Flying Disk Gives Army Dizzy Whirl!
ARMY EXPERTS TAKEN
FOR 'RIDE BY A SKY DISK!
They Find a 'Saucer' Is Just a Balloon
Fort Worth, Tex.--July 8 (Special)--A disk-jittery nation was treated to a two hour step-up in its platter panic today when an army press agent mistook remnants of a weather balloon for one of the mysterious sky saucers hundreds of persons recently have reported they thought they saw in the air.
The press agent put out an unequivocal announcement that flying disk had been found on a New Mexico ranch and was in army possession. He touched off a wave of excitement which traveled by radio and newspaper bulletins thruout [sic] the country.
Newspapers were flooded with telephone calls. High army officers in Washington leaped for telephones. For an hour or so the object found on the ranch became a great whatisit [sic], its size, appearance and construction details matters for horrific speculation.
Weather Man Takes Look
By this time the object--a mass of broken wooden stays wrapped in tinfoil--had been sent to 8th army air force headquarters here. Maj. Gen. [sic] Roger M. Ramey, commander, who wasn't sure exactly what it was, advanced a theory it might be a meteorological device. He ordered it flown to Wright field, O., for examination by experts of the AAF materiel command.
Before this could be done, however, Warrant Officer, Irving Newton, a forecaster with the army weather station here, sidled up for a look.
"That's what's left of a ray wind [sic] target," Newton said. "They are being used by some 80 weather stations in the United States, and this one could have come from any one of them."
Brass Hats Relax
Newton's words flashed over the wires to bring relief to a worried public. Brass hats in Washington put down their telephones, their faces reportedly somewhat red. At a late hour no further bulletins had been issued by the press agent who put out the first one.
He was Lt. Warren Haught, public relations officer at Roswell air field, Roswell, N.M. The way he told it in his original announcement was as follows:
"The many rumors regarding the flying disk became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th [atomic] bomb group of the 8th air force Roswell army air field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disk through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff's office."
Rancher Hears the Story
Haught added the "disk" had been examined at Roswell field and forwarded to higher authorities.
Events leading to the issuance of Haught's bulletin were pieced together as follows: W. W. Brizzell, a rancher, found the remnants of the balloon last week. In near-by Corona, N.M., Saturday he heard about the national disk epidemic. He decided to notify the sheriff.
Sheriff George Wilcox relayed the information to Roswell field, where Maj. Jesse A. Marcel was assigned to investigate. The major went to the ranch and took the collection of sticks and foil into the custody of the army.
Newton explained the object, when rigged up, looks like a six pointed star, is silvery in appearance, and rises in the air like a kite, mounted on a 100 gram balloon. He said a radar set is used to follow the balloon and winds aloft are charted through a triangulation process. He added he had used similar balloons during the invasion of Okinawa to get ballistics information for heavy guns.
SIGHT THEM IN AFRICA
The mysterious flying disks or twirling saucers, which have been reported speeding thru [sic] the skies above 44 of the 48 states and in Canada during the past week, yesterday leaped the vast expanses of the Pacific and South Atlantic oceans. Observers in both Sydney, Australia and Johannesburg, South Africa, reported having watched them in formation flights during the day or night.
And on this continent hundreds of persons turned in new accounts of having witnessed "balls of fire" flashing across the night sky or gave equally well-documented reports of having seen whole groups of saucers hanging motionless, spinning, or dancing in fantastic patterns before disappearing.
There were hundreds of explanations but all were purely conjecture, theory, or merely judgment. Some theorizers said it was probable that persons on the ground had seen sunlight winking on the wings of real airplanes flying high in the air.
Offers $1,000 Reward
In Washington Presidential Press secretary Ross told reporters a west coast professional juggler had telegrafed [sic] President Truman that the saucers were part of a stack of clay plates he used in his act and that they "had gotten out of hand." Ross added that the President has not ordered an investigation into the matter of the disks.
In Los Angeles the World Inventors' congress posted a $1,000 reward for delivery of a flying disk to the congress' exposition, which opens there July 11. The army air forces said none of its many radar stations had "sighted" any mysterious disks but a spokesman added that at present army radar does not blanket the entire nation.
Two residents of Johannesburg told Reuters News service they had seen the "flying saucers" early yesterday over that city. They said the objects were about as big as "gramaphone records" and were revolving at a great speed in a V-formation. They disappeared in a cloud of smoke, the observers said.
Prof. Frank S. Cotton, physiology department at Sydney university, conducted an experiment with 22 students, most of whom afterward reported having seen flying objects. What they really saw were red corpuscles of the blood passing in front of the retina of the eye, the professor afterward stated.
Denies Canadian Origin
(Chicago Tribune Press Service)
OTTAWA, July 8--A definite denial that the flying disks, if there are such, originate in Canada was made tonight by Brooke Claxton, minister of defense. Asked if the disks might originate from a joint United States-Canadian proving grounds in western Canada, he said they did not.
"There is only one United States-Canadian testing ground in Canada and that is at Churchill," he said. "they certainly do not originate there. The suggestion is as silly as most of the others and you can quote me on that." The Churchill station was opened up some months ago to visits by newspapermen and foreign observers, including military attache of the soviet embassy here.
The ChicagoTribune was one of the major papers reported as calling Roswell for more information.
Note Fort Worth dateline and full onus for press release immediately being placed on the Roswell PIO. Also talks about nation having the jitters over the reported saucers, again discussed below.
Again PIO blamed for release.
The Roswell saucer was the BIG story of the day. Unfortunately, few of the radio reports survive.
Like the N.Y. Times and S.F. Examiner this is another story saying the story remained unchanged for about the first hour. Then Ramey began to change it.
Supposedly the object was now at Fort Worth. As in other stories, Ramey says he thinks it's a weather balloon. But here it has him saying he's not sure.
Newton didn't exactly "sidle up." According to Newton, over his protestations, Ramey ordered him off his post in weather and flight operations, leaving it unmanned. Ramey wanted badly for his "uncertain" ID to be made official.
Typical quotation from Newton of the rawin targets being in widespread use.
** This is a fairly unique item about the public being worried about the announcement of finding a flying disk and then relieved to be told it was a weather balloon. It adds that the Pentagon was embarrassed by the press release, and Roswell PIO Walter Haut gets ridiculed again for the release he was ordered to put out.
Misspelling of Haut's name and wording of press release indicates AP origins of this section.
This section is an amalgam of AP and UP reporting.
Brazel's name is misspelled in typical UP fashion. Rest of this section, however, is paraphrasing of the standard AP Fort Worth version of events. It departs from it only in adhering to the original date of discovery in the press release of "last week" instead of the revised three weeks before put out in Fort Worth.
As in some reporting, the story mentions the widespread sightings of saucers in the U.S. and how they were also being recently reported in other countries as well.
Putting out silly items like this from the White House was just one more way of ridiculing the saucer reports.
Large numbers of strange, unknown objects reported flying over the country and the President is totally unconcerned -- not likely.
The AAF denies radar contact. Some witnesses, however, claimed the military was radar tracking unidentified objects in New Mexico. Whether or not there was radar contact has yet to be documented.
This professor's silly "spots before the eyes" debunking "explanation" got widely reported. It was just another way the press chose to generally ridicule the subject.
This was a unique Tribune item. The Canadian defense minister denies the saucers are a joint U.S./Canadian secret project and calls it silly, as indeed it was. Oddly, this silly theory sometimes resurfaces. One never knows what those Canadians are up to!