Thursday, January 11, 2024

UFOs and Autos

Over the years, cars encountering saucers on lonely roads has become something of a UFO cliché, but it's good to examine how things started. We’ll open our Autos and Saucers scrapbook with what may be the first documented such encounter.

Art from Fate magazine, Aug. 1957

The Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range in New Mexico was established in 1941 for the development and testing of missiles by the U.S. military. Atomic bombs were later detonated there at the Trinity test site. The Range was renamed the White Sands Proving Ground in July of 1945, and in 1947 it became part of UFO history.


On the afternoon of June 29, 1947, three naval research scientists had a sighting, 15-20 miles ENE of Las Cruces near White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico.

From the files of Project Blue Book 

Associated Press clipping, July 7, 1947

Around 1:30 p.m., three White Sands scientists, Dr. C. J. Zohn, Curtis C. Rockwood, and John R. Kauke, were driving near the grounds when they observed a bright flash of light from above. Dr.Zohn said, “We noticed a glare in the sky. We looked up and saw a silvery disc whirling along. We watched the thing for nearly sixty seconds and then it simply disappeared. It didn’t go behind the mountain range. At one time it was clearly visible, and then it just wasn’t there.”

Clipping from Nevada State Journal, July 9, 1947

The (Washington, D.C.) Evening Star, July 8, 1947

Since then, m
any famous cases involving autos followed, the 1957 Levelland vehicle interference case, the 1958 Loch Raven Reservoir case, the 1961 Betty and Barney Hill abduction story to name a few. There were also many minor incidents where flying saucers were part of some unfortunate encounters with automobiles.

UFO Flying Saucers #1, 1968

Here’s a few sample cases from our files:

1947: The first speeding incident blamed on a UFO.

Muncie Evening Press, July 7, 1947

1950: The first car crash blamed on a UFO.

Mexico Ledger, Jan. 6, 1950

1953: “Saucer” Wrecks Truck

Galesburg Register Mail, June 6, 1953

1953: Trucker spots “flying wedge” triangular UFO.

Freeport Daily Facts-Review, Sept. 11, 1953

1967: Saucer causes car wreck in Portland.

The Tribune, Jan. 18, 1967


Legions of Legends

Chris Lambright's depiction of the 1980 Cash-Landrum UFO

That concludes this collection, but there are hundreds of other incidents, from fly-by encounters to tales of alien abduction. Looking back to understand how legends were born, that's our job here at The Saucers that Time Forgot.


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