This article was published in the daily newspaper Daily Gleaner, of Nairobi, Kenya, on October 25, 1954
Visitors from outer space may be mapping earth
By RONALD BATCHELOR
NAIROBI -- Visitors from outer space are probably observing and mapping the Earth and have been directing their recent attentions to East Africa.
That, at any rate, is the considered opinion of one of the leading astronomers in this area, the vice-president of Kenya Astronomical Association, Mr. G. Duncan Fletcher.
He put forward this startling and eerie suggestion after a deluge of reports from scores of observers throughout East Africa, who claim to have seen "flying saucers."
These reports have flooded newspapers offices in the three East African territories of Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika.
Europeans, Asians and Africans claimed to have seen objects in the sky: stationary; zooming over the horizon; changing colour from white to red, blue and green; elliptical in shape; and elongated with upright projections at either end.
First reports of "flying saucers" came from Dar-es-Salaam, capital of Tanganyika on the Indian Ocean coast, and were quickly followed by "sightings" at Mombasa, Kampala and this city.
Here, in Nairobi, citizens telephoned local police stations to say that they had spotted "saucers" circling the suburbs. More than one police patrol car, sent to investigate, reported following the course of "mysterious bright objects" in the sky. Two Europeans on duty at the international airport here observed an "aerial object" through binoculars.
Mr. Fletcher says that he has recently observed something in the sky over Nairobi from his well-equipped observatory here.
"It was about 7:40 p.m. that I had four friends in my observatory," he says. "Very low and towards the east, there was a large light in the sky which had no relationship to anything astronomical, to Verey lights or to the aircraft which had just landed at the airport."
The altitude of Mr. Fletcher's "object" was about 2,000 feet, was stationary when first spotted by himself and his four companions and "emitted a bright orange light." This light brightened to a yellowish colour and the object rose, dropped and then rose again, finally disappearing through the clouds, he states.
Mr. Fletcher says that he thinks there is no question about the genuineness of reports about "flying saucers," which "have been given by very experienced observers" in all parts of the world.
"Not all the American and British people who have seen these unidentified flying objects have been suffering from hallucinations," he declares.
The most encouraging thing about reports of unidentified flying objects (or U.F.O. as they are labelled officially here), Mr. Fletcher added, is that "they seem to be friendly towards the people of this planet."
"From all the information which is available they are steadily mapping every part of our Earth," he concludes
Countless reasons, he believes - and he cites Dr. F. Hoyle, Professor of Astro-Physics at Cambridge and Sir James Jeans - can be offered as to why there should be many more planets, or bodies, in the universe capable of supporting life.
PROBABLY this life would differ enormously from life as known on Earth. "It is possible that whereas we need oxygen and other elements to support life on this planet, entirely different elements may be supporting life on others," Mr. Fletcher declares. "Indeed, the forms of life could be completely different from any that we can imagine."
"Whether the beings now visiting the Earth from outer space are short or tall, have blood in their veins, or whether they have veins at all, will have to await their contact with human beings here," he says, inferring that "Outer Space Men" will one day decide to land their "machines" and attempt to communicate with Earth men.
It may be sheer coincidence, Mr. Fletcher says, but he points out that these other beings seem to have been interested in activities on Earth since the time of the first atomic explosion about seven years ago.
"There does not seem to be any doubt that they are miles ahead of us in their methods of propulsion, and reports have been made by observers who have seen these unidentified flying objects over atomic plants, dockyards, airfields, naval bases and some of the larger cities of the world," he says.
"Their approach to us is, I suggest, similar to what our own approach would be if the shoe were on the other foot if we were to visit Venus, I don't think until we had made every possible investigation we would land."
"The obvious thing is that we should map, photograph if possible and carry out a thorough investigation before we risked our life by hasty [unreadable] it is not unreasonable, therefore, that whatever controls the un identified flying objects is doing exactly that."
Mr. Fletcher is convinced that the objects come from outer space and declares that "their behaviour cannot be mistaken for a meteorite which, on coming into contact with our atmosphere, is pulled at an ever-increasing velocity by gravity towards the earth. The velocity becomes so great that the objects burns up because of the intense heat generated by friction with our atmosphere."
"A meteorite does not turn or hover in the air. Its path is a parabolic curve similar to that of shell fired from a gun. Therefore the things which we have seen are undoubtedly unidentified flying objects."