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Monday, March 26, 2012

UFOs - DONALD KEYHOE - THE FLYING SAUCERS ARE REAL -FULL BOOK (1)


THE FLYING SAUCERS
ARE REAL





By
Donald Keyhoe







New York
Fawcett Publications, Inc., 1950




Copyright 1950 by Fawcett Publications, Inc.

All Rights Reserved, Including the Right to
Reproduce This Book, or Portions Therof.


The Gold Medal seal on this book means
that it is an original story.  It has not been
published before.


Printed in the United States of America




To Helen,
With love




      Donald E. Keyhoe, who relates here his investigation of the flying saucers, writes with twenty-five years of experience in observing aeronautical developments.
      He is a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.  He flew in active service with the Marine Corps, managed the tour of the historic plane in which Bennett and Byrd made their North Pole flight, was aide to Charles Lindbergh, after the famous Paris flight, and was chief of the information for the Aeronautics Branch, Department of Commerce.




Author’s Note


      On April 27, 1949, the U.S. Air Force stated:
      “The mere existence of some yet unidentified flying objects necessitate a constant vigilance on the part of Project ‘Saucer’ personnel, and on the part of the civilian population.
      “Answers have been—and will be—drawn from such factors as guided missile research activity, balloons, astronomical phenomena... But there are still question marks.
      “Possibilities that the saucers are foreign aircraft have also been considered... But observations based on nuclear power plant research in this country label as ‘highly probable’ the existence on Earth of engines small enough to have powered the saucers.
       “Intelligent life on Mars...is not impossible but is completely unproven.  The possibility of intelligent life on the Planer Venus is not considered completely unreasonable by astronomers.
      “The saucers are not jokes.  Neither are they cause for alarm.”1
      On December 27, 1949, the Air Force denied the existence of flying saucers. 2
      On December 30, 1949, the Air Force revealed part of a secret Project “Saucer” report to members of the press at Washington.  The official report stated:
      “It will never be possible to say with certainty that any individual did not see a space ship, an enemy missile, or some other object.”
      Discussing the motives of possible visitors from space, the report also stated:
      “Such a civilization might observe that on Earth we now have atomic bombs and are fast developing rockets.  In view of the past history of mankind, they should be

   1 Project “Saucer” Preliminary Study of Flying Saucers.
   2 Air Force Press Release 629-49



 Alarmed.  We should therefore expect at this time above all to behold such visitations.”
      (In its April 27 report, Project “Saucer” stated that space travel outside the solar system is almost a certainty.)
      On February 22, 1950, the Air Force again denied the existence of flying saucers.  On this same date, two saucers reported above Key West Naval Air Station were tracked by radar; they were described as maneuvering at high speed fifty miles above the earth.  The Air Force refused to comment.
      On March 9, 1950, a large metallic disk was pursued by F-51 and jet fighters and observed by scores of Air Force officers at Wright Field, Ohio.  On March 18, an Air Force spokesman again denied that saucers exist and specifically stated that they were not American guided missiles or space-exploration devices.
      I have carefully examined all Air Force saucer reports made in the last three years.  For the past year, I have taken part I a special investigation of the flying-saucer riddle.
      I believe that the Air Force statements, contradictory as they appear, are part of an intricate program to prepare America—and the world—for the secret of the disks.      





Chapter I
It was a strange assignment. 
I picked up the telegram from my desk and read it a third time. 
                                               NEW YORK, N.Y., MAY 9, 1949 
HAVE BEEN INVESTIGATING FLYING SAUCER MYSTERY. 
FIRST TIP HINTED GIGANTIC HOAX TO COVER UP OFFICIAL SECRET. BELIEVE IT MAY HAVE BEEN PLANTED TO HIDE REAL ANSWER. LOOKS LIKE TERRIFIC STORY. CAN YOU TAKE OVER WASHINGTON END? 
                                                 KEN W. PURDY, EDITOR, TRUE MAGAZINE 

      I glanced out at the Potomac, recalling the first saucer story. As a pilot, I'd been skeptical of flying disks. Then reports had begun to pour in from Air Force and airline pilots. Apparently alarmed, the Air Force had ordered fighters to pursue the fast-flying saucers. In one mysterious chase, a pilot had been killed, and his death was unexplained. That had been seventeen months ago. Since then, the whole flying-saucer riddle had been hidden behind a curtain of Air Force secrecy. 
      And now, an assignment from True magazine on flying saucers. 
      Twenty-four hours later, I was in Ken Purdy's office. 
      "I've had men on this for two months," he told me. "I might as well warn you, it's a tough story to crack." 
      "You think it's a Russian missile?" I asked him. "Or an Air Force secret?" 
      "'We've had several answers. None of them stacks up. But I'm positive one was deliberately planted when they found we were checking." 
      He told me the whole story of the work that had been done by the staff of True and of the reports sent in by competent writers. The deeper he delved into the mystery, the tougher the assignment got. The more I learned about flying saucers, the less I knew. 
      "There's one angle I want rechecked," Purdy said. "You've heard of the Mantell case?" 
7

      I nodded. 
      "O.K. Try to get the details of Mantell's radio report to Godman Tower. Before he was killed, he described the thing he was chasing - we know that much. Project 'Saucer' gave out a hint, but they've never released the transcript. Here's another lead. See if you can find anything about a secret picture, taken at Harmon Field, Newfoundland - it was around July 1947. I'll send you other ideas as I get them." 
      Before I left, Purdy wished me luck and told me that he would work in closest harmony with me. 
      "But watch out for fake tips," he said. "You'll probably run into some people at the Pentagon who'll talk to you 'off the record.' That handcuffs a writer. Look out they don't lead you into a blind alley. Even the Air Force statements and the Project 'Saucer' report contradict each other." 
      For six months, I worked with other investigators to solve the mystery of the disks. We checked a hundred sighting reports, frequently crossing the trail Project "Saucer" teams and F.B.I. agents. Old records gave us fantastic leads. So did Air Force plans for exploring space. Rocket experts, astronomers, Air Force officials and pilots gave us clues pointing to a startling solution. Many intelligent persons - including scientists - believe that the saucers contain spies from another planet. 
      When this first phase was ended, we were faced with a hard decision. We had uncovered important facts We knew the saucers were real. If it was handled carefully we believed the story would be in line with a secret Air Force policy. 
      It was finally decided to publish certain alternate conclusions. The Air Force was informed of True's intentions; no attempt was made to block publication. 
      In the January 1950 issue of True, I reported that we had reached the following conclusions: 
      1. The earth has been observed periodically by visitors from another planet. 
      2. This observation has increased markedly in the past two years. 
      "The only other possible explanation," I wrote, "is that 
8

the saucers are extremely high-speed, long-range devices developed here on earth. Such an advance (which the Air Force has denied) would require an almost incredible leap in technical progress even for American scientists and designers." 
      Nationwide press and radio comment followed the appearance of the article. This publicity was obviously greater than the Air Force had expected. Within twenty-four hours the Pentagon was deluged with telegrams, letters and long-distance calls. Apparently fearing a panic the Air Force hastily stated that flying-saucer reports - even those made by its own pilots and high-ranking officers - were mistakes or were caused by hysteria.1
      But three days later, when it was plain that many Americans calmly accepted True's disclosures, the Air Force released a secret Project "Saucer" file containing this significant statement: 
      "It will never be possible to say with certainty that any individual did not see a space ship, an enemy missile or other object." 
      In this same document there appears a confidential analysis of Air Intelligence reports.2 It is this summary that contains the official suggestion of space visitors' motives. After stating that such a civilization would obviously be far ahead of our own, the report adds: 
      "Since the acts of mankind most easily observed from a distance are A-bomb explosions, we should expect some relation to obtain between the time of the A-bomb explosions, the time at which the space ships are seen, and the time required for such ships to arrive from and return to home base." 
(In a previous  report , which alternately warned and reassured the public, the Air Force stated that space travel outside the solar system is almost a certainty.3
Since 1949 there has been a steady increase in saucer sightings. Most of them have been authentic reports, which Air Force denials cannot disprove. In January, mystery 
1.  Air Force press release 629-49, December 27. 1949.
2.  Air Force Project "Saucer" Report, December 30, 1949.
3.  Air Force report M-26-49, Preliminary Studies on Flying Saucers, April 27, 1949.
9

disks were reported over Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, and several other states. On the Seattle Anchorage route, an air freighter was paced for five minutes by a night-flying saucer. When the pilots tried to close in, the strange craft zoomed at terrific speed. Later, the airline head reported that Intelligence officers had quizzed the pilots for hours. 
      "From their questions," he said, "I could tell they had a good idea of what the saucers are. One officer admitted they did, but he wouldn't say any more." 
      Another peculiar incident occurred at Tucson, Arizona, on February 1. Just at dusk, a weird, fiery object raced westward over the city, astonishing hundreds in the streets below. The Tucson Daily Citizen ran the story next day with a double-banner headline: 
 

FLYING SAUCER OVER TUCSON? 
B-29 FAILS TO CATCH OBJECT
      Flying saucer? Secret experimental plane? Or perhaps a scout craft from Mars?
Certainly the strange aircraft that blazed a smoke trail over Tucson at dusk last night defies logical explanation. It was as mystifying to experienced pilots as to groundlings who have trouble in identifying conventional planes.  
      Cannon-balling through the sky, some 30,000 feet aloft, was a fiery object, shooting westward so fast it was impossible to gain any clear impression of its shape or size....  
      At what must have been top speed the object spewed out light colored smoke, but almost directly over Tucson it appeared to hover for a few seconds. The smoke puffed out an angry black and then became lighter as the strange missile appeared to gain speed.  
      The radio operator in the Davis-Monthan air force base control tower contacted First Lt. Roy L. Jones, taking off for a cross-country flight in a B-29, and asked him to investigate. Jones revved up his swift aerial tanker and still the unknown aircraft steadily pulled away toward California.  
      Dr. Edwin F. Carpenter, head of the University of  
10

Arizona department of astronomy said he was certain that the object was not a meteor or other natural phenomenon....  
Switchboards Swamped
      Switchboards at the Pima county sheriff's office and Tucson police station were jammed with inquiries. Hundreds saw the object. Tom Bailey, 1411 E. 10th Street, thought it was a large airplane on fire. [A later check showed no planes missing.)
He said it wavered from left to right as it passed over the mountains. Bailey also noticed that the craft appeared to slow perceptibly over Tucson. He said the smoke apparently came out in a thin, almost invisible stream, gaining substance within a few seconds.  
      This incident had an odd sequel the following day. Its significance was not lost on the Daily Citizen. It ran another front-page story, headlined: 
WHAT DO YOU MEAN ONLY VAPOR TRAIL?
            As though to prove itself blameless for tilting hundreds of Tucson heads skyward, the
      U.S. Air Force yesterday afternoon spent hours etching vapor trails through the skies
      over the city.  

            The demonstration proved conclusively to the satisfaction of most that the strange path       of dark smoke blazed across the evening sky at dusk Wednesday was no vapor trail
      and did not emanate from any conventional airplane.  

            The Wednesday night spectacle was entirely dissimilar. Then, heavy smoke boiled and       swirled in a broad, dark ribbon fanning out at least a mile in width and stretching across
      the sky in a straight line. Since there was no proof as to what caused the strange pre-dark
      manifestation, and because even expert witnesses were unable to explain the appearance,
      the matter remains a subject for interesting speculation.  

      There is strong evidence that this story was deliberately kept off the press wires. The Associated Press and other wire services in Washington had no report. Requests for details by Frank Edwards, Mutual newscaster, and other 
11

radio commentator ran into a blank wall. At the Pentagon I was told that the Air Force had no knowledge of the sighting or the vapor-trail maneuvers. 
      On February 22 two similar glowing objects were seen above Boca Chica Naval Air Station at Key West. A plane sent up to investigate was hopelessly outdistanced; it was obvious the things were at a great height. Back at the station, radar men tracked the objects as they hovered for a moment above Key West. They were found to be at least fifty miles above the earth. After a few seconds, they accelerated at high speed and streaked out of sight. 
      On the following day Commander Augusto Orrego, a Chilean naval officer, reported that saucers had flown above his Antarctic base. 
      "During the bright Antarctic night," he said, "we saw flying saucers, one above the other, turning at tremendous speeds. We have photographs to prove what we saw." 
      Early in March, Ken Purdy phoned the latest developments in the investigation. He had just received a tip predicting a flurry of saucer publicity during March. It had come from an important source in Washington. 
      "You know what it probably means," he said. "The same thing we talked about last month. But why were we tipped off in advance?" 
      "It's one more piece in the pattern," I said. "If the tip's on the level, then they're stepping up the program." 
       Within three days, reports began to pour in - from Peru, Cuba, Mexico, Turkey, and other parts of the world. Then on March 9 a gleaming metallic disk was sighted over Dayton, Ohio. Observers at Vandalia Airport phoned Wright-Patterson Field. Scores of Air Force pilots and ground men watched the disk, as fighters raced up in pursuit The mysterious object streaked vertically skyward, hovered for a while miles above the earth, and then disappeared. A secret report was rushed to the Civil Aeronautics Authority in Washington, then turned over to Air Force Intelligence. 
      Soon after this Dr. Craig Hunter, director of a medical supply firm reported a huge elliptical saucer flying at a low altitude in Pennsylvania. He described it as metallic, with a slotted outer rim and a rotating ring just inside. 
12

On top of this sighting, thousands of people at Farmington, New Mexico, watched a large formation of disks above the city. 
      Throughout all these reports, the Air Force refused to admit the existence of flying saucers. On March 18 it flatly denied they were Air Force secret missiles or space-exploration devices. 
      Three days later, a Chicago and Southern airliner crew saw a fast-flying disk near Stuttgart, Arkansas. The circular craft, blinking a strange blue-white light, pulled up in an arc at terrific speed. The two pilots said they glimpsed lighted ports on the lower side as the saucer zoomed above them. The lights had a soft fluorescence, unlike anything they had seen. 
      There was one peculiar angle in the Arkansas incident. There was no apparent attempt to muzzle the two pilots, as in earlier airline cases. Instead, a United Press interview was quickly arranged, for nation-wide publication. In this wire story Captain Jack Adams and First Officer C. W. Anderson made two statements: 
      "We firmly believe that the flying saucer we saw over Arkansas was a secret experimental type aircraft - not a visitor from outer space... 
      "We know the Air Force has denied there is anything to this flying-saucer business, but we're both experienced pilots and we're not easily fooled." 
      The day after this story appeared, I was discussing it with an airline official in Washington. 
      "That's an odd thing," he said. "The Air Force could have persuaded those pilots-----or the line president --- to hush the thing up. It looks as if they wanted that story broadcast." 
      "You mean the whole thing was planted?" 
      "I won't say that, though it could have been. Probably they did see something. But they might have been told what to say about it." 
      "Any idea why?" 
      He looked at me sharply. "You and Purdy probably know the answer. At a guess, I'd say it might have planned to offset that Navy commander's report --- the one on the White Sands sightings." 
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      The White Sands case had puzzled many skeptics, because the Pentagon had cleared the published report. The author, Commander R. B. McLaughlin, was a regular Navy officer. As a Navy rocket expert, he had been stationed at the White Sands Rocket Proving Ground in New Mexico. In his published article he described three disk sightings at White Sands. 
      One of the disks, a huge elliptical craft, was tracked by scientists with precision instruments at five miles per second. That's 18,000 miles per hour. It was found to be flying fifty-six miles above the earth. Two other disks, smaller types, were watched from five observation posts on hills at the proving ground. Circling at incredible speed, the two disks paced an Army high-altitude rocket that had just been launched, then speeded up and swiftly out climbed the projectile. 
      Commander McLaughlin's report, giving dates and factual details, was cleared by the Department of Defense. So was a later nation-wide broadcast: 
      Then the Air Force made its routine denial. 
      Why was McLaughlin, a regular Navy officer subject to security screening, permitted to give out this story? Was it an incredible slip-up? Or was it part of some carefully thought-out plan? I believe it was part of an elaborate program to prepare the American people for, a dramatic disclosure. 
      For almost a year I have watched the behind-the-scenes maneuvers of those who guide this program. In the following chapters 1 have tried to show the strange developments in our search for the answer; the carefully misleading tips, the blind alleys we entered, the unexpected assistance, the confidential leads, and the stunning contradictions. 
      It has been a complicated jigsaw puzzle. Only by seeing all parts of this intricate picture can you begin to glimpse the reasons for this stubbornly hidden secret. 
      The official explanation may be imminent. When it is finally revealed, I believe the elaborate preparation - even the wide deceit involved - will be fully justified in the minds of the American people. 
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Chapter II
      It has been over two years since the puzzling death of Captain Thomas Mantell. 
      Mantell died mysteriously in the skies south of Fort Knox. But before his radio went silent, he sent a strange message to Godman Air Force Base. The men who heard it will never forget it. 
      It was January 7, 1948. 
      Crowded into the Godman Field Tower, a group of Air Force officers stared up at the afternoon sky. For just an instant, something gleamed through the broken clouds south of the base. 
      High above the field, three P-51 fighters climbed with swift urgency. Heading south, they quickly vanished. The clock in the tower read 2:45. 
      Colonel Guy Hix, the C.O., slowly put down his binoculars. If the thing was still there, the clouds now hid it. All they could do was wait.
      The first alarm had come from Fort Knox, when Army M.P.'s had relayed a state police warning. A huge gleaming object had been seen in the sky, moving toward Godman Field. Hundreds of startled people had seen, it at Madisonville, ninety miles away. 
       Thirty minutes later, it had zoomed up over the base. 
      Colonel Hix glanced around at the rest of the men in tower. They all had a dazed look. Every man there had seen the thing, as it barreled south of the field. Even through the thin clouds, its intermittent red glow had hinted at some mysterious source of power. Something outside their understanding. 
      It was Woods, the exec, who had estimated its size. Hix shook his head. That was unbelievable. But something had hung over Godman Field for almost an hour. The C.O. turned quickly as the loud-speaker, tuned to the P-51's, suddenly came to life. 
      "Captain Mantell to Godman Tower    . .  . Mantell to Godman Tower. 
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      The flight leader's voice had a strained tone. 
      "I've sighted the thing!" he said. "It looks metallic- and it's tremendous in size!" 
      The C.O. and Woods stared at each other. No one spoke. 
      "The thing's starting to climb," Mantell said swiftly. "It's at twelve o'clock high, making half my speed. I'll try to close in." 
      In five minutes, Mantell reported again. The strange metallic object had speeded up, was now making 360 or more. 
      At 3:08, Mantell's wingman called in. Both he and the other pilot had seen the weird object. But Mantell had out climbed them and was lost in the clouds. 
      Seven minutes dragged by. The men in the tower sweated out the silence. Then, at 3:15, Mantell made a hasty contact. 
      "It's still above me, making my speed or better. I'm going up to twenty thousand feet. If I'm no closer, I'll abandon chase." 
      It was his last report. 
      Minutes later, his fighter disintegrated with terrific force. The falling wreckage was scattered for thousands of feet. 
      When Mantell failed to answer the tower, one of his pilots began a search. Climbing to 33,000 feet, he flew a hundred miles to the south. 
      But the thing that lured Mantell to his death had vanished from the sky. 
      Ten days after Mantell was killed, I learned of a curious sequel to the Godman affair. 
      An A.P. account in the New York Times had caught my attention. The story, released at Fort Knox, admitted Mantell had died while chasing a flying saucer. Colonel Hix was quoted as having watched the object, which was still unidentified. But there was no mention of Mantell's radio messages - no hint of the thing's tremendous size. 
      Though I knew the lid was probably on, I went to the Pentagon. When the scare had first broken, in the summer of '47' I had talked with Captain Tom Brown, who was handling saucer inquiries. But by now Brown had been 
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shifted, and no one in the Press Branch would admit knowing the details of the Mantell saucer chase. 
      "We just don't know the answer," a security officer me. 
      "There's a rumor," I said, "it's a secret Air Force missile that sometimes goes out of control." 
      "Good God, man!" he exploded. "If it was, do you think we'd be ordering pilots to chase the things?" 
      "No - and I didn't say I believed it." I waited until he cooled down. "This order you mentioned - is it for all Air Force pilots, or special fighter units?" 
      "I didn't say it was a special order," he answered quickly. "All pilots have routine instructions to report unusual items." 
      "They had fighters alerted on the Coast, when the scare first broke," I reminded him. "Are those orders still in force?" 
      He shook his head. "No, not that I know of." After a moment he added, "All I can tell you is that the Air Force is still investigating. We honestly don't know the answer." 
      As I went out the Mall entrance, I ran into Jack Daly, one of Washington's veteran newsmen. Before the war, Jack and I had done magazine pieces together, usually on Axis espionage and communist activity. I told him I was trying to find the answer to Mantell's death. 
      "You heard anything?" I asked him. 
      "Only what was in the A.P. story," said Jack. "But an I.N.S. man told me they had a saucer story from Columbus, Ohio - and it might have been the same one they saw at Fort Knox." 
      "I missed that. What was it?" 
      "They sighted the thing at the Air Force field outside of Columbus. It was around sundown, about two hours after that pilot was killed in Kentucky." 
      "Anybody chase it?" I asked. 
      "No. They didn't have time to take off, I guess. This I.N.S. guy said it was going like hell. Fast as a jet, anyway." 
      "Did he say what it looked like?" 
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      "The Air Force boys said it was as big as a C-47," said Jack. "Maybe bigger. It had a reddish-orange exhaust streaming out behind. They could see it for miles." 
      "If you hear any more, let me know," I said. Jack promised he would. 
      "What do you think they are?" he asked me. 
      "It's got me stumped. Russia wouldn't be testing missiles over here. Anyway, I can't believe they've got anything like that. And I can't see the Air Force letting pilots get killed to hide something we've got." 
      One week later, I heard that a top-secret unit had been set up at Wright Field to investigate all saucer reports. When I called the Pentagon, they admitted this much, and that was all. 
      In the next few months, other flying disk stories hit the front pages. Two Eastern Airline pilots reported a double-decked mystery ship sighted near Montgomery, Alabama. I learned of two other sightings, one over the Pacific Ocean and one in California. The second one, seen through field glasses, was described as rocket-shaped, as large as a B-29. There were also rumors of disks being tracked by radar, but it was almost a year before I confirmed these reports. 
      When Purdy wired me, early in May of  '49, I had half forgotten the disks. It had been months since any important sightings had been reported. But his message quickly revived my curiosity. If he thought the subject was hot, I knew he must have reasons. When I walked into his office at 67 West 44th, Purdy stubbed out his cigarette and shook hands. He looked at me through his glasses for a moment. Then he said abruptly: 
      "You know anything about the disks?" 
      "If you mean what they are - no." 
      He motioned for me to sit down. Then he swiveled his chair around, his shoulders hunched forward, and frowned out the window. 
      "Have you seen the Post this week?" 
      I told him no. 
      "There's something damned queer going on. For fifteen months, Project 'Saucer' is buttoned up tight. Top secret. Then suddenly, Forrestal gets the Saturday Evening Post
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to run two articles, brushing the whole thing off. The first piece hits the stands - and then what happens?" 
      Purdy swung around, jabbed his finger at a document on his desk. 
      "That same day, the Air Force rushes out this Project Saucer report. It admits they haven't identified the disks in any important cases. They say it's still serious enough - wait a minute-" he thumbed through the stapled papers - “to require constant vigilance by Project "Saucer" personnel and the civilian population.' " 
      "You'd think the Post would make a public kick," I said 
      "I don't mean it's an out-and-out denial," said Purdy. "It doesn't mention the Post- just contradicts it. In fact, the report contradicts itself. It looks as if they're trying to warn people and yet they're scared to say too much." 
      I looked at the title on the report: "A Digest of Preliminary Studies by the Air Materiel Command, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, on 'Flying Saucers' ''. 
      "Have the papers caught it yet?" I asked Purdy. 
      "You mean it's contradicting the Post?" He shook his head. "No, the Pentagon press release didn't get much space. How many editors would wade through a six-thousand-word government report? Even if they did, they'd have to compare it, item for item, with the Post piece." 
      "Who wrote the Post story?" 
      Purdy lit a cigarette and frowned out again at the sky scrapers. 
      "Sidney Shallett - and he's careful. He had Forrestal's backing. The Air Force flew him around, arranged interviews, supposedly gave him inside stuff. He spent two months on it. They O.K.'d his script, which practically says the saucers are bunk. Then they reneged on it." 
      "Maybe some top brass suddenly decided it was the wrong policy to brush it off," I suggested. 
      "Why the quick change?" demanded Purdy. "Let's say they sold the Post on covering up the truth, in the interests of security. It's possible, though I don't believe it - they could simply have fed them a fake story. Either 
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way, why did they rush this contradiction the minute the Post hit the stands?" 
      "Something serious happened," I said, "after the Post went to press." 
      "Yes, but what?" Purdy said impatiently. "That's what we’ve got to find out." 
      "Does Shallett's first piece mention Mantell's death?" 
      "Explains it perfectly. You know what Mantell was casing? The planet Venus!" 
      That's the Post's answer?" I said, incredulously. 
      It's what the Air Force contract astronomer told Shallett. I've checked with two astronomers here. They say that even when Venus is at full magnitude you can hardly see it in the daytime even when you're looking for it. It was only half magnitude that day, so it was practically invisible." 
      "How'd the Air Force expect anybody to believe that answer?" I said. 
      Purdy shrugged. "They deny it was Venus in this report. Rut that's what they told Shallett - that all those Air Force officers, the pilots, the Kentucky state police, and several hundred people at Madisonville mistook Venus for a metallic disk several hundred feet in diameter." 
      "It's a wonder Shallett believed it." 
      "I don't think he did. He says if it wasn't Venus it must have been a balloon." 
      "What's the Air Force answer?" I asked Purdy. 
      "Look in the report. They say whatever Mantell chased - they call it a 'mysterious object' -  is still unidentified." 
      I glanced through the case report, on page five. It quoted Mantell's radio report that the thing was metallic and tremendous in size. Linked with the death of Mantell was the Lockbourne, Ohio, report, which tied in with what Jack Daly had told me, over a year before. I read the report: 
      "On the same day, about two hours later, a sky phenomenon was observed by several watchers over Lockbourne Air Force Base, Columbus, Ohio. It was described as 'round or oval, larger than a C-47, and traveling in level 
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flight faster than 500 miles per hour.' The object was from the Lockbourne observation tower for more than 20 minutes. Observers said it glowed from white, to amber, leaving an amber exhaust trail five times its own length. It made motions like an elevator and at one time appeared to touch the ground. No sound was heard. Finally, the object faded and lowered toward the horizon." 
      Purdy buzzed for his secretary, and she brought me a copy of the first Post article. 
      You can get a copy of this Air Force report in Washington," Purdy told me. "This is the only one I have. But you'll find the same answer for most of the important cases - the sightings at Muroc Air Base, the airline pilots' reports, the disks Kenneth Arnold saw - they're all unidentified." 
      "I remember the Arnold case. That was the first sighting." 
      "You've got contacts in Washington," Purdy went on. "Start at the Pentagon first. They know we're working on it. Sam Boal, the first man on this job, was down there for a day or two." 
      "What did he find out?" 
      "Symington told him the saucers were bunk. Secretary Johnson admitted they had some pictures - we'd heard about a secret photograph taken at Harmon Field, Newfoundland. The tip said this saucer scared hell out of some pilots and Air Force men up there. 
      "A major took Boal to some Air Force colonel and Boal asked to see the pictures. The colonel said they didn't have any. He turned red when the major said Symington had told Boal about the pictures." 
      "Did Boal get to see them?" I said. 
      "No," grunted Purdy, "and I'll bet twenty bucks you won't, either. But try, anyway. And check on a rumor that they've tracked some disks with radar. One case was supposed to be at an Air Force base in Japan." 
      As I was leaving, Purdy gave me a summary of sighting reports. 
      "Some of these were published, some we dug up ourselves," he said. "We got some confidential stuff from 
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airline pilots, It's pretty obvious the Air Force has tried to keep them quiet." 
      "All right," I said. "I'll get started. Maybe things aren't sewed up so tightly, now this report is out." 
      "We've found out some things about Project 'Saucer,' " said Purdy.”Whether it's a cover-up or a real investigation, there's a lot of hush-hush business to it. They've got astronomers and astrophysicists working for them, also rocket experts, technical analysts, and Air Force Special Intelligence. We've been told they can call on any government agency for help and I know they're using the F.B.I." 
      It was building up bigger than I had thought. 
      "If national security is involved," I told Purdy, "they can shut us up in a hurry." 
      "If they tell me so, O.K.," said Purdy. He added grimly, "But I think they're making a bad mistake. They probably think they're doing what's right. But the truth might come out the wrong way." 
      "It is possible," I thought, "that the saucers belong to Russia." 
      "If it turns out to be a Soviet missile, count me out," said. "We'd have the Pentagon and the F.B.I. on our necks." 
      "All right, if that's the answer." He chuckled. "But you may be in for a jolt." 
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Chapter III
      Just the idea of gigantic flying disks was incredible enough. It was almost as hard to believe that such missiles could have been developed without something leaking out Yet we had produced the A-bomb in comparative secrecy, and I knew we were working on long-range guided missiles. There was already a plan for a three-thousand-mile test range. Our supersonic planes had hit around two thousand miles an hour. Our two stage rockets had gone over two hundred miles high, according to reports. If an atomic engine had been secretly developed, it could explain the speed and range of the saucers. 
      But I kept coming back to Mantell's death and the Air Force orders for pilots to chase the saucers. If the disks were American missiles, that didn't jibe. 
      When I reached the lobby, I found it was ten after four. I caught a taxi and made the Congressional Limited with just one minute to spare. In the club car, I settled down to look at Purdy's summary. 
      Skipping through the pages, I saw several familiar cases. Here and there, Purdy had scrawled brief comments or suggestions. Beside the Eastern Airline report of a double-decked saucer, he had written: 
      "Check rumor same type seen over Holland about this date. Also, similar Philippine Islands report-date unknown." 
      I went back to the beginning. The first case listed was that of Kenneth Arnold, a Boise businessman, who had set off the saucer scare. Arnold was flying his private plane from Chehalis to Yakima; Washington, when he saw a bright flash on his wing. 
      Looking toward Mount Rainer, he saw nine gleaming disks outlined against the snow, each one about the size of a C-54. 
      "They flew close to the mountaintops, in a diagonal chainlike line," he said later. "It was as if they were linked together." 
      The disks appeared to be twenty to twenty-five miles 
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away and moving at fantastic speed. Arnold's estimate was twelve hundred miles an hour. 
      "I watched them about three minutes," he said. They were swerving in and out around the high mountain peaks. They were flat, like a pie pan, and so shiny they reflected the sun like a mirror. I never saw anything so fast." 
      The date was June 24, 1947.
      On this same day there was another saucer report, which received very little notice. A Portland prospector named Fred Johnson, who was working up in the Cascade Mountains, spotted five or six disks banking in the sun He watched them through his telescope several seconds then he suddenly noticed that the compass hand on his special watch was weaving wildly from side to side. Johnson insisted he had not heard of the Arnold report, which was not broadcast until early evening. 
      Kenneth Arnold's story was generally received with amusement. Most Americans were unaware that the Pentagon had been receiving disk reports as early as January. The news and radio comments on Arnold's report brought several other incidents to light, which observers had kept to themselves for fear of ridicule. 
      At Oklahoma City, a private pilot told Air Force investigators he had seen a huge round object in the sky during the latter part of May. It was flying three times faster than a jet, he said, and without any sound. Citizens of Weiser, Idaho, described two strange fast-moving objects they had seen on June 12. The saucers were heading southeast, now and then dropping to a lower altitude, then swiftly climbing again. Several mysterious objects were reported flying at great speed near Spokane, just three days before Arnold's experience. And four days after his encounter, an Air Force pilot flying near Lake Meade, Nevada, was startled to see half a dozen saucers flash by his plane. 
      Even at this early point in the scare, official reports were contradicting each other. Just after Arnold's story broke, the Air Force admitted it was checking on the mystery discs. On July 4th the Air Force stated that no further investigation was needed; it was all hallucination.
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That same day, Wright Field told the Associated Press that the Air Materiel Command was trying to find the answer. 
      The Fourth of July was a red-letter day in the flying saucer mystery. At Portland, Oregon, hundreds of citizens, including former Air Force pilots, police, harbor pilots, and deputy sheriffs, saw dozens of gleaming disks flying at high speed. The things appeared to be at least forty thousand feet in the air - perhaps much higher. 
      That same day, disks were sighted at Seattle, Vancouver, and other northwest cities. The rapidly growing reports were met with mixed ridicule and alarm. One of the skeptical group was Captain E. J. Smith, of United Airlines. 
      "I'll believe them when I see them," he told airline employees, before taking off from Boise the afternoon of the Fourth.

      Just about sunset, his airliner was flying over Emmett, Idaho, when Captain Smith and his copilot, Ralph Stevens, saw five queer objects in the sky ahead. Smith rang for the stewardess, Marty Morrow, and the three of them watched the saucers for several minutes. Then four more of the disks came into sight. Though it was impossible to tell their size, because their altitude was unknown, the crew was sure they were bigger than the plane they were in. After about ten minutes the disks disappeared. 
      The Air Force quickly denied having anything resembling the objects Captain Smith described. 
      "We have no experimental craft of that nature in Idaho---or anywhere else," an official said in Washington. "We're completely mystified." 
      The Navy said it had made an investigation, and had no answers. There had been rumors that the disks were "souped up" versions of the Navy's "Flying Flapjack," a twin-engined circular craft known technically as the XF 5-U-1. But the Navy insisted that only one model had been built, and that it was now out of service. 
      In Chicago, two astronomers spiked guesses that the disks might be meteors. Dr. Girard Kieuper, director of the University of Chicago observatory, said flatly that they couldn't be meteors. 
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      "They're probably man-made," he told the A.P.  Dr. Oliver Lee, director of Northwestern's observatory, agreed with Kuiper. 
      "The Army, Navy, and Air Force are working secretly on all sorts of things," he said. "Remember the A bomb secrecy-and the radar signals to the moon." 
      As I went through Purdy's summary, I recalled my own reaction after the United Airlines report. After seeing the Pentagon comment, I had called up Captain Tom Brown, at Air Force Public Relations. 
      "Are you really taking this seriously?" I asked him. 
      "Well, we can't just ignore it," he said. "There are too many reliable pilots telling the same story - flat, round objects able to outmaneuver ordinary planes, and faster than anything we have. Too many stories tally." 
      I told him I'd heard that the Civil Air Patrol in Wisconsin and other states was starting a sky search. 
      "We've got a jet at Muroc, and six fighters standing by at Portland right now," Brown said. 
      "Armed?" 
      "I've no report on that. But I know some of them carry photographic equipment." 
      Two days later an airline pilot from the Coast told me that some fighters had been armed and the pilots ordered to bring down the disks if humanly possible. That same day, Wright Field admitted it was checking stories of disk-shaped missiles seen recently in the Pacific north-west and in Texas. 
      Following this was an A.P. story, dated July 7, quoting an unnamed Air Force official in Washington: 
      "The flying saucers may be one of three things: 
      "1. Solar reflection on low-hanging clouds. [A Washington scientist, asked for comment, said this was hardly possible.] 
      "2. Small meteors which break up, their crystals catching the rays of the sun. But it would seem that they would have been spotted falling and fragments would have been found. 
      "3. Icing conditions could have formed large hailstones; and they might have flattened out and glided a bit, giving 
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the impression of horizontal movement even though falling vertically." 
      By this time everyone was getting into the act. 
      "The disks are caused by the transmutation of atomic energy." said an anonymous scientist, supposed to be on the staff of California Tech. The college quickly denied it. 
      Dr. Vannevar Bush, world-famous scientist, and Dr. Merle Tuve, inventor of the proximity fuse, both declared they would know of any secret American missiles - and didn't. 
      At Syracuse, New York, Dr. Harry Steckel, Veterans Administration psychiatrist, scoffed at the suggestion of mass hysteria. 
      "Too many sane people are seeing the things. The government is probably conducting some revolutionary experiments." 
      On July 8 more disks were reported. Out at Muroc Air Force Base, where top-secret planes and devices are tested, six fast-moving silvery-white saucers were seen by pilots and ground officers. 
      That afternoon the Air Force revealed it was working on a case involving a Navy rocket expert named C. T. Zohm. While on a secret Navy mission to New Mexico, in connection with rocket tests, Zohm had seen a bright silvery disk flying above the desert. He was crossing the desert with three other scientists when he saw the strange object flashing northward at an altitude of about ten thousand feet. 
      "I'm sure it was not a meteor," said Zohm. "It could have been a guided missile, but I never heard of anything like it." 
      By this time, saucer reports had come in from almost forty states. Alarm was increasing, and there were demands that radar be used to track the disks. The Air Force replied that there was not enough radar equipment to blanket the nation, but that its pilots were on the look out for the saucers. 
      One report mentioned a curious report from Twin Falls Idaho. The disk sighted there was said to have flown so low that the treetops whirled as if in a violent storm. Someone had phoned Purdy about a disk tracked 
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by weather-balloon observers at Richmond, Va. There was another note on a sighting at Hickam Field, Honolulu, and two reports of unidentified objects seen near Anchorage, Alaska. 
      A typed list of world-wide sightings had been made by the staff at True. It contained many cases that were new to me, reports from Paraguay, Belgium, Turkey; Holland, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. At the bottom of this memo Purdy had written: "Keep checking on rumor that the Soviet has a Project Saucer; too. Could be planted." 
      From the mass of reports, John DuBarry, the aviation editor of True, had methodically worked out an average picture of the disks: "The general report is that they are round or oval (this could be an elliptical object seen end-on), metallic looking, very bright --- either shining white or silvery colored, They can move at extremely high speed, hover, accelerate rapidly, and outmaneuver ordinary aircraft. 
      "The lights are usually seen singly --- very few formations reported. They seem to have the same speed, acceleration, and ability to maneuver. In several cases they have been able to evade Air Force planes in night encounters." 
      Going over the cases, I realized that Purdy and his staff had dug up at least fifty reports that had not appeared in the papers. (A few of these proved incorrect, but a check with the Air Force case reports released on December 30, 1949, showed that True's files contained all the important items.) These cases included sightings at eleven Air Force bases and fourteen American airports, reports from ships at sea, and a score of encounters by airline and private pilots. 
      Witnesses included Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force officers; state and city police; F.B.I. agents; weather observers, shipmasters, astronomers, and thousands of good solid American citizens, I learned later that many witnesses had been investigated by the F.B.I. to weed out crackpot reports. 
      I ended up badly puzzled. The evidence was more impressive than I had suspected. It was plain that many 
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reports had been entirely suppressed, or at least kept out of the papers. There was something ominous about it. No matter what the answer, it was serious enough to be kept hidden. 
      If it were a Soviet missile, I thought, God help us. They'd scooped up a lot of Nazi scientists and war secrets. And the Germans had been far ahead of us on guided missiles. But why would they give us a two-year warning, testing the things openly over America? It didn't make sense. 
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