Flying Saucers

Various places around town.
In the summer of 1947, much of America’s time was spent looking for flying saucers. It started on June 6, when a Washington pilot, Kenneth Arnold, reported seeing a string of nine shiny objects near Mount Raineer, zooming by at an estimated 1,200 miles per hour. His description of the objects as flying saucers took off, and by early July, they were being seen in 31 states.
On July 5, flying saucers were seen over Idaho by the flight crew of United Airlines Flight 105. On a flight from Boise to Seattle, Pilot E. J. Smith, First Officer Ralph Stevens, and Stewardess Marty Morrow saw five flying discs, later joined by four more. The same night, Coast Guard public relations officer Yeoman Frank Ryman took a blurry picture of a bright object moving around in the sky above his home north of Seattle. Other sightings were reported in Port Huron, Mich., Philadelphia, Pa., Akron, Ohio, and New Orleans, La.
United pilot E. J. Smith shows Toni Carter what he and his crew saw, using a dinner plate as a visual aid.
The Argus Leader’s Herb Bechtold quipped, “Many a husband who has experienced being in the proverbial doghouse at home has seen several flying saucers about the house before little wifey calmed down.” Telegraph editor Wilmer Simmons, after fielding too many stories about flying saucers, was said to have been driven mad and ran to the 10th Street viaduct to end it all before he saw a flying saucer hovering over downtown. He snapped a picture and calmly returned to his desk. The image printed in the paper was obviously a dinner plate paired with an image from the bridge.
Wilmer Simmons' fabricated photo from 10th Street viaduct. 
The papers were filled with conjecture on what these objects might be. A secret project of the Army Air Force? A secret project of a rival nation? Aliens attracted to us by our recent entry into the atomic age? There were no good answers, and government scientists, reluctant to speculate without solid evidence, said “Bring one in.” The weather bureau’s chief, Ivan R. Tannehill, said “I’d like to see one first before I make a guess.”

On July 8, the Army Air Force base near Roswell, N.M. reported that a flying disc had been found on a ranch nearby, and the debris was in army possession. Finally some answers! On the 9th, the army announced that the debris was just a weather balloon.

Additional reports trickled in throughout the remainder of the year, though never again in the great quantity seen in the summer of 1947. Was it mass hysteria? Were the sightings legitimate close encounters? We may never know, but the events of that summer certainly fueled many a science fiction story for years to come.
Most info and pictures have come from the Argus Leader archives on