June 23,1950 southern fireball newspaper accounts
Feb 1, 1950, Tucson UFO with giant smoke trail  (New! March/April 2009)

Sighting Reports from Southern California

The UFO Evidence, Richard Hall, ed. , 1964

     The crews of two commercial airliners and a Navy transport sighted a cigar-shaped object about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, Calif.  The pilot of the Navy plane (name confidential) spent 22 years in Naval aviation and now is a project administrator with a West coast electronics firm.  He was alerted by a United Airlines pilot who had seen the object and they both discussed the matter with CAA (now FAA) ground stations at Daggett and Silver Lake, Calif. The co-pilot of the Navy plane was the first to see it, and pointed it out to the pilot and Navigator.
     The pilot described the object as cigar-shaped, dark gray or gunmetal in color and giving off a faint shimmering heat radiation appearance at the tail end.  He judged its apparent size as about 1/8th of the full moon [about 4 minutes of arc)Estimated altitude 50,000-100,000 feet, speed 1000-1500 mph, for the three minutes it was in view.  At first it was traveling north, but then turned west presenting a tail end view as it sped out of sight. 

Signed report on file at NICAP.  (Case certified by Paul Cerny, Chairman, Bay Area NICAP Subcommittee )

Washington Post, Wed. June 28, 1950
New Saucer Story:  Flying Cigar seen By 30 on Airliner

Chico (CA) Enterprise-Record, Tues. June 27, 1950, p. 2
United Airlines Pilot Reports Flying Saucer

     Los Angeles, June 27 (AP)--United Airlines today disclosed the latest flying saucer report:
     First Officer David Stewart of Redondo Beach, Calif., today told a news conference that his crew of five and some 25 passengers watched a brilliantly-glowing object speed through the desert sky Saturday night.
     Stewart said the object was more cigar-shaped than the previously reported pancake-shaped "saucers."
     He said his ship was flying at 14,000 feet and that the object flew a parallel course for 20 miles and then faded into the distance.

Los Angeles Times, Wed. June 28, 1950
Strange 'Ship' Reported Seen High Over Desert

     Latest report of a mysterious flying "object" was given here yesterday by two United Air Lines pilots who described what they sighted at 8:08 p.m.  (PST) last Saturday [June 24] while flying between Las Vegas and the Silver Lake check point eight miles north of Baker.
     The object was somewhat cylindrical in shape, rather like a dirigible, according to Cpt. E. L. RemlinFirst Officer David Stewart and Capt. Sam B. Wiper, an observer aboard the UAL Mainliner.
     It had a bluish center with a bright orange tint and was flying horizontally at about 20,000 feet, much faster than the transport, the three pilots said.
     They added it appeared to be about 20 miles distant, but admitted that altitude, distance, and speed could not be accurately judged without knowledge of the object's size.    
Also Seen by Others
      The fliers said the strange "ship--if ship it was--was also seen by Las Vegas CAA men and reported by an Air and a Navy plane in the general area.
     "Was it a saucer?" Capt. Remlin was asked.
     "I wouldn't know," he grinned.  "I've never seen a saucer."

Las Vegas Review-Journal, Wed. June 28, 1950, p. 8
'Strange Object' Is Seen in South Nevada Sky Saturday

Marysville-Yuba City (CA) Appeal-Democrat, Wed. June 28, 1950, p. 10
Veteran Pilots Glimpse Strange Object In Sky

     LOS ANGELES, June 28 (UP) Two veteran airline pilots said today they and a number of other persons saw a blazing, dirigible-like phenomenon trailing streams of light in the skies over Nevada.
     Neither First Officer David Stewart, who's been flying 13 years, or Captain Sam B. Wiper identified the object as a flying saucer, which the Air Force insists does not exist.
     "But I've never seen anything in the skies that remotely resembled what I saw Saturday night," Stewart said.
     The United Airliner was at an altitude of 14,000 feet when Stewart saw the object, much higher in the sky.  He said it also was seen by other crew members and the 50 passengers, stations at Las Vegas and Silver Lake, California, to whom the plane radioed for confirmation, and an army plane and navy plane in the vicinity.
     "We know all about jets and vapor trails and optical illusions," Wiper said.  "This thing was there."

San Francisco Call-Bulletin, June 28, 1950, p. 13
Pilot Tells of 'Saucer'

     LOS ANGELES, June 28 (INS) The five man crew of a United Airlines plane and many of the 50 passengers aboard reported today they had sighted a brilliantly lighted "flying saucer" high in the northern sky while on a flight from Denver to Los Angeles last Saturday.
     First Officer David Stewart, veteran pilot, said the strange object in the night sky was plainly visible for 10 minutes as it streaked over southern California.
     The officer said the orange and blue object was soaring at an altitude of about 80,000 feet.
     Stewart said all members of the crew saw the object, and that half of the passengers saw it.  The officer declared:
     "When we first sighted the thing, it looked like a brilliantly lighted number '3.'  Then when it appeared to be moving at a tremendous speed it changed into a dirigible like shape."
     He said a Navy plane and an Army plane in the same vicinity also reported seeing the object.

Brawley (CA) News, June 29, 1950, p. 3  (New!  Apr. 2009)
Strange Object Seen Trailing Streams of Light

Riverside (CA) Daily Press, June 28, 1950, p. 1
Pilots Reaffirm Sighting Object

     LOS ANGELES, June 28, (UP)--Two airline pilots insisted today that they saw a brilliant, blue and orange object shaped like a dirigible moving over southern Idaho [sic].
     Capt. Sam B. Wiper and First Officer David Stewart said at a news conference that the phenomenon couldn't have been an optical illusion.  They said it also was sighted by their planeload of passengers, by observers at Las Vegas, Nev., and Silver Lake, Calif., and by Air Force and Navy pilots on Monday [sic] night.
     The blazing object, which neither would identify as a flying saucer, was about 60,000 feet high and 30 miles from them, they said.  Stewart said long trails of light streamed from it.
     "Let's get this straight," Stewart said.  "I've been flying since 1937, but I've never seen anything in the skies that remotely resembled what I was the other night."
     The lights looked fluorescent, the flyers said, and seemed to flash like a theater marquee.  Passengers were asked to look, but no attempt was made to associate the sight with flying saucers.
[Brawley News] Later, Stewart said, the object assumed a new shape, perhaps because it turned, and lights streamed down from behind it, rather than above and below as before.
     "We know all about jets and vapor trails and optical illusions," Captain Wiper said.  "This thing was there."

Riverside (CA) Daily Press, June 28, 1950, p. 4
Silver Lake Pair Report Another 'Flying Saucer'

     The latest flying saucer report comes from Silver Lake airport, near Baker, in the San Bernardino County desert area.
     Two aircraft communicators, L. M. Norman, and R. E. Connor, at Silver Lake reported they watched a brilliantly-glowing object speed through the desert sky for nearly 10 minutes Saturday night before it disappeared on the western horizon.
     Their report was confirmed by crew members and 25 passengers of a United Airlines plane, and by aircraft communicators at a station in Las Vegas, Nev.  They said the object was more cigar-shaped than the previously reported pancake-shaped "saucers."
     The fiery object, which left a large luminous vapor trail, was observed not only by the two communicators at Silver Lake, but also by four pilots who had stopped at the airport for the night.

Barstow (CA) Printer-Review, June 29, 1950, p. 1 (New!  Mar. 2009)

    The latest flying saucer report comes from Silver Lake airport, near Baker, in the San Bernardino county desert area.
    Two aircraft communicators stationed at Silver Lake repored they watched a brilliantly-glowing object speed through the desert sky for nearly 10 minutes Saturday night before it disappeared on the western horizon.
     Their report was confirmed by crew members and 25 passengers of a United Airlines plane, and by aircraft communicators at a station in Las Vegas, Nev.
    David Stewart of Redondo Beach, first officer of the United plane, said the object was more cigar-shaped than the previously reported pancake-shaped "saucers."
    L. M. Norman and R. E. Connor, the two aircraft communicators at the Silver Lake airport said the object might have been a meteor.
   "We first saw it some 15 degrees above the horizon north of Silver Lake," Norman said.  "It appeared to be a big ball of fire with a large luminous vapor trail.  It was hard to tell what it might be.
    "We watched it from seven to 10 minutes.  It looked like it might have been falling, but then it swung off toward the west and disappeared."
     The fiery object was observed, not only by the two communicators at Silver Lake, but also by four pilots who had stopped at the airport for an overnight stay.
    While the Silver Lake men watched the object, their station was in contact with the United Airlines plane which also spotted it.
    Stewart, the United officer said his crew of five men all saw the object, as did the plane's passengers. He said his ship was flying at 14,000 feet and that the object flew a parallel course for 20 miles and then faded in the distance.  He estimated its speed as faster than his plane's 290 miles per hour.

San Francisco Examiner, June 26, 1950, p. 20

    FRESNO, June 25 (INS)--A mysterious "ball of fire" was reported seen in the eastern sky over California's San Joaquin Valley last night.
    Civil Aeronautics Administration authorities at Fresno said they had no explanation for the phenomenon and reported they were turning all information over to the Air Force for investigation as another episode in the "flying saucers" series.
    Deputies in a radio car in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains said the fiery spectacle which was described as having a "twisting smoke trail" was sighted about sixty miles southwest of Fresno.

Sightings Reported in Nevada (also Utah and Arizona)

Cedar City, Utah, Iron County Record, Wed., June 28, 1950, p. 1  (New! April 2009)
Residents Claim "Saucer" in Utah-Nevada Skies

Fourteen residents of Bunkerville, Nevada, a few residents of Cedar City and two veteran airline pilots have reported seeing an object, trailing streams of light in the skies over Utah and Nevada Saturday.

The Bunkerville people who said they saw the object stated that they watched it approach and vanish in the opposite direction.  They described the object as circular, trailing streams of fire or exhaust. A motorist coming up from Glendale, Nev. also reported seeing an object in the sky Saturday night.

A report from some residents in Cedar City said that a "strange" object was seen in the western sky Saturday about 9 p.m. [8 p.m. Pacific time]

In addition, two veteran airline pilots have reported seeing a "blazing, dirigible-like phenomenon trailing streams of light" in the skies over Nevada Saturday night.
The airline pilot said, "We know all about jets and vapor trails and optical illusions.  This thing was there."

Goldfield (NV) News and Beatty (NV) Bulletin, June 30, 1950, headline story

Two Local Residents Report Observing
'Mystery Flame' over Northern Skies
Believed to Have Been Caused by A Flying Saucer

     The possibility that two Beatty residents may have actually seen a flying disc was being discussed excitedly here this week.  The witnesses are W. H. (Brownie) Brown and Claude Looney.
"We were traveling up into Cherry creek on a fishing trip, about 90 miles east of Warm Springs, when we saw a strange light in the sky to the north," Brownie related.  He described it as "a spiral affair, almost like a corkscrew."
      It was apparently caused by some object flying at a tremendous altitude, the vapor trail of which "lit up the whole northern sky."
     Brownie said that he first sighted the strange light at 9:05 Saturday evening, and that he and Looney watched it for about half an hour before it disappeared.
     His story was confirmed by many persons at widely scattered points throughout the state.  Among them was Charles Cavanaugh of Tonopah, Nye county commissioner, and his family.
     Cavanaugh described the vapor pattern as an immense "reverse E," in the center of which was a darting object of unfamiliar designCavanaugh, a licensed pilot, said that it was flying too high for a conventional aircraft, estimating its altitude at between 50,000 and 75,000 feet.
    It suddenly "took off", Cavanaugh asserted, and was lost to sight.  He first noted the object at about 9:10 p.m. [PDT?] Saturday, and watched it maneuver for about 15 minutes.
     Reports from farther upstate indicate that the craft performed almost directly above Lovelock, where it was observed by several pilots at the air field there.
     At the same time, three American Airlines transport pilots reported by radio seeing "a long, glowing vapor trail in the skies over Nevada," according to United Press."
     The airline said two of the passenger planes were flying between 18,000 and 20,000 feet over Arizona and the third at the same altitude near Bryce Canyon, Colo. [sic, should be Utah], when their pilots spotted the phenomenon.
    The pilots said the vapor trail appeared to be very high, and agree that it was over south-central Nevada.
     The Lovelock witnesses reported seeing a mysterious object come out of the southern skies, dip toward the community and then zoom north, shooting out "bright red flames" and leaving a vapor trail.  It was sighted at about 9 p.m.  The report is said to have been confirmed by Paul Gardner, editor of the Lovelock Review-Miner.
     Whether the so-called flying discs are produced and manned by the United States is still a controversial matter, although it is generally believed that they are.
     The U. S. News and World Report, in an article "based on non-secret data and responsible sources," said recently that the discs are built and operated by the U. S. Navy.
     The first successful saucer was built in 1942 and made more than 100 test flights, the report stated.  Current advanced models are circular, 105 in diameter and about 10 feet thick.  They have no protruding surfaces of any kind.  They are powered by jet engines using a secret fuel.  The power is exerted through a series of jet nozzles around the saucer's rim.
     Their performance, the magazine said, is next to unbelievable.  They can stand still in the air like a helicopter, and rise almost vertically.  Their cruising speed may be as high as 600 miles an hour.  Due to the helicopter features, they do not need conventional airfields for landing or takeoff.

Los Angeles Times, June 25, p. 3
Blazing Object Seen Speeding Over Nevada

   Three pilots of American Airlines passenger planes last night reported seeing an "exceedingly bright object that seemed to leave a vapor trail."  None identified it as a "flying saucer."
    Capt. J. O. Tipton of Dallas, en route to San Francisco from Dallas, said he sighted it as he flew north of Winslow, Ariz.
    "It was extremely high," he said, "and seemed to burn out at about 18,000 feet."
    Capt. Gene Kruse of Los Angeles, flying from Chicago to Los Angeles, was over Bryce Canyon, Colo. [sic], when he spotted it.
    The third pilot, Capt. Paul Vance of Dallas, flying the same route but slightly behind Tipton, reported seeing the object near Williams, Ariz.
    Air-line officials, putting the pilot's reports together, pinpointed the bright object as having been approximately over Tonopah, Nev.

Reno Nevada State Journal, Tues., June 27, 1950, p. 7 (New!  Dec. 2008)
Airline Men See Mystery Flame in Sky

Boise Idaho Sunday Statesman, Sunday, June 25, 1950
Pilots See Glowing Vapor Trail in Sky High Over Nevada
    LOS ANGELES (UP) --- Three American Airlines transport pilots reported by radio Saturday night seeing a long, glowing vapor trail in the skies over Nevada.
    The airline said two of the passenger planes were flying between 18,000 and 20,000 feet over Arizona and the third at the same altitude near Bryce Canyon, Colo., [sic] when their pilots spotted the phenomenon.
    The pilots, Capts. J. O. Tipton, Paul Vance, and Gene Krus said the vapor trail appeared to be very high and agreed that it was over south-central Nevada.
    (Nevada State Journal) All three radioed Los Angeles International Airport to report the mysterious trail  about 9:13 p.m. (PDT).  Tipton and Vance were enroute to San Francisco from Dallas, Tex.  Krus was flying from Chicago to Los Angeles.
    Reports by American Airlines pilots coincide with those sent here from the Lovelock area Saturday night by persons who said they saw a mysterious object come out of the southern sky, dip toward the community, and then zoom north, shooting out "bright red flames" and leaving a vapor trail.

The Fallon (NV) Standard, June 28
The TENDERFOOT (column)
By R. A. Pedersen

    Well, it has happened!  The “flying saucers” have been observed in Fallon.  However, in my opinion, it wasn’t a saucer, but a “flying cigar” rocket ship.
    Mrs. R. A. Pedersen (my better half) came out of the house at 9:00 p.m. Saturday night and saw a very brilliant, intense light in the northeast sky.  She called to those in the house to see.  Before we could get outside, the light, itself, has disappeared, but it had left a distinct smoke trail in the upper atmosphere.
    The smoke trail I saw was up 25,000 to 30,000 feet and was in three distinct circles, which at that altitude could have been ten miles in diameter.  The smoke lasted for five minutes or longer before it faded into the upper air.
    To me it looked as though whatever it was that made it, had turned on full power of its rocket motor in order to gain speed and, when the speed was achieved, it cut full power and then cruised.  According to my wife, the blast lasted only about a minute or so, and traveled at an unbelievable speed in making the spirals.
    According to the Sunday Journal [Nevada State Journal], the same thing was observed at Lovelock by several people at their airport.  The time given was the same and the location identical.
    There is something behind all this “flying saucer” thing.  In this months Reader’s Digest the Air Force and the Navy finally admit that there ARE such things.  Not only are there “saucers”, but also flying “cigars”, rockets that are manned with pilots.

Lovelock (NV) Review-Miner, June 29, 1950, p. 1
Ten Pilots See Flying Saucer Saturday Night

     Ten experienced pilots at the Robert Aircraft Corp. field 2 miles east of Lovelock saw a FLYING SAUCER at 9:10 p.m. Saturday--and no fooling!
     They agreed on the following description, It was thousands of feet high.  It threw out a red flame.  It dipped down then went straight up at terrific speed.  It left a vapor trail behind.  They could not tell its shape for the flame and night time.
      The CAA station at Derby Field was called to confirm the vapor trails.
     The pilots have been doing spraying and dusting work in Lovelock Valley or getting ready to take off for Oregon where they will spray 162,000 acres of spruce forest against the spruce bud worm.

Reno Nevada State Journal, Sunday, June 25, 1950
Lovelock Fliers See Mystery Object; Maybe It's a Saucer!

     Residents of the Lovelock area last night said they saw something that they claim might have been a flying saucer--with flames.
     They reported sighting a mysterious object that came out of the southern sky at 9:00 p.m., dipped momentarily toward the community, and then zoomed north, shooting out bright red flames and leaving a vapor trail that could be seen for more than 20 minutes.
     According to Paul Gardiner, editor of the Lovelock Review-Miner, the first word of the phenomenon was received from a group of experienced pilots at the Lovelock flying field.
     He said that the entire crew of more than 30 fliers witnessed the event, saying that the flying object had no visible or describable shape, possibly because of the partly cloudy skies at the time and more so because of the intense brightness of the exhaust flames.
     The pilots report was confirmed by attendants at the Civil Aeronautics tower at Derby field 11 miles from Lovelock, who said that the vapor trail was definitely made by a mechanical, flying object.
     The pilots, none of whom cared to be identified, according to Mr. Gardner, were getting ready to fly to Oregon where they are to dust and spray fields from the air to eradicate the spreading spruce bud worm in the southwestern part of the state.  They are all employees of the Roberts Aircraft Corp. at Lovelock.
     The Lovelock editor said the fliers reported the missile streaked the air at a "terrific rate of speed" and was apparently flying at a very high altitude.

Reno Nevada State Journal, Wed., June 28, 1950, p. 1  (New!  Dec. 2008)
Something Went Over Nevada Saturday Night

    More and more proof keeps coming in to back up the report that there was something strange over this part of Nevada late Saturday night.
    It appears now that it was far different from the ordinary report of flying saucers. It was seen by a group of fliers at Lovelock, as reported in the Sunday Nevada State Journal.  It was seen by several people in Reno, who reported the fact too late to make the Sunday edition.
    Yesterday United Press carried another account of the phenomenon dated from Los Angeles and quoting two veteran airline pilots saying the object was a blazing, dirigible-like phenomenon trailing streams of light in the skies over Nevada.
   Neither First Officer David Stewart, who's been flying for 13 years, nor Capt. Sam B. Wiper identified the object as a flying saucer, which the Air Force insists does not exist.
    "I've never seen anything in the skies that remotely resembled what I saw Saturday night," Stewart said.
    The United Airliner was at an altitude of 14,000 feet when Stewart saw the object, much higher in the sky.  He said it also was seen by other crew members and the 50 passengers, stations at Las Vegas and Silver Lake, Calif., to whom the plane radioed for confirmation, and an Army plane and Navy plane in the vicinity.
    "We know all about jets and vapor trails and optical illusions," Wiper said.  "This thing was here."
   A Reno family, who did not want to be quoted by name, said they were traveling along the highway near Fernley when they sighted the object about 10 p.m.  They discounted the guess that it was a meteor when the trail of light it left formed a figure "3."  They said the trail was luminous and faded into an orange color before disappearing.

Ely (NV) Daily Times, Mon, June 26, 1950, p. 1
Eastern Nevadans See 'Phenomena'

Reno Evening Gazette, June 28, 1950, p. 11
Ely Residents See Sky Smoke

     ELY, June 28--Hundreds of residents of this section of Nevada observed a phenomena in the sky early Saturday night which has been variously described as a vapor trail, smoke from a falling airplane, or perhaps the trail of a flying saucer--the latter more or less humorously.
     The huge spiral of "smoke" was observed by residents throughout the district, and also in Pioche and other areas.  From the Ely district it was seen almost due west, and local residents surmised that it was probably as far distant as south of Austin.
     Al Bryer, Isbell engineer, observed the vapor or smoke, from the Bristol Silver mine near Pioche, and said here today that from that angle it appeared as a huge "figure three" in the sky.
     It was first seen about 8:45 p.m. Saturday, and had dissipated in about a half hour.  In Ely it was reported that the shape of the phenomena changed from a spiral shape to that of a disc before disappearing.
    As far as is known here, no planes are reported missing.

June 24, 1950, Central and Western California Fireballs

Bakersfield Press, Sun., June 25, 1950, pg. 1  (New!  Feb. 2009)
Orange Fire ‘Flash’ Seen

MODESTO, June 24 (U.P.)—Six persons called a radio station tonight to report they saw a “burst of orange fire” shoot across the sky at 8:49 p.m.

The KTVR news bureau said all observers described the “flame” as shaped like a ball and orange in color.  All agreed it was traveling from north to south at a great rate of speed and that the flame was high in the sky.

Hanford (CA) Morning Journal, Tues., June 27, 1950, p. 3 (New! April 2009)
Modesto Residents See Orange Ball of Fire

Sacramento Bee, Mon., June 26, 1950, p. 23
Six Report Seeing Burst Of Orange Fire Over Modesto

    MODESTO, June 26.--(UP)--Six persons called a radio station Saturday night to report seeing a "burst of orange fire" in the skies over Modesto and two others said they saw the same thing Friday night.
    Four called before radio station KTVR broadcast an account of the phenomenon.  Two others called in after the broadcast to report they had also seen it.  [Hanford Morning Journal]  Two other calls came from persons who claimed they saw it the night before.
    The radio station said all described the flame as shaped like a ball and orange in color.  It was traveling from north to south at a great rate of speed.
   Eugene Utter of Sacramento, the only one of the eight willing to give his name, said he saw the flame while driving from Sacramento to Los Angeles on US Highway 99 near Modesto.
    Three air force soldiers at Hamilton Air Force Base last week claimed they saw a flame streak through the skies near San Rafael.

Fresno Bee, Sun., Sun., June 25, 1950
Meteor Fall Spreads Plane Crash Alarm

    Reports of a bright, smoke trailing object, believed to be a meteor, in the northern sky at 9:05 o'clock last night were widespread over the San Joaquin Valley.
    Observers who first reported it declared they believed it to be a falling airplane but the Civil Aeronautics Authority said it had been seen as far north as the San Francisco Bay area.
    This, the CAA men said, would eliminate the possibility of its having been an airplane.
    The first report was received from Jess Moodey, who said he was standing on the porch of his home at Centerville when he saw the object.  An unidentified observer who said he was 15 miles south of Fresno called the CAA, saying the object appeared to be over Fresno.
    California Highway Patrol officers said from their viewpoint it appeared to be over Tollhouse.  It also was reported by Castle Field Air force Base at Merced.

Modesto Bee, Mon., Mon., June 26, 1950
Bright, Smoke Trailing Object Is Reported Seen by Modestans

    Many San Joaquin Valley residents, including a number of Modestans, reported a bright, smoke trailing object, believed to be a meteor, in the northern sky Saturday night.
    The Civil Aeronautics Authority office in Fresno said observers first thought the object was an airplane on fire.  They said the fact it was seen as far north as the bay area eliminated the possibility of it having been a plane.
    Men at Castle Air force Base also reported the phenomenon.

San Jose  Mercury-News, Sun., June 25, 1950, p. 1
'Ball of Fire' Seen Over S.J.

   A "ball of fire" in the sky above San Jose--whizzing south and making a loud roaring sound--was reported by two San Joseans last night.
    Shortly before two San Jose men telephoned San Jose Mercury-News at 11:15 p.m., four persons in Modesto reported seeing "a ball of flame speed across the sky, going at a tremendous rate of speed."
    Dick Small, 625 S. 11th St., reported sighting the strange object from his front yard.  A resident of Guadalupe Parkway also reported observing the phenomena "heading south and making enough noise for 20 bombers."
    Moffett Field [northern San Jose] and other Bay Area military air installations had no comment on the report.

The Wasco (CA) News, Thurs., June 29, 1950, p.1 (New!  Feb. 2009)
Two Flying Saucers Seen Over Wasco Sunday Morning

There was more than rumors in the air early Sunday morning [June 25] according to Justice of the Peace Don Bennett.

Two flying saucers were spotted directly over Wasco by Judge Bennett at exactly 1:15 a.m. and he said he was able to keep them in sight for approximately seven or eight seconds before they disappeared with incredible swiftness towards Bakersfield.

The first, giving off a soft red glow, continued in straight line of flight while the companion saucer described as giving off a soft yellow glow, went through a series of acrobatics around the larger ship.

Judge Bennett was emphatic in saying that there was no exhaust flames or blinking lights mandatory for conventional aircraft.

The larger of the two machines looked to be as large as a full moon and was round in appearance while the other was about one-fourth as large.  During the maneuvers, the smaller one seemed to be elliptical in shape from the side, the judge said.

Judge Bennett had attended the ball game Saturday and had returned to his home about midnight.  While reading he evening paper, he heard a loud roar which was described as being “half-locomotive and half-airplane.”  He rushed from the house and discovered the two objects almost directly overhead.

The smaller of the two went through acrobatics which, the judge said, would be impossible for a conventional airplane.  The red and yellow glow did not seem to come from a window or opening on the objects, but seemed to emanate from the whole ship.

Although nobody else seems to have glimpsed the nocturnal visitors, at least four other persons told the judge that they heard the noise.

Boyce W. Webb, Mrs. George Jones, and V. M. Hamlin of Shafter all confirmed Judge Bennett’s description of the roar.  Mrs. Bob Pervis told the News that she had been awakened by a sound something like a streamliner, but with a slightly different timbre to it.


The following UFO report came from Yuma, Arizona on the afternoon of June 24, several hours before the main event.  Yuma is about 350 miles from where the object was first seen in southern California/Nevada.

Yuma Daily Sun, June 26, 1950, p. 1

Reports of Flying Saucers Are Back In Yuma Area

Keep an eye on the sky because they are back.

Yep, Mrs. Ray Dehn (sp?) of Yuma says she saw a flying saucer Saturday afternoon while driving home from work at the Yuma General Hospital.

A short time ago, when many local folks saw what they believed to be flying saucers, Mrs. Dehn watched (?) out.  She said she had been looking ever since then and really believes she saw one Saturday.  Until that time, she said she actually didn’t believe they existed.

She saw it about over Telegraph Farm (?) east of Yuma and described it as a long, silvery-white object resembling an airplane wing.  It was travelling north and soon disappeared from sight, Mrs. Dehn said.

The following regional newspapers were also reviewed, but carried no stories or provided no further information.  Unless otherwise noted, all were small weekly newspapers. 

Nevada Newspapers:
Austin Reese River Reveille
Battle Mountain Scout (Did carry UP story of United Airline pilot sighting)
Boulder City News
Caliente Herald
Carson City Chronicle
Carson City Nevada Appeal (Daily) (Carried UP UA pilot sighting)
Elko Daily Free Press
Elko Independent
Ely Record
Eureka Sentinel
Fallon Eagle
Gardnerville Record-Courier
Goldfield News
Hawthorne Mineral County Independent
Las Vegas Morning Sun (was LV Free Press thru June 30, 1950)--Daily
Pioche Record
Sparks Tribune (Biweekly)
Tonopah Times-Bonanza
Virginia City News
Virginia City Territorial-Enterprise
Wells Progress
Winnemucca Humboldt Star -- Daily (Also carried UP story)
Yerington Mason Valley News

California Newspapers:
Alturas Plain-Dealer & Modoc County Times
Antelope Valley Press (Palmdale/Lancaster)
Bakersfield Californian (Daily)
Bakersfield Press -- Daily (Reported nearby Shafter June 21 sighting)
Bridgeport Chronicle-Union
Colusa Sun-Herald
Crescent City Del Norte Triplicate
Dinuba Sentinel (biweekly)
Downieville Mountain Messenger
Edwards AFB Desert Wings
Eureka Humboldt Times
Grass Valley-Nevada City Union
Hollister Daily Free-Lance
Inyo County Register (Bishop)
Inyo Independent
Lakeport Lake County News
Mojave Desert News
Mojave Record
Needles Star
Placerville Mountain-Democrat
Red Bluff Daily News
Redding Record-Searchlight & Courier Free Press (Daily)
San Andreas Calaveras Prospect
Shafter Press (Carried local flying saucer sighting from June 21)
Stockton Record (Daily)
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Tehachapi News
Terra Bella News
Victorville Victor Press
Weekly Trinity Journal (Weaverville )
Willows Daily Journal & Glenn Transcript

Utah Newspapers:
Salt Lake Deseret News (Daily)
St. George Washington County News

June 23, 1950 Fireball Event, Southern U.S.

(Note:  Portions in italics are parts edited out of some newspapers)

Dallas Morning News, June 24, 1950, p.1
From Alabama To Texas
White Streak in Sky Prompts Many Calls

     A brilliant white streak which had the appearance of a high-flying airplane's vapor trail was seen in the sky from Alabama to Texas during a 30-minute period Friday night [June 23].
    The streak, moving westward, was seen between 7:30 and 8 p.m. shortly after sunset.
    Persons in Dallas, Fort Worth, Abilene, New Orleans, Houston, Beaumont, and Montgomery, Ala. called newspapers, weather bureaus and air field towers for an explanation.
    Some observers said they saw a "great ball of fire" that disappeared after a few seconds leaving a white smoke or vapor trail.
   Others said they saw only they vapor trail drifting steadily westward across the sky.
    What they saw was not definitely known, but hints of an explanation came from several sources, including a jet pilot in El Paso and a spokesman at the Harvard Observatory.
    Lt. James Bryant of Roswell, N.M., said he flew a jet plane to Biggs Air Base at El Paso from Langley Field, Va.  He landed in El Paso at 8:12 p.m.  Bryant said he didn't think his plane left a vapor trail, bit if it did the setting sun's rays reflecting on the vapor and the plane could have given the illusion of fire.
    The Harvard spokesman said the descriptions sounded "like a very spectacular fireball."  He said the trail of glowing vapor fitted descriptions of meteors.  They can frequently be seen from several states at once, he said.
    The Dallas News city desk received its first call about the object at 7:35 p.m.
    "Look out your northwest window and tell me what the streak is," a woman said.  Editors and reporters left their desks to watch.
    A few minutes later another woman called to ask if an airplane had exploded over Dallas.  She said she had seen a bright fiery flash, then a trail of smoke.
    Operators in the control tower at Love Field said the object appeared to be a plane, leaving a vapor trail.
    E. N. Brewer of Dallas, president of the Texas Astronomical Society, said he saw the streak.
    "I saw a vapor trail from an airplane," he said.  "If people in New Orleans and Alabama saw something in the sky, it was just a coincidence."
    Brewer said a troop of Girl Scouts was in his back yard looking through his telescope at the time, but the streak was in a part of the sky hidden from the telescope by his house.
    Varied descriptions of the object were given to Associated Press and United Press writers over the South.
    In Jackson, Miss., City Fireman Bert Kyzar said, "It looked like a grapefruit and was spouting fire like a roman candle, and was followed by a white vapor trail.  It made a loop and then a white light came on."
    The weather observer at Moisant  International Airport in New Orleans, La., said there were theories there that it was the tail-end of a comet or the vapor trail of a high-flying aircraft.
    The observer said, "It started out like a shooting star, a blue flash, and a vapor trail appeared about five or six minutes later."
    Reports from Fort Worth said the vapor trail of a B-36 flying over the setting sun turned a spectacular gold color.
    A. E. Aime, United States weather forecaster at New Orleans, saw the object.  He said it appeared, with tremendous brilliance, in the western sky at 7:40 p.m.
    "It was more brilliant than any meteor I have ever seen," Aime said.  "It burned out in two or three seconds.  It left a long, white smoke or vapor trail, which is something else I have never seen a meteor do.
    "The way the trail gleamed white in the sky, I would say that the object must have been very high up, high enough for the sun's rays to catch the trail and illuminate it."
   The Beaumont Enterprise reported the object hurtled "directly over our newspaper building."  Hundreds of people in Beaumont said they saw a ball-shaped object shooting flames out of its side and back.
    The airport control tower at Houston said Civil Aeronautics Authority stations reported the object had been sighted at Shreveport and New Iberia, La., and Liberty, Texas.  Weathermen in Houston first sighted it at 7:35 p.m.
   "The vapor trail seemed to linger in the air longer than usual," said Cecil Jones in the Houston control tower.  "It looked like a comet."

San Francisco Call-Bulletin, June 24, p.2
'Ball of Fire' in Sky Startles Thousands

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 24, p. 3A
Fire Ball Seen in Southern Sky Credited to Sun, Jet or Meteor

    DALLAS, Tex., June 24 (AP) A ball of fire flashed across the southern sky as the sun sank last night, trailing a streamer of flame and startling thousands.
    Or did it?  Was it just a speeding plane with the sun's last red and gold rays playing tricks with its vapor trail?  Was it a real ball of fire, a meteor?  Or was it--could it have been, a flying saucer?
    What direction did it travel?  Take your choice?  East to west, or south to east.
    And where did it land?  If it was a jet plane, at El Paso, Tex.; if a meteor, perhaps in the swamps of Louisiana.
    Or maybe there was  meteor as well as a jet.
    Here are the known facts:  A brilliant light, variously described as fire ball and a fiery streak, was seen from Montgomery, Ala., to Fort Worth, Tex., at about 7:40 p.m.  A ship 350 miles at sea from Galveston, Tex., saw it.  A similar flash was seen an hour earlier at Natchez, Miss., and about 20 minutes later at Abilene, Tex.  During this period a jet plane was whizzing over the south on a course form Langley Field, Va., to El Paso.
    Nevertheless, a Fort Worth amateur astronomer, Oscar Monnig, said he made telephone checks of the fire ball's trajectory at Monroe and Lake Charles, Las., and at Houston, Tex.  All these, he said indicated that the phenomenon was traveling southeast.  Most reports said it was moving west.
    Because a Lake Charles radioman sighted the object directly overhead, Monnig assumed the meteor "fell somewhere in the swampy coastal country south of Lake Charles."
    The weather bureau at Moisant International Airport in New Orleans said there were theories that the fireball was either the tail end of a comet or the vapor trail of a high flying aircraft.
    At Abilene, a CAA communicator talked to the westward speeding jet at the same time a brilliant light flared there.  He suggested it probably was the sun's reflection on the plane.
   Dr. David V. Guthrie, director of the Louisiana State University astronomical observatory was sure it was a meteor.
    Take your choice.

San Diego Union, June 24, p. 1
Fire Balls In Air Cause Jet Puzzle

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 24, p. 5
FireBalls Seen In Sky--Ala. To Tex.

    EL PASO, Tex., June 23 (AP)--People from Montgomery, Ala., to Abilene, Tex., excitedly reported seeing fire balls in the sky tonight--but the pilot whose jet plane might have caused the weird lights said he was completely in the dark about the phenomena.
    There was no way to be sure the plane had anything to do with what many people saw, but the popular explanation seemed to be that the setting sun's reflection on trailing vapor played a colorful trick on the fancies of spectators.
    Lt. James Bryant of Roswell, N.M., said he flew to Biggs Air Force base here from Langley Field, Va., where he is stationed.  At no time, said Bryant, did he see anything unusual as he zipped along at 40,000 feet.
    Bryant said he didn't think his plane left a vapor trail, but if it did the setting sun's rays reflecting on the vapor and the plane could have given the illusion of fire.
    But this left the question:  How could folks in Montgomery have seen the reflection at the same time as those in Dallas?  Between those cities, all the reports of fiery phenomena came at about the same time, 7:40 p.m.

New York Times, June 24, p. 30
'Ball of Fire' in the Sky is Linked to Jet Flight

By The Associated Press
    EL PASO, Tex., June 23--A jet plane landed here tonight after persons from Montgomery, Ala., to Abilene, Tex., had excitedly reported seeing a great ball of fire in the sky.
    Officers at Biggs Air Force Base here said the plane flew from Lafayette, La., at 35,000 feet.  After this announcement secrecy was imposed.
   The "fire in the sky" apparently was most spectacular over Louisiana's Gulf Coast region.  Some thought they were seeing a meteor.  Others thought it was the reflection of the sun's last red and gold rays on a vapor trail.  But there were elements of doubts in both beliefs.
    The Galveston Weather Bureau reported that ship 350 miles at sea had reported the flash.
    In New Orleans, Weather Forecaster E. A. Aime reported what "looked like a meteor."

San Francisco News, June 24, p. 1
Ball of Fire Lights Southern Sky
Residents of Four States Watch Spectacle

Los Angeles Times, June 24, p. 1
Ball of Fire Lights Sky in Four States

By United Press
    NEW ORLEANS, June 24--A great ball of fire visible to thousands of persons in four states glowed briefly high in the southern sky last night and then dissolved into a curving trail of shining vapor.
    The fiery body was seen in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and by a plane flying 300 miles southward in the Gulf of Mexico.  Weather bureau and civil aeronautics authority officials said it glowed with extreme brilliance at tremendous height.
    Harvard observatory said descriptions sounded like those of large meteors, commonly called "fireballs," which frequently can be seen from several states at once, and which form relics for museums if found after striking earth.
    The spectacle was seen at about the same time, just after dusk, by Weather Bureau officials at Dallas and Fort Worth, Tex., and New Orleans, and by CAA and military base personal at other points.
   Hundreds of persons in dozens of cities across a 750-mile area swamped newspapers and various public officials with inquiries.
     R. M. Kiser, senior CAA traffic controller here, said the gleaming object must have been 100,000 feet high in the cloudless sky.
    At Beaumont, Tex., hundreds of witnesses said they saw a ball-shaped object streak across the city, shooting flames out of its side and back.  None heard any sound.
    Cecil Jones at the airport control tower at Houston said the object left a phosphorescent vapor trail and "looked something like a comet."
    In Jackson, Miss., city fireman Bert Kyzar said the object " looked like a grapefruit and was spouting fire like a roman candle and was followed by a white vapor trail."  He said it "made a loop."

Riverside (CA) Daily Press, June 24, p.2
Ball of Fire Puzzles Observers in South

Nevada State Journal (Reno), June 24, p. 1
Big Fire Ball Blazes Over Southern Sky

    NEW ORLEANS, June 23. (U.P.)--A great ball of fire visible for 500 miles burned for a few seconds high in the southern sky tonight and then glimmered out, leaving a curving trail of glowing vapor.
    R. M. Kiser, senior air traffic controller of the Civil Aeronautics Administration here, said the gleaming object was seen from Tuscaloosa, Ala., Houston, Tex., and a plane 250 miles southward over the Gulf of Mexico.
    In Jackson, Miss., city fireman Bert Kyzar said:
    "It looked like a grapefruit and was spouting fire like a roman candle and was followed by a white vapor trail. It made a loop and then a white light came on."
     A. E. Amie, a U. S. weather forecaster here, said he saw an object of "tremendous brilliance" in the western sky at 7:40 p.m.
   "It was more brilliant than any meteor I have ever seen," Aime said.  "It burned out in two or three seconds," he said.  "It left a long, white smoke or vapor trail, which is something else I have never seen a meteor do."
Up Very High
    "The way the trail gleamed white in the sky, I would say that the object must have been very high up--high enough for the sun's rays to catch the trail and illuminate it.
    "I never saw anything like it before, and I can't say what it is, how high it was, or how fast it was moving. It just looked like a great ball of fire."
   Kiser said the fiery body must have been as high as "100,000 feet to have been seen over such a long distance." He said the CAA instructed all its stations to submit reports.
    The Lake Charles, La., CAA station described the object as "immediately overhead."  At Houston, it was sighted to the northeast.  To other cities it appeared westward.
    That indicated a location close to Lake Charles, in southwest Louisiana.
White Light Appears
    The Jackson fireman said the object "made a hook or a loop and then a white light came on.
    "It dove down and back and then the light went out and then there was white stream of vapor about a foot wide and 50 yards long.
    "It appeared to be going about 50 to 75 miles an hour.  The light was white like an old-type lightbulb."
    The object also was spotted by the airport control tower at Jackson, Miss., and by several residents.  The airport said it definitely was not a jet plane.  The airport received reports that the object also was sighted from McComb, Miss., and Monroe, La.

June 24, 1950 Cal/Nev UFO Newspaper Accounts
This page was last updated: December 10, 2011

February 1, 1950, Tucson, Arizona, Giant Smoketrail

Note:  Text in italics in following story was quoted by Donald Keyhoe in his 1950  book "The Flying Saucers Are Real"  Other italic text represents material in some wire service stories found in some newspapers but not others.

Tucson Daily Citzen, Feb. 2, 1950, headline story


Meteor Ruled Out by Expert At University

Flying saucer?  Secret experimental plane?  Or perhaps a scout craft from Mars?  Certainly the strange aircraft that blazed a smoke trail over Tucson at dusk last night defies logical explanation.  It was as mystifying to experienced pilots as to groundlings who have trouble identifying conventional planes.

I saw the menacing streamer of smoke.  Never have I seen anything like last night’s display.  For a brief second many Tucsonians thought perhaps a practicing skywriter was racing home to a late dinner.  But if that was the explanation he was certainly wasting smoke—the hour was late for aerial advertising and the streak of smoke ran across the sky from west to east straight as the white line down the center of a highway.

At 30,000 Feet

Cannonballing through the sky some 30,000 feet aloft was a fiery object shooting westward so fast it was impossible to gain any clear impression of it shape or size.  At that altitude it easily could have been a conventional plane, or it could have been a flying saucer or some other unknown and fearsome object.

At what must have been top speed the object spewed out light colored smoke, but almost directly over Tucson it appeared to hover for a few seconds.  The smoke puffed out an angry black and then became lighter as the strange missile appeared to gain speed and shoot westward.

The radio operator in the Davis-Monthan air force base control tower didn’t know what it was.  He contacted First Lt. Roy L. Jones Jr., taking off for a cross-country flight in a B-29, and asked Jones to investigate. They feared the object might be an airplane with a smoking engine that the pilot had not seen.  But Jones revved up his swift aerial tanker and still the unknown aircraft steadily pulled away toward California.

Just What Was It?

Was this the trail of a lone pilot practicing for a bombing mission?  Or was it a photographic plne streaking across Arizona for pictures of our air force installation in a lone man sally?

Speculation on the object was rife in Tucson today.  No one—specialists, scientific experts or laymen—could offer an acceptable explanation.  But a few facts emerged.

Dr. Edwin F. Carpenter, head of the University of Arizona department of astronomy, said no one at Steward observatory saw the object because none of the staff was viewing the sky at the time.  However, he was certain of one thing.

He was certain that the object was not a meteor or other natural phenomena.

Couched in the usual careful language of scientists, Dr. Carpenter said he was “inclined to doubt that it was a meteor because of the object’s heavy discharge of smoke.  A meteor rarely leaves a visible trail and when it does, it leaves only a very light trail.”

W. M. McLean, supervising agent for Civil Aeronautics Administration here and other aircraft experts at the municipal airport thought perhaps the object was a B-36 bomber flying with experimental equipment.  This explanation was natural enough coming from men whose work is with the conventional aircraft of today.  But it hardly seemed to fit the visitation that aroused hundreds of Tucsonians last night.

Switchboards Swamped

Switchboards at the Pima county sheriff’s office and Tucson police station were jammed with inquiries.  Hundreds saw it. No one knew what it was.  And with a single exception no one heard a sound from the fiery object.  A Citizen reporter said she heard a “hum, not like a motor but that’s what it reminded me of.”

Tom Bailey, 1411 E. 10th St., saw the object.  He thought it was a large airplane on fire. He said it wavered from left to right as it passed over the mountains.

Bailey also noticed that the craft appeared to slow perceptibly over Tucson. He said the smoke it emitted apparently started billowing out a considerable distance from the tail, or rear end of the object—apparently coming out in a thin, almost invisible stream and gaining substance within a few seconds.

Capt.. Roy G. Robinson, acting chief of police, was in his yard at 1315 E. Sixth St. to pick up his evening paper when he spotted the smoke tail.  He though perhaps it was a skywriter, but decided it was just too late in the evening—just about dusk—for such advertising.

Despite the hundreds of witnesses, there was little actual explanation on which to peg a clear picture of the event.  This what most witnesses agreed they saw:

A fiery object at very high altitude streaked across the city.  Behind it spread a thick streamer of smoke.  Out of the night east of Tucson the smoke disintegrated and fanned outward into a broad band.

Photo caption:  LOSING RACE with a strange object that flew over Tucson early last night was flown by First Lt. Roy L. Jones Jr., above.  Jones was taking off from Davis-Monthan air force base in a B-29, but was unable to overhaul a speeding object that sped across the sky leaving a wide trail of smoke.

Reno Evening Gazette, Feb. 2, 1950, p.1
Mystery Craft Streaks Across Arizona Sky

Redding (CA) Record-Searchlight, Feb. 2, 1950, p.1
Mystery Object in Sky Sighted at Tucson

San Francisco Examiner, Feb. 3, 1950, p.2
New Mystery In Skies
Object Trailing Smoke Flashes Over Tucson

Chico (CA) Enterprise-Record, Feb. 2, 1950, p.3
Noiseless Flying Object at Tucson Remains Mystery

New! 2011 Prescott (AZ) Evening Courier, Feb. 2, 1950, p.1 (at Google News)
Mystery Object Flashes Over Tucson At Twilight

New! 2011 Salt Lake Deseret News, Feb. 2, 1950, p.1 (at Google News)
Mysterious Air Object Sighted Over Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 2 (AP)—An object which flashed noiselessly over Tucson at an estimated 30,000-foot altitude remained a mystery today.

Thousands witnessed the long black plume of smoke that trailed over the city about 6:30 p.m. yesterday, but no one had the answer on its cause.

Sighted by the control tower operator at Davis-Monthan air force base, the object was first believed a plane with engines afire.

First Lt. Roy L. Jones, Jr., of the second air force refueling squadron, piloting a B-29 bomber, was instructed to attempt to intercept.

“Whatever it was, it was going too fast for me to catch,” radioed Jones.

The object had zoomed out of the east across Tucson Municipal Airport and quickly disappeared behind a range of mountains to the west, leaving its funnel shaped trail of black smoke hanging in the sky.

Theories that it was a meteor or a stray rocket already have been blasted.

Dr. Edwin F. Carpenter of the observatory at the University of Arizona here said a meteor would not leave a vapor trail.

“A meteor trail is usually invisible,” he said.

A spokesman at the White Sands proving ground in New Mexico said the object could not have been a rocket fired from there.  He said there was no firing yesterday.

The object was sighted while the evening sky was still light.

The sheriff’s office switchboard was jammed with calls from wondering residents seeking an explanation.  The same was true at the Tucson police station.

“So far we have no explanation,” a deputy sheriff kept repeating.

[Reno Gazette] A deputy had reported the object flashed across the sky at Ajo, Ariz., 120 miles to the west, then quickly vanished.

[Reno Gazette, Prescott Evening Courier] A teletype check by the CAA from El Paso to San Diego failed to determine if a plane left or landed at either field.  [Reno Gazette only] No trace of a plane has been found, the CAA reported.

One theory advanced was that a plane was testing a new type of smoke equipment.  No substantiating evidence to support this theory has been found.

Marysville-Yuba City (CA) Appeal-Democrat, Feb. 2, 1950, p. 6
Strange Aircraft Mystifies Tucson

Berkeley (CA) Daily Gazette, Feb. 2, 1950, p. 3
What Was It?  New Mysterious Flying Object Over Tucson

Nevada State Journal (Reno), Feb. 3, 1950, p.1
Mystery Plane Sighted in Tucson

New! 2011 Bend (OR) Bulletin, Feb. 2, 1950, p.1 (at Google News)
New Mystery Object in Sky

New! 2011 Modesto (CA) Bee, Feb. 2, 1950, p.13 (at Google News)
Mystery Object Flashes Across Sky In Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 2 (U.P.)—Hundreds of Tucson residents asked today, "what was it?"

They were referring to an object that streaked across the sky last night leaving a black trail of smoke in its wake.

The pilot of a Davis-Monthan Air Force Base B-29, who probably got closer to the object than anyone, said he had no idea what it was but discounted the possibility it might have been a flying saucer.

"It's going too fast for me to catch," the unidentified pilot radioed.  He said later he believed it might have been a new jet plane flying at high altitude.

The object prompted hundreds of Tucson residents to flood the Civil Aeronautics Authority, the sheriff's office and other agencies with inquiries.

Andy Ross, a CAA official at Municipal Airport, wouldn't say positively the object was a plane.  He said it first appeared in the eastern sky, flashed over the city and disappeared behind a mountain range in the west.  At one time, Ross said, the "thing zipped" through a 30,000 foot cloud.

[Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Bend Bulletin, Modesto Bee]  The object startled a deputy sheriff in Ajo, far to the west, who said it disappeared over the desert, still leaving a black trail.

Tucson Daily Citizen, Feb. 3, 1950, p. 1

What’d You Mean Only Vapor Trail

As though to prove itself blameless for tilting hundreds of Tucson heads skyward and causing more pubic discussion than any single event of recent months, the U. S. air force yesterday afternoon spent hours etching vapor trails through the skies over the city.

The demonstration proved conclusively to the satisfaction of most that the strange path of dark smoke blazed across the evening sky at dusk Wednesday was no vapor trail and did not emanate from any conventional airplane.

Vapor trails observed yesterday afternoon were thin, puny strings of agitated air looping across the sky in the familiar pattern.  The Wednesday night spectacle was entirely dissimilar.  Then, heavy smoke boiled and swirled in a broad, dark ribbon fanning out at least a mile in width and stretching across the sky in a straight line.

In comparison the two displays were as little alike as a regimental battle flag compared to flimsy bunting after rain has ruined a Fourth of July picnic.

However, since there was absolutely no proof as to what caused the strange predark manifestation and because even the most expert witnesses were unable to satisfactorily explain the appearance, the matter remained a subject for interesting speculation.

Sky Mystery?  Tucson People Differ Widely

After giving Tucsonians a good 24 hours to weigh and consider the matter, your roving reporter set out last night to find out what the man on the street thought of the speedy, smoky object which leaped across the sky over the Old Pueblo at dusk Wednesday evening.  A surprisingly large number of persons saw the unconfirmed high flyer, subject of much excitement and speculation throughout Tucson yesterday and today.  All who saw it observed a black trail of smoke left by the object, which moved too fast to be seen.

What Did You Think?

Here is a cross-section report from Tucsonians who saw the strange trail left by the brief visitor and answered the query, “What did you think it was?”—

Burt Newmark, 4044 E. Whitman St., former air force pilot, salesman for Remington-Rand:

“It looked to me like a condensation trail, such as the type caused by a large plane flying at a high altitude.  It was probably moisture from the plane’s exhaust condensing in the air.

“As I saw it from my car, driving eastward on Broadway, I thought it was a perfect example of the inadequacy of our aerial defenses.  My thoughts were borne out when the air force and CAA were unable to give a good explanation of the object yesterday.”

Buster Durazzo, 516 S. Stone ave., service station owner:
Jet Plane Perhaps
“I thought it was a jet plane, but it seemed much too fast.  Still, I don’t know what else it could have been.

“I was really surprised to see such a dark, clear smoke trail at such a late hour in the day.

“The object, whatever it was, ripped across the sky very quickly and disappeared suddenly about 100 feet over the Tucson mountains.  It definitely didn’t drop a smoke trail down and behind the mountains.

“I saw the object as I was driving to work northward on Stone.”

Grace Bautista, 500 N. Stone ave., cashier at Martin’s drugstore No.
Called Children To See It
“I was inside when the object passed overhead, but my mother and father were sitting on our front porch and when they saw it, they got excited and called their six children outside to see the dark smoke trail it left.

“By the time I saw it, I thought it was just a very huge cloud rare and different, very bright and distinguished.

“My five brothers and sisters and I didn’t get very excited about it because we didn’t see it.  However, mother and father were confused because it moved so awfully fast—they were excited for quite a while.”

Gene Brasel, 2615 S. Sixth ave., street photographer
Perhaps Tornado Sign
“When I saw it from my car driving westward on Broadway, I honestly thought it was a tornado.  After all, it gets awfully hot here.

“I couldn’t take my eyes off of it and I slammed on my brakes thinking maybe to jump out and run for a cellar before it hit.

“As I shouted, ‘Look at that!’ my girl in the seat next to me was shouting, ‘Look out for that truck!’  What confusion!

“It really did look like a tornado, though now, I guess it must have been a cloud formation.  I’ve seen them like that before.”

Sam Marler, 3716 Monte Vista, cab driver for Tanner Motor Co.:
“I thought it was a jet plane, but going awfully fast.  I saw it go down over the Tucson mountains—at least 700 miles an hour.  It didn’t leave vapor behind.  It was definitely smoke.

“It didn’t seem like 30 seconds that it was in the sky.  Then it spiraled down over the mountains out of sight.

“I really thought it was a jet, but jeepers, it was going so fast I couldn’t see it—just the dark smoke it left behind.”

Reno Evening Gazette, Feb. 4, 1950, p.1
Arizona Sky Mystery Object Believed Plane by Aviators

TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 3 (AP)—The mysterious object that streaked across the Tucson skies yesterday is now believed to have been an airplane.

Air Force Capts. Floyd Slipp and Robert McGinnis, who chased the strange apparition in a B-29, said they feel that is the only possible explanation of the event.

A fast plane leaving a vapor trail could have created the illusion of a strange type craft hurtling across the sky.

The incident occurred at dusk and was witnessed by many hundreds of people.  The object came from the east, zoomed across Tucson municipal airport and quickly disappeared behind a range of mountains to the west.

The control tower at nearby Davis Monthan air base sighted the object and directed the B-29, then approaching the field, to follow.  It was believed at that time to be a plane with engines afire.

Captain Slipp, Ogden, Utah, said the object or plane was travelling at about 20,000 feet.

Captain McGinniss, Montgomery, Pa., said that although a vapor trail is white, it may have looked black as reported by many witnesses because it was seen at dusk.

New! 2011 Prescott (AZ) Evening Courier, Feb. 3, 1950, p.8 (at Google News)
Strange object over Tucson Believed Plane

TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 3 (AP)—The mystery of a strange object that flashed across Tucson skies yesterday afternoon is now believed solved.

Two air force captains, Floyd Slipp and Robert McGinnis, said they are convinced it was an airplane.  Both were in a B-29 that took out after the apparition.

McGinniss, Montgomery, Pa., said that what appeared to be a cone of black smoke left hanging in the sky in the wake of the craft, was nothing more than an ordinary vapor trail.

He said it appeared black because it was seen neark dusk, but was obviously white when inspected at closer range.  Slipp, of Ogden, Utah, said the craft was traveling at about 20,000 feet, where vapor trails can be easily formed.

Both agreed there was no indication as to how many motors the ship had, but restated their belief the smoke, or vapor trail, was made by nothing more than an airplane.

The two pilots were ordered to follow the object by the control tower at Davis-Monthan air force base.  They were in the vicitinity of the base at the time it was sighted.  it was at first thought to be an airplane with engines afire, but later reports maintained it did not resemble a conventional airplane at all.