Alternate Perceptions Magazine, May 2019
The Fusaro Files, Part II
Intensification of the UFO Cover-Up
by: Dr. Raymond A. Keller
"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds -
and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of -
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I've chased the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air….”
-Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Royal Canadian Air Force (1941)
Gladys Fusaro of Huntington, Long Island, New York, was one of the many correspondents for the premier ufologist Gray Barker and his noteworthy Saucerian Bulletin, which he published out of his office located in the back of a drive-in movie theater in Clarksburg, West Virginia, from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s. In the last installment, Fusaro explained why she was convinced that the flying saucers were piloted by advanced beings hailing from other planets in our solar system, and possibly from beyond. She constantly scanned newspapers at every opportunity looking for accounts of UFO sightings and occupant reports. One of the first females to approach ufology from a purely scientific standpoint, she began her investigations by analyzing reports of aerial phenomena submitted by radar technicians from coast-to-coast in the late 1950s. In this second rendition of the Fusaro Files, the intrepid Saucerian correspondent tackles early attempts by the brass of the United States Air Force to muffle the voices of both commercial and military pilots in regard to the mysterious objects they encountered when on active flight status.
Fusaro’s attention was drawn to another article by John Lester that appeared in the Monday, 22 December 1958 edition of the Newark, New Jersey, Star-Ledger newspaper. Fusaro was convinced that Lester had an inside track with the Air Force on their UFO investigations, especially considering the amazing revelations about the radar tracking of the elusive flying saucers that previously appeared in Lester’s Friday, 19 December 1958 column.
Lester’s newest article in question was titled, “Pilots call Air Force secrecy on flying saucers ‘ridiculous.’” The news piece relates that a group of more than 50 top commercial pilots, all veterans of more than 15 years with major companies, on 21 December 1958 blasted as “bordering on the ridiculous” the Air Force’s new policy of tight censorship, brush-off and denial in regard to any past, present or even future UFO reports made or to be filed by civilian pilots. One of the pilots told Lester that the Air Force’s policy was, in his opinion, nothing more than “a lesson in lying, intrigue and the ‘Big Brother’ attitude carried to the ultimate extreme.”
The article related that all 50 of the pilots had sighted at least one UFO while in the process of flying a commercial airliner. When Fusaro contacted Lester about this, the Star-Ledger journalist informed her that, “The majority of these pilots actually sighted several UFOs while on duty,” adding that, “These flying saucers are serious business.”
Previously, the Air Force restricted itself to interrogating only its own and other military branch pilots who had officially filed reports of UFO sightings. Now the civilian pilots were subject to the same Air Force interrogation procedures as the military personnel. All of the fifty commercial pilots questioned by the Air Force as to their respective UFO encounters expressed disgust and frustration over the methods employed by the Air Force inquisitors and the conclusions that these same arrived at, largely dismissing the pilots’ observations as “misinterpretations of natural phenomena.”
One pilot informed Lester, “We are ordered to report all UFO sightings; but when we do, we are usually treated like incompetents and told to keep quiet.” The civilian pilot continued, “This is no fun, especially after many hours of questioning, sometimes all night long. You’re tired. You’ve just come in from a grueling flight, anxious to get home to the wife and kids. But you make your report anyhow, and the Air Force tells you that the thing that paced your plane for 15 minutes was a mirage or a bolt of lightning. Nuts to that! Who needs it?” Another civilian pilot opined that he was certain that many other pilots simply “forget” to report UFO sightings, rather than undergo Air Force quizzing and ridicule. He said he is sure that much valuable information was lost as a result. Lester took note that although the civilian pilots had expressed themselves freely in the interview, all of them insisted that their names be withheld. This was because in most instances, employers had directed them, at the insistence of the Air Force, to say nothing for publication. This would avoid legal complications for all concerned.
Fusaro asked Lester if this lack of authentication would diminish the validity of the UFO reports in the eyes of the public. Lester told her not to worry because, “The Star-Ledger has their names; and it was agreed that they could be released if and when the ‘strict silence’ ban is lifted.”
One of the pilots didn’t care if his name got out there, however, and despite being refused permission by his airline company to appear on a recent nationwide telecast, went on the air anyway with his UFO report. Another pilot was ordered to “cease and desist” by the Air Force after he appeared on two recent national network telecasts, even though he had his airline company’s express approval to talk about the UFO sightings.
One of the pilots harkened back to Lester’s previous article about the UFO tracking being done by the Civil Aeronautics Authority radar personnel stationed around the United States. The pilot emphatically declared that, “The Air Force can’t afford to admit radar is correct, without also admitting that its own attitude has been incorrect from the beginning.”
This same pilot also pointed out that the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently issued an order assigning top radio priority to UFO reports anywhere in the world. The order specified that any pilot who failed to maintain absolute secrecy after reporting a UFO through official channels would be subject to a maximum of ten years in prison and a fine of ten thousand dollars. Concerning this, Fusaro wrote Gray Barker, editor and publisher of the Saucerian Bulletin, that “If the Air Force wants this whole UFO business to be taken lightly, then why is the Joint Chiefs of Staff so serious and obviously so concerned about it? And why are they going to all that trouble?”
Fusaro realized early on that UFOs were a global phenomenon. They could not be fully understood within the context of only the United States. In December 1958, Newsweek magazine reported that tourists returning from Lapland in northernmost Finland had witnessed Soviet tests in the sub-Arctic, nightly skies involving circular craft that “loomed larger than the Moon.” In other words, if you held a Franklin half-dollar at arm’s length, that’s how big the object would appear to you off in the distance.
The female pioneering ufologist mentioned this concern to Gray Barker. The West Virginia Saucerian editor, in turn, requested his correspondents from around the world to forward any information regarding UFO reports in the northern climes to him. The London correspondent came upon a new edition of Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft announcing that the Soviet Union was planning on building a “jet-powered flying saucer.” The reference book depicted a prototype glider known as the Sukhanov. “It has a single, almost circular wing, 11 feet, 6 inches across,” notes the Jane’s entry on the aircraft.
There was a “streamlined cabin” in the form of a cup-shaped cockpit. It was mounted under the saucer’s leading edge. The entry stated that the glider model was first previewed by the Soviets at the Tushino Airport early in 1958 and was tested “prior to production of a light-powered jet aircraft along the same lines.” The Soviets maintained that their glider was “extremely maneuverable.”
Did the existence of saucer-type aircraft in the fleets of military powers on Earth preclude the extraterrestrial hypothesis for the origin of UFOs? Barker and Fusaro came to believe that the countless reports of extraterrestrial spacecraft in our skies, and possibly the recovery of crashed saucers, facilitated engineering programs to fabricate the prototypes for advanced aerospace vehicles and a race between the then two extant superpowers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America to break the surly bonds of Earth.
Stay tuned to this website for Part III of the Fusaro Files, where the Saucerian Bulletin’s correspondent examines the possibility of intelligent life without end scattered throughout the Omniverse. By 1960, the Space Race was in full-throttle. The subject of exobiology, or life on other planets, was no longer restricted to the realm of science fiction.