On June 26, 1947, the morning radio broadcasts in California carried a seemingly crack-pot story, sandwiched between Hollywood gossip and some other puerility, about a flight of curious objects over the Cascade Mountains, observed and daringly reported by one Kenneth Arnold, a "flying business man", "flying fire extinguisher salesman", "U.S. Forest Service employee", "veteran pilot", "fire control engineer", "owner and manager of the Great Western Fire Control Company" (etc., etc., crescendo as the facts were verified). Mr. Arnold, flying east toward Mt. Rainier on June 25, at 9200 ft., spotted nine saucer-shaped objects, "big as a DC-4 passenger plane", flying in a "screwy formation", at right angles to his own line of flight, about 25 miles ahead of him, at a 10,000 ft. altitude. They were "weaving and ducking in and out", were "extremely shiny as if nickel plated", had a "rocking movement", were half-moon shaped, oval in front and convex in the rear, without tails, bulges or cowling, looked like disks - and the line waves "like the tail of a Chinese kite." By clock time and later triangulation the speed was estimated as between 1200 and 1700 miles per hour.
This temerarious tale encouraged another "flying business man", of Oklahoma City, to tell how, some weeks ago, he and his wife saw a "very big, shiny, silver object moving at terrified speed," without any noise. "I know that boy up there (Arnold) really saw them," said the Oklahoman. Several residents of Seattle next reported the strange craft; then an engineer at Joliet (Ill.) reported nine of them. If these were the same as seen by Arnold the same day, they had made the 2000 miles in 50 minutes. The craft flipped and righted themselves in unison, as if all were powered from the leading disk or were in tow. The same or a similar flight of nine was seen the next day over Kansas City. Reports of other observers came in from Oregon, and "nine or ten" of the objects were reliably reported over Woodland, Wash., two days later. Other accounts came from Boise, the Grand Canyon area, west Texas, New Mexico, the Columbia River country, and San Francisco. All the reports agree essentially in description. On July 3, the objects were reported over Denver, and even the Lt. Governor of Idaho saw something he couldn't explain - this time a "comet-like object hanging in the sky". And "three metallic gleaming disks" were seen "going around and around in a circle" over Beverly Hill, Calif. By the time RR gets into print the things may be as common as breakfast food advertisements, so we won't follow the story seriatim any further. Enough has been said to show the first stages of the affair.
It goes without saying that public, official, and press reaction followed the familiar pattern: first a series of hoots, gibes and jeers, then a baker's dozen of "explanations" (many of them incredibly asinine), finally a blessed silence by hooters and explainers alike, but not by disappearance of the reports. Among the explainers we regret to include General Wainright, who said "People obviously saw something, I don't know what. I don't believe all the claims. I don't believe it at all" - which is understandable, if slightly incoherent. Howard Blakeslee, science editor for AP, obviously trying hard, suggested that the objects were merely reflected flashes of light from distant planes, which were being given a fanciful build-up by minds stuffed with scientifiction. A university of Oregon astronomer thought Arnold's saucers were "persistent vision" caused by looking at reflections on the glass of his own plane; a Portland meteorologist thought it was all optical illusion caused by layers of atmosphere, and when one E. H. Sprinkle of Eugene, Ore., got a photograph of "seven dots lined across the sky", other photographers said probably the negative had not been agitated in the developer. "Army rocket experts" decided in favor of jet planes, and the projectile theory was also popular for a while. Several ex-service men recalled having seen objects similar to the saucers  during the war, when they of course got the brush-off from their superiors for reporting them. -- We're all for Caution, of course, and the judicious and common-sense approach to strange happenings, and we know that the Brush-offer League has a tremendous membership, and has been able to completely suppress and extinguish a whole book-full of desperately important facts which happened to be isolated and sporadic. This time, however, the facts, being saucer-shaped, fly right back again, refuse to accept the damned-datum status -- By present writing the hoot-owl chorus has died away, but the affair remains front-page news and the newspapers are really in a bad fix, having a most sensational event on hand and nothing what-ever to say about it.
The Fortean Society (to which this writer belongs) is undergoing a most painful parturition, under the midwifery of Secretary Tiffany Thayer; so far the only issue has been an apparition of Charles Fort (to whom be honor), gabbling "I told you so". Fort was a mighty hunter-out and collector of weird and science-damned happenings, of which strange sky-craft were not the least. The problem is right up the avenue for Vincent Gaddis also, who lately sent us some 20 instances of similar mysteries of the skies. The most incredible and outrageous things happen, and always have been happening, and students of such matters know about them; the most incredible fact of all is that there actually are people who think we live in a sane, orderly, intelligible and well-understood world, where "science" has explained everything or is about to do so, and that these ignoramuses include about nine-tenths of our so-called intellectuals . . . Recurring to Secretary T.T. mentioned above, and while we think of it, it was he who gibed more than once at the Round Robin Corrida (Kareeta) story of last November, not because of its extraordinary nature but because it "stinked" of the "occult". The "occult" got into because we printed a statement, for what it was worth, received clairaudiently by a most honest and non-professional medium. "Let Austin have his swink (or stink) to him reserved!" -- We're all for the Forteans, be it understood, in their war on scientism and smugism, but otherwise they get no forwarder with their hunting simply because most of them are nauseated by the mere mention of anything occult or spiritualistic.
To return to our saucers, so to speak: a sergeant of the State Highway Patrol reported seeing a dozen bright metal objects about the size of a football whiz over San Francisco Bay and fall into the ocean. A resident of a town in Washington says he saw one of the disks "explode about 200 ft. from the ground. There was a great shower of sparks but no flash, and flames which seemed to hurtle to the ground." Other observers have reported a dim vapor trail and a faint humming noise - that one disk dropped a reddish-white flare - that some have been seen hovering or stationary. Lt. Col. Turner (N.M. Rocket Proving grounds) is sure they are jet planes, and that certain "falling bodies" were meteors, but "is investigating". We also hear of a "disk-like bluish object following a zigzag course over New Mexico" - a flight of "soup-dishes dropping south at 150-200 mi. per hr" over San Diego, and "a silver ball that swooshed" over Colorado. Some of these items complicate the problem considerably - if that is possible; particularly the objects falling into the sea and the disk which "exploded". And "Astronomers at Seattle and Joliet said there was no natural explanation for the reports." Is't possible our learned brothers have an unnatural one up their sleeves? Or maybe, just none at all? That sentence we quoted intrigues us almost as much as the saucers themselves; the more you think about it, the less sense it makes.
In a final sense there is, of course, no such thing as an explicable fact. Everything known to us is, at bottom, equally mysterious. But there are familiar mysteries, such as sunsets, and grass blades, and systems of philosophy, which we can fit into categories and hence relate to other facts - and things like "black days" and fairy tombs and Cock Lane apparitions which are unfamiliar and hence called mysteries. Add, flying saucers. The unfamiliar mysteries make mockery of  "scientific" smugness, and also of common sense - and also of about nine-tenths of all the alleged occult learning of the pseudo-adepts. Among these latter wise-acres there are undoubtedly some thousands who pretend to exalted and secret knowledge of anything and everything, saucers included; and it's equally certain that not a dozen of them will agree. We think there actually are people who know - but few if any of them are going to say anything, account of the utter futility of telling the "facts of life" to children. They are merely sitting tight and waiting for the Last Act, without expectation of surviving it, or much interest in doing so. If they have a pretty good idea what makes the curtain go up or down, they won't say much about it, or start any last minute panic in the audience.
Having said this much, and taunted all learned men with their ignorance (ear-wig to our betters), we new present the only intelligent and intelligible comment on the saucer party so far offered by anybody. That doesn't mean we "guarantee" it in any sense; we wouldn't "guarantee" Tuesday after Monday. But it's a point of view, and coherent and possible and probably interesting to everybody with a smattering of esoteric knowledge - which leaves most of our intelligentsia out of it, but happily lets in about fifty million lesser folk of this Pilgrims' Pride. The commentator is our friend "Lingford", a familiar control at the Mark P. seances. If nobody on our own plane has anything intelligent to say about saucers, why not interrogate the ghosties - get an astral viewpoint anyway, even if you don't believe a word of it. Of course, if you think Lingford is a dissociated complex, a subconscious invention, a personalized memory, or a wholly fictional character invented by the medium and the RR editor for ye sheckels sake (as RR has been credibly informed), your interest will be "0" with the rim left off. But having spent many hours in converse with this oeuf dur of the Invisibles, we consider him a very real person, and quite smart and well-posted and worth listening to. Our semi-quote is not verbatim-literatim-et-punctuatim but it does not misrepresent him in any way.
"When will you people learn that there are worlds within worlds - that the etheric worlds interpenetrate with your plane and with each other? I know I should not be sticking my neck out by talking so much about those saucers, as you call them, at least until I have investigated more fully. But they are not craft constructed on your planet, nor is it necessary to assume that they came from any other planet. It seems impossible to get it through the heads of you people, that objects can pass from an etheric to a dense level of matter, and will then appear to materialize there. Then they may disappear by dematerializing - returning to an etheric condition. It is a perfect analogue to the materializations witnessed in the seance room, which many of your learned men bear witness to. Not only do human forms materialize there, but solid objects appear miraculously, as you say, and often these are brought from long distances. You call them apports, but an apport is dematerialized so that only the etheric pattern remains, and then the original atoms are reassembled in the pattern or mould and you have a materialized object. Well, these saucers that puzzle you so much come out of an etheric world also and can return to it. The purpose of these visitors is simply to compel your attention, to wake you up. They come with good intent. They have some idea of experimenting with earth life - I mean, of coming to your world to live. There will be many strange sky appearances, as we have often told you before in these seances. Watch for them. These saucers make their great speed because of their peculiar bun-shape and peculiar motion; they encounter almost no air resistance. I do not know their means of propulsion but I shall try to find out. The wilful ignorance  and hostility of your time toward etheric and astral studies is appalling. The strange sky craft reported over your city last November was probably also an etheric construction. These visitors are not excarnate humans; but they are human beings who live in their own world, which happens to be made of stuff which your senses cannot directly perceive, and which you therefore childishly imagine cannot exist at all . . .
Sic dixit Lingford. This communicator (to add the personal touch) was a resident of New York State, and departed thence for his present "station astral" some 40-45 years ago, at the age of 40 years. He is a somewhat stocky young man, very self-assured, a great reader and traveller about, good-humored but also a trifle impatient and sardonic at times. This "information" comes from other communicators and from several persons on "this side" who have encountered him while on astral excursions. (If you don't believe in that kind of info, kindly skip this paragraph.) We also understand that he lives in a house on the side of a valley, overlooking a beautiful lake, has many flowers, paints a little, and has a great many books. When we asked him if he lived alone, he replied "You bet I do - and I like it!". He added that his plane is a "very lovely place" and that he has no desire or intention of going anywhere else, least of all of returning to earth life - at least for a very long time. We have talked with this communicator two or three times a week for nearly a year, and can only say that if he is a fraud, or a complex or secondary personality, no sign of it has so far appeared. He is unpretentious, conservative, strongly individualized, and apparently a very real person apart from the regrettable fact of being invisible and being obliged to talk through the organism of another person. We don't "guarantee" him, any more than we do Wednesday after Tuesday - or our next-door neighbor, who may be a hallucination (from 5:00 a.m. to midnight, anyway).
It is quite obvious, of course, that this Voice from the neant is not going to get a hearing, and the fact distresses neither him nor the RR editor. If or when the mystery of the flying disks is solved, and if they turn out to be something quite different from Lingford's description, we do not have a single syllable to retract. We are telling our readers the facts as they now stand, about this communicator and his statements concerning the phenomenon. What he has to say fits very well into the main body of occult knowledge - but he may be mistaken about the disks and we may be mistaken about him. We believe that the time is coming, and to some extent is now here, when scientists and students of every subject will accept the cooperation of the invisible helpers.
By the 7th of July the disks had been reported over 34 states - yet certain jackasses, by which we mean astronomers, physicists, editors and radio commentators were still gabbling about delusion, hysteria, mirages and the like. On that date the Editor held a short "sitting" with a non-professional medium (Mr. Mark Probert), and after some delay an interesting communication was received, of which we can here print the substance only:
"Well, how am I doing now?" (referring to difficulty in control). "No, I have never spoken thru a medium this way before, but I did speak once thru a trumpet at Lily Dale" (a spiritualist center in N.Y.). "I was Thomas Edison. During my life on your plane I made many secret experiments, in the effort to recapture and reproduce sounds made in past time, and preserved in the ether. I still believe that this is possible and that it will be done. At the time I had only a hypothesis to work on, but one often has to use a hypothesis in order to have a starting point."
(Q. as to how he happened to come to the medium). "Well, you have a very  unusual group over here, who are interested in the particular type of seance which you carry on . . . Continue with this work and you will probably get some very strange news. If you publicise it you will be ridiculed, but I was ridiculed too."
"About these disks that are stirring up so much comment - I'm a little afraid they are going to make trouble." (Q). "I mean, they may start a panic. My ideas about them are much the same as those given by Lingford. They are etheric in nature, and they materialize spontaneously on entering the vibration rate of your world of dense matter. I think this is going to stir up a hell of a lot of trouble. The great trouble, of course, is with your scientists, they can't get into the right way of thinking about such problems."
(Q). "They happen to be appearing just now, because your world is now in that phase of thought. Do you understand what I'm getting at? There will be many other types of strange sky craft also. That Corrida (Kareeta) you wrote about last year was the same type, etheric construction. It was an experimental craft." (Q) "These people are much like yourselves but they are much bigger."
(Q). "Yes, I think it might be right to say they come from the Lokas." [*] "No, they are not astral, and not from any of the planets you know about. They come from an etheric planet which your senses do not perceive. Some of the disks carry a crew, but others are managed by remote control. These craft have some means of radiating a powerful energy which is very destructive. If they are attacked or interfered with they may easily destroy the attacking planes." (Q). "No, I doubt whether they can be communicated with by radio, but if you can signal by radar perhaps that would work. I don't understand radar, myself. If you can make friends with these people you can learn a world of new facts from them. The medium is getting very tired and I think I shall leave you."
One point in the above which we feel sure is correct, is that "strange news" or any other kind, derived from mediumistic sources, will be ridiculed. We reflect for the ten-thousandeth time on the tragedy, the irony, and the futilities of the whole contemporary situation. Isolationism, applied to the life of our plane, is as stupid as in social and political matters; yet of help from beyond the border our "intelligentsia" will have none . . . It should be easy to understand that a very serious and dangerous situation exists with regard to these disks, and we present here in these pages data which might avert disaster - yet it is doubtful whether any person high in authority can even be induced to read the facts here set down. Our science and our culture have no means of dealing with the issues which are new fast arising . . . If the same military judgment which permitted a Pearl Harbor should instigate an attack on these strange craft, the results, and the panic to follow, and the flood of international suspicion might well be the beginning of the end of our national existance.
Yet if you repeat in public our favorite RR principle, that public education in psychic matters is imperative, and intensely and supremely practical, you are considered as being teched in the head!
[*] NOTE: There are 7 of those Lokas under the Vishnu-Purana classification. The word simply means places (loci), worlds, spheres. They do not belong to the earth-chain of globes, nor to the astral. They are just as "material" as our world, but the matter is of a different vibration range and cannot be detected by our senses or any existing instruments . . . Note that Corrida (Kareeta) was an experimental craft from the same Loka, as indeed the communicators asserted indirectly at the time.
For the sake of the record we quote another Control, who declined to give his name:
"Most of these craft you are talking about are corrugated lengthwise of the oval. The controls are in the front section. The middle section is a laboratory. The rear contains defensive and offensive armament. They have means of sending out a powerful radiation of energy in all directions from the ship."
Among the countless stupidities engendered by this new sensation, is the cackling in some journalistic roosts over the discrepancy in accounts of size of the "Lokas." Such people should be threatened with instant death unless they can agree at once as to whether the full moon is the size of a pie plate or a cartwheel.
It is reasonably certain that a number of small objects are flying about. Some of them may have fallen from the Lokas. But a doughnut overboard does not prove that all air liners are doughnut size.
It may also pay us to take careful note, that new sky craft of various designs have been predicted. The Corrida (Kareeta) is a case in point; it did not resemble the Lokas at all, but is said to have been an experimental design and to have come from the same region. (Tho' neither the public nor the so-called scientific mind of our generation is going to be able to grasp where this "region" is, or rather what it is).
Only one fact has arisen, so far, to suggest that these sky newcomers are of earth invention. The general concept of the saucer-shaped craft has been grasped by several inventors, and a Frenchman named George De Bay actually made a working model, powered by rubber bands, as far back as 1928. Our own authorities, characteristically, turned thumbs down. Did this inventor find financial and technical aid from some foreign Power? The idea is not pleasant to contemplate. We prefer the Lokas, ourselves. It has not yet even occurred to our wise-cracking commentators, that the operators of the Lokas, whoever they be, have our world completely at their mercy.
Another cause of mirth, to the cackle contingent, is that strange sky craft have often been reported in the past - and since these are all supposed to have been delusions, the Lokas must be fancy-bred also. But students of such curiosa have compiled lists of them, and studied them for years past. And now somebody has discovered Charles Fort's Book of the Damned, which also "proves" that these happenings are very old stuff. It is described as a "rare old book" - tho every student of the borderland sciences owns a copy, and the complete works of Fort are on sale - page Tiffany Thayer, Fortean Society, with a five-dollar bill clearly displayed, sign of the Fortean Brotherhood.
We venture a small prediction of our own - that the Lokas will probably be withdrawn for a time (to the huge satisfaction of the cackle-club), but will reappear later. It is to be hoped - tho' against all probability - that our Leading Intellects will learn a few pertinent facts in the meantime.
"The animals" (cattle and horses) "sure do get up and go when they see these things - So says rancher Henry Seay to a reporter of the Birmingham News (July 7), referring to a disk which swooped down within 500 feet "dropping sparks like dust". We disrespectfully recommend this to AP science editor Blakeslee, and to all the "spots in your eyes" professors. Can a cow be frightened by muscae volitantes - in the eyes of her owner, or do Dobbin and his master have the same hallucination at the same moment? It will take more than the eye-wash of the Doctors of Science to explain this incident - plus some half-dozen photographs, plus reports of experience observers. Perhaps our civilization ought to be destroyed - considering the number of learned, brilliant, and self-complacent FOOLS! (We thank P.W. Osman of Birmingham)
- Fort, Charles. The Book of the Damned. New York: H. Liveright, c. 1919. Print. [Reprint, 1975: The Complete Books of Charles Fort, <http://amzn.to/WcoLLW>; digital: <http://gutenberg.org/ebooks/22472>]
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