Friday, April 15, 2005

Blast From The Past, Vol. III - The NY Times on Behind the Flying Saucers

The NY Times review of Behind the Flying Saucers, from 10 September, 1952, at p. 39, by Sidney Shallett:

"Frank Scully, author of 'Fun in Bed' and other airy works, is identified in some biographical notes furnished me as a 'professional humorist.' As I advanced through this incredible volume, I kept waiting for the funny snapper. But this time Mr. Scully is in earnest (at least, I think he is).

Early in 1949 I wrote a couple of magazine articles on flying saucers. My conclusions were that there was no evidence to support theories that saucers were coming from Russia or other planets, though the door was left open to the possibility that some saucer-viewers might be observing still-secret United States experimental air projects. One of the delights of having written these articles is reading in books such as Scully's the purported 'inside story' of how I was caught up unwittingly in a sinister plot, launched by high officials, to keep the 'truth' from the American public.

Mr. Scully seems to believe (1) that flying saucers are real; (2) that they come from Venus or other planets and (3) that they are controlled by some sort of magnetic force. The saucers, we are told, can also disintegrate things. Scully explains the case of a Kentucky National Guard pilot, who climbed too high and crashed to his death while chasing what he thought was a flying saucer. Scully writes: 'The captain was proving a source of annoyance in his pursuit of a magnetically controlled flying saucer. A button was pushed and Mantell and his plane were no more.'

Scully also reports that three flying disks from other planets have landed in New Mexico and Arizona. Two of them, he says, contained sixteen dead men about 35 or 40 years old and 36 to 42 inches in height. The third, and smaller, disk contained only two little men. The Air Force grabbed all the evidence and the bodies, but the 'Pentagonic witch-hunters' have kept it a dead secret from the public. One of the bodies, however, Scully implies, was pickled and exhibited publicly in Chicago, without identification, just to find what people would say about it. All this information Scully got from a dear personal friend and a renowned 'geophysicist,' a 'Doctor Gee.'

It is remotely possible, of course, that Mr. Scully could have the inside track on what he calls 'one of the biggest stories in history.' More likely, his eccentric book will succeed only in stirring up confusion."

Alas, his "eccentric book" continues to stir up confusion, over five decades later, both in terms of the Aztec case in particular, and crashed flying saucer stories in general.

Paul Kimball

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