Thursday, February 27, 2020

When Flying Saucers Dropped on the USA

Since World War I or before, airplanes have been used to drop leaflets as propaganda tools, and before long, advertisers copied the practice on a civilian audience. After the news of Kenneth Arnold's sighting of a formation of nine unidentified objects made headlines in June 1947, flying saucer fever swept across the United States. 

Saucers were a hot topic, and advertisers were quick to pick up on the trend. In short order, they began dropping disc-shaped ads from airplanes. One early drop resulted in a UFO report from Bend, Oregon in early July 1947.
The Bend Bulletin, OR, July 5, 1947
Flying discs were a sensation, so paper plate-type saucers became the medium for the message.

Discs were dropped as advertising stunts across the USA...

Photo and article from The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 13, 1947
Stores, restaurants, insurance companies, even the U.S. Army were being advertised via saucers.
Examples of saucer advertising from UFOPOP:
A. The Daily Freeman, Waukesha, WI, July 11, 1947
B. The Daily Register, Harrisburg, IL, July 19, 1947
C. The Daily Courier, Waterloo, IA, July 10, 1947
D. The Times Record, Troy, NY, July 11, 1947

Saucers also fell over Canada. (Notice that hoaxers butted in on this, too.)
The Vancouver Sun, July 14, 1947
Here's another example, from radio station KDAL in Duluth, Minnesota. They launched 10,000 silver discs over surrounding cities to advertise their station.
Billboard, July 26, 1947
By the end of August, even Superman was getting in on the act. Superman was a "strange visitor from another planet," so having him confront the mystery of the discs would have been interesting. Instead, we got Superman hoaxing flying saucers to help friends advertise the Teenie Weenies hot dog stand.
Superman Sunday newspaper comic, Aug. 31, 1947
The fad of saucer drops trailed off, but was still in practice well into the 1950s. But exploiting flying saucers never went out of style, and affected everything from music to movies. In future articles, we'll continue to explore this aspect of UFO culture here at The Saucers That Time Forgot

Next up: 

. . .

See our previous articles on UFO Commercial Exploitation:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The First UFO Lawsuit?

In the early 1950s there were two news stories one year apart about UFO-related court cases. We'll take the later one first, since it involves an alleged flying saucer crash.

Case 1: Fell on a Farmer

Dateline: Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 7, 1953, the injured party, one Ferdinand Hackover.

The Ames Daily Tribune, October 9, 1953

Debris from US government-launched balloon projects has been found since well before Roswell, from broken Rawin targets to Radiosondes. It's rare, but sometimes the debris has conked people. Here's a better documented case from 1963, one caused by the Weather Bureau.

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, LA,  Nov. 12, 1963

Case 2: Stripper Sues Saucer Scientist

The 1952 legal complaint was about an early attempt to duplicate flying saucer performance and technology.

Dateline: Feb. 7, 1952, New Orleans, Louisiana, the the injured party, one Evelyn West, a celebrity who was interested in furthering a UFO research project.

Evelyn West in magazines and newspapers

The Daily News, New York, Feb. 7, 1952

The Ames Daily Tribune, Feb. 7, 1952

There's not enough information to determine if she was the victim of a con man, or merely an inept inventor with big dreams. Sadly, there was follow-up to the story, but Sir magazine Feb. 1956 featured the article, “'Treasure Chest' West and the Nudists,” which was focused on West’s controversial role as a proponent of nudism. It did mention the flying saucer investment lawsuit in passing, but didn’t provide any update on the outcome.

Saucer Exploitation

What these two 1950s saucer lawsuit stories have in common is that there's no further record of either of them. Evelyn West was real, and quite famous, but we were unable to find a trace of  an alleged inventor by the name of Steven Vitko. Likewise for the Ohio farmer in, no record found of any person named Ferdinand Hackover.

True or not, the stories are good examples of the game the newspapers played, exploiting saucers as serious news, but other times playing them just for laughs. They didn't spend much time sorting out  or updating details of a novelty story from yesterday's news. What really mattered was selling newspapers today.

. . .

As with so many of the most interesting UFO cases featured here at The Saucers That Time Forgot, Project Blue Book had no file on any of these incidents.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Future of Ufology: A Plea and a Warning

We proudly present a timeless editorial about the quest for a scientific study of unidentified aerial phenomena.

Ufology is the study of flying saucers, or Unidentified Flying Objects. This term was first applied to the saucers by the U.S. Air Force and was then quickly abridged to UFO by the customary style of alphabetical soup originating in Washington, D.C. To most of the students of Ufology the subject long remained only a listing of sightings with a minimum of analysis. Then it began to be contaminated by the antics of hoaxers and misguided zealots. Finally it has degenerated, in many instances, into a hodgepodge of subjective opinions, imaginary experiences and religious hallucinations which are not only unverifiable but often ludicrous. 

The general public is totally unaware of the real scope of Ufology. Even the full-time devotees seldom sense that the study of flying saucers, if pursued to any logical level or conclusion, soon turns out to be a study of life. It parallels the study of mankind in past, present and future--in science, religion and philosophy. The subject of Ufology is as broad, as deep and as long (especially in terms of time ) as the study of humanity itself. Also, it is just as little understood, either in substance, concept or application. 

To boil it all down; we know that there are Flying Saucers or UFO's --and that's about all we do know about them with any degree of certainty. To be sure, we know there are many types and that they come and go with bewildering gyrations and a variety of colors, but these defy classification, much less analysis. We also know that they have been here for thousands of years, which makes it difficult for the Russians or our own Air Force to claim parenthood for them. We know that the y are prominent in Biblical history, as instanced by the wheel of Ezekiel. 

We believe that they are intelligently controlled either by pilots, or that they are actually intelligent entities of a nature completely beyond our ken. But-- we don't know. We don't know where they originate. We don't know their purpose, or whether they have any purpose. But, whatever may be the deplorable state of our knowledge of UFO's, we certainly know some thing about the state of ufology--and how!

This embryonic science is as full of cults, feuds and dogmas as a dog is of fleas. There are probably more opinions about the nature and purpose of UFO'e as there are Ufologers. The sky visitors are believed to come from Russia, the U.S. Air Force, open space, the moon, Venus, Mare Jupiter, Saturn, Alpha Centauri, the outer Galaxy, distant galaxies millions of light years away, from the fourth dimension, from etheric space (whatever that may be), from the fifth dimension, from the second, third fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or other spheres of intelligence and existence, from etheric planets, an invisible planet behind the moon, the spirit world, and perhaps even from a galactic Shangri-La!

The UFO's are believed to be operated by innate intelligences, Russians, U.S. Pilots, Martians, Venusians, Jovians, Saturnians, remote control, automatic control, galactic space patrols, solar system police, and so on. 

They are believed to be powered by rockets, atomic jets, electro-magnetic drives, anti-gravity, levitation, thought control, fourth dimensional vibrations, photo ejection, atomic reactance, magnetic reactance, light pressure, gravity shields and (probably) imagination. 

UFO's are believed to have the purpose of exploring the earth (the job should be nearly complete after at least ten thousand years), mapping the earth, studying humanity, cleaning the atmosphere of atomic radiation, transporting water and/or minerals to distant planets, kidnapping humans for specimens of study, studying our aviation and rockets, gathering to evacuate this planet at the onset of a new cosmic catastrophe, preparing for the second coming of Christ, aiding in our physical and mental evolution, also giving us religious guidance in matters relating to universal love and cosmic brotherhood. 

The UFO's are also supposed to be space animals, discarnate entities, mother ships, scout ships, balls of intelligent fire, pure energy, super-heavy matter, stray vibrations, meteors, comets, temperature inversions, and thought forms of higher entities. 

They are said to be representatives of God, the gods, an elder race, Christ, et alia. We are in communication with UFO s by infra-red light beams, electronically modulated and detected, by radio, flashlight, direct voice, cabalistic footprints, telepathy, spiritual mediumship, revelations of esoteric and occult masters, and by flickering electric lights. 

They are guardians, angels, Brothers, Elders, the Boys Upstairs, guides, gods, and representatives of an indeterminate number of super-circumbient spheres of intelligence. 

They are vicious, kindly, vengeful, benevolent, destructive, protective, god-like, animal-like, humanoid, non-human, pygmies, giants, religious, pagan and what have you. They land, they don't land. They contact a few obscure characters. They don't contact anyone. They have been here thousands of years. They were not here before 1947. 

If you are skeptical about their existence and antics, you are likely to be called a lot of dirty names, the least of which is asinine or anti-social. If you accept the stories of contacts and rides in UFO's you are a crackpot (now termed Psycho-Ceramic). If you are undecided you are a worm or a weak sister. Anyway you put it, you can't win. 

The extremes of beliefs are, on the one hand, that they are man-made, and on the other that they are ships of pure, god-like beautiful men from Venus with all of the combined Divine characteristics of the Deity, the Masters and a host of angels. We are told in this view, that they will soon land for the purpose of saving us from ourselves, or at least they will transport the Biblical 144,000 chosen ones, the elect, to a safer and saner place of abode. Dedicated people dress in white and stand on street corners awaiting the arrival of the brothers! And so it goes. 

The Plea

NOW -- if we are not now to destroy the field of Ufology and let it go down in a welter of ridicule, we have got to work together, work with facts and not rumors, do something drastic about deep-enders and hoaxers, and be as objective as possible. The whole field is on the verge of extinction right now because of irresponsible hoaxing and self-aggrandizement. That is a warning. Every day sees the demise of better and sounder clubs and magazines. The plea is: tolerance for the viewpoints of others until they are proven wrong, and refraining from positive statements until we are proven right. Otherwise--it is goodbye to Ufology in a very short time. 

"The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools." 
--Ecclesiastes, 9:17. 

By M. K. Jessup, 1958

M. K. Jessup’s “Ufology: A Plea and a Warning” originally appeared in Miami Saucerlore, Spring 1958, published by the Miami Flying Saucer Club, and was reprinted in Max B. Miller’s SAUCERS, Spring & Summer 1959 issue. 

Joshua B. Buhs wrote an excellent article on Jessup’s life and work, and took a look at his unconventional outlook:
“The Case for the UFOs” is principally a Fortean book... The basic story that Jessup tells in this book is a mixture of Theosophy and Fortean ideas. He argues that flying saucers do not come from deep space, or even other planets—the distances are just too vast; rather, they originate in the area between the moon and the earth...”
See “Morris Ketchum Jessup as a Fortean” for more information.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The Flying Saucer Mystery and the 1952 UFO Flap

The Flying Saucer Mystery, 1952
In part one, we examined The First UFO Documentary: The Flying Saucer MysteryDuring the big UFO flap of 1952, the documentary got a new life with the help of Sterling Films. Billboard magazine, Aug 23, 1952, announced the film had been revised for a new release.

The new version was longer at 12½ minutes and featured many changes. Since their first release, the Air Force had officially announced it was back in the UFO investigation business with Project Blue Book, so there was a lot to cover. 

The narration was new, and several scenes were replaced with new sequences, such as the report by witness Oskar Linke and author Frank Scully. It also featured footage from the July 29, 1952, press conference given by Air Force Major General John A. Samford, the one given to address the Washington, D.C. UFO radar incidents. There was also some new evidence, a UFO picture taken by Shell Alpert, a U.S. Coast Guard, photographer, and another captured by August C. Roberts (an early member of Al Bender’s International Flying Saucer Bureau).

Shell Alpert and his UFO photo
Oskar Linke’s story was carried newspapers across the US in July, a sensation because up until that time, there had been no credible reports of contact with saucer occupants. Linke said that he and his daughter “saw two figures who appeared to be wearing metallic overalls” get in the saucer and take flight. US headlines stated, “Now Saucers Carry Pilots” and “Flying Disc, Crew, Seen By Red Refugees.” Interestingly, it was later made clear that Linke’s sighting had occurred way back on June 17, 1950, but he was afraid to talk about it until away from the Soviets. 

Gabriele and Oskar Linke, and The Argus, Melbourne, Australia June 30, 1952
Perhaps the most peculiar addition to the 1952 version was the inclusion of author Frank Scully, but besides Donald Keyhoe, he was the most prominent UFO personality at the time. Scully talked about the Air Force’s orders that UFOs be intercepted, then went into his position that saucers were flown by aliens, probably an ancient civilization advanced far beyond earth. 

The film’s character was markedly different than the 1950 version. They did have Dr. Scott for skeptical balance, but it seemed that the producers read the April 7, 1952, Life magazine article that asked,”Have We Visitors From Space?” Their answer was yes.

As we did with the 1950 release, we've prepared a transcript of the 1952 revision. Below is a list of the people in the 1952 version and the time they appear in the film:

0:55 Gen. John A. Samford, USAF (news clip)
1:06 Donald E. Keyhoe (news clip)
1:12 Admiral Calvin Bolster, USN (1950 clip)
1:35, 4:04 Arthur Weisberger, witness (1950 clip)
5:05 August C. Roberts, witness
5:22 Oskar Linke and his daughter, Gabriele, witnesses
6:40 Frank Scully, author,”Behind the Flying Saucers”
7:47 Noel W. Scott, U.S. Army Engineers physicist
9:48 Gen. John A. Samford, USAF (news clip)
10:38 Donald E. Keyhoe, “The Flying Saucers are Real” (1950 clip)

Transcript: The Flying Saucer Mystery, 1952

From out of nowhere flying saucer mystery is with us. What is the flying saucer? What do people see, and sometimes photograph? What's behind the daily reports of aerial  phenomena in the nation's press? After more than five years of study, there is still no
agreement even among the experts. 

General James A. Samford:
“We can say that the recent sightings are in no way connected with any secret 
development by any agency of the United States.

Donald E. Keyhoe:
“With all due respect to the Air Force, I believe that some of them will prove to be of interplanetary origin.”

Admiral Calvin Bolster, USN:
“In my position in the research and development organization of the Bureau of  Aeronautics and of the Navy Department I am thoroughly familiar with both our aircraft and our guided missile programs, and can state without reservation that the Navy has no saucer-shaped aircraft or missile in any of these programs.”

Arthur Weisberger:
“I glanced up and there were three flying saucers in a V, approximately a half a mile away from me at an altitude of 350 feet. They appeared to be hovering in midair with that I believe to be a spinning action.”

What are these shadowy voyagers of the atmosphere? While our forefathers were 
still dreaming of flight decades ago, they sketched these aerial vehicles of the future. Strangely, some of them resemble the saucers of today. When we went to work to make reality out of these dreams, we fashioned crude rocket-propelled devices such as these. While unsuccessful in themselves, they proved to be our first humbling efforts to master the techniques in jet and rocket propulsion. If the flying saucers are of this earth, this may be how they were born, with their later growth and maturity cloaked in official secrecy.

When the smoke of the war blew away in 1945, we found ourselves suddenly arrived in 
the age of rocket propulsion. However, since then, the lid has been on. Other than announcements of ever-increasing altitudes reached by the rockets, we have had no reports. Though we know millions are being spent on them. To our knowledge, the engines in the B-47 are the most powerful in use today. Yet the announced speed of this aeroplane is only 600 miles per hour, a mere fraction of the velocity of the discs. Only if radically new area of dynamics are in use, could the discs be powered by jet engines of today.

This is a thunder-jet executing a loop, hazardous on a jet plane because of the centrifugal force, the pilot must withstand during the pull-out, yet characteristic of the saucers is their fantastic maneuverability. Discs moving at many times the speed of sound suddenly reverse direction. Flight surgeons say any human pilot attempting this would perish instantly. Likewise, saucer reporters agree that the new jet helicopter was not what they saw. If not conventional aircraft then, what did they see? 

Arthur Weisberger:
“They appeared to be 50 feet in diameter, with what appeared to be a dome on the top with, I can't be sure but, I believe I saw the sun glinting off of, well, windows or observation portholes of a sort.”

(Trent photos)
is this what Weisberger saw? This disc was photographed by an Oregon farmer as it hovered low over his field. Experts say these are actual photographs of a flying saucer. The farmer sighted the same spinning action and estimated the diameter of the disc at 20 to 30 feet. 

(Al Hixenbaugh film)
In Kentucky, a motion picture photographer attracted by a strange noise overhead trained his camera on this disc. Here, the wobbling motion mentioned in so many reports is clearly seen.
(Shell Alpert photo)
A Coast Guard photographer snapped this phenomena when it appeared briefly over Salem, Massachusetts. The incandescence seen here was bright enough to stand out in broad daylight.

(August C. Roberts photo)
What may have been the same phenomena was photographed at night by August Roberts who has this to say about it.

Interviewer (off camera):
“What do you think it was?
August C. Roberts:
“I think it was from outer space, but friendly.”

(Gabriele & Oskar Linke)
“Like many of the saucer reports, the latest and most credible have received comes not from America but from behind the Iron Curtain. Seen on the ground by the refugee mayor of a small East German town, its crew was startled by the screams of the mayor's daughter. The first eyewitnessed report of the supposed Soviet guided missile, tells of a saucer-shaped object.

Translator for Oskar Linke:
“The moment the crew disappeared in the cylinder, the disc rose with a humming noise, until the thing was standing on the cylinder like a big mushroom. Then, he said, the disc began rotating, red, blue and green flames bursted out from the holes in it. He thinks they were for its propulsion (?). He saw the thing rise straight up from the ground, and move off parallel with the ground. Once it had gained height, it moved faster, he said, than any fighter plane he has seen, and it made a terrible roaring noise.”

From such reports as these arise many theories to explain the discs. Undismayed by the attacks of True magazine, Frank Scully, author of a book Behind the Flying Saucers, offers his views.

Frank Scully: 
“Now of course, if you assume that there’s no intelligence equal to ours anywhere else, everywhere else, in the universe, is to belittle the universe, because we don't show much intelligence, obviously. But, the likelihood of other planets elsewhere in other planetary systems and other universes of having not only what we got, but lots more, since the planets might be older, their intelligences could be much more mature, more advanced - they could have even passed through an atomic age long ago. Or, they could have been souls that never were fogged up like our Adam and Eve, and never went through all this. And if they are perfect souls elsewhere, the thing is, they're not killable they’re immortal already, so the idea of the Air Force telling them to shoot them down is idiotic.”

Next, a more conventional theory is advanced by physicist Noel Scott.

Noel W. Scott:
“The expression flying saucers is a catch-all term for unusual lights appearing in the sky. It is possible that some of these lights are caused by masses of electrically-charged particles of air. Electrified air can assume many different colors, such as yellow, red, pink, orange, green, and blue. This experiment demonstrates that charged masses of air can be made to move in formation, change course, change brightness, appear, disappear and reappear. These electrified masses of air produce no sound, but can be detected by radar. The atmospheric conditions necessary for producing this phenomena are certainly not prevailing conditions that exist in the upper atmosphere. However, it is not altogether improbable that there may be occasional local conditions responsible for this glow which might be interpreted as flying saucers.”

In the Engineer Research and Development Laboratories, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Dr. Scott shows how to make your own flying saucers. Some say the apparitions are the result of light refracting from what is called an inversion layer, such as an oasis will appear in the desert. In a glass bell, Dr. Scott reproduces weather conditions which prevail during many of the recent sightings. 

Dr. Scott's theories are correct. What you are looking at now is an actual flying saucer. It's possible that even the headlights of your car can create them. With the Air Force hard-pressed for an accounting of the mysterious invaders, this explanation is popular, but General James Samford points out even this theory does not explain all the reports.

General James A. Samford:
“However there have been a certain percentage of this volume of reports that have been made by credible observers of relatively incredible things. It is this group of observations that we now are attempting to resolve. We have as a date, come to only one firm conclusion with respect to this remaining percentage, and that is that it does not contain any pattern of purpose all of consistency that we can relate within it to any conceivable threat to the United States.”

According to the general, these weather balloons are the flying saucers that many people see. Still, he cautions that a few reports cannot be so easily explained. It is these reports that interest Donald Keyhoe, sponsor of a theory that is growing in popularity.

Donald E. Keyhoe:
“After a one year’s investigation, I believe that the flying saucers seen by veteran airline and Air Force pilots are objects from another planet. The Air Force itself has officially admitted that flying saucers exist. This statement appears in Project Saucer case number 75. Not only that, the Air Force has officially analyzed the motives of possible visitors from space. Here is a direct quotation from the official report: 
‘Such a civilization might observe that on earth we now have atomic bombs and are fast developing rockets. In the past history of mankind, they should be alarmed. We should therefore expect at this time, above all, to behold such visitations.’”

(Atom bomb footage)
Is there another civilization somewhere in space, apprehensively watching our rapid progress with the atom? Are we under surveillance by an intelligence that has revealed itself to us only in the form of ghostly apparitions? Does this power foresee our ability to travel through space in rockets propelled by the atomic power we are learning to control? An incredible theory, and it is doubted by many, but it is not likely to be disproved in the public mind while our scientists are predicting interplanetary travel within the lifetime of those living today. 

As the debate continues, so do reports of new saucers, some following in the pattern already established, others entirely new, creating more speculation and endless discussion. Project Saucer, the official Air Force investigation of the phenomena, has been reopened. Now, installations are alerted to attempt to intercept any of the strange visitors that may be sighted. 

While millions listen and watch, the great flying saucer mystery remains unsolved.

. . .

For Further Information on the UFO Cases Featured in the 1952 Film

General James A. Samford UFO Press Conference, July 29, 1952:
Saturday Night Uforia has the text from Project Blue Book's files transcript.

Shell R. Alpbert UFO photo, Salem, Massachusetts, July 16, 1952 
The Photographer's Tale

August C. Roberts UFO photo:
Project Blue Book File, No. 1710. July 28, 1952, Jersey City, New Jersey

Oskar Linke UFO sighting:
CE III By Two Witnesses / Oskar Linke Case, June 17, 1950, Hasselbach, Germany

A special thanks to Issac Koi for his help in obtaining the transcripts of the two versions of this documentary. Isaac has been working to preserve and share UFO literature and history for many years, and has several projects underway with the AFU in Sweden.
 Check the AFU site for a wealth of rare UFO documents and literature.

The First UFO Documentary: The Flying Saucer Mystery

The Flying Saucer Mystery, 1950

Telenews Theater and advertisement 
Telenews Theater opened Sept. 1, 1939, in San Francisco, but instead of feature films, it was exclusively devoted to screening non-stop newsreel footage. With its success, they opened a chain of 13 theaters in major cities across the USA, and as Telenews Productions, Inc., began making their own newsreels. In late 1950, Telenews released a 9½ minute film made with Hoffberg Productions, Inc., The Flying Saucer Mystery.

Motion Picture Daily, Jan. 8, 1951

Oakland Tribune, Nov. 17, 1950, Detroit Free Press, Feb. 22, 1951

At the time it was made, the Air Force said it had disbanded “Project Saucer,” the government’s study of the UFO problem, but the problem hadn’t gone away. The short film did not try to cover the history of UFOs up to that point, just discussed the controversy that was underway. It does not mention Kenneth Arnold, but he can be seen among the pilots pictured in the July 1950 issue of Flying magazine, in the article "Flying Saucers — Fact or Fiction?" Another magazine article discussed was U.S. News & World Report, April 7, 1950, “Flying Saucers: The Real Story," an article that stated the UFOs were real aircraft, most likely, experimental craft developed by the U.S. Navy. In response to such claims, Navy admiral Calvin Bolster appears, making a statement denying the allegations.

See the sources section for links to these articles.

The film's main focus was on the best new evidence of 1950, the alleged first authentic photographs and motion picture film of flying saucers, the two snapshots by farmer Paul Trent, and the film shot by television cameraman Al Hixenbaugh. It also featured UFO witness, Arthur Weisberger of Tucson, Arizona, describing his sighting, apparently the only record of the event.

Trent, photos, Al Hixenbaugh film, Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY June, 29, 1950
The credits for the production are apparently lost, but the film featured the following people discussing UFOs: 
  • Admiral Calvin Bolster, USN
  • Commander Robert McLaughlin, USN (quoted, but not shown)
  • Arthur Weisberger, witness
  • Sid Mautner, executive editor of International News Photos
  • Donald E. Keyhoe, author, “The Flying Saucers are Real”
The film was apparently only shown for a few months, and rotated among the Telenews Theaters across the nation. While many thousands of people must have seen it, it didn’t reach to millions at their homes like radio broadcasts and daily newspapers. Still, it was important.

The documentary was very much prompted by Donald Keyhoe’s work, and it’s fitting that they saved him as the final speaker. Admiral Bolster was an Annapolis classmate and friend of Keyhoe’s, and one of his military sources on flying saucers as well.

The Flying Saucer Mystery owes much to the controversy stirred up by Donald Keyhoe’s article in the Jan. 1950 issue of True magazine, and serves as a valuable document to the public’s evolving beliefs about UFOs. It addressed the popular notion promoted at the time that saucers were a secret weapon by the US military, and the statement by Navy Admiral Bolster can be taken as a gentle acknowledgment that flying saucers are real. The public’s attitude at the time seemed to be, that some of the saucer reports were true - and just maybe, the things came from outer space.

Some Notes on the Saucer Simulation

The flying saucer simulation that opens and closes the film was taken from the March 3, 1950 episode of the television show, “We the People,” where Commander Robert McLaughlin was a guest. McLaughlin was the author of an article in True magazine, titled “How Scientists Tracked a Flying Saucer.” In the story, he described the April 24, 1949 sighting by Professor Charles B. Moore, and theorized about the design and performance of the kind of  spaceship he thought it might be. It was an flattened oval shape, with a grid-like rear that housed it’s interplanetary propulsion system. The TV show made a faithful model, but then botched the job by having it spin through space like a lopsided pancake. Nevertheless, McLaughlin’s design became one of the most famous UFOs in history when it was used as the basis for Donald Keyhoe’s famous paperback cover.  

Thanks to Luis Taylor the UFO researcher behind Information Dispersal, who sent of scans of the flyer advertising the movie for exhibitors in the UK.

Below is the transcript for the 1950 documentary. 

Transcript: The Flying Saucer Mystery, 1950 

The Flying Saucer Mystery, 1950 on YouTube


The Flying Saucer: a twentieth-century mystery that cannot be ignored. The strange disks have been reported by hundreds of sober Americans since 1947. Just what did these see? Man has dreamt a flight of, conquering gravity from ancient times to the present. In imagination, he has travelled the skies in fantastic machines. Fifty years ago, this flying saucer was an illustration for H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. Are the flying saucers things of fantasy? 

Some say they're natural objects, meteors or bright stars transformed by imagination into discs of mystery. Others say the saucers are weather balloons, common enough in the sky and easily mistaken for a disk. These theories were checked when the Armed Forces investigated the flying saucers. Admiral Calvin Bolster of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics gives his conclusions. 

Admiral Calvin Bolster:
“These balloons might explain isolated cases of circular-shaped unidentified objects flying at altitudes, extreme altitudes that have been reported. However, I do not feel that these balloons explain the majority of the so-called flying saucer sightings that have appeared in the press.”

People saw something, something not a balloon, not a meteor, not a hallucination. Reliable witnesses have sighted them over nearly every major city, along our airlines over secret research areas. In True magazine, Commander Robert McLaughlin a Navy guided missiles expert told the flying saucers detected by radar over White Sands, New Mexico. Scientists were try rocket suddenly detected a saucer at 56 miles altitude over 100 feet in diameter. The disc was traveling at 1,800 miles per hour, rapidly out-ranged their instruments. But there had been time for precise accurate measurements, says McLaughlin, That saucer could not have been made on earth.”

Airline pilots with thousands of hours experience have reported saucers coming within a few hundred feet of their planes matching speed briefly and then darting off at supersonic speed leaving a glowing exhaust trail. Student pilot Arthur Weisberger reports on his experience. 

Arthur Weisberger:
“My name is Arthur Weisberger. On July 21st Tucson, Arizona, while out on my backyard, three shiny objects in the sky attracted my attention. I glanced up and there were three flying saucers in a V, approximately a half a mile away from me at an altitude of 350 feet. They appeared to be hovering in midair with that I believe to be a spinning action. The saucers stayed still for approximately 40 seconds, and then took off due north horizontally. From a dead stop, these saucers exceeded a rate of 500 miles an hour for approximately five seconds, still going horizontally due north towards the Santa Catalina Mountains. At the end of five seconds, they went at approximately 45 degrees straight, well, up. They exceeded a thousand miles an hour until they vanished from sight. They appeared to be 50 feet in diameter, with what appeared to be a dome on the top with, I can't be sure but, I believe I saw the sun glinting off of, well, windows or observation portholes of a sort.”

(3:50 Trent photos)
What people saw is reveal clearly by this remarkable International News photo, the first ever taken of a flying saucer. It's one of two pictures made early this year by farmer Paul Trent of McMinnville, Oregon. Enlarged, the photo reveals clearly the familiar disc shape. Trent was able to snap only two photos of the saucer. He estimates the size at about 20 or 30 feet, says that from a near hovering position when first seen, it accelerated rapidly and vanished from sight in no time at all. Note the control tower in the center referred to by Weisberger. This enlargement shows it to be vertical compared with the saucer’s angle of flight. Sid Mautner, executive editor of International News Photos comments on these unusual pictures. 

Sid Mautner:
“Our agency refused to release photographs of the purported flying saucer to the newspapers of the country until we could inspect the original negatives. We now have the the negatives in hand, and I can vouch for the fact that they have not been retouched or faked in any way, and that they are indeed actual photographs of a so-called flying saucer.”

(5:24 Al Hixenbaugh film)
Latest evidence in the saucer mystery are these exclusive motion picture films from Louisville, Kentucky, the first scenes ever made of a flying saucer. Note the white halo around the saucer, an effect reported by some observers. Slightly irregular in shape, the disk appears to be rotating and to possess a dancing motion against the background. A staff cameraman of TV station WHAS was on routine assignment when he heard a loud whooshing sound overhead. Looking up, he saw the saucer hovering in the sky. After two minutes the disc accelerated and vanished directly upwards. An investigation revealed no weather balloons aloft at the time.

Are the saucers a U.S. secret weapon? This is officially denied. Here, Admiral Bolster speaks for the Navy.

Admiral Calvin Bolster:
“In my position in the research and development organization of the Bureau of Aeronautics and of the Navy Department, I am thoroughly familiar with both our aircraft and our guided missiles programs, and can state without reservation that the Navy has no saucer-shaped aircraft or missile in any of these programs.”

(6:59 U.S. News & World Report cover: “Flying Saucers: The Real Story.”)
Many authoritative sources, including U.S. News & World Report, have declared otherwise. 
(7:11 Photo: Vought XF5U-1, the "Flying Flapjack)
These sources say the discs are jet craft developed from an experimental Navy fighter of 1945, but only one model of this plane ever flew, says the Navy. Some experts point out that only thirty years ago, rocket development was in this crude stage. (Clip of pocket sled crashing going off the rails and crashing.) In two decades, German scientists developed these primitive rockets into the fearsome V-2. No major improvement on the V-2 has been made public since the war, despite intensive research by U.S. engineers in cooperation with German rocket specialists. Are the saucers the secret descendants of the V-2?

(8:00 paperback, The Flying Saucers Are Real.)
The author of this book, Annapolis-trained ex-Marine, major Donald Keyhoe, says, the saucers are not from this earth, that they far off perform any craft that man can build today. 

Donald E. Keyhoe:
“After a one year’s investigation, I believe that the flying saucers seen by veteran airline and Air Force pilots are objects from another planet. The Air Force itself has officially admitted that flying saucers exist. This statement appears in Project Saucer case number 75. Not only that, the Air Force has officially analyzed the motives of possible visitors from space. Here is a direct quotation from the official report: 
‘Such a civilization might observe that on earth we now have atomic bombs and are fast developing rockets. In the past history of mankind, they should be alarmed. We should therefore expect at this time, above all, to behold such visitations.’”

(8:57 Saucer simulation clip)
Agreeing with Keyhoe is Commander McLaughlin. From his observations, “We the People” constructed this model of a flying saucer as it might appear in interplanetary space. 

(Clip of earth from high altitude.)
Are eyes from another world looking at this scene? A saucer’s eye view of our planet, filmed at a height of 57 miles. These scenes were made from a remote-controlled Army rocket, but today, visitors from space may be studying us from similar heights.
. . .

In the next STTF article, the story continues and we look how a new version of the film was created in response to the big UFO news of 1952.

For Further Information on the UFO Cases Featured

Commander Robert McLaughlin, USN and the White Sands, NM, sightings of 1949
"How Scientists Tracked A Flying Saucer," True magazine, 1950

U.S. News & World Report, April 7, 1950, “Flying Saucers: The Real Story"

Flying magazine, July 1950, "Flying Saucers — Fact or Fiction?" by Curtis Fuller

Arthur Weisberger, sighting, Tucson, Arizona,  July 21, 1950
Nothing Found

Paul Trent’s UFO photos:

Al Hixenbaugh’s UFO film from WHAS (Red flag: He was also a stage magician.)

A special thanks to Isaac Koi for his help in obtaining the transcripts of the two versions of this documentary. Isaac has been working to preserve and share UFO literature and history for many years, and has several projects underway with the AFU in Sweden. Check the AFU site for a wealth of rare UFO documents and literature.

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...