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Project Blue Book unexplained cases:

Near Pittsburg, Kansas, August 25, 1952:

Blue Book case number: 1972.

Project Blue Book lists this sighting as "unknown."

Case summary by Don Berliner:

Aug. 25, 1952, Pittsburg, Kansas. 5:35 a.m:

Witness: radio station musician William Squyres. One dull aluminum object, shaped like two meat platters, face to face, estimated at 75' long, 45' wide, and 15' thick. Through a window in the front section shone a blue light, the head and shoulders of a man could be seen. The mid section had numerous windows through which could be seen some kind of regular movement. A series of small propellers were spaced close together along the outer edge of the object, revolving at high speed. The object was hovering about 10' above the ground, 100 yards off the road, with a slight rocking motion. It then ascended vertically with a sound like a large covey of quail starting to fly at the same time. Vegetation showed signs of having been disturbed under the object.

The case:

William Squyres, a KOAM radio staff member and musician at Pittsburg, Kansas, was driving in his new Jeep station wagon from his home in Frontenac to his workplace on August 25, 1952 at 05:50 a.m. when he saw a large disc shaped object hovering 10 feet above the ground 250 meters away.

The object was rocking slightly back and forth as it hovered over a two acre field of grass used for grazing cattle near the highway, in an otherwise heavily wooded area about seven miles northeast of Pittsburg.

He estimated to be 75 feet long and 45 feet wide. He described it as resembling two turtle shells, or two oval meat platters, placed edge to edge, having a 15 foot high mid-section and a row of windows along the side.

Along the rim where the two halves joined he noticed a series of small propellers six to seven inches in diameter projecting outward at close intervals all the way around the object. These propellers were revolving at high speed:

"There was a series of propellers about six to seven inches in diameter spaced closely together; these propellers were mounted on a bracket so they revolved in a horizontal plane on the edge of the object. The propellers were rotating at a high rate."

Witness' sketch of the object.

The body was of a dull aluminum color and across the top and extending down to the rim of the object were several rectangular windows, through which Squyres could see a bluish light fluctuating from dark to light.

He said that when he saw it:

"My hair rose straight up on the back of my head."

He could see some sort of movements or activities behinds these windows, although they were quite obscured. At one rectangular window forward from the other that was clear, he could plainly see the head and shoulders of a man or humanoid silhouette who was sitting motionless and seemed to be watching him.

He said that in his opinion, it was probably a new aircraft of the government, and although he was not sure the being he saw was human or not, the object was ...

"...piloted by humans, and not some men from Mars."

He then stopped the car, went out and walked towards the object, and could then hear a steady throbbing sound.

However when he came at some 30 meters from it, the object rose straight up and flew out of sight with a sound like "a large covey of quail starting to fly at the same time" and blowing the vegetation underneath.

Squyres went back on the site later with people from the radio station who noted that the vegetation appeared disturbed.

Sketch of the object in the infamous US Air Force Blue Book special report #14.


Squyres reported his sighting to the police and it somehow made his way to the US Air Force UFO investigation Project Blue Book. His disbelief that the craft was extraterrestrial - although it cannot be terrestrial - probably helped the US Air Force in seeing his report as believable, however, it seems the only official trace of the case that remains is Blue Book special report N.14 where it is mentioned among cases considered reliable, but all dismissed in conclusion under the motive that there are too many different flying saucers shapes:

Case XII (Serial 3601.00)

At 0535 on the morning of August 25, 1952, a musician for a radio station was driving to work from his home when he noticed an object hovering about 10 feet above a field near the road along which he was driving. As he came abreast of the object, he stopped his car and got out to watch. Having an artificial leg, he could not leave the road, since the surrounding terrain was rough. However, he was within about 100 yards of it at the point it was standing on the road. The object was not absolutely still, but seemed to rock slightly as it hovered. When he turned off the motor of his car, he could hear a big throbbing sound coming from the object. As he got out of the car, the object begun a vertical ascent with a sound similar to "a large covey of quail trying to fly at one time". The object ascended vertically though broken clouds until out of sight. His view was not obscured by clouds. The observer states that the vegetation was blown about by the object when it was near the ground.

Description of the object is as follows:

It was about 75 feet long, 45 feet wide, and 15 feet thick, shaped like two oval platters pressed together. It was a dull aluminum color, and had a smooth surface. A medium-blue continuous light shone through the one window in the front section. The heads and shoulder of one man, sitting motionless, facing the forward edge of the object, were visible. In the mid-section of the object were several windows extending from the top to the rear edge of the object; the midsection of the ship had a blue light which gradually changed to different shades. There was a large amount of activity and movement in the midsection that could not be identified as either human or mechanical, although it did not have a regular pattern of movement. There were no windows, doors or portholes, vent, seams etc., visible to the observer in the rear section of the object or under the object (viewed at time of ascent). Another identifiable feature was a series of propellers 6 to 12 inches in diameter spaced closely along the outer edge of the object. These propellers were mounted on brackets so that they revolved in a horizontal plane along the edge of the object. The propellers were revolving at a high rate of speed.

Investigation in the area soon afterwards showed some evidence of vegetation been blown around. An examination of grass and soil samples taken indicated nothing unusual. Reliability of the observer was considered good.

One newspaper wrote this article on the sighting:

Flying saucer seen hovering near ground northeast of Frontenac, radio man tells police; disappears in sky

Pittsburg had its own flying saucer story today. It was reported by Bill Squyres, KOAM radio entertainer who said he saw one of the mystery objects as he was coming into town to work early this morning.

The incident occurred, he said, on the Yale road about 200 yards north of highway US160 northeast of Frontenac. Squyres lives about a mile and a half north of the highway on the Yale road.

Squyres was driving along the road about dawn when he noticed the saucer hovering near the ground about 100 feet west of the road. As Squyres stopped his car in wonderment at the vision, the saucer rose straight up to disappear in the sky. The backwash of the object whipped the grass and weeds on the ground, according to the report.

Later in the morning officers visited the scene but could find no area where grass was beaten down, but all traces of the saucer's backwash may have been erased by the "rain" during the morning, they decided.

Squyres described the saucer as being as long as Broadway is wide downtown and about two thirds as

wide as it was long. It had the shape of two platter placed together, he said.

He said he noticed considerable activity aboard the saucer through windows. There was a blue light inside, changing from a dark to a lighter hue, Squyres said. The saucer was ringed with propellors according to the report. It was suspended in air five or ten feet above the ground.

When questioned as to the distance the object was to the road, Squyres said he was "pretty excited" by the sight and as a result it was difficult to determine distances but that he judged that distance as being about 100 feet.

Upon arriving in Pittsburg Squyres reported the incident to police. The report came in at 06:43 o'clock, records show.

Some comments:

Astronomer J. Allen Hynek wrote about the case 25 years later and said that he remembers "puzzling long and hard over this case, one of the very early ones received by Blue Book." Although he first dismissed the case as hallucination, after having encountered much cases years after years, he reluctantly admitted that such careless dismissal may not have been a scientifically bulletproof approach of the question.

The skeptic that expressed a view on the sighting merely commented that it cannot be true because of the small propellers Squire had described, claiming implicitly that the propellers really were propellers and were for lift, which is all subjective interpretation. He seems ignorant that birds do not damage planes that much in general and noted that "a bird hitting a propeller blade would cause instant disaster" and dismisses the case as whimsical invention" because of this.

The same skeptic lists the case elsewhere as to be dismissed under the motive that it was a man and not an extraterrestrial being that was seen in it, although the witness clearly said that he could not be sure of that and was merely voicing his disbelief in extraterrestrial visitors, without having the technical background and distance we now have to make us certain than no human aircraft ever matched the craft he saw. Interestingly, this skeptic author writes that the trace was a sixty foot circle of grass that was pressed down with some loose grass was laid on top as if it had been sucked up from the vertical ascent of the craft, while no source of this is given, no other sources I found provide such details, and the local newspaper actually writes that no trace was found by the officers who came at the site the same morning, and thought the nonexistent trace might have been washed away by the rain.

This skeptic also makes innuendos about ufologist hiding the case because it is supposedly ridicule due to the propellers, but it does actually appear in several compendiums of interesting sightings such as the NICAP's briefing document "The UFO Evidence" of 1964 and many other ufological sources from Vallée to Hynek to Clark etc.

One of the reasons that make the case less impressive than this skeptic tries to argue is that it has only one witness. This is why sensible ufologist would certainly not put it on the top of their "best of" lists, and I am pretty sure that if they had, some skeptics would have been quick to scoff as it is only a single witness report! This really tells a lot about the "skeptical process" on how a single witness case is being criticized for not having received the top attention a skeptic claims it deserves. In reality, the selective bias is largely on the side of the "skeptics" who only talk of a case when it already had a commonplace explanation of when they think they found one.


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This page was last updated on June 2, 2005