Section III – Special Types of Witnesses
The sightings in this section were reported by witnesses whose profession or occupation involve responsibilities above the average. These cases were selected on the premise that professionally trained people are more likely to observe and report accurately.
Although any witness is capable of making an honest error in a UFO observation, some witnesses--airline pilots, for example--have exceptional qualifications for describing a sky-borne object. Similarly, a law enforcement officer would have little reason to make a dubious or questionable claim--in fact, just the opposite.
As in Section II, a number of these accounts are fragmentary. In some cases, primary sources were not available for examination; but in other brief reports, where the local account was available, the responsibility for its fragmentary nature is the reporter's, who did not obtain enough data, or the editor's, who decided that such detail was unimportant. It is more than likely that had the witness been asked, he would have been able to provide the essential information.
Case 259 -- July 4, Akron, Ohio: Two executives of the B. F. Goodrich Company reported that they and their families had seen a round, silver object at about 8:30 p.m. EST. Dr. and Mrs. Forrest Shaver, of 824 Crestview Avenue, had been motoring with Mr. and Mrs. Harry Hoertz, of 489 Orchard Street. At the Shaver home, following the drive, an object was spotted flying in an easterly direction by two-year-old Elizabeth Shaver, who called it to the attention of the others. Dr. Shaver said that the object "looked like a balloon with a light inside," and Mr. Hoertz described it as "a light with a propelling device," although this "propelling device" is not described in the report.
Case 309 -- July 5, Dana Point, California: John R. Street of Los Angeles, an insurance company executive, was spending the holiday weekend at Dana Point. At 8:30 a.m. PST on the 5th, he and his wife were sightseeing at San Juan Capistrano Mission when they saw two "saucer-like" objects "flying slowly up the canyon" toward the Mission, in a northerly direction. "The strange objects seemed to genuflect before vanishing into the distance," Street said. "It gave us an eerie feeling."
Ten minutes later, two disc-like objects were seen about 50 miles north northwest of Dana Point, at Eagle Rock, in northeast Los Angeles (Case 310). While it is possible that the objects may have been the same ones seen earlier by the Streets, there are too few details, as usual, to make any definite connection.
Case 341 -- July 5, Allegan, Michigan: Dan Conroy, who identified himself as manager of the J. C. Penney store in Allegan in his report to the Grand Rapids Herald (7/7), said that a party of 27 persons, including himself, had seen a large group of disc-like objects flying overhead while at a bridge club dinner at Lake Allegan during the evening. Conroy said that the objects were flying over at a “very high” altitude, going from east to west, and were silver in color. They appeared to be about 25 feet in diameter, he said, and while he counted 18 objects in all, others in the party said that they had counted as many as 21.
Case 838 – July 13, Gardner, Massachusetts: Warren Baker Eames, Harvard graduate and president of an interior design company, was driving with his wife west on Route 2 near Gardner at 5:48 p.m. EDT when he saw a large, disc-shaped object in the sky ahead. It appeared to be moving in the same direction as the witnesses, and resembled a silver dollar both in shape and color. As Eames watched, the edge of the disc closest to them abruptly dipped down toward them and the object accelerated with a sudden burst of speed, going away from the observers toward the west northwest. When it dipped, Eames reported, "I could see the edge very clearly."
Case 12 -- About June 17, Madison, Wisconsin: Dr. E. B. McGilvery, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, had spent the evening playing cards at the home of Mrs. Mary North, on Middleton Road. He had hardly left the house, quite late, when he saw a bright, round object, about two-thirds the size of the full moon, moving through the sky from southwest to northeast.
Professor McGilvery described the speed of the object as "quite rapid, but not as fast as a meteor." It left no trail of light as a meteor usually does, and it did not appear to be fiery, but looked more like an "illuminated body." He called to Mrs. North to come look at it, but by the time she came out the object had vanished in the northeast.
( III – 1 )
Case 67 -- June 26, Logan, Utah: Glen Bunting, a local school teacher, reported seeing a silvery object flying eastward at 7:43 p.m. MST. He told his wife about the sighting, and although she was reluctant to believe her husband's report, two other witnesses called the local paper independently to say they had seen the same object.
Case 125 -- June 30, Knoxville, Tennessee: C. E. Brehm, acting President of the University of Tennessee, reported that at 9:30 p.m. EST, while sitting with his wife in the rear yard of their home at 1721 White Avenue, an object resembling "a long cylinder" was seen arching across the sky "at terrific speed, leaving in its wake a shower of sparks." Brehm said that "it happened with surprising suddenness and disappeared in a second or two, cut off from our view by our house." He described it as "the most peculiar phenomenon I've ever seen. I've seen many a falling star, but never one that behaved like this thing. It was high in the sky, though much lower than the stars." He said he was "mystified as to what the thing was, but probably it was one of those flying saucers we are reading about in the newspapers. It surely had all the earmarks," he added.
On the same night, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Bellam, living on Route 7, also reported seeing a shining object in the sky, but described it as a "100 Watt bulb with a tail on it." The object made a whistling noise as it passed over at low altitude just a short distance away, above a nearby forest (Case 127).
Case 147 -- July 1, Charleston, South Carolina: Richard Bischoff, a teacher at the Citadel, in Charleston, was at his mother's home on Sullivan's Island, when he and three others saw an object fly overhead at 9:55 p.m. EST. While on the back porch with his mother, Mrs. J. Fred Bischoff, his sister, Mrs. Chandler Hewett, of California, and a neighbor, Mrs. J. Albert Von Donlen, a cry from Mrs. Hewett brought their attention to the disc-like object, of a reddish color, moving over at a terrific speed. One of the women said it appeared to be "between the size of a saucer and a tea plate," and the witnesses said it had "grown paler as it disappeared" from view to the south. Mr. Bischoff said he got only a brief view of the object.
Less than a half hour before that an object had been seen 150 miles northeast of Charleston, at Wilmington, North Carolina; reported by two independent witnesses, it was seen "flashing southward." A third witness, about a dozen miles south of Wilmington, at Carolina Beach, verified seeing an object flying south at the same time.
Case 456 -- July 6, Norman, Oklahoma: W. H. Carson, Dean of the University of Oklahoma School of Engineering, reported that he had seen three strange objects flying west over Norman at about 6:00 p.m. CST. He was alone in his back yard when the first object, of undetermined shape, flew over. His wife and three neighbors joined him immediately after and all five saw two more objects fly over in the same direction -- one slightly above the other. The witnesses had an unobstructed view of the objects from their position in the yard.
"From my observation of aircraft flying at various altitudes, I judged them to be 15,000 to 20,000 feet up," Carson said. "It was impossible at that height to determine their shape. However, they appeared to be moving at incredible speed." He said none of the witnesses heard any sound of motors, despite the fact that there was no wind at all when the objects flew over. Carson, who had scoffed at reports of flying saucers until he had seen them himself, reported that he planned to write to the War Department about the sighting, hoping that the information might be useful to the Army, if it had been conducting secret tests. If the Army, or War Department, received the information from Carson, it is not now included in the official files of Project Blue Book.
Case 424 -- July 6, Long Beach, California: Howard Shriver, an Army aviator during the First World War, and his sister, Miss Beulah Shriver, a school teacher, reported that they were returning to San Diego from Los Angeles by automobile when, between 1:15 and 1:30 p.m. PST, a disc-shaped object flashed across the sky just south of Long Beach. The disc, which they estimated to be 7,000 feet high, appeared to be flying north directly toward them when "it swerved broadside towards the ocean," and then "side-slipped" to the west and vanished from view. Miss Shriver said that in their "broadside" view of the object, it had the appearance of "a large serving dinner plate" reflecting the sun. Her brother compared its reflective brilliance to "a mirror's reflection of the sunlight." They viewed the object for three or four seconds before it disappeared from view. Both admitted that they had been "awed by the terrific speed and brilliance" of the phenomenon and were now "among the believers,"
Case 711 -- July 8, St. Louis, Missouri: Thiemo Wolf, school teacher living at 3515 Hartford Street, who had previously "doubted all reports of flying saucers," changed his mind when he saw one himself as it flew over St. Louis shortly after noon. Wolf said the object appeared to be about the size of an automobile and was pink, with a dark spot in the center. The object sped over his home at a height of from 5,000 to 10,000 feet, and disappeared "after swooping down out of sight."
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Meteorologists and Weather Observers
The mid-April sighting made by meteorologists at the U. S. Weather Bureau in Richmond, Virginia is included in this category (I-1).
Case 151 -- July 1, Louisville, Kentucky: U. S. Government Meteorologist E. E. Unger, in charge of the Weather Bureau at Louisville Kentucky, and a weather observer with over 30 years of experience, reported that he and his wife had seen a round, luminous object at 10:10 p.m. CST as they left a movie theatre in the Highlands district of the city. Unger reported that the object was flying, "close to the earth" and was "giving off an orange light." He said that his wife had seen it first, as they came out of the theatre. "It appeared to be traveling about 100 miles an hour toward the southeast," Unger said. "Of course it could have been an airplane, although the glow was too bright for wing or tail lights of a plane, and we didn't hear any noise, although it was quiet enough to have heard a plane motor," he explained. "I only know what I saw and I don't know what it was."
About an hour and a half earlier, J. L. Laemmle, of 710 South Ormsby, reported that he had seen a glowing disc "flash through the sky" (Case 146), and another sighting was made at an unspecified time during the evening by a Mrs. E. A. Simpson.
Case 347 -- July 5, Zanesville, Ohio: Weather observer and CAA Communications Operator Miss Barry Peruzzo, at the Zanesville Airport control tower, said that she had seen two disc-like objects flying over the field about ten minutes apart. She reported that she had seen the first "fairly oval" object at 8:55 p.m. EST, while she was checking the ceiling visibility, one of her duties. "I had just stepped outside when the first object came over at about 5,000 feet," she said; it was flying under the ceiling of clouds. The second disc followed it five or ten minutes later (Case 353). "They went very fast, headed in a northeasterly direction," she added. The witness declined to estimate the speed of the objects, as she was uncertain of their size. "I saw them for only about 15 seconds at a time," she said. She heard no noise.
Army and Army Air Corps Personnel
Case 102 -- June 28, Montgomery, Alabama: Four Army Air Corps officers at Maxwell Air Base they had watched a strangely maneuvering light over the base at 9:20 p.m. CST. Captain William H. Kayko, Captain John H. Cantrell, First Lt. Theodore Dewey, and a Captain Redman, watched the bright light for 25 minutes. It was first seen to the west, close to the horizon, in the clear moonlight. It approached the observers in a jagged, zigzagging course, with frequent bursts of speed. In five minutes the light had approached to a point directly overhead, and the four officers reported that it then made a sharp, sudden turn toward the south, moving slowly southwest, where the witnesses lost sight of it at 9:45 p.m. They heard no noise. The report, from the Air Force files, is explained as a "balloon."
Case 250 -- July 14, Colorado Springs, Colorado: A Colorado Springs Air Base pilot, who did not want his name to be quoted, reported that he had seen a disc-shaped object near the field after he had completed a flight late in the afternoon. The pilot said that after he landed, while standing next to his craft, he glanced toward the east and saw a disc, "about the size of a dime" and about the same shape, making a rapid ascent into the sky. He said that the disc must have been extremely large, for it disappeared into clouds that were later estimated to be about 20 miles distant. He turned to several other pilots standing nearby to call their attention to it, but when he looked back, the disc was no longer visible. The ceiling was estimated to be at 20,000 feet at the time the disc vanished into the clouds. No official report seems to have been made.
Case 320 -- July 5, Mountain View, California: Home on leave from Hamilton Air Base, Sgt. Charles R. Sigala reported in San Jose that at 11:00 a.m. PST, he and his wife, with his mother-in-law and a neighbor, saw a silvery, disc-shaped object fly over his Mountain View home, at the southern end of the Bay area. The object, at an estimated altitude of 5,000 feet, was clearly visible to the witnesses as it circled over Black Mountain, the tallest, peak in the Monte Bello range, five miles southwest of Mountain View. It "dipped several times," and then headed westward toward the sea, Sigala reported. He said that the object appeared to be about "as big as an automobile," and made no noise.
Case 423 -- July 6, Fairfield Suisun Air Base, California: Army Air Corps pilot Captain James H. Burniston, and his wife, were in the yard of their home near the Base when they saw a "round, flat object" flying at an "excessive rate of speed" from the northwest to the southeast. The object "reflected the sun strongly" from its surface, according to Burniston, and in its passage across three-quarters of the sky it was seen to roll from side to side three tines on its lateral axis. Burniston and his wife reported that they could see no wings or fuselage, and the object was estimated to be about the size of a C-54. It appeared to be flying at an altitude of 10,000 feet, the pilot said, and was in view for almost 60 seconds. This report is one of the Unidentified sightings in the Air Force files.
While no specific time is given for the Burnistons' sighting, there were reports of single objects seen around the Bay area all afternoon: about midday a Hamilton Air Base private named O'Hara saw a disc on his way to the mess hall (Case 422); Charles Butler and his son, at Mill Valley, saw a disc hurtle over Mount Tamalpais at 1:30 p.m. (Case 426); and several reports of single discs were made in San Francisco during the afternoon (Cases 419, 434, and 437).
Case 498 -- July 6, Birmingham, Alabama: Army Staff Sgt. Ira L. Livingston, of 1354 Meadow Lane, was finishing supper at 8:45 p.m. CST, when he was called outdoors by his neighbor, Mr. Herman H. Sockwell, of 1360 Meadow Lane. Outside, his neighbors were excitedly watching a strange aerial display. A procession of round objects, glowing dimly, were moving singly through the southern sky to the southeast, in what appeared to be an arc rather than a straight line.
( III 3 )
As one would disappear from view, another would come in sight from the same direction as the previous ones. Livingston counted from seven to ten of them as they appeared, at an elevation he estimated was about 45 degrees. He put their height at 2,000 feet, and their speed at 500 or 600 miles an hour. He said they appeared to he about two feet in diameter, and were completely soundless.
In their account to the paper, Mr. and Mrs. Sockwell described the objects as "streaks of light flying very slow." Having heard radio broadcasts of flying saucers being seen over the city, Mrs. Sockwell had hurried outside to look for them. She was followed by her husband, and at least five neighbors, including Sgt. Livingston, gathered to watch the aerial procession. Mrs. Sockwell described having seen at least six of the discs flying "fairly low," and said they were "the size of a baseball," traveling in a "big curve from the southwest to the southeast." They came at intervals of one about every five seconds, she said.
Hundreds of others in and around Birmingham reported to police stations and newspapers that they had seen numerous objects between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. Among others reporting the "procession" were high school students Dan Smirl, of 1429 10th Place South, and Marvin Pharo, of 626 10th Avenue South, who said the objects were seen one at a time, increasing in number, and seemed to "go over the mountain" to the south (Case 494). A procession of numerous egg-shaped, fluorescent objects were seen flying "fairly low against the nearby mountain" for a period of more than half an hour by J. H. Chatham, a state mines inspector, and his neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hockings (Case 495). Saucer-like objects described as "about the size of an auto-tire" were seen by Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Martin and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Arnold, of 732 47th Way South, from the Arnold home during the evening (Case 496). Miss Connie Murdock, of 512 South 10th Court, said she saw nine luminous objects "like gobs of light moving around in the sky" (Case 497).
Numerous other reports of sightings were printed in the local papers, yet the Air Force file on Livingston's sighting gives no indication of the widespread nature of the phenomenon reported, or that it had been independently corroborated by many witnesses. The official explanation for Livingston's sighting is "fireworks."
Case 564 -- July 7, Denver, Colorado: Three Lowry Field soldiers, one a former aerial combat gunner, reported they saw an object flying near the Field at 7:45 a.m. MST. Technical Sgt. John Todd, Technical Sgt. Richard S. Walker, and corporal Bernade Sanchez, were all attached to Squadron I, Military Police, at Lowry Field. They first saw the object over the eastern section of the Field, near Guardhouse No. 2, where they were going on duty. "At first," reported Walker, "it looked like sunlight reflecting from an airplane." Sanchez obtained a pair of binoculars from the guardhouse, and all three men observed the object with the aid of the glasses. Several other M.P.'s joined them.
"It appeared to be traveling at about the cruising speed of an AT-6" (120 to 150 miles an hour), Sgt. Walker said. "It was just a bright spot and seemed the size of a dishpan. It made no noise. It circled to the south, back to the north, and then went out of sight to the east," he reported. Sgt. Todd agreed with Walker's description. "Although I have never seen anything like it, I believe, because of the way it looked and the fact that it made no sound, that it was a reflection from something on the ground -- something like the windshield of an automobile," Walker explained. Todd and Sanchez both agreed with this explanation. No official report was made out.
Case 712 -- July 8, Muroc Air Base, California: The first of three UFO sightings at this base was made about 9:30 a.m. PST by First Lt. Joseph C. McHenry, billeting officer at the Base. As he was walking toward his office he spotted two disc or sphere-shaped objects moving northward toward the Mojave Desert, and he called them to the attention of Staff Sgt. Gerald F. Newman, Technical Sgt. Joseph Ruvolo and Miss Jeanette Marie Scott, an office stenographer. McHenry said the objects, silver in color, were moving against the prevailing wind at a speed estimated to be 300 miles an hour, in straight, level flight. They appeared to be about 8,000 feet high. Three other persons were hailed, but by the time they had responded the objects were rapidly disappearing into the distance. A third object, however, came into view at about the same time, from the same direction as the first two; similar in appearance to the other objects, this one performed tight circles as it sped northward. Five out of the seven witnesses saw this object before it too disappeared. The Air Force explanation for these objects is "balloons."
Case 717 -- July 8, Muroc Air Base, California: The second sighting of the day at Muroc occurred about forty minutes later, and was made by test pilot, Major J. C. Wise. As he prepared to take off in an XP-84 for a test run of the new fighter plane, he glanced toward the north and saw what he first thought was a weather balloon, flying in an east-to-west direction. Taking note of the prevailing wind, he found that this object would have had to be flying into the face of it; its forward speed was 200 to 225 miles an hour, far too great for a balloon even if the wind had been in the right direction. He described the color of the object as yellow-white and its shape as spherical. Judging its size to be about that of a normal aircraft, or about 50 feet in diameter, its altitude was estimated as 10,000 to 12,000 feet. It oscillated with a forward, whirling motion as it proceeded westward. According to the Air Force, this also was a "balloon."
( III 4 )
Case 727 -- July 8, Muroc Air Base (Rogers Dry Lake), California: The third Muroc sighting took place just before noon. A group of officers and technicians were assembled in Area Two at Rogers Dry Lake, east of Muroc, watching several aircraft prepare to carry out a seat-ejection experiment. As they watched their attentions were drawn to a peculiar object in the north.
Major Richard R. Shoop, of the Office of Technical Engineering at Muroc, reported later that his attention was called to the object by Colonel Signa A. Gilkey, another observer. In his report, Major Shoop said the thin, metallic object he saw was moving in a northerly direction at a distance he estimated to be from five to eight miles off. It was seen first high up, moving slowly in an oscillating fashion, and appeared to be about the size of a pursuit plane. It was then seen descending almost to the ground, but rose slightly before it was lost to view in the distance toward the mountains in the northwest. The object was of a shiny, aluminum color and its speed was slow, only about three times the rate of descent of the test parachute from the seat ejection experiment, which took place a short time after the object was first seen. Shoop said the observation lasted about eight minutes.
Another witness, test pilot Captain John Paul Stapp, said that at 11:50 a.m., he saw a silvery object, resembling "a parachute canopy" when first observed, traveling somewhat north of due west. As the object slowly descended, presenting a lateral view, it gradually changed its shape from hemispheric to oval, and two "knobs" or "fins" appeared at the top, crossing each other slowly and giving the impression of a slow rotation, or oscillation. It seemed to be flying more slowly than a conventional aircraft as it descended from an estimated altitude of 20,000 feet. Its diameter appeared to be approximately 50 feet. It descended toward the mountaintops to the northwest and was lost to view after approximately 90 seconds. No sound was heard. No vapor trails were seen, nor any visible means of propulsion.
Of the five men assembled to watch the seat ejection experiment, four had observed the strange object. In a collective report, all of the witnesses agreed that the object appeared "man-made, as evidenced by the outline and functional appearance" they had observed. Again, the Air Force explanation was "balloon."
Following a talk Dr. McDonald gave in Las Vegas, Nevada, in May, 1967, a man came up to him and said he knew one of the witnesses who had been involved in the Muroc sightings in 1947. He identified the witness as Oliver Earl Cooper. In August, Dr. McDonald was able to get in touch with Cooper, and it appears that Earl Cooper was the fourth observer referred to in the final sighting at Muroc on July 8, 1947. (His name was not mentioned specifically in the Air Force files.)
As Cooper recalled the incident for McDonald, he was with a group of four or five people on the west side of Rogers Dry Lake, near Area One (note discrepancy). They were at the east end of a 10,000-foot runway, looking east, with the runway to their backs. He couldn't recall what test was being carried out, but thought it was a fuel test involving the XP-84. He recalled that a pilot had been one of the group (Stapp).
It was a hot, clear day. The object was first seen at about 20 to 25 degrees elevation to the east. According to Cooper's recollection, 20 years later, it was moving in a generally southerly direction -- possibly east southeast (approximately 180 degrees off from the directions listed in the contemporary report). He stated that everyone had looked up, but, that no one would say anything about it until it was noticed that the others were also observing it. He told McDonald that as the object moved south it stopped, then moved again before it disappeared. It moved in a horizontal path and Cooper recalled no irregularity of motion. He described the speed as not terribly fast -- his impression was perhaps ten miles an hour. He had a vague recollection of its moving a bit from side to side at times, but not fluttering -- just veering somewhat sinuously. He estimated he watched it for four or five minutes.
He described the shape of the object as elliptical, somewhat rounded; its color was off-white, with no glinting from the sun. The altitude was approximately 10,000 feet. Toward the end of the sighting he recalled the object as having accelerated somewhat before disappearing. He did not recall any other reports from Muroc that day, but he may have never had occasion to hear of them. He said that all of his group were asked to make statements on the sighting later. He did not recall the seat-ejection experiment, although his recollection about this point twenty years later can be expected to he vague, as well as for other finer details.
He told McDonald that later the sighting was explained to them as possibly a weather balloon. They were told that it changed apparent size because of "atmospheric conditions." Apparently no explanation was given for the balloons to have been able to fly into the face of the wind.
Case 852 -- July 29, near Hamilton Field, California: Captain William H. Ryherd reported that he had sighted two objects near Hamilton Field at 2:50 p.m. PST. They were traveling at high speed, one after the other, on a course to the south southwest. The first object proceeded in straight level flight while the second followed in what Ryherd described as a "guard'' formation, swinging alternately from the right to the left. This sighting is among those Unidentified in the Air Force files.
Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Personnel
Case 194 -- July 3, San Diego, California: Two Navy Chief Petty Officers, Robert L, Jackson and William Baker, were at the Naval Station when they observed three disc-like objects approximately 20 miles west of the Station, over the Pacific Ocean. The officers said the objects, flying at an estimated speed of 400 miles an hour, came in from the west and circled, then flew back out over the ocean.
( III 5 )
“They were about half-way from the horizon," Jackson said. "They appeared to be round as saucers and were flying fairly close together in formation." The wire service accounts of this report did not say whether a report had been made out to Navy officials.
Case 257 -- July 4, Lake City, Washington: Yeoman Frank Ryman, of the Coast Guard, photographed a disc as it flew over Lake City (IV-3).
Case 326 -- July 5, Seattle, Washington: Marine Sgt. Raynor L. Cain, of 364l 26th Place West, reported that at 12:40 p.m. PST he had seen two disc-like objects flying over the city. "They looked like night footballs - the silvered kind you use for games under lights. The first one banked slightly at about 8,000 feet, and then seemed to shoot up and out of sight, heading north. The second one, following about a minute behind, appeared to be wobbling in flight, but it, too, headed north, climbing out of vision," Cain said.
Case 403 -- July 6, Denver, Colorado: LeRoy Krieger, Aerologist Second Class at the Buckley Naval Air Station, east of Denver, reported he had seen a bright object which he was convinced "was not an airplane." At an unspecified time during the day, he and James Cavalieri, a Buckley Field hospital apprentice, reported they saw an object "round and shiny, like silver," to the east of the field, "shooting up and down." It made no noise, and after several minutes of this peculiar maneuvering, the object left at high speed. "It was going like a bat outa hell," Krieger reported. His companion agreed.
Case 769 -- July 8, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii: At 5:30 p.m., HST, more than 100 Navy men watched an oblong shaped object over the base at Pearl Harbor. It was described by most witnesses as "silvery colored, like aluminum, with no wings or tail, sort of round or oblong-shaped, and moving both slow and fast." The object was "very high," and moving westward toward Honolulu in "alternating bursts of speed" and in a "slow, zigzagging" flight path. Among the Navy men reporting the object were Yeoman 2c Ted Purdue, 21, of McClain, Texas; Yeoman 1c Douglas Kacherle, 22, of New Bedford, Mass.; Seaman 1c Donald Ferguson, 19, of Indianapolis, Indiana; Yeoman Morris Kzamme, 13, of LaCrosse, Wisconsin; and Seaman Albert Delancey, 19, of Salem, West Virginia.
Navy officials at the base reported that they had begun an investigation of the reports. A check of balloon flights was made and it was learned that at 4:35 p.m. a weather balloon had been sent aloft from the Honolulu Airport, but had risen quickly and was carried off to the southwest with prevailing winds. Honolulu police said that no reports had been received from the city. They confirmed that both military and civilian authorities were making a check of the reports. The sighting, however, is not among those in the Air Force files.
Case 835 -- July 12, Seattle, Washington: Seaman John C. Kennedy and Seaman Ben Bobberly were on duty at Sand Point Naval Air Station in northeast Seattle on Lake Washington when, at 6:35 p.m. PST, they saw what appeared to be a disc-like object flying overhead. "It was headed east, toward Kirkland, over Lake Washington," Kennedy later reported, "and at, I should say, a 12,000-foot altitude. It was silvery, perfectly round and made no noise that I could hear." He said they had reported the sighting to officers at the base.
In spite of its having been officially reported, it is not included in the Air Force files. However, at about the same time the two seamen made their observation, three disc-like objects were reported over the area around North 82nd Street and 11th Avenue, going north very fast and very high (Case 834). The two teenagers who reported this sighting, Arnold Bergh and James Calahan, said the objects were "silvery and flashing in the sun," and appeared to be "swerving a little, back and forth, and up and down."
Newsmen and Editors
Case 27 -- June 23, Wapakoneta, Ohio: Richard L. Bitters, editor of the Wapakoneta Daily News, had waited two weeks to report a sighting by his wife and himself on the evening before the day Arnold made his observation. He held off reporting the story, he said, because at the time "I didn't think it was a news story." Mr. and Mrs. Bitters had been to a movie, and on their way home, about 9:30 p.m. EST, they saw a "saucer-like" object "flying an uneven course in the sky, and weaving in an out off view."
The same night, at an unspecified time, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Nelson, of 1013 Main Street, Cincinnati, some 90 miles south of Wapakoneta, reported having seen a saucer-like object "streaking over their home" and leaving a long trail in its wake (Case 28).
Case 228 -- July 4, Portland, Oregon: Radio station KOIN newsman Frank Cooley reports seeing maneuvering objects over the city (II-9).
( III 6 )
Case 258 -- July 4, Boise, Idaho: John Corlett, UP staff' correspondent and news manager, who was sitting in his garden with his wife and two friends, reported that they had seen a single disc-like object about 6:30 p.m. MST which crossed the sky in a matter of three or four seconds. Mr. Corlett reported:
"Before dark last night, as my wife and I and two friends were relaxing after dinner, a tiny white disc - one of the mysterious 'saucers' - scudded across the sky at a terrific speed. In just about the time it takes to turn your head, the silver object was nearly out of sight. Both my wife and I and our guests, Mr. and Mrs. V. H. Selby, caught a glimpse of the tiny object. Selby is a Boise artist. There was no noise - absolutely none that we could hear, either before or after the disc shot by. The sky was clear and we could not have mistaken a cloud for the disc we saw. At one point in its progress the disc was almost overhead. It was flying fairly high -- I'd judge at about 10,000 feet. Until last night, I didn't believe in them. But now I know those 'saucers' aren't just a myth, part of someone's imagination. It took seeing them with my own eyes to believe it."
Case 315 -- July 5, Augusta, Maine: Radio station WRDO newsman Dan Kelly reports a dozen discs flying over the city in a straight line (II-3).
Case 337 -- July 5, Charleston, South Carolina: While driving in the eastern section of Charleston with his wife in the late afternoon, News and Courier staff writer Samuel A. Cothran watched a silvery object following "a regular course almost due east" for two minutes.
"I saw a silvery, circular object," wrote Mr. Cothran in the News and Courier the next day, "traveling generally eastward high in the sky at 6:20 p.m. . . while pleasure driving on Charleston's waterfront. My wife saw it first and pointed it out to me. We watched it disappear over the Atlantic Ocean, after observing it for two full minutes. It was flying alone. There was no formation.
"It followed a steady course, without deviation. No wings or other projections were perceptible, although it seemed to me that a medium sized plane at a fairly high altitude would have been easily identified as such. I saw no glow or vapor trail, which have been characteristic of other Flying Saucer reports.
"We were not the only ones to see it. Several youngsters on the street saw it, becoming wildly excited, and they ran from one vantage point to another to keep it in view. It is not out of the realm of possibility that it was a high-flying plane, but if so, it was a strange contraption. It is not possible to say how high it was flying because I had no notion of its actual size."
Several independent sightings at about the same time were reported to the News and Courier. At almost the same time as the Cothran's sighting, Joseph Price Cameron, of Byrns Downs, who was also driving in an automobile, said he had seen a disc-like object, bright like aluminum, and apparently the "size of a dinner plate." It was moving fast directly over Byrnes Downs in the general direction of the Charleston Navy Yard, north of the city. Mr. Cameron established the time of his sighting at 6:17 p.m. (Case 336).
About 30 miles north of Charleston, H. L. Babson, of Monck's Corner, a crane operator, reported that around 6:00 p.m. he and a friend had been fishing on Lake Moultrie, near Pinopolis, when they saw an object to the south, "like a shiny clam." It was flying in the direction of Charleston, eastward. It appeared to Babson to "perhaps measure ten by ten feet." The front looked larger in thickness than the rear, according to the witness, and the bottom was rounded. Mr. Babson was certain that it was not an airplane, for it was flying much too fast and made no noise. On the lake, he explained, a plane's engines can be heard before and after it is in view (Case 334).
Case 578 -- July 7, Reno, Nevada: Under headlines that read "Tiny Speck Whizzes Across Sky Here At Unbelievable Speed--Many Reno Persons See Small Object," John Brackett, City Editor of the Reno Nevada State Journal, described in the July 8 edition his own sighting of the previous morning.
"Whizzing silently through the air at a high altitude and almost unbelievable speed, a flying disc or saucer. . .was seen in Reno yesterday for the first time. I was one of the few people in Reno who saw the object streak across the sky yesterday morning leaving intermittent trails of bluish-white vapor behind it. I watched it for less than two minutes. During that time it crossed the sky twice. Then, gleaming like a mirror reflecting the sun, it turned into the sun and disappeared.
"My wife, Wilma, who was hanging out the washing, spotted the thin string of vapor first. I was mowing the lawn nearby. She called my attention to it, and I told her it was probably a skywriting airplane. . . . Then we spotted the disc, moving from east to west high above us to the north. It looked like a tiny grey speck, and it was round. As we watched it, it emitted another stream of blue vapor that turned white as the object pulled away from it.
"'It's a disc!' Wilma shouted. . . . The two small children of Mr. and Mrs. John Solaro, who live a few houses away from us on Mann Street, were with us and watched. They are Philip, 5, and Maty, 3. Within the space of seconds, it had reached the western horizon and we could see it begin to turn. It made no sound and I can't estimate the height. It was well above the few clouds. . .Suddenly I thought of my camera and ran into the house to get it. I obtained it within seconds but by the time I returned outside the mysterious object was traveling away from us to the east, into the sun, and I couldn't take a picture of it.
"As it neared the eastern horizon -- just above the mouth off the Truckee River canyon east of Sparks -- it dipped downward and turned to the south. For a moment it glistened and disappeared. We checked the time at 9:55 a.m. About two minutes later I looked at the sky again, and noticed two separate vapor streams running north and south, but I could see no discs. It appeared to me that the disc might have completed its southward swing and then disappeared to the north. . . ."
( III 7 )
Brackett reported that at least eight other persons in or near Reno saw the same object. He figured the distance over which the disc would have had to travel during the time it was in view and estimated it was moving at more than 1,000 miles an hour. There were jets in the sky during the morning, but a check indicated that they had flown over Reno at 10:11 and 10:16 a.m. The CAA advised him that it had received a number of calls from people who saw objects similar to the one reported by Brackett.
"At least ten Sierra Pacific Power Company employees, working in the open at Verdi, saw the same thing we did," Brackett wrote. "They clocked it at 9:55 a.m. and said they saw another at 10:22 a.m. Harry Rose, 450 Cheney Street, said the object, on its west to east sweep before it disappeared, took forty seconds to cross the sky - that jibes with my estimate that we watched it altogether for a minute and a half." Three other youths with Rose at the time were George Morrison, 802 Gordon Avenue; Kenneth York, 588 West Taylor Street; and Carnie Hall, 452 Washington Street. Brackett was unable to get the names of the other witnesses (Case 577).
Dr. McDonald was able to locate Brackett, who is now publisher of a paper in Visalia, California. His recollection of the sighting was somewhat vague, but he recalled both he and his wife having watched it cross the sky at an extremely high velocity. In his recollection was the idea that many others had also seen it and he wrote it up for the newspaper because there had been so many phone calls about it. He remembered the group of workmen in Verdi who had seen it, but could not recall any details about other witnesses. The job he held was a mixture of being city editor and general reporter. He wrote up the account of the sighting on the afternoon of July 7, so it was a particularly freshly recorded report of what he had seen. He told McDonald that there had been a number of sightings recently in Visalia, and expressed interest in the problem from the point of view of the journalist.
Case 23 -- June 22, El Paso, Texas: An El Paso Optometrist, Dr. G. Oliver Dickson, reported that at an unspecified time during the day he had seen a "blimp-like" object traveling over a mountain-top near the city. He said that although the object appeared "bright and shiny," it "did not reflect the sun's rays." Dr. Dickson estimated the speed of the object was about 150 miles an hour, and its size about 40 feet across and five feet thick. It was in view for 15 seconds,
Case 60 -- June 25, Silver City, New Mexico: Dr. R. F. Sensenbaugher, Silver City dentist, was driving with his wife and her sister, Mrs. C. B. Munroe, shortly after 8:00 p.m. MST when they saw a "luminous disc" sail out of the northern sky and disappear over the southern horizon. Dr. Sensenbaugher described the object's size as "about half the size of the full moon," and said it was "very brilliant, giving off a green light." The disc appeared to the reporting witness to be "far-distant," and it was not moving at an excessive speed, as, for example, a meteor would. The three observers viewed the object for six or seven seconds before it disappeared over the southern horizon.
Dr. Sensenbaugher reported the details of his sighting to Dr. H. H. Nininger, the meteoriticist, who concluded that the object was "definitely a meteor and probably landed 200 miles south of Silver City, in Mexico." However, the Sensenbaughers could not connect the phenomenon with anything they had experienced before.
Case 65 -- June 26, Grand Canyon, Arizona: En route to San Francisco to attend classes in atomic medicine at the University of California, Dr. Leon Oetinger, a physician from Lexington, Kentucky, accompanied by his mother, Mrs. Leon Oetinger, Sr., and Miss Carol Street, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, had been spending some time sightseeing at the Grand Canyon. At an unspecified time during the day of the 26th, shortly after having left Canyon Lodge, on the north rim, they saw "a silver ball flashing through the sky" above the canyon. "It was a distinctly large ball," Mrs. Oetinger reported later, in San Francisco. She said it first "looked like an airplane, yet it was falling too swiftly for an airplane. It was in the sky one minute, and by the time I had called my son's attention to it, the form had swooshed to almost the horizon point. Then it was gone." Dr. Oetinger described the phenomenon in what his mother called "the conservative words of a physician." He said the body was moving extremely fast, "too swiftly for a falling plane."
Case 389 -- July 6, near Ashland, Oregon: Ashland physician Dr. S. Everett, and his family, together with C. E. Corry, superintendent of Ashland Park, and Corry's family, were camping on the banks of Rock River, near McKee Bridge. At 6:40 a.m. PST they saw a silver, disc-like object traveling in a straight line overhead at a high rate of speed. The witnesses estimated its altitude was approximately 7,000 feet -- gauged by an airliner passing overhead at the time. The object would have had to be "quite large," Corry reported later, "to have been seen at that height." The sighting was reported to the Ashland Tidings the next morning.
Case 394 -- July 6, Lake Lotawana, Missouri: Dr. David S. Long, Jr., Kansas City physician, reported that while he was sailing on Lake Lotawana, a few miles southeast of Kansas City, at about 10:00 a.m. CST, he saw a formation of seven disc-shaped objects, each appearing about the size of a grapefruit, moving in a northerly direction at a rapid speed. He said that when he first saw the discs, they were passing directly overhead.
( III 8 )
Case 461 -- July 6, Ladue, Missouri: Dr. Walter Hoefer, of 23 Black Lane, Ladue, about six miles west of St. Louis, reported that at 7:45 p.m. CDT he, as well as his son and daughter, had seen "six round or oval objects flying in an apparently integrated manner," going noiselessly from the northwest to the south at a very high altitude. He hurried into his house to obtain a pair of binoculars, and each of the three witnesses was able to use them to view the object more closely before they disappeared from view. The discs were arranged in two groups of three each, "like a disc harrow." They were light-colored, and as seen through the binoculars, Dr. Hoefer reported that "each had a light spot in the center." He was unable to estimate their rate of speed. The objects were called to the attention of neighbors, several of whom thought they might be planes.
About the same time, several miles to the south at Shrewsbury, Mr. and Mrs. George Willson and their daughter, and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Downs, neighbors, reported seeing two groups of three discs each, moving eastward at high speed (Case 462). Farther to the east, in St. Louis, Mrs. N. P. McDonald and her daughter, of 5941 Scanlon Avenue, and Mrs. Walter Simonds, 5935 Scanlon Avenue, also reported seeing an eastward flight of six objects in two groups of three each (Case 463). Miss Lois Bogner, of 6338 Sutherland Avenue, made a similar sighting (Case 464), and six discs were reported observed by Leonard Coleman and his sister, at 5381 Pershing Avenue (Case 465). All these sightings were made at approximately the same time and, in spite of a difference in direction with Dr. Hoefer's report, are probably independent verifications of the same objects. (The difference in directions can be accounted for if one considers the possibility that the formation shifted to an easterly course following Dr. Hoefer's view of their passage; it's also possible he could have been in error about the direction.)
Airline, Military, and Private Pilots
Case 6 -- June 2, near Lewes, Delaware: Forrest Wenyon, from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, a pilot with more than 30 years experience, reported that he had seen an object shaped like "a mayonnaise jar" cross in front of his plane as he was flying north over Lewes, Delaware. It was the second time he had seen an object of that description - the first sighting took place in September, 1946. (This earlier case in the Air Force files has the name as Horace P. Wenyon)
Mr. Wenyon said the object was flying on a "true course" eastward at an estimated speed of 10,000 to 12,000 miles an hour. The pilot was flying at an altitude of 1,400 feet in a Stinson 4-passenger plane when the second sighting took place. The object crossed his flight path at approximately the same altitude. Although it was going at a tremendous speed, Mr. Wenyon was able to note several things: the silvery, "jar-shaped object" flew with the lid part aft, and appeared to have some kind of rocket propulsion, The "lid" appeared to be perforated, and from these openings he could see white flames escaping. The object disappeared within a few seconds.
Worried because this projectile had been flying through commercial air lanes, and fearing a possible connection with a disastrous C-54 airliner crash just two days before at Port Deposit, Maryland, Wenyon notified the CAA, the FBI, and Eastern Airlines and told them about his observation. The FBI was not interested, and told him so. The CAA and Eastern listened to his report and said they would investigate. But more than a month later he heard of no results.
This sighting is included in the Air Force files -- possibly as a result of Wenyon's report to the CAA. It is explained as a "missile," which is in itself a mystery, as it is inconceivable that the U.S. Government would be testing experimental rockets on the east coast at that time, particularly in commercial air lanes.
Case 68 -- June 26, Cedar City, Utah: Just before sundown, Roy Walter, airplane and engine mechanic at the Cedar City Municipal Airport, and a private pilot, was flying a small plane northeast of the airport when he saw a "silvery streak" approach him at high speed at about his own altitude. It disappeared to the east between Cedar City and Parowan, he later reported.
Royce R. Knight, airport manager, reported that he, too, had seen the object, but from the ground. He said that as it went out of sight to the east, it "appeared to disintegrate in a ball of blue flame." When he first saw it approaching the airport, he thought it was "a silver-colored plane" -- until he noticed the "terrific speed" at which the object was traveling (Case 69).
Charles Moore, manager for Western Airlines, was driving to the airport when he, too, saw the object. He dismissed it as a "large meteor" or "falling star," he said (Case 70).
Case 83 -- June 27, Near Engle, and other New Mexico areas: In his statement about "meteorites" being "larger and coming closer to earth" (I-6), Lt. Colonel Harold R. Turner, White Sands Commander, said that "two reports" of "falling bodies" were being investigated, one in Tularosa and another near Engle, New Mexico. The Engle sighting was an air-to-air observation made by "Captain Dvyan, an Alamogordo Air Base pilot," who was flying in a private plane near the area of Engle at 3,000 feet when he "looked down and saw a ball of fire, with a fiery blue tail behind it." The object was about 2,000 feet below him, and he said he was certain that "it was a meteorite." The pilot reported that as he watched, the object "disintegrated in the air." Engle is a small town ten miles east of Hot Springs (now Truth or Consequences), New Mexico.
In his same statement (made in El Paso and carried by AP on June 28), Colonel Turner gave brief details of two other sightings that had been made at 9:50 a.m. on the 27th -- neither one of them in the Tularosa area. The first was reported by W. C. Dodds, a "track" or "train" inspector at White Sands; he had seen a "flame high in the sky" about one-half mile south of Hope, New Mexico, about 70 miles east of Alamogordo (Case 75).
( III 9 )
The second report was made by Captain E. B. (sic) Detchmendy, of the Ordnance Department at White Sands, who saw the "same flame" while driving through the St. Augustine Pass, about 20 miles northeast of Las Cruces, near the missile test center (Case 74). No information was provided by Turner concerning the "falling body" seen at Tularosa (Case 82).
In checking the 1947 edition of The Army Register to verify the dubious name of "Dvyan," no such name could be found. With the assistance of Miss Lynn Catoe of the Library of Congress, the Military Personnel Center in St. Louis was contacted, and they verified the fact that no "Dvyan" was registered in 1947. However, the records show a Captain Robert D. Dwan, who was born in Texas and was on active duty in 1947; he may be the pilot who made the air-to-air observation at Engle. The only Detchmendy on record at that time was Captain John L. Detchmendy, who had gone off active duty in 1944 but who was still active in the Reserves in 1947.
Since no specific time was given for the Engle report, it cannot be definitely connected with the sightings made at Hope and the St. Augustine Pass; there are, however, other reports in various parts of New Mexico at about 10:00 a.m. that might be independent confirmations of the sightings by Dodds and Detchmendy.
Hollis O. Cummins, of Capitan, 45 miles north northeast of Alamogordo, wrote to the Albuquerque Journal to report that on June 27 his mother and a neighbor had both seen a "shiny object" streak through the sky over Capitan at about 10:00 a.m. No direction is given, but according to Cummins, the neighbor, Irv Dill, said he believed the object had landed "to the left of the C (for Capitan) on Wilson Hill" (Case 77).
And in San Miguel, eight miles south of Las Cruces, Mrs. David Appelzoller reported that at 10:00 a.m. a "white object" that "looked like an electric light bulb," but larger, with a "yellow flame trailing from the rear," whistled over her house so low she thought "it would hit her." The object came from the northeast and disappeared to the southwest. The witness thought it had landed in a nearby cotton field, but a search of the area failed to uncover anything unusual (Case 76).
If directions could be confirmed, the observations at Capitan, Hope, San Miguel and St. Augustine Pass might show that the same object -- possibly a bolide -- had been observed from four different locations. But whatever was seen at Engle was not a meteor, as no meteor would be seen flying 2,000 feet below a plane.
Case 95 -- June 28, 30 miles northwest of Lake Mead, Nevada: Lt. Eric B. Armstrong, Air Corps pilot of Brooks Field, San Antonio, left Brooks at 2:00 p.m. CST for Portland, Oregon. An hour and 15 minutes later, at 1:15 PST, about 30 miles northwest of Lake Mead over Nevada wasteland, he saw a formation of five or six objects streak by his plane. He described them as white and circular and said they were in close formation in the four o'clock position off his right wing, at about 6,000 feet, flying a southeast course at an estimated speed of 285 miles an hour. They flew in a straight, horizontal path and seemed to Armstrong to be about three feet in diameter. They quickly flew out of sight in the opposite direction, behind the pilot. The Air Force explanation for this sighting is "balloon cluster."
Case 115 -- June 30, near the south rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona: Lt. William McGinty sees two objects plunge straight down to the ground (II-12).
Case 217 -- July 4, east of Moscow, Idaho: At Astoria, Oregon, Irving C. Allen, Chief of Airports Operations and Management in the 7th Region for the Civil Aeronautics Administration, reported that he had spotted a "disc-like" object while flying southward from Coeur d'Alene to Lewiston, Idaho, in the vicinity of Moscow, at 10:30 a.m. PST.
"The disc proceeded north across my plane's course from right to left and on a regular course. It was first spotted by my assistant manager, William Farrell, a passenger in the plane," Allen reported. The pilot said the object was "remarkably white" and moved north at a uniform altitude with a kind of "wavering" flight pattern. He estimated that it was "larger than the largest plane" as it crossed several miles in front of him as he was flying slightly east of Moscow. He and his passenger had it in view for five minutes.
Case 254 -- July 4, near Los Angeles, California: Private pilot Dan Whelan, of 1611 North Hudson Avenue, Hollywood, and a companion, Duncan Underhill, of the same address, had taken off from the Santa Monica Airport at about 5:00 p.m. PST in a private plane, bound for San Diego. Twenty-five miles to the south, approximately west of Long Beach, while flying at an altitude of 5,000 feet, they saw a disc-shaped object about 2,000 feet above them.
"It was traveling 400 to 500 miles an hour," Whelan said. "It was not spinning, but looked exactly like a skeet" (a rifle practice target). He said that the object was flying in a north by northwest direction, and both he and Underhill estimated the disc was "about 40 to 50 feet in diameter." Whelan admitted to the press that the appearance of the object "scared me silly."
Case 285 -- July 4, between Emmett, Idaho and Ontario, Oregon: United Air Lines Flight Trip 105 left Gowan Field, Boise, bound for Seattle, at 9:04 p.m. MST, with Captain Emil J. Smith at the controls and First Officer Ralph Stevens in the co-pilot's seat. Before they boarded the plane in Boise, someone had asked them if they had seen any flying saucers, and Smith jokingly retorted, "I'll believe them when I see them." Eight minutes later, both he and Stevens were converted into believers. As they flew over Emmett, Idaho, approaching a cruising altitude of about 7,000 feet, Stevens reached over to blink his landing lights, believing he had seen a plane ahead at about the same level as the airliner. He called Smith's attention to it. They immediately saw four more, arranged in a "loose formation."
( III 10 )
"At first I thought it was a group of light planes returning from some Fourth of July celebration," said Smith, "but then I realized the things were not aircraft, but were flat and circular." Not believing their eyes, they called the stewardess, Miss Marty Morrow, forward. Without telling her what to look for, they directed her attention to the sky ahead of them. Looking out the cockpit window, Miss Morrow exclaimed, "why, there's a formation of those flying discs!"
The objects appeared "huge" and were dark grey, silhouetted against the bright evening sky. The pilots thought they were much larger than ordinary aircraft, although they couldn't be certain since they didn't know how far off they were. At no time was there any possibility of colliding with them. The discs were "smooth on the bottom, and rough on top," according to the witnesses.
As soon as Miss Morrow had confirmed their observation, Smith called the control tower at Ontario, Oregon, giving his position and flight direction. He asked the tower operators to step outside to see if they could see anything unusual in the direction from which the plane was approaching. The tower operators saw nothing, which led Smith to believe that the discs were larger and farther away than they originally estimated -- possibly as far away as 30 miles.
The objects appeared to "merge," and then disappeared to the northwest. No sooner had they gone out of sight when another group came into view to the left and ahead of them (Case 286). By this time the airliner had reached its cruising altitude of 8,000 feet, and was flying over rugged country toward the Blue Mountains, in eastern Oregon. In the second group, the discs were arranged in a straight line, three together and the fourth off by itself. "This group seemed to be higher than our flight path," reported the pilot, "and when they did leave, they left fast!"
The nine objects had been in view for at least twelve minutes, seen over a distance of more than 45 miles. Smith was certain that the objects had to be considerably larger than a DC-3 to have been seen for such a great distance. "They were nothing from the ground in the way of fireworks, reflections, or anything like that," he asserted. "They weren't smoke and I know they weren't aircraft. . . . They were bigger than aircraft."
These objects may fall into the category of Satellite Object Cases, as they were described as "merging" and separating at one point during the observation. The sighting is Unidentified in the Air Force files. Dr. McDonald was able to contact Captain Smith and learned he is currently Flight Manager for UAL at Kennedy Airport in New York City. Smith emphasized that he hasn't kept up with the UFO problem, and his recollections of that early sighting were somewhat vague. He did confirm having seen two separate groups of discs, neither of which could have been aircraft. He recalled that Stevens had spotted them first and mistook them for aircraft, flashing his landing lights as a warning. Smith asked him why he'd flashed them, and Stevens called his attention to the objects. In his phone conversation with Dr. McDonald, he said it was difficult to recall the details but he thought that they had passed rather quickly out of view. They saw the second group just southeast of Ontario, Oregon, This time both he and Stevens saw them simultaneously. He recalled having called the stewardess up to the cabin, and she verified their observation. The sky was clear at the time -- not a cloud anywhere. They had radioed the tower at Ontario and asked the operator to step outside, but he must have looked toward the UAL plane, rather than into the twilight sky, for he saw nothing. Their radio conversation with the Ontario tower was overheard by other stations, so when they arrived at Pendleton for a scheduled landing, reporters were waiting for their story. He told McDonald that he recalled the bottoms of the objects as being flat, but their upper surfaces were less distinct. They might have been rounded or might have had some kind of superstructure, he thought. Smith had no UFO theories and emphasized that he did not wish to be tied in with any “suppositions," although he was willing to discuss as much of the sighting as he could remember with Dr. McDonald.
Case 402 -- July 6, Clay Center, Kansas: Major Archie B. Browning, Army Air Corps B-25 pilot, was flying from Ogden, Utah to Kansas City when, at 1:45 p.m. CST, he and his crew saw a bright, round, silver-colored object flying off the left wing of the plane at an estimated ten miles away. Browning was flying at 10,000 feet at the time, and the object appeared to be at a somewhat lower altitude. He described the object as "disc-shaped," and said it was flying in the same direction as the B-25 (eastward) in straight, level flight. It appeared to close in to several miles of the aircraft. Browning reported that it was about 30 to 50 feet in diameter, and said that when he turned the B-25 toward it for a closer look, the object accelerated and disappeared at a high rate of speed. In the Air Force files, the sighting is explained as "astronomical." How it got this assignment seems to be as puzzling as the object itself, unless, perhaps, the position of the object -- "at nine o'clock" -- was somehow confused with the time of day.
Case 574 -- July 7, near Elkhorn, Wisconsin: Kenneth Jones, a pilot and flight instructor with the Elkhorn Air Service, reported that at 11:30 a.m. CST, while he was practicing take-offs and landings with a flight student about 15 miles from Elkhorn, he saw a "white ball" moving along at an altitude of about 3,000 feet.
( III 11 )
Case 606 -- July 7, near Eagle, Wisconsin: Captain R. J. Southey, a pilot living in Burlington, heard of the sighting made earlier the same day by Jones and, with Clem Hackworthy, a friend, took a private plane aloft to "look around." At 2:00 p.m. CST, the two men saw a fast-moving, "silver thing," flying southeast over Eagle. They tried to photograph it, but the object quickly disappeared, and suddenly reappeared approximately ten miles away from the pilots.
Case 735 -- July 7 or 8, near Spokane, Washington: A young Dishman, Washington war veteran and student pilot said he had spotted a "flying disc" from his plane as he was flying at a 500-foot altitude in the Mount Spokane area during the afternoon. The pilot, James Davidson, a Spokane Naval Supply Depot employee, said "It was not flying fast. It appeared to be the size of a wagon wheel. The side of the disc exposed to the sun was shiny. It looked like it had a hole in the center," he added. He reported that he had tried to take a photograph of the object. The negatives, however, "did not reproduce well." He said he hadn't believed reports of flying discs at first, "but I do now."
Case 702 -- July 8, Cook Springs, Alabama: An aviator who declined to make his name public told the Birmingham papers on the 8th that he had seen an object during a flight and wanted to know if there had been any other reports of "flying saucers" at the time. He had taken his plane up for an early morning flight, he explained, and at 7:05 a.m. CST had seen the object as he flew over Cook Springs. His attention had been caught by a bright reflection ahead of him, "like that from a mirror held against the sun." He changed his course, believing he had gotten "on the beam" of an approaching plane, but none appeared. Then, in the direction of the source of the flash, he saw silhouetted against the mountains a "round object about the size of an automobile wheel." He tried to catch up with it, but the speed of the object was too great for his plane. The object diminished to "about a foot in diameter and then disappeared into the haze."
He said he spent 30 or 40 minutes searching the area around Highway 78, ten miles east of Leeds, over which the object had first been seen, looking for a water tank or something else that might have caused the bright reflection. But he found nothing. Later, a check with the airport control tower at Birmingham revealed that no other planes had been in the air in the area at that time.
Case 733 -- July 5, Alton, New Hampshire: Thomas Dale, 26, son of Governor Charles M. Dale, and a veteran of more than eight years of flying, was piloting a private plane from Laconia to Portsmouth during the afternoon. With him was a friend, Jere Stetson, of Newfields. At 4:26 p.m. EDT, as they flew southwestward over Alton at an altitude of 2,800 feet, Dale and his companion saw a strange object about two miles away to the east and some 1,500 feet below their plane. It was approaching the young men at an "excessive speed," and in 15 to 18 seconds it had veered to the north, out over Alton Bay and Lake Winnipesaukee, toward Moultenboro, where it was lost to view. "I'm not saying it was a 'flying saucer,' or 'disc'," Dale told newspapermen later, "but whatever it was, it wasn't a conventional airplane." He said that it did not "in any way, shape or manner" resemble any type of known aircraft.
The two observers described the object as "definitely of metal construction," about 20 feet long, and "not exactly round in shape." When it was first seen, the object was observed in profile against the trees on the ground below and to the left of the witnesses. Both Dale and Stetson said they "had never seen anything like it" in the air before, and added that its appearance left them both "flabbergasted." Dale had been an ATC pilot during World War II and was thoroughly familiar with all types of conventional aircraft.
Case 710 -- July 8, Seattle, Washington: Chet Proud, private pilot of 3040 N. 36th Street, was flying a seaplane over Puget Sound off Ballard at 9:00 a.m. PST when he saw "two or three" disc-like objects to the west, over the Olympic Mountains. In an unfortunately abbreviated account in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (7/9), he described the objects as flying "high and going very fast."
Case 761 -- July 8, south of Trenton, New Jersey: While numerous UFO sightings were reportedly taking place during the evening in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey (see Case 758, II-17), an anonymous sportsman-pilot bound for Trenton from Philadelphia reported that he saw an object described as "a red ball" traveling in a northeasterly direction over New Jersey. The object passed the pilot on his right and quickly outdistanced his small plane.
Case 755 -- July 8, near Los Angeles, California: About 4:00 p.m. PST, an F-51 pilot from Muroc Air Base, flying about 40 miles south of the base over the northern suburbs of Los Angeles, sighted a "flat, light-reflecting" object high in the sky above him. He was flying at 20,000 feet when he first spotted it, and he tried to climb up to it but was unable to get high enough. According to the Air Force files, this object was a "balloon."
Case 794 -- July 9, Boise, Idaho: About 12:15 p.m. MST, on his third day of aerial search for flying objects, on assignment for his newspaper, the Idaho Daily Statesman, pilot-newsman Dave Johnson's search paid off. While circling Gowan Field at 14,000 feet, preparing to land after having spent the morning searching in vain, he saw a dark object against a massive cloudbank to the east of Boise.
"I saw it clearly and distinctly," he wrote in his account for the Statesman next day. "I turned the airplane broadside to it and pulled back the Plexiglas canopy so there would be no distortion. The object was still there. It was rising sharply and jerkily toward the top of the towering bank of alto-cumulus and alto-stratus clouds. At that moment it was so round in shape I thought it was a balloon.
( III 12 )
"I opened my radio and called the Boise Civil Aeronautics Administration communications station. . . . . I asked if the Weather Bureau had just released a balloon. The answer was no, that a balloon had not been released for several hours. With that I snatched my camera out of the map case and began firing. I held the button down for ten seconds and then looked again. The object was turning so that it presented its edge to me. It then appeared as a straight black line. Then, with its edge still toward me, it shot straight up, rolled over (at) the top of this maneuver, and I lost sight of it."
Johnson said that at one point during his observation, which lasted 45 seconds (the Air Force files record duration as "at least 12 to 15 seconds," and AP as "nearly two minutes"), he saw the "sun flash from it." Checking with Gowan Field tower for other aircraft in the vicinity, Johnson learned that there was a P-51 behind him, which he couldn't see, and a Fairchild C-82 packet flying over Boise, which he could see as it passed below him. The P-51, according to Johnson, was requested to search for the object, but he reportedly found nothing.
Later in the afternoon Johnson discovered that ground observers at Gowan Field had seen an object similar to the one he reported. Observers included National Guard pilots Warren Noe, Bob Ayers, and Ferm Sabala, the latter a Guard photographer. The time of their sighting, however, was about 2:00 p.m. (Case 800). The film Johnson had taken of the object, when developed, showed no sign of it. Johnson's report is among the Unidentified sightings in the Air Force files.
Case 831 -- July 12, Utah Lake, Utah: A report of a 1947 sighting was given to Dr. Frank Salisbury, botanist with Utah State University, by Earl Page, a relative and private pilot. The account was first published in the APRO Bulletin in May, 1962.
Page, who lived in Kennewick, Washington, was flying from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Salt Lake City with his wife Beulah and their son Ron. When they were over Lake Utah, flying north, they saw "six or eight objects coming towards us and slightly to our right. They were at the same altitude as we. I did not notice them until we were practically to them. As they passed I banked the plane sharply and flew after them for a few minutes, during which time they left us as if we were standing still.
"Size is difficult to estimate in the air, but I would guess they were not over six feet in diameter. They were silver-white, oval top and bottom, much like two saucers face to face. They were closely spaced. They fluttered as a group for a second or two and then stabilized for a second or two, alternately between these two modes." According to Page's log, the incident took place at 2:30 p.m. PST.
Case 841 -- July 15, Concord, California: Reported by San Francisco news columnist Jack Burket, this sighting was made by an observer with impressive qualifications: Colonel Frank A. Flynn, a veteran Army airman, a lawyer, and an examiner for the Civil Aeronautics Board. He was flying from San Francisco to Sacramento in a Vultee BT-13 when, at 12:15 p.m. PST, over Concord, he saw what he first thought was a flock of large birds heading towards him.
"But as they passed me, they took on a different form. They were shaped something like giant birds but they had no necks or tails. There were from a dozen to fifteen of them and they yawed along in a sort of see-saw manner, flying at three different levels, down to 3,500 feet, and about 200 feet apart."
Colonel Flynn estimated their size as about 15 feet across. He swung his plane around in pursuit of the objects but they quickly outdistanced him. Their speed was "far in excess of 200 miles an hour," according to the pilot.
Flynn described the objects as being very white on top and when they flipped he was able to see they were grey and black underneath. Colonel Flynn said there was no place where a pilot could have been seated. At their closest point, Flynn estimated them to be about a mile away. They reminded him of the radio-controlled target ships developed by the Navy during the war, and although he looked for one, Flynn could not see any master ship in the area.
Case 849 -- July 28, between Mountain Home and Boise, Idaho: Captain Charles F. Gibian and First Officer Jack Harvey, of United Air Lines Flight Trip 105 (the same as Captain Smith's on July 4), were about to begin their let-down over Mountain Home, preparatory to landing at Boise, 45 miles to the west, when Harvey saw an object ahead of and to the south of their plane, silhouetted against the bright western sky. The time was 8:34 p.m. MST. Harvey thought at first the object was a plane, and turned his attention to the instrument panel to reduce power for the let-down. When he looked back, the object, which at first appeared to have "considerable substance," was seen rapidly diminishing in size.
Captain Gibian reported that Harvey had called his attention to the object "as he would have done if it had been an airplane." The co-pilot had asked, "Is that plane going east or west?" When the object began to diminish rapidly in size, it appeared to be going toward the northwest at very high speed. Gibian described it as "going like hell when it disappeared." Both men watched it vanish from view.
Gibian said the object appeared to be at 9,000 feet as their airliner began descending from an 8,000-foot altitude. It also appeared to be "weaving," as if "it were going through choppy air." Gibian said that the air at that time was somewhat bumpy. He was convinced the object was no airplane. Although he couldn't estimate its distance, he said that if it was "40 miles or so distant from the airliner, it was as big as an airplane." Both pilots agreed that they had never seen such a thing before, and they expressed their concern over possible military experiments being carried out in commercial air lanes.
( III 13 )
Case 850 -- July 29, Union, Oregon: While flying en route to Tacoma to investigate the Maury Island "mystery" (see I-15), Kenneth Arnold was approaching the airport at La Grande, Oregon, for a refueling stopover. He began his let-down over North Powder, about 20 miles southeast of La Grande. He was directly over Union, at an altitude of 5,000 feet, when he looked down at the clock on his instrument panel. It was 6:55 a.m. MST.
"As I looked up from my instrument panel and straight ahead over the La Grande Valley, I saw a cluster of about twenty-five brass-colored objects that looked like ducks. They were coming at me head on and at what seemed a terrific rate of speed. I grabbed my camera and started rolling out film. Even though I thought they were ducks when I first saw them, I wasn't taking any chances.
"The sun was at my back and to my right. These objects were coming into the sun. I wasn't sighting through the viewfinder on my camera, but was sighting along the side of it.
"As this group of objects came within 400 yards of me they veered sharply away from me and to their right, gaining altitude as they did so and fluttering and flashing a dull amber color. I was a little bit shocked and excited when I realized they had the same flight characteristics of the large objects I had observed on June 24.
"These appeared to be round, rather rough on top, and to have a dark or a light spot on the top of each one. I couldn't be absolutely positive of this because it all happened so suddenly. I attempted to make a turn and follow them but they disappeared to the east at a speed far in excess of my airplane. I know they were not ducks because ducks don't fly that fast."
Arnold described the formation as a "cluster more like blackbirds than ducks," but each object was larger than a duck, about 24 to 30 inches in diameter. He said "they rather wheeled on edge, flipping as they went as efficiently as when they were flat in reference to the surface of the ground." He made a few inquiries around the field while his plane was being refueled at La Grande, but no one there had seen the objects.
He learned later, however, that "several farmers in the vicinity of Union had observed what they thought was a peculiar cluster of birds that morning." Understandably, Arnold did not report this sighting to the newspapers, nor to the Air Force. He told Dave Johnson about it, but the first published account appeared in The Coming of the Saucers.
Police and Law-Enforcement Officers
Case 118 – June 30, Spokane, Washington: During the afternoon two independent reports of a disc-like object seen over the city were made, one by a sheriff's officer.
John Mourning, county night jailer, submitted an official report to the sheriff's office describing his observation of "a bright, shiny object coming from the west," and flying at an altitude above that of most planes. The object "appeared to be round," and had no wings or apparent means of propulsion. Mourning said he had heard no motor sound, and declared that "jet planes are very slow in comparison to what I saw."
David Allen, 18, reported that he, too, had seen an object during the afternoon. While he was washing windows in the downtown area, he saw something that "looked like a silver dollar, and was going very fast." His observation might be an independent verification of Mourning's report; had the reporter taken time to include some basic facts,such as the time of the sighting and the direction of the object, speculative assumptions about "possible verifications" would be unnecessary. (Allen's sighting is Case 119.)
Case 158 -- July 2, San Francisco, California: Sergeant David Menary, of the State Highway Patrol, was driving onto the Golden Gate Bridge from the Lombard Street approach shortly after 2:15 p.m. PST, when he and passenger Walter Castro saw six small objects plummet down past the bridge and into the Bay.
"They were close together," Menary later reported, "about a foot apart. They were silver and shiny, about as big as a football but shaped round, like a basketball. They were falling, down, straight down, I couldn't estimate how fast. They fell into the Bay, east of the bridge. That's the last I saw of them." Castro, a San Rafael garage owner, confirmed Menary's description. Neither had any idea what they might be or where they may have come from.
Commenting on this report from his office in the Presidio, Army Major Steve Monroe brushed the sighting off. "I can see the same thing right now," he told reporters. "Friday is the Fourth of July, in case you've forgotten, and some of the boys are down on the waterfront trying out the fireworks." But as far as Sgt. Menary was concerned, what he and Castro saw fall into the Bay "were no fireworks."
Case 202 -- July 3, Springfield, Illinois: Police officer George Mayfield, of 820 East Division Street, reported that at about 9:30 p.m. CDT he saw four objects which he first thought were "falling stars." However, their "straight flight pattern through the air" and "their odd, flat shape" fitted them to the descriptions of flying saucers reported elsewhere, he said.
( III 14 )
Cases 230-236 -- July 4, Portland, Oregon: The first report of disc-like objects seen over the city came at about 1:00 p.m. PST when Jon Metcalfe, employed at Oaks Amusement Park, said he saw them over the Park and reported the sighting to Park superintendent William LeRoy, who then notified police headquarters.
At approximately the same time, Patrolman Kenneth A. McDowell, feeding the pigeons in the parking lot behind Precinct House No. 1, said that he noticed the pigeons "become quite excited over something." Looking up, he saw five large, disc-shaped objects dipping up and down in an oscillating fashion. They disappeared quickly, at great speed, two going south and the remaining three going east. McDowell hurried into the station to report what he'd seen (Case 231). At 1:05 p.m. Dick Haller, Police Radio Officer at headquarters, sent out an all-car alert to all patrolmen to report any aerial objects seen over Portland. The response was almost immediate.
Across the Columbia River, at Vancouver, Washington, Clark County Sheriff's Deputies Fred Krives, Clarence McKay, and John Sullivan, having heard the alert, went outside to check. They reported seeing 20 to 30 disc-like objects streaking over toward the southwest, directly above the Court House. They were "dark, not flashy," and were reported to have looked like "a bunch of geese." They were flying in a single line, Krives said, "strung out in what appeared to be evenly-spaced intervals." The objects were breaking formation as they flew southward, "peeling off to the side" over Portland, about three to five miles away, deploying to the south and west. The witnesses described hearing a "low humming sound," or "drone," as the objects flew over (Case 232).
Dr. McDonald interviewed Krives by phone and learned the following: Clarence McKay (now Sheriff of Clark County) had not been one of the original witnesses, but seven or eight deputies had been present, including Sullivan, Joe Kurth, Bill Giles, and a deputy named MacKeag. The objects were seen to the southwest, over the Court House, at an angular elevation of about 30 to 35 degrees. The objects, about 20 in all, were receding from them, going southwest. They were in several groups, the first of which had about seven objects in it. The tail end of the formation split off the main line and formed a separate line, rising above the others. They were round and disc-shaped, and estimated to be about 1,000 feet high. Their speed was about that of conventional aircraft. He was emphatic in saying these objects could not have been regular aircraft, however.
Almost simultaneously, sightings were made by Harbor Patrolmen at the Irving Street headquarters in Portland. Captain K. A. Prehn, Pilot A. T. Austad, and Patrolman K. C. Hoff said they saw three to six disc-like objects, resembling "chromium hub-caps, shining and flashing in the sun," going south at an estimated altitude of 10,000 feet. They appeared to wobble and oscillate as they flew, "turning and weaving," so that at times a full disc was seen, and at others only a "crescent," making it difficult to be certain how many there were. They were flying at "terrific speeds" (Case 233).
Dr. McDonald spoke with Prehn by phone and the news account checked out. Prehn was in his office when one of the harbor pilots called him out. He recalled the afternoon as being clear with a bright sun. He saw three objects, like hubcaps face-to-face. They were headed south, and seen to the east, sailing along about the "speed of an aircraft." They were close enough to see their shape distinctly; their outlines were sharp, not hazy, and they looked silvery, metallic. The other two men were Pilot Austad and Patrolman Kent Hoff. None of them were ever interviewed by the Air Force. Prehn had gone inside to get a pair of binoculars and when he got back, the objects were gone. He is now retired.
Responding to the all-car alert, according to the Portland newspaper accounts, were Patrolmen Walter A. Lissy and Robert Ellis, in Car 82, near Oaks Amusement Park. Both were veterans, and Lissy was a private pilot. They described seeing "three flat, round discs flying at terrific speed in a straight-line formation" to the south. The last disc "fluttered rapidly to the side in an arc." The objects appeared white against the clear blue sky, with occasional "flashes," and were estimated to be at 40,000 feet. The two witnesses heard no sound, and saw no vapor trails nor any apparent means of propulsion (Case 234).
Dr. McDonald was able to interview Walter Lissy by telephone and learned there were several substantial errors in the original news account. Robert Ellis was not the second witness; Lissy was with Officer Andrew Fox at the time of the sighting. During press interviews later, Ellis had stepped in for the purposes of photographs when one of the other witnesses was not present, which accounted for the error. It was Lissy's recollection that they had seen six or seven objects, rather than three, as reported in the press. He and Fox heard the alert and saw them high in the sky, near the zenith, somewhat west of south. They were zigzagging and making sharp angle turns. As a pilot, Lissy said he knew these turns were too sharp for any aircraft. He confirmed their position near Oaks Amusement Park.
Another patrolman reporting to headquarters was Patrolman Earl Patterson, in Car 13, who was approximately three miles from Lissy, in the southern suburbs at Southeast 82nd Avenue and Foster Road. He said he had seen a single disc come out of the west, going at "terrific speed" at an estimated 30,000 feet. The disc was aluminum-colored, or "egg-shell white," and did not appear to reflect the sunlight. It passed under the sun and, without decelerating, made an abrupt 90-degree turn "with no difficulty" and proceeded toward the southwest. Because of its strange behavior, Patterson, a former Army Air Corps pilot, was of the opinion that the object could not have been a plane (Case 235).
( III 15 )
Dr. McDonald spoke with Patterson by phone about the sighting. He was alone in his patrol car at the time, at Foster Road near 80th. He saw only a single object, as reported, but it did not make any "90-degree turn," as stated. He said it traveled across the sky from northeast to southwest in an arc at rapid speed. He said it was aluminum-colored -- not "egg-shell white" -- and it did reflect the sunlight, "like an aluminum plane." It appeared to be extremely high but he said it was difficult to tell its height. There was no sound, no vapor trails. He told McDonald that its speed was what had impressed him most.
At about the same time the rest of these observations were being made, Sergeant Claude Cross of the Oregon State Police Department said that he "plainly saw" two or three objects from his headquarters at 9200 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd., in Milwaukee, due south of Portland. They were seen to the east at an "undetermined height" and were following each other in a northeasterly direction at a "terrific speed." He said they looked like "toy balloons, almost pure white, and (they) traveled sideways with no flashing." Dr. McDonald did not interview this witness (Case 236).
Meanwhile, scores of residents called the newspapers and police stations reporting similar objects (see II-9 and II-18). In the Air Force files, these sightings are explained as "chaff" - strips of aluminum foil used for radar interference. While a flight of B-29 bombers, followed by a flight of P-80 fighters, had crossed over the city a short time before the sightings, there is only one reference in the press that would even remotely suggest that something resembling chaff had been discharged over the city: Burl Nolisch, 64, of 6604 N. Burrage Street, claimed he saw a plane fly over at 1:00 p.m. and said he saw foil or aluminum pieces nearby, swirling along on the wind currents, appearing as if they had been dropped by the plane. Apart from Case 231, the cases contained in the Air Force files are derived entirely from the accounts found in the local press the following day -- and many of these were not accurately recorded. If there was any first-hand information on the July 4 sightings over Portland other than Patrolman McDowell's report, it was not there when the files were examined for the purposes of this report.
Case 360 -- July 5, San Leandro, California: Members of the San Leandro police department reported having seen a disc circle over the city at 7:00 p.m. PST after they had received approximately 15 calls about the object. Officers Bill Williams, S. D. Capitola, and Tony Gomez said the disc-like object approached from the west and circled over the area for a half an hour. Capitola said it appeared to be between 5,000 and 10,000 feet high, a "white speck about the size of a dollar." He said the object disappeared to the south. Most of the San Leandro police officers on duty saw it, as well as members of the fire department. Police in Oakland received five calls from people who said they had seen the object.
Case 425 -- July 6, Elizabeth, New Jersey: Patrolman Frederick Schlauch, of the Elizabeth police force, went off duty at 5:00 p.m. EDT. He had just finished changing a tire on his car when he saw two shiny objects moving erratically through the sky. Schlauch said that the objects "resembled chrome plates" and were "diving in a fluttery fashion, like pursuit planes." The two discs, traveling in a northeasterly direction toward New York City, were going at an estimated speed of 400 miles an hour. "They were not planes," Schlauch asserted, and said that as they were disappearing from view he realized that they must have been the shining discs being reported from other sections of the country.
Case 506 -- July 6, San Rafael, California: Policeman Arthur H. Fellows, 45, of 2022 Fourth Street, reported that he and three companions had seen a disc-like object in the eastern sky about 7:00 p.m. PST. He said that as it moved along, "it had a dipping motion," adding that "we heard a steady hum, which was not the kind of sound that an airplane makes."
Case 556 -- July 7, Tacoma, Washington: Police report seeing a large disc with smaller discs - see Satellite Object Reports (II-19).
Case 38 -- June 24, Boise, Idaho: Lt. Governor Donald S. Whitehead and Boise Justice of the Peace J. M. Lampert were in the latter's downtown office at 3:30 p.m. MST when they saw an object, through the office windows, to the west. With the two men at the time were Mrs. Lampert and the Justice's secretary. Whitehead described the object as being apparently motionless. It had "a brilliant head and a filmy smoke for a tail," and he added that had it been viewed at night, it would have looked, with its tail, "just like a comet." The object "dipped from view after about 20 minutes," sinking below the line of sight to the west "apparently with the rotation of the earth." At first the witnesses thought the object may have been a sky-writing pilot, because of the tail, but "we quickly changed our minds," according to Whitehead.
In the Air Force files the sighting is explained as "astronomical," and according to the 1949 Project "Saucer" Summary (p. 11), "Dr. Hynek said it seemed likely Lt. Governor Whitehead observed either the planet Saturn or Mercury." Neither Saturn nor Mercury have ever been known to be observed with the naked eye at mid-afternoon; however, the only information on this case in the official files at the time they were examined was a brief wire service account of the report; this did not include the time of day the sighting had been made. Unless more pertinent data have been removed from the folder, the astronomical assignment was probably based solely on Whitehead's remark that the object seemed to disappear with "the rotation of the earth."
( III 16 )
Case 59 -- June 25, Glens Falls, New York: Warren County Deputy Treasurer Louis Stebbins, reporting his sighting of June 25 almost two weeks later, said that he had seen "a bright object" that he believed to be one of the discs. With him at the time was a neighbor, Mrs. John G. Caffrey, who also saw it. From the description given, the observation seems to have been made at night; no time is mentioned in the available sources. Mr. Stebbins said the object, "about the size of an auto headlight," emitted "red fire in front and was trailing blue fire in its wake."
Case 131 -- July 1, near Chandler, Arizona: Pima County Juvenile Probation Officer Robert E. Johnson reported on July 7 that six days earlier he had seen "a lone disc hurtling through the sky" over the Pima Indian Reservation at 9:30 a.m. MST. The object was described as "silver-colored and discus-shaped," and Johnson said it was traveling at "a great rate of speed" in a fairly direct path to the north. He estimated its altitude at between 5,000 and 10,000 feet and said it was in view for two or three minutes.
Case 152 -- July 1, Albuquerque, New Mexico: Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce official Max Hood reported that while he was driving on Candelaria Road, in the northern section of the city, he had seen a "disc-like, bluish object following a zigzag path in the northwestern sky." He said that the object disappeared from sight in the vicinity of Volcano Peak after he had observed it for about 30 seconds. The observation was made at night, although no specific time was mentioned.
Case 176 -- About July 3, north of Alturas, California: Modoc County District Attorney Charles Leaderer and Dale Williams, Secretary of the Alturas Chamber of Commerce, reported that they had seen seven swift-moving, disc-like objects while driving through the Warner Mountains, near the Oregon state line, at an unspecified time. Both men, certain they had seen objects similar to those reported elsewhere, said that the discs were at an estimated height of 2,000 feet and were traveling at a tremendous rate of speed.
While the abbreviated wire service account of this sighting was the only available source of information, it is always possible that the primary sources might provide some of the basic facts regarding this observation -- i.e., the exact date, the time of the sighting, the exact location of the witnesses, the direction the objects were flying, their manner of flight, their formation, and the duration of the sighting.
Case 452 -- July 6, Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Assistant County Treasurer Gregory Zimmer's report of an object with a rigid tail (see II-15).
Case 444 -- July 6, Darlington, South Carolina: State Senator's Attorney J. V. Watts reports a V-formation of wing-shaped objects (II-18).
Case 515 -- July 6, near Covington, Kentucky: Covington Commissioner William Rolfes reported he had seen one of the discs while motoring along Dudley Pike in Kenton County at night. The object was red-colored, but Rolfes suggested that it may have been a searchlight.
Engineers and Technicians
Case 395 -- July 6, near Pittsburg, California: Frank Tylman, of 559 Frederick Street, San Francisco, a construction engineer and World War I veteran pilot, reported that while driving two miles west of Pittsburg with his son Danny, 9, at 8:20 a.m. PST, he saw a disc-shaped object flying rapidly in a southern direction.
"It was shooting toward Mount Diablo," Tylman said. "It revolved in a counter-clockwise direction, as we viewed it." He estimated the height of the object at approximately 3,000 feet and said that it was moving "faster than jet planes." He described its width as about the same as a P-80, its color as silver, and its shape as "circular." He said "It had a definite thickness, being curved outward on both upper and lower surfaces. It left no smoke or vapor trail behind it. We heard nothing above the noise off the car and the wind." Tylman said it was in view for about 30 seconds before it vanished over the southern horizon.
Case 428 -- July 6, Encampment, Wyoming: In March, 1952, David A. Kenney, then an aviation instruments engineer with North American Aviation, and living in Redondo Beach, California, reported to CSI of Los Angeles that he and two others - his brother Joseph (now a NICAP member) and T. G. Moffett -- had seen an oval-shaped object in South Central Wyoming almost five years before. In a recent letter to NICAP, Joseph Kenney identified the exact location as Encampment. In David Kenney's letter to CSI of March 10, 1952, he wrote:
"On July 6, 1947, at 2:45 in the afternoon, I caught sight of an oval shaped object directly overhead and traveling north. Its span was roughly three times its chord and it flew with its span normal to its line of flight. It was visible nearly two minutes and did not appear to change course during this time. Along with two other witnesses present at the time, I was particularly impressed by its silence and the absence of smoke or vapor trails that would indicate conventional means of propulsion. Locale of the sighting was south central Wyoming. While accurate estimates of its speed, size, and altitude are impossible, our collective opinion was that it was very large and very high (by aircraft standards). When it had diminished to a barely perceptible speck, it was still well above the horizon."
( III 17 )
Fifteen minutes after the Kenney sighting, Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Gibson, of 2007 Oakcrest, in Casper, saw a glittering disc traveling fast at high altitude in an easterly direction (Case 430). Casper is about 100 miles north of Encampment and while the directions reported in the two cases differ, the times of each sighting are close enough to suggest a possible connection.
Case 655 -- July 7, near Medford, Oregon: Radar technician David W. Chase, of Phoenix, Oregon, saw a disc-shaped object passing overhead in an easterly direction at 5:20 p.m. PST. The object appeared to be flying at a speed of 600 to 700 miles an hour, at an estimated altitude of 10,000 feet. The disc was flying on edge, like a wheel, at right angles to the surface of the earth, and its large, circular surface gave off an extremely bright light, comparable in color to the light of an arc welder's torch; it also reminded the witness of a brightly faceted stone, such as a diamond seen under a brilliant light. The object seemed to be following the contours of the terrain below it, dipping or bobbing up and down in an irregular pattern as it passed over small hills and mountains 500 to 1,000 feet high. It was in view approximately 60 to 70 seconds.
Case 109 -- June 29, near Las Cruces, New Mexico: Dr. C. J. Zohn, of Washington, D.C., a guided missiles expert with the Naval Research Laboratory, was in New Mexico to observe a V-2 rocket launching scheduled for July 3. About 1:15 p.m. MST on the 29th, he was riding out to the testing grounds to examine the site, in a car driven by John R. Kauke, who was stationed at the Proving Grounds. Zohn was accompanied by an associate scientist from NRL, Curtis Rockwood, and his wife.
They were about a third of the way en route from Las Cruces, driving northeast on Route 17, when, according to Dr. Zohn, "Kauke suddenly spotted a glare in the sky" through the windshield of the car. "We all looked up and saw a silvery disc whirling through the unclouded sky," he later reported. Kauke stopped the car and Zohn, who was to the driver's right, rolled down the window to get a better look.
The object was ahead of and to the right of the witnesses. It was round, either disc-shaped or spherical, with no appendages such as wings, tails, or propellers, and it was moving in a straight northerly course at a rapid rate of speed. Kauke estimated that the altitude of the object was between 8,000 and 10,000 feet, although Dr. Zohn refused to make any guesses without knowledge of the size of the object. Kauke also described seeing a short vapor trail at one point during the observation -- something the others did not see.
For 30 to 60 seconds the four observers viewed the object, "and then it simply disappeared," Dr, Zohn reported. "We didn't see it again." Zohn, familiar with many types of guided missiles used by the Navy, said the object "did not resemble anything" he had ever seen before. A detailed report was made to officials at White Sands but according to newspaper accounts, this got the witnesses nothing but "fishy-eyed stares" and "knowing smiles." The Air Force explanation for this sighting is "balloon."
Case 133 -- July 1, near Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada: Dr. Charles K. Gunn, animal ecologist and head of an experimental fox farm in Summerside, was driving with his wife along a highway at North Bedeque at an unspecified time during the day. With the Gunns were friends of theirs, Mr. Roland Phillipson, who was manager of the Maritime Prices and Trade Board in Summerside, and his daughter, Anne.
Miss Phillipson was the first to notice a bright object moving rapidly across the sky, and she called it to the attention of the others. Dr. Gunn stopped the car and reported later that they had observed the object "quite plainly." Mr. Phillipson described it as "a shapeless object that glistened and gleamed in the bright sunlight." Mrs. Gunn said that it appeared like "a large star as it traveled across the clear blue sky." Dr. Gunn reported that the object made no noise and did not resemble an airplane. It was visible for about 30 seconds before it disappeared to the south. All the witnesses said they were sure they had seen "something unusual" and could find no explanation for what it might have been.
Case 187 -- July 3, Harborside, Maine: John F. Cole of South Brookville, Maine, identified in the Air Force report of the sighting as an astronomer, was at Harborside, on the eastern shore of Penobscot Bay, when, at 2:30 p.m. EDT, his attention was attracted to the sky by "a loud roar" overhead. Looking up he saw a loose, irregular formation of about ten objects moving northwest at a speed somewhere between 600 and 1,200 miles an hour. The objects within the formation were mostly light-colored, and each appeared to be from 50 to 100 feet wide; two of the objects "on the left tangent of the formation" appeared to have "dark-shaped forms" which the observer thought might have been wings. The angular width of the entire formation was about one and one-half degrees in diameter when first seen, and the formation was at a 50-degree elevation to the north. The objects were milling about within the formation "like a swarm of bees," and Cole watched the phenomenon for ten to fifteen seconds as it moved rapidly through about 300 degrees of arc before disappearing from view in the northwest. In the Air Force files, the sighting is Unidentified.
Case 308 -- July 5, Sacramento, California: At about 8:00 a.m. PST, Dr. A. K. Carr, head of the Division of Animal Husbandry of the State Agricultural Department, was with his wife in their yard when they saw two brilliant disc-like objects come out of the west, one following the other and each trailing a "whitish vapor," which Dr. Carr described as "about the same size as the disc itself." The first object, flying high in the sky, was "round and brilliant, like a star," and while an estimate of its height was difficult to make, he said it appeared to be about 8,000 to 10,000 feet up and its relative size was "about four inches in diameter."
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When it reached a point in its straight course directly above Carr's home, it made a sharp 90° turn to the north and continued its flight northward, passing out of view. The second object, which had been following it, continued its straight course to the east. With the aid of a pair of 12-power, wide-vision binoculars, Dr. Carr watched the first object closely. He said that as it made its turn, it banked and appeared, at that angle, to be very thin. Mrs. Carr was watching the second object and she said that it appeared to be more "oval-shaped" than the first, and was flying at a somewhat lower altitude. The Carrs watched the objects for nearly two minutes before they both disappeared from view -- the one to the north and the other to the east.
Case 819 -- July 10, near Fort Sumner, New Mexico: Dr. Lincoln La Paz, of the Department of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, was driving from Clovis, New Mexico, to Clines Corners in the late afternoon. With him were his wife and two daughters. At 4:47 p.m. MST, in the vicinity of Fort Sumner, in the Pecos River Valley, all four almost simultaneously noticed "a curious bright object almost motionless" near the horizon to the west, amidst a thick bank of clouds. The object was ellipsoidal in shape and had "a sharp and firm regular outline, namely one of a smooth elliptical character much harder and sharper than the edges of the clouds," La Paz later reported. The luminosity of the object was "somewhat less white than the light of Jupiter in the dark sky," and did not appear to be "aluminum or silver-colored."
The object seemed to wobble slightly as it hung stationary at about 1° elevation; then, after approximately 30 seconds, it moved slightly upward and to the north and disappeared behind a cloud. Five seconds later it reappeared at a 2° elevation and about 5° north of true west. "This remarkably sudden ascent thoroughly convinced me that we were dealing with an absolutely novel airborne device," La Paz later reported.
After its reappearance, the object continued to move at a slow speed to the north across the clouds. "As seen projected against these dark clouds, the object gave the strongest impression of self-luminosity," La Paz said. After having observed the object for two and a half minutes, La Paz said it finally disappeared behind a cloudbank, determined by him to be about 20 to 30 miles off. Based on this estimate, the object would have been no less than 160 feet in length and 65 feet in width. An account of this sighting first appeared in Life Magazine, April 7, 1952, in an article written by Robert Ginna. In the Air Force files, it is Unidentified.
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