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Roswell 1947 - newspapers in 1947

The Chicago Tribune, July 9, 1947:

Flying Disk Gives Army Dizzy Whirl!
They Find a 'Saucer' Is Just a Balloon

Fort Worth, Tex. -- July 8 (Special) -- A disk-jittery nation was treated to a two hour step-up in its platter panic today when an army press agent mistook remnants of a weather balloon for one of the mysterious sky saucers hundreds of persons recently have reported they thought they saw in the air.

The press agent put out an unequivocal announcement that flying disk had been found on a New Mexico ranch and was in army possession. He touched off a wave of excitement which traveled by radio and newspaper bulletins thruout the country.

Newspapers were flooded with telephone calls. High army officers in Washington leaped for telephones. For an hour or so the object found on the ranch became a great whatisit [sic], its size, appearance and construction details matters for horrific speculation.

Weather Man Takes Look

By this time the object - a mass of broken wooden stays wrapped in tinfoil - had been sent to 8th army air force headquarters here. Maj. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, commander, who wasn't sure exactly what it was, advanced a theory it might be a meteorological device. He ordered it flown to Wright field, O., for examination by experts of the AAF materiel command.

Before this could be done, however, Warrant Officer, Irving Newton, a forecaster with the army weather station here, sidled up for a look.

"That's what's left of a ray wind [Rawin] target," Newton said. "They are being used by some 80 weather stations in the United States, and this one could have come from any one of them."

Brass Hats Relax

Newton's words flashed over the wires to bring relief to a worried public. Brass hats in Washington put down their telephones, their faces reportedly somewhat red. At a late hour no further bulletins had been issued by the press agent who put out the first one.

He was Lt. Warren [Walter] Haught, public relations officer at Roswell air field, Roswell, N.M. The way he told it in his original announcement was as follows:

"The many rumors regarding the flying disk became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th [atomic] bomb group of the 8th air force Roswell army air field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disk through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff's office."

Rancher Hears the Story

Haught added the "disk" had been examined at Roswell field and forwarded to higher authorities. Events leading to the issuance of Haught's bulletin were pieced together as follows: W. W. Brizzell, a rancher, found the remnants of the balloon last week. In near-by Corona, N.M., Saturday he heard about the national disk epidemic. He decided to notify the sheriff.

Sheriff George Wilcox relayed the information to Roswell field, where Maj. Jesse A. Marcel was assigned to investigate. The major went to the ranch and took the collection of sticks and foil into the custody of the army.

Newton explained the object, when rigged up, looks like a six pointed star, is silvery in appearance, and rises in the air like a kite, mounted on a 100 gram balloon. He said a radar set is used to follow the balloon and winds aloft are charted through a triangulation process. He added he had used similar balloons during the invasion of Okinawa to get ballistics information for heavy guns.


The mysterious flying disks or twirling saucers, which have been reported speeding thru the skies above 44 of the 48 states and in Canada during the past week, yesterday leaped the vast expanses of the Pacific and South Atlantic oceans. Observers in both Sydney, Australia and Johannesburg, South Africa, reported having watched them in formation flights during the day or night.

And on this continent hundreds of persons turned in new accounts of having witnessed "balls of fire" flashing across the night sky or gave equally well-documented reports of having seen whole groups of saucers hanging motionless, spinning, or dancing in fantastic patterns before disappearing.

There were hundreds of explanations but all were purely conjecture, theory, or merely judgment. Some theorizers said it was probable that persons on the ground had seen sunlight winking on the wings of real airplanes flying high in the air.

Offers $1,000 Reward

In Washington Presidential Press secretary Ross told reporters a west coast professional juggler had telegrafed [sic] President Truman that the saucers were part of a stack of clay plates he used in his act and that they "had gotten out of hand." Ross added that the President has not ordered an investigation into the matter of the disks.

In Los Angeles the World Inventors' congress posted a $1,000 reward for delivery of a flying disk to the congress' exposition, which opens there July 11. The army air forces said none of its many radar stations had "sighted" any mysterious disks but a spokesman added that at present army radar does not blanket the entire nation.

Two residents of Johannesburg told Reuters News service they had seen the "flying saucers" early yesterday over that city. They said the objects were about as big as "gramaphone records" and were revolving at a great speed in a V-formation. They disappeared in a cloud of smoke, the observers said.

Prof. Frank S. Cotton, physiology department at Sydney university, conducted an experiment with 22 students, most of whom afterward reported having seen flying objects. What they really saw were red corpuscles of the blood passing in front of the retina of the eye, the professor afterward stated.

Denies Canadian Origin

OTTAWA, July 8 -- (Chicago Tribune Press Service). -- A definite denial that the flying disks, if there are such, originate in Canada was made tonight by Brooke Claxton, minister of defense. Asked if the disks might originate from a joint United States-Canadian proving grounds in western Canada, he said they did not.

"There is only one United States-Canadian testing ground in Canada and that is at Churchill," he said. "they certainly do not originate there. The suggestion is as silly as most of the others and you can quote me on that." The Churchill station was opened up some months ago to visits by newspapermen and foreign observers, including military attache of the soviet embassy here.

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