The Day the World Changed: 1947
When Harry Truman decided in his no nonsense Missouri manner to drop the A-bomb on Japan to end the war, he calculated correctly. In a short time, the long Pacific war ended (VJ-day, 14 August 1945). Little was said that captured scientists from Nazi Germany had been squirreled away and were assisting (under Operation Paperclip) with rocket vehicles and upgrading to Hydrogen weapons. Much of the weapons delivery system resided at the then-secret, now-famous Roswell Army Air Force base. (There was no separate branch of the air force yet).
In the early weeks of 1947, the cold war was very much on America’s mind. Odd vehicles were seen in the air, some by weather balloon experts concerned these objects could interfere with their top-secret experiments. Reports were quietly filed and only recently have come to light. However, when Kenneth Arnold was flying his plane near the Cascade Mountains and saw glittering objects that looked like “saucers skipping across the water”, the term Flying Saucers was coined. Newspapers were fascinated, and all the rumors that up until then were held quietly culminated in page one articles.
The military could not answer whether these were experimental crafts (they were doing great research in odd aerodynamics) or that the Soviets were invading the U.S. air space. Just as the Arnold sighting of 24 June was winding down its new cycle, a new and explosive headline hit from the obscure town of Roswell, New Mexico. It did not take long for the media to realize how very close this was to the hinted top secret Hydrogen bomb project, and the first Army report that a flying disc had been found gripped the news. Cooler heads prevailed and essentially killed the story so well it barely made the folklore circuit through the late 1940′s. Only an accidental discovery in the 1970′s by lecturer Stanton Friedman brought it back to life. Freedom of Information Act releases indicate that the FBI collected a number of stories that were the Roswell crash reworked to other locations, but these did not come to public attention. The 4th of July flying saucer story was put to bed after a very short news cycle.
Other reports began to surface as 1947 crept toward winter, and the media balanced readership ratings against many visits by authorities to editors making requests to downplay these stories. In the dark halls of the clandestine government panic was descending. They were as clueless as the public, and if the Russians had better technology, they were violating U>S. air space with impunity. If it was not the Russians, then who? Or what? Multiple levels of security were developed, and numerous groups began to investigate with reports trickling upwards to some hidden intelligence supervisors. Despite spurious documents about a Majestic 12, both Truman and later Eisenhower were no more enlightened than the man in the street.
Hollywood certainly noticed, and they began to merge 1930′s science fiction stories of ray guns and bug-eyed monsters with these new flying saucer stories. One of the earliest and best was The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951, filmed after February 1951, opened 18 September 1951).
Was George Adamski paying attention? Very Likely. Having moved to California, he began an occult organization known as the Royal Order of Tibet, and then formed an early commune near Mount Palomar. The choice could not have been a coincidence, as the new telescope was beginning to be installed. The mirror arrived in November, months after Arnold’s sighting. The workers even put up gag signs about flying saucers being attracted by the telescope.
At first Adamski’s group farmed, then started a restaurant. By either late 1946, or more likely 1947, Adamski claimed he photographed flying saucers.
Anecdotal evidence locates Adamski and his cohorts watching a meteor shower on 9 October 1946 and spotting a “mother ship”.
No specific dated document could be found by this writer of the date, so circumstantial evidence seems to indicate Adamski did not become interested in flying saucers until after Arnold’s news story. This did not mean he had not thought about aliens, or other planets. He clearly had. But this gave a new angle, and within a few years he had attracted publicity about meeting aliens, and riding in their ships. So much so, the FBI paid visits beginning in 1950 wondering about his many expansive statements about peace, and numerous accusations about the U.S. Government. As the Red Scare mounted, this was not a great position to find oneself, but Adamski spun these visits in a way that he claimed supported his views and lectures. This prompted more visits by authorities which seems only to have elevated Adamski’s notoriety and spread his message of the Space Brothers peace movement.
He soon received competition from George Van Tassel, a man attending Adamski’s California meetings. Both men claimed intimate contact with space craft, alien beings, and receiving specialized information vital to the salvation of humanity.
It is not known how much the interplay of these wild stories, Hollywood’s interest in new “Space Age” film making, ratings and readership drives by newspapers, and the radio show of Long John Nevell influenced the man in the street. But these folklore undercurrents coupled with the growing paranoia in Washington created a wide spread reporting of flying saucers and contacts with alien beings. 1953 would see one of the biggest block buster A-movies ever with a science fiction theme, War of the Worlds by acclaimed George Pal.
If 1947 began a new era, 1953 was the line in the sand of no return. Radio, television, and movies blended seamlessly with science-fiction magazines, early comic books, and the Cold War mania. Journalists scrambled to keep up with one incredible story after another coming from every small town in America, and from crack-pots to reticent professionals such as policemen.
In a recent show of Coast to Coast AM, Kenneth Arnold’s daughter revealed that he had been deeply interested in paranormal and esoteric spiritual explorations in his lifetime. It is not quite certain if these interests occurred only after the stress of his constant post-1947 collision with the press, or if he had interests before his flying saucer sighting. Ongoing research is connecting more and more legendary UFO stories and their participants with unusual esoteric interests, and often before sightings and contacts.
This entry was posted on June 11, 2012 at 9:44 am and is filed under Miskatonic Books with tags A-bomb, Coast to Coast AM, Flying Saucers, George Adamski, Harry Truman, Long John Nevell, Roswell. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.