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.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Arthur J. Hartman, Flying Saucer Pilot

A.J. Hartman flying a dirigible style” powered balloon 
during a 1907 Cedar Rapid, Iowa carnival.  

From Eastern Iowa's Aviation Heritage by Scott M. Fisher

"Hartman's Flying Saucer" was an experimental aircraft built and test flown in 1955 - 56 by an aviation daredevil and pioneer. Before we get to the machine, some background on the man from his entry at the Iowa Aviation Museum:


Arthur J. Hartman
Art was born July 14, 1888 in Burlington, Iowa. At the age of 15 he ran away from home to be a balloonist and parachute jumper. Under the pseudonym Professor Art J. Hart, he made his first balloon jump on September 6, 1903 and while still in his teens became an expert balloonist. After his marriage in 1909 he was employed by the railroad in Burlington. Most of his spare time was spent building a monoplane. On a spring morning in 1910 he took the monoplane to the Burlington Golf Club and became the first Iowan to make a recorded and witnessed flight with a heavier-than-air craft. After World War I, Art became interested in the Curtiss JN-4 airplane. He built, restored, flew, bought and sold Jennies throughout the rest of his life. In 1928 he built and sold his own designed plane, the Hartman Air Plane and later started a flying school which continued until 1948. He founded and managed the Burlington Municipal Airport and trained World War II pilots. He died at the age of 82, after being involved in aviation for nearly 70 years.
Art Hartman continued inventing and flying throughout his life, and in 1955, while in his mid-60s, he created a skycycle with a disc-shaped canopy for lift. He called it "Hartman's Flying Saucer."

The Hammond Times, Aug. 10, 1955

In October 1955, Hartman's Flying Saucer was ready for launch. The Burlington Hawk Eye Gazette, Sept. 9, 1955 reported on how it'd be part of his anniversary of 52 years of as an aviator.



Unfortunately, the weather die not cooperate. The flight was cancelled due to strong winds.

 Daily Independent Journal Oct. 4, 1955
Burlington Hawk-Eye Gazette, Oct. 15, 1955

One year later, Oct. 1956, Hartman's Flying Saucer took to the skies.

Burlington Hawk-Eye Gazette October 4, 1956

Experimental Flight For Hartman Air-Bike

     The October 4, 1956 issue of the Burlington, Iowa Hawk-Eye Gazette indicates that Art Hartman is up to his old tricks. Art, who conducted many an exhibition balloon flight in the days from 1903 to 1910 and who built and flew planes in the next decade, conducted his first experimental flight with an "air-Bike" he had rigged up. Art's bike was attached to about 50 hydrogen balloons of small size, while attached to the frame of the bike was a three-bladed propeller which turned by pedaling. A rudder aided in the control of this odd one-man flying machine. In his recent test, as brought out in the newspaper story, he was able to gain an altitude of 150 feet, while a long rope attached to the ground kept him from drifting away. In order to return to the ground, he merely cuts loose some of the balloons. Art plans a few improvements and he expects to be able to literally pedal through the air. 
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP, March, 1957, Number 56

Art Hartman proved his skycycle would fly, but it took the heart of a daredevil to do it. In his many years in the air in balloons and planes, some of Hartman's flights may have been reported to Project Blue Book as UFOs.  If so, the cases remain unidentified. 
Harrisburg Daily Register, Aug 31, 1955
In the Daily Independent-Journal September 29, 1955, Art Hartman explained how the Flying Saucer would be filmed, added to the biographical documentary on his career. His remarks on aerospace exploration serve as a fitting, inspirational epitaph:
Hartman said a film is being made of his exploits. Most of it is completed. Another section will be added Saturday. The title: "My 52 Years in the Air, From Balloon to Jet.” The sprightly Hartman took his first jet plane ride several months ago. He scorns the idea of retirement. "I’m out to get the title of ‘Mr. Aviation of the World,” he said Tuesday upon arrival at Hamilton Field. "Some of the early birds in the aviation age have to stick around to see the thing through. I’m doing my part.” 
"Sure,” he told the Independent- Journal, “I’m a nut. But it’s the nuts, us crazy guys, who have kept aviation moving. There’s no limit to what can be done in this field. Hartman related a conversation he had with the pilot on his first jet ride several months ago. “I’ve got an engagement with you,” he told the fellow. "One of these days we’re going all the way to Mars.”

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