Friday, December 1, 2017

The Day Before Roswell, July 7, 1947: Between Something and Nothing

The day before the news about a recovered flying disc in Roswell, New Mexico, the newspapers were chock full of saucer stories, and many papers featured a cover photo of Jane Campbell displaying a Rawin target, scooping Mac Brazel and Jesse Marcel.

Madison Wisconsin State Journal, July 7, 1947
May Be "'Saucers' -- Near and Afar
Jane Campbell, 17, of Chillicothe, Ohio, exhibits an unidentified mechanism which fell from a balloon and landed on her father's farm. The father, Sherman Campbell, said the vaned object, through optical illusion, may have caused some of the reports of "flying discs." 

An Estimate of the Situation

The Fort Madison Evening Democrat from July 7, is a great example of early UFO news coverage. The UP story combines wire reports of the real and unreal, in an attempt to cover the emerging phenomenon. The confused position of the newspapers seemed to echo that of the military.
"We're not dismissing the possibility that there's something to it, and we're not dismissing the possibility that it's all a hoax."- Captain Tom Brown, Army Air Force spokesman, Washington, DC. 
Carnival searchlights, Ghost Rockets, the Loch Ness Monster and much more:
Fort Madison Evening Democrat, July 7, 1947

The barrage of conflicting stories in the news kept the public interested- and confused. In the absence of facts, speculation and rumor were king, and in those days, many UFO legends were born.

Real Life Comics #55, Jan. 1951

1 comment:

  1. Good catch with that photo of the girl holding the Rawin target with the cutline explaining that such objects could be causing saucer sightings. This is the first time I've seen this clipping. And I didn't know until I read the UP article included in your post that most of the ghost rockets were considered to be meteors.


Frank Edwards: Making UFOs Newsworthy

Dr. J. Allen Hynek on UFO literature (in  The Edge of Reality , 1975): “If I were to recommend anything in the popular category, I would cho...