Invaders from Mars!?
75 years ago on October 30, 1938 the nation was enthralled (or panicked) by the Mercury Theater’s radio play Invasion from Mars directed by Orson Welles and adapted from H.G. Wells’ novel War of the Worlds.
Decades later the U.S. Air Force was tasked with investigating reports of unidentified flying objects. Following a rash of UFO sightings in Washington DC in 1952, the Air Force released a film (with the convincing recreated footage above) explaining their mandate to identify and analyze potential threats that come by air, while also assuring the citizenry that there was no known threat.
Read more at Project Blue Book: Spotting UFOs in the Film Record from the National Archives’ Media Matters blog.
Did aliens land in Roswell, New Mexico, 66 years ago? We don’t have evidence of aliens, but we do have the schematics for a flying saucer.
This is a real report found recently in the National Archives by an archives technician processing 100 boxes of Air Force reports.
“What caught my eye was the icon of the saucer-looking shape,” he explains. The icon—a blue saucer over a red arrow—was in the corner of test flight reports and contracts with a Canadian company. And the strangest record of all? A drawing that Rhodes says “looked just like the flying saucer in the popular science fiction films made during those years.”
According to the report, the aircraft was designed to be a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plane. It was meant to reach a top speed of Mach 4, with a ceiling of over 100,000 feet and a range of over 1,000 nautical miles.
Not the first UFO sighting in our holdings, but this one includes some great DIY possibilities, just in time for Halloween too:
There are schematics for flying saucers in the National Archives. Seriously!
At the same time that the Air Force was denying the existence of UFOs back in the 1950s, it was also secretly trying to build its own supersonic flying saucer.
A recently declassified document reveals that the Air Force, in 1956, contracted a Canadian company, Avro Aircraft Limited in Ontario to construct a circular craft that could take off and land vertically, as well as potentially reach a top speed of Mach 4 and fly as high as 100,000 feet over a range of 1,000 nautical miles.
You can also read the original post on the NDC Blog.