Monday, August 28, 2017

Captured Flying Saucers: July 7, 1947, The Disk that Slipped by the FBI

The FBI is shut out

There was a FBI memo allegedly about flying saucers recovered with a handwritten notation by director J. Edgar Hoover:

"...we must insist upon full access 
to discs recovered. For instance 
in the La. case the Army grabbed it & 
wouldn't let us have it for cursory 
(signed "H" for Hoover.)

The FBI file with the Hoover "La." memo is on page 45 of this PDF:
Some UFO proponents like James Fox have insisted the memo is connected to the recovery of a crashed alien space craft. A few have misinterpreted Hoover's handwriting of La. as SW for South West, thinking that his memo was about Roswell, NM. Others have speculated that it was LA for Los Angeles, CA. However, the facts is that La. was short for Louisiana, as in the case of the July 7, 1947 crashed disk case in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Not Roswell

Top and bottom of the sloppy saucer from the south.
There have been many crashed flying saucers recovered over the years, but this is one of the very few instances where the object's flight and actual crash were witnessed 

From the files of Project Blue Book:
"Mr. (F. G. Harston), Shreveport, Louisiana, stated in an interview on 7 July 1947 that at 1805, 7 July 1947, he heard the disc whirling through the air and had looked up in time to see it when it was approximately 200 feet in the air and coming over a sign board adjacent to the used car lot where he was standing. ( Harston) stated that smoke and fire were coming from The disc and that it was traveling at a high rate of speed and that it fell into the street and his immediate vicinity. ( Harston) further stated that he retrieved the disc from the street and immediately notified Army officials at Barksdale Field."
Project Blue Book's file on this case: 7 July 1947, Shreveport, Louisiana. Here's a picture of F. G. Harston, lucky survivor of the close encounter. 

Case Closed

Investigation showed that this disk was yet another made here on Earth:
"A flying disk' fell in the street in a Southern city.  It was composed of aluminum strips, fluorescent-lamp starters, condensers, rivets, screws and copper wire.  A little investigation resulted in a confession from the culprit, the superintendent of an electric-fan factory, who said he concocted the device and threw it from the roof of the factory, hoping to scare his boss, who was getting into his car."
What You Can Believe About Flying Saucers - Conclusion by Sidney Shalett, Saturday Evening Post May 7, 1949

The object was determined to be of Earthly origin, and the identity of the hoaxer was determined, so this in one of the rare cases closed as definitively solved.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Captured Flying Saucers: Saucer Engineers: Aug. 25, 1950 Reading, PA

August 25, 1950, Reading, Pennsylvania:
Police responded to excited reports of a captured flying saucer, one that looked like a military project gone astray. On the small unmanned disc were stenciled the words:  
Military Secret - USA
Air Force
When the police arrived, they indeed found the disc the witnesses described, but also two individuals who were able to solve the mystery.

FALSE ALARM . . . Two Reading, Pa., boys, John Feick, 15, left, and Paul Fisher, 14, right, thought the "flying saucer" they built was quite a trick. Motorcycle Patrolman Floyd Auchenbach didn't share their admiration. The patrolman investigated reports that people had seen "a real flying saucer." He found this gadget, which the boys said they had constructed for fun and to fool people. It won't fly. 
The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky August 26, 1950

Feick and Fisher had further ambitions.

There had been other counterfeit flying saucers found before, and some were even counterfeit military projects. Billy Rose's column in the Riverhead, NY, County Review from June 15, 1950, reported on the claims by Radio commentator Henry J. Taylor. Not only were flying saucers real, they were secret USA military projects. 

The County Review, June 15, 1950

Chances are good that John Feick and Paul Fisher heard about Taylor's story and it influenced the creation of their disc. Despite their announcement of a sequel, no report was found of a later disturbance by a rocket launch in Reading, however. 

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.

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 this incident.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

When Prophecy Fails in Denmark, 1967

UFO pioneer George Adamski died in the US in 1965, but his teachings lived beyond him and were spread around the world. Two years later, Orthon, the first extraterrestrial he'd befriended, was working with believers in Denmark, sharing technology and preparing for their rescue from the impending atomic war. 

A portrait of Orthon and a model of his saucer.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Dec. 17, 1967.
The authorities were unsympathetic to the groups needs.
Dec. 22 1967
  Knud Weiking on how Orthon saves.
Dec. 24 1967

Though this be madness, yet there is method in't. 

Most readers know the atomic war was postponed. Orthon's followers were forced to consider another plan building an escape ship using a Free Energy engine.

El Paso Herald-Post Dec. 26 1967

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 this incident.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Stanton Friedman on Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Stanton Friedman on Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Steven Spielberg's 1977 film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind is headed back to theaters. In its original release, the audiences went in not knowing what to expect. The previews and ads suggested something a bit sinister and mysterious.  Spielberg was famous for terrifying audiences with the shark and Jaws, so many people may have been expecting CE3K to be a space monster movie. We were told to "Watch the Skies," and that, "We are Not alone." It sounded like a warning.

“When Steven Spielberg made Jaws, the world went shark crazy. Reports of shark attacks increased by the thousands and people began to approach the beach with caution and even with fear. Now with Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spielberg is making a film about an even more fascinating subject and one thing seems certain. Just as Jaws gave us a new respect for the mysteries that lie beneath the surface of the sea, after seeing Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we will probably never look at the sky in quite the same way again.
Like Jaws, Steven Spielberg’s newest film begins in a small American town but this time it leads to one inescapable conclusion: we are not alone. WATCH THE SKIES”

6 minute teaser

1977 TV spot for CE3K

CE3K& Ufology

Close Encounters became a huge financial success, a beloved classic of cinema and a touchstone for the UFO topic. However on it's original release, the reviews were mixed. Let's take a look back at what critics were saying about it at the time. In Variety, A.D. Murphy said:
“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is a daring film concept which in its special and technical effects has been superbly realized. Steven Spielberg’s film climaxes in final 35 minutes with an almost ethereal confrontation with life forms from another world; the first 100 minutes, however, are somewhat redundant in exposition and irritating in tone.
Ufologist Dr. J. Allen Hynek was a consultant on the film, and deeply involved in the project, and a big supporter. He participated in its promotion, had a cameo in it, published a non-fiction book The Hynek UFO Report released in connection with the film, wrote the epilogue to the CE3K novelization, and received funding and publicity for CUFOs, the Center for UFO Studies.

Friedman With Portrait Of Sculpture
made from a recollection of a close encounter

Ufologist, Stanton T. Friedman, "the flying saucer scientist" was less enthusiastic about the film. Prior to resurrecting the Roswell case, Friedman was a flying saucer lecturer who chiefly promoted the Betty and Barney Hill abduction story. He'd consulted on the 1975 TV movie based on the Hill case, The UFO Incident, but he gave low marks to Spielberg's film. Close Encounters of the Third Kind was criticized by Stanton Friedman as "inaccurate." He said that, " 'Close Encounters' is visually spectacular- a feast for the eyes- but UFOlogically a disaster," and in his opinion, "about 20 percent legitimate and 80 percent overdone."

The Sarasota Journal,  Jan. 11, 1978 
It's not known if Friedman's disapproval prompted Spielberg to tamper with the film, but CE3K has been re-edited several times over the decades, with footage added and cut. With the new re-release, Spielberg has one last chance to fix his mistakes, and just maybe, to finally win the praise of the flying saucer scientist.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Captured Flying Saucers: US Navy Investigates Crashed Disc, Alice, TX, July 4, 1950

X for eXperimental

STTF correspondent Roger Glassel of Sweden has provided us with the story of a crashed flying saucer, discovered in Alice, Texas, July 4th, 1950. At the time, flying saucers were thought by most people to be secret military projects, and several credible authorities were supporting the hypothesis. World War I flying ace, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, agreed that flying saucers could be real, but "belong to the U.S.A."

Portsmouth Times. May 18, 1950.
The Northrop X-4, as shown in Flying Magazine, March 1949

There were some real classified military aircraft projects underway in the 1940s and, and they carried an "X" prefix, designating experimental. The link below is to an article from FAS on the history of the projects: "The X-Plane Program has evolved from being the first rocket-powered airplane to break the sound barrier (the X-1 on 14 October 1947) and included over 30 different major research designs..." X-Planes Experimental Aircraft

The X-147-A

In Alice, Texas, on July 4th, 1950, a crashed flying saucer was discovered. The San Antonio Express reported in their  July 5, 1950 issue:
"Discoverer of the saucer was Leroy Holloman of an Alice roofing and sheet metal company. Driving along a highway bordering a plowed field, he spotted the saucer. Within an hour Alice's sleepy Fourth of July burst into a galaxy of wild rumors. Here s what the crowd saw: An aluminum object, almost round, about four feet across each way, six or eight inches thick in the middle, with antenna and 'running lights' on both sides, and a small opening in the back. Stenciled on the left side were the words 'warning. X-147-A. Don’t touch.' And no one, at first, would touch it. But excited townspeople knelt down and looked through the little hole. They could see machinery inside. Among those who came running were Police Chief Stokes Micenheimer and Managing Editor Curtis Vinson of the Alice Daily Echo."
The text on the object was in English and it looked like Army stenciling. This led to speculation that the saucer was a secret military project, perhaps gone astray. Micenheimer and Vinson contacted government authorities, and the FBI was among those they notified.

The FBI's files contain three memos on the event starting on page 35 of this PDF.

They also called in the Marines

Alice Daily Echo, July 5,1950.

Another unusual aspect of this case is that instead of the Air Force, the incident was investigated by the US Navy. Micenheimer and Vinson also contacted the Navy, from the nearby Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. Here's the story form All Hands, the US Navy magazine, "published monthly in Washington, DC, by the Bureau of Naval Personnel for the information and interest of the Naval Service as a whole."

All Hands, Sept. 1950
All Hands, Oct. 1950

This story from Naval Aviation News identifies the specific aircraft elements used to construct the counterfeit saucer's body:

Naval Aviation News, September, 1950

Photos from  the Navy's examination of the captured disc:
View of the saucer's underside, showing distinct traces of terrestrial construction.

An "alien autopsy." The saucer's propulsion unit was removed for analysis.

The Navy decided to put the crashed saucer into service:

Alice Daily Echo, July 7, 1950.
There have been many UFO hoaxes over the years, but very few of them are centered on spoofing a military secret project. The experimental "X-147-A" designation was a nice touch, but doesn't indicate any knowledge beyond what an average aircraft buff would have had at the time. The hoaxer had welding skill and access to aircraft parts, so it seems very likely he was a mechanic at the airport in Alice, Texas. 

Many discoveries of crashed flying saucers generate lasting mysteries, but due to the timely reporting and investigation, the true origin of this one was solved within a few hours. The object was determined to be of Earthly origin, but the identity of the hoaxer was not determined, so in that regard, the case remains unsolved

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 this incident. 

A special thanks to Roger Glassel for the case details and documents.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Flora Rogers' Flying Turtle over Texas, Aug.12, 1952

 Everybody knows turtles don't fly--so what was that thing Mrs. Flora Rogers saw paddling through through the air over her West Texas ranch?

Newspaper clipping from Project Blue Book.
Stanton, Texas, about 100 miles south of Lubbock

The Abilene Reporter-News August 13, 1952

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 this incident... but they do have a bad, faded copy of a news article with a drawing of the UFO.

Gray Barker
It was left to ufologist Gray Barker in his historic 1956 book, They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers, to chronicle this event. He managed to stretch the newspaper story into three pages of his book, concluding his coverage thusly:
When pressed for an opinion as to what she thought the object represented, Mrs. Rogers hazarded a guess, but insisted it was only an idea she evolved while watching it."It must have been some sort of radar machine taking pictures of the ground beneath."
And so ended another flying saucer story few people would believe, except those who heard her tell it first hand, a story that would be discounted by the Air Force and forgotten by all but a few who had the temerity to collect and file away data on such unusual and unlikely events.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

1946, Before Saucers, Kareeta: UFO Contact in California

Hannes Bok art for Imagination, Sept. 1951, with bird-like space ships similar to Kareeta. 

Before Saucers: 

1947 has gone down in history for Kenneth Arnold's June sighting launching the modern UFO era, however, in 1946, seven months before, another report was making international news. And while Arnold's mysterious objects were merely unknown, the San Diego object was identified. It was a space ship from another planet.

Meade Layne of Round Robin and psychic Mark Probert

Meade Layne launched The Round Robin in 1945, "A Bulletin of Contact and Information for Students of Psychic Research and Parapsychology." It was the foundation for "an association of spiritualists and parapsychologists, New Thought writers and Theosophical thinkers... their field of research 'the borderlands' of science, those murky areas where quanta overlap with spirit..." It later came to be known as the Borderland Sciences Research Associates. Layne and many of his friends were also interested in "the data of the damned," following in the footsteps of Charles Fort.

San Diego, California, Oct. 9, 1946

Marine Corps Chevron, Oct. 18, 1946 

"On the evening of 9 October 1946, a bulletish, winged structure appeared over San Diego... Among those who witnessed this mysterious object was Mark Probert... (Meade) Layne suggested Probert establish telepathic communication—which he did. He learned: The strange machine is called the Kareeta...  powered by people possessing a very advanced knowledge of anti-gravity forces... The people are nonagressive and have been trying to contact the earth for many years." 
From the site, From an Oblique AngleNewton Meade Layne as Fortean

Are Men From Mars Knocking?

Loren Gross, in Charles Fort, the Fortean Society, and Unidentified Flying Objects, 1976, reported how the extraterrestrial hypothesis made it on to page one on Oct. 14, 1946:
The Los Angeles Daily News thought the message made a good story and headlined its article on the incident: "Are Men From Mars Knocking?" According to the story there was a machine in the sky called a "Kareeta" piloted by creatures from outer space that were seeking contact with earthmen, but wary of the hostile instincts of mankind. The pilots of the "Kareeta" according to Probert, sought a meeting with earth scientists at an isolated location.
While most other papers didn't mention aliens from Mars, the term "space ship" was prominent in most of them.
Eugene Register-Guard, Oct. 14, 1946

The story was carried by wire services across the US and also in newspapers around the world.

The News Adelaide, South Australia Oct. 16, 1946

Space ships were the stuff of science fiction, and the most recognizable names were from the comic strips. This headline refers to space travelers, Flash Gordon, and the first alien hero, Superman.

The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Queensland. Australia,  Oct. 16, 1946

The Borderlands of Science

Meade Layne in  The Round Robin from Oct. 1946  gave a report far beyond what the newspapers printed, the full story of the Kareeta sighting, additional witness testimony, and psychic Mark Probert's channeling of the messages from the space visitors. "This ship comes from west of the moon... Yes, these people come in peace . . . They are much more advanced than you are..." Layne had only one doubt about the encounter, that the beings within the spaceship might not be trustworthy. "The account of the Kareeta, received clairaudiently by Mark Probert, may be an elaborate hoax by the communicating intelligences."

Readers of Round Robin were way, way, ahead of Kenneth Arnold, Donald Keyhoe, flying saucers and the extraterrestrial hypothesis. In the November 1946 issue of Round Robin, Meade Layne said, 
"'Space-ship' Kareeta has come and gone, but is not yet, we are glad to say, wholly forgotten. The Editor's mail bag shows that Round Robin readers, at any rate, do not dismiss such happenings as trivial and fantastic... The literature on mysterious sky-visitors is extensive - and appalling; if you don't believe it, read Charles Fort, and forthcoming articles by Vincent Gaddis, and start collecting the data for yourself."
Then, in the April 1947 issue of Round Robin
Oahspe, Charles Fort, and space ships (From letter to RR, by B.F. Greenlee)
"At the end of God's Book of Ben are several pages of comment which would do justice to Charles Fort and the Book of Cosmogony would have delighted him. I have tried to find evidence that Fort was familiar with Oahspe, but have come to the conclusion that he never read it... Re the 'Kareeta': Oahspe mentions space ships under a variety of names: Abattos, Arrow-Boat, Adavaysit, Airavagra, Avalenza, etc. See Book of Osiris, Son of Jehovih, Ch.1, para. 5 for references to what may have been the nature of Kareeta."

The Coming of the Saucers

Meade Layne continued to explore the topic of visitors from beyond and took the 1947 arrival of flying saucers in stride. The rest of the world struggled to find out: were saucers secret military weapons, and if so, whose? If not, what were they, and where did they come from? Layne already had it all worked out. His take on flying saucers was a mystical metaphysical one, that they were peaceful advanced visitors traveling here in ships from an etheric and psychic realm.

No, they just have scrapbook on UFOs.

Layne's Round Robin article on the nature of the Etherians creates a stir every time it gets rediscovered in the FBI's files by people who mistake it for a government memorandum. It is not. The FBI, CIA and Air Force are among the US government agencies that have articles from UFO magazines in their files.

The FBI's copy of Meade Layne's article.
Click link for larger copy at the FBI site.

"A Memorandum of Importance" was dated July 8, 1947, but it had nothing whatsoever to do with Roswell. Among its claims, Layne stated:
"Part of the disks carry crews... Their mission is peaceful... These visitors are human-like... but come from their own world... They do NOT come from a planet as we use the word, but from an etheric planet..." 
Amazing if true, but many modern readers failed to note the author stated, "the data herein was obtained by so-called supernormal means..." which referred to psychic communication such as Mark Probert's channeling. Layne neglected to include the 1946 caution that it might only "be an elaborate hoax by the communicating intelligences."

The “4-D” Explanation, the 1950s and Beyond

Layne's 1955 article Mat and Demat elaborated on the Etherians nature, how they existed in four dimensions instead of our mere three. In the 1950s, Layne's strain of ufology was ignored by the Donald Keyhoe and nuts-and-bolts type ufologists, but the Contactees and their fans were far more open to it. In a sense, Mark Probert was the first Contactee, but since his contact was telepathic, not physical, that honor would go to another Californian. Probert continued his psychic communication and part of his story can be found in the 1957 book, Flying Saucer Pilgrimage.

Meade Layne's two UFO volumes, The Ether Ship Mystery
and Its Solution
 1950), and Coming of the Guardians (1954).

Layne died in 1961, but his 4-D concept of "Etherians" was forerunner to the interdimensional hypothesis and paved the way for Jacques Vallee and John Keel to speculate on occult and paranormal UFO notions a few years later. Within ufology, support for a paranormal origin was rising in the 1970s, but the nuts-and-bolts materialist camp got propped up in a big way by the Roswell UFO crash story. 
In recent years, the lack of anything tangible to further Roswell or similar cases has caused many UFO seekers to look in other directions. Many of them have turned to a more spiritual path, seeking the positive reassuring messages from above like those from Kareeta and aimlessly drifting towards Layne's murky borderlands.

Today, Meade Layne's legacy is carried on by the Borderland Sciences Research Foundation, a California non-profit research and education organization.

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 this incident.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Flying Saucer Crash: Crystal Springs, MS, May 12, 1950

The Telephone Call

The Clarion Ledger, Saturday morning paper for May 13, 1950,  from Jackson, Mississippi, carried the headline: 
Flying Saucer Crashes Near Crystal Springs
Mangled Bodies Seen In Debris,
Witness Says Object Marked 'U.S. Gov't.'
The story stated that Bobby Mohon called the Jackson paper late Friday night from Crystal Springs with the story of how a flying saucer had struck a power company transformer on the night of May 12, causing an electrical outage in the city. He reported mangled bodies laying near the wreckage which had markings indicating it was an unusual military aircraft. In 1950, the term "UFO" had not yet come into usage,  and "flying saucer" was the terminology for  unidentified flying objects of any shape. 

Mohon's saucer was actually described as cylindrical, and "definitely not an airplane." The Clarion Ledger scooped the nation with the saucer news, and credited the witness as co-author of the story, along with reporter Tommy E. Herrington.

The story was rushed to press and was on sale Saturday morning before all the facts were in. The investigation by Crystal Springs authorities was reported later the same day by other area news papers.

Crystal Springs, Mississippi (about 30 Miles from Jackson)

The Daily Herald, May 13, 1950 
No Evidence Of "Flying Saucer" In Crystal Springs

 Crystal Springs, Miss., May It (UP) A power shortage and an unconfirmed report that a cylindrical object had crashed into a transformer gave Crystal Springs a "flying saucer" scare this morning. The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger reported that an object that could "only be identified as a flying saucer" crashed into a transformer on Highway 51 south of Crystal Springs. At least one radio station broadcast the report. 
Residents who recalled last night's power shortage, when many lights burned only dimly, crowded to the scene but found no sign of any crash. The Clarion-Ledger story quoted Bobby Mohon, otherwise unidentified, as saying that the cylindrical object that hit the transformer "definitely was not an airplane" and that "what appeared to be mangled bodies were also seen near the wreckage."

NOTHING FOUND Town Marshal C.B. Feguson and E. W. McGraw, manager of the Mississippi Power and Light Company here, said they made an immediate inspection of the scene of the reported crash when advised of the report last night but found nothing. They said there was no damage to the transformer nor any scars on the ground nor any signs of wreckage or bodies. 
McGraw said a 13,000 volt line parted at a loose connection near the power station a mile to a mile and one-half from the reported scene of the crash. The parting line produced an arc that made a brief bright flash of light. McGraw said, but did not affect the town's power supply other than to make some lights burn dimly for about 35 minutes. He and Ferguson agreed no sign could be found of any cylindrical object at the transformer on Highway 51. 

CREATED EXCITEMENT "The report created quite a stir there this morning." Ferguson said. "Folks who read the newspaper or heard the radio report swamped us with calls. And a lot of people rushed out on Highway 51 but when they found nothing everything quieted down." The Civil Aeronautics Administration at New Orleans said it had no reports of any aircraft being in trouble in the Crystal Springs area. Ferguson said he did not know Bobby Mohon, though there are several Mohon families in this vicinity.

The Daily Herald, May 13, 1950

Investigation Reveals Flying Saucer Hoax

The flying saucer not the only thing that was missing. There was also no trace of Bobby Mohon, the witness who had reported it.

Bobby Mohon (1949)

JACKSON, Miss. (UP) Marshal C. B. Ferguson of Crystal Springs, Miss., said Saturday if he can find "Bobby Mohon" he's going to put him in jail for giving out information about flying saucers. The information, said Ferguson, was an out and out hoax...

UP wire story, May 13, 1950

The real puzzler in this case is not why a hoaxer would report such a story, the question is why a reporter would accept it, or why an editor would print as a featured headline without verifying the facts. The Clarion Ledger published a red-faced apology.

The Clarion Ledger, May 14, 1950

The "overly-zealous reporter was not fired.
Tommy Herrington, reporting on another story, Clarion Ledger,  May 17,  1950

We're lucky, really, that the hoaxer included details that allowed the story to be so quickly disproven by the authorities and subsequent journalists. If it had been a typical tale of a UFO encounter in a area, the resulting headlines might have made it into saucer history as an authentic case. 

65 Years Later: The Real Bobby Mohon

Robert Mohon in 2015, on WAPT

The Jackson, MS, television channel WAPT interviewed Bobby Mohon in 2015 on the 65th anniversary of the story. Mohon said a friend from a rival baseball team in Crystal Springs admitted he'd called reporters with the UFO crash story and used Mohon's name as a prank.
"I had nothing to do with it. I didn't find out about it for two days,” Mohon said. “I was at Mississippi State trying out for a baseball scholarship. When I got out there, there was news people from New Orleans, Jackson, all over the place asking questions. I didn't even know what they were talking about."
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 this incident.

Forgotten Ufologist: Journalist James Phelan

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