CRIFO views the status quo: A summary report
Leonard H. Stringfield
Director of CRIFO and Editor of the Late ORBIT Magazine
* * *
An Official Publication of
Civilian Research, Interplanetary Flying Objects
7017 Britton Avenue, Cincinnati 27, Ohio
By Leonard H. Stringfield
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the author.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 57-14605
First Printing — October 1957
Printed in the United States of America by The Moeller Printing Co.
The Incident to Iwo 7
CRIFO is Begat 10
CRIFO Goes "On Duty" 13
“The Only Certainty is that Nothing is Certain” 16
The Puzzle of the Muzzle 21
The Newswires Show Their Hand—And Scissors 23
Behind the Local Muzzle 25
The Case Against Censorship 30
The Spoils of Silence 34
The Dance of "Life" 36
The Highest Wall in the World 38
The Witch Hunt for Evidence 46
The "Software" Department 49
Fireballs and Oddballs 53
The Incredible Things 57
Evidence in the Flesh — The "Gnomen" 63
The Photo "Finishers" — Official and Otherwise 69
The Norwood Searchlight Incident 73
Balancing the Evidence 78
Saucer Sancta — 801 and 4E4 86
The "Monster" Under the Lid 89
The Problem of Panic 92
This book is dedicated to my daughters, Colette and Denise,
who may some day read the official version of truth about the unidentified flying objects.
Before accepting the title on the cover, I considered the aptness of several others, such as UFO, CRIFO and the Midnight Oil, suggested by my friend, Ted Bloecher; The House of Saucers, offered by my daughter, Colette, who has felt the intimacy of my all-consuming project; and my own, From Saucers to Ulcers, which in a sense was labeling another "inside" truth resulting from this project.
But none of the hundreds of titles entertained could thread the CRIFO needle more definitively than my final choice, Inside Saucer Post ...3-0 Blue. In these few words is revealed the silent "other side" of CRIFO's operations, which had its beginning in September 1955 when the Air Defense Command Filter Center in Columbus, Ohio, officially designated my home as a "UFO reporting post." For this duty, my home telephone was cleared and I was assigned a code name, which was in part "...3-0 Blue." While only GOC personnel and a few associates, during CRIFO's peak years, knew of this work with ADC, CRIFO was better known internationally as a civilian "clearing house" for saucer information which I edited and featured in my publications, Newsletter/Orbit.
To properly spike any misunderstanding, Inside Saucer Post ...3-0 Blue, in spite of its swaggering name and the matter it describes, is not an exploitation of secret military data. Making certain I was in no manner violating security by publishing certain data which referred to Post ...3-0 Blue, I wrote to the Security Review Branch of the Department of Defense. They replied tersely that it was "not a matter of interest to the Department of Defense."
While "3-0 Blue" may not publicly be of interest to the Department of Defense, or for that matter, may not prove anything to the skeptic, who must see a saucer land in his yard, or begin to impassion the business man, who hasn't time to $ee a Saucer, I hope that the "Inside" part of the title will be justified by the text which describes the human side of the CRIFO story plus what its director thinks on many controversial issues.
In presenting the facts, I have also endeavored to unmask the many rumors which claim that the press is censored, that science is biased and the misconception that every light in the sky is a spaceship.
As in the old days when facing Orbit deadlines, writing this book too has had its share of ups and downs. As usual my only encouragement came from the old-line of faithfuls, to whom I will forever be grateful, and unfortunately are too numerous to mention. But, as I write this Foreword, with the finished text beside me, I am once again re-living the climacterics of CRIFO from its primordial Incident to Iwo to its lugubrious last lines ending this book. . . .
LEONARD H. STRINGFIELD
September 23, 1957
THE INCIDENT TO IWO. . .
To start at the beginning properly, I must go back to "sometime" 1950 when my roving half-hearted inquisitiveness about flying saucers finally brought home a rich reward - two glowing first-hand reports each occurring within a short time of the other. One told of a local family sitting outdoors, being shocked by an object zooming low over their house. According to the key witness, the object lit up the whole yards and the rooftop. The other report described a blue-colored ball swinging like a pendulum across the expanse of a ridge just north of Cincinnati.
To me, these reports had the ring of genuineness, mainly, I suppose, because the sighters themselves were "genuine" people. Somehow, I thought, the press accounts had always made the sighter seem unreal! But my judgment of past events at the time was hardly a creditable one. In no one instance can I remember doing more than gloss over a story. In brief, my life between 1947 when saucers were first publicized, and 1950 was mainly one of "husbanding" and plying a career in advertising. Remotest in my mind were spacemen and spaceships.
But when the 1950 sightings reached me, all at once an incident in the past leaped into real significance. The incident, one which had been forgotten along with other distasteful events of the war years, suddenly lent tremendous support to the suggestion that saucers were interplanetary, and, accordingly, took on a new and ominous meaning. From it eventually grew CRIFO and the underlying reasons for the many pessimistic tones in its publications. . .
I have many times since 1950, tried to reconstruct the facts of the incident, hunting for details, trying to remember my reactions. But the terrors of the moment, plus the erasure of time, have left me little to go on, save only the starkest highpoints. A check into my army diary told me the incident occurred August 28, 1945, while flying from Ie Shima, near Okinawa, to Iwo Jima. I was being transported in a C-46, a "flying coffin" whose number was 304. I was one of nine members of 5th Air Force personnel1 (with special equipment) assigned to occupy Atsugi Airdrome, near Tokyo, Japan, prior to the major landing forces. For the incident itself I must rely on my memory.
During the flight, about midway between Ie Shima and Iwo Jima, the C-46 suddenly developed trouble in the left engine, the prop feathering. As the plane dipped, sputtered oil and lost altitude, I remember looking out through one of the portholes and to my surprise, seeing three unidentifiable blobs of brilliant white light, each about the size of a dime held at arm's length.
1 According to a note in my diary, the passengers were Harry Berning, Stouch, W. J. Smith, Ramsey, Greenwell, Vucetich, Caverly, Briggs, myself, and three unknown crew members, pilot, co-pilot and navigator. In my search for possible verification, I have located only one passenger, Harry Berning of Cincinnati. Without putting words into his mouth, I asked Berning what he recalled about the incident at Iwo. Said Berning, "I'll remember the flight as long as I live. I was plenty scared ... I remember our plane getting off course. We were lost. I first knew something was wrong when the co-pilot came back and told us, 'We're in trouble.' I remember our plane flying in heavy clouds and the co-pilot handed me a pair of binoculars so I could help them look for a clearing." When I asked Berning about seeing the three objects, he said he didn't. When I told him I had seen them from the left side of the plane, he said he was on the right side and again emphasized, "I was plenty scared." In spite of my belief that the objects were responsible for my plane's behavior, I hope that I haven't over-dramatized the incident.
The blobs were traveling in a straight line through drifts of cloud, seemingly parallel to the C-46 and equal to its speed. I vaguely recall that when my plane pulled up, the objects remained below and they disappeared into a cloud bank. All other details are hazy for I had no reason at that time to rationalize the objects or try to identify them. Also, my prime concern at the moment was the performance of the C-46 and my personal safety. I remember pointing out the objects to a companion nearby, but cannot recall any unusual concern about the lights on his part, for he too was more apprehensive of his safety. The plane, without further incident, landed safely at Iwo. I remember it undergoing extensive check-up so that it would be ready and airborne for the final hop to Atsugi. No one, during the stop-over, mentioned the objects as I recall, nor did I report them, for Iwo at that time was a bustling staging area waiting for the war officially to end.
At this writing, still relying on my memory revived in 1950, I can find no mundane explanation for the three objects flying abreast of my plane high over the Pacific. It is my opinion that the objects were propelled devices, being possibly analogous, in appearance and behavior, to the popular "foo fighter" of World War II vintage, which is still unexplained, according to Air Force statements. I also believe that the sudden erratic behavior of my plane was due to a mysterious force generated by the UFOs.
While I have often alluded to this incident in previous writings and lectures, I have never disclosed its details. In the early days of CRIFO I was tempted several times to give it top billing in the Newsletter, but then it was a matter of keeping up with all the late news. Later silence, however, was a matter of circumstance. In the March, 1955, issue of Newsletter, which spoke out against the theory suggesting saucers were secret U.S. weapons, I had planned to include a section on the foo-fighter, A perfect tie-in, I thought, for such "foo-nomena", as witnessed by myself, could not have possibly been earthmade. No nation, in defeat or in victory, in my opinion, would have been so foolhardy as to use a secret weapon during the delicate period of surrender. I had all my arguments lined up, good ones, I reasoned. In support of my contentions, I would lead off with other foo fighter reports, already published in saucer literature. Next, was the possibility of getting two more good reports from reliable sources. I promptly secured one, the sighter having been a radio operator of a B-24 during a mission over Formosa in 1945. His report described a vertical chain of luminous globes, one following the other in a spiral climb toward his aircraft. Showing no menace, they continued to climb out of view. When a reply to my inquiry about the other report finally arrived, I was told by this correspondent that the information had best not be revealed because of security. Pressed by time, I dropped the matter, thinking I would later devote an entire issue to this subject. But like other proposals, i.e., lunar findings and the little bipeds, the foo-fighters never got to print. In the late months of CRIFO I decided to keep my experience confidential until I would someday write my book.
To see Page 9 drawing, click:
Sketch, from memory, of three unidentified "blobs" of light seen from imperiled C-46 while flying from Ie Shima to Iwo Jima, south of Japan, August 28, 1945. While this sighting is inconclusive, I have classified it along with other unexplained "foo fighter" phenomena seen by airmen during World War II.
By 1952, the year of the wildest saucer flap2, I was pretty well sold on the Interplanetary Theory. On July 25, while the nation was in a tizzy over the Washington blip incident, I saw something. It was a large orange teardrop-shaped object zipping soundlessly across the night sky. Other Cincinnatians who saw it, said it changed direction. Reporting it to the press, I also announced that I was forming Civilian Investigating Group for Aerial Phenomena. But while CIGAP didn't go very far as a fellowship in research, its existence, in name only, did manage to stir up local interest. It put me on television where I first met the Reverend Gregory Miller, the key person to the most fact-rooted case on CRIFO record. It also brought in several good current reports. But, out of the hundreds of reports reaching me during the '52 flap, only a handful were worthy of investigation. Most were just lights in the sky—and, as the Air Force would say, could be simply explained if more data were obtainable. More than once, I too saw lights in the sky during this big flap, but looking back critically, I cannot say they were saucers.
As my files grew, so did my exasperation with the official policy of silence and contradiction. Like others "all stirred up", I began writing letters. One, published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, won me $5.00 as the best letter of the year. In this missive I slapped at Dr. Harlow Shapely, Director of the Harvard Observatory, for his statement calling "saucers a lot of complete nonsense". In another letter, published in the December, 1952, issue of True, I wrote, "... I like your forward, fact-rooted, go-to-hell approach on the subject ... It seems rather curious how the general run of newspapers and certain national magazines neatly avoid the facts and run to the apronstrings of some expert who will tell them that saucers are cobwebs. . . "
While my letter to True was rather pointless, it did bring me several key letters. One was from Bill Culmer of Robinson, Illinois, an energetic fact-hunter, with lots of leads, a level head and an above-average sighting to his credit. Culmer, who died September 20, 1954, was indeed the spark of inspiration which led me to take the bull by the horns. In the course of our letterwriting, we parlayed the idea and the need for a research organization with a factual bulletin.
CRIFO IS BEGAT
During my exchange of letters with Culmer, I was a reasonably normal husband and father. By day, I was the advertising manager of a nationally known manufacturer, and after hours I worked my hobbies. My favorite lair was my greenhouse. I would spend hours there, puttering with exotic philodendron, anthurium and fern. When I tired of this, I turned to my oils and brush—or dabbled in things scientific, like astronomy or paleontology. Saucers, however, were winning over.
2 According to Edward J. Ruppelt in THE REPORT ON UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS, “a flap is a condition, or situation, or state of being, of a group of people characterized by an advanced degree of confusion that has not quite yet reached panic proportions …” Max Miller in FLYING SAUCERS, FACT OR FICTION says “when applied to a UFO, a flap designates anything from a “flurry” to a “panic” of sighting reports and the resultant effects.”
To see Page 11 photo, click:
Landslide of mail following the Frank Edwards radio broadcast May 18, 1954 at which time he told his "10,000,000 Americans" to write to CRIFO for its Newsletter. Contrarily, in June 1954, an Air Force spokesman said that their "saucer" mail came in trickles. Left to right is Mrs. Mildred Stringfield, my mother, Herb Clark, GOC Supervisor, Dell, my wife and at the desk, yours truly. Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Enquirer.
One day, to my sorrow, I found that my avidity for saucers and neglect of my greenhouse had caused the demise of Anthurium veitchii, my rarest and most prized aroid. Perhaps this was my turning point, for it was a week later that I decided to take up the saucer hue and cry. On March 10, 1954, I founded Civilian Research, Interplanetary Flying Objects, and began working on a format for a monthly publication. A bulletin, I thought, would serve to keep all my correspondents informed. I decided to print only 200 copies....
Then in a radio newscast of May 18, 1954, Frank Edwards, who had championed saucers since 1950 over the airwaves, urged his 10,000,000 listeners to write to P. O. Box 1855 for CRIFO's Newsletter. Twenty-four hours later— with the first impact of mail—the life of Leonard H. Stringfield was changed! What had been a simple pursuit erupted into a brute of big business. I ate my dinner at the telephone and entertained guests while I typed. Bookkeeping nearly replaced romance, and my only rest was in the sanctum of the bathroom. By the end of the month, nearly 6000 letters of inquiry had been processed in my basement, which had become CRIFO's headquarters. My staff was my wife. Dell, conscripted from the kitchen; my six and four year old daughters, Colette and Denise, who licked postage stamps, my mother and my friend, Herb Clark. Letters from enthusiasts everywhere in the world, ranged from retired generals, pilots, engineers, newspapermen, doctors and lawyers, businessmen, members of a nudist colony, a woman who had seen an "unidentified flying man"—and one lost soul who, enclosing a dollar, left only one return address, the moon.
Since those hectic days in 1954, the CRIFO project has missed little or nothing in the saga of saucers. Coming to mind are many happy moments, like being the toast of many civic or social groups; like feeling honored by a letter from her Majesty, the Queen of England, or Sir Winston Churchill or Lord Mountbatten of Burma—or like being reminded in a letter from a subscriber, "We especially appreciated your frank and objective reporting. . ." And, coming to mind are the moments of despair, like the day I drove to Lawrenceburg, Indiana to investigate a saucer that landed, and found instead, a Fourth of July spinwheel. But, out of each month's gross of evidence came a rewarding net of vital information—information that made CRIFO a Pentagon-in-miniature which sought to serve the public's appetite for truth.
Knowing this were the heads of the Air Force. Perhaps that is why four dapper gentlemen, in the summer of 1954, visited my home with such obvious urgency and asked such pointblank but patent questions. Perhaps that is why Major General John A. Samford, USAF, then Director of Intelligence, wrote me, March 16, 1956, commenting. "The Air Force greatly appreciates the interest which you and your organization, as well as others, have taken in the Unidentified Flying Object program. The success of this program has been, in part, due to the excellent cooperation of such individuals and groups in submitting UFO reports for consideration either directly or through various publications. These reports have become an important part of the UFO picture. A continuation of this assistance is indeed
welcome. . . In conclusion, please accept our thanks for your interest in this matter and be assured that we are always glad to receive contributions such as yours. . .".
CRIFO GOES "ON DUTY"
It was a warm evening September 11, 1955, when I presented my simple civilian case for the interplanetary flying saucer. My audience was the members of the Ground Observer Corps, representing all posts in Hamilton County. I remember while driving to the meeting place at the Anderson Township School in Forestville, remarking to Herb Clark, then Chief Observer for that area's GOC post, that the recent upswing of saucer reports in the county was causing concern in the Air Force. 3
During this upswing, my telephone jangled at all hours. Most calls were routine reports describing "lights in the sky"; others however, were voices sounding urgent. "It's right over my house. What should I do?" exclaimed one lady, alone and frightened in Mt. Washington. I suggested that she call the sheriff and I would report to the Air Force. The weirdest, perhaps, was a frantic call from Anderson's Ferry. A male voice cried, "It's a big light and it's landing in my backyard." Then a companion's voice broke in, "Something's coming out of the bottom, hurry!". Promising to call back, the receiver slammed down and that was the last we heard from Anderson's Ferry. Other calls, less desperate, but giving me time to run outdoors— sometimes clad only in shorts and binoculars—told of flying quoits, footballs and triangles. Usually too late for the good ones, I always managed however, to make it in time to see Venus sinking gibbously on the horizon, Arcturus "bobbing around" behind a veil or ruffled atmosphere, or, a "whole group of saucers" which were nothing more than the Pleiades.
Unknown to most callers, however, was my new assignment with the Air Force. On September 9, 1955, the Air Defense Command—probably triggered into decision by an incident occurring the night before, informed me that my home telephone had been cleared to report UFOs, through coded channels, directly to the Filter Center in Columbus, Ohio. Wanted were up-to-the-minute sightings reaching me from the greater Cincinnati area. But, even before this official clearance, I had reason to be in quick communication with the Filter Center.
On August 5, having already been briefed on procedure by GOC, I reported the flight of a spectacular UFO, large and brilliant—seen by thousands, and myself—coursing over the city. And then, on September 8—the trigger incident—I reported that a local skywatcher, Gordon Zerbo, had phoned asking me to check a large object, maybe a "satellite" in space, which he
3 For comparison, Air Force Report 14, releases October 25, 1955, indicated by map that Hamilton County and environs ranked third highest in nation in frequency of UFO reports during the period 1947-1952.
was seeing through his telescope. I was eager to investigate, for coming to mind was another large object, or satellite—nearly 10,000 feet in diameter— which had glowed over Cincinnati skies in the beam of a powerful searchlight during 1949-50. When I first glimpsed through Zerbo's telescope, which peered through a narrow clearing in a clump of treetops, I was frankly puzzled. In focus was a gaseous orange ball which appeared to be spinning. For almost two hours, I watched the object which seemed fixed in the sky, and for two hours I remained in close touch with the Filter Center, reporting every new development. On the second night, I began to suspect an astronomical oversight and on the third night, had solved the mystery — the satellite was Polaris, the "fixed" North Star! The object which seemed so large and gaseous was only an optical illusion—poor lens. But myriads of other UFOs reported during this turbulent period were less easily explained away; and, knowing this, was Intelligence at Wright-Patterson who, I later learned, was worried about the "satellite". . .
Most calls, significantly, came from the thinly populated perimeter of the city. Many told of low flying objects; others, of objects hovering near the ground.4 A few callers, speaking guardedly, told of frightening encounters with ugly little bipeds. In one area, just west of Cincinnati, UFO reports were so heavy that people were afraid to leave their homes after dark, and men carried firearms. 5
It was in the midst of this ominous activity that I opened my lecture. Sitting beside me near the podium were 1st Lt. Edward Thorne and Sgt. James Ussery, of the Air Defense Command Filter Center, and before me were the rows of audience with waxed furrowed faces. To ease matters I tried a little stratagem. Whipping a hanky from my pocket, on which were smears of my wife's lipstick, I pretended to wipe my brow. Then, looking surprised at the smears, I commented triumphantly, "Well, at least my wife loves me" and added "In spite of saucers, she still thinks I'm sane."
Nobody laughed! Most members had seen saucers; they were in no joking mood. Nor was I really, and I lost no time hammering at my strongest links of evidence. I highlighted the Norwood Searchlight Incident, the most cut-and-dry factual case on record; covered the facts of the August 23rd jet intercept of UFOs over Cincinnati, involving GOC and myself, and expounded on the many excellent foreign sightings which argued against the U. S. weapon theory. My final hammerblows were directed at the press, which I accused of muzzling saucer stories. While citing one silenced case, Lt. Thorne discreetly slipped a note onto my podium, on which he had written, "The press is here."
Indeed! No sooner had I closed my question-and-answer period, than Jim Johnson, a youngish Cincinnati Post reporter, rushed me from the milling audience. He was visibly stirred by my scorn of the press—and equally stirred to get a hot story.
4 See cases in ORBIT, Vol. II, issues 6 and 7.
5 See Cincinnati TIMES STAR article elsewhere in book.
To see Page 15 article on the left, click:
To see Page 15 article on the right, click:
Clippings from the local press which confirm statements in text of this book. On left is article from the September 23, 1955 Eastern Hills Journal which describes my "saucer" talk, in lieu of Air Force, to GOC personnel. On right is Times Star item, October 20, 1955, describing UFO activity in Western Cincinnati which concerned the Air Force.
Johnson kept picking at a reference I had made to censorship, a word I had used loosely in answering someone's question about the hidden saucer evidence. It was obvious that Johnson was planning to feature this angle, and despite my objections, and later attempts to reason with him, even to point out a misquote in his notes, he sputtered defiance. He showed the same implacability when he finally wheedled me into surrendering a photograph I had shown the audience. And so it was that the young reporter departed with his hot story. Next day I looked for the Johnson blast in the Post, but to my surprise there was not even a squib about my talk, or the GOC meeting. Curious, I phoned the city desk. I asked about the story. The reply: "Decided against it." I asked about the photograph. The reply: "Too hazy. It would show too much grain in a blowup".
When the last loitering members lumbered out of the auditorium, I approached Lt. Thorne, who was stuffing papers into his folio, and said, "I didn't tell them everything". I hastened to explain that I was urged before the lecture by Walter Paner, then supervisor of Hamilton County GOC, to "tell all I knew about flying saucers". When I saw Lt. Thorne looking at me quizzically, I added, that Paner had assured me that my talk had the official nod from "somebody higher up". Lt. Thorne was silent as we moved toward the exit, then as we emerged outdoors I said that it was not my intention to undersell my theories, or the GOC, but I did reneg on some of my best evidence—that which concerned the Norwood Searchlight incident. I then told him that certain facts, known by me, about this case were confidential and must remain so. These facts, I said, clinch "my" argument for the interplanetary saucer! "Someday you may be proved right", said Lt. Thorne.
"THE ONLY CERTAINTY IS THAT NOTHING IS CERTAIN"6
Proof! The word so legalistic, is so endearing when its weight is on your side, yet so crushing when it isn't. Webster says it is "that degree of cogency, arising from evidence, which convinces the mind of any truth of fact and produces belief . . ."
Many readers of Orbit probably wondered many times if proof could be had that I, its editor, actually existed. One ungentle letter from a subscriber asked if I were just a figment of the imagination for I never answered his mail. Of course, I had a reason in his case. He had told me in his first letter that he knew saucers were the craft of Satan.
The word "proof always bothered me.7 I wondered about its proper place in man's claims to understand or interpret his anthropological or biblical past.
6 Quoting Pliny the Elder.
7 Edward Ruppelt in his Foreword to THE REPORT ON UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS asks, “ . . . What constitutes proof? Does a UFO have to land at the River Entrance to the Pentagon, near the Joint Chiefs of Staff offices? Or is it proof when a ground radar station detects a UFO, sends a jet to intercept it, the jet pilot see it, and locks on with his radar, only to have the UFO streak away at a phenomenal speed? Is it proof when a jet pilot fires at a UFO and sticks to his story even under the threat of court-martial? Does this constitute proof?”
To see Page 17 photo, click:
Official photo of H-bomb test which shows controversial "UFO" next to rising smoke pall. This photo was borrowed from me, after my lecture to GOC in September 1955, by a Cincinnati Post reporter. Later learned that the Post couldn't reproduce photo for publication because of "too much graininess". Photo and its "discovery" sent to CRIFO by Jesse Leaf of Brooklyn. N. Y.
And, with even less propriety, it popped up when the subject of saucers got too hot. Musingly, spelled backwards, proof becomes foorp and I for one would be freshened by an official statement that would read, "We have no irrefutable physical foorp that flying saucers exist".
Evidence! What would be the kind of evidence that would prove that flying saucers exist? No one is sure, for in the first place there is no general agreement—even among saucerites—as to their probable identification or source. A few have been satisfied with a belief they are merely unknown natural phenomena; a few more hold to the hope that they are earthmade devices or weapons, while a lesser number think of the "changing shapes" as stratospheric protoplasms.8 A growing number, however, believe the UFO is a vehicle or missile from outer space.
Flung together by circumstance, the space-minded group includes the cream of science-fiction addicts, the cultists, the objective and sometimes incommunicative scientist and the student-philosopher who professes a strong faith in his fellow man. The latter, resting his case for "evidence" in the recognition of man's virtue to report UFOs honestly and accurately, invariably refers to the very earliest incidents, now known as the "classics". Usually cited are Kenneth Arnold's "nine saucer-like things . . . flying like geese in a chain-like line" near Mt. Rainier, June 24, 1947; Captain Chiles' and Co-pilot Whitted's report of a "long rocket-like ship . . . with two rows of windows” near Montgomery, Alabama, July 24, 1948; and, the "dogfight" between Lt. Gorman's F-51 and a fast maneuvering orb of light near Fargo, North Dakota, October 1, 1948.
Being "honest and accurate' reports, our student sees none of these explainable as natural phenomena, for to his knowledge, there is no scientifically declared phenomena that fly like geese in a chain-like line, or have two rows of windows, or perform in intricate maneuvers. Nor, according to his rationale, can any of the classics be explained as man-made machines, for several reports since 1947 have described "saucer-like" objects identical to Arnold's which have flown dangerously close to commercial airliners.'9 Thus, in view of this one factor, our student affirms his logic: Secret man-made machines do not run tests in the air lanes; therefore, in no one instance, including Arnold's, were the "saucers" man-made—and for that matter, neither was the "rocket-like" ship which swerved to avoid collision with the airliner piloted by Chiles and Whitted—nor, the object in the Fargo case which maneuvered with a military aircraft! All other explanations for the classics are ridiculous; the only one logically in order is that which postulates the objects being of extra-terrestrial origin.
In the years to follow, hundreds of reliable reports have been added to the stack of evidence. Some of the best, according to our student with an eye to
8 First to suggest this theory to the Air Force was John P. Bessor of Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1947. In 1955 I talked with an Air Force officer who related that he had talked with a pilot who claimed he saw something looking like “shapeless animals” in stratospheric flights.
9 The DAILY SKETCH in London reported in November 1954, “The pilot of a Braziliam airliner reported a fleet of 19 saucer-like objects that flew at tremendous speed, less than 300 feet from his plane. His passengers panicked. Members of the crew had to act “most violently” to overcome their fears. . .”
logic, were the military sightings supported by radar. Major Donald E. Keyhoe describes several in Flying Saucers from Outer Space, and of further interest is the "official" slant on other cases reviewed by Edward J. Ruppelt in The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects. Notably here, the former head of Project Blue Book, cites a UFO picked up by radar and pursued by a night fighter, May 29, 1952, over the Saginaw Bay area, commenting "A lot of people I knew were absolutely convinced this report was the key—the final proof. Even if the thousands of other reports could be discarded on a technicality, this couldn't be. These people believed that this report in itself was proof enough to officially accept the fact UFOs were interplanetary space ships."
Armed even with this "evidence", the voice of the student is but a voice in the wilderness. Said the Air Force: "There is a total lack of evidence that they (flying saucers) are interplanetary vehicles."10 While most people were content with this answer, others with different ideas about life, had equally different ideas about evidence. Some believed that Adamski's plaster of Paris mold of a space-man's shoe print was good enough. Others believed the word of Dan Fry, contending that his trip in a saucer was evidence.
Curious of the opinion of others, I wrote to Lord Dowding, former Air Chief Marshall of the RAF, World War II, asking for his comments on the best evidence in his country. His reply of May 21, 1957, follows:
"In answer to the request contained in your letter of May 17, I would refer you to a book entitled, Flying Saucer from Mars, published by Frederick Muller Ltd., London. So far as I am aware, this is the only recorded instance of a landing in Britain, followed by a personal contact with the occupant of a UFO. It also contains the only photograph which I have seen of a visitor claiming to be from outer space (if we exclude the 'porthole' photographs in Adamski's second book). We got Mr. Cedric Allingham (the author) to lecture to our local Flying Saucer Club, and we were all strongly impressed that he was telling the truth about his actual experiences, although we felt that he might have been mistaken in some of the conclusions which he drew from his interview. The general views which he expressed on UFOs in his book will also fail to gain universal agreement, although I am sure that they were genuinely held by him. The circumstances of the encounter were in many respects similar to those of the adventure of the two Norwegian girls picking berries in a wood with which you will doubtless be familiar. Unfortunately, Mr. Allingham died in Switzerland last year . ."
Proof, therefore, when applied to UFO evidence, is a relative word. On this premise the UFO can be as interplanetary or as mundane or as non-existent as the individual mind is flexible or capable of defining it.
Personally, having been pre-conditioned by my beliefs in the evolutionary prehistory of man on earth, I found the interplanetary hypothesis not difficult to accept. Apart from an occasional exploratory or playful deviation from the theory.the sharpest thorns in my side were the bits of evidence from "reliable sources" which hinted that saucers were U.S. secret weapons. The thorns grew bigger and sharper after I began CRIFO. At one point, I suspected that I was being maneuvered into the mundane definition, for my informant was
10 Quoted from Air Force letter from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, mine which was dated April 9, 1957.
persistent with his "inside" information. But, after a litte personal sleuthing, I found that the maneuver lacked both depth and substance. During this pressure period I remember another "insider" who phoned several times, suggesting that my Newsletter was "barking up the wrong tree". One night when he phoned I asked him to consider three simple basic questions, viz, (1) Would a secret U.S. weapon fly our commercial airlanes? (2) Would a secret U.S. weapon fly wantonly over foreign countries? (3) Would a secret U.S. weapon be tested over the U.S. capitol or over large populated cities?
Stumbling over my first question, the "insider" hung up. While it was simple to explain to my opposition that UFOs frequently violated all three points, it was not always wise to relate the details of my best supporting information, most of which came from confidential sources. Reliable informants were a careful lot and they spoke out only because of the intense enthusiasm they shared in the UFO mystery, or because of a disdain for what one referred to as "unmitigated censorship". Most, however, spoke hintingly and winkingly. Several with hot tips were more dramatically cautious. They said they would deny the information they gave me if it were published.
Needless to say, I never broke a confidence. But apart from any moral aspect, a person in my "research" position had to be on constant guard when talking to strangers. "Watch for traps", I was warned by one well-informed person, when discussing the military angle. "They'll give you a hot one, you publish it, then they'll chop your head off."
Not trusting a stranger, however, also had its negative reaction. Some, no doubt, viewed my silence or evasiveness on some confidential matters as being melodramatic, but more than a few had me marked as a spy for the Air Force. One private researcher from the West Coast, visiting my home in 1955, told me, "Let's don't kid each other—you don't trust me and I don't trust you."
One in saucers soon learns to live with all the information crisscrossing his mind daily. Sometimes, too, he is guided by its apparent truths—like the time I advised a dabbler in the stockmarkets to start thinking about railroads. "They'll be back on their own soon," I said, "Saucers and airliners don't mix well".
I said it half jokingly, of course, but my reasoning was supported by the formidable stacks of mail received daily from non-joking citizenry. Most were scornful of the official silence which had enveloped the saucer problem since Captain Mantell's death chase, 1948. Many raked the Air Force over the coals, others condemned "big business" (later "international bankers"), while a few blamed religion. Another popular notion claimed a space race had taken over the world governments and was directing our ships of state. In the saucer business, rumors were always rife and the juiciest ones always won space in some little saucerzine. One mimeo sheet went so far as to claim that Christ and his disciples were lodged on the moon and were waiting to return to earth in a fleet of saucers. While the cultists were exploiting saucers, causing many
on-the-fencers to abandon their interest, the man-on-the-street still saw them as a proofless fantasy. The world of Marilyn Monroe and the scrabble board were more three-dimensional!
THE PUZZLE OF THE MUZZLE
Popular in the minds of many saucerites is the belief that our great American news media are muzzling saucer news under a vise of censorship. Wrote one pundit in a letter to CRIFO: "Our press talks glibly of the freedoms while their very own is lost. It is obvious that they have become subservient to the dictates of the military overlords who will stop at nothing to suppress flying saucer information . . ."
I have never shared the pundit's views, for if censorship were in effect, it would have meant the suppression of all saucer news — local as well as national! But as every saucerite knows, most newspapers, on occasions have published reports of local UFO activity, some even making the front page. Perturbing me most, however, were not the "big" events published in the "little" town, but the big events, and the manner in which they were treated in the big cities. Too often these accounts were chopped, garbled or made ridiculous by the local press, and in almost every instance, completely neglected by the news-wires. Even more suspicious was the "canned" editorial11 and the handling of cases involving the military. In the January 1956 issue of Orbit, thinking I had the answer, I wrote editorially as follows:
"While I know of no federal directive which muzzles saucer stories from print (as one editor told the writer, he "never saw an edict"), there is however valid reason to believe that a clandestine 'gentleman's agreement' has been effected, for rarely, and only weakly have our truth-hunting editors challenged the agency concealing the true saucer facts. Instead, it seems that some have gone beyond any 'agreement' and for autonomous or other selfish reasons have conspired with the silence group: this done by snuffing out local sightings and tagging sighters as screwballs. The writer's activities have frequently taken him behind scenes of the press. Here, most shrewd newsmen have a conversant respect for the saucer mystery, but, curiously, few since 1952 have dared write up their beliefs, even though the facts at their command should have provided the trigger. On one occasion, while tracking down an Associated Press release, this writer was told by a top staff writer and columnist of a local paper that, while attending a press meeting in Washington, he learned that officials "were taking more than a casual interest" in the UFO problem. But, I have noted that this same staff writer has not reviewed or mentioned saucers in his columns since 1952. . . Still another sign of cooperative agreement became evident in Lake Charles, Louisiana. While vacationing there during June of 1955, the writer visited the office of the local paper, the American Press. During the interview, which was set up for a possible feature story on CRIFO (tying it in with my wife having
11 One such canned “editorial” just happened to make the rounds during the big saucer flap of 1954. Under the heading, “Enter The Flying Saucer Swason”. It read in part as follows: “Air Force officials pointed out a few days ago that the ‘flying saucer season’ is now approaching. The meteor showers which are easily seen in the heavens in the summer, especially in July and August, always bring about a flurry of reports of ‘flyign saucer’ sightings, etc.” According to Civilian Saucer Intelligence of New York, this so-called editorial appeared in at least three national newspapers, viz. Pomeroy, Ohio DAILY SENTINEL, June 25, 1954. THE PUBLIC HERALD, Mt. Holly, N.J., July 15, 1954; and the LAKE WALES NEWS, Florida, August 19, 1954.
C.S.I. of New York’s address, 67 Jane St., New York 14, N.Y.
been born and reared in Lake Charles), we were told by the Managing Editor that PIOs12 from the adjacent SAC13 base had visited his office and asked that all saucer reports be directed to the base. We also noted that although the editor seemed warm to the idea of a feature story during the interview, nothing ever appeared save a notice that the Stringfields were vacationing."
Eighten months later, like a footnote to my theme on "cooperation", the British Flying Saucer Review, 14 July-August 1957 issue, wrote the following:
"An unidentified flaming object flew across the State of Victoria, Australia, on the evening of Sunday, May 19, and was seen by thousands of people. Telephone switchboards at Melbourne's weather bureau, police headquarters, airline and newspaper offices were jammed with calls from 5:45 p.m. until 8 p.m. It is estimated that over 23,000 sighting reports of the object came in. Times given of its sighting at places hundreds of miles apart suggest its speed at nearly 2,000 m.p.h. Reports described the object as being silver in colour, leaving a white or blue vapour trail in the night sky. . . Radio Australia broadcast a long report, nearly 500 words, about this sensational sighting. The B.B.C. considered it of sufficient importance to include in their 10 p.m. news bulletin on the Light Programme that evening. The news agencies wired the story from Australia. But, the next morning not a single London newspaper carried it!
"Flying Saucer Review is positive that there is no actual censorship of flying saucer news in Britain. The Press does not like to be told what it may print and what it may not print. There is Freedom of the Press. There are no orders not to print anything in peacetime. No orders. However, there are occasions when editors are "requested" not to write about this or that. No actual order is given. It is just a written request frum a certain Governmental committee. Flying Saucer Review is aware that such a body exists and knows its name and address.
"It may be that the B.B.C. "beat the gun' monitoring its news straight from the Australian broadcast and giving it out in a condensed version on the Light Programme. However, a telephone call to night editors would have stopped the story receiving large publicity in the morning papers.
"Flying Saucfr Review admits that there may be some other more mundane reason why the Australian sighting was not carried in the London papers the following morning. On the other hand, it was received in London and broadcast by the R.B.C. in plenty of time. It is too much of a coincidence that not one of the London dailies carried the most sensational and widely-seen UFO sighting on record, and one that had been broadcast on a B.B.C. news bulletin!
"Why should this news item be possibly frowned upon? This was a terrific sighting seen by an enormous number of people. It must be remembered that only recently there had been quite a lot of Press publicity in Britain over the West Freugh R.A.F. radar sighting in Scotland, closely followed by the English Channel radar sighting. This latter one had been the subject of a question in the House of Commons. If this Australian sighting had been given the publicity it deserved in the British Press, people might well have recalled the Scottish one, and have started thinking again about the Channel affair with its unsatisfactory explanation by the Air Minister. Maybe, it was considered in 'the national interest' to preserve calm by 'killing' the story."
12 Public Information Officer
13 Stragetic Air Command
14 Address, 1 Doughty Street, London, W. C. 1, England
THE NEWSWIRES SHOW THEIR HAND — AND SCISSORS!
Even more inexplicable than the newspapers' method of handling saucers was that of the news services. When Frank Edwards first alerted his listeners in the latter part of 1953 that saucer reports were being smothered at their source, speculation for its cause was quick to follow. Rumor was, that something big had happened behind scenes in the military. One story, making the rounds, claimed that the Air Force was hiding three saucers and their crews in hangars at Edwards AFB, Muroc, California. While I could not substantiate this claim, or its connection with the newswire action, I was, however, through official correspondence, made aware of a sudden and important change in the Air Force's policy of disseminating UFO information.
A letter from Major Robert C. Brown of ATIC15, Wright-Patterson AFB, dated August 21, 1953 said: "The Air Technical Intelligence Center has received your letter dated 5 August, 1953, requesting an interview with Project Blue Book personnel. These personnel are quite busy at the present and request you obtain your information from the Department of Defense, Office of Public Information, Washington 25, D. C. If, however, they cannot supply you with the information that you desire, there is a possibility that an interview can be arranged."
Then on December 2, 1953, Captain R. C. White of OPI, Department of Defense, Washington, answered a list of 82 questions I had submitted to his office, concerning official views on the UFO. In his postscript to the 82 answers Captain White said, "I'm sorry to have to refer you again to ATIC on detailed sightings because of their workload. However, if you will limit your questions to one or two sightings at a time, they may be able to help you. If not, send them to me, one or two at a time, and I'll try to run them down."
Then came the switch! On December 17, 1953, Chief Warrant Officer, R. C. Schum, of ATIC answered my follow-up letter concerning my original proposal for an interview, as follows: "In reference to your letter of 8 December 1953, the Air Technical Intelligence Center has been directed to make all information on Project Blue Book available to the Department of Defense, Office of Public Information, Washington, D. C. for release from that point only. Complete information is furnished the Office of Public Information on a day-to-day basis as well as by summary reports; therefore, an interview with that office might be of benefit to you. In regard to your specific questions, the Air Technical Intelligence Center will request a copy from the Office of Public Information and attempt to answer them more fully. These will then be returned to you through the Office of Public Information."
One of the first reports to steer my suspicions, involving both the military and the newswires, slipped by the "censors" June 30, 1954, from Mobile, Alabama. I first heard of it from Frank Edwards who phoned me from Washington
15 Air Technical Intelligence Center.
prior to his broadcast. He read the high points from his script—"Brookley AFB officials report radar had tracked a UFO. . . It made no sound, was silvery in color, traveling at terrific speed. .. It was definitely being maneuvered by intelligent beings," I remember Frank stressing one phrase, intelligent beings. I thought the report was unusual, so I followed it up. It being an UP item, I checked with the City Desk of the Cincinnati Post. "No such story on our wires" said the man on the desk. When I asked if he would put a tracer on it, he promised he would and told me to call back next morning. When I checked, I was told that the story was denied in Mobile.
Later, when I learned of JANAP 14616, I felt even more certain that controls in some mysterious manner, had been leveled on the news media. Another example of suspected finagling behind the scenes, involved a local incident in which a sensational UFO stirred thousands of Cincinnatians, August 5, 1955. Said a Times Star headline, "Aerial Whazit Intrigues City", but that was the extent of the U. S. population that the story intrigued—it never made the news-wires! For the account and my editorial comment, I quote from the September 2, 1955 issue of Orbit as follows:
"At 8:40 p.m., a large brilliant tear-drop shaped object, flying south to north, crossed the city's skies. It moved swiftly and soundlessly in a straight horizontal path without visual arc. Witnessed by thousands, including the writer, whose view was excellent, the object appeared as large as a dime held at arm's length.
"A notable feature was the sharply etched roundness of the device which gleamed in a uniform brilliant white luminescence. Tapering abruptly behind this white mass was a short fiery tail of bluish-green—much like the tonguing flame of a rocket. Its speed, although constant, was too fast for any known aircraft, yet too slow for a normal meteor.
"During the next few days I interviewed over fifty other witnesses. Most all confirmed the description which I had phoned to the Columbus Air Filter Center and the newspapers. Some described the object as "cone-shaped", like a "pear" or, as my daughter Colette told me. "a light bulb with a little blue tail". Reports poured in from every section of the city, mostly in the eastern half or from high ground in the west. One report from Cold Springs, Kentucky claimed that the object was exceedingly low and appeared to have "windows".
From Columbus came reports that residents there also saw a ball of fire streaking over the city. It was described as a bright yellow colored light with a red and green fringe or halation. The object silently disappeared in a cloud bank about 5000 ft. high. Over Lancaster, about 30 miles southeast of Columbus, a similar object was reported by many residents. C. M. Smith of that city writes: ". . . my family and I were sitting out on our terrace when we saw a giant fireball traveling very rapidly from south to north. It appeared as a pcar--shaped object glowing white with a red and orange fiery tail."
"Several reports from northwestern Cincinnati described the object ai suddenly and silently exploding just north of the city. One witness said he thought he saw it hit the earth and burst into vertical streamers like a bomb. Curiously, the object was not seen in adjacent areas northeast of the city, which gives rise to the theory that two objects were seen over Cincinnati almost at the same time. Lending weight to this theory is the fact that the majority of witnesses represented two extreme ends of the city, and from two extreme ends of Kentucky from which the objects were seen to originate. By
16 Joint Army Navy Air Publication. See appendix in Major Keyhoe’s THE FLYING SAUCER CONSPIRACY, also its significance explained in the text.
this deduction, we can, therefore, account for the one object exploding in northwestern Cincinnati, and the other, perhaps, changing course and flying ENE toward I.ancaster where the description of the object tallies with the object witnessed by myself. If the later case were not true, as we have earlier suggested on the assumption that no one reported a UFO in the outlying areas of northeastern Cincinnati, then we may believe that three and possibly four separate objects had traversed the skies over Ohio."
Whatever the explanation for the newswires silence on the Mobile and Cincinnati incidents, the man-on-the-street was not getting the best facts available. For instance, during the deluge of sightings reported almost daily in the greater Cincinnati area, 1954, most all were considered un-newsworthy. "The public is tired of saucers", opined a Cincinnati Enquirer columnist However, his paper gave respectful emphasis to an Air Force statement carried by the wire services on June 1, 1954, which said that saucer reports had fallen off sharply since 1952. The statement went on to say that from January 1, to June 1, only 87 sightings had been reported. Captain White of OPI, confessed that saucer mail was just trickling in; about five a day, he said and yawned, "Ho hum!"
Hardly in a yawning mood, I could not believe White's statistics. Was it possible that CRIFO's mail was five times as great as the Air Force's?—and certainly "87 reports since January" was debatable. I alone, had received over a hundred reports since January, and Frank Edwards, by phone, told me that he received almost that many a month. Curious, I phoned Lt. Colonel O'Mara, Deputy Commander of Intelligence, Wright-Patterson AFB. During this "interview" of July 8, 1954, I was told the Air Force was receiving about "700 sighting reports" a week.17 Asking about the cryptic "87", Colonel O'Mara said that number represented those cases under "special analysis".
Inasmuch as Colonel O'Mara had scuttled the Air Force statement, his new figures on "sighting" frequency meant little to Cincinnati newspapers. Only the Times Star gave it coverage; the newswires wouldn't touch it! However, when I phoned the news to Frank Edwards at Mutual in Washington, the airwaves, that night, carried it coast to coast—and deep inside the Pentagon.
BEHIND THE LOCAL MUZZLE . .
During the local flap of 1955, I visited a saucer-sympathetic newspaperman in the editorial office of the Times Star. After discussing several recent developments which didn't merit review in his newspaper, he assured me that they weren't being cut because of any restrictions he knew of, but (as the Enquirer had told me) he was sure that the "public was tired of reading about lights in the sky". His reasoning was sound, I thought, and as I expressed my understanding, I turned to leave. Smilingly, he said, "Now if anything big happens let me know".
17 The figure “700” probably covers all reports reaching ATIC for evaluation including civilian reports. A great percentage of this number undoubtedly had conventional explanations as had many of the reports I received during that period.
On August 23, it happened! About midnight, residents throughout the city were jarred by the roar of jets. From S.A.C., Lockbourne AFB, south of Columbus, the Air National Guard jets were alerted, scrambled and were over Cincinnati in 12 minutes. The alert began when three UFOs were sighted and confirmed by radar somewhere between Columbus and Cincinnati. In the meantime, Walter Paner, Supt. of Hamilton County GOC, on duty at the ml Healthy Post, phoned the author of the existent alert and relayed the word that jet interceptors were due over the area. He said the UFOs had been active over Mt. Healthy and could be seen clearly by observers from the tower. In short time, the jets, at approximately 20,000 ft., were over Cincinnati, but poor visibility prevented me and a visiting friend from Toronto, Canada, from seeing the UFOs which had deployed over a wide area. According to radar, the interlopers had extended 37 miles south, 24 miles north of the city, and as far as 10 miles east of Mt. Healthy. A later call from Paner disclosed that a UFO was seen hovering in pendulum-like motions directly over the tower. At about 12:10 a.m., the interceptors made contact, and swooping in, chased the UFO—which disappeared at incredible speed. In the meantime, the Forestville and Loveland GOC Posts reported the erratic flights of UFOs to the Air Filter Center describing them as round, brilliant white spheres and discs. I remained on watch from Madison Place with binoculars until 2 a.m. but heavy clouds prevailed, obscuring the activity. However, overhead, the continuous din of low flying jets reminded me of action in the Pacific campaigns while waiting for the inevitable attack. Incongruously, the public, asleep or perhaps wondering about the noisy jets, did not suspect the truth.
The following morning, jet aircraft were still aloft over greater Cincinnati, but it was not until nightfall that a UFO again was spotted by GOC in Forestville. Herb Clark, Ralph Bardoff and Fred Pfeffer, on duty, described the object, as brilliant white and making no sound, to the Filter Center. Confirming reports of UFO activity came from GOC in Loveland and as far west as Vevay, Indiana.
From a "researcher's" standpoint the incident was extraordinary! Here, like the dawn of day, was evidence, according to radar confirmation, of a solid body, or machine; evidence, according to GOC observers, of its control and maneuverability; evidence of the Air Force's policy to scramble and intercept the UFO; and, evidence of our government's concern over the UFO pervading American skies.
Equally extraordinary, I thought, was the fact that the entire incident was "cleared" for publication in Orbit. And this, too, had come about uniquely. Having written up the report as I knew it had happened, I phoned Paner at his home, asking for his advice about publishing it. He said he wasn't sure, but would check with the authorities and suggested that I call back. Doing so minutes later, Paner told me it was perfectly acceptable as I had written it Then to my surprise, he volunteered additional information regarding the radar tracking which included the distances traveled by the UFOs. For further
confirmation of the UFOs' activity, I phoned the Control Tower of the Greater Cincinnati Airport in Boone County, Kentucky. Inadvertently, they too, admitted that unidentified blips were tracked on their radar screen.
Stunned, my only rationalization was that the Air Force had suddenly changed from their program of silence, or that I was being taken under their wing for special duty, or that somebody was talking out of turn. Indeed, before me was startling evidence and a startling story that Cincinnati and the world had awaited. But the Cincinnati newspapers weren't interested! When I phoned the Enquirer, they shrugged it off. A Post reporter took notes, but the story never appeared in print. The Times Star, however, stumbling with promises to send a reporter out to get all the facts, finally, after a conference between reporter and city editor, decided against it.
Reeling from these rebuffs, I now felt sure the press was playing the Air Force game. Remembering my Lake Charles interview, I also took greater stock in my assumption that PIOs had, long ago, visited the local newspapers seeking their pledge of cooperation. Looking back, I recalled that similar security measures had been affected with the press during World War II, especially in regards to matters concerning the Manhattan Project. While I could understand the necessity for these wartime measures, I could find only cause to wonder about a peacetime blackout on the UFO. Was the news bad? Were UFOs belligerent? Was the jet intercept incident of August 23 one example of a global defensive action? Perhaps the evidence within the record of local events, could supply the answer. Wrote Mrs. Isabel Hagglund, of Palo Alto, California, commenting on a series of local events which I had reviewed in Orbit: “The silence of all conventional communication media on the subject of the UFO has a nightmare quality. Three days after reading CRIFO I look around and wonder if I live in the same world in which your newsletter was published. It must have been another Ohio in another United States on another planet where the orange globes and balls of light and small green men were seen, for neither the press or radio mentioned it here.".
With little or no reprieve in UFO activity through September and October of 1955 I decided to headline "The Case for Interplanetary War" in the November issue of Orbit. Research was shocked!
While I was absorbing the complaints of those who preferred to think that saucerlings were peace-loving, another event in the "spirit of cooperation" was shaping. The Cincinnati Enquirer—reiterating its allegiance to the Air Force, I thought—summed it up as follows:
"Once again, and in the most unqualified terms, we have the word of the Air Force thai the flying saucers seen by so many people in so many places were not there at all. Whatever all these people saw, they were not aircraft, missiles or spaceships from this or any other planet, according to Donald A. Quarles, Secretary of the Air Force. . . . Even if the story stopped there, we could expect a good many flying saucer enthusiasts to ignore the dictum of the Air Force and to go right on accumulating their sightings, thrir theories and their campaigns lo persuade the public that these saucer-shaped space ships are real . .".
Reading this, I almost chuckled. Had the editorial writer, I thought, forgotten his respect for his fellow newspapermen who had seen UFOs, which included no less, the Enquirer's own managing editor; not to mention the managing editor of the Post and several other prominent columnists and reporters, representing each of the three Cincinnati newspapers? Instead of crowing, I decided to drop the matter, and besides, who was there to crow to, except to Orbit readers and most of them already knew that editors and saucers weren't mixing well.
It wasn't until March 21, 1956 that saucers brought the Enquirer and CRIFO together again. It all began peaceably when a member of its staff called to inquire whether I had received "saucer" reports that evening. He related that his paper had received a number of calls and wondered if I could add to their story. I told him that I had received several calls, some reporting a bright luminous object hovering in the west which was obviously Venus. However, others described objects, not Venus. One told of a low-flying object changing from red to white, making no sound; another reported a steady green light darting away swiftly after hovering; another described an object with swept-back wings; still another report, received before the evening's rash of sightings, told of a long metallic cigar-shaped object flying low over a highway near Harrison, Ohio. The object, "without windows or protruding parts", buzzed an automobile, terrifying three male occupants.
The next morning, March 22, the Enquirer's jaunty play-up of the incident touched off the usual controversy. Under glaring headlines, accompanied by four photographs, two showing amorphous blobs, two of lights shaped like baseball bats, the Enquirer reported the sightings I contributed, in addition to the following: "An unidentified object burned like a bright beacon for at least 45 minutes high in the western sky. . . That's how long it was observed by an Enquirer reporter and photographer who took up stations at North Bend following telephone calls. . . To the naked eye, the object appeared to be an extraordinarily intense bluish-white light, suspended at about a 30-degree angle above the horizon. However, through binoculars, the object appeared to be a compact galaxy of lights, changing form as they revolved slowly. At one point, with binoculars set slightly out of focus, it assumed the appearance of a diamond brooch ringed with emeralds turning lazily on an eccentric axis. . . Residents of a large area in the downriver section reported that it was the third consecutive night ‘the thing’ has appeared."
On March 23, the Enquirer had the mystery object simply explained! Under a headline which read, "It's only a Star, Folks! ‘Thing’ is Identified from Plane Window", it told of a F-84 Thunderjet, the night before, swooping overhead at 30,000 feet, unseen but in radio contact with a C-45 piloted by Brig. General Edsel Clark, Ohio Air National Guard adjutant general. Joining the general in this reconnaisance was Alan Kain, who photographed the object on the night of March 21 for the Enquirer. Kain who knew what to look for was the first to sight the object. Then, according to the Enquirer, the
general spoke into the microphone to the jet pilot, received an answer and turned to Kain smiling, "Pretty star, isn't it". The case was closed. The saucer was Venus! However, in the days following, I had continued to collect sighting reports, most of which reverted back to the night of March 21. In all I had seventeen, covering a three day period. Eleven, according to my analysis, were explainable as Venus—six were not!
Aimed with this composite report, I called on the Enquirer's city editor, George Carr, hoping to impress him with the six sightings which could not be explained as Venus. Carr, however, refused to review my analysis and told me he considered the case closed! In spite of this, on March 26, the Enquirer reopened the case, featuring a story in which Dr. Paul Herget, Director of Cincinnati Observatory of the University of Cincinnati was quoted as follows: "The planet Venus will keep getting brighter until the middle of May, and, every fool who goes out and looks at it for the first time will see a flying saucer." Herget, asked to explain why the object appeared like emeralds and changed shapes, commented, "A completely spurious image—your observation must have been made under poor conditions. And I don't want to explain your poor binoculars."
Herget's voice was final as far as the Enquirer was concerned, but to me the most significant event of the evening of March 21, and which I am revealing for the first time, took place after Venus had set into the horizon. Charles Deininger, of the Mt. Healthy GOC Post, in the city's northwest, had just hung up the phone after reporting mysterious lights seen in his area. Running outdoors to check the Eastern skies, I immediately spotted two large, low-flying lights, similar to those on a plane's wing-tips, one glowing green, one yellow, speeding north. Between the lights was a dark mass, the body; but it was the soft eerie glow of the lights and their distance apart in relation to their nearness to the ground that impressed me the most. Watching the object skimming over a nearby hill into the horizon, I knew that it was not an aircraft; for it to be that large and low, its engines would have been easily heard—but at no time was there any sound. Running back indoors, I flashed a call to the Air Filter Center in Columbus. While giving a quick descriptive run-down on the object to the sergeant on duty, I was suddenly interrupted and told to stand by. After moments of silence, the sergeant returned and asked me to repeat the object's course. "We're trying an experiment" he said, "Now describe the object again as loud as you can." While repeating it for the third time, the sergeant again cut in and told me to stand by. This time I could hear him calling a code name18 and then his voice, in a one-sided conversation, asking someone if my descriptions were clear. After another lull, and without further comment about the experiment, the sergeant then began filling out a
18 Purposely omitted because of security infringement.
"column 9" report.19 In the meantime, hearing a jet's hum over my area, strengthened my first suspicions of being in direct communication with a jet pilot. Maybe the one aloft! To me, this meant radar had confirmed the object and that some of the people seeing a light in the sky over Cincinnati were seeing something besides Venus!
THE CASE AGAINST CENSORSHIP
Even though the evidence pointed heavily in favor of the popular belief that censorship was practiced by the press, I still lacked the proof of it. And, while lacking proof, I felt determined not to close my mind on the possibility that there still was another answer for the press' strange behaviorism in regard to the flying saucer issue. Perhaps, I have often thought, I had leaned too heavily on local incidents as my best evidence, and these, I believed, in my negative moments, were certainly no criteria for the status quo on a national scale. Still picking at my own presumptions, I also wondered about the few intelligent stories that still were being carried by the newswire services and those that were published with an editorial challenge by newspapers in other cities. In brief, I felt convinced that something was amiss in the press' attitude and actions but when searching for its pattern, the pattern became more and more patternless. Perhaps John DuBarry, former Aviation Editor of True, hit upon the answer when he wrote me the following:
"UFO censorship is presumed to operate in two areas—in the government and in the press. Before considering its causes and effects, let's define the term. By censorship, I assume we mean deliberate interference with or suppression of communication, for reasons of policy. Such censorship has indeed taken place in the government, as Donald Keyhoe and Edward Ruppelt have showed us. Though the policy basis is still unclear— whether it’s fear, stubborn disbelief, or simple bafflement, we don't know—there has bren a more or less successful squelching of good UFO cases. In the press, however, the situation is different. No central command exists, as in the government that can compel silence. From experience on both newspaper and magazine staffs, I know that most publishers and editors would react against any attempt to shut them up about UFO's. I am sure that the government has not tried directly to do so. A few publications, I don't doubt, have adopted a self-imposed censorship as a matter of policy. (They don't believe in saucers, or they don't want to encourage public concern about them.) Most publications just don't know what to think and consequently accept Air Force pronouncements. If they're silent, we can blame them for being negligent or gullible, but not for being censored. As a matter of fact, local newspapers report a fair number of UFO sightings, and news clippings are the mainstay of our UFO files. Therefore let's capitalize on this lack of censorship in the press. If UFO investigators and groups will take it as a major duly to give calm, reasoned, intelligent comments on observable phenomena in letters to editors, radio newscasters, etc., we'll get a hearing and we'll help to keep press channels open until conclusive proof is at hand."
19 For reference I quote from S.O.P. No. 13, May 17, 1955, page 2, paragraph 5, entitled OPERATIONS-TYPES OF AIRCRAFT TO REPORT as follows: “In case of unknown flying objects or aircraft in distress or any unusual occurrences, a column 9 report should be made. Give a description of the unknown object, its size, shape and speed; or if an aircraft is in distress give complete details. Air Force personnel on duty will ask additional questions pertaining to the object or aircraft in distress or occurrence and additional information you can give will be helpful.”
To me, DuBarry made sense! His reasoning covered most of the "old saws" crying censorship and provided at least a sensible explanation for even the extreme issues which bothered the more searching critics. Reviewing these, accordingly, I could see, instead of censorship, the "canned" editorial as an editor's laziness; the smothered story as an editor's bias; the garbled account as an editor's poor discipline, and I might add, the funny story, which if not funny originally was made that way to suit an editor's witty nature. But, editors like to sell newspapers, and to offset the scare headlines they embroider around international incidents and murder, most will jump at a story like this little squib appearing in the Cincinnati Post, July 13, 1957, "A flying saucer (with little men scampering around it) was reported by hundreds of Chicago residents. . . Military and Weather Bureau officials identified it as a runaway weather balloon, drifting at an altitude of 60,000 feet. . . They explained everything—except the 'little men’". The Cincinnati Post, however, stumbled for an answer when asked why they blacked out the big saucer story hitting Indianapolis, August 6, 1957, which involved UFOs maneuvering around an Air Force bomber. Probably it wasn't funny enough.
On the other hand, DuBarry points out the kind of newspaper which adopts a policy of self-censorship. Such may be the case of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who edits news with a protective complex. One example, possibly, is an UP story datelined San Juan, Porto Rico, published by the Enquirer, March 10, 1957. In brief, the account ran as follows: "A fiery object hurtled toward a Pan American Airways plane high over the Atlantic Ocean today (March 9), forcing it to take quick evasive action to avoid being hit, the pilot reported. Four persons required hospitalization for shock and injuries suffered apparently because of the maneuver, Capt. Matthew Van Winkle said he could not identify the flaming object which menaced his transport at the half-way point on the flight from New York to San Juan. The pilot of a Trans-Caribbean plane said he saw the object and said he believed it could have been a meteor. A Pan-American spokesman said other planes on the same route saw more than one object. Capt Van Winkle said his first impression when he sighted the object was that it was a jet plane. But when it got closer, he said he noticed it was not shaped like any known jet. To avoid a collision, Van Winkle said, he pulled the plane into a steep climb, rising 1500 feet in a few seconds. . ."
But, for some quirk of reasoning, the Enquirer headlined the story: "Pilot Climbs, Avoids Meteor: Four Hurt". To the ordinary reader, the object in question, would be written off as meteor. But had he seen the Philadelphia Inquirer's version of the same UP release, he would have read, under the headline, "Airliner Dodges Fiery Object", a far more detailed account which quotes Capt Van Winkle as follows: ". . . it was a burning greenish white round object, unrecognizable, but definitely not a meteor." Thus we see by coloring the news to satisfy a policy, the story loses its true perspective. Later, Civilian Saucer Intelligence of New York dug deeply into the case, interrogating Van Winkle and others. Their findings, published in CSI's May issue of Newsletter,
proposes the meteoric explanation, but admits that the odds are equally in favor of it being a UFO.20
Since the Atlantic incident, there have been three other known instances where commercial aircraft have had narrow escapes with UFOs21—one, a DC-3, which lost 10 feet of its wing. To my knowledge, the Enquirer bypassed all three stories. However, since the Post published all three, it again reveals certain "protective" traits in another papers' policy.
While I have frequently taken the Cincinnati Enquirer to task for its suspicious handling of UFO news, it was, ironically, the same newspaper, on April 7, 1957, that provided me with the kind of evidence which could change my views toward the Enquirer and which could vindicate all newspapers from the same suspicions.
The evidence was simple and it began with Mrs. Catherine Golden, Chairman of the Cincinnati UFO Society, calling the Enquirer announcing that Major Keyhoe on April 6 would lecture at the Hughes High School Auditorium. As expected, when the announcement appeared in print it was a lampoon of Keyhoe.
In the meantime, with Orbit bowing out, I had prepared a CRIFO statement which summarized three years research. I delivered copies to all three newspapers and the newswire services, but these were smothered, save for a brief squib appearing in Ed Chapin's column in the Times Star. I was still sporting this snub when I introduced Keyhoe to the audience, my first words being vindictive barbs aimed at the press. These barbs, followed by Keyhoe's critical review of the "conspiracy", I thought, would surely draw the press' ire and the inevitable slap. But to my complete surprise, the next morning's Enquirer had pulled a volte face. Their story read as follows:
"SAUCER LID BY AF CHARGED—Expert Says Truth on Flying Objects is Being Withheld—An estimated 500 persons yesterday heard Major Donald Keyhoe, 'flying saucer’ authority, charge the Air Force with withholding the truth on ils investigations of unidentified flying objects . . . Keyhoe heads the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, which, he said, will attempt to fill the 'breach' left by Air Force silence on the matter. ‘This is an honest investigation' he said. "We expect to get rid of all hoaxers and the lunatic fringe. Keyhoe outlined the history of sightings since 1957. For awhile, he said, a group inside the Air Force believed in making public the facts of its research, leaked some of it. Then the lid went down tighter than ever.'
Admitting that he had 'never seen a flying saucer except on a radar scope' Keyhoe cited several sightings which he said had gone unexplained. He said that fear of creating widespread hysteria apparently is responsible for the Air Force policy—the fear that ‘if we would admit we were being observed by people from another planet, it would cause panic.' If the objects are from other worlds, Keyhoe said, "I personally don't accept that there is anything ominous about them. They've had many years to attack us. ‘We have a right to know the facts.' he said, suggesting the Air Force would be wiser to release those facts gradually and prepare the public."
20 Added confirmation comes from the Baltimore SUN which datelines a UFO report, March 9, from Coulmbia, S .C. as follows: “A huge flashing object shooting through the air was reported early today by several residents in the Columbia area. The brilliant object was described as emitting featherly-like flames as it moved rapidly along just above the three tops.”
21 The three POST articles follow: Phoenix, Arizona, April 21, 1957. DC-3 with 10 feet of wing chopped off the end of the left wing by “some object” with which it collided in flight as hour earlier . . . Near El Paso, Texas, July 17, 1957, nearly 80 passengers aboard DC-6 were thrown from their seats as plane dived to avoid collision with a green-lighted object . . . Amarillo, Texas, July 22, 1057, several of the 34 passengers aboard a Trans-World Constellation were injured when plane dived to avoid an object.
A straight and sober report; neither saucers nor Keyhoe sold short, which is so often the case when other newspapers recount his lectures. Had the Enquirer been under the "thumb" or "too close to Wright-Patterson, nautically and politically" as has been charged, the lecture I'm sure, would have been snubbed or subjected to choice phraseological snipes.
Still another example of a newspaper asserting its rights was the Provident, Rhode Island Bulletin, March 6, 1956, which rose editorially to challenge the official explanation for a mysterious skyquake. Barked the Bulletin:
"Every now and then, a noise like a giant thunderclap explodes over broad sections of Rhode Island, shaking homes, rattling windows, and alarming citizenry. The common assumption is that the noise comes from a jet plane breaking through the sound barrier. Local military air commands, though, seem to be forming the habit of issuing denials, each time the thing happens, that any of their aircraft could have caused the blast. Exactly this occurred last Saturday for the second time in recent weeks. However accurate they may be these automatic denials serve no useful public purpose. Frightened citizens don’t want to know what didn't happen but what did. And they have a right to be told . , . People are jittery enough these days, and they aren't going to be reassured by piecemeal official denials that don't explain anything."
Vorpal remarks like these would hardly indicate that its editor had succumbed to censorship, and if such extreme controls existed, no newspaper, including the Bulletin, would be free to criticize the authorities.
More evidence, this counteracting the charge that newswire services smother saucer news—and coming as a surprise to me—was an INS story which broke December 18, 1954. It read as follows:
“GROUP DEFIES IKE’S DENIAL—The publisher of CRIFO Newsletter challenged President Dwight Eisenhower's recent statement that there is no reason to believe the phenomena (saucers) are from another planet. Leonard Stringfield said in a letter to the President that the Air Force possesses evidence supporting his belief the saucers are interplanetary vehicles. Stringfield asked that the Air Force release this evidence which he said consisted of films and the evaluation reports of these films. The publisher claimed Air Force conclusions about the saucers are so serious that some officers have been threatened with court martial if they talk too freely . . ."
Unaccountably, my letter of rebuttal to Ike (no reflection politically) somehow was picked up by INS after I had offered it to UP and AP where it was spurned. The AP office told me they would have to check first with their New York Bureau, but when I phoned the next day, I learned they had killed it. But the INS report apparently had stirred up a hornet's nest. Hard on its heels came a Scripps-Howard blast. In an article, abasing civilian saucer research, Robert Crater, of the Washington office, singled out my letter to the President as a prime target, commenting, "Stringfield was all worked up”. Crater also took slaps at researchers Max Miller, Jim Moseley and Meade Layne. But most significant was the fact that INS carried the story—and certainly any decree by the government which would gag UP and AP would also include INS.
Exploding the myth of censorship once and for all, was the Admiral Delmar Fahrney statement, on behalf of NICAP22, which made every front page and newscast in the USA, January 16, 1957. In brief, Admiral Fahrney said, "There are objects coming into our atmosphere at very high speeds. No agency in this country or in Russia is able to duplicate at this time the speeds and accelerations which radar and visual observers indicate these flying objects are able to achieve. There are signs that an intelligence directs these objects, because of the way they fly: the way they change position in formations would indicate that their motion is navigated and controlled. . ."
Commented C. S. I. of New York in their May 1957 News Letter: "... All that's needed to get UFO's back on the front pages is a saucer story involving an eminent military man."
Summarizing, I cannot believe at this writing that anyone of our great newspapers is interlaced in a conspiracy to censor saucer information. Perhaps the answer to their seeming errant behaviorism is in keeping with the words expressed by John DuBarry—"If they're silent, we can blame them for being negligent or gullible, but not for being censored." Although DuBarry may be correct, I also believe it is true that on occasions our editors, and particularly the newswires, have been "requested not to write this or that" about a UFO incident, which seems to be the case in England, as pointed out by the British Flying Saucer Review.23 Such, however, if true, not only confirms the handclasp of a "gentleman's agreement" in the U.S.A. but also suggests there is an Anglo-American fear in its peoples knowing what is hidden under the lid of the Pandora's Box.
THE SPOILS OF SILENCE . . .
Whatever other reason there is for the unpublished stories, e.g., the Cincinnati jet intercept of August 23, many would be lost to public interests if it were not for the sounding boards of civilian research organizations which collect valuable information from world-wide, fact-hunting correspondents. Commenting on CRIFO, the "inside-looking-out” saucer author, Edward Ruppelt once wrote me. “I must say that you have a very effective 'report collection net' established". Following are typical cases published in Orbit which no one newspaper dared to probe beyond their headlines, but required time and effort on the part of a voluntary investigator:
Case 299, investigated by Mrs. I. E. Epperson on Burbank, California, who brought to light, additional facts concerning the object hovering over Lockheed Aviation Plant February 13, 1957.
Case 296, investigated by Kenneth Smith of Knoxville, Tennessee, who tied in a local smog mystery with a fireball's passing over, January 21, 1957.
22 National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. Headquarters, 1536 Connecticut ave., N.W., Washington 4, D.C. Publishers of THE U.F.O. INVESTIGATOR.
23 The British publication URANUS, published at 21 Kings Road, London S.W. 3, adds, . . . The press in England is not censored but their staffs include science editors who have friends in the ‘right places’, and, with a knowledge of the methods employed in official departments, these reporters know only too well the official viewpoint on the subject of flying saucers . . .”
Cases 247 through 251 and 255 through 262, each bearing copious clippings with personal investigations and observations, sent in by Ray Scrimshaw of Minnesota, ClaressaVan Hoof of Williston. North Dakota, Elmer Dahl of St. Paul and Charles Follick of Great Falls, Montana, during the big flap over the North Central states, November and December, 1956.
Case 218, investigated assiduously by Dean Strawn of Corona, California who produced valuable concatenating evidence of a skyquake, a forest fire and a UFO. Sept. 12. 1956.
Case 217, investigated by Richard Hall24 of New Orleans, who tracked down reports of objects cavorting over the city. Sept. 12, 1956.
Case 200, investigated by C. H. Marck of Denver, who kept me posted almost daily on the spate of incidents occurring near Ft. Collins, during August, 1956.
On the other hand are the "Tweedle-durns' with experiences to tell who shrink away from publicity, fearing ridicule or that they're treading on security Frequently, I have received excellent reports from individuals who denied the right to publish their information, or requested anonymity. "I'll be laughed right out of my job" was one remark. Another good one: "My wife thinks I'm nuts already. She hears of this, and she'll leave me sure." I always tried to laugh with them, but a few were truly worried about information released inadvertently. I remember one case involving an engineer returning to Cincinnati from Arizona with a very lucid report of what he had encountered on his trip. Obligingly he took the time to write it up on the request of a friend of mine, who in turn obligingly submitted the report to CRIFO for review in Newsletter. When the sighter learned of this, I was told, he almost went into shock, and demanded that his report be destroyed. In his opinion what he had seen was a U.S. secret weapon, and spent weeks fearing that his report had violated security. I dismissed the case, not even alluding to it in my bulletin, although it would have tied in excellently with other material on hand.
Another case, where, apparently, fear of consequence prevented the investigator from obtaining valuable direct confirmation of a weird and most unusual sighting, and kept it from reaching the press except Orbit, was in the attempt of C. W. Fitch of Cleveland, Ohio, to follow up certain leads in the Jacksonville, Florida incident (Orbit Case No. 162, May 9, 1956). This involved the experience of two girls who were terrified by a low-hovering object over a bus stop late at night.
A thorough follow-up of this case was made by Fitch in an attempt to obtain additional information and confirmation of the occurrence. He succeeded in locating the driver of the bus and obtaining his written confirmation of having seen the objects, backing up the girls' story, but beyond that his perseverance was greeted by cold silence. He was desirous of obtaining the additional testimonials of two gentlemen who were passengers aboard the bus that evening and who had also observed the two mysterious devices which had frightened the girls so badly. Numerous courteous letters, mailed registered, failed to elicit any reply from these two witnesses. The following is the result of Fitch's investigation:
24 Researcher who contributed heavily to CRIFO files, now publisher of SATELLITE, address, 721 Burdette St., New Orleans 18. La.
Direct confirmation of the incident from three of the principals involved, Joan Frost, Gertie Wynn and Wallace L. Marlowe, the driver. Excerpts from their letters are included at this point since they are highly illuminating as to their personal reactions at the time.
Joan Frost: "The object was surrounded by an eerie red mist of light with a brighter red, almost like a flame, shining through three cracks of a door in the bottom of it. We saw the door which was closed and seemed to be quite a good size but didn't take too much notice of it, because when we saw that it looked like we were going to get picked up, I got terrified and started to run."
Gertie Wynn: "It went just above our heads. There was definitely no sound at all. I sure had a fear of being kidnapped. It was also an exciting feeling of something different."
Wallace L. Marlowe: "I was the operator of the bus that was mentioned by Miss Frost and I remember the occurrence quite well. As I approached the corner I saw two strange objects in the air just above the girls and ahead of my bus. I pulled on down to where they were standing and stopped. I remember the girls were badly frightened when they boarded the bus and I believe they mentioned something to the effect they thought they were about to be kidnapped. As I looked at the objects as they hovered just above us for a second and then they both went up into the air at a high rate of speed. There was absolutely no sound of any kind. These objects, whatever they were, were quite large, and as I recall, one was slightly smaller than the other. They appeared to be round. There was a slight red glow from the underside and a bright light on the top of each one. I have no idea what they were but I do know they were not jet aircraft. It gave me a very eerie feeling which I still recall."
Indirect confirmation eventually was obtained from the two passengers referred to, namely Mr. W. T. Hill and Mr. C. R. Lewis, both of Jacksonville, in the following manner. Fitch had related the Jacksonville sighting to a friend, Mr. Bob Albers, past-president of the Cleveland Aviation Club who then became interested in it. While on a vacation in Florida, during March, 1957, Albers made it a point to call on Marlowe, Hill and Lewis. On his return to Cleveland he acquainted Fitch with the fact that all three of these individuals talked freely to him of having seen the strange objects. While willing to discuss and confirm their sighting verbally, the latter two were apparently apprehensive of putting anything in writing relating to it. However, the additional verbal confirmation received through Albers helps to place this case in the top bracket of authentic and reliably confirmed UFO sightings.
THE DANCE OF "LIFE"
A horse of a different color in the publishing business is Life magazine, the pictorial big brother of reportorial Time — both of which carry big sticks of
influence everywhere, USA! In 1952, Life published a sensational feature article entitled, "Have We Visitors From Space" in which its authors, H. B. Darrach, Jr. and Robert Ginna, presented "scientific evidence that there is a real case for interplanetary flying saucers." Commented Robert Ginna in a later article in Life, ". . . the story prompted an unprecedented response from the readers. . .”
On March 5, 1955, on behalf of CRIFO, I wrote to Life’s editorial office as follows: "In respect to Life's silence on 'saucers' since its big expose, 'Have We Visitors From Space?', appearing in 1952, may this writer construe such to mean that nothing has since happened to alter that belief, that is, the hypothesis that 'saucers' are interplanetary?", etc.
On March 25, 1955, Life answered, "Many thanks for your letter of March 6. Unhappily, in sending it on to the editors for consideration, it has been lost—or so very well misplaced that all our efforts have failed to locate it in the right editor's suggestion folder. Would you be good enough to send me a copy? This time, I will see that it receives prompt attention."
On March 27, 1955, I sent a carbon copy as requested. Having heard nothing by May 2, I wrote a follow-up. The letter read in part, "slightly flabbergasted, I'm still awaiting your reply to either my original letter, March 5, 1955 or its copy duplicate mailed at your request on March 27, 1955. You promised that my second letter would receive prompt attention but I see that another month has rolled by and still no answer." I ended my letter repeating my earlier request. Finally, on May 12, I received the following reply from which I quote: "Unfortunately, the editors report that they are unable to fit another 'flying saucers' article into upcoming schedules—at least for the time being. They will, however, keep the subject at hand and perhaps it can be reconsidered later on. . ."
On May 17, I wrote, "Your letter of May 12, in reply to mine of May 2, is received and the writer is grateful for your prompt reply. However, your answer leaves the writer mystified in that it obliquely evades the question asked in a series of letters dating back to March 5, 1955. . . In view of Life's silence on the subject—despite new and material evidence—it seems therefore, safe to conclude that Life's present opinion and policy remains unchanged and thus still upholds the belief that UFO's (saucers) are interplanetary vehicles. . ."
Two more follow-ups never brought answers. Obviously, a game of hocus pocus, I thought. Probably the easiest way for Life to get itself off the hook. But perhaps there was a reason—the same reason which impelled Life and Time to treat the saucer problem so sleasily since 1952. I thought I knew why.
It concerned the Tremonton film, known in 1952 as the "U" film in secret Air Force circles. Major Keyhoe in his book, Flying Saucers from Outer Space had exposed its secret handling by photographic experts in the Air Force and Navy and by 1954 the film had become a "real piece of positive evidence" among fact-hunting saucerites. It was during this heady period that Dr. Leon
Davidson, nuclear scientist and formerly of AEC, sent a letter to CRIFO for publication in the Newsletter, Wrote Dr. Davidson and I quote from that letter in part as follows:
"I was at the Pentagon on the afternoon of November 3, 1952 as a result of an invitation by letter of October 23. 1952 from Colonel William Adams . . . I met Colonel Adams and Major Dewey Fournet and we spent two hours discussing flying saucers and the Air Force's investigation of the subject . . . Later, Major Fournet took me into a nearby briefing room and ran the films (Tremonton) off for me twice, also stopping the film at several points so that I could examine typical frames at length. I was told that about six prints had been made, and had been submitted to various photo-labs in the country, (including Life magazine's lab, as I recall) to be scrutinized for fakery, etc. .."
On September 28, 1953, an Air Force spokesman said that the owner of the film, Navy W/O Delbert Newhouse "can make the film public if he wishes". However, when I wrote to Life about pictorializing the film, they replied, November 25, 1953, "We have not heard anything more about the once proposed showing of the Tremonton films ... we shall certainly be interested when and if this material is made public."
Had Life forgotten they had examined the film, or were they told to forget? Or, was it a typical case of Life's right hand not knowing what its left hand was doing? Notwithstanding, as the world now knows, the "U” film—despite denials of its existence by the Air Force in 1954—was made public in the movie, "UFO", a United Artist production in 1956. While Life was neither interested in printing "stills" of the "U” film, or in reviewing the movie, "UFO", it did take time out, December 5, 1955 to promote the juvenile drawings depicting un-typical flying saucers released by the Air Force in their Special Report No. 14, October 25, 1955.
THE HIGHEST WALL IN THE WORLD
Saucerly speaking, something was rotten in Washington! This was particularly clear to the student who had followed the long record of Air Force statements and all the better UFO reports since 1947. To him the matter was no longer a joke; it was obvious that a worried Washington was hiding something big—perhaps much bigger than the Manhattan Project
Guarding this secret was the highest wall in the world—the Wall of Security! On one side stood the tatterdemalion forces of civilian research; on the other, the Air Force—the watchdog over the evidence.
Such was the status quo while CRIFO's forces were building up. Statistically, during one fluid period in 1955, CRIFO's bulletin could boast of more than 2300 paid subscribers. Included in that figure were many prominent Americans. Most were unafraid of having their names associated with saucers; others, however, preferred obscurity because of their company's contracts with the Air Force, or, affiliations with observatories, colleges or the military.
Foreign agents also were aware of CRIFO, several inquiring about Orbit directly, others, I suspected, through members of the diplomatic staff. On a confidential tip from one Latin American correspondent I learned that his government received Orbit regularly, having them translated into Spanish.
On the other hand, I have approached several foreign governments with questions regarding the UFO problem. Replies, however, by such open and direct communication, are scarce. Curiously, only the Soviet Union has responded. A registered letter, dated June 11, 1957, reads as follows:
"Seemingly, the communications concerning the appearance over your country of unidentified flying objects receiving in the foreign press the name of 'flying saucers' to which you refer in your letter, do not have any relation to true reality, seeing that these appearances have not been observed by us.
"Naturally, under these conditions there cannot be talks either about any official government statement on the question of unexisting objects, or about theoretical investigations in this domain."
The letter was signed by A. G. Karpenko, Scientific Secretary, Interdepartmental Commission for Interplanetary Communications, Academy N.A.U.K., U.S.S.R. While I was not disappointed by the letter's text, I was, however, happy to note that, alas, the U.S.S.R. had agreed on at least one issue with the U.S.A. Also of interest was the department from which the letter was addressed. By this, we at least know that the U.S.S.R. is organized to think in terms of interplanetary affairs.
Back home as high as was CRIFO's prestige so was its spirit; and, as strong as its subscribership, so were the demands placed on it for authoritative information. More and more I realized that my editorial word alone, was not enough. For CRIFO to prosper continuously it would need the strength of official and professional support. There were three sources—the Office of Public Information of the U. S. Air Force in Washington, the legislative branches of government, and the men of science.
One exploratory effort, March 18, 1955, took me by phone, to Captain Robert C. White of the Air Force's OPI in Washington. We talked saucers for one hour—$19's worth. In that time, I hammered on the proverbial issues but White, well-trained and wary, when not fending off certain questions with the proverbial Air Force answers, found his best defense in silence. On general issues however, White was more responsive. His comments follow:
5 to 22% of saucer sighting reports were unexplainable, varying from month to month; that "foo fighters" of World War II vintage have never been satisfactorily explained; that at least two pictures of UFOs taken by special grid cameras, show only pinheads of light, and that green fireballs "to the best of Air Force knowledge are not a result of the Air Force or any other governmental testing". When reminded that the phenomena have been seen passing over many large cities, Capt. White said that such a development would never be tested over populated areas, although there was heavy military experimentation in areas where fireballs are most frequently seen—New Mexico. Capt. White emphasized, however, that such experiments were not green fireballs. "They do exist", he said, "that's why thousands of dollars were spent investigating them." When asked about the confidential nature of these investigations under Project
Twinkle. Capt. White said, "The projects files have never been declassified". He said there was no reason for this other than that no pressures had been made to release the information. He said, in effect, that the officers who handled the data probably never bothered to declassify the material before leaving the service or being transferred. Capt White intimated here that this material showed nothing of concern, and said. "The Air Force thinks the green fireballs are astronomical phenomena",—which, he suggested should be of more concern to astronomers than the Air Force. After pointing out to Capt. White the futility of talking with astronomers referring to Dr. Hcrgct, I then interposed, quoting a statement by Dr. Lincoln La Paz, an authority on meteors, regarding green fireballs, which said "They are not any kind of meteor I have ever heard of”. Citing these authoritative words, I again asked Capt. White for the Air Force's interpretation of this kind of phenomena. He answered simply—"We cannot explain them".
On the other hand, Air Force replies to my letters have brought even less information. Most replies tersely evaded my questions entirely. A typical sparing answer to a letter which I addressed to Capt. White asking questions about green fireball phenomena, got this reply, "Capt. White is on leave prior to transfer to Spain after having completed his tour here. I am enclosing a copy of our latest press release which answers your question in this letter". The letter was signed by Major William W. James of the Air Force Press Desk. Specu-latively, I have often wondered what Major James would have written had I asked for information on the Air Force's provisions to combat the mosquito in the tundra.
And if there should be any doubt about my collection of "replies", I need only to quote in part from a letter from the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, dated 14 December, 1956 as follows: ". . . We have just completed a review of the considerable file of correspondence that has accumulated over the past few years between you and various units and offices of the Air Force. .."
But the evasive reply and the polite rebuff were not only confined to CRIFO. A large newspaper which once tried getting a look-see at the Tremonton film was told at the last minute that the film had been destroyed accidentally by fire. Another attempt to get the facts in 1950 took a Cincinnati businessman, following the Norwood Seanchlight Incident, to Washington. At the Pentagon, a high ranking officer told him to forget saucers and advised instead, "to start collecting postage stamps."
Others tired of the military merry-go-round turned their efforts to the l.aw-makers One such inquiring letter written by Robert Hopkins of LaGrange Illinois got this tactful reply from Congressman William McVey which said in part, ". . . The government has been paying considerable attention to reports regarding reported movements of these celestial bodies and recently issued a statement to the effect that they had run down thousands of these reponts and could not discover a foundation for any of them. . . ."
Still another attempt through jurisprudence had more far-reaching implications. The principal contestant was Thomas Eickhoff, a Cincinnati businessman. Eickhoff first became interested in saucers in 1951, having seen an object in the sky that year which he could not explain. In 1954, he touched of a melee in
the Air Force by making public high points of his interview with Colonel O'Mara, and has since favored a showdown between certain claimants of the interplanetary theory and the Air Force who oppose it. Eickhoffs open letter describing his later legal actions follows:
"Jurisprudence—a system of laws of a country. Right. Justice. The act of administering same. It has always been my opinion that the law of the land is for the protection of the rights of the individual and that due process of administering this cardinal weapon against injustices and wrongs is above and beyond the interference by anyone or anything.
"At present, in the UFO controversy, there exists two diametrically opposed factions; one. the various government agencies who make statements explaining away the UFO as hallucinations and scientific improbabilities; the other, a group of persons who claim personal contacts with people from other planets or by means of radio and thought waves.
"It is not my position to sit in judgment on either of these factions, but rather to fling the gauntlet, down between them and ask by due process of the law, which is right.
"In 1954, I took the initial and what I thought to be the right steps toward ending this comedy of errors. There were two men slated for speaking engagements in our city. Both had made contact claims in books and were here primarily to promote sales. I could not see why the officials would let these men, if their word was false, speak here, that is if a citizen should actively object. I did object, and to the FBI, Air Force and other agencies of authority. The rebuff I received from the FBI was that the men were only stating personal opinions which they were entitled to state. However, the books which these contact claimants offered for sale were headed by such sale clinchers as "documentary, fact, truth" etc.
"It was during this time that my wife and I made a personal visit to Lt. Col. John O'Mara, then Chief Deputy Commander of Air Intelligence, Wright-Patterson AFB. While we talked, Col. O'Mara once again branded these men as obvious hoaxsters and also made disparaging remarks about Major Donald Keyhoe and his books. He later, incidentally, was caused to rescind many of these remarks about Major Keyhoe. He also stated that "there are no such things as the Tremonton or Montana motion picture films showing saucers in flight. However, many Americans, today, have seen those very pictures which were shown on public movie screens. The Colonel did admit that grid cameras had been placed on many jet pursuit ships and indicated they were for further study of the UFO problem. I hastened to mention that it seemed like a large amount of the taxpayers' money was being spent on this “obvious hoax". The Colonel ended the interview by saying that sighting reports were arriving at the phenomenal rate of 700 per week. I am certain, as I am sure the Colonel was, that a very small percentage were authentic cases. After this short skirmish, I gave up, temporarily at least, arguing with "City Hall".
"In the next year, there were more sightings and more claims of personal contacts. Saucer books, magazines and direct mail circulars were being published in increasing numbers. My thoughts were, how was it that the "charlatans" were going on their way busily fleecing the people, unapprehended and by the audacious use of the U. S. mail system at that? Frankly, I did not know. At any rate, I purchased one of these books, via the mail system, called "Inside The Space Ships", written by George Adamski. However, prior to the purchasing this book, I examined it and found a very vulnerable legal Achilles Heel. Adamski's 'heel', in this case, is as follows: '. . , I do have witnesses to one of my journeys in a space craft. Both are scientists who hold high positions. Once they are able to make a statement the picture will change overnight. However, the way things are nowadays with everything classified as security, for the time being they must remain in the shadow. When they believe that they can release the substantiation they
have without jeopardizing either the national defense or themselves, they have said tha they will do so through the press. How soon that will be, your guess is as good as mine.
"On the strength of this statement, which in a sense is scientific corroboration of his experience, the book ceases to be a product of his perional opinion and becomes a statement of fact open to question by legal means!
"Irate with the government's lassitude in challenging the 'charlatans', I decided to force the issue myself. The book in question was George Adamski's. It was my opinion ihat he should be brought to Federal Court where he could prove by use of the testimony of his two scientists that he really had been on a space ship from another planet. Of course, this would also have given the government their opportunity to press the case, and thereby, when he was unable to produce the aforementioned scientists, they could prosecute him (Adamski) for the act of fraud committed by illegal use of the U.S. mail system.
"I called an attorney friend and explained the situation. I said, 'B------------- this is a hot one. You can back out if you like'. He answered that in his opinion I had a case Out of respect to the various agencies involved, my lawyer decided to call in a certain federal representative to act as a go-between. At first this representative thought that we were just kidding', but my lawyer convinced him that we were serious. We gave him our plan of action. ‘Do nothing until I check' was his advice. We waited and finally he suggested a letter of inquiry be sent to a certain agency in Washington. This we did and the answer that was forthcoming was so evasive that it even angered my very conservative lawver friend. 'They can't do this to us,' he quipped and with that called the representative and said. 'We're going through with it'. The representative then asked him to please hold off once more until he could get to Washington. Within the week, my attorney called me to his office. He had received the answer which also included instructions for all parties concerned to deny any connections with the statement. The statement itself came from Mr. A. D. of a certain top agency in Washington. Said A. D.: Yes, I did have a case for Federal Court. However, by use of the injunction if necessary he would prevent anyone from testifying in cour: concerning this book became maximum security exists concerning the subject of UFO's, My lawyer, after carefully pointing out the fact that if the injunction was used I would be left high and dry and would be open for countersuit. He suggested we drop the case.
"I still believe that I have had my personal rights tampered with; I still believe that the men who market their books by the mail system should be caused to show proof of their statements This is the least the government could do toward protecting the people who because of a lack of official information. ‘go for these publications. Mine is only one small fist beating on the huge soundproof door to City Hall'. It is, it seems to me more the rule than the exception nowadays that the individual and his rights are becoming a lost legion in the quick sands of security."'
Hardest to measure in my quest for authoritative information was the depth of the scientific well of thinking. Most scientists, fearing public controversy, or that they were going too far out on a professional limb, usually eschewed off the inquisitor before he could say "flying saucer". On the other hand, there were a few, with preconceived ideas about the universe, who volubly attacked every suggestion of saucers from space. To the newspapers, tired of saucers, these utterances were a welcome relief and usually, they found enshrinement on the front pages or in hot weather editorials. To the layman, however, who believed everything he read, it meant that Science had cast its lot, and that saucers were as Dr. Harlow Shapley said in 1952, "... a complete lot of nonsense", or as Dr. Walter Dornberger said in 1956, "The only true flying saucers are those you see
when you have an argument with your wife in the kitchen" or as Dr. Clifford Furnas, former assistant secretary of defense, said in 1957, "people who report flying saucers just see spots before their eyes". But to the saucerite these men were not a true sampling of scientific thinking: they were either "talking with their feet in their mouths" or were paid to talk that way!
For the more qualified opinion on inside-science, I quote in part from a letter received from Ward Kimball, Director of Walt Disney's Tomorrowland, as follows: ". . . The most interesting aspect of creating the factual space travel television shows for Disneyland has been the exciting contacts we've made with the scientists, engineers and physicists connected directly or remotely with the government guided missile and artificial satellite program. The one question that seems to start the fur flying, good-naturedly and otherwise, is when we ask, 'what do you think about flying saucers?' The answers run from, 'It's very absurd!' all the way down to 'If a flying saucer landed on my lawn tomorrow, I wouldn't be at all surprised! . . ."
Realizing the importance of first-hand information, I once tried my luck at the personal interview. It was in October 1954, after getting a barrage of clippings covering a green fireball incident in New Mexico. I phoned Dr. Paul Herget, professor of astronomy at the University of Cincinnati; now one of the heads of the Navy satellite program. I told him about the fireballs and remarked that I had talked with Wright-Patterson on the saucer question. Before hanging up he agreed to see me privately at the observatory. In its dome was a 16 inch Clark telescope, but it was also Dr. Herget's sanctuary for asteroid research, of which he was the world's authority.
When Dr. Herget and I met at the observatory, I explained that the purpose of my visit was to get his professional advice on saucers. For some reason I felt uncomfortable. Maybe it was the severe furnishings of the room, the old wooden staircase, the straight-back chairs, the mustiness. Getting to the subject. Dr. Herget was first to speak. "Do you have security clearance?" he asked.
I replied that since I left Air Force Intelligence after World War II, I had none; that my present research was strictly civilian. As though operated on a pushbutton, the atmosphere changed. Turning red, Dr. Herget said harshly, "I take a dim view on the whole subject. There's absolutely nothing to it."
I suggested the known evidence; the reports of trained observers.
"I take a dim view on the whole subject," said Dr. Herget and by citing one or two examples, he swept away every sighting report on record. To his knowledge there was no evidence! He made it clear that flying saucers were anathema!
"But what of the sightings by amateur astronomers?" I asked. I was thinking of several recent reports reaching me from sincere observers using good telescopes. Dr. Herget responded quickly. He said he had little faith in the amateur's reports, adding that they were not qualified to identify anything in space. I could feel my patience fading. "For that matter, sir," I countered, "how
can you prove you're seeing asteroids?" I knew this was the wrong thing to say
It was; when I next asked about the Norwood Searchlight Incident, in which Dr. Herget was involved, he vollied, "Nothing to it. Just gas! I tell you, I take a dim view of the whole subject."
By this time, I had taken a dim view on the whole interview. I gave up thanked him for his time and left feeling more baffled than ever. But I kept wondering why he had asked about security clearance . . . also wondering what might have been said had I the necessary clearance.
Other scientists were not openly pro or con. One leading astronomer, and an authority on Mars, writing from Mt. Palomar, said, "I wouldn't mind commenting about 'saucers' if I really had anything worthwhile to say about them. I haven't kept up on this. I'm still not convinced of their existence but have on open mind on the subject. I’ll have to wait until I actually see one. Then I probably won't have my glasses with me so my observation will be worthless. .."
Willing to go on public record, but playing his hand cautiously was astronomer, Dr. James C. Bartlett. In a Baltimore lecture, March of 1956, Bartlett said he was positive saucers existed and were controlled mechanisms, but from there, he admitted, his convictions faded into speculation. Said Bartlett: It is not impossible that the objects come from another planet, but the probability is that the answer is to be found on this earth. Following the lecture, he admitted he had seen both discs and cigar-shaped objects which he could not explain. Also, on the conservative side was Alfred C. Loedding, former civilian head of the first Air Force investigation into flying saucers, and a Princeton aeronautical engineer. According to the Trenton New Jersey Times, Loedding had stated unequivocally that there were such things as flying saucers. He based his statement on more 100 reports received from airline pilots, test pilots, Air Force officers, and other reliable sources.
Perhaps the most striking revelation of inside scientific thinking came by letter from correspondent Horacio Gonzales of Caracas, Venezuela. He quoted the statements by three American Scientists, who were interviewed by the local press while visiting Venezuela in December, 1954. The statements follow:
Dr. H. Crow Sabine, once on the staff of Cornell University: "If they are not the experiments of any nation on earth, then they must come from some other planet."
Dr. Kurt Metheus, once on th« staff of the faculty of Physical Sciences of the University of Michigan: "We cannot disbelieve what has been said about the flying saucers — atomic explosions may be the motive for the strange visits".
Dr. Wilton Henry of the University of Pennsylvania (in paraphrase): saucers are not the result of imagination or mass psychosis but are space ships manned by beings from the planet Mars.
The U.S. newswires did not carry the statements. But the date of the press account is significant for it coincides with information I heard at that time which told of a U.S. military and scientific team sent to Venezuela to investigate reports of a series of weird saucer events.
Perhaps the real clue to the Pan American affair was revealed by Coral Lorenzen in her APRO bulletin25 of early 1955. Through her informant, Gonzales, she published the details of the terror brought to five Venezuelan cities by a sudden outbreak of saucer landings and encounters with ugly little creatures described as hairy bipeds. APRO also revealed, "It is indeed surprising that no mention has been made in the U.S. newspapers of the Petare, Carora, Valencia and Zulia encounters. . . Stranger it seems, is the fact that Mr. Miller of Business Week, Mr. Arnold Dible of U.P. and Mr. John Schell of North American Newspaper Alliance were all ‘coincidentally’ in Caracas two days after the Petare incident!"
Judging by the hushed-up statements of Doctors Sabine, Metheus and Henry perhaps we can better understand the position of scientists in the U.SA.; the neutralism of most, the double-talk of many and the revolt of a few.
Aroused about the official silence, one American scientist claimed privately that the public should be told the true facts before it was too late. Another, a British astronomer, scorned "Pentagon-minded people" while still another noted astronomical authority in England wrote, ". . . I was perturbed to find a renewal of your request for permission to quote from my lunar notes in a forthcoming issue of Orbit because I replied granting you full permission to use my letter for this purpose sometime in July. Anyway, quite obviously you have never received this answer which leads me to suspect that mail is being tampered with amongst 'saucer' correspondents. . . More than a remarkable percentage of my correspondence has been suffering in this respect over the past two or three years and not all of it has been overseas mailing either. I wonder what is going on. . ."
The most celebrated scientists to speak out publicly, and proffering similar theories, were Doctors, Clyde W. Tombaugh, head of the U. S. satellite search and, Hermann Oberth, father of the German V-2 rocket. Both saw possibility that saucers were from another solar system.
Further testimony illustrating Dr. Tombaugh's objective thinking, is in his statement which was written with clearance for publication in this book. The statement follows:
"I have seen three objects within the past seven years, which defied any explanation of known phenomena, such as Venus, atmospheric optics, meteors, or planes. I am a professional, highly skilled observing astronomer. In addition, I have seen three green fire balls which were unusual in behavior from scores of normal green fire balls.
"There might be observations of these objects with theodolites obtaining angles for parallax, thence distance, size and speed. Unless such objects are seen under clouds, or in the tangent rays of the sun just after sunset, or with a pair of observers equipped with theodolites at the end of a measured base line, any other reported heights, sizes and speeds are mere guesses, and most people guess badly on such aerial phenomena.
"Most of the sightings can be traced to known phenomena, but some ten or five per cent cannot. But there arc still things lo learn about the atmosphere, which may whittle
25 Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, address 1712 Van Court, Alamogordo, New Mexico, Publishing since 1952.
down the percentage even more. I think a great deal will be learned about electrical and ionization phenomena from the IGY program.
"I think that several reputable scientists are being unscientific in refusing to entertain the possibility of extra-terrestrial origin and nature. It is yet too early for any decision of finality."
THE WITCH HUNT FOR EVIDENCE
I have never seen a down-to-earth spaceship. I have never been to Mars and back. Therefore, I cannot say that flying saucers are spaceships from Mars. Yet, without seeing or feeling these "irrefutable proofs” I believe that an unknown percentage of the UFOs on official and CRIFO file are actually interplanetary vehicles — maybe from Mars.
It's a matter of interpretation, I suppose. Seems easy when you have an archive of "evidence", like CRIFO's, at your fingertips. This, plus a studious knack at ratiocination — the patience to put the myriad loose ends into a pattern — can usually make the "saucers from Mars" image look excitingly clear. That is, for some people. Perhaps, it was ratiocination that changed the mind of Henry J. Taylor about saucers. In 1949, Taylor, then radio commentator, said he was sure saucers were secret U. S. weapons. But on May 4, 1957, it was announced that Taylor, newly appointed ambassador to Switzerland, had told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that at least 10 per cent of flying saucer reports are "very disturbing". He said the average 10th case has to be taken seriously because it "had been seen by too many sober-minded people, with photographic and other evidence". Added Taylor, "... It is very difficult to deny that something is happening around us that we just don't quite understand. . . I just don't think that we know all the secrets of the universe yet".
But others perhaps less informed or less ratiocinative than Taylor wanted their evidence in the form of hardware. Through the years I have collected more than my share of it. It has come to me in assorted sizes, shapes, weights, colors — and odors! Some of it, so precious, I was allowed only to fondle. Others of it, so secret, I knew of only whisperously. I am told that the Air Force has tons of hardware all fenced in, under tarp and guarded at Wright-Patterson. At least two sources told me they saw it being hauled there, under tarp, and being escorted by military police in 1953. Another well-informed source in 1955 went further, claiming he saw a saucer at Wright-Patterson. It was made of something like Plexiglas, he said, only sturdier. When I tried for more details at a later date, my informant was in New York. At least a half dozen more attempts always found him out of town.
Then there was the Maury Island affair of June 21, 1947, known to all saucerites. It, too, had its mysterious metals and slag. John Otto, a private researcher, showed me a prized specimen of the slag when I visited Chicago in 1954. He got it from Ray Palmer, who, while editor of Fate received it
from Messrs. Harold Dahl and Fred Chrisman, who, according to their testimonies, were involved in a weird sea-going escapade. This, however, was later "exposed" as a hoax, with Dahl and Chrisman since having vanished from the scene of saucers. Then there is the story and the mystery about the small radioactive lead disc found in Colorado with a curious inscription, reading "undark", which baffled both AEC and the F.B.I. . . .
And there is the incident involving a lady saucerite. A firm believer in contact stories, she claimed in all seriousness to have had her own contact with a spaceman — on more intimate grounds. However, nine months have since passed and I've heard nothing yet about the bouncing evidence.
But being reminded of the contact element and their "slight-of-handling" the evidence, I always think of Truman Bethurum. In the summer of 1954, he, "Ric" Williamson, a bevy of Soulcrafters, and others new to me, gathered suddenly at my home — mainly to discuss business for their proposed lecture in Cincinnati. During the Babel of affairs, most of it dragging over such issues as who was to do what, how much to charge for admission and a concern about attendance, I managed to slip in a word to Bethurum on a point which had bothered me since I read his book, Aboard A Flying Saucer. It concerned the paper on which Aura Rhanes, the "Scow's" captain, had graciously written a message for Bethurum. Thinking of evidence, I asked him if he had thought of having the paper analyzed chemically. But Bethurum evaded the question, and rejoined the clamor about ticket sales. When I tried again later, a sympathetic Soulcrafter intervened. He explained that an analysis of the paper would prove nothing, since paper manufacturers on Clarion used pulp from trees just like those on earth!
And the poor mailman! If he only knew what he was sometimes carrying inside a package to my door. A piece of flint, a chunk of quartz, Christmas tree tinsel, and the funniest of all — three pink-colored but well-solidified dog droppings. Said a note, enclosed, from the sender, a lady, "I found these in my garden the next morning", and she went on to describe the saucer flying over her house the night before. While I can figure out the droppings, I'll never know how they got pink. A joke maybe!
Another mystery item was a chunk of metal of crystalline structure, weighing about nine pounds. Shaped like a teardrop, it showed external evidence of having been exposed to great temperatures. The metal was found by Mrs. Ila Arthur in an abandoned gravel quarry near Lafayette, Indiana — at a site remote from industry. While the lone piece of metal could not be traced to a UFO, or to any past UFO activity in the area, Mrs. Arthur was of the opinion that it came from the sky. Not overlooking the extra-terrestrial answer, she gave her trophy to her son-in-law, Frank Gallagher, who broke it up for examination and sent me several sizeable fragments. I, in turn, took a specimen to the University of Cincinnati, but although geologists and metallurgists there were able to describe its elements spectroscopically, they could offer no solution as
to its identity or source. Ruled out, however, was a meteorite; ruled in, guessingly, was industrial slag. I later submitted samples to ATIC, Wright-Patterson AFB. After their analysis, they replied in part: "A thorough, critical analysis naturally required a certain amount of small destruction of the metal fragment. . . All material submitted is 'man-made’ or 'man-fabricated'. Samples were found to be ferro-chromium and magnetic and not radioactive. The composition obtained for those samples was
Chromium, 67 - 71 percent, Silicon. 0.1 - l.0 percent
Ni. Co, & Mn – 0.2 percent, Mg, Ca, & A1 - 0.5 percent
Iron – Balance
"The crystalline structure and non-oxidized condition of these samples points directly to the fact that a high temperature such as would be encountered by one of meteoric origin has not been imposed. Both the common appearance and the analysis of these strongly suggest that they have come from the bin of either a steel mill or steel foundry where chromium in this form is customarily added to steel melts. . .". Although this analysis may be correct, the official opinion, as to the origin of the object, may be nothing more than presumption. Other consultants, considering all the anomalies of the case, could not offer so pat an explanation.
More confounding to the experts were specimens of "hot rock", collected by Norbert Gariety, which looked much like the Maury Island specimen — dull black, minutely crystalline, obdurate. Gariety, now editor of S.P.A.C.E.26', was on vacation and of the good fortune to stop over at Erie, Pennsylvania, where he chanced to read an item in the August 12, 1956 Dispatch, which described the experience of George Traut. The item told how Traut and his companion. Bud Buzar, driving on a lonely road at 12:45 a.m., Saturday had been forced to halt by a huge rock, which, with a smaller one, obstructed their path. Related Traut, "They were too hot to handle with bare hands, so I pushed them off the highway into the berm". Saturday morning, Traut returned to the road site with a truck and took the rocks home.
Commented Gariety in S.P.A.C.E., "I called the Traut residence and made an appointment. . . I found the Trauts cooperative . . . filling me in on details not carried in the newspaper. I made photos of the find and carried away several small pieces. . ."
Before returning to Florida, Gariety visited the Stringnelds and left one of the specimens with me. I made arrangements, through an intermediary to have it examined at the University of Cincinnati. Interest was high. But unexplainably, it was months before the rock was returned to me, minus analysis. Said the intermediary, "Probably slag". According to Gariety, later, another piece of the rock was sent to M. K. Jessup, author of four UFO books. Jessup promised to send a sample to the Smithsonian Institute, but nothing more was heard. Gariety also gave a sample to Dr. Virgil Sleight, geologist at the University
26 Address, 267 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables, Florida
of Miami. Concluded Sleight: the specimen (1) contained no nickel, probably not meteorite, (2) did not look like any rock that he had ever seen, (3) suggested slag—yet was more coarsely crystalline and heavier than most slag. Gariety then approached Dr. Raymond Parks, radiologist of Jackson Memorial Hospital. Said Parks, "We have no physical measurement other than those for radiation. . .Therefore, we have no information whatsoever, except to state that it does not emit gamma, beta or energetic alpha particles." Next to examine the rock was Dr. Russell Williams, astronomer. He said, "Whatever it is, it's not part of a meteorite — and I certainly do not think it could be furnace slag". Finally, specimens went off to the A. & G. Refining Co, of Miami. There two metallurgists, after analysis, said the rocks were composed of "chromium, tungsten, vanadium, iron, copper and molybdenum".
To those who insist that the rock was slag, Gariety reports, "Please I pray thee do tell — what in the world would anyone be doing out hauling red hot furnace slag at 12:45 a.m. Saturday night?" There is one other possible answer. Remembering that 130 miles is but a short hop for a saucer, we note that an object, described as "a bright steel-gray ship," was reported by the Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph as hovering over the city for more than two hours, later that same Saturday morning when Traut had found the "slag".
THE "SOFTWARE" DEPARTMENT
In the "software" department is "angel hair". Purportedly a saucer by-product, it is variously described as looking like cobweb or spun glass fluff. Curiously, it seems to have a predeliction for falling to earth during the month of October. The unofficial record27 speaks for itself.
Date of Incident Locality UFO in area
October 14, 1797 Osaka, Japan Unknown
November 10, 1949 Depues Ferry, Pa Yes
October —, 1950 Paradise, Calif. Unknown
October 17, 1952 Oloron and Geronce, France Yes
October 27, 1952 Gaillac, France Yes
-------------, 1953 Onga Onga, New Zealand Unknown
-------------, 1953 Gisborn. New Zealand Yes
April 15, 1953 Auckland, New Zealand Unknown
May 30, 1953 Pelmerston North; Christchurch. N. Z. Yes
October 9, 1953 Melbourne. Australia Unknown
October 13, 1953 Pleasant Hill. California Unknown
November 16, 1953 San Fernando Valley. California Unknown
February l, 1954 Puente; San Fernando Valley, California Yes
October 19, 1954 Fort Wayne, Indiana Unknown
October 22, 1954 Marysville, Ohio Yes
27 The author is indebted to many researchers and UFO publications for the material used in this compilation. Also special thanks to FANTASTIC UNIVERSE magazine for permission to cite the Dupues Ferry, Pa. Affair of 1949. The editor of FANTASTIC UNIVERSE, Hans Santesson, told me during my visit to New York in June, 1957 that his magazine will continue to publish serious, objective UFO articles in addition to science-fiction stories. Among the contributors: Ivan Sanderson, naturalist, and C.S.I. of N. Y.
October 28, 1954 Rome, Italy Yes
October 28, 1954 Florence, Italy Yes
November —. 1954 Tucson Arizona Yes
November —. 1954 Kankakee, Illinois Yes
November 4, 1954 Nelson, New Zealand Yes
December 12, 1954 Christchurch, New Zealand Yes
February 21, 1955 Horseheads, N. Y. Unknown
July 29, 1955 Sacramento, California Unknown
October —, 1955 Port Augusta, Australia Yes
October 2, 1955 Uhrichsville, Ohio Yes
October 10, 1955 Cincinnati, Ohio; Northern, Ky Yes
October 27, 1953 Whitsett, N. Carolina Yes
August 19, 1956 St. Louis, Missouri Unknown
September 25, 1956 Cincinnati, Ohio Unknown
September 30, 1956 Cherry Valley, Illinois Yes
October 15, 1956 Indianapolis, Indiana Yes
October 16, 1956 Fond du Lac, Wisconsin Unknown
April 28, 1957 Christchurch, New Zealand Unknown
It is beyond the scope of this book to describe each incident, but of special interest is the bizarre affair in Oloron in which a dentist. Dr. Balestra, became ensnared by filaments "like a trapped animal caught in a huge spider web". According to the report, the dentist, finally freeing himself, joined others in watching the threads "regather and slowly rise in the air". Another incident, involving a mystery substance, possibly in the class of angel's hair, was described in Flying Saucers28, a magazine published by Civilian Saucer Investigation of New Zealand. It told briefly of an Air Force freighter, No. 5911, gathering a "strange sticky substance" on its windscreens and front fuselage, during a night flight over Kaitaia on February 26, 1955. During the flight, at 6000 feet, the crew heard "dull thuds" on the aircraft just before the appearance of this substance on the screen. Simultaneously, the aircraft compass "went wrong" and the crew was forced to return to base (Whenuapai) early. The substance did not disintegrate on touch, and when rubbed, it "smeared like grease". . . .
Rarer, however, is the UFO incident which involves two types of software. The following describes both angel hair and a plastic-like ribbon, the latter of which was found clinging to the parked automobile of Mr. and Mrs. L. L. Leonard of Cherry Valley, Illinois, on September 30, 1956. By letter, in which a sample of the ribbon was enclosed, Mrs. Leonard related, ". . . Looking overhead and slightly East, I thought I saw a jet but it was going so fast that I changed my mind when I saw a few more of the same white objects. My husband got the binoculars, 7x50, and through them the objects appeared white and half the size of a pea at arms length. The objects traveling very fast, suddenly ejected long white streamers, which floated in the air hanging absolutely perpendicular. One of these round white ‘things' came just a little lower than our tree tops and I ran after it, trying to see where it landed but
28 Editor, Harold Fulton. One of the finest UFO magazines in the world. Address: P.O. Box 72, Onebunga, E. E. 5, Auckland. N. Z..
I lost it. On one of our evergreens there was something that looked like spider webs, but on picking off a strand and handling it, it had the consistency of spun glass. As we were watching these white 'things' explode we looked up at a section of the S.W. sky and there was a concentration of these silver streamers, which looked like stationary silver rain29, a most eerie sight. We didn't see the phenomena without the glasses. These silver streamers must have been of an enormous length. My car was parked in the garage with the double door opened all the while, and when I took it out the next morning, a long piece of 'something' was plastered on the fender. . . It seems that there were two kinds of the streamers, some were like spider webs and the other was the ribbon type."
The "life" of angel hair on earth is almost ephemeral. According to numerous reports, it dematerializes of its own accord, and more quickly at the touch of human hand. Getting samples is therefore not easy, even when it falls close to home, as it did on October 10, 1955, over western Cincinnati and parts of Northern Kentucky. During this incident the fluff came down in sheets and streamers, draping over housetops, trees, bushes and automobiles — and, to the wrath of one lady, over her freshly hung laundry — but not one authentic sample was obtainable! No UFOs were reported during this daylight fall, but the night before, Harlan Grimes had seen a bright disc over Bromley, Kentucky, going north toward western Cincinnati. About the same time, another observer reported a low-flying red luminous ball zooming up through a wooded ravine near Hooven, north of Bromley. Grimes, alerted by the UFO he had seen and upon hearing of the angel hair fall, tried to follow up several reports. Near one site, he found a small mass of cobweb-like matter clinging to a screen door. Not sure of its nature, he wound it around a straw and brought it to my office. Suspecting cobweb, I later put this in a vial, and sent it to Prof. Charles Maney at Defiance College, who was making a special study of the phenomena30. Prof. Maney later informed me that the sample was too small for proper analysis.
Then, lo and behold, it happened right in my own front yard! On September 25, 1956, shortly before 5 p.m. Dell watched "something" white wafted by the gentle breeze, finally alighting on the lawn. Deftly she gathered the
29 A similar description of a substance falling from the sky over Campinas, Brazil, in December 1954, was described in the July - August 1957 issue of UFO - CRITICAL BULLETIN published by J. Escabar Faria of Rua 13 de Maio No. 1240, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Writes Faria, "...Three UFOs crossed the skies of Campinas. They dropped waste material, which was seized by the Brazilian Air Force. But before the FAB Intelligence collected the stuff, a sample was analyzed by Dr. Visvaldo Maffei, a professional chemist, who stated to newspapers that the material had shown a strange alloy. Dr. Maffei assured (sic) that the chemical examination resulted in an alloy of tin together with it and other unknown metals, its composition was as follows: high amount of tin in great pureness (88.91%), "unusual on this planet” because the tin had not the common impurity in presence of leads, antimony, iron and other ores." Faria then describes the reported UFOs: "...Such odd contrivances were round of gray color and exhibited two parts. One of them turning around incessantly. At the moment in which they crossed the city at moderate speed, they dropped the stuff in a liquid form on the garden of a lady. A neighbor, Benedito Gonzales de Nascimento, said it looked like 'silver rain.' The filaments, when touching the ground, transformed rapidly in solid silver-colored rectangles intensely heated.” The substance subsequently was sent to Prof. Charles Maney, physicist at Defiance College in Ohio. Extensive tests were made and when I phoned Prof. Maney in July of 1957 regarding his analysis, I learned that he and Prof. Nathan Meltz, a chemist, had confirmed the earlier Brazilian tests."
30 Prof. Maney’s article on the subject of ‘angel hair’ appears in the Nov-Dec, 1956 issue of the British FLYING SAUCER REVIEW.
gossamer-like filaments on a stick and put the collection into a large glass jar. While she was screwing on the lid, one of the filaments somehow caught on the metal surface. Thus the stick, on which was wound the balance of the substance, was left to hang in the jar supported only by the filament. Pretty tough material, I thought. The filaments seemed sensitive, Dell said, having a tendency to curl when touched — which she did only briefly. Otherwise, she said, the substance behaved quite unmagically. No, she did not see a saucer!
Examining the filaments through the glass, I noted that their appearance was different from those that Grimes had collected. But, remembering a photograph of the Puente specimen, which appeared with an article on this topic in the November 1954 Pageant, I was impressed by the similarity between the Puente substance and ours.
In view of the unique manner in which the specimen was preserved, I wondered next what to do with it. Mailing it was out of the question, which eliminated the possibility of a civilian analysis out of the city. But I soon found the answer. During this period, I was deeply involved with the Air Force on a matter which concerned UFO reporting, so when I phoned Captain G. T. Gregory at Section 4E4, Wright-Patterson, regarding my problem, I also informed him of the angel hair. Captain Gregory, keenly mindful of all Air Force regulations, expressed interest and promised to send a man to my home to pick up the specimen. On October 12, M/Sgt. Oliver Hill arrived. Calmly, Hill took pictures of my front yard, of the glass jar in which hung the mute evidence, and an inadvertent shot of Denise riding her bicycle in front of me while I held the jar. Then away went the jar to Dayton. On November 15, ATIC sent me the following. The sample purported to be so-called 'angel's hair', reportedly a volatile by-product of the fuel in 'flying saucers', was given both chemical and miscroscopic tests and is, without doubt, cuprommonium rayon, which is more commonly called 'Bemberg Rayon' in the United States. This material, after exposure to the air for 72 hours in the Materials Branch, did not volatilize. This is the type of industrial or waste product 'lint’ that may be ejected into the atmosphere by certain manufacturers of textiles, in this case rayon. Incidentally, there appears to be no basis whatsoever for the assumption that the material was other than the industrial waste product described.” While I am willing to accept the Air Force explanation, I can't help wondering who manufactures Bemberg Rayon in Eastern Cincinnati.
CRIFO files are full of reports describing software oddments, but the one that struck me as the oddest of all was a whatzit that fluttered to earth like a bird, and on landing, burned a hole in the pavement. The stupified witness, Harold Taylor, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, described the "thing" as a "mass of filthy, denim-like cloth". Acording to the Patriot News, March 7, 1955, Taylor was looking out of his office window and saw what appeared to him to be birds — like crows, he said — flapping their wings, then gliding for a while, about 200 feet above Front Street Five minutes went by and there was
another. But this one was gliding downward and landed near the top of a tree back of the YMCA.
"It hung there for perhaps half a minute and then floated to the ground, like a bird", said Taylor. "As it hit, though, it seemed to lose its substance and became a mass. I forgot about it for a while and when I went out for lunch at noon, I looked at the spot where the ‘thing’ had landed. It had been depressed into the asphalt."
Taylor, wary of telling anyone what happened, ate his lunch and returned to the office. But he couldn't keep it to himself and confided in Meade Hager. Together, they went out with a shovel and dug ‘it’ up. "The smell was terrific," he said, "Something like the gas which escapes from a faulty refrigerator. It got so bad we had to take it outside."
At State Police Headquarters, chemical analysis experts looked over the cloth. They ruled, coincidence. Just guessing, but "coincidence" was probably no more the answer for the Taylor mystery than the easy-out explanations provided for other freakish events believed to be associated with saucers.
FIREBALLS AND ODDBALLS
Particularly interesting in this Fortean31 department of freakish events is not hardware, software or yardgoods, but their effects and who or what caused them. Usually the only evidence is the verbal testimony of man, should he survive, who may relate the details of his experience or the testimonial impairment to an inanimate body.
In many cases the culprit is a fireball, but to begin with we must understand that the name "fireball" covers quite a large family of fiery phenomena, ranging from the mysterious Kelly green variety down to the mischievous little spray of light called St. Elmo's Fire. While the latter may scoot up the mast of a ship or pirouette around a church steeple, other so-called fireballs, according to reports, have inflicted damage and death. After the destruction of the zeppelin Von Hindenburg over Lakehurst, N. J, in 1937, investigators told of a ball of fire, possibly St. Elmo's Fire, maneuvering near the airship. Their guess — it somehow ignited the hydrogen. Aircraft were also earmarked for similar fates. From my file folder marked "Aircraft Disasters", which includes a library of statistical data supplied by my colleague, Richard Hall, I note that several aeronautical mishaps have been due to mysterious meteorological or fireball phenomena. One incident occurring April 11, 1955, datelined Bombay, India, carried eleven communists to death in the China Sea. According to surviving crew members, said the AP report, ". . . the crash was preceded by a 'muffled explosion. This was followed by fire emanating from an extraneous source wholly unconnected with the structure of the aircraft.'" One expert guess was that "lightning or some other meteorological freak had caused the crash".
31 From Charles Fort, author of three books, published during the 1930’s, which describes unexplainable phenomena happening in our world before the advent of saucers.
Although not a disaster and possibly less mysterious, was another report, occurring July 27, 1957 over Knoxville, Tennessee, which describes a ball of fire that burned a small hole in the tail of an American Airlines plane flying through a thunderstorm. While the airline's spokesman said he believed it was caused by static electricity, he also stated that all aircraft have short wires which are designed to carry static electricity away from the body of the plane.
Down to earth again, another trouble-making fireball, possibly a "thunderbolt", caused near-panic in Sydney, Australia in October, 1954. The story is quoted from Flying Saucers, the publication issued by CSI of New Zealand: “Pandemonium broke out in the Sydney suburb of Belmore when a fireball shot across three closely settled streets during a severe electrical storm. Bursting over homes, it snapped electric wires, strewed them in the street and set gas mains on fire. Dozens of screaming women and children had miraculous escapes from death. The fireball cut a mile-long swathe of destruction as it shot through the area with a mighty explosion. Bricks, tiles and fences were shot up in the air. Police went from door to door offering to help distressed families, some of whom were hysterical with terror."
Another freak fireball, probably ball lightning, was reported in the Jerusalem Post, April 20, 1957. The item was sent to me by Herman Rovner, a long-time correspondent, whose sharp eyes for Fortean data have contributed greatly to CRIFO's library. Said the item, "Fire-ball lightning, resembling a disc in shape and with an estimated electrical tension of millions of volts, struck the transformer of Kfar Shamai at 4:20 this morning. The transformer was severely damaged and the insulators melted turning into a solid block of glass. The remains were sent to the Palestine Economic Corporation laboratories for tests. The transformer near the Hadassah Hospital was also hit and the power supply broke down for 90 minutes."
Nor is man immune. A report dated February 10, 1955, from Auckland, New Zealand, tells of a groundkeeper walking onto the green of a bowling club. Bending over to begin his work, he was shocked to se« a fireball, bright red, ranging in from a clear sky and landing inches from his feet. Said the groundkeeper, "I ran for my life across the paddock, but it was gone when I turned around". Later investigation showed no mark on the green.
Another incident — where a "fireball" struck a woman dead — was mentioned in an article by Erna Bcnce in the Tacoma News-Tribune, April 2, 1957. While the article is chiefly a description of another fireball seen by a high school student Jim Geise, landing near a roadside, it also quoted Geise as saying that the Air Force Intelligence officers who investigated told him that a woman walking along a road in Florida had been transfixed with fear by the sight of a fiery object hurtling silently toward her. She was knocked to the ground; witnesses ran to help, but found her dead with severe burns on her body. When I wrote to the Air Force Press Desk asking about this Florida incident, their terse reply evaded the issue, but suggested I write to Geise.
Similiarly grotesque was an incident, reported by the Sauccrian Bulletin,32 which befell four teenage boys on June 25, 1957. While driving to Greencastle, Indiana, the boys were attracted to a huge red light in the sky and they parked to get a better look. When they stopped the car the red light moved over them and descended to about 200 feet. Curious, the boys flashed the car spotlight on the object, and according to their story, it then closed in rapidly and while doing so discharged a small object which entered the car window, hit the floor and bounced up, exploding in one of the boys' face. In the meantime the parent object shot upward, and at great speed, "turned north like a bolt of lightning". When the boys were later questioned, they said the explosion sounded like a loud handclap. Corroboratively other reports, of a similarly described object came into police headquarters from the northwest part of the county.33
Similar to the Florida and Greencastle incidents is one taken from the August, 1957 issue of A.P.R.G. Reporter of Seattle, Washington. Datelined, Lake Tahoe, Calif, July 22, 1957, this incident follows: "Two girls, 12-year-old Karen Zunino and 14-year-old Judy Banks, both of Millbrae, San Mateo County, were standing near the boat landing at the trout fishing harbor near Stateline on the south shore of Lake Tahoe when something that looked like a ball of fire suddenly zoomed down at the twosome. Harold Rauch, operator of the boat rental, stated that he saw the ball of fire knock the girls down. The girls were unconscious for five minutes, but the attending doctors reported no injuries."
My files covering freakish fireball phenomena are extensive. Still the most baffling to scientists, however, is the Kelly green variety which plagued the skies over the Baltic in 1948 and the U. S. Southwest in 1949-50. These areal concentrations, however, have given rise to the belief that their points of origin were respectively, Russia and the U.S.A. Of this opinion is Dr. Leon Davidson, who wrote to CRIFO on October 23, 1954, the following:
"It should be clear that the 'green fireballs', or 'green lights' as they were called in New Mexico, when I lived there, are very different objects from the round or oval 'flying saucers'. The 'saucers' typically are seen to hover, make sharp turns, vary their speed, and maneuver a great deal. The 'fireballs' travel in straight lines without making turns, always travel at high speed, never hover, and last only a few seconds. We might compare the 'saucers' to flying-wing type aircraft of circular shape, and the 'green fireballs' to meteors or 'falling stars'.
32 Address, P.O. Box 2228, Clarksburg, W. Virginia
33 Additional information comes from C. W. Fitch of Cleveland, Ohio. He told the writer, during a visit in August, that he personally interviewed the boys in Greencastle and believed their story. Investigation by recognized authorities earlier, he said, had dismissed the case as a hoax, but he believed, “the discrepancies in the boys stories could have been due to their state of excitement at the time when narrating their experience. . .” Fitch also learned that the object witnessed was “cigar-chaped”, and not “kidney-shaped” as described by Barker. This mix-up occurred when the boys were describing the shape of a fragment of the object which entered the car’s window. According to Fitch, one of the boys described the color of these fragments as “red with silver flecks or fibers in its surface”. After Fitch’s visit with me, I phoned Mr. Kenneth Bennett who is editor of THE PUTNAM COUNTY GRAPHIC, asking his opinion of the incident which involved his son, George. The elder Bennett admitted he took stock in it because the boys came to him utterly amazed at what they had seen. Regarding the fragments which he said he had misplaced, he said they were a yellow shade with purplish hues in it. He added that the substance was a “cross between a plastic and a glossy paper.”
"The Air Force has not made public any analysis of the numerous reports of 'green light' sightings in the Southwestern United States. However, in the Air Force's final official 'Project Grudge' report, issued by Air Materiel Command headquarters in August, 1949, Prof. J. Allen Hynek, of McMillin Observatory, Columbus, Ohio, stated his personal opinion that the 'green fireball' reports were caused by some secret U. S. research activity being conducted in the Southwest. This statement, of course, has not been widely publicized by the Air Force.
"An explanation of this 'secret research activity' can be found in the unclassified and openly published article “The First Night-Firing of a V-2 Rocket in the United States”, by Dr. Fritz Zwicky, in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Vol. 59, p. 32, February, 1947. This describes the start of a U. S. Government-sponsored program for producing artificial meteors (fireballs) at White Sands, N. Mex. Such artificial meteors would have appeared at about the times and places at which 'green lights' were reported, and would have had the same appearance. . . It is significant that the Air Force has never said one word about the work described by Zwicky, although it has been often asked to comment on the 'strange coincidence’.
"In case the 'world wide' appearance of green fireballs is considered to rule out the above explanation, it should be noted that the foreign sightings before Zwicky's work started were in the Baltic Sea area. Now this just happens to be the only other place in the world where V-2 rockets were being fired at that time, by the Russians and their captured German rocket scientists. It seems quite probable that they were conducting their own upper-almosphere research, using 'artificial meteors' produced by methods similar to the one described in Dr. Zwicky's article. . . .
"An amateur astronomer at Los Alamos, N. Mexico, who had himself witnessed eleven green fireballs from December 1949 to April 1950, stated at a meeting of the Los Alamos Aerophysical Association in 1950 that, in his opinion, the 'green lights' were not natural meteors. His reasons were: a) the 'green lights' lasted about five seconds each, whereas natural meteors last about one second only. b) the brilliant green color would be rather unusual for a natural meteor. c) the 'green lights' traveled horizontally, while the natural meteors usually have a vertical direction. d) the 'green lights' traveled in North-South or South-North directions, while natural meteors would tend to move toward the East or West more frequently. (Incidentally, White Sands is south of Los Alamos.) Other observers at Los Alamos had reported seeing the 'green lights' break up into a shower of red sparks on occasion.
"At least one triangulation of the height and speed of a 'green light' was carried out, using reports from two New Mexico cities a number of miles apart. This triangulation was in the official files and it proved that the fireball was at about ten miles altitude and traveling at a speed of several miles per second. This is about what would be expected of 'artificial meteors' as described by Dr. Zwicky in his article in ‘Ordnance’ magazine, July-August 1947. (Natural meteors usually are much faster, traveling at speeds of about five to twenty miles per second.) ..."
While Davidson presents a convincing argument, the years since the suspect concentration in the U. S. Southwest have witnessed the Kelly green fireball from areas as geographically remote as Tasmania and Thule34. If, on this premise, we can rule out the experimental earthmade "meteor" theory, we must, accordingly, either explain it away as an unknown meteorological phenomenon, or, accept it with other saucer-like phenomena as having a common
34 See Tasmanian cases described in April, 1955, ORBIT. The Thule incident occurred in 1954, but my reference is a misplaced newspaper clipping which described a green fireball observed from a military plane.
origin from outer space. If of the latter, the fireball then, on its own right, comes into speculative dispute. Meade Layne of BSRA35 calls them "wipers" and as such are sent to earth to erase the radio-active poisons from its atmosphere. On the other hand, Major Keyhoe once conjectured they were ranging missiles. Whatever their explanation, and if related to the other more freakish and man-menacing varieties, we must then be reminded of the words of General John Samford, who as Director of Air Force Intelligence in 1952, said, "There have remained a percentage of the total of 20 per cent of the UFO reports that have come from credible observers of relatively incredible things."
THE INCREDIBLE THINGS . . .
Here, like pot luck, are hundreds of reports which describe "incredible things" falling, landing or being propelled to earth. Included are all the sundry fireball phenomena which to put it bluntly are either meteorites or ranging missiles, and an assortment of nondescripts, like the metallic object investigated by the Navy in the marshes of Ossabow Island36, or the fragments of strange metal which set fire to a macadam road in Woodside, California37, or the "harmless looking green object" which exploded when it was kicked by Guy Scott near Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, causing serious injury and which, according to doctors, caused the injured parts to give off sparks. Perhaps the oddest of the incredible things is the incident reported by Air Force veteran, W. B. Brown of Charlotte, North Carolina, March 20, 1957. Brown, accompanied by his wife, described five "strange floating, foam-like objects" in the sky, one which veered away from the others and hit the ground about 60 feet away. Brown said it looked like "ice-breaking up" but that it was liquid — "slimy" to the touch and "cooling or numbing" to his fingertips. The smell was like burned matches. Brown who told his story to the Weather Bureau commented, "It beats anything I've ever seen."
In many respects the Charlotte incident reminds me of another incident occurring September 30, 1950 near Philadelphia. In brief, the story tells of a glowing purple sphere, about six feet in diameter, which settled on a field so lightly that it did not even bend the grass. Touched by one of the policemen who saw it fall, it began to deteriorate. The officer said, "I touched it and it just dissolved, leaving my fingers sticky." The object had no odor or substance and completely disappeared within half an hour.
Following is a supplementary list of "incredible" incidents, in which are described "space-to-earth" objects, and/or their effects. The list is not a
35 Address, 3524 Adams Ave,. San Diego, California.
36 See Case 137, ORBIT.
37 See October, 1954 issue CRIFO Newsletter.
comprehensive38 for the period specified, nor can I vouch for the authenticity of any one case. However, as the saying goes, where there is smoke there is fire — as has been described in many cases. . .
Date Locality Remarks
August 19, 1952 New Haven, Conn Fireball pierces metal signboard
May 1, 1954 Logan, Utah Fireball causes crater
August 27, 1954 Woodside, Calif. Hot metal pellets burn road
September 2. 1954 Waters near Ensenada, Calif. Fireball skips into water
November __, 1954 Massilon, Ohio Fireball explodes near ground
November 20, 1954 Brookston, Minn. Fireball causes brush fire
January __, 1955 Lake Waskington, Wash. UFO pierces dome of observatory
January 23, 1955 Darby, Pa. Fireball burns man’s hands
February 13, 1955 Near Lufkin, Texas Fireball hits ground, percussion
March 8, 1955 Fairmout, W. Va. Object hits ground, explodes
April __, 1955 Carthage, S. Dak. Mysterious 18 ft. deep hole
April 6, 1955 Weed, N. Mex. Fireball hits ground, explodes
April 6, 1955 Near Lordsburg, N. Mex. Fireball hits ground, explodes
April 6, 1955 Roswell, N. Mex. Fireball hits ground, explodes
April 6, 1955 Albuquerque, N. Mex. Fireball hits ground, explodes
April 6, 1955 Hobbs, N. Mex. Fireball hits ground, explodes
May 9, 1955 Jonesport, Maine Fireball explodes, search for fragments
July 25, 1955 Chicago, Ill. Object crashes in yard
July 30, 1955 King Salmon, Alaska Fireball splits, one part hits ground
August 11, 1955 Lawrence, Mass. UFO damages house
September 25, 1955 Ossabow, Is., Ga. Metal object in marsh
November __, 1955 Tampa, Florida UFO digs crater, causes fire
October __, 1955 Cincinnati, Ohio UFO “lands”, mashes section in corn field
October 14, 1955 Greater Lousiana Fireball explodes, brush fires
December __, 1955 Newark, Ohio Two objects crash
December 2, 1955 Pine Valley Canyon, Calif. UFO hits power line
December 17, 1955 Yates Center, Kan. Fireball explodes, fragments
December 29, 1955 Cadiz, Ohio Object explodes on ground
January 30, 1956 Porterville, Calif. “Missile” explodes on ground
February 9, 1956 Redondo Beach, Calif. Fireball hits water, submerges
February 15, 1956 Ovando, Mont. Mysterious ground explosion
March 7, 1956 El Paso, Texas Fireball hits ground
July 17, 1956 Inglewood, Calif. Fireball explodes, search for fragments
July 22, 1956 San Joaquin Valley, Calif. UFO crashes, explodes
July 25, 1956 Provo, Utah Fireball crashes into mountain
July 28, 1956 Brentwood, Calif. Green light “lands” in orchard
July 28, 1956 Antioch, Calif. Fireball hits ground, oily substance found
July 30, 1956 Columbia, S. Car. Object on geound explodes
September 12, 1956 Elsinore, Calif. UFO and forest fire
September 22, 1956 St. Paul, Minn. Object burns hole in street
October 21, 1956 Willowbrook, Calif. Fireball sets two houses ablaze
November 11, 1956 Bristol, Tenn. UFO crashes into mountain
38 Excluded are the Fortean falls of fish, lizards and ice, like the 50 poind chuck which nearly hit a farmwer in Bernsville, Pennsylvania, July 30, 1957, and a still larger chunk, of 150 pounds which plunged from the sky striking the rood of a house in Chester, Pennsylvania, September 8, 1957, causing residents to flee in terror. While I do not dismiss such “incredibilities” as being unufological, astronomer M. K. Jessup has more ably pursued this phase and applied it to theory in his series of saucer books.
November 16. 1956 Near Nashville, Tenn. Fireball "lands" in field
November 16, 1956 Miles City, Mont. Fireball plunges to ground
November 18. 1956 Near Missoula, Mont. UFO "lands" in river
December 21, 1956 Augusta, Maine UFO falls to ground
January 21, 1957 Milan, Iowa UFO seen, mysterious crater
March 15, 1957 Marsh Is., La. Fireball explodes, search for fragments
March 17. 1957 Chugach Mts., Alaska Fireball crashes, leaving smoke
March 20, 1957 Near Charlotte. N. Car. Foam-like object lands
April 7, 1957 Webster, N. J. Fireball explodes, leaves slag
April 9, 1957 Temple. Calif. Mysterious crater, military secrecy
July 30, 1957 Near Toronto. Canada UFO lands, burned area in cornfield
August 1, 1957 Bedford, Pa. Fireball explodes, leaves.sponge-like metal
No less numerous or sensational in this category are the foreign reports. One, datelined Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, September 20, 1956 told of mysterious balls of fire soaring over a desolate area in the state of Paraiba, terrifying the populace into flight. Said geologist Joel Dantas, returning from an inspection, "the whole region is highly radioactive. It is bathed in unnatural heat, and the air seems filled with the steam of alcohol". Dantas also reported, the earth there is covered with crystalized ash that cannot be explained.
Another "landing" report of world-wide significance but apparently smothered was recounted from the September 5, 1955 issue of Stuttgarter Tageblatt, by the Dutch publication UFOGIDS39, as follows:
"OSLO, NORWAY, September 4, 1955—Only now a board of inquiry of the Norwegian General Staff is preparing a publication of the report on the examination of the remains of a U.F.O. crashed near Spitzbergen, presumably early in 1952. Chairman of the Board, Colonel Gernod Darnbyl, during an instruction lesson for Air Force officers, stated: 'The crashing of the Spitzbergen disc was highly important. Although our present scientific knowledge does not yet enable us to solve all riddles, I am confident that these remains from Spitzbergen will prove to be of utmost importance in this respect. Some time ago a misunderstanding was caused by saying that the disc probably was of Soviet origin. It has— this we wish to state emphatically— not been built in any country on earth. The materials used in its construction are completely unknown to all experts having participated in the investigation. According to Colonel Darnbyl the board of inquiry is, however, not going to publish an extensive report until some sensational facts have been discussed with U.S. and British experts. We should reveal what we found out, as misplaced secrecy might well lead to panic.' Contrary to information from American and other sources, Second Lieutenants Brobs and Tyllensen, who have been assigned as special observers of the Arctic regions since the event at Spitzbergen, claim that flying discs have already landed in the polar regions several times. Said Lieutenant Tyllensen: 'I think that the Arctic is serving as a kind of air base for the unknowns especially during snow storms when we are being forced back to our bases. Shortly after such adverse weather conditions, I have seen them land and take off on three separate occasions. I noticed then that after having landed they execute a speedy rotation around their discs. A brilliant glow of light, the intensity of which being variable with regard to speed and at landing and take-off, prevents any view ot the things happening behind this curtain of light and on or inside the disc itself.'"
Back home, and as "incredible" as any of the freak fireballs and just as disturbing, was the grotesquerie involving a man, a peach tree, a red spray and
39 Address, Churchill-Laan 272, III TE, Amsterdam Z. Netherlands
a pear-shaped UFO with a fin. The incident occurred over Sycamore Hill, a high point near the heart of Cincinnati, July 22, 1955. The principal was Edward Mootz, a benign and un-publicity-minded man who spent much of his spare time beautifying his fabulous garden which was terraced into the hillside.
One evening about 6 p.m., Mootz, alone, was tending the soil around a fruit-budding peachtree. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, Mootz was splashed by a liquid red spray, looking like cream soda. His arms bared, but perspiring, were covered with the substance; also the nape of his neck. A billed cap prevented it hitting his face. Looking up, he spotted a strange object passing over, heading toward Eden Park. Guessing its height to be more than 500 feet, Mootz described the object as a pear standing on end, bulbous side upward, with a metallic fin appended to the rear. The object's colors were vivid: red and green, divided at the midsection.40 No sound was heard.
While watching the object, Mootz said that he became aware of a sharp tingling sensation on the exposed parts of his arm and neck. "It felt like phosporus burning into my skin," said Mootz, "and the pain was intensifying." Wasting no time, he ran to his house, removed his clothing and washed thoroughly. Mootz told me later that what saved him, in his opinion, was his heavy perspiration which helped dilute the spray.
The next morning, Mootz revisited the ill-fated spot. To his amazement, the peachtree was dead! The branches and twigs were shrivelled grotesquely; the leaves curled and crisp brown; and the once-healthy buds of peaches looking like prunes. A little digging showed that the tree was killed to its very taproots — overnight!
I learned of the incident a couple of weeks later and made an appointment with Mootz for an interview. It was a Sunday afternoon when Dell and I drove over, and we found Mootz middle-aged, friendly and chatty. Carefully he recounted the details of the incident, gave me samples of the mummified peaches and twigs, showed me the many white pinprick scars on his arm "where the substance burnt in", and finally explained that the authorities, three men, had already visited him, right after the incident and had taken away the tree and all its dead fruit. Mootz would not identify the authorities, except to say they were dressed in plain clothes, and courteous. Said Mootz: They promised a report of their analysis within six weeks," but when I checked a year later, the report had not yet arrived.
In every respect Mootz was cooperative. I took 8 mm. movies of the vacant area where the tree had stood and of Mootz standing near it, and later had him draw for my files impressionistic sketches of the UFO he had seen. Indeed, on paper it was strikingly different from the usual discoid UFO shape.
40 For comparison, see APRG REPORTER, August, 1957 issue. Address 5108 Findlay St., Seattle, Washington. The REPORTER describes a sighting of July 9, 1957 in Galveston, Texas in which Mrs. A. D. Suderman and her neighbor watched an object through binoculars. “It was high in the sky, way above the sunset”, she commented. “I could have drawn a line between the red top and green bottom . . . As it turned and moved southwest, the green disappeared and it was all red like a large goldfish”.
I lost no time in getting the "pruned" peaches, the twigs and other chunks of root I dug up into the hands of a friend of mine who offered to take them to the Physics Laboratory at Villa Madonna College in Covington, Kentucky. There, elaborate tests were made, one which involved a comparison of seeds, the Mootz specimen and another provided by the lab which had been allowed to dry out sufficiently. Under controlled conditions, only the lab seed sprouted normally. The Mootz specimen proved to be completely dehydrated!
Spring 1954 introduced a new phenomenon, the glasspox. Starting in Bellingham, Washington, where 1500 windshields of automobiles suffered damage, it then spread east, effecting mostly northern cities. In most cases the glass showed quick symptoms, one type appearing as a single pit mark, but usually in multiples, as though pelted by bee bee shot. Occasionally, in these instances the glass fractured radially from pane to pane. In the other type, the glass assumed a honeycombed appearance and in many instances completely collapsed.
Everything under the sun, including the sun, was blamed. Experts were baffled; saucerites knowingly pointed skyward. Cincinnati, always a saucer hotbed, of course, got in the act. Many local reports reached me in 1954, including the chance to see some of the evidence, but it was not until August 29, 1955, that I thought I had a case where the poxed windshield and the saucer revealed a plausible cause-and-effect relationship.
The clues of this suspect tie-in began at 3:15 p.m. when a metallic disc, reflecting sunlight, was reported hovering over the Ohio River. It then shot away at the approach of an airliner which was heading toward the Greater Cincinnati Airport. In the evening, shortly before midnight, another report reached me by phone, describing a bright blue object, shaped like a pear, circling over Eastern Cincinnati. I went outside wearing only shorts; looked all around with binoculars, but saw nothing. No sooner than I had retired, the phone rang again. A new voice described a pink object, turning red, which had just zipped over Indian Hill. Pretty close to home, I thought. This time, dressed only in binoculars, I slipped out the side door, umbraged by a clump of Rose of Sharon. Again, I got out too late.
Next day, my brother Jack phoned. His voice vibrated with excitement as he described what had befallen his neighbor's new '55 Ford parked in front of his house overnight. The car's rear window was completely shattered. "It's in a million pieces", said Jack, "and each piece is shaped like a cube." Nobody could explain it, but the neighbor was plenty mad. That evening, still slightly embarrassed for having rummaged through the neighbor's ashcans, Jack brought me a shoebox full of samples. They ranged in size from half inch cubes to larger favriform-fractured sections.
But the shoebox of cubicle glass and my theory to link it with saucers never became news, not even in Orbit. Again the Babel of expert tongues had so confused the issue that I for one could not determine which of the two types
of poxes was truly the mystery. I later learned from Lex Mebane of CSI of N. Y., that the favriform type of poxing, as typified in this one case was actually no mystery at all. Mebane sums up his research into this phase, as follows:
"Windows that crumble suddenly into a multitude of curve-sided, rectangular fragments are made of 'tempered' glass, which has this characteristic manner of fracture. It has been used in cars only in recent years—I don't know just when it was introduced, but it wai not long before 1955. Its merit is that it is unusually strong, and that when it does crack, it does not crack into the vicious triangular fragments of ordinary glass, but into a sort of 'sand' which is unlikely to cut anyone. This is a safety feature, introduced because cuts from broken glass are one of the most dangerous hazards of automobile accidents; with tempered glass, this hazard is eliminated. I am not sure whether tempered glass is used in windshields. I think laminated glass (a plastic sandwich, likewise for safety) is still used there; I am not sure why. But tempered glass is now common in rear windows. It is made by sudden chilling of hot glass. This produces a case hardening: the piece is strong, but unstable, containing locked-in tensions. When it is overstressed, it goes all to pieces in an instant. The principle is that of Prince Rupert's Drops, which are obtained by dropping molten glass into water. These are tear-drop shaped, with long, curved, tapering tails. The glass is strained, and if the tail is snapped, the drop 'explodes' into a sandy powder, disappearing before one's eyes. This phenomena is what is seen also in the sudden crumbling of rear windows. The question is, what has overstrained the window and caused it to disintegrate? I have been told by people more familiar with cars than I am that even standing in the hot sun can do this. The first curved ('wrap-around') windows are also apt to be overstrained in fastening them to the frame, and might 'let go', seemingly without cause, at almost any time. I think probably there was also some deficiency in the manufacture, at least at first, . . . The crumbling of tempered-glass windows is not really an unsual phenomenon, and it just is not the same thing as die 'glass-pox' epidemic of sudden appearance of pits on windshields. The newspapers just picked it up and confused the two."
Science, however, is still scratching its head over the "pitting" mystery. This is revealed by Irving Petite in a feature article appearing in the Seattle Sunday Times, April 14, 1957. Writes Petite, "After three years this mystery appears still unsolved." He points out that scientists, considering all plausible theories, have agreed that the H-Bomb does not cause pocking of glass; that hydrofluoric acid etches glass smoothly; that special resins can cause chips in glass, but only under carefully controlled conditions. Suggested answers: Small black spheres from H-Bomb, meteors, or an unknown source.
Petite goes on to relate that Hanford Thayer, a consultant on the wartime Manhattan Project, is still making a study of the phenomenon. Thayer carefully searched every square foot of the concrete street in front of his home in Seattle on April 15, 1954, during a glass poxing incident. He found several black pea-sized particles. One, a spheroid, is of glassy opaque substance and non-radioactive. The hard imperfect ball is believed to be the only specimen available for analysis. According to Thayer, the windshield case is not closed!
EVIDENCE IN THE FLESH — THE "GNOMEN"
The continuing search for evidence has left no stone unturned, for the very stone that is turned may be the extraterrestrial missing link. Possibly the Air Force thought of this when they dispatched investigators by helicopter from Maxwell AFB, in Alabama, to Sylacauga in 1954 to examine the "meteorite" which fell through the roof of Mrs. Hewlit Hodges, causing her injury. Incidentally, when I wrote to Mrs. Hodges about the meteorite, her lawyers answered that it was for sale—the price, $5,000.
While civilian researchers cannot afford helicopters — or have funds to buy a celebrated meteorite-—a few, not bothered with bulletin deadlines, have aircraft and will travel! I have had a couple standing offers, Jim McAshan III's of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Jack Grant's of Columbus, Ohio, to fly anywhere the hot news breaks. But, I'm afraid that domesticity, and all its implications, has been my chief deterrent. Besides, my own "backyard" — the greater Cincinnati area — has provided enough follow-up material to keep me busy for years.
Knowing this was Ted Bloecher of CSI, N. Y. His first visit to CRIFO was a brief weekend in August 1955 in the midst of a flap. Not only saucers were rampant but so were reports of "little green men". So much was happening, in fact, that we had little more time than to get acquainted. During the year, however, with the big flap gone except for its wake of data waiting for correlation Ted and I, by mail, took time to kick around the little men. To me the subject was challenging, but alas, I was still too busy with new material — and deadlines — to dig any deeper than my earliest spade work.
The first "little men" incident to alarm the nation took place August 21, 1955 in Kelly, near Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The story covered by the news-wires, told of a band of little ogres descending on a farmhouse, causing its occupants some frightful moments. While the nation tittered over this, the little creatures dropped into Cincinnati. Like a plague they began infesting the communities of Winton Woods, Cumminsville, Camp Washington, Mt. Airy and Greenhills. Then at the height of the furore, the police nabbed Albert Snapp, a 15 year old boy, who, clad in long-handled green-dyed underwear, admitted having fun in Cumminsville scaring his neighbors. The youth, however, denied leaving his neighborhood during his masquerade. Snapp thus became the "whipping boy" for all the hooliganism, and provided the press its cue to laugh off all the reports. One incident, however, occurring in Greenhills left several question marks.
Another incident related during the press' fanfare was that befalling Mrs. Wesley Symmonds of Cincinnati.41 While driving through Stockton, Georgia to Florida on July 3, 1955, she encountered four bug-eyed creatures standing in the road. This case I do not dismiss. Having talked with Mrs. Symmonds
41 See Sept., 1955 ORBIT.
plus hearing her testimony on tape, which was made during an interrogation by Calvin Prem, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Hamilton County, I felt that she was relating the truth. At least in my opinion, it was an attempt to relate an experience she could not explain.
The most striking cases, however, were those I collected preceding the news of the Kelly "landing". Some reached me second and third hand, and while sensational, could not be easily checked at their sources. The attempts I made to contact the principals involved always found them conveniently inaccessible. Other cases, equally sensational, I learned of on a tip from Herb Clark, my friend in GOC. These all occurring before the Kelly case, were centered in the vicinity of Loveland, northeast of Cincinnati. Most baffling was an affair allegedly occurring under a bridge which involved Civil Defense officials. All attempts to elicit additional information brought the proverbial Sphinx silence.
In August of 1956 Ted Bloecher returned to Cincinnati. This time, staying a week, he came armed with new data on the Kelly case.42 When I reviewed the data I could understand Ted's enthusiasm to investigate the Cincinnati cases. It was indeed an eye-opener — and a magnificent job of intelligence work on the part of Miss Isabel Davis, of CSI, who visited Kelly for first-hand information.
Drafting a plan of action, Ted and I began with the Greenhills case. First, we arranged interviews at the home of one of its key witnesses, a girl, one of two, who, with boy friends, panicked on the sight of a little luminous creature— while "parking”. Operating separately, Ted and I took turns interviewing and while doing so, sketched the alleged creature, careful to capture every feature she could reconstruct and describe from memory.
When we finished, to our surprise, the drawings looked much the same as the little biped which was sketched for the Cincinnati Post following the Symmonds story of the year before. Instantly, Ted and I knew something was wrong for the Post's "little man" was nothing more than a cartoon, and according to Mrs. Symmonds, was quite unlike the creatures she saw in Stockton. And so . . .
. . . Without saying, we were hoping for better evidence. Asking about the two boys, we learned that one had been killed during the year while serving in the Air Force. The other, the driver of the car, was in the Navy. Luckily, he was home on leave, and we reached him by phone. Hesitant fearing publicity, he finally admitted having seen a "luminous body” standing near a fireplug. Unable to explain it, he said it "glowed" but it "wasn't green like the newspaper said".
42 Credit must also go to Bud Ledwith of station WHOP Hopkinsville, Ky., for his preparatory spadework on the case. Supplying Miss Davis and CSI with valuable data, Ledwith now is assisting Dr. Hynek in operation MOONWATCH, which is a part of the IGY program designed to track earth satellites. Miss Davis, through CSI, is preparing a complete report on the Kelly case to be published in the near future.
To see Page 65 drawing on the left, click:
To see Page 65 drawing on the right, click:
Sketches, by author, of "frightful creatures” as described by Mrs. Wesley Symmonds during interview in which she recounted her experience, she "hopes to forget", while motoring through Stockton. Georgia, July, 1955. On right is the gnoman with arms upraised, a characteristic observed in two other reported cases.
Next in our plans was a check into the Loveland cases. Of these, the "affair under the bridge", as I had referred to it, was the most intriguing to Ted. In Orbit I had written about it as "a case involving a prominent business man . . . who saw four little men about three feet tall under a certain bridge", adding that this person had "reported the bizarre affair to the police" and that "an armed guard was placed there. . ." I told Ted that most of my attempts to glean additional details were foiled; that the local Civil Defense unit, which I heard had been engaged at the bridge, wouldn't talk; that the Loveland Police Chief John Fritz, who "knew about the case" had "brushed off” one inquisitor and that my feelers elsewhere fell flat. However, I did learn from a member of the school board of that community that the incident hod been investigated by the F.B.I.
But not to be discouraged, Ted, early one morning, hopped a cab to Loveland. His first stop, the police station, found Fritz cordial and chatty, but "somewhat fidgety" when asked about the armed guard at the bridge. Ted, however, had no trouble in extracting the home address of C. F., one of the principals in the case. Later that afternoon; Ted visited C. F. but as I had expected, C. F. refused to review the case beyond the details that had already slipped out. . .
But the day was not wasted, for Ted's richest plumb came quite unexpectedly. In what seemed, to Ted, a stratagem to circumvent the bridge affair, Fritz introduced a new lead into another "little men" case. . .
It was a hot humid Saturday evening when Ted, Dell and I met Mr. R. H., by appointment at the 31 Bar in the city. My first glimpse at R.H. was reassuring. For obvious reasons, in such abstract investigations, one always beforehand conjures up the worst type of individual, but here was a man in a responsible position, well-dressed, well-mannered; his voice soft, undramatic; his eyes steady, never shifting. Sipping a martini, we heard R.H.'s amazing story, the highpoints which follow:
About 4 a.m. on a March night in 1952, while driving through Branch Hill on his way to Loveland. R. H. saw in the beams of his headlights, what appeared to be three men kneeling at the right side of the road. His first impression was that "somebody was hurt or some crazy guys were having fun". Curious, he stopped his car and got out for a better look. To his surprise, he discovered that the figures were non-human and about three feet tall. They were not green, R. H. stressed but rather a "greyish color" including the garments. These tight-fitting, stretched over a "lop-sided chest" which bulged at the shoulder to the arm pit. Over this bulbousness hung a slender arm noticeably longer than its opposite member. Save for only a fleeting impression of "something baggy", the legs and feet were obscured by weeds and brush. "Their heads were ugly” said R. H., reminding him of a "frog's face" mostly because of the mouth which spanned, in a thin line, across a smooth grey face. While R. H. thought the eyes, "without brows" seemed normal and the "nose was indistinct", the pate of the head "had a painiet-on-like-hair effect, like a plastic doll". He added. "It was corregated or like rolls of fat running horizontally over a bald head".
According to R. H., the middle biped, and the one closest to him, was first seen, with his arms upraised. "They were raised a foot or so above the head", he said, "and
To see Page 67 drawing on the left, click:
To see Page 67 drawing on the right, click:
On left, front page of Venezuelan newspaper sent to me by Horacio Gonzales of Caracas, which headlines "hairy biped" incident in Petare. November 1954. Note police investigating scene where Gustavo Gonzales (see inset upper right) said he struggled with creatures. On right, "impressionistic" sketch, by author, of gnomcn seen by ''R. H." on road near Loveland, Ohio, March, 1955. Note frog-like mouths, rolls of fat on brow and the lopsided chests.
holding a dark chain or stick, which emitted blue white sparks jumping from one hand to the other". As R. H. approached, he said this biped then lowered its arm* with the chain "as if to tie it around its ankles". R. H. said he wanted to get closer, but by the time he had reached the front fender of his car the "litlle men" made a slight "unnatural" move toward him, "as if motioning me not to come any closer'. For about three minutes R. H. said he stood still, just watching—too amazed to be afraid. Next thing he remembered he was on his way to Fritz's office.
Fritz, by his own admission, investigated. Armed with gun and camera, he drove to the indicated area, made four or five passes, but saw nothing. An interesting and a possible correlative sidelight of this case, however, is the fact that members of the Loveland GOC Post, according to its supervisor, reported seeing a UFO in the general area sometime during the R. H. encounter. Later attempts, however, to obtain the date of the sighting which would also date R. H.'s story, were unsuccessful.
Three characteristics stand out in the R.H. revelations, 1) gregariousness, three bipeds 2) one with arms upraised 3) their greyish color. And, in review of all the astounding evidence culminating from the testimony of other incidents, it is noted that the Branch Hill case shares similar characteristics with each and/or all. Gregariousness, or a banding together of the bipeds, is characteristic of both the North and South American cases. In the U.S.A., Kelly reported "approximately 15” while the Stockton and the Loveland bridge affair each reported four. In Venezuela, Valencia reported six, Carora four, Petare three, Amacuro Delta two. Only Zulia reported one. The arms upraised anomaly is noted also in the Kelly and Stockton cases, and significantly Stockton also evidenced one of the bipeds holding a metallic rod (compare R.H.'s "chain or stick") with which it seemed to be digging in the road. But, most significant perhaps, and contrary to newspaper talk, was that in no one incident were the bipeds described as green.43 In all, they were described variously as brown, tan or gray. While there were also minor variances in the description of the "skin" as being hairy or rough, and the "hands" being claw-like or rake-like, the widest divurgence of reported features were those describing the head and face. In some, the eyes were luminous and lemurian or "as large as saucers", in others, they were bird-like, small or normal. In some, the noses were long and pointed, in others mere orifices. One striking anomaly, comparing two cases, Kelly and Branch Hill, was the similarity of certain facial features while in others they were the very opposite. In both cases the bipeds evidenced wide, frog-like mouths, but while Kelly evinced extra-proportionate elfin ears — like in fairytale drawings — the Branch Hill featured no ears at all! Perhaps for the sake of argument the best analogy on earth is the Order of Primates, consisting of man, apes, monkeys, marmosets and lemurs. Of Man, the negroids behold both the tallest and smallest of homo sapiens and among his cousins are the gorilla and the tarsier. All related but different!
43 August 25, 1955, Capt. Robert White, OPI, Washington, told a Scripps-Howard writer, “. . . the concensus of Americans who’ve reported seeing invaders from outer space in the past four years is that – the space visitors are little guys, less than four feet tall, they’re greenish, they usually glow, especially if excited and often they smell bad”.
There are other incidents involving little bipeds—or shall we call them gnomen in search of a name—not described in this work. But all, at this writing, are eidolic for lack of a three-dimensional source to back up the story. Of this group is an Indianapolis incident44 which allegedly involved a high school principal who with companion teachers, were terrorized by four gnomen near a river campsite in 1954. Ted finally tracked down the principal—the story denied. Another Loveland incident, related to Ted and me (first reaching me on a tip by Herb Clark) by the supervisor of the Loveland GOC, when he visited my home in regards to UFO reporting, told of a gnoman frightening a woman in her yard. More information was promised but liason was never established. And still another incident, occurring in Kentucky, told of several gnomen seen from an automobile on a dark roadside, and according to my reluctant intermediary who earlier promised all the details, one of the bipeds touched the car's fender leaving marks or scratches on the paint. A dozen attempts to reach the principals in the case were futile.
The details of the Venezuelan cases45 of 1954 and the summer epidemic in France46 of 1954 are just as bizarre, but in none is there the "irrefutable physical evidence" which would prove that gnomen are the inhabitants from Mars or a planet orbiting Wolf 359 . . . unless we accept the lacerations on the shoulder of Gustava Gonzales, who during his tussle with a hairy biped in Petare was thrown 15 feet and showed the police his wounds.
THE PHOTO "FINISHERS" — Official and Otherwise
Evidence, in saucer lore, assumes many forms. If not a three-dimensional filament of angel hair or a controversial "hot rock", it can be a photograph or a movie showing a shape in the sky, a blip on radarscope, or a voice or sound on a tape recorder. When "contact" stories became popular in 1952 the tapes were quick to follow. I've heard several, each purporting to be evidence. One, sounding like a musical arrangement of Morse Code and believed to be signals from a space race, was in my opinion, wishful thinking. Most others, preachments and warnings by space people, are just pure bunk.47
Where the shysters really shine is in the photo lab.48 Their "Rogues" gallery is enormous. However, there are a number of "fraudulent" photographs in public circulation that belong, in all fairness, on the debatable list. In these instances, the photographer does not intend to be spurious, but is tricked unwittingly by optical phenomena, such as Newton Rings, or by a high-flying "something", such as a meteor or balloon. Doubtlessly in this category, there are thousands of "saucer" photographs that will never be heard of, or seen,
44 See Sept. 1955 ORBIT.
45 See APRO bulletins, early 1955 issues.
46 Aime Michel, author of “The Truth About Flying Saucers”, according to C.S.I. of New York, is preparing a book on the 1954 European flap of “little men” incidents.
47 A non-profit organization set up to supply tapes on all UFO information is operated by Dr. A.G. Dittmar of Au Sable Forks, N. Y.
48 See May, 1957 issue of CSI of New York NEWS LETTER, article entitled “Jules St. Germain Exposes Credulity”.
by either the Air Force or a civilian agency because (1) the photographer doesn't give a hoot about saucers, or (2) his scruples go beyond opportunity!
A good example of unexploited opportunity is that involving a 35mm. Kodachrome slide in the collection of Jack Gunderman of my advertising office. The photograph was snapped by Gunderman through his automobile's windshield while en route to a Mexican vacation in September, 1956. My first opportunity to see the slide was at a friend's home and it all happened quite unceremoniously. We had just passed pictorially through Texas into the desert wastes of Mexico, when the slide was projected and everyone exclaimed, "flying saucers!" In view was a simple roadside scene and a spacious sky. In the upper left hand corner were two silvery discs, one astride the other, both tilted as though ready to sweep down on the road. Asking Gunderman if he had been holding out on us, he smiled knowingly and said that he never thought of them as being saucers, but was sure they were just optics.
On the other hand, the Air Force handling of saucer film is just as mysterious as some of the film submitted to them for study. Despite their Fact Sheets which attempt to explain away all saucer film, they are not eager to admit possession of certain film, especially such that is not so easily explained away! In mind is the photograph taken July 19, 1956 by a teenager, Michael Savage of a disc flying near his home in San Bernardino, California. According to the townspaper, The Daily Sun, officers at George AFB were interested in the boy's experience and wanted to see the negatives. And, according to a letter published in APRO, which its editor received from Dr. Leonard Taylor, friend and neighbor of the Savage family, “.. . We reported to the Air Force at George Air Field and were contacted by personnel from Norton AFB who personally reviewed the site of picture taking. I have personally examined the No. 127 negative prior to giving it to AF personnel who asked to borrow it and send it to ATIC."
But in October of 1956 when an informed ATIC agent visited my home to pick up the angel hair specimen, I asked about the Savage film, and was told that it had never been received by ATIC. Had Norton AFB actually sent the film to ATIC? If so, were they unable to explain away the object in the photo, thereby classifying its analysis — and causing their agent to deny its possession?
Another act of hocus pocus involves the Mayher film, a 16 mm. movie which shows a bright saucer-shaped object streaking over Miami, Florida, July 29, 1952. Accompanied by friends, Ralph C. Mayher shot forty feet of film, but today he owns only a few frames thanks to somebody's slight of hand. After shooting the film, Mayher phoned the Marine Air Station. Sent to the scene was Lt. Aldridge who, on departing, took the film roll with him. For the rest of the story, I quote from Tom Cornelia's Research Bulletin of June 21, 1955 as follows: "Although denied the right to show his (Mayher's) films while in uniform, copies were supposedly sent to the Air Force for analysis. However,
a letter addressed to Mayher and dated April 13, 1954 revealed the following: This is to advise you that a search of the Air Technical Intelligence files has failed to show that the Air Force has ever received the film you mentioned. It is our belief that since this film was originally submitted to a naval base, it must still remain with naval intelligence.' The letter was signed by 1st. Lt. R. C. White. Mayher then wired the Marine Corps Air Station in Miami where he was stationed as a service photographer the night he caught the UFO on film. The reply, dated April 19, 1954, stated, 'Saucer film turned over to Air Force on July 31, 1952.' The telegram carried the name of Col. T. G. Ennis, C. O. of the air station."
Another movie film which apparently fell prey to Air Force legerdemain was that photographed by Nicholas Mariana on August 19, 1950 at Great Falls, Montana. The story is told in a technical article by R. M. L. Baker, appearing in the Spring 1957 issue of SAUCERS49 as follows: " . . Mr. Mariana recalls that the Kodachrome original, as returned to him from the Eastman Kodak Processing Laboratory, comprised 315 frames. This original film was shown by him before several clubs and other audiences in Montana. He recalls that the first 30-odd frames showed larger images of the UFOs with a notch or band at one point on the periphery of the objects by which they could be seen to rotate in unison while on the rest of the film the objects show up only as unarticulated bright white dots. The film as returned by the Air Force, according to Mr. Mariana, had had the first 35 frames removed and only the remainder of the film was returned and that the clipped-off part was lost."
Still another case of apparent mishandling involves the famous Tremonton film, the property of Mr. Delbert Newhouse, a Chief Warrant Officer in the U.S. Navy, who photographed 10 to 14 UFOs seven miles north of Tremonton, Utah, on July 2, 1952. After extensive analysis, according to Newhouse, by the Air Force, Navy and private laboratories, the original was not returned. 50
Faring worse was William Rhodes who, in July 1947, snapped a photo of a UFO over Phoenix, Arizona, submitting it to authorities for analysis. According to a letter which appeared in the Spring 1948 issue of Fate, Rhodes got nothing in return.
My first and only experience with a controversial film and its controversial handling by the Air Force began on October 14, 1956 when 1 received three separate reports of UFOs traversing the skies over and near Cincinnati.51 Later, I learned that on the evening of that date, Harry Baston, a photographer interested in lunar studies, had taken several experimental photos through his 6 in. telescope, three of the moon. In the fourth photo, the moon not showing, appears one luminous object. The object, depicted off-center, is cut off at the edge of photo, but the portion showing, is semi-ovoidal and sharply defined.
49 Address, P.O. Box 35034, Los Angeles 35, California.
50 See article “Photogrammetric Analysis of the ‘Utah’ Film”, by R. M. L. Baker, Jr., SAUCERS, Winter 1956-57 issue.
51 See Case 242, ORBIT.
Radiating around the semi-ovoid is a misty aura of light. The background is totally black, no celestial bodies showing. Baston says he cannot explain the object, or image, and is certain that is not a type of Newton Ring, or other optical phenomena. Baston is also of the opinion that the apparent object was not a result of the film's development fluid, for he has the negative, and this also shows the semi-ovoid and the aura.
Unable to explain the one photograph I phoned Captain Gregory at ATIC. I told him of my acquisition and when he indicated interest, I offered to submit three photos (and five negatives) to his office for analysis. While on the subject of photographs, Gregory emphasized ATIC's extensive employment of top scientists, including foreign if necessary, to analyze any purported evidence concerning UFOs. He also remarked on the "rumor" charging the Air Force of being "guilty of not returning UFO film, or the originals" to its owner, and, suggested that I personally number the backs of each photo submitted so that I could determine its return. The rest of the story is best told in a letter dated May 14, 1957, from Major T. J. Connair, Jr., Adjutant, ATIC, which follows:
"Attached herewith are the original three (3) photographs and five (5) negatives which you submitted to this organization for review and comment on 7 Novemher 1956. Reference is also made to your letter of 12 January 1957 in which you requested the status and disposition of this material.
"We regret the delay, but as part of the study and reviews, the photographs were submitted to a scientist who later was assigned to an overseas, project, leaving them behind.
"With respect to our findings, please be advised that the photographs and negatives were subjected to a series of microscopic and other examinations, including a motion picture size projection. The light appears to be emanating from an outside source into a container, believed to be the inside of a telescope tube, and photographed with the camera at the eye piece and being at a slight tilt or angle. A comparison of the sky around the moon with the dark portion around the ovoid of light, further indicates that the latter coloration in not a photograph of the sky. The fringe of light to the left of the ovoid (in our opinion) attest to this.
"We are not in position to comment whether your source, which you state is an astronomer, was or was not aware of this, or if this is merely a case of an attempted hoax, with you as an unwitting intermediary.
"Copies have been made of the original material to be included with our analysis and other data in case files."
I have only two comments. One, Harry Baston, who is not an astronomer, never declared that the ovoidal image in the photo was a UFO or a saucer, and, having given consent to submit the photo to Air Force specialists, would have realized the chances of himself being exposed as a hoaxster. Thus, I am sure the photo is not a hoax! Two, the original three photos I submitted were not returned!
THE NORWOOD SEARCHLIGHT INCIDENT
If we were to use another exemplary case in which photographs, including movies, play a prominent part, not only as evidence but again illustrating a possible legerdemain. I would cite the Norwood searchlight incident.
But as the facts stand, this one case is exemplary in more ways than photography. To me, it is one of the best cases on civilian record in regards to testimonial evidence, that is, if we accept as evidence certain scientific statements and evaluations, plus thousands of witnesses, including members of the Catholic clergy, the press and the military.
The incident begins August 19, 1949, during a carnival on the grounds of the St. Peter and Paul Church in Norwood, Ohio, a city of 35,000 population "within" the city of Cincinnati. For such occasions, Reverend Gregory Miller, pastor of the church had purchased from army surplus, an 8 million candle power searchlight. Borrowed to operate it was Sergeant Donald R. Berger of ROTC of the University of Cincinnati. It was during the height of festivities when Sgt. Berger's sweeping searchlight suddenly flashed across a stationary circular object in the sky. Rev. Miller was called to the scene, later others joined in. That was the beginning. From that date until March 10, 1950, when the object was last seen, Sgt. Berger, who thought he had picked up a "space platform", began logging the events, which follows:
August 19, 1949. Place: St. Peter and Paul Church, Norwood, Ohio. 2015 to 2300 hours. While operating for festival, picked up object at 1585 mils elevation. The object was stationary, appearing as glowing disc. When I moved the searchlight away the disc continued to glow. Estimated range: 4 or 5 miles. The sky was clear with thin haze at high altitude. I took no action, but next day articles appeared in two local papers re object
Sept. 11, 1949. Place: St. Gertrude Church, Madeira, Ohio. 1915 to 2315 hours. Picked up object at 15,000 to 20,000 ft. at 1620 mils elevation. The object disappeared within a few seconds, traveling straight up. I picked it up again at much greater altitude. Then, when I changed carbons I lost it again until 2115 hrs. As soon as it reappeared, I phoned Wright-Patterson Field. The sky was clear with no visible clouds or haze. Several thousand people also saw object.
Sept. 17, 1949. Place: Milford, Ohio. 1900 to 2000 hours. Testing the searchlight about dusk, I had it set at 1600 mils. I could see an object which looked like a white glow. When I turned the light off, I could see nothing. I did this several times. As soon as it became dark I turned on the light at same elevation and caught object in the beam.
Oct. 23, 1949. Place: St. Peter and Paul, Norwood. 1915 to 2245 hours. I turned on the light and picked up object at 1600 mils. Among those present were William Winkler, Father Gregory Miller, Robert Linn (Managing Editor, Cincinnati Post) and Leo Hirtl (Post reporter). Reverend Miller and Linn phoned Wright-Patterson and reported object to Intelligence Officer. About 2200 hours, two distinct groups of triangular-shaped objects seemed to come out of the main disc. Each group had about five objects. They came down the beam then turned out of the beam. The same performance was repeated about half hour later. The disc was still visible when I turned out the light for the night.
Oct. 24, 1949. Place: St. Peter and Paul. 1915 to 2100 hours. Set light at 1600 mils. The object appeared immediately in the beam. A.T.I.C. agent and Lou Gerhart with me at the time. Held object in beam for about half hour until covered by clouds.
Nov. 19, 1949. Place: Norwood. Ohio. 1830 to 2245 hrs. At 1915 hours the beam of the light flashed on the object. Guiding the light back on the object, it then disappeared immediately. About a minute later I picked it up again much higher. The elevation was between 1605 and 1610 mils. Many witnesses, including William Winkler. Sky was covered with low broken clouds. At time objects appeared much brighter.
Dec. 20, 1949. Place: Norwood. Ohio. 2015 to 2200 hours. Turned light on at 2015 and picked up object immediately. At first it was faint and small. As haze cleared, object brightened. At 2130 it got much brighter and spread out almost as large as beam, then disappeared. Present were D. A. Wells (Un. of Cincinnati physicist), Dr. Paul Herget (Un. of Cincinnati astronomer), two O.S.I. members52, Father Miller, the mayor of Norwood (R. Ed Tepe) and Reginald Myers.
Jan. 11, 1950. Place: Norwood. Ohio. 1930 to 2115 hrs. turned on light, but didn't find object until about 1945 hours when haze blew away. Observed it for about 15 minutes, very clearly, then it dimmed. It was called to my attention that some smaller objects were passing through the beam. I saw at least two objects several times. Also present were William Winkler and M/Sgt. R. Ekleberry, M/Sgt. John Savage and Sgt. W. Pflueger of the Air National Guard.
March 9, 1950. Place: Norwood. Ohio. 2000 to 2200 hours. About 2000 I picked up object with the light. About 2045 hrs. two small objects came out of the disc and it looked as if the disc was pushed out of the beam. In about ten minutes, the disc moved back into the beam. The sky was clear. Eleven people were present. . . .
March 10, 1950. Place: Norwood. Ohio. 1900 to 2300 hours. Caught object in beam at 1600 mils. At 1945 hours the object moved up and across the beam and disappeared. Half hour later, object reappeared in beam in same position. Object stayed in beam until I turned light off for the night. Present were Father Miller. Capt. Wilks, R. Myers, Wm. Winkler and others. Capt. Wilks phoned Wright-Patterson Field. Capt. Wilks watched the object with glasses while I moved the light.
Had I awaken several months earlier in 1950 from my great oblivion, I might have been lucky to glimpse the searchlight-illumined object, but as fate had it, it was not until 1952, while appearing as a guest on a special "saucer" program on WCPO-TV, that I got a proper perspective into the case. Among the program's participants, which included local saucer sighters, was Rev. Gregory Miller who reviewed Sgt. Berger's log and described his own observations. Also present was Harry Mayo, City Editor of the Cincinnati Post, who wasn't talking because of laryngitis, and Leo Hirtl, a Post columnist, who honked skeptically at saucers because the thought that the small objects seen on the eventful night of October 23 were "geese". Tempers flaring, Rev. Miller reminded Hirtl that geese do not have tail lights, and I, not to be outdone, put in my interplanetary two cents worth. After the program, and with the cast once again becalmed, Rev. Miller called me aside. From his side pocket, he handed me several photographs. "They'll show you the object in the searchlight beam", he said, "—If you and your wife have time I'd like to show some movies. . ."
Needless to say, I accepted Rev. Miller's offer with enthusiasm and with the least of persuasion he got the studio's attendants to run the reel in the
52 According to Rev. Miller, their names were suspiciously alike, one Eichleberger and the other Eichlebarger. In discussing this, we agreed the similarity seemed more than just coincidence.
To see Page 75 photo on the left, click:
To see Page 67 drawing on the right, click:
Scenes from Norwood Searchlight incident. On left is Sgt. Donald Berger and the 8 million candlepower searchlight which he was operating when he discovered the “space platform”. Photo courtesy Cincanniti Post. On right is one of a series of photos showing the searchlight beam illuminating the object which was computed to be 10,000 feet in diameter.
projection room. While Rev. Miller commented freely, Dell and I watched the screen in amazement as the giant stationary disc appeared, glowing intensely in the sweeps of searchlight's beam.
Cameraman for the movie, on request of Rev. Miller, was Sgt. Leo Davidson of the Norwood Police Department. Filming most of it on October 23, he used three rolls, 25 feet each and a Hugo-Meyer F-19-3" camera with telephoto lens. Commenting on the smaller objects, Davidson said, "they were visibly the size of pinheads but they didn't have the intensity to register clearly on the film". He pointed out, however, that to the naked eye, he and all others present, saw two groups of five small objects leaving the parent object, each, with halos, brighter than the searchlight beam. Said Davidson, "we watched each group fade out of view".
Davidson also took ten "still" photographs using a Speed-Graphic camera with a 14 inch Wallensach telephoto lens. Two of these were exceptional shots, said Davidson, showing both the parent object and its brood. . .
But, the two prize shots had a mysterious fate. Last to see them was Harry Mayo, who, as a correspondent for Time-Life, had prepared a feature story for Time, which included the two photos. But Mayo's story and Miller's photos were not used in Time or Life and in spite of requests by Rev. Miller of Mayo and his publishers, the photos were never returned.
In 1955, I received permission from Rev. Miller to try to reclaim this film. Suspecting Time-Lite of consorting with the Air Force, as had been suggested in the case of the Tremonton film, I wrote to Captain R. C. White of OPI, in Washington. His reply of May 20, 1955 denied that the Air Force had ever received the two photos. Said White, in part, "... we have made a thorough check of our files and they are not in our possession. Moreover, we have made a check of our correspondence as well as our photographic file53 and can find no reference to such photographs, either by name or by location. As I pointed out in our telephone conversation, the chances are that these photographs went no farther than to the magazine. . ."
Long before cameras entered the Norwood scene, lending substantiation to the big object, the press on the very first night of the series of events, found supporting evidence. Said the Post, August 20, 1949, "Balls of fire hung over Cincinnati during the night . . A Weather Bureau official said, 'One of our men who was working last night saw them. He said they looked like two weather ceiling balloons but they weren't moving. There was a wind of 25 to 32 miles an hour, so if they'd been balloons they would have moved’. Another witness saw ‘two balls of fire' about 4 a.m. They seemed to grow dim, and then get bright again,' he said. . ."
The most eventful night, according to Berger's log and according to the testimony of others was October 23, 1949. Again the point of observation was
53 What other legitimate photos lie in this file?
the church grounds, this time about 50 persons witnessing the phenomenon. Using a telescope, William Winkler, a businessman, said he observed one of the two groups of five smaller objects leave the parent object, describing them as "triangular". Rev. Miller and his brother, Rev. Cletus Miller, agreed they were shaped "like the apex of Indian arrow heads". When I interviewed Robert Linn, Managing Editor of the Post, he admitted that he saw the searchlight beam "bounce off some definite object" but said the smaller objects were "something like bits of paper". However, Linn was concerned enough to join Rev. Miller in reporting the incident to Intelligence at Wright-Patterson AFB. From another source I learned that the Cincinnati Enquirer was called about the Norwood object, and while they did not publish the story of the night's activities, they did admit receiving reports of unidentified lights in the sky — and beyond the vicinity of Norwood!
While no one among the thousands of Cincinnatians, including the experts, who saw the object, could guess its identity, Harry Mayo of the Post wrote a feature article April 6, 1950 under the headline, "What Glows on Here? Norwood Muses". At the close of the article, Mayo wrote, "Dr. D. A. Wells, professor of physics at the University of Cincinnati, and Paul Herget, U.C. professor of astronomy, took a look. Said Dr. Wells: 'In my opinion it's an optical illusion'. Said Prof. Herget, 'It's not a fake. I believe it may be caused by the illumination of gas in the atmosphere. We need an explanation to squash people's fears.'"
But as I have since learned, Hergets words, "We need an explanation to squash people's fears' were closer to the truth than his guess about the gas. While I cannot publish Herget's exclamation while he viewed the object on December 20, 1949 because of a confidence entrusted me, I can say that Herget's reactions and utterances indicated anything but indifference. Nor can I publish, for the same confidence, the actions and behind-scenes maneuvers of Dr. Wells which are veritable guideposts pointing to and confirming some of my conclusions toward saucer secrecy. I can say, however, that Dr. Wells, was there with camera and protractors and was in frequent hush-hush huddles with two O.S.I. members also present. Computations of the object's size were made and then confirmed by Dr. Wells. Like something out of Gulliver's Travels, the size was approximated to be 10,000 feet in diameter.
The Mayor of Norwood, R. Ed Tepe, now deceased, told me during an interview in 1954 that he also was present during the computing and heard Dr. Wells confirm the object's approximate size. Tepe, who gave me a clear-cut, unbiased report of his observations, firmly believed that the object was a solid round body. "It had ridges or ribbing" he said, "which were very discernible". Tepe also said that "when the searchlight beam moved away, the target was lost.
And so concludes, in brief, the story of the Norwood searchlight incident and of Sgt. Berger's speculative 'space platform". Perhaps Berger’s guess is right, which leaves only one remaining question, who put it there, we or they?
On this question, opinion is divided — of course. If the computers were correct in their estimating the size of the object at 10,000 feet in diameter, then I believe, by sheer logic, that it was “they". Certainly something of this tremendous size, harboring at least five or ten smaller craft, would have to land somewhere. And another point: Air Force interceptors were secretly sent up to investigate. If then, the satellite-sized object were a U.S.A. device, as suggested, why bother to investigate when Intelligence at Wright-Patterson AFB, would have already known of its secret rendezvous in the restricted and vulnerable Cincinnati-Dayton area?
BALANCING THE EVIDENCE
Lumping all the heterogeneous loose ends of the so-called evidence together, one logically asks, where does it all fit? Look magazine, in an Air Force- approved article, "Hunt For the Flying Saucer", appearing in June, 1952, said "Air Force officials feel the final solution to the flying saucer mystery will be found under one or more of the following headings: (1) misinterpretations of known objects, (2) ... phenomena of nature or optics, (3) ... man-made developments and (4) . . . interplanetary spaceships or missiles.
But in the same breath, the Air Force-approved article squashed item one, admitting "even the most cautious Air Force authorities feel certain that many people are not describing the behavior of any conventional form of aircraft not even an aircraft on the most experimental drawing boards". Under item two. Captain Ruppelt, then head of Project Blue Book was quoted as saying, "If saucers turn out to be natural phenomena, we will drop out and hand the problem over to scientists. But if they turn out to be 'hostile vehicles' we will keep after them." (And, for the record, the USAF is still chasing "hostile vehicles".) Under item three, the articles quote Ruppelt as saying, "If these are man-made, whoever is making them is way ahead of us technologically". Item three also says, ". . . although this is constantly denied, they may be a part of a secret U.S. development projects". Then it quotes an intelligence officer as saying: "I'm quite sure there is no secret project. There is more chance that they are from Mars. . .". Under item four, the article states, "Air Force intelligence men say they are continually astounded by the number of trained scientists who believe they are interplanetary in origin".
The article ends with this statement by Ruppelt, ".. . They have been around for five years (now ten years) and haven't struck yet. But that doesn't mean they are not a potential threat".
Outside the Air Force, the best brains in saucer research generally agree that saucers are a controlled machine. Beyond this accord, however, feelings run rampant. Two major camps exist, one who sees all the evidence as interplanetary, the other, as belonging down to earth.
The best argument for earth-made saucers comes from the writings of James Moseley, editor of Saucer News,54 formerly Nexus, and Dr. Leon Davidson, a frequent contributor to this magazine. I first became acquainted with Moseley by letter, which, dated February 23, 1954, said in part, "My reason for writing you is that I am in receipt of information that leads me to believe that you are quite interested in 'flying saucers', as I am, and that you have a good deal of information on this subject. . ."
In answering Moseley, I asked how he learned of my name and my interest in saucers. His next letter, written on “Gran Hotel Bolivar' stationery from Lima, Peru, replied, "... I spent several days at the Press Desk at the Pentagon, and during that time became quite friendly with one of the lieutenants there. In the course of a general 'bull session' on saucers, he started reading questions off a sheet he had. I did not know at first what sort of document it was . . . but he eventually told me that it was a series of questions someone had sent in, and he gave me your name and address. He said that whoever sent those questions in apparently had made quite a study of saucers and that I might be interested in corresponding with him. . ."
After several months of exchanging information by correspondence, Moseley visited my home in July of 1954, en route to Columbus where he said he was to check into a "lead from a woman who worked with the army there, and who says that a captured saucer went through her base on its way to Wright-Patterson". During our chat, Moseley told me he felt 90% sure that saucers were interplanetary.
Shortly after his visit, Moseley startled everyone in research by announcing in the October, 1954 issue of Nexus that he had come across "irrefutable documented evidence" that saucers were secret U.S. weapons. He also announced that this "evidence" would be divulged in his next issue of Nexus. Knowing that he in the meantime made acquaintance with Dr. Leon Davidson, I began to wonder what the two had discussed beyond what Davidson had mentioned in his correspondence with me. But a letter from Moseley, dated November 5, 1954, provided at least a partial answer. "If you have gotten Nexus No. 5 by now you already know that I can't come out with my 'irrefutable evidence' after all. It had nothing to do with Davidson's information, however, although he is very logical and convincing. . . As for the other material, I won't be able to use it, and I have learned the hard way that the 'U.S. Weapon' theory is a dangerous one to deal with. As long as you continue to push Space, I think you will be all right with your newsletter. . . "
Because of Moseley's big switch, many researchers have come to look upon him as a sort of jester in the business. While I cannot see Moseley as a jester, remembering some of his more constructive work in exposing several flaws in the "contact" stories, other researchers, however, have taken him to task.
54 Address, P.O. Box 163, Fort Lee, N. J.
It was Moselely who opened the scabs from the sores of his earlier promises by publishing, minus his "irrefutable evidence", certain highpoints of his theory in his June-July 1956 issue of Saucer News. For convenience here, I quote from Lex Mebane's summary of the Moseley text, which he critically reviewed in CSI's June 1956 News-Letter, as follows:
"Unknown to the public, radiative contamination of the earth's atmosphere has reached a very dangerous level, because not only bombs, but also secret non-bombs tests which 'got decidedly out of hand', have been contributing to it. However, there is not only secret contamination, but also secret decontamination, going on. This is done by what we know as flying saucers. The type of saucer involved is manufactured and flown from a super-secret underground base in the Southwest, and is sent out all over the world to mop up atmospheric radiation. It is powered by an atomic engine which converts atomic energy directly to electricity (a secret discovery) and uses this electricity in some manner to produce 'an entirely new and previously unknown type of propulsion'. There is a special branch of the government that carries out these operations; its existence is known to very few. Project Blue Book's investigators knew nothing of it and never discovered the truth. The radiation 'absorbed’ by the saucers is converted to electrical energy and released to the air, 'overloading it with electricity', which accounts for various abnormal weather conditions of recent years. These 'mops' are remotely controlled. They are capable of the silent, super-fast flight in the atmosphere so characteristic of flying saucers: they reduce air friction to a small fraction of the normal by simply ionising the air in front of them. ... 'I have proof, Moseley declares, 'but it is of such a nature that I do not feel it advisable to identify it here'".
Mebane then comments ". . . the story as it stands bears the marks of psuedo-science" and in his review he lists seven valid reasons in support of his argument Curious, and desiring an official view on the Moseley revelations, I wrote to the Atomic Energy Commission in June, 1956 but my letter was ignored.
Others befriending Moseley for years, began suspecting him as an Air Force agent. Gray Barker, in his May, 1957 issue of the Saucerian Bulletin, called Moseley “. . . violently anti-saucer and evidently a believer in the almost ridiculous theory that saucers are made by the government . . .". In the same bulletin, Barker also airs an anonymous letter which was sent originally to Cosmic News, a discontinued saucerzine published in Strongsville, Ohio. The letter said in part, "... In my research, I learned that Mr. Moseley is in reality a reserve First Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. From 1950 to 1953 he was working in Intelligence, in connection with some highly secret work the CIA was doing in Germany. Since 1953 he has held the position of a liason officer with the ATIC in Dayton, Ohio which as you must know has been connected with the Air Force's investigation of the UFO problem. I first met Mr. Moseley here in Miami in 1955, at a private meeting of the Southern Aeronautical Association, and since then I have had the opportunity to meet him three more times, at aeronautical and military conferences here in Miami and elsewhere. Due to my personal interest in the UFO problem, I have for several years subscribed to the various amateur UFO publication, such as yours; I can tell you that it came as quite a shock to me when I first learned that Moseley was publishing a UFO journal, and the shock
was all the greater when I saw his journal and learned the type of erroneous material he was trying to mislead the public with. I can tell you with absolute certainty that should Moseley wish to do so, he would be in possibly the best position of anyone in the United States to expose the true nature of the UFO mystery. The reason he does not do so should be clear from all I have said so far. In short, Mr. Moseley is nothing more or less than a paid tool of the U.S. Air Force. . ."
Timely and pertinent is an article in the August 1957 issue of UFO Newsletter55 edited by Lee Munsick, which, entitled "Unsensational, Not Confidential", goes into detail on the Moseley-Barker feud. Says Munsick, "Obviously the (Cosmic News) letter is bunk. . . The military business about Moseley may be prompted by the fact that a relative was an officer of fairly high rank in another service. As far as being a paid stooge for the AF, it's fairly well known that Mr. Moseley need not rely on the Pentagon for his daily meals: the USAF informs us there is no Lieut. James W. Moseley; neither of two AF James Moseleys with other initials living anywhere near New Jersey."
In the June-July issue of Saucer News, Moseley also denies the charge of being an AF agent, calling Cosmic News' anonymous letter a "fantastic hoax". In this same issue, however, Moseley continues the "U.S. Weapons" hue and cry, publishing Part Two of "The Air Force and the Saucers", in which Dr. Leon Davidson speculates on the "Psychological Warfare Applications of Flying Saucers" and the secret U.S. agency who runs its operations. Said Davidson, "The true solution, if saucers were indeed real interplanetary spaceships, would certainly have been found in the past ten years of study. It can be taken for granted that if the Air Force had been in doubt of the true nature of saucers since 1949, it would unquestionably have asked the National Academy of Science to conduct a full scientific study of the subject, using the nation's leading scientists and scientific organizations . . ."
Contrary to Davidson's contention that leading U.S. scientists have not been summoned to study UFOs, I was told on two occasions by Capt. Gregory of Section 4E4 of ATIC (a section which studies UFO phenomena) that in its employe were "many leading U.S. scientists". He also said, "If they can't find the answers, we go to scientists overseas for evaluations."
For years, the Air Force, through its spokesman and in letters, has said that the UFO research section of ATIC was small or "undermanned" with hints that the Ruppelts, Hardins and Gregorys, who were reportedly in charge of its operation, were "practically working alone". But if Gregory's disclosures are true, scientists are as hard at work now as they were when Colonel O'Mara told me in 1954 that the Air Force had "over a thousand of the nation's leading scientists" working on the UFO project. Major Keyhoe also told me long ago, he believed that Ruppelt and Hardin, as in the case of Gregory at this writing, were sitting in front of a big operation. . .
55 Address, 1721 Nineteenth St., N.W., Washington 9, D. C.
Assuming that Capt. Ruppelt was in the know about "inside" ATIC affairs before he left Project Blue Book in 1953, his letter to me, dated February 21, 1955 then is significant. It said in part, "As for their (UFOs) being a U.S-or any worldly development, I can categorically deny this".
Another letter of significance, dated February 16, 1955, from Capt. White of OPI, USAF Defense Department, said, “. . . We have been experimenting with new type aircraft and missiles for a long time, and possibly some of them have been reported as unidentified flying objects. However, the number of such sightings would be negligible. We have nothing which spins through the air like a disc, pulsates, glows, dematerializes, changes colors, goes from a mid-air standstill to a supersonic speed, or that can turn at square angles in full flight, as some sighters report."
According to the Davidson camp of theoreticians, White's letter is essentially true, but the catch phrase in it is the word, "We" in the sentence which reads "We have nothing which spins through the air like a disc, etc." This "We", according to Davidsonian perspicacity, refers only to the Air Force and does not necessarily include a saucer development by the Navy. Davidson's argument in part, appearing in the June-July 1957 issue of Saucer News, follows:
". . . In 1947. the production prototype of the Navy's circular prop-driven flying wing, the Chance-Vought XF5U-1 "Flying Flapjack", was just due for test flights at Muroc, California (See Janes' 'All the World's Aircraft'. 1947 and 1948 editions.) This airplane is decscribed in an N.A.C.A. report issued June 7. 1949, Report RML9C29, where it is called a 'convertible-type airplane' which was 'expected to assume attitudes approaching hovering and vertical descent. . . .' There is no public record that the test flights at Muroc were either held or called off. However, LCDR Pickctt Lumpkin, USN, informed me in 1952 that it became apparent that the desired speed characteristics coud be attained with less difficulty in a jet-powered aircraft’, and LCDR F. M. Lloyd USN, informed me in 1952 that 'the XF5U' was officially dropped on March 12, 1948'. All that can be fairly concluded from the above is that the U.S. Navy, about 1947, was trying to get a flying wing aircraft which could hover as well as fly at high speeds. By coincidence, just at the time that the XF5U-1 was scheduled for test flights at Muroc, there came the first (and I mean the very first) flying saucer sightings which entered the Air Force files. In the Project Grudge report of August 1949, cases 1, 2, 3, and 4 are listed for July 7th and 8th, 1947 at Muroc and Rogers Dry Lake, California (now called Edwards Air Force Base). These first reports were made by Air Force personnel, and refer to an oscillating object which flew slowly, and had tactics unlike an ordinary airplane. There were two fins on the upper surface (the XF5U had these, incidentally) which crossed at intervals, suggesting a slow oscillation. Some observers at that time at Muroc reported seeing two discs at about 8,000 ft. altitude, maneuvering in tight circles with varying speeds, and oscillating. . . ."
So, I wrote to the Navy for a statement. Their reply, dated July 24, 1957 and signed by P. G. Conwell, LCDR. USN, Technical Information Officer, follows: "Since its organization in 1946 the Office of Naval Research has engaged in an extensive program of upper atmosphere research. Among the tools used to obtain information are plastic SKYHOOK balloons. Some reports of unidentified flying objects have subsequently proved to be these
SKYHOOK balloon floatings at high altitude. This may account for the rumors you have heard that the Navy is developing a device similar to a 'flying saucer’."
While the Navy (not very forcefully) scuttles its hypothetical "flying saucer", calling such a development "rumors", the most significant letter in my collection which should erase the U.S. weapon theory was received from General Saturnino G. Armenanzas, Air Attache of the Argentine government (See reproduction elsewhere in book). Attached to this letter, dated May 9, 1955, were two pages, in Spanish, which describes a better-than-average UFO sighting over Cordoba Airport in Argentina on November 25, 1954.56
For the U. S. Navy, or any other agency, to flaunt a secret weapon over Argentina, especially when relations with the Peron regime were already strained, would not be in accord with U.S. policy. Just as inconceivable is the notion that a U.S. secret weapon would be used to spy on Argentina. Here, logically, our first question would be, "Spy on what?" followed by, "What could an aerial weapon uncover in Argentina that any old-fashioned two-legged spy would not?" But, the best answer against such an adventure would be the risk of the saucer's power failure. Not only would the U.S. lose its biggest secret, but the ignominious dud would bring tremendous reverberations in foreign capitols. In short order, Argentina would have called the U. S. an aggressor — and they would have been justified.
Perhaps a better argument against the U.S. weapons theory lies in the mildewed testimony of the old sightings. As Major Keyhoe once pointed out, many are undoubtedly "old wives tales" but others on record, seem, on face value to be just as credible as those reported today. On the other hand, Dr. Donald Menzel, in his writings,57 has tried to lump them all into the waste basket of optical or natural phenomena, but, again, certain cases, which describe low-flying metallic objects are not so lumpable.
Perhaps the best reference to historical UFO data is in the works of Charles Fort, but researchers are constantly uncovering new "old" reports, I found one while taking a break reading galley proofs of this book. My source was John Evelyn's Diary, Vol. I, page 43, in which the author describes a UFO seen March 10, 1643. Better testimony however are the first-hand reports, dating back to the turn of the century to and including World War II. Typical of one of these is a report I received which described a "flying horseshoe" seen over Newfoundland in 1922, and another of a silver ball seen over the same area in 1943, during wartime construction work. Still more interesting is an account sent in by Charles Paisley of Atlanta, Georgia. The place was West Point, Mississippi, the time "early 1900s".
"As was customary for Mississippi summer months, the day was one of hot drowsiness. Through a cloudless, haze-free sky the early afternoon sun shone down almost undisturbed by wind. My father, C. W. Paisley, Sr., then in his early teens, was alone
56 See June, 1955 CRIFO NEWSLETTER.
57 See Dr. Menzel’s letter to CRIFO in June, 1956 ORBIT, Also his book, FLYING SAUCERS.
in the back yard of his family's horne, which was situated on the outskirts of town. Walking toward the house, he noticed an unusual whirring noise in the easterly sky. Idly glancing up in that direction, he was astounded to see a small, darkish blob hurtling through the air with the whirring sound that had attracted his attention. The unknown object shot by not far overhead of my incredulous father at a speed rivaling that of a modern jet. It continued on in a perfectly straight and horizontal tine of flight until lost from view in the indistinct green of a far distant clump of trees.
"The UFO — as it would undoubtedly be termed nowadays — had been in plain view over the level countryside long enough for my father to note the following details: its color was uniform, the blackish-grey of slate; especially when at close proximity, the object was clearly defined against the bright sky, presenting an unmistakable disc to the naked eye; the solidity of the object could not be doubted.
"It did not occur to my father at the time to make any estimates as to apparent size compared with known objects, speed, etc.. so the following estimates, made over 50 years later, are understandably indefinite: the object's size approximated a baseball held at arm's length; speed, 200-30 mph; altitude, 1500 ft.
"My father admits that a sighting made so long ago can hardly be regarded as conclusive evidence for the UFO, but he stoutly maintains that he saw what he saw, and that the object was neither a plane, balloon nor optical phenomenon. But he stops there. He is certain about what he didn't see — and that's all."
My favorite was the "flap" of 1897 reported first by Readers Digest in 1952, quoted as follows:
"In April 1897, U.S. newspapers from coast to coast gave front page space to a huge, cigar-shaped 'airship' cruising around Chicago. Late in March dispatches from the West had described a 'cigar-shaped' object, with no motive power, 'certainly not steam', first reported near Sacramento, then Denver. On March 29, according to the New York Herald, it was seen 'by a majority of the residents of Omaha. It was in the shape of a bright light, too big for a balloon’. The New York Sun stated that Kansas City trolley cars stopped 'and soon the whole population was watching it from the street and rooftops. The light was as big as that produced by 20 stars'. Stories poured into the Chicago Tribune. 'Reputable citizens (of Eldora, Iowa) say they observed the gigantic airship. One man said it resembled and immense bird of polished silver'. In Milwaukee 'thousands of people saw it. The machine floated over the City Hall, where it stopped for a quarter of an hour'."
In The Case For the UFO, M. K. Jessup, a professional astronomer, also has published some excellent material he ferreted out of old astronomical records and notes which reveal "strange objects" in space. Another important discovery is a time-worn book from the library of John Kiss of Cincinnati. Published in 1880, the book, entitled The Great Events of Our Past Century, relates that during the meteor shower of 1833, the "whole firmament, over all the United States, being for hours in fiery commotion.” It also calls attention to some "remarkable" meteors during that period and tells of one seen from Poland, Ohio as "a luminous body distinctly visible in the northeast for more than an hour . . . very brilliant in the form of a pruning hook . . . gradually settling toward the horizon". Another example: "At Niagara Falls, a large, luminous body, shaped like a square table, was seen nearly in the zenith, remaining for some time almost stationary, and emitting large streams of light". Still another: "At Charleston, S. C, a meteor of extraordinary size was seen to course the heavens for a great length of time, and then heard to explode with the noise of a cannon".
To see Page 85letter, click:
Reproduction of Argentine letter sent to CRIFO which suggests international interest in the UFO puzzle. Attached to this letter was a report of a UFO seen over Cordoba Air Port in 1944.
But for the readers who like drama with their old sightings, I quote from a letter by N. M. Cranmer of Hammersley Fork, Pennsylvania, appearing in the November 1955 issue of Bluebook magazine. ". . . On July 6, 1940 a neighbor's hired man saw what looked like an 'aluminum dishpan going up this narrow valley. He grabbed his pet goose and ran in the house and hid. They sent him to the insane asylum for treatment. Two miles farther up the valley another young man saw it and told his wife. She told him he was crazy so he took his rifle and blew his head off. . ."
SAUCER SANCTA — 801 AND 4E4
Summarizing everything from angel hair to zodiacal lights, I have come to the conclusion that flying saucers are interplanetary vehicles and that the world governments with technological know-how also believe this to be the answer. This answer however for one or several reasons is being kept from the world public. . .
In 1955, the London Sunday Dispatch reported, "The Air Ministry stated that the results of their five year investigation of UFOs is not to be made public. It is to be locked away and may not ever be released, for the Air Ministry is afraid it will encounter or promote much scepticism". During the same year, the Ministry of Defense in South Africa announced that all information about UFOs seen in that country was labeled: “Top secret, not to be divulged". Equally secret, but less blunt about it, was a letter received from Capt. White of OPI, USAF, Defense Department, dated May 20, 1955; "I know of no plans to release information on individual sightings and doubt that such will take place since we still have the same shortage of investigative personnel". Also in May, 1955, INS reported Dorothy Kilgallen's famous dispatch from London which quoted a British official of cabinet rank as saying. "We believe, on the basis of our inquiries thus far, that the saucers were staffed by small men, probably under four feet tall. It's frightening but there is no denying the flying saucers come from another planet". After long silence, the British Air Ministry in a statement dated June 15, 1957 admitted a serious concern over UFO reports.58 According to London Reynolds News, "On the ninth floor of what was formerly the Hotel Metropole, there is a top secret room—Number 801 to be exact—where all reports of flying saucers are collected and studied by experts". Summarizing the Air Minstry's revelations, Reynolds News stated:
"(1) The Air Ministry—who have always been supposed to have treated UFOs with sceptical derision—have in fact been investigating saucer reports since as far back as 1947.
(2) In these ten years the UFO files have grown immensely. 'We have something like 10,000 on our files,' the Ministry spokesman stated.
(3) Though many of these 10,000 sightings have been ‘cleared up’, official sources
58 Reported by Richard Hall in SATELLITE.
admit that there were some which could not be explained. 'Nobody in the know', the spokesman admitted, 'is prepared to say that all reports about these mystery objects are nonsense.’
(4) At airfields all over Britain, fighter planes are kept ready to intercept, and if necessary to engage any UFO within the combat range.
(5) The interior of Room 801 is never seen by unauthorised persons. A large map of the British Isles hangs on one wall, and on it, dotted all over the country, are literally thousands of coloured pins. These obviously represent sightings reported to the Air Ministry.
(6) The heaviest concentration of these coloured pins appears to be over the Norwich area.
Realizing that an iron door of security stood between me and the final answer, I nonetheless, took advantage of an opportunity on August 13, 1957, to visit ATIC at Wright-Patterson AFB, hoping to ascertain as much about their 4E4 as Reynolds News told us about the British Room, 801.
I asked to see Capt. Gregory, but he being off the base, I went through a series of phone calls from the registration desk trying to locate someone else willing to talk sense about saucers. I was first connected with a Dr. Miley "who was in charge of 4E4", but when he refused to be interviewed (for obvious reasons) I was directed to Mr. Spencer Whedon, the head of the ATIC Information Services Office. My appointment was set for 3 o'clock.
Arriving early and while waiting for Whedon's arrival from the briefing room, his secretary, aside from her many courtesies, was also bound by security regulations to keep a watchful eye, even to follow me to the drinking fountain. Thinking this amusing, but probably necessary where so many secrets are kept, I was again followed as I returned to my chair. No sooner than I had seated myself, Whedon, with an assistant stormed into the office, both looking as though they were rushing to battle stations. Whedon, a robust man with a voice that boomed, was quick to get the bull by the horns. While making introductions and asking what I wanted, his assistant, saying nothing, pulled a chair close to me and swung one leg over the other.
Feeling almost beleaguered, I got directly to the point. I said, "I understand from certain sources that the Air Force is coming out soon with a new and different statement on the UFO". "Don't know of any" said Whedon, pressing tobacco into his pipe, "Unless its a slight modification of its present text — but nothing big or different that I know of".
This was the starter, and before many minutes had elapsed, in which we had covered several debatable subjects, I could feel that Whedon was getting the upper hand, his voice, forever commanding, his replies forever rambling into valuable time. In the middle of one of his standard Air Force replies I decided to cut in, asking why the Air Force persisted in stating that saucers do not exist.
Appearing nettled, Whedon relit his pipe, and finding a new balance in his chair, he boomed, "All but 3% can be explained— and we'd explain those if we had more data". Half-smiling, he then recalled some personal experiences in which he himself had been fooled by the optics of light. "Just recently" he said, "while driving my car in Dayton I came to a familiar intersection and was surprised to see two red traffic lights." Pausing momentarily, drawing heavily on his pipe, he went on, "I thought this was odd, but as my car got nearer — GUESS WHAT?". In the next instant, Whedon was laughing, so gustily in fact that he even failed to notice that his pipe had burned out. Knowing the answer was going to be funny, I edged closer. Even the wry face of his assistant creased into a traceable smile. Finally Whedon, reeling back into his chair and still smiling gamily, said, "There was only one light". He then explained that anyone can be fooled by lights and so can people who see saucers! He also cited an instance when "practically everybody on the base here" was alerted to take a look at a UFO. Carefully pointing out that each and every observer was "trained" to observe objects in the sky, Whedon, looking as though he was conceding a point, said, "Jets were sent up and . . .".
But before he could finish, I had cut in with another question, figuring that I already knew his answer. I had heard it at least twice before, once from Captain Gregory and once from Sgt. Hill. Each story had a slightly different version, but it had the same ending. In the earlier examples the UFOs were searchlight beams playing on some lofty cloud. Or, maybe Whedon's, if I had left him finish, would have been a balloon.
But Whedon wasn't pleased with my impertinence, and galumphing back in his chair, reminded me that I had "interrupted" him six times. When I apologized, the subject once again was restored to the "unexplained 3%", Whedon, looking victorious, went on to say that these represented mostly untrained sighten like science-fiction addicts, children, publicity seekers and hoaxsters.
I started to name several sightings by astronomers, pilots and others quite unlike his references, but felt that it was hopeless. Continually pressing the tobacco in his pipe, Whedon then admitted that the Air Force has never ruled out the interplanetary theory, but that he knew of no evidence which would support it — unless, he said, "They aren't telling me everything".
Thinking this perhaps was the case, I next hit on the subject of secrecy. "We're not hiding a thing" he countered, "Everybody seems to think we are, but there's nothing to hide". I then asked if I could see the military reports especially those by pilots.
"We can't show these", he said, "because we don't have the personnel to handle all the requests to see the reports", adding, "besides, it isn't our policy to supply material for commercial purposes. . ." Relighting his pipe, Whedon continued, "Air Force pilots are free to say whatever they please about UFOs. They are not muzzled and I can show you this in black and white. . ."
Time having run out, I thanked Whedon and his assistant for the interview and departed. Walking to the gate, I smiled in phyrric victory. When I got home that night I thought about Whedon's statement about the muzzling of pilots, and, sitting down to my typewriter, wrote him the following letter from which I quote in part, ". . . In one of our topical avenues which concerned the 'muzzling of pilots', you stated that such charges are not so, and that you could prove this in writing. Although I did not request this proof at the time, I would now like to see whatever reference or directive you had in mind."
The terse and somewhat hazy reply to my letter was signed by Capt. Wallace Elwood and is quoted for your interpretation: "In answer to your letter of 14 August 19S7, Mr. Whedon believes that you may refer to his statement that the Air Force regulation which alone governs the actions of Air Force personnel with respect to UFO's clearly does not muzzle pilots."
THE "MONSTER" UNDER THE LID
On July 23, 1952, six Air Force jets pursued a "flying saucer" over Southwestern Ohio. Hundreds of reports were received from Columbus, Springfield, Vandalia and Cedarville. According to a first-hand report from a Cincinnati attorney, W. D. Bollinger, jets "zoomed around the saucer which had the appearance of a big orange ball of fire with a tail". Another report told of sixteen Air Force officers in a plane returning to Wright-Patterson AFB from Washington, D. C. who also witnessed the UFO. One passenger, Col. E. J. Morrison, PIO of the Air Materiel Command, described the object as a "large bright nail". He added, "The sky was cloudless and we had a perfect view of it. The 'nail' to me looked as if it was suspended and was stationary". After the intercepting jets landed, a spokesman at Wright-Patterson AFB said, "This is a good one" adding "We have plenty of information" but he declined to reveal details until reports were cleared through intelligence channels.
But this report, like thousands of others, has never been cleared. Five years has since past, but according to Whedon, "the Air Force is not hiding a thing".
"Go tell it to the Marines" would seem to be an apt rebuttal, but alas, the bromide won't work. The hitch is that Marine pilots who intercept a UFO are treated no differently than any other military pilot. Their lips sealed by JANAP 146, reminds them if they should talk out of turn about their incident, they may be sentenced to prison for one to ten years and fined up to 10,000 dollars.
Air Force saucer files, therefore, in spite of the testimony of Whedon & Co., are under the lock and key of "maximum security". Stories like Whedon's "two red traffic lights" suggest ruses and are designed to degradate the subject, dissipate rational debate and hopefully dispel the debater. All is fair in
war and in saucers, apparently thinks the Air Force heads, who know best why the lid of the Pandora's box must not open . . . for to tell a little, will lead to telling all, so the safest policy is to tell nothing!
Why? What great monster lies cramped and writhing under the lid of the Pandora's box? Is it a horrendous grand hoax — which is to say that every "respectful" saucer sighter since the foo-fighter has invented his report just to smokescreen some super-secret military weapon? Or is the real story of the interplanetary saucer just too fantastic for the conventional human mind to grasp — not to mention its impact on world economics and man's philosophies? In this category, would fit the Adamski revelations, for the spaceman in his creation is much like the human being, not at all frightful in appearance. But this spaceman is fantastic nonetheless, for he also is telepathic and knows all and sees all. . .
Or is the monster under the lid, truly a monster? Is the saucer a thing of violence or potential violence? Is there a pattern to the thousands of hidden reports which may hint to some fearful or inscrutable master plan? If this is the answer, then the policy of secrecy and "maximum security" is understandable.
But leeching into the sinews of this theoretical monster are its theoretical inconsistencies. For instance, negating the supposition of violence from outer space is the bare truth that saucers have not destroyed the world or harmed its masses. And, surely a space race with enough intelligence to build an interplanetary vehicle, could also build a super weapon capable of planeticide.
On the other hand, to accept this negative evidence, purely on face value or, because it fits into the human scheme of behavior, may be as rash or as foolhardy as accepting, too quickly, the positive evidence. Positive evidence is by far the more controversial. By simple definition, it is a physical act of violence allegedly caused by an UFO, and should the public interpret this to mean that saucers are hostile, without taking time to weigh all the evidence, panic might well ensue. But whatever its interpretation, acts of UFO violence cannot be erased from the records no more than can the evidence which tells us that saucers themselves exist. To this writer, however, they not only stand out "like a sore thumb" in the saucer mystery but also may provide the key to the official lock of secrecy. Whether or not saucers are hostile is highly debatable and for this reason, I list examples of "menace-like" cases for review:
(1) Crater in Logan, Utah, caused by fiery object, May 1, 1954. Investigating scientiits believed the crater was not caused by "a conventional meteorite". See Case 20, Newsletter.
(2) A barn in Sweden collapsed mysteriously during deluge of green fireballs, 1946. See May, 1955 issue Newsletter. Workshop destroyed by flaming object in Adelaide, Australia. June, 1955. See Case 128, Orbit.
(3) Maritime mysteries with a suspect UFO flavor—the Joyita incident, a vessel left wallowing in a light sea, near Fiji, its crew and passengers missing, a section topside burned out in form of a semi-circle. See Case 127, Orbit. And the puzzle of the Arakarimoa, missing while strange sea objects were in vicinity.See March 1956, Orbit.
(4) Severe burns on hand of William Cunningham of Darby Township, Pa. caused by flaming missile which entered his window, Jan. 23, 1955. Metal fragments analyzed, unexplained. See Case 45, Orbit.
(5) The blackbird panic caused by UFO, Anderson, S. Car., Feb. 17, 1956. See Case 150, Orbit.
(6) UFO interference causing aircraft crash, Jacksonville, Florida, Dec. 21, 1955. See Case 130, Orbit.
(7) UFO causing damage to aircraft while in flight, Pixley, Calif., July 22, 1956. See Case 170, Orbit.
(8) Near collision with UFO, Long Beach. Calif., April 15, 1954. Passengers injured. See Case 24, Newsletter. Other cases noted elsewhere in this book.
(9) Radar shows jet interceptor being "swallowed" by UFO, Nov. 23, 1953. Case known as the Kimbross Affair; see Major Keyhoe's The Flying Saucer Conspiracy for details. Another report, which describes a bell-shaped UFO "swallowing" an Air Force bomber on March 9, 1955, was sent to me by Eugene Metcalfe of Paris, Ill. I have been unable to obtain authentic verification of a bomber missing on that date, however, Metcalfe swears he saw it happen. Also of interest, an Air Force official admitted to me that this case had been investigated by AT1C.
Of greatest concern are the acts of UPO violence befalling both commercial and military aircraft. Unlike the ground incidents where a meteor falling from the sky, may account for some of the "guided missiles" from the "menacing Martians", the chances of a meteor hitting or interfering with an aircraft in flight would be several million to one. To buttress the pros and cons of this argument, there are no statistics, nor are there statistics released by the Air Force or the C.A.A.59 from which the public could determine to what extent the world has been drawn into its silent "conflict" with the unknown.
Robert C. Gardner, lecturer and private UFO investigator of the state of California, during a visit to my home in 1955 gave me this statement for publication in Orbit:
"In the latter part of February, 1953, I carried a letter of introduction and recommendation from a New York official in charge of our Eastern Air Defense to General Benjamin Chidlaw, then in charge of all our continental air defenses at Ent Air Force Base in Colorado. The letter concerned a plan I had which the Eastern Air Defense considered important to our national defense. Out of courtesy to General Chidlaw, who has since retired, I have withheld until now the vitally important information herewith revealed. In the course of the half hour private interview the General mentioned, among many other interesting items, the following, 'we have stacks of reports about flying saucers. We take them seriously when you consider we have lost many men and planes trying to intercept them'."
Later word, supporting Gardner's statement came from a Cincinnatian, who, with rank in the Air Force Reserve, had access to certain bits of off-the-record information. It was during the Cincinnati flap of 1955 that he related to a GOC supervisor, who in turn told me that the Air Force was losing almost a plane a day. I took this with the proverbial grain of salt, but . . .
59 Civil Aeronautics Administration.
Still another Air Force officer in a better position to secure facts on-the-record, told me in a private chat, also during the '55 flap . . . "What bothers me, is what's happening to our aircraft!" Nothing more was said, nor did I ask for more.
Major Keyhoe describes several mysterious UFO interferences with aircraft in his writings. While I have listed others in CRIFO publications, many of which, admittedly were borderline cases bearing only suspect evidence, I am, however, more pointedly reminded of my own experience while flying to Iwo Jima in 1945. Had my plane plunged into the sea, no one, including the Air Force, would have been the wiser as to its cause. Such as it turned out, the incident must remain among the speculative cases. As inconclusive as my case may be, I am in possession of other more positive information, revealed to me from a reliable military source, which tells of a disaster occurring in the air near a certain U.S. military installation outside the continental United States. According to my informant, a jet aircraft while on a routine mission was vectored in by base operations to intercept two UFOs. Approaching these interlopers, the plane appeared to suddenly develop trouble and was seen to plunge into the shallows of water below. Both occupants of the jet aircraft met an unexplained death, not from drowning. Closing this case, the adjutant of the base notified the next of kin that each flyer had met death during a routine mission.
Once again I am reminded of Ruppelt's statement of 1952, "If they turn out to be hostile vehicles, we well keep after them". . . And as Whedon confirmed to me in August, 1957, "Yes, we send up our jets to intercept. We won't deny that".
THE PROBLEM OF PANIC
If the truth is bad, and there is a monster under the lid, then perhaps the decision by world governments, to keep the facts muzzled, at all costs, is the right course. But whatever surprise lies under the lid, the Air Force psycho-medicos, perhaps remembering the Orson Welles radio dramatization of H. G. Well's "War of the World" in 1938 which caused panic among millions of Americans, may believe that any "surprise" may become a monster of panic and present a greater problem than the "monster" of real facts. Lending weight to this supposition is an off-the-cuff remark made by an Air Force official to me in 1956. Asking him point blank what would happen if all the official UFO reports were suddenly heaped onto the public, he replied, "There would be a panic".
According to one argument, the American frame of mind in 1938 was a lot softer than the American mind of today who is toughened by two wars plus being alerted to the threat of the H-Bomb and the ICBM to deliver it. Gerald Heard, in his book, Is Another World Watching?, in commenting on
the theory of panic, tells us that in 1932 when the asteroid Apollo was hurtling through space, within 20 minutes of ramming the Earth with inconceivable results, that his mentioning this fact on the radio in London, - "showed anything but the faintest curiosity" on the part of his listeners.
But the Apollo story did not make the headlines as did the "blips" that appeared on radar over Washington, D.C. in July of 1952 — and which brought General John Samford of Air Force Intelligence to the American radios to placate a rising hysteria. And Apollo was not as luridly visible as the saucer that coursed over Indianapolis in July of the same year that brought near panic to its people.
And, despite all the Swords of Damacles in our present era which should make Americans tough, there will continue to be incidents like that which befell Knoxville, Tennessee on January 25, 1957. . .
... It was a "night like all nights" when suddenly a "ball of fire" was seen over Sharp's Ridge and the city's lights went out. A rising tide of alarm, according to the Knoxville Journal, brought a flood of calls to the switchboards at police headquarters and newspapers. "I saw a ball of fire on Sharp's Ridge" was the report most often heard. Among the rumors received by the police was that there had been a nuclear explosion at Oak Ridge, that the United States was being bombed, and according to the Journal, a fear that the earth had been invaded by Martians. What really happened, said the Journal, "... a large power pole fell across high voltage lines, shorting out a transformer at the Arlington substation.
As my book goes to press, two timely news items lending credence to the postulate of panic, appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer, one datelined AP, Moscow, the other UP, Hartford, Connecticut, September 15, 1957. According to the AP item, the Black Sea city of Tuapse fled to the countryside in hysteria over a science-fiction thriller appearing in their newspaper which told of Soviet astronomers discovering a huge fiery mass rushing towards earth to destroy it. The story, said the newspaper Soviet Russia, was so fantastically terrifying that many natives of Tuapse became convinced the earth would be destroyed in a few days. The story, written by an author named Kris, had Soviet scientists find that the heavenly mass was a sort of "atomic reactor" invented by capitalists to destroy Russia.
According to the UP item, a National Civil Defense Week program on TV was so realistic that thousands of people in Hartford feared war had started. To mark the kickoff of the national observance, the Hartford Station, announced its special program, "What could happen in Connecticut in the event of enemy attack", then after the show began, an announcer read a"bulletin": "We interrupt this program to bring you a bulletin from Colorado Springs", it said. The Air Defense Command has announced that a large mass of unidentified planes is approaching the North American continent over the North Pole, These planes are presumed hostile . . .". What followed
the reading of this bulletin, said UP, was a small-scale repetition of the scare stirred in 1938 by Orson Welles.
On the subject of panic I am unable to express an opinion, but as long as I am aware of reports like the preceding and the following are happening, I am sure there is a place for many "Saucer Posts" like ". . . 3 - 0 Blue".
March, 1955, every U.S. military base sweeping out from the Arctic from Korea to Thule in Greenland was alerted. Near Adak, Alaska, radar picked up a lone UFO tracking it as it shot south through Canada at the speed of 9 thousand miles per hour. Interceptors sent up from Japan lost the object, but thanks to our advanced warning system, more interceptors were scrambled near Kelly AFB in San Antonia, Texas. As the UFO continued South, where the jets were waiting, it suddenly reversed its course and shot northward, again leaving the jets in pursuit, far behind. From Thule, and as far south as Langley AFB in Virginia, jets were also scrambled to intercept several UFOs heading south along the eastern coast of Canada. In this phase of the "alert", F-94 equipped with radar "locked on" the objects; again elusive, they disappeared straight up. . . . 60
60 Information received from radio operator in AF Tactical Air Command who participated in the alert and later saw the written summary report.