Los Angeles, Ca. TIMES - 12 March, 1950
Mexico Sees Flying Saucers
– Or Something
MEXICO CITY. March 11 (U.P) The director of a Mexican observatory
today produced a photograph of a flying saucer but it looked more
like an amateur’s snapshot of a klieg light.
The photograph was a black square with a diagonal band of light
across it. The caption in the newspaper Excelsior said it was
“possibly the only picture of a flying saucer which existed
outside the larger countries.”
Luis Enrique Erro, director of the Tonantzintla Astronomical
Observatory where the photograph was made, said: “The strange
object crossed the sky March 2. Since that day we have wondered
what it could have been. We don’t know.”
Meanwhile, dozens of reports of flying saucers poured into the
capital from all over Mexico. The “saucer craze” began shortly
after a Mexico City newspaper printed a series of articles which
appeared in True magazine.
Little Men Here Again, This Time Over Salinas
SALINAS, March 11 (UP)—The little men from Mars were cluttering up
the Northern California skies here tonight.
More than a score of persons reported seeing a flying saucer in the
Salinas area. The various reports had the saucer diving on an
automobile, looping the loop, and/or speeding across the horizon at
a low altitude.
The Sheriff’s office reported a “lot of calls” by people claiming
to have seen the phenomena.
The Sheriff's office said the first call came from Mrs. Sam
Raguindin of nearby Chualar, who said the saucer “swooped down”
over her automobile as she and her mother and two children were
driving south of Salinas.
“I'm still scared,” Mrs. Raguindin said. “I hope I never see
anything like that again.”
San Francisco, Ca. Chronicle - 12 March, 1950
Many Flying Saucers In Salinas
Salinas, March 11 (UP)—The little men from Mars were cluttering
up the Northern California skies here tonight.
More than a score of persons reported seeing a flying saucer in the
Salinas area. The various reports had the saucer diving on an
automobile, looping the loop, and/or speeding across the horizon
at a low altitude.
The Sheriff's office reported a “lot of calls” shortly after 8 p.m.
by people claiming to have seen the phenomena. Simultaneously, a
number of calls were received by the Salinas newspaper.
The Sheriff’s office said the first call came from Mrs. Sam
Raguindin of nearby Chualar, who said the saucer “swept down” over
her automobile as she and her mother and two children were driving
south of Salinas.
She said she at first thought the object was a falling star, but
changed her mind when it swooped down toward the car.
“It looked like two dinner plates placed together,” she said. “It
came down to about 2000 feet, and as it came close it gave off a
strong bluish-white light that hurt our eyes like a welder’s
She said it seemed to “loop the loop” and then sped away in a
southerly direction at a great rate of speed.
The saucer was next reported by Hiram Don, a market owner, who said
he saw it in the sky as he left his market to take some groceries
to his automobile. He said it appeared bright in front and had a
long fiery tail. It was traveling quite close to the ground, he
Another man said it looked like a falling star — “but not quite the
Dunkirk, NY. Evening Observer - 13 March, 1950
Astronomers Believe 'Flying Saucer’
Was Meteor California Persons Saw
Salinas, Calif., — (UP) — Astronomers said today that was no
“flying saucer,” that was a meteor which frightened California
residents over the weekend.
A score of persons called the sheriff's office and the local
newspaper to report a bright object in the skies Saturday night.
Some said it dove on their automobiles, others said it was looping
the loop and another said it zipped across the horizon.
Must Have Been -
But Dr. Olin Eggen at the University of California observatory on
nearby Mount Hamilton said the flying saucer must have been a
meteor. He said it must have been a “fair sized one, large enough
to get down close to the earth before burning out.”
The most vivid description of the Salinas “saucer” came from
Mrs. Sam Raguindin of Chualar, Calif. She said she was driving
south of Salinas when it “swooped down” over her car. She thought
it was a meteor at first, but she changed her mind when it appeared
headed for her.
“I got scared and stopped the car,” she said. “The thing looked
like two dinner plates placed together.
“It came down to what looked like about 2,000 feet. As it came
close, it gave off a strong light that hurt our eyes like a
Loop - the - Loop
Then, she continued, the saucer seemed to “loop the loop” and
whizzed away southwards.
Five minutes later, Hiram Don, a market owner, called to
report he, too, saw a bright object in the sky. He said it had
a long fiery tail and was traveling "quite close" to the ground.
Other witnesses said the object looked like a meteor or
falling star, “although not exactly.”
In reviewing the reports, Dr Eggen said meteors give off
“lots of light” which increases as they near the earth.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, amateur photographer Bette
Malles wondered whether she had taken a picture of a
flying saucer. She planned to turn over to scientists
pictures of a disk-like object she said she photographed
in a sunset sky.
Got A Picture
Miss Malles said she was about to take a picture of a small plane
flying over nearby Hawthorne airfield when she saw something
shining closer by. She snapped the shutter on it.
When she developed the film, she found she had exposed a luminous
oblong “doughnut” with a dark center, suggesting a hole. Ahead of
the disk was a circular blob, somewhat resembling a miniature sun.
Lines of light seemed to project backward from the “sun” toward the
“doughnut,” and a cone-like faint light connected with the blob to
the disk. Another cone of light projected backward from the disk to
another blob of light.
St. Louis, Missouri POST-DISPATCH - 15 March, 1950
Illinois Pilot Says He Saw 60-Foot Disk-Shaped Plane
Duquoin, Ill., March 15 (AP)--A Duquoin pilot entered on his air log
that he 'encountered unidentified aircraft' on Feb. 22, but fearing
ridicule, he didn't say much about it until yesterday. Richard
Lemmon said friends insisted that he tell about the mystery ship.
So Lemmon, a Duquoin airport mechanic, gave this account:
He was flying with his wife from Wood River, Ill. At about 2000 feet over Pinckneyville he sighted a strange object, which appeared to be at about 5000 feet. He motioned to his wife and she indicated she also saw it.
He flew higher to investigate and saw what he said appeared to be a disk-shaped craft about 60 feet across and 10 feet thick. He said the disk tilted in the direction it was going to turn flew away at 'great speed,' leaving Lemmon's craft, which was doing 150 miles per hour."
Possibly further information is available in the Duquoin newspaper and in the February newspapers around Pinckneyville.
Dallas (Texas) Morning News - 18 March, 1950
HERE THEY COME AGAIN
Sighted by Two
By BEN BRADFORD
The wife of a Dallas attorney and a recruiting officer at the Naval
Air Station Friday reported seeing flying saucers Thursday — one in
Dallas County, the other twenty miles northeast of Denton in
Capt. M. A. Nation, NAS commander, said the phenomenon was the
second observed at the air base in ten days.
Reports are being sent to Washington in both instances, he said.
Mrs. Margie Benavides of Grand Prairie, wife of Dallas Atty. Robert
Benavides, reported that she and six other persons on a Denton-bound
bus saw what appeared to be a flying saucer near Tioga.
Bus Driver E. B. Owens, 37, of Denison, confirmed Mrs. Benavides'
story in a telephone report to The News. He set the time at about
6:10 p.m. and said he and the passengers watched the object for
about twenty minutes.
Six and a half hours earlier, at 11:28 a.m., Chief Petty Officer
Charley Lewis, 56, saw a disk streak at a B-36 bomber, follow under
it for a second or two, then break away at a 45-degree angle.
The disk, he said, was oblong and flat and hurtled through the air
at an incredible speed. After leaving the B-36, he said, it shot
straight up into the air and disappeared in less than five seconds.
Convair B-36 Peacemaker Bomber
“I guess the whole thing took no more than fifteen seconds,” he
declared. “I’ve been in aviation for eighteen years and I’ve never
seen anything like it. I don’t mind telling you it shook me
Lewis said his brother-in-law, Jack Lawler, an ex-Air Force major
from LaPorte, and Mrs. W. B. Webb, heard him shout and looked up in
time to see the object.
Lewis said he immediately reported the incident to his superior
He said the disk appeared to be about twenty to twenty-five feet
in diameter. Its height, when he first observed it, appeared
between 10,000 and 15,000 feet
“I just stepped out of my car and heard the B-36. When I looked up,
I saw a very bright object racing at it at an incredible speed. It
got under the bomber and seemed to hang there for a couple of
seconds or so. Its color by then looked cream or light tan,” he
Captain Nation said that C. E. Edmundson, a tower control operator,
saw a similar object March 7.
“He estimated its speed at 3,000 to 4,000 miles an hour,” Captain
Nation said. “Of course, that’s a pure estimate. He had no
instruments to compute its speed.”
Mrs Robert Benavides sketches the action of a flying disk
which she says
she saw Thursday near Tioga, Grayson County.
It looked flat and rocked along slowly when she first saw it.
Then it turned up on its side, shot straight up into the air
and leveled off thirty seconds later and streaked south.
Mrs. Benavides said the disk she saw had the same general
proportions as the lid from a baking powder can.
When I first saw it, it was just loafing along. The thin side
showed and it looked like a straight line. It didn’t do too much
moving for several minutes. Then it turned up on its side and
became almost round. When it did, it shot straight up in the air at
a terrific speed. After it climbed for about thirty seconds, it
leveled off and got flat again. It streaked off toward the south,
and it had a tail like a comet.”
Mrs. Benavides said she had no way of knowing how big the object
was, or how far away.
“It looked like it might be hundreds of miles off. To the eye it
looked about four inches in diameter. But if it was as far off as
I think, it was a tremendous thing.”
She said the only person on the bus that said he didn’t see the
object was a bespectacled man who had been drinking.
“His glasses were so thick and he was so full that he couldn’t have
seen it if it had been across the road from him.”
Owens said the object, when its narrow side showed, seemed somewhat
thicker in the front than in the tail. He estimated it was about
ten miles away and said that to his eye it looked about the size of
an auto tire.
“If it was ten miles away, it had to be pretty big to look the size
of a tire,” he said.
He said that he had observed the object for about five minutes
before he called it to the attention of his passengers.
Both Owens and Mrs. Benavides said the object, silver-colored at
first, turned golden with the sun’s rays as it streaked across the
All of the witnesses reached by The News said that there was no
possibility that the object could be a plane or a weather
“I’ve been In aviation ever since I was a kid,” said Lewis, “and
I’ve never seen anvthing like it. It was smooth; there were no
wings or projections from it, and it couldn’t have been a jet
or rocket ship because there was no fire.”
Captain Nation said there were no jet planes in the area during any
of the times the disks were reported.
And at Love Field Weather Bureau, Weatherman A. M. Hamrick said no
observation balloons were in the air at the time.
Each of the three witnesses said the object made no sound.
Since the first disks were observed shortly after the close of
World War II, there has been no official explanation of them.
They have been variously described as reflections of buildings in
the sky, reflections of airplanes,, Russian secret weapons, and
more generally — figments of the imagination.
Recently Com. Robert B. McLaughlin, guided missies expert and
skipper of a Navy destroyer, said he was convinced that the disks
were actually space ships from another planet.
Trenton, New Jersey Trenton Evening Times - 3 April, 1950
It's His Job To Debunk Flying Saucers
Searles' Theme Song:
'No, No, a Thousand Times No'
By Douglas Larsen
Washington-NEA-Armed only with an old, dog-eared press release,
Maj. DeWitt R. Searles is making a heroic stand between the flying saucer threat
and the whole rest of the world.
Military unification, operating in its purest, jet-propelled form,
has played the cruel trick of assigning Maj. Searles as Uncle Sam's
official debunker of the flying saucer. Hour after hour in his
Pentagon office, day after day, on the telephone, in interviews, at
home, before breakfast, on Sunday night, Maj. Searles keeps
“No, no, a thousand times no.”
As far as the Air Force goes there's no such thing as a flying
saucer. Further, there are no such things as flying chromium hub
caps, flying dimes, flying tear drops, flying gas lights, flying ice
cream cones or flying pie plates, thank you and good-by.”
ALL OF THESE ITEMS have been reported seen by reliable witnesses.
It’s Searles’ corollary function to deny their existence.
If the saucer thing turns out as something other than liver spots
before the bloodshot eye, Maj. Searles will automatically become the
reddest-faced Air Force officer in history.
Searles’ saucerful of trouble goes back to a fateful Tuesday,
June 24, 1947. A Boise, Idaho businessman, Kenneth Arnold, was
flying his private plane over the jagged peaks of Washington’s
When he landed, he breathlessly reported having seen “a chain of
nine saucer-like objects playing tag at fantastic speeds.” What
happened after that is a unique chapter in American history.
ON JAN. 22, 1948, “unification” gave the Air Force the job of
looking into saucers for the rest of the services, and for the rest
of the government. On April 27, 1949, in a lengthy report, the Air
Force concluded that the “saucers are neither a joke, nor a cause
for alarm.” But on Dec. 27. 1949, an AF press release admitted, in
effect, that saucers were a joke after all and that it would have no
more truck with the whole business.
When the saucer craze got hot again, Searles found himself in the
Air Force section of the National Military Establishment public
relations office, which is how he inherited his present task. In his
thick collection of AF press releases he has the one of Dec. 27,
1949, tabbed “Death of the Flying Saucers.” When a questioner gets
particularly persistent, he’ll read him the full text of the release.
Maj. Dewitt R. Searles: The text is “death of the saucers.”
SEARLES’ FAME is spreading government-wise. Cabinet officers,
congressmen, Army generals and the Navy’s admirals particularly,
take pleasure in referring even the top-level and frenzied saucer
queries to REpublic 6700, Extension 75131, for the Searles’ saucer
Searles says it's impossible to estimate just how many times in the
past few weeks he has had to restate the Air Force's position on the
flying saucer. “But it’s well into the thousands,” he said.
There's even a diplomatic angle to Searles’ job. A long-distance
query concerned saucers reported seen in Egypt. The Egyptian
government wanted to know if the USAF thought there was any cause
for alarm. Searles read the full text over the telephone on this one.
Similar calls have come on saucers reported in Mexico, Canada and in
It is no longer a source of dismay to Searles to know that questions
on every saucer reported seen in the world will eventually seep down
to him. The same courage he showed as commanding officer of a
fighter squadron in the Pacific — he is credited with shooting down
three Japs — is standing by him in this ordeal. He says he doesn't
even have any hard feelings toward saucers.
Dewitt R. Searles retired from the USAF on February 1, 1974,
with the rank of Major General. Read his his USAF Biography
On April 5, 1950, the
United Press carried a dispatch that contained a report of then
Congressman Albert J. Engel of Michigan. The incident happened in
the summer of 1949 and had enough witnesses that it might be
possible to find an account in the local newspaper:
Yuma, Arizona, DAILY SUN -
5 April, 1950
Engel Saw One
Rep. Albert J. Engel, R., Mich., is the who says he saw
one. A member of Rep. George Mahan's House Military
Appropriations subcommittee, he also is a candidate for governor
of Michigan when he isn't helping dole out the money it takes to
keep the military in business.
He said the fact that he saw a flying disc may
not be evidence, but it was sure convincing.
"It happened about 1 p.m. one day last summer
at Elsie, Mich. Several other citizens all of them sober and
well-thought of, saw it too. Two of them chased it in a plane, but
the thing unfortunately was too high and too fast and got
"I am confident of this," Engel said. "If there
are such things as saucers, they are ours, not somebody else's. If
another country were sending them over, I am sure the subcommittee
would have heard about it."
[At the time, UFOs were thought by many to be a secret military
Los Angeles, Ca. Times - 11 April, 1950
SURPRISE IN SKY
Chromelike 'Saucer' Seen Over Monterey
MONTEREY, April 10 (U.P:) A “bright, chromelike” flying saucer was
spotted yesterday by at least seven persons as it cruised at a
high rate of speed over Monterey County.
Two Sheriff's office patrols reported to Salinas that they
had seen the mysterious object.
“It was definitely some kind of aircraft, but not local,”
one of the deputies, Ted Cross of Monterey, said, “in fact,
nothing like anything seen in this world before.”
Cross said the object was about 30 feet in diameter and
appeared to be traveling at approximately 4000 feet. He
said the sun reflected brightly from it and that the
saucer looked like it was made of a chromelike metal.
The object was heading in a northwesterly direction.
A Greyhound bus driver, on the early morning Monterey-Salinas
run, also reported seeing the object about the same time.
Oxnard, Ca. Press-Courier - 11 April, 1950
Flying Saucer Reported Near Fort Ord
MONTEREY. CALIF. (U.P) — Sheriff's Deputy Ted Cross insisted
today that he saw a flying saucer, or something that
looked like one, streaking across the countryside Sunday
Cross said he was driving along a 20-mile stretch of highway
between Monterey and Salinas with deputy James Matney,
Matron Barbara Harris and a prisoner when the object came
into view. The time was 7 a.m.
“At first we thought it was a morning star from its brightness,”
“But we looked again and saw it wasn't. It was a round object,
about 30 feet in circumference and was traveling at a high rate
of speed. I'd say it crossed the highway at an altitude of about
“Then it stopped and began spinning. After a minute, it left in a
northwesterly direction towards Fort Ord.”
Fort Ord is a huge army reservation near Monterey. Part of it
lies alongside the Monterey-Salinas highway.
A few minutes later, two deputies in the Castroville area
north of Fort Ord radioed they too had seen the mysterious object.
Later, a Greyhound bus driver reported seeing it near Salinas.
Cross said the object appeared to be “pretty heavy.” He said
from the way it glittered in the early morning sun it looked like
it was made of chromium or cast aluminum.
“It gave off no smoke or vapor,” he added.
The U.S. Air Force has stated that its investigation of
so-called flying saucers show no basis for the frequent
reports of them.
Long Beach, Ca. Press-Telegram - 11 April, 1950
'Saucer' Report Near Fort Ord Subject of Probe
MONTEREY, April 11. (UP) An Army intelligence agent opened an
investigation today into reports by sheriff's deputies and others
that they saw a flying “saucer” near the Army's huge Fort Ord.
Deputies Ted Cross and Jim Matney, a former aerial gunner, were
questioned for more than a half-hour by the agent regarding the
object they saw streaking across the countryside near here Sunday.
The agent told the deputies that all Army intelligence operatives
had been ordered to carry cameras in their cars in an effort to
photograph the elusive discs.
But, the agent said, “if you had photographed it, we would have
confiscated your film just like that.”
The Air Force and other defense officials have continually denied
existence of the “saucers.”
Cross said today that he was “convinced it came from another world.”
The deputy added, “I don’t think anything on earth could have caught
The two deputies were driving between Monterey and Salinas with Matron
Barbara Harris and a prisoner when Cross spotted the object
“directly over the highway.” The time was 7 a. m.
Los Angeles, Ca. Times - 12 April, 1950
Saucer Visits San Francisco, Schoolboys Say
SAN FRANCISCO. April. 11 (U.P.)-The elusive flying saucers
reported playing sky tag over Monterey yesterday, were skittering
around in the sky over San Francisco today, according to four
observing high school boys.
Mission High School Sophomore Paul Montez reported spotting a
saucer while he and three other youths were lounging in a park
across the street from the school during the lunch hour.
“I'm positive it wasn't a plane,” Montez said. “A plane that high
would have left a vapor trail. It was just a gleaming object.
At first it was about the size of a dollar and then it went up
so high it was about the size of a penny.”
He said the object flew in the direction of Market St. and then
disappeared only to show up again a few minutes later over Twin
He said his companions, who also saw the disk, were Richard
Ririzary, John Garcia and Jerry Fletcher.
Springfield, Ma. UNION - 18 April, 1950
Saucers Fly Tandem Now
Tech High Pupils Report Double-Header Discs
With High-Pitched Noise
Two Technical High School students saw a flying saucer on Breckwood Blvd. last night.
Joseph Dumas of 803 Armory St., one of the students, reported it.
He was astounded, shaken, and, until he called The Union to tell
about it, speechless.
He and Edward Brogan of 63 Colonial Ave., saw the flying saucer as they were
driving along Breckwood Blvd., from Boston Rd., to Wilbraham Rd., about 8:15.
It was 100 feet away from them at its closet point, Dumas said, and when it left, it shot straight up into the sky and was gone “in a second.”
Breathless as he told his story, Dumas said in the voice of a man who has seen a ghost: “You don't know how it makes you feel.”
He didn't want to get any closer to it than he had to, so didn't
get out of his car, which he had pulled over to the side of the road when he
spotted the saucer so there wouldn't be any collision.
“We were riding down the road in my car,” Dumas related, “when we saw this red thing; we thought it was a plane with its motor on fire.
“I thought it was coming at me so I pulled over to the side of the road and stayed there. There were two pieces to it, like.
“It went up and down about 20 feet each way, and made a weird,
high-pitched, whistling noise. Then it went straight up and was gone
in a second.
"It looked like it was giving off sparks: It wasn't aflame, just aglow.
The bottom part, the shape of a slice of baloney, was about six feet
in diameter. The top part was convex, like a lens, and about four feet across.
“There didn't seem to be any connection between the two discs, but there was a
reddish hue between them. It seemed like one disc was following the other.”
There was no one aboard, as far as Dumas could tell. After making a series of those
20-foot hops in the air, the thing shot skyward in an instant and was out of sight.
Fort Worth, Texas Fort Worth Press - 20 April, 1950
Seen Any Saucers Lately? (page 2)
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTH AIR FORCE
Fort Worth, Texas
MEMO TO: All Concerned
SUBJECT: Policy of the Air Force on Flying Saucers
Due to the numerous inquiries received by this office, the following
policy on the above subject is quoted for the information of all
There is no intention of reopening Project Saucer, an Air Force
special project officially closed three months ago. However, inasmuch
as the air defense of the United States is an Air Force responsibility,
the Air Force has continued and will continue to receive and evaluate
through normal field intelligence channels any substantial reports of
any unusual aerial phenomena. There has been nothing in recent reports
to change the finding announced on December 27 to the effect that there
is no evidence that the reports are not the result of natural phenomena.
Evaluation of reports since that time has re-enforced the conclusion
that the reports of unidentified flying objects are the results of
(1) misinterpretations of various conventional objects, (2) a mild form of
mass hysteria, (3) or hoaxes.
In addition, none of the three services or any other agency of the
Department of Defense is conducting experiments, classified or otherwise,
with disk-shaped flying objects which could be a basis for the reported
phenomena. As previously reported, there has been no evidence that the
phenomena are attributable to the activity of any foreign nation.
C. H. SCOTT
Lt. Colonel, USAF
Public Information Officer
Bridgetown, Barbados Barbados Advocate - 7 June, 1950
R.A.F. Pilot Spots “Flying Saucer”
LONDON, June 6
The British Air Ministry tonight took a carefully non-committal
altitude to an official report by a Royal Air Force pilot that he
had encountered a “flying saucer” over the south coast of England.
Flying a Meteor jet 'plane at 40,000 foot, the pilot radioed to base
“strange object seen, looks like flying saucer!” Then he landed and
made a report to his Squadron Intelligence Officer.
At the time the pilot sent his radio message, radar operators
picked up a strong blob on their screens. A spokesman of the Air
Ministry told Reuter. “The reports of observations by a Meteor
pilot give no definite evidence to confirm that what he saw was
other than natural or meteorological phenomena.” —Reuter.
PROJECT 1947 Comment: The brusque brush off of this incident by the Air Ministry spokesman cannot be checked against the actual UFO report since almost all such official UK reports before 1960 were reportedly destroyed as policy. A few survive in other files.
Albuquerque, New Mexico Tribune - 29 June, 1950
Unidentified Plane Flies Near U. S. Air Base in Japan (Page 10)
ITAZUKE AIR BASE, Japan, June 29–(UP)–An unidentified plane tonight flew near the U. S. air base for the American support of South Korea, but disappeared when U. S. fighters swarmed aloft.
Air raid sirens wailed their spine-chilling alert in Japan for the first time since 1945.
The official account of the alert gave no positive answer whether airmen from the Communist side of the Korean battlefront had undertaken their first reprisal at U. S. installations in Japan.
It said an “unidentified aircraft” was picked up, and fighters went up to intercept it. But it disappeared, the account said. There was no explanation of a bright flash which appeared on the horizon a few minutes before the all-clear.
When the alarm sounded the lights were doused and U. S. fighters took off like a flock of startled quail. The men not thrown into counter-moves hurried to shelter and the field lay ghost-like and dead under a brilliant bombers' moon.
Occasionally an unseen plane roared overhead. They were American, apparently, for no bombs came.
Finally, the all-clear sounded and officers announced that the prowler from Korea,
if such it was, had disappeared.
The pilots of four American F-80 Shooting Star jet fighter planes shot up by the Communist North Koreans rode home safely on a “wing and a prayer” today.
One jet didn't make it. It crashed 20 miles at sea but the pilot was rescued after he bailed out.
Three B-26 medium attack bombers also have been lost in the past two days. But an air force spokesman said the casualties were “surprisingly small” considering the dangerous operations the planes carried out and the condition under which they operated.
This base now has been alerted against retaliatory night bombings.
New anti-aircraft batteries and night fighter patrols have been set up. But no blackout has been ordered yet.
Project 1947 Comment: The news article does not refer to any visual sighting or sound of an aircraft. It says the intruder was “picked up.” On radar only, perhaps.
QUICK Magazine - 10 July, 1950
Two QUICK and LOOK reporters and passengers on a Northwest Airlines
plane observed a “flying saucer” for almost an hour near
Aberdeen, S. D. Ben Kocivar, himself a pilot, and Bob Sandberg said
the object was very high and reflected sunlight with a metallic
gleam. It kept pace with the 220-m.p.h. plane, then turned away,
fell behind (p. 63). In the current LOOK, Bruce Bliven says that
scientific probability runs very heavily against the existence of
Quick Predicts: - Page 63
The Central Intelligence Agency will publish a report on flying
saucers. It will hint at their existence, deny that they are of
foreign or outer-planet manufacture.
Los Alamos, New Mexico, 15 July 1950
“Flying Wing” UFO seen over Los Alamos, New Mexico
FLYING (Magazine) - July, 1950
THE FLYING SAUCERS --
FACT OR FICTION?
By CURTIS FULLER
Editor of FLYING
When observers as experienced as airline pilots say they've seen
strange objects in the sky, they deserve a respectful hearing.
THE night of March 31, 1950, was dark and clear. The Chicago and
Southern Air Lines DC-3 had taken off a short while before from Memphis
airport for a regularly scheduled flight to Little Rock, Ark. Off in
the distance Capt. Jack Adams, 31, a veteran of 7,000 hours and seven
years on the airline, could see the glow of lights that meant Little
Rock, 40 miles away.
"There was only a small piece of moon showing," Adams said. "Our altitude was about 2,000 feet. Visibility and ceiling were unlimited.
We could see 20 or 30 miles easily."
In the right hand seat was Co-Pilot G. W. Anderson, Jr., 30,
a 6,000-hour veteran. Anderson and Adams knew the route perfectly, had
flown it many times together
At exactly 9:29 p.m. Adams' attention was caught by a lighted, fast-moving object. "My God, what's that?"
Anderson looked up. "Oh no, not one
of those things!" he said.
Unfortunately for his peace of mind it was
"one of those things."
The editors of FLYING have followed and investigated reports of "those things" for just
short of three years -- ever since Kenneth Arnold, a businessman-pilot
and himself a contributor to FLYING,
started the great modern flying saucer controversy on June 24, 1947.
Since then we have talked with men who believe they have seen flying saucers, with men who are equally sure they haven't, with Air Force investigators, with psychologists. For nearly three years no editor of FLYING has visited an Air Force base or talked with
an Air Force officer without asking "What do you know about the
The results, as you may suspect, have not been very fruitful. The answer has almost invariably been an unyielding:
"There isn't any such thing."
And yet in the minds of the editors there has always remained an unsatisfied, nagging doubt. If there isn't any such thing, what did Captain Jack Adams and First Officer G. W. Anderson, Jr., see?
Up to the time of issuing its first report about a year ago, the Air Force's Project Saucer had investigated 240 domestic and 30 foreign saucer incidents. FLYING has in its own records reports of more than 40 saucer sightings.
Most of the reports are from crackpots and come under what psychologists call "hallucinatory phenomena." But
the crackpot reports do not detract from the validity of reports from qualified observers any more than the existence of medical quacks proves that trained
doctors are also quacks.
We have in our files enough material to write a book
on flying saucers -- a strange compilation, indeed, of "things that
don't exist." Several of the accounts are more interesting and
inexplicable than those described in this article, but we have confined
this to only four reports.
All involve sightings by airliner crews -- in each case by both pilots and co-pilots. We have confined the descriptions of saucer
sightings to these four accounts because we know that airline pilots
are trained observers. They are used to watching and interpreting sky
phenomena and would be less likely to err in their reports than any
other group we could think of.
No editor of FLYING has ever
seen a flying saucer. But we adopt the position of Dr. Frank K. Edmondson, director of the Goethe Link Observatory of Indiana University at Bloomington.
"I have never seen a flying saucer," said Dr. Edmondson, "but after you discount all these explainable reports, there
is a residue left that I cannot explain."
The sightings by airline pilots are part of that residue,
and the strange craft that Captain Adams and First Officer Anderson saw
near Little Rock last March was one of those unexplainable phenomena.
"It was about 1,000 feet above us and about a
half mile away," Anderson told intelligence officers. "It
zoomed at terrific speed (perhaps as much as 700-1,000 m.p.h.) in an arc
ahead and above us, moving from south to north . . .
"This object remained in full view for about 30 seconds and we got a good look. It had no navigation lights, but as it passed ahead of us in an arc we could plainly see other lights -- as though from eight or 10 lighted windows or ports -- on the lower side.
"The lights had a fluorescent quality. They were soft and fuzzy, unlike any we'd seen before. The object was
circular, apparently, and the lights remained distinct all the time it was in our
view. There was no reflection, no exhaust, and no vapor trail. That's
Captain Adams added that "there was a bright white light flashing intermittently from the top of the thing. The speed attracted our attention first, that and the blinking light. It was the strongest blue white light we've ever seen.
As the object passed, its underside apparently was then exposed to the pilots because the blue-white light was obscured. The object then continued in a straight line and disappeared.
"I've been a skeptic all my life, but what can you
do when you see something like that?" Adams said. "We
both saw it and we were flabbergasted."
The night was so dark that neither Adams nor Anderson could detect any dark or solid outline to the object. They assume that it was circular only because the lighted "portholes" were arranged
in a circle.
The two pilots told a Memphis
"We tried not to be too fantastic in making our report. We sort of figured on the short side of everything. We never had been interested in these things before. In fact, frankly, we did not believe in them.
"The thing was not a shooting star or a comet.
We know a comet, and we see shooting stars between Memphis and Houston all the time."
* * *
It was 2:45 early one July morning in 1948. An Eastern Airlines DC-3 piloted by Capt. Clarence Shipe Chiles and co-piloted by John B. Whitted, was tooling along at 5,000 feet about 20 miles south-west of
Montgomery, Ala., en route from Houston to New York.
The moon was bright and there were scattered light clouds. Thunderstorms had been reported en route and Chiles and Whitted were watching faint flashes of lightning way up ahead.
"We had our eyes focused on the point from
which the thing came," Chiles told Louis Blackburn, of the Houston Press. "From the right and slightly above us came a bright glow and the long rocket-like ship took form in the distance.
"It's a jet job," I said to Whitted.
"Then it grew larger and pulled up
alongside. It appeared to be about 100 feet long with a huge fuselage three times as large as that of a B-29.
"It's too big for a jet, but what the devil is it?" said Whitted.
"There were two rows of windows and it appeared definitely to be a two-decker. The lights from the side were a ghastly white, like the glow of a gas light -- the whitest we'd ever seen.
"There was a long shaft on the ship's nose that looked like it might have been part of radar controls. The ship acted that way too, for just after it pulled alongside us it whipped quickly upward at a very sharp angle."
Both craft veered to their respective left. The mystery ship passed about 700 feet to the right and above the airliner. "Then, as if the pilot had seen us and wanted to avoid us, it pulled up with
a tremendous burst of flame from the rear and zoomed into the clouds, its
prop wash or jet wash rocking our DC-3."
The wingless craft gave the impression of having a pilot's cabin at the front of a cigar-shaped fuselage. The cabin was brightly lighted but the fuselage itself approximated the brilliance of a magnesium
"We saw no occupants," Chiles said.
"From the side of the craft came an intense fairly dark blue glow that
ran the entire length of the fuselage like a blue fluorescent factory light. The exhaust was a red-orange flame, with a lighter color predominant around the outer edges."
Both Chiles and Whitted agreed that the exhaust flame extended 30 to 50 feet behind the object and became deeper in intensity as the
craft pulled up into a cloud. They estimated its speed as being about
1/3 faster than ordinary jets -- that is 700 to 900 m.p.h.
Immediately after the ship disappeared, Chiles
turned the controls over to Whitted and rushed into the cabin to find out if any passengers had seen the object. He found all the passengers asleep except C. L. McKelvie of Columbus, O.
"I remembered saying to myself 'That's the
queerest lightning I've ever seen,' and I pressed myself closer to the window
to see it," McKelvie said. "I was amazed at the brilliance of
the flash of light."
McKelvie realized it was not lightning when the "light" flashed past in an unbroken line to disappear in a cloud. "It was much redder in color than lightning," McKelvie said.
He did not, however, see any form of a ship.
The light from the object was so brilliant, indeed, that it caused "lightning blindness" to both pilots. They had to
turn up their cockpit lights to read the instruments.
* * *
Nine circular disc-like objects were sighted by a
United Air Lines plane west-bound from Boise, Ida., to Seattle Wash., on
July 4, 1947 -- just a few days after Kenneth Arnold reported the first chain of
"discs" over the state of Washington.
There had been many other reports of "flying saucers" in the northwest but most persons were skeptical. "I'll believe 'em when I see 'em," said Capt. E. J. Smith of United Air Lines Flight 105. The plane took off at 9:04 p.m. and was only eight
minutes out of Boise when Smith and his co-pilot, First Officer Ralph Stevens, saw five disc-like objects in "loose formation."
At first they mistook the objects for aircraft and blinked their lights as a warning. It was a dimly twilighted sky and they could see
the objects silhouetted clearly. The two pilots called Marty Morrow,
stewardess, to the cockpit to certify that they were actually seeing
the discs and she too saw them.
Then they caught sight of four more of the objects, three clustered together and a fourth flying "by itself, way off in the distance."
"The discs were flat and roundish," Smith and Stevens said. "They definitely were not aircraft. But they were bigger than aircraft."
* * *
The most recent "flying saucer" sighting
by an airliner was on the night of April 27, 1950, when occupants of a
Trans-World Airline plane en route to Chicago saw a "round glowing
mass" in the air as they flew over South Bend, Ind.
Capt. Robert Adickes, the pilot, and First Officer
Robert Manning had the object in sight for six or seven minutes as it overtook their plane at about 2,000 feet and cruised along a parallel course. Adickes has been flying for 13 years and has been a TWA captain for six years.
He is a cautious man and is reluctant to say that
he saw a "flying saucer." To him it was an "object" or a "guided missile."
"I had just had my dinner and was wide
awake," says Adickes, "when this object flew alongside. It
was definitely round, with no irregular features at all, and about 10 to 20 per
cent as thick as it was round. It was very smooth and streamlined,
and glowed evenly with a bright red color as if it were heated stainless steel.
It was so bright it gave off a light. It left no vapor, no flame. It appeared to fly on edge, like a wheel going down a highway.
"I went back to show the passengers. Most
of them saw it but they couldn't see it as clearly as we [pilot and co-pilot] did because cabin lights were on and their eyes weren't adjusted to darkness.
"I called South Bend air traffic control and
asked if they had any record of unusual craft in the vicinity. They
Adickes banked north in an effort to get a closer
look. "It appeared to be controlled by repulse radar," he said.
"As I'd turn toward it, it would veer away, keeping the same distance.
"When I turned directly toward it, it took off at a speed judged to be about 400 m.p.h., twice my speed. It went down to 1,500 feet and streaked out of sight northward over South Bend."
Adickes had talked with other pilots who claimed to have seen strange sky phenomena before he saw the object over South Bend. He is careful to say that he did not see anything that could not be explained
by physics, radar, or known aerodynamic principles. He examined it as
well as he could and even opened the cockpit window on the right side
so that he wasn't looking through glass. Because there was nothing to
compare it with he hesitates to estimate its size or distance, but
compares it in size and color with an orange about 20 feet away.
"It looked something like a spinning exhaust, all aflame," said passenger Jacob Goelzer. Another passenger, C. W. Anderson, an International Harvester plant superintendent from Springfield, O., said "It looked like a big red light bulb, fading off fast. It was moving
very fast. I didn't notice any details of the red ball."
* * *
There is a surprising correlation in all these four
sightings. There is the feeling by several pilots that the objects are under a kind of repulse radar control. In the two seen closest there appear to
be lighted openings or "portholes."
All the objects have been seen at night, except the
United Air Lines group which was seen at twilight and showed no lights. Otherwise, all objects are associated with lights, two of them with exceptionally
bright white or blue-white lights, and also with softer fluorescing
Three of the objects were round and disc-shaped. The fourth, that of the Eastern Airlines pilots was cigar-shaped -- yet
it is obvious that a disc seen on edge throughout its flight would also look
cigar-shaped. None of the three disc-shaped objects showed any
evidence of reaction propulsion. That of the cigar-shaped object did.
The attitude of scientists everywhere is in almost
universal agreement -- there are no such things as flying saucers. It is a
striking fact that astronomers and physicists universally discount
their existence on the grounds that they are hallucinations, but that
psychologists are inclined to credit them on the grounds that they
cannot be hallucinations.
Dr. Harlow Shapley, director of Harvard Observatory, says: "No evidence that flying saucers are other than natural neurotic phenomena has been received at the Harvard Observatory."
Dr. I. S. Bowen, director of Mt. Palomar and Mt. Wilson
observatories says: "We have not observed objects in the air
that could not be explained as natural phenomena." And Dr. Robert H. Baker, professor of astronomy at the University of Illinois in Urbana
declares: "I would say it's hysteria. I never saw a saucer, and
know of no astronomer who has."
Among physicists, Dr. Arthur Jaffee an atomic
scientist of the University of Chicago, suggested: "Maybe the people
who see things have motes in their eyes." Dr. James Arnold,
former Manhattan Project worker and a chemistry professor at the
University of Chicago: "There's no evidence. People can see a
lot of things -- some real and some caused by the power of suggestion."
And here's what Dr. Erwin Angres, a psychiatrist
replied: "Pilots, who are trained observers, are not going to be fooled very often. There may be something to the stories."
There is a striking similarity between the attitude of scientists and newspapers toward flying saucers, and toward man's first attempts to fly.
People simply would not believe that the Wright
Brothers had flown. The most important reason they would not
believe it was that they had been told by scientists for years that
heavier-than-air flight was impossible. Dr. Simon Newcomb, the distinguished astronomer and the first American since Benjamin Franklin to
be made an associate of the Institute of France, declared just a few years
before the Wrights flew that flight without gas bags would require the
discovery of some new metal or a new unsuspected force in nature.
Rear Adm. George W. Melville, then chief engineer for the U. S. Navy
proved convincingly in the North American Review that
the attempts to fly heavier-than-air craft were absurd.
During 1904 and 1905, the Wright Brothers
conducted numerous experimental flights at Simms Station, eight miles
from Dayton. They flew from Huffman Field, alongside the interurban
line, and people who watched the flights from the interurban cars used to
flock into the Dayton Daily News office and demand to
know why there was nothing in the newspaper about them.
Dan Kumler, city editor, explained in 1940 why they
didn't publish the stories. "We just didn't believe it. Of
course you remember that the Wrights at that time were terribly secretive."
He was asked: "You mean that they were
secretive about the fact that they were flying over an open field along the interurban line?"
Kumler hesitated and replied, "I guess the truth
is that we were just plain dumb."
All the evidence suggests that orthodox scientists don't believe there can be such things as flying saucers because they don't behave in
accordance with the conventional physics they know -- just as the
Wright Brothers plane did not accord with the physics of Simon Newcomb
and therefore couldn't exist either.
FLYING does not have any
secret sources in the Government who are able to give us confidential
reports on how the saucers are powered, and who is behind them, such as
one national magazine has published.
We are convinced that they have nothing to do with
the Chance Vought V-173 configuration pictured on the cover of FLYING, nor with the Chance Vought XF5U (Flying Pancake) as stated by another national magazine. Only one of each of these airplanes was ever built, and the XF5U never even flew. The
V-173 did fly but had no performance comparable with that attributed to the mysterious objects described here.
We do not believe that the saucers are a Soviet development. If the Russians did have anything so revolutionary they
would hardly risk their secret by conducting training flights
over the United States.
Are they then a United States development?
Airline pilots and businessmen pilots who do a lot
of flying, and who talk with pilots who have seen strange objects in the sky,
generally believe that they are. But if so, note these contradictions:
1. If they are indeed a secret U. S. development, that secret has been better kept in peacetime than the atomic bomb was in wartime.
2. They seem to involve a revolutionary type of fuselage, of flight theory, and also perhaps even a revolutionary type of
propulsion. This seems to be the reason the physicists questioned do
not believe they exist. The editors of FLYING
keep well abreast of late aviation developments and know of no airframes or power plants, atomic plants included, that perform as these objects are reported to perform.
3. Like the Russians, it hardly seems likely
that U. S. researchers would be experimenting with the saucers at random
spots all around the country where there would always be the danger of their secrets becoming known.
4. The Government itself does not just evade answers on flying saucers. In every case it denies they exist. While certain denials are to be expected, it seems to the FLYING staff that the type of denials are fairly conclusive.
Before Project Saucer was
"officially" terminated it reported that "no definite conclusive evidence is yet available that would prove or disprove the possibility that a portion of the unidentified objects are real aircraft of unknown or unconventional configuration."
This, it seems to us, is an evasion. Even
taking the four reports cited here, it is obvious that skilled pilots, trained observers of sky phenomena, saw something. If they saw it, it must
exist. They are not all victims of hallucinations despite the ready explanations of the physicists.
But what the strange phenomena are, the editors of FLYING do not pretend to know.
We can only say what they are not. They are
not anything the glib radio commentators and the sensational magazines say they are. They are a mystery and a contradiction, and we know little
more about what they are than when we started our investigation. But
it's been interesting, hasn't it?
AIRLINE PILOTS' OWN SKETCHES OF WHAT THEY SAW
CAPT. C. S. CHILES
This strange object seen by Eastern Airlines Capt. Chiles is the only one reported by airline pilots that had the traditional rocket shape and appeared to have jet exhaust.
CAPT. JACK ADAMS
C.&S's Pilot Adams would not swear that the ship he saw had circular shape indicated, but the circular arrangement of "portholes" seemed to indicate that it was a disc.
CAPT. ROBERT ADICKES
Imagine a disc, 10 to 20 per cent as thick as it was round and the size of an orange at 20 feet -- that describes the object observed by TWA's Adickes.
Idaho businessman-pilot attracted nationwide attention in 1947, with his reports of "flying discs" seen over the Cascades. All but one of discs Arnold saw were shaped like the drawings below.
CAPT. E.J. SMITH
United Air Lines captain saw nine strange objects
in air near Emmett, Idaho. Sketch below by Kenneth Arnold is
based on Smith's description of the objects. Note similarity of
profile with that on the left.
Memphis, Tennessee Commercial Appeal - 12 July, 1950
Millington Men Report Seeing 'Flying Saucer’ And Tracing It
Veteran Pilots Sighted Odd Craft From Plane Near Osceola
— Radar Logged It For Eight Miles — They Say It Was
Speedy, Shaped Like World War I Helmet
By JAC COOPER
Two Millington Naval Air Station pilots have seen a flying saucer,
or some type of strange aircraft, and traced its course by radar for
This startling testimony on the factual side of the flying saucer argument
was released by the Navy yesterday at Millington.
Each pilot was flying a crew on a routine training flight about 20
miles north-northeast of Osceola, Ark., at 3:28 Friday afternoon
when the saucer came into view on the left about three miles away,
crossed in front of their planes and vanished toward the southwest,
Lieut. (j.g.) J. W. Martin (16½ years in the Navy, 2500 hours
logged as a pilot) said: “We were flying about 5000 feet and I think
R. E. Moore (enlisted pilot) was the first to spot the thing.”
Thought It Was a Jet
“At first we thought it was a jet plane distorted by the glare off
the aluminum body. It seemed round at first.
“The men in both ships saw it on our left, and as it traveled across
in front of us and disappeared in the distance on our right.
“In the air you have nothing to judge by accurately, but I estimated
its altitude at about 8000 feet and speed at 200 to 225 miles an
“After it got closer the thing looked like a World War I helmet seen
from the side, or a shiny shallow bowl turned upside down.
“I figured it to be about 25 to 45 feet across and about seven feet
Pilot Moore's description tallied with that of Lieutenant Martin.
While the crews of both ships watched, G. D. Wehner, an electronics
technician instructing in Moore’s ship, established radar contact
with the saucer and followed it out of sight with the “scope.”
“At one time the saucer appeared to be only about a mile away,” said
“We wanted to follow it, but were flying training ships that can't
make the speed the saucer, or whatever, was traveling, and also we’d
have had to climb about 3000 feet in pursuit. It was a hopeless
proposition,” he added.
Mr. Wehner reported: “I caught it in the scope. It was helmet-shaped.
The outline of the edges was all right, but glare from the center of
it prevented getting a better look.”
Contrasts With Navy Policy
The Navy’s release of the news came in sharp contrast to Air Force
policy, which has been to discount the many and frequent reports of
strange flying craft or make any other comment on the result of
Experienced airmen have previously reported seeing strange craft in flight.
On March 20 Capt. Jack Adams and his co-pilot, First Officer G. W.
Anderson Jr., both Chicago & Southern Air Lines pilots here,
reported seeing a “peculiar saucer-type craft in controlled flight”
over Hazen, Ark. The two Memphians are veteran pilots, with thousands of
hours in the air.
Similar instances have been reported in other parts of the Nation.
Henry Taylor, newspaper man and radio commentator, has told
audiences in Memphis and on nationwide hookups that he believes the
flying saucers are being developed as a weapon of the United States.
Capt. Jack Adams (right) and his co-pilot, First Officer G. W. Anderson Jr., both of Chicago & Southern Air Lines, discuss their March 20, 1950, sighting over Arkansas.
Great Falls, Montana TRIBUNE - 5 August, 1950
Mariana Reports Flying Discs
Could it be that even baseballs now come home to roost?
Nick Mariana, general manager of the Selectrics, was asking himself
that question this morning. Two objects — for all the world like
the “long gone” ball slugged out of the Twin Falls ball park last
night by Lou Briganti and Joe Nally — sailed across the sky at
Legion park this morning.
At least so the troubled Brewers general manager reported today
— even while admitting he could have been seeing things. Only he
hopes to have photographic proof for skeptics.
It all happened at 11:30 a. m. while Mariana was out taking a look
around the reserved seat section at Legion park — and there sailing
smoothly above the smelter stack at the ACM plant were two
spherical silvery objects at a height he estimated at 5,000 feet.
After a quick double take and a minute lost while he brushed the
cobwebs from his eyes he called his secretary as a witness.
Very opportunely he remembered his movie camera and shot the movies
he hopes will verify what he hopes isn’t failing eyesight.
No report is available on possible weather balloons floating in the
atmosphere today — but it is feared that the high-flying baseball
version may be more acceptable to Great Falls residents than
Medford, Oregon Mail-Tribune - 17 August, 1950
Lookouts Report Seeing 'Saucers'
North of Medford
Flying “discs” or “saucers,” made a new appearance in Jackson county
last Saturday, according to Mr. and Mrs. Bud Oliver who man the
state forestry lookout on Round Top mountain, about 28 miles north
Oliver said that two of these mysterious objects were seen about
1:30 p.m. hovering over his lookout, before taking off at great
speed toward the south.
Oblong and Round
One of the “saucers” was oblong in shape and the other was round,
although the latter had two edges that seemed flat, giving it
almost an oblong shape. Oliver said he couldn't tell whether the
round one was spinning or not, but he thought the other turned end
over end as it moved away.
The two objects first were seen by Oliver as he was walking along
the catwalk outside the lookout’s enclosed room. He called to Mrs.
Oliver and their daughter, Agnes, who also saw both “saucers" as
they appeared near the tower.
Round Top, Oregon, Fire Lookout Tower Ca. 1950
View on Google Maps
Oliver said that the objects seemed to be about 100 feet apart and
that as they moved away from the tower they picked up speed very
fast. He said that by the time he walked from one side of the tower
to the other, both “discs” had disappeared.
He described them as being of bronze or brown in color and said
they did not reflect any sunlight.
The lookout said he could not estimate the altitude of the
“saucers,” nor could he say how large they were. He said they
appeared to be “floating” without much motion until they suddenly
“took off to the south.”
Oliver described the oblong object as appearing like a stovepipe.
He said both “discs” stayed near the lookout but a few seconds
He said he could see no flames or smoke from either object.
New York Herald-Tribune - 17 August, 1950
Flying Saucer Time: 2790 Miles an Hour
Canadian Estimates Its Diameter at 150 Feet
Nanaimo, B. C., Aug 16 (CP)–Harry Lowe, assistant manager of
Cassidy Airport here, not only saw a flying saucer today, he timed
Mr. Lowe said he was making a routine weather observation when
the object appeared from the north at 9:43 a.m. at a height of
He figured its speed at 2790 miles an hour, like this: The
object was 5,000 feet above cirrus cloud at 25,000 feet. "It
appeared at a 45-degree angle from horizontal and traveled through
90-degrees of arc in twelve seconds." Therefore, he said, 2790
miles an hour.
He estimated its diameter at 150 feet.
"It was definitely something I have never seen before," Mr.
Lowe said. "It was not a balloon and not an aircraft, not a normal
Great Falls, Montana TRIBUNE - 11 September, 1950
Flying Saucer Movies to Be Shown Here
Motion pictures of flying saucers taken by Nick Mariana several
weeks ago at they passed over Legion park will be shown at the
Central Round Table meeting tonight at 8 at the Booster clubrooms
in the Park hotel. Mariana is general manager of the Great Falls
Tony Dalich will discuss football rules at the meeting and John
Shulz, coach of the Central High Mustangs, will outline prospects
for the Mustang grid season. Hugo Nelson will preside at the
Pittsfield, Massachusetts Berkshire Eagle - 12 September, 1950
Flying saucer film taken over by AF
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - Nick Mariana says that the Air Force has
taken his color movie of two silver disks that buzzed over a
baseball park here Aug. 15. He said he turned the color film over
to the air technical command here at the request of a special
investigator of the command.
Mariana, manager of the Great Falls team in the Pioneer Baseball
League, said, when he saw the disks over the ball park he focused
his camera and photographed them.
They appear on the film for seconds he said he was advised by the
investigating officials not to release any further information
concerning the film.
Baltimore, Maryland Sunday Morning Sun - 1 October, 1950
Saucers Do Get Around
High-Speed Disk Heads West Over Seoul, Marines Report
Newspaper for schools tells pupils flying saucers
are real and
belong to the Air Force..........Page3
By Richard K.Tucker
(Sunpapers War Correspondent)
With the United States Marines in Seoul, Sept 30—It was sure to
happen sooner or later. The first flying saucer was reported over
the battle-torn South Korean capital shortly before 1 P.M. today.
The disk was reported by a cold-sober Marine division M.P. officer
and at least a half dozen of his men.
It was considered official enough to be put on the record of the 5th
Marine Regiment's intelligence officer, who said he was planning to
forward information to division officers.
The officer who said he saw the saucer flying high from the east to
the west over Seoul at 12:37 P.M. was Lieut. E. J. Ambrosia of
Faster Than Any Plane
"It looked to be about as high as bombers I've seen cruising around
here," he said. "From that distance it looked about 4 feet in
diameter. It seemed to be silvery (in) color and was going two or
three times faster than any plane I've seen over here."
Staff Sergeant Robert J. Bowden supported the Lieutenant's statement.
"We all saw it," he said. "There were about a half dozen of us with the lieutenant when we went over to check a report by natives that
there were four dead Marines on a hill.
"We saw a bunch of Korean kids looking up and we looked up too. It
looked more yellow than silver to me, but it was round and really
"Sure Did" Look Like a Saucer
Another man who vouched for the saucer report was Staff Sergeant
Franklin Ryerson of Eagle Rock, Cal.
"Are you sure it looked like a saucer?" he was asked.
"It sure did," he replied.
The position of the lieutenant and his men when the alleged
saucer was seen [was] near an old Japanese prison on the northwest edge of
Seoul. They said it was visible for about two or three minutes in
They reported it to Major William Esterline, S-2 officer the
5th Marine Regiment. Major Esterline smiled over it, but then
decided he better pass the information on to the division. How far
beyond that it got is not known.
Lieutenant More Serious
But Lieutenant Ambrosia was a bit more serious about the whole
"You know," he said, I've heard a lot about those things. I
never thought I'd be one of the people who saw one, I have really
believed they existed for some time. Too many people like airline
pilots have seen 'em–people who know what they are talking about."
"Where was it going?" someone asked.
"Well," he said, "it was going west from here so it wasn't
incoming from Russia."
Pittsfield, Massachusetts Berkshire Eagle - 12 October, 1950
Photos of Saucers?
Spoiled, Says AF
DAYTON, Ohio (AP)—No one will ever know if those airborne objects
photographed by a Great Falls, Mont., baseball manager were “flying
The Air Force, which Manager Nick Mariana said confiscated pictures
he took, reported the color film was “too dark to distinguish any
The film was viewed yesterday at near-by Wright-Patterson Air Force base.
Mariana said that last Aug. 15 he photographed two objects which
flew over the Great Falls ball park. Later, he said, an Air Force
Intelligence officer took the film and told him not to talk about
On the Question of Tampering with the 1950
Great Falls Film
At between 1125 and 1130 AM M.S.T. on August 15, 1950, two
witnesses, Nicholas Mariana, the general manager of the Great Falls
minor league baseball team, the "Selectrics," and his secretary,
Virginia Raunig, observed an unusual sight. While standing in the
grandstand of the local ballpark, Mariana saw two peculiar,
roundish objects moving swiftly out of the northwest and moving
southward. When both objects stopped abruptly, Mariana recalled
having a l6mm movie camera in his car. He ran down a stairway in
the park to his car about 60 feet away and shouted for his
secretary in a nearby office. After she ran out, he asked her if
she could see anything in the sky. She said yes, two silvery
Frame showing the UFOs from the Montana Film
When Mariana retrieved the camera, he immediately turned the
telephoto lens into position, set the f-stop at 22 and began
filming the objects, which had begun moving again. He described
what he saw as two discs spinning like a top, about 50 feet across
and 50 yards apart. He could see no appendages, wings, fuselage or
exhaust, but he thought he heard a "whooshing" sound when he first
noticed the objects.
The UFOs moved southeast behind a General Mills grain building and
a water tower south of the ballpark and disappeared into the
Almost immediately after taking the film, Mariana said that two Air
Force jets had flown across the sky east of him and headed in a
southerly direction. These were later identified as two F-94s
arriving at Great Falls Air Force Base from the 449th Fighter
Squadron at Ladd Air Force Base, Alaska. The jets, #2502 and #2503,
landed at 1130 and 1133 AM respectively (Air Force Case Files).
The objects were estimated to be three-quarters of a mile away.
Angle of elevation: 35 degrees at an altitude of 10,000 feet.
Duration of sighting: 45-50 seconds.
Mariana showed the film to a number of audiences in the local Great
Falls area before allowing the Air Force to take the film for
analysis on October 4, 1950. The film was retrieved by Captain John
Brynildsen, commander of the Great Falls section of the Air Force
Office of Special Investigations and sent to the District Commander
of the 5th District OSI at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
(October 6, 1950, Air Force memo).
After informing the press that the film was received (Berkshire
Eagle, Pittsfield, Ma., 10-6-50), the Air Force issued an
inexplicable press release (Berkshire Eagle, 10-12-50), saying that
the film was "too dark to distinguish any recognizable objects."
In fact the film was, and is, very clear in showing two bright
objects traversing the sky. On October 18th the film was returned
When he received his film back from the Air Force, Mariana was
surprised to find that the earliest, best portion of the film, that
showing what he said were the two objects with a notch or band at
the outer edge and an obvious spinning movement, was missing. He
estimated that about 35 frames were gone.
The film stayed with Mariana until 1952 when the Air Force's new
head of Project Blue Book, Captain Edward Ruppelt, decided to
reopen the Great Falls file. Mariana was asked to send the film to
the Air Force again. The reason being that the Air Force lost their
copy of the film! He did on October 29, 1952, with the provision
that the film not be tampered with again.
In a letter dated November 14, 1952, Colonel William Adams, chief
of the Topical Division, Deputy Director for Estimates, of the
Directorate for Intelligence, wrote Mariana, updating the status of
the film's analysis. He alluded to the fact that at some point the
film had become "torn" and that instead of splicing the footage
together, resulting in lost frames, the film was repaired with
cellulose tape. Mariana was advised not to run the film with the
repair until a more permanent splice could be done.
Later the abbreviated film would be used in a documentary film,
"UFO" (1956). Throughout the entire investigation the Air Force
denied ever having tampered with the film.
Was the film altered, or was Mariana making an unfounded charge?
There are a number of matters to consider.
I have a copy of the l6mm Air Force color print, ordered from the
National Archives almost 25 years ago. The print has 243 frames and
there is repaired tear damage evident on frames 5, 6, 10, 11, 160
and 161. The film lasts about 15 seconds. It begins abruptly with
the objects larger and clearer than in the rest of the sequence.
The images under the microscope reveal slightly elliptical objects
with no apparent projections.
The first frame of the sequence has a linear diagonal cut through
it, spoiling part of the frame. There is evidence of an earlier
frame to the first one showing the UFO images. How do we know this?
In several of the earliest frames, one can see two dark lines in
the upper right of each frame, probably electrical wires. The
diagonal cut that runs partly through frame one left a tiny portion
of a previous frame, frame "0", as I will call it. One can see the
two wires in this fragment of frame 0, positive proof that at least
one earlier image existed.
Why is this diagonal cut there? Normal commercial film doesn't
begin with a crudely appearance as this. Someone had to do it after
the film was exposed. Who are the likely candidates?
1) Mariana: Let us say that the missing film shows images that are
identifiable as jets. There would be every motivation for Mariana
to splice away this portion of the film before giving it to the Air
Force if he were trying to put one over on them. However, it would
be very difficult to explain the crude slice as it appears and it
should have raised immediate suspicion on the part of any Air Force
investigator that he may have been hiding something. Mariana
certainly wouldn't have received the glowing character assessment
that he did from the Air Force officer who picked up the film ("He
enjoys an excellent reputation in the local community and is
regarded as a reliable, trustworthy and honest individual" Air
Force memo, l0-6-50). And what would be the point of giving the
film to the Air Force in the first place if he knew they were jets?
Some might suggest that Mariana intended to capitalize on the
footage. But if the film showed jets, and Mariana knew it, the last
place to send the footage for analysis would be the Air Force. They
would be the one source most likely to identity the true nature of
the objects as jets and disrupt any attempt to falsely pass off the
film as showing anomalous objects. There is zero evidence, even
from the Air Force itself; that Mariana could have been involved in
a deception. He showed the film to local audiences for little or
nothing. If the images did show an anomalous object, why would
Mariana cut it out the alleged best part and debased the value of
his own film?
2) The Air Force: Mariana sent his film to the Air Force in October
1950, and upon receiving it later in the month, noticed part of it
missing, according to his testimony. If the film showed the images
to be identifiable as jets, as was later claimed by the Air Force,
it would have been pointless for the Air Force to remove anything.
The case would have been closer if the missing film showed
anomalous objects, it would be no great stretch to think that,
given Air Force policy on UFOs at the time, i.e. that there was
nothing to the phenomena. They might have deleted what could have
been regarded as sensitive material - unknown, exotic objects
overflying U.S. airspace. Could the Air Force have inadvertently
lost the footage through incompetence and claim that it didn't
exist in the first place? Yes, although it would have been risky
had Mariana made a duplicate of the film before handing it over.
And it would make no sense for a photo analyst to separate the
original film in the midst of a sequence. At the same time though,
if the lost footage merely showed jets, then the later attention
given to the film in 1952 by the Air Force, and by the CIA's
Robertson Panel in 1953 would have been a waste of their time. The
Air Force's behavior was such that any missing footage did not
contribute to a mundane explanation of the objects. Did Captain
Byrnildsen innocently separate the footage from other, unrelated
exposed footage from Mariana's camera before sending it to
Wright-Patterson AFB? Mariana stated in 1967 that there were family
scenes prior to the UFO footage. But there is no testimony to this
effect. And it wouldn't have spoken highly of an investigative
officer to so crudely edit a film about to be analyzed by leaving
important early footage behind, as evidenced by the hacking of
F-94 Starfire Jet, similar to aircraft Blue Book Identified
as being the filmed UFOs
The evidence for missing footage goes even further. During the
Condon Committee investigations in 1967, the Great Falls case was
re-reopened, despite the Air Force having already listed the film
as "Identified" (the two F-94s) in Project Blue Book. Investigator
Roy Craig located a number of participants in the case who
remembered the film before it was clipped. First was John Wuertner,
Mariana's attorney. In May 1951, Mariana sued "Cosmopolitan"
magazine for a story published in the January 1951 issue called
"The Disgraceful Flying Saucer Hoax!" by Bob Considine. Mariana
perceived the negative tone of the article as demeaning his
character (the magazine published the opinion that Mariana's UFOs
were the two jets). When interviewed about the film and the later
lawsuit, Wuertner said that the Air Force kept the film for a long
period and with the looming lawsuit, his client wanted the film
back to use in the case. "...I know doggone well that that tape
when it was returned, was little or nothing to it." Wuertner said
that he recalled better views of the film in the original cut.
"...when I saw it compared to what came back, it wasn't complete."
"The main part that I recall that didn't come back was when it was
right overhead. Now it started in the east and as it arose on the
horizon then there was a part cut out and all we have left was the
part disappearing over the west." He added that there was the
appearance of spinning."...if it were uniform, you'd get the same
reflection on the same spot. But as it turned, you could get the
definite reaction of spinning." Moreover, he continued, "If I had
to make an estimate of what I thought had been cut off, I would say
that it was, oh gosh, maybe one-fourth to one-fifth - it would be
hard to say. But it would seem that they cut off the most obvious
part. In other words, the part to me that seemed to bear out his
contentions more than anything else."
Another testament came from E. P. Furlong, managing editor of the
Great Falls Tribune. He saw the film originally, then later on TV,
feeling that the TV version was considerably shorter. He was likely
referring to a broadcast of the film "UFO" (1956) which included
the entire film available after Mariana received his edited copy.
Tony Dalick [Dalich] ran a sporting goods store where the film had
been run before being sent to the Air Force. He testified that
there was "a lot missing, perhaps 2-3 feet." He remembered two
objects, definitely spinning, shaped like a wafer of Peppermint
candy. The objects were closer and clearer on the unreturned part
of the film.
Craig interviewed Nicholas Mariana 17 years after the event. He
clarified some aspect of sighting detail. On the alleged spinning
motion: "You could see the spinning action of the center portion in
the middle of the film."
On the "notch" allegedly seen as a reference point for the spinning
motion: "...there was a little break between the actual rest of the
body of the machine and this portion of it. You could see there was
action. You couldn't see it with your eye but you could see it
after I got the telephoto film back."
On the diagonal cut at the beginning of the film: "The reason I
know it was cut, too, was that they came back with the original and
they had spliced it diagonally. Well, I never used the diagonal
splice. I use horizontal splice..."
Let's look more at the film strip itself. As mentioned earlier, I
had obtained a l6mm print of the Air Force's copy years ago from
the National Archives. The Archives no longer makes film prints of
UFO footage available, as everything has been placed onto videotape
for sale. The length of the actual Great Falls footage is 6 feet,
3/4 inch, with a 42 inch blank lead and a 52 inch blank end. The
total length of the filmstrip is about 14 feet. There is no telling
when the blanks were added on but they were not part of the
original film and they were certainly added by the Air Force.
According to Captain Byrnildsen's transmittal letter of October 6,
1950, approximately 15 feet of film was sent to Wright-Patterson
AFB. But in a clipping cited in Jerome Clark's "The UFO
Encyclopedia" (2nd Ed. 1998) from the Great Falls Tribune (October
6, 1950), Byrnildsen is said to have told the reporter that he
picked up 8 feet of film from Mariana. Unless someone made errors
in quoting the footage, it seems like Byrnildsen picked up eight
feet of film from Mariana, added on the blank footage and sent the
finished product to Wright-Patterson. My copy of the film, with
blank filler, is 14 feet, in close agreement with what was sent to
If you've been reading carefully, you can see a problem. The
supposedly complete copy of the edited Air Force print, that which
Mariana received after having had his film "reduced," is nearly two
feet shorter than the lowest estimate of what the Air Force had
said they had received at Wright-Patterson in 1950! Since on a
viewing of the existing print there are no major jump cuts in the
sequence, which flows rather smoothly, and since the film ends
about where the witness has testified (the objects moving into the
distance and disappearing), one must conclude that about two feet
of film is missing from the beginning of the sequence.
This is exactly what Mariana claims. It is also in good agreement
with the testimony of Tony Dalick, the sporting goods store owner
who had seen the footage before and after the claimed editing by
the Air Force, saying that he felt "two to three feet" were missing
from the beginning.
In 1956, Dr. Robert M. L. Baker produced an analysis of the Montana
film, a treatment that was later updated and printed in "The
Journal of the Astronautical Sciences" for January-February 1968,
under the title "Observational Evidence of Anomalistic Phenomena."
He concluded that nearby jet aircraft should have been resolvable
on the film, but at greater distances the brightness and speed of
the images were too great to have been aircraft. In other words,
the objects were unidentified. Of relevance to this article are
remarks in Baker's article about the filmstrip itself. He said that
his analysis focused upon just 225 frames of the film because of
the presence of foreground objects, by which precise measurements
could have been made. 65 frames at the beginning of the film were
not used except for brightness measurements. This gives us 290
frames total that Baker had available of the UFOs (290 frames? Ed.).
The film was given to Baker for study by Greene-Rouse Productions,
the makers of the documentary "UFO" mentioned earlier. The clip was
the end product supplied to Mariana after the 1952 Air Force
analysis, and supplied to Greene-Rouse Productions when a deal was
struck to use the footage in the documentary. Greene-Rouse arranged
an independent analysis, presumably to be sure that the film showed
truly anomalous images.
Now the problem with this is that my copy of the Air Force Montana
print is only 243 frames long. 47 more frames had disappeared
between 1952 and the time I had obtained the film from the National
Archives! Could it have been that the Air Force clipped the footage
again, knowing that the film was to be released publicly sometime
after the mid-1970s upon the transfer of Blue Book records to the
National Archives? We might want to title the remaining sequence of
the Montana footage "The Incredible Shrinking Film!"
The Air Force had already decided that the film had shown two F-94s
(see Project Blue Book's conclusion). This was in spite of the 1952
reinvestigation by the then head of the Air Force's Project Blue
Book, Captain Edward Ruppelt, at the direction of the Pentagon.
Ruppelt had said that in 1950 there was no interest on the part of
the Air Force in UFOs. Their pre-Blue Book program, Project Grudge,
had written off the Montana film as jets after a quick viewing (see
"The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects," page 287). Upon
examining the data anew, the new study narrowed down the possible
explanations to the F-94s in the area. But as Ruppelt explained,
"First we studied the flight paths of the two F-94s. We knew the
landing pattern being used on the day of the sighting, and we knew
when the two F-94s landed. The two jets just weren't anywhere close
to where the two UFOs had been. Next we studied each individual
light and both appeared to be too steady to be reflections. We drew
a blank on the Montana movie - it was an unknown."
If the head of Project Blue Book decided that the UFOs were
unexplained after a lengthy investigation in 1952, who decided that
the conclusion in the Blue Book files should remain "aircraft?"
There were no further investigations of the Montana film. Perhaps
it was the same decision making process that performed the film
Probably the greatest debunking of UFOs came in the form of the
Condon Committee, which functioned from 1966 to the publication of
its report "The Scientific Study of Unidentified flying Objects".
The project was created ostensibly to relieve the Air Force of
having anything further to do with UFO investigations. UFOs had
become a nuisance problem for the Air Force, stuck in a no-win
situation of chasing down mostly ordinary reports, 90% of which
were identifiable as mundane stimuli. The Condon Report dismissed
any notion that UFOs were worthy of scientific attention, or that
they posed a threat to national security.
Yet their discussion of the Montana film is curiously less critical
than one had become used to in dealing with the typical Air Force
public relations machine at the time.
The Committee's investigator of the Montana film, Dr. William
Hartmann, said in the report, "Both individuals (Mariana and Raunig)
have recently affirmed the observation, and there is little reason
to question its validity. The case remains unexplained. Analysis
indicates that the images on the film are difficult to reconcile
with aircraft or other known phenomena, although aircraft cannot
entirely be ruled out."
After summarizing the case, Hartmann, attempting to explain a
discrepancy in the witnesses' estimates of the duration of the
sighting, said the discrepancy "probably refers to the fact that
Witness 1 (Mariana) made about 20 seconds of film." That's 5
seconds, or 80 frames of film, more than the current Air Force
print; or 2 seconds, or 32 frames, more than the Baker copy
obtained from Greene-Rouse Productions. The 2-second difference is
in close agreement with Mariana's claim that at least an estimated
35 frames were shaved from the original.
Hartmann concludes by summarizing arguments for and against
aircraft reflections being responsible for the images. He states,
"While such a hypothesis (the F-94 explanation) is tenable, it
conflicts with some of the soft data. It is judged reasonable only
to regard this object as unidentified."
A few more things are now more certain about the Great Falls UFO
footage than they were before:
1. In spite of the Air Force's claims to the contrary, there is
that the film sequence was clipped after it had been sent to the
Air Force in 1950. Witness statements and Air Force documents
allude to a longer sequence than currently exists.
2. The film was clipped again between 1952 and 1976, based upon
measurements made by the author on his own copy from the National
Archives and compared to earlier analyses.
3. The Air Force had behaved poorly in their public handling of the
story above the local level. The press release of October 12, 1950
was nothing less than a lie about the film's quality. After an
analysis in 1952, the Project Blue Book record was not changed to
reflect new conclusions determined by the head of the project.
Great Falls, Montana, 1950 UFO Footage
Oak Ridge, Tennessee Oak Ridger - 12 October, 1950 - Page 8
Allen Says —
AEC Wants Info On
Flying Saucers Seen Near A-Plants
BY ROBERT S. ALLEN
Flying saucers — If you see a flying saucer, or know of anyone who has, the
Atomic Energy Commission wants to be informed about it. Especially, if the
incident occurred near one of the commission's plants.
The AEC Security Service has prepared a questionnaire that is being sent to all
who report one of the mysterious discs. The form contains 26 questions, the
most curious of which is, "Did the object have an odor, and if so, what was it
like?" Other questions are "luminosity of the object, apparent means of
support, and propulsion."
This is the first time the AEC has publicly evinced interest in flying discs.
Project 1947 Comment: Allen's syndicated column carried in a number of
newspapers nation wide sometimes dealt with aviation matters. Allen seemed to
have had contacts within the AEC.
Wire Service copy
DENVER--A CONSTRUCTION WORKER AT LOS ALAMOS, N.M., HAS REPORTED
THAT A STRANGE "BLINKING OBJECT" SOARED OVER A HIGHLY RESTRICTED
AREA OF THE BIG ATOMIC ENERGY CENTER.
LEE ROBINSON OF THE ARMEX CONSTRUCTION COMPANY SENT THE DENVER
POST A COPY OF A MIMEOGRAPHED FORM WHICH HE USED TO REPORT THE
OBJECT TO THE AEC.
THE FORMS ARE PREPARED BY THE AEC FOR "REPORTS OF UNIDENTIFIED
AERIAL OBJECTS AT LOS ALAMOS."
THE ORIGINAL THREE-PAGE REPRT, ROBINSON SAID, WAS SUBMITTED TO
THE ATOMIC ENERGY SECURITY SERVICE SEPT. 12., THE DAY ROBINSON AND
EIGHT OTHER EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMEX COMPANY SAY THEY SAW THE OBJECT.
ROBINSON SAID HE AND THE OTHERS WERE EATING LUNCH WHEN THE
UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT PASSED OVER. HE SAID IT "WAS NOT A BALLOON OR A
CONVENTIONAL TYPE OF AIRCRAFT."
ROBINSON SAID THE OBJECT APPEARED TO BE AT AN ALTITUDE OF ABOUT
20,000 FEET. IT ALTERNATELY FLASHED BRIGHT AND BLACK AT INTERVALS
OF TWO SECONDS, HE SAID, AND WAS VISIBLE FOR THREE MINUTES AND 40
THE SPECIALLY MIMEOGRAPHED FORMS INDICATED THE AEC IS HIGHLY
CONCERNED WITH UNIDENTIFIED AERIAL OBJECT OVER THE PROJECT. THE
FORMS CONTAIN SPACES FOR INFORMANTS TO REPORT ON LUMINOSITY OF
OBJECT, APPARENT MEANS OF SUPPORT AND PROPULSION AND "ODOR" OF THE