Ramey Debunking Saucers on CBS TV, Aug. 3, 1952
General Ramey was back to his old saucer debunking ways, as indicated in this Associated Press article from 1952, where Ramey was labeled the Air Force's "saucer man." Notice how Ramey talks around and evades pointed questions from reporters. The San Francisco Examiner and Baltimore Sun ran the most complete article of Ramey's comments, followed by the Los Angeles Times. Items edited out by the San Francisco Chronicle or New York Times (or other items not common to all newspaper versions) are in italics.
The San Francisco Examiner and both the L.A. and N.Y. Times versions also included a gratuitous debunking item from a "professor of abnormal psychology." The insinuation was that it was psychological "abnormal" to even consider that such things might exist. The psychologist termed them primarily hallucinations.
The Examiner story also included an item that despite Ramey's dismissal of the phenomenon, only 3 hours later Washingtonians were reporting a bright object streaking overhead.
New! A shorter, independent account, from the New York Herald-Tribune, has been added, with a somewhat different slant on Ramey's remarks. Here it says Ramey was "exceedingly skeptical" of interplanetary origins, but didn't completely rule it out. He didn't think any one theory held all the answers. Interestingly, he also said "he was convinced ...that the saucer's had no hostile intent," which makes it seem like he is treating them as quite real. Also Ramey isn't called the AP's "saucer man," but like in the AP story was said to be currently in charge of the Air Force saucer investigations. (Edited down version of story found in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch uses italics to show deleted material.) New (Jan. 2006)! Another, shorter AP account has also been added, again noting that Ramey wasn't giving direct answers. The debunkery of the professor of abnormal psychology was again brought up. The story does mention that in spite of the debunkery, many people were still phoning in reports of seeing another object shoot over Washington D.C. the previous night.
1952 was the second major U.S. flying saucer "flap" year, the first being 1947. After front page newspaper accounts in late July 1952 of flying saucers being sighted, tracked by radar, and chased by jet interceptors over Washington D.C. on two successive weekends, the largest press conference since WWII was called on July 29, headed by Major Gen. John Samford, Chief of Air Intelligence, and Gen. Ramey. Samford did most of the talking and attributed the saucers over Washington to heat inversions. Newspaper accounts of the press conference called Samford and Ramey the Air Force's top two saucer experts.
Ramey going on national television a few days later seems to have been the usual mop-up operation to reinforce the debunkery.
San Francisco Examiner, Monday, August 4, 1952
Top Air Force Expert Doubts 'Saucers' Exist
Los Angeles Times, Aug. 4, 1952, page 16
U.S. SAUCER HUNTER DOUBTS THEY EXIST
Gen. Ramey, Skeptical on Disks, Steers Around Hint of Soviet Planes Over Alaska
Baltimore Sun, Aug. 4, page 1, top of page
AIR GENERAL SAYS
SAUCERS DO NOT EXIST
Lacks Evidence Anything Material Is Involved, Ramey Comments
San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 5, page 8
Expert Unconvinced On Saucers--Pilot Is
General Ramey Says, 'We've Seen Nothing'
New York Times, Aug. 4, page 3
'Saucer Man' Doubts Disks Exist;
Says Air Force Finds No Basis
Charlotte (N.C.) Observer. Aug. 4, page 1
General Thinks Flying Saucers Nonexistent
Says No Material Substance Noted in Lengthy Check
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Aug. 4
Gen. Ramey Says He's Sure Flying Saucers Don't Exist
By WILLARD H. MOBLEY
WASINGTON, Aug. 3 (AP)--Maj. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, the Air Force "saucer man," said today six years of flying saucer reports had "reasonably well" convinced him there is no such thing.
But he edged cautiously around a suggestion that something more orthodox crossed the nation's Alaskan borders--nearest Soviet Russia--last April.
Ramey is director of United States Air Force operations. He is handling the investigation into the current rash of reports on unexplained things in the sky. He said the Air Force had kept track of such reports from the first one in 1947. He was interviewed on the CBS-TV program "Man of the Week."
(S.F. Examiner, L.A. Times, and Charlotte Observer) Earlier today a University of Maryland psychology professor said saucer reports are products of the imagination.
Light Seen in Sky
(S.F. Examiner only) Imagination or not, three hours after General Ramey had made his talk, Washington newspapers and television stations received calls from a number of persons who reported seeing a light shoot thought the sky over the city.
The Civil Aeronautics Administration radar operators at the Washignton National Airport said they had picked up no unknown objects around the time oft he visual sighting, about 8 p.m. (EST).
Mr. and Mrs. George Pickeral of Wheaton, Md., a Washington suburb, said they saw a white ball "sail over the roof of their house as they were working in the yard." Mrs. Pickeral said it was like a streak of light and soundless.
Mrs. Giles Dawson, of Washington, who reported seeing the object also, said it was orange and traveling south very fast.
No Solid Evidence
Not one of some 1,500 saucer reports since 1947, General Ramey said, had offered solid evidence that anything material was involved. And all the reports taken together, he added, did not establish any pattern that could be construed as menacing.
An interviewer said there was a report that on last April 17, contrails--feathery, vapor trails left by high-flying aircraft--appeared over Alaska and "caused quite an alert."
Ramey shied from any direct answer, even when the statement was repeated and the question added, "What was found?" But he said:
"There have been some instances of unexplained contrails that we carry as unexplained, possibly caused by a reconnaissance plane, or at least by an unidentified craft."
He did not say whether he was referring to Alaska, and he did not elaborate. He added that saucer reports did not involve evidence such as contrails, indicating something material, and that that was part of the case against them.
Doubts on Russia GENERAL'S STATEMENTS
About what he called "unidentified objects," Ramey said:
"I don't believe they enter into the defense of the country particularly."
"Soviet Russia has no power to produce an object that can't be tracked as material or that uses such fantastic power as we hear about in these reports.
Reports Come in Waves
"Some people see things that aren't there. Some people describe things they haven't seen. It is noticeable the reports come in waves. There are some reports of incredible things from credible people.
"No Suggestive Pattern"
"There has never been any instance of anything that could be tracked, that is, tracked by radar or otherwise, entering, passing over and leaving the country. The radar sightings have been sporadic. There has been no suggestive pattern established.
Could Track Missile
"The suggestion the reports arise from some long-range guided missile developed by Russia might be conceivable except that such a missile could be tracked.
"We know of nothing that could behave as we hear these things do.
"Even if they were moving at speeds beyond radar's ability to track, they could be photographed if they were material.
"We are reasonably well convinced they are not material, solid objects.
20 Pct. Unexplained "Attempting Explanations"
"About 20 per cent of the reports in Air Force hands remain to be explained.
"The Air Force is attempting now to make fast explanations." This was in answer to a query whether the Air force was trying to dispel "hysteria."
"I can say definitely they (saucers) are not our own.
"I still believe they are some phenomena that is not easily explained." This was in reply to a query whether, if flying saucer reports do not originate from anything made in Russia or the United States, they could be from some other world.
Ramey went at length into the theory that many reports arise from ground objects--such as moving cars, trucks, trains and the like--or from ground lights, reflected from the sky under certain atmospheric conditions. In this, as in other respects, Ramey's conclusions were closely similar to those of Air Force intelligence and technical officers who last week commented (or "told reporters") at the Pentagon there was no evidence of reality in the saucer reports, nor anything to indicate a menace.
"Just Ain't There"
(Added by N.Y. & L.A. Times & S.F. Examiner) : Dr. Jessie Sprowls, Professor of Abnormal Psychology at the University of Maryland, said the flying saucers "just ain't there."
(L.A. Times S.F. Examiner only) With a word of apology for his emphasis-aimed lapse in grammar, Dr. Sprowls attributed the deluge of reports on strange things "primarily to hallucinations."
(S.F. Examiner only) The psychologist said there are several facts that would contribute to a person's honest belief that he had seen an out-of-this-world flying contraption. They rather tie in together.
First off, he said, the human animal is gregarious--"That's the reason we chatter so much."
And "the mind of man is suggestible." Thus, Doctor Sprowls said, if people hear there may be such things as flying saucers the tendency is to accept the idea.
(L.A. Times only) Anybody looking for a real flying saucer has about as much chance as "a blind man in the dark room looking for a black cat," he said.
He had a solution to offer--"Just sort of forget about it."
New York Herald-Tribune, August 4, 1952, p. 1
Gen. Ramey Declares 'Saucers'
Are Neither Russian Nor Hostile
From the Herald Tribune Bureau
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 4, 1952, p. 1
HIGH AIRMAN SAYS REDS CAN'T BUILD 'FLYING SAUCERS
The New York Herald Tribune -- Post-Dispatch Special Dispatch
WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 -- The "flying saucer" scare was further deflated last night when Maj. Gen. Roger Ramey, operations chief of the Air Force, said he was convinced that Soviet Russia today cannot produce a material object capable of the limitless speed attributed to the "saucers."
Gen. Ramey, who is currently in charge of the Air Force's investigation of "flying saucer" reports, was not entirely satisfied with the scientific theories cited in recent weeks to show that the "saucers" were really mirages picked up on the radar screen during certain atmospheric conditions. None of the theories held all the answers, he said. Thus the investigation into the phenomena would continue with chief reliance placed on telescopic cameras that would photograph most of the hemisphere.
Interviewed on a television show, Gen. Ramey said he was convinced at least that the saucer's had no hostile intent. He did not rule out the possibility that the objects were interplanetary visitors, but he was exceedingly skeptical.
As for the Russian bogey--"Russia has no ability to produce an object that can make such fantastic power that its speed can't be tracked by radar," he said.
The radar sightings of "saucers" have been sporadic. No "saucer" has ever been trailed from the moment it might have entered the radar network to the moment of its departure.
Gen. Ramey said that about 1500 reports of mysterious flying objects had been received since "saucers" first became popular in 1947. All but [and about] 20 per cent of these reports remained unexplained, he said. In other cases the objects turned out be optical illusions, weather balloons, actual planes and a few guided missiles (ours).
New Haven Evening Register, August 4, 1952, p. 2
Flying Saucer Stories Refuse To Be Buried Peacefully
By WARREN ROGERS JR.
Washington, Aug. 4--A.P.--An Air Force general and a psychology professor both discounted flying saucer reports, but the nation's capital still buzzed with them over the weekend. The Rev. Edward B. Lewis of Washington's Union Methodist Church drew a moral from it all.
"It is a good thing," he said Sunday from his pulpit, "to have something happening like 'flying saucers' that demands that people look up and study some of the wonders of nature.
"If we can get excited about the eternal truths of nature and the eternals truths of the grace of God, then we can learn how to live eternally and still be interested in such things as flying saucers."
Maj. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, who heads the Air Force's investigation of the current rash of reports, said six years of study have convinced him "reasonably well" there is no such thing.
Dr. Jesse Sprowls, professor of abnormal psychology at the University of Maryland, apologized for his grammar but said flying saucers "just ain't there."
Telephones Buzz Again
But within hours after General Ramey made his talk--on the CBS television show "Man of the Week"--telephones starting ringing at newspapers and TV stations in Washington.
The callers said they had seen a light shoot through the sky across the capital about 8 P.M. (EST) yesterday. The Washington National Airport's radar team reported it had picked up no unidentified objects around that time.
While General Ramey was pretty definite about the saucer reports which he said the Air Force has been tracking since the first one in 1947, he edged around another topic.
Avoids Direct Answer
That was a report of vapor trails over Alaska last April 17 which an interviewer said "caused quite an alert." Ramey gave no direct answer, even when asked, "What was found?"
Of the saucers Ramey said:
"We are reasonable well convinced they are not material solid objects. About 20 percent of the reports in Air Force hands--he said there were 1,500 such reports--"remain to be explained."
Professor Sprowls said in a radio interview (WGAY, Silver Spring, Md.) that saucer reports are due "primarily to hallucination."
Sprowls likened the searches for such upper-air objects to "a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat." He recommended: "Just sort of forget about it."