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Alternate Perceptions Magazine, November 2020

Advent of the Flying Saucers - 1947

by: Rick Hilberg

Photograph taken by Frank Ryman in a Seattle suburb on July 4th about 5:30 p.m. Ryman was alerted by neighbors that had sighted a disk-like object heading their way, and quickly ran inside to get his camera. Using binoculars, he estimated its altitude at about 9, 000 or 10,000 feet and was in sight to witnesses for approximately four of five minutes heading to the north. Many consider it to be the first photograph taken of a flying saucer after the Kenneth Arnold sighting in June.

Here we continue with our chronology of the massive "flying saucer" wave that hit the country immediately after the June sighting by Kenneth Arnold, and reached its peak around the July 4th holiday. In this listing we have had to limit our reporting to only those reports that we deemed significant - admittedly a subjective one on our part - as the total number of reports published in newspapers and reported on radio literally numbered in the hundreds. Indeed, once the wave had reached its peak, reports still continued to come in for the rest of the year at a slower but steady pace as you will see in the months ahead.

July 8 - Miss Mabel Vintrum of Chicago, Illinois, reported seeing a round object "about the size of an apple" at 9:05 a.m. She described the object as spinning while "standing still" in one spot, just before it suddenly took off at a high rate of speed "right over the Martha Washington Hospital" on West Irving Park Street. (1)

July 8 - From mid- morning until sometime around noon, several groups of flying saucers were sighted around Denver, Colorado. Fred Cullins of Inca Street in the city, said that he saw two groups, one with three and one with ten, move through the sky from the west and scatter over the downtown area and hover for several minutes before resuming formation and heading back towards the west. He added that sightings of disks were "thick" all morning in his part of the city.

Mrs. D. E. Marvin of West Gill Place also observed several formations of disks. In her case, they "swooped" out of the area of the sun at "terrific speed and altitude" and then flew back to the vicinity of the sun. One of the objects that she spotted, she told news reporters, turned flat and "looked like a half-moon." Her aunt had phoned her from another part of the city to alert her that strange objects were being sighted by many persons.

Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Ebert of West Custer Avenue, along with three neighbors, said that they, and at least a half-dozen other persons on the block, had seen disks from their backyards in the Westwood section of Denver. Ebert was the first to notice the strange objects, and called his wife and neighbors. He reportedly saw only one of the objects, which he described as "white and very high" and, as Mrs. Marvin had reported, appearing to "come out of the sun." He described the object as "round and flat" and said there was no noise. He added that the thing seemed to leave vapor trails like a high-flying aircraft.  Others in the group reported seeing as many as five objects. Mrs. Ebert told of seeing several, which appeared to " dance in the sky, moving backward and forward and at times rising and falling." The witnesses in the Westwood area said the objects were visible for a period of an hour and a half during the morning, before they finally veered off to the west and disappeared from view.

Donald Wentee, eight years old, living on Champa Street, reported that he had seen a disk from the roof of his apartment building. He described its color as orange, said it was "the size of a quarter," and looked to him to be about 3,000 to 4,000 feet high. Its speed was said to be much faster than a normal airplane. (2)

July 8 - At 3:30 p.m. Earl Klenpke of Seattle, Washington, along with his mother, saw a very shiny, oval-shaped disk with "a glass dome on top of it" flying over the city in a northwesterly direction.  It was flying at a moderately slow speed, 75 or 80 m.p.h., and "moving in a straight line with an up-and-down motion." Klenpke estimated its size at about eight feet high and ten feet long. He and his mother watched it for seven minutes before it disappeared from their view. (3)

July 8 - Thiemo Wolf, school teacher living on Hartford Street in St. Louis, Missouri, who had previously "doubted all reports of flying saucers," was forced to change his mind when he saw one himself as it flew over the city shortly after noon.

Wolf said the object appeared to be about the size of an automobile and was pink in color, with a dark spot in the center. The object sped over his home at an estimated height of from 5,000 to 10,000 feet, and disappeared "after swooping down out of sight." (4)

July 8 - Chet Proud, a private pilot living in Seattle, Washington, was flying a seaplane over Puget Sound off Ballard at 9:00 a.m. when he saw "two or three" disk-like objects to the west, over the Olympic Mountains. He described the things as flying "high and going very fast." (5) July 9 - Cliff Markham and his crew of workers at the Layrite Concrete Producing Plant on Trent Street in Spokane, Washington, reported seeing a group of three disk-shaped objects spinning in the sky over the Sperry Flour Mill at 6:15 p.m. 

Markham said they estimated the speed of the objects to be 50 or 60 m.p.h. One of the disks left the group and appeared to land on the bank of the Spokane River. Some of the men made a search of the area, but could find no evidence of any landing there. (6)

July 9 - At about 1:00 a.m., after returning home from a movie, William Valetta of South Emerald Street in Chicago, Illinois, saw five or six objects streaking eastward as he stood on the sidewalk in front of his house. He described them as resembling saucers, with the cups sitting on top. "They made a swishing noise," he said, and there was a "blue flame" coming from under each object, as well as what appeared to be smoke coming from the dome-like tops. Some 15 minutes before, another report of four or five objects that made "a swishing noise" and emitted gaseous trails, like a "blue streak," was made by Thomas O' Brian of West 42nd Place, and Timothy Donegon, as they stood outside of O' Brian's house, just a few blocks from Valetta's home. However, they described nothing that might have been domes, and the objects that they saw were going southwest at a moderate speed of 180 m.p.h. (7)

July 9 - Mrs. Earl O. Anderson, living on Kennard Road in Manchester, New Hampshire, was awakened at 3:30 a.m. by the barking of dogs in the neighborhood. Looking out her bedroom window to see what the commotion was, she saw a "saucer-shaped light" slightly to the north of the Derryfield Reservoir. The object was whirling about at a fast pace and continued this for a few minutes - long enough for Mrs. Anderson to be certain she was not seeing a shooting star or some kind of reflection in the starless sky. After several minutes the object finally passed beyond her view through the window in a diagonal slant. (8) July 9 - Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Edward Lane were picking berries just outside Midland, Michigan shortly after 5:00 p.m. when the heard a kind of "puff" noise nearby.

Looking up, they observed a ball of white, sparkling fire, like a Fourth of July sparkler, about the size of a bushel basket, no more than 100 feet away. It was hovering several feet above a stretch of sand. After about ten or fifteen seconds, the fiery object "went out", and the object vanished.  The only thing remaining was a peculiar dark substance on the sand, and some metallic fragments. Some subsequent treatments of this case have hinted that it could have been a hoax, though much doubt remains. (9)


1. Chicago Times 7/8/47.
2. Rocky Mountain News 7/9/47.
3. Seattle Post Intelligencer  7/9/47.
4. St. Louis Globe - Democrat 7/9/47.
5. Seattle Post Intelligencer  7/9/47.
6. Spokane Daily Chronicle 7/10/47.
7. Chicago Times 7/9/47.
8. Manchester Morning Union 7/10/47.
9. Air Force Files.

Sunday, March 03, 2024