Flying Saucers Still Mystery
Disc Seized by Army Only Piece of Balloon; Search Still Going On
CHICAGO, July 8 (UP).
The Army Air Forces created a flurry of excitement late today with an announcement that a strange object, believed to be one of the mysterious "flying saucers," had been found on a New Mexico ranch, but a few hours later an Air Forces general said it apparently was a weather device and "nothing to get excited about."
Brig. Gen. Roger B. Ramey, of Fort Worth, commanding general of the 8th Air Force, said he believed the object, found near Roswell, N. M., was the "remnant of a weather balloon and a radar reflector."
Speaking over a Fort Worth radio station to "deflate" the wild stories that discovery of the device had touched off, Ramey said the object was "a high-altitude weather observation device--a very normal gadget in Weather Bureau operations." He identified it as "remnants of a tin foil-covered box kite and a rubber balloon."
Asked to comment on "flying saucers," Ramey said he knew nothing about them and "I have never seen one."
The first announcement of the discovery of the "flying saucer" was made by Col. William H. Blanchard, commanding officer of the Roswell Army Air Base. Then, an AAF spokesman in Washington said the object had been flown by Superfortress to Fort Worth and would be sent to Wright Field, O., for further study and investigation.
Warrant Officer Irving Newton, a forecaster at the Fort Worth Army Air Field weather station, said the object was a ray wind target used to determine the direction and velocity of winds at high altitudes. He said there were some 80 weather stations in the United States using this type of balloon and that it could have come from any one of them.
When rigged up, Newton said, the object looks like a six-pointed star, is silvery in appearance, and rises in the air like a kite, mounted to a 100-gram balloon.
In his statement, Blanchard specifically referred to the object as a "flying disc"--one of the mystery missiles which have been reported during recent weeks by hundreds of persons in the United States, Canada, and New Mexico .
Reports from Ramey, AAF spokesman in Washington, and Sheriff George Wilcox of Roswell indicated that the object, if reconstructed, would have a diameter of 25 feet, would be too flimsy in construction to carry any person, and apparently had no source of power or capacity of speed, especially supersonic speeds attributed to the "flying saucers."
An AAF spokesman said the object was found a couple of weeks ago by W. W. Brizell [sic] on the Foster ranch at Corona, 75 miles northwest of Roswell. Brizell had no telephone, so he kept it until he could make contact with the sheriff's office at Roswell. The Sheriff notified the Army, which sent intelligence officers to pick up the object. Roswell is about 120 miles east-northeast of the White Sands rocket proving grounds.
The Army announcement of the discovery was the latest development in reports about the mystery missiles. Even as the announcement was made, persons spurred by reward offers, other branches of the Army, the Navy and the Civil Air Patrol were awaiting an opportunity to capture some of the elusive discs.
The first claimant for the $3,000 in rewards for a "flying saucer" came from Lloyd Bennet, an Oelwein, Ia., salesman. He exhibited a shiny steel disc, about 6-1/2 inches in diameter, which he said he found in his yard this morning . He said he heard something "come crashing through the trees last night."
Newspapermen who examined the disc did not believe it was a "flying saucer." One thought it was the bottom from a smoking stand.
A 16-inch aluminum disc, complete with two radio condensers, a fluorescent light switch and copper tubing, was found in Shreveport, but was "obviously the work of a prankster," police reported.
Orville Wright, 73-year-old co-inventor of the airplane, denounced the current "flying discs" stories as "more propaganda for war" and criticized the publicity given them.
Chicago dateline. This UP story emerged later in the evening, but still in time to make the morning edition of the Inquirer. The morning edition of the Charleston News and Courier carried a very similar Chicago dateline UP story.
See earlier UP stories which include these Ramey quotes explicitly identifying debris.
These Ramey comments on the radio are new to the UP stories and came later. Ramey again identifies the debris as a singular weather balloon and radar kite.
Note how the UP again attributes the base press release to Col. Blanchard.
UP knew about the flight to Fort Worth within 45 minutes of the press release (see UP telexes). The source appears to be an AAF spokesman at the Pentagon.
The official identification by Newton is also new to this UP story.
Newton's indication of widespread use. Today Newton is surprised he was quoted as saying this. Quotes from Newton may indicate UP's presence in Gen. Ramey's office.
Again attribution of the press release to Col. Blanchard.
** The 25 foot diameter description is attributed to Ramey, Wilcox, and Pentagon spokemen. Other articles attribute it to Ramey or the Pentagon. It is doubtful that Wilcox ever said any of these things. Instead, he claimed Brazel described an object of small size, about as big as Wilcox's office safe.
** The original Roswell base press release reported the find as "sometime last week." Notice how the discovery date as been changed by another AAF spokesman. This was to be Brazel's story later that night as well.
Another account of Orville Wright's skeptical comments.