The Events of July, 1952

While reviewing what you had to say about “The Roswell Incident” at

I felt motivated to ask you the same question I asked of a respondent to the “S.E.T.H.” thread several days ago – what do you think explains the nationwide UFO ‘flap’ of July, 1952? Please review your sources for reports that were made of sightings that came in all during that month.

How about: One widely published report begat numerous widely published reports? Same thing happened in the late 1960’s with Jesus hitchhiking on the Pennsylvania Tollroad: there was a silly story published; suddenly five more people came forward to say that they had the same experience; this led to a whole slew of stories on the same six “incidents”; next, there were stories all over the country of the same thing happening on different highways.

The examples I have seen show an exponential growth phenomenon: day 1–a report; day 3–a couple of reports; day 5–a few reports; days 6, 7, 8, . . .–lots and lots of reports.


Yup, there are lots of these mass hysteria-type things that go on. For a couple examples, there was the “Mad Gasser” of Mattoon, IL:
And the Illinois UFO mania of 1897:

Mass hysteria??

I was hoping that a sentient species which has mastered the technology of interstellar flight were just a buch of idiots who couldn’t conceal their ships from a bunch of techno-ignorant backwoodsfolks. And that when they made one mistake over Roswell, they kept making the same mistake over and over again for the next month. Surely that sounds more plausible than mass hysteria, no?


Moriah, one day a while ago, a UFO True Believer came to town to give a presentation (for 10 bucks a head). I went. At the end I asked him how these aliens had such great technology that they could fly across the galaxy, but then they kept crashing into farmhouses once they got here. He “answered” me by saying we can’t know what goes on inside an alien’s brain. They obviously have a different way of thinking.


I don’t find that too much of a contradiction, David. Frinstance, human beans on earth have “mastered” flight technology, but all sorts of people have crashes. Just because the species has a high level technology doesn’t mean that all members of that species have intelligence (or even piloting skills.)

Not that I believe any of that hooey, just that I think this particular debunking logic is flawed.

Tomndebb: How about, you obviously haven’t done any research sufficient to know what you’re responding to, and it’s not about Jesus appearing anywhere. Try a pass through your local newspaper’s archives.

David: Once again, you attempt to divert the issue onto something you think you can explain and away from what you can’t (except, of course, to indulge in the simple denialism you’ve displayed on similar threads). CkDexthaven pointed out the obvious flaw in your logic regarding alien technology; your typically cheap shot about the ‘UFO expert’ who charged $10 admission to his lecture only begs the question – what are you doing but grubbing for advertising moneys when every link you provide only leads the reader back to your own webpage?

Moriah – can you read a calendar? ‘Roswell’ took place in July, 1947. My thread concerns the nationwide flap of UFO sightings (not, as some would like to believe, reports of reports) which occurred in July, 1952, and included several ‘buzzings’ of the airspace above the White House, including radar tracks and numerous visual sightings by quite credible witnesses. Please – any of you – I actually posted this OP at the end of the day, mistakenly thinking for the moment that Cecil Adams would be seeing it. Please refrain from any more ‘commentary’ of your own until *and unless * you take the time to truly investigate what’s being discussed.

You know, DIF, you could just post a link to a news archival source for July 1952 – instead of telling everybody that you know something and that we should all shut up until we’ve spent huge amounts of our time researching your topic for you.

I’m not flying fast, just orbiting low.

It IS about Jesus appearing. It’s True. It’s TRUE.

Every report I’ve seen on the July, 1952 sightings (heh, heh) has described exactly what I described: a report followed in a day or two by several reports followed in another day or two by multiple reports folowed by a blizzard of reports. If you have actual evidence that I read the reports incorrectly, I’ll be willing to reconsider. Until that time, it is exactly equivalent to Jesus on the Turnpike and alien abduction. (I’ve watch “aa” grow in exactly the same way.)


Hmmm, dumb interstellar travellers is not a valid debunking? Are you an L. Ron Hubbard fan? Watching too much SciFi channel?

I suppose that an advanced species can have their own version of good ol’ boys in their souped up ftl pick-ups buzzing us third system backwaters for thrills outrunnin’ the intergalactic prime directive smokeys. Yee-hah!

Of course, demanding a rigorous debunking begs the question of whether there is a rigrous proof that needs debunking. Clusters of ‘elusive sightings’ do not scream ‘bungling aliens.’


Tracer: Yeah, I could do that. But I happen to believe people are more convinced as a result of their own efforts than someone’s else. However, if you happen to know of any ‘archival sources’ that have uploaded their files back to 1952, let me know.

tomndebb: Like I said, if you can’t stay on the subject, at least have the sense to be quiet.

moriah: My question was directed toward your ability to read a calendar. And I noticed you didn’t address it.

‘Dumb interstellar travellers’ – well, that’s your characterization of your ‘debunking’, and no, as a matter of fact, it’s not a really ‘valid’ one, if by ‘valid’ you mean sufficiently invulnerable to an alternative that it can be cited as a trumping ‘proof’. It appears to you didn’t read all of the initial responses to my OP, since you apparently didn’t catch CKD’s alternate explanation. Your ‘debunking’ assumes several things unjustifiably – 1) that these things are interstellar; 2) assuming for the sake of discussion that they *are * interstellar, that interstellar travel is, for them, the difficult proposition that it would be for us at this point; 3) that ‘advanced’ technology requires advanced mentality to operate – e.g., today’s POSTs are figurative light-years beyond the original cash register – ever been to a McDonald’s and waited while the ‘counterdroid’ screwed up your order and had to wait for the shift manager to unscrew it?

As for L. Ron Hubbard – I have not the slightest freakin’ idea what that has to do with your ‘debunking’ hypothesis, but JFTR, the only thing I’ve ever read by the guy was the first 26 pages of ‘Dianetics’, at which point I reached the conclusion that I’d just read 26 pages of the most mindnumbing gibberish I think I’ve ever encountered, and I’ve read a lot. So what? Don’t change the subject.

What’s clear from most of your responses is that most of you are not sincerely interested in a real discussion of this subject; you just want to convince yourselves how ‘intellectual’ and ‘witty’ you are by indulging in the usual scornfest. But even the shiniest mirror can only reflect darkness, if it’s kept in a closed room . . .

For my personal clarification, DIF, just what is “the subject” which everyone is trying to change on you? You asked for explanations for the “events” of July 1952, and the overwhelming responce so far has been to question whether there were any “events” which need special explanation. A string or “flap” of UFO sightings may be better explained by examining why so many were reported, not by hypothesizing why so manny occurred. Media attention and the general USAn cold-war paranoia is a more parsimonious explanation than an increase in visual anomalies. When folks hear of interest in “flying saucers” they are more likely to interpret something they don’t understand as a “flying saucer” than otherwise. And I don’t see a connection between the 1952 flap and the alleged Roswell Incident other than as a manifestation of Twentieth-Century mythology.
How many people are seeing Elvis lately? There were quite a number of sightings of him in the 80s. Do we need to “explain” them?

Dr. Fidelius, Charlatan
Associate Curator Anomalous Paleontology, Miskatonic University
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

…unless you turn the light on. Did you have a point, or were you just planning to jabber randomly for a while longer?

Dex said:

I think there is a slight difference between being able to fly around in a plane and being able to fly interstellar distances. Well, I hope there is, anyway. :slight_smile:

It’s not like it’s the end-all, be-all of questions, certainly. But one point that I may have been a bit too subtle about (you know me, always subtle) is that the UFO guy didn’t answer this way. He could have; it’s the easiest (and best) answer. But no, he alluded to us not understanding the mysterious aliens (cue Twilight Zone music).

DIF, in a voice sounding very much like C3, whined:

I wasn’t diverting anything. I was pointing out that there are all sorts of incidents of this type. While I understand that you may not be able to comprehend these similarities, others do.

Does the web page charge entry? No. Do I ask anybody to join? No. Did I provide links that give information relevant to the topic? Yes (which is, incidentally, more than you’ve done, as Tracer pointed out). Since I am the chairman of that organization (a fact I certainly don’t hide), I am aware of the articles on the web page and can more easily and quickly refer to them. When I know of other sources with relevant information, I post them. I probably should’ve checked the Skeptic’s Dictionary in this case, for example ( ), but didn’t think of it at the time.

Face it, you’re just using C3-like tactics to attack somebody who has made a counter point to your rantings, rather than responding to what they have actually said. Nice try, but the majority of folks around here aren’t stupid enough to fall for such tactics. (Not that I expect you’ll change 'em.)

Ya know, in rereading Cecil’s column referred to by DIF, I have on more question: DIF, why did you even post this here? Your 1952 “flap” has nothing at all to do with his column. So why post it here, other than that you could start another UFO thread and not have to deal with the whipping you and your pal C3 took in Great Debates on this subject?

I find it funny that DIF thinks tom is trying to “divert attention” or “change the subject,” when he is offering an analogous event for comparison. Apparently DIF is incapable of understanding analogy.

The same thing happened over in one of the UFO threads in Great Debates. DIF wants to learn all sorts of things about “rods” before discovering if they actually even exist or not.

Thanks, Phil. And, as I pointed out in my second post, I am referring specifically to the imagined sightings of July, 1952. I read up on that stuff around 1969 or 1970 and, again, in the late 1970’s and in each instance the list of reports grew through the days that they appeared in the newspapers. If DIF doesn’t have a citation showing that there were several widely spaced sightings on a single night and that subsequent sightings stayed at approximately the same number, daily, then he is the one who is posting without knowing what he is talking about.

I’d be interested in seeing what he has to offer, but posting unsupported assertions and snarling at people who respond is not going to take this discussion very far.


By “the events of July, 1952” I hope you’re not referring to the birth of my Uncle Jules.

He’s very weird, but my family has never considered him an alien.

A pervert, yes but an alien, no.

The original poster has asked me to move this thread to Great Debates forum, so I am going to do that and close this one.

This following information has been previously provided to the SDMB by DIF:

On July 1, 1952, an Air Force captain saw two silvery cigar-shaped UFOs over
Boston, MA.

Also on July 1, there were UFOs observed on radar and visually at Ft.
Monmouth, N.J.

On July 2, Warrant Officer Newhouse filmed 12-14 UFOs near Tremonton, Utah.

On July 5, airline pilots saw a disc-shaped object hover, accelerate and
speed away near Redlands, WA.

On July 8, a CAA equipment man reported a domed UFO near Wilkes-Barre, PA.

On July 10, a Canadian destroyer crew watched two discs and tracked them on
radar near Korea.

On July 10, a National Airlines crew at 2,000 feet encountered a slow moving
UFO near Quantico, VA.

On July 12, a USAF Captain (weather officer) and hundreds of others watched
a UFO make a 180 degree turn overhead at Chicago, IL.

On July 12/13, an airline pilot near Washington, D.C. watched a UFO hover,
and take off upward.

On July 14, airline pilots at Newport News, VA watched six discs maneuver
below their airliner, turn sharply, move away and were joined by two other

On July 16, a U.S.Coast Guard photographer filmed four brilliant round
lights near Salem, MA.

On July 16, a high-ranking government scientist observed four UFOs
maneuvering near Hampton Roads, VA.

On July 17/18, WRC Radio Chief Engineer saw 6 discs speeding along in single
file before veering upward and away at Washington, D.C.

On July 17/18, airline pilots near Denver, CO watched several UFOs speeding
back and forth, reversing their flight paths.

On July 18, USAF officers, weathermen, and others at Patrick AFB, Florida,
watched 4 UFOs maneuver near the base.

July 18/19, an Associated Press staff writer at River Edge, NJ, saw a red
ball going toward Washington, D.C.

The big Washington, D.C. event was on July 19/20, but followed by other
later in the month.

July 19/20, National Airport CAA radar began picking up unidentified targets
at 11:40 p.m. over Washington, D.C.

At 1:00 a.m. outbound airline pilot checked the radar targets for the CAA
and saw maneuvering objects coinciding with the radar.

In the early morning, Andrews AFB, MD, USAF personnel saw a UFO.
At 3:00 a.m. an inbound airline pilot watched a light follow a plane until
it was just 7 miles from the airport. It was confirmed by radar.
At 5:40 a.m. the radar sightings ended.

On the evening of July 20, USAF radar operaters at Andrews AFB, MD tracked
10 UFOs for 15-20 minutes. The UFOs approached runways, scattered, made
sharp turns and reversals.

On July 21, at 10:30 a.m., a Colonel commanding Dobbins AFB announced
detection of a UFO by radar, passing over the area at 50,000 ft, going 1,200

On July 22, a private pilot and his wife encounter a maneuvering UFO near
New Smyrna Beach, FL. It was disc-shaped and climbed rapidly after

On July 22/23, lots of sightings were reported. A Ground Observer Corps
reported 3 discs at Westfield, ME. Coast Guardsmen saw two discs circle the
station at Nahant, MA before heading out to sea.

On July 23, at Culver City, CA, aircraft workers watched as an elliptical craft
launched two smaller discs before climbing straight upward out of sight.

On July 23, at Braintree, MA, UFO was tracked on radar, seen by ground
observers, a F-94 saw and chased the UFO. When the F-94 got radar lock-on,
the UFO pulled away.

On July 23, at South Bend, IN., USAF Captain Harold Kloth, watched two UFOs
over the city.

On July 24, near Carson Sink, NV., two USAF command pilots saw three
triangular objects in tight V formation approach their B-25. The objects
banked past their plane less than 1,000 yards away and were going over 1,000

July 26./27, at 8 p.m. CAA radar at Washington, D.C. tracked UFOs which were
chased by jet interceptors and seen visually.

On July 26/27, at 8:15 p.m., civilian pilots at Washington, D.C. saw high
speed UFOs on 4 occasions in a 1 1/2 hour period.

On July 26/27, National Airlines pilots saw UFOs near Andrews AFB, MD. A
United Airlines pilot saw a UFO near Herndon, VA. A CAA inspection pilot
saw a UFO near Beltsville, MD. A CAA inspection aircraft pilot saw a UFO
near Andrews AFB, MD.

On July 26/26, USAF fighters were vectored by CAA radar to intercept UFOs
near Newcastle, DE. Pilots visually saw the lighted craft but could not
catch them.

I could go on and on. During this same period, there were sightings in
California, Ann Arbor, MI, Riverdale, MD, and more. The witnesses were
highly qualified USAF officers.
More sightings over Washington, D.C. were reported by CAA radar and military
pilots, and airline pilots on July 28, 29, and 30.
Added to this wealth of sightings by official personnel, there were hundreds
of civilian sightings as well.

Contestant #3