Dated: Aug. 12, 2003
From: Fran Ridge
Subject: Daylight Disc Over SW Indiana, Vincennes, Aug. 1, 1952
Category: 1, Daylight Disc
Distribution: NICAP Site 


Francis Ridge:
Early in 1987 I had discussed the subject of UFOs with our parish priest,  Father Hilary Vieck, for theological reasons and found that he had seen a UFO, himself. He told me that it was back in 1952. He was 23 at the time and he was going to dig into the Vincennes Sun-Commercial files and get a copy of the actual news clipping where he and his brothers had reported it. 

Then on February 1st, I made a copy of a video tape and delivered it to him and he just happened to have the Xerox copy of the article there at his office. I asked for a copy and secured one, then asked if he would fill out an investigation form (Form 1). He agreed. I returned to my office and filled out a preliminary report (FI-4) and submitted a Form1 for him to fill out. 

On 12 March, I received the completed form and drawings; one of the object (bottom & side view) and the other a sketch of the object's maneuvers. 

The following is a verbatim account taken from the SUN-COMMERCIAL, dated August 1, 1952:     

"FLYING SAUCER REPORTED OVER COUNTY FRIDAY"

"Vincennes had its first report of a 'flying saucer' operating over this community Friday, and it was a daytime 'saucer'.
"Hiliary Vieck, living 4-miles south of Vincennes, told the SUN COMMERCIAL he and his two brothers, Charles and Larry, heard three jets flying over the city Friday morning and were looking in the sky for them when they spotted the saucer
"Vieck said it was 'real silvery' in color, was the size of a saucer, and was zig-zagging very fast across the heavens, going southwest. It was visible for about 20-seconds. He timed the incident at l0:38.
"Vieck said he did not see the jets but heard the sound plainly and that the jets apparently were going in the same direction as the saucer." (Misquote. After they saw the object and no jets, they knew jets were not the source of the sound).

The following is taken from the interrogation form: 
"(We were) 3-miles south of Vincennes on Chris Vieck's Farm (his father). All three of us were painting a farrowing barn. (There was a) jet-like roar; sounded like three or four jets. (When asked what he thought it was when he first saw it, he replied, "A flying saucer"). We all agreed it was a flying saucer that stopped in mid-air and began to lower itself toward the ground like a helicopter can (do). Then it stopped, remained there for 20-seconds, ascended to original height and went west, then east, then west, each time making a loud sonic boom, and swept toward the southwest with extreme speed." (Ref.11, UFO Filter Center files). 

<>The description of the object, the drawing, shows an object with side view like a typical "saucer" with a flat bottom and no dome (Exhibit 10). The view of the bottom as it hovered featured a round object, the classic saucer description.

The sky was clear. The object was first seen overhead, last seen in the southwest. It moved from north to southwest. The elevations were as follows: 

Overhead to 1/4 of the way up the horizon (23-degrees). The distance was estimated at 15,000 feet when closest (3-miles). The object never passed in front of or behind any other object. 

The drawing, attached to the Form 1, illustrated the anomalistic motion reported and shows the object moving back and forth, west to east to west several times. The size reported on the Form 1  was "30x's the size of a star" or basketball. The object appeared solid.


Father Hiliary Vieck, as I mentioned, was 23-years old at that time and was a theological student, employed by his father, Chris Vieck. During the summers of 1958 and 1959, I personally worked for Chris Vieck in the potato fields and got to know most of the Vieck's at that time. Needless to say, they are very down-to-earth people. Maurice, Hiliary's brother, always respected my interests, but was not a "believer" by any means. The rest of the Vieck's were hard-working farmers and were definitely not kooks. 

Father Hiliary Vieck's vision was excellant with eyeglasses which he was wearing. His hearing was good. 

I promised him that as soon as I got the data on our computer at the UFO Filter Center, I would show him his report in relation to others already on computer since 1952 was one of the biggest years in UFO history and the quality of the data at that time was exceptional due to the fact that most of the entries were military or airline pilot reports. 

Here's what we found: 
Two days before this incident, F-94's attempted an intercept vectored by Air Defense Radar over Michigan. This was on the 29th of July and the object(s) were tracked at 20,000 feet (same altitude as estimated at Vincennes) and at 635 mph, pretty close to that required for sonic booms. 

But, on the same morning as the Vincennes incident, 13 minutes later in fact, there was a radar track at Bellefontaine, Ohio. USAF jets climbed toward a hovering UFO which accelerated and disappeared at high speed: 

At l0:5l AM. Bellefontaine, Ohio. There are several entries on the Regional Sighting Information Database (RSID) for 1 August 1952. One of those was the Vincennes incident, which occurred in the morning at 10:38 AM. Then there was a Sharonville, Ohio, evening sighting, which was an NL and is listed as a possible UFO. And then another daylight sighting at Cincinnati. 

Of prime interest to me was the other two cases. One was a Radar/Visual. 

I had first heard of these in the 60's when I had read Major Donald Keyhoe' s book, "Flying Saucers From Outer Space". The account on page 107 of that book mentions that at 10:51 AM (Ohio time), August 1, 1952, radarmen at a GCI post had spotted a fast-moving UFO. 

About this same time the strange object was seen from the ground by several civilians near Bellefontaine. It appeared to be round, with a shiny, metallic gleam. 

When the blips came on the scope, two F-86 jets were about ten miles from the UFO, on a GCI problem. The two pilots, Major James B. Smith and Lieutenant Donald J Hemer, were immediately vectored toward the UFO.

As Smith and Hemer reached 30,000 feet, they saw a bright, round, glowing object maneuvering above them. To make certain it was not a ground reflection, both pilots changed course, circled, climbed, to view it from different angles. The UFO's appearance did not change. Positive it was a solid object, both pilots switched on their gun-cameras and climbed at full power. 

At 40,000 feet the mysterious device was still above them. Pulling up at a sharp angle, Major Smith tried to get a picture. But his F-86 stalled and fell off. When Hemer nosed up for a camera shot, the same thing happened. 

Then Major Smith, climbing again to 40,000 feet made a second attempt. This time he was successful, and he clicked off several feet of film before the plane stalled. 

As he began the camera run, Smith's radar gunsight had caught the UFO for a moment. (Hemer's radar sight was "caged" - inoperative - so he saw no radar blips.) From the range of his radar set, Major Smith knew the unknown device must be between 12,000 and 20,000 feet above him to cause such a weak blip. 

To confirm his estimate he quickly checked with his telescopic gunsight and found it just covered the UFO. But before he could get a better look, the object quickly accelerated, disappearing at a tremendous speed. Later, using the radar and optical sight data, Smith carefully calculated the UFO's size. If it had been 12,000 feet above him, then it was about 24 feet in diameter. If it was at 20,000 feet, its diameter was not less than 40 feet. 

The Intelligence report on this case, item #20 on a clearance list of 42 items cleared for Major Keyhoe in the 50's, also included the ATIC analysis. Later I found an unclassified copy which included the analysis. I have presented this as an exhibit to show the accuracy of earlier books and, also, to show that the Air Force listed this case as an UNKNOWN. (Exhibit 20)

Some strange things were going on in the region that day.