it seemed impossible
-- but there it is
PART THREE OF EIGHT PARTS
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.
WEDNESDAY : 2 JUL 1947
Features and Commentary:
Source: Amarillo Globe, Texas - 2 Jul 47
A photo-chart of the Army's one-time super-secret bomber, the "Flying Wing," shows salient features of the plane's unorthodox design and construction. Note bomb capacity figures as compared with the B-29.
Guess Aerial Saucers To Be 'Flying Wing'
Could it be?
"For the past week, an ever-deepening aviation mystery has evolved around planes called variously "flying discs" or "flying saucers."...
So far, no Amarillo residents have reported sighting the saucers. And The Globe has no better information than what has been gleaned from the wire services.
But a chance survey through the Globe's picture files discovered a plane which may fit the bill.
It's the big "Flying Wing," manufactured by Northup at Hawthorne, Cal. The Army's designation for the plane is XB-35.
The first experimental model was unrapped [sic] from censorship about a year ago. The first picture carried by the Associated Press, still remaining in the Globe files, was dated May 24, 1946.
The Army still hasn't given out full information on its superbomber, but plans for a jet version have been indicated.
But the Flying Wing could easily be mistaken for a disc or saucer. It's all wing, with no body or tail structures used in orthodox design. The first models were made in 1943.
The Globe doesn't know just what the flying discs are, but could it be the "Flying Wing"?
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Penn. - 2 Jul 47
Those Flying Saucers Just Aren't Believed
Phenomena Reported In Washington Due To Crackpots, Savants Here Told
Maybe they don't make the stuff that strong in Pennsylvania. At any rate, no one here has seen the famous "flying saucers," supposedly meteors, which have been reported in the state of Washington.
"We've had a lot of crack-pot reports in our day," said Dr. Nicholas Wagman, director of Alleghany Observatory, "but as yet no one has called in about seeing flying saucers. It is possible, however, that a meteor could be oval shaped and possibly appear to be sailing through the air in a horizontal instead of a vertical position."
In Dr. Wagman's opinion, and Arthur L. Draper, head of Buhl Planetarium, concurred, the "saucers," which originated in Washington on the Pacific coast and have been reported all the way from Canada to Texas, were dreamed up by a hapless male involved in domestic difficulties and perhaps with one or two drinks under his belt.
"From our experience," said Mr. Draper, "we have found that one person can claim to have seen a phenomenon and countless other people will immediately 'see' it also. It is the power of suggestion."
Dr. Wagman advanced the theory that perhaps the "saucers" were guided missiles shot into the air by scientists employed by the Government.
"In this day and age you can't tell what you might see in the sky," declared Dr. Wagman. "I've been married 19 years and as yet I have not seen a single saucer fly through the air, astronomical or otherwise. But," he added warily, "one never knows, does one?"
Source: Pampa Daily News, Texas - 2 Jul 47
Screwball Club Wants A Flying Disk Derby
ORANGE, TEX.,(AP) -- Now comes an appeal for the flying disk derby.
Members of the Orange Screwball Club announced today that they were endeavoring to persuade officials of Brown Air Inc., which will hold formal opening of its new airfield here Friday, to add the disk derby to the aerial events.
Pete Carter, Screwball member, and Russell Fleig, club vice president in charge of aviation, suggested offering such prizes as stop watches capable of recording split split seconds, braces to prevent broken necks, and geometrical sun goggles to observers locating and clocking the fastest flying disks.
Source: The Lethbridge Herald, Canada - 2 Jul 47
Flying Saucers Seen Near Ottawa
OTTAWA July 2. (CP) -- It sounds screwy, but those flying saucers somebody saw out in Oregon last week have been careening their 1200-mile-an-hour way across the Ottawa valley.
H.S. Gauthier, and two companions of equally sound mind and body, reported seeing one of these supersonic missiles as it crossed over Lake Deschenes eight miles west of here, during the week-end.
The Ottawa trio were sitting in a boat -- minding their own business - when the "thing" came silently across from the north. It passed them, says Mr. Gauthier, in 30 seconds and was flying at 1,200 feet.
There was no sound.
"It was glowing such a white-hot color you could almost feel the heat. The light was blinding just like the sun."
Note to Oregon: Mr. Gauthier says the saucer looks more like a "flying stovepipe."
Source: The Paris News, Texas - 2 Jul 47
Another Flying Disk Sighted Near Dallas
SHERMAN (AP) -- Mrs. L.M. Wagoner, a news stand operator here, said Wednesday that she and her son Eddie, 8, saw a flying disk about 7 p.m. Sunday while traveling from Corsicana to Dallas on Highway 75.
She said it was "the size of a man's hat, traveling very fast toward Dallas. It disappeared in a few seconds."
Over a dozen Texans so far have reported seeing the strange disks first reported seen on the west coast last week. Most of the Texans have been in the Western portion of the state, with one sighted in Lamar County Tuesday.
Source: Lubbock Morning Avalanche, Tex. - 2 Jul 47
'Mars Invasion' Is Disclaimed As More Flying Discs Seen
(By the ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The epidemic of people seeing flying disks continued to spread in Texas yesterday, and caused an Army intelligence chief and an astronomer to announce that "we're not being invaded by planes from Mars."
Col. Alfred F. Kalberer, 8th air force intelligence officer, and Oscar Monnig, Ft. Worth astronomer, reassured Texans that the series of reports were nothing more than "an interesting study in human psychology."
In short, people just thought they were seeing things.
Another Disc Sighted
But Mrs. Victor L. Sailer of San Angelo and her 13 year old son added their stories to about a dozen others in Texas. They saw something Sunday.
She said she thought at first that it was a weather instrument released from Goodfellow Field nearby. She was sunbathing on the back lawn, she said, when she saw the object, revolving very slowly and descending. She said it looked like the "size of a washtub." Suddenly the disk shot upward at an unbelievable speed, she said.
Numerous others have reported seeing such disks, from El Paso to Lubbock to San Angelo. Also, others have been reported on the West Coast. Most seem to be in the western part of the United States.
AAF Disclaims Knowledge
Monnig admitted that "some of these people have seen something, and a few may actually "have seen daylight meteors."
He said he was visiting an observatory near Los Angeles last week when the first flying disk was reported. He said the astronomer there laughed and predicted an avalanche of such reports.
Col. Kalberer recalled the Orson Welles man from Mars radio skit, and its results. He also told of sea serpents being seen.
He said he wished someone "would put salt on the tail of one of these disks and catch it."
Officially, he was emphatic in saying the AAF knows nothing of any such flying disks.
Source: Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico - 2 Jul 47
'Saucer' Reported Crossing Sky Above Volcanoes
Albuquerque was included late Tuesday in the itinerary of the "flying saucers," according to Max Hood, chamber of commerce official here, who said he observed a "disc-like bluish object following a zig-zag path in the northwestern sky" while driving on Candelaria Road. Hood said the object disappeared from sight in the vicinity of Volcano Peak after he had observed it for approximately a half minute.
Source: Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico - 2 Jul 47
Discs Main Topic of 'Disc-Ussion' In State Since Sky gazing Began
The greetings "How are you?" and "Como esta usted?" are rapidly becoming obsolete in favor of "Have you seen any discs today?" At least in New Mexico, that is.
From the wide open spaces around White Sands, where people are used to such stuff as atomic bomb tests bleaching their cattle and V-2 rockets rambling across the sky, comes a report from more persons about flying saucers. Not the kind wives throw before going home to mother, either.
Hollis O. Cummins of Capitan writes: "Today (June, 27) my mother noticed a shiny object streak through the sky about 10 a.m. . . . Later in the day, a neighbor, Erv Dill, mentioned having seen a similar object, at the same time and going in the same direction . . . He said he believed it landed left of the C on Wilson Hill here."
The area is the same as that where others were said to have been seen. In fact, Engle, Capitan and Silver City are on a straight line, though the discs' travel times don't check.
Another mother and daughter traveled expressly to Albuquerque from Hot Springs to inform The Journal that on June 20 they had seen three groups of three discs, nine altogether, moving from south to northeast. The discs, which they first thought were huge balloons, "seemed to be fastened together by invisible cords" and were "turning in a wheel-like circle all at the same rate of revolution."
The woman, Mrs. Annabel Mobley, accompanied by her daughter Luanne, ventured a guess that the discs might be globules of gas or metal just returning to earth after having been created by an atomic bomb explosion.
And bringing the number of observers to about a dozen in the state is a Miss B.A. Tillery of Gallup, who says she and her mother, on June 25, saw what they first thought to be "a star in broad daylight."
Also, Art Roberts, a barber there, is telling his customers of seeing a disc.
In addition to these observations at least one Albuquerquean notes that the government is buying up more land in the state's disc-patrolled area, that some airline stocks have fallen off half a point since the first disc was discovered (competition feared?) and that any barbers trying to steal Mr. Roberts' stuff better confine their sky-scanning to after-shaving hours.
Source: Twin Falls Times News, Idaho - 2 Jul 47
Solo Disc Reported At Malta
Magic Valley can't lay claim to be the first area in which the "flying discs" were reported, but it does lay claim to two new versions in describing the mysterious "flying" objects.
First reports that the "flying discs" are semi-circular -- not circular -- came from Glenn Brado, forest ranger at Ketchum, and Mrs. I.F. Meuser, Twin Falls, chipped in that they also fly solo -- not in a "V" formation as previously reported throughout the country.
"Ball of Fire"
Mrs. Meuser said she and her husband were driving near Malta in their car about 6 p.m. Monday when they noticed "a big ball of fire" in the sky". She described the flying saucer" as about the size of the moon "only it was much brighter and shone brightly."
Mrs. Meuser said the flying object was traveling about northwest and that it was visible for several minutes. She said it seemed to be flying quite high and it was "passing us faster than any airplane."
Only One Saucer
She emphasized there was only one of the "flying saucers" in contrast to previous reports of eight to ten in formation. Mrs. Meuser said she and her husband were returning from a trip and that they had read nothing about the "flying discs" until they noticed the lone one Monday night.
Brado said his assistant ranger, Hunter Nelson, described the mystery craft as semi-circular with the circular portion ahead. The "flying half-saucers" left a vapor trail resembling cobwebs. Nelson said they appeared white and shiny.
Nelson, in company with Walter Nicholson, Twin Falls, was marking timber at about 4 p.m. Monday on a ridge between south Cherry creek and Spring creek, at the head of Wood river, about 20 miles north of Sun Valley.
Source: Oregon Journal, Oregon - 2 Jul 47
Flying Disk Reported Above Fort Stevens
ASTORIA, July 2. -- "There is a flying disk right now over Fort Stevens," Mrs. Earl Seado, housewife residing in the Fort Stevens annex, said Monday at 1 p.m., when she called an Astoria newspaper office.
She was asked to chart its course. Mrs. Seado said it was heading across Fort Stevens in a northern direction and that it had been visible for 15 minutes, even when the sun was not shining. It was dazzling bright and saucer-shaped.
"Everybody in the annex saw it," she said. Mrs. Seado was asked to call another of the witnesses, preferably a man, to the phone.
A man did come but said, "I won't give you my name. I don't want the same thing to happen to me that happened to the first man who said he saw a disk."
The man said he was a welder and had looked at the disk through the welder's goggles because it was so bright. He said that he was not certain whether the disk was reflected light or some physical object but it was blinding bright. In contrast to Mrs. Seado, the welder said that he could not make out the direction taken by the disks because the "clouds were moving so fast."
The reporter receiving the two reports rushed the call to Fort Stevens and was answered by a calm, drowsy voice which reported that no official report had reached the headquarters of flying disks. Fort Stevens, he reported, was intact. He did not refer the call to the commanding officer.
A second call made to the Coast Guard, was answered by an alert man on the switchboard who reported that no disks had been reported. He stepped outside and saw none.
THURSDAY : 3 JUL 1947
Source: The Lethbridge Herald, Canada - 3 Jul 47
"Spud Islanders" See Flying Discs
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I., July 3 (CP) -- Four Summerside citizens Wednesday reported they had seen a "bright, luminous object," travelling high and at great speed and resembling the so-called flying saucers reported from western Canada and the United States.
The four, Dr. and Mrs. C.K. Gunn, Roland Philipson and his daughter, were travelling along the highway at north Bedeque, several miles from here when Miss Philipson first saw the object. All four said they saw it "quite plainly."
Mr. Philipson described it as a "shapeless object that glistened and gleaned in the bright sunlight." It was visible for about 30 seconds before it disappeared in a southerly direction.
Mrs. Gunn said it appeared like a "large star" as it travelled across clear sky. It was no noise [sic] and did not resemble an airplane.
Source: The Lethbridge Herald, Canada - 3 Jul 47
VANCOUVER. July 3 (CP) -- The "flying saucers" gave way Wednesday to "flying teacups" over Vancouver.
A woman telephoned a newspaper office that she had just seen "the teacups" going over her house.
It added another mystery to the appearances of the mirror-like spheroids reported sighted in the states of Washington, Oregon and Texas.
Source: Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Wash. - 3 Jul 47
Discs Seen In Kentucky
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- One of the flying, luminous discs sighted in the sky by observers in several western states recently has been sighted over Louisville and this time by a government meteorologist.
E.E. Unger, meteorologist in charge of the U.S. weather bureau here, said Wednesday he saw one of the mysterious celestial objects Tuesday night when leaving a Louisville theatre.
Unger said the object was moving southeast at about 100 miles an hour and was giving off an orange light. It was close to the earth and might have been a balloon, except for its speed, Unger said.
J.L. Laemmle of Louisville also reported seeing a flying disc of light here earlier Tuesday evening.
Source: The Mexia Daily News, Texas - 3 Jul 47
Dallas Residents See Flying Discs
DALLAS, Tex., July 3 (UP) -- Next thing you know they'll be naming drinks and foods after flying discs. A new report, one of many in the past several days from scattered Texas points, was received yesterday from three Dallas residents.
Tom Dean and his wife and daughter were driving Tuesday on Highway 183 enroute to Fort Worth when they saw a disc-like object "going like blue blazes from northeast to southwest at cloud level."
Dean said it resembled a flattened-out balloon and was in sight 12 or 14 seconds before disappearing.
Source: Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Wash. - 3 Jul 47
BOISE (AP) -- Add Lt. Gov. Donald S. Whitehead and Boise Justice of the Peace J.M. Lampert to the list of "flying disc" observers.
The officials said Wednesday they noted a strange comet-like object in the sky west of here on June 24 -- the day Kenneth Arnold, Boise pilot-businessman, said he saw the flying saucers near Mount Rainier in Washington.
Whitehead said it "had a brilliant head and a filmy smoke for a tail." He said it looked like a comet and dipped from view after about 20 minutes.
Lampert declared "the object didn't move. It seemed that it went below the horizon merely by the rotation of the earth."
The men said they viewed the object from the window of Lampert's office in downtown Boise.
Source: Twin Falls Times News, Idaho - 3 Jul 47
More Discs Reported As U.S. Probe Opens
More "flying somethings" have been reported soaring over Magic Valley as the mystery of their shape, speed, source and identification still remains clouded. The third report of "flying discs" in Magic Valley was received Wednesday.
Meanwhile, both the Associated Press and the United Press carried stories today quoting Lieut-Gen. Nathan Twining, commanding officer of Wright field, Dayton, 0., as saying that the army air forces is investigating the identity of the semi-circular disc-like objects which have been reported.
"The air forces have nothing that would compare to descriptions of the objects," General Twining declared. His command includes top secret research.
General Twining was quoted as urging all persons seeing the strange objects in flight to send word to the commanding general at Wright field. The general declared that a "reputable scientist" has seen the disc-like objects in flight and his information is being studied.
B.G. Tiffany, Union Pacific railroad section crew foreman at Rogerson, wrote to the Times-News that a crew of seven railroad workers had observed nine silver colored objects flying over Hollister about June 6. He said they were shaped much like planes and had faint black markings at the tips of the wings.
"They were in V-formation, approaching from the direction of Nat-Soo-Pah, absolutely silent and we estimated their speed at about 200 miles per hour," Tiffany said. "They had no propellers or other visible means of locomotion. Their direction was three points south of due west, which we checked with a compass."
"They appeared much too large for any birds known to us, and there was no movement of the wings as they approached," he wrote. "We watched them move several miles. They passed over quite near the Amsterdam elevator, then about one mile west of the railroad track, they went into a tight spiral, without breaking formation, and climbed clear out of sight."
Tiffany said some of the men thought that the wings flapped while they were climbing but said this likely was an illusion as they banked to turn.
"We have had considerable argument and conjecture regarding what the objects actually were and are watching other reports now coming in with considerable interest," the foreman said.
"Flying discs" also have been reported seen flying over Galena summit and near Malta.
KIMBERLY, July 3 -- A family on a farm north of Kimberly was certain enough of scattered bright objects moving through the sky Wednesday night to haul out the family field glasses for a closer inspection of the "flying saucers."
After some scrutiny, the family dubiously reached the conclusion that they were seeing only stars and that it was not the stars which were moving but low-lying clouds instead.
Source: Richland Villager, Wash. - 3 Jul 47
'Flying Disks' Are Seen Here
A Richland chapter was added last week to the mystery of the 'flying discs' or 'saucers' puzzling the western states when a village resident, Leo Bernier of 1213 Stevens Drive, reported having seen several of them high in the sky last Tuesday afternoon.
"They were going west by southwest around 2 or 2:30," Bernier said, "and were rather silvery and shaped as though a saucer were seen edgewise."
Bernier didn't say much about them until he read in the paper that they had been seen elsewhere. "I was worried that people might just laugh," he said.
The disks were extremely far away, near the horizon, but high in the sky, he stated, and even at that distance were traveling as fast as a P-38 might seem to be going if it were just 600 feet high.
"They appeared something like a reflection from a plane, but were going too fast for any kind of plane," Bernier said.
Various theories have been offered for the phenomenon, which has been sighted in at least five areas besides Richland, west of the Mississippi.
In clear air, the flash of sunlight from a plane can easily be seen 50 miles. The flash is round, the shape of the sun. Any other reflection from a great distance is apt to be round too.
Most puzzling factor in the mystery are the great speeds, although it is difficult for the eye to make a correct estimate of speeds, and jet planes travel much faster than regular planes.
Reports of unusual objects in the sky have been numerous since the war. Atomic bomb and rocket rumors have accounted for most of them.
Bernier has his own explanation as good as any.
"I believe it may be a visitor from another planet, more developed than ours," he says. "In my opinion we're just beginning to see things this world never dreamed of."
Seen Sunday By Neighborhood
Just to prove that there was something in the sky, a whole neighborhood reported late this week that they had seen the famed 'discs' last Sunday afternoon above Richland.
A disc was first spotted by James Harbor, 10, of 1417 Johnston, earlier in the week, but he was having difficulty in getting anyone to believe him, when he saw another one Sunday afternoon, "about 3," while playing with some friends.
Jimmy immediately called his mother and several neighbors to view it and prove his story.
"When I first came out," reports his mother, Mrs. Thomas Harbour, "the disc seemed straight above, right over the village. It seemed to be hovering. It wavered, then started back and all of a sudden, reversed itself and shot off toward the northeast."
The disc was bright, but very high in the air, according to Mrs. Harbour. It was round, with a shimmering edge, as though that moved separately from the center. It was silvery, as reported elsewhere, but to Mrs. Harbour seemed to have a tail or a stream of smoke clinging to it.
"I couldn't judge how high it was, but I'm sure it was a terrific size," she stated. "The whole neighborhood saw it."
Others who saw the disc, according to her, were Walter and Donald Schaeffer, neighbor boys, Mrs. Carl Gibons of 1413 Johnston and Mrs. E.D. Ferguson of 1418 Johnston.
Said Mrs. Gibson, "It was real bright and seemed to go fast, but every once in a while it looked like it was turning or something because it twinkled like a star."
"It very definitely wasn't a plane. I've never seen anything like it before...It was spinning," she added.
"Mrs. Ferguson thought of it as spinning, too, but to her it seemed to have a "sort of a halo or circle around it."
"It could have been smoke around it which appeared to come from the center or top of the disc," Mrs. Ferguson related.
"She too agreed that it was shiny, huge in size and very high in the sky.
"It didn't move like a plane, more like a balloon except that balloons move smoothly and this was jerky," Mrs. Ferguson reported. She said they had to be in a shadow to see it, and that the whole neighborhood was out.
Source: Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Wash. - 3 Jul 47
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- You can take the word of Sergeant David Menary of the state highway patrol, those spinning, saucer-shaped objects he and a companion saw falling out of the sky and into San Francisco bay Wednesday were not
Fourth of July pyrotechnics.
The sergeant, who says he is an accurate observer, said he and San Rafael garage man Walter Castro were driving onto the San Francisco approach of the Golden Gate bridge shortly after 2:15 p.m. Wednesday when they saw the objects -- similar to those reported by other incredulous observers from various parts of the west in recent days.
"There were six of them," said Menary, speaking slowly and distinctly, "They were close together -- about one foot apart.
"They were silver and shiny. They were about as big as a football, but shaped round, like a basketball. They were falling down, straight down. I couldn't estimate how fast. They fell into the bay, east of the bridge. That's the last I saw of them."
A half hour later, on duty on the bridge, he saw some more. But these later ones were red and green, and looked and behaved as though they might have been flares fired by the military.
But -- and Menary was firm about this -- the earlier ones he and Castro saw fall into the bay were neither flares, nor fireworks.
Source: Twin Falls Times News, Idaho - 3 Jul 47
Army Experts 'Can't Explain Flying Discs'
WASHINGTON, July 3 (UP) -- Army research experts can't explain the "flying saucers" reported in several western states. But they are investigating, they said.
They are even considering the possibility, however remote, that some foreign power may have something to do with the flying discs.
The army air forces checked all of their research authorities and contractors. But none of them knew or could suggest anything concrete about the saucers.
At first, army officers laughed off the reports. Now they are beginning to take them at least a little seriously. At any rate, the air research center at Wright Field, O., is looking into the reports, and all service intelligence agencies are at work on them.
Army experts suggested -- as a bare possibility -- that some civilian inventor has been making some experiments of some kind.
The possibility that the discs might be of foreign origin was indirectly put forward by an AAF spokesman who said:
"If some foreign power is sending flying discs over the United States, it is our responsibility to know about it and take proper action."
Source: The Deseret News, Utah - 3 Jul 47
Army Plans Probe Into Flying Discs
BOISE, Ida (AP) -- The Idaho Daily Statesman said today that Lt. Gen. Nathan Twining, commanding officer of Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, told the newspaper by telephone that the Army air forces is "investigating" reports from residents of the Pacific Northwest that "flying discs" have been seen in flight over the area.
The newspaper said Twining reported the air forces "have nothing that would compare to the descriptions of the objects." The Statesman article said Twining added that Wright Field had been contacted by a "reputable scientist" who had seen the semi-circular objects in flight.
Twining was said by the newspaper to have asked that anyone seeing the objects in flight or having information about them to report the matter to the Wright field commanding officer headquarters.
Scattered reports of "flying discs" hurtling through the air at super speeds have followed the first statement last week by Kenneth Arnold, Boise businessman-pilot, who said he saw the shining objects while flying between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams in Washington.
Features and Commentary:
Source: Corsicana Daily Sun, Texas - 3 Jul 47
Flying Disks Said "Authoritatively" To Be Space Ships
SAN FRANCISCO, July 3.(AP) -- All this talk about saucer-shaped objects skittering across the western skies is old stuff to Ole J. Sneide, who says "the flying disks are oblate spheroid space ships from the older planets and other solar systems."
"This space navigation has been going on for millions of millions of years," Sneide wrote in a tongue-in-cheek letter to the editor of a San Francisco newspaper.
Source: Middletown Times Herald, New York - 3 Jul 47
Editorial: Sky Mirage
Reaction to the report of saucer-shaped missiles have been observed crossing the continent at great speed will depend upon the individual state of mind.
The fearful type will see in it a threat of invasion, a preview of some new and terrible weapon of war soon to loose its power upon this nation. And of course the gesture is being made by Russia, the only nation which is presumed to have war against the United States in mind.
First reported over Oregon, later over Kansas City, then Dallas, the stories were generally similar. There were nine planes, shaped like saucers, traveling at an estimated height of 10,000 feet, and at 1,000 to 1,200 miles an hour. It should not be overlooked that the Kansas City man who saw them from a housetop did not tell his story until the west coast version had been printed. This may account for the similarity.
At the reported speed the planes, if that is what they were, would be passing over Oregon approximately an hour and half after being seen over Kansas City. Has anyone checked up on the time? Furthermore, if Russia or any other nation has such a weapon it will not be paraded in advance. In the absence of more definite information it must be put down as a mirage of the sky.
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.
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