Richland Villager, Wash. - 3 Jul 47
'Flying Disks' Are Seen Here
A Richland chapter was added last week to the mystery of the 'flying discs' or 'saucers' puzzling the western states when a village resident, Leo Bernier of 1213 Stevens Drive, reported having seen several of them high in the sky last Tuesday afternoon.
"They were going west by southwest around 2 or 2:30," Bernier said, "and were rather silvery and shaped as though a saucer were seen edgewise."
Bernier didn't say much about them until he read in the paper that they had been seen elsewhere. "I was worried that people might just laugh," he said.
The disks were extremely far away, near the horizon, but high in the sky, he stated, and even at that distance were traveling as fast as a P-38 might seem to be going if it were just 600 feet high.
"They appeared something like a reflection from a plane, but were going too fast for any kind of plane," Bernier said.
Various theories have been offered for the phenomenon, which has been sighted in at least five areas besides Richland, west of the Mississippi.
In clear air, the flash of sunlight from a plane can easily be seen 50 miles. The flash is round, the shape of the sun. Any other reflection from a great distance is apt to be round too.
Most puzzling factor in the mystery are the great speeds, although it is difficult for the eye to make a correct estimate of speeds, and jet planes travel much faster than regular planes.
Reports of unusual objects in the sky have been numerous since the war. Atomic bomb and rocket rumors have accounted for most of them.
Bernier has his own explanation as good as any.
"I believe it may be a visitor from another planet, more developed than ours," he says. "In my opinion we're just beginning to see things this world never dreamed of."
Seen Sunday By Neighborhood
Just to prove that there was something in the sky, a whole neighborhood reported late this week that they had seen the famed 'discs' last Sunday afternoon above Richland.
A disc was first spotted by James Harbor, 10, of 1417 Johnston, earlier in the week, but he was having difficulty in getting anyone to believe him, when he saw another one Sunday afternoon, "about 3," while playing with some friends.
Jimmy immediately called his mother and several neighbors to view it and prove his story.
"When I first came out," reports his mother, Mrs. Thomas Harbour, "the disc seemed straight above, right over the village. It seemed to be hovering. It wavered, then started back and all of a sudden, reversed itself and shot off toward the northeast."
The disc was bright, but very high in the air, according to Mrs. Harbour. It was round, with a shimmering edge, as though that moved separately from the center. It was silvery, as reported elsewhere, but to Mrs. Harbour seemed to have a tail or a stream of smoke clinging to it.
"I couldn't judge how high it was, but I'm sure it was a terrific size," she stated. "The whole neighborhood saw it."
Others who saw the disc, according to her, were Walter and Donald Schaeffer, neighbor boys, Mrs. Carl Gibons of 1413 Johnston and Mrs. E.D. Ferguson of 1418 Johnston.
Said Mrs. Gibson, "It was real bright and seemed to go fast, but every once in a while it looked like it was turning or something because it twinkled like a star."
"It very definitely wasn't a plane. I've never seen anything like it before...It was spinning," she added.
"Mrs. Ferguson thought of it as spinning, too, but to her it seemed to have a "sort of a halo or circle around it."
"It could have been smoke around it which appeared to come from the center or top of the disc," Mrs. Ferguson related.
"She too agreed that it was shiny, huge in size and very high in the sky.
"It didn't move like a plane, more like a balloon except that balloons move smoothly and this was jerky," Mrs. Ferguson reported. She said they had to be in a shadow to see it, and that the whole neighborhood was out.
Hall & Connors , 'Alfred Loedding and The Great Flying Saucer Wave of 1947', p.27
That afternoon at around 2:30 P.M. PST, in Richland, Washington, Leo Bernier reported several silvery-shaped discs high in the sky heading west by southwest. He stated they were traveling as fast as a P-38 fighter or about 400 miles per hour. Bernier was one of the first witnesses to suggest an extraterrestrial link. He was quoted in a July 3rd newspaper article, stating: "I believe it may be a visitor from another planet." 11
11 "Flying Disks Are Seen Here," Richland, Washington Villager, 3 July 1947, p. 1; Portland, Oregon, Journal, 4 July 1947.