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Game of Spotting ‘Flying Saucers’ Sweeps Country as Mystery Holds; Flurry of flying saucer stories after 1947 Roswell incident

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A hanger at the Army air field at the former Walker Air Force Base. Could this have been the hanger where the alleged UFO remnants were stored? On advice of legal council, we can neither confirm nor deny :-). (Courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeastern New Mexico)

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In light of our annual International UFO Festival and the Vision edition of the Roswell Daily Record, I thought it would be fun to research what “other” news reports from around the country reported, immediately after the news of the UFO crash here was released. I hope you enjoy these reports as well as your holiday weekend!

By the Associated Press (July 8, 1947)

The game of spotting “flying saucers” broadened Monday to include Massachusetts and Vermont as stories about the disks continued to swirl fully as rapidly as the objects themselves.

Explanations of the phenomena ranged from the theory that they were radio controlled flying missiles sent aloft by U.S. military scientists, to the suggestion that they might be merely sunlight reflected on wing tanks of jet propelled planes.

A.B. Cross of Chattanooga, Tenn., a 34-year-old watchmaker, announced he invented the “flying saucer” and submitted it to the war department in 1943 but his idea was rejected as “not practical at the present time.”

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Later, he said, he became convinced that the department elaborated on his plan. His model was powered with a rubber band, Cross said, but he believed atomic power is now being used.

A Spokane, Washington woman insisted the objects she saw would take up “about the space of a five-room house” if they landed. But a Clearwater, Fla. woman said the disks she observed resembled “pie pans.”

At Rutland, Vt., a woman reported she and her husband witnessed a brilliant object in the sky which she assumed to be a “flying saucer,” except it was stationary.

But at Cambridge, Mass., a housewife said she saw “a group of white flying saucers, whirling around and going at a tremendous speed.”

The Massachusetts and Vermont reports brought to 40 the number of states in which the objects have been observed.

With New England getting into the game, the Harvard University astronomical observatory took note of the reports, but said it had had no luck so far in photographing one of the disks.

Lester Barlow of Stamford, Conn., internationally known explosives inventor, advanced the theory that the disks were radio-controlled flying missiles.

Reports persisted that the Army was looking into the phenomena, but Gen. Carl Spaatz, Army Air Forces Commandant said he knew of no AAF plans to search for the saucers.

The Navy and Atomic Energy Commission said they had no connection with the mystery.

The West, which originated the saucer reports, continued to produce observers who claimed to have seen the whirling discs and also brought forth one deflationary explanation of them. Bob Johnson, operator of a flying service at Missoula, Montana, reported he had captured one of the disks and found it to be milkweed seeds.

Major General Leslie R. Groves, who headed the Army’s wartime atom bomb project, tonight denied any knowledge of the “flying discs” which have been reported throughout the country.

He said: “ I know nothing of flying disks and I know no one who does.”

“Before even a real clue to a theory can be developed, we will have to catch one, or get movies of one in flight.”

RESEARCHER SAYS HE SAW DISC NEAR WHITE SANDS

WASHINGTON, July 7 (AP) – Dr. C.J. Zhon, doing rocket work at the naval research laboratory here, related that June 29, he and three others saw one of the “flying discs” about 20 miles from V.2 rocket testing grounds at White Sands, N.M.

However, he said this was four days before the V.2 test for which he had gone to New Mexico and that it had nothing to do with any Navy experiments.

Rare Book Tells Of Freak Discs In Sky Long Ago

Chicago, July 7, (AP) – Current reports of flying discs had similar counterparts in the past, according to a rare book in Chicago’s Newberry Library.

In the “Book of the Damned,” a collection of “data that science has excluded,” the late Charles Fort published a purported account by M. Acharius, of a visitation on a town near Skeninge, Sweden, on the afternoon of May 16, 1808.

“The sun turned brick red,” Fort wrote,”at the same time there appeared on the Western horizon a number of round objects, dark brown in color and seemingly the size of a hat crown. They passed overhead and disappeared on the eastern horizon.”

Fort noted also the reported appearance over County Wicklow, Eire, Oct. 27, 1898, about six o’clock in the evening “an object that looked like the moon in its three-quarter aspect” which “moved slowly, and in about five minutes, disappeared behind a mountain.”

Other strange reports included those of “a luminous cloud moving at high velocity” over Florence, Italy, Dec. 9, 1731; “globes of light seen in the air” at Swabia, May 22, 1732, and even an “octagonal star” sighted from Slavange, Norway, April 15, 1752.

Doubt Is Cast On Texan’s ‘Joke’ Story

HOUSTON, Tex., July 7 (AP) – Military authorities are investigating a report that a Harris County business man found a mysterious flying disc yesterday on a beach at Trinity Bay, on the Texas Gulf Coast, 30 miles east of Houston.

Norman Hargrove, a jeweler, told a Houston Chronicle reporter yesterday he had found the aluminum disc floating near the beach while he and his wife were walking along the beach.

He said the disk was about 20 inches in diameter and six inches thick.

Today, however, Hargrove said it was all just a joke.

But the Chronicle today pointed out that there are “some mysterious facts contained in his (Hargrove’s) first report that lend credence to the tale.

Hargrove yesterday reported that the disc bore this inscription: “Military secret of the United States of America, Army Air Forces M 4339658. Anyone damaging or revealing description or whereabouts of this missile is subject to prosecution by the U.S. Government. Call collect at once, LD446, Army Air Forces Depot, Spokane, Washington.”

In big letters, Hargrove said, were plainly printed “non explosive.”

Hargrove was quoted as saying he talked to the Spokane number and that a “Colonel Voyce” thanked him for calling and then cautioned him about revealing any of the information. He instructed him, Hargrove said, to turn the missile over to local police.

Police would not say they had the missile.

A long distance call from Houston today to Spokane brought interest on the part of Col. Frank D. Hackett, commanding officer of the airport, formally of Kirkland Field, Albuquerque, N.M., Hackett would not confirm or deny that the missile may have carried the message.

Later, however, he returned the call and suggested that a Lieut. Gen. Twining at Wright Field, Ohio, be contacted for any information.

(no headline available)

SPOKANE, July 7 (AP) – Col. Frank D. Hackett, commanding officer of the Spokane air depot, told the Associated Press late today that he knew “nothing about” the reported finding of a flying disc on the Texas Gulf Coast other than that his public relations office had received a call from the Houston Chronicle.

Col. Hackett said that the Spokane air depot had “absolutely nothing to do” with the flying discs.

He added, “we are not in that type of organization,” and then said jokingly, “we only deal with material things.”

Regarding the Houston report that the reputed disk carried the phone number, Col. Hackett said, “we have no such number listed.”

Janice Dunnahoo is an archive volunteer at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives. She can be reached at 575-622-1176 or by email at jdhist4@outlook.com.