From: rudiak@garnet.berkeley.edu Subject: Hermann Oberth, U.S. rocket experts say saucers are real Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 22:30:47 GMT Organization: University of California, Berkeley

Here's another statement by pioneering German rocket scientist Hermann Oberth. According to Frank Edwards ["Flying Saucers: Serious Business" and "Flying Saucers: Here and Now"], the West German government hired Oberth to head a commission for the study of UFOs following World War II. (This was probably in 1953 or 1954 after he returned to Germany, having worked with the Italian Navy on anti- aircraft missiles from 1950-1953). In 1954, he and his colleagues held a press conference and summarized their findings. Oberth stated:

"[UFOs] are conceived and directed by intelligent beings of a very high order, and they are propelled by distorting the gravitational field, converting gravity into useable energy.

There is no doubt in my mind that these objects are interplanetary craft of some sort. I and my colleagues are confident that they do not originate in our solar system, but we feel that they may use Mars or some other body as a sort of way station."

Among Oberth's colleagues [or former colleagues] was Dr. Walther Riedel, once chief designer and research director at the German rocket center in Peenemunde. After the war he engaged in secret work for the U.S. LIFE Magazine reported on April 7, 1952:

Dr. Riedel has never seen a saucer himself, but for several years he has kept records of saucer sightings all over the world. He told LIFE: "I am completely convinced that they have an out-of- world basis."

Dr. Riedel has four points to his argument: "First, the skin temperatures of structures operating under the observed conditions would make it impossible for any terrestrial structure to survive. The skin friction of the missile at those speeds at those altitudes would melt any metals or nonmetals available.

"Second, consider the high acceleration at which they fly and maneuver... In some descriptions the beast spirals straight up. If you think of the fact that the centrifugal force in a few minutes of such a maneuver would press the crew against the outside, and do likewise to the blood, you see what I mean.

"Third.... There are many occurrences where they have done things that only a pilot could perform but that no human pilot could stand.

"Fourth, in most of the reports there is a lack of visible jet. Most observers report units without visible flame . . . and no trail. If it would be any known type of jet, rocket, piston engine, or chain-reaction motor, there would be a very clear trail at high altitude. It is from no power unit we know of . . ."

[Riedel at the time belonged to a UFO organization called "Civilian Saucer Investigations" organized by Ed J. Sullivan. Sullivan, a technical writer for North American Aviation in Downey, California, near Los Angeles, had a major UFO sighting on 5/29/51, along with two other technical writers, described in detail in the LIFE article. The three described 30 or so round intense, electric blue lights flying and maneuvering in formation at high speed, making right angle turns, and sweeping across the sky toward L.A. "They moved with the motion of flat stones skipping across a smooth pond."]

Also quoted in the LIFE article was Dr. Maurice Biot, leading aerodynamicists and mathematical physicist, who said, "The least improbable explanation is that these things are artificial and controlled ... My opinion for some time has been that they have an extraterrestrial origin."

Another rocket expert was Navy Rear Admiral Delmer S. Fahrey, formerly head of the Navy's guided missile program [called by some the father of the U.S. guided missile program]. On Jan. 16, 1957 at a press conference in Washington, D.C. he stated that "there are objects coming into our atmosphere at very high speeds. No agency in this country or Russia is able to duplicate at this time the speeds and accelerations which radars and observers indicate these flying objects are able to achieve." Also, "an intelligence" directs such objects "because of the way they fly. They are not entirely actuated by automatic equipment. The way they change position in formations and override each other would indicate that their motion is directed." [reported in N.Y. Times, 1/17/57; p. 31].

Commander M.B. Taylor, one of Fahrney's chief guided missile experts, had a UFO sighting on July 3, 1949, when he and 200 others watched a metallic, disc-shaped object maneuver over Longview, Washington. Taylor later filed a report with NICAP, possibly on Fahrney's urgings (Fahrney was the first NICAP head). [reported by Donald Keyhoe, "Flying Saucers: Top Secret", p. 86]

A month prior to this, on July 10, 1949, at White Sands, N.M., scientists tracking a test missile at 2,000 ft/sec suddenly saw two small circular UFOs pacing the missile. One passed through the missile exhaust and then rejoined the other. They then quickly accelerated upwards leaving the missile behind. Cmdr. R. B. McLaughlin, in charge of the White Sands' guided missile program received reports from 5 observation posts, which had all witnessed the UFOs.

Interestingly, Lord Montbatten possibly made reference to this incident in 1950. He stated, "The fact that they can hover and accelerate away from the earth's gravity again and even revolve around a V-2 in America (as reported by their head scientist) shows that they are far ahead of us." ["Above Top Secret"]

It's likely, though not definite, that the "head scientist" Montbatten was referring to was Werner von Braun. [von Braun, the head of the German V-2 program, became Director of the Army's ballistic missile development division in 1950, but worked at White Sands on V-2 launches as a "technical advisor" starting in 1946.]

Shortly before this, on April 24, 1949, was one of the most famous UFO incidents of all time, and involved Charles B. Moore, the Mogul balloon engineer, who now claims the Roswell crash was one of his Mogul balloons! While tracking a balloon through a theodolite near Arrey, New Mexico [50 miles west of White Sands], the Mogul team spotted a large elliptical UFO moving at high speed in the opposite direction. Moore tracked it with his theodolite for the next minute. First it dropped rapidly in altitude, coming between the men and a mountain range, enabling them to estimate its size (about 100 feet by 40 feet). Then it shot straight up in a steep climb (acceleration about 80 G's!) and faded out about 60 miles up. Moore estimated the final speed as 18,000 to 25,000 mph! This incident is one of the Project Blue Book unknown cases and is also reported in detail in the 1952 LIFE Magazine article.

Moore and his team reported the incident to McLaughlin. According to Blue Book head Ed Ruppelt in his book "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects," McLaughlin filed a matter-of-fact report with the Pentagon on the two incidents, apparently on urging of the White Sands scientists. When the Pentagon ignored his report, McLaughlin wrote an article for TRUE Magazine, March, 1950, titled "How Scientists Tracked Flying Saucers." He stated, "...It was a flying saucer, and further, that these disks are spaceships from another planet, operated by animate, intelligent beings." [According to Ruppelt, someone in the Pentagon cleared the article, but by the time it was published, McLaughlin had been shipped out of White Sands and put to sea on a destroyer, making him conveniently unavailable for comment.]

There were many more incidents like these involving balloon and missile launches. On Aug. 29, 1949, during another Mogul launch [the one that detected the first Soviet A-bomb test, according to the NY Times article on Roswell and Mogul, 9/18/94], another egg-shaped UFO, "fantastic in size," traveling possibly 3 to 4 miles a second, was observed through a photo theodolite. According to the L.A. Times article on Aug. 31, weather balloons, of course very familiar to the observers, were ruled out. One officer said he though it was a space ship.

On April 27, 1950, at White Sands, a UFO was spotted by ground observers just after missile had fallen back to earth, and photographed with a cinetheodolite. After analyzing the film, White Sands reported to ATIC [Air Technical Intelligence Center at Wright Field] that the object was at 40,000 feet, flying 2,000 mph and about 300 feet in diameter. [Ruppelt, "Report..."] Ruppelt, however, says the image was of poor quality and the cited figures were rough estimates. According to researcher Todd Zechel, formerly of the National Security Agency, the CIA removed this film from Blue Book files. [Timothy Good, "Above Top Secret"] A similar incident happened a month later on May 29. Two UFOs were spotted, tracked, and photographed by two cinetheodolite stations just before the firing of missile. The film allegedly shows two huge UFOs traveling at 2000 mph, and according to Todd Zechel, is another film seized by the CIA. ["Above Top Secret"] Ruppelt mentions the sighting in his book, but only says the two stations photographed two separate UFOs, making triangulation impossible.

On January 16, 1951, Near Artesia, N.M. [30 miles south of Roswell] General Mills personnel tracking a Skyhook balloon saw two disc- shaped objects approach rapidly, tip on edge, circle the balloon, and speed off over the NW horizon. The crew of a C-47 was tracking the balloon, which was at 90,000 feet. The balloon when recovered was found to be ripped. This was another Blue Book unknown case. According to Ruppelt, the airmen, whom he knew, became confirmed saucer believers, as did many others with the N.M. balloon and missile projects, nearly all of whom had bewildering UFO sightings. Ruppelt said that when he suggested to the General Mills' people back at Wright Field that maybe they had seen one of their own balloons, they nearly threw him out into the snow.

Two more Blue Book unknown UFO incidents occurred on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11, 1951, when the General Mills people were testing experimental manned Skyhook balloons near Minneapolis, Minnesota and St. Croix, Wisconsin. This was another incident witnessed by Charles B. Moore, who was observing the balloons on the ground through a theodolite. The first UFO was seen by aeronautical engineer J.J. Kaliszewski and balloon pilot Jack Donaghue while both were flying in the balloon. Kaliszewski said the object showed a "peculiar glow," came in at a slight dive, then leveled off and slowed down. It finally went into a sharp left turn and disappeared while climbing "with terrific acceleration."

Two objects were seen the next day by pilot Dick Reilly and Kaliszewski in another balloon. The first object was brightly glowing with a dark underside and a halo. The object arrived high and fast, then slowed and made slow climbing circles for about two minutes, and finally sped away to the east. Soon they saw another one, confirmed by ground observers using a theodolite, which sped across the sky. The incidents were reported in the N.Y. Times, 4/12/52, p. 13. Ironically, on p. 10, was an editorial ridiculing the LIFE magazine UFO article of 4/7/52, stating that nearly all UFO reports could be explained by balloon launches!

Following the big UFO flap of 1952 and the Washington, D.C. radar/visual cases of July, 1952, the CIA commissioned a UFO study on July 29 [the same day the Air Force held a press conference saying the whole thing was caused by heat inversions]. On Aug. 14, 1952, the study group report described the variety of UFO shapes and flight characteristics, specifically mentioned the 4/24/49 White Sands sighting of 18,000 mph and the fact that "evasion upon approach is common." Various cases of simultaneous radar/visual sightings were cited, but also mentioned that all radar trackings were incomplete. The group doubted they were a secret project of U.S. or Russian origin. Finally they stated that there was no definite evidence of extraterrestrial origins, but noted that "Comdr. McLaughlin (of the White Sands report), a number of General Mills balloon people and many others are reported to be convinced of this theory." ["Above Top Secret"]

This short summary barely touches on the numerous UFO incidents in New Mexico following the Roswell crash of 1947. On May 5, 1952, the first meeting of secret Canadian government UFO committee, Project Second Story, mentioned a Canadian A.F. report on Project Blue Book, stating that 5% of ALL sightings recorded by Blue Book were solely from scientists working at White Sands Missile Proving Grounds.

On May 23, 1951, Dr. Lincoln LaPaz wrote a report summarizing his investigation into New Mexico saucer and green fireball sightings, citing 150 cases [only half of which he thought were meteoric in origin]. Two days later, AFOSI agent Lt. Col. Doyle Rees wrote a letter to the Director, AF Special Investigations, summarizing the green fireball investigations and stating that there had been 209 UFO reports. He stated: "A logical explanation was not proffered with respect to the origin of the green fireballs. It was, however, generally concluded that the phenomena existed ... [and have] continuously occurred in the New Mexico skies during the past 18 months and are continuing to occur, and ... are occurring in the vicinity of sensitive military and governmental installations." [FBI FOIA memo, reprinted in Fawcett & Greenwood, "The UFO Cover-up"]

In early 1952, Ruppelt said he went to Los Alamos Labs and informally spoke with the scientists and technicians there, all of whom at seen green fireballs. Almost all dismissed a conventional explanation and instead speculated that they were probes "projected into our atmosphere from a 'spaceship' hovering several hundred miles above the earth." Ruppelt commented, "Two years ago I would have been amazed to hear a group of reputable scientists make such a startling statement. Now, however, I took it as a matter of course. I'd heard the same type of statement many times before from equally qualified groups."

Ruppelt also described scientists at Los Alamos and military people at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, privately correlating UFO overflights with huge jumps of radiation occurring in their detectors. [Chapt. 15 in his book] The Los Alamos scientists made six such correlations between the summer of 1950 and June 1951. In one case in Dec. 1950, the radiation jumped 100 times over background at the same time a silvery, circular-shaped UFO was spotted near their equipment. At Oak Ridge, which had both a radar net and an elaborate system of radiation-detection equipment for a 100 mile radius, there was a radar/visual case in July, 1951 with a jet scrambled for intercept. Only those detectors in the vicinity of the UFO sighting registered radiation increases. From 10/12/50 to 10/26/50 alone, the FBI collected a flurry of 15 UFO reports over Oak Ridge, including 8 on radar. Interceptor jet aircraft were sent up twice. The FBI report noted that a visual sighting on 10/23 also coincided with "geiger counters in the vicinity [having] unexplainable readings at about this time." [Fawcett & Greenwood, "The UFO Cover-up"]

Ruppelt gathered the data. But when he presented the it to a "group of Air Force consultants" he said he "got the same old answer -- the data still aren't good enough." The "consultants" turned out to be CIA scientists who came to a very different conclusion behind Ruppelt's back. We know this because of a FOIA CIA secret draft report dated 8/15/52 (the day after the CIA UFO study group's report), which states: "Sightings of UFOs reported at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge, at a time when the background radiation count had risen inexpecably... Here we run out of even 'blue yonder' explanations that might be tenable, and, we are still left with numbers of incr

So Hermann Oberth and his West German colleagues weren't alone in their belief that the UFOs were extraterrestrial. Many of the U.S.'s top missile experts expressed the same opinion: people like Riedel, Fahrney, McLaughlin, Taylor, and perhaps von Braun. Similarly, many of the top scientists at Los Alamos, White Sands, and elsewhere were making similar statements.

I daresay that very few skeptics know anything about the history I've quickly summarized above.