Friday, December 21, 2018

The Seventh-day Adventist Church's UFO Investigation


An unlikely source for UFO history that time forgot... a six-part series from 1961 in a religious magazine, the Seventh-day Adventist Church's Review and Herald. It was written by the editor, Francis David Nichol, in his attempt to find answers for his readers. 
In addition to the motley array of saucer club enthusiasts, mystics, and spiritists, there are other people, genuinely good people, sincere, hard-working citizens, some of them religious folks—a few even in the circle of our church—who are greatly impressed by the reports of UFO's and who think that they may be manifestations of evil spiritistic power, a proof of the nearness of the end of the world. For such people we have a sympathetic concern, and wish to make explicit that we consider them in an entirely different category from the run-of-the-mill flying saucer enthusiast. In fact, it is because of the letters of inquiry from some of our subscribers that I have made this investigation and here publish the report of my findings. 
Nichol's quest to get to the bottom of the flying saucer mystery caused him to to travel to interesting places and meet memorable people from UFO history. Nichol examined the Contactee tales, travelled to NICAP headquarters, the Pentagon, and in Ohio, dug through the filing cabinets of Project Blue Book. 

Bellow is a listing of the articles and links to PDFs of the Review and Herald issues where they are found. 

March 23, 1961 Part 1 
"What About Flying Saucers?"

March 30, 1961 Part 2 
"An Interview With a Flying Saucer 'Traveler'" 
Nichol interviewed Contactee, Dan Fry, and also discussed the "weird claims" of George Adamski. 

April 6, 1961 Part 3
"The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena"
Nichol traveled to the NICAP HQ and met Richard Hall. "I can frankly say, after visiting them in their office, that they seem like very normal people who are honestly seeking to do a job they think needs to be done. Unfortunately... very fine people can honestly proceed on mistaken premises, and this I think is the case with NICAP. "
April 13, 1961 Part 4 
"Air Force Intelligence and Flying Saucers"
Nichol visited the Pentagon, then Wright-Patterson AFB to meet with Major Robert Friend and examine Project Blue Book case files.

April 20, 1961 Part 5
"Air Force Explanations of Flying Saucers"

April 27, 1961 Part 6
"Some Flying Saucer Cases Examined" 
In the final installment, Nichol discusses some cases and end with his The present series of articles has sought to answer the one prime question:
"Are the UFO's supernatural, interplanetary entities? The answer I must give, in the light of present
knowledge, is that..." For the rest of that thought, you'll have to read the article.

Epilogue: 1966

May 26, 1966 
"From the Editor's Mailbag" 
Nichol returned to the UFO topic in reply to a reader's question about recent sightings.

Francis D. Nichol died in June 1966. 

There were no further Review and Herald articles on UFOs until 1969.

Epilogue: 1969


February 27, 1969
"UFO's - P.S." 
In an editorial following the conclusion of the UFO study led by Dr. Edward Condon, Review and Herald returned to Nichol's UFO study. Editor Kenneth H. Wood examined what relation UFOs have to Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy writings, but left us wondering saying, 

"Soon enough the mysteries that here perplex us shall be made plain." 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Astronomer Arthur L. Draper on The UFO Mystery

Arthur L. Draper (R) and two Buhl Planetarium visitors

Arthur L. Draper was an astronomer and the the director of the Buhl Planetarium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1940 until the time of his death in 1967. In that role, he was often asked to comment about UFOs, and was quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 2, 1947. His professional opinion was that people were misidentifying things in the sky due to the contagion of excitement over flying saucers. 
"From our experience, we have found that one person can claim to have seen a phenomenon and countless other people will immediately 'see' it also. It is the power of suggestion."
Nevertheless, Draper  encouraged people to keep looking, and to be interested in what could be discovered in the night sky. In 1950, Draper put together a program put for the planetarium, "The Mystery of the Flying Saucers," and a short article appeared in The Pittsburgh Press accompanied by a stunning UFO illustration by Nat Youngblood.




The Pittsburgh Press July 2, 1950



Thanks to Luis Taylor the UFO researcher behind Information Dispersal, who sent of scans of the planetarium's flyer for Arthur Draper's presentation"The Mystery of the Flying Saucers."



Draper's program was a big success and ran weekly from July to September of 1950.














Friday, November 23, 2018

1950s UFO Abductions with Dr. O.L. Jaggers



The coming of the flying saucers in 1947 were seen by some as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy of the end times, “fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven...  in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars”  - Luke 21, King James Version. The thought was reflected in a song,  (When You See) Those Flying Saucers performed by The Buchanan Brothers, Oct. 27, 1947:
...those flying saucers may be just a sign...
So repent today, you’re running out of time

When you see a saucer fly like a comet through the sky

You should realize the price you’ll have to pay
You’d better pray to the Lord when you see those flying saucers
It may be the coming of the Judgment Day"

The previous STTF article, Signs: Ezekiel, the Bible and UFOs, recounted some early examples of the intersection of religion and saucers. This piece will examine how UFOs became a core part of the World Church led by Reverend Orval L. Jaggers

The Los Angeles Times April 19, 1952
Reverend O. L. Jaggers

Reverend Orval Lee Jaggers (1916 - 2004) was a contemporary of Billy Graham of Oral Roberts, and began his ministry as a successful traveling revival evangelist, complete with tent shows and healing the sick. In 1952 he opened the World Church in Los Angeles, which by 1956 boasted a membership over 10,000, and reached an even wider audience by via radio, television and occasional speaking tours. Jaggers also wrote over 300 short books on a number of modern concerns, from the threat of Communism to the Atomic bomb, immortality and flying saucers.


Rev. Jaggers was an associate editor to The Voice of Healing, the monthly inter-evangelical magazine of the Last-Day Sign-Gift Ministries. Their July 1950 issue featured an article “Prophetic Significance of The Flying Saucer” by editor Gordon Lindsay, and it’s very much in line with the message Jaggers incorporated into his ministry.
"God is determined to punish a race that has rejected Him and given themselves over so completely to evil and depravity. It would appear that the matter of the Flying Saucers is one more warning to the sinner to repent and get right with God before the horror of irremediable judgment strikes the earth."
It's valuable snapshot of how the public viewed the UFO phenomenon at the time, as a pervasive mystery seen by many people, the origin unknown. Lindsay and Jaggers leveraged that and turned the belief of the seen, saucers, into a tool for managing belief of the unseen, God and Heavenly matters.


UFOs became part of Rev. Jaggers’ sermons, as seen in the clipping above from the Los Angeles Times, May 3, 1952, on his sermon, “Flying Saucers.”

PDF of book at http://www.universalworldchurch.org/w/images/6/68/Flying_saucers.pdf
In 1952, Rev. Jaggers expanded the sermon into a 48-page book,  Flying Saucers!   In the book, Jaggers said:
Documentary evidence both from government sources and otherwise; prove beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the so-called FLYING SAUCERS ARE REAL.” He goes on to say that UFOs were described in several passages in the Bible, and that Ezekiel’s Wheel was a description of flying saucers.
There are two types of angelic beings one is the CHERUBIM or the “LIVING CREATURES” and the other is the SERAPHIM.
Jaggers explained that their appearance is a warning to the USA due to the moral decay of the nation:
BECAUSE OF AMERICA’S SINS… FLYING SAUCERS… THE CHERUBIM OR WHEEL IN THE MIDDLE OF A WHEEL, WITH SUPERSONIC AND SUPERNATURAL SPEED AND POWER, ARE FLYING OVER AMERICA AS A WARNING THAT THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD ARE ABOUT TO FALL ON THIS UNRIGHTEOUS NATION!
Later in 1952, Jaggers' sermon answers the question:
“Who Are the Little Men in the Flying Saucers?”

The Los Angeles Times Aug. 16, 1952
There was nothing in Rev. Jaggers'  book about abductions, but kidnappings by flying saucers became an important topic in his sermons in 1953.

Los Angeles Times Dec. 12, 1953
The article by Tony Breeden at the site Christian Exotheology, “The Preacher Who Believed That Flying Saucers Were Kidnapping Human Beings – in 1953,” suggests that Jaggers was inspired by reading the article by Leroy Thorpe, “Are the Flying Saucers Kidnapping Humans?” in the October 1953 issue of Man to Man magazine. The article was not based on contemporary accounts, just an undated recycling of a mysterious disappearance taken from one of Charles Fort’s books.

Winnipeg Free Press, June 12 1954
Flying saucers kidnapping humans didn’t fit well with Jaggers’ angel explanation, so he eventually revised his point of view to say that some saucers had little men - or even giants - inside.

Odessa American Sept. 9, 1955
"Irrefutable proof that flying saucers and little men in flying saucers do exist!"
Press-Courier (Oxnard, CA) Aug. 31, 1957
Flying Saucers were an integral part of Rev. Jaggers' teachings an in 1974, he reissued his 1952 book under a new title, revised to include modern UFO news clippings, U.F.O.s and the Creatures That Fly Them! Those teachings along with some other extreme departures from Biblical teachings caused a divide between the World Church and more conventional evangelists. 


Somewhere along the line, Rev. Jaggers picked up an impressive collection of degrees, Doctor of Science, Doctor of Biology and Divine Physics, Doctor of Literature, Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Nuclear Biology, Ph.D. Professor of Human Genetics - all  apparently granted by his University of the World Church.

1957, Miss Velma and Beyond

At the top: The Los Angeles Times June 30, 1956
The San Bernardino County July 22, 1957
In an epic ceremony in 1957, Jaggers married his cousin, known as “Miss Velma,” and the church performances became more theatrical and often featured her "soaring above the congregation" on horseback, in a chariot, spaceship, or dressed as an angel. Rev. Jaggers’ teachings were controversial and he had an adversarial relationship with the Pentecostal church and it was said that “his imagination went wild.” They couldn’t accept his claims that miracle healing oil flowed from his hands - or that his believers could attain physical immortality.


According to the biography of Jaggers at the site Healing and Revival, things took a turn for the worse in 1957. Miss Velma joined the ministry and “participated in all of his increasingly weird teachings and found her niche in odd theatrical productions.” ... (A financial fiasco) caused the church to decline and it never recovered. Jaggers was no longer a daily news item and his teachings became increasingly unbiblical and weird. He taught that God was created by space aliens.” 


The Universal World Church hosts a site devoted to the memory of  Rev. Dr. O. L. Jaggers, Dr. Miss Velma Jaggers, and it includes much valuable information from articles to videos of the Jaggers in lectures and television performances.
. . .


Other Sources and Further Reading

All Things Are Possible: The Healing and Charismatic Revivals in Modern America
by David Edwin Harrell, Jr, 1979 (At Google Books)

Biography of O.L. Jaggers: "Healing As A Means To An End"

“O. L. Jaggers: January 8, 1916 - January 10, 2004,” The Voice of Healing

“Prophetic Significance of The Flying Saucer” by Gordon Lindsay, The Voice of Healing, July 1950

“What is the Mystery of the Flying Saucers?” by Gordon Lindsay The Voice of Healing, Oct. 1952

“The Mystery of the Flying Saucers” by Gordon Lindsay The Voice of Healing, April 1954

“Further Developments On the Flying Saucers” by Gordon Lindsay The Voice of Healing, June 1954

Friday, November 9, 2018

1950 Disclosure: UFOs are Made in the USA


Henry J. Taylor was a major news commentator, and in 1950 he made an amazing announcement that flying saucers are real, and they are US military secret projects.

Hartford Courant, April 4, 1950
In chapter six of The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, ex-Blue Book head, Edward Ruppelt described the conflicting information being published and broadcast about UFOs.
The subject took on added interest on the night of March 26, when a famous news commentator said the UFO's were from Russia. The next night Henry J. Taylor, in a broadcast from Dallas, Texas, said that the UFO's were Uncle Sam's own. He couldn't tell all he knew, but a flying saucer had been found on the beach near Galveston, Texas. It had USAF markings.
Two nights later a Los Angeles television station cut into a regular program with a special news flash; later in the evening the announcer said they would show the first photos of the real thing, our military's flying saucer. The photos turned out to be of the Navy XF-5-U, a World War II experimental aircraft that never flew.
The public was now thoroughly confused.
Taylor's story was widely heard and read, and was reprinted in the June 1950 Reader's Digest magazine as "The 'Flying Saucer' is Good News."



As interesting as Taylor's claim was, he provided no more evidence than those saying the saucers were Russian, extraterrestrial, or even of Heavenly origins.

The Cosmic Ambassador

In 1957, Taylor made history by having his UFO beliefs prompt questions about whether he was fit to be appointed as the USA's ambassador to Switzerland.

Hartford Courant (Connecticut)  May 5, 1957
Taylor got the job and was named United States Ambassador to Switzerland by President Eisenhower, serving from 1957 to 1961. Taylor held fast to his belief that UFOs were real, but dropped the part about the USA origin.
APRO Bulletin, May 1957
Henry J. Taylor died Feb. 24,  1984. His obituary from the New York Times:
Henry J. Taylor, 81, Author And Ex-Envoy to Switzerland 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Houdini on the Meaning of Flying Saucers

A warning from beyond the grave about UFOs.


Joseph Dunninger had been waiting for decades for a message from his departed friend, magician Harry Houdini. 
Brownwood Bulletin Oct.14, 1952

Psychic Henry C. Roberts was making a name for himself as an expert on Nostradamus and his prophecies. This time, Roberts had a message for the world from another source, and he urged Dunninger broadcast it to the the world. He had been contacted by the spirit of Houdini, who told him that the flying saucers were a warning for mankind. 

Houdini, like the aliens Xeglon, Klaatu and Orthon, carried a message for the Earth:
Stop your wars and atomic bombs or be destroyed.


Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas) Aug. 3, 1952
That story seems to have been about the extent of Henry C. Roberts' involvement with UFOs - and Houdini's. Joshua Blu Buhs' blog, From an Oblique Angle, has more on the saga of Roberts' life, see: Henry C. Roberts as a Fortean


Friday, September 28, 2018

Kenneth Arnold's 1952 UFO Book Promotion


Kenneth Arnold was back in the news in September 1952, due the release of his new book, The Coming of the Saucers, which was co-authored by his friend and publisher, Raymond A. Palmer. The story "Flying Saucer-y" was prepared by King Features Syndicate, and carried in many newspapers as a full-page story.

Here's a shot of the page, followed by larger views of the pictures and text.


The article also featured 11 photographs from the book, both about Arnold's experiences and other UFO and Fortean events he found genuine.
Radar ghosts or "angels."
Here's the two columns of text from the article.




There were a few photographs from a rising star on the saucer scene, "Professor George Adamski," from pages 190-191 of the Arnold-Palmer book.



Also included were photos of  mysterious objects in the sky and a puzzling bridge fire.



Here's the advertisement for the book from Ray Palmer's  Sept. 1952 Fantastic Adventures magazine:

The Coming of the Saucers by Kenneth Arnold and Ray Palmer is hosted online as a PDF at the British Earth and Aerial Mysteries Society.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Project A: The Short Life of a UFO Study

Dr. Warren L. Hickman, director of Project A
In 1952 there was an independent academic study of UFOs at Ohio Northern University conducted by Dean Warren L. Hickman and Eric C. Turner. Here's an early update on their progress from The Sandusky Register Sept. 27, 1952

OHIO NORTHERN STUDIES SAUCER SIGHTING FACTS 
Sept. 27 (AP)—An unknown object hurtled through the skies over Denison Tex., in 1878, and someone called it a "flying saucer." So flying objects are nothing new, says Dr. Warren Hickman, dean of Ohio Northern University and co-chairman of the school's flying saucer project. But the school wants to examine each instance of reports of the saucers. "Ohio Northern is not going out to prove the flying saucer is something," Dr. Hickman says. "We are going to examine the facts and let people know what we find. Persons reporting saucers will not be ridiculed and names will be withheld unless the observer consents to publicity. The university's engineering, chemistry and physics departments will analyze unexplained 'flying objects after 200 examples are available. 
Not Enough Sightings
There has not been enough sightings for proper analysis," Dr. Hickman asserts. However, he reports about 20 percent of the sightings reported to the university "cannot be explained away by ordinary procedure." And these unexplained phenomena have a general consistency— "a saucer-shaped object, flat on the bottom with rounded edges and rising to a slight dome on top." The color in these sightings is similar, all bright blue or green. Dr. Hickman also finds significance in that similar objects have been sighted throughout the nation, Canada and the world. 
More Looking
Historians trace the appearance of strange sky objects to 1762, Dr. Hickman says, with the first report in this country in 1873. But the rash of reports did not break out until the American people became "sky minded." Dr. Hickman says, with persons looking at the sky more than ever before, there is a greater chance the flying objects will be seen. And when they are seen Ohio Northern's flying saucer project hopes to determine what they are. 
The Sun and the Erie County Independent (Hamburg, NY) April 2, 1953

Despite the high hopes for the study, it came to an end after only two years. The Evening Independent (Massillon OH), Aug 4, 1954 reported on the closure of Project A.


The Evening Independent (Massillon OH), Aug 4 1954

In The Saucerian, Sept. 1954, Gray Barker reported on the demise of the project and how Dr. Hickman had addressed speculation that that  it was shut down by the Government.

The Saucerian, Sept. 1954

For more information on Project A, see the collection of 1950s articles hosted at Project 1947:
http://www.project1947.com/projecta/projaclips.htm

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Ohio UFO from Project Michigan

(Approximate, the flight actually crossed Lake Erie.)

Secrecy, UFOs and Secret Military Projects

On June 22, 1955 a UFO flew over a major metropolitan city and was witnessed by thousands, reported by many as a flying saucer. The object posed a danger to air traffic, and Air Force planes were scrambled to intercept it. In truth, it was a military experiment that got out of control.


The next day, United Press news service carried a short illustrated story:
A big plastic balloon flowed across Cleveland and Eastern Ohio Wednesday and set off a wave of flying saucer reports from citizens. Two men are in it. The University of Michigan later reported that the balloon was a science project. It carried a crew of two men and was equipped with a radio transmitter, A helicopter caught this picture of the balloon over Middleburgh Heights, Ohio.
(A much clearer copy of the press photo can be found at HistoricImages. ) 
The Daily World, June 23, 1955
The UFO was a bust, an IFO or Identified Flying Object, but there was an air of mystery about the scientific experiment behind it. United Press also released a more detailed story that was carried in papers across the USA under various titles such as: 
Balloon From Mars
‘Flying Disc' Explained
Balloon Starts Saucer Reports
'Men from Mars' Worry Ohioans
‘Saucer' Is Just Balloon
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (U.P) — A mysterious balloon that startled and frightened northern Ohio residents and caused a rash of reports about "flying saucers' and "spacemen" was en route today to its home base, the Willow Run research center near Detroit. The strange craft, carrying two men and scientific instruments, was identified by Michigan University officials as part of “a highly secret research program on battlefield surveillance."
The plastic, pear-shaped balloon was sighted first by a Ground Observer Corps member yesterday as it drifted over Cleveland. Later, Air Force officials here reported the craft landed near Hartford, O, in the afternoon. But not before frightened householders swamped newspapers and radio stations with calls about "flying saucers" and "men from Mars.
Air Force planes from Youngstown were dispatched to intercept the craft. The two passengers paid little attention to the planes and were just as noncommittal when the balloon landed near Hartford. They placed the deflated balloon and instruments into a station wagon that had been following the balloon's progress and headed for Detroit and the research center.
There's no Project Blue Book file on the incident, but further details on the landing and recovery were published in The Michigan Alumnus, July 9, 1955:


Project Michigan

The "flying saucer" incident threatened the secrecy of Project Michigan, but the associated goofiness of it also helped it get laughed off and forgotten. Fortunately for them, there were many secret military balloon projects that that had been mistaken for UFOs, and they were only worth one day of news. Project Michigan was one of many Cold War military enterprises in the arms race against the Soviets for technological superiority.

While the exact nature of the balloon experiment is unknown, we now know a lot about the army project it was being conducted for. The Army Research and Development Newsmagazine, July 1964 described the program:
“Project Michigan, which is conducted for the Army by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, is a continuing research program devoted to combat surveillance.” What they don't emphasize is this was aerial surveillance, radar development and also combat targeting apparatus.


Here's a photo of some of the US Army's players at the university from the Ann Arbor News, July 9, 1957:
MILITARY BRASS ASSEMBLES HERE: Attending sessions concerning the University's secret military research program, Project Michigan, are a number of top military leaders. From left to right are Dr. M. M. Flood, associate director of the University's Engineering Research Institute; Maj. Ben J. D. O'Connell, chief signal officer for the U. S. Army; Brig. Gen. F. W. Gibb, commanding general of CDEC (Combat Development Experimentation Center); Brig Gen. William H. Thames, commanding general of the U. S. Army Combat Surveillance Agency; Col. G. M. Wertz, deputy to the commanding general of the Surveillance Agency; and Dr. R. G. Folsom, director of the U-M Institute.

The report on Project Michigan made to the board of the University of Michigan,
The President's Report for 1957 - 1958, provides more details on the scope of its investigations under contract with the Army Signals Corps. 

Army Lineage Series: Military Intelligence by John Patrick Finnegan Lineages, Center of Military History United States Army Washington, D. C., 1998, provides a look at the overall project, and what was accomplished:

In 1953 the Army became involved in Project MICHIGAN, a research and development effort in which civilian scientific personnel explored the possibilities of using various types of manned aircraft, drones, balloons, and missiles carrying television and other sensors to allow surveillance and target location up to 200 miles behind enemy lines. The new technologies under development would have profound consequences for the structure of Army Intelligence in the years that followed.

UFOs and Mixed Messages from the Military 

The public has often been assured that the military does not fly UFO-like craft, it's just that people often mistake aircraft or balloons for flying saucers. If not for the photograph and documentation of the balloon in flight, the sightings this incident generated might have spawned a classic UFO legend. Military secrecy leaves an information void, and inevitably fuels rumors and speculation.


The public has also often been assured that the military does not conduct experimental test flights over populated areas. The Project Michigan "flying saucer" incident is just one of many examples that proves that it happens.

. . .

Bonus:

Another balloon item from June 1955:

"Flying Saucers? Who looks at them when I'm aloft?"
Maidenform bra ad, June 26, 1955 from Parade magazine.

Updating UFO History

George M. Eberhart describes himself as a librarian, cryptozoologist, historian, researcher, and Fortean. He recently published something ve...