Recent Sightings in the Pacific
A notable characteristic of UFO activity is the tendency for appearances to concentrate in particular areas or regions on the earth at different times. It is as though our so-called visitors from outer space have been from time to time over the past dozen years making soundings or surveys of selected areas on this terrestrial globe. This activity may or may not signify a long range exploration or study by a single group of intelligent beings. If undertaken by a group from a single outer space source, it could suggest a program of mapping and study of a somewhat thorough and exhaustive character. If undertaken by groups from various different localities in outer space, it could manifest momentary interests of probably diverse character. Whatever it might signify, it does seem to portend something of future terrestrial happenings which could conceivably concern all of humanity. If such should be the case, the scientists, scholars, and statesmen of the world should by all means become alert to the reality of these phenomena and immediately take steps to organize in cooperative effort to study and try to analyze what this is all about.
Probably the most recent of these concentrations concerning which rather complete information is presently available, is located in what might be described as the Pacific area, the events taking place in the months of June, July, and August of 1959.
THE SIGHTING NORTHEAST OF HONOLULU
One of the best authenticated cases and one which received nationwide publicity in the newspapers of the United States is the sighting witnessed and confirmed by six different airline crews some nine hundred miles northeast of Honolulu in the early hours of July 11, 1959. The fact that the captains of these airliners and their crews, expert and experienced aviators all
of them, testified as to having witnessed the sighting of unidentifiable navigated objects in the sky can leave no doubt in the mind of any reasonable thinking person as to the reality of the incident. The six aircraft within the region of the sighting included three Pan American Airways planes, an Air Force B-50, a Canadian Pacific airliner, and a Slick Airways Cargo plane. Captain W. B. Nash, a PAA pilot, a NICAP special advisor, secured extra details of this sighting, in line with the policy of NICAP to explore all available evidences of significant sightings. (It will be remembered that Captains Nash and Fortenberry witnessed one of the most dramatic maneuvers of the UFO's ever recorded, when they observed a fleet of large disc-shaped objects perform aerial gyrations in the sky above the neighborhood of Newport News, Virginia on the night of July 14, 1952.)
The objects were observed in a clear sky. "A large and very bright object"--"flanked by three or four smaller lower magnitude lights in a line below" were observed to be travelling at terrific speed, estimated by Captain George Wilson at "thousands of miles per hour." Captain Wilson stated that the formation hurtled across the sky toward the airliner he was piloting, when suddenly it "made an abrupt right turn and disappeared to the south." Captain George Wilson with co-pilot Richard Lorenzen and crew member Bob Scott were flying a Boeing strato-cruiser of the Pan American Airways. In his report to NICAP Captain Wilson said that the object was so bright it was "like looking at a piece of the sun." He told Honolulu newsmen: "It was faster than anything I've ever seen. It may have been one very large object with brilliant center lights and surrounding lights of lesser magnitude, or separate objects. The smaller lights were either part of the mysterious object or this was an example of darn good formation flying. "
In a report to NICAP member Paul Cerny, First Officer Lorenzen stated: "The rate of closure with us was much greater than any I had ever experienced before. It was not until the object turned that I was able to distinguish the smaller lights associated with it."
It is to be noted that although details of this sighting had received publicity in newspapers everywhere, qualified NICAP investigators were on the job at once, so to speak, to secure independently, first hand, reliable data on the sighting. It was revealed by Paul Cerny that two Air
Force majors had interviewed Captain Wilson's crew soon after they had landed, but interestingly enough, the usual attempts by Air Force authorities to debunk such UFO sightings have been plainly lacking on this occasion. Surely the combined evidences, testimonies as to the reality of this occurrence by six experienced air line crews, combined with the detailed checking and verification of facts by qualified NICAP personnel would have made debunking claims of Air Force authorities seem absurd.
Thus here we witness an embarrassing silence on the part of the would-be debunkers, whoever they might be, who seem to determine what Air Force personnel must say on such occasions.*
Great expanses of ocean separate the islands of the Pacific, but of the scattered land areas here and there one finds various types of observers who become known when UFOs happen to appear in their vicinities. Detailed reports of UFO phenomena observed in places where communication with the outside world is relatively meager require time to reach the main news arteries of the world. The Reverend Father William Booth Gill, a Church of England clergyman, missionary in Papua and New Guinea, recently returned to Melbourne, Australia with his family. The full report of his personally observed Papuan sightings is given in the September 1959 issue of "Light," a periodical of the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau. Included also are reports of other sightings in this vicinity observed from February 1958 through July 1959.
The most dramatic series of these sightings was written up as a feature article in the Australasian Post of October 15, 1959. This series of sightings occurring on the nights of June 21, 26, 27, 28, and 29 is the subject also of a special report recently published with editorial evaluation and comment by the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society of Melbourne, Australia.
Before going into the details of these Father Gill sightings, description and some analysis of another series of well-authenticated sightings will be given. These happenings occurring a little south of the region of Father Gill's experiences, in what is known as the Gulf Country of Northern Australia constitute supporting evidence of the concentration of UFO activity in this Part of the world. Details concerning the Gulf Country sightings are given in the Queensland Society publication "Light" already referred to.
* The Air Force has since labeled this object a "fireball" in spite of the reported maneuvers.
THE GULF COUNTRY SIGHTINGS OF JULY 8, 1959
Four prominent Australians reported having seen an unidentified aerial object on July 8, 1959. These men include Mr. J. H. Horn, a director of General Motors-Holden's; Mr. W. A. Green, Managing-Director of Eagers Holding Ltd; Dr. Athol Quale, a Wickham Terrace specialist; and Dr. C. A. Renan, a Melbourne surgeon. The object was seen at 6:37 P.M. local time when the men were getting ready to shoot crocodiles twenty miles up the Norman River from the town of Karumba. They saw a "round patch about half the size of a full moon, a mixture of yellow, red, and green iridescent light travelling twice the speed of a Canberra jet bomber." The object stayed in the sky five to eight seconds before disappearing.
In reporting the incident Mr. Green said: "There's no shenanigans about this. It was something none of us had ever seen before. What impressed us most was that the object travelled parallel to the ground. It did not move up or down, as you would expect with something natural. And the thing was dead silent."
According to Mr. Green the object was ten to twelve degrees above the horizon. It travelled northwest, and appeared to be only two or three miles from the hunting party, and about two thousand feet from the ground. An object half the diameter of the full moon viewed at a distance of two-and-a-half miles figures out in size, sixty feet in diameter.
Several other persons reported having seen a "strange flying object" over northwest Queensland on July 8. These include four men from the state of Victoria, Mr. W. McDonald, retired farmer of Ballarat; Mr. E. Stone, retired farmer; Mr. L Afford, grazier, of Hopetown; and Mr. J. A. Watson, a fifty-nine-year-old retired traveler. These men with their wives were on a caravan holiday when they saw the "object" about dusk. The party of eight persons was camped near a tree-lined creek, forty miles east of the town of Cloncurry, a few miles south from the crocodile hunting party.
Mr. Watson of the group reported the incident as follows: "The women were getting supper, and we men were standing about talking when Lionel Afford called out "Look!" I swung around to the north and saw something in the sky--a short yellow streak--disappearing between the trees on the creek bank. I could see it flashing through the trees. It seemed about twelve to twenty feet from the ground and was descending at a slight angle like an aircraft coming in to land.
"It had three lights--a red, a yellow, and a yellow-green. We could see no more detail; it looked about as far away as the horizon. "
These two groups of people apparently observed the same phenomenon. The time reported by the hunters, 6:37P.M. July 8, corresponds to the time reported by the campers, "about dusks' July 8. The colors of the object reported by both groups correspond. The hunters described "a mixture of yellow, red, and green iridescent light;" the campers referred to "three lights — a red, a yellow, and a yellow-green." The position and motion of the UFO as observed by both groups correspond to their respective positions, the camper group located some miles south of the hunters. The hunters told of the object as having "traveled northwest," "parallel to the ground," "about ten or twelve degrees above the horizon." The campers told of looking "to the north," the object "disappearing between the trees, " observed as "twelve to twenty feet from the ground, " "descending at a slight angle, " and at such a distance that it "looked about as far away as the horizon. " The object viewed was north of both groups of observers; its path was approximately parallel to the ground; to the party farther north the object was ten to twelve degrees above the horizon; to the party farther south the object looked close to the horizon.
Reports indicate that still other persons saw the same object. A railway surveyor, Mr. Thomas George Cliff had reported having seen a strange aerial object near Cloncurry in approximately the same neighborhood during the same night, July 8.
A fisherman, Ray Nicholson, on a twenty-eight-foot boat, the Jindivik, six miles north of the mouth of the Cockatoo River, forty-five miles north of Mapoon Mission (about seven hundred miles north of the campers) witnessed a UFO " a few minutes after sundown" on July 8. Also Mrs. Ray Nicholson and Mr. Ron Brandt, on board the vessel Sea Fury, six miles south of the Jindivik, saw the same object.
Farther north the same night, July 8, a huge, glowing, red object "landed" on top of a hill on Prince of Wales Island, ten miles off Cape York Peninsula. This report came from a native woman, Mrs. Napan Abednego, of Thursday Island, Mrs. Abednego, her husband Koko, and their three children witnessed the phenomenon. The Abednego’s had been on a visit to the lonely Prince of Wales Island where they own a small orchard.
Natives on the island where the UFO landed were terrified and refused to go near the landing place. Mrs. Abednego said the strange object was on top of a hill at Port Lihou, on the southern tip of Thursday Island.
If we assume that these reports all refer to the same UFO, and from the detailed facts in the case, this is a reasonable assumption, a total of seventeen persons besides an undetermined number of frightened natives on Prince of Wales Island witnessed the phenomenon. When one plots the localities of these sightings on July 8 on a map, from the camping site of the Victorians to the Prince of Wales Island, it can be seen that all of the reported sightings in this region on that evening lie along a straight line running almost due north for a distance of seven hundred and fifty miles.
THE GILL PAPUA SIGHTINGS OF JUNE 21 TO 29, 1959
I am greatly indebted to Mr. Peter E. Norris, LL. B., President of the "Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society" of Melbourne, Australia for material and data on the sightings in Australia and New Guinea. Concerning the Gill sightings I quote from a letter received recently from Mr. Norris:
"The most significant report is the 'UFO's with Men' sighted in New Guinea by Father William Gill and thirty-eight others. Gill is now living in Melbourne and we have had a good chance to gain an impression of his character. The conclusion is inevitable that this is the most dramatic and among the most authentic in sightings in the history of ufology. At last we have a 'near contactee' who is able to emerge unscathed from the most searching examination. "
The Reverend William Booth Gill, a graduate of Brisbane University, a young Anglican clergyman, has spent over eight years on mission work in Papua and New Guinea. He and his family recently returned to Australia on account of his two children. He presently resides in Melbourne and expects to accept a teaching position in one of the Church of England's schools.
The reported sightings following were made between the dates of June 21 and June 29, 1959, at the site of his mission station at Boianai on the north coast of Papua, near the southeastern tip of the island of New Guinea.
Early Sunday, 1:00 A.M., June 21, 1959, Mr. Stephen Gill Moi, a Papuan teacher at the mission, saw a very bright object about a quarter of a mile out to sea descending from a great height.
The object stopped at an estimated height of three hundred feet where it gradually decreased in brilliance until its shape could be discerned as that of an inverted saucer. The movement of the object occupied about three minutes, and then it hovered stationary at an altitude of three hundred feet about one fourth of a mile away, for about one half a minute. The saucer-shaped object was tilted slightly backwards so that part of its base was visible. The object then moved upwards and disappeared from view into the clouds. The underside of the object displayed "about four round, black spots."
Rev. Gill's reaction to this report by his teaching assistant is revealed in his interview with representatives of the Australasian Post. Rev. Gill immediately after the June 21 incident wrote to a friend, concerning this incident, the Rev. David Durie, Acting Principal of St. Aidan's College, Dogura:
"My simple mind still requires scientific evidence before I can accept the 'from outer-space' theory.
"I am inclined to agree that many unidentified flying objects are more likely to be some kind of electric phenomena.
"I prefer to wait for some bright boy to catch one and exhibit it in Martin Place."
Signed "Doubting William."
Just a few days later on June 26, he saw a UFO close up with persons on board. On June 27 UFO's again appeared and humanlike persons aboard waved their arms at him in answer to his similar greetings to them!
Then the Rev. William Gill wrote again to Rev. D. Durie:
"I have changed my views somewhat. Last night we at Boianai experienced about four hours of unidentified flying object activity.
"There is no doubt whatever these things are handled by beings of some kind.
"At times the whole affair was absolutely breathtaking. . . ."
At 6:45 P. M. the evening of June 26 a bright light was sighted in the northwest sky from the mission front door. Excitement was stirred up in the mission community and as the UFO approached many people gathered to observe the phenomenon. Rev. Gill's detailed notes describe the sighting of one very large UFO and some smaller ones, their various maneuverings extending from 6:45 P. M. until 10:30 P. M. Below a cloud-covered ceiling a large "Mother" ship came close enough at times and hovered probably two thousand feet or less above the ocean
so that details could be discerned. As many as four different light-colored human figures appeared at times on the deck. This was witnessed by thirty-eight persons. As a ship descended through the clouds it reflected light like a large halo on the underside of the cloud. The larger "mother ship" gave off changing colors from time to time, white, red, and blue. At 10:50 the sky was very overcast, the ships having disappeared upward in the clouds.
The apparent size of the large UFO "Mother ship" was described as a full hand span, five inches, at arm's length. This corresponds to about twenty times the apparent diameter of the full moon. Four rod-like projections were observed on the underside of the craft. A shaft of blue light at an elevation angle of about forty-five degrees shone on top of the craft. The color of the ship was a dull yellow or pale orange, except when moving. When it finally moved away at great speed at 9:30 P.M., the color changed from thin white to deep red and then to blue-green.
Besides the large "Mother ship A," four other craft were observed. The largest of these smaller craft designated as "B" appeared to be one inch across at arm's length. This corresponds to a diameter of four times that of the full moon. Ship "B" had five panels of light windows.
UFO's were also observed Saturday night, Sunday night, and Monday night, June 27, 28, and 29.
On Saturday night Rev. Gill and his mission boys exchanged hand signals with four occupants of the "Mother ship." Rev. Gill made some calculations assuming the ship occupants were the same size as earth people. The top disc of the "Mother ship" figures twenty feet in diameter, the bottom disc roughly thirty-five feet. The altitude of the ship varied between twenty five hundred feet down to four hundred fifty feet.
In describing the exchange of greetings taking place Saturday night between the mission group and the space men, Rev. Gill writes as follows:
"We watched figures appear on top--four of them--no doubt that they were human. On the large one (ship) two of the figures seemed to be doing something near the center of the disc-were occasionally bending over and raising their arms as though adjusting or 'setting up' something (not visible). One figure seemed to be standing, looking down at us (a group of about a dozen). I stretched my arm above my head and waved. To our surprise the figure did the same. Ananias (a native) waved both arms over his head,
then the two outside figures did the same. Ananias and self began waving our arms and all four now seemed to wave back. There seemed to be no doubt that our movements were answered. All mission boys made audible gasps (of either joy or surprise, perhaps both).
"As dark was beginning to close in, I sent Eric Kodawara for a torch and directed a series of long dashes towards the UFO. After a minute or two of this, the UFO apparently acknowledged by making several wavering motions back and forth. "
Rev. Gill reports that on Saturday night at 10:40 a terrific explosion was heard just outside the Mission House. Nothing was seen. He thinks it could have been an electrical atmospheric explosion as the whole sky was overcast. At 11:05 a few drops of rain fell. The explosion seemed to be just outside the window--not an Ordinary thunderclap--but a penetrating "ear splitting" explosion. It woke up people on the station.
On Sunday night eight UFO's were seen at one time. There was no activity on board any of the craft. At 11:20 P.M. a sharp metallic and loud bang on the Mission House roof was heard as though a piece of metal dropped from a great height. Outside, four UFO's were in a circle over the station.
On Monday night UFO's were again in evidence. On each of the four nights a large craft and smaller ones were observed. The Mission roof was examined but no apparent sign of mark or dent was found there.
THE NEW ZEALAND SIGHTING OF JULY 13, 1959
Another sighting of a fantastic character was witnessed by Mrs. Frederick Moreland of Old Renwick Road, Blenheim, New Zealand, on the early morning of July 13, 1959. Mrs. Moreland lives with her husband, an employee of the Woodbourne station of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, with their five children on a small farm outside of Blenheim, near the northeast tip of South Island.
The story of Mrs. Moreland's unusual experience is related somewhat in detail in the July 22 issue of the Nelson Evening Mail. Mrs. Moreland's account in part as given to the Mail reporter reads as follows:
"At 5:30 a.m. on Monday, July 13, I went across the paddock to milk the cows. I noticed a green glow in the clouds. As there was no moon I wondered what it was. When I was half way
across the paddock two large green things, like eyes or big lamps, appeared above me and dropped towards the ground.
"I noticed that I was bathed in green light and that all the paddock was green, too. It was a horrid sort of colour. My first thought was, I shouldn't be here, and I made a dive for the trees (a stand of pines on the other side of the three-acre paddock). I stood and watched.
"A saucer-shaped glow with two indented green lights in the bottom descended. The air became very warm. Two rows of jets around the middle shot out orange-coloured flames. They appeared to revolve in opposite directions. The thing was about 20 to 30 feet in diameter. It hovered at about roof height.
"The jets stopped and a light was switched on in what appeared to be a perspex or glass roof or dome, which glowed. The bottom appeared to be of a greyish colour. There was a faint hum in the air as it hovered.
"There were two men in it, dressed in fairly close-fitting suits of shiny material. The only thing I can think of to describe it is aluminum foil. Opaque helmets rose from their shoulders. I could not see their faces.
"One of the two men stood up and put two hands in front of him as if leaning over to look downwards He then sat down and, after a minute or two, the jets started off again and, tilting slightly at first, the thing shot up vertically at great speed and disappeared into the clouds. When it did this it made a soft but high pitched sound.
"I was so dumbfounded that I stood in the trees for a moment not knowing what to do. There was a smell of something which resembled pepper in the air. At last I decided to continue getting in and milking the cows. ..."
The Nelson Evening Mail of August 6 told of two other persons in a locality not far from the home of Mrs. Moreland who witnessed unusual aerial phenomena at about the same time. Mr. Roy Holdaway, a farmer at Dillon's Point, rises at 4:30 a. m. every morning. He told of seeing a sky object of "greeny colour --travelling from east to west towards Blenheim." A neighbor's wife reported seeing a "very bright light in the eastern sky travelling in a horizontal position from north to south" early that same morning.
The incident was investigated by a number of authorities including the Blenheim police, the authorities of the New Zealand
Air Force, Captain W. T. Rainbow of the National Airways Corporation, and Mr. Harold H. Fulton, Director of Civilian Saucer Investigation of New Zealand. Mr. Fulton comments: "I learned that the police vouched for the witness in whom they had confidence; none of the interviewing officers could detect any sign of fabrication and all were impressed."
It is noted that this New Zealand sighting is not nearly so well substantiated as innumerable other less spectacular reports. If this account is fiction, one must credit Mrs. Moreland either with a most vivid imagination or else a rather exhaustive acquaintance with sightings of UFO's over the past thirteen years. If this particular sighting is real, one must credit Mrs. Moreland with a most alert capacity for noting details. For among the numerous details descriptive of this incident are several that have been noted in connection with other instances of UFO sightings. Among these are the following (quoted from the foregoing account):
1. "saucer-shaped glow"
2. "air became very warm"
3. "middle ... appeared to revolve"
4. "about 20 to 30 feet in diameter"
5. "hovered at about roof height"
6. "glass roof or dome"
7. "faint hum in the air"
8. "close-fitting suits of shiny material... helmets"
9. "tilting slightly at first"
10. "shot up vertically at great speed"
11. "soft but high-pitched sound"
12. "smell which resembled pepper"
Upon the basis of the above descriptive details noted by Mrs. Moreland, the evidence appears to be very strong that her experience was real.
C. A. M.
The Swedish "Ghost Rockets"
The mystery of unidentified objects seen in the sky is nothing new. Just how old it is, on the other hand, is impossible to say. The mystery that goes under the name "flying saucers" is new, at least in name and in the reactions it has caused. For centuries before 1947 strange aerial objects were seen and duly recorded as something mysterious. Today, and for at least the past 12 years, strange aerial objects are being reported in even greater number and detail.
In the "flying saucer" mystery, however, there are two major differences: (1) A more complete record has been kept of the modern reports; (2) It is no longer admitted that the objects--call them "omens in the sky" or "flying saucers" are a mystery. In short, "flying saucers" or UFOs have been pointedly ignored as unworthy of serious, scientific attention. The evidence for them has been glossed over and buried deliberately by some responsible officials, and incidentally by droves of self-appointed experts and seers.
At the close of World War II, strange fiery-looking globes of light, which came to be known as "foo-fighters," paced Allied planes both in Europe and Asia. In the daytime they often resembled silvery spheres. The Allies suspected that they belonged to the enemy. As it later turned out, the Germans and Japanese thought they belonged to the Allies. When this fact was realized, the sightings were glossed over and assumed to be caused by "something natural." These objects have never been explained. *
Thus began the modern era of UFOs. Since World War II the record of UFOs has swelled producing a mystery of gigantic proportions. A mystery consisting largely of silvery
* See Jo Chamberlin, "The Foo Fighter Mystery," American Legion, Dec. 45, p. 9
spheres and discs in daytime, and fiery globes at night. The best evidence for the "foo-fighters," however, remains locked up in the limbo of classified military documents.
In 1946 another type of UFO made its debut. Reports on these objects, concentrated in Sweden, were printed in the press. All during the summer of 1946 thousands of people in Sweden sighted the strange objects. The first impression, since the objects were mostly elongated ones, was that they "must be" German V-2 type rockets. Since the war was over and many of the reports came from the Baltic Sea area, the Russians were prime suspects. Nevertheless, the Russians vigorously denied knowledge of the missiles.
Before the "ghost rockets" disappeared as mysteriously as they had come, Swedish authorities, annoyed at the flagrant violations of their air spaces, had clamped down with stringent security measures to prevent the owners of the missiles from gaining any useful information about the progress of the flights.
The Swedish "ghost rocket" mystery in many ways parallels the later "flying saucer" mystery, and warrants careful study on that account. For at least five months the inexplicable "fireballs" or "rockets" cavorted around in Scandinavian skies causing much confusion and displeasure. Then authority spoke. Dr. Manne Siegbahn, Swedish nuclear physicist and Nobel Prize winner, said on September 17: "There is no clear evidence that any guided missiles have been flying over Sweden. I myself have examined one reported to be such a missile and found it was a meteorite. I am very suspicious about the existence of any such thing." Dr. Siegbahn went on to say that "hysteria" might have been a factor in the reports. *
Does this sound familiar? It is an example, perhaps the first in the modern UFO era, of a competent scientist passing personal judgment on something which he has not even investigated, except very superficially. Since, by his own admission, he had only examined one report, his statement amounts to nothing more than personal skepticism. In the popular view, however, "science has spoken." The scientific method, it should be made clear, does not allow one scientist's opinion based on investigation of one incident to be called a "scientific" Conclusion. The fact of the matter is that science has yet to
* New York Times; Sept. 17, 1946, p. 8
investigate UFOs, and even to recognize that UFOs are a problem. As later in the United States, the Swedish military evidenced much more concern and came to very different conclusions after a long investigation.
By July 28, the UFO situation in Sweden had induced conditions reminiscent of war-time:
Stockholm, Sweden (AP): "A limited censorship has been imposed on information concerning unidentified flying missiles --believed to be flying bombs or rockets—that have been sighted over Swedish territory in recent weeks. The authorities have banned the publication of names of localities where the missiles have been sighted and newspapers have been required to use the dateline 'Somewhere in Sweden' when writing about the subject." *
All through July and into mid-August, according to an AP wire on August 11, the flying "fireballs" were reported nearly every day. From July 9-12 alone, the Swedish military received 300 UFO reports. The objects usually flew at great height making no appreciable sound. One such flight was measured over a course of 600 miles. Some of the objects observed at lower altitudes appeared to be almost square and were red on the underside.
The latter observations raise an interesting point. Since 1947 the name "flying saucer" has been used somewhat misleadingly to describe objects of many shapes, though discs have been the most common type. When the American mystery began, the objects were initially called "saucers" and that name stuck. In Sweden it was first assumed that the UFOs were rockets similar to the German V-2. The appellation "rocket" was used initially, and it too was misleading. Though the rocket shape did seem to predominate, the "ghost rockets" were nearly as often seen as plain fireballs. At that time the rocket or cigar-shaped UFOs were something new to the observers, but they are now a well-established type.
One of the best early sightings of the "flying cigar" occurred on August 12. The night before, a swarm of the "rockets" had passed over Stockholm at about 10:00 p.m. One report described a cigar-shaped "bomb" travelling slowly at about 1, 500 feet altitude. Then the next day an unnamed astronomer made the following report:
* New York Times; July 28, p. 32.
New York Times, (Special), August 13, 1946: "I was studying some clouds through a telescope when suddenly I observed a luminous point in the sky. I first believed it to be an airplane, but soon I noticed it was traveling much too fast for that, and within two seconds I got a good view of the projectile. I managed to get a good view of the bomb's body and estimate that it was at least 90 feet long. The body was torpedo-shaped and shining like metal. No sound could be heard, although the bomb was only 2 kilometers away. At the explosion, a terrific light flashed up that for a moment completely blinded me. No fire, smoke, or sparks were noticeable. "
Note that the astronomer was observing the object while presupposing it was a bomb or explosive device. He then interpreted the bright flash of light as an explosion even though no fire or smoke resulted. There is no mention of an explosive sound, and it would be interesting to know whether one was heard. At any rate he clearly observed a "torpedo-shaped" unidentified flying object.
On the previous night, the same article reported, three of the objects had crashed and tight censorship had been invoked. The Swedish General Staff termed the situation "extremely serious." Sweden was now using radar in an effort to learn more about the objects. General James H. Doolittle, who was headed for Sweden, was rumored to be going there to inspect the radar equipment. Swedish authorities were getting fed up and were eager to get to the bottom of the mystery as soon as possible.
Then on August 13 more "rockets" were seen in Sweden and Denmark. One burst into, pieces and fell into the water narrowly missing a boat. Some Boy Scouts reported seeing one of the objects turn about 35° and then return to its original course. A night watchman in West Jutland watched a "rocket" approach from the northeast and explode with a roar and bright flash.
The same day Swedish authorities indicated that the original explanation, missiles akin to the V-2, did not seem to be correct:
"Swedish Military authorities said today they had received no tangible proof that the freak celestial phenomena observed over Sweden resulted from foreign experiments with aerial missiles." *
* Stockholm (AF), Aug. 13, 1946.
The objects had been demoted to "freak celestial phenomena."
As the mystery wore on, no explanation was forthcoming. Later in the United States officials also stated that "no authentic physical evidence...“had been found to indicate that UFOs were space ships. The alleged lack of physical evidence has been an important consideration to scientists and others in evaluating the UFO mystery. In both cases, it should be noted, the official statements were weasel-worded. Neither statement said that no physical evidence of the phenomenon in question had been found. The Swedish statement denied tangible proof of foreign missile experiments, and the later U. S. statement denied physical evidence of space ships. It is incorrect to construe these statements as denial of physical evidence of UFOs. The Swedish UFOs just could not be explained in terms of conventional devices, but that did not mean that the objects were nonexistent.
On October 11 Swedish military authorities announced that they had been unable to discover the origin or nature of the "ghost rockets" after investigating for four months. Of the 1,000 reports handled, 80 per cent could have been "celestial phenomena," they said. The radar study, however, had detected some objects "which cannot be the phenomena of nature or products of imagination, nor be referred to as Swedish airplanes." They were not, the report added, V-type German bombs either. *
Considering later official reports in other countries, this was a remarkably frank statement of the facts. While pointing out that a great many reports could not be attributed to careless or inexpert observations, the report stated explicitly that real unidentified flying objects had also been seen. In the United States the large percentage of "identified" objects often have been used to negate reports of unidentified and unidentifiable objects. The very reports which should receive serious attention, those from competent observers which resulted in "unknowns," have been treated as if they were less valuable than the bulk of inaccurate reports. Curious logic indeed, but not uncommon to officials handling UFO reports.
Five months after this announcement, on March 21, 1947, several people in southern Sweden watched a cigar-shaped metallic-appearing object move slowly across the sky from
* New York Times: Oct 11, 1946, p. 3
east to west at high altitude. Visible for a considerable time in bright daylight, the object left a smoke trail which remained long after the object itself had disappeared. * It may be that the "thing" was headed for the United States where less than four months later, the name "flying saucer" was coined as the American branch of the UFO mystery burst into print.
Both in Sweden and, later, in the United States, the investigations of UFOs centered around military sightings, in both places military security prevented the public from seeing the whole picture and hampered free and open discussion of the controversial objects. Civilian scientists of both countries either were kept ignorant of the best data or were not interested enough to examine it. The files of the Swedish Air Ministry certainly must contain many keys to what is now popularly known as the "flying saucer mystery."
The modern era of UFOs, then, can be said (arbitrarily) to have begun with the World War II reports of silvery circular objects and fiery globes. In 1946 the torpedo-shaped "rockets" and fireballs came into prominence in Scandinavia. As will be shown, silvery discs, spheres, and "torpedoes" in the daytime, and fiery globes or fireballs at night have been reported consistently ever since. Slowly but surely a solid body of careful reports from competent observers has accumulated. Inexorably the evidence continues to mount, crying out for open recognition and scientific study.
* New York Times; March 22, 1947, p. 8.
PART II: A Scientist Looks at UFOs
Scientist Finds Some Saucer Reports still to be Satisfactorily Explained
The subject of flying saucers has from time to time engaged the attention of the American public since the summer of 1947. On June 24 of that year a businessman, Kenneth Arnold, flying in his private plane over the Cascade Mountains in the state of Washington, reported observing a chain of nine disc-shaped objects flying with tremendous speed.
The objects sailed over the peaks in a manner resembling the skipping of flat stones thrown across the surface of a pond. Mr. Arnold described the unidentifiable objects as "flying saucers." The story of his fantastic experience captured the fancy of the public. Since that date literally thousands of reports of strange aerial phenomena from all parts of the world have been reported by the press from week to week.
It would take volumes to describe in detail all the phenomena said to have been observed in the skies over this planet during the past eight years. There are historical records going back into the remote past giving isolated instances of strange unexplainable aerial occurrences. But starting in 1947, the number of such reports suddenly increased a thousand fold.
In spite of all the material available to the serious student of these phenomena, very little is definitely known. Controversy still rages between those who doubt the reality of these sightings and those who declare that they are definitely what they appear to be, actual fast-moving material objects seemingly intelligently maneuvered.
The Air Force Technical Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Field, Dayton, maintains a continuing investigation of such reports. The Department of the Air Force recently issued a detailed statement on this subject which can probably best be summarized by the following excerpt:
"The Air Force would like to state that no evidence has been received which would tend to indicate that the United States is being observed by machines from outer space or a foreign government. No object or particle of an unknown substance has been received and no photographs of detail have been produced."
Only one American institution of higher learning has sponsored research in this field. Ohio Northern University undertook such a study in August, 1952, under the leadership of a former dean of that institution, Dr. Warren Hichman. The project was closed two years later voluntarily because of the inability of those in charge of the study to secure sufficient cooperation from other agencies elsewhere similarly engaged, to share like information.
Quoting from the report of this university: "Project A is closing merely because we possess no means of obtaining further information with which to make a study." The work at Ohio Northern did lead, however, to the statement of a definite conclusion arrived at by the group in charge. This reads in part as follows:
"...a sizeable fraction of the sightings throughout the country were sightings made of material objects... not standard aircraft... possessing ability to maneuver at extremely high speeds."
Very few American scientists have as yet committed themselves publicly as believing that these unidentified flying objects actually do exist, although a number have expressed doubt as to the reality of the phenomena. In this connection it might be interesting to note an extract quoted from a directive issued by an Air Force officer a short time ago. This reads as follows:
"At this time we are experiencing renewed reporting of unidentified flying objects by ground observer personnel. This information is invaluable to the Air Force in evaluating the situations surrounding the sightings of flying objects. "
One prominent aeronautical specialist expressing himself on this topic is Major Donald E. Keyhoe, former chief of information for the Aeronautics Branch, Department of Commerce,
author of The Flying Saucers Are Real, * and Flying Saucers From Outer Space. ** Major Keyhoe states positively his belief that these objects originate from outer space.
Dr. Maurice A. Biot, a leading aerodynamicist in the United States and a prominent mathematical physicist, is quoted by Life magazine as declaring: "The least improbable explanation is that these things are artificial and controlled... My opinion for some time has been that they have an extraterrestrial origin. "
A few aeronautical engineers of other nations have definitely given expression to their convictions on this subject. These include Dr. Walther Riedel, now in the employ of the United States Government, formerly chief designer at the German rocket laboratory at Peenemunde, who says: "I am completely convinced that they (flying saucers) have an out-of-world basis." ***
The American Weekly of October 24, 1954, quotes Professor Hermann Oberth of Germany, an internationally known authority on guided missiles and whose technical writings were said to be of vital importance in the development of the Germans' famous V-2 rocket, who argues: "It is my thesis that flying saucers are real and that they are space ships from another solar system."
The London Sunday Dispatch quotes British Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, commander-in-chief of the Royal Air Force and one of Britain's foremost aviation experts as stating: "I have never seen a flying saucer, and yet I believe that they exist."
The material presented in this article covers one type of these strange occurrences which recently have attracted quite a bit of attention among those interested in the study of the subject. One of the most interesting happenings took place not long ago in Ohio.
This occurred last October 22, some 15 miles northwest of Columbus. The pupils of Jerome Elementary School had been granted an extra recess that afternoon as a reward for good behavior. As described by one of the two teachers of the school, Mrs. George W. Dittmar, "It was one of those glorious warm fall days and the whole sky was a clear blue."
The attention of the children became directed toward a strange object in the sky circling high above the school. The
* Fawcett Gold Medal Books; now out of print ** Henry Holt & Co., 1953.
*** Life; April 7, 1952. **** Life, op cit.
object was dazzling bright and cigar-shaped. The children watched the object a while before thinking to call their principal, R. R. Warrick. In response to their shouts Mr. Warrick came out to the fire escape in time to observe the object at that moment hanging high and motionless in the sky. Then the ship made off at tremendous speed, disappearing rapidly from view.
Mr. Warrick called Mrs. Dittmar, who at once came out on the fire escape too late to observe the object, but in time to witness a most beautiful scene. For, as the object darted away there appeared another strange sight. The air as high and far around as the teachers and children could see was filled with "the most beautiful soft white looking tufts like cotton slowly floating to the ground." Mr. Warrick said it was almost at once as the object disappeared that this material began to show in the sky. For about 45 minutes they watched this fibrous material floating downward.
The children brought up pieces of it to the fire escape for Mr. Warrick and Mrs. Dittmar to examine. In the words of Mrs. Dittmar "the substance had long fibers very much as if someone had taken strands of 'angel hair' and pushed some in bunches toward the middle or end, leaving a trail of fibers attached to it. It was very fine and soft to touch. It did not stick to our hands, but when we held two ends and pulled, it stretched without tearing. Where it stretched it had a shiny appearance. The part we held between our fingers very quickly seemed to go to nothing.
"However, we could roll it between our fingers into a very, very tiny ball. In a short while our hands had a green stain on them. I soon washed my hands in warm water and the stain rinsed quickly off. Mr. Warrick said he was leaving his on his hands to see what would happen. He later said his hands became clammy and finally the color disappeared of its own accord."
Mrs. Dittmar goes on to say, "When we left the school, we noticed it clinging to the grass, flagpole, and some on the cars. I believe the thing that impressed me even further was what we saw as we drove the three miles to the Columbus road. The telephone wires were completely woven shut, as if hands had carefully spread 'angel hair' out very evenly. Not only this, but the telephone wires were connected to the electric wires on the other side of the road, so that it was
like a misty canopy over the road for three miles. No more seemed to be coming down by this time."
In addition to the statements by Mrs. Dittmar and Mr. Warrick, it seemed advisable to get testimony from the children. So in answer to my request Mrs. Dittmar suggested to some of the sixth grade pupils that a college professor would like their stories about what they had seen. Letters from six of the children were received. Mrs. Dittmar wrote that she had "no desire to try to excite the children or work them up in any way." But those that did write, freely and on their own account and without any prompting or suggestions from their teacher, were more impressed by the fact that a college professor was interested in getting letters from them than by their strange experience. Mrs. Dittmar explained, "I did not tell them to write the paper. I did not tell them what to write. "
The letters of the children are most interesting, each telling in his own words what he or she saw. These letters support in an impressive way the more detailed statements of the teachers. There is no question in my own mind of the sincerity and truthfulness of these statements. The writer makes no effort to interpret the phenomenon witnessed by these two teachers and their pupils. It is up to the reader to pass judgment as to the reality of what was experienced.
Other similar occurrences also can be brought up for review. A reporter for the Valley Times, North Hollywood, California, told of a similar event in the San Fernando Valley, November 16, 1953. Mr. and Mrs. Louis Dangelo and neighbors were watching three jet planes, when behind the planes they noticed a silvery ball. The jet planes landed and Mrs. Dangelo describes what then took place. The silvery ball "moved up and down and even sideways. Finally a long streamer of white stuff--almost like a vapor trail--spewed out its back end. It detached itself from the ball and began settling earthward. It spread out, stringy, sort of like white wool being shredded, and it dropped down all over the neighborhood like cobwebs. Wires running to our homes turned white. They still sparkle at night. "
Samples of this material were secured by an engineer of Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. Engineers from North American Aviation and from Douglass Aircraft also were on the scene. Reports are that the material "could not be analyzed.” Quoting further from the Valley Times article, "the material looks like finely shredded wool or spun glass.
Held between the fingers for a few moments, it dissolves into nothing. Mrs. Dangelo, describing its static qualities, said it often seemed to 'jump' from a bush or tree and cling to one's hair." The newspaper published three photographs of the material.
Lt. Col. James C. McNamara, USAR, in Pageant magazine for November, 1954, tells of a similar incident occurring on February 1, 1954, also in the San Fernando Valley. This phenomenon was observed from two localities independently by different persons.
On that same day some 30 miles away in the San Fernando Valley, Mrs. Mel Barnes was watching a jet plane maneuvering. Then she saw a "round ball near the plane, but going faster than it. The ball was about three times the size of a full moon. It was plain, dead white, but didn't glisten. Suddenly a stream of white lacy substance flowed from the ball. Then the ball went straight up and disappeared. "
The material fell over an area estimated as three city blocks. It caught on trees, fences, and telephone wires. An investigator from Lockheed Aircraft Corporation secured a sample of the material.
The Oakland, California, Tribune told of a sighting at Pleasant Hill, Calif., and a like recovery of whitish substance emitted by the objects.
A number of reports of like phenomena observed in other parts of the world have been noted in recent years--in Australia, France and Italy.
Upon the basis of the accounts, it is not possible, of course, to arrive at very definite conclusions as to the true character of the phenomena described. It is contended, however, that material has been presented which forcibly points to the reality of what has taken place in many places at various recent times throughout the world. It is difficult to understand how one could conclude that all of these incidents are delusions, hallucinations, mirages, skyhook balloons, the planet Venus or what have you. And yet these are the so-called deductions of many orthodox scientists.
One feature of the problem is the tendency of some scientists to issue statements denying the validity of reports on saucer sightings along with unqualified ridicule of the entire subject and all persons connected with it. It is quite apparent to a serious student in this field that those responsible for such statements have made little if any serious effort to
investigate for themselves. It is recognized that such persons within their own fields of specialization might be thorough and cautious in arriving at conclusions. It may be questioned whether a true scientist would be prone to ridicule the claims of any field of investigation not his own, certainly not until he has patiently and thoroughly attempted to evaluate a considerable body of the material pertaining to that field.
The true scientific attitude or approach to any subject for investigation is that of an open mind--to let the facts as they can be best appraised spell out the conclusions.
C. A. M. May, 1, 1955
Saucers and Science
On October 25, 1955, Donald A. Quarles, Secretary of the Air Force, issued a statement to the press, that as a result of an exhaustive study completed by the Air Force, covering some 316 pages of material replete with charts, drawings and statistical data, the widely reported flying saucers did not actually exist. "On the basis of this study,” said Quarles, "we believe that no objects such as those popularly described as flying saucers have over flown the United States.”
In view of the growing lists of reports of flying saucers and other unidentified flying objects from all parts of the world, many of these reports given by experienced air pilots and other competent observers; this is a most amazing statement. With the evidence for the reality of flying saucers growing stronger day by day, it is hard to understand how such a conclusion could be arrived at. Not long ago, in May 1954 to be specific, seven years after the first reports began piling in, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, in charge of the official Air Force investigation of unidentified flying objects argued that if flying saucers exist, they are craft from outer space. Being in possession of all the then secret government data on the phenomena and having personally investigated a large number of cases, he was unable to arrive at a definite conclusion as to the real nature of reported sightings. Nothing has transpired since that date to unravel the mysteries of the large number of cases unexplainable in terms of the so-called natural causes. It might also be noted that previously, in July 1952, Major General John A. Samford, Air Force Director of Intelligence, referred to the then "20 per cent of the reports--that have come from credible observers of relatively incredible things."
Air Force Secretary Quarles, in his governmental capacity less than a year and presumably with comparatively little or no background of study of unidentified flying objects, comes forward with a statement which in effect refutes even the former pronouncements of those officials who have given the problem immeasurably more study.
One unfortunate feature of this statement by Secretary Quarles is the fact that with the sensational front-page publicity given to it by all the big city newspapers in the United States, the statement coming as it does from one of the highest ranking officials of the United States government, it is by and large accepted at face value by the rank and file of the citizenry. I have noted that college and university professors, students, and the general public I have encountered seem to have swallowed this statement literally hook, line and sinker. Such is the power of publicity and the nation's press to mold and control public opinion.
One of my alert students who was interested in this subject and "taken in" by this pronouncement of Secretary Quarles was somewhat startled when I suggested that the Air Force Secretary was wrong in his judgment. "Well,” exclaimed this student, "how are we to know what is true and what isn't?" This poses a problem indeed. If, looking for the facts, one can not rely on the highly publicized statements of top ranking government officials, where will one turn to find the truth? Any dissenting viewpoint of an average citizen or even that of a specialist would scarcely secure local press recognition, let alone widespread publicity. Most people depend on the various news media for sources of information. Thus it appears that publicity alone determines the viewpoint of the bulk of the masses and apparently also the so-called well-informed.
Would the Air Force be willing to make its files accessible to physical scientists desiring to advance study in this field? This is a problem in which various branches of the physical science, by the very nature of the phenomena observed, should have an interest. The physical sciences of meteoritics, meteorology, astrophysics, and general physics could find in the data available on this subject many intriguing problems to investigate through the media of physical science technique and method.
Government studies have not been conducted in accordance with the methods of exact science.
The program of investigation has been under the supervision of subordinate military officers whose educational backgrounds have not been those of rigorous scientific study. Such individuals, lacking the precise specialized training of physical scientists in research methods have therefore found it necessary from time to time to avail themselves of the services of panels of scientists and also the part-time services of numerous individual scientists on an advisory oasis. Such an arrangement precludes the possibility of rigorous scientific analysis of the many puzzling features of the problem.
It would seem that the advice of scientists, even though secured from top men in various fields of science, could not possibly be of great value unless the primary interests of these men were in the field of unidentified flying objects. Top flight scientists as a rule are particularly interested only in the fields of research in which they have devoted their major efforts. Advice in a field somewhat distinct from their own could not serve much useful purpose.
Six years' study of this elusive problem has convinced me that any appraisal of phenomena in this field unless backed by considerable effort in getting at the true details, along with countless hours of thought on their interpretation, is of no considerable value. Significant findings in physical science are not usually obtained by panel discussion nor by widespread consultation. These devices might serve to stimulate thinking and to suggest procedures, but not to actually bring to light new findings. The persistent devoted effort of the individual scientist himself alone, free from supervision and in full charge of his research, is necessary if significant advances are to be made.
Moreover in ordinary scientific research new findings are invariably identified by the names of the scientists. In the Air Force studies to date the role of the scientist has been reversed. Instead of being in charge of the investigation he is merely the assistant who complies with the requests of the military. He is asked to aid inexperienced novices in scientific effort. The results of these so-called studies by the military are reported to the top brass, who though even without firsthand knowledge of the problem, have the final say-so to interpret the work and frame the concluding statements. Obviously this is an unsatisfactory situation.
Before any real advance in knowledge of unidentified flying
objects is secured by the military, the problem will have to be worked out by individual scientists. These most certainly will be permitted to assume full responsibility for their findings and like other scientists will have the rightful prerogative of identifying their individual contributions by their names. Moreover their studies will be available to other scientists for critical appraisal. This most certainly is not true at present.
The so-called Air Force study though very extensive, is pitifully limited in its scope. The limitation of the study of the elaborate data so far secured to a statistical evaluation from a pre-determined questionnaire form simply presupposes some pre-knowledge of the type of results to be expected. This procedure has proven effective in simple problems in education, psychology, and the social sciences. It is not a recognized research tool in physical science. The problems of physical science are never solved by such superficial methods. As one progresses in knowledge of any physical phenomenon the surprise element is ever present. The approach to a solution must constantly be changed because of unanticipated findings.
A copy of the "U. S. Air Force Technical Information Sheet, " a questionnaire of eight pages in length, is given in the Appendix of Major Keyhoe's book Flying Saucers From Outer Space, published in 1953. It appears that the Air Force study recently completed is based to a large extent upon the statistical findings secured by analysis of reports furnished from this and similar forms. Nowhere in this particular form (the only one I was able to secure) is there any question pertaining to the phenomenon of "Angel Hair, " and yet one of the most significant patterns of performance associated with unidentified flying objects concerns the circumstances under which this fiberous material is ejected from them.
Another significant finding not determinable through the medium of the questionnaire is the discovery of causes of peculiar changes in the apparent shapes of unidentified flying objects. There is strong evidence that a large number of the objects apparently observed, with their nebulous and variable outlines, are not the real objects, but rather cloud-like shapes lenticular and otherwise of glows and mist surrounding the sometimes obscured solid objects. As a result of such a discovery the statistical frequencies and probabilities secured
from the questionnaire material on shapes and outlines of objects observed would have little value.
The summary statement issued by the Air Force on October 25, 1955, advises that this study "was prepared by a panel of scientists both in and out of the Air Force.” Let it be particularly noted that though this study may have been prepared by a panel of scientists, it is significant that being restricted in their study by merely statistical analysis of data secured from a handed-down form, the scientists were in effect doing the work of subordinate clerks and statisticians.
In the well-documented accounts such as the Mantell case *, where detailed accounts involving perchance significant performances peculiar only to the one incident are vouched for and officially recognized, the statistical analysis of the kind used in the Air Force study fails completely. It is as if the whole problem were attacked with a self-imposed incomplete partial viewpoint.
Another incomplete aspect of the Air Force study is that it seems to include only reports of phenomena observed in the United States. For example, in France alone, according to the French author Aime Michel "a fairly complete account of the flying saucer observations made in France the last few years alone will fill several volumes.” Any study of flying objects which ignores the multidinous sightings elsewhere in the world surely is restricted in its scope.
The study of unidentified flying objects includes a variety of phenomena, many of which the Air Force does not attempt to deny. One such type of object is the so-called green fireball. This type of flying saucer has been observed frequently passing over southwestern United States as well as over Australia and other parts of the world. Dr. Lincoln La Paz, Head of the Department of Meteoritics of the University of New Mexico, has been actively studying this phenomenon for a number of years. No one denies the existence of this type of sky object probably because a scientist of wide reputation regards the phenomenon as real.
The reality of the so-called "Foo-fighters,” another type of unidentified sky object, has not been questioned by flying saucer skeptics, at least not publicly. These luminous objects
* Capt. Thomas Mantell, while pursuing a UFO January 7, 1948, in the vicinity of Fort Knox, Kentucky, in an F-51 fighter aircraft, crashed and was killed. The UFO, observed from Godman AFB tower, was a huge round glowing object which outdistanced the F-51.
small size and remarkable performance were encountered by aviators of both the Allies and the Nazis during the last World War and by American aviators in the Korean conflict. Because of the great number of similar incidents noted by experienced airmen in which these mysterious lights figured, no skeptic has ventured to deny that these objects have been seen.
There have been thousands of reports of circular and disc-shaped objects recorded since the spring of 1947. During the past three years and in increasing number, there have been reports of larger cigar-shaped objects seen along with smaller discs, or what were originally called "flying saucers." The Air Force pronouncement denies that such objects have flown over the United States even though literally hundreds of experienced airmen have testified as having encountered them and having observed them simultaneously, visually and on radar. It should not be overlooked that of all persons qualified to judge what they have seen, none are more competent than they who are the professional airmen.
A significant feature noted in the study of these various mysterious sky objects is that steadily with the passage of time the evidence for their reality keeps on accumulating. It is believed that little by little the various patterns of appearance and performance of these at present unidentified objects will become more clear and understandable. As long as the reports of these phenomena continue to be cumulative, and this feature has been noted time and time again, there is every good reason to believe that scientific knowledge of these strange sky objects will continue to grow. The many intriguing features of this study should certainly before long challenge the alert and serious minded scientists in increasing numbers.
The approach of physical science to the study of unexplained phenomena usually follows more or less the same pattern. Various observations occurring under similar conditions or possessing elements or similarity under diverse conditions are interpreted by an imaginative scientific mind in terms of an arbitrary theoretical picture which tentatively seems to fit the facts as observed. The theoretical picture fitting in with available observed facts suggests other possibilities of performance consistent with the requirements of the assumed theory. These predicted possibilities are then checked against actual observations either in the laboratory as in physics with a controlled set-up, or as in astronomy by persistent close
survey of accumulating details where laboratory examination is not possible.
The observed details of flying saucer appearance and performance fit remarkably well into a theory based upon the idea of a localized gravitational field. This theory is described with particular clarity in the French treatise Lueurs sur Les Soucoupes Volantes by Aime Michel. In this splendidly written book Michel gives a clear-cut picture of the created gravitational field principle in its application to flying saucer appearance and performance as developed by the brilliant young Frenchman Lieutenant Plantier. The localized gravitational field explanation is also the viewpoint of Professor Hermann Oberth of Germany, an internationally known authority on guided missiles and the conquest of space.
It should be noted that at the present time the top university and industrial laboratories and research centers of the United States and other countries are devoting great effort in the attempt to solve the secret of gravitational force. This concerted drive by scientists could with very little effort be associated with the rapidly mounting data about unidentified flying objects, which data fits into patterns of performance and appearance of gravity-controlled machines.
In a brief discussion such as this, one cannot amplify in detail the multitudinous evidences supporting the gravitational field idea but it can be demonstrated at length that these evidences are available. My personal investigations bear out perfectly the observations listed by Lt. Plantier in his analysis. * The concept of space travel through the device of gravity provides a logical explanation of the following features of flying saucer phenomena:
- The strictly circular disc shape of some forms.
- The capacity to stay motionless at any altitude, even a few feet above the ground.
- The absence of any loud sound attending hovering, slow speed, or supersonic speed.
- The absence of surface heating under a tremendous speed which would make the machine unbearably hot.
- The capacity to execute 90 degree or 180 degree turns under high speed without strain to parts of the machine, or injury to its occupants.
* A full discussion of Lt. Plantier’s theory is now included in an English edition of Michel's book entitled The Truth about Flying Saucers, Criterion Books, 1956.
- The brilliant glow of changing colors attending variations in speed and altitude.
- The surrounding, and often times obscuring, glow and cloud.
- The apparent changes in shape as well as apparent disappearances while under observation.
- The production of the fibrous material known as "angel hair" associated with sudden bursts of speed from a hovering position.
- The occasional explosion and complete disintegration associated with a sudden break-down of the localized gravitational field.
The Air Force policy of dispatching jet planes to pursue typical flying saucers whenever these are sighted is open to question. In spite of the fact that this has been done in the literally hundreds of instances, nothing appears to have been gained by so doing. In no case has a pursuing jet plane been able to catch up with the unidentified flying object except those in situations where it has apparently been permitted to do so by the intelligences controlling the maneuvers of the UFO. The usual policy of the UFO is to avoid contact with jet pursuers and, as a rule; the UFO will rapidly disappear from the scene in a tremendous burst of speed. It has been plainly apparent for some time that jet planes or any known type of air device cannot cope with the superior maneuvering of these objects. Moreover there is no evidence that UFOs have at any time attacked planes. There have been a few notable instances where tragedy has resulted as a consequence of a plane having come too close to a UFO. Two of the best known of these are the Captain Mantell case cited, and the Kinross incident of November 23, 1953. The latter case is described and analyzed in detail in Major Keyhoe's book, The Flying Saucer Conspiracy, (Henry Holt, 1955.)
It would appear that this pursuit policy fails to accomplish anything positive. It would also seem that such a policy exhibits unfriendliness, where possibly none would be meant, within the area of the United States. To judge by known incidents of Soviet attacks on American planes in the vicinity of communist territory, it would appear that UFOs also would be subject to hostile action anywhere within the Soviet-controlled territory. Thus the net world-over impression given to those controlling the scouting activities of UFOs is on the
whole hostile and unfriendly. If the US Air Force displayed friendliness toward these mysterious visitors from outer space the results could be beneficial --who knows?
A curious contradiction becomes apparent when one discusses this phase of UFOs. If according to the findings of the Air Force Intelligence these flying saucers do not exist, why is it that the Air Force expends so much effort, time, and expense in pursuing them? If the Air Force has finally discovered that they have been chasing will-o-the-wisps, is it not about time that a change in policy is in order?
Dr. Donald Menzel, professor of Astrophysics at Harvard University, author of textbooks and popular scientific articles, is well known among the intelligentsia class for his treatise on "Flying Saucers." * In fact whenever some student of flying saucer phenomena casually reveals his interest in the subject to one of these intelligentsia the latter's eyebrows will rise very noticeably and his face will momentarily brighten into a condescending smile as he confidently refers to the Harvard professor's authoritative work on the subject.
Such an answer was received by Mr. Ted Bloecher, Director of Research of Civilian Saucer Intelligence of New York, in answer to a letter recently sent to Mr. David Dietz, Science Editor of the Scripps-Howard newspapers. Mr. Bloecher asked for Mr. Dietz's opinion on flying saucer phenomena. Mr. Dietz's reply was terse and to the point: "I think the explanation of flying saucers is very simple and that you will find it in the book titled 'Flying Saucers' by Dr. Donald H. Menzel, director of the Harvard Observatory."
In reply to this answer Mr. Bloecher advised Mr. Dietz that he was perfectly familiar with Dr. Menzel's book and that when it first came out he had studied it carefully. Among the observations of Mr. Bloecher was that of the 1,157 unexplained saucer sightings listed by Dr. Menzel he attempts to apply his "mirage" theory to only 14. Mr. Bloecher also called attention to the French treatise by Michel which by detailed analysis debunks the theories of Menzel.
But one does not have to cross the Atlantic to get an evaluation of Dr. Menzel's work. Captain Ruppelt, from 1951 to 1953 in charge of Project Blue Book (the official U. S. A. F. investigation of UFOs), makes the following statement in an article published in True magazine in May 1954. Referring to Dr. Menzel's "mirage" theory, Capt. Ruppelt says: "His explanation failed to account for the many cases where there
* Harvard University Press, 1953
was a simultaneous radar fix on a UFO and a visual sighting. Mirages and reflections can and do fool the naked eye, but they don't show up simultaneously on a radar scope."
On the one batch of spectacular UFOs that looked as if they ought to have a meteorological explanation, the (mirage) explanation collapsed. These were the flock of green fireballs that appeared in the Southwest.
Thanks to the courage, the untiring industry, and the devotion to truth of Major Donald E. Keyhoe, USMC (Ret.), noted aeronautical engineer, aviator, and former information chief for the U. S. Department of Commerce, Aeronautics Branch, hitherto unknown information on UFOs is now being made known. In his book The Flying Saucer Conspiracy, Major Keyhoe has not only disclosed much interesting data on recent UFO activity, but also has set forth in detail facts which disclose the cover-up policies of the Air Force brass, the instances of effort at concealment of fact, and the harsh punishment threatening personnel of the Air Force who reveal UFO information to the public.
In this significant undertaking of Major Keyhoe's he secured the cooperation of many loyal Americans connected with the U. S. Air Force directly and indirectly, whose names in many instances could not be disclosed for fear of reprisal by higher-ups. The information supplied in this book will be news to government officials, Senators, Congressmen, newspaper editors, university professors, and many other supposedly well-informed persons. The revelations by Major Keyhoe should arouse public sentiment and stir world leaders to demand that the truth be told.
C. A. M. February 1956
An Open Letter to Scientists
I call into question the prevailing practice of the much-vaunted style of thinking, universally known as the scientific approach. Not that the scientific approach to a problem is unsound. Far be it from that. Rather that the widely accepted pattern of scientific thought as it is now practiced is in the nature of a tradition. There are certain accepted categories of scientific endeavor, and scientists in the manner of their primitive forebears are dominated in their habits by their traditions.
Among primitive peoples there is the adherence to traditional customs, blind acceptance of inherited beliefs. Among scientists it is the restriction of scientific thought to inherited categories of investigation, or what might be termed "proper" fields of scientific pursuit. In the interests of human progress it is of the utmost importance that the interests of science be widened.
In proportion as the knowledge of his environment has broadened and expanded, man's concept of the cosmos has also grown dimensionally. Early man's view of the cosmos was geocentric; as his knowledge grew and his scientific outlook expanded he became heliocentric. The heliocentric attitude subsequently gave way to the galactic-centered universe. Finally, a little past the turn of the century, the galactic-centered cosmos gave way to a universe of galaxies, the boundaries of which are yet to be ascertained.
The gradual emergence of human understanding generally is a parallel process. Blind adherence to traditional customs and practices has served to advance mankind in the early stages of his struggle for existence. Traditions for the most part have in themselves the protective influences that have
served throughout man's past experiences. It might be said that traditions are the accumulated wisdom of experiences, the values of which in many cases have been lost sight of in man's upward climb toward understanding.
As the method of science has little by little supplemented the thought processes of man, tradition has been gradually replaced by the knowledge garnered through scientific procedure. In this connection a word of warning might be in order. There is danger that too much reliance be placed upon the findings resolved by limited scientific study of a problem. The truths inherent in traditional thought are not always susceptible to accurate evaluation through what might be appraised as exhaustive scientific investigation.
The widespread concept of science as knowledge based upon experiment in itself clearly points out the limitations of the scientific method. For there are experiments and experiments, and the circumstances under which controlled experimentations are carried out are limitless in their variations. The findings of science are therefore tentative in character, all of them. They should therefore be regarded as such.
The concept of man as the crown of creation has not yet been superseded by another concept in human thought. There has been very little acceptance of the concept of personality existent in other modes of matter and material environment different from those which obtain on this planet. Even on this planet, the earth, there are widely divergent embodiments of personality found wherever matter exists, on the earth's surface, within the ground, in the atmosphere, in the waters of the earth, in the subterranean depths of the deepest oceans, and within the numerous bodies themselves, countless varieties and numbers of cell forms possessing individual existences. Indeed, life as we know it on this planet is everywhere in everything and practically limitless in its forms and varieties.
The geocentric view of the physical universe has long been superseded by more comprehensive pictures of reality. Man has had to gradually withdraw from an inflated concept of his importance within the physical scheme of things. This withdrawal has hardly been accompanied by a corresponding contraction of his ego. Paradoxically, instead of being deflated he has become inflated beyond degree. The rabid scientist
believes he can pull himself up by the bootstraps of the scientific method. He looks about him using the scientific gadgets he has constructed and believes that what his gadgets measure constitutes the whole of all there is. Sober minds among the scientific group acknowledge the flimsy sketchiness of scientific findings.
True, in our devaluation of scientific method we must not undervalue the great blessings of science to humanity in the controls achieved over human environment resulting from scientific development. Science is so interwoven in the life of mankind, its boon to human progress so keenly realized that nothing save man's self-destruction by his own scientific gadgets can thwart its onward march.
But in spite of the glorious achievements of science and man's over-confident pride in his understanding and use of science, he is still hidebound by tradition. Like his primitive ancestors he must abide by his traditions, his traditions of categories for scientific investigation, and any new fields that suggest departure from them are ignored and in many cases considered non-existent.
I would plead for a little more open-mindedness among the fraternities of scientific investigators. Refrain from ridicule of that which might sound preposterous, but which you have not personally investigated. In spite of the obscuration by bewildering clouds of ridicule, prejudice, fanaticism, and political suppression of information, there may be found an impressive mass of observational evidence for the reality of the so-called unidentified flying objects or UFOs now haunting the skies adjacent to this planet.
The more deeply one delves into this sphere of investigation, the more one becomes convinced of its potential significances. It would seem that the time is now at hand for the relaxing of the bands of restraint that prevent the disclosure of the accumulative factual material having to do with these sky visitors. There are those who would welcome the opportunity to be permitted to present the case for the reality of these strange phenomena before assemblies of scientists. At the present time the subject is still generally tabooed because of the disinclination of scientists as a class to be willing to disentangle themselves from their orthodoxy.
C. A. M. October 1956