ARCTURUS BOOK SERVICE P.O. BOX 831383 SIDNE MOUNTAIN, GA 30083-0023
Cover Illustration: McMinnville, Ore. Telephone Register, June 8, 1950
APRIL - JULY 1950 By mid-1950, the UFO wave then in progress was globegirdling. Reports were coming in from all over: Latin America, Japan, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and' Europe; but as usual the vast vajority were being made in the United States. Since, however, our discussion begins with the month of April, a little April item from Germany is appropriate at the outset. April Fool . A curious photo of a tiny man-like creature garbed in a skin-tight suit appears in UFO literature occasionally. In the picture the critter is being led away by two men in trench coats, the supposed diminutive "man" allegedly a survivor of a crashed flying saucer shot out of the sky by an American anti-aircraft sergeant. The origin of the photo and the story have remained obscure for decades. What is the truth? Well, the storyline is a recognizable variant of the hoken dreamed up by the American con artists Silas M. Newton and Leo A. GeBaucer. A wirestory of the Newton and GeBaucer "little men from Venus" story reached Europe, and in Germany the Cologne Neue Illustrierte (News Illustrated) took a liking to the yarn and went to the trouble of faking a photo. Why did the Neue Illustrierte bother? Few Americans know that the German celebrate April 1st the sameway they do.l Such nonsense confused the issue but it never dispelled real concern over t~e UFO question. "Immense turtle." ·If the UFO's were American or Russian then they were taking a chance testing them far and near. Droning through the air over the coast of Venezuela, a DC-3 airliner piloted by John Power and Angel Delgado made its way uneventfully, on course and on time, April 2, 1950. Suddenly the passenger plane began to . shake violently from a shock wave. Both pilots tightened their grip on the controls and snapped their heads in time to see a "huge machine" lunge past 2,000 feet away. Powers said to•the press after landing: "It was an enormous apparatus of aerodynamic form similar to an immense turtle and I have no doubt that this · machine was guided. "2 . , ... Less spectacular was the report of "white balls" streaming mile-long vapor trails. Flying in V-formation they sped over Macon, Georgia, headed east. In spite of the estimated 1,000 miles per hour plus speed, the objects may have been aircraft,
1i but nearby Warner Robins Air Force Base procl a imed general ignorance and shrugged it off as "too much Saturday night cclebrating."3 "Silver football."
On Highway 38, a few miles out of Butler, Pennsylvania, April Znd, some people in a car became fascinated with an aerial vision. They pulled up and got out for a better look. They saw a "silver football" flashing in the sun and hightailing it across the sky at great altitude. Before it passed out of sight in the west, the witnesses were sure they could detect rro wings or hear any sound. One of the witnesses was an instructor at an art institute and he made sure the press was impressed with the fact. He insisted that his eyesight was superior and there could be no mistake when he said the object was not a jet plane. The UFO, he declared, was a metallic-like football shape about 100 feet long which flew overhead at about an elevation of 6,000 feet.4 Reports also came in at this time from Longmont, Colorado, in the U.s.S · and Selkirk, Manitoba, in Canada.6 On the other side of the world in Italy a flying saucer caused a "horse to bolt" but unfortunately th~ writer of this manuscript has no further information on what may have been an interesting incident.7 "Flying Saucery." When a large parachute training balloon at Weston-onthe-Green near Oxford, England broke loose from its moorings and drifted over London, the Air Minister got its first big taste of saucer mania. Phone calls stated: "it's got dots on the bottom," and "it's stationary," or it's moving fast." All of which may well have been accurate observations except £or the initial report made by a bus conductor who tried for a chuckle or two: "There is a flying saucer right over my vehicle with lots of little men with ginger hair inside having tea."8 The balloon, however, did not trigger a UFO wave in England although there were some who expressed concern about a creeping "flying saucery" threatening to infilitrate British society warning that British scientists would be stand-offish until: " ... something is found that can be identified under the microscope of the National Physical Laboratory, or in a line-up at Scotland Yard ..•. "9 One member of the English scientific fraternity protested: "We really have nothing to go on in this country." And the Royal Air Force responded in a frustrated tone: "People have started calling us up now asking us what it is all about . But what can we tell them? None of us has seen o..ne yet. "10 There was no UFO wave in England at this time because the UFO's were acting like real objects and not mass hysteria.
The UFO wave of 1950 was moving northward through Europe and had not yet crossed the channel! Did this fact prove ~he objects real? One wonders. Eventually England would contribute its share of UFO experts for the gifted amateur is a recognizable English type, people who teach themselves to be experts on everything from butterflies to Bauderlaire, all for the love of the thing, with no hope of making money at it. They write erudite letters to the Times, win abstruse magazine competitions, and write books-rn-retiremcnt that astonish pedagogues. Back in the United States, like dandelions and toadstools, the flying saucer proved prolific and no sooner did official Washington stomp it out on one front when it popped up on another. However, the UFO historian developes an odd feeling about the official policy towards the UFO question at this time. · An interesting speculation about this period of UFO history suggests that high up in the U.S. Intelligence Command it was decided to "use the UFO mystery" against the Soviet Union, to stir up suspicions that America was testing a "superplane." That the Pentagon might resort to this kind of psychological warfare tactic is not inconceivable, since warnings that a foreign power might utilize the same tactic against America had appeared more than cnce in U.S. Air Force UFO studies. Also, the then current international political situation was a test of nerves, more so than in contemporary times with co-existence in vogue. In the year 1950, Stalin was still the unchallenged dictator of the Communist world but he was getting old and there were some American Intelligence experts that felt that the aging B9lshevik, half mad and growing senile, would make a military move against the West before he died. A few Intelligence experts eveh felt danger was not without some validity because Stalin ordered the North Korean Army to take up attack positions along the 38 parallel and to make ready to invade South Korea sometime in the next 90 days. If the Pentagon never meant to discourage or worry the Russians with the UFO mystery they missed a marvelous opportunity. We have only to give an ear to an opinion from the "other side," some remarks by Dr. Felix Zigel, a top Russian astronomer associated with that nation's space program. Radio Commentator Frank Edwards came across a 1967 Russian magazine article that gave Dr. Zigel's views of the UFO riddle. In the article, according to Edwards, Dr. Zigel says that Russian scientists wer.e as puzzled as Western scientists over the UFO phenomenon and that Russian radar had tracked the strange objects for years. Edwards states further: "He also revealed that in the early years of the problem, 1946 - 1950, the Russians suspected that they might be some sort of U.S. secret device, at the same time that we suspected that they might have been Russian."ll
Returning to 1950 we finJ that on April 3rd a big broahaha broke out over something published in tl1e newsweekly U.S. News and World Re~ort. The magazine had publisheJ its conclusions concerning t e sky mystery titled: "flying Saucers--The neal Story." The flying saucers, according to the magazine, were "accepted as real," because they actually were a new kind of secret military aircraft utilizing revolutionary principles, a U.S. Navy aircraft combining the best features of both a jet and a helicopter. The newsweekly referred to the summer 1949, White Sands, New Mexico, reports of a craft performing fantastic feats over that test range. Data obtained on the size, speed, and altitude were strangely cleared for publication at ~he time by the Pentagon (Commander R. B. McLaughlin's article in the March issue of True magazine: "Uow Scientists Tracked Flying Saucers."). The U.S. News and World Report did not buy Commander McLaughlin's idea that the saucers might be tourist buses from planet X reasoning that, in its opinion, the Air Force had abandoned its investigation into the UFO mystery without much fuss which the magazine interpreted as meaning the High Command knew the objects were domestic in origin and were not concerned. The newsweekly reasoned further that even if the Air Force denied ownership, that still left the Navy. Continual denials by the Pentagon were interpreted by the magazine as psychological warfare against the Soviet Union, thus it may be safe to assume people were sane after all and not victims of mass hysteria befitting the t~mes.12 News commentator Henry J. Taylor, who had just recently insisted the flying saucers were "very important and wonderful news" for Americans, went on the air again April 3rd over the ABC radio network to repeat his earlier remarks, but as before he remained vague about his source of information and other specifics,l3 the very details U.S. News was now trying to supply. Both T~ylor and U.S. News had composed their idea of the "real story" out of guesswork. The New York Herald-Tribune, a newspaper of extreme flying saucer inappetence, marveled: " ••. the magazine U.S. News and World Re~ort has a high reputation for reliability, and t e article contains many unqualified statements supporting its theses when it would have been just as easy to put the statements on a conjectural basis."l4 Once the American secret weapon theory was seriously proposed, some of those of the Fourth Estate leaped .at the chance to tell·the world they had believed UFO witnesses all along. The evidence, such as it was, hadn't changed but a "reasonable" solution made all the difference. Robert Ruark, a syndicated columnist wrote at the time:
"I wi s h here and now to go on record. believe that there are flying saucers. I believe they are aircraft containing life. I believe that very soon a solution of them will be offered to 15 the public. ~ly hunch is that they arc ours ... " The influential columnist Drew Pearson went along Hith Taylor and/or U.S. News and World Report: "flying saucers, seen by hundreds of competent observers over most parts of the United States, are accepted as real. Evidence is that they are aircraft of a revolutionary type, a combination of helicopter and fast jet plane_." 16 Another journalist, Peter Edson, wrote from Washington on April 3rd that: "The biggest off-the-record story in Washington is the flying saucer. The Air Force says 'there ain't no such animal.' They have never seen one and have no photographs or visible proof, however, privately most officials believe there's something to it."l7 The President of the United States. Newsmen went right to the top, the White House, but President Truman had made a timely retreat to Key West for a vacation. The morning of April 4th a group of newsmen compiled a list of questions and submitted it to the Chief Executive's P~ess Secretary, Charles G. Ross. That afternoon, Mr. Ross called a news conference to reply to the newsmen's inquiries. There was no detailed response, there was just the assurance that the reputed wanderers of the skies were not American. The President, Mr. Ross stated, had taken the trouble to confer with his Air Force and Naval aides, Brigadier General Robert B. Landry and Rear Admiral Robert L. Dennison, and learned that the Armed Services was still standing on conclusions reached the previous December. Mr. Ross added that it was extremely unlikely that the President would be kept in the dark about any new military development, domesti.c or foreign. As far as the President 18 was concerned, the so-called flying saucers did not exist. Reporters sought a response from Commander McLaughlin, and when asked, the Navy officer made known his strong disagreement with the newsweekly's conclusions and disavowed collaboration. The Department of Defense followed up by swiftly issuing a blanket denial that any government agency or military service was testing saucer-like aircraft, especially the Navy.l9 Secretary of Defense Johnson even felt compelled to bring out Navy Secretary Matthews and the Chief of Naval Operations,
Admiral Forrest Sherman, to shoot down the se~rct Navy plane suggestion.20 Secretary Johnson grinned and remarked to the press that: " .. . he'd like a few saucer squadrons to beef up the Air Force."21 And, still grinning, he . said he : " ... raised the question about the flying discs at the Armed Force's Policy Council- - facetiously."22 The United Press news service carried all these official attempts to fend off rumors about the mysterious sky objects, statements that should have satisfied everyone, yet the news service expressed an uneasiness in its feelings about whether or not the saucers were so much nonsense: "But stories of strange objects soaring through space, often at fantastic speeds, }(eep cropping up. "23 In spite of the blasting given the UFO's, the New York Times noted the sudden rise in the number of UFO reports and expressed a sentiment which stated that an element of "reality" had· accompanied the widespread resurgence of unexplained aerial activity. The Times also noted that the Defense Department was being harrassed-oy-in understandable deluge of inquiries about the chance of a new Air Force UFO investigative project.24 On Capital Bill the Chairman of the House Military Appropriations Subcommittee, Representative George IL llahon, joined President Truman and Defense Secretary Johnson in expressions of doubt that such craft as flying saucers existed. Furthermore, Representative Hahon issued his own flat denial that the United States government was in the saucer business, secretly manufacturing the strange craft and then testing it in the nation's skies. Another member of the subcommittee, Representative Albert Engel of Michigan, listened carefully and when Representative Hahon finished, expressed his own view: "Maybe so, but I saw one myself." Representative Engle explained that he and some friends had sighted a flying disc the previous summer and two of his party had even chased after the object in an airplane. While a "believer," Representative Engle disagreed with the Chairman in regards to who owned th~ saucers. He tended to agree instead with Henry J. Taylor that the sky objects were the result of some top secret American project. The Russian theory he dismissed; afterall, he stated, as a member of the important Military Appropriations Subcommittee he was fully aware of the latest in Russian military hardware.2S · While the Air Force fell back on the usual litany about mass hysteria, birds, clouds, meteors, reflections, hoaxes, etc., to explain flying saucer reports, people nonetheless continued to "see things." And when some UFO's "buzzed" the headquarters of Air Force Intelligence at Dayton, Ohio, it was downright embarassing. At first they were just brilliant points of light in the night sky not unlike the normal stars in the celestial vault, but then they took on an increased glow and attracted the attention of some people motoring home five o'clock the
J::orning of April 4th. The witnesses watched as two light s , one behind the other, swept down out of the heavens with terrific speed and came to a halt in the sky over Dayton, Ohio. They then shifted to a point over Wright Field wher e the lights suddenly shot skyward in a vertical climb, goin g s o high they be ca me invisible. Later two light s in the sky, perhaps the same ones, appeared over Dayton and zipped aroun d in various dir ec tions, occasionally taking brief pauses in their flight. With the first light of dawn th e lights departed.26 The next day the phones jumped off the desks at Air Force Intelligence at Wright Field. Officials told c a ll e r s they knew nothing about any strange lights. The press wa s informed that: " ... we know nothing about the flying saucer s reported by nine Tipp City residents. We have no official report and our radar observers reported nothing."27 One of the Tipp City witnesses had a reply ready: "If they say at Wright Field they didn't see them, then someone is napping over there."Z8 Another pair of strange objects played follow-the-lead e r in the air over Denver, Colorado the same day . Perhaps the y were the same UFO's. In California the phone danced on the desk of the Provost Marshal's office at Edwards Air Force Base, Muroc, California at 9:30 p.m. April 4th . Four persons living in the city of Delano, about 40 miles north of Bakersfield, called the Air Force base to alert them to the fact that something very odd was taking place in the evening sky over the south side of Delano. The citizens said that a circular object, 25 inches in diameter, was whirling on its axis and flying in an orbit . While the witnesse~ watched, the object would occasionally change its motion and orbit in the opposite direction. The object was plainly visible since it was only 200 feet high. 29 The steady flow of reports, in spite of negative remarks from the likes of President Truman, had the press reaching for more answers no matter how .unlikely the source. The San Diego Tribune-Sun, on April 4th, gave space to a very unlikely sourc e. A news story said : "A picture George Adamski, amateur astronomer, sent to the Naval Electronic Laboratory for an op1n1on on whether it bore the image of a space ship has been found and the opinion is 'No!' Or is it?"30 The photograph referred to (It showed some meaningless streaksl is of no consequence, but one can imagine how dizzy Adamski gbt when the press showed an interest in what he ' claimed to know about the sky . mystery when even President Truman was being quizzed about the subject. But it was more than publicity that Adamski yearned for. Contact with an alien civilization had an overpowering appeal and Adamski
was highly susceptible to its allure. at this time (April 1950) he hoped:
Adamski wrote that
" ... without end that for some reason, some time, one of them (a flying saucer) would come in close, and even land. I have always felt th a t if the pilot within one of these ships would come out we could meet, there would be a way for us to understand one another."31 A filler in some newspapers mentioned a Reuters dispatch from Australia that told of a UFO sighting in Queensland, anothP-r indication Of the continued world flap.32 April 5th a report came in from Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada, but the most detailed cases for this date available are American. People up and down Rhue Street in Ahoskie, North Carolina, pedestrians and motorists alike, stared skyward right after the sun had ~et. For five minutes an object moved across the sky south to north. It was described as: " ... rectangular in shape, very bright red and tapering at the trailing end. Maintaining a steady speed and a steady course, the "short neon tube" grew fainter and fainter as it flew out of sight. At Woodland, North Carolina, some 16 ~iles to the west of Ahoskie, the same day, a soundless, white, cigar-shaped thing, tapering to the trailing end, had been seen earlier in the day. It had been seen at low altitude and witnesses figured its size was 18 feet long.33 "Fast as the dickens." Out West the planet Venus on the evening of April Sth was brilliant and low in the sky causing a temporary flap among police in communities just south of San Francisco with some lawmen standing atop their patrolcars to catch a glimpse of the suspect point of light.34 What set off excitement was a UFO report made by a frantic woman living on Mt. Hamilton road outside San Jose who phoned police to say she had seen some strange sky objects between 7:00 and 8:00p.m. She remarked: "They were running at each other. They were somewhat elliptical, fast as the dickens, and gave off a bright glow."35 The Air Force learned that: " ... on 5 April 1950, at approximately 1215 hours (MST) she saw a dull white, disc shaped object, like a 'flying saucer,• traveling in a straight line in a northwesterly direction. She stated further that from where she was standing in her back yard •••• the object appeared to be at ahvut 45 degrees. --- (deleted) said the object reminded her of two saucers placed Tim to rim, and had the apparent size of such
an object if it were only a few feet from her. She said it moved swiftly at constant speed, was in sight ahout 10 or IS seconds and then disappeared behind some trees. It had no lights, emitted no sound, left no smoke or vapor trail, was not marked, and was not equipped with any visible control surfaces, and did not have a metallic appearing surface."36 A pair of UFO's zoomed over Ironwood, Michigan on April 6th, 37 and another Reuters dispatch mentioned that something was seen in the sky over Asmara, Eritrea in Africa. Another foreign sighting took place in England signalling the beginning of ur:o activity in that countrL Perso1.s in the English town of Whitly, in Yorks, reporLud so ~ ' in ~ perplexing which was described as two ''revolving hoops-one inside the other--passing over the coast.38 Another vote for the theory that flying saucers, at times, use vapor producing engines was a report from Massachusftts April 6th. The man that made the report was a member of the Air National Guard, a Lt. Sevila, who was startled by a roar "like a flight of jets." Alarmed, he glanced out the window of his home at Westfield, trying to see what was passing low over his home. Peering carefully, he said he saw, clearly, a large, perfectly circular "thing" that exceeded a four-engined plane in size and sparkled like polished chrome in the rays of the sun. For all its noise, the ur:o made little headway and remained in view for four minutes on its way westward. Lt. Sevila wrote an account of the sighting for the Air National Guard's 13lst Fighter Squadron's magazine Thunderbolt. When the local press rerrinted the story, a man who lived in the city of Agawan felt great relief because he had had the same vision and so knew he wasn't nuts.39 More comments from Congress. The press quoted Senator Russell Armed Services Committee:
(D-Geor-,i < ~
"I am completely baffled by Flying Saucer stories. It seems inconceivable that so many pilots would have hallucinations or be fooled by cloud or atmospheric formations. "From their testimony, it seems they do exist. But our Air Force says they do not. I just can't understand it. No, I don't think it is in the stage for a Senatorial investigation as yet."IIO A scoffer, Senate GOP Floor Leader Wherry of Nebraska remarked: "There a r e so many claims made. It is like our foreign policy--it is in a state of confusion and no one seems to know what it is all about."41
Senator Tydings (D-Maryland) Senate Armed Services Chairman, declared that: " ... his committee has not discussed the disc s with anyone, let alone defense officials."42 Quoting Tydings directly, the press reported: "I have not taken the matter seriously. I would assume it was our own experiments in embryo stage rather than men from Mars."43 April 7th newsmen approached a leading authority on missiles and a founding member of the old German Rocket Society, Willy Ley, who discounted the proposal that UFO's, flying saucers, or whatever, were the result of an other worldy technology, yet he wasn't impressed with the latest official talk either. He liked the idea that the reported discs were real and probably U.S. military weapons since in his words: " ... a large number of honest witnesses have seen them."44 Ley was countered by Rear Admiral C. M. Bolster, Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics for Research and Development, who protested the idea of Navy aircraft being blamed and fell back on the theory that it was high flying research balloons that were being mistaken for some sort of immensely advanced aircraft.45 Pittsburgh's saucer sighter of April 7th had an unusual way of spotting a UFO that passed over that city. A youngster, 11-year-old B. Wappler, was running to catch a fly ball when his eyes fixed instead on a round, bluish-white object having a "tail of lightning." The· ·whole ball team then caught sight of what Wappler was looking at. The boys dashed home to tell their parents.46 Earlier in the day at Fort Madison, Iowa, at a fountain pen factory four workers sighted what they said was a silvercolored rotating disc flying by the factory spitting out a shower of silver sparks.47 Chastised by Washington's reaction, David Lawrence, editor of U.S. News and World Report, wrote in a syndicated feature that he felt someth1ng was amiss and that there must be a lot of critical data reposing in secret Air Force files, charging that it was even possible the secret policy of the military was cloaking official incompetency.48 Enjoying the discomfiture of its rival in the newsweekly business, saucer skeptic Time sent a reporter to interview Frank Scully perhaps hopi"iiglor a quote that would set back serious consideration of the UFO problem even further. Alas, Scully refused to say much because he was saving all comment for a book.49 · The Time representative would have done better if he had left Los Angeles and driven out to El Centro, a small California community about 10 miles from the Mexican border. On April 7th when the national press was debating the existence of UFO's,
the citizens of this Imperial Valley town were able to judge first hand. Mysterious lights, hundreds of them, could be seen in the night sky. Approaching out of the south, some hovered while others moved slowly, and still others darted back and forth at various velocities, a sort of nocturnal Farmington. Newspaper headlines in the region termed the phenomenon "flying candles" in the honor of Good Friday.SO Back East two nightwatchmen aboard a ferry ship moored ncar St. Ignace, Michigan, were making their rounds when a "disc-shaped" object raced about in the night sky performing lightning-like maneuvers over the Straits of Mackinac. One of the watchmen, J. Angelason, told the press: "An intense dark glow came from the sides of the disk. It ran the entire length of the disk--like a blue fluorescent factory light." The local news reporters made a comment in the news story that a similar manifestation occurred several weeks before over St. Ignace, Sault St. Marie, and in Canada over the province of Ontario.51 "An unorthodox light." The date was April 7th. The place was Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts. The time was 9:55 p.m. On duty in the control tower at Logan were -three aircraft controllers: a W.G.M,a F.H., and a H.G.M (The complete names have been deleted). Also present was an unnamed watch supervisor who filed the official report on the incident we are about to discuss. In front of these witnesses a very strange light performed some unorthodox maneuvers. The mysterious light, changing from a deep blue to a pure white color and then to a cherry-red, moved across the field against the wind, at one time splitting into two lights which spun around one another, an ellipsoid pattern of diffused luminescence. The ~atch supervisor, with a long list of credentials and at the time a Lt~ Colonel in the Air National Guard, tried to apply every natural solution he could think of to account for the phenomenon. Forced to discard ideas that seemed logical, the watch supervisor wrote a detailed report stating that he observed a solid mass in the midst of the glow as he followed it with binoculars. He added: "For obvious reaons no formal report of this incident was made to any source. ~ith so many reports rampant developing from irresponsible or hysterical sources, one hesitates to solicit ridicule, but in view of the close similarity of what I witnessed, I feel it incumbent to submit this report in spite of this risk."S2 · "Flying Bowl."
_, '~:lg:~~:Zl~~~} ' .
SAUCER OVER KOKOMQ-Earl Bakel' ot Kokomo, Ind .• stands .:n his back yard and pointe to the spot iD the sky where he says a .. :ly ing saucer" hovered for about two minutes at 200 to 300 foot ·d titude. Baker holds aa artist's sketcb made from his description ot. the object. which he said bad a conning tower and portholes &ivin& out a bWiE.b ll&ht.
As a railroad train chugRed its way past Ouncannon, Pennsylvania, the engineer, II. Perry, and his fireman, ~1. Conlon, were amazed by a "flying howl" the size of a large aircraft. lt cruised overhead at about 3,000 feet, low enough to cause great puzzlement to the ~air of railroad men who could detect no means of propulsion. 3 Kokomo. Colonel Robert Bell, an Army security officer at the Pentagon received an unusual letter from the fifth Army Regional Office, Indianapolis, Indiana. The letter's subject was "Flying Saucers." Checking his files he found a directive titled: "Department of the Army, GSUSA, CSGID, 452.1, dated 25 March 1948, subject: Unconventional Aircraft, control number A-1917." The compliance requested therein was that reports of unconventional aircraft be forwarded to the "Commanding General Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, ATTN MCI." Not knowing i f the directive was still in force, Colonel Bell nonetheless forwarded the information and added his request for an update on the status of Air Force interest in such material. No reply is on file. The UFO report, an interesting one, is reproduced below: "On 12 April 1950, an agent interviewed Mr. Earl Baker of Kokomo, Indiana, sheet metal fabricator with the Continental Steel Corporation, 1200 West Markland, Kokomo, Indiana. Informant stated that, upon being awakened by his dog at 0200, 8 April l9SO, he saw an 'object' about two hundred feet in the air, almost directly overhead. This 'object' was a grayish metal disc approximately fifteen feet in diameter and fifty feet in circumference, shaped approximately like a child's toy top. On the top bulge of the 'object,' he saw a small conning tower as the whole thing tilted occasionally. The 'object' rotated slowly on its perpendicular axis, and informant saw three small port holes on the outer rim. These port holes showed a blue-white light from within. After hovering for approximately two minutes the 'object' rose soundlessly and without tilting moved away to the north at a speed approximating that of a conventional type of aircraft at takeoff. Informant could furnish no further information as to size or appearance of the apparition."S4 More April 8th cases. A trio of farmers near Henderson, K~· ~~ky r • . r~~ .· some UFO's they said resembled "30-foot oil drums" that whizzed by in formation trailing smoke.SS
For a brief moment llorscheads, New York, commanded attention when a "flying saucer was found on a farm thcr·c." Constructed of cardboard, garnished with an old radio tube, the "saucer" caused no concern after the FBI was informed. It reminded one of many similar "finds" made in 1947.56 Other sightipgs were made at Moline, Illinois; Upper Sandusky, Michigan; and Gouverner, New York, but it is a wirephoto from California that sticks in the mind. Making the pages of many newspapers was a photo of two service men, arms raised, swearing they had distinctly seen a "pinkish, pancake-like, thingamajig flipping around in the sky over Long Beach~" Both men were trained military observers and they kept insisting: " ..• our eyes don't play tricks on us."S7 Up north in the Bay Area,April 8th, a Mrs. G. Grey of San Francisco was idly gazing out the window of her home in the direction of Mt. Davidson when to her surprise, two disclike objects hurdled right at her house. The flyin~ "somethings" zipped at her with colossal speed, braked and then proceeded to move up, and then down, and then around, in an apparent game of aerial tag.S8 Similarly, a rancher that same day near the community of Terra Bella, California, a Mr. R. Barke, watched wide-eyed as another batch of disclike things swooped, climbed, and circled, emitting puffs of black vapor when soaring vertically.S9 All this time Moscow made a show of being amused. Radio Moscow charged the "Yankee reactionary press" with trying to wring more military appropriations out of the U.S. Congress with screams about mysterious objects in the air.60 "Doubting Thomases?"
.An AP story datelined Shelby,
"Five Shelby residents aren't Doubting Thomases when it comes to tales of flying saucers. They say they saw one high over Shelby Saturday. "Paul Limerick, the commander of Shelby's Veterans of Foreign Wars, gave the report on the whatzit of the air. He said he and Doane Mulick, an employee of an auto parts firm, and three children watched it for at least two alinutes. "Limerick described it as aluminum colored but not in the shape of an airplane. Apparently round, it followed a horizontal southwesterly course without making any .noise or giving out any smoke or flame, he reported. Limerick said it 'Wobbled' along its course for about two minutes and then shot straight upward before disappearing."61
April 8th, Amaril1o, Texas: "Twelve - year-old David Lightfoot claimed today that he touched a 'flying saucer' and it sprayed him with a gas that raised red welts on his face and arm. "Many persons tended to believe that David, as a true son of Texas might be getting an early start as a teller of tall tales. But his story was backed by his cousin, Charles Lightfoot. "The boys were fishing 10 miles northeast of here Saturday, they said, when something 'like a balloon' sailed over their heads and landed beyond a slight rise. "David ran to it. He said it was the size of an auto tire about is inches thick and curved on the bottom with a top looking like a flat plate. "The part between the top and bottom was real red like it was on fire, he said. "The top was still spinning as he approached. The disc was blue-gray in color and red-hot otherwise, he said. "'I dived for it but my fingers barely touched it,' he said. 'It was slick like a snake and plenty hot.' 'It "Then the top started spinning faster. made a whistling noise and took off,' he said. It was out of sight in 10 seconds . "He said that as i t left the ground, the gadget released a gas or spray which reddened his arm and face and caused small welts. His father applied skin balm.which removed the welts, but the reddness remained. "Charles couldn't run as fast as Dav'i d but said he was within 100 yards of the object when it took off."62 By a lucky accident, an amateur astronomer in Sacramento, California happened to be scanning the stars over the city at 8:35 p.m., April 9th, with a small telescope and he witnessed an eerie sight. Rushing pell-mell northward was ~ flight of some SO objects acc ompanied by a dim, white glow. Stargazer II. Benach yelled to a friend nearby to come and confirm what he had in the eyepiece . They took turns looking and then rushed to the phone to alert the local newspaper, the Sacramento Bee.63 "Are they or aren't they?" The parade of reports began to tell on even the cons ervative New York Times which asked in a April 9th headline: "TIIOSE FLYING SAUCERS : ARE TilEY OR AREN'T THEY?" Noting that even President Truman could not shed any light on the riddle,
the Times called the renewed liFO wave a whoppe1· that was remiiiTSCCnt of the wi hi year of 194 7. tJ4 The liFO activity was most intense across the lower half of the United States at this time, Apirl lOth, with a few exceptions like a sighting at Oba, in Canada, ISO miles north of Sault St. Marie. Lacking details it is hard to say if Oba's report was a "real" UFO sighting hut another April lOth case fits the pattern geographical!~ and it makes good reading.65 At first it was thought to be the morning star. At Monterey, California, on the morning of April lOth, there occurred an experience that would be long remembered by the witnesses. The press account on the case reads: "A 'bright chrome-like' flying saucer was spotted yesterday by at least seven persons as it cruised at a high rate of speed over Monterey County. "Two sheriff's office patrols reported to Salinas that they had seen the mysterious objects . "One of the deputies, Ted Cross of Monterey, was drivin~ a prisoner to the county ja il when he said he saw the saucer. "·'It was definitely some kind of aircraft, but not local,' he said, 'in fact, nothing like anything seen in this world before.' "Cross said the object was about 30 feet in diameter and appeared to be travelling at approximately 4,000 feet."66 As the witnesses watched, the object came to a halt and started to spin. After a minute or so, the thing zoomed off in the direction of Fort Ord, California, an Army Base.67 As the object moved northwest, the rays of the sun reflected brightly from its surface. Supporting the sheriff deputies was a Greyhound bus driver on his early morning Salinas to Monterey run who happened to spot the same object. Likewise, a local gas station attendant saw the same object. Both ~e bus driver and gas station attendant reported the object independently.68 When questioned by the press, deputy Cross remarked: ''It was a bright, circular, spinning object--spraying little flares of light (and it was) ..• visible for five minutes. "69 In the police car the prisoner, a delinquen~ girl, muttered: "I guess it's just one of those days."70 Cross radioed headquarters where an all points bulletin was broadcast. Within minutes two other deputies in a patrol car ncar Castroville radioed that they sighted the strange object in question yhich, while it was in view, turned and flew 7 o~t to sea. . Army Intelligence agents, possibly from nearby Fort Ord, hotfooted it to the sheriff's office to quiz the saucer
sighters, displaying more enthusiasm than one might expect from reading all the statements from the President on down that saucers were just so much nonsense. nuring the half hour interrogation the Army agents told the lawmen that military investigators like themselves were required to carry a camera at all times in case they ever got a chance to take a snapshot of one of the elusive sky objects. Moreover, and this is of extreme interest to the uro historian, one Army man snapped: " ... if you (one of the lawman) itad photographed it, we would have confiscated your film just 1 ike TIIA T! "* 7 2 When that quote hit the newswire the bigwigs back east had a fit. An Air Force spokesman in Washington 'hurried to say that the casual confiscation of civilian film was downright illegal unless, of course, a military secret or a restricted area was photographed. Perhaps because this discussion might put the saucers in a favorable light, the Pentagon added that it still didn't believe in the objects and that orders to investigate reports were: " ... general in nature and subject to interpretation of commanders in the field."73 Fire and smoke. While a crew of nine state highway workers labored on a road outside of York, Pennsylvania, in the Pigeon Hill district, April lOth, the foreman, R. Jenkins, and the rest of the men, were surpised by an unfamiliar whining sound. Looking up the crew sighted something approach at terrific velocity. Only 500 feet above the ground, a black oval 20 feet in diameter spewing fire and smoke swerved into view. Dumbfounded because the object sported no winRS or propeller, the men watched until it moved out of sight.7~ Meanwhile, llenry J. Taylor reiterated his now famous claims and warned that the stubborn refusal of the Pentagon to admit that the saucers were American would open the way to the Kremlin announcing that the strange objects were Russian which might produce hysteria in the Free World . 75 Kenneth Arnold, blamed by the skeptics as "starting it all," made news again on April lOth when United Press mentioned that the Boise flier felt there may be a link between the saucers and unidentified submerged objects reported by the Navy. Asked about the more sensational rumors making the rounds, Arnold replied: " .•. [I) don't scoff at reports that 'little men' have fled from alleged crackups of flying saucers in Mexico and Southern California . " Moreover: "Who am I to say that no such men exist? My mind is always open to anything. I haven't seen any of the tiny men myself. But I have letters from persons who have seen them. And they're serious too."76 *Emphasis is part of the original quote.
In about the middle of Kansas, at the city of Lindsborg, April lOth, a P. Patchin saw a gray-white clam-shaped object streaking across the heavens at 11:30 a.m. According to Patchin's calculations, the object was heading southwest at about 650 miles per hour and at an altitutde of two miles. 77 More roars. Much like the experience of Lt. Sevila of Westfield, Massachusetts, who had been alerted to something strange in the sky by a horrendous noise, another gentleman, a Mr. E. D. Williams of Buffalo, New York, a reserve flying officer, was also s(artled by a loud roar just before midnight April lOth. Being a pilot and familiar with aircraft activity in the area, he sensed something amiss. He couldn't see two well because of the glare from the street lights but he said he saw enough to put a doubt in his mind about his belief that the saucers were bunk: "It was the noise that attracted me. It sounded like four or five jet planes were just outside the house. I flicked off the light and looked out to see an object with four or five flaring exhausts streaking across the sky. It was flying at about 2,500 feet and going west in a straight line."78 "As red as a red neon tube." Four o'clock in the morning of April lOth, Captain Charles H. McMahon arrived at Robin's Air Force Base, Georgia, after a three hour flight. He was tired and wanted some shuteye before reporting for duty the next morning. Some friends had dropped him off at the base hospital ~here the Captain throught he might find a cot so he could catch 40 winks. The so-called "flying saucers" were the farthest thing from his mind; in fact he had never really paid attention to the subject. As the Captain walked up to the front door of the hospital, he passed a Sergeant Lovett C. Harrell, Jr. Sergeant ·Harrell called out to the officer and directed his attention to the sky. Captain McMahon lifted his head and saw something red in the dark sky at about 12,00 feet altitude. He later told Intelligence officers his story.79 The UFO turned out to have been a conventional object, a verdict that need· not be contested, but the details of the interrogation make for interesting reading. Here is what happened to Sergeant Harrell. "Any preconceptions?" Military Int~lligence asked Sergeant-Harrell if he had got a good night's sleep, whether his vision was 20/20 without glasses,·or if he had been reading newspaper accounts of recent flying saucer sightings, and finally, had he listened to Henry J. Taylor's broadcast about American secret weapons. Satisfied that the Sergeant was a good obse~ver and had no preconceptions,- the interrogation proceeded.
An investigation revealed that the Robins AFB weather unit had released a weather balloon around 0400 and that this balloon had dropped a paper lantern containing a lighted candle which had been seen· to float over the llospital and to have come down in the swamp. (The Air Force Times issue of 15 April SO had a similar device illustrated on page one.) It's evident that witnesses had seen this lantern but it is important to point out that the military men had observed accurately, although they had not seen a "flying saucer," it is interesting to note that it was not a "flying saucer" that they reported.BO A half-hour show. Montclair, New Jersey, April 11th, was the scene of a half-hour show. A Miss Delapen, up to this time a doubter~ was entertained by an aerial spectacle that produced a firm belief in the strange objects known popularly as flying saucers. The New York secretary watched a dozen softly . glowing yellow-colored things like dinner plates play in the air over Montclair. The young woman noticed the sky objects when she was enroute to church about 7:30 p.m. The UFO's, moving in two and threes, chased one another about the sky, disappearing and reappearing, as she said: " ... circling first high in the sky then dropping down in a circling motion ... " A neighbor, A C. Perdue, confirmed the sighting.Bl The only accounts available for April 12th are European ones. United Press reported that American occupation officers had seen something at Neukirchen, Germany.82 And on the afternoon of the 12th, two brothers were driving a road linking Tarragona and Reus, Spain, when they noticed an object hovering over some olive trees. The brothers, Pedro and Adres Garcia, said the thing was a small disc about one meter in diameter. It glowed strangely and was visible for only a few seconds before zipping away.83, 84 "Study of aerial phenomena." On March 30th when Brigadier General Carroll visited the lOth District Office of Special Investigations, USAF, based at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, he issued verbal instructions that a summary of "aerial phenomena," reported and investigated in that area be prepared. General Carroll requested that the summary be forwarded immediately to OSI headquarters in Washington, D.C. By April 12th the summary was completed and it makes for interesting reading when it is compared to documents like the final report of Project GRUDGE: "1.)
A review of the files on 'Aerial Phenomena' contained in the lOth District OSI files 124-0 and 124-39, of which there are approximately forty cases, indicates that the following generalizations are
pertinent to the investigation: "a. The observations of the individuals who have reported sighting the so-culled 'flying discs' have been at all times during day and night; about 70 percent of those on file have been after the hours of darkness, ranging from 1800 hours to 0200 hours. "b. Most of the observations have been sightings of single objects; however, about 10'percent of the sightings have indicated there were two or more, with the maximu~ being four. "c. The observations have been made by both military and civilian personnel. The predominance of the military sightings have been in the vicinity of Camp llood. The military sightings comprise 75 percent of the sightings on record in this office. No particular observation can be made regarding the sightings of the civilian personnel; they have been in metropolitan or interurban areas. "d. In practically all cases, with one or two minor exceptions, the estimate of speed of the 'aerial phenomena' have been in supersonic speeds, ranging from 800 to 2,000 miles per hour. This conclusion is arrived at in that the individual method of expressing speeds, ranging from azimuth readings converted into linear miles per hour, through military persons, by artillery observer giving feet per second, to pilot estimates of ~peed given in miles per hour; i.e., (1)
One civilian giving an estimate range of one-quarter mile an azimuth movement of 170 degrees in three minutes, which converts to approximately 335 miles per hour.
A military observer's estimate of 3,000 feet per second, which converts into approximately 2,000 miles per hour.
A military pilot's estimate of 2,000 miles per hour.
"e. Weather, as a factor in these cases, doc s not seem to be of major importance; there are four sightings in which the alleged disc ·or 'fire ball' was sighted ncar or in the vic i nity of thunder storms that were active at that time; however, most of the cases on hand have clear weather or with a small amount of clouds as climatic condition s prevailing at the time of the sightings. The estimated altitude of the 'aerial phenomena' at the time of the observations seem to be predominantly in the lower altitudes, ranging from two to eight thousand feet; however, there are several incidents in which the estimated altitude of the object was 20,000 feet or above. "f.
"g. Vi s ual phenomena associated with the passage of the 'flying discs' are approximately equally split; as having a long tail; and as to those which have no such visual evidence of an appendage during its passage through the air at high speed . "h. Most cases of these observations have reported an absence of all sound with the passage of the phenomena; however, there are a few which have reported a hissing sound, which cannot be described in any other manner. It is the universal opinion of all persons interrogated in the reports reviewed that the objects were of a smooth contour, with no proturberances for control or method of propulsion.
"j. The described sizes of these 'aerial phenomena' in most cases, conform to that expressed in the following illustrations: a civilian service station attendant described the object as being approximately the size of the disk in a passenger type motor vehicle; another civilian described it as being the size of a volley ball. As illustrated, each of these conforms to general shape and size in uniform manner. It should be pointed out. however, that in none of the investigations on file in the lOth District Office, is there any further description of saying at what distance the comparative object is to be held from the eye; this leaves some doubt as to this comparative size.
"k. In all cases, the object and the vapor trail or tail attendant thereto was of a uniform color; however, the color used in describing the object in each case varies from a blue - white through bright red to orange. "2.)
A tabulation of the sightings indicates that they fall in a line from northwest to southeast, originating in the vicinity of Camp Hood, and terminating in the vicinity of New Orleans, with a few individual sightings to the east and west of this general line.*
In most of the cases on file in the lOth District, distribution has been through OSI channels only, primarily between the 17th District and the lOth District Offices, however, in accordance with a letter from Headquarters, OSI dated 2 June 1949, this subject, and letter, Headquarters, OSI, 20 May 1949, copies of reports were sent to the Commanding General, Air Material Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and to the Director of Intelligence, USAF.
Attached to this report as Enclosure No. 1, you will find a copy of the minutes of the meeting of a conference on 'aerial phenomena' held in the conference room, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, at 1300 hours, 16 February 1949. Herein are expressed the views of several scientific people which might be an aid in the digesting of these phenomena.
Comments and Recommendations: It should be po1nted out that each one of the approximately forty observations contained in the investigative files of the lOth District is diverse, in that the intelligence of the individual; the scope and range of experience, and the ability to express oneself is widely diversified in each case. The homely expressions, the excitability of the individual under stress, the acuity of the . memory in each case is a questionable factor. The investigative technique in the form of the report is not uniform throughout. All
*This seems to be the first mention in UFO history of "Orthoteny." The reader should consult the book: "Flying S~ucers and the Straight Line Mystery by Aime Michel. New York: . Cr1terion Books, 1958.
these factors tend to downgrade the authenticity of the overall report . The above comments are the opinion of the undersigned as to the f a ctors which are common to all or most of the reports revie1•ed. "6.)
It is the opinion of the undersigned that the 'phenomena' do exist, but that the haphazard pursuit of information and the Jack of coordination of investigative effort including scientific research into this ma tter makes it a problem that cannot be resolved at the pres ent time.
It i s recommended that the matter be brought be fore a proper command at the headquarters level, with a recommendation to that command that a coordinated scientific effort be made to es tablish an explanation of this phenomena.
(Signed) Ralph H. Schaller Lt. Colonel, USAF BS District Commander" Snooping on Moffett Field? A lot of citizens of San Jose, California, on April 13th, were stirred up over some strange manifestations in the heavens above their city. Said one witness: "It hovered in the direction of Moffett Field, staying up there stationary four or five minutes. Then three flaming tongues shot out of the tail and it vanished within a minute or so. "The object appeared to be several thousand feet high. I thought jets of flame came out along each side of the tail and a third in between the other two. I heard a swishing sound. As it moved away it seemed to flutter a bit."86
Not many miles away that day, at Salinas, California, a city that experienced a UFO visitation back on April lOth, another UFO appeared . A Mr. Potter of Salinas motioned to four co-workers to join him outside the plant building where they all worked. Mr. Potter was standing on the loading dock while engaged in his duties as head engineer when he first laid eyes on the "thing" in the sky, shiny in appearance and, as he termed it, looking like: " .•. one of those long-rooted sweet potatoes[?]."87 lie reckoned that it was just pulling out of dive when he first spotted it. He immediately contacted the sheriff. The sheriff visited the plant and questioned the witnesses. The CAA was phoned but
autho'rities said there were no aircraft in the area at the time. Subject to merciless ribbing by those who failed to catch a glimpse of the object, Mr. Potter refused to back down but he also refused to claim a "saucer sighting." 88 Almost directly east of Salinas, at about 1,500 miles, at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on April 13th, a saucer sighting involved an interesting witness. The news story relating the incident read: · "A Baptist minister says he saw two objects that looked like flying saucers. Reverend G. Bellamy said he and a friend saw the two things standing on edge, then suddenly wheeled over into a horizontal position at the same time. Bellamy says he knows the Air Force has denied such things exist, 'but whatever we saw,' he says, 'has made a believer out of me. '"89 . April 14th was another lull except for foreign reports. They told of a sighting at Guaquil, Eduador, in South America, and in Europe about something in the air above Palermo, Italy. In Spain a sighting was made at the city of Camarasa. Spainards living near the Riegos y Fuerzas del Ebro hydro-electric power plant claimed that a luminous object came down out of the sky, landed on the waters behind the dam, floated for a time, and then was seen to sink beneath the surface.90 And then there was Germany. Panic. In a scene reminiscence of the war, hundreds of fearstricken Germans jammed the roads leading out of Munich. The recent shooting down of an American bomber over the Baltic by the Russians and sharp exchanges of diplomatic notes gave birth to a rumor that World War III would break out at any minute. Authorities managed to stem the tide of humanity only after crowds had gone miles from the city on a frantic trex to the Alpine redoubt. A contributing factor to the hysteria had been the sighting of flying saucers over Bavaria which the German population was convinced could only be Russian reconnaissance aircraft . 91 "The Flying Top." A civilian driver for the American Occupation troops at Bremershaven, a Rudolph Schriever, a 40-year-old German aircraft designer .who had graduated from Prague University, boasted to the Yanks he had conceived of a disc-shaped aircraftr even completing blueprints. Schriever called his envisioned machine a ."flying top", a ·craft that could travel at 2,000 miles per hour, with a range of some 4,000 miles. Although his plans were purloined from his laboratory aft'3r
.-A..IOIMEI .LUFTWAFI'I capt&ln aDd aircraft dutpltt". Rudolpll Sc:llrtever !IIIHt), wllo •ya eDglne«n tbrougllout tbe worla experunent.d In U.. early ll140a W1tll " !!ylng aauc:en,'' t• wiii!DC to build one tor tile United Statea In ILix to rune monu.a. The .O.yeaM)Id Prague University rradnate uW M made llluepriDU till' IUc:ll a maclllna (above), whlc:ll M calla a '"!lying top," ·lletore Germany'a -CDUapae and ...UI&t. UM bii!IPriiiU were atoleD trom Ilia l&borstor)'. Be uya tile maclltna would be C&9&ble ot 2;.., !!J1! wttll.r&dlua ot U~ ~·a.-~~-~1!--AzmY clr1••r at Bremerllaven.. . fl~~
the war, he claimed he couJJ build his "flying top" for the United States in six to nine months. Eventually a sketch of Schriever's proposed ship and his story appeared in the German news magazine Ocr Spiegel, inviting the attention of llearst's International News Service . Quizzed by phone hy INS reporters, Schriever's story made the newspapers in the U.s.92 Although the German's design relies on conventional aerodynamic principles for lift and would doubtlessly fail to maintain stability in flight, there are those that persist in asserting that Sch~iver's craft is what the flying saucer mystery is all abou~, that German scientists left Germany before that nation collapsed in the Second World War and pe~fected the machine at a secret location. As late as the 1980's, a neo-Na~i group based in Canada still espouses the idea. · Except for a sighting at Farmington, West Virginia, nothing is on record for April 1Sth.93 The next day there was also a single report, this time from Burlington Iowa, and was carried by the Des Moines Sunday Register.9~ April loth did have, however, another interview of Kenneth Arnold. Meeting with reporters at his Boise, Idaho home, Arnold asserted that if all else fails he would get proof of the saucers' existence i f it took the rest of his life . People, he said, were still phoning him at all hours. Letters, newsclippings, magazine articles, and wire recordings filled shelves and closets in his house. He figured be had the largest collection of UFO material in the world.95 On Rainy Lake in Illinois a man and two boys rowing a boat . on a la~y Sunday afternoon, April 16th, were witnesses to a speeding object: a round, silver, soundless object, heading south. This happened at 3:45 p.m. The reaction of the local newspaper to the first UFO sighting in the area was somewhat amusing: "Frankly, we were getting a bit envious of the national publicity accorded some communities. "96 A mighty strange "meteor." The OSI office at Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts, alerted Washington of a strange story: "The Sprin~ficld Union carried an article on April 17, 19 0, tn wh1ch it was reported that one --- (deleted) of Ludlow, Mass., advised that while on duty at the ·-- (deleted), atop Minnechaug Mountain in Ludlow, at 1030 hours, 16 April, he saw a large silvery disk with a gaseous tail, flying very slowly about eight to ten thousand feet above him, pursuing an easterly course. Mr. Grant stated that he watched the object for seven minutes before it disappeared from view and that it was definitely not an airplane,
perfectly round and was emittin~ a long tail of burning gases which made it look like a meteor. It started to climb before it disappeared from his view, but did not appear to be climbing at an exceptionally rapid rate."97 This seemed to be something worth checking out but such action was not taken . The OSI at Westover told Washington: "No investigative action has been initiated by this office, in accordance with AFCSI Letter No. 85, dated 8 February 1950."98
April 17th. According Tribune, a UFO In France. On a t Wellington,
to the London edition of the New York Herald was seen over the Montmarte sect1on of Paris the other side of the world a report was made in New Zealand.99
General Carl Spaatz, at this time retired as Air Force Chief of Staff, took the opportunity to lecture the American public about the folly f getting all worked up about supposed objects in the sky. He told Newsweek that the countrr ~ouldn't have a chance j f the Russians started dropping bombs. 0 A mention of Mexico. The Intelligence Division, Headquarters, ~MTS, Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, fil~d an Air Intelligence Information Report listing sightings by various t.tATS units in the Texas region. The 1923rd AACS Squadron based at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, in document dated April 17th, also mentioned civilian accounts anrl was part of the Air Intelligence Information report issued by Washington. The 1923rd document tells us: " (deleted) a San Antonio attorney, reported he saw a flying saucer passing over Laredo. He believes they are huge blobs of molten metal from some distant planet which are cooled and hardened into discs while hurling through space. He estimated it to be from 75 to 100 feet in diameter and travelling approxi mately six or eight hundred miles per hour and about 5,000 feet altitude. Later the same day he reported he saw another flying saucer. A flying saucer was spotted over Mexico City's Central Airport and reported as a shiny fast moving aerial object. It hovered over the airport motionless for awhile and then whizzed out of sight at high speed. The El Nacional declared that a flying saucer had cr a shed 1n the Sierra de Morones mountains making the ground boil. It was constructed of metal and
painted an orange color.
It carried no crew." 101
It is interesting to note that the above made the official UFO file while other more deserving information remains to this day ignored by the Pentagon. The reference to Mexico is note worthy because it is one of the few acknowl edgernents by the U.S. military that anything at all was taking place south of the border. An example of one of the better reports was one filed by a scientist from the University of California who was working at Los Alamos, New Mexico, when he saw something extraordinary. While peering through a Bosch and Lomb telescope at 1:30 p.m. on April 17th, he spotted a: "bright, metallic, circular and flat object travelling in a southeasterly direction . . . "102 The object was plainly seen in the clear air and seemed to be some nine feet in diameter. It appeared to be about 2,000 feet high and moved across the sky at an undetermined speed although the scientist (whose name was deleted from the offi cial record) said the object travelled: " ... faster than any known conventional aircraft."l03 In view for about 20 minutes, the UFO put on quite a show: "Maneuvered up and down from IS to 35 degrees and at times slightly to the sides. Object se~med to rotate end over end in a forward tumbling movement at a variable frequency of approximately one second. When the edge of the object was toward the scope, it did not appear to have any appreciable thickness."l04 The next day an equally odd report was forwarded to Washing ton by the OSI at Westover: "The SprinSfield Union carried an article on 18 April 195 1n wh1ch 1t was reported that two Springfield, Massachusetts Technical lligh ~chool students, --- (deleted) and --- (deleted) ~f Springfield saw a 'Flying Saucer' above Beckwood Boulevard, at approximately 2015 hours on 17 April 1950. --- (deleted) described the incident to the Springfield Union as follows: " --- (deleted) and --- (deleted) were travelling on Beckwood Blvd., in the former's car when they spotted a red object approaching it. The object appeared to be two discs not visibly connected but with a reddish hue between them. It appeared that one disc was following the other. The discs were described as having a bottom section 'the shape of a slice of baloney,' approximately six feet in diameter and a convex top approximately four feet in diameter. The object was moving up and down through a distance of approximately twenty feet, and although not
aflame appeared to be aglow. - - - (deleted) stated that it was emitting what he thought to be sparks and was making a weird whistling noise. He stated that he pulled his car to the side of the road to avoid a collision . --- (deleted) stated that the object approached to within one hundred feet of his car. After several 'hops' in the air, the object ascended rapidly, vertically, and disappeared."lOS As before, the OSI office told Washington it had taken no investigative action. The OSI office at Carswell Air Force Base, Fort Worth, Texas, forwarded a message to the Director of the OSI in Washington, D.C. which stated: "Two witnesses, housewives of military personnel, who reside in the North Section of Sherman, Texas, reported that at 1045 on 18 April 1950, they had observed from their residence 18 to ZO flat circular objects with polished silver surface in the air. These objects were quite some distance away--from thirty to forty degrees above the horizon and were fitst seen in the West going in a general direction East by Northeast. The objects appeared to have sort of a hooking circular motion and appeared to rotate in a counter-clockwise motion. They made no noise. Objects remained in view four to five minutes. 11 106 Like other local OSI units, the Carswell District notified Washington that: "Pursuant to AFCSI Letter 85, no action is being taken on this matter."l07 April 18th. In an issue of the Marshalltown, Iowa newspaper, the Timesit was reported that a resident of the city of-ronGa ha spotted a UFO and the newspaper noted that the witness was the former mayor of the Iowa community.l08 The day's spotlight, however, was on the Texas turmoil. Re~ublican,
For two days in Texas, April 18 - 19th, things were especially bewildering for those in the Lone Star state due to the clear skies and the apparent visit by a big skyhook balloon. Texans craned their necks skyward to watch a slow moving, translucent, top-shaped object pass over numerous cities at a great altitude. A few persons guessed that it was a balloon although not many people knew that balloons of such a giant size existed and so became convinced a mysterious craft was spying out the countryside. The balloon overshadowed reports of a more puzzling nature like the sighting made at the city of Sherman where three individuals said they
28 saw: " ... eighteen saucer-shaped objects over Sherman ahout noon . .. the objects were noiseless and racing north, high and fast in formation."109 And in Austin, a policeman reported: " ... a saucer-shaped object in the sky, wingless and traveling at a high rate of spced."110 likewise, citi•enr of Dallas spotted something skittering about the heavens. - c ~ u~~ing to a Mr. A. J. Chennault, he and everyone in the apartment building where he lived perceived : " ... a flying "dinner plate" very high overhead.lll But the trophy for the case of the most interest goes to Fort Worth's "Flying Bananas." The incident received national distribution by AP wirephoto. The story first appeared in print in the April 18th edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telefram and was given star billing on the front page no doubtecause it was one of those rare instances when a photograph accompanied a flying saucer sighting. The headline in the Star-Tele~ram shouted: PICTURES OFFER PROOF VET SEES FLYING OBJECT IN SKY AND PHOTOGRAPHS THEM."ll2 With publicity like that, Air Force Intelligence agents couldn't pass up the chance to make an inquiry . The Eighth Air Force sent agents to investigate in response to a directive from SAC. The title of the directive read: "Strategic Air Command, date 31 January 1950, subject : 'Reporting of Infomration on Unconventional Aircraft.'" The contents of the directive are not stated but it probably okays the passing on of UFO reports, subject to the judgment of the local military commander. The Eighth Air Force gave as its reasons for looking into the case the widespread notoriety of the incident and: " ... as far as is known by this headquarters this is the first time a photograph purporting to be a 'flying saucer' had been published by the press."ll3 ~toreover: "If analysis by expert photo technicians substantiated that the photographs are genuine, instead of abrasions or crimps, they will be of definite intelligence value."ll4 Agents located the photographer, I. Maaxy, and discovered that the newspaper's account was not entirely accurate. They learned that the exposures were made over a week earlier at 5:30 p.m. on April 9th. The phenomenon as viewed by Maxey was "seven perpendicular streaks of light in three groups, moving horizontally across the sky." A thorough study of the negatives revealed that the liS zllegcd saucer images were crimps resulting from mishandling. After a lengthy interrogation the supposed mysterious incident shrunk to nothing in the way of "proof." It was the type of case hard line skeptics dream about. The Texas saucer epidemic did have at least one definite result; it sent newspaper reporters stampeding to find Air Force Secretary W. Stuart Symington. Cornered by the news hounds in San Francisco, the Secretary proved to be of no more
of a help than any other official. lie insisted that there w
"TilEY SEEf.IED TO MOVE WITII 'SI:NSI:' TRAVI:I.INC fiRST IN ONE lliRECTION TIIEN STOPPING AND REVEKSINC DIRECTION. '"119
The same day, April 19th, an extraordinary phenomenon was on display in the heavens over Edmonton, Canada. Witnesses numbering in the thousands gaied toward the southwest where approximately 30 degrees above the horiion there was a remarkable sight which veteran Aurora watchers declared was something quite different from the usual northern lights. It was said the "thing" resembled a "giant luminous red pencil of light."lZ~ This sounds a lot like the "thing" reported over Dallas, Texas, the same day: " ... on April 19, 1950, 'a vertical luminous tube, of the color of red-hot iron,' was (seen) ... "lZl Eerie Episode. An eerie episode occurred in California. Police officers B. Morton and D. Nielsen were motoring down llighway 99 outside Calexico in their patrolcar at the lonely hour of 3:00 a.m. on April 19th when three dark circular masses, each one about 150 feet in diameter, came into view. Moving slowly and silently, the objects emerged out of the mist in the west at about a Z,OOO foot altitude flying in formation. One ob ject carried no lights while the other two were well lit . The lawmen noticed that the objects were "crabbing and skidding" as they moved through the air. The strange aerial intruders circumnavigated Calexico a number of times and then took a wider track and circled the whole valley. Officer Nielson was puizled at the absence of flame anJ noise and could only surmise that the weird acroforms had no connection with the local Naval Air Station so the objects must have been some of the famous flyini saucers.lZZ April 20th. Early in the morning of April 20th, a painter by the name of W. C. Earterling arrived at his place of work in llouston, Texas. Looking up he spotted a big round disc in the dark sky. He thought it was iust the moon until he peered closer and noticed that th~ "moon" had a distinct silver hue . Suddenly, without warning, the "moon" zoomed away "like a bolt" with a "mild roar" or "whoosh," spilling a shower of sparks. The plant's nightwatchman, S. Dobos, also got a quick look at the thing. Dobos said: I don't know what it was and I can't guess where it came from. All I knQw is that it was there and I got a little shakey about it. .. )23 "Numerous inquiries." A Major R. 0. Rounds, weather officer of the Eighth Air Force, Carwells Air Force Base, Texas, pushed the idea that
weather balloons most probably were getting persons all worked up hut he said his remarks were "unofficially suggested."lll8 A more formal reply to the unsettled press and public was that of Lt. Colonel C. II. Scott, Public In format ion Officer for the Eighth Air Force Headquarters, who issued an official memorandum addressed to "All Concerned," a document that reiterated the usual Air Force position. The Fort Worth Times published it verbatim even to its military form. The document was necessary, as stated therein, due: " ... to the numerous inquiries received by the office.••lZ4 It was night time, April. 20th, and in Texas one of the oddest UFO cases of the year took place. A motorist on a stretch of lonely road, Highway 94, suddenly g·ot the "feeling" so~ething was following him. The newspaper account picks it up from there: " ... he observed a round, flying object dbout eight feet in diameter, while driving alone nine miles west of Lufkin last night . . . . the saucer stayed about 200 feet ahead of him for some time but he was unable to distinguish any details until he stopped .... he got out of his car to see the object better and it hovered about 20 feet over his head, giving off a dull red glow. "125 And he further stated: " ... the bottom of the object was rounded like a globe ... [and] it appeared to be made of aluminum." Suddenly, he said: Sparks flew from a slot in the craft's bottom as it took off after hovering over his head about two seconds."l26 According to Robertson the thing took off with a "whooshing roar", speeding away at a 50 degree angle . About five minutes after the object disappeared, Robertson felt a burning sensation on his face. His clothing was not burned.l27 Farm folk southwest of Princeton, Missouri, tied up the party telephone line buzzing about a flying disc trailing white smoke that sped over that area April 22nd.l28 April 21st. Major Levy, speaking for the Counter Intelligence Division of the OSI, sought a "current estimate" of UFO reportings as of March 21, 1950, because, as he put it, he: " •.. felt that a current estimate based on your analyses will enable this office to better furnish guidance to OSI District Offices as to the extent and nature of their future reporting of such incidents."l29 The Director of Intelligence, DCS/0, Collection Branch, referred Major Lev' 'to the UFO directive dated 12 January 1950 that denied UFcr•s special status, adding:
"Reference is made to conversations on this subject between Lt. Col. !Jearn of this lli rectorate and Major Cox of your office, on 3 March 1950, and between Major Boggs of this Directorate and ~lajor Nold, of your office, on 28 March 1950. In both discussions, it was explained that none of the recent 'flying saucer' publicity has offered anything that would modify the Air Force's collection policy as contained in letter cited in paragraph 1 above."l30 Photographs at, Red Bud, Pacific City, and the Balearics. A huge, reddish disc with a metallic "dome" projecting above the semi-sphere top, moved and hovered repeatedly over the countryside near Red Bud, Illinois, or so said a man named Dean Morgan. The witness to the alleged visit by a UFO claimed that it occurred on April 23, 1950. After awhile, the UFO was gone in a flash, disappearing over the horizon. A photograph was taken that shows a red blob but it was not subill~tted to authorities. Others in the area were said to have sighted a similar object zooming in the direction of Carbondale .131 .Overseas at the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, a newsreel cameraman by the name of Enrique Hausemann Muller allegedly caught a saucer on film, the image showing a spinning pinwheel-shaped object spewing rays of exhaust. The picture was said to have been taken April 24th. The supposed UFO looks suspicious. It is probably some fireworks pinned to a paper cup.132 A photograph of slightly more consequence was the result of the Pacific City incident. An amateur photographer by the name of R. IIermann approached the Portland, Oregon, Ore~onian, April 22nd, with a story about a picture of a strange obJect he had taken March 12th. It seems his friends had voiced a worry about the picture since it might be a violation of a government secret if the object had been on a classified test flight, therefore IIermann destroyed the negative but he could not bring himself to do away with the print. It seems that he had spent Sunday, March 12th, on the beach at Pacific City, one of the many beauty spots along Oregon's Pacific coast. It was a murky day with light rain that afternoon but IIermann had decided conditions were still good enough to test his new 45 R.B. Graflex, intending to take a picture of his wife romping in the surf. lie was all set when an unusual object came into view spewing a vapor trail. It approached over the ocean on a south to north course moving fast. Oddly enough the object bore little resemblance to a saucer and IIermann thought that strange because he thought the object must be one of the mysterious flying craft he had read about. Instead, the thing was shaped like a turtle shell with a
"definite front and rear." The thing did not spin, and on the bottom were "six hole-like features, three forward and three aft. The latter details became visible when the object tilted slightly and turned to a new heading that sent it out to sea, pa s sing out of sight in the direction of Tillamook headland. There were oth e rs on the beach at the t i me according to ~1r. IIermann but he didn't think anyone else noticed the ohject. Going into more detail, Mr. IIermann said the UFO had a polished silver finish and spurted an orange flame out the hack leaving a white vapor trail. Although he feared the Air Force might cause some trouble if he made the photograph public, he did feel its release would clarify some confusion surrounding the flying saucer mystery. Experts in photographt examined the print and gave their opinion that the imag e on the emulsion did not appear to be an obvious fake, but of course! without the negative not much else could be detcrmined . l3~ A Salem, Oregon newspaper photographer concluded that the object was only a "water spot on the negative," that the negative had not been properly dried."l34 The image seemed transparent although there was no indication of retou~hing. The picture is reproduced in the book, Cor,; .ang_~ · - ___ ..:~-. ::ers, on page 177 . The image is a faded foot~snape and o ; -rlttlc apparent value. The Oregonian followed up the Salem photo story the next day with a mention about the 1897 airship mystery, a few lines about Charles Fort, and a few words from the now famous Kenneth Arnold.l3S Turning to the entertainment page, one finJs an ad for the movie, "The Flying Saucer," the film now playing at theaters in the area and receiving free publicity every time a new saucer sighting was announced. The day also brought with it a report from Klamath Falls, California,l36 and another from Saigon in IndoChi~a (Vietnam). By April 25th, the northern movement of the UFO wave hit Laramie, Wyoming. The local newspaper noted that it was the fir s t such saucer visit since the previous October. Nothing spectac ular in UFO chronicles, the report mentions an extremely slow, round, glittering object on a western course at about 3,000 137 feet as viewed by four observers at a local university campus. Ansonia, Connecticut, is a little farther north in latitude than Laramie but not much. The news from Ansonia on April 25th may, or may not, have been about a "real" flying saucer, because two reports made on the 25th, and another the day before, mention an object that looked more like a "gravy boat" then like a dinner plate. Glowing a beautiful amber, it was watched by Ansonia police. One lawman saw something that: " ... resembeld a half moon but was squared off on one end."l38 A patrolman named J. Folly phoned headquarters when he sighted the thing at 1:30 a.m. and then he asked the proprietor of an all night din~r, D. Ceremans, to step outside and confirm the
sighting. The previous evening two other Ansonian lawmen saw something very similar about the same time of night (12:30 a.m.). Of the two patrolmen, one of them, a W. O'Bri en, admitted ignorance of the phenomenon's identity and could only say that its motion was uneven and in appearance it seemed : "Squared at one end and the other end appeared to him more pointed than crescent shaped."l39 Whatmay have been the same aerial intruder cruised over Stanford, Connecticut, some 25 miles away on the night of April 20th.l40 A woman told authorities she saw an "upside down banana," and the next night ~t about 10 o'clock a Stanford couple were surprised by an orange-reddish upside down "banana" or "crescent moon" floatin~ over the three tops. At first glance, it was believed to be the Earth's lunar companion, but it suddenly struck them that the "moon" was upside down.l41 Spying on . storage areas? "A Spot Intelligence Report sent to Washington declared : "G-2 Sixth Army, Presidio of San Francisco, California, reports that the CIO Field Office, Salt Lake City, Utah, reported unconventional aircraft sighting. Military security patrols at Dougway Proving Grounds reported to the Intelligence Officer of Western Chemical Center that on 25 April 1950 in the early morning hours over the Ammunition Stor age Area in the vicinity of Dougway Mountain a serie s of unusual lights and flying objects of unknown origin were observed. The characteristics and size of a 'flying icebox' were described. This flying object while in flight was surrounded by an aura of spears of light jutting diagnoally from the main body. A 24-hour search of that area at Dougway Proving Grounds is in effect until further notice."l42 . Again no action was taken by the OSI although the 19th District Office forwarded the above information to headquarters in Washington. Colonel John Swope, Commander of the 19th District Office, said of action: "None by this office. A 24-hour search of that area by Dougway Proving Grounds is in . effect until further notice."l43 The following case reminds one of the famous Betty and Barn·ey case of September 19, 1961, when they encountered a strange craft with "windows around the side" while driving a road in New Hampshire. The 1st District OSI office at Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts, alerted Washington to the fact that : "The Hartford Times carried an article on 26 April 1950 1n which 1t was reported that a
3S ~Irs. ---(deleted) and son--- (deleted), age 8, of--- (d e leted) Road, Rocky llill, Conncticut, at 1945 hours, 25 April 1950, saw a flying saucer described a s oval in shape, having what seemed to be lighted wi ndows around the outside . It was flying at a l ow altitude erratically at a high rate of speed."l44
No investigative action was taken. "Ice cream cone." On April 26th, the Portland Oregonian had a new sensation for its readers, a story under the headline: "SPEEDING 'ICE CREAN CONE' SKIPS OVER VANCOUVER, B.C." It stated: ·~mystery aircraft, 'about ZOO feet long and shaped like an ice cream cone,' flashed over the city Tuesday, and even authorities at the International airport here are puzzled. "The aircraft, they said, first appeared in the west about 4:00p.m. (PST) at about 15,000 feet. It passed beyond the airport at a tremendous speed, disappearing about one minute later to the southeast. The mystery ship was sighted by residents in all parts of the city. Police, newspapers and radio station switchboards were flooded with calls. "Among those who saw the aircraft were F. V. Magar, superintendent of airport operations, and Allan Sharp, airport attendent. "'I have never seen anything like it before,' said Mager, 'and I have never turned in a report about a flying saucer either.' "It was ~lager who gave the 'ice cream cone' description of the ship. "He said a 'white substance hung about the tail, but did not trail out as vapor does from a fast-moving plane. "'It must have been doing at least 700 miles per hour.'"l45
A Reuters dispatch out of London on April 26th declared th a t UFO reports were being made at Lisbon and Berlin; moreover that someone had made: "predictions that the same will occur e.a rly next month in Sweden."l46 The prognosticator and details of his signs or symptoms are, unfortunately, unavailable. This underscores again the lamentable lack of research on the 1950 UFO wave in Europe. April 27th. White Sands again.
l Some very interesting events took place on April 27th. All month people all over the world wer e seeing "aerial visions," a phenomenon that had scientists scratching a collective head. Offering some hope for obtaining some real evidence were the men and equipment at White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico, and by chance another photographic UFO record was achieved on April 27th by White Sands Asania theodolites . The camera technicians were thrown into confusion when a strange object suddenly zoomed overhea~. Quickly one of the camera crews shot a number of frames. Their camera was the only one loaded with film as the others had expended their film during a just tompleted missile test. When the filmwas developed, a "dark, smudgy image" showed up on the frames, results that did not impress the Air Force. UFO expert, E. J. Ruppelt, who claimed familiarity with Air Force files, stated that the film evidence was not satisfactory since just a single theodolite had caught the streaking object on film. Photographic tracking by more than one Asania station would have provided accurate data on height, speed, and size; and since that had not been the case, military investigators wquld only say: " ..• it does establish the fact that some type of object did exist."l47 The foregoing was based on details derived from the writings of E. J. Ruppelt. Ruppelt, who is still widely considered a top notch UFO authority, is error prone and very ofteri fails to give the whole story. Examination of official documents reveal that four objects and not one were photographed. Furthermore, more than one Asania station did obtain some interesting data. One of the other stations PiCked up a visual azimuth angle on the photographed UFO which enabled the experts at White Sands Data Reduction Unit to make some calculations. The official document that tells us this fascinating fact reads: "According to conversation between Colonel Baynes and Captain Bryant, the following information is submitted directly to Lt. Albert. "Film from station PlO was read, resulting in azimuth and elevation angles being recorded on four objects . In addition, size of image on film was recorded. "From this information, together with a single azimuth angle from station M7, the following conclusions were drawn: ·~.
The objects were at an altitude of approximately 150,000 feet . The objects were over the Holornan range between the base and Tularosa Peak. The objects were approximately 30 feet in diamter.
The ohjects were traveling at an undeterminable, yet high specd."l48
"What do you make of that?" Late in the evening, at 8:25 p.m., April 27th, a mysterious red glowing aerial object intruded on the peace of mind of Captain Robert F. Manning and co-pilot Robert Adickes at the helm of Trans World Flight 117 en route to Chicago. The Trans World airliner droned along uneventfully at 2,000 feet and was passing over Goshen, Indiana, when Captain Manning noticed a crimson colored point of light rapidly gaining in size. The red light did not blink and kept growing. Amazed, Capt a in t-fanning shouted to Adickes: "Look over there!" What do you make of that?" Air Traffic Control at Chicago was contacted about any other air traffic in the area, particularly jets as the red blob began to get uncomfortably close. Chicago radioed Captain Manning that it had no flight plans of any aerial traffic for their area other than their own flight. By now the red object was pacing Captain Manning's OC-3. The UFO looked like a "huge round wheel rolling down a road." The airliner's hostess, Gloria Hinshaw, was summoned to the pilot's cabin to witness the phenomenon. She did and then quickly returned to the passenger compartment to alert the passengers. Those passengers seated on the right side of the airliner peered out the small airliner windows. t-feanwhile, Captain Manning said to Adickes: "Let's get a better look," and as he said that he banked the DC-3 toward the object, but the thing immediately reacted, moving away to keep its distance.l49 Donald Keyhoe, who investigated the incident, reconstructed events inside the aircraft: "Some of the passengers, including one who plainly had a drink or two before embarking, thought the whole thing was a gag. 'Sure, let's all see the Flying Saucer,' chortled the tipsy gentleman. 'Let's see the little men from Mars. • "He stopped, his mouth hanging open, as he saw the strange red object glowing beyond the wing. Pop-eyed, he sagged back in hi~ seat."lSO The round mass, glowing dull red like hot steel, after about eight minutes, increased its speed to an estimated 300 to 400 m.p.h., leaving the airliner far behind. The press was present in force when Flight 117 landed at Chicago and soon news service teletypes across the nation were tapping furiously. Fawcett publications phoned Donald Kcyhoe and requested that he do a complete investigation of the case. Arriving quickly in Chicago, Keyhoe interviewed both Manning and Adickes. And since some of the passengers got a good look at the UFO, he tracked them down and quizzed
f them too. The passengers, mostly important bu s ine s smen, knew little about aircraft so th e y coultl add little in the way of valu a ble data, but they all concurred that the UFO was a scary sight . Adicks told Kcyhoc he had heard strange accounts related by other pilots but such stories had only half convinced him something uncanny was going on in the nation's skies. Now, however, he said he wouldn't give anyone much of an argument about flying saucers.lSl Questioned as to possibility, he had only seen a reflection of a spect acular barn blaze outside of South Bend, . Indiana, Adicks shook his head and stated emphatically that the UFO: " ... was definitely an objcct."152 In keeping with the theory in fashion at the time, Adicks remarked: "It was nothinf from Mars. I think it was just a little flying machine." 53 Edward Ruppelt, with access to official information, tells us that the Air Force was cognizant of 35 reported aerial encounters between airliners and UFO's over a three month period, April through June, 1950.154 How about the Air Force's UFO investigation at Wright Field in Ohio while this amazing UFO phenomenon erupted in the heavens? Ruppelt tells us that evaluating was nil and that all of the official files of the defunct Project GRUDGE were unceremoniously gathered up and chucked into storage and in the process a lot of data was lot or misplaced. Investigations of UFO reports, if any, were processed through "regular channels."l55 "Faster than a F- 861" The Westover OSI office received a very intriguing report at this time: "At 1100 hours, 27 April 1950, Lt. Beebe reported the following information to Special Agent Raymond I. MacKinnon, Det . 'G' 1st District OSl: On 27 April 1950, at approximately 0900 Lours EST, Beebe, flying an F- 86 Sabre Aircraft solo on a routine II hour GCI mission out of Otis AFB, Falmounth, Mass., at approximately 21,000 feet altitude, was heading approximately 345 degrees over Plymouth, Mass., when he sighted a light brown object, altitude approximately 17,000 feet heading of approximately 80 degrees, flying at a terrific speed about 10 miles ahead at 10:00 o'clock, to left of his ship. The object flew laterally eastward until it reached a position of 2 o'clock from Beebe, then climbed at an arigle of SO degrees until attaining an altitude of approximately 28,000 feet, then turned to an approximate heading of 0 degrees and disappeared approximately 15 seconds after Beebe
first sighted it over land. Beebe's approximate indicated air speed was around 500 MPII at the time and he did not attempt pursuit because of the terrific speed of the object . Beebe described the object's shape as a flat oval, no signs of support or propulsion, contrails, or exhaust and he did not get close enough to observe any other particular details. Weather conditions at the time were CAVU (contrails were produced by other F-86 aircraft at altitudes of 35,000 feet or above). "Captain Ray E. Clark, Detach. CO, 654th AC &W Squadron and Controller on Duty, advised S/A Mac Kinnon: No indications were received on Ground Radar scopes from 0430 - 1200 hours, 27 April 1950, of any unusual aircraft or excessive speeds in any area within the range of their apparatus. No unusual incidents were noted in the AC & W Squadron during these hours. "Major Jack C. West, Mobile Control Tower Officer on duty from 0800 - 1200 hours advised S/A Mac Kinnon: No radio interference was noted during his tour of duty and he was not aware of the reported unconvcntionaJ aircraft until interrogated about radio reception. He did remember some radio squeals of 5 - 10 seconds duration at approximately 1000 hours which he concluded were repairmen testing equipment and thought no more of this common interference."l56 While it appears the OSI did question some of the witnesses in the case, Colonel Martin of the Westover unit stated in the report on the case that: "No investigative action has been taken by this office, in accordance with AFCSI Letter No. 85, dated 8 February 1950."157 "It made my wife's hair stand on end!"
Two sightings were recorded at Rangely, Colorado, on April 28th. One involved an oil company superintendent on an outing with his wife and daughter. The three were entranced by a "phosphorus-like" globe that made the superintendent's wife's "hair stand on end" as it darted through the clouds. Elsewhere at Rangely, a Mr. and Mrs. G. Holden swore that a circular disc about two to four feet in d i amter approached within 60 feet of them, flying past at eye level. In appear ance, it seemed to have a glowing metallic paint job.lS8 Yet another red UFO was reported over Centralia, Washington, the following day, April 29th, when a housewife caught sight of a pair of discs in the sky near her home, and while she watched, six other discs joined the first two. One of the discs was a deep crimson in color. The objects sped southward and vanished in a cloud.l59
The last day of the month the towns of Burlington and Muscati_vc in Iowa, joined the list of UFO sighting locales, but it was at the city of Mount Joy, Iowa that the most interesting case took place. A Mr. and Mrs. Wedemeyer related to the press that a disc-shaped object shifting around in the heavens, spinning and glowing like a whitehot hunk of molten metal, abruptly exploded producing a cascade of sparks like fireworks.l60 April had been quite a month. The May 1st edition of the magazine Air facts had an article by Robert Fisher. lfe wanted to comfort those of the flying fraternity that were being subject to ridicule because of their reporting of encounters with UFO's. Fisher could have kept quiet but he decided to tell the world that he too had met up with one of the strange objects in his Bonanza NC 505 B on March 18th while in the air over Bradford, Illinois.l61 The May 1st issue of Qu~lt magazine also had something to say: "The high command Wl have to make its demands stronger to stop flying saucer rumors. The Pentagon is full of officers who don't know what to believe."l62 "Why does the flying saucer story stay alive?" Out of Washington, D.C., May 4th, the Associated Press news service issued a long news story, attributed to no specific government source, asking the forementioned question. The story dwelled on all the old arguments, denying that the objects were real, that they are ours, uninvited imports from Uncle Joe, or crockery convoys from Capella. The hardest knock was put on the extraterestrial hypothesis. The news service terminated with: "But if you want to start an argument, just bring up the subject at a dinner party."l63 Behind closed doors Hoover's FBI received another update on the status of the Air Force's thinking concerning the UFO problem, but the Bureau fared no better than the general public. Either the Pentagon meant what they said, or felt, as they apparently did from the first days of the controversy, that the FBI should not privy to significant evidence. The Pentagon told the FBI that the troublesome space visitor theory was not considered an impossibility, but there was no evidence to support such a notion. The lligh Command credited the current crop of reports to hysteria and suggestibility.l64 Birmingham's ghostly bogey. The Birmingham Post told of a "ghostly visitor" on the evening of May 4th: - -
"D. L. Reid, a former ne\•spapcrman on the staff of the Montreal Star and now president of the Southern Discount Corp., 5113 Farrell Ave., said today he and his family were returning from a theater last night when they were attracted 'by a bright light in the sky.' "Mr. Reid said he and his family--and other persons in the neighborhood, saw a glowing object in the sky. "'It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen,' Reid said today. 'It appeared to be stationary for about 15 minutes. For the first minute and one-half, it was a very luminous white. Then it gradually turned to a bluish-white.' "Reid said that at first the ghostly visitor appeared to be 'elliptical.' "He said the object appeared to be revolving and that the longer he looked at it the more it assumed a 'bullet-shape.' "'It had a long fiery tail,' he said. "'It appeared to grow real bright, then dim again--almost as if it were taking flash pictures,• according to Reid. "Suddenly at' the end of about 15 minutes, the object turned vertically and disappeared straight up."l6S
The Birmingham Post got additional inform~tion from a Charles Bellsnyder w'JiOCiid his best to sound sincere: "I don't know whether it was a flying saucer or not. I've never seen a flying saucer. But I certainly never saw anything like it before."l66 His account of the incident as it appeared in the Post went: "Mr. Bellsnyder described the 'saucer' in the beginning as appearing 10 to 12 inches across 'from where we were.' Then, he said, a tail grew from the object until it appeared to be about 150 feet long. '"The tail was a long fiery streak,' he said. 'It appeared to get brighter and dimmer as we watched. Finally, after a few minutes, 167 it turned, went up vertically and faded out.'" Hammersley Fork, Pennsylvania, had a single report on May Sth, but a more extensive UFO story originated in Australia: Reports of 'flying saucers' poured into Sydney today from many parts of Australia, and officials said they could not shed any light on the mystery. "Persons from four widely separated areas--
including Sydney suburbs--reported seeing a 'cigarshaped object larger than any plane' flash a cross the sky shortly after dawn Saturday. "Two of the reports came .from airline pilots. One was from an air force officer, a veteran of World War I I . "The Royal Australian Air Force said there were no jet planes over the areas where the reports originated."l68 The morning of May 6th in Italy crowds of Romans ori their way to work spotted a couple of flashing objects the shape of stove lids (round) slowly moving through the air about a mile above the eternal city. The objects appeared to be spining and. emitting flashes of light at intervals. As the objects passed directly over the Piazza Colonna, traffic came to a complete stop as people gawked skyward and cried: "flying saucers, flying saucers."l69 More to the north in Europe, England had its first visitation of a mysterious nature when on May 6th a "Saturn-like" UFO coasted over Llantarnam in Wales."l70 In the United States, on May 6th, a whole "squadron of saucers" stirred up Abington, Pennsylvania . Speeding in circles above the city, the objects attracted the attention of the entire community and surrounding area, including Mr. R. Little, publisher of the Scranton Tribune who couldn't provide an explanation for the phenomenon . The occurrence was the talk of folks thereabout for weeks afterwards.l71 A letter from a concerned citizen to Air Force Intelligence that was found in that service's UFO files reads : "On May 7th my husband, my grandson, Lorrie Earl, and I were returning from a picnic, about 6:45 p.m. when we saw this silvery white object hovering quite low, I'd say possibly 100 feet from the ground. It moved back and forth for 10 minutes as though it was trying to gain altitude. Then all of a sudden it went up into the air and was out of sight in less than a minute. "We were directly across from it and only about 21 or 3 miles away. "It was about 9 miles south of Ely, Nevada." 172
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With so many cases it just became a matter of time before the right circumstances produced a significant UFO incident that left its mark on UFO history. This assumes that the saucers were "real" of course. Events unfolded slowly in regards to public awareness of the UFO incident in question. The actual day of its occurrence passed with no public notice at all. The McMinnville Photos.
At this time the northward shift of UFO activity began to pick up in areas across the middle of America. This included areas in the State of Oregon. Newscaster Frank Edwards, who interviewed the witnesses by phone, wrote the following about the outset of the incident that would produce the famous McMinnville photos: The sun had already set when Mr. and Mrs. Paul Trent turned into the driveway of their farm near McMinnville, Oregon. It was May 11th, 1950, and in her lap Mrs. Trent had a little folding camera with which she had been taking some family snapshots earlier in the afternoon."l73 After feeding some rabbits in their hutches in the . backyard of her home, a farm located 10 miles southwest of McMinnville, in gentle undulating farm country of western Oregon, a Mrs. Paul Trent walked toward the house. That early evening she noticed a strange object speeding through the sky coming out of the northwest. She shouted for her husband who came running with the camera. Interviewed June 12, 1950 at the Alderbman Berry and Vegetable Farm outside McMinnville, where he drove a truck, Mr. Trent said: " ... he was in the kitchen when his wife sighted the flying disc first about 7:30 p.m. She was in the back yard and called to him. He immediately ran for his folding camera, dashed outside and took the pictures. There in the sky was a 'thing' he believed was 20 to 30 feet in diameter ... "l74 Approaching in the air was something brightly silver in color with a hint of bronze. It looked to be an inverted piepan shape with a small "post" on the top. Mr. Trent snapped a picture with his inexpensive Kodak as th~ UFO closed within about 500 yards and then veered west, gaining altitude as it retreated. Mr. Trent shifted his position slightly and took another snapshot before the strange object was lost from view.l75 Meanwhile, Mr. Trent's wife tried unsuccessfully to phone her inlaws that lived down the road. Mr. Trent later told the press: "I was kind of scared of it you know, you hear so much talk about those things and the government."l76 It didn't occur to the Trents that they had photographed something that might be from Mars, so without undue concern they used up the rest of the film and only then did they have the roll sent to a drugstore for developing. It would be some time before the press would learn of the photographs, much less the authorities. Much more about this will be discussed later.
The Amarillo case, a very special story. The District Commander of the lith OSI unit stationed at· Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, immediately ordered agents to Amarillo, Texas to question the night serviceman at the Tradewinds Airport. It took something spec i a 1 to 1urc OS I investigators all the way to Amarillo but in this case the trip seemed worth the trouble. The serviceman swore that a strange "machine" had landed on the Amarillo airstrip! The man's story follows: "I glanced aloft, and saw what appeared to be an exhaust flame approaching from the WestSouthwest. I watched the approach of the flame until it passed overhead, and judged it's altitude to have been approximately SOO to 700 feet . I was mainly interested in it because it did not h;lVe any navigation lights and until then supposed it to be a plane. "After the object passed overhead, immediately returned to the main hangar, went inside and tried to awaken--- (deleted), a pilot employed by Tradewinds Airport, who was sleeping in the hangar. Being unable to awaken --- (deleted), I then returned to the front of the hangar, and saw the object approaching 200 to 300 miles per hour. I again went inside to try and awaken--- (deleted), and being unable to do so, returned to the front of the hangar. By that time the object had swerved to the right and was headed in the direction of English Field, North-East. Approximately five minutes later, I was going from the office, in the front of the hangar into the main hangar itself, and saw this brilliant light approaching from the West-NorthWest~ I switched on the flood lights in the front of the hangar, and saw the object come to rest approximately three hundred feet in front of the hangar, on a grassy area . The approach of the object was accompanied by a slight swishing sound. By the time the object had landed, I had the flood ligh'ts on, and stepped outside the hangar to get a better view of the object. It appeared to be flat on the bottom, but otherwise eliptical in shape, with a sharp cut off section toward the rear. The rear of the object was sharply cut away. It had a bubble setting forward on the top of the object, which appeared to be about the size of a football helmet. Toward the rear of the object was what appeared to be a pipe or tube protruding from the body of the craft, approximately one foot high. The object seemed to be sitting on the ground, and small exhaust flames were coming from the rear of the craft. While it sat on the ground, it seemed to be idling.
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"I again went inside the hangar to try · and awaken --- (deleted), but being unable to do so, returned to the front of the hangar. The object remained on the ground for a period of three to five minutes, and after returning to the front of the hangar, I noticed the grass beneath the object beginning to smolder and burn. While watching the object, it suddenly raised, a whining sound was heard, accompanied by white flames, approximately three feet in length, shooting from the rear. After reaching a level of four feet, it then took off in a Southeasterly direction, with a terrific roar. The take-off was gradual, and it started off in a shallow climb until reaching the far side of the field, when it started a steep climb. It then leveled off, and seemed to turn, but without the bank of a conventional aircraft. It appeared to remain on an even keel while making the turn, and then proceeded to gain speed and momentum; headed in a Westerly direction, and with a sudden burst of speed was soon lost to sight. "I would estimate the size of the object to be approximately six to eight feet in length; from one and one-half to three feet tall at the highest point. "After taking off I noticed the grass where the object had been sitting was still burning. I took a fire extinguisher from the hangar, and used almost all of the contents in putting out the fire."l78 Records did not say if the investigation of this alleged incident was complete. Did the OSI agent question the pilot the witness tried to awaken? Was the fire extinguisher empty? Was the burned spot examined? Was the CAA weather station or the tower at English Field contacted about any strange aircraft in the area at the time? The only check that seems to have been made was an interview of the editor of the Amarillo Globe News who denied receiving any reports from people 1n the area.l/9 The lack of data leaves us at a dead end except for the fact that there was a similar incident that was said to have occurred October 27, 1952, at Z:lS in the morning at Marignane Airport, Marseilles, France.* *The witness in the French case was a M. Gachignard . His story differs in a number of small details but nonetheless is remarkably similar to the Amarillo case. The reader can judge for himself by conulting the book, The Truth About Flting Saucers, by Aime Michel, New York: Criterion Books, 19 6, pp. 157-160.