Image: Saturday Night Uforia Logo

it seemed impossible
-- but there it is


By the end of July 1947 the UFO security lid was down tight. The few members of the press who did inquire about what the Air Force was doing got the same treatment that you would get today if you inquired about the number of thermonuclear weapons stock-piled in the U.S.'s atomic arsenal. No one, outside of a few high-ranking officers in the Pentagon, knew what the people in the barbed wire enclosed Quonset huts that housed the Air Technical Intelligence Center were thinking or doing.

-- Captain Ed Ruppelt
Chief of the Air Force Project Blue Book
The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (1956)

ON JUNE 24, 1947 A PILOT named Ken Arnold reports seeing nine aerial objects from his plane -- and the term 'flying saucer' enters history.

Seventeen days later, an official press release announces that 'the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc' -- and a legend is born.

This is the story of those amazing two and a half weeks when it all began... exclusively as told through the daily newspaper reports of the time.

SUNDAY : 6 JUL 1947


Source: Twin Falls Times News, Idaho - 6 Jul 47

Dr. Oliver Shows Disc

Nation Puzzled as 'Flying Discs' Seen in 31 States; Airline Crew Views Nine
By The Associated Press

The nation was baffled today by "flying saucers" reported seen in 31 states by hundreds of persons, and conjectures came from scores of named and unnamed sources throughout the country. Official government sources took a "let's see one" stand on the phenomenon, and no scientist proffered a detailed explanation.

The California Institute of Technology denied an earlier report that one of its scientists had suggested the saucers might be experiments in "transmutation of atomic energy." Dr. C.C. Lauritsen, head of the school's nuclear physics department, said he believed the discs "have nothing to do with nuclear physics." The earlier report, quoting an unnamed Caltech scientist, was published in the Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express. The report was called "gibberish" by Dr. Harold Urey, atom scientist at the University of Chicago.

At Columbus, O., Louis E. Starr, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, asserted at a VFW convention that he was expecting information from Washington about "the fleets of flying saucers."

"Too little is being told to the people of this country," Starr declared.


Two Chicago astronomers said the discs are probably "man-made." The undulating, flashing objects "couldn't be meteors," said Dr. Girard Kuiper, director of the University of Chicago's Yerkes observatory at Williams Bay, Wis.

"We realize," said Dr. Oliver Lee, director of Northwestern university's Dearborn observatory, "that the army and navy are working on all sorts of things we know nothing about."

New Discovery?

Lee said the discs might represent the same sort of thing as sending radar signals to the moon, "one of the greatest technological achievements of the war and accomplished in absolute secrecy."

The unnamed scientist quoted by the Los Angeles Herald and Express said, according to the paper, "these saucers, so-called, are capable of high speeds but can be controlled from the ground. They are 20 feet in width in the center and are partially rocket propelled on the takeoff."

Scientist Scoffs

The scientist's report of "transmutation of atomic energy, however, was scoffed at by Dr. Harold Urey, atom scientist. "You can transmute metals, not, energy," he said.

Col. F.J. Clark, commanding officer of the Hanford engineering works in the Pacific northwest where the largest saucer influx has been reported, said the saucers were not coming from the atomic plant there.

"I have been waiting for someone to tie the discs to the Hanford atomic plant," he said. But he declared that as far as he knew no experiments were underway there which could solve the mystery.

Credence Grows

Credence in the saucers - widely laughed off at their first reported appearance June 25 - grew as hundreds of observers, many of them trained fliers, reported seeing them.

A crowd of 200 observed a disc at Hauser Lake, Ida., on the Fourth of July. In Portland, Ore., so many residents witnessed them that same day that the police department sent out an all-cars broadcast.

Seen Saturday

Witnesses in two points of California and in Spokane - one of them an army air force sergeant - reported seeing the discs Saturday.

Two persons in different sections of Charleston, S.C., said a flying saucer passed over Charleston heading east at 6:20 p.m. EST Saturday at about the same time two men in Albany, Ore., saw a single disc flash southward, halt, and retrace its course before vanishing into a cloud.

Officials "Know Nothing"

Officials of the atomic energy commission in Washington said it had no experiments involving "flying saucers" under way, and one of them added: "All we know is what we read in the papers."

An army air forces official in Washington said the AAF was "completely mystified" by the saucer reports.

Although no general alert had been sent out for radar scanning of the heavens, he said "reports on the interception of any suspicion object on ground radar screens will be carefully evaluated."


BOISE, July 5 (AP) -- The entire crew of a west-bound Boise-to-Seattle United Air Lines plane last night reported they had seen nine flying discs near the airline's route over Emmett, Ida. Capt. E.J. Smith of UAL trip 105 which left Boise at 9:04 p.m., said that his copilot, First Officer Ralph Stevens, blinked the transports landing lights in the belief the discs were other aircraft.

Smith said it was eight minutes after takeoff from Boise that Stevens and himself saw five discs, flying what appeared to be a "loose formation." They called Marty Morrow, stewardess, to the cockpit to verify that they were actually seeing the discs, said Smith, and she agreed they saw them.

Then they saw four more of the discs, three clustered together, and a fourth flying "by itself, way off in the distance."

The plane was flying in the dim twilight sky when the objects were first sighted Smith reported by telephone from Pendleton.

Smith is a veteran of the airlines and the story he and Stevens told is the first confirmation by experienced, highly trained airmen of flying discs which have been reported over the northwest for the past two weeks.

"Flat and Circular"

"The discs were flat and roundish," they said. "They definitely were not aircraft. They were bigger than aircraft."

Following their first sight of the discs, said Smith and Stevens, it was observed the five objects were apparently climbing on a course approximately that of the airliner's. At no time, they said, was any apparent danger of a collision.

"Bigger Than Aircraft"

The transport was at an altitude of 7,000 feet over Emmett, said Stevens, when he reached forward and turned on the landing lights to avoid what he thought was danger from other planes flying a collision course [Illegible] a group of light planes returning from some Fourth of July celebration," he said, "then I realized the things were not aircraft but were flat and circular."

The objects, after first being seen, veered over to the left of the transport and Smith picked up his radio microphone and called Ontario, Ore. CAA radio communications station, about 65 airline miles from Boise.

Couldn't See Objects

"Step outside and look to the southwest about 15 miles and see what you can find," he told the operator. The operator reported that he could see nothing. By this time, said Stevens, the first group of discs disappeared.

"Then," said the first officer, "I saw the second group, three together and a fourth off by itself."

At 8,000 Feet

By then the transport had reached 8,000 feet and was cruising over the rugged country leading to the Blue mountains, athwart the liner's path.

Stevens said these objects "merged, then disappeared, then came back in sight and finally vanished again to the northwest. They seemed to be higher than our flight path this time. When they did finally disappear, they went fast."

Smith and Stevens said they had the objects under observation for from "10 to 15 minutes."

Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

Nuclear Scientist Claims Discs Involve Atomic Stunt

LOS ANGELES, July 5 (AP) -- The Evening Herald and Express quoted an unnamed "scientist in nuclear physics" at California Institute of Technology Saturday as suggesting that "transmutation of atomic energy," experiments might be responsible for the flying saucers.

The newspaper described him as a researcher on the Manhattan atomic project and said he asked that his name be withheld. It quoted him:

"These saucers so-called are capable of high speed, but can be controlled from the ground. They are 20 feet in width in the center and are partially rocket propelled on the takeoff."

The paper said such experiments are being conducted at Muroc Dry Lake, Cal.; White Sands, N.M.; Portland, Or., and elsewhere. It further quoted the scientist:

"People are not seeing things. Such flying discs actually are in experimental existence."

In Chicago, Dr. Harold Urey, atom scientist at the University of Chicago, commented "Transmutation of atomic energy sounds like gibberish. You can transmute metals not energy."


SEATTLE, Wash., July 5 (INS) -- A spokesman at the security office of the Hanford atomic works in south central Washington Saturday denied any knowledge of transmutation of atomic energy experiments being responsible for "flying discs."

Source: Milwaukee Sentinel, Wisc. - 6 Jul 47

Coastguardsman Frank Wyman
Frank Ryman, Coast Guardsman, holds camera with which he photographed one of the mysterious flying discs over Seattle.

Coastguardsman Frank Wyman Saucer Photo
This photograph taken in Seattle by Yeoman Frank Ryman, of the Coast Guard, may be the mysterious flying disc sighted in various western states. Ryman said he sighted it in Lake City, a Seattle suburb. He estimates it was 10,000 feet in the air and travelling at 500 miles an hour. He estimated its speed by timing its travel over a distance he knew. Arrow points to disc.

Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

Puzzle Alerts Entire Nation to Scan Sky
By Associated Press

The nation's perplexity over discs reported spinning through the skies deepened Saturday in the wake of July 4 reports from virtually all parts of the country.

There was no scientific explanation offered to fit the observations which spanned the nation from the Pacific to the gulf to the Atlantic.

A mass of evidence piled up swiftly as holiday throngs and fliers joined in telling of seeing bright, pancakelike objects skimming through the air at varying estimates of altitude and speed.

Former skeptics joined the ranks of the believers as the flashing objects glittered before their eyes. Reliable observers, such as Capt. E.J. Smith of United Air Lines, his copilot Ralph Stevens, and his stewardess Marty Morrow, told of seeing the round flat objects for 12 minutes while flying west from Boise, Idaho, on Independence day evening. Ex-airmen, picnickers, motorists, and housewives swelled the number of witnesses to the strange phenomenon.

Pilot Sees Objects First

The first published report of "flying saucers" came from Kenneth Arnold, Boise, Idaho, businessman pilot, who reported at Pendleton, Or., on June 25 that he had seen nine flying at 1200 miles an hour in formation, shifting position "like the tail of a kite," over Washington state's Cascade mountains.

Before scoffers had more than begun to offer explanations such as "reflections," "persistent vision" and "snow blindness," an Oklahoma City private flier, Byron Savage, said he had seen a similarly shaped object some weeks earlier, but that fear of ridicule kept him quiet.

Then the reports began to filter in, mostly from individuals. The discs were seen in Texas, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Missouri, Colorado, California, Arkansas, Nebraska. The number varied from one to a dozen, seen by one or two people mostly.

Reports Come in From East

Then the July 4 deluge hit. Two hundred persons in one group and 60 in another saw them in Idaho; hundreds saw them in Oregon, Washington and other states throughout the West.

And for the first time, the Eastern states had their reports. Observers, earlier all from west of the Mississippi river, came in with reports from Michigan, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, and Canada's Atlantic seaboard.

Ted Tannich and William Lemon, of Albany, Saturday saw a silvery object fly southward, halt abruptly, and then retrace its course. It was visible for possibly 15 seconds, they said.

Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

'Flying Disc' Reports Come From Hundreds, in 28 States
Science Fails to Give Facts
Government Men Ask to See Sample

By Associated Press

The nation was baffled Saturday by the "flying saucers" reported seen in 28 states by hundreds of persons while conjectures on their meaning flew as furiously as the reported speed of the silvery discs.

Official government sources took a "let's see one" stand on the phenomenon, and no scientists proffered a detailed explanation.

Near unanimity was recorded on some of the discs' characteristics -- terrific speed, bright reflections, round or oval in shape, flat, and flying with a peculiar undulating motion. Size was moot and expressed by Captain Smith of United Air Lines as "hard to judge" without knowing the distance from the observer to the objects.

An army air forces spokesman in Washington on July 3 said there was not enough fact to "warrant further investigation," but the air materiel command at Wright field, Dayton, Ohio, said it was making a study. Saturday at Washington an army researcher admitted "we're mystified" and the navy said it had no theories.

Astronomers Doubt Meteors

Meanwhile Kenneth Arnold, the man who first reported them, could recall his insistence when his report was widely questioned, that "I don't believe it, either -- but I saw it."

Two Chicago astronomers said the discs probably are "manmade." The undulating, flashing objects "couldn't be meteors," said Dr. Gerard Kuiper, director of the University of Chicago's Yerkes observatory at Williams Bay, Wis.

"We realize," said Dr. Oliver Lee, director of Northwestern university's Dearborn observatory, "that the army and navy are working on all sorts of things we know nothing about."

Officials of the atomic energy commission in Washington said it had no experiments involving "flying saucers" underway, and one official added, "All we know is what we read in the papers."

An army air force official in Washington said the AAF was "completely mystified" by the saucer reports.

Hanford Role Denied

Although no general alert had been sent out for radar scanning of the heavens, he said: "Reports of the interception of any suspicious object or ground radar screens will be carefully evaluated."

Col. F.J. Clarke, commanding officer of the Hanford engineering works in the Pacific coastal area, where the largest saucer influx was reported, said the saucers were not coming from the atomic plant there.

"I have been waiting for someone to tie the discs to the Hanford atomic plant," he said. But he declared that as far as he knew no experiments were under way there that would solve the mystery.

Credence in the saucers -- widely laughed off at their first reported appearance June 25 -- grew as hundreds of observers, many of them trained fliers, reported seeing them.

Portland Reports Fly

A crowd of 200 observed a disc at Hauser Lake, Idaho, on the Fourth of July. A group of 60 picnickers saw them at Twin Falls, Idaho.

And in Portland so many residents witnessed them that same day that the police department sent out an all cars broadcast.

The discs were seen Saturday in California, Oregon, Washington, Iowa, and South Carolina.

Two persons in different sections of Charleston, S. C. -- one of them a newspaper reporter -- said a flying saucer passed over Charleston heading east at 6:20 P.M. (EST) Saturday.

J.E. Jonston, Waterloo, Ia., said he saw one Saturday, too. His description -- about the size of a dinner plate and only some 25 feet above ground -- was at odds with most reporters which have said the saucers were big and flying at great heights.

Source: Zanesville Signal, Ohio - 6 Jul 47

Coastguardsman Frank Wyman
Capt. E.J. Smith, United Air Lines pilot, describes discs he saw while flying from Boise, Idaho to Portland, Ore. Co-Pilot Ralph Stevens, at left, tells a reporter over telephone that "We saw them." Both had scoffed before.

Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

Reports Come in From All Over Nation Telling of Sighting Mysterious Discs

Reports of the unexplained "flying discs" came from all points of the continent Saturday. Here are typical dispatches.

PHILADELPHIA, July 5 (AP) -- An astral phenomenon was being investigated here Saturday to determine whether Philadelphians had seen mysterious "flying discs" in the sky.

Dr. M.K. Leisy, a junior intern at the Pennsylvania hospital for mental diseases, and other persons in the western section of the city reported seeing strange craft in the skies Friday night.

It was something round with a luminous halo about it, Dr. Leisy declared. It was not shiny itself, but dark in color and seemed to be propelled by whirling wings.

Contrary to previous reports from other parts of the country on the high speed of the flying discs, Dr. Leisy said the object he saw was moving at approximately the speed of the wind, below the clouds. It eventually vanished in the clouds, he added.

AKRON, O., July 5 (AP) -- "Flying saucers" made their appearance here Friday night.

Dr. Forrest Shaver said the silvery disc he saw "looked like a balloon with a light inside."

Harry E. Hoertz described it as "a light with a propelling device." Both men said they saw the "saucers" about 8:30 P.M. while driving near Akron.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., July 5 (INS) -- A group of motorists reported Saturday they had glimpsed the mysterious "flying saucers" which had been puzzling army officials and meteorologists.

One of them, Claude Price, superintendent of concessions at the Illinois state fair, said the group stopped their cars on a road two miles west of Decatur and watched the discs shoot across the sky.

LOS ANGELES, July 5 (AP) -- Pilot Dan J. Whelan and a flying companion, Duncan Underhill, reported they were "scared silly" when they saw what they believed was a "living saucer" about 25 miles south of here Friday.

"The saucer was above us, traveling at what we'd estimate was 450 to 500 miles an hour," said Whelan. "It was at 7000 feet, about 2000 feet above me. It was not spinning, but looked exactly like a skeet (a disc used in target practice).

"We checked its direction -- north by northwest -- and we'd say it was 40 to 50 feet in diameter."

AUGUSTA, ME., July 5 (AP) -- The civil aeronautics administration office said it had received a report that a dozen of the mysterious sky discs had been seen over this city.

The CAA said Dr. Kelly, program director at radio station WRDO here, advised that he saw about 12 objects believed to be discs.

Kelly said the objects were traveling northerly "very fast."

ROGERS, ARK. July 5 (AP) -- J.P. Crumpler, a Rogers real estate dealer, said Saturday he saw one of the "flying saucers" Monday night during a windstorm. He was watching the approach of a storm cloud from the porch of his home when the disc appeared out of the northwest and vanished rapidly into the southwest, he said.

SAN JOSE, CAL., July 5 (AP) -- Sgt. Charles R. Sigala of the army air forces said he and three others saw a silvery, flying disc over his home at near-by Mountain View Saturday at 11 A.M.

Sigala, who is on leave from Hamilton Field, said the object was clearly visible to him, his wife, mother-in-law, and a neighbor. It circled around over the mountain at about 5000 feet, dipped several times and then headed toward the sea, he said.

He estimated the object was as big as an automobile.

SUMMERSIDE, Canada, July 5 (AP) -- Farmers in this Prince Edward Island region claim to have seen more of the mysterious disc-like missiles reported flying through northern skies earlier this week.

James Harris, farmer at Sherbrooke, one mile north of here, and his hired man, Herman Linkletter, said they saw one of the objects last night traveling from the northwest toward the southeast.

At about the same time Brenton Clark at Augustine Cove, about 18 miles from Sherbrooke, said he saw a bright object traveling north to south at medium height.

NEW ORLEANS, July 5 (INS) -- The "flying disc" mystery spread to the deep South Saturday.

Miss Lillian Lawless of New Orleans said she saw a saucer-like "pure silver" object hurtling over Lake Pontchartrain at New Orleans. The disc, she said, was flying in a northeasterly direction "with terrific speed."

AUGUSTA, Ga., July 5 (INS) -- An Augusta physician said he was certain Saturday that he saw the "flying saucers."

Dr. Colden R. Battey claims he spotted the peculiar soaring discs six weeks ago in the middle of the day while fishing in St. Helena sound near Beaufort, S.C. This was four weeks before the first published reports of the discs.

He said that when he saw the four discs at 11 A.M., they were traveling at an altitude of more than 20,000 feet and at a high rate of speed.

He described them as silver.

PORT HURON, Mich., July 5 (INS) -- The mysterious "flying saucers" which have been sighted in several states across the country Saturday were reported over Port Huron, Mich.

Mrs. John R. Warner, a 34-year-old housewife, told International News Service that she and several neighbors witnessed the fast-moving objects criss-crossing across the sky last night.

WALTER, Okla., July 5 (AP) -- Two "flying saucers" which "were flying in the air -- passing each other and going back and forth" were reported Saturday by C.E. Holman, 67-year-old Walter gardener.

Holman said he saw the discs about 10 P.M. the night of June 25, and that after watching them "flying around each other" for about 30 minutes he went to bed.

"I thought about waking up some of my neighbors but decided if it meant the end of the world they would be just about as happy sleeping when the world ended," he said.

LOS ANGELES, July 5 (INS) -- Leo Bentz, once a noted builder of auto racing cars, produced a possible new theory Saturday on the enigma of the "flying saucers."

Bentz, now an automobile dealer in suburban Whitter, told of a confidential demonstration of a saucer-like flying model in Los Angeles' Griffith park back in 1928.

He said the inventor's name was George De Bay, a native of France.

He quoted the inventor as saying:

"It's like a saucer -- an oblong saucer -- or meat plate."

SEATTLE, July 5 (INS) -- Another flying disc was reported seen over Seattle Saturday by a woman and her four-year-old son.

Mrs. Florence Frye, a librarian at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, said her son, Carl, first spotted the object and pointed it out to her. She described it as:

"Brilliant -- so brilliant in fact that it hurt my eyes to watch and I had to blink and turn away."

Viva Anderson, Portland attorney reported she and a friend, Betty MacManneman, also an attorney, saw a group of objects from in front of her home at Melcrest Court apartments, 711 S.E. 11th Ave.

"They looked like half-inflated footballs and appeared to be faceted on top like rough cut diamonds," Miss Anderson said. She said that the main group of objects flashed like tinfoil, but that one which dropped much lower than the rest appeared to be "slightly brown."

States where the discs have been reported: Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan, Indiana, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, Maine, Florida, Utah, Maryland, Iowa, Kansas and the District of Columbia.


Source: Boston Globe, Mass. - 6 Jul 47

Celestial 'Saucers' Seen Soaring Over Roxbury and Augusta, Me.

Not to be outdone by the West or the South and somewhat resentful of the competition to its sea serpent tradition New England began seeing flying saucers yesterday.

Dan Kelly, a program director for Station WRDO in Augusta, Me., told the Civil Aeronautics Association he saw a dozen of the discs whizzing northward over the city at 1:15 p.m.

He said the flying objects were about the size of dimes and were moving "very fast" in a "very straight line," like a string of beads. By the time he reached C.A.A. officials on the phone the discs had disappeared.

And right here in Roxbuy, Mrs. Edward P. Williams of 70 Dale st. told of seeing a single saucer-shaped disc whiz across the sky over Washington park, Roxbury, last Tuesday night.

Mrs. Williams said at first it looked like a snowball, but that a moment later "it appeared brighter and took on the shape of a small saucer."

She said it was traveling towards the north, appeared to be going "very fast," and was "very white in color -- like molten metal -- but it did not glow like a fire."

"I have never seen anything like it in my life," Mrs. Williams added.

In Waterbury, Conn., three residents of widely-scattered sections reported to a newspaper that they had seen "flying discs" near the city. They said the discs were silvery blue, moving at high speed, followed a definite orbit and reappeared every 15 to 20 seconds.

Flying saucers were reported all over the country, but government scientists and military officials said they wanted to see one first before they ventured what it might be.


Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

Transport Plane Chased by Disc

PHILADELPHIA, July 5 (AP) -- Paul Moss, 14, said Saturday he saw a "flying saucer" about 40 inches in diameter following a transport plane crossing the Delaware river.

Moss said he was playing baseball with a group of other boys when he saw the disc, orange in color, at one time out-distance the plane.

Dr. Roy K. Marshall, director of Fels planetarium, Franklin institute, said the controversy over the discs was "plain hysteria."


Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

Radar Gadgets Join Disc Puzzle

CIRCLEVILLE, O., July 5 (AP) -- Folks in Pickway county, who have been following the "flying saucer" mystery, became excited Saturday when Sherman Campbell found a strange object on his farm.

It was in the form of a six pointed star, 30 inches high and 48 inches wide, covered with tinfoil. It weighed about two pounds. Attached to the top were the remains of a balloon with a rock 5 inches in circumference.

The Fort Columbus airfield weather station at Columbus said the description tallied with an object used by the army air forces to measure wind velocity at high altitudes by the use of radar.

Some of the flying discs reported seen in various parts of the country were much larger and flying at terrific speed.


Source: Joplin Globe, Missouri - 6 Jul 47

Vet Describes "Saucer"

St. Louis, July 5. (AP) -- Nova Hart, a St. Louis mechanic, said today he observed what appeared to be a "flying saucer" while he was on a family picnic yesterday near Pattonville, in St. Louis county.

Hart, a former infantryman who was trained to spot all types of aircraft during the war, said the object was traveling in a northwesterly direction at an altitude of about 300 feet and with the speed of an airplane.

He described it as circular, about 14 feet in diameter, with a ribbed framework and silver gray in color. It appeared to have a motor with a propeller attached in the center, Hart said, and it kept turning in the manner of an airplane doing a slow roll.

Hart said his wife and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Jackson, also observed the object.


Source: The Brownsville Herald, Texas - 6 Jul 47

Reports Of Flying Discs In Texas Roll In; Seen Over Corpus Christi

(By The Associated Press)

Reports of the mysterious "flying discs" over Texas continued to roll in late Saturday night.

Mrs. W.P. Parchman of Houston said she saw 15 of the mysterious flying discs Friday afternoon while on a ride from the area of Sylvan Beach to La Porto.

"They were the size of dinner plates," she said. They seemed to stand still overhead for one or two minutes, she said, then vanished.

From Corpus Christi, Mrs. Georgia Pennel and her mother, Mrs. Ada Roberts, said they saw a flying saucer the size of a pie plate as they sat on the back porch of Mrs. Penney's home late Saturday afternoon.

They reported that the disc was flying from the west toward Corpus Christi Bay. They described the disc as being very bright. They said it was not flying very high and was not losing altitude.

Three more "flying saucers" were reported over the Texarkana area late Friday and Saturday, bringing to 12 the number of the strange objects sighted there since Tuesday.

Two swimmers at the Bramble Park pool said they saw one of the discs flashing through the sky Friday night and Mrs. Clifford Ford said she saw her second disc in two days late Saturday morning. She said she saw the first of the saucers whizz past her house, at tree top level late Friday morning. It disappeared in a westerly direction.

Saturday morning, Mrs. Ford said she saw the second which "looked like a big dish pan in the sky." It flashed across her yard and disappeared in the same direction as the first. Both, she said were traveling at a great speed.

Henry Pruit of Dallas said he saw one of the discs Saturday night and that it resembled a pancake with a white light inside. It was traveling toward the Southwest.

But the saucers are going to have company. Jimmy Dotson, Shreveport, La., aviation expert, who just won't take them seriously, said he saw Friday:

"Three flying teacups, 10,000 feet over the Shreveport Air Park, traveling at a terrific speed.

"There was a salad bowl in the formation. The cups were undoubtedly looking for saucers."

W.T. Bryan of Marshall said he saw a bright object late Saturday afternoon and apparently dropping toward the earth. He said it looked like a full moon, bright yellowish in color. He said it left no vapor trail, made no unusual noises.

Four Dallas persons and one Beaumonter reported Saturday seeing "four or five" flying discs as they were coming from Galveston to Beaumont in two airplanes at 6:30 p.m. They described them as looking like balloons and not like "light spots." They said the discs were flying in "close formation."

Source: Del Rio News-Herald, Texas - 6 Jul 47

Shining Flying Saucer Seen Over Del Rio Friday Night By Several

Another shining flying saucer was seen over Del Rio Friday night shortly after 9 o'clock by families in different parts of the city.

Lt. Col. and Mrs. Robert P. Ingrahm, 208 East Seventh street, told friends they saw the object moving across the sky from south to north about 9 or 9:15 p.m. Friday.

A family group including Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Grimes and their guests, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Witzel and Mr. And Mrs. H.C. Witzel of Wilkinsburg, Pa., at 513 East Garfield Avenue, saw the shining object about the same time.

They reported it moved from south to north and when somewhere over the race track at the Del Rio Park it began a dipping motion.

Ralph Witzel, who was an instructor for B-26s at Laughlin Field during the war, at first believed it to be a lighted plane and looked for the red and green lights on the wings. He called the attention of the others to the swiftly moving object and they watched it cross the sky.

Last week a local woman reported she had seen one of the discs in January but in broad daylight.

Source: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas - 6 Jul 47

Claimed Seen In City

A report that six 'flying discs' had been observed speeding over Lubbock late Saturday afternoon was received by the Avalanche-Journal last night. Four students at Texas Tech who were playing baseball on the campus back of the boys' dorms said that a flight of four of the shiny discs were seen shortly before 8 o'clock with two more following closely behind. The discs were described as being "rather small, appearing about the size of a plate in the skies" and traveling very fast. No other such reports were received, however.


Source: Twin Falls Times News, Idaho - 6 Jul 47

Area Residents Join Many Seeing 'Discs'

Large numbers of flying discs Saturday were reported seen both on Independence day and several weeks ago by many Magic Valley residents. Within a 20-minute period at least 35 of the unidentified flying objects were seen by nearly 60 persons who were picnicking at Twin falls park Friday. One flying disc was reported seen Friday evening by a Twin Falls family, two more by a Twin Falls resident late Saturday afternoon, and two others on June 25 and 26 by Buhl residents.

Largest number of the mystery devices reported anywhere in the nation was seen Friday afternoon by a group of picnickers at Twin falls park.

Coming in three flights about 10 minutes apart, 35, and possibly more, flying discs were sighted by nearly 60 persons who had been expectantly scanning the sky after word of the arrival of the first flight had spread through the picnic grounds.

The first flight of seven flying discs was seen at 2:50 p.m. by a picnic party including Mr. and Mrs. W. Montooth, Mrs. Ray Bush, Mrs. M.J. Wigle, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Grinsted, all of Twin Falls, and their guests from Goose Creek, Tex., Mrs. H.H. Mitchell and Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Mitchell. The flying discs were seen by all but two of them.

Joking About 'Discs'

Mrs. Grinsted said the group had been joking about the flying discs shortly before she saw Mrs. Bush looking skyward.

"Edith," she said, "What are you looking at -- some of those flying saucers?"

"There they are," Mrs. Bush replied, pointing to the sky.

Describing the first flight, Mrs. Grinsted said four flying discs were in a "V" formation with two others off to one side and the seventh trailing behind.

"Kind of Round"

Mitchell said the discs were "kind of round" and heading west at high velocity and great altitude. They left no vapor trail, he related, and he could not hear their noise, if any, because of many exploding firecrackers in the vicinity.

"The next bunch was sort of churning," said Mrs. Grinsted in explaining how the second flight of either nine or 10 discs were milling as they quickly spiraled upward. They were seen at about 3 p.m.

The second flight appeared at about the place where the first flight was seen, according to Mitchell. They gained altitude very quickly while circling, he related, climbing almost out of sight before they departed at high speed in a westerly direction.

20 People Saw Flight

More than 20 persons saw the second flight, and as word quickly spread among the picnickers, nearly 60 persons were watchfully waiting when the third and largest flight was first seen directly overhead by Mitchell at 3:10 p.m.

"I distinctly counted 18," he said, "before they climbed so high that only two or three could be seen." The third flight also milled around as it circled and climbed before heading west. "And when they started to leave, they really moved," the Texan said.

Mrs. Grinsted said that some persons who saw the third flight counted as many as 24 flying discs. Their speed made counting difficult.

Two Seen Saturday

Along about 4:40 p.m. Saturday, two flying discs were seen by Bus Cowham, operator of the Bowladrome. Cowham said he was driving his car east on Elizabeth boulevard, not thinking about flying discs when something attracted his eye to the north.

"At first," he related, "I thought It was a kite some kids were flying." After looking more closely Cowham said he thought they were shiny flat pans soaring west through the sky. He described them as silvery and said they appeared not more than six or eight inches across.

"Traveling Fast"

Unable to estimate their speed, altitude or distance away, Cowham said they were traveling "pretty fast," were flying beneath a cloud, were out of sight in less than a minute and looked about one-tenth as big across as the moon would look. He got out of his car to see them better and said they left no vapor trail and that he could not hear them.

"They looked like a skimming tin can lid except they were traveling in a straight line," he explained.

Brilliant, Lone Disc

A lone and particularly brilliant disc was reported seen at 7:50 p.m. Friday by Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Ulrich from their residence on Filer avenue west. They said it was as bright as the reflection of sunlight off polished aluminum, but lost much of its shininess when it apparently became surrounded in a pall of smoke.

The single disc was flying extremely high, they said, and made no noise. They described it as round in shape.

"Bigger Than Star"

In relating the size of the flying disc to that of celestial objects, the Ulrichs said the disc appeared much bigger than a star would appear, and was about one-third the apparent diameter of the moon.

A disc a day was reported seen by Mrs. Brooks Stover, Buhl, and her grandson, on June 26 and 25, respectively. She saw a disc at about 10:30 p.m., which she first thought was a reflection until it began to vibrate vertically and lose its shape with the addition of a streamer.


Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

Guard Posts 'Disc Watch'; Airplanes Alerted With Gun Cameras

P-51 fighter planes of the Oregon national guard's 123d squadron, equipped with gun cameras and telescopic cameras, will be on the alert to run down and photograph any mysterious "flying discs" reported hereafter in Northwest skies, according to an announcement Saturday by Col. Al Dutton, commanding officer.

A flight of six planes will be ready to take off on an instant's notice every week-day afternoon and evening, he said. On week ends the squadron will maintain a condition of readiness from dawn to dusk.

Colonel Dutton asked persons sighting the objects to notify The Oregonian or squadron headquarters so that location and direction of flight of the "discs" can be plotted.

Features and Commentary:

Source: Milwaukee Sentinel, Wisc. - 6 Jul 47

Coastguardsman Frank Wyman
Navy officials in Washington admit the V-173 (above) a wingless plane called the "Flying Pancake," is the closest thing answering the description of the flying discs. But, they add, this type of plane has never left Bridgeport, Conn.

Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

'Frankly, I'm Baffled,' Says Airliner Pilot After Observing Queer Airborne Objects

By Capt. E.J. SMITH
Written expressly for International News Service
How the "flying discs" appear from the air is described by Capt. E.J. Smith, United Airlines pilot, who got an aerial view Friday night while on the northwest leg of a Salt Lake City to Seattle flight.

SEATTLE, July 5 (INS) -- I didn't believe the stories about flying discs myself when I first heard about them. Now I don't know what to believe.

We were on our regular run from Salt Lake City to Seattle just eight minutes out of Boise when my co-pilot, First Officer Ralph Stevens, who was flying at the time, blinked our landing lights.

I asked him what he was doing and he replied: "There's a plane approaching off our bow."

But a few seconds later we both decided the object was not a plane, it was a flying disc.

Four More Appear

We saw only one of them at first, but soon four more appeared to the left of our plane, in a northwesterly direction.

We couldn't tell what their exact shape was except to notice that they definitely were larger than our plane (a DC-30), fairly flat, smooth on the bottom and rough on top.

Just to check, I called our stewardess, Marty Morrow, to the cockpit, and simply asked her "Do you see anything in the sky around us?"

Immediately she pointed at the discs and said, "Yes, what are those?"

That's what we wanted to know, so I contacted our ground radio station at nearby Ontario, Or., gave them our estimated direction and altitude and asked if they could see them. They couldn't.

Shortly thereafter, the discs disappeared for a few minutes then reappeared again. This time they were in our view for 15 minutes.

None of our eight passengers saw the discs because they were off our bow, and we didn't think to turn the plane, so intense was our interest.

It was impossible to estimate their speed or if they were moving at all. All I know is that when they did disappear they vanished suddenly.

In all the time Ralph and I were flying during the war, and in my 14 years with United Airlines, I've never seen anything like it.

I leave Saturday night on a flight for Chicago and you can bet your life I'm going to keep my eyes open.

Up until last night, we all had discounted 90 per cent of the reports we'd read in the papers or heard over the radio, but now.

Frankly, I'm baffled.

Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

Starr to Reveal Data on Saucers

COLUMBUS, O., July 6 (AP) -- Louis E. Starr, national commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, told the VFW Ohio encampment Saturday that he was expecting information from Washington about "the fleets of flying saucers."

He indicated the information would help explain the discs, reported to have been sighted in various parts of the country.

A telegram containing the information, Starr added, was due here at 3 P.M. (EST), but did not arrive. He promised to read the contents to the convention.

The VFW commander whose home is Portland, Or., did not indicate the source of the anticipated information.

After making the announcement, he remarked:

"Too little is being told to the people of this country."

Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

Public Advised Discs Harmless

SACRAMENTO, Cal., July 5 (AP) -- The public relations officer of near-by McClellan Field cautioned Saturday against undue concern about the mysterious flying discs reported in skies over the United States.

"Lots of people are worried to heck about the things," Maj. Duncan Arnam said, "but there's nothing to get excited about. If there were anything to them, the army would have notified me."

The officer suggested the discs might be part of some army training experiment and added "they might be good propaganda, too."

Major Arnam said his remarks were personal opinions.

He said radar at Mather Field -- the air material area depot for northern California -- had not recorded any trace of a disc reported by picnickers on the Sacramento river.

Source: Pampa Daily News, Texas - 6 Jul 47

Flying Discs Getting Better Publicity Than Jap Balloons

These flying discs are getting a lot more attention than the Japanese balloons got in 1945.

The balloons came to our shores and either exploded or were captured and spirited to Washington. Not a word of them got in any newspaper for months. The discs, on the other hand, apparently do all their landing on the front pages.

For security reasons, the balloons were kept secret. Not until May 22, 1945, months after they had started drifting over this country, did the Office of Censorship allow any word of their existence to be published or broadcast. In the meantime, they were greatly talked about and intelligence officers were even giving educational safety talks about them before luncheon groups. Newspapers fretted about this sort of thing. The theory seemed to be that although every man, woman and child in the country knew about the balloons, the enemy could obtain no information unless the story was printed in a newspaper.

The balloons consisted of a bag of five layers of silk paper, about 35 feet in diameter. They were inflated with inflammable hydrogen gas. A natural phenomenon brought them across the Pacific. At a high altitude, between 25,000 and 35,000 feet and higher, a steady air current blows eastward across the Pacific. It is a fast current, hitting up to 100 miles per hour. It brought the balloons to our shores in about 120 hours.

They carried sandbags, incendiary bombs and a single high-explosive charge. A control box was connected with an altimeter. When a balloon was released, it rose to about 35,000 feet and was carried off by the current. Gas leakage made it sink slowly and when it descended to 25,000 feet, on the verge of dropping out of the current, the control box dropped a bag of ballast. The balloon rose again, then descended until another bag was dropped, etc.

When all the ballast was gone, the balloon theoretically had reached the U.S. continent. Then the control box began dropping incendiaries, the idea being to set off forest fires. When the last incendiary bomb was dropped, the control box exploded the charge, destroying the balloon. All balloons captured, therefore, were defective.

U.S. planes intercepted and shot down some of the balloons and a sheriff knocked down one with a rifle shot. A farmer captured one which landed in his field and tied it to a fence post. A balloon landed in Erath County, was taken to Dallas and shipped to Washington.

Newspapers and radios kept impatiently mum about all this. The educational public lectures went on.

Finally came the May 22 bulletin for publication and broadcast. It said: "Japanese long-range balloons have made sporadic attacks on the western part of North America during the last several months, the Army and Navy reported today."

The bulletin was accompanied by a warning to editors that there would be only a small letup in censorship. States or localities where balloons fell could not be named, the number of balloons, beyond the term "some" or "a number of" could be used. The times of arrival or discovery were prohibited. Nothing could be published or broadcast about specific incidents.

Newspapers and radios, of course abided by the censorship request The floating bundles from Japan arrived were noted, but scarcely made news.

But the flying saucers -- how well they fare in comparison. How sweet the uses of publicity.

The balloons never had it so good.

Source: Nevada State Journal, Nevada - 6 Jul 47

Reno's Gang of Kibitzers Disgusted -- No Discs Here

Reno's alert gang of kibitzers, who can unerringly spot a crack in a sewer pipe in a hole 20 feet deep or see a gnat sitting on the uppermost railing of the Mapes Hotel, are a disgusted lot today.

They've been watching the sky for the last week with their tenpower eyes, and to date none of them has seen anything that looks like one of these discs or saucers that reportedly are buzzing around the nation.

"Look," one of them said from a vantage point on the southwest edge of the Virginia St. bridge, "my eyes are all bloodshot from strain, trying to see one of those things."

Judging from all the reports that haven't been pouring into the Journal office, the mysterious gadgets that have been seen flitting around other parts of the western sky haven't invaded Reno at all.

It's not true that they are an advertisement for Harold's Club.

"Maybe they're afraid to come around where horses are," another of the Virginia St. bridge gang chirped "Why did they have to have the rodeo at a time like this?"

"We could end this suspense over what those things are," another said, "if we could just get a quick look at one. There hasn't been any problem or mystery that has stopped us for very long."

Whatever the discs are, they better show up around Reno pretty soon. Starting Monday, the kibitz gang is moving back over into Lincoln Alley to keep up on what's going on in the big hole where the power company is industriously shifting sewer pipes hither and thither.

After all, one can't just go on staring at blue sky all day.

Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

Flying Saucers Everywhere; New Tales Convert Skeptics
The Great Flying Disc Mystery: It Evokes Theories From Scientists and Stargazers, Preachers and Pilots

Opinions on the nature of the aerial whatzits which have been drawing the attention of the nation skyward came Saturday from these Oregon professional people:

Dr. A.A. Knowlton, Reed college professor of physics:

"In view of the persistence of these reports, we cannot dismiss the 'flying disc' matter as simply another instance of mass hysteria. Probably 95 per cent of the reports come from victims of optical illusions, but you can't dismiss the statements of veteran airline pilots, such as Captain Smith. (Capt. E.J. Smith was the United Air Lines pilot who reported sighting the discs Friday night west of Boise.) There is a great possibility that the flying visitors are the result of secret experiments with guided missiles, either by our own or foreign governments. Some months ago, there were many reports of mysterious rockets flying over Sweden. Stories about these were never confirmed or officially explained."

Weather Balloons Shine

Col. Eckley S. Ellison, chief of the weather bureau in Portland:

"Helium inflated, uncolored balloons sent aloft by meteorologists for wind observations or to carry small radio transmitters which send back information on upper air conditions frequently reflect the sun's rays and shine like stars of metal objects when they reach a great height. If someone wanted to play a joke on the country, he could hook a few of these balloons together and they would answer the description of the objects seen by some observers. Balloons, however, could not reach the great speed attributed to the 'saucers,' because even above the stratosphere, wind currents seldom exceed 100 miles an hour."

Josephine Smythe, practicing astrologer, 3703 S. E. Woodstock boulevard:

"My deduction, on the basis of a special chart I have just completed, is that government experiments, either by the army or navy, are responsible for the objects seen in the sky. There is a certain place in the horoscope which rules scientific experiments. In this place is the scientific planet, Uranus. It so happens that Uranus now is in conjunction with the planet Venus, which rules people. Since we now are in Gemini, the scientific sign of the zodiac, I am inclined to think that secret experiments are the answer."

Mass Hysteria Possible

Dr. Frederick A. Courts, assistant professor of psychology, Reed college:

"There may be some mass psychological explanation to this sudden rash of 'flying saucer' reports. When people expect to see something, they frequently do. Also, some of these visions may be examples of negative after images, common in human beings after eye stimulation. If you look at a bright light for a time, you frequently get an after image in a complementary color when you look elsewhere. Looking too long at a shiny, black object, a person could see, or think he saw, a white spot in the sky. The whole thing could be the result of a general semi-hysteria due to the nervousness of the public over reports of atomic warfare and guided projectiles."

Dr. J. Hugh Pruett, nationally known Eugene astronomer:

"I don't know what on earth these mysterious objects can be. One thing is certain; they are not meteorites. If they were, someone would have found traces on the ground by now."

Pastor Looks to Science

Dr. Raymond Walker, pastor, First Congregational church:

"In the past, any unexplained manifestation, such as a meteor shower or eclipse, was seized upon by superstitious minds as a portent of doom. Intelligent church people today realize there is a rational, physical answer to such things. A scientific explanation surely will be forthcoming soon."

Rev. Jessie Falmer, retired Assembly of God minister:

"These signs and portents in the sky may mean the coming of the Lord is near. The Bible says the second coming will be preceded by wars, great disasters and heavenly displays. The way we're having trouble with Russia, it certainly looks as if war is imminent."

Source: The Oregonian, Oregon - 6 Jul 47

Mars Signals Now Suggested

DETROIT. July 5 (INS) -- A Detroit meteorologist theorized Saturday that the mysterious flying discs may be signals from Mars.

"It's not too far fetched," he insisted. "For a long time people have speculated on life on Mars, so why should not it be as logical for Mars to try to contact earth as for earth to try to contact Mars?"

He added: "I admit it's an unusual theory, but have you got a better one?"

Source: Logansport Press, Indiana - 6 Jul 47

What Do You Think The Flying Saucers Are, That Have Been Sighted All Over The U.S.?

MRS. A.J. TURNER, route 1, Logansport -- Since our government doesn't seem to know anything about them, they must be Russian or enemy-powered. They are the most frightening things since the atom bomb.

A.L. HARRINGMAN, farmer, Cutler -- Scares me.

J.D. STINKLE, route 1, Flora -- I think our government knows what they are. but is keeping the information secret, like the atom bomb. We all know that they are being produced but that's all we know. The same thing here, if they didn't know what they are, they would be more excited about them.

MARY CASSIDY, housewife, route C, Peru -- Might be anything. Maybe they are machines carrying men from Mars. In this day and age, anything is possible. I think we can expect the works now.

JOHN RANDOLPH, factory worker, Monticello -- Whatever they are, I feel sure that the U.S. government heads have all information at hand. They are probably new jet-propelled flight instruments being perfected by our government, which is trying to keep experiments undercover and to keep the information from getting to Russia. As long as nobody knows what they are, the Russians won't either.

go to comments on this entry


1. The original quote by Kenneth Arnold stating "It seemed impossible..." changed in all later news reports to "It seems impossible...".

2. As the purpose of this series is to recreate the experience of reading about the phenomenon as it occurred, inconsistencies and inaccuracies are being left un-noted, but will be revisited in a new multi-part series coming in early 2012.

3. As this series continues, each part becomes progressively longer.


The Arrival

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