|The La Crosse Tribune, July 11, 1947|
There was a rash of flying saucers reports in the weeks following Kenneth Arnold's pivotal sighting in June 24, 1947. What many historians forget is that there was also a large number of reports of crashed flying saucers. What caused this frenzy of reports real and imagined, and the inevitable hoaxes? It may have been the cash rewards offered for $1,000 for proof that the flying saucers are real.
Black River Falls, Wisconsin July 10, 1947. Sigurd Hanson found a small unmanned flying saucer in a field near the fairgrounds, where it had apparently crashed. The earth was scarred from the landing, and object itself was clearly a technological device, streamlined for flight and the body of the saucer showed scorching form the engine exhaust. The Wisconsin Civil Air Patrol was called in to investigate.
|Kenosha Evening News, July 11 1947.|
|July 11, 1947|
|July 12, 1947|
Exploitation and Exhibition
The investigation by the Civil Air Patrol revealed the saucer had been constructed on Earth, but they weren't certain it was the same kind of object that was being reported in the skies across the nation, and their interest in the disc diminished. The object was returned to the Black River Falls' Chamber of Commerce who saw an opportunity to capitalize on the publicity by charging viewers for admission to see the saucer.
"The Hansons, wondering if the saucer will merit the $1000 offered, are considering contacting officials at the World Inventors Congress in session at Hollywood, Calif. The inventors have offered the reward to the first disk finder."
|? July 13, 1947 and Dubuque Telegraph Herald, July 13 1947.|
The Saucer CrashesThe FBI's file has a document that discloses their analysis of the UFO's physical properties.
The disc might be made of a substance such as cardboard covered by a silver airplane dope material. The contraption has a small wooden tail like a rudder in the back and inside of the disc is what appears to be an RCA photo-electric cell or tube. Also inside the disc is a little electric motor with a shaft running to the center of the disc. At one end of the shaft is a very small propeller. In ____ opinion that contraption might possibly have been made by some juvenile. ____ stated that he desired to return the contraption to Milwaukee and eventually turn it over to the Army Air Forces, but that the finder, ____ apparently wanted to get some publicity on his find and wanted it returned to him.FBI Office Memorandum, Subject Flying Discs Sabotage, August 12, 1947
Unlike so many of the most interesting UFO cases featured here at The Saucers That Time Forgot, Project Blue Book does have a file on this incident. Conclusion: Hoax.
ConfessedIn a newspaper story in 2004, Bob Huntley confessed how he, with the help of three friends, Bud Bowler and cousins John and Dan McDonald, built and staged the saucer crash.
"BRF's flying saucer mystery revealed as a hoax" by Autumn Grooms of the La Crosse Tribune Nov 18, 2004
They weren't the only kids up to saucer mischief, but we'll cover those in future installments.
The object was determined to be of Earthly origin, and the identity of the hoaxers was determined, so this is one of the few cases definitively closed as solved.