M. Deschamps - Director
of Terminology and Abbreviations
New York Times
York, New York, TIMES, 19 September 1897, page 7
OF THE BALLOON
Report that an Airship, Believed to be Andree's,
was Seen Over Siberia Is Confirmed.
OF THE EXPLORER
Reason Given to Explain Why He Did Not Descend Before If
He Has Journeyed Across the Polar Regions.
PETERSBURG, Sept. 18 - The official Messenger confirms to-day
the announcement made from this city yesterday, saying a
telegraph message received here from Krasnoyarsk, in the
interior of Siberia, said that on Sept. 14, at 11 P. M.,
the inhabitants of the village of Antzlitrowskoje, in the
District of Yenlsolsk, Arctic Russia, saw for about five
minutes a balloon believed to be that of Prof. Andrée,
the Swedish aeronaut. The Messenger adds that it is supposed
in official circles that the balloon is that of the arctic
Andrée left the Island of Amsterdam, one of the Spitzbergen
group, shortly before 2:30 P. M. on July 11, in an attempt
to cross the polar regions.
report that a balloon supposed to be Andrée's has
been seen by Siberian peasants has awakened eager discussion
as to the probability of Andrée and his two companions
Dr. Nils Strindberg and Knut Hjalmar F. Frackel, being able
to reach that point.
from the objections raised by scientists that the balloon
could not have remained afloat from July 11, the date of
its departure from Spitzbergen, it is inconceivable that
the aeronaut should not have attempted a descent before
reaching a point about 2,400 miles south of the pole. There
are habitable villages north of the town on the Yenlset;
and all Northern Siberia, Russia, and British America as
well, had been informed of his aerial journey through circulars
distributed by their respective Governments. These circulars
were printed in different languages, and told the natives
what to do in order to secure the balloon and effect a safe
descent for its occupants. Concerning the probable places
of landing, Andrée has said:
The greatest probability is that the balloon will land in
Siberia, in about latitude 70 north and longitude 135 east.
That it will land on the Samoyeden Peninsula, in latitude
70 north, longitude 70 east.
That it will land in the vicinity of Cape Harrow, in Alaska,
in latitude 70 north and longitude 155 west, where there
is an American Government station.
That it will land in British North America in latitude 67
north, longitude 100 west."
these probabilities, none of which take Andrée as
far south as the point at which he is reported to have been
seen, Mr. Andrée said:
myself, I would like as well as anything to sight continental
land at Bering's Strait, and be able to go as far as San
Francisco; but that is not likely. What would please me
the least, perhaps, would be to come down in Northern Greenland,
which would probably compel us to remain there a year. We
might, of course, find ourselves brought right back to Spitzbergen,
though that, of course, is hardly to be expected.
case we are compelled to make a long journey over ice and
snow we shall have to depend very much upon the animal life
we meet with for food. We should not be able to carry food
for more than a month on our sleds. But the arctic regions
abound in life, and we have our guns.
the fact that Andrée had not predicted his descent
much below the seventieth parallel, there is grave doubt
as to the possibility of the balloon keeping afloat for
two months, owing to its permeability. It was owing to this
that Dr. Nils Ekholm, who accompanied Andrée on his
unsuccessful expedition in 1896, and whose place is now
filled by Mr. Frackel, refused to go this year.
before the ascent was made, July 11, the balloon ws carefully
tested as to its impermeability. It was found that it lost
one cubic foot of gas per day.
can afford to lose 1,000 cubic feet," said Dr. Strindberg,
"without detriment to the efficiency of the balloon,"
and he added: "We carry food for only four months -
about 120 days."
shall never go beyond 492 feet from the earth, if we can
help it. There will necessarily be a slight variation of
distance from the ground, for, when the sun shines the gas
will be made lighter, and hence the balloon will rise a
little. In the same way, if the sky is overcast, the gas
will be cooled - made heavier - and the balloon will descend
somewhat. The balloon may rise to about 984 feet, or it
may descend to 443 feet. Twenty degrees Celcius, equal to
36 degrees Fahrenheit, in the temperature of the balloon,
would make this difference.
on the Balloon's Diving.
if the balloon wishes to rise, there is at once a check
put upon it, because it has to lift the guide ropes, which
are dragged upon the ground, and which in all weigh about
2,240 pounds. On the contrary, if there is a disposition
to descend, it decreases the weight it is carrying with
every foot it sinks, because it has so much less rope to
bear, and hence the downward motion is arrested. Thus, there
is a constant force at work tending to keep the balloon
at a mean distance from the ground."
guide ropes which Andrée took with him were three
in number; the shortest was 1,017 feet in length, the next
1,042 feet, and the longest about 1,205 feet. The difference
in length was designed to prevent them from hanging close
together, in which case, if any of them got lodged, all
would be lodged, and the balloon would be stopped in its
progress. But if any of the ropes catch separately the balloon
can be freed, either by the rope breaking at its weakest
point (specially contrived) or by its being detached from
the balloon by means of a screw imbedded in the rope 328
feet from the suspension ring in the balloon. A twist of
the rope is all that is necessary to release it.
their service as ballast and in keeping the balloon at a
mean distance from the earth, the ropes are the principal
part of the steering apparatus with which the balloon is
fitted. As the ropes drag upon the ground they cause the
balloon to move with less velocity than the wind, the effect
of which is to excite a pressure of wind corresponding to
the diminution of the velocity. If this pressure acts upon
the sail it will carry the balloon in the same direction.
If the sail is at right angles to the direction of the wind,
then the direction of the movement will not be changed.
But if the sail is brought to a more acute angle to the
direction of the wind, the pressure of the wind will cause
the balloon to deviate from the direction of the wind.
Andrée made his ascent the wind was blowing a few
points east by south, yet a few moments later the balloon
was seen to tack like a ship and proceed in a course due
York, New York, TIMES, 22 July 1937, page 3
PLANE OVER SEA
Sighted, Eastbound, by Steamship 500 Miles
Off Cape Race
transatlantic flight, unusual in that it had not been announced
in advance, was apparently under way last night. The British
steamship Ranee reported to the Radio Marine Corporation
that it had sighted a plane at 7:04 P. M. 500 miles off
Cape Race, Nfld., headed east. Its navigation lights were
plainly visible but its identification numbers were not.
the major airports in the metropolitan area no plane equipped
to fly the Atlantic was reported to have taken off yesterday.
Pan-American Airways said it could not have been one of
the survey planes of Pan-American or Imperial Airways. Nothing
was known of the unidentified plane along Canada's eastern
seaboard, the Canadian Press reported.
Hughes, the motion picture director, was contemplating such
a flight. At Newark Airport, where he keeps his plane, the
operator in the control tower said that the plane had not
left the field yesterday. Dick Merrill, who flew to London
and return during the coronation, was also considering a
round-trip flight to Rome. At the Eastern Airlines Offices
in Newark, however, it was thought Merrill was on the West
York, New York, TIMES, 21 December 1944, page 5
Silver Spheres Above City Have No Effect,
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES
Dec. 20 - No "detectable effects" have been noted
from the mysterious "silver balls" that, American
pilots recently reported, were floating over Berlin, an
official Army Air Forces spokesman said today.
objects were described as silver, or silver-covered, but
the AAF does not know whether they are metal, the spokesman
said. He added that the descriptions had been contained
in newspaper reports and that headquarters here had had
no reports from the theatre.
York, New York, TIMES, 2 January 1945, pages 1 & 4
of Fire Stalk U.S. Fighters In Night Assaults Over Germany
By The Associated Press
AMERICAN NIGHT FIGHTER BASE, France, Jan. 1 - The Germans
have thrown something new into the night skies over Germany
- the weird, mysterious "foo-fighter," balls of
fire that race alongside the wings of American Beaufighters
flying intruder missions over the Reich.
pilots have been encountering the eerie "foo-fighter"
for more than a month in their night flights. No one apparently
knows exactly what this sky weapon is.
balls of fire appear suddenly and accompany the planes for
miles. They appear to be radio-controlled from the ground
and keep up with planes flying 300 miles an hour, official
intelligence reports reveal.
are three kinds of these lights we call 'foo-fighters,'"
Lieut. Donald Meiers of Chicago said. "One is red balls
of fire which appear off our wing tips and fly along with
us; the second is a vertical row of three balls of fire
which fly in front of us, and the third is a group of about
fifteen lights which appear off in the distance - like a
Christmas tree up in the air - and flicker on and off."
pilots of this night-fighter squadron - in operation since
September, 1943 - find these fiery balls the weirdest thing
that they have yet encountered. They are convinced that
the "foo-fighter" is designed to be a psychological
as well as a military weapon, although it is not the nature
of the fire-balls to attack planes.
'foo-fighter' picked me up recently at 700 feet and chased
me twenty miles down the Rhine Valley," Lieutenant
Meiers said. "I turned to starboard and two balls of
fire turned with me. I turned to the port side and they
turned with me. We were going 260 miles an hour and the
balls were keeping right up with us."
another occasion when a 'foo-fighter' picked us up, I dove
at 360 miles per hour. It kept right off our wing tips for
a while and then zoomed up into the sky."
I first saw the things off my wing tips, I had the horrible
thought that a German on the ground was ready to press a
button and explode them. But they don't explode or attack
us. They just seem to follow us like will-o'-the wisps."
Associated Press report from Paris on Dec. 13 said that
the Germans had thrown silvery balls into the air against
day raiders. Pilots then reported that they had seen these
objects, both individually and in clusters, during forays
Wallace Gould of Silver Creek, N.Y., said that the lights
had followed his wing tips for a while and then, in a few
seconds, zoomed 20,000 feet into the air out of sight. Lieut.
Edward Schlater of OshKosh, Wis., said that he had seen the
"foo-fighter" on two occasions and it "looked
like shooting stars." In his first experience with them,
Lieutenant Gould said, "I thought it was some new form
of jet-propulsion plane after us. But we were very close to
them and none of us saw any structure on the fire balls."
York, New York, TIMES, 26 August 1945, page 4
Germans' Secret' Mines, Missiles, Craft Proving
More Spectacular Than Lethal
By HANSON W. BALDWIN
In addition to the flying bomb and the rocket the Germans
have introduced or are working upon other new weapons or
inventions - some of them of tremendous potential, others
merely fads and duds.
include new mines for land and water use, new types of piloted
planes, small submarines and one-man torpedoes, and various
new types of army equipment.
torpedoes have been used in some numbers by the Nazis on
the Bay of the Seine, usually ineffectively. The German
version of this old weapon consists of two torpedo shells,
one fastened above the other, about six inches apart. The
upper torpedo contains no explosive warhead, but is fitted
as a cockpit for a small man, who guides the device near
its target and then fires the lower torpedo against the
target. The pilot of this strange craft is usually a green
youngster or fire-breathing Nazi, who wears the German submarine
escape gear over his face and breaths oxygen from it.
of the German submarines, which are now making their last
stand with the investment of their great bases in the Brittanny
peninsula, are believed to have been equipped with long
underwater exhaust stacks that reach to the surface. These
stacks are supposed to enable the submarine to remain at
periscope depth while recharging batteries, an operation
that formerly required surfacing. This device is in itself
an acknowledgment of defeat: Allied counter-submarine measures
have become so strong that it is perilous for the U-boats
press reports have also noted the possible development of
very small submarines, with tear-dropped shaped coning towers,
and very high underwater speeds. These, if they actually
exist, are probably of an experimental nature only.
important is the German development of jet-propelled piloted
aircraft. Some of these have been encountered by our fliers
in the skies above Germany. They are very fast, but apparently
of very limited range.
are some four models, as reported in the British aviation
press - the Heinkel 280 and the Heinkel 219, the Messerschmitt
163 and the Me 262. The Heinkel 219 is conventionally powered,
and uses jet propulsion to boost this power. The Heinkel
280 is believed to have a double jet unit and has a double
rudder and fin. The Me 163, a single jet-driven plane, is
believed to mount a cannon, has very high speed, but very
limited duration of flight. The Me 262 has a twin-jet unit.
is known of the characteristics of these planes, but the
enemy, like ourselves, is known to be developing the jet
propulsion principle and to be manufacturing planes - probably
in increasing numbers - employing that principle.
Germans, using the new model of their 88-mm. gun with a
somewhat higher initial velocity and a longer projectile,
have increased the quality of their anti-aircraft and anti-tank
work. They have also employed many so-called scare items
against our planes - flying particles, trailing wire, bursting
rockets and flying disks - all of them considerably more
spectacular than lethal.
Germans used against our shipping in the Bay of the Seine,
with no better results, the same types of radio-controlled
glider bombs they employed against the Allies in the Mediterranean.
They have also used a radio-controlled bomb of conventional
radio-controlled glider bomb weighs about 1,700 pounds,
has a ten-foot wingspread and a ten-foot length. It is not
to be confused with the pilotless, jet-propulsion aircraft
now used against London. The glider bomb is launched from
a parent aircraft - usually a Dorner-217, Heinkel-177, Focke-Wulf-200
or Junkers-290. A small jet propulsion unit helps it glide
toward its target, and its accuracy is dependent upon the
accuracy with which the observer directs it. The Germans
have obtained very few important results with it.
radio-controlled bomb is a normal 3,000-pound armor piercing
bomb, with a special tail and fins and gyro stabilization.
The radio control of the fins enables the bomb to be deflected
toward the target. The Germans have accomplished very little
with this weapon.
land mines - some of them non-metallic, others for use against
personnel - have made their appearance in France.
Germans have also followed on land the trend toward remote
control devices, and have attempted to use so-called Goliaths
or robot, tracked vehicles of small size against our lines.
These vehicles contain explosives, and are controlled by
cable or radio. They have been completely ineffective.
strange new weapons, and the flying bomb and the giant rocket
indicate to some extent the Pandora's box of scientific
evils this war has uncovered. The Allies, as well as the
Germans, have many of these and of other new weapons. Each
day as the war continues, the weapons of war increase in
malignancy and power.
York, New York, TIMES, 12 August 1946, pages 1 & 7
of Mysterious Rockets Is Seen Over Capital of Sweden
By Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES
Sweden, Aug. 11 - A swarm of rocket bombs passed over Stockholm
at 10 o'clock tonight. The course, as usual, was from the
southeast toward the northwest.
was reported from Washington that missiles seen over Sweden
were thought to have been launched from a former German
rocket experiment area at Peenemunde, now in the Soviet
zone of Germany.]
flowing to the Swedish general staff stress that the bombs
are like fireballs, with long luminous tails, but some observers
have seen a cigar-shaped bomb, traveling at an altitude
of 1,500 feet rather slowly.
reported that they had seen bombs crash. The general staff
is working at high pressure tonight, investigating all reports,
but nothing has been found.
strangest report came from central Sweden, where a newly
built barn collapsed this afternoon without visible cause.
Shortly before the collapse flying bombs had been seen.
Then there was a sharp crack and the barn fell. There was
said the barn could not have collapsed because of bad construction.
The general staff is sending experts to interview them.
are seriously worried by the many bomb reports. A few days
ago the General Staff received 300 reports in twenty-four
hours. The General Staff ordered that the places of crashes
be not revealed, as was done during the war with German
is rumored here that officers in the Russian Air Force have
been dismissed because they were far behind the Western
Powers in atomic bomb work. Their successors are believed
to be trying new experiments with unloaded shells.
Sweden, Aug. 11 (AP) - "Ghost rockets" - mysterious
spool-shaped speeding objects with fiery tails - have become
a common sight in Sweden, and military officials no longer
doubt that the country is in a target area for experimentation
with remotely controlled missiles.
July 1, newspapers have published reports of the flying
fireballs nearly every day. In the beginning many believed
excited witnesses had seen nothing more ominous than meteors.
However, between July 9 and July 12 military authorities
received 300 reports of the missiles and since that time
added reports have poured in daily.
examined by scientists gave little in the way of clues,
except to indicate the presence of coke and other common
promising a statement on the results of the investigation
within a few days, have cautioned Swedish newspapers not
to publish the names of places where the rockets appear,
so the senders would not obtain important data. Official
quarters declined to speculate on the source of the missiles,
but it was believed elsewhere that the rockets come from
some place along the Baltic coast of Germany.
seems to think these rockets indicate any military preparations
against Sweden, but the people here are puzzled at Sweden's
being in a target area when an unlimited amount of uninhabited
area must be available for experimentation.
newspaper Stockholms Tidmingen labeled a recent editorial
"Ghost rockets and future war," and said the appearance
of the missiles stressed the need for preparedness.
rocket is described as a small object with a flaming tail
which speeds at great height and vanishes within a few seconds.
Witnesses say the rockets make no appreciable sound.
recently carried a picture of the rocket, obtained accidentally
by a cameraman who was photographing a landscape. It showed
a streak of light trailing from a small dark body, looking
much like a comet.
in a few cases is it known that the missiles actually landed
in Sweden. Military personnel have been busily dredging
a small lake in Lapland.
authorities said the missiles evidently passed over Sweden
in a huge curve. Some reports indicated the objects carried
a device for self-destruction, and military experts said
some apparently had exploded in the air. The longest flight
of any of the missiles, so far as military experts could
determine, was about 600 miles, compared with the range
of thirty-five to forty-five miles for the first German
V-2 rocket bombs.
is no comparison, however, with the rocket bombs. The mystery
missiles are small, and at low altitudes seem almost square.
The bottom of the object appeared to have been painted red,
witnesses said. Some observed these missiles flying extremely
reports have been substantiated by a Swedish officer, a
flier, who saw one of the rockets during a recent flight.
Reported Near Town
Aug. 11 (Reuter) - A number of objects, apparently rockets,
were reported to have been seen by various witnesses as
they flew low over central Sweden tonight, it was reported
of them was said to have fallen near a town, exploding with
a lour report. Swedish military authorities refused to disclose
the name of the town.
objects emitted a white glow that illuminated the sky.
York, New York, TIMES, 13 August 1946, page 4
USE RADAR IN FIGHT ON MISSILES
Doolittle Believed Called In as Aide - Stockholm
Studies Steps to End Violations
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES
Sweden, Aug. 12 - Sweden now is using radar in the fight
against the mysterious missiles that have been flying over
the country, it was made known today. The atmosphere here
after last night's swarm of projectiles over Central Sweden
was almost at the boiling point and there were persistent
rumors that Sweden was going to, or already had, borrowed
several complete radar outfits from Great Britain to obtain
the quickest results.
also is believed that the United States' foremost long-distance
bombing expert, Lieut. Gen. James H. Doolittle, who now
is retired, is coming to Sweden to inspect the radar equipment,
although the official explanation is that he is coming as
a business man for the Shell Company.
Swedish General Staff today described the situation as "extremely
serious," and it is obvious Sweden no longer is going
to tolerate such violation of her integrity. Everything
possible is being done to put an end to it.
General Staff received more than 1,000 reports on the rocket
bombs last night and this morning. It is a tremendous task
to check on all the reports, but it will be done and experts
already are scattered all over the country to investigate
each little bit found.
reports give detailed and interesting descriptions of the
bombs. A Swedish astronomer and meteorologist said, "I
was studying some clouds through a telescope when suddenly
I observed a luminous point on the horizon.
first believed it to be an airplane," he said, "but
soon I noticed it was traveling much too fast for that,
and within ten seconds I got a full view of the projectile.
I managed to get a clear view of the bomb's body and estimate
that it was at least 90 feet long. The body was torpedo-shaped
and shining like metal. No sound could be heard, although
the bomb was only two kilometers away. At the explosion,
a terrific light flashed up that for a moment completely
blinded me. No fire, smoke or sparks were noticeable."
description of the shape varies, for some observers say
they have seen a big fire ball instead of a torpedo-shaped
projectile, but all agree on the small fire balls shot out
from the afterpart.
Swedish public named the missile the "phantom bomb,"
but now frequently is using the term "Russian V-4."
Swedes notified their legation at Helsinki to be on the
sharpest lookout and to notify Finnish authorities immediately
if the bombs appeared again.
Falls Near Stockholm
Sweden, Aug. 12 (U.P.) - The Swedish Army today rushed experts
to three points in Central Sweden where unidentified rockets,
rumored to be the results of Russian experiments, crashed
barrage was the heaviest since the mysterious aerial missiles
first were seen flashing through Swedish skies on May 24.
Swedeish Army clamped a tight censorship on the results
of its investigation. But reports from hundreds of Swedes
who sighted the fiery missiles indicated a whole barrage
might have been fired. One rocket passed directly over Stockholm
at 8:45 P. M. and crashed north of the city.
eyewitness to an explosion in Central Sweden said fragments
rained down after a great blast in the air above him. Previous
explosions have left hard, black metal objects similar to
movement of the missiles varied. Some flew a straight course
and others veered. In most cases the course was reported
from southeast to northwest. Other reports said some missiles
came straight from the north.
York, New York, TIMES, 14 August 1946, page 11
SWEDES ESCAPE A 'GHOST ROCKET'
Missile Dives Into Lake Near Couple in Boat
- Boy Scouts Report Sighting Bomb
Sweden, Aug. 13 (AP) - The newspaper Aftonbladet said today
that two "ghost rockets" were observed in Sweden
yesterday, and that one of them almost caused casualties.
couple boating on a lake in Central Sweden were nearly hit
by a diving bomb which burst into many parts and disappeared
beneath the water, the paper said. The second observance
was near Goeteborg, where a group of Boy Scouts saw a flying
missile turn 35 degrees and then return to its original
first "ghost rocket" explosion over Denmark also
was reported in Copenhagen. Briand Jensen, a night watchman
in Struer, West Jutland, said he saw a speeding rocket,
approaching from the northeast, explode with a roar and
illuminate the sky with a blinding flash.
the accounts of recent witnesses who were unanimous in describing
the flaming objects as "rockets," Swedish military
authorities said today they had received no tangible proof
that the frequent celestial phenomena observed over Sweden
resulted from foreign experiments with aerial missiles.
have not found a thing," a military spokesman said.
editorially criticized military authorities for their inability
to explain the nature of the occurrences. "It ought
to be possible to state whether they are meteors or not,
and if they are rockets one should be caught," the
the occurrences are rockets and are of Russian origin, as
has been suggested, the paper said, there were two possible
explanations for their appearance over Sweden:
"Sweden is systematically being dotted in on a Russian
"Sweden is being used as an object of demonstration,
directed not to us but to the big world."
Aug. 13 (AP) - Under-Secretary of State Dean Acheson said
today he personally was very much interested in reports
of rockets flying over Sweden but that the Swedes had not
sought any American advice on the subject.
York, New York, TIMES, 11 October 1946, page 3
Inquiry Fails To Solve Rocket Case
By The Associated Press
Oct. 10 - Swedish military authorities said today that they
had been unable to discover after four months of investigation
the origin or nature of the ghost rockets that have been
flying over Sweden since May.
special communiqué declared that 80 per cent of 1,000
reports on the rockets could be attributed to "celestial
phenomena," but that radar equipment had detected some
objects "which cannot be the phenomena of nature or
products of imagination, nor be referred to as Swedish airplanes."
report added, however, that the objects were not the V-type
bombs used by the Germans in the closing days of the war.
York, New York, TIMES, 22 March 1947, page 58
Bomb' Returns To Skies Over Sweden
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES
Sweden, March 21 - Another of the "phantom bombs"
that were seen frequently over Sweden last fall was observed
today over the southern part of the country by several persons.
At first they thought it an airplane, but looking more intently
they noticed that smoke was coming from the tail and that
its shape differed from that of a plane.
projectile was flying from east to west at a considerable
height. The witnesses described it as a cigar-shaped metallic
body, approximately sixty feet long, travelling at slow
speed and making no noise.
"bomb" was visible for a considerable time and
smoke was observed long after the projectile disappeared.
Judging from the smoke, the missile turned at a certain
point and flew back eastward.
York, New York, TIMES, 4 July 1947, page 26
'FLYING DISKS' FAIL TO STIR AIR FORCES
July 3 (AP) - A preliminary inquiry into reports that strange
"flying disks" have been whizzing at 1,200 miles
an hour over the Western United States "has not produced
enough fact to warrant further investigation," an Army
Air Forces spokesman said today.
official said "we don't have a thing that would give
any realism" to a report made last week by a flying
Boise (Idaho) business man. He said he saw nine mysterious
objects - big as airplanes - racing over Washington State's
Cascade Range. Several other persons in widely scattered
localities later said they had glimpsed similar objects.
Air Forces spokesman said the Army has no new experimental
planes or guided missiles which would fit such a description.
He said Air Forces people are inclined to believe either
that the observers just imagined they saw something, or
that there is some meteorological explanation for the phenomenon.
Wright Field (Dayton, Ohio) public relations officials said
the Air Materiel Command is making an investigation of "saucer-shaped"
missiles seen recently in the Pacific Northwest and Texas.
conversations with "a meteorologist from Langley Field,
the Washington Air Forces spokesman said these meteorological
"maybes" have been discussed:
solar reflections on low-hanging clouds produced spectral
"flashes" which might have appeared like moving
objects. That a small meteor might have broken up. That
icing conditions in high clouds produced "large hailstones
which might have flattened out and glided a bit."
York, New York, TIMES, 6 July 1947, pages 1 & 36
Saucers' Mystify Experts; May Be Prank of Nature, they Say
By T. R. KENNEDY Jr.
yesterday were at a loss for an explanation of the so-called
"flying saucers" reported seen speeding through
the sky by observers throughout the country, unless it was
that those who first observed the strange phenomena beheld
a prank of nature, now being perpetuated by the "popular
and civilian experts in the weather and its summer vagaries
shrugged their shoulders when first asked for an explanation.
Airplane pilots and most others who were asked for accounts
of what they had seen said the objects apparently were traveling
at high speeds from one to two miles high. Most reported
that the "saucers" were all vanishing in the northwesterly
which came in over the July Fourth holiday only served to
deepen the mystery. Holiday throngs and more fliers joined
in saying that they had seen bright objects, pancake-like
in shape, and all going at high speeds. The reports came
from points from the Pacific Coast to Nova Scotia and from
Canada to the Gulf. Estimates of altitudes and speeds varied
Associated Press reported observations by such reliable
men as Capt. E. J. Smith of United Air Lines and Co-pilot
Ralph Stevens, who, together with Stewardess Marty Morrow,
described seeing the "round, flat object for twelve
minutes while flying west from Boise, Idaho."
reports from scattered observers such as picnickers and
motorists received credence, it was emphasized that a trained
observer in weather phenomena was generally better able
to judge what he saw than others.
first published report of the strange sight came from Kenneth
Arnold of Boise, a business man-pilot, who said that on
June 25 at Pendleton, Ore., he had observed nine objects
flying at "1,200 miles an hour in formation, like the
tail of a kite," over Washington State's Cascade Mountains.
don't believe it, but I saw it," he said.
Frank Ryman, of the Coast Guard public relations office
at Seattle, took a picture on July 4 of "something"
that he declared was a group of flying saucers. Late yesterday
it became known that the Army authorities had ordered a
Seen Over Maine
Aeronautical Administration officials at Augusta, Me., The
Associated Press reported, yesterday saw dozens of the missiles
over the city traveling northerly.
A. Atwater, curator of Astronomy of the Hayden Planetarium,
was inclined to believe that the first reports of the strange
sight was "entirely authentic," but that most
subsequent ones were brought on by a "mild case of
meteorological jitters," with some "mass hypnosis"
crystals, formed by nature high in the sky, could be as
good an explanation as any until we discover the true facts,"
Planetarium, he added, had been deluged with requests for
information ever since the first reports.
went on to say that scientists of the General Electric Company
and others had made huge ice crystals in the laboratory,
some two feet in diameter, but that natural ice crystals
manufactured by nature or man in the sky were seldom larger
in diameter than three or four thousandths of an inch. A
mass of such crystals could reflect the sun's rays like
a small mirror and make the phenomena visible.
of Crystals shown
pictures of the forming crystals can be seen daily in the
Planetarium. Some of them are much larger than two feet
across. Controlled laboratory conditions are necessary for
have suggested that the flying saucers might be meteorites,
but we are inclined to believe they are neither meteorological
ar astronomical in origin," he said. "No meteorites
are disk-shaped, and they vary from a pinhead in size to
one weighing thirty-six tons.
Jan Schilt, Rutherford Professor of Astronomy at Columbia,
who was consulted over the telephone, said he was more inclined
to believe the true answer would be found from some phenomena
seen during the two last wars, when speeding airplanes churned
up the atmosphere and caused distortions of light rays which
passed through soon afterward.
said this effect might be largely electrical in nature,
due to the turmoil of the propeller and wings, causing something
like "smoke-rings." Birds also, he said, could
readily create the effect. He went on to say that if the
average motorist carefully observed the effect of his headlight
against mist or clouds as he passed up a steep hill the
same thing could be seen.
am certainly inclined to believe a very simple explanation
for the flying saucers will thus be found," he stated,
"and that some who blamed it on more profound and strange
things will be more careful in the future about spreading
half truths or badly observed things of nature."
Ness Monster Recalled
a fresh but slightly diminished crop of reports, besides
the one from Augusta, Me., came from Port Huron, Mich.,
Portland, Ore., Akron, Ohio; St. John, N. B.; Summerside,
Prince Edward Island; Sherbrooke, Que.; New Orleans and
R. Tannehill, chief of the U. S. Weather Bureau's division
of synoptic reports and forecasts, frankly was skeptical,
according to The Associated Press.
have to see one before I make a guess what they are,"
Newbern Smith of the National Bureau of Standards, Washington,
is like one of these Loch Ness Monster stories. Once the
reports get about, everyone thinks they see it."
object which was found on an Ohio farm and caused speculation
as to whether it might not be one of the mysterious "saucers"
was declared by the Army Air Forces to be a radiosonde,
a six-pointed kite-like framework covered with metal foil
and about forty inches high. It is hoisted aloft by a balloon
and then tracked by radar to determine wind direction and
velocity at various altitudes.
suggests Atomic Tie
ANGELES, July 5 (AP) - An unidentified "scientist in
nuclear physics" at the California Institute of Technology
was quoted today as suggesting the flying saucers might
be the result of "transmutation of atomic energy"
experiments. But Dr. C. C. Lauritsen, head of Caltech's
nuclear physics department, denied the source was a member
of his staff.
Evening Herald and Express described its informant as a
researcher on the Manhattan Atomic project and said he asked
his name be withheld.
July 5 (AP) - David Lilienthal, chairman of the Atomic Energy
Commission, told The Denver Post in a telephone interview
tonight that the "flying saucers" reported over
the United States were in no way connected with atomic experiments.
Post said a reporter held this brief telephone conversation
with Mr. Lilienthal in Washington.
reporter explained the purpose of his call, and related
reports that a West Coast scientist had said the discs were
related to "transmutation of atomic energy."
Lilienthal interrupted to say "of course, I can't prevent
anyone from saying foolish things."
York, New York, TIMES, 7 July 1947, pages 1 & 5
Planes Hunt Sky Discs With Cameras in Vain on Coast
By The Associated Press
FRANCISCO, July 6 - Military aircraft hunted the skies over
Pacific Coast states today for sight of the mysterious "flying
saucers" that for twelve days have puzzled the entire
country. Early reports of results were negative.
P-51's of the Oregon National Guard cruised over the Cascade
Mountains of Washington - the area where the strange objects
first were reported sighted. A sixth circled over Portland,
in constant radio contact with the other five. All carried
G. R. Dodson, commanding, described their flight as a "routine
patrol," but said they had been instructed to watch
for the flying discs.
Manhattan Beach, Calif., A. W. McKelvey took a Mustang fighter
plane up above Van Nuys. For two hours he cruised at 35,000
didn't see a thing," he said when he landed.
Carl Spaatz, commandant of the Army Air Forces, was in the
Pacific Northwest. He denied knowing anything about the
flying discs or of plans to use AAF planes to look for them.
been out of touch with things for four or five days,"
he said. Then he went to Medford, Ore., on a fishing trip.
P-80 jet fighter at Muroc Army Air Field in California and
six fast regular fighters at Portland, Ore., stood ready
to take off on an instant's notice should any flying saucers
be sighted in those areas. Some of the planes carried photographic
sighted on June 25 and greeted generally with scornful laughs,
the objects have been reported every day since by observers
in thirty-three states. Airline pilots said they had seen
the discs, larger than aircraft, flying in "loose formation"
at high speed.
cautious attitude marked both official and scientific comments,
but Capt. Tom Brown of the Air Forces Public Relations staff
in Washington acknowledged that the Air Forces had decided
"there's something to this" and had been checking
up on it for ten days.
still haven't the slightest idea what they (the discs) could
be," he added. "But we don't believe anyone in
this country, has developed a guided missile that will go
1,200 miles an hour as some reports have indicated."
Lilienthal, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, said
that the discs had nothing to do with atomic experiments,
and Army and Navy officials also entered positive disclaimers.
on a report linking the phenomena with "transmutation
of atomic energy," Dr. Harold Urey. atom scientist
at the University of Chicago, called it "gibberish."
He said that elements could be "transmuted" but
of the Descriptions
generally agreed that the flying objects were round or oval.
Estimates of their speed ranged from about 300 miles to
1,200 miles an hour. They were described as flying with
an undulating motion at heights of 10,000 feet and less.
Some described them as glowing, or luminous.
Hart, a St. louis mechanic who was trained during service
in the war to spot all types of aircraft, said he saw one
of the strange objects near Pattonville yesterday. It was
flying at an altitude of 300 feet, he said.
described it as circular, with a ribbed framework and silver
gray in color. He said it appeared to have a motor with
a propeller attached in the center and it kept turning like
an airplane doing a slow roll.
reports of the phenomena were published on June 25. Kenneth
Arnold, a business man pilot of Boise, Idaho, told of seeing
nine of the discs flying in formation at 1,200 miles an
hour over the Cascade Mountains in Washington.
Fall and Vanish
Wash., July 6 (AP) - Eight flying saucers, described as
"more like washtubs" and each "about the
size of a five-room house," were reported today by
Mrs. Walter Johnson of suburban Dishman, as having fallen
in view of ten persons Thursday evening near St. Maries,
Idaho. They fluttered down into the timber," she said,
Visitations in Jersey
Jersey had its first reports of sky discs yesterday, according
to The Associated Press. Patrolman Frederick Schlauch of
the Elizabeth police told of seeing two shiny objects flying
northeast last night, not very fast but diving in a fluttering
fashion "like pursuit planes." Mrs. Harold Doner
of Denver, visiting in Essex Fells, and Mrs. Leonora Woodruff
of 184 South Arlington Street, East Orange, reported "balls
of fire darting silently at high speed through the air"
about 1 A.M. Friday.
first flying disc in New York was reported in Rochester
last night by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Ohley, who were in their
back yard when they observed it "zipping" eastward.
Washigton, D. C., Hazen Kennedy, a former flying cadet of
the Army Air Forces, reported seeing at 8:40 last night
an orange-colored object flying 1,000 to 1,500 feet aloft
"well over 1,000 miles an hour." Maj. Gen. C.
E. LeMay, assistant chief of staff for research, told The
Associated Press that the phenomena were "nothing to
worry about" and Dr. Winfred Overholser, the psychiatrist,
said that some of the reports bore earmarks of "national
other versions over the country were reported by The United
Press. A woman in Chicago standing on her porch said she
saw a flying saucer "with legs" that seemed to
be coming down "to slap me in the face." Two women
in South Bend, Ind., recounted watching "a dogfight"
of discs for twenty-five minutes. And Francis Howell of
Tempe, Ariz., declared he saw a saucer two feet in diameter
"ascend" near his home.
York, New York, TIMES, 8 July 1947, pages 1 & 46
Soar Over New York, Now Seen Aloft in All Colors
By MURRAY SCHUMACH
"flying saucer," though still adept at eluding
the most powerful telescopes in America, continued yesterday
to flash in increasing numbers and variety before the goggling
eyes of rooftop and roadside amateurs.
York and other Eastern states, hitherto oblivious to the
strange bodies in the sky, suddenly found they were not
immune, according to the latest reports to harassed policemen
and astronomers. The Associated Press said that thirty-nine
states, plus the District of Columbia and a part of Canada
were playing host to the heavenly disks.
the humorous skepticism of scientists and military experts,
the latest flock of rumors showed increasing imagination.
No longer, for example, were the disks just white. In some
cases they were in technicolor, with orange the predominant
Tries an Idea
to show how simple it was to see the "flying saucers"
play tag among the stars, a professor of physiology in Sydney,
Australia, tried an experiment. He suggested to 450 students
at the University of Sydney, that, in the interests of science,
they stare fixedly at a point in the sky about a mile distant.
ten minutes twenty-two students were back with findings.
They even drew pictures to prove that they had seen "flying
disks." The professor nodded sagely and remarked:
as I thought. It was all due to the effect of red corpuscles
of blood passing in front of the retina. This is well recognized
and anybody interested can draw his own conclusions."
no sooner had word of this experiment - which, incidentally,
was supported by other reputable authorities on the subject
- been made public, when along came what looked like first-hand
knowledge of the existence of "flying saucers."
this case, a flier gave a detailed description of the object
that had been smashed in collision with his plane over Boseman,
Mont. He described it as "a pearl gray, clam-shaped
airplane with a plexiglass dome on top."
the flier's boss, a little while later:
or four of us were sitting around the hanger gassing, and
we just made it up. Somebody must have heard it, and spread
the word. I've been so busy on the phone since it got out
that I haven't been able to do any flying all day. I'm flabbergasted
that anyone believed it."
there was another explanation from a man down South. He
said he had released thousands of small balloons as a publicity
"stunt" to exploit his products - toys.
Frankfort on the Main, Germany, where, according to The
United Press, nobody has yet noticed the "flying saucers,"
a United States Army doctor gave the scientific name for
the spectacle - muscae volitanted. This is a fancy way of
saying optical illusions.
were a few other cases where the flying disks could be subjected
to objective study. In Chicago, where the object made quite
a noise as it bounced into a backyard, it turned out to
be a circular saw and the home owner quickly canceled his
telephone call to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
indication - and perhaps a good reason - for not seeing
nocturnal apparitions came from a policeman in Elizabeth,
N. J. Originally, he felt quite good about his vigilance.
That was on Saturday night, when he became the first person
in New Jersey to spot a "flying saucer." But yesterday
he had a different point of view:
know I saw two objects in the air," he said, "but
I don't know what they were. And the ribbing is getting
hard to take."
a dead heat for the claim to having been first to observe
"flying saucers" over New York State were a married
couple in Rochester and a man in Glens Falls. The Rochester
couple noted just an ordinary white disk. But the Glens
Falls resident saw what looked like a headlight, emitting
red fire in front and blue fire in its wake. This, unquestionably
was the fanciest of the flying saucer to date.
the Army Air Forces was smoked out and admitted complete
ignorance. Just to play it safe, the Air Forces statement
said an investigation was still under way. This gave the
War Department the opportunity to say it was dumping the
whole matter in the lap of the Air Forces.
prophetic of any investigation was the result of a search
near St. Maries, Idaho, where, according to The Associated
Press, nearly a dozen "flying saucers" were said
to have crashed. Fliers circling the area said the view
was lovely. Land parties said they were tired. No one found
anything worth talking about.
scientist suggested the library as a clue, referring particularly
to a section of "Alice in wonderland," in which
the Mad Hatter sand the following song:
twinkle little bat
"How I wonder what you're at
"Up above the world you fly
"Like a tea-tray in the sky."
which Alice responded:
I've heard something like that."
York, New York, TIMES, 9 July 1947, pages 1 & 10
Near Bomb Test Site Is Just a Weather Balloon
Warrant Officer Solves a Puzzle That Baffled
His Superiors - 'Flying Saucer' Tales Pour in From Round
By MURRAY SCHUMACH
crockery had the Army up in the air for several hours yesterday
before an Army officer explained that what a colleague thought
was a "flying disk" was nothing more than a battered
Army weather balloon.
denouement closed the New Mexico chapter in the "flying
saucer" saga that already had contributions from forty-three
other states in the Union as well as from Australia, England,
South Africa, Mexico and Canada.
none of the previous or subsequent reports of strange heavenly
bodies created as much confusion as the startling announcement
from an Army lieutenant that a "flying disk" had
been found on a ranch near Roswell, N. M., near the scene
of atomic bomb tests. The officer, Lieut. Warren Haught
[Walter Haut], public information officer of the Roswell
Army Air Field, made no bones about the discovery in his
detailed report as carried by The Associated Press.
many rumors regarding the flying disk became a reality,"
his statement began. He told which Intelligence Office of
what Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force had passed "the
flying disk" along "to higher headquarters."
phones began to buzz between Washington and New Mexico and
the "disk" was well on the way to showing how
the circle could be squared. One by one, as the rank of
the investigating officer rose, the circle lost arcs and
developed sides until it was roughly octagonal.
an hour after Lieutenant Haught [Haut] had given new impetus
to the "flying saucer" derby, his boss, Brig.
Gen. Roger Ramey, had a somewhat defferent version of "the
said that while it was true it had been found on a ranch,
no one had seen it in the air; it was "of flimsy construction,"
apparently made "of some sort of tin foil." Subsequently,
it was reported being flown to a research laboratory at
Wright Field, Ohio.
Washington, Lieut. Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, Deputy Chief of
the Army Air Forces, hurried to his headquarters' press
section. Atomic experts in the capital were certain that
whatever had been found was not any of their doing, but
no one seemed to know just how to dispose of the object.
a lowly warrant officer, Irving Newton, a forecaster at
the Fort Worth, Tex., weather station, solved the mystery.
He said it was just a part of a weather balloon, such as
is used by eighty weather stations in the country to determine
velocity and direction of winds at high altitudes.
hours before the New Mexico mystery had been solved, a Canadian
meteorologist suggested the same answer in connection with
rumors of "flying saucers" in Circleville, Ohio.
This was soon after a couple in the Ohio town had jubilantly
proclaimed their "capture" of a mysterious disk.
the midwest was spurred in its hunt by offers of $3,000
rewards for "proof" that America was not succumbing
to an epidemic of hallucinations. One of the first to put
in a claim for the prize was an Iowa salesman, who produced
a steel disk, nearly seven inches in diameter. He said he
found it in his yard in the morning after hearing it "crash
through the trees." According to The United Press,
reporters thought the disk was playing truant from an ash
there was the Nebraska farmer who added a bucolic touch
to the story. He said the heavenly bodies were "flaming
straw hats," that careened through the night, sometimes
pausing for a rest.
contributor for the day was a toolmaker from Pontiac. According
to The United Press, he turned over to newspapers a picture
showing two circular objects against a black background.
Examination showed holes in the disks.
in the act was Wisconsin, where it was reported that on
Monday 250 pilots of that state's Civil Air Patrol would
take off in search of "flying saucers."
that "flying saucers" were not indigenous to the
Unites States and Canada began coming in late in the afternoon.
Two residents of Johannesburg, South Africa, said, according
to Reuters, that they not only saw the objects, but that
these "traveled at tremendous speed in V-formation
and disappeared in a cloud of smoke."
England, a clergyman's wife, who said she had kept her discovery
secret for fear of derision, finally came forth yesterday
with a story about seeing "a dark ring, with clear-cut
edges," that sped across the sky on Monday.
Australian variations of "the flying saucer,"
though reported by six persons in Sydney, were quite ordinary.
Observers said they were a bit brighter than the moon, seemed
to prefer an altitude of about 10,000 feet and moved along
may have been the weather, but the only allusion to "flying
saucers" in New York City were a few skeptical remarks
by Admiral William H. P. Blandy, commander in chief of the
Atlantic Fleet. Said the admiral, in response to questions:
remain to be convinced there is any such thing. I am convinced
that they are nothing the Army and Navy is concerned with.
I am curious, like everybody else, to see what's behind
York, New York, TIMES, 9 January 1948, page 11
DIES CHASING A 'FLYING SAUCER'
Plane Explodes Over Kentucky as That and
Near States Report Strange Object
Ky., Jan. 8 (AP) - Several areas of Kentucky and adjoining
states were excited today over reports of a "flying
saucer" which led to the death of one National Guard
flier and fruitless chases by several other pilots.
National Guard headquarters at Louisville said Capt. Thomas
F. Mantell Jr., 25 years old, was killed late yesterday
while chasing what was reported as a "flying saucer"
near Franklin, Ky.
other members of the Kentucky National Guard asked to make
a flying investigation of reported "flying discs"
in the area near Fort Knox, returned to their Louisville
Hopkinsville pilots, James Garret and William Crenshaw,
said they chased a flying object which they believed to
be a balloon.
at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., reported that
they saw some object in the sky yesterday afternoon which
they believed to be a balloon, but the Weather Bureau at
Nashville said it knew of no balloons in that vicinity.
Southern Ohio, meanwhile, observers reported seeing a flaming
red cone near the Army Air Base at Wilmington. Army spokesmen
said they had no information on the object or its origin.
Guy F. Hix, commanding officer at Godman Field, adjoining
Fort Knox, said he observed the "flying saucer"
for some time. He said contact was made by radio with three
National Guard planes and the pilots were asked to investigate.
lost contact in about twenty minutes," Colonel Hix
said. "Two of the planes later called back and reported
Mantell, an air hero during the Allied invasion of Normandy,
was the third pilot. His mother, Mrs. Thomas F. Mantell
Sr., said in Louisville she was informed that her son flew
too high in his pursuit of the object and lost consciousness.
Mayes, who lives near Franklin, said he saw the Mantell
plane flying at an extremely high altitude just before it
seemed to explode in the air.
plane circled three times, like the pilot didn't know where
he was going," Mr. Mayes said, "and then started
into a dive from about 20,000 feet. About halfway down there
was a terrific explosion."
Mantell entered the Army Air Forces soon after his graduation
from high school and participated in the Normandy invasion
and many other European operations during the war.
leaving active duty a year ago, he has been associated with
the Kentucky Air National Guard.
York, New York, TIMES, 30 March 1950, page 17
'Flying Saucers' In Mediterranean, Orient
March 29 - Flying saucers - variously described as like
full moons, moons with wakes of fire, or strange bodies
emitting smoke trails - have been reported skittering in
all directions across the heavens above the Mediterranean.
Haifa today, reports circulated that they had been seen
over northern Israel.
Lebanese pilot who took Riad es Sohl, Premier of Lebanon,
to the Arab League conference in Cairo, said he had seen
them over Acre traveling at a high speed in a westerly direction.
Others described them as "disks traveling northward
at a great altitude and emitting a smoke trail."
reported that they had been sighted over various parts o
fth ecountry five times yesterday.
KONG, March 29 (AP) - American seamen telephoned The China
Mail that they saw three "flying fireballs" when
their ship entered Hong Kong Harbor Monday. Nobody else
saw any flying fireballs, the newspaper found.
York, New York, TIMES, 24 June 1950, page 30
of Fire' in the sky Is Linked to Jet Flight
By The Associated Press
PASO, Tex., June 23 - A jet plane landed here tonight after
persons from Montgomery, Ala., to Abilene, Tex., had excitedly
reported seeing a great ball of fire in the sky.
at Biggs Air Force Base here said the plane flew from Lafayette,
La., at 35,000 feet. After this announcement secrecy was
"fire in the sky" apparently was most spectacular
over Louisiana's Gulf Coast region. Some thought they were
seeing a meteor. Others thought it was the reflection of
the sun's last red and gold rays on a vapor trail. But there
were elements of doubts in both beliefs.
Galveston Weather Bureau reported that a ship 350 miles
at sea had reported the flash.
New Orleans, Weather Forecaster E. A. Aime reported what
"looked like a meteor."
York, New York, TIMES, 27 June 1950, page 31
Reporter Sees Disklike Lights 'in Formation'
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES
N. Y., June 26 - Disklike lights seen in the sky between
Newburgh and West Point last night gave rise today to speculation
that the lights might have been "flying saucers."
least three persons reported having seen th elights between
9 P. M. and midnight.
J. Connolly, a reporter for The Newburgh News, said he had
seen four disklike lights "flying in formation"
over the United States Military Academy at an altitude of
about 10,000 feet.
Connolly, riding in an automobile with Robert Stevenson,
said he had hesitated to mention what he had seen until
he had learned this morning that a telephone operator at
The Newburgh News had received telephone calls from another
person reporting the disks.
Connolly, an experienced wartime aircraft spotter, said
the lights were unlike those used on the wings of airplanes.
He said he had stopped his car and killed the motor but
failed to hear the sound of aircraft engines.
York, New York, TIMES, 7 July 1950, page 14
SAUCER SEEN, AND ONE IS 'EXPLODED'
LOS ANGELES, July 6 (AP) - William Grant, 26 years old,
a former Marine Corps aerial photographer, today reported
seeing a brilliantly lighted circular object in the sky
estimated the object was 50 feet in circumference and when
first seen was about 1,000 feet overhead. Its speed at first
was about 100 miles an hour, then increased to about 500
miles an hour before disappearing behind the Hollywood hills,
was in sight about 45 seconds," Mr. Grant said. "It
left no exhaust trail and made no sound."
story was confirmed by a friend, Gilbert Magill, 35, president
of a concern conducting research with helicopters. Mr.
Grant, who lives in Glendale, was visiting the home of
a friend in Hollywood. He said he was standing in the
patio when he saw the object.
July 6 (UP) - The Air Force was confronted today with a
new twist to the two-year-old flying saucer mystery - saucers
launched from planes - but its answer was the same.
said John Keller, a farmer of Dowagiac, Mich., must have
been mistaken when he said he saw an Air Force C-54 launch
a flying saucer over his hayfield last week.
he probably saw, they said, was a piece of cowling that
came loose from one of the big four-engine transports.
York, New York, TIMES, 28 September 1950, page 33
'Saucer' Floats to Earth And a Theory Is Dished Up
By The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 27 - Four Philadelphia policemen think
they know what happens to flying saucers - they dissolve.
John Collins and Joseph Keenan reported last night they
saw a mysterious object about six feet in diameter floating
to earth in an open field.
summoned Sgt. Joseph Cook and Patrolman James Casper. Then
they approached the object and turned on their flashlights.
Collins tried to pick "the thing" up. The part
touched by his hand dissolved, he said, leaving a sticky,
odorless residue. Within a half hour the entire object had
evaporated. It was so light, the policeman reported, it
had not even bent the weeds on which it had rested.
Cook notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation - but
unfortunately there was nothing to show F. B. I. agents
except a spot on the ground.
York, New York, TIMES, 18 July 1952, page 5
'Saucer' Reports Fly At Air Force in 2 Weeks
By The United Press
DAYTON, Ohio, July 17 - An Air Force spokesman said today
some sixty reports of flying saucers had been received during
the last two weeks. He could give no reason for the sudden
E. J. Ruppelt of the Air Technical Intelligence Center at
Wright-Patterson Air Base said "people are seeing unidentified
objects in the sky at a rate almost double over last year."
Ruppelt, project officer for the Air Force group that investigates
unidentified aerial objects, said there was no connection
between the saucer sighting increase and the recent inauguration
of Operation Skywatch by the Ground Observer Corps.
said his office was requesting more information from two
Pan American Airways pilots who reported seeing "eight
glowing red-orange disks" flying near Norfolk, Va.,
last Sunday night. The pilots, W. B. Nashid and W. H. Fortenberry
said the objects were traveling at 1,000 miles a hour.
York, New York, TIMES, 22 July 1952, page 27
Objects Near Washington Spotted by Both Pilots and Radar
Air Force Reveals Reports of Something, Perhaps
'Saucers,' Traveling Slowly But Jumping Up and Down
July 21 (AP) - The Air Force disclosed tonight it had received
reports of an eerie visitation by unidentified aerial objects
- perhaps a new type of "flying saucer" - over
the vicinity of the nation's Capital.
the first time, so far as has been reported, the objects
were picked up by radar - indicating actual substance rather
than mere light.
addition, they were described as traveling at a slow 100
to 130 miles per hour, instead of with the incredible swiftness
attributed to earlier saucers, although at times they shot
up and down. They were also described as hovering in one
Air Force said no planes were sent out to intercept the
objects, and no sightings were reported by "Operation
Skywatch," the round-the-clock ground-observer operation
now underway around the northern arc of the United States.
Air Force said it had received only a preliminary report
and therefore did not know why no attempt at interception
had been made.
air traffic control center at Washington National Airport,
just across the Potomac River from the Capital, reported
that its radar operators had picked up eight of the slow-moving
objects around midnight last Saturday. They were flying
in the vicinity of near-by Andrews Air Force Base.
center said Capital Airlines Flight 807, southbound from
National Airport, had reported seeing seven objects between
Washington and Martinsburg, W. Va., at 3:15 A. M. (E. D.
T.) the same night.
of Capital Airlines said the pilot of Flight 807, Capt.
"Casey" Pierman of Detroit, a veteran of seventeen
years' service with the company, had spotted the objects
and descibed them in these words:
were like falling stars without tails."
Pierman, flying at nornal cruising speed of 180 to 200 miles
per hour, reported that three of the objects, which had
the appearance of bright lights, were seen traveling with
tremendous speed. No special attention was paid to those,
he reported to company officials, because those three could
have been taken for falling stars.
three bright lights were observed, he reported, flying horizontally,
and fast, at a tremendous height. They were watched from
three to five seconds.
pilot said he hadn't the slightest idea what the things
eight objects picked up by Air Force radar were said to
have been traveling at slightly more than 100 m. p. h.
airport traffic control center said another air liner, Capital-National
Airlines Flight 610, had reported observing a light following
it from Herndon, Ca., to within four miles of National Airport.
Air Force spokesman said that neither the center nor headquarters
here had yet received reports on sightings said to have
been made last Friday in the areas of Burlington, Vt.; South
Portland, Me., and Staten Island, N. Y.
persons on Staten Island reported seeing saucers at about
10:15 P. M. (E. D. T.), Friday night. The objects, described
as silvery in color tinged with red on the rims, were reported
flying in a "V" formation of five. Said Mrs. Josephine
almost fainted when I looked up at the sky and saw what
looked to me like five large dinner plates flying through
Gondar said he saw them, too, "flying like geese."
"They gave off a glow and didn't make a sound,"
about the same hour, three New York residents reported sighting
similar objects circling rapidly over Central Park.
York, New York, TIMES, 28 July 1952, pages 1 & 5
OUTSTRIP JETS OVER CAPITAL
Spotted Second Time in Week by Radar, but
Interceptors Fail to Make Contact
The Associated Press
July 27 - The Air Force said today that jet fighter planes
had made an effort to intercept unknown object in the sky
over Washington last night after the objects had been spotted
by radar, but that no direct contact had been made.
was the second time within a week that unidentified objects
had been observed in the vicinity of the nation's capital,
but no planes were sent up on the previous occasion, last
Air Force said that at 9:08 o'clock, Eastern dylight time,
last night the Air Route Traffic Control Center, operated
by the Civil Aeronautics Administration, had picked up by
radar "between four and twelve unidentified objects
over the Washington vicinity."
C. A. A. notified the Air Force and two jet fighter-interceptor
planes were ordered up to make a check. These planes came
from a base at New Castle, Del., about ninety miles from
jet planes themselves appeared on the C. A. A. radarscope
at 11:25 P. M. and were guided in on several of the unknown
Air Force said in its statement: "One of the jet pilots
reported sighting four lights in front, approximately ten
miles and slightly above him, but he reported he had no
apparent closing [over-taking] speed. They disappeared before
he could overtake them."
sighting of the unidentified objects in the sky by radar
indicated that something with substance was involved, not
just light. Radar, which detects objects by radio, can "pick
up" such things as cloud formations.
Air Route Traffic Control Center made several further attempts
through its radar observation of the unidentified objects
to guide the jets to a contact. The efforts were unsuccessful,
the Air Force said, until about 11:49 P. M., when the same
pilot who had reported the first visual contact again reported
sighting what he described as "a steady white light."
The light disappeared within a matter of one minute, the
Air Force said.
C. A. A. radar operator at the traffic control center, located
at the Washington National Airport, calculated the unknown
object's position at about ten miles east of Mount Vernon,
Va., which is near the airport.
two jets left the area at 1:40 this morning, but two additional
jet aircraft were sent over and they stayed in the vicinity
for forty minutes.
Air Force said that no further contact, either visual or
by radar, had been made by the planes, although the "unidentified
objects" were still apparent at 2:20 A. M. on the radarscope.
Over Iowa Called Planet
CITY, Iowa, July 27 (AP) - An astronomer at the State University
of Iowa reported today that a spark-shooting object seen
in the sky by southeast Iowans "most likely was the
astronomer, Prof. C. C. Wylie, head of the university's
astronomy department, said he had seen the planet about
1:30 A. M. today after having been notified by the Iowa
City Police Department.
was told they'd had reports of something in the sky,"
Professor Wylie said, "and what I saw was Jupiter,
which at this time of year is quite bright and rises about
1 A. M.
assume that some of the other reports referred to Jupiter
too, although it is possible some people saw another star
or even a meteor."
Fort Madison police had reports of flying objects that shot
off fire and bobbed up and down in circles. A highway patrolman
in the Fort Madison area said the object "looked like
a star at first" and was shooting off blue and red
lights, going in circles."
Wylie said that Jupiter, or any star, when rising above
the horizon, would appear to be shooting off multicolored
York, New York, TIMES, 29 July 1952, page 23
Force Explains 2-Hour Delay In Chasing 'Objects' Over Capital
WASHINGTON, July 28 (AP) - The Air Force said tonight the
current series of "flying saucer" reports had
brought no change in its twenty-four-hour-a-day program
to challenge any unidentified and potentially hostile object
in the skies over the United States.
objects were spotted on radar screens at the Washington
National Airport this week-end, as they had been last Monday.
of the sightings reached the Air Force, and jet fighter-interceptor
planes made a search of the Washington area. One pilot reported
seeing "lights" that he had not been able to overtake.
Air Force official tonight said its Air Defense Command
had been ready for many months to challenge any unknown
Force interceptors and pilots started the continuous watch
on a limited basis before the start of fighting in Korea,
the official noted. At the outset the watch was confined
to the areas over key targets. Later, after the hostilities
in Korea increased the threat of an all-out war and as morefast-climbing
jets became available, the Air Force gradually extended
the watch across the northern and the coastal sectors of
the nation. The continuous state of readiness now extends
to the air space above all areas of the country that contain
vital military or industrial installations.
interceptors were sent aloft during the week-end after the
radar maintained by the Civil Aeronautics Administration
near the Washington National Airport showed objects on its
screen that should not have been there.
the jet interceptors did not take off from their base near
Newcastle, Del., until nearly two hours after the radar
watcher at Washington first had seen the unexplained objects
on his radar screen.
Air Force explained today that the delay occurred when the
report was sent to an Air Force flight center at Middletown,
Pa., instead of through the Air Force command post in the
Force officers happened to visit the radar post at the National
Airport Saturday night and learned about the mysterious
spots on the radar screen. These officers telephoned the
command post and the jets took the air at Newcastle within
the renewed flurry of excitement about the unidentified
objects, the Air Force maintained its stand that it still
did not know whether any such thing as a "saucer"
existed. For several years Air Force technical and intelligence
experts have methodically studied and filed away all "flying
saucer" reports that have been passed on to them.
Seen Over Tarrytown
to THE NEW YORK TIMES
N. Y., July 28 - Streaks of light, reportedly similar to
those spotted over Washington twice within the last week,
were sighted in the sky above this Hudson River village
shortly before midnight last night. Eastern Air Defense
Force officials are investigating.
flashes were reported to the Defense Force Filter Center
in White Plains by Joseph Pulsoni, post supervisor, and
two ground force observers at a spotters' post atop an apartment
house here. The report was relayed to an area radar station,
according to Maj. F. B. Johnson, commanding the filter center.
York, New York, TIMES, 30 July 1952, pages 1 & 10
Force Debunks 'Saucers' As Just 'Natural Phenomena'
Intelligence Chief Denies a Menace Exists
- 'Objects' Believed to Be Reflections, but 'Adequate' Guard
Will Be Kept
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES
July 29 - Air Force headquarters skimmed away into the broken
dishware bin today the latest wave of "flying saucers."
It called them "natural phenomena" and announced
through high-ranking general officers that henceforth the
Air Force would treat reports of the disks with "adequate
but not frantic" attention.
by a new series of sightings of mysterious glowing objects
in the air over the Capital and elsewhere, the Air Force
called a press conference at the Pentagon to give out what
information it had.
the end of one hour and twenty minutes of exchange between
a large group of reporters and the Air Force's chief "saucer"
students, Maj. Gen. James A. Samford, Chief of Intelligence,
agreed to the following summary of his views:
So-called "flying saucers" constitute no menace
to the United States.
None of the several thousand "saucer" reports
checked by the Air Force in the last six years has disclosed
the existence of any material flying object, except where
the report emanated from an observer's sighting of a United
States plane or missile and his mistaking it for something
The United States has nothing in its arsenal of weapons,
either existing or developmental, that has an unlimited
speed and no mass, characteristics attributed to many alleged
Radar is capable of playing tricks for which it was not
designed; so is the human eye.
before the press in by no means a scoffing mood but, instead,
in an agreeable atmosphere of willingness to discuss everything
they knew, the Air Force officials said they considered
it the service's "obligation" to continue to investigate
Samford insisted, in the face of recent reports here from
both skilled pilots and radar operators who has sighted
"objects," that the great need in "saucer"
investigation was a method of measurement. Even trained
pilots, whose word is not doubted, he indicated, are not
capable of properly assessing the make-up of the fiery objects
that they have been reporting.
of today's conference emerged a favorite theory, but one
that the experts conceded did not answer everything.
is that in the kind of weather that has existed here - hot
and humid - there is created something known as a temperature
inversion. This, it was explained, is the existence of a
layer of cooler air stretched between two hot layers. This
condition can cause certain reflections of light for both
the human eye and the far-from-infallible radar screen,
which was designed to detect solid objects.
example, ground lights during inverted temperature periods
might very well appear reflected in the clouds as globes
of light. These reflections could be picked up both by airborne
pilots and by ground operators of radar apparatus, according
to General Samford and the staff of specialists he brought
to the news conference.
Time in Ten Days
times in the last ten days, it was disclosed, the Capital
area has reported flying objects, some stationery, others
moving at various speeds.
latest report came today from operators of the Civil Aeronautics
Administration radar apparatus at National Airport, who
said their equipment had picked up numerous objects from
2:30 to 6 A. M. A spokesman said as many as twelve unidentified
objects had appeared on the radar screen at one time but
that "no visual sightings were made." Consequently,
he added, the near-by Andrews Air Force Base was not notified
and no jet fighters were dispatched to investigate.
Samford's staff attempted to explain the supposedly moving
objects as sightings of separate phenomena.
an example of how ground objects or lights can be reflected
into the clouds and mistakenly identified, one Air Force
expert told of a pilot who nearly crashed his plane into
the ground while chasing an "object" that had
appeared in his airplane's radar screen.
Air Force experts said that although they had run down more
than 1,000 supposed sightings of "saucers" or
other objects in recent years, only 20 per cent of the reports
from creditable sources remained unexplained.
that signs in the sky of one sort or another dated at least
to Biblical times. General Samford said that one reason
for the "saucer" flurries was undoubtedly the
great increase in man-made activity in the air. He also
cited "jumpiness" because of war fears and, without
quite saying so, the desire of some persons to seek publicity.
also said that a trained Air Force pilot, or an experienced
radar operator, assigned to chase "saucers" or
define them on his radar screen, also were subject to "curiosity
stimulus" that would result in overemphasis.
Geographical Pattern Seen
Samford, who was joined in the discussion by Maj. Gen. Roger
Ramey, Operations Chief of the Air Force, said that he was
satisfied not only that none of the "saucer sightings"
represented the flight of any vehicle, missile or anything
else material but also that the geographical pattern of
the sightings represented nothing significant.
there have been a large number of so-called "sightings"
around such installations as those of the Atomic Energy
Commission, General Samford attributed to the "sensitiveness"
of the areas and the staff. It did not follow, he said,
that the reports from critical defense areas were any more
accurate or reliable than those received from an Iowa cornfield.
was also brought out that radar had for many years been
picking up "blips" on its screens created by other
things than aircraft.
announcing that its investigation of "saucer"
phenomena would go forward, the Air Force said that it was
purchasing 200 relatively inexpensive cameras equipped with
defraction grids that, when focused on light phenomena,
would disclose the source of the light.
also is being given to the purchase of a special telescope
with a wide angle lens that could photograph large sections
of the sky and show up the appearance of light phenomena.
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES
PLAINS, N. Y., July 29 - The Air Raid Filter Center here,
clearing house for information from observation posts in
twenty-six counties of the New York area, reported an increase
today in the discovery of "unidentified airborne objects"
since the 139 posts of the area had gone on 'round-the-clock
duty July 14.
of the Eastern Air Defense Force near Newburgh, in command
of this center and others, replied that strange objects
in the air had been reported in the last twenty-four hours
in southwestern Indiana, Jersey City, Plainfield, N. J.,
the normal performance of its assigned mission," the
headquarters said, it sends fighter intercept aircraft aloft
"whenever unknown aerial objects are detected in its
area with sufficient definiteness to warrant attempted interception."
WEST, Fla., July 29 (AP) - Navy officials said today "we're
investigating thoroughly" reports of a fiery object
that streaked across the sky Saturday evening. A destroyer
escort was sent to sea, but officers would not elaborate.
Over the Bahamas
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES
the Bahamas, July 29 - From a remote settlement here where
the people probably never heard about "flying saucers"
came a report today that about two weeks ago a group of
persons had seen flying objects "streaming across sky."
They described them as noiseless, whiter and much faster
than any plane, and spoke of them as guided missiles.
a 'Radar Ghost'
By WILLIAM L. LAURENCE
on the radarscope, which have started the latest mass delusion
about the "flying saucers," are phenomena that
became well known to the Navy in World War II.
deceptive "radar ghosts" have led warships to
shell an empty ocean in the belief that they were firing
at an enemy. They are sometimes produced by a layer of warm
air, and a wag in scientific circles here remarked yesterday
that such a layer of superheated air might have just arrived
over Washington from the Chicago political conventions.
effect of atmospheric irregularities on radar waves was
the subject of a special study during the war by the Wave
Propagation Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, of which
Prof. Donald H. Menzel, Harvard University astrophysicist,
explanation for the widespread rumors and credulity about
the myth of the "flying saucers" must be sought,
however, not in the realm of the physical sciences, but
in the sphere of mass psychology. No matter what evidence
may be presented to debunk them, the rumors will continue
to spread for a time until the novelty wears off and the
public takes up a new fantasy.
are fashions in fantasies, depending on the times and the
seasons. In the Nineteen Twenties there was the Loch Ness
Monster in Scotland, which was "seen" by hundreds.
In the Gay nineties, the newspapers were filled with reports
about a mysterious cigar-shape "airship" allegedly
"seen" over many parts of the country.
was believed for a time that the present mystery of the
so-called flying saucers had been cleared up by Dr. Urner
Liddel, Chief of the Nuclear Physics Branch of the Office
of Naval Research.
February, 1951, he announced that what had been described
as "flying saucers" were plastic, unmanned sounding
balloons with diameters of a hundred feet, called "skyhooks."
The balloons had been sent up as high as twenty miles since
1947 (the year when "flying saucers" were first
reported) for the purpose of gathering information about
cosmic rays and the upper atmosphere.
Liddel and his scientific colleagues had examined hundreds
of reports about "flying saucers," and they found
that nearly all came from honestly mistaken persons. Sunlight
reflected by an aircraft, wind-blown objects, light on a
weather balloon, a running light on a plane, a meteor, the
planet Uranus in certain positions accounted for what honest
observers believed were "saucers."
York, New York, TIMES, 4 November 1957, page 9
'Egg' Reported over Texas Highway
LEVELLAND, Tex., Nov. 3 (UP) - A glowing egg-shaped object
reportedly streaked over west Texas and New Mexico last
night. One man said he saw it sitting on a highway.
A. Lee of Abilene, who said he had spent twenty years studying
"flying saucers," said, "I think it's a space
Lee is a member of the National Investigations Committee
on Aerial Phenomena.
object was also reported seen in the vicinities of Midland,
110 miles south of Levelland, and Clovis, N.M., about seventy
miles northwest of Levelland.
D. Long of Waco said the object had killed the engine of
his automobile and put out the headlights. Two other motorists
said it had done the same thing to their cars.
Long said the object appeard to be about 200 feet long and
landed in the highway in front of his car. When he got out
to investigate the thing took off straight up, he said.
York, New York, TIMES, 5 November 1957, page 22
OBJECTS BRING ON INQUIRY
Air Force Acts on Sightings in Texas and
New Mexico Atom Testing Site
Nov. 4 (AP) - The Air Force said today it was investigating
reports of a lighted object said by witnesses to have flown
over West Texas and touched ground with strange results.
of the object flying with a "great sound and rush of
wind," and of such incidents as auto engines stopping
as they approached it on the ground, came from several places
over the week-end.
Air Force spokesman said a preliminary investigation had
been ordered. In reply to questions as to the significance
of such an order, he said: "We don't investigate all
of them, after all."
investigations are made by available Air Force personnel
in the area. General jurisdiction over reports of flying
saucers and the like belongs to the Air Technical Intelligence
Center at Wright-Patterson Base in Ohio, which orders more
detailed investigations if preliminary check-ups indicate
such a need.
object reported yesterday near Levelland, Tex., was described
variously as a burning mass, a big light and a red, egg-shaped
mass 200 feet long. Among those who said they had seen it
were a sheriff and one of his deputies.
SANDS PROVING GROUNDS, N. M., Nov. 4 (AP) - The Army said
today that a huge, oval object "nearly as bright as
the sun" was spotted yesterday above bunkers used in
the first atomic explosions.
sightings were made seventeen hours apart by two military
police patrols on this missile testing range. The first
atomic bomb was touched off on the northern edge of the
area in 1945.
commanding officer of the M. P.'s said none had heard radio
reports or seen newspaper accounts of similar sightings
sightings were in the area of abandoned bunkers used by
technicians who observed the first atomic explosion. The
bunkers are of reinforced concrete and dirt, and contain
no equipment or personnel. The explosion site, leveled and
filled in, is several miles away.
patrol saw a bright light that took off at a 45-degree angle
and started blinking. Then it disappeared.
earlier sighting was made by two soldiers in a jeep. They
noticed a "very bright object" high in the sky.
It descended until it was about fifty yards above the bunkers
when it went out, they reported.
few minutes later, they said, "the object became real
bright, like the sun, then fell in an angle to the ground
and went out." It was described as seventy-five to
100 yards in diameter and shaped like an egg. An officer
accompanied some M. P.'s to the site but found nothing.
patrol had had motor trouble with their jeeps.
Nov. 4 (UP) - Three suburban policemen said today they had
seen an aerial phenomenon similar to one reported in West
Texas and New Mexico.
said a bright, cigar-shaped cylinder had appeared in the
early morning, and had dimmed the headlights and spotlight
of their squad car. They chased it until it rose out of
sight, they added.
York, New York, TIMES, 28 February 1960, page 30
FORCE ORDER ON 'SAUCERS' CITED
Pamphlet by the Inspector General Called
Objects a 'Serious Business'
Feb. 27 (UPI) - The Air Force has sent its commands a warning
to treat sightings of unidentified flying objects as "serious
business" directly related to the nation's defense,
it was learned today.
Air Force spokesman confirmed issuance of the directive
after portions of it were made public by a private "flying
new regulations were issued by the Air Force inspector general
regulations, revising similar ones issued in the past, outlined
procedures and said that "investigations and analysis
of UFO's are directly related to the Air Force's responsibility
for the defense of the United States."
of the document was revealed by the National Investigations
Committee on Aerial Phenomena.
privately financed committee accused the Air Force of deception
in publicly describing reports of unidentified flying objects
as delusions and hoaxes while sending the private admonition
to its commands.
Admiral R. H. Hillenkoetter (Ret.), a committee board member
and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency,
said in a statement that a copy of the inspector general's
warning had been sent to the Senate Science and Astronautics
is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional
hearings," he said.
Air Force confirmed that the document had been issued. A
spokesman said it was put out by Maj. Gen. Richard E. O'Keefe,
acting inspector general at the time, to call attention
to revised Air Force regulations concerning unidentified
statement was included in an "operations and training"
pamphlet circulated at intervals to bring commands up to
aides said the new regulations covering seven printed pages,
made no substantive change in policy but had been rewritten
as a matter of course.
Air Force has investigated 6,312 reports of flying objects
since 1947, including 183 in the last six months of 1959.
The latest Air Force statement, issued a month ago said
"no physical or material evidence, not even a minute
fragment of a so-called flying saucer, has ever been found."
Hillenkoetter said that "behind the scenes, high-ranking
Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFO's."
through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are
led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense,"
the retired admiral said. He charged that "to hide
the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel"
through the issuance of a regulation.
York, New York, TIMES, 15 December 1960, page 16
Is Warned to Prepare For Discovery of Life in Space
Brookings Institution Report Says Earth's
Civilization Might Topple if Faced by a Race of Superior
Dec. 14 (UPI) - Discovery of life on other worlds could
cause the earth's civilization to collapse, a Federal report
warning was contained in a research report given to the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration with the recommendation
that the world prepare itself mentally for the eventuality.
report, prepared by the Brookings Institution, said "while
the discovery of intelligent life in other parts of the
universe is not likely in the immediate future, it could
nevertheless happen at any time."
of intelligent beings on other planets could lead to an
all-out effort by earth to contact them, or it could lead
to sweeping changes or even the downfall of civilization,
the report said.
on earth, it added, "societies sure of their own place
have disintegrated when confronted by a superior society,
and others have survived even though changed."
the better we can come to understand the factors involved
in responding to such crises the better prepared we may
agency's 190-page report, prepared at a cost of $96,000,
was for the space agency's committee on long-range studies.
The authors, headed by Donald N. Michael, also recommended
further study of other space activities, including the diplomatic
and propaganda effects and the implications of communications
and weather satellites.
the question of life in outer space, the report said that
if intelligent or semi-intelligent beings were discovered
in the next twenty years they would probably be found by
radio communications with other solar systems.
of such existence "might also be found in artifacts
left on the moon or other planets," it said.
attempt already has been made to contact outer space. Government
scientists at Greenbank, W. Va., used radio antennas in
an effort to pick up signals that might have been beamed
by intelligent beings. They concentrated on a star about
fifteen light years away.
sent out from Greenbank were of a kind that would show to
anyone listening on other planets that they were man-made,
not the result of natural phenomena.
York, New York, TIMES, 20 April 1962, page 10
Lights West; Utah's Hills Searched
EUREKA, Utah, April 19 (UPI) - A giant ball of fire, which
lighted the ground below as though it were a flare, was
seen from California to Kansas last night. It was thought
to have exploded or hit the ground somewhere in central
sheepherders in the hills south of here were questioned
by Air Force police officers from near-by Hill Air Force
Base, at Ogden, Utah, and by a deputy sheriff and three
residents of Eureka said they believed the object had exploded
about ten miles from the town. There were conflicting reports
on its size, color and trajectory. Dr. Robert Kadesh, Associate
Professor of Physics at the University of Utah, said it
had probably been a bolide, a type of exploding meteor.
were reported in Nevada, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Arizona,
New Mexico, Wyoming, Kansas and California, in addition
York, New York, TIMES, 10 December 1965, page 32
FIRE FLASH SEEN OVER 6 STATES
PITTSBURGH, Dec. 9 (UPI) - A flash of orange fire or a "fireball"
was sighted in the sky today by airplane pilots and residents
in six states and Canada.
debris was reported in ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
sources indicated they believed it was a meteorite. Dr.
Paul Annear at Baldwin College in Berea, Ohio, said the
object could have been a bolide, a meteor that disintegrates
while falling to earth.
orange flash was sighted in Windsor, Ont., Michigan, Indiana,
Northern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and New York, and Northern
policemen and Army and Air Force officials converged tonight
on a wooded, mountainous area, 30 miles south of here, where
a woman reported seeing a round, smoldering object crash
to the earth.
Lapeer, Mich., 40 miles north of Detroit, two small stacks
of shredded foil were found in a swamp after the sheriff's
department received reports of a ball of fire crashing there.
York, New York, TIMES, 18 December 1969, pages 1 & 41
FORCE CLOSES STUDY OF U.F.O.'S
Secretary Says Investigation Can No Longer
RICHARD D. LYONS
Special to The New York Times
Dec. 17 - The Air Force ended today its investigation of
unidentified flying objects.
Robert C. Seamans Jr., Secretary of the Air Force, said
in a memorandum that continuation of the study "no
longer can be justified either on the ground of national
security or in the interest of science."
Blue Book, the program's code name, has investigated 12,618
sighting reports at a cost of several million dollars since
its start 22 years ago.
a committee of the National Academy of Sciences and a group
at the University of Colorado concluded earlier this year
that further studies of the so-called flying saucers - known
as "U.F.O.'s" or "unknowns" by those
who maintain an active interest in them - would be a waste
of time and money.
the Air Force announcement was hailed by a number of saucer
Air Force decision opens the way for a fresh look at the
U.F.O. problem," said Stuart Nixon, the secretary-treasurer
of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena.
cluttered headquarters of NICAP, on the top floor of an
old building off Dupont Circle here, was bustling with activity
after the Air Force announcement as newsmen sought comments
from Mr. Nixon.
official of NICAP, pronounced to rhyme with skycap, said
"U.F.O.'s can now be given the serious scientific attention
they require, free from military considerations." Mr.
Nixon said a Federal-private agency should now take over
U.F.O. investigations, and he offered the full cooperation
of his committee.
Air Force said reports of "unknowns" had fallen
from a high of 1,501 in 1952 to 146 this year. Mr. Nixon
said sightings occurred almost weekly. He cited the report
of a group of Richmond, Va. policemen who said they saw
an object maneuvering over the city at 5:45 A.M. on Dec.
Nixon conceded that the Air Force had spent a "nice
piece of change" on Project Blue Book, but he contended
that the money had been mis-spent. U.F.O. investigations
he said, now could be shifted to a higher level with "the
Bryan of Richmond, the retired Air Force colonel who is
acting president of NICAP, said he was "delighted"
with Dr. Seamans's decision.
James McDonald of the University of Arizona, a meteorologist,
complained that the Air Force was "writing off the
U.F.O. problem, which cries for vigorous scientific study."
Dr. Edward U. Condon of the University of Colorado, the
physicist who headed the committee that turned in the 1,485-page
report last January, said recently that his investigation
"was a bunch of damned nonsense" and that he was
"sorry I ever got involved in such foolishness."
York, New York, TIMES, 14 January 1979, page 23
PAPERS DETAIL U.F.O. SURVEILLANCE
Agency's Secret Studies Convince Arizona
Research Group That Flying Saucers 'Are Real'
to The New York Times
Jan. 13 - Documents obtained in a lawsuit against the Central
Intelligence Agency show that the agency is secretly involved
in the surveillance of unidentified flying objects and has
been since 1949, an Arizona-based U.F.O. group said yesterday.
C.I.A. has repeatedly said that it investigated and closed
its books on U.F.O.'s during 1952, according to Ground Saucer
Watch, a nation-wide research organization of about 500
scientists, engineers and others who seek to scientifically
prove or disprove the existence of U.F.O.'s, but 1,000 pages
of documents obtained under a freedom of information suit,
show "the Government has been lying to us all these
years," it said.
reviewing the documents, Ground Saucer Watch believes that
U.F.O.'s do exist, they are real, the U.S. Government has
been totally untruthful and the cover-up is massive,"
William Spaulding, head of the group, said.
Spaulding, an aerospace engineer with AiResearch, one of
the largest producers of specialized aerospace components,
said the documents show that United States embassies are
used to help gather information on U.F.O. sightings and
that the information "seems to be directed to the C.I.A.,
the White House and the National Security Agency."
C.I.A. memo of Aug. 1, 1952, recommends continued agency
surveillance of "flying saucers," saying, "It
is strongly urged, however, that no indication of C.I.A.
interest or concern reach the press or public, in view of
their probably alarmist tendencies to accept such interest
as 'confirmatory' of the soundness of 'unpublished facts'
in the hands of the U.S. Government," the document
the documents are several detailed reports of Air Force
attempts to either intercept or destroy U.F.O.'s.
a 1976 incident in Iran, one report says, two F-4 Phantom
jet fighter-bombers pursued a large U.F.O. that seemed to
send out smaller craft. One of the smaller craft "headed
straight toward the F-4 at a very fast rate of speed,"
the report said. "The pilot attempted to fire an AIM-9
missile at the object but at that instant his weapons control
panel went off and he lost all communications." The
pilot eluded the craft, then watched as it "returned
to the primary object for a perfect rejoin," the report
About Russian Aims
major point of concern, a C.I.A. document of Oct. 2, 1952,
shows, is that U.F.O. sightings could mask Russian air attacks
or "psychological warfare." The report - to the
director of Central Intelligence from the assistant director
for the Office of Scientific Intelligence - recommends that
the National Security Council be advised of the "implications
of the 'flying saucer' problem"; that the matter be
discussed with the Psychological Strategy Board, and that
the C.I.A. help "develop...a policy of public information
which will minimize concern and possible panic resulting
from the numerous sightings of unidentified objects."
document dated November 1975, directs against acknowledging
any pattern in sightings. "Unless there is evidence
which links sightings, or unless media queries link sightings,
queries can best be handled individually at the source and
as questions arise," it said. "Response should
be direct, forthright and emphasize that the action taken
was in response to an isolated or specific incident."
Spaulding says the documents show that there are links and
patterns in the sightings. From that evidence, he says,
he believes U.F.O.'s are here on surveillance missions.
find a concentration of sightings around our military installations,
research and development areas," he said. "The
U.F.O. phenomenon is following what our own astronauts are
doing on other planets - we send a scoutship, we take soil
samples and then we land."
Spaulding said he has sworn statements from retired Air
Force colonels that at least two U.F.O.'s have crash-landed
and been recovered by the Air Force.
crash, he said, was in Mexico in 1948 and the other was
near Kingman, Ariz., in 1953. He said the retired officers
claimed they got a glimpse of dead aliens who were in both
cases about four feet tall with silverish complexions and
wearing silver outfits that "seemed fused to the body
from the heat."
Spaulding said his group is waiting now for a Federal judge
to rule on the last phase of its C.I.A. suit, which seeks
access to 57 items that would provide "hard evidence"
of U.F.O.'s or "retrievals of the third kind."
That evidence includes motion pictures, gun camera film
and residue from landings, he said.
the films they want is 40 to 48 frames taken in 1952 by
Ralph Mayher, then a cameraman for KYW-TV in Cleveland and
now a member of Ground Saucer Watch. The Air Force borrowed
the film in 1957 and has never returned it. The official
finding was that the object had been a meteor, Mr. Spaulding
past the story-telling stage," Mr. Spaulding said.
"We have to have it in black and white to satisfy the
scientific community. We have to establish the existence
of the object to all the people in Missouri and then figure
out who's driving it."
York, New York, TIMES, 25 August 1984, pages 25 & 42
Sights Brighten The Night Skies Upstate
Special to The New York Times
CASTLE, N.Y., Aug. 24 - The public hearing was plodding
along routinely at the Town Hall one night last month.
of a sudden, a cop burst in yelling: 'The U.F.O.'s here!
The U.F.O.'s here!'" said Peter A. Brandenberg, a 43-year-old
real-estate developer. "Everyone jumped up and jolted
out. We went flying down the stairs to see this thing, just
staring at it."
a night before that, William A. Pollard was driving along
Interstate 84 near Brewster.
Wait a Minute Here'
neighbors said they had seen something," said Mr. Pollard,
29, the manager of an automobile service center. "I
said, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah.' I never believed in that stuff.
But off in a field I saw this gigantic triangle with lights,
about 30 feet off the ground - hovering. Then it turned
off its lights and shot straight up - straight up. That's
when I said,'Whoa! Wait a minute here.'"
northern Westchester County, Dutchess and Putnam Counties
and western Connecticut this summer, thousands of residents
have reported strange objects in the sky - each usually
in a V-shape or a circle, about the size of a football field,
absolutely noiseless and outlined in brilliant lights of
white, red or green.
night, the curious sometimes crowd the Taconic Parkway,
a prime site for viewing. A hot line has been set up in
Westchester to field inquiries. And in shopping centers
and at parties, the talk is of a secret weapon or of close
Police Call It a Hoax
state police say the "object" is really five or
six small planes flying in tight formation as part of a
hoax. Some residents are not so sure. And others say that
if that really is the case, authorities ought to put an
end to it.
it's not a U.F.O.," said Irene Lunn of Mahopac, "I
want to know exactly what it is and what it's doing around
here. And I want it stopped."
Lunn was among those who reported the most recent sightings,
this past Monday night. She was coming home from the supermarket
at 9 P.M. with her 5-year-old daughter, Erica, when, she
said, "I saw it over a pond on a nearby farm, high
enough to just clear the trees, traveling south."
wasn't an airplane, it wasn't a helicopter, it wasn't a
hang glider," Mrs. Lunn went on. "There was no
sound at all, you could hear the crickets."
described an object "about three-quarters the size
of my house, with an L-shaped structure suspended underneath
actually stopped over the house," Mrs. Lunn said. "At
one point, all the lights went green, then red, then they
went back to a pattern of green and red and white. I felt
like it was letting us know it knew we were watching it.
That was scary. It went on for about 10 minutes."
state and local police are flooded with calls every time
the objects are seen. Many of the sightings have been reported
by police officers on patrol.
officer, according to Sgt. Kenneth V. Spiro of Troop K of
the state police, which is responsible for the area in which
sightings have been, followed the object.
tracked it to Stormville airport," the sergeant said.
"It was a group of light planes. They fly in formation.
The undersides and under the wings are painted black, so
they can't be seen from the ground. The planes are rigged
with bright lights that they can turn from one color to
another. It's the lights that give the shape to the U.F.O."
Lunn of Mahopac, N.Y., with camera
she is using in her watch for an object she
has seen hovering near her home. Photo, left,
of lights in sky was made by James H. Brooks
last month in Peekskill.
trooper spoke to a couple of the pilots, and they're getting
a big kick out of it. There's no violation of the law here."
He refused to give the name of the trooper or of the pilots
the trooper spoke to. The airport, a small field in Dutchess
County, was deserted the other evening. Neighbors said they
had seen no activity on recent nights.
for many people, questions remain. Some wondered how airplanes
could hover over an object or how they could shoot straight
up into the air. Others said that they had seen the hoaxers
but that they had also seen something different.
seen those jerks five or six times," Mr. Pollard said
of the pilots flying in formation. "They were nothing
like what I saw the first time, nothing like it at all."
Pollard said that "the first thing I saw was rigid
- absolutely rigid."
residents want a thorough investigation by the Federal Aviation
Administration. But the agency does not seem interested.
would we care about a U.F.O.?" said Louis Achitoff,
a spokesman for the eastern region of the F.A.A., in an
interview. "If the pilot's up there with a clearance
and at the right altitude, we don't care what planet he
were angry when told of the F.A.A. comment.
horrendous," Mrs. Lunn said. "That thing's not
flying over the F.A.A. Well, it's flying over my house and
my treetops and I want to know for sure what it is."
for additional comment, Timothy L. Hartnett, the deputy
director of the Eastern region of the F.A.A., said of the
hoaxers that there were no regulations prohibiting planes
from flying in formation.
A. Pollard of Carmel, N.Y., says he was skeptical of
U.F.O. reports until he saw a huge flying object while driving
one night near Brewster.
can fly as close together as they feel safe," he said.
And in areas of sparse population, planes could fly as low
as 500 feet, Mr. Hartnett said.
some residents say they have reported sightings to the F.A.A.,
including flights below the 500-foot limit, the agency said
it had received no such reports, and therefore had made
an effort to pull together information, Peter A. Gersten,
a criminal lawyer who has made sightings from his Peekskill
apartment, has organized a meeting for Saturday at the Henry
H. Welles school in Brewster. He has invited U.F.O. experts
and local officials.
those attending will be Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who is a retired
head of the astronomy department at Northwestern University,
former associate director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical
Observatory and former consultant to the Air Force on U.F.O.'s.
Hynek, the head of the Center for U.F.O. Studies, a private
group that acts as a clearinghouse for U.F.O. reports, said,
"When you have highly trained technical people, lawyers,
C.P.A.'s, government people seeing what they're seeing,
you have to look into it."
experts should have plenty of photographs to study at the
seeing quite a few U.F.O. pictures," said Greg Dunlap,
22, the manager of CPI Photo Finish in Yorktown. "People
come in and hand you the film and say: 'Be careful with
these. We ran outside with our camera because something
was flying over our house.' It breaks up the day for us.
You get tired of seeing Hawaii."
York, New York, TIMES, 10 October 1989, pages A1 & A10
Tass Bulletin: Knobby Aliens Were Here
ESTHER B. FEIN
Special to The New York Times
Oct. 9 - Everyone seems to be coming to the Soviet Union
these days: entrepreneurs in search of joint ventures, actors
looking for stage sets, heavy metal musicians, arm wrestlers,
official press agency Tass says towering extraterrestrial
creatures with little knobby heads have landed in the Russian
city of Voronezh, joining the flood of foreigners who have
invaded the Soviet Union in these days of glasnost and perestroika.
have confirmed that an unidentified flying object recently
landed in a park in the Russian city of Voronezh,"
Tass said in a straight-faced news report. "They have
also identified the landing site and found traces of aliens
who made a short promenade around the park."
while Soviet citizens usually embrace foreign visitors with
enthusiasm, Tass reported that the people in Voronezh who
saw the aliens "were overwhelmed with a fear which
lasted for several days."
authorities in Voronezh, some 300 miles southeast of Moscow,
could not be reached tonight for comment. A spokesman for
Tass, reached by telephone tonight, said the report was
neither a hoax or a joke. "It is a serious dispatch,"
the night duty officer at the agency said.
press agency has seemed to undergo a bizarre metamorphosis
in the last year or so. In addition to its traditional role
of dutifully reporting the comings and goings of Soviet
leaders, and often condemning those of American officials,
Tass has taken to writing supermarket-tabloid sensationalism
with all the seriousness due a superpower summit meeting.
with a steady flow of U.F.O. sightings, Tass in recent months
has carried reports on a man who, while sitting in a bathtub,
can create a huge soap bubble, get inside it and remain
there for 10 seconds; a "flamboyant" six-legged
bull whose two extra appendages grow upward off its back
(coincidentally, also from the Voronezh region); the elusive,
mysterious creature called the yeti, and a Tibetan doctor's
sex tips, advising that winter is the best time for amorous
activity and summer is the worst.
visitors are said to take a stroll in the park
in the Soviet Union have long been attracted by the mysterious
and the occult, and lately
the authorities seem to be feeding this interest. Two of
the hottest programs on state-run television these days
are psychic healers who promise to cure everything from
obesity to leukemia, in person or via the airwaves.
seems to be a particular fascination here with outer space
- quite apart from the Soviet obsession with the American
"Star Wars" program - and in February 1984 the
authorities here set up a Commission Into Abnormal Phenomena
after a "flying cigar" was spotted near the city
of Gorky, east of Moscow.
much talked about report last summer in the newspaper Sotsialisticheskaya
Industriya told of a milkmaid's encounter with a stubby-legged
alien in the Perm region of Central Russia.
Report Is Debunked
summer Tass reported on a U.F.O. hovering over a hill in
the Soviet Far East, showering the area with over 30 pounds
of debris that included mysterious, tiny golden hairs.
agency also debunked a report in Sotsialisticheskaya Industriya
this summer that asserted that a spaceship landed near southern
Moscow, leaving behind a huge scorched patch. Tass reported
that firefighters believe that a haystack caught fire and
singed the ground.
of the sightings, and even the "re-evaluations,"
are earnestly reported.
tonight's report was presented with a straight face and
with technical descriptions worthy of a major scientific
discovery. Genrikh Silanov, head of the Voronezh Geophysical
Laboratory, said in an interview with Tass that the landing
site was identified "by means of bilocation."
to Soviet reference books, bilocation is an extrasensory
method of tracking objects or people invisible to the human
Pieces of Rock'
Silanov described the landing spot as being about 20 yards
in diameter, with four small prominent dents "situated
in the four points of a rhomb." He said scientists
also found "two mysterious pieces of rock" that
resembled deep-red sandstone, but "mineralogical analysis"
determined that the substance "cannot be found on earth."
said Voronezh residents reported that the aliens visited
the place after dark at least three times. They arrived
in a large shining ball or disk, and emerged through a hatch,
accompanied by "a small robot," and went for a
"short promenade about the park."
also reported that witnesses claimed to have seen "a
banana-shaped object in the sky and a characteristic illuminated
sign." It said such descriptions had been reported
in the American magazine Saga, a regular in barbershops
and bowling alleys.
to dispel any notion that the Voronezh witnesses had been
influenced by reports in Saga, Tass said "it is unlikely
residents of Voronezh could have read the magazine."
Tass report does not indicate what brought the alien visitors
here. Perhaps they had seen advertisements, which are now
displayed on the outside of Soviet spaceships.
York, New York, TIMES, 11 October 1989, page A6
Landing Is Fact, Not Fantasy, the Russians Insist
ESTHER B. FEIN
Special to The New York Times
Oct. 10 - It is not a joke, nor a hoax, nor a sign of mental
instability, nor an attempt to drum up local tourism by
drawing the curious, the Soviet press agency Tass insisted
today in discussions of what it called an extraterrestrial
visit to southern Russia.
of the city of Voronezh insisted today that lanky, three-eyed
extraterrestrial creatures had indeed landed in a local
park and gone for a stroll and that a seemingly fantastic
report about the event carried Monday by the official press
agency Tass was absolutely true.
was not an optical illusion," said Lieut. Sergei A.
Matveyev of the Voronezh district police station, who said
in a telephone interview that he saw the landing of the
U.F.O. on Sept. 27.
Matveyev confessed that he had not actually seen the aliens,
but said he saw the spaceship and "it was certainly
a body flying in the sky," moving noiselessly at a
very high speed and very low altitude.
be honest, Lieutenant Matveyev said, he was a little skeptical
himself when he first saw the object. "I thought I
must be really tired," he said, "but I rubbed
my eyes and it didn't go away. Then I figured, in this day
and age, anything is possible."
the sensationalist tone that has lately infected the once-staid
Tass, the press agency today provided more details of the
U.F.O. landing in Voronezh, a city some 300 miles southeast
this day and age, anything is possible.'
to Tass, and a report today in the newspaper Sovetskaya
Kultura, two boys and a girl from a local school - Vasya
Surin, Zhenya Blinov and Yuliya Sholokhova - were playing
in a park on the warm evening of Sept. 27 when suddenly,
at half past six, "they saw a pink shining in the sky
and then spotted a ball of deep red color" about 10
yards in diameter. A crowd gathered, "and they could
clearly see a hatch opening in the lower part of the ball
and a humanoid in the opening."
Stare Silences Boy
three-eyed creature, about nine feet tall and fashionably
dressed in silvery overalls and bronze boots and with a
disk on its chest, disappeared, then landed and came out
for a promenade with a companion and a robot.
aliens seemed to communicate with each other, producing
the mysterious appearance of a shining triangle, and activated
the robot with a touch.
a boy began to scream, but with a stare of the alien's shining
eyes, Tass said, the boy was silenced and paralyzed.
a brief disappearance, the three returned, but this time
one of the "humanoids" had "what looked like
a gun" by his side - a tube about two feet long that
it directed at a 16-year-old boy. The boy, whose name was
not given in the report, promptly vanished, but reappeared
after the alien embarked in the ball.
A. Moiseyev, director of the regional health department,
said in a telephone interview that despite reports of widespread
fear in the city, none of the witnesses had applied for
medical help. But he said that "certainly we are planning
to examine the children." There was no explanation
why, with the passing of two weeks, such an examination
had not yet taken place.
Moiseyev, like other authorities in Voronezh, the editors
of Tass, and indeed many of its readers, treated the report
as a serious scientific phenomenon. No extra men are assigned
to patrol the area because the department is short-handed,
said the duty officer at the local Interior Ministry department,
who identified himself only by his last name, Larin, but
he said troops would be dispatched "if they appear
Tass corespondent covering the case of the mysterious visitors
to Voronezh, Vladimir V. Lebedev, seemed insulted that anyone
would treat the story with anything but the full seriousness
that it was given by the agency.
a telephone interview, Mr. Lebedev described conversations
with dozens of witnesses and with experts who had examined
the evidence and spoken to the children. He said there were
about three landings of the U.F.O. between Sept. 23 and
the latest development, not yet reported by Tass, Mr. Lebedev
said that Genrikh M. Silanov, head of the Voronezh Geophysical
Laboratory, today asked the children to draw what they had
Said to Be Similar
isolated from one another, he said, the children all drew
a banana-shaped object that left behind in the sky the sign
of the letter X. Such descriptions, Mr. Silanov said, were
reported as typical of U.F.O.'s in a 1976 article in the
now defunct American magazine Saga. Mr. Silanov said today
that a rock that was reportedly found at the site and described
as being not something found on earth was actually a form
of hematite, which is found in various parts of the Soviet
not a witness himself, Mr. Lebedev said he had visited the
site. "The traces were still seen," he said. "I
could see holes of a clear shape that resembled the footprints
of an elephant."
said his reports from Voronezh would continue.
York, New York, TIMES, 12 October 1989, page A18
Thrill for Tass: Joshing Over Its U.F.O. Report
report by the Soviet press agency Tass that lanky, three-eyed
creatures took a stroll through a Soviet park last month
has caused such reverberations in the United States that
they have bounced back to Tass itself.
agency reported Tuesday that major American television networks
and newspapers, which it said typically avoid stories about
unidentified flying objects, "played up the space adventure,
frequently poking fun and suggesting that the beings from
outer space might be a result of overzealous glasnost."
Tass report, written by an American working for the agency,
did not sound resentful. It quoted Edwin Diamond, a New
York Magazine media critic, who criticized what he called
the story's shallowness, saying, "What did the Academy
of Science think?" and "Where are the pictures?"
it quoted Yervant Turzian of the Cornell University Astronomy
Department, who said fellow academics regarded the story
as a joke.
of Creature Is Broadcast
the physical parameters of the universe, the possibility
of life on other planets is high," he told Tass. "But
the vast majority of these reports can be explained by such
logical phenomena as unconventional aircraft in the sky
or artificial satellites."
the other hand, Tass found that "A Current Affair,"
the syndicated news and entertainment show, was taking the
report seriously enough to plan on sending a film crew to
Voronezh. That is where Tass originally reported that three
children had said they saw aliens emerge from a ball, wearing
night, Soviet television viewers saw a picture of one of
the creatures on the main nightly news program "Vremya,"
in the form of a scribbled drawing by one of the children.
It showed a smiling stick figure inside a glowing two-legged
sounded more skeptical than the original Tass report, but
it offered without comment an interview with Vasya Surin,
one of the purported witnesses.
Didn't Have a Head'
were scared," said Vasya, who appeared to be about
11. "It hovered over this tree. Then the door opened
and a tall person of about three meters looked out. He didn't
have a head, or shoulders either. He just had a kind of
hump. There he had three eyes, two on each side and one
in the middle."
said the alien had two holes instead of a nose, and could
not turn its head, so it had to swivel its middle eye.
"Vremya" cast some doubt on the reports of the
sighting, noting, for instance, that there were no adult
witnesses, even though a large apartment house overlooked
the first U.F.O. sightings in the 1940's, spaceships have
been described as sausages, cigars, balls, bananas, crescents,
round straw hats, eggs, mushrooms, disks and, especially
saucers. But, in the 1980's "Saucers are out; boomerangs
are in," said Jim Speiser, a computer expert in Scottsdale,
Ariz. He founded a national U.F.O. computer network in 1986
because he thought there should be an exchange of information
instead of disputes among people who reacted variously to
U.F.O. stories, "from skeptics to wild-eyed gee-whiz
a telephone interview, Mr. Speiser said of the reported
Soviet sighting: "I think Tass is exploring its new
freedom and is not used to self-censorship. I don't disbelieve,
but we have much better stories in this country."
surprised - but only because he thinks the media ignores
U.F.O. reports - is Tim Beckley of Inner Light Publications.
He edits U.F.O. Universe, a glossy magazine that prints
100,000 copies six times a year and distributes them internationally.
Beckley said that he is a journalist, not a scientist, and
that he is almost as puzzled about U.F.O.'s now as he was
when he saw his first in 1957, as a 10-year-old in New Brunswick,
N.J. "It's kind of a cosmic game those entities seem
to be playing with us," he said.
York, New York, TIMES, 14 October 1989, page 24
the Soviet press agency. has reported the landing of an
extraterrestrial vehicle in the Russian city of Voronezh.
The creatures who emerged were nine feet tall, with little
knobby heads and three eyes. They had a small robot in tow
and went for a "short promenade about the park,"
some Americans have harbored reservations about Tass reports
in past years, this is one they can embrace with more enthusiasm.
The United States has its own share of U.F.O. watchers,
but the extraterrestrials they describe have been decidedly
uncouth. The aliens who visit America tend to kidnap their
hosts, in some cases erasing from memory many salient details
of an otherwise unforgettable experience.
Voronezh visitors, in welcome contrast, were peaceable.
They didn't interfere in current political arrangements.
They didn't lecture, proselytize, or find fault with local
mores. One can overlook their failure to seek an introduction
to the Mayor. Behaving in a perfectly normal manner for
sightseers on strange planets, they just walked around the
park, leaving behind two pieces of deep-red rock of a kind
that, according to a geologist quoted by Tass, "cannot
be found on earth."
are any number of solemn explanations for for Tass's remarkable
report. Some argue that the long suppression of religion
in the Soviet Union has given Russians a particular fondness
for the supernatural.
suggest that Soviet reporters and editors have only recently
begun to develop the skeptical armor that Western journalists
acquire after being fooled a few dozen times. That may also
explain why even the hard-boiled Government officials who
oversee Tass found the Voronezh report sufficiently plausible
explanations miss the point. If extraterrestrial visitors
have to land somewhere, why not in Voronezh? Skepticism
can be taken too far. These very columns, in 1920, poured
scorn on the idea of a certain Robert Goddard that rockets
could fly in the vacuum of space. Mr. Goddard, the editorial
regretted, " only seems to lack the knowledge ladled
out daily in high schools."
surely as rockets can never fly in space, Tass has broken
the story of the century.
York, New York, TIMES, 15 October 1989, page E7
(3) Eyes Were On Him
Surin saw the aliens. In a park in Voronezh, 300 miles southeast
of Moscow. Tass, the official Soviet news agency, said so,
in a straight-faced report that conveniently, and perhaps
not coincidentally, provided the Soviet public last week
with plenty to ponder besides bare food shelves and chaotic
politics. Tass said the landing had been confirmed "scientifically"
and through "biolocation." "one, two or three
creatures similar to humans and a small robot came out"
of the ball-shaped spacecraft, Tass said. Vasya, one of
several witnesses to the encounter, told another Soviet
publication the aliens were nine feet tall, had a hump where
their heads should have been and had three eyes apiece.
With psychic and paranormals garnering high ratings on Soviet
television, it was just a matter of time, perhaps, before
the press would get into the act.
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