Alternate Perceptions Magazine, February 2021
Advent of the Flying Saucers
by: Rick Hilberg
Muroc Army Air Field
A final look at 1947 activity in California
July 6 -
The R. V. Allen family of Ontario were driving in the car at about 9:30 p.m., when they saw what the three described as a "school" of strange disks overhead traveling from south to north over Riverside. The family insisted to the local newspaper that covered their experience that the disks "played about in the air just as perch do in water." The local ranch family was able to view the aerial maneuvers for several minutes before the objects were lost in the distance.
Earlier that evening, about eight, Mr. B. A. Runner who resided on West California Street in Ontario, told newsmen that several of the disks sailed right over his house, circled about and made a return, one flying so low that the "sound of an attached motor could be distinctly heard."
July 8 -
This was a busy day for flying saucer sightings in California, with such tidbits being reported to newspapers as: a "spinning platter" that was said to have crash landed in an almond grove near the town of Lancaster... Redlands truck driver H.J. Stell reporting that "silvery eggs in a straight line" flew overhead as he was driving his truck near March Field in Riverside... Jerry McAdams spotting a disk "as big as a house" in posh Beverly Hills that "seemed to give off a low whistle as it disappeared."
However, not everybody was impressed by these sightings of flying disks. On that same day an irreverent skywriter in Pomona drew two giant circles in the sky and spelled out the word "Saucers", seemingly to mock the frenzy of sightings. (On the 10th, residents of West 10th Street in Pomona would say that they saw three tumbling objects in the air, each sparkling as the sun reflected off them.)
The day also produced the news that designer Frank Borel of San Francisco created a new hat in the shape of a flying saucer that he saw in a dream.
But that day the real action was taking place at Muroc Army Air Field, when an Air Force lieutenant was walking into an office, hearing what he thought was an aircraft overhead and decided to look up.
He saw the plane, but to its left he saw two silvery objects of either spherical or disk-shaped, moving about 300 mph at 8,000 feet altitude, heading northwest towards the town of nearby Mojave and glinting in the sunlight.
First Lt. Joseph McHenry called to his secretary and two sergeants inside the office.
When they stepped outside, the lieutenant pointed into the sky directly over them and said, "Tell me what you see up there."
The others said they saw two objects as well, flying in a straight line, one behind the other.
The objects weren't birds, because they were glinting in the strong desert air sunlight. They definitely could not be weather balloons, because they were traveling against the prevailing wind, and at high speed, the four agreed.
"I have been flying and have been around all types of aircraft since 1943 and never in my life have I seen anything such as this," Staff Sgt. Gerald Nauman told an Army Air Force counter-intelligence agent, who wrote a report classified as "confidential" on the matter.
"This was no hallucination," Staff Sgt. Joseph Ruvulo told the agent.
Just minutes before the lieutenant first spotted the mysterious objects in the sky, he had told other airmen in the post exchange: "Someone will have to show me one of these disks before I will believe it."
Others at Muroc saw the same objects, or ones just like them, possibly on the day before, according to documents that have made their way to the surface since that day in 1947.
After the lieutenant got his co-workers to look at the things in the sky, he ran into the base dispensary and got a nurse and a group of about seven other medical personnel. But by the time the others got outside, the objects had disappeared in the distance before they got there.
However, three or four minutes after the two objects disappeared, the lieutenant and his secretary spotted another spherical or disk-like object traveling in circles at about 8,000 feet altitude over the north end of the base, turning much too tightly to be conventional aircraft.
About two hours later, the base commander pointed out an object in the sky to Major Richard R. Shoop. "I observed between five and eight miles to the north what appeared to be a thin metallic object. It appeared to be metallic because the method in which it was flying caused the sun to reflect like an apparently aluminum-colored surface," Shoop said in an affidavit.
"The object moved from an intermediate altitude in an oscillating fashion, almost to the surface of the ground and then started climbing again.
"It climbed to a fairly high altitude and moved off slowly into the distance. The object appeared to be the size of a pursuit airplane but did not have the shape of a conventional plane.”
"The time that the object was in view was approximately eight minutes." Shoop added: "This same object was seen by my wife at the same time."
Five weeks after the July 8 Muroc sightings, an Air Force investigator talked to a test pilot, who said that he had seen a mysterious sphere on July 7, the day before the others.
Major J. C. Wise - who later in his career became a brigadier general - said he was running an XP-84's engine on the ground when he noticed other people looking into the air. In the sky at about 10,000 to 12,000 feet altitude he said he saw a spherical object that he first assumed was a weather balloon.
"After looking at it for a while I noticed that it was oscillating in a forward whirling movement without losing altitude. It was traveling at about 200 to 225 mph and heading from west to east," Wise said in an affidavit. It looked to be five to 10 feet in diameter and was yellowish-white in color.
He said he didn't have time to chase the thing in a P-80 jet aircraft.
While Shoop said the object he saw had been pointed out to him by Muroc's commander, Colonel Signa Gilkey, Gilkey didn't sign an affidavit on the matter.
More than a month after Shoop talked to the counter-intelligence agent, Gilkey told an intelligence officer investigating the sightings that he believed the object that Shoop saw was paper and of no significance.
"No further investigation of these incidents is being considered by this headquarters," according to an August 18, 1947 memo from the 4th Air Force.
And there the matter ended...