Portland Oregonian - July 5, 1947
View of 'Flying Saucers' Over Ontario Dumbfounds
Veteran Pilot, Other Crew Member of Airliner
Dumbfounded crewmen of a United Airlines plane flying from
Boise to Portland Friday evening joined a horde of
Portland-Vancouver area residents in describing
"flying discs" seen Friday.
Discs also were reported in many other
regions of the West, but the carefully qualified statements
of Capt. E. J. Smith, First Officer Ralph Stevens and Stewardess
Marty Morrow remained a new high in observations.
In an interview at Portland before taking
off for Seattle, Captain Smith, a veteran of 14 years with
United Air Lines said an object at first believed to be an
approaching aircraft was sighted by Stevens, who was at the
controls eight minutes after take-off from Boise at 9:04 P.M.
Landing Lights Flashed
Stevens flashed his landing lights as
a signal there was another aircraft in the area.
There was no response.
"What the devil is that?" Stevens
demanded. Captain Smith said he looked and made out not
only the "disc" Stevens had mistaken for a plane, but
four others, about evenly spaced in a line to the south of it.
Smith estimated their distance at "about
30 miles," but said they were clearly visible against the
afterglow of the setting sun.
They radioed a report to the Boise CAA
tower, then called Stewardess Morrow to the flight deck to
verify what they saw.
Shortly afterward, the five discs
disappeared, then three more appeared in front of them, with a
fourth flying "by itself, way off to the right,"
He radioed the Ontario, Ore., CAA
communications tower and told the operator:
"Step outside and look to the southwest
about 15 miles and see what you can find".
Ground View Lacking
The operator reported he could see nothing,
which Smith said meant the discs were farther away than he
had previously estimated since they were not visible to the
He was some 30 miles from Ontario at the
time, he said.
The airliner was at 10,500 feet when he
saw the first disc, Stevens reported. The discs seemed to
be flying in about the same direction and to be climbing about at
the same rate as the airliner. However, when the plane
reached a height of 8000 feet, the discs still were in sight and
The first group veered to the left of the
airliner before disappearing, then the second group in "loose
formation,"appeared. The objects finally
"merged, then disappeared, then came back in sight and
finally vanished, again in the northwest," Smith said.
"When they did finally disappear, they went fast."
"You can see a big plane at a great
distance for a long time before it disappears. But no
object I know of could disappear so quickly as these things."
Both Smith and Stevens, who had been
joking about sighting "flying discs" before taking
off from Boise, were obviously embarrassed but earnest when
telling of the strange objects. Stevens has been flying for
United three years.
(More can be read about UAL Flight 105 here.)
Other Reports Listed
Other reports from the Portland-Vancouver and other areas of
the west included:
Thomas Berry, 915 N. E. Killingsworth street, his wife and a
friend, saw what they thought was a star traveling to a
northeasterly direction over Troutdale. They examined it
through binoculars and glimpsed it flashing in the sun.
It appeared to be V-shaped and was flying
level, although dipping a bit, they reported.
M. A. Deaton, 2578 N. E. 32d avenue, saw a disc going due
east and described it as "fast traveling, faster than an
Objects Resemble Birds
International News Service reported discs
seen from windows of the bureau's office in the Journal building.
"At first they appeared to be high flying birds as the motion
undulated and it appeared some kind of wings propelled them,"
"They banked sharply and without
apparent system of direction. Two objects were so high that
reports of their disc-like appearance could not be verified, but
they seemed to move with high speed. They were last seen
heading south after circling sharply over the west side area."
A possible explanation was seen by Burl
Noflsch, 6604 N. Burrage street, who witnessed a plane going east
about 1 P.M. He said he saw foil or aluminum pieces nearby,
swirling away on air currents, and it appeared they had been thrown
from the plane.
First Specimen Found
Sherman Cook, 2000 N. E. 65th avenue and
neighbors did better. They "captured" a
"disc" which fluttered down from an estimated altitude
of more than 4000 feet to land on the Rose City golf course.
Cook and his next-door neighbor, Bud
Bankhead, rushed to the scene and found a 3x2 foot piece of white
paper, of cheap quality, slightly yellowed around the edges.
It was turned over to The Oregonian for
However, Portland police asked Oregon
national guard flying units to look into the reports.
At Eugene, E. F. Smith, an assistant cashier
from the Southern Pacific railroad, said he saw silvered discs, which
seemed to be tied together, being dropped from a light plane.
He was driving his car at the time and did not see them land.
A private pilot at near-by Springfield said
he had dropped yellow advertising leaflets from his light plane
recently, but was not in the air Friday.
Meantime Alturas and San Diego, Cal.,
Omaha, Neb., Grand Junction. Colo., and Boise, Idaho, reported
visitations of "flying saucers," first reported a week
ago by Kenneth Arnold, Boise pilot, who said he saw nine traveling
1200 miles an hour. They have since been reported over most
of the West.
At Alturas, Modoc county's district attorney
Charles Lederer and Dale Williams, secretary of the Alturas
Chamber of Commerce, reported seeing seven while driving through the
Warner mountains near the Oregon border. They estimated the
discs were 2000 feet in the air and traveling at a tremendous
Two navy chief petty officers at San Diego,
Robert L. Jackson and William Baker, said they saw three discs
traveling about 400 miles an hour, coming in from the west,
circling and heading back to sea.
Plates Glow Like Moon
Mrs. Fred C. Nelson said she saw three,
two round and the other oval-shaped as if tilted, in the northern
sky at Omaha early Thursday. They glowed like a full moon,
From Grand Junction came a report that H.
E. Soule, Appleton, Col., saw a disc swoop down from the
Northwest at an altitudeof about 200 feet, narrowly miss his
house, and then soar to greater heights and disappear southeast.
The disc appeared about two feet in diameter, traveled at
amazing speed, and had no motor sound or vapor trail, he said.
This occurred last Saturday.
John Corlett, United Press correspondent
at Boise, reported he, V. H. Selby, Boise artist, and their wives
saw a disc while having a garden dinner. The disc moved
from the northwest to southeast and took about three seconds to
disappear from view, Mrs. Corlett, who saw it first,
reported. It was noiseless and traveled at high speed.
Portland Oregonian - July 6, 1947
Reports Come in From All Over Nation
Telling of Sighting Mysterious Discs
Reports of the unexplained "flying discs" came
from all points of the continent Saturday. Here are
PHILADELPHIA, July 5 (AP) -- An astral
phenomenon was being investigated here Saturday to determine
whether Philadelphians had seen mysterious "flying
discs" in the sky.
Dr. M. K. Leisy, a junior interne at
the Pennsylvania hospital for mental diseases, and other persons
in the western section of the city reported seeing strange craft in
the skies Friday night.
It was something round with a luminous
halo about it, Dr. Leisy declared. It was not shiny
itself, but dark in color and seemed to be propelled by whirling
Contrary to previous reports from other
parts of the country on the high speed of the flying discs,
Dr. Leisy said the object he saw was moving at approximately the
speed of the wind, below the clouds. It eventually vanished
in the clouds, he added.
AKRON, O., July 5 (AP) -- "Flying
saucers" made their appearance here Friday night.
Dr. Forrest Shaver said the silvery disc
he saw "looked like a balloon with a light inside."
Harry E. Hoertz described it as "a light
with a propelling device." Both men said they saw the
"saucers" about 8:30 P.M. while driving near Akron.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., July 5 (INS) -- A group
of motorists reported Saturday they had glimpsed the mysterious
"flying saucers" which had been puzzling army officials
One of them, Claude Price, superintendent
of concessions at the Illinois state fair, said the group stopped
their cars on a road two miles west of Decatur and watched the
discs shoot across the sky.
LOS ANGELES, July 5 (AP) -- Pilot Dan J.
Whelan and a flying companion, Duncan Underhill, reported
they were "scared silly" when they saw what they believed
was a "living saucer" about 25 miles south of here Friday.
"The saucer was above us, traveling at
what we'd estimate was 450 to 500 miles an hour," said
Whelan. "It was at 7000 feet, about 2000 feet above
me. It was not spinning, but looked exactly like a skeet
(a disc used in target practice).
"We checked its direction -- north by
northwest -- and we'd say it was 40 to 50 feet in diameter."
AUGUSTA, ME., July 5 (AP) -- The civil aeronautics
administration office said it had received a report that a
dozen of the mysterious sky discs had been seen over this
The CAA said Dr. Kelly, program director at radio station
WRDO here, advised that he saw about 12 objects believed to
Kelly said the objects were traveling northerly "very
ROGERS, ARK. July 5 (AP) -- J. P. Crumpler,
a Rogers real estate dealer, said Saturday he saw one of the
"flying saucers" Monday night during a windstorm.
He was watching the approach of a storm cloud from the porch of
his home when the disc appeared out of the northwest and vanished
rapidly into the southwest, he said.
SAN JOSE, CAL., July 5 (AP) -- Sgt. Charles R.
Sigala of the army air forces said he and three others saw a
silvery, flying disc over his home at near-by Mountain View
Saturday at 11 A. M.
Sigala, who is on leave from Hamilton
Field, said the object was clearly visible to him, his wife,
mother-in-law, and a neighbor. It circled around over
the mountain at about 5000 feet, dipped several times and then
headed toward the sea, he said.
He estimated the object was as big as an
SUMMERSIDE, Canada, July 5 (AP) -- Farmers in
this Prince Edward Island region claim to have seen more of the
mysterious disc-like missiles reported flying through
northern skies earlier this week.
James Harris, farmer at Sherbrooke, one mile
north of here, and his hired man, Herman Linkletter, said they saw
one of the objects last night traveling from the northwest toward
At about the same time Brenton Clark at
Augustine Cove, about 18 miles from Sherbrooke, said he saw a
bright object traveling north to south at medium height.
NEW ORLEANS, July 5 (INS) -- The "flying
disc" mystery spread to the deep South Saturday.
Miss Lillian Lawless of New Orleans said
she saw a saucer-like "pure silver" object hurtling
over Lake Pontchartrain at New Orleans. The disc, she said,
was flying in a northeasterly direction "with terrific
AUGUSTA, Ga., July 5 (INS) -- An Augusta
physician said he was certain Saturday that he saw the
Dr. Colden R. Battey claims he spotted the
peculiar soaring discs six weeks ago in the middle of the day
while fishing in St. Helena sound near Beaufort, S. C.
This was four weeks before the first published reports of the discs.
He said that when he saw the four discs at
11 A. M., they were traveling at an altitude of more than 20,000
feet and at a high rate of speed.
He described them as silver.
PORT HURON, Mich., July 5 (INS) -- The
mysterious "flying saucers" which have been sighted
in several states across the country Saturday were reported over
Port Huron, Mich.
Mrs. John R. Warner, a 34-year-old
housewife, told International News Service that she and several
neighbors witnessed the fast-moving objects criss-crossing across the
sky last night.
WALTER, Okla., July 5 (AP) -- Two "flying
saucers" which "were flying in the air -- passing each
other and going back and forth" were reported Saturday by
C. E. Holman, 67-year-old Walter gardener.
Holman said he saw the discs about 10 P.M.
the night of June 25, and that after watching them "flying
around each other" for about 30 minutes he went to bed.
"I thought about waking up some of
my neighbors but decided if it meant the end of the world they
would be just about as happy sleeping when the world ended,"
LOS ANGELES, July 5 (INS) -- Leo Bentz, once a
noted builder of auto racing cars, produced a possible new
theory Saturday on the enigma of the "flying saucers."
Bentz, now an automobile dealer in suburban
Whitter, told of a confidential demonstration of a saucer-like
flying model in Los Angeles' Griffith park back in 1928.
He said the inventor's name was George
de Bay, a native of France.
He quoted the inventor as saying:
"It's like a saucer -- an oblong
saucer -- or meat plate."
Bentz said they went out to Griffith park
where de Bay flipped a disc-like model of the device into the air
with rubber bands and demonstrated its feasibility.
SEATTLE, July 5 (INS) -- Another flying disc
was reported seen over Seattle Saturday by a woman and her
Mrs. Florence Frye, a librarian at the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, said her son,
Carl, first spotted the object and pointed it out to her.
She described it as:
"Brilliant -- so brilliant in fact that
it hurt my eyes to watch and I had to blink and turn away."
Viva Anderson, Portland attorney reported
she and a friend, Betty MacManneman, also an attorney, saw a
group of objects from in front of her home at Melcrest Court
apartments, 711 S.E. 11th Ave.
"They looked like half-inflated
footballs and appeared to be faceted on top like rough cut
diamonds," Miss Anderson said. She said that the main
group of objects flashed like tinfoil, but that one which dropped
much lower than the rest appeared to be "slightly
States where the discs have been reported:
Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas,
Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan, Indiana,
Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, Maine, Florida, Utah,
Maryland, Iowa, Kansas and the District of Columbia.
Portland Oregonian - July 6, 1947
'Flying Disc' Reports Come From
Hundreds, in 28 States
Science Fails to Give Facts
Government Men Ask to See Sample
(AP) -- The nation was baffled Saturday by the "flying
saucers" reported seen in 28 states by hundreds of persons
while conjectures on their meaning flew as furiously as the
reported speed of the silvery discs.
Official government sources took a
"let's see one" stand on the phenomenon, and so
scientists preferred a detailed explanation.
Near unanimity was recorded on some of the
discs' characteristics -- terrific speed, bright reflections,
round or oval in shape, flat, and flying with a peculiar
undulating motion. Size was moot and expressed by Captain Smith
of United Air Lines as "hard to judge" without knowing
the distance from the observer to the objects.
An army air forces spokesman in Washington on
July 3 said there was not enough fact to "warrant further
investigation," but the air materiel command at Wright field,
Dayton, Ohio, said it was making a study. Saturday at
Washington an army researcher admitted "we're mystified"
and the navy said it had no theories.
Astronomers Doubt Meteors
Meanwhile Kenneth Arnold, the man who first
reported them, could recall his insistence when his report was
widely questioned, that "I don't believe it, either -- but I
Two Chicago astronomers said the discs
probably are "manmade." The undulating, flashing
objects "couldn't be meteors," said Dr. Gerard Kluper,
director of the University of Chicago's Yerkes observatory at
Williams Bay, Wis.
"We realize," said Dr. Oliver Lee,
director of Northwestern University's Dearborn observatory,
"that the army and navy are working on all sorts of
things we know nothing about."
Officials of the atomic energy commission in
Washington said it had no experiments involving "flying
saucers" underway, and one official added, "All we know is
what we read in the papers."
An army air force official in Washington said
the AAF was "completely mystified" by the saucer reports.
Hanford Role Denied
Although no general alert had been sent out
for radar scanning of the heavens, he said: "Reports of the
interception of any suspicious object or ground radar screens will
be carefully evaluated."
Col. F. J. Clarke commanding officer of the
Hanford engineering works in the Pacific coastal area, where the
largest saucer influx was reported, said the saucers were not
coming from the atomic plant there.
"I have been waiting for someone to tie
the discs to the Hanford atomic plant," he said. But
he declared that as far as he knew no experiments were under way
there that would solve the mystery.
Credence in the saucers -- widely laughed off
at their first reported appearance June 25 -- grew as hundreds of
observers, many of them trained fliers, reported seeing them.
Portland Reports Fly
A crowd of 200 observed a disc at Hauser
Lake, Idaho, on the Fourth of July. A group of 60
picnickers saw them at Twin Falls, Idaho.
And in Portland so many residents witnessed
them that same day that the police department sent out an all cars
The discs were seen Saturday in California,
Oregon, Washington, Iowa, and South Carolina.
Two persons in different sections of
Charleston, S. C. -- one of them a newspaper reporter -- said a
flying saucer passed over Charleston heading east at 6:20 P.M.
J.E. Jonston, Waterloo, Ia., said he saw one
Saturday, too. His description -- about the size of a dinner
plate and only some 25 feet above ground -- was at odds with most
reporters which have said the saucers were big and flying at great