Saturday, 07/05/1947 Oregonian

View of ‘Flying Saucers’ Over Ontario Dumbfounds Veteran Pilot, Other Crew Member of Airliner

(See story on page 1, also.)

Dumbfounded crewmen of a United Airlines plane flying from Boise to Portland Friday evening joined a horde of Portland-Vancouver area residents in describing “flying discs” seen Friday. Discs also were reported in many other regions of the West, but the carefully qualified statements of Capt. E. J. Smith, First Officer Ralph Stevens and Stewardess Mary Morrow remained a new high in observations.

In an interview at Portland before taking off for Seattle, Captain Smith, a veteran of 14 years with United Air Lines said an object at first believed to be an approaching aircraft was sighted by Stevens, who was at the controls eight minutes after take-off from Boise at 9:04 P. M.

Landing Lights Flashed

Stevens flashed his landing lights as a signal there was another aircraft in the area. There was no response.“What the devil is that?” Stevens demanded. Captain Smith said he looked and made out not only the “disc” Stevens had mistaken for a plane, but four others, about evenly spaced in a line to the south of it.

Smith estimated their distance at “about 30 miles,” but said they were clearly visible against the afterglow of the setting sun.

They radioed a report to the Boise CAA tower, then called Stewardess Morrow to the flight deck to verify what they saw. Shortly afterward, the five discs disappeared, then three more appeared in front of them, with a fourth flying “by itself, way off to the right,” Smith said.

He radioed the Ontario, Ore., CAA communications tower and told the operator:

Ground View Lacking

“Step outside and look to the southwest about 15 miles and see what you can find:”

The operator reported he could see nothing, which Smith said meant the discs were farther away than he had previously estimated since they were not visible to the tower operator.

He was some 30 miles from Ontario at the time, he said.

The airliner was at 10,500 feet when he saw the first disc, Stevens reported. The discs seemed to be flying in about the same direction and to be climbing about at the same rate as the airliner. However, when the plane reached a height of 8000 feet, the discs still were in sight and somewhat higher.

The first group veered to the left of the airliner before disappearing, then the second group in “loose formation,” appeared. The objects finally “merged, then disappeared, then came back in sight and finally vanished, again in the northwest,” Smith said. “When they did finally disappear, they went fast.”

“You can see a big plane at a great distance for a long time before it disappears. But no object I know of could disappear so quickly as these things.”

Both Smith and Stevens, who had been joking about sighting “flying discs” before taking off from Boise, were obviously embarrassed but earnest when telling of the strange objects. Stevens has been flying for United three years.

Other Reports Listed

Other reports from the Portland-Vancouver and other areas of the west included:

Thomas Berry, 915 N. E. Killingsworth street, his wife and a friend, saw what they thought was a star traveling to a northeasterly direction over Troutdale. They examined it through binoculars and glimpsed it flashing in the sun.It appeared to be V-shaped and was flying level, although dipping a bit, they reported.
M. A. Deaton, 2578 N. E. 32d avenue, saw a disc going due east and described it as “fast traveling, faster than an airplane.”

Objects Resemble Birds

International News Service reported discs seen from windows of the bureau’s office in the Journal building. “At first they appeared to be high flying birds as the motion undulated and it appeared some kind of wings propelled them,” INS reported.“They banked sharply and without apparent system of direction. Two objects were so high that reports of their disc-like appearance could not be verified, but they seemed to move with high speed. They were last seen heading south after circling sharply over the west side area.”

A possible explanation was seen by Burl Noflsch, 6604 N. Burrage street, who witnessed a plane going east about 1 P. M. He said he saw foil or aluminum pieces nearby, swirling away on air currents, and it appeared they had been thrown from the plane.

First Specimen Found

Sherman Cook, 2000 N. E. 65th avenue and neighbors did better. They “captured” a “disc” which fluttered down from an estimated altitude of more than 4000 feet to land on the Rose City golf course.

Cook and his next-door neighbor, Bud Bankhead, rushed to the scene and found a 3x2 foot piece of white paper, of cheap quality, slightly yellowed around the edges. It was turned over to The Oregonian for scientific examination. However, Portland police asked Oregon national guard flying units to look into the reports.

At Eugene, E. F. Smith, an assistant cashier from the Southern Pacific railroad, said he saw silvered discs, which seemed to be tied together, being dropped from alight plane. He was driving his car at the time and did not see them land.

A private pilot at hear-by Springfield said he had dropped yellow advertising leaflets from his light plane recently, but was not in the air Friday.

Meantime Alturas and San Diego, Cal., Omaha, Neb., Grand Junction. Colo., and Boise, Idaho, reported visitations of “flying saucers,” first reported a week ago by Kenneth Arnold, Boise pilot, who said he saw nine traveling 1200 miles an hour. They have since been reported over most of the West.

At Alturas, Modoc county’s district attorney Charles Lederer and Dale Williams, secretary of the Alturas Chamber of Commerce, reported seeing seven while driving through the Warner mountains near the Oregon border. They estimated the discs were 2000 feet in the air and traveling at a tremendous speed.

Two navy chief petty officers at San Diego, Robert L. Jackson and William Baker, said they saw three discs traveling about 400 miles an hour, coming in from the west, circling and heading back to sea.

Plates Glow Like Moon

Mrs. Fred C. Nelson said she saw three, two round and the other oval-shaped as if tilted, in the northern sky at Omaha early Thursday. They glowed like a full moon, she asserted.

From Grand Junction came a report that H. E. Soule, Appleton, Col., saw a disc swoop down from the Northwest at an altitude of about 200 feet, narrowly miss his house, and then soar to greater heights and disappear southeast. The disc appeared about two feet in diameter, traveled at amazing speed, and had no motor sound or vapor trail, he said. This occurred last Saturday.

John Corlett, United Press correspondent at Boise, reported he, V. H. Selby, Boise artist, and their wives saw a disc while having a garden dinner. The disc moved from the northwest to southeast and took about three seconds to disappear from view, Mrs. Corlett, who saw it first, reported. It was noiseless and traveled at high speed.


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

Reports Come in From All Over Nation Telling of Sighting Mysterious Discs

Reports of the unexplained “flying discs” came from all points of the continent Saturday. Here are typical dispatches.

PHILADELPHIA, July 5 (AP) — An astral phenomenon was being investigated here Saturday to determine whether Philadelphians had seen mysterious “flying discs” in the sky.

Dr. M. K. Leisy, a junior interne at the Pennsylvania hospital for mental diseases, and other persons in the western section of the city reported seeing strange craft in the skies Friday night. It was something round with a luminous halo about it, Dr. Leisy declared. It was not shiny itself, but dark in color and seemed to be propelled by whirling wings.

Contrary to previous reports from other parts of the country on the high speed of the flying discs, Dr. Leisy said the object he saw was moving at approximately the speed of the wind, below the clouds. It eventually vanished in the clouds, he added.

AKRON, O., July 5 (AP) — “Flying saucers” made their appearance here Friday night.

Dr. Forrest Shaver said the silvery disc he saw “looked like a balloon with a light inside.”
Harry E. Hoertz described it as “a light with a propelling device.” Both men said they saw the “saucers” about 8:30 P. M. while driving near Akron.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., July 5 (INS) — A group of motorists reported Saturday they had glimpsed the mysterious “flying saucers” which had been puzzling army officials and meteorologists. One of them, Claude Price, superintendent of concessions at the Illinois state fair, said the group stopped their cars on a road two miles west of Decatur and watched the discs shoot across the sky.

LOS ANGELES, July 5 (AP) — Pilot Dan J. Whelan and a flying companion, Duncan Underhill, reported they were “scared silly” when they saw what they believed was a “living saucer” about 25 miles south of here Friday.

“The saucer was above us, traveling at what we’d estimate was 450 to 500 miles an hour,” said Whelan. “It was at 7000 feet, about 2000 feet above me. It was not spinning, but looked exactly like a skeet (a disc used in target practice).

“We checked its direction — north by northwest — and we’d say it was 40 to 50 feet in diameter.”

AUGUSTA, ME., July 5 (AP) — The civil aeronautics administration office said it had received a report that a dozen of the mysterious sky discs had been seen over this city.

The CAA said Dr. Kelly, program director at radio station WRDO here, advised that he saw about 12 objects believed to be discs.

Kelly said the objects were traveling northerly “very fast.”

ROGERS, ARK. July 5 (AP) — J. P. Crumpler, a Rogers real estate dealer, said Saturday he saw one of the “flying saucers” Monday night during a windstorm. He was watching the approach of a storm cloud from the porch of his home when the disc appeared out of the northwest and vanished rapidly into the southwest, he said.

SAN JOSE, CAL., July 5 (AP) — Sgt. Charles R. Sigala of the army air forces said he and three others saw a silvery, flying disc over his home at near-by Mountain View Saturday at 11 A. M. Sigala, who is on leave from Hamilton Field, said the object was clearly visible to him, his wife, mother-in-law, and a neighbor. It circled around over the mountain at about 5000 feet, dipped several times and then headed toward the sea, he said.He estimated the object was as big as an automobile.

SUMMERSIDE, Canada, July 5 (AP) — Farmers in this Prince Edward Island region claim to have seen more of the mysterious disc-like missiles reported flying through northern skies earlier this week.

James Harris, farmer at Sherbrooke, one mile north of here, and his hired man, Herman Linkletter, said they saw one of the objects last night traveling from the northwest toward the southeast.

At about the same time Brenton Clark at Augustine Cove, about 18 miles from Sherbrooke, said he saw a bright object traveling north to south at medium height.

NEW ORLEANS, July 5 (INS) — The “flying disc” mystery spread to the deep South Saturday. Miss Lillian Lawless of New Orleans said she saw a saucer-like “pure silver” object hurtling over Lake Pontchartrain at New Orleans. The disc, she said, was flying in a northeasterly direction “with terrific speed.”

AUGUSTA, Ga., July 5 (INS) — An Augusta physician said he was certain Saturday that he saw the “flying saucers.”

Dr. Colden R. Battey claims he spotted the peculiar soaring discs six weeks ago in the middle of the day while fishing in St. Helena sound near Beaufort, S. C. This was four weeks before the first published reports of the discs.

He said that when he saw the four discs at 11 A. M., they were traveling at an altitude of more than 20,000 feet and at a high rate of speed.

He described them as silver.

PORT HURON, Mich., July 5 (INS) — The mysterious “flying saucers” which have been sighted in several states across the country Saturday were reported over Port Huron, Mich.

Mrs. John R. Warner, a 34-year-old housewife, told International News Service that she and several neighbors witnessed the fast-moving objects criss-crossing across the sky last night. WALTER, Okla., July 5 (AP) — Two “flying saucers” which “were flying in the air — passing each other and going back and forth” were reported Saturday by C. E. Holman, 67-year-old Walter gardener.

Holman said he saw the discs about 10 P. M. the night of June 25, and that after watching them “flying around each other” for about 30 minutes he went to bed.

“I thought about waking up some of my neighbors but decided if it meant the end of the world they would be just about as happy sleeping when the world ended,” he said.

LOS ANGELES, July 5 (INS) — Leo Bentz, once a noted builder of auto racing cars, produced a possible new theory Saturday on the enigma of the “flying saucers.”

Bentz, now an automobile dealer in suburban Whitter, told of a confidential demonstration of a saucer-like flying model in Los Angeles’ Griffith park back in 1928.

He said the inventor’s name was George De Bay, a native of France.

He quoted the inventor as saying:

“It’s like a saucer — an oblong saucer — or meat plate.”

Bentz said they went out to Griffith park where de Bay flipped a disc-like model of the device into the air with rubber bands and demonstrated its feasibility.

SEATTLE, July 5 (INS) — Another flying disc was reported seen over Seattle Saturday by a woman and her four-year-old son.Mrs. Florence Frye, a librarian at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, said her son, Carl, first spotted the object and pointed it out to her. She described it as:

“Brilliant — so brilliant in fact that it hurt my eyes to watch and I had to blink and turn away.” Viva Anderson, Portland attorney reported she and a friend, Betty MacManneman, also an attorney, saw a group of objects from in front of her home at Melcrest Court apartments, 711 S.E. 11th Ave.

“They looked like half-inflated footballs and appeared to be faceted on top like rough cut diamonds,” Miss Anderson said. She said that the main group of objects flashed like tinfoil, but that one which dropped much lower than the rest appeared to be “slightly brown.”

States where the discs have been reported: Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan, Indiana, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, Maine, Florida, Utah, Maryland, Iowa, Kansas and the District of Columbia.

[Overall heading on page 24]


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

‘Flying Disc’ Reports Come From Hundreds, in 28 States

Science Fails to Give Facts

Government Men Ask to See Sample See Stories on Page 1, Also

By Associated Press

The nation was baffled Saturday by the “flying saucers” reported seen in 28 states by hundreds of persons while conjectures on their meaning flew as furiously as the reported speed of the silvery discs.

Official government sources took a “let’s see one” stand on the phenomenon, and so scientists preferred a detailed explanation.

Near unanimity was recorded on some of the discs’ characteristics — terrific speed, bright reflections, round or oval in shape, flat, and flying with a peculiar undulating motion. Size was moot and expressed by Captain Smith of United Air Lines as “hard to judge” without knowing the distance from the observer to the objects.

An army air forces spokesman in Washington on July 3 said there was not enough fact to “warrant further investigation,” but the air materiel command at Wright field, Dayton, Ohio, said it was making a study. Saturday at Washington an army researcher admitted “we’re mystified” and the navy said it had no theories.

Astronomers Doubt Meteors

Meanwhile Kenneth Arnold, the man who first reported them, could recall his insistence when his report was widely questioned, that “I don’t believe it, either — but I saw it.”

Two Chicago astronomers said the discs probably are “manmade.” The undulating, flashing objects “couldn’t be meteors,” said Dr. Gerard Kluper, director of the University of Chicago’s Yerkes observatory at Williams Bay, Wis.

“We realize,” said Dr. Oliver Lee, director of Northwestern university’s Dearborn observatory, “that the army and navy are working on all sorts of things we know nothing about.”

Officials of the atomic energy commission in Washington said it had no experiments involving “flying saucers” underway, and one official added, “All we know is what we read in the papers.” An army air force official in Washington said the AAF was “completely mystified” by the saucer reports.

Hanford Role Denied

Although no general alert had been sent out for radar scanning of the heavens, he said: “Reports of the interception of any suspicious object or ground radar screens will be carefully evaluated.”

Col. F. J. Clarke commanding officer of the Hanford engineering works in the Pacific coastal area, where the largest saucer influx was reported, said the saucers were not coming from the atomic plant there.

“I have been waiting for someone to tie the discs to the Hanford atomic plant,” he said. But he declared that as far as he knew no experiments were under way there that would solve the mystery.

Credence in the saucers — widely laughed off at their first reported appearance June 25 — grew as hundreds of observers, many of them trained fliers, reported seeing them.

Portland Reports Fly

A crowd of 200 observed a disc at Hauser Lake, Idaho, on the Fourth of July. A group of 60 picnickers saw them at Twin Falls, Idaho.

And in Portland so many residents witnessed them that same day that the police department sent out an all cars broadcast.The discs were seen Saturday in California, Oregon, Washington, Iowa, and South Carolina.
Two persons in different sections of Charleston, S. C. — one of them a newspaper reporter — said a flying saucer passed over Charleston heading east at 6:20 P. M. (EST) Saturday.

J. E. Jonston, Waterloo, Ia., said he saw one Saturday, too. His description — about the size of a dinner plate and only some 25 feet above ground — was at odds with most reporters which have said the saucers were big and flying at great heights.


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

Starr to Reveal Data on Saucers

COLUMBUS, O., July 6 (AP)

Louis E. Starr, national commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, told the VFW Ohio encampment Saturday that he was expecting information from Washington about “the fleets of flying saucers.”

He indicated the information would help explain the discs, reported to have been sighted in various parts of the country. A telegram containing the information, Starr added, was due here at 3 P. M. (EST), but did not arrive. He promised to read the contents to the convention.

The VFW commander whose home is Portland, Or., did not indicate the source of the anticipated information.

After making the announcement, he remarked:

“Too little is being told to the people of this country.”


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

Radar Gadgets Join Disc Puzzle


Folks in Pickway county, who have been following the “flying saucer” mystery, became excited Saturday when Sherman Campbell found a strange object on his farm.

It was in the form of a six pointed star, 30 inches high and 48 inches wide, covered with tinfoil. It weighed about two pounds. Attached to the top were the remains of a balloon with a rock 5 inches in circumference.

The Fort Columbus airfield weather station at Columbus said the description tallied with an object used by the army air forces to measure wind velocity at high altitudes by the use of radar. Some of the flying discs reported seen in various parts of the country were much larger and flying at terrific speed.


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

Mars Signals Now Suggested


A Detroit meteorologist theorized Saturday that the mysterious flying discs may be signals from Mars.
“It’s not too far fetched,” he insisted. “For a long time people have speculated on life on Mars, so why should not it be as logical for Mars to try to contact earth as for earth to try to contact Mars?”

He added: “I admit it’s an unusual theory, but have you got a better one?”


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

Public Advised Discs Harmless

SACRAMENTO, Cal., July 5 (AP)

The public relations officer of near-by McClellan Field cautioned Saturday against undue concern about the mysterious flying discs reported in skies over the United States.

“Lots of people are worried to heck about the things,” Maj. Duncan Arnam said, “but there’s nothing to get excited about. If there were anything to them, the army would have notified me.” The officer suggested the discs might be part of some army training experiment and added “they might be good propaganda, too.”

Major Arnam said his remarks were personal opinions.

He said radar at Mather Field — the air material area depot for northern California — had not recorded any trace of a disc reported by picknickers on the Sacramento river.


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

Transport Plane Chased by Disc


Paul Moss, 14, said Saturday he saw a “flying saucer” about 40 inches in diameter following a transport plane crossing the Delaware river.

Moss said he was playing baseball with a group of other boys when he saw the disc, orange in color, at one time out-distance the plane.

Dr. Roy K. Marshall, director of Fels planetarium, Franklin institute, said the controversy over the discs was “plain hysteria.”


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

Nuclear Scientist Claims Discs Involve Atomic Stunt


The Evening Herald and Express quoted an unnamed “scientist in nuclear physics” at California Institute of Technology Saturday as suggesting that “transmutation of atomic energy,” experiments might be responsible for the flying saucers. The newspaper described him as a researcher on the Manhattan atomic project and said he asked that his name be withheld. It quoted him:

“These saucers so-called are capable of high speed, but can be controlled from the ground. They are 20 feet in width in the center and are partially rocket propelled on the takeoff.”
The paper said such experiments are being conducted at Muroc Dry Lake, Cal.; White Sands, N. M.; Portland, Or., and elsewhere. It further quoted the scientist:

“People are not seeing things. Such flying discs actually are in experimental existence.”

In Chicago, Dr. Harold Urey, atom scientist at the University of Chicago, commented “Transmutation of atomic energy sounds like gibberish. You can transmute metals not energy.”

[cartoon showing “atomic energy man” pumping out flying discs]

[Caption of cartoon:] An unidentified nuclear physicist was quoted in Los Angeles Saturday as saying flying discs might be a result of transmutation of atomic energy. This is an artist’s idea of an atom transmuting.

SEATTLE, Wash., July 5 (INS) — A spokesman at the security office of the Hanford atomic works in south central Washington Saturday denied any knowledge of transmutation of atomic energy experiments being responsible for “flying discs.”


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

Guard Posts ‘Disc Watch’; Airplanes Alerted With Gun Cameras

P-51 fighter planes of the Oregon national guard’s 123d squadron, equipped with gun cameras and telescopic cameras, will be on the alert to run down and photograph any mysterious “flying discs” reported hereafter in Northwest skies, according to an announcement Saturday by Col. Al Dutton, commanding officer.

A flight of six planes will be ready to take off on an instant’s notice every week-day afternoon and evening, he said. On week ends the squadron will maintain a condition of readiness from dawn to dusk.

Colonel Dutton asked persons sighting the objects to notify The Oregonian or squadron headquarters so that location and direction of flight of the “discs” can be plotted.


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

‘Frankly, I’m Baffled,’ Says Airliner Pilot After Observing Queer Airborne Objects

[photo of Stevens in uniform on phone]

[Caption:] In Portland, First Officer Ralph Stevens described strange “discs” he and other crew members of a United Air Liner transport plane sighted on a flight from Boise Friday.

[photo of Smith in uniform talking]

[Caption:] “They weren’t aircraft. They were bigger than aircraft and flat and circular,” Capt. E. J. Smith, UAL pilot, told The Oregonian when he landed here after seeing “discs.”

By Capt. E. J. SMITH

Written expressly for International News Service

How the “flying discs” appear from the air is described by Capt. E. J. Smith, United Airlines pilot, who got an aerial view Friday night while on the northwest leg of a Salt Lake City to Seattle flight.


I didn’t believe the stories about flying discs myself when I first heard about them. Now I don’t know what to believe. We were on our regular run from Salt Lake City to Seattle just eight minutes out of Boise when my co-pilot, First Officer Ralph Stevens, who was flying at the time, blinked our landing lights.

I asked him what he was doing and he replied: “There’s a plane approaching off our bow.”

But a few seconds later we both decided the object was not a plane, it was a flying disc.

Four More Appear

We saw only one of them at first, but soon four more appeared to the left of our plane, in a northwesterly direction. We couldn’t tell what their exact shape was except to notice that they definitely were larger than our plane (a DC-30), fairly flat, smooth on the bottom and rough on top.

Just to check, I called our stewardess, Marty Morrow, to the cockpit, and simply asked her “Do you see anything in the sky around us?”

Immediately she pointed at the discs and said, “Yes, what are those?”

That’s what we wanted to know, so I contacted our ground radio station at nearby Ontario, Or., gave them our estimated direction and altitude and asked if they could see them. They couldn’t. Shortly thereafter, the discs disappeared for a few minutes then reappeared again. This time they were in our view for 15 minutes.
None of our eight passengers saw the discs because they were off our bow, and we didn’t think to turn the plane, so intense was our interest.

It was impossible to estimate their speed or if they were moving at all. All I know is that when they did disappear they vanished suddenly.

In all the time Ralph and I were flying during the war, and in my 14 years with United Airlines, I’ve never seen anything like it.

I leave Saturday night on a flight for Chicago and you can bet your life I’m going to keep my eyes open.Up until last night, we all had discounted 90 per cent of the reports we’d read in the papers or heard over the radio, but now.

Frankly, I’m baffled.


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

Puzzle Alerts Entire Nation to Scan Sky

By Associated Press

The nation’s perplexity over discs reported spinning through the skies deepened Saturday in the wake of July 4 reports from virtually all parts of the country.

There was no scientific explanation offered to fit the observations which spanned the nation from the Pacific to the gulf to the Atlantic.

A mass of evidence piled up swiftly as holiday throngs and fliers joined in telling of seeing bright, pancakelike objects skimming through the air at varying estimates of altitude and speed.

Former skeptics joined the ranks of the believers as the flashing objects glittered before their eyes. Reliable observers, such as Capt. E. J. Smith of United Air Lines, his copilot Ralph Stevens, and his stewardess Marty Morrow, told of seeing the round flat objects for 12 minutes while flying west from Boise, Idaho, on Independence day evening. Ex-airmen, picnickers, motorists, and housewives swelled the number of witnesses to the strange phenomenon.

Pilot Sees Objects First

The first published report of “flying saucers” came from Kenneth Arnold, Boise, Idaho, businessman pilot, who reported at Pendleton, Or., on June 25 that he had seen nine flying at 1200 miles an hour in formation, shifting position “like the tail of a kite,” over Washington state’s Cascade mountains.

Before scoffers had more than begun to offer explanations such as “reflections,” “persistent vision” and “snow blindness,” an Oklahoma City private flier, Byron Savage, said he had seen a similarly shaped object some weeks earlier, but that fear of ridicule kept him quiet.

Then the reports began to filter in, mostly from individuals. The discs were seen in Texas, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Missouri, Colorado, California, Arkansas, Nebraska. The number varied from one to a dozen, seen by one or two people mostly.

Reports Come in From East

Then the July 4 deluge hit. Two hundred persons in one group and 60 in another saw them in Idaho; hundreds saw them in Oregon, Washington and other states throughout the West.

And for the first time, the Eastern states had their reports. Observers, earlier all from west of the Mississippi river, came in with reports from Michigan, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, and Canada’s Atlantic seaboard.

Ted Tannich and William Lemon, of Albany, Saturday saw a silvery object fly southward, halt abruptly, and then retrace its course. It was visible for possibly 15 seconds, they said.


07/06/1947 The Oregonian

Flying Saucers Everywhere; New Tales Convert Skeptics

The Great Flying Disc Mystery: It Evokes Theories From Scientists and Stargazers, Preachers and Pilots

Opinions on the nature of the aerial whatzits which have been drawing the attention of the nation skyward came Saturday from these Oregon professional people:

Dr. A. A. Knowlton, Reed college professor of physics:

“In view of the persistence of these reports, we cannot dismiss the ‘flying disc’ matter as simply another instance of mass hysteria. Probably 95 per cent of the reports come from victims of optical illusions, but you can’t dismiss the statements of veteran airline pilots, such as Captain Smith. (Capt. E. J. Smith was the United Air Lines pilot who reported sighting the discs Friday night west of Boise.) There is a great possibility that the flying visitors are the result of secret experiments with guided missiles, either by our own or foreign governments. Some months ago, there were many reports of mysterious rockets flying over Sweden. Stories about these were never confirmed or officially explained.”

Weather Balloons Shine

Col. Eckley S. Ellison, chief of the weather bureau in Portland:

“Helium inflated, uncolored balloons sent aloft by meteorologists for wind observations or to carry small radio transmitters which send back information on upper air conditions frequently reflect the sun’s rays and shine like stars of metal objects when they reach a great height. If someone wanted to play a joke on the country, he could hook a few of these balloons together and they would answer the description of the objects seen by some observers. Balloons, however, could not reach the great speed attributed to the ‘saucers,’ because even above the stratosphere, wind currents seldom exceed 100 miles an hour.”

Josephine Smythe, practicing astrologer, 3703 S. E. Woodstock boulevard:

“My deduction, on the basis of a special chart I have just completed, is that government experiments, either by the army or navy, are responsible for the objects seen in the sky. There is a certain place in the horoscope which rules scientific experiments. In this place is the scientific planet, Uranus. It so happens that Uranus now is in conjunction with the planet Venus, which rules people. Since we now are in Gemini, the scientific sign of the zodiac, I am inclined to think that secret experiments are the answer.”

Mass Hysteria Possible

Dr. Frederick A. Courts, assistant professor of psychology, Reed college:

“There may be some mass psychological explanation to this sudden rash of ‘flying saucer’ reports. When people expect to see something, they frequently do. Also, some of these visions may be examples of negative after images, common in human beings after eye stimulation. If you look at a bright light for a time, you frequently get an after image in a complementary color when you look elsewhere. Looking too long at a shiny, black object, a person could see, or think he saw, a white spot in the sky. The whole thing could be the result of a general semi-hysteria due to the nervousness of the public over reports of atomic warfare and guided projectiles.”

Dr. J. Hugh Pruett, nationally known Eugene [OR] astronomer:

“I don’t know what on earth these mysterious objects can be. One thing is certain; they are not meteorites. If they were, someone would have found traces on the ground by now.”

Pastor Looks to Science

Dr. Raymond Walker, pastor, First Congregational church:

“In the past, any unexplained manifestation, such as a meteor shower or eclipse, was seized upon by superstitious minds as a portent of doom. Intelligent church people today realize there is a rational, physical answer to such things. A scientific explanation surely will be forthcoming soon.”

Rev. Jessie Falmer, retired Assembly of God minister:

“These signs and portents in the sky may mean the coming of the Lord is near. The Bible says the second coming will be preceded by wars, great disasters and heavenly displays. The way we’re having trouble with Russia, it certainly looks as if war is imminent.

Additional details on page 24.


07/07/1947 The Oregonian

Disc Patriotic

DENVER, July 7 (UP) — The latest report on the flying discs: George Kuger of Denver saw one Sunday, and he said it had an American flag on it.


07/07/1947 The Oregonian

Disc With Teeth

GRAFTON, Wis., July 7 (INS) — A Catholic priest here Sunday night reported that a round, metal disc, which might be one of the mysterious “flying saucers,” had crashed into his parish yard and that he was holding it for the federal bureau of investigation.

The recovered disc, with “gadgets and wires,” proved after thorough investigation to be a circular saw, which had been hurled into the yard, probably by a prankster.


07/07/1947 The Oregonian

Disc Blitz Feared As Lights Go Out

LODI, Cal., July 7 (UP) — Residents of Acampo, a residential community one mile north of here, thought for sure they were being attacked by flying saucers before dawn Sunday when they heard a roar, saw a glow in the sky, and then all the lights went out.

Mrs. W. C. Smith, wife of a high school physics instructor, said the noise was like a four-motored bomber with its props feathered for take-off. Looking toward the sky, she saw the glow just as all power in the community went off.

Her neighbors said they had seen the same glow and heard the same roar.

Erving Newcomb of the Pacific Gas and Electric company pooh-poohed the flying saucer theory, and said, a low-flying, crop dusting plane probably had struck a power line, and burned out a transformer.

The people of Acampo clung to the flying saucer idea, though, especially after no one was able to locate any crop dusting plane which had been in the air before dawn on Sunday morning.


07/07/1947 The Oregonian

Pursuit Plane Pilot Tells Of Dodging Flying Discs

BOZEMAN, Mont. July 7 (AP) — Casey Baird, pilot of a P-38 pursuit plane working for the United States geodetic survey, reported Monday he was forced to evade a group of flying discs, and that his photographer tried to get a picture.

Baird said the film would be developed next Monday.

The pilot said he ran into the flying objects at 32,000 feet and had to dodge out of their path while trying to photograph them. He said there were eight or nine in the group.

Baird described the flying objects as looking like yo-yo’s with a periscope or domelike object on top. He said they were 14 or 15 feet in diameter and traveling rapidly.