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The New York Times

New York, New York, TIMES, 19 September 1897, page 7

Report that an Airship, Believed to be Andree's, was Seen Over Siberia Is Confirmed.


No Reason Given to Explain Why He Did Not Descend Before If He Has Journeyed Across the Polar Regions.

ST. 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 explorer mentioned.

Prof. 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.

The 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.

Aside 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:

"1. The greatest probability is that the balloon will land in Siberia, in about latitude 70 north and longitude 135 east.

"2. That it will land on the Samoyeden Peninsula, in latitude 70 north, longitude 70 east.

"3. 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.

"4. That it will land in British North America in latitude 67 north, longitude 100 west."

What Andrée Expected.

Concerning 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:

"For 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.

"In 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.

Besides 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.

Just 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.

"We 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."

"We 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.

Check on the Balloon's Diving.

"But 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."

The 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.

Besides 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.

When 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 north.

New York, New York, TIMES, 22 July 1937, page 3

Sighted, Eastbound, by Steamship 500 Miles Off Cape Race

A 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.

At 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.

Howard 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 Coast.

New York, New York, TIMES, 21 December 1944, page 5

Silver Spheres Above City Have No Effect, Capital Says

WASHINGTON, 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.

The 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 2 January 1945, pages 1 & 4

Balls 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.

American 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.

The 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.

"There 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."

The 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.

"A '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."

"On 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."

"When 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."

[An 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 over Germany.]

Lieut. 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."

New York, New York, TIMES, 26 August 1945, page 4

Oddities in Weapons
Germans' Secret' Mines, Missiles, Craft Proving More Spectacular Than Lethal

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.

These 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.

One-man 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.

Some 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 to surface.

Foreign 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.

Jet-Propelled Aircraft

More 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.

There 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.

Little 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.

The 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.

The 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 shape.

Controlled Glider Bombs

The 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.

The 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.

New land mines - some of them non-metallic, others for use against personnel - have made their appearance in France.

The 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.

These 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 12 August 1946, pages 1 & 7

Swarm of Mysterious Rockets Is Seen Over Capital of Sweden

STOCKHOLM, 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.

[It 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.]

Reports 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.

Some reported that they had seen bombs crash. The general staff is working at high pressure tonight, investigating all reports, but nothing has been found.

The 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 no fire.

Witnesses said the barn could not have collapsed because of bad construction. The general staff is sending experts to interview them.

Swedes 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 V-weapons.

It 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 Believed Target

STOCKHOLM, 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.

Since 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.

Fragments examined by scientists gave little in the way of clues, except to indicate the presence of coke and other common materials.

Authorities, 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.

Nobody 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.

The newspaper Stockholms Tidmingen labeled a recent editorial "Ghost rockets and future war," and said the appearance of the missiles stressed the need for preparedness.

The 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.

Newspapers 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.

Only 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.

Military 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.

There 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 low.

These reports have been substantiated by a Swedish officer, a flier, who saw one of the rockets during a recent flight.


Rockets Reported Near Town

STOCKHOLM, 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 here.

One 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.

The objects emitted a white glow that illuminated the sky.

New York, New York, TIMES, 13 August 1946, page 4

Doolittle Believed Called In as Aide - Stockholm Studies Steps to End Violations

STOCKHOLM, 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.

It 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Sighted by Astronomer

The 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.

"I 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."

The 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.

The Swedish public named the missile the "phantom bomb," but now frequently is using the term "Russian V-4."

The Swedes notified their legation at Helsinki to be on the sharpest lookout and to notify Finnish authorities immediately if the bombs appeared again.


One Falls Near Stockholm

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 last night.

The barrage was the heaviest since the mysterious aerial missiles first were seen flashing through Swedish skies on May 24.

The 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.

One 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 coal clinkers.

The 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 14 August 1946, page 11

Missile Dives Into Lake Near Couple in Boat - Boy Scouts Report Sighting Bomb

STOCKHOLM, 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.

A 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 course.

The 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.

Despite 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.

"We have not found a thing," a military spokesman said.

Aftonbladet 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 newspaper declared.

If 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:

(1) "Sweden is systematically being dotted in on a Russian artillery map."

(2) "Sweden is being used as an object of demonstration, directed not to us but to the big world."


Acheson "Much Interested"

WASHINGTON, 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 11 October 1946, page 3

Swedish Inquiry Fails To Solve Rocket Case
By The Associated Press

STOCKHOLM, 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.

A 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."

The report added, however, that the objects were not the V-type bombs used by the Germans in the closing days of the war.

New York, New York, TIMES, 22 March 1947, page 58

'Phantom Bomb' Returns To Skies Over Sweden

STOCKHOLM, 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.

The 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.

The "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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 4 July 1947, page 26


WASHINGTON, 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.

The 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.

The 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.

However, 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.

Describing conversations with "a meteorologist from Langley Field, the Washington Air Forces spokesman said these meteorological "maybes" have been discussed:

That 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."

New York, New York, TIMES, 6 July 1947, pages 1 & 36

'Flying Saucers' Mystify Experts; May Be Prank of Nature, they Say

Scientists 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 imagination."

Military 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 sky.

Reports 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 widely.

The 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."

While 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.

The 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.

"I don't believe it, but I saw it," he said.

Yeoman 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 full investigation.

Reported Seen Over Maine

Civil Aeronautical Administration officials at Augusta, Me., The Associated Press reported, yesterday saw dozens of the missiles over the city traveling northerly.

Gordon 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" thrown in.

"Ice crystals, formed by nature high in the sky, could be as good an explanation as any until we discover the true facts," he said.

The Planetarium, he added, had been deluged with requests for information ever since the first reports.

He 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.

Movies of Crystals shown

Motion 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 their creation.

"Some 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.

Dr. 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.

He 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.

"I 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."

Loch Ness Monster Recalled

Yesterday 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 Philadelphia.

Ivan R. Tannehill, chief of the U. S. Weather Bureau's division of synoptic reports and forecasts, frankly was skeptical, according to The Associated Press.

"I'll have to see one before I make a guess what they are," he said.

Dr. Newbern Smith of the National Bureau of Standards, Washington, guessed:

"It is like one of these Loch Ness Monster stories. Once the reports get about, everyone thinks they see it."

An 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.


"Scientist" suggests Atomic Tie

LOS 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.

The Evening Herald and Express described its informant as a researcher on the Manhattan Atomic project and said he asked his name be withheld.


Lilienthal Scouts Idea

DENVER, 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.

The Post said a reporter held this brief telephone conversation with Mr. Lilienthal in Washington.

The 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."

Mr. Lilienthal interrupted to say "of course, I can't prevent anyone from saying foolish things."

New York, New York, TIMES, 7 July 1947, pages 1 & 5

Military Planes Hunt Sky Discs With Cameras in Vain on Coast
By The Associated Press

SAN 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.

Five 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 photographic equipment.

Col. G. R. Dodson, commanding, described their flight as a "routine patrol," but said they had been instructed to watch for the flying discs.

At Manhattan Beach, Calif., A. W. McKelvey took a Mustang fighter plane up above Van Nuys. For two hours he cruised at 35,000 feet.

"I didn't see a thing," he said when he landed.

Gen. 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.

"I've been out of touch with things for four or five days," he said. Then he went to Medford, Ore., on a fishing trip.

A 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 equipment.

First 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.

A 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.

Missile Theory Discounted

"We 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."

David 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.

Commenting 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 not energy.

Details of the Descriptions

Reports 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.

Nova 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.

He 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.

First 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.


"Washtubs" Fall and Vanish

SPOKANE, 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, and vanished.


Two Visitations in Jersey

New 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.

The 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.

In 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 hysteria."

Meantime, 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 8 July 1947, pages 1 & 46

'Disks' Soar Over New York, Now Seen Aloft in All Colors

The "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.

New 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.

Despite 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 hue.

Australia Tries an Idea

Just 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.

Within 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:

"Just 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."

But 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."

In 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."

Said the flier's boss, a little while later:

"Three 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."

Then 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.

In 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.

There 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.

An 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:

"I 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."

In 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.

Finally, 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.

Perhaps 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.

One 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, twinkle little bat
"How I wonder what you're at
"Up above the world you fly
"Like a tea-tray in the sky."

To which Alice responded:

"Well, I've heard something like that."

New York, New York, TIMES, 9 July 1947, pages 1 & 10

'Disk' 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 the World

Celestial 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.

This 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.

However, 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.

"The 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."

Then 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.

Within 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 flying disk."

He 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.

In 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.

Finally, 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.

Several 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.

However, 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 tray.

Then 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.

Michigan's 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.

Also 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."

Proof 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."

In 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.

The 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 rather briskly.

It 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:

"I 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 it."

New York, New York, TIMES, 9 January 1948, page 11

Plane Explodes Over Kentucky as That and Near States Report Strange Object

LOUISVILLE, 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.

The 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.

Two 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 base.

Two Hopkinsville pilots, James Garret and William Crenshaw, said they chased a flying object which they believed to be a balloon.

Astronomers 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.

In 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.

Col. 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.

"We lost contact in about twenty minutes," Colonel Hix said. "Two of the planes later called back and reported no success."

Captain 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.

Glenn 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.

"The 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."

Captain 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.

Since leaving active duty a year ago, he has been associated with the Kentucky Air National Guard.

New York, New York, TIMES, 30 March 1950, page 17

More 'Flying Saucers' In Mediterranean, Orient
By Reuters

LONDON, 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.

In Haifa today, reports circulated that they had been seen over northern Israel.

A 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."

Italy reported that they had been sighted over various parts o fth ecountry five times yesterday.


HONG 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 24 June 1950, page 30

'Ball of Fire' in the sky Is Linked to Jet Flight
By The Associated Press

EL 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.

Officers at Biggs Air Force Base here said the plane flew from Lafayette, La., at 35,000 feet. After this announcement secrecy was imposed.

The "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.

The Galveston Weather Bureau reported that a ship 350 miles at sea had reported the flash.

In New Orleans, Weather Forecaster E. A. Aime reported what "looked like a meteor."

New York, New York, TIMES, 27 June 1950, page 31

Reporter Sees Disklike Lights 'in Formation' at Newburgh

NEWBURGH, 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."

At least three persons reported having seen th elights between 9 P. M. and midnight.

Vincent 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.

Mr. 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.

Mr. 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 7 July 1950, page 14


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 last midnight.

He 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, he said.

"It was in sight about 45 seconds," Mr. Grant said. "It left no exhaust trail and made no sound."

His 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.


WASHINGTON, 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.

Officials 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.

What he probably saw, they said, was a piece of cowling that came loose from one of the big four-engine transports.

New York, New York, TIMES, 28 September 1950, page 33

A '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.

Patrolman 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.

They summoned Sgt. Joseph Cook and Patrolman James Casper. Then they approached the object and turned on their flashlights.

Patrolman 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.

Sergeant Cook notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation - but unfortunately there was nothing to show F. B. I. agents except a spot on the ground.

New York, New York, TIMES, 18 July 1952, page 5

60 '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 increase.

Capt. 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."

Captain 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.

He 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 22 July 1952, page 27

Flying Objects Near Washington Spotted by Both Pilots and Radar
Air Force Reveals Reports of Something, Perhaps 'Saucers,' Traveling Slowly But Jumping Up and Down

WASHINGTON, 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.

For the first time, so far as has been reported, the objects were picked up by radar - indicating actual substance rather than mere light.

In 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 position.

The 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.

The Air Force said it had received only a preliminary report and therefore did not know why no attempt at interception had been made.

The 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.

The 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.

Officials 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:

"They were like falling stars without tails."

Captain 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.

Later three bright lights were observed, he reported, flying horizontally, and fast, at a tremendous height. They were watched from three to five seconds.

The pilot said he hadn't the slightest idea what the things were.

The eight objects picked up by Air Force radar were said to have been traveling at slightly more than 100 m. p. h.

The 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.

The 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.

Two 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 Hetzel:

"I almost fainted when I looked up at the sky and saw what looked to me like five large dinner plates flying through the sky."

Frank Gondar said he saw them, too, "flying like geese." "They gave off a glow and didn't make a sound," he said.

At about the same hour, three New York residents reported sighting similar objects circling rapidly over Central Park.

New York, New York, TIMES, 28 July 1952, pages 1 & 5

Spotted Second Time in Week by Radar, but Interceptors Fail to Make Contact
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON, 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.

It 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 Monday.

The 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."

The 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 Washington.

The jet planes themselves appeared on the C. A. A. radarscope at 11:25 P. M. and were guided in on several of the unknown objects.

The 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."

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.


Object Over Iowa Called Planet

IOWA 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 planet Jupiter."

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.

"I 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.

"I assume that some of the other reports referred to Jupiter too, although it is possible some people saw another star or even a meteor."

The 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."

Professor Wylie said that Jupiter, or any star, when rising above the horizon, would appear to be shooting off multicolored sparks.

New York, New York, TIMES, 29 July 1952, page 23

Air 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.

Unidentified objects were spotted on radar screens at the Washington National Airport this week-end, as they had been last Monday.

Reports 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.

An Air Force official tonight said its Air Defense Command had been ready for many months to challenge any unknown object aloft.

Air 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.

Jet 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.

Actually 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.

The 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 Pentagon.

Air 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 five minutes.

Despite 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.


'Objects Seen Over Tarrytown

TARRYTOWN, 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.

The 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 30 July 1952, pages 1 & 10

Air Force Debunks 'Saucers' As Just 'Natural Phenomena'
Intelligence Chief Denies a Menace Exists - 'Objects' Believed to Be Reflections, but 'Adequate' Guard Will Be Kept

WASHINGTON, 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.

Bedeviled 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.

At 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 else.

• 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 "saucers."

• Radar is capable of playing tricks for which it was not designed; so is the human eye.

Appearing 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 saucer reports.

General 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.

Out of today's conference emerged a favorite theory, but one that the experts conceded did not answer everything.

It 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.

For 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.

Third Time in Ten Days

Three times in the last ten days, it was disclosed, the Capital area has reported flying objects, some stationery, others moving at various speeds.

The 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.

General Samford's staff attempted to explain the supposedly moving objects as sightings of separate phenomena.

As 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.

The 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.

Recalling 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.

He 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.

No Geographical Pattern Seen

General 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.

That 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.

It was also brought out that radar had for many years been picking up "blips" on its screens created by other things than aircraft.

In 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.

Consideration 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.


"Sightings" Increase Here

WHITE 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.

Headquarters 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., and Tarrytown.

"In 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."


Investigating Off Florida

KEY 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.


"Missiles" Over the Bahamas

NASSAU, 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.


'Saucer' a 'Radar Ghost'

Mirages 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.

These 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.

The 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, was chairman.

The 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.

Fashions in Fantasies

There 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.

It 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.

In 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.

Dr. 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."

New York, New York, TIMES, 4 November 1957, page 9

Flying '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.

James A. Lee of Abilene, who said he had spent twenty years studying "flying saucers," said, "I think it's a space craft."

Mr. Lee is a member of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena.

The 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.

Jesse 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.

Mr. 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 5 November 1957, page 22

Air Force Acts on Sightings in Texas and New Mexico Atom Testing Site

WASHINGTON, 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.

Reports 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.

An 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."

Preliminary 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.

An 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.


Spotted by Patrols

WHITE 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.

The 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.

The commanding officer of the M. P.'s said none had heard radio reports or seen newspaper accounts of similar sightings in Texas.

Both 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.

One patrol saw a bright light that took off at a 45-degree angle and started blinking. Then it disappeared.

An 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.

A 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.

Neither patrol had had motor trouble with their jeeps.


Incident in Chicago

CHICAGO, Nov. 4 (UP) - Three suburban policemen said today they had seen an aerial phenomenon similar to one reported in West Texas and New Mexico.

They 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 28 February 1960, page 30

Pamphlet by the Inspector General Called Objects a 'Serious Business'

WASHINGTON, 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.

An Air Force spokesman confirmed issuance of the directive after portions of it were made public by a private "flying saucer" group.

The new regulations were issued by the Air Force inspector general Dec. 24.

The 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."

Committee Reveals Document

Existence of the document was revealed by the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena.

The 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.

Vice 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 Committee.

"It is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional hearings," he said.

The 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 flying objects.

The statement was included in an "operations and training" pamphlet circulated at intervals to bring commands up to date.

Pentagon aides said the new regulations covering seven printed pages, made no substantive change in policy but had been rewritten as a matter of course.

The 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."

Admiral Hillenkoetter said that "behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFO's."

"But 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 15 December 1960, page 16

Mankind 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 Beings

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (UPI) - Discovery of life on other worlds could cause the earth's civilization to collapse, a Federal report said today.

This 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.

The 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."

Discovery 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.

Even 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."

Responding to Crises

"Clearly, the better we can come to understand the factors involved in responding to such crises the better prepared we may be."

The 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.

On 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.

Evidence of such existence "might also be found in artifacts left on the moon or other planets," it said.

An 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.

Signals 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 20 April 1962, page 10

Fireball 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 Utah.

Today 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 civilian volunteers.

Some 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.

Sightings were reported in Nevada, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Kansas and California, in addition to Utah.

New York, New York, TIMES, 10 December 1965, page 32


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.

Falling debris was reported in ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Pentagon 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.

The orange flash was sighted in Windsor, Ont., Michigan, Indiana, Northern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and New York, and Northern West Virginia.

State 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.

Near 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 18 December 1969, pages 1 & 41

Secretary Says Investigation Can No Longer Be Justified
Special to The New York Times

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 - The Air Force ended today its investigation of unidentified flying objects.

Dr. 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."

Project 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.

Both 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.

Surprisingly, the Air Force announcement was hailed by a number of saucer activists.

"The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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. 5.

Mr. 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 right people."

Joseph Bryan of Richmond, the retired Air Force colonel who is acting president of NICAP, said he was "delighted" with Dr. Seamans's decision.

Dr. 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."

But 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."

New York, New York, TIMES, 14 January 1979, page 23

Agency's Secret Studies Convince Arizona Research Group That Flying Saucers 'Are Real'
Special to The New York Times

PHOENIX, 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.

The 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.

"After 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.

Embassies Gather Information

Mr. 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."

A 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 said.

Among the documents are several detailed reports of Air Force attempts to either intercept or destroy U.F.O.'s.

In 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 continued.

Concern About Russian Aims

A 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."

A 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."

Mr. 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.

"We 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."

Another Suit Pending

Mr. 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.

One 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."

Mr. 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.

Among 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 said.

"We're 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."

New York, New York, TIMES, 25 August 1984, pages 25 & 42

Strange Sights Brighten The Night Skies Upstate
Special to The New York Times

NEW CASTLE, N.Y., Aug. 24 - The public hearing was plodding along routinely at the Town Hall one night last month.

"All 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."

On a night before that, William A. Pollard was driving along Interstate 84 near Brewster.

'Whoa! Wait a Minute Here'

"My 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.'"

Throughout 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.

At 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 encounters.

The Police Call It a Hoax

The 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.

"If 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."

Mrs. 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."

"It 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."

She described an object "about three-quarters the size of my house, with an L-shaped structure suspended underneath it."

"It 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."

The 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.

One 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.

"He 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."

Irene 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.

"The 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.

But 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.

"I've 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."

Mr. Pollard said that "the first thing I saw was rigid - absolutely rigid."

F.A.A. Seems Uninterested

Many residents want a thorough investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration. But the agency does not seem interested.

"Why 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 comes from."

Residents were angry when told of the F.A.A. comment.

"That's 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."

Pressed 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.

William 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.

"They 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.

Conflict Over Reports

Although 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 no investigation.

In 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.

Among 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.

Dr. 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."

The experts should have plenty of photographs to study at the meeting.

"We're 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."

New York, New York, TIMES, 10 October 1989, pages A1 & A10

A Tass Bulletin: Knobby Aliens Were Here
Special to The New York Times

MOSCOW, 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, even aliens.

The 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.

"Scientists 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."

But 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."

The 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.

The 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.

Along 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.


The visitors are said to take a stroll in the park


People 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.

There 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.

A 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.

One Report Is Debunked

This 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.

The 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.

All of the sightings, and even the "re-evaluations," are earnestly reported.

Indeed, 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."

According to Soviet reference books, bilocation is an extrasensory method of tracking objects or people invisible to the human eye.

'Mysterious Pieces of Rock'

Mr. 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."

Tass 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."

Tass 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.

And 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."

The 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 11 October 1989, page A6

U.F.O. Landing Is Fact, Not Fantasy, the Russians Insist
Special to The New York Times

MOSCOW, 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.

Residents 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.

"It 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.

Lieutenant 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.

'Anything Is Possible'

To 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."

Using 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 of Moscow.


'In this day and age, anything is possible.'


According 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."

A Stare Silences Boy

The 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.

The aliens seemed to communicate with each other, producing the mysterious appearance of a shining triangle, and activated the robot with a touch.

Terrified, a boy began to scream, but with a stare of the alien's shining eyes, Tass said, the boy was silenced and paralyzed.

After 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.

Vladimir 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.

Mr. 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 again."

The 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.

In 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 Sept. 29.

In 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 seen.

Drawings Said to Be Similar

Though 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 Union.

While 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."

He said his reports from Voronezh would continue.

New York, New York, TIMES, 12 October 1989, page A18

Rare Thrill for Tass: Joshing Over Its U.F.O. Report

The 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.

The 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."

The 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?"

And it quoted Yervant Turzian of the Cornell University Astronomy Department, who said fellow academics regarded the story as a joke.

Drawing of Creature Is Broadcast

"Given 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."

On 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 silvery overalls.

Last 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 sphere.

Vremya sounded more skeptical than the original Tass report, but it offered without comment an interview with Vasya Surin, one of the purported witnesses.

'He Didn't Have a Head'

"We 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."

Vasya said the alien had two holes instead of a nose, and could not turn its head, so it had to swivel its middle eye.

But "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 site.

Since 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 believers."

In 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."

Also 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.

Mr. 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.

New York, New York, TIMES, 14 October 1989, page 24

The Voronezh Visitors

Tass, 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," Tass reports.

While 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.

The 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."

There 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.

Others 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 to print.

These 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."

As surely as rockets can never fly in space, Tass has broken the story of the century.

New York, New York, TIMES, 15 October 1989, page E7

All (3) Eyes Were On Him

Vasya 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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