Buffalo Courier - Express
Sunday, July 24, 1955
Page A - 8, Column 3
After 8 Years Flying Saucers Still Are a Mystery
(Editor's note: It has been eight
years now since the first report
of a flying saucer set off a
continuing echo around the
world. Here's the story of a summer
phenomenon with a variety
of descriptions, including delusion,
optical illusion and men
from outer space.)
By ARTHUR EDSON
WASHINGTON. July 23 (AP) —
Eight years, ago this summer a
Boise business man, flying alone
in his private plane, suddenly
spotted mysterious objects playing
about Washington s Mt.
When Kenneth Arnold came
down to earth, he dutifully reported
what he had seen.
His report was to set off an
astonishing chain reaction that
was to sweep around the world,
causing fright, wonder, disbelief.
Air forces sprang to the alert.
Radar experts anxiously scanned
the skies. Scientists scurried to
their laboratories. E x p e r ts
dredged up words like "muscae
volitantes" or "scintillating scotoma"
to explain what had happened.
Authors went to work on
their typewriters. And there were
official comments from the only
two U.S. Presidents we have had
since that day—a day so remarkable
it deserves a line all to itself:
June 24. 1947.
For Kenneth Arnold said that
he had seen a flying saucer.
Probably it was no accident
that the first of thousands of
flying saucers to be reported was
seen in the summertime. The big
harvest has been in the hot
It will surprise no student of
unidentified aerial phenomena, as
the Air Force calls it, if before
the summer is over another rash
of flying saucers breaks out
somewhere in the world.
Following Arnold's discovery,
more and more saucers were
seen in this country through
1952, when a record 1,700 were
spotted. Then came a slump,
with only 429 seen in 1953. The
decline has continued, the Air
Force man in charge of saucer
counting says, until the reports
are hardly more than a trickle.
But America's loss has been
England's gain. Last year English
saucer sighters made a bountiful
catch. Naturally, the peak season
was the summer.
Anyone looking into this situation
quickly learns that opinions
of flying saucers slip into two
widely separated slots:
(A) Those who believe in them,
sincerely and often belligerently.
These range from those who think
the Air Force really has a flying
saucer but won't admit it to those
who think the saucers sail in
from outer space, operated by
fantastic little creatures.
(B) Those who don't believe In
them, sincerely and often sarcastically.
These range from those
who feel they can be explained
away by optical Illusions to those
who think it's sort of a mass delusion,
perfectly in keeping with
our edgy times.
Saw Nine Objects
Arnold, who represents a fire
control equipment firm, told investigators
that on historic June
24,1947, he saw not one, but nine,
of the weird objects.
"I could see their outline quite
plainly against the snow as they
approached the mountain," Arnold
said. "They flew very close to
the mountain top . , . like geese
in a diagonal chain-like line, as
If they were linked together . . .
a chain of saucer-like things at
least five miles long, swerving
in and out of the high mountain
"They were flat like a pie pan
and so shiny they reflected the
sun like a mirror. I never saw
anything move so fast."
When the story came out, there
was a lot of snickering at Arnold.
But soon so many people, including
some trained pilots, were reporting
celestial mysteries that
Arnold feels he has been vindicated.
A man who takes his saucers
seriously, Arnold told an Associated
Press reporter recently that
he not only has spotted flying
saucers four different times since
that first memorable occasion,
but also has worked out a theory.
Thinks They Live,
Disturbed by Quakes
His view: They're living organisms
of' some sort "that come
down to the lower atmosphere
when they are disturbed by earthquakes,
a t o m i c explosions or
things like that."
In this theory Arnold seems to
be pretty much alone. But expert
testimony can be round to support
his view that something
seems to be flying around up
In July, 1948, for instance, two
Eastern Airlines pilots, C. S.
Chiles and John B. White saw
"a wingless aircraft, 100 feet long,
cigar shaped and about twice the
diameter of a B-29, with no
protruding surfaces . . .
"Whatever it was, it flashed
down toward us and we veered to
the left," they told investigators.
"It veered to Its left and passed
up about 700 feet high to our
right and above us. Then, as
if the pilot had seen us and wanted
to avoid us, It pulled up with a
tremendous burst of flame from
the rear and zoomed into the
clouds, its prop wash or jet wash
rocking our DC-J."
A 72-year-old Air Chief Marshal,
Lord Downing, who commanded
the home fighter plane
forces in the World War II Battle
of Britain, last year told a group
"I believe there are people on
other planets who are operating
—through flying saucers—to help
our world in our present crisis."
Flying right along with them,
at least in fancy, is a group of
industrious authors who have
turned out a shelf full of books
on the subject.
Last summer, Desmont Leslie,
a tall, 33-year-old Englishman
who had served in the
RAF, dropped by the AP office
here with the glad tidings that
he had arrived on our shores
to do research in flying saucers.
Leslie, who had already helped
w r i t e "Flying Saucers Have
Landed," said recorded history is
full of allusions to mysterious
flying objects. Be is sure they
are piloted by Very high type
creatures from outer space, and
that the bible has a reference to
these celestial goings on.
"Ezekiel 10," he said. "A wheel
within a wheel What a fine
description of a flying saucer!"
But if there art true believers,
there is also a formidable array
of scientific opinion on the other
side of the fence.
Dr. J. G. Porter, chief scientific
officer of the English Royal Observatory
at Hurstmonceaux, said
flatly there's no such thing as a
Or if you prefer home grown
skeptics, in 1952 Maj Gen. Roger
M. Ramey, at the height of the
saucer craze, said they didn't
Ramey said there are considerable
physical phenomena that
need explaining and the prob-
lent is further complicated because—
"Some people see things that
aren't there. Some people describe
things they haven't seen
It is noticeable the reports come
A Los Angeles doctor, Edgar
F. Mauer. suggested it could be
either muscae volitantes or maybe
even scintillating scotoma
Either way it added up to approximately
the same thing:
Spots before the eyes.
Dr. Urner Liddel. chief of the
nuclear physics branch of the
Office of Naval Research, noted
that the first saucer story came
out shortly" after plastic gas bags
were sent far into the air for
Not Secret Weapon
Says Charles G. Ross
In 1950, the late Presidential
Secretary Charles G. Ross, speaking
for his boss, Harry Truman,
said the flying saucer was not a
secret weapon of this or any
On Dec. 15, 1954. President
Eisenhower told a news conference
he had been assured it is
completely inaccurate to believe
flying saucers are coming from
But some government experts
have supplied pictorial hints as
to where such ideas may originate.
Only July 1 the Navy released
a photograph of an "unusual
cloud formation over the
city of Marseilles. France."
It looked startltingly like a flying
As for the Air Force, it continues
to check each report thoroughly.
"In a way," the Air Force's
saucer man said. "All this looking
for flying saucers is a good thing.
You never can tell when they
might spot an enemy aircraft."
Summer Popular Season
He also had a suggestion on
why summer seems so popular
' I t could be as simple as this—
more people out of doors then."
Whatever the explanation, it's
interesting that two serious attempts
to pin down the flying
saucer got nowhere.
Last summer Dr. Warren Hickman,
dean of Ohio Northern University,
announced that after two
years his school was dropping its
study, "the phenomenon of the
"We needed basic sightings,"
Hickman said, "and these we
A similar study by the Canadian
Government also was dropped,
and for the same reason. Not
The Canadians gave up on
another project, the building of
a flying saucer.
But they went far enough to
reach this conclusion: It would
cost a billion dollars to build one.
So you'll have to say this for
the little men, if any exist:
They're not only devilish smart,
but they're also in the chips.
|Original Cartoon for this Article.|
Article used with the permission of:
Buffalo State College Archives
and Special Collections
E. H. Butler Library #135
Buffalo State College
1300 Elmwood Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14222-1095