Here’s the first of the obscure HH items I promised. It was originally published in the comic book Space Busters #2, Fall 1952, published by Approved Comics, Inc. My understanding is that comic books at that time were required to contain a minimum of two pages of text, which is why these pieces were included.
The manuscript for this piece is housed in a special collection of the library at California State University, Fullerton. Harry Harrison has tear sheets from the comic book in his personal files.
The True Story of Flying Saucers
by Harry Harrison (1952)
This is not fiction. Everything in this article is true.
“There it is!,” the pilot shouted, “Right in front of us: it’s moving now, it seems to be coming towards us … WATCH OUT!”
The brilliant ball of fire dived towards the DC-3, growing larger as it approached. The pilot twisted hard on the wheel, trying to avert what seemed to be a certain crash. For one terrible instant the fierce green light filled the cabin of the plane; then it flashed by. The three men turned quickly to see where it had gone — and gaped with amazement.
The green light was a ship — of a type they had never seen before. It had roared past the transport plane at a speed of well over three hundred miles per hour, and stopped instantaneously. It was now flying parallel with the DC-3, only 200 feet away, every detail visible.
It was as big as a B-29 and shaped like a cigar, with one small wing set forward. There was no trace of a drive mechanism, no jets, engines or propellers. The only breaks in the surface of the mystery craft were the lights under the nose and a row of glowing ports down the side of the ship.
While the flyers examined the strange craft the passenger, from Air Intelligence, was busy on the radio. His report went directly to the commanding officer of the air base who was already standing by in the radar room.
The General leaned over the radar operator’s shoulder when he received the ‘blip’ from the strange ship.
“Pick him up with the big antenna!”
On the roof of the building the massive 30-foot framework was turning, centering on the craft.
“Cut out the small antenna and give it a pulse on the big one!” The general’s words were sharp, his fingers tightened on the edge of the table. The pulse went out, and the echo came back, sharp and clear on the screen. An instant later the communications officer turned to the C.O…
“Our observer in the DC-3 reports that the object dipped in flight for a second. The movement coincides exactly with the instant when the radar pulse bounced off the ship!”
The blip in the radar screen was turning now, swinging off towards the side. The operator measured the movement and made a quick calculation.
“The ship is going down behind that range of hills, sir. It will be off the screen in a second.”
“Mark the spot exactly; I’m going out there!”
The jeeps tore down the road and turned off into the field where the mysterious object rested. With the auto engines off the night was very still. There was no sound or motion from the ship, just the eerie green light that illuminated the ground for hundreds of feet. A small group of officers clustered around the general while the soldiers spread out in a semicircle. The night was still.
“What is it, sir?” a young lieutenant muttered through his clenched teeth. “Where does it come from?”
“What is it, lieutenant? Your guess is as good as mine! As to where it comes from, there is one thing we are sure of — it does not come from earth! Nothing in science as we know it could cause a plane to perform the way that one does. That thing comes from space!”
As if the general’s words were a cue, a crack of light suddenly appeared in the vessel’s side. With machine-like slowness a portion of the metal skin swung out and down to form a ramp. The airmen drew back involuntarily as a shadow appeared in the doorway. Down the ramp it stepped…
Who or what will step down the ramp, that is the one thing we do not know. All the other events except for the observed landing, have happened; there are reliable witnesses and reports that are unshakable. Flying saucers have been observed by army officers, physicists and aviators. Even professional astronomers, used to dealing with the mysteries of the heavens, have watched the objects and recorded their strange movements. They have been contacted by radar and dipped in flight; they have been seen landing in inaccessible spots by many people. We have yet to find out, however, where they come from or what species of beings operate them.
In 1949 the Air Force Intelligence abandoned Project ‘Saucer’ and made light of the entire flying saucer situation. They disclaimed all the mysterious objects as weather balloons, or any other aerial phenomena that might fit. Everyone laughed and flying saucer jokes were overworked by the television comedians. Anyone who saw saucers in the sky was supposed to have his brains on the slightly loose and shaky side.
In spite of the tremendous pressure not to see things in the sky, responsible, realistic people kept doing just that. In the past three years so much unshakable evidence has poured in that the Air Force has re-opened the saucer situation. In public announcements and newspaper ads they have asked anyone to bring reports to them; they stressed the fact that the observers will not be laughed at.
Officially, the Air Force has no idea what the objects are or where they come from. Unofficially, many high ranking officers have stated that the lights and objects in the sky could not be of earthly origin. Aerial ships that go from zero speed to hundreds of miles an hour in an instant with no signs of propellers, jets or vapour trails are unknown to us. These officers know enough about foreign science to be sure that no other nation has developed secret techniques of this kind.
It is often said that one picture is worth a thousand words; this is more than true in the case of flying saucers. The thought of ships from another world is so fantastic that we hesitate to take someone’s word that the whole matter is true. Now, if we could look at a nice, clear photograph — that would be different. Well, it so happens that we can do just that.
On August 30, 1951, a young student in Texas saw a group of lights shooting through the evening sky. Before they disappeared from sight he had the presence of mind to lift the 35-mm camera he was carrying and take a picture of them in flight. The Air Force examined the negative of this photograph and pronounced it genuine. The photo shows twenty luminous bodies in flight, each one more brilliant than the planet Venus. The lights are arranged in a geometric flight pattern, with one larger light off to the side. Was it a flight of small ships with one larger mother craft nearby? No one knows.
Someday we will find out who is flying these strange ships; until that time all we can do is gather evidence and guess at their strange origin. If you see any weird object in the air — don’t keep it to yourself. Make an immediate report to Air Technical Intelligence Centre at Wright-Patterson AFB, Daytona, Ohio. They want to hear from you!