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What Next
Melbourne 1947

Review by George Simpson

A few years ago, before Roswell was a "household" word as it is today, I decided that it might be a good idea to see if the story had been covered by our local papers. The only TV item on Roswell we'd ever had the fortune to see in Australia at the time was the 20 or so minutes presented by "Unsolved Mysteries". There had only been one book published on the subject, ''The Roswell Incident", by Charles Berlitz, in 1980.

One thing mentioned in the 'Unsolved Mysteries' program was that once the 509th released the press report, their phones went crazy with calls from all over the world.
The State Library of Victoria keeps newspapers and periodicals on microfilm, so off I went in search of the papers my grandparents would have read in 1947. I began with the Melbourne Age, and looked at the editions a few days before, during and after the event. I didn't find any reference to Roswell or even New Mexico, but to my astonishment there were many reports on "Flying Saucers" and "Flying Discs", including stories about people in Sydney and Copenhagen watching "Flying Saucers" travelling overhead at high speed.

Once I had scanned through the two months as I had planned I was left with the impression that these "saucers" had circum-navigated the globe , passing over Sydney on the night of Monday the 7th. The "saucers" were obviously plainly visible , rapid and reported by multitudes of people from the United States and Canada to Australia and Scandanavia.

It would be a great idea to surf the web to access newspaper archives in many countries to see if a clearer picture develops. (ie. if they have these relevant archives available on the net).

In the Herald on Monday June 30th 1947, there was, on the front page, the headline "SUPERSONIC FLYING SAUCERS" IN U.S. The article then refers to the Arnold sighting without mentioning his name, and then goes on to say " experts dismissed the report with statements that no known aircraft could go that fast and that no guided missile tests were being conducted in that part of the west.....All agreed that the objects were round, like a saucer, were travelling South at high speed with little or no noise , and were of such brightness that reflections from the sun were "almost blinding".

Of course, there was no mention of Kenneth Arnold's military experience as a pilot and his ability to accurately ascertain the speed he mentioned. He said at the time words to the effect that he found it hard to believe but he had to because he saw it himself.

The front page headline of "The Argus" for JULY 7TH 1947 read:

Mystery has U.S.baffled. New York (AAP)

The next 'flying saucer' seen in the United States will be chased by fighter planes.....

The front page of 'The Sun' for July 7th ran a leading story which read, "Persistent "Disc Saucery" Reports Leave Americans Guessing. This article reports that the first photographs of the objects had appeared in U.S. papers, but they weren't reproduced here.

Then on Tuesday July 8th, in the Sun, on page two, there is an article reporting how a U.S. National Guard pilot was sent in persuit of a "saucer" but wasn't abled to find the object. (That would probably be like trying to intercept a formula 1 racing car while riding a bicycle).

And on Tuesday the 8th, 'The Age' added, on it's front page, that the Army Air Force was going to use it's new 'JET' planes to attempt to pursue the next 'Saucer'.

Of course the boffins couldn't keep away from such intriguing stories. A Sydney Professor proved to his satisfaction that people were staring into the skies for long periods, which made their eyes play tricks on them. See page two, The Age , Tuesday July the 8th.

Of course he never attempted to explain why the Armed Forces of the United States would keep their planes "warmed up" and at the ready in order to persue optical anomalies, which overnight afflicted people around the globe.

To conclude , it would be an absolutely fascinating project to research newspaper archives worldwide in order to piece together the activities of these visitors at the time that one of them either crashed or was shot down in 1947. There was one very minor reference to a story of a 'saucer' having been recovered by the U.S. Military, but it was attributed to the ubiquitous weather balloon. In other words, all that I could locate in Melbourne was a minor reference to the cover story we all know about.

Last Updated: January, 1999
Copyright © 1996 Victorian U.F.O. Research Society Inc.
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