The University of Arizona
Miss Isabel Davis
Today I contacted Lloyd C. Booth of Conway, South Carolina, and interviewed him concerning his January 29, 1953, observations. I’ll put a concise summary down in this letter, for filing along with the CSI press information which you had copied for me last week.
Briefly, in about thirty minutes of telephone conversation with him at his store in the Poplar community (in between customers whom he had to wait on while I held the telephone), I obtained confirmation on all of the details that were reported in the account you gave me. It appears that the reporting was much better than average in that particular account.
Because of the general accuracy of the story in the State, it will be simpler to merely point out a few features and implications that were corrected by my interview. I had presumed that the animal-poisoning episode was what led him to go outside, gun in hand. He said that was not the case, that it was merely the fact that the mule was acting up so and making so much noise out in the barn that he thought some animal must be around disturbing it. He did not go out with the poisoning in mind. Secondly, he pointed out that, though there was never any clear explanation of the large number of animal-poisoning cases at that time, a veterinarian who examined two cows came up with a verdict of arsenic-poisoning. Booth said that the hog-poisoning was not taking place right around his area, but about twelve miles north.
The press account indicates that only a single shot was fired, but Booth told me that he shot twice and heard the impact (metallic ping) of both shots. It was a Harrison & Richards 0.22 revolver.
He emphasized that much of the roughly twenty to thirty minutes of observation was consumed in his efforts to run around from one side to another and fore and aft, looking for any marking or identifications. He saw none, and realized from his World War II antiaircraft experience that all aircraft, including experimental aircraft, must carry identification marks. When he saw none, he decided to shoot at it to “see what it was made of.” I asked him if he thought that was very dangerous, and he said that he thought the pistol was so low-powered a thing that he couldn’t do much damage to it. He said that, almost as soon as he shot, the object tilted up at an estimated 60-degree angle and sped off at a great speed, faster than any jet, disappearing from sight without changing course in a time duration which he roughly estimated as 10 to 15 seconds at the most. No one at his home heard the shots. By that time, it was about twelve o’clock midnight. He had left the store at 11 p.m., had driven home, and was waiting for a pot of coffee to heat up when he heard the mule making the noise.
He said he reported it to the Air Force at Myrtle Beach. An Army Intelligence man came, not a USAF man. He said the man interviewed him very carefully, but never came back, and he never heard again from any military authorities. He answered my question concerning prior or subsequent sightings by remarking that he had never seen anything like it before or since. He said he is still curious about it and asked me to let him know if I ever find out what the cause of it was!
The description of the object that he gave matched quite closely what appeared in the press accounts. It was oblong and had a glass-like cockpit in front, through which he could see only lights, no operators or structural or instrumentation details. He described the"glass” on the back end as “smoky,” and could see nothing through it. At no time did any light shine down on the ground. The object was just above tree-top height in a grove of trees that he estimated to be 70 to 80 ft tall.
The bottom protuberance (extended about 6 or 7 ft below the otherwise flat base) was what he shot at, as stated in the paper. Only sound was a hum like a motor, which rose in volume but not in pitch as the object took off.
I asked him for available references, and began by mentioning Reverend Jones. Booth said Jones has now gone to Alaska. He gave me the names of two persons in his community who could speak for his reputation. I shall not, at the moment, check them, but may at some later time.*
Booth’s account was given to me in a seemingly quite straightforward manner, no evident embarrassments or visible dramatization. He sounded like a person of limited education but of entirely honest manner. An interesting case, in all. Thanks for telling me of it.