Wednesday, September 23, 2009


illustration of angel hair ufos over oloron, france
Mary Evans Picture Library
UFOs over Oloron, France, dropped a cottony substance likened to "angel hair."


It was the strangest sight to ever grace the sky over Oloron, France. In the early afternoon of October 17, 1952, according to one of the many witnesses, high school superintendent Jean-Yves Prigent, there appeared a "cottony cloud of strange shape. . . . Above it, a narrow cylinder, apparently inclined at a 45-degree angle, was slowly moving in a straight line toward the southwest. . . . A sort of plume of white smoke was escaping from its upper end." In front of this "cylinder" were 30 smaller objects that, when viewed through opera glasses, proved to be red spheres, each surrounded by a yellow ring. "These 'saucers' moved in pairs," Prigent said, "following a broken path characterized in general by rapid and short zigzags. When two saucers drew away from one another, a whitish streak, like an electric arc, was produced between them."

But this was only the beginning of the strangeness. A white, hairlike substance rained down from all of the objects, wrapping itself around telephone wires, tree branches, and the roofs of houses. When observers picked up the material and rolled it into a ball, it turned into a gelatinlike substance and vanished. One man, who had observed the episode from a bridge, claimed the material fell on him, and he was able to extract himself from it only by cutting his way clear-at which point the material collected itself and ascended.

A nearly identical series of events occurred in Gaillac, France, ten days later.
Such "angel hair" is reported from time to time. Laboratory analysis of authentic material (airborne cobwebs are sometimes mistaken for angel hair) is impossible because the material always vanishes. In the summer of 1957, when Craig Phillips (director of the National Aquarium from 1976 to 1981) witnessed a fall off the Florida coast, he collected samples and placed them in sealed jars. But by the time he got to his laboratory, they were gone.

FROM INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY town of Oloron, France, is famous for its chocolates, jaunty berets and a special type of unidentified flying object known as an "angel hair UFO." One afternoon, in October 1952, dozens of witnesses reported seeing a very unusual sight in the sky — a cylinder surrounded by a group of discs, each of which had ribbons of white smoke emanating down from it. The discs appeared as reddish spheres circled by a gold ring, and the emanations were described as having the appearance of angel hair. Even more strange were reports that as townspeople tried to collect the angel hair substance — which had begun to cover homes, trees and the ground — it simply vanished into thin air. Several similar incidents have been recorded in nearby Gaillac, France, as well as other parts of the world, but no explanation has been offered to explain the angel hair UFOs.

From Hair

Angel hair is an alleged substance of unknown origin, said to be dispersed from UFOs as they fly overhead. It is so named for its similarity to fine hair, or spider's webs, and is comparable to ectoplasm and pixie dust. Reports of Angel hair say that it disintegrates within a short time of forming. There have been many reports of falls of angel hair around the world. The greatest number of reports have come from the U.S.A., western Europe, eastern Australia, and New Zealand.

Alternative explanations: One of the possible explanations offered relates to the web making activities of spiders. Some types of spiders are known to migrate through the air, sometimes in large numbers, on cobweb gliders. The threads created by these airborne arachnids are delicate enough to dissolve upon handling. As string-like lines that appear out of nowhere and form unique patterns.

They are also known as Spider Strings and are linked to String Theory in Physics. Metaphysically they are said to weave all of matter together to form the basic geometric patterns - the Spider Web Effect with all things emerge from once source - move out in geometric progressions yet all remains linked to the source through the web. Angel hair is sometimes connected to UFO sightings or the presence of angels.

I am not aware of any scientific data that can define the exact cause or composition of angel hair. Non-the-less it does manifest into the physical realms.

Ellie's Personal Experiences

In 1989 I awoke one morning to find odd patterns made out of some sort of fiber-like material on my blanket and the navy carpet in my bedroom.

The patterns looked like they were made out of some sort of clear glitter.

I soon learned that they are allegedly called 'Angel Hair' and are left as a message by Spirit.

The 'Angel Hair' varied in width from a half inch to one inch.

There was no measurement for the length as it was one never-ending pattern.

The 'Angel Hair' remained as it was until it was touched in some way. Then would simply disappear in to that part of the carpet or bedding.

At first I looked for some sort of insect that might have been my home - but my home was insect-free - and it was December - Christmas time to be exact.

Many people came to look at the patterns as they kept reappearing between 1989 -1991.

The patterns were very specific in design--though at the time I didn't realize I should draw them or what they meant.

Photographs did not produce images.

The first pattern followed a zig-zag pattern from my bathroom door across the bedroom, about 12 feet, to my bed.

Then the pattern followed straight up and onto my navy blanket.

At the time I was told by one psychic that they were left by a child in spirit.

This was the month a started to write my book, Sarah and Alexander about an boy from another realm named Alexander who comes to Earth to meet someone with The Key . In my heart I feel that there was a link to Alexander and that Spirit did come to tell me of my future destiny. But that's another story....

UFOs Drop 'Angel Hair' in New South Wales

August 19, 1998 - AP

Twenty UFOs, described as "shiny silver spheres," flew over a number of farms near Quirindi, New South Wales, Australia last weekend, littering the ground with cobweb-like filaments called "angel hair." According to USA Today, "Residents of a small Australian community swear that they saw cobwebs fall from the sky after UFOs passed overhead. Dozens of residents of Quirindi called Australia's National UFO Hotline after the incident." According to the Tamworth, N.S.W. North Daily Leader, "Mrs. E. Stansfield, 61 years (old), said that she saw cobwebs falling from the sky. She saw twenty silver balls which passed overhead.

When she went out to her daughter, she too was covered in fine strands of cobweb. When she tried to pick it up, it disintegrated in her hand. The family car had cobwebs all over it." The incident took place at 5:04 p.m. on Sunday, August 9, 1998. Quirindi is just north of the Liverpool mountain range, about 70 kilometers (42 miles) southwest of Tamworth, N.S.W. and 300 kilometers (180 miles) northwest of Sydney. Australian researcher Raymond Brooks reported that the "various craft" performed aerobatic maneuvers over the farms "for 1.5 hours, including the release of 'angel hair.'


Angel hair or siliceous cotton is a substance said to be dispersed from UFOs as they fly overhead. It has been described as being like a cobweb or a jelly. It has also been reported at sightings of the Virgin Mary. It is named for its similarity to fine hair, or spider webs. Reports of angel hair say that it disintegrates or evaporates within a short time of forming.One theory is that it is "ionized air sleeting off an electromagnetic field" that surrounds a UFO. It is an important aspect of Raëlism.

There have been many reports of falls of angel hair around the world. Angel hair was reported at the Miracle of Fatima on the 13th of September and October 1917. this has been used to support The Fatima UFO Hypothesis. The most reported incidence occurred in Oloron, France in 1952. On October 27, 1954, Gennaro Lucetti and Pietro Lastrucci stood on the balcony of a hotel in St. Mark's Square in Venice and saw two "shining spindles" flying across the sky leaving a trail of the angel hair.

In the Portuguese city of Évora in November 2, 1959, angel hair was collected and analyzed at the microscope by local school director and later by armed forces technicians and scientists of the University of Lisbon. Conclusions were not possible although it was formed, apparently, by a small organism featuring 10 'arms' stretching from a central core. It was advanced that it could be a single-celled organism of some kind. This event followed the sighting, by the population of the city, of several UFOs. Angel hair was also spotted in the same day, at the Air Force Base of Sintra, several kilometers to the north. On February 10, 1978, a large number of fibers fell from the sky for a period of two hours near Samaru, New Zealand.

Explanations based on known phenomena include:

Some types of spiders are known to migrate through the air, sometimes in large numbers, on cobweb gliders.

Many cases of angel hair were nothing other than these spider threads and, at least in one occasion, small spiders have been found on the material.

Atmospheric electricity may cause floating dust particles to become polarized, and attraction between these polarized dust particles may cause them to join together, to form long filaments.

On two occasions a sample was sent for testing once on the 13 of October in 1917 a sample found at Cova da Iria was sent to Lisbon and on October 17 1957 another sample found at Cova da Iria and examined. The analysis of this proved to be natural consisting of white flakes. When put under a microscope it was found to be a vegetable product not animal.

Explanations related to Unidentified Flying Objects include:

Ionized air may be sleeting off the electromagnetic field that surrounds a UFO.

Excess energy converted into matter.

The usage by UFOs of a G-field would cause heavy atoms in ordinary air to react among themselves and produce a kind of precipitate that falls to the ground and disappears as the ionization decreases.

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Mysterious angel hair phenomenon often reported after UFO sightings cobweb-like and jellylike substance which is also slightly radioactive often falls to the ground shortly after UFO sightings. The substance dubbed “angel’s hair” evaporates without a trace several hours after the sighting. The “hair” was reported to either disintegrate or turn into cottony tufts with an offensive smell when held in the hand. American ufologists refer to the material as “angel’s hair”; Italians call it “siliceous cotton”; and the French use the term “the Madonna’s present” to describe semitransparent threads that fall from heavens.

Ufologists first began discussing the phenomenon in 1954. Two men, namely Gennaro Lucetti and Pietro Lastrucci stood on the balcony of a hotel located in St. Mark’s Square of Venice, on October 27, 1954. The men suddenly saw two “shining spindles” flying across the sky. The objects left a fiery white trail as they zipped along. Both objects flew at high speed, one of them at some distance away from the other. Then the objects took a U-turn and flew away in the direction of Florence.

There were reports on an unexpected break in a soccer game played in one of the Florence stadiums on that afternoon. The players, referees and about 10 thousand spectators just stood there gazing at two objects which flew over the stadium. A couple of unidentified objects flew over the city thrice from 14.20 to 1429. A number of strange cobweb-like threads started to drop to the arena once the objects disappeared.

The substance was quick to disintegrate if held in the hand. Alfrede Jacopozzi, a student, was the only one who managed to pick up a few threads of it and sealed them in a hermetic test tube. Jacopozzi then handed the tube to Professor Giovanni Canneri, a director of the Chemical Analysis Institute under the University of Florence. Professor Danilo Cozzi, a colleague of Prof. Canneri’s, carried out a series of tests of the mysteries find. “It’s a fibrous material, which is highly resistant to tension and torsion. Once subjected to heat action, the material grows dark and evaporates, leaving transparent sediment that melts away. The sediment was found to contain boron, silicon, and magnesium. Hypothetically speaking, the substance may be some kind of boron-silicon glass,” said Prof. Cozzi.

American ufologist Charles Maney suggested that the material was “the UFO excess energy which materialized.” According to him, “the treads return to their dimension or some other space-time continuum while fading away.” A British ufologist suggested that “angel’s hair” was a variety of ectoplasm emanated during a spiritualistic session.

B. V. Lyapunov, a Soviet-era researcher who did a lot to popularize science, received a sample of “angel’s hair” from New Zealand in 1967. A tightly sealed tube contained some unknown stuff measuring less than one-tenth of a cubic centimeter. A comprehensive analysis of the substance was conducted by a team of scientists. Physicist L. V. Kirichenko, a specialist in radiometry, concluded that the substance “is a fine-fibered material; some of its fibers are less than 0.1 micron in diameter. Most fibers are tangled in the bundles or separate “threads” measuring 20 microns in diameter. The threads look somewhat whitish and semitransparent. There aren’t any known analogues to the analyzed substance.” Summing up the study of the material, Academician I. V. Petryanov-Sokolov said that “the sample is of considerable interest as a material with extremely fine fibers. It is unlikely that the material was formed by nature.”

Unfortunately, the entire amount of the substance was used up during the research. No new samples of “angel’s hair” have ever been obtained though the phenomenon was repeatedly reported in this country.

According to reports spread by the British Society for UFO Studies in August 1998, mysterious cobwebs fell to the ground shortly after an UFO sighting in North Wales. The 60-year-old Mrs. Stanfield and her daughter-in-law saw “about 20 silver balls in the sky” prior to taking note of cobweb-like material which descended to the ground.

There are times when “angel’s hair” falls out from a clear blue sky. Residents of the city of Montgomery in the United States reported the fall of “flying web type substance” in 1898. According to the description provided by eyewitnesses, the threads of the material resembled somewhat fluorescent asbestos fibers. On February 10, 1978, a large number of sticky fibers were falling from the sky for two hours in the vicinity of the coastal city of Samaru, New Zealand. The fibers appeared to be “considerably finer than cobwebs” yet clearly visible against a clear blue sky.

Some of the fibers looked like knots the size of a tennis ball; they were slowly unwinding across the air. Others were floating in a cluster which resembled a jet plane’s heat wake. “I’ve never heard about anything like that,” said a spokesman for the Department of Science and Industry Research of New Zealand.

Translated by Guerman Grachev

Angel Hair
Definition From Answers Dot Com: fine, filmy substance observed falling from the sky, sometimes extensively. It has been explained as cobwebs from airborne spiders, but the strands of angel's hair may vary in length from a few inches to over a hundred feet, and often dissolve in contact with the ground. Possibly the earliest account of angel hair occurred in 1741 when it was reported that "flakes or rags about one inch broad and five or six inches long" fell on the towns of Bradly, Selborne, and Alresford in England. In 1881 Scientific American carried an account of huge falling spider webs (one as large as 60 feet, over Lake Michigan). Other falls have been reported over the years, and accounts were collected by Charles Fort, famous for his assemblage of accounts of anomalous natural events.

In the 1950s angel hair became associated with UFOs. A famous case occurred in France in 1952 during which a local high school principal reported seeing a cylindrical-shaped UFO and a circular one. The flying objects left a film behind them, which floated to the earth and fell to the ground covering trees, telephone wires, and roofs of houses. When the material was picked up and rolled into a ball, it turned gelatinous and vanished. Occasional additional accounts have appeared in the literature over the years, though angel hair is by no means a common element of UFO reports. Analysis of angel hair has proved elusive as the material seems to dissolve very quickly.

Clark, Jerome. The Emergence of a Phenomenon: UFOs from the Beginning through 1959. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 1992.
Corliss, William R., ed. Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomena. Glen Arm, Md.: Sourcebook Project, 1977.

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Flying Saucers and Angel Hair
Monday March 5, 2007
By B.J. Booth
for About Dot Com

Every now and then I get a little extra time to surf the Web, and yes, I always look for more on UFOs. I actually like to see old reports, and find something of interest to think about, and search out more evidence on. Recently, I came across a site that I had book marked about six months ago, and just never had a chance to get back to. It was from Australia, and its subject was "angel hair." This may seem bizarre, but back when I was a young lad in the 1950's, angel hair was often in the news, and the subject of television series, like "One Step Beyond," Science Fiction Theater," and others.

I was surprised to find that "Science Fiction Theater" was supposedly based on real life events. Had I known that when I was young, it would have scared me even more than it did. Now today, things are always falling out of the sky, because of all the objects in orbit around the Earth, and you don't hear much about angel hair any more. Angel hair was this spider web type of substance that was often associated with flying saucer reports. Usually, it dissipated very quickly, and had some magic properties to it. Sound strange... well it is true. Here is a list of Angel hair cases from the Project 1947 website. Check it out. You might find it interesting:

1975, May 26: Nancy, France Photo case


The witness' Father sent the following letter to Albert Ducrocq (1921 - 2001), which was then an extremely popular French scientific journalist, thanks to his qualities as science popularizer at radioEurope 1, and author of books such as "Man in space (spacecraft of second generation)", 1961, "Man on the Moon", 1969, "The search for life on Mars", 1976.

Mr. Jean-Marie Burr, 54000 Nancy,
to Mr. Albert Ducrocq,
Europe n° 1, rue Francois-1er, 75008 Paris

Nancy, August 29, 1975


On May 26, 1975, at approximately 07:45 p.m., my son Didier, who has just been seventeen years old, called me, claiming that he had just seen a UFO and that he had photographed it. His claim was received by much skepticism on my part, my wife's and my daughter's. before closing his shutters, he saw this "thing" and, after a few seconds, he had the reflex to jump on his camera and to take a photograph. We did not speak again any more of the incident; having finished the roll and not having money to have it developped, my son put it aside... and forgot about it until last week. It was an amazement at the sight of the pictire which I join to this letter. Here are some more detailed information:

1) Date: May 26, 1975.

2) Local Time: approximately 07:45 p.m.

3) Location: 54000 Nancy.

4) Taken photograph

    a) at the second storey of my appartment.

    b) orientation: east.

    c) camera: Royer with bellows, with Royer bellows, with Berthiot objective of F 105. It is a thirty years old apparatus that I had just given to my son. It was, besides, the first photograph that he took with it.

    d) film: Agfacolor, ASA 80.

    e) diaphragm and shutter speed: 8 and 1/50.

5) Duration of observation: 10 to 15 seconds.

6) Apparent motion: vertical descending, then oblique ascencion towards the south.

7) The "thing" seemed dark, it did noe emit any colored radiation, nor any perceivable noise.

8) Dimensions, distance, altitude: no clue, dur to the lack of reference points, except the cloudy background, and in the forefront, the windows of the opposite house.

I add that:

1) My son does absolutely not have the necessary knowledge to have make a fake. He was very excited and even acknowledged to have been a little afraid.

2) In my recollection, the local press (Est Répblicain [regional newspaper]) did not mention testimonies of people who might have seen this UFO. But I could have mised it.

3) Of course, I hold the negative one at your disposal should you consider it useful to examine it. As for myself, I am convinced that my son indeed saw and photographed a UFO. As a faithful reader of your works and often listening to you on the radio, I appreciate your scientific mind highly (I am a bachelor of science myself) and your enthusiasm. This is why sent this long letter to you.

My son and myself are already facing mockeries and the sarcastic comments of so-called "strong minds". It is obviously much easier to deny the existence of a problem - when it is not understood -, rather than to try to make some light on it and to study it, if not to solve it.

Please accept Mr. Ducrocq, by very best regards.

Albert Ducroq however apparently did not acted on this, and it is by mre chance that the case became known: journalist Robert Roussel, author of books on the UFO phenomenon and meticulous investigator of the official studies of the phenomenon in France, met the witness at a UFO conference at which he was present. The witness did not seek to draw any attention, but one of the lecturers asked who, in the assistance, had seen an UFO. The young had a printout of the photograph with him and presented it.

He was then interviewed by journalist Francine Buchy from the FR3 TV channel:

Francine Buchy: when did you see this object?

Didier Burr: It was on may 26, 1975 at 07:45 p.m. at the time when I closed the shutters of my bedroom. I saw it by chance, at the moment of the twilight.

Francine Buchy: How did you have the reflex to photograph the object which you suddenly had glimpsed?

Didier Burr: My father had just recently offered an old camera with bellows to me, which formerly belonged to him. There was a film loaded and the apparatus, which was on my desk, was engaged, ready to be used. Whereas I closed my shutters, I saw something which went down and, immediately, I leapt at y camera which was very close to me. Without knowing if the object was in the collimator, I shot while aiming approximately, without taking time to set up anything.

Francine Buchy: How long did you see this object?

Didier Burr: Approximately 10 to 15 seconds. It went down vertically. Then, it disappeared towards the south. It resembled an opaque black disc without any reflection nor relief, and it evolved without noise, at least, I did not hear any noise. It should be said that there was trafic in the street lower and this might have covered a possible noise.

Francine Buchy: What did you do after having taken your photograph?

Didier Burr: As I was not sure at all that the photography was sucessful, I completely forgot it and, actually, I had it developped only three months afterwards. The result left me perplexed, but actually it was essentially the reactions of my entourage whch disappointed me the most. Everyone laughed at me when I told my story. Only in my family was the story believed, but, my friends in high-school made openly fun of me.

The witness' father:

Francine Buchy: On May 26, 1975, at the time of the appearance recorded by your son, you were outside, on the pavement?

Jean-Marie Burr: Oui, c'est ça, je me trouvais à l'extérieur de la maison, sur le trottoir, quand mon fils m'a appelé par la fenêtre, tout excité, en me disant qu'il venait de voir et de photographier un OVNI. Bien sûr, sur le moment, je n'y ai pas cru du tout. Yes, that's it, I was outside of the house, on the pavement, when my son called me by the window, excited, while saying to me that it had just seen and to photograph an UFO. Of course, at the time, I did not believe there of the whole.

Francine Buchy: You didn't see it?

Jean-Marie Burr: Oh, no, unfortunately, I did not see anything. I regret that a lot, by the way.

Francine Buchy: So you did not believe your son?

Jean-Marie Burr: No, on the moment, absolutely not. We spoke about it, then, later, it completely slipped out of my mind.

Francine Buchy: And when, three months later, you saw the photograph, what was your reaction?

Jean-Marie Burr: Well! I was stunned, totally stunned.

Francine Buchy: Didier's entourage didn't believe it either?

Jean-Marie Burr: Didier's entourage started to believe. My wife and myself and my parents also believed him. But I noted, if only at the photographers or among people with whom I spoke about it, huge incredulity, that's the least to say.

Francine Buchy: Now, you are certain of the authenticity of the photograph taken by Didier?

Jean-Marie Burr: Ah! that, absolutely. I stand for his sincerity and I can add, moreover, that Didier does not have nor the necessary material and even less the knowledge to have made a fake on the film or the negative one which you have examined.

As for Robert Roussel, he very lengthily examined the color negative, made several printouts of its in black and white with different enlargement. He concluded: Information that the enlargements provide us makes it possible for us to visualize an opaque object in the shape of disc, as described it Didier Burr, with, in the center, a less dense contour or lighter. On the colorprint, you can clearly distinguish a purplish belt which surrounds the whole craft. The rather slow shutter speed enhanced a slightly fuzzy image of the UFO whereas the totality of photography remains perfectly clear. It is difficult to imagine a hoax by the high-school pupil, and time that he took before seeking to know the results of his shot is indicative, I think, of the sincerity of his testimony. This photography is certainly one of the rare authentic French documents, with those of police officer Flouret at Révigny-sur-Omain in the Meuse. It never had the honors of specialized publications, which makes it, in my eyes, even more valuable.

Varese, Italy, 1950-- Bruno Facchini's Wild Night

April 24th, 1950
Varese, Italy

On the 24th day of April 1950, 42 year old factory worker Bruno Facchini (left) was working the late shift, and stepped outside to get some fresh air on his break. His home city of Varese in Italy had just had a severe thunderstorm. The last distant streaks of lightning were still visible as Bruno decided to see if the electrical system had popped a circuit breaker. He was taken completely aback at what he saw not far from the factory doors. Investigating a bright glowing light which he thought was part of a factory transformer problem, he was shocked to see a circular shaped, glowing object with a ladder descended from its bottom. At the top of the UFO was a greenish glow which partially obscured a light-skinned being. The unusual being appeared to be welding something on the craft. Bruno's first impression of the craft was that it was a type of experimental craft from a nearby air base. His impression was quickly altered by the sight of several other small alien creatures which emerged from the craft. In a moment or two, the ladder began to be drawn up into the mysterious craft, and the beings began to reenter the craft through an invisible door of some kind.

The full realization of what he was witnessing sent Bruno into a full run away from the frightening encounter. As he fled, he heard a sound like that of a large beehive. One of the remaining creatures pointed a type of weapon at the scared worker, and a beam of force knocked him to the ground.
Although in pain, he was able to watch the last activities of the strange aliens as they prepared the craft to take off. The beehive like sound increased as the object made its way into the skies and vanished from view. The next day, Bruno made a full report of his encounter to the police force. There were signs still visible of the activities of the night before.

Police found burned patches on the ground, and indentation marks of an extremely heavy object. Also found were some odd, green pieces of a metal-like substance.
Bruno recounted the welding operation, and suggested that the green pieces of debris were refuse of the process. The fragments were analyzed. The results of this test concluded that the fragments were an "anti-friction" material, containing several types of metal along with a lubricant. In September 1953, UFO investigators had their own tests conducted on the green substance. A scientific institute specializing in metallurgy assessed that the fragments were 74% copper, 19% tin, and other trace elements. The substance, under heavy magnification was a yellow-white color, but did not contain any metals which could not be found on Earth. These conclusions did not entirely rule out the possibility of an extraterrestrial connection in the case of Bruno Facchini. There is no way to conclude that the metal composition could not be made on another planet. Facchini's accept was taken very seriously by all who knew him. He was a respectable man, well liked, and considered to be reliable and trustworthy. He gained nothing from his tale of the strange object and occupants he described on the night of April 24, 1950.
Eye witness statements, UFO Italy.

Varese (pronounced [vaˈreze] in Italian; Baretium in Latin) is a city in north-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 55 km north of Milan. It is the capital of the Province of Varese. The hinterland or urban part of the city is called Varesotto.

The province of Varese already had its share of UFO sightings, yet this case is in fact one of the most well known "early" close encounters of the third kind in Italy. Here is the full and correct story:

Bruno Facchini, 40, is a mechanic, married, father of a young boy, lives in a colonial house in Abbiate Guazzone, Varese, Italy, a few miles from the motorway to Milan.

On 24th April 1950, at 10:00pm, the rain had just stopped after a violent thunderstorm, and he went outside his home to go to the toilet seat in a shack, and when he was about to return home after smoking a cigarette, he saw several strange flashing lights which at the time he thought were being generated by the storm, in a field adjacent to his home.

He decided to investigate anyway, because the lights were in the direction of a power line pole. The high voltage power line goes right over the village, and another of its poles is right in front of his home. He thought that a power cable may have fallen to the ground, which may explain the flashes, and he became afraid that his kid might get hurt if he grabbed it when playing outside the next day. He took a pathway that delimited the ground of a furnace and walked toward the place where he saw the flashing light, but saw nothing anymore. As he was about to go back to his home, he saw the lights again, and went in their direction again.

He told Antonio Giudicci:

"It was still a little farther. I decided to go there. Then I saw there a huge dark shape, like a ball, with a flattened top."

He saw that the dark object some 200 yards away, next to the power line pole. He estimated it to be 10 meters large and 7 meters high.

He told Antonio Giudicci:

"In the middle [of the shape] there was a small ladder, lightened by a green light. Almost immediately, I understood that the light came from some sort of lamp handled by a standing man who seemed to be engaged in welding. He wore something like a diving suit and a mask."

Later he summarized for the press:

"Next to a power line pole and to a [gelso, ?] I saw a huge, round shape. From the illuminated disc, a ladder came down. A door opened. I could see inside the UFO, because a light diffused inside, there was another ladder leading to a higher level of the craft; on the walls, there were bottles connected together in rows and between them I could notice that there were gauges and tubes."

He told Antonio Giudicci:

"Driven by curiosity, at went closer, and I saw two other people, with the same clothing, moving slowly around the craft - I guessed that their diving suit was heavy and slowed down their movements. The craft, lighted by the welding tool, cast metallic reflections back."

The sparks Facchini had seen were pouring out of pipes; which one of the figure was working on with some type of device. The inside of the craft could be partially seen through an open vent. Inside were lots of dials and cylinders. The air around the craft was unusually warm and a buzzing sound like a giant beehive was heard constantly.

All the figures were similarly dressed in grayish one-piece tight fitting clothes and were wearing helmets but their faces were concealed behind masks from the front of which emerged one flexible pipe which reminded him of a breathing tube. Facchini later said he found them to be of the same size than human beings, about 1 meter 70.

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At that time he thought that an aircraft in trouble because of the storm had landed and that the people were trying to do some repair, or maybe be some American pilots, repairing some new aircraft that failed and he did not know of. After watching for a while, he approached within four to five meters of the craft and offered his help:

He then started to realize they might not be American pilots, as the beings started to converse with each other and call him in "a guttural language," and also because they moved with difficulties and made "strange gestures" at him, which he felt may be an offer to come aboard. The invitation and the realization that they were not human threw him in a state of panic.

He told Antonio Giudicci:

"I offered to help, but the only answer I received were some guttural sounds that were not understandable. I wondered what their intentions were. I had the feeling they were inviting me aboard. Suddenly I heard an uproar, like the amplified buzz of a bee, or a huge power generator. I saw another ladder in the interior of the craft, and all around, tubes, cylinders, and gauges. I understood that this was not a plane, and I was seized by panic, I started to run away."

"I was not so close anymore when I turned my head back. I saw one of the men raise some sort of apparatus he carried at his side and beam a ray of light in my direction. I started to run again, but immediately, I felt as if I was cut in two parts by some cutting tool or by a jet of compressed air and I fell flat."

Later he told to the press:

"After a while I saw four beings around the disc. Two were beside the ladder. A third one seemed to attempt to weld together a group of tubes. Exactly this operation produced the strange flashing that had attracted my attention. Thinking that this was some test of a secret prototype, I approached them asking if they had need for help. The beings started to make strange gestures and emitted guttural sounds, something like "gurr... gurr..." At that moment the craft was started and it was only then that I understood that they were not human beings. Seized by panic, I started to run away. While I ran, I has a glimpse at them and I saw that one of those individuals was directing something at me."

He felt pushed to the ground for several yards and knocked down. Later he said it was like feeling a strong discharge and a burning sensation on the skin of his abdomen. He stayed on the ground but looked what was going on.

Shortly afterwards, when the repairs has apparently been completed, the "American pilots" then returned to their craft, a trap through which light had been shining was closed and the craft took off sideways, making a heavy buzzing sound.

He told Antonio Giudicci:

"They seemed not to be interested in my anymore. I am convinced they only wanted to scare me and had no intention to do anything wrong to me." "They were busy in removing the scaffold and withdrawing the ladder. Then the door closed. All the lights went out. And the buzzing sound continued. Suddenly the sound became louder. The craft took off, gained speed and disappeared."

Later he told to the press:

"I was hit at the back by a light beam, and it had such a force that I felt pushed. I lost my equilibrium and I hit the ground, knocking my the head against a stone. Hurt, scared and [intontito. ?], I stayed on the ground without moving. In the meantime those beings were finishing their welding job. Then they all entered in the disc, it closed and went away."

He stayed on the ground for a while, looking at the sky. Everything was silent again. Finally he went back home, and unsurprisingly he could not sleep very well that night.

The following day Facchini returned to the site, because he had lost his cigarette box there when he fell. He noticed that there were some traces and four circular depressions of one-meter diameter each, arranged in a square pattern of 6 meters side length. The grass around it is burnt and lots of pieces of melted metal are on the ground.

"The next morning, after a sleepless night, I went back to the location and I found four wide circular traces, a meter wide each. The grass in it was burnt. on various places on the ground, there were pieces of metal."

Facchini then went to the police headquarters of Varese and an investigation was carried out by unmotivated policemen there and also allegedly by military technicians (the presence of military technician may well be an exaggeration of the Press.)

The police went on location and saw the ground traces, and Facchini or the police handled the debris who were sent to the research institute for the studies of metals in Novara. The institute examined the samples and merely said they were heat-resistant, antifriction metal, which were commented as "would be ideal in space flight to face the burn-up as the craft entered the Earth's atmosphere," although it is not clear who made that comment.

Several days after the encounter, Facchini estimated he was hurt enough to justify a visit to an MD. The MD found that Facchini had a blackened mark where the beam hit him, and this mark grew until it covered his entire back, causing him pains for a whole month. Because he was thrown to the ground when hit by the beam, he also had several normal wounds.

The next year, some of the debris are examined again by Renato Vesco, from Genova, one of the very first Italian private UFO investigator, and Vesco concluded the samples are essentially bronze with an elevated percentage of pond and some traces of lead.

Facchini said he never really recovered psychologically. Many ufologists visited him time and time again, to check if he really told the story they read in ufological publications, and he always did, with no changes in the account.

In 1981, Italian ufologist Ezio Bernardini met him, and re-interviewed him. Nothing in the story had changed. Facchini told him that when he saw the moon landings on TV, he was stunned that the astronauts' suits reminded him to the suits of his visitors. He described their clothing as "diving suits" in 1950, but now he understood that they were "space suits" or earth-landing suits if you will.

A Navy officer reported a conversation with Facchini:

"You are really a luck one! I would have given a lot to be able to admire shat you saw, this technological marvel!"

Facchini's answer was bitter.

"Lucky, Me? If I had known how much trouble I would get from this experience, I would not have said one word about it, guaranteed!"


Ezio Bernardini, excerpt from FSR 1987 No. 4

(C.U.N., Italian National Ufological Centre) (Translation from Italian)


On April 24, 1950, at a place called Abbiate Guaz-zone (Varese region — 45D 49 N., 8° 50 E.), which lies slightly to the east of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, the 42-year-old worker Bruno Facchini was the protagonist of a truly mind-boggling experience which, at the time, received widespread treatment both in the Italian regular press and in the "Rivista Aeronautica " (Aeronautical Review).

Facchini, a capable and highly esteemed worker, employed at the time in a local firm, was living in a little house on the outskirts of the village. He had stepped outside from the house [and noticed a flash.] [When he went to investigate], he perceived an enormous black shadow, almost round, "like a ball flattened from above". In the middle of it there was a small ladder, from the top of which was coming a faint greenish light, and he was now able to see at close hand the source of the flashing. An individual wearing a "diver's suit" and a mask, on top of a sort of pneumatic lift, seemed to be welding something. The hull of the craft, lit by the glow from the welding, gave off metallic reflections. Two other individuals, about 1 m 70 in height, also in "divers' suits", were moving very slowly around the craft, as though hampered by the suits they were wearing. Over their faces they wore masks of the same dark colour as the "divers' suits", terminating at the level of the mouth in a tube with a little opening at the end.

Facchini's first thought was that it was a military aircraft in difficulty (the military airfields of Vergiate and Venegono were only a few kilometres distant), and he went up and asked if he could be of any help. The response was some incomprehensible guttural sounds. Meanwhile, in the interior of the object, he had caught sight of a second ladder, and all around on the walls, tubes, cylinders, and gauges. At the same time, he noticed a noise "like the sound of a gigantic beehive".

At that point it was that Bruno Facchini grasped that he was in the presence of no aeroplane. Seized with panic, he took to his heels.

Turning back as he ran, he saw one of the crew point at him a sort of "photographic apparatus" that he was wearing round his neck, and shoot a beam of light at him. He felt immediately as though he had been struck by a powerful jet of compressed air and it sent him rolling on the ground. Bruised and aching, but perfectly conscious, Facchini then saw the lift descend, bringing down with it the individual with the welding equipment, and then reduce in size until it (the lift) was a sort of small box. Then the crew put it into the craft. The ladder was now drawn in and the door closed. Then the hum that Facchini had heard right at the start became louder and, a few instants later, the craft rose and vanished at a fantastic speed into the darkness of the night.

Next day, Facchini reported the matter to the Police Station in Varese, and the Authorities started their investigations at the spot. On the ground, which was quite hard, were visible four round impressions about one metre in diameter and distant about six metres from each other and set in a square. The grass was scorched or withered, and some small fragments of metal were found at the site; probably the remains from the welding. They were of a shiny metal with a granulous surface which, when analyzed, was defined as "an anti-friction metal", very resistant to heat.

Source: Ezio Bernardini, excerpt from FSR 1987 No. 4

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

UFO FYI: 1954, Madagascar


Madagascar, or Republic of Madagascar (older name Malagasy Republic, French: République malgache), is an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. The main island, also called Madagascar, is the fourth-largest island in the world, and is home to 5% of the world's plant and animal species, of which more than 80% are endemic to Madagascar.[citation needed] They include the lemur infraorder of primates, the carnivorous fossa, three bird families and six baobab species. Two thirds of the population live below the international poverty line of US $1.25 a day.

From UFO Phenomenon at Close Sight:

On August 16, 1954, at 05:00pm, an event stupefied tens of thousands of witnesses at Tananarive, Madagascar (The number of potential witness is an estimated 200,000).

At 05:00pm, Air France's agency personal awaited the arrival of the air mail, delivered by a Lockheed Constellation. One hour after the arrival of the Constellation, the mail has already been distributed and members of the Air France agency, among which Mr. Edmond Campagnac, former military officer and at that time technical director of Air France in Tananarive were quietly chatting together, close to the Avenue of the Liberation, the largest street in Tananarive.

Sudden somebody sees in the sky a "electric green ball" descending straight towards the ground near the Palais de la Reine. He points at it and everybody watches. The phenomenon disappears behind a hill, and they all expect to hear a mighty explosion when the thing hit the ground.

But the green light does not hit the ground.

The green ball reappears a minute afterwards, bigger. It makes a circle over the higher parts of Tananarive, a city built on and inside a series of hills with a "horseshoe" Configuration. The thing then proceeds to fly above Avenue of the Liberation, at an altitude of some 50 to 150 meters in front of tens of thousands of amazed inhabitants. When it flew in front of the Air France personal, they could all get a good look at it. Mr. Campagnac realized that the "electric green light" looks like a kind of lens shaped plasma, of approximately 40 meters length, the "size of a DC4 aircraft." This green lens is closely followed by a flying machine with a distinct silvery metallic aspect and the shape of a football, also 40 meter long, At the back of this metal machine, bluish exhaust flames are seen.

The craft was totally silent. M. Campagnac, in his testimony, which he often publicly offered, explains that the craft did not even make the sound of swishing a flyier would make through the air.

In this case, it is noticeable that the estimate of altitude is not subject to doubts: indeed, while flying above the buildings of Avenue de la Libération, the craft also passed in front of the hills in the background, not with the sky as background.

Several physical phenomena were observed: first of all, the witnesses in the whole city could note that public lights and shop lights died out exactly at the moment the craft passed above them, and functioned again at once behind its passage.

Then the inhabitants quickly noticed that barnyard animals, dogs in the whole city, were howling or barking. At one time during its travel above the city, the UFO flew above the animal park where peasants keep the animals to be sold at daytime at the city's markets. All these animals entered a state of total panic when the object flew over them, though when airplanes flew over them as usually, for example the "Constellation" one hour before, the animals did never show any such reaction, although airplanes are noisy and the UFO, again, was totally silent.

After having flown over Tananarive, the machine set out towards the West. Two or three minutes after, the estimate while being with this approximation, a similar machine or the same machine was observed at 150 kilometers South of Tananarive above a farm school. There again, the herds were seized by panic. The farm director had to call for reinforcements in order to bring back the animals which run away in all directions, risking death in marshes. It is this call to reinforcements which made the witnesses of Tananarive aware of this second observation.

If the craft observed at 150 km South was the same one as that of Tananarive, which its description suggests, although one cannot absolutely prove it, then its speed was to be about 3000 km/h. According to the statements of Air France the personal, General Fleurquin, commander-in-chief of the French Air Force in Madagascar, gathered a scientific team to carry out an investigation of the phenomena. No trace of this investigation could be found in the Air Force records, however issue #6 of the GEPA bulletin (Group of Studies of the Aerospace Phenomena) in the 2nd half of 1964 described this observation. Mr. Campagnac remembers perfectly that it is a Jesuit clergyman, Revend Coze, director of the astronomical observatory of Tananarive, who has been given the task to carry out the survey and record the testimonies, including those of Air France people and also those of Malgaches peasants. This gathering of testimonies also brought out that the UFO phenomenon did already manifest itself to the Malgache people on several occasions in the past years, but went ignored as no one cared to ask until now.

Mr. Edmond Campagnac, at the time technical director of Air France in Tananarive, took part in the study of the case for the COMETA committee. He expressed himself repeatedly and very precisely on this case, including of the French TV, and recently again at a televised debate concerning UFOS on the documentary cable TV channel "Planète Forum" in 2001, supported by Jean-Jacques Vélasco, director of SEPRA, the official French UFO investigation team.

Because of this exceptional occurrence, M. Catagnac's life was not fundamentally perturbated, but indeed as he has a scientific background, he wanted to learn more on the topic of UFOs, and in particular, he wanted to search in the military records of the French Gendarmerie, was granted a clearance to access classified files, and learned about many other significant sightings. But this is another story.

Mr. Campagnac remembers that at the time of the investigation the possibility that it has been a top secret prototype of a new human flying device, for example a Soviet prototype, has been considered. But now as time went by and as we know of the history of aviation development, we clearly can rule out that any such craft was in the possibility of any countries in 1954. No "secret plane", even as of today, has anything in common with the craft in this event, visually, or by its performances, its operation, its behavior.

Jean Jacques Vélasco has checked and commented the case and points out its interesting features:

  • The trajectory of the object, descending from a high altitude vertically to the ground, then showing up again instead of crashing and flying above the ground at low altitude over the city.
  • The physical phenomenon of public and private lightings dying out as the UFO was passing above, and the return to normal lighting when he went further.
  • Phenomena of the animals reactions.
  • The possibility of the correct estimate of the size because the object passed in front of the hills in the background.
  • The huge number of witnesses.
  • The heterogeneous cultural background of the witness: "Mr. Campagnac might have read about UFOs in Science-Fiction literature, but it is rather doubtful that the Malgaches peasants were all under the influence of US Science Fiction pulps."
  • The fact that the case does not occur in the United States or a European country, suspected to be a sociological terrain to made up UFO stories, but in a far away Island, is an indication that good UFO cases exist all around the world.

I would like to add some personal comments:

The flight path of the object might have been driven by a logic, as the object first descended vertically to the ground, and then seemed to have performed a "sightseeing tour" of Tananarive.

The visual aspect of the object seems to indicate some advanced technology at work.

Here, admittedly, we have only an observation of a flying object, and no observation of its possible occupants. However, the most economical assumption, the simplest and the only suggested simple assumption that matches the data is that this was an extraterrestrial flying machine. Admittedly, one can consider other assumptions, some parapsychological phenomenon in which a whole city would have been exposed to a mass hallucination, but this kind of assumption is not only very expensive, it calls into question all that we assume about the very nature of reality. Also, due to their very nature, these kind of rather "metaphysical" theorization lack, for now, any possibility of experimentation, one can hardly see which kind of scientific research or experiment could be undertaken for either confirming, or invalidating it.

On the contrary, by considering the hypothesis that this could have been an extraterrestrial machine, if only as a "working hypothesis", we could, by investing a minimum of technical means at it, not only carry again a double-check survey of this case, but also elaborate a project of detection of the physical traces of this type of phenomena on a larger scale, not only for military use, but also in order to give the possibility to the scientists to get physical data, radar traces, and also infrared traces, electromagnetic, electrical, photographic traces, for the cases to come.

The following article was published in the daily newspaper Fandrosoam-Baovao, Madagascar, on January 21, 1955:


It is for the third time that it was heard of flying saucer visiting Madagascar. The first was seen above Fort-Dauphon in September 1954 at about 4 in the morning, the second above Tananarive towards the end of the year which has just passed, and the third above Majunga according to the communiqué received below:

One evening, between 07:30 P.M and 07:45 P.M., a round and luminous object was seen above the coast of the district of Majunga and Mitsinjo, and it is Mr. Quesnot, chief of the district of Mitsinjo himself which was one of the eyewitnesses. It is a flat object, a very luminous disc, of green blue color and the size of the Moon which was seen above Majunga.

It came from the North-East and slipped by at a vertiginous speed so that in very little time it was not visible any more. Few moments after, it was seen in Mitsinjo and had a luminosity so bright that all the areas which it flew over were illuminated. It took the Western direction, towards the sea, and disappeared. Mr Quesnot said to have observed the progession of this object during nearly eight seconds. It has been already a few days that this flying saucer appeared.


1974-Abduction at Medicine Bow National Park

(B J Booth- UFO Casebook and About Dot Com) This very interesting case took place in Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming. On October 25, 1974, one Carl Higdon was elk hunting in the northern section of the park. As he shot his rifle at an elk nearby, a most bizarre thing happened. The bullet traveled in slow motion, as if he had entered another dimension. It fell some 50 feet away, dropping into the snow covered landscape. He was able to recover the bullet. He felt a strange sensation over his body. To his utter shock and amazement, he saw a humanoid entity standing nearby.

The humanoid was quite tall, at over six feet in height. He was clad in a black jump suit with a wide belt. The belt was decorated with a six-pointed star and emblem of yellow. With straight hair standing out from his head, he had no eyebrows. He stood bow-legged, with long arms ending with rod-like appendages instead of hands. The humanoid spoke to Higdon, asking him if he was hungry. The entity threw some pills to him, telling him if he took one, he would not have to eat for 4 days. Higdon normally did not take any type of pills, yet he swallowed one of the offerings immediately. It was surmised that the entity was smart enough to realize that Higdon may have been hungry, or else he would not have been hunting elk.

A Distant Planet: He then saw two more alien beings, and five elk that Higdon had been hunting earlier in the day. The elk showed no signs of life-they appeared to be frozen in their tracks. Higdon was told that the aliens had traveled the distance of 163,000 light years, arriving in a flash. Soon, the alien pointed toward Higdon, and the next thing he knew, he was enclosed within a transparent apparatus, with a helmet on. Also present were two more humanoids, and the five elk he was previously stalking. The elk were in a frozen state. He was told that the aliens were traveling to their home planet, located some 163,000 light years away. In a flash, they arrived at the distant location.

Suddenly, all of them, including Higdon were at the alien planet. The planet looked very modernistic, with buildings that Higdon said looked like the Seattle Space Needle. The planet's sun was of great intensity, which hurt his eyes. The next thing the hunter knew, he was back in Medicine Bow Park.

Pickup Truck Relocated: Over two hours had passed since Higdon had first seen the alien. When he arrived back at his original location, he felt cold and disoriented. At first, he could not locate his pick-up truck, finally finding it three miles from its original location. It was stuck in the mud. He called for help on his CB radio. Soon, the local sheriff arrived, and could easily see that Higdon was in a state of hysteria, and was exhausted. He was shouting, "They took my elk!" He was taken for medical care to a local hospital. His blood work showed he had a highly elevated level of vitamins, probably from the pill he had taken. The most fascinating aspect of his tests was that tuberculosis scars on his lungs were now gone! Further investigation into the details surrounding the bizarre encounter revealed that Higdon's wife, along with two other people, had seen a red-green-white flashing light moving in the area of the sighting.

The case was investigated by Dr. Leo Sprinkle, Professor of Psychology, University of Wyoming. Also included were Rick Kenyon, and Robert Nantkes, MUFON field investigators, and Frank Bourke, National Star Investigator.

The Real Thing? The case of Carl Higdon seems more like a script from a bad science fiction movie, and there is not really enough evidence to confirm such an incredible story. It is interesting, but belongs in the folklore category more than anywhere else.

UFO FYI WTF: 1947- The Maury Island Charade

UFO Casebook
UFOs at Close Sight
How Stuff Works
UFOs Northwest:

This incident actually happened before the Kenneth Arnold sighting, but was not as well known to the media. (The incident was said to have occurred on June 21, 1947.) The incident happened at Maury Island (near Seattle, Washington) and involved a sighting by Harold A. Dahl who saw six donut shaped ufos. Dahl took a few photos of the UFOs, and then one appeared to explode and then ejected some materials which dropped into the Puget Sound. Dahl said that the debris killed his dog and injured his son resulting a trip to the hospital. Dahl reported the sighting to his supervisor Fred Crisman. Dahl collected some of the debris and mailed it to Chicago publisher Raymond Palmer. Palmer subsequently called Kenneth Arnold and asked him to investigate the sighting. Arnold flew to Tacoma from Boise to investigate the sighting in late July, 1947. The investigation was inconclusive and thought to be a hoax. However, later investigators have shown that the sighting may not have been a hoax. This was compounded by the fact that it was later learned that Fred Crisman was actually a CIA agent. Air Force Officers later arrived via A B25 aircraft to the study the incident. The Air Force officers picked up some of the debris, but the B25 crashed on their way back from McChord Air Force Base to Hamilton Field.

Suggested readings/Resources:

1. "Maury Island UFO: The Crisman Conspiracy" by Kenn Thomas.
2. Detailed Maury Island Incident Report

"Coming of The Saucers" by Kenneth Arnold and Raymond Palmer
4. Seattle Museum of Mysteries Press Release on B25 Crash. (April 17, 2007)
5. Seattle Post-Intelligencer Article. (April 26, 2007)
UFO Crash Debris Recovered From B25 Likely Meteor or Lava Rock (PDF)
6. Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber (June 20, 2007)
Maury Island Incident Revisited 60 Years Later. The Mystery Lingers.

The Maury Island Incident is said to be an early modern UFO encounter incident, which allegedly took place in June 1947, three days before the famous sighting by Kenneth Arnold, widely considered the original encounter with flying saucers. It is also one of the earliest reported instances of an alleged encounter with so-called Men in Black. Opinions remain divided on whether the case was a genuine flying saucer sighting, a hoax or an attempt to cover up the leak of an advanced, classified aerospace project.

The story surfaced from Ray Palmer (editor of Amazing Stories), regarding a man called Fred Crisman who claimed to have actual physical evidence of a flying saucer, July 31, 1947. Palmer passed the story onto Kenneth Arnold, who was investigating UFO reports in the Northwest.

The incident took place shortly after June 21, 1947. On that date, seaman Harold A. Dahl, out scavenging for drifting logs, claimed to have seen six UFOs near Maury Island (which is now a peninsula of Vashon Island, in Puget Sound, near Tacoma, Washington, United States; Maury Island is located directly across a narrow section of Puget Sound from Sea-Tac International Airport and Boeing Field). Dahl, his son Charles, an unnamed hand and Dahl's dog were on the boat. Dahl reported seeing four, five or six (the initial FBI report says four or five) "doughnut-shaped objects" flying in formation over the area where his boat was. He said he could see blue sky through the holes in the center of the discs, and that there appeared to be port holes lining the inside of the ring. One of the craft appeared to be malfunctioning, Dahl reported, and another craft edged up to it, then retreated. At this point the troubled craft began ejecting objects through the inner port holes. Slag-like material began hitting the boat and damaged the windshield, the wheel house and a light fixture, and killed his dog on the deck. He said his son was also slightly injured by falling debris. Dahl claimed to have taken a number of photographs of the UFOs, and recovered some type of slag ejected from the craft that malfunctioned.

Dahl also recovered samples of sheaves of lightweight white sheets of metal that fluttered like "newspapers" out from the inner ring of the troubled UFO to the ground. The next morning, Dahl reported, a man arrived at his home and invited him to breakfast at a nearby diner; Dahl accepted the invitation. He described the man as wearing a black suit and driving a new 1947 Buick; Dahl assumed he was a military or government representative. Dahl claimed the man told him details of the UFO sighting while they ate, though Dahl had not related his account publicly. The man also allegedly gave Dahl a non-specific warning which Dahl took as a threat that his family might be harmed if he related details of the sighting.

In spite of the threat Dahl had reported the incident to his employee at his sawmill operation, Fred Crisman, who had long claimed to have experience with unusual phenomena (and who was later alleged to be linked to the John F. Kennedy assassination) and who also was the owner of the boat Dahl used, or co-owner with Dahl. Crisman and Dahl also had a joint-venture to retrieve drifting logs from the Puget Sound as a source of raw lumber. Crisman sailed to the island the following day and said he spotted a craft briefly, but it went behind a cloud. He gathered more of the slag which he found littering the beach area. He then sent a sample to Chicago with a request it be tested. According to the FBI report, Crisman either sent it to Ray Palmer, science fiction writer and editor of Amazing Science Fiction, or sent it to a friend at the University of Chicago who failed to identify the material and then sent it on to Ray Palmer. While the "rock formation" was being passed around in Chicago, the famous sighting by Kenneth Arnold took place at Mount Rainier in Washington State. Palmer contacted Arnold and asked him to investigate the incident for the story Arnold was writing for one of Palmer's publications.

Arnold interviewed Crisman an his associate Harold Dahl who claimed they were harbour patrolmen (their first lie). Crisman reported that they had seen a doughnut-shaped craft dump piles of slaglike material on the beach of Maury Island in Puget Sound. The next morning a mysterious man in black had threatened Dahl, who claimed the man said 'I know a great deal more about this experience of yours than you will want to believe.' During the meetings over several days, an unknown person (the FBI agent who wrote up the main report on the incident believed Crisman was the most likely suspect) began leaking details of the UFO sighting at Maury Island, the meeting in the hotel room and details of the conversation there to reporters at the Tacoma Times and at United Press, the latter reporter also working for Tacoma News Tribune.

The 2 men showed Arnold the material who in turn contacted an Army Air Force intelligence officer, Lieutenant Frank Brown, who flew up from Hamilton Field in California in the company of another Air Force officer. The 2 Air Force officers immediately recognised the material as ordinary aluminium but did not say so in front of Arnold due to the fact that he would feel embarrassed. While flying back to Hamilton, their B-25 caught fire and crashed, killing both officers. Crisman and Dahl later confessed to investigators that they had made up the story.

Before his death Crisman changed the Maury Incident story to that of an American Plane dropping radioactive waste instead of a UFO dropping unknown substances.
(Fred L Crisman was born 1920 in Washington, the only child of Fred Crisman and his wife Eva Pitchers, both from Iowa. His father was a salesman. In the mid-1940s, his name appears in the pages of pulp magazines, reporting on his own Shaver Mystery experiences via letters to the editor, warning of a threat from subterranean-dwelling "Deros," or "detrimental robots." He claimed to have encountered the beings while fighting as a commando in Burma during World War II, and wrote that he sustained injuries from a futuristic laser weapon.)

The plane carrying the two investigators and the slag crashed near Kelso, Washington, shortly after leaving Tacoma, killing both men. In April 2007 it was reported that the crash site had been rediscovered and some material recovered, although the initial military investigation did recover exhibits and remove the bodies. The FBI report notes that investigators from McChord Field near Tacoma had investigated the wreckage and were convinced there was no sabotage involved. The FBI report further mentions that two other people on board the airplane survived by parachuting from the airplane after it lost its left wing and the tail section due to a fire in the left engine. One of the survivors was named as a member of the flight crew and the other was referred to as "a hitch-hiker." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer identified them as Sergeant Elmer L. Taft and Technical Sergeant Woodrow D. Matthews. Initially the Air Force denied the men had been carrying a secret cargo, but in later years admitted that they had been officially investigating the Dahl report.

Crisman alerted Arnold of the crash early the next morning and Dahl and Crisman returned to the hotel to discuss the situation with Arnold. Arnold had invited another person, accidentally identified in the FOI copy of the FBI report as a Mr. Smith of Seattle (probably Captain E. H. Smith (elsewhere E. J. Smith) of United Airlines, identified in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article under External links below), to Tacoma to attend the UFO conference, and this informant related to the FBI field agent that a Mr. Lantz (elsewhere identified as Paul Lance) of the Tacoma Times contacted Arnold at the hotel and informed him of the leaks, including information that the Army intelligence officers had been shot down in the B-25 airplane over Kelso by 20 mm cannon, and that a Marine airplane whose wreck that had allegedly been found earlier at Mt. Rainier had also been shot down with the same weapon. The anonymous caller claimed knowledge of on-going investigations by military intelligence.

Asked to produce the photographs he had made of the UFOs over Maury Island, Dahl and the group left the hotel and went to Dahl's automobile parked outside. Dahl then claimed the photographs had disappeared from his glove compartment. Initially he had said the photographs didn't turn out and were marred by white spots that appeared on them.

Alarmed by the deaths, Dahl disappeared, although the FBI report mentions his son, allegedly injured by the slag from the malfunctioning UFO, had run away from home to Montana for some reason. The anonymous caller informed the press that one of the two witnesses would shortly be sent to Alaska. Crisman, a WWII veteran, was recalled to service hastily and sent to Alaska (A UFO was spotted northwest of Bethel, Alaska on August 4 by Captain Jack Peck and copilot Vince Daly from a Douglas DC-3 they operated for Al Jones flying service and was reported to the headquarters of the Fourth Air Force in Hamilton, California and the Air Defense Command commander at Mitchell Field in New York.), then posted to Greenland (Thule Air Force Base figures in Milton William Cooper's "Behold a Pale Horse" as a Majestic 12/Operation Majority control terminus). Arnold found himself unable to complete the story for Palmer. Arnold decided to fly home. He stopped for fuel in Pendleton, Oregon, and shortly after taking off again, his engine froze in mid-air. He managed to land the plane safely despite the emergency.

This event took place at the very beginning of the modern phase of UFO sightings, usually connected with Kenneth Arnold's report from Mount Rainier and the Roswell incident. It contains elements that became embedded in UFOlogy until now, including men in black, what appeared to be a government cover up, mysterious disappearance of physical evidence, mysterious disappearances of eye witnisses (Dahl and Crisman), mysterious deaths and inexplicable situations. Was it a hoax? If so, whose? Dahl claimed the mysterious dark man driving the black 1947 Buick who visited him retold the events on the boat as if he had been there, although Dahl himself hadn't related the story publicly at that point. Dahl began denying the story only after the two Army Air intelligence officers died in the B-25 crash. Dahl and Crisman told the FBI investigator they had concocted the story at the urging of Ray Palmer who wanted the mysterious rock formation to have originated on an alien saucer. They claimed to be playing along with Palmer who wanted a story to publish, and yet the FBI agent also notes that Dahl and Crisman were "obviously" not telling all they knew and were attempting to cover something up.

(Crisman next appears in Tacoma in the late 1960s, railing against the city's form of government (i.e. City Manager). He hosted a radio talk show under the pseudonym "Jon Gold," and wrote a self-published book, The Murder of a City, Tacoma. He was appointed by the mayor to serve on the Tacoma Public Library board. During this period, he was subpoenaed by Jim Garrison to testify in the case against Clay Shaw in the John F. Kennedy assassination. When Shaw was arrested, Crisman was the first person he called, apparently. Various conspiracy theories place Crisman on the grassy knoll, possibly as a radio operator, or as one of the three tramps taken into custody near Dealey Plaza. However, a log from Rainier High School where Crisman taught shows no substitute was required for Crisman on the day of the assassination, supporting Crisman's claim that he was teaching. His Grand Jury testimony is now public, and in Murder of a City, Tacoma, Crisman claimed no knowledge of a conspiracy, nor was he called as a witness in the actual trial. Crisman died in 1975.)

From How Stuff Works

From the beginning of the UFO phenomenon, the urge to spin yarns proved irresistible to some. Like weeds in saucerdom's fertile ground, UFO hoaxes, tall tales, rumors, and other silliness sprouted and spread. One of the most notorious -- and successful -- liars, the late Fred L. Crisman, actually bridged the gap between the Shaver mystery and the UFO mystery. Crisman first surfaced in a letter published in the May 1947 issue of Amazing Stories, in which he claimed to have shot his way out of a cave full of deros with a submachine gun. Palmer next heard from him the following July. This time Crisman said he had actual physical evidence of a flying saucer.

Palmer passed the story on to Kenneth Arnold, who was investigating reports in the Pacific Northwest. Arnold interviewed Crisman and an associate, Harold Dahl. The two men showed the material to Arnold. In a state of high excitement Arnold contacted an Army Air Force intelligence officer of his acquaintance, Lt. Frank M. Brown, who quickly flew up from Hamilton Field in California in the company of another officer. The moment they saw the material, their interest in it evaporated: It was ordinary aluminum. Embarrassed for Arnold, the officers left without telling him their conclusions.

While flying back to Hamilton, their B-25 caught fire and crashed, killing both officers. Though Crisman and Dahl subsequently confessed to other Air Force investigators that they had made up the story, the legend would live on for decades afterward. Some writers- including Arnold and Palmer, who wrote a book about the case- hinted that the officers died because they knew too much. But to Capt. Edward Ruppelt of Project Blue Book, the Maury Island incident was the "dirtiest hoax in UFO history." Years later Crisman's name would reemerge in another contentious context. In December 1968, while investigating what he believed to be a high-level conspiracy to murder President John F. Kennedy, New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison called Crisman to testify before a grand jury. Some early assassination-conspiracy theorists would identify Crisman (falsely) as one of the three mysterious "hoboes" arrested and photographed shortly after the shooting in Dallas. Before his death Crisman was peddling a new, improved, UFO-less version of the Maury Island story. He now claimed that the "truth" involved, not flying doughnuts dropping slag, but something even more dangerous: illegal dumping by military aircraft of radioactive waste into the harbor. Though this tale was no less tall than his earlier one, it has already entered UFO literature as the "solution" to the Maury Island "mystery."

The Man From Tomorrow
By Richard Toronto

John Keel was royally pissed when Raymond A. Palmer’s front door shut abruptly in his face one chilly New Year’s eve in Amherst, Wisconsin. Keel had made the trek to Palmer’s idyllic country farm hoping for an interview. Palmer, known fondly to devoted fans and friends as “Rap,” was editor of Flying Saucers magazine, the first trade zine ever to have the words “flying saucer” in the title. Rap was something of a living legend – or rogue, depending on your point of view – as a publisher of pulp science fiction and flying saucer zines. Long story short, Keel went back to his motel that night empty handed. Palmer’s son, also named Ray but with a different middle initial, recalled the long ago incident.

“We used to have New Year’s parties at the house. About 60 to 80 people would come. One year, around seven o’clock at night, just as our guests were arriving, this guy (Keel) comes to the door. He wants to interview my dad. And my dad said ‘Well, we’re having a party and I just don’t have the time.’ Normally my dad would always sit down and talk to somebody. Well this guy got all mad … and he left. Since that time he never wrote a nice thing about dad.” 1

Keel, a former writer for TV, is best known for his speculative UFO books with Fortean overtones. Hollywood even bought movie rights to his book The Mothman Prophesies, casting Richard Gere as John Keel. Though it must be interesting to see Richard Gere being you on the big screen, this has nothing to do with our story.

The cover from an old Shaver Mystery Magazine (Vol. 2 #1, 1948) depicting the Maury Island Saucer scene, but all I have is a Xerox copy, so it leaves something to be desired. Original issues of the SMM are pretty rare.

Some years after the front door incident in Amherst, Keel published a scathing article titled The Man Who Invented Flying Saucers. 2 It concerned a certain science fiction fan who went on to become the editor of a very famous science fiction pulp magazine. The editor eventually warped the minds of readers throughout the land with talk of flying saucers and malevolent entities living inside the Earth. Through these and other clever means the sf editor created a flying saucer mythos that still haunts us on TV “sightings” shows and in scores of Whitney Strieber books.

The editor—purely by accident Keel noted—tapped into the psyches of millions of Americans to implant the shape, source and behavior of flying saucers—simply by writing about them. As an added bonus, the editor sold more copies of his sf magazine and got a big fat raise from his boss for doing so. Something called The Shaver Mystery seems to have really ticked Keel off too, and he ranted about that with escalating disdain for several paragraphs.

Air Wonder Stories, April 1930, a pre-RAP flying saucer.

In any case, the article was a hit, if not hit piece, and became source material for other writers who spawned subsequent articles that have transformed the sf editor into a kind of Svengali to mentally disturbed crackpots everywhere, who believe aliens from space control their thoughts. Long story short—if it were not for the sf editor, there would have been no flying saucers as we know them; no abductions, no underground bases, no alien probes, no men in black, and come to think of it, probably no X-Files.

That editor, Keel wrote, was Raymond A. Palmer, the diminutive but spunky host of that New Year’s Eve party in Amherst.

At this point, one might pause to ask just how a pulp science fiction writer could possibly become the cultish leader of millions of gullible … What? Who? Have I ever heard of L. Ron Hubbard?? Jeez. Okay, let’s move on.

To get to the bottom of this alleged plot to invent flying saucers, we should take a closer look at the source of all the hoopla; the man who by his own admission was the world’s first flying saucer investigator. He was a mystic, a libertarian, did not support labor unions and was a foe to what eventually became known as Establishment Thinking. He was a pioneer who fought hard for what he believed in, if, indeed, he believed in anything. And he did. Too much and too little has been said about Ray Palmer, both pro and con and yet he remains an enigma to sf history. After his death in 1977, the bulk of his monumental collection of UFO case files was purchased by CUFOS, the flying saucer research organization founded by Dr. J. Allen Hynek of Illinois University.

Robert Bloch, Raymond Palmer, and Louie Samplner.

Flying saucers were not Rap’s only interest by any means. He was one of the first to bang the drum on the dangers of atomic testing and its debilitating worldwide fallout. He suspected it was altering the weather. He wrote extensively about the Atomic Energy Commission and questioned the charter under which it operated in such articles as “The Truth about Atomic Energy” in Mystic magazine:

“This is an article you should read very carefully,” he warned. “…because it is the most important article you will ever read! …its purpose is to challenge those men (soldiers, politicians and scientists) who have taken the destiny of the world into their hands.” 4

Rap used this kind of rhetoric in all of his crusades. His fiery intensity made it seem important, and he wanted readers to pause and think. Maybe not accept, but at least give it a thought. It was emblematic of Palmer’s “larger social responsibility” as Rap biographer Jim Pobst put it.

“My father’s pet peeve about many people was that they did not think for themselves,” Palmer’s son explained. “He promoted space travel, education, genetic engineering, clean air and water, less destructive pesticides, equal right for the Indians, proper care of animals, a government that protects individual freedoms. This list can go on and on.”

Then again, Rap glommed on to crazes too, “stunts” as he called them. Like the time he discovered the real Jesse James…alive at 101 years old, who gave Rap $10,000 to tell his true life story; or Admiral Byrd’s secret 1947 flight over the North Pole; or the NASA photos he ran in Space World magazine that proved beyond a doubt that the Earth was hollow, with holes at the poles. NASA pulled his press privileges after that.

During Rap’s editorial heyday there was no OMNI or Discovery, so Rap filled that need with tales of scientific discoveries, flights of fancy, and establishment cover-ups.

To figure out exactly what went on in Rap’s world, we must dig deep into the brittle, yellowing pages of 60-year-old pulp magazines.

The Milwaukee Miracle

Palmer was born in Milwaukee in 1910, nothing unusual about that. And for seven years it stayed that way, until finally we see young Rap playing in the street near the family home – with a large milk truck barreling down on him. The truck broke his spine and a spinal disease set in. The accident forever altered the world of science fiction. It is said he had the first spinal graft. His childhood became a series of unsuccessful operations followed by years of recuperation. Several of those years were spent laying face down in a canvas-and-steel-pipe “Bradford frame,” an early 20th century torture device according to Rap.

“I was…able only to move the lower part of my legs, my arms, and my head,” recalled Rap in his memoir.

He grew only a few inches after the accident, and while other kids attended school and whiled away their summers at the local swimming hole, Rap spent his youth in the torture bed, reading books. “At intervals totaling more than five years” he got his education from a tutor sent by the Milwaukee School Board and from books delivered weekly by the Milwaukee Public Library.

He devoured crates of books covering a wide range of subjects, like math, archeology, history, mythology, physics, and the emerging literary genre called science fiction. These were years when Rap dreamed of better things – a fantastic world of tomorrow foreshadowed by the imaginations of science fiction writers.

He also practiced what he called mental healing. This was not “faith” healing, since he believed in neither “fate” nor “faith.” Doctors predicted his imminent demise from time to time, but Rap used his developing mental powers to prove them wrong.

“All during my life, beginning most specifically at age nine when I promised my weeping mother that I wasn’t going to die in 24 hours as the doctor had just assured her, I have had this confidence that I could ‘do things’ I wanted to do…through sheer determination,” said Rap. 5

To hear him tell it, Rap read his first issue of Amazing Stories magazine in 1926, and that same day mailed off his first sf yarn to Hugo Gernsback, Amazing’s editor. When Gernsback replied with a $40 acceptance check, this may have been the moment Rap knew he would become editor of Amazing Stories. After all, Amazing Stories is where the popular science fiction movement began. Or, as Frederik Pohl once said, “In the Beginning there was Hugo Gernsback, and he begat Amazing Stories.”

Rap’s earliest recollections of his fannish past drifted back to 1924, when “…the first SF began to appear in the old Electrical Experimenter.” 6

Rap was what you would call a “true fan”—a fan among fen. In fan-speak of the era he was considered an actifan who never gafiated from fandom’s fold, though he was often considered a fugghead by other fen who started many a fanfeud with him over his editorial policies. 7

He is credited with publishing the first fanzine—The Comet. He started a lending library—The Science Correspondence Club—loaning books to would-be writers in the sf field. He founded the Jules Verne Prize Club in 1933, a short-lived precursor to the Hugo Awards. Members could join for a mere 25¢. And in the early ’30s he was a founding member of a group called the Milwaukee Fictioneers. Robert Bloch, a former member, recalled that it was “…a writers’ workshop before the term was even invented.” 8

As an organizer, editor, and writer, Rap “… worked off enough fannish energies to give him the $100 prize in a Gernsback contest on ‘What I have Done to Advance Science Fiction’,” said long-time sf fan Harry Warner Jr. “He blamed hard work with fandom and science fiction for causing him an eight month stay in a sanatorium.” 9

Raymond F. Palmer playing the starring role on the cover of Amazing Stories.

And so it came to pass that the boy who would not live to see his 10th birthday became editor of Amazing Stories at the age of 28. Thanks to arcane knowledge learned during his Bradford frame days, Rap charted his life’s course early on. “It is as though Life is a blueprint, but a design that you manufacture yourself!” he said. 10

In 1938, the year of his hire at Ziff-Davis—the new owners of Amazing Stories—Rap had been employed as a sheet metal worker for the P.J. Lavies Company, installing aluminum roofs and gutters. He installed furnaces and clothes chutes too, and even kept the company books to boost his meager income. From a dingy rented room he cranked out pulp fiction for sf and adventure magazines, selling occasional work to Shade Publications of Milwaukee. It was “impossible” to make a living writing science fiction, he said.

More than Amazing

Curiously, Rap said his hard work and organizing skills had nothing to do with his hire at Amazing Stories. The real story, the truth, he said, went something like this. One day, he simply quit his job at the P.J. Lavies Company and went home. At the time of the life-altering job offer, Rap was sitting in his tiny room, “having meals delivered and wishing himself a pulp sale.”

As another version of the story goes, his eventual career as an sf writer and editor may have been due in part, at least, to his grandmother. In 1929 she informed him he would never achieve his dream of becoming a writer. As this version goes, Rap immediately sat down and cranked out his first sf yarn, “The Time Ray of Chandra.” It appeared some years later in Gernsback’s June 1930 issue of Wonder Stories. The rest, as they say, is history.

Even if this version (or the previous one for that matter) is a total myth, it’s real enough to fit a pattern. It was a pattern Rap repeated throughout his life, and it went something like this:

Tell Rap that something, anything, is ridiculous, far-fetched, or impossible to accomplish.

Rap then proves you wrong, and has fun doing so.

This was as much a form of entertainment as a symptom of his self-declared war on establishment thinking. And Rap abhorred mainstream thinking…the kind of thinking that has no place in science fiction literature.

Science fiction offered the world he craved, of infinite possibilities, of challenges to accepted thought. And sparking the imaginations of thousands of young sf readers at the time was what was commonly known as space ships. Rap had been reading about them since he was a kid.

Which brings us back to his alleged invention of flying saucers. Did Rap really invent them or was he merely following the footsteps of others who came before?

In 1928, two years after Rap sold “Time Ray of Chandra” to Gernsback, a 40-year-old newspaperman named Philip Francis Nowlan sold his first sf yarn to Amazing Stories-- called “Armageddon 2419 A.D.” It was about a rebel spaceship pilot named Anthony “Buck” Rogers. Buck became the hero of a long-lived comic strip read by generations of youngsters. Rap, too, read the popular strip, that bristled with anti-gravity flying belts and rocket guns.

There were evil aliens, too, Martians, of course, who sent their saucer-like craft to Earth to kidnap human specimens (that is SO 1930s—today we say “abduct” human specimens). To combat this evil Martian threat, Buck built the world’s first interplanetary space ship, and declared, “Roaring rockets! We’ll show these Martians who’s who in the solar system!” 14

The Ziff-Davis Years

“I don’t believe the literal ‘truth’ can ever be known—we can only appropriate truth in the framework of our capability of understanding.”—Rap

With the reins at Amazing Stories firmly in hand, Rap galloped off at breakneck speed publishing tales of space ships, BEMs, beautiful babes in stylish space suits, ray mech, and aliens. Newsstand sales soared. To hear Rap tell it, sales went from his first issue of 75,000 copies to 93,000 by the second, and within a year Amazing was selling 185,000 copies per month (or 250,000 depending on who’s telling the story). Though he enjoyed telling and re-telling the story of these legendary circulation figures, its numbers varied widely; depending on which publication and year he told the story.

The same year Rap was assuming editorial control at Amazing, Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater panicked thousands of radio listeners on Halloween night after convincing them Martians had landed in New Jersey and were coming to get them. Just months before Welles’ legendary broadcast, Rap’s editorial in Amazing Stories went like this:

“We wonder if after all, if earth hasn’t been visited by beings from other planets? What were the ships, with tails of fire, Elisha saw in his visions? Are they future prophecy, or are they the more likely legendary memory of actual and long-gone fact?” 15

Then, in 1939, he witnessed something that brought new conviction to his editorials.

“Your editors were reminded of Charles Fort and his LO! The other day, seen from our 22nd story window, in the west was a strong light, high in the air, which remained for perhaps ten minutes, then faded…your editor got a great kick out of announcing the arrival of the Martians to his fellow editors of…Radio News, Popular Photography, and Popular Aviation.” 16

Rap’s interest in the as yet unnamed flying saucers had percolated for years thanks to science fiction. But future events were about to alter his career in the science fiction field he loved so dearly.

The Shaver Mystery

Rap knew exactly why the circulation figures were climbing at Amazing, and said so in his Other Worlds magazine years later… “…it was ideas that did it. NEW ideas. STARTLING ideas. It was building a fire under readers by giving them something so hot they couldn’t put them down, and making them pant for the next issue. Nobody pants for the next issue these days.”

After successfully piloting the good ship Amazing for nearly six years, Rap encountered yet another truck barreling down on him, and this one would hit him harder than the first. The truck is only a metaphor, but it, too, was something of an accident and it changed Rap’s life forever. This time he gave the truck a name; he called it “The Shaver Mystery.” It was hot, and it was NEW. Rap said it was the next big wave in sf, though he also said that of flying saucers.

The mystery emerged from Rap’s discovery of a Ford assembly line worker named Richard S. Shaver, who in 1943 sent a letter to Amazing Stories offering Rap first crack at an ancient alphabet – Mantong, he called it. The alphabet, which Shaver deciphered himself, was said to be the original tongue of Earth’s first civilization. It piqued Rap’s interest mightily and, ignoring the admonitions of his assistant editor Howard Browne, he published Shaver’s letter in Amazing’s January 1944 issue.

Behind the scenes, a feverish correspondence ensued, wherein Palmer learned that Shaver had an even more bizarre tale to tell. As the story went, Shaver had lived among the denizens of an underground civilization that exists within the Earth’s mantel. These underworld people (essentially two groups, “dero” and “tero,”—the first being evil, the latter good) have the ability to control earthly affairs via thought control using wondrous machinery left by that fantastic elder race whose language was the aforementioned Mantong.

Raymond Palmer and Richard Shaver.

“They have death rays, space ships, giant rockets that traverse the upper air (the flying saucers were described in detail by Mr. Shaver before they actually appeared to Mr. Kenneth Arnold and to thousands since)...and many more marvelous things which Mr. Shaver claimed would revolutionize our surface science if we could but obtain them.” 18

There are hundreds of details to the Shaver Mystery, but, in the interest of hitting the sack before 3 AM, this synopsis will have to do. Shaver typed a 10,000-word story on a semi-functional typer at his Pennsylvania home and mailed it to Palmer. It was titled ominously, “A Warning to Future Man.”

Rap read it and saw its potential as a new direction for Amazing and, as legend has it, expanded it to a 31,000-word manuscript titled “I Remember Lemuria!” Rap changed one key element, however. Shaver claimed he got the basis for his story from first-hand experience; but fearing his readers would find that too outlandish, Rap changed the source to “racial memory,” much to Shaver’s chagrin. As occasionally happens when something seems to be going so well, a problem arose when Palmer informed his readers that the Shaver yarns, now being cranked out at white hot speed each month, were based on factual events, just as Shaver said. Rap began arguing, debating, and generally lobbying readers to seriously consider Shaver’s claims.

As Keel saw it, Rap used the Shaver Mystery to brainwash a legion of Manchurian candidates, implanting the shape, behavior, and even the source of flying saucers into the minds of millions. There were many sf fen at the time that would have agreed with Keel, because for every fan who loved the Shaver Mystery there was another who hated it. To them it became “The Palmer Hoax.” An article by Thomas S. Gardner, published in the Fantasy Commentator, expressed the indignation of the time:

“The crackpots, as they are usually called, number at least a million in the United States. They are, in the main, adults, and have educational levels ranging from near zero to those of Ph.D.s. A great many harbor seriously (sic) delusions of ancient civilizations superior to ours, believe in pyramidology and the like. To capture these readers it is only necessary to publish issues of Amazing Stories containing stories which propitiate these crackpots’ views in fictional guise. And with Richard S. Shaver’s ‘I remember Lemuria’ Palmer has instituted this very trend.”

And so it came to pass that a vast chasm loomed among fandom thanks to the Shaver Mystery. Those who read Amazing and followed the Shaver series with interest were called Shaverites. Those who read Astounding Science Fiction (and shunned Amazing) were “rational, science-based fen.” Fan luminaries like Forrest J Ackerman sustained this on-going fan fued, and it continued unabated for nearly four years.

Kenneth Arnold and Raymond Palmer.

The protracted squabble had no effect on the diminutive editor of Amazing Stories, however. Even Rap must have known something would have to tip the balance, and that’s just what happened on June 24, 1947 when pilot Kenneth Arnold spotted a formation of nine silvery flying objects near Mt. Rainier, Washington.

The objects’ strange, skipping motion inspired a newspaper reporter to tag them as “flying saucers,” and the name stuck like glue. The flying saucer age was on with a vengeance. Newspapers were blazing with the story of the mystery discs.

Back in Chicago, Rap followed the newspaper stories with keen interest. He assured his Amazing Stories readers that here at last was proof of the veracity of the Shaver Mystery. But the handwriting was on the wall for the Shaver series. With growing concerns from his publisher over the fact that elements of the mystery conflicted with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and continuing complaints from a newly organizing fandom, Rap’s budding interest in flying saucers gradually drew him away from the Shaver Mystery.

Fred Lee Crisman

One could say that if all it takes is for someone to write about something to make it happen, Buck Rogers can be blamed for flying saucers. He predated The Shaver Mystery. What really turned Rap into the world’s first flying saucer investigator was one Fred L. Crisman of Tacoma, Washington, not Richard S. Shaver.

Nowadays, Crisman is generally deemed a trickster by trade, and a truly shady character. The two things we positively know about him is that he was born in 1919 and died in 1975. Conspiracy buffs and ufologists alike have been trying to unravel his secrets for years. Just Google Crisman’s name and it will spew a bizarre thread that begins with Ray Palmer and the Shaver Mystery.

Crisman is believed by some to have been an OSS and CIA agent, an industrial spy, closely aligned with right-wing extremists, underworld figures, and anti-Castro Cubans who were allegedly involved in the JFK assassination. In 1968 Crisman worked as a right wing “shock jock” hosting a radio talk show in Tacoma. He was subpoenaed by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison during a 1968 investigation into the Kennedy assassination. It has been rumored (even Keel mentioned this) that Crisman was one of the three “tramps” arrested in Dealey Plaza after the murder. It is also written that during WW II, Crisman came up with a plan to forestall the Nazis’ completion of their atom bomb. He came up with a non-functional “widget,” that was dropped by Allied bombers across Germany as the war ground to its grisly finale. While German scientists wasted valuable time trying to figure out what the widgets were about, we whomped their asses and dropped the A-Bomb on Japan. So the story goes.

Crismanologists all agree that Crisman’s post-war existence was first noted in a published letter in the June 1946 issue of Amazing Stories. At first glance it appeared to be a fantastic corroboration of The Shaver Mystery, detailing the gory details of a dero attack on then Army pilot Crisman and an unnamed captain near Tibet. Anti-Shaverites zeroed in on the letter. Though it appeared to be a validation of Shaver’s claims, critics saw it as one more proof that Rap and his wild-eyed readers were a bunch of nut balls.

There was a follow-up letter from Crisman, too, appearing in the May 1947 issue. Soon after the appearance of the first letter, Harpers magazine published a denunciation of Rap and the Shaver Mystery. The author, S. Baring-Gould, touted Crisman’s letter as an example of the crackpots Rap catered to. Then Crisman himself chimed in!

“I bitterly resent this,” snorted Crisman about the article. “I felt that you too, Mr. Palmer, had more or less given me up for a jerk who was only trying to pull your leg…that maybe all this was only a promotion stunt….”

The Tacoma Incident

We wonder how many of you readers know that at one time Project Blue Book…named your editor as the ‘hoaxer’ who started this whole flying saucer thing? —Rap

Martin Gardner in his book Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science brushes off the Tacoma Incident, aka the Maury Island Mystery, like it was lint on his collar:

“The entire Maury Island episode later proved to be a hoax elaborately planned by two Tacoma men who hoped to sell the phony yarn to an adventure magazine. Both men eventually made a full confession.” End of story. The key word here is “elaborately,” because Crisman was definitely a pro. Elaborately means he reserved a hotel room for his victim before the victim arrived. Crisman also secured an empty house to set up a phony “secretary” who lived there and “worked on the books” for his phony log-salvaging company. This was a lot of work just to sell a penny-a-word pulp yarn to some adventure magazine; but hey, strange things happen. In any case, let the tale begin.

On June 21, 1947, three days before airplane pilot Kenneth Arnold spied a formation of nine bright objects “skipping like rocks” across water, a very strange event was unfolding near Tacoma, Washington. Featuring all the key elements of future flying saucer lore, it had intrigue, a bugged hotel room, inquisitive newspaper reporters, tragic deaths, Military Intelligence officers, potential Cold War spies, weird saucer debris that was somehow “switched” with phony metal slag, unannounced visits by government secret service agents, and an after-hours burglary of saucer evidence, sinister warnings over the phone, and finally the disappearance of the two men who started the whole thing.

Following the Maury Island incident (detailed above), Dahl, on returning home, gave a report to his “boss” Fred L. Crisman. Yes, the very same Fred L. Crisman who sent the letters to Rap a year earlier. He was now in charge of a log salvaging operation in Tacoma Washington! Small world. Or was it a large conspiracy?

Back in Chicago, Rap sat at his desk pondering newspaper reports of Kenneth Arnold’s “flying saucer” sighting near Mt. Rainier. It was June 1947, the same month Rap published Amazing’s highly anticipated all-Shaver Mystery issue.

Then, as was the pattern in Rap’s charmed life, “it” happened. He got a phone call from Tacoma, Washington. Fred L. Crisman was calling. At this point we can only ponder why Rap would even consider Crisman’s story if he suspected those previous letters were a hoax, though Rap’s son explains it thusly: “Ray Palmer [was] a skeptic, but he was not the type of skeptic that would laugh at you and then change your story to make you look foolish,” he said. “He would listen and get as much information as he could and then try to find out how your story is true. Sometimes you find out and sometimes you don’t, but either way you learn more.”

Rap went right to his typewriter and hammered out a letter to Kenneth Arnold, pleading with him to get in his plane and head to Tacoma to investigate Crisman’s story. He offered him $200, but it took a second letter with even more pleas from Rap, before the world’s most celebrated pilot since Charles Lindberg conceded.

Ken Arnold’s first clue that he was not in control of his situation came when he discovered he had a room already reserved at the Winthrop Hotel in Tacoma. Neither he nor Rap made the arrangements. “Ah, yes,” the desk clerk said to Arnold over the phone, “We have Room 502 reserved in your name!” Maybe it was a different Kenneth Arnold, he thought, since no one other than Rap and Arnold’s family knew he was flying to Tacoma.

Arnold contacted Harold Dahl, who arrived at Room 502 to tell the strange tale of saucer debris, a dead dog, danger, and incredulity. Dahl was full of angst, and seemed reticent to tell the story, warning Arnold that he should just forget the whole thing and fly home.

Next day at 9:30 AM, Fred L. Crisman was banging on the door of Room 502. Arnold described him as a “short, stocky fellow, dark complexioned, a happy-go-lucky appearing person…and extremely alert.” 21 After Crisman’s grand entrance, Dahl faded into the woodwork, spending much of the rest of this story at a local movie theater watching episodes of The Crimson Ghost.

Crisman confirmed Dahl’s story to Arnold and added even more. He said he went to retrieve some of the saucer debris at Maury Island. While there, he too saw one of the doughnut-shaped craft circling the area, and there was no doubt about it, he knew what he saw.

Arnold, feeling overwhelmed by all the details Crisman was firing at him, called an old friend and commercial pilot, Captain E.J. Smith, for backup. Smith arrived the next day, and heard more of the same from the two “loggers.” Nonetheless, Arnold began to feel uneasy about the two men.

Smith and Arnold suspected a hoax, or even that Russian espionage was at play. Cold War jitters being what they were, everyone believed it was a good bet the saucers were Soviet secret weapons taken from the Nazis. Arnold’s paranoia edged a notch further when he got a phone call from an United Press reporter named Ted Morello, who informed him that, “Some crackpot has been phoning us here, telling us verbatim what has been going on in your hotel room for the last day.” Naturally, Crisman and Dahl were the prime suspects, but when both men were present in the hotel room when Morello called again, confirming what had just transpired in the room, Arnold and Smith were dumbfounded. Who was it? How was the information getting out, and to what end?

After a thorough search of the room, Rap’s two saucer investigators were unable to locate the bug they knew must reside in Room 502. Finally, with growing concern for his safety, Arnold called in Military Intelligence. Within hours, Air Force First Lt. Frank M. Brown and Capt. William L. Davidson arrived from Hamilton AFB in California. After interviewing all concerned, Crisman nearly forced a cardboard box full of the so-called saucer debris on the two officers, which was then loaded onto their B-25 bomber.

Talk of sabotage hit the Washington papers next morning when news that the plane’s left engine had caught fire, and the safety extinguisher failed to operate. Brown and Davidson died when they crashed near Kelso, Washington. The saucer debris was never found in the wreckage. Mysteriously, Crisman and Dahl were never prosecuted for promoting what they later confessed (“allegedly” confessed, say conspiriologists) to FBI agents was a complete hoax that indirectly led to the loss of a newly refurbished B-25 bomber. AF officials said they had traced Crisman’s saucer debris to a Tacoma smelter.

Back in Room 502, Arnold was totally freaked and wanted out. He called Rap and briefed him on the situation. Rap told him to get on his plane and bail.

“He told me to keep the money and…not to carry any of the fragments aboard my plane. He advised me to prevent Smith from taking any fragments. He didn’t tell me why, but I felt the advice was good. Mr. Palmer told me not to become too upset and then I gave the phone to Crisman.” Crisman talked briefly with Rap confirming the plane crash. Arnold claimed later that “Raymond Palmer told me that he recognized Crisman’s voice. He was positive that it was the same voice that had called him long distance on other occasions from various parts of the country. Brother, what a mess.”

A witness was said to have spotted Crisman boarding an Army Air Corps plane, destination—Alaska. Dahl simply vanished. Back in Chicago, Rap was left holding the bag. He was now being blamed for perpetrating the greatest hoax since the Shaver Mystery. The new round of criticism only made him dig in his heels. He was convinced something very strange was going on. If the whole thing was a hoax, he wondered why his samples of the so-called smelter slag were stolen from his Ziff-Davis office one night after a visit from an intelligence agent? The agent, he said, was asking questions about the Shaver Mystery.

It was pretty clear that Rap was going to take the hit for Maury Island, and when Edward J. Ruppelt, former head the Air Force’s Project Blue Book, published his “Report on Unidentified Flying Objects” in 1956, Rap endured further public humiliation when Ruppelt declared:

“[Crisman and Dahl] admitted that the rock fragments had nothing to do with flying saucers. They had sent in the rock fragments [to Palmer] as a joke…and said the rock came from a flying saucer because that’s what [Ray Palmer] wanted him to say.”

Rap was pissed. “If the Maury Island Incident was a hoax, there is basis to lay it at the door of Fred L. Crisman” he sputtered. But it moved Rap’s name to the top of the government’s list of “people to keep an eye on,” as Palmer’s son explained to this writer.

“There was a joke at the shop that the way to identify a G-man was to look at his shoes; so whenever one would come we would all lean over and look at the shoes. They came to look at our rocket launching base and radar (which we didn’t have); they came to audit his taxes; they came as postal inspectors and spent three days here only to give him back about 38¢ that was overpaid (but they did look at every name on the mailing list). They planted a false story in the news and all the authorities came down on him only to have them mysteriously leave and never explain to the news why they left with nothing being done.”

Yet, Rap continued his investigating, as well as his crusade against injustice. He also came up with a new slant to his beloved science fiction.

The Coming of the Saucers

The cover of the issue of Amazing Stories that was cancelled.

“We are adding a kind of science fiction … that deals with the new kind of space ship. After all, it’s just not modern to talk of spaceships these days, or of Bob Crosby; but of flying saucers and Elvis Presley!” –Rap

Rap revealed years later that prior to the Tacoma Incident, he was about to release new “evidence” concerning the saucers and much more in a special Amazing Stories flying saucers issue, but never got the chance, thanks to a visit from a Federal agent.

“The Tacoma incident intervened,” he grouched. “The owner of the magazine ordered the special issue halted, killed the Shaver Mystery, and tossed aside a bit of business that had netted him a half million dollars in four years—all the day after a man with a gold badge paid him a visit.” 28

Yes, the Tacoma affair did little to endear Rap to Ziff-Davis. So, in 1949, two years after Maury Island, Kenneth Arnold and Room 502, Rap left Amazing Stories to strike out on his own as an independent publisher. In fact, he started his new career on the sly even before he left Amazing. He founded an sf pulp—Other Worlds Science Stories—and he gambled on Fate magazine, a mystical digest that Rap bet would fill a niche in the publishing field. He was right. Fate struck a chord with a new readership, while newsstand sales for science fiction slowly dried up. TV and the newly emerging paperback houses were blamed.

Rap tried valiantly to drum up interest in his science fiction ’zines with a dizzying array of title and format changes. From October 1953 to April ’54, Other Worlds suddenly became Science Stories. Also in ’53, Rap founded Universe Science Fiction, ran it for ten issues, then changed the name to Other Worlds Science Stories, giving it a larger format in the hopes of making it more noticeable on newsstands; all to no avail.

Meanwhile, Rap’s obsession with flying saucers was growing. His magazine cover art blatantly mirrored this preoccupation. His saucer files were growing almost as fast as his personal file at FBI headquarters. After all, the Feds had concluded in 1947 that Palmer and Shaver were indeed behind flying saucer “hysteria.” The Tacoma Incident further expanded Palmer’s burgeoning file.

Then Rap had a brainstorm. He decided to change Other Worlds Science Stories into Flying Saucers from Other Worlds, filling it with a combination of saucer fiction yarns and factual reports. It was the beginning of his transition from science fiction to saucer and “spiritual” publications, what now is termed “New Age.” For a time, he alternated thetwo zines. One month it was Flying Saucers from Other Worlds, the next it was Other Worlds Science Stories. By this time Rap had accumulated several file cabinets full of saucer documentation. Why not put it to good use? As he often did when he came up with a new idea, he hinted that something extraordinary was about to happen …in the next issue, of course.

What with his shabby treatment after Maury Island, this new plan gave him the perfect soapbox from which to harangue Officialdom and pound the media, and other pundits did not take the subject seriously.

In the first issue of Flying Saucers from Other Worlds, Rap angrily struck out at so-called journalists in May of 1957.

“When flying saucers first appeared, no writer had the gumption to sit down and state it was a plain news item. No, they had to make a huge joke out of it…Your editor has a word for that kind of writer, and it’s spelled ‘tramp.’ They ride the fourth estate rails free…Laughing jackasses, the whole lot of them.”

Apparently, only Rap acknowledged his vast contribution to ufology. The ghost of Tacoma still haunted him. He was being snubbed even by Flying saucer organizations like NICAP, who refused to acknowledge his work. Rap concluded NICAP was simply a “mouthpiece for the CIA” in one of his many searing editorials: “…In spite of the fact that this editor is not only the first flying saucer investigator, but the possessor of the largest private file of saucer information in the world, and the publisher of the only newsstand magazine on flying saucers, and has repeatedly offered to help NICAP, this help being refused.” John A. Keel remained unrepentant of his criticism of Rap’s ufological contribution, as revealed in a 1984 letter to Shavertron, a fanzine dedicated to the Shaver Mystery. Keel was bemoaning an apparent lack of interest in flying saucers at that time, making it more difficult to sell saucer-related material.

“Palmer created and sustained the field of ufology, and modeled it after science fiction fandom,” chided Keel. “If Palmer had not existed, it is very likely that widespread interest in flying saucers would have faded away after 1947. After his death in 1977, ufology and the subject of UFOs has slipped into total limbo…

“Because only a few copies of Amazing Stories from the 1940s remain intact, very few advocates of the Shaver Mystery have had a chance to study them. So the Shaver Mystery itself is now founded on hearsay and myth.

“Keep up the bad work,
“John A. Keel.”

And what of the man who, with one crazy episode, turned Rap into the world’s first flying saucer investigator? As conspiracy history tells us, he was arrested on the grassy knoll as one of the three tramps after JFK’s assassination; he wrote a novel titled Murder of a City about Tacoma dirty politics; he partied with rogues and burned down a building or two; got into S&M: and continued to write occasionally to Rap, no doubt to clinch his reputation as master obscurantist.

“Fred Crisman not only didn’t admit [Maury Island] was a hoax,” writes long-time Crisman researcher Ron Halbritter, “but [in a letter] in the January 1950 issue of Fate he called those accusations a ‘bald-faced lie.’”

Halbritter, through extensive use of the Freedom of Information Act, studied Crisman’s FBI file, military records, and even job applications. He has a decidedly different opinion about Palmer’s saucer nemesis.

“Fred Lee Crisman would have you, me, and the rest of the world believe he was a secret agent for some three letter classified group. Crisman was the classic yardbird; injured during WW II, he became addicted to painkillers and spent the remainder of his life trying to hustle to support his habit.

“Crisman always sought to be the center of attention. When Ray Palmer described the Shaver Mystery, he claimed to have been in a dero cave in Kashmir. When Harold Dahl saw a UFO at Maury Island, the next day Crisman claimed, ‘Me, too—when nobody else was around, I did see one.’ While Jim Garrison was seeking Kennedy assassins, he suddenly got an anonymous letter implying Crisman was involved. When Roy Thinnes had a hit television show in 1967 called The Invaders, a letter, allegedly from Harold Dahl, was sent saying that the character David Vincent, and in fact the entire show, was based on Crisman’s life. These are examples of Crisman’s need for fame.”


1. Interview with Ray B. Palmer, The UFO Forum,
2. Keel, John, “The Man Who Invented Flying Saucers,” Fortean Times 41, p 52-57
3. Mystic Magazine, April 1955, p 14
4. The Secret World, p 29
5. Ibid. p 28
6. Rap, Amazing editorial, February 1941
7. Actifan: a fan who participates in sf publishing, conventions, clubs. Gafiate: “get away from it all” …meaning to quit fandom. Fugghead: a fan who exhibits behavior so far beyond the pale that even the most liberal fen might raise an eyebrow over it. Fen: plural of fan. Fanfeud: feuds that existed between fen, usually over inane subjects.
8. “Fantastic Adventures with Amazing,” Amazing Stories, January 1984
9. Warner, Harry, All Our Yesterdays, p 76
10. Palmer, Ray, The Secret World, 1975, p 8
11. Pobst, Jim, The Rap Packets #1 p 3
12. Palmer, The Secret World, p 26
13. Ibid. p 30
14. Ron Goulart, St.James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture
15. Rap editorial, Amazing Stories, August 1938
16. Ibid., July 1939
17. Rap editorial, Other Worlds Science Stories, November 1955
18. Rap, The Secret World, p 37
19. Rap, Flying Saucers Magazine, 1958
20. Gardner, Martin, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, p 56
21. Arnold/Palmer, The Coming of the Saucers, p 88
22. Ibid. p 39
23. Ibid. p 44
24. Ibid. p 45
25. Ibid. p 58
26. Ibid.
27. Ruppelt, Edward, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, 1956, p 26
28. Arnold/Palmer, The Coming of the Saucers, p 9
29. Editorial, Other Worlds Science Stories, May 1957
30. Editorial, Flying Saucers Magazine, June 1960
31. Halbritter, Ron, Beyond Roswell—The Hoax on You,
32. Rap on Maury Island, Flying Saucers, December 1958

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Prozine cover scans Courtesy Jacques Hamon Collection