Thursday, March 26, 2020

UFO Culture Examined: They Are Already Here by Sarah Scoles

They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers by Sarah Scoles

Reviewed by Curt Collins

Full disclosure: Sarah Scoles interviewed a number of ufologists in researching this book, including me, and I am mentioned in chapter 8. I’ll mostly recuse myself from reviewing that chapter, but the rest is fair game.

It's not very often a new book comes along with saucers in the title, so although our focus here is on weird UFO history, I felt obligated to check it out and review it at STTF. They Are Already Here is pitched as: “An anthropological look at the UFO community, told through first-person experiences with researchers in their element as they pursue what they see as a solvable mystery—both terrestrial and cosmic.”

I first became aware of Sarah Scoles’ work from her Feb. 2017, article in Wired magazine, “What Is Up With Those Pentagon UFO Videos?” one of the few pieces of investigative journalism examining the AATIP story. She approaches the UFO topic from a journalistic background - her usual beat is covering science, and her previous book was about legitimate scientific matters, a biography, Making Contact. Jill Tarter and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The AATIP story drew her in, and from there, this book.

The very first UFO book, Keyhoe’s The Flying Saucers are Real, set the model for most that have followed: The author receives an assignment or goes on an investigation (aka quest) which allows otherwise dull information to be packaged in dramatic scenes as the narrator overcomes obstacles and digs ever closer to the truth. The trope is tired, since it’s also an overused device to cope with the fact that there’s not going to be a satisfying ending. Since there's not much solid information, and even less in the way of clear answers, the UFO author usually has to drum up some drama by talking about the many locked doors they find, but insisting, have my faith my brothers and sisters, we’re almost to the truth

Chapter one begins with... you guessed it. But the author’s quest bit works very well here. Unlike in the hackneyed formula, Sarah actually does go on a journey - several of them, in a real-life journalistic quest to get under the skin of UFO mavens. By that I mean to understand them, but yes, she has gotten under their skin in both the positive and negative connotations!

Instead of a rabbit hole, she calls it a wormhole, but falls into a wonderland just the same. Part of how she was drawn in was driven by what she found to be curious lapses of details in the reporting of the AATIP story, and its uncritical acceptance by many, and the fact it was being merchandised.

Chapter two takes a weird turn, because it looks like the author began her investigation by going to a UFO convention. C’mon, man! That’s like trying to learn about zoology by going to the circus. Probably worse. But I get it, that’s where the UFO people are, from authors to devotees. A newcomer would expect a ufology conference to be a bit like a scientific conference where the latest scientific papers were presented and so on. Well, not so much here. There are some serious presenters and new data, but most of it is lectures from regulars on the UFO circuit, some of which are more performers than researchers. Often, it's no more than a UFO Comic-Con, a place to hang out with people with similar interests, with the option for cosplay and one-nighters.

Luckily, at the 2018 International UFO Congress, she ran into a few rational folks there, including Robbie Graham, who gave the lecture, “Searching for Truth in All the Wrong Places,” which caught her interest since he seemed to have a grounded approach and healthy perspective on a far-out and fringy topic. It was the book Graham edited, UFOs: Reframing the Debate, that led her to Canadian ufologist Chris Rutkowski, author of the chapter, "Our Alien, Who art in Heaven." Chris is a great guy with wealth of knowledge, but most people ignore him because he just makes too much sense.

Yow! Curt Collins is quoted in the chapter 8, which gives this book the distinction of being the possibly the first ever to mention the Roswell Slides, Gray Barker, and AATIP in the same chapter. And speaking of Gray... the playful wit of his good friend Jim Moseley (of Saucer News/Smear) seems to be alive and well in some of Sarah’s quips and chapter titles:

In chapter 4, Scoles begins her discussion of UFO history with the Kenneth Arnold sighting, which is good, because many numbskulls think it all started with a Roswell crash. She talks about how after Arnold’s story went big, the US was swept with saucer fever, and all of a sudden everyone was seeing saucers. There’s a brief mention of “perceptual contagion,”and that’s spot on. In 1947, there may indeed have been a saucer invasion, but people were reporting discs by the hundreds. In all the excitement, a lot of innocent birds, planes and balloons had their citizenship challenged; Martians everywhere. But that’s the point, she’s looking at the cultural impact of UFOs, which is why she fast-forwards to the Robertson Panel, the CIA panel that has been blamed for causing UFOs to be debunked and ridiculed. Those guys weren’t around back during the heyday of sea serpents, but sailors still got ribbed for being drunk on the job.

I had no idea who "The Patron Saint, or Something of Saucers" was going to be about, and seeing it in the index, thought that would have been Kenneth Arnold. Instead, it's an entire chapter on aerospace billionaire Robert Bigelow, sometimes called the Howard Hughes of ufology. His deep involvement of the AATIP story is just beginning to be understood.

Much of the rest of the book is Sarah's travels to meet people involved in the UFO scene, and she puts in a lot of time on the road and in the air to get to them. The writing is excellent, and the conversational tone of the book is works well, and it almost feels like the author is taking you by the hand touring into a UFO museum - or maybe a haunted house. The biggest gripe I have about the book is that an experienced UFOer will read the book, and say, "Why’d you go there, and why did you talk to that clown?” It’s like that old fairy tale, and anyone new to ufology is going to have to kiss a lot of frogs at the start.

There’s a line in chapter six that reflects her both her scientific background and the insight she gained by studying ufology:"
"Scientific methods are civilization’s so-far best attempt at removing biases, but nothing that involves a person (and probably nothing that involves a robot) is ever truly objective.”
In “It was Always You,” there’s an unexpected twist that closes not only the chapter, but the entire book. Scoles turns her examination 180 degrees and briefly examines her own beliefs, in what must have been a painful section to write so honestly about. It’s only a page and a half long, but one of the most powerful parts in the book. Though little is said there of UFOs, much is said about faith, belief, and feelings.

For UFO nerds like myself, who are often more concerned with data than literary merit, this book has a good index that’ll allow you to target any passage about any of the heroes villains or bit players discussed within.

There’s a passage from chapter one that can save you a lot of time, since if it doesn't grab you, They Are Already Here is not for you:
“I undertook this project because I wanted to understand why these people spent so much time on a phenomenon that they weren’t even sure was a phenomenon—at least not one beyond the human brain. What I found, when I got to know them, was that we were actually a lot alike in a lot of ways. They sought out mystery in the known world—and then scratched at its surface till it eroded into understanding. They believed people flying high in the government wanted to keep secrets. They craved evidence. They wanted better data. They wanted the truth. They wouldn’t—couldn’t—stop until they figured it out. That’s a lot like the journalistic process.”
I thought the book was great, and it would be perfect for any UFO buff to share with friends or family who don’t quite get the “UFO thing.”

In the AATIP-Bigelow-Skinwalker Ranch story, there's been a small tempest over a BAASS scientist saying they were using “the novel approach of utilizing the human body as a readout system for dissecting interactions with the UFO phenomenon.” Sarah Scoles volunteered, but it's sort of the same thing. Via this book, her brain can now be examined as a readout system for dissecting a scientific civilian’s exposure to ufology. She survived it, but can ufology survive its examination by her? I think so, and it’ll benefit from hearing her conclusions.

If you don’t think you’ll like it, buy a copy anyway just to burn. It pairs well with UFOs: Reframing the Debate.


By chance, I happened to sit in an interview of Sarah Scoles on the Paracast radio show. During some of it, I’m sure Sarah must have felt like it was more like a cross-examination or inquisition. She handled herself well, and I thought she did a good job of representing the book.

We also talked about how the prejudice of some of the UFO crowd on Twitter who have rejected the book without bothering to read it. Ufology has dreamed of getting science and journalists to take an interest. Sarah’s done that, and taken two years to give ufology a chance. We should listen carefully to what she made of it.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Flying Saucers & the Regatta Queen Contest: Two Case Studies from 1947

1947 marked the first election in the US where flying saucers played a role. It happened in Oregon, with a candidate exploiting the saucer mystery for an edge in a fierce campaign. Incredibly, it happened twice, in two different races in Oregon, the Coos Bay Pirates Regatta event in Marshfield, and at the Cottage Grove Lake Regatta in Cottage Grove. STTF’s political reporter, Claude Falkstrom, gathered the news clipping to recap the races, the election results, and in one case, the tragic collateral damage.

The Coos Bay Pirates Regatta

From Images of America: Coos Bay, by Andie E. Jensen, 2012:
“The Coos Bay Pirates were a civic group that promoted Coos Bay and North Bend. They were known for their colorful pirate costumes and high jinks in capturing civic members for a time of folly.” They sponsored an annual event, the Coos Bay Pirates Regatta.

The regatta promotion stated: “Thousands of persons will attend... a show worth seeing worth far more than the one dollar admission price... The Pirates produce this show on a non-profit basis to promote southwestern Oregon's interests.” There was a competition: “One of these lovely girls will... rule as queen of the Coos Bay Pirate regatta... Buy a regatta button and ask your Pirate Princess for instructions.” 

The $1 buttons served as tickets to the event, and contestants collected “votes” for queen of the regatta by selling them. Besides a crown and a queenly prize for the winner, there was also cash and merchandise prizes for the runner-ups. The campaign began in mid-June and ended on August 1, the start of the 3-day regatta event. 

Here’s pictures of the candidates, the Pirate Princesses:

The press on the story told about the coronation, the celebrity guests, the orchestra and other activities that would be featured at the gala event.
The Coos Bay Times, June 16, 1947
Meanwhile, less than 400 miles away, a legend was born.
K. Arnold sighting as depicted in Coronet Magazine, November 1952
On June 26, the story broke about Kenneth Arnold seeing a formation of nine unidentified flying objects. As a result, flying saucer fever swept across the USA. As we shall see, it played a role in race for regatta royalty.

On June 28, Queen candidate Donna Christopherson was profiled in the newspaper.
The Coos Bay Times, June 28, 1947
By July 11, Donna Christopherson took the lead in the race for regatta Queen. The next day, she took flight to advertise her campaign and dropped hundreds silver discs from an airplane over Coos Bay, with the message, “Vote for Donna for Queen.” 

The Coos Bay Times, July 12, 1947
Donna appeared in Pirate costume to promote the regatta events.
The Coos Bay Times, July 29, 1947
The saucer stunt had been an attention getter, but by July 18, somehow Donna Christopherson slipped into second place. LuRae Ball took the lead, but then lost it to Fern Amos. The stories from The Coos Bay Times from July 25, 28, 29, 30 and 31 document the close and dramatic race.

On August 1st the final results were:

3. Fern Amos, Veterans of Foreign Wars, awarded $200.
2. Donna Christopherson, Active Club, awarded $300.
1. LuRae Ball, Business & Professional Women's Club, Queen, and awarded a university scholarship.
The Coos Bay Times, Aug. 4, 1947
Sometimes, even saucers aren’t enough.

Key Saucer Locations: Coos Bay, Cottage Grove, Mount Rainier and the Cascade Range 

The Cottage Grove Lake Regatta

Another event took place about one hundred miles away the same time, the Cottage Grove Lake Regatta. The voting for their regatta queen ran from July 13 through 26, and the votes were tallied in ballot boxes in local businesses, “one vote for each dollar received.”
The Eugene Guard, July 12, 1947
In the Cottage Grove contest, the candidate representing the Moose Lodge, Barbara Anderson, took the early lead.
The Eugene Guard, July 17, 1947

To win further votes, Barbara dropped saucers from a plane on Saturday July 19.

Unfortunately, the disk drop resulted in a serious injuries:
The Eugene Guard, July 19, 1947
The accident did not seem to have an effect on the campaign, and closing in on the finish, Barbara held on to her lead in the race.
The Eugene Guard, July 24, 1947
Despite her early lead, Barbara Anderson slipped and finished in second place as runner-up. Shirley Hileman was crowned regatta queen.
The Eugene Guard, July 24, 29 and, 31, 1947
History records no further flying saucer involvement with either Donna Christopherson or Barbara Anderson, the two Oregon saucer candidates who flew no higher than second place. There was also no further news located about the saucer-related injury of the boy, Dick Miller, but in the absence of an obituary, we hope the lad had a full and speedy recovery.

Oregon Flying Saucer Worries and Project Blue Book

As for other UFO business in the area, in the days leading up to the regatta event, some Cottage Grove residents definitely had saucers on their minds. One citizen wrote to the newspaper over concerns that discs were weapons platforms to spread poison.

The Eugene Guard, July 13 and 27, 1947
Another resident had a sighting of something in the sky she was unable to identify - at first.

The Eugene Guard, July 24, 1947
Closing on a historical note...

There is no Project Blue Book file associated with the regatta saucers. However, it is interesting to see that there is a report from Oregon from the period. It was connected to the Kenneth Arnold sighting, over the same mountains, and said to have occurred on the same day, June 24, 1947. 

Fred Johnson, a prospector on Mt. Adams, reported seeing five or six disc-like objects banking in the sun, but unlike Arnold’s UFOs, these saucers had tails, and their presence caused his compass needle to go wild. Unfortunately, it wasn’t reported until after the Arnold story broke, so it’s uncertain as to whether Johnson was a fraudulent copycat, or a corroborating witness to the most famous UFO sighting of all time. The Air Force’s conclusion: Unidentified

Here’s the link the Project Blue Book file on the Fred Johnson sighting report: 
Project Grudge: June 24, 1947, Portland, Oregon (Fold3)

Thursday, February 27, 2020

When Flying Saucers Dropped on the USA

Since World War I or before, airplanes have been used to drop leaflets as propaganda tools, and before long, advertisers copied the practice on a civilian audience. After the news of Kenneth Arnold's sighting of a formation of nine unidentified objects made headlines in June 1947, flying saucer fever swept across the United States. 

Saucers were a hot topic, and advertisers were quick to pick up on the trend. In short order, they began dropping disc-shaped ads from airplanes. One early drop resulted in a UFO report from Bend, Oregon in early July 1947.
The Bend Bulletin, OR, July 5, 1947
Flying discs were a sensation, so paper plate-type saucers became the medium for the message.

Discs were dropped as advertising stunts across the USA...

Photo and article from The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 13, 1947
Stores, restaurants, insurance companies, even the U.S. Army were being advertised via saucers.
Examples of saucer advertising from UFOPOP:
A. The Daily Freeman, Waukesha, WI, July 11, 1947
B. The Daily Register, Harrisburg, IL, July 19, 1947
C. The Daily Courier, Waterloo, IA, July 10, 1947
D. The Times Record, Troy, NY, July 11, 1947

Saucers also fell over Canada. (Notice that hoaxers butted in on this, too.)
The Vancouver Sun, July 14, 1947
Here's another example, from radio station KDAL in Duluth, Minnesota. They launched 10,000 silver discs over surrounding cities to advertise their station.
Billboard, July 26, 1947
By the end of August, even Superman was getting in on the act. Superman was a "strange visitor from another planet," so having him confront the mystery of the discs would have been interesting. Instead, we got Superman hoaxing flying saucers to help friends advertise the Teenie Weenies hot dog stand.
Superman Sunday newspaper comic, Aug. 31, 1947
The fad of saucer drops trailed off, but was still in practice well into the 1950s. But exploiting flying saucers never went out of style, and affected everything from music to movies. In future articles, we'll continue to explore this aspect of UFO culture here at The Saucers That Time Forgot

Next up: 

. . .

See our previous articles on UFO Commercial Exploitation:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The First UFO Lawsuit?

In the early 1950s there were two news stories one year apart about UFO-related court cases. We'll take the later one first, since it involves an alleged flying saucer crash.

Dateline: Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 7, 1953, the injured party, one Ferdinand Hackover.

The Ames Daily Tribune, October 9, 1953
Debris from US government-launched balloon projects has been found since well before Roswell, from broken Rawin targets to Radiosondes. It's rare, but sometimes the debris has conked people. Here's a better documented case from 1963.

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, LA,  Nov. 12, 1963

The 1952 legal complaint was about an early attempt to duplicate flying saucer performance and technology.

Dateline: Feb. 7, 1952, New Orlean, Louisiana, the the injured party, one Evelyn West, a celebrity who was interested in furthering a UFO research project.

Evelyn West in magazines and newspapers
The Daily News, New York, Feb. 7, 1952
The Ames Daily Tribune, Feb. 7, 1952

There's not enough information to determine if she was the victim of a con man, or merely an inept inventor with big dreams. Sadly, there was follow-up to the story, but Sir magazine Feb. 1956 featured the article, “'Treasure Chest' West and the Nudists,” which was focused on West’s controversial role as a proponent of nudism. It did mention the flying saucer investment lawsuit in passing, but didn’t provide an update on the outcome.

Saucer Exploitation

What these two 1950s saucer lawsuit stories have in common is that there's no further record of either of them. Evelyn West was real, and quite famous, but we were unable to find a trace of any person named Ferdinand Hackover or an alleged inventor by the name of Steven Vitko.

True or not, the stories are good examples of the game the newspapers played, exploiting saucers as serious news, but then playing them just for laughs. They don't spend much time sorting out the details of a novelty story from yesterdays news. What really mattered was selling newspapers today.

As with so many of the most interesting UFO cases featured here at The Saucers That Time Forgot, Project Blue Book has no file on any of these incidents.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Future of Ufology: A Plea and a Warning

We proudly present a timeless editorial about the quest for a scientific study of unidentified aerial phenomena.

Ufology is the study of flying saucers, or Unidentified Flying Objects. This term was first applied to the saucers by the U.S. Air Force and was then quickly abridged to UFO by the customary style of alphabetical soup originating in Washington, D.C. To most of the students of Ufology the subject long remained only a listing of sightings with a minimum of analysis. Then it began to be contaminated by the antics of hoaxers and misguided zealots. Finally it has degenerated, in many instances, into a hodgepodge of subjective opinions, imaginary experiences and religious hallucinations which are not only unverifiable but often ludicrous. 

The general public is totally unaware of the real scope of Ufology. Even the full-time devotees seldom sense that the study of flying saucers, if pursued to any logical level or conclusion, soon turns out to be a study of life. It parallels the study of mankind in past, present and future--in science, religion and philosophy. The subject of Ufology is as broad, as deep and as long (especially in terms of time ) as the study of humanity itself. Also, it is just as little understood, either in substance, concept or application. 

To boil it all down; we know that there are Flying Saucers or UFO's --and that's about all we do know about them with any degree of certainty. To be sure, we know there are many types and that they come and go with bewildering gyrations and a variety of colors, but these defy classification, much less analysis. We also know that they have been here for thousands of years, which makes it difficult for the Russians or our own Air Force to claim parenthood for them. We know that the y are prominent in Biblical history, as instanced by the wheel of Ezekiel. 

We believe that they are intelligently controlled either by pilots, or that they are actually intelligent entities of a nature completely beyond our ken. But-- we don't know. We don't know where they originate. We don't know their purpose, or whether they have any purpose. But, whatever may be the deplorable state of our knowledge of UFO's, we certainly know some thing about the state of ufology--and how!

This embryonic science is as full of cults, feuds and dogmas as a dog is of fleas. There are probably more opinions about the nature and purpose of UFO'e as there are Ufologers. The sky visitors are believed to come from Russia, the U.S. Air Force, open space, the moon, Venus, Mare Jupiter, Saturn, Alpha Centauri, the outer Galaxy, distant galaxies millions of light years away, from the fourth dimension, from etheric space (whatever that may be), from the fifth dimension, from the second, third fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or other spheres of intelligence and existence, from etheric planets, an invisible planet behind the moon, the spirit world, and perhaps even from a galactic Shangri-La!

The UFO's are believed to be operated by innate intelligences, Russians, U.S. Pilots, Martians, Venusians, Jovians, Saturnians, remote control, automatic control, galactic space patrols, solar system police, and so on. 

They are believed to be powered by rockets, atomic jets, electro-magnetic drives, anti-gravity, levitation, thought control, fourth dimensional vibrations, photo ejection, atomic reactance, magnetic reactance, light pressure, gravity shields and (probably) imagination. 

UFO's are believed to have the purpose of exploring the earth (the job should be nearly complete after at least ten thousand years), mapping the earth, studying humanity, cleaning the atmosphere of atomic radiation, transporting water and/or minerals to distant planets, kidnapping humans for specimens of study, studying our aviation and rockets, gathering to evacuate this planet at the onset of a new cosmic catastrophe, preparing for the second coming of Christ, aiding in our physical and mental evolution, also giving us religious guidance in matters relating to universal love and cosmic brotherhood. 

The UFO's are also supposed to be space animals, discarnate entities, mother ships, scout ships, balls of intelligent fire, pure energy, super-heavy matter, stray vibrations, meteors, comets, temperature inversions, and thought forms of higher entities. 

They are said to be representatives of God, the gods, an elder race, Christ, et alia. We are in communication with UFO s by infra-red light beams, electronically modulated and detected, by radio, flashlight, direct voice, cabalistic footprints, telepathy, spiritual mediumship, revelations of esoteric and occult masters, and by flickering electric lights. 

They are guardians, angels, Brothers, Elders, the Boys Upstairs, guides, gods, and representatives of an indeterminate number of super-circumbient spheres of intelligence. 

They are vicious, kindly, vengeful, benevolent, destructive, protective, god-like, animal-like, humanoid, non-human, pygmies, giants, religious, pagan and what have you. They land, they don't land. They contact a few obscure characters. They don't contact anyone. They have been here thousands of years. They were not here before 1947. 

If you are skeptical about their existence and antics, you are likely to be called a lot of dirty names, the least of which is asinine or anti-social. If you accept the stories of contacts and rides in UFO's you are a crackpot (now termed Psycho-Ceramic). If you are undecided you are a worm or a weak sister. Anyway you put it, you can't win. 

The extremes of beliefs are, on the one hand, that they are man-made, and on the other that they are ships of pure, god-like beautiful men from Venus with all of the combined Divine characteristics of the Deity, the Masters and a host of angels. We are told in this view, that they will soon land for the purpose of saving us from ourselves, or at least they will transport the Biblical 144,000 chosen ones, the elect, to a safer and saner place of abode. Dedicated people dress in white and stand on street corners awaiting the arrival of the brothers! And so it goes. 

The Plea

NOW -- if we are not now to destroy the field of Ufology and let it go down in a welter of ridicule, we have got to work together, work with facts and not rumors, do something drastic about deep-enders and hoaxers, and be as objective as possible. The whole field is on the verge of extinction right now because of irresponsible hoaxing and self-aggrandizement. That is a warning. Every day sees the demise of better and sounder clubs and magazines. The plea is: tolerance for the viewpoints of others until they are proven wrong, and refraining from positive statements until we are proven right. Otherwise--it is goodbye to Ufology in a very short time. 

"The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools." 
--Ecclesiastes, 9:17. 

By M. K. Jessup, 1958

M. K. Jessup’s “Ufology: A Plea and a Warning” originally appeared in Miami Saucerlore, Spring 1958, published by the Miami Flying Saucer Club, and was reprinted in Max B. Miller’s SAUCERS, Spring & Summer 1959 issue. 

Joshua B. Buhs wrote an excellent article on Jessup’s life and work, and took a look at his unconventional outlook:
“The Case for the UFOs” is principally a Fortean book... The basic story that Jessup tells in this book is a mixture of Theosophy and Fortean ideas. He argues that flying saucers do not come from deep space, or even other planets—the distances are just too vast; rather, they originate in the area between the moon and the earth...”
See “Morris Ketchum Jessup as a Fortean” for more information.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The Flying Saucer Mystery and the 1952 UFO Flap

The Flying Saucer Mystery, 1952
In part one, we examined The First UFO Documentary: The Flying Saucer MysteryDuring the big UFO flap of 1952, the documentary got a new life with the help of Sterling Films. Billboard magazine, Aug 23, 1952, announced the film had been revised for a new release.

The new version was longer at 12½ minutes and featured many changes. Since their first release, the Air Force had officially announced it was back in the UFO investigation business with Project Blue Book, so there was a lot to cover. 

The narration was new, and several scenes were replaced with new sequences, such as the report by witness Oskar Linke and author Frank Scully. It also featured footage from the July 29, 1952, press conference given by Air Force Major General John A. Samford, the one given to address the Washington, D.C. UFO radar incidents. There was also some new evidence, a UFO picture taken by Shell Alpert, a U.S. Coast Guard, photographer, and another captured by August C. Roberts (an early member of Al Bender’s International Flying Saucer Bureau).

Shell Alpert and his UFO photo
Oskar Linke’s story was carried newspapers across the US in July, a sensation because up until that time, there had been no credible reports of contact with saucer occupants. Linke said that he and his daughter “saw two figures who appeared to be wearing metallic overalls” get in the saucer and take flight. US headlines stated, “Now Saucers Carry Pilots” and “Flying Disc, Crew, Seen By Red Refugees.” Interestingly, it was later made clear that Linke’s sighting had occurred way back on June 17, 1950, but he was afraid to talk about it until away from the Soviets. 

Gabriele and Oskar Linke, and The Argus, Melbourne, Australia June 30, 1952
Perhaps the most peculiar addition to the 1952 version was the inclusion of author Frank Scully, but besides Donald Keyhoe, he was the most prominent UFO personality at the time. Scully talked about the Air Force’s orders that UFOs be intercepted, then went into his position that saucers were flown by aliens, probably an ancient civilization advanced far beyond earth. 

The film’s character was markedly different than the 1950 version. They did have Dr. Scott for skeptical balance, but it seemed that the producers read the April 7, 1952, Life magazine article that asked,”Have We Visitors From Space?” Their answer was yes.

As we did with the 1950 release, we've prepared a transcript of the 1952 revision. Below is a list of the people in the 1952 version and the time they appear in the film:

0:55 Gen. John A. Samford, USAF (news clip)
1:06 Donald E. Keyhoe (news clip)
1:12 Admiral Calvin Bolster, USN (1950 clip)
1:35, 4:04 Arthur Weisberger, witness (1950 clip)
5:05 August C. Roberts, witness
5:22 Oskar Linke and his daughter, Gabriele, witnesses
6:40 Frank Scully, author,”Behind the Flying Saucers”
7:47 Noel W. Scott, U.S. Army Engineers physicist
9:48 Gen. John A. Samford, USAF (news clip)
10:38 Donald E. Keyhoe, “The Flying Saucers are Real” (1950 clip)

Transcript: The Flying Saucer Mystery, 1952

From out of nowhere flying saucer mystery is with us. What is the flying saucer? What do people see, and sometimes photograph? What's behind the daily reports of aerial  phenomena in the nation's press? After more than five years of study, there is still no
agreement even among the experts. 

General James A. Samford:
“We can say that the recent sightings are in no way connected with any secret 
development by any agency of the United States.

Donald E. Keyhoe:
“With all due respect to the Air Force, I believe that some of them will prove to be of interplanetary origin.”

Admiral Calvin Bolster, USN:
“In my position in the research and development organization of the Bureau of  Aeronautics and of the Navy Department I am thoroughly familiar with both our aircraft and our guided missile programs, and can state without reservation that the Navy has no saucer-shaped aircraft or missile in any of these programs.”

Arthur Weisberger:
“I glanced up and there were three flying saucers in a V, approximately a half a mile away from me at an altitude of 350 feet. They appeared to be hovering in midair with that I believe to be a spinning action.”

What are these shadowy voyagers of the atmosphere? While our forefathers were 
still dreaming of flight decades ago, they sketched these aerial vehicles of the future. Strangely, some of them resemble the saucers of today. When we went to work to make reality out of these dreams, we fashioned crude rocket-propelled devices such as these. While unsuccessful in themselves, they proved to be our first humbling efforts to master the techniques in jet and rocket propulsion. If the flying saucers are of this earth, this may be how they were born, with their later growth and maturity cloaked in official secrecy.

When the smoke of the war blew away in 1945, we found ourselves suddenly arrived in 
the age of rocket propulsion. However, since then, the lid has been on. Other than announcements of ever-increasing altitudes reached by the rockets, we have had no reports. Though we know millions are being spent on them. To our knowledge, the engines in the B-47 are the most powerful in use today. Yet the announced speed of this aeroplane is only 600 miles per hour, a mere fraction of the velocity of the discs. Only if radically new area of dynamics are in use, could the discs be powered by jet engines of today.

This is a thunder-jet executing a loop, hazardous on a jet plane because of the centrifugal force, the pilot must withstand during the pull-out, yet characteristic of the saucers is their fantastic maneuverability. Discs moving at many times the speed of sound suddenly reverse direction. Flight surgeons say any human pilot attempting this would perish instantly. Likewise, saucer reporters agree that the new jet helicopter was not what they saw. If not conventional aircraft then, what did they see? 

Arthur Weisberger:
“They appeared to be 50 feet in diameter, with what appeared to be a dome on the top with, I can't be sure but, I believe I saw the sun glinting off of, well, windows or observation portholes of a sort.”

(Trent photos)
is this what Weisberger saw? This disc was photographed by an Oregon farmer as it hovered low over his field. Experts say these are actual photographs of a flying saucer. The farmer sighted the same spinning action and estimated the diameter of the disc at 20 to 30 feet. 

(Al Hixenbaugh film)
In Kentucky, a motion picture photographer attracted by a strange noise overhead trained his camera on this disc. Here, the wobbling motion mentioned in so many reports is clearly seen.
(Shell Alpert photo)
A Coast Guard photographer snapped this phenomena when it appeared briefly over Salem, Massachusetts. The incandescence seen here was bright enough to stand out in broad daylight.

(August C. Roberts photo)
What may have been the same phenomena was photographed at night by August Roberts who has this to say about it.

Interviewer (off camera):
“What do you think it was?
August C. Roberts:
“I think it was from outer space, but friendly.”

(Gabriele & Oskar Linke)
“Like many of the saucer reports, the latest and most credible have received comes not from America but from behind the Iron Curtain. Seen on the ground by the refugee mayor of a small East German town, its crew was startled by the screams of the mayor's daughter. The first eyewitnessed report of the supposed Soviet guided missile, tells of a saucer-shaped object.

Translator for Oskar Linke:
“The moment the crew disappeared in the cylinder, the disc rose with a humming noise, until the thing was standing on the cylinder like a big mushroom. Then, he said, the disc began rotating, red, blue and green flames bursted out from the holes in it. He thinks they were for its propulsion (?). He saw the thing rise straight up from the ground, and move off parallel with the ground. Once it had gained height, it moved faster, he said, than any fighter plane he has seen, and it made a terrible roaring noise.”

From such reports as these arise many theories to explain the discs. Undismayed by the attacks of True magazine, Frank Scully, author of a book Behind the Flying Saucers, offers his views.

Frank Scully: 
“Now of course, if you assume that there’s no intelligence equal to ours anywhere else, everywhere else, in the universe, is to belittle the universe, because we don't show much intelligence, obviously. But, the likelihood of other planets elsewhere in other planetary systems and other universes of having not only what we got, but lots more, since the planets might be older, their intelligences could be much more mature, more advanced - they could have even passed through an atomic age long ago. Or, they could have been souls that never were fogged up like our Adam and Eve, and never went through all this. And if they are perfect souls elsewhere, the thing is, they're not killable they’re immortal already, so the idea of the Air Force telling them to shoot them down is idiotic.”

Next, a more conventional theory is advanced by physicist Noel Scott.

Noel W. Scott:
“The expression flying saucers is a catch-all term for unusual lights appearing in the sky. It is possible that some of these lights are caused by masses of electrically-charged particles of air. Electrified air can assume many different colors, such as yellow, red, pink, orange, green, and blue. This experiment demonstrates that charged masses of air can be made to move in formation, change course, change brightness, appear, disappear and reappear. These electrified masses of air produce no sound, but can be detected by radar. The atmospheric conditions necessary for producing this phenomena are certainly not prevailing conditions that exist in the upper atmosphere. However, it is not altogether improbable that there may be occasional local conditions responsible for this glow which might be interpreted as flying saucers.”

In the Engineer Research and Development Laboratories, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Dr. Scott shows how to make your own flying saucers. Some say the apparitions are the result of light refracting from what is called an inversion layer, such as an oasis will appear in the desert. In a glass bell, Dr. Scott reproduces weather conditions which prevail during many of the recent sightings. 

Dr. Scott's theories are correct. What you are looking at now is an actual flying saucer. It's possible that even the headlights of your car can create them. With the Air Force hard-pressed for an accounting of the mysterious invaders, this explanation is popular, but General James Sanford points out even this theory does not explain all the reports.

General James A. Samford:
“However there have been a certain percentage of this volume of reports that have been made by credible observers of relatively incredible things. It is this group of observations that we now are attempting to resolve. We have as a date, come to only one firm conclusion with respect to this remaining percentage, and that is that it does not contain any pattern of purpose all of consistency that we can relate within it to any conceivable threat to the United States.”

According to the general, these weather balloons are the flying saucers that many people see. Still, he cautions that a few reports cannot be so easily explained. It is these reports that interest Donald Keyhoe, sponsor of a theory that is growing in popularity.

Donald E. Keyhoe:
“After a one year’s investigation, I believe that the flying saucers seen by veteran airline and Air Force pilots are objects from another planet. The Air Force itself has officially admitted that flying saucers exist. This statement appears in Project Saucer case number 75. Not only that, the Air Force has officially analyzed the motives of possible visitors from space. Here is a direct quotation from the official report: 
‘Such a civilization might observe that on earth we now have atomic bombs and are fast developing rockets. In the past history of mankind, they should be alarmed. We should therefore expect at this time, above all, to behold such visitations.’”

(Atom bomb footage)
Is there another civilization somewhere in space, apprehensively watching our rapid progress with the atom? Are we under surveillance by an intelligence that has revealed itself to us only in the form of ghostly apparitions? Does this power foresee our ability to travel through space in rockets propelled by the atomic power we are learning to control? An incredible theory, and it is doubted by many, but it is not likely to be disproved in the public mind while our scientists are predicting interplanetary travel within the lifetime of those living today. 

As the debate continues, so do reports of new saucers, some following in the pattern already established, others entirely new, creating more speculation and endless discussion. Project Saucer, the official Air Force investigation of the phenomena, has been reopened. Now, installations are alerted to attempt to intercept any of the strange visitors that may be sighted. 

While millions listen and watch, the great flying saucer mystery remains unsolved.

. . .

For Further Information on the UFO Cases Featured in the 1952 Film

General James A. Samford UFO Press Conference, July 29, 1952:
Saturday Night Uforia has the text from Project Blue Book's files transcript.

Shell R. Alpbert UFO photo, Salem, Massachusetts, July 16, 1952 
The Photographer's Tale

August C. Roberts UFO photo:
Project Blue Book File, No. 1710. July 28, 1952, Jersey City, New Jersey

Oskar Linke UFO sighting:
CE III By Two Witnesses / Oskar Linke Case, June 17, 1950, Hasselbach, Germany

A special thanks to Issac Koi for his help in obtaining the transcripts of the two versions of this documentary. Isaac has been working to preserve and share UFO literature and history for many years, and has several projects underway with the AFU in Sweden.
 Check the AFU site for a wealth of rare UFO documents and literature.

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