Aeronautics Administration regional office in Seattle admitted receiving the report, but refused to comment. Larson Air Force Base at Moses Lake was alerted and presumably sent jets into the air to investigate.
The unidentified flyers, en route to Denver in a transport plane, said they saw the saucer off the left wing tip between here and Yakima at about 6 a.m. They said they passed it up as it stood "suspended in space."
The flyers said the object was "almost transparent, was about one-eight the length of a runway, had no vapor trail, but had some exhaust." They said they did not pick it up on their radar.
The pilots were reported to have been flying a C-46 Civil Air Mission craft.
The "flying saucer" was first reported in 1946 in the vicinity of Mt. Rainier southeast of Seattle.
Long Beach, California Press-Telegram - 6 Jul 52
Fliers See 'Saucer' Over Atomic Plant
DENVER, Colo., July 5. -- Four Florida air pilots, three of them World War II veterans, told today of seeing a "flying saucer" hovering over the Hanford atomic plant at Richland, Wash.
Capt. John Baldwin of Coral Gables, Fla., an Air Force pilot in the Pacific during World War II who has 7000 hours of airline pilot experience, said the object he and his companions saw early today was a "perfectly round disc, white in color and almost transparent with small vapor trails off it like the tentacles of an octopus."
He said he was flying at about 9000 feet and saw the object "just below a deck of wispy clouds 10,000 to 15,000 feet directly above us."
"All of us have been flying a number of years and we've seen all kinds of clouds and formations, but none of us had ever seen anything like this," Baldwin said.
"The object seemed to back away from us and change shape. It was perfectly round and still at first. Then it seemed to back away from us and change shape. It became flat, gained speed and then disappeared quickly."
Baldwin's report was attested to by Capt. George Robertson of Miami, who flew a C-46 over the Hump to Burma in World War II; D. Shenkel of Miami, a former Air Force pilot, and Steven Summers of Hialeah, Fla., who has been flying since shortly after the end of World War II. Baldwin and Robertson are pilots and Shenkel and Summers are co-pilots for Conner Air Lines.
Baldwin said that after spotting the object "I ran to the rear of our C-46 for my camera, but by the time I could get it, the object had disappeared. Boy what a shot that would have made!"
Baldwin called the object a "flying saucer," but then added that "I've never believed in them, but this definitely wasn't a cloud formation nor a weather instrument. It was an object that none of us had ever seen before."
Baldwin said the object was spotted over the "Hanford atomic plant" between Ellensburg and Yakima, Wash., at about 6 a.m.
This is about 75 miles east and south of an area where the first of the mysterious objects was reported seen six years ago in the vicinity of Mt Rainier, southeast of Seattle.
"We passed the object as it stood suspended in space," Robertson said. "We couldn't pick it up on our radar. We reversed our course and went back, but we couldn't spot it again."
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Press - 6 Jul 52
Frenchman Debunks Flying Saucers
PARIS, July 5 -- Prof. Ernest Esclangon, honorary director of the Paris Observatory and France's top astronomical expert, dismisses the whole idea of flying saucers as "puerile."
"French observatories, which keep a permanent watch on the skies have never mentioned the passage of these mysterious engines," he says.
The alleged "foggy" photographs published recently don't prove anything, according to the professor.
Monessen, Pennsylvania Daily Independent - 7 Jul 52
Mon City Dentist Speaks To Club On Flying Saucers
A history of "flying saucers" since the first one was reported in the United States in 1947 was recounted to the Monessen Rotary Club at its regular weekly meeting at Johnson's Restaurant yesterday.
The speaker was a Monongahela dentist, Dr. Playford Taylor, who has made a study of the subject as a hobby.
Dr. Taylor listed many of the reports and descriptions of "saucers" and the "little men" manning them whose bodies allegedly have been discovered.
Without attempting to evaluate the reports, none of them official, Dr. Taylor said he thinks there is no question but that interplanetary communications are in the not-too-distant future. The evidence indicates, he said, that the "saucers" are actually aircraft, probably launched from some other planet.
Armour T. Cravey, of Monongahela; Dr. C.H. Dow, of Belle Vernon; W. Vernon Lewis, of Charleroi; Rev. Alva Jordan, of Monessen; and Samuel McDonald, of Coatesville, former Superintendent of Schools in Monessen; were guests of the club.
San Mateo, California Times - 7 Jul 52
Savant Hints Flying May Saucers Be Real
LOS ANGELES, July 7 -- Scientist Arthur C. Clarke, one of England's leading authorities on space travel, believes flying saucers are more than mirages or myths.
The former royal air force flight officer said he based his belief on new data on saucers supplied him by scientists at the United States' rocket-testing base at White Sands. N.M.
Clarke, who arrived here yesterday from White Sands, said he was "beginning to think there's more to the flying saucer mystery than just a mirage."
He said he was not ready to guarantee the disks are real, but said "a noted American scientist told me at While Sands that he is certain he has seen one. It appeared to be going at a high rate of speed and was close enough for this scientist to see windows in it.
"Yes, you can't help but wonder at the number of supposed flying disks which have been reported in the vicinity of a secret military base like White Sands."
Clark was in this country to talk with astronomers and rocket experts.
Madison, Wisconsin Capital Times - 8 Jul 52
Scientist Who 'Saw' Saucer Is Mystified
WHITE SANDS, N.M. -- Dr. Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the Planet Pluto, today agreed that he is the scientist who was quoted as being "certain" he saw a flying saucer.
But Tombaugh was not nearly so positive about the identity of the object he saw scoot across the sky above this secret military base as was the British authority on space travel who quoted him.
Arthur C. Clarke, a leading British expert on rocket travel, told newsmen in Los Angeles recently that he believed flying saucers were more than myths or mirages.
Clarke said he based his opinion on new data supplied by the scientists at the rocket testing base at White Sands. He also said, "A noted American scientist told me at White Sands that he is certain he has seen one (a flying saucer)."
Tombaugh Monday revealed that he was the scientist Clarke mentioned but added cautiously that he had not seen "anything like saucers."
The American scholar did say, though, that he saw an object in the sky above Las Cruces, N.M. in the summer of 1948. He said the object whizzed silently overhead from south to north, too fast for a plane and too slow for a meteor.
"I take a very humble attitude about it all," Tombaugh said he told Clarke. "We may know something some day but we have no idea yet as to what these objects are, if they are material objects."
Clarke was careful to point out to reporters that he was still not prepared to say for certain that flying saucers were real.
Bedford, Pennsylvania Gazette - 8 Jul 52
Youngster Skips School to Attend Chemistry Meet
Baton Rouge, La. -- Twelve year- old Eric Lane, an eighth grade pupil at the Baker School near Baton Rouge, startled his principal and teachers with an unprecedented request.
He said he wanted to skip school to attend an analytic chemistry symposium at Louisiana State University. While at the symposium, Eric followed the doings of some of the nation's leading scientists as closely as his less-imaginative playmates follow the antics of Bob Feller and Dick Kazmaier.
He met scientists from the National Atomic Laboratories at Oak Ridge and Los Alamos, and was voted an honorary member of the symposium by his distinguished colleagues.
Eric admits "a lot of the stuff" was over his head, but says he picked up a few things that might come in handy on a theory of flying saucers he's been "puttering around with."
The embryo-scientist is working out details on an interplanetary taxicab that will scoot passengers off to Mars and Jupiter.
"It will be powered by some sort of self-generating radioactivity," he explains, "since jets and rockets will be in the Model-T class by the time it's ready."
Eric's scientific career began rather conventionally three years ago when his father gave him a chemistry set for Christmas.
He recalls that all experiments in the manual were performed without incident until he let his imagination get the better of the formulas. By mixing up too much hydrochloric acid and iron sulfide, he produced an odor similar to rotten eggs that tilled the house for nearly a week
Eric's principal, Guy H. Sommers, got an inkling of what the young man planned for the future when faculty members began to troop into his office with complaints.
The mathematics teacher caught Eric reading books on nuclear physics during class hours. The English teacher found herself cowriting book reports that described meteorological conditions on Mars.
Reno, Nevada Evening Gazette - 8 Jul 52
City Survey Crew Sights Saucer Through Lens Of Transit In Reno
Flying saucers, as well as daylight meteors, were in the news today
Elliott Cann, city engineer, gave a belated report that a city survey crew sighted an object last Thursday described as resembling an inverted parachute.
The four members of the crew, as well as two interested bystanders, were able to watch the object through a transit lens for "three to four minutes."
Croyden York, the man in charge of the survey crew, said he and three other city surveyors were in a truck in the Alameda Heights subdivision just north of the race track last Thursday when they first saw the object hovering in the sky over the Spanish Springs mountains at about 3:15 p.m.
"I stopped the truck, set up the transit and got a sight on it," Mr. York said.
The head surveyor said he and the other crew members and a man and a woman who came running to see what was going on all were able to watch the object through the transit.
Mr. York described the "flying saucer" as resembling an inverted parachute with three vapor streams rising from its surface up to a point some "150 feet or more" where they joined together.
And Mr. York said, "those six pairs of eyes" which looked through the transit weren't all that saw the object that day.
He said he had heard other reports of a saucer-shaped object over Peavine mountain earlier that day, and a "reliable person" reported seeing the same type object about 150 mites south of Reno Thursday evening, he added.
"While we were watching it, it hovered over the mountains, almost
perfectly still, for three or four minutes, then took off toward the direction of Fernley and disappeared," he said.
But while it was traveling away, Mr. York said he and the crewmen were able to follow its path with the transit. "And if it had been a jet plane, it couldn't have been followed that way," he said.
Mr. York said the vapor trail from the object discredited the idea that it might have been a jet plane. "If it had been a jet, the vapor would have been parallel to the earth's surface as it moved across the sky. But the vapor from this was vertical."
Just how high in the sky the object was, Mr. York said he couldn't estimate. But he, said it was close enough to the ground that if there was anybody in it, they could have been taking pictures.
The other crewmen with Mr. York were Burt Chanslor, Terry Whobrey and Wayne Peterson. The two interested bystanders were unidentified.
City Engineer Elliott Cann, in reporting the incident belatedly today, explained that there are so many stories these days about objects in the skies that persons are apt to be skeptical.
"But every one of those four men swore that they saw something," he said.
Mr. Cann wasn't on the scene himself.
Marseille, France Le Meridional - 8 Jul 52
A flying saucer in the Gard
A flying saucer was seen in the sky of Remoulins, last night, between midnight and one hour of the morning.
Several people saw in the sky between Remoulins and St-Hilaire-d'Ozilhan, an unknown object in the shape of disc which carried twinkling lights.
The object moved without noise at rather low altitude, and a relatively low speed.
I Kathimerini, Athens, Greece 9 Jul 52
Flying Saucers In East Germany
Berlin, July -- Furnished with the sworn testimony of an eyewitness, Oscar Linke, a 48-year-old German and former mayor of Gleimershausen, West Berlin intelligence officers have begun investigating a most unusual "flying saucer" story. According to this story, an object "resembling a huge flying pan", and having a diameter of about 15 meters landed in a forest clearing in the Soviet Zone of Germany.
Linke recently escaped from the Soviet Zone along with his wife and six children.
Linke and his 11-year-old daughter, Gabriella, made the following sworn statement last week before a judge: "While I was returning to my home with Gabriella, a tire of my motorcycle blew out near the town of Hasselbach. While we were walking along toward Hasselbach, Gabriella pointed out something which lay at a distance of about 140 meters away from us. Since it was twilight, I thought that she was pointing at a young deer.
"I left my motorcycle near a tree and walked toward the spot which Gabriella had pointed out. When, however, I reached a spot about 55 meters from the object, I realized that my first impression had been wrong. What I had seen were two men who were now about 40 meters away from me. They seemed to be dressed in some shiny metallic clothing. They were stooped over and were looking at something lying on the ground.
"I approached until I was only about 10 meters from them. I looked over a small fence and then I noticed a large object whose diameter I estimated to be between 13 and 15 meters. It looked like a huge frying pan.
"There were two rows of holes on its periphery, about 30 centimeters in circumference. The space between the two rows was about 0.45 meters. On the top of this metal object was a black conical tower about 3 meters high.
"At that moment, my daughter, who had remained a short distance behind me, called me. The two men must have heard my daughter's voice because they immediately jumped on the conical tower and disappeared inside.
"I had previously noted that one of the men had a lamp on the front part of his body which lit up at regular intervals.
"Now, the side of the object on which the holes had been opened began to glitter. Its color seemed green but later turned to red. At the same time I began to bear a slight hum. While the brightness and hum increased, the conical tower began to slide down into the center of the object. The whole object then began to rise slowly from the ground and rotate like a top.
"It seemed to me as if it were supplied by the cylindrical plant which had gone down from the top of the object, through the center, and had now appeared from its bottom on the ground.
"The object, surrounded by a ring of flames, was now a certain number of feet above the ground.
"I then noted that the whole object had risen slowly from the ground. The cylinder on which it was supported had now disappeared within its center and reappeared on the top of the object.
"The rate of climb had now become greater. At the same time my daughter and I heard a whistling sound similar to that heard when a bomb falls.
"The object rose to a horizontal position, turned toward a neighboring town, and then, gaining altitude, it disappeared over the heights and forests in the direction of Stockheim."
Many other persons who live in the same area as Linke later related that they saw an object which they thought to be a comet. A shepherd stated that he thought that he was looking at a comet moving away at a low altitude from the height on which Linke stood.
After submitting his testimony to the judge, Linke made the following statement: "I would have thought that both my daughter and I were dreaming if it were not for the following element involved: When the object had disappeared, I went to the place where it had been. I found a circular opening in the ground and it was quite evident that it was freshly dug. It was exactly the same shape as the conical tower. I was then convinced that I was not dreaming."
Linke continued, "I had never heard of the term 'flying saucer' before I escaped from the Soviet Zone into West Berlin. When I saw this object, I immediately thought that it was a new Soviet military machine.
"I confess that I was seized with fright because the Soviets do not want anyone to know about their work. Many persons have been restricted to their movements for many years in East Germany because they know too much."
Hutchinson, Kansas News-Herald - 10 Jul 52
A Flying Saucer Seen By Kansan
FREDONIA -- M.C. Phillips, a Fredonia resident, said Wednesday he and two companions spotted a "flying disc," nine miles north of Chanute Tuesday.
Phillips described the object as apparently being flat, polished metal flying in a horizontal plane north to south. He said the disc was large and revolving on its axis at a terrific speed. He could see the disc revolve, but could not estimate its height, Phillips said.
San Antonio, Texas Express - 10 Jul 52
10 Watch Huge Flying Saucer
MIAMI, Okla., July 9. -- Ten workmen watched a huge silver object which emitted a haze of smoke from its edges hover high above the B.F. Goodrich rubber plant at Miami for 15 minutes Wednesday before it skimmed away to the south at a "tremendous speed."
The object, matching previous flying-saucer descriptions, was spotted by R.D. McCarthy, an electrician working atop the plant. He summoned other nearby workmen who said they observed the strange craft for a quarter-hour.
Hobart, Australia Mercury - 10 Jul 52
Canadians See Flying Saucer
BROCKVILLE, Ontario, Wed. -- Observers said here yesterday that they had seen a flying saucer "like a floating light-bulb" over the city last night, at about 5,000 feet.
They said it moved in a northwesterly direction and stayed in view for about half an hour. As it disappeared from sight, they said, it was joined by a second small light.
Conakry, French Guinea La Guinee Francaise - 12 Jul 52
Unidentified Flying Objects Over Morocco And French West Africa
France-Afrique Dakar weekly reports the statement of an eyewitness who claims to have observed a flying saucer above Dakar at 0608 hours on 3 July 1952.
According to this account, the object was flat and tapered in shape and issued forth bluish and reddish flames which were quite long and very clearly visible. The report further stated that the object was moving southward at a great rate of speed, at an altitude of approximately 1,500 meters. The report added that the stars were no longer visible at the time of the saucer sighting and that there were no aircraft in flight over Dakar at the time.
Twin Falls, Idaho Times News - 11 Jul 52
Minister to Give Talk at City Park
The Rev. M.C. Ballenger, son of Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Ballenger, Twin Falls, will speak on "The Religion of Flying Saucer Men" at the 8 p.m. Sunday union services in the city park and at the Baptist church Sunday morning.
The Rev. Mr. Ballenger, editorial secretary of the commission on higher education of the National Council of Churches, is spending the summer months working with 300 schools which are pondering the question, "What Is a Christian College?"
The Rev. Mr. Ballenger visits the six regional workshops established for the study, and collects their findings.
He is a candidate for the PhD degree at Yale university in the department of educational administration of church related colleges. He is a 1936 graduate of Twin Falls high school and was graduated from William Jewell college, Liberty, Mo.
Casablanca, Morocco Atlantic Courier - 12 Jul 52
Flying Saucers In Casablanca
Flying saucers have been seen in the Casablanca sky, and their flight over the city was witnessed by several people including Mr. Bud Krueger, the T.W.A. representative here.
The following is a statement written by Bud Krueger:
The conversation was general and we were all enjoying the cool, cool breeze on the roof terrace at the Key Club last night when all of a sudden Bunny Lewis said "Look up there, is that an airplane?"
With that, Ed Lewis (Bunny's husband) G.G. Giffin, Mrs. Vi Knoll, her husband and daughter, Harry Handcock and his wife Martha and myself looked up in the sky. Coming from the north, traversing the sky very rapidly, was a formation of what looked like four ghostly shapes.
The formation appeared to be the same type used in military air maneuvers with one "thing" in the lead, one on either side and one trailing.
When we first saw them, they were about "one o'clock" and moved across the sky with great speed. They seemed to be flying at a constant speed. We lost sight of them as they came into the illuminated area of the moon.
Had one or two people seen them it could have been considered an optical illusion, but when as many as nine people saw them, it could hardly be considered as such. We knew that they could not have been the lights of an aircraft as most commercial and private aircraft have blinking light. These objects were completely illuminated with a neon type glow. Also absent was a sensation of sound, which would also rule out the possibility of it being a known type of aircraft.
Most everyone had a different version of what the shape of the objects were. Some of them thought they looked like pillows, others thought they looked diamond shaped, and still others thought they looked like "Flying Saucers."
Salisbury, Maryland Times - 12 Jul 52
Curious Miss Mystery Light
It Fails To Dance Second Night In Row
HEBRON -- The mysterious phosphorescent light which prances around a lonely woods road near Hebron apparently doesn't perform in front of large crowds.
For two nights in a row, the yellow glow of about wash basin size, has failed to appear.
"How could it?" one state trooper said. He said the location where the light has been seen -- a back road, about a mile west of here -- has been like the "Lincoln Highway." Nightly, sometime as many as 300 persons have collected, some carrying beer and sandwiches.
They have waited hoping to see the ghostly light. But it has been reluctant to reappear.
State Police, and numerous others vouch for having seen the weird light. Police say they are waiting for things to quiet down there before they can properly continue their investigation.
Three troopers and Lt. C.C. Serman, commander of the Stab Police barracks near Salisbury attempted to chase the light, which put on a show Wednesday night.
For half a century the spectral sight, has been legendary in this section. But no one has been able to definitely explain the phenomenon.
"In Tennessee they're very common," an Ocean City man says Sam Todd, bicycle proprietor, explains the phenomenon being due to gases blowing from the ground. Mr. Todd is a native of Tennessee and came to the Eastern Shore in 1938. Before that, he said he saw similar lights in the Tennessee valley.
"The weather has got to be just right," he says. He believes the ideal conditions are a damp, quiet night with no wind blowing. That's how it was back home, he says.
Oldtimers once explained the cause of the light to him but Mr. Todd has forgotten. All he remembers is that the light is the result of a chemical reaction between several ground gases.
A Washington newspaper has been in communication with police and may get in touch with the Air Force, which has been investigating reports of flying saucers and mysterious lights in New Mexico.
The Hebron light doesn't cruise any higher than about five feet. It can travel at least 50 miles an hour, police estimated.
The Spokane, Washington Daily Chronicle - 12 Jul 52
"Flying saucers," Aerial Phenomena Swell Corps Duties
Keeping tabs on "flying saucers" and other unexplained aerial phenomena is a new secondary job of the ground observer corps, Maj. W.C. Bechtold, Spokane filter center commander, said today.
A standard reporting procedure has been set up, he said, and the ground observers will be queried on all points called for by the report.
The ground observer corps will begin observing on a round-the-clock basis Monday and will be better prepared to give conclusive evidence.
Major Bechtold added that the primary mission of the ground observer corps would remain the tracking of low flying planes which are under the radar net.
1. Many of the foreign publications quoted in this series come from translations provided within CIA documents of the time, now released under the Freedom of Information Act. A lesser number come from the (now-defunct) French site Ufologie.net.
2. The Washington Post story "Flying Saucer Search Begun by Air Force" was found in Project Blue Book files which included a typed heading:
The indication of the source and date was not unusual but the additional typed headline "VANDENBERG: AF LAUNCHING SECRET SEARCH FOR FLYING SAUCERS" probably indicates an additional banner in that day's edition.
3. Only two brief Air Force documents appear regarding the Jamestown, N.D. report referenced in the story "Flying Saucers Spotted Over Jamestown, N.D.", which can be viewed here.
4. The Le Bourget Airport sighting as well as others during the time period of June 17 through June 19 consists in Project Blue Files as pages of clippings from French newspapers which can be viewed here.
5. The reference in the Marion Ellet column of June 24 regarding "hills beyond Pentland and firths beyond
Forth" comes from Scottish poet Walter Scott's Bonnie Dundee.
6. The reference to the Reader's Digest article in the Marion Ellet column of June 24 refers to the Digest's version of Life Magazine's "Have We Visitors From Space?", reproduced in Part Two of this series. The exact quote by by Maurice A. Biot found in that article is, "The least improbable explanation is that these things are artificial and controlled ... My opinion for some time has been that they have an extraterrestrial origin." Late in life in his acceptance of the prestigious Timoshenko medal, Biot gave an insightful after-dinner address on the counterproductive tendency towards rigidity of thought in 20th century science and mathematics. The speech can be read here.
7. Although the Chicago sighting by Mrs. George Wilson related in "Sees Flying Saucer" does not appear in Project Blue Book files, there are two other Chicago civilian reports for that night found in the files which can be viewed here.
8. Although the precise identity of "Dr. Orr" is not specified, it may be the well-known evangelist J. Edwin Orr.
9. Much more about Dr. Karel Hujer, the subject of "Czech Astronomer Believes Saucers Just Propaganda" can be read here.
10. Only one document could be located in Project Blue Book files for the account of Oskar Linke. Its source is not identified other than the notation "Cramp P 158", which seems to indicate it is excerpted from one of the books by Leonard G. Cramp. The document can be seen here.
11. Selected documents from the Project Blue Book file on the Shamokin, Pennsylvania sighting reported in "Flying Saucers Again!", as well as a sighting by another witness can be seen here.
12. Selected documents from the Project Blue Book file on the sighting near the Hanford atomic plant related in "Pilots Sight Saucer Near Original Area" and "Fliers See 'Saucer' Over Atomic Plant" can be seen here.
13. The sighting of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh noted in the article "Scientist Who 'Saw' Saucer Is Mystified" was reported by others who spoke with Tombaugh somewhat inconsistently. In the Life magazine article "Have We Visitors From Space" it was reported...
One night in the summer of 1948 Clyde W. Tombaugh, the discoverer of the planet Pluto, was sitting in the back yard of his home at Las Cruces, N. Mex. With him were his wife and his mother-in-law. It was about 11 p.m. and they were all sitting quietly, admiring the clarity of the southwestern sky, like any proper astronomical family. All at once they all saw something rush silently overhead, south to north, too fast for a plane, too slow for a meteor. It seemed to be quite low. All three of the witnesses agreed that the object was definitely a solid "ship" of a kind they had never seen before. It was of an oval shape and "seemed to trail off at the rear into a shapeless luminescence." There was a blue-green glow about the whole thing. About half a dozen "windows" were clearly visible at the front of the ship and along the side. They glowed with the same blue-green color as the rest of the ship, only the glare was brighter, and had a touch of yellow in it.
In June, 1952, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, astronomer and scientific consultant to the Air Force on the unidentified aerial object phenomenon since 1948, attended a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Victoria, British Columbia. Both during and following the meeting, Hynek surreptitiously interviewed 45 astronomers, and filed a report to Project Blue Book. In that report Hynek included his discussion with Tombaugh...
He has made two sightings, the first of which is the one reported in Life magazine and the second was reported to me. The details can be obtained by sending him a questionnaire, as he is willing to cooperate. Briefly, while at Telescope no. 3 at White Sands, he observed an object of -6 magnitude (four times brighter than the planet Venus at its brightest) travelling from the zenith to the southern horizon in about three seconds. The object executed the same maneuvers as the nighttime luminous object which was reported in Life magazine. No sound was associated with either of the sightings.
Mr. Tombaugh is in charge of optics design and rocket tracking at White Sands Proving Ground. He said that if he is requested officially, which can be done by a letter to the Commanding General, Flight Determination Laboratory, White Sands Proving Ground, Las Cruces, New Mexico, he will be able to put his telescopes at White Sands at the disposal of the Air Force. He can have observers alerted and ready to take photographs should some object appear. I strongly recommend that this letter be sent.
Yet in his 1953 book The World of Flying Saucers Dr. Howard Menzel wrote of Tombaugh...
While keeping an open mind on the possibility of interplanetary travel, Tombaugh himself has never supported the spaceship interpretation so often attributed to him in print but has considered various possible explanations -- insects or birds illuminated by ground lights, or reflections of ground lights against the boundary of an inversion layer in the air...
Tombaugh has recently summarized his convictions on the entire UFO phenomena as well as on his own sighting:
"From my own studies of the solar system I cannot entertain any serious possibility for intelligent life on the other planets, not even for Mars (the planet, to which I have devoted considerable observation and study over the past thirty-five years). The logistics of visitations from planets revolving around the nearer stars is staggering. In consideration of the hundreds of millions of years in the geologic time scale when such visitations may possibly have occurred, the odds of a single visit in a given century or millennium are overwhelmingly against such an event.
"A much more likely source of explanation is some natural optical phenomenon in our own atmosphere. In my 1949 sighting the faintness of the object, together with the manner of fading in intensity as it traveled away from zenith towards the southeastern horizon, is quite suggestive of a reflection from an optical boundary or surface of slight contrast in refractive index, as in an inversion layer.
"I have never seen anything like it before or since, and I have spent a lot of time where the night sky could be seen well. This suggests that the phenomenon involves a comparatively rare set of conditions or circumstances to produce it, but nothing like the odds of an interstellar visitation."
14. In the same file as a photocopy of the "Flying Saucers In Casablanca" included above, Project Blue Book files contain a report from Nouasseur Air Force Base in Morocco occurring the next day which can be seen here.
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