The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The FBI and Flying Disks, plus a mysterious AJB in an FOI document

Don wanted a source for my note that the FBI used "flying disk" for its sobriquet about the strange things flitting around the skies in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Here's a link where a document confirming my FBI notation may be read:

http://www.cufon.org/cufon/foia_001.htm

And note at the bottom of one section are the initials "AJB" -- the signature for Anthony Bragalia when he comments or posts material about UFOs here or at his personal blog:


Is Anthony Bragalia a MIB or was a government agent, way back when? [I kid]

RR

13 Comments:

  • I am familiar with those Schulgen/FBI docs, too, and I am wrong I think if I gave the impression the were not in Tony's FBI article you referred to.

    I must be perfectly dense not to see anything to suggest there was a fundamental difference between 'discs' and 'saucers' being discussed.

    I must be totally misreading what you had written.

    Yet, there it is.

    Help.

    Best Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Thursday, May 15, 2014  

  • Well, I am a bit concerned Don...

    First the Bloecher 1947 Wave thing and now the disk/saucer dilemma.

    The topic has made us all loopy, as Paul Kimball and Bruce Duensing note.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

  • Rich: "Don wanted a source for my note that the FBI used "flying disk" for its sobriquet about the strange things flitting around the skies in the late 1940s and early 1950s."

    That is not what I asked. I referred to the distinction you say was made between "saucer" and "disk".

    You had written:

    "David argues that the terms flying saucers and flying disks/discs were used interchangeably, and they were, in the examples he's provided."

    "But in some circles, many circles and offficialdom (the FBI) flying saucers were deeemd to be space ships from outer space and flying disks were odd artifacts found by citizens and tagged flying disk or disc not saucers and not a space ship from outer space."

    and

    "But discs/disks were not the same as saucers."

    and

    "But over all, the terms were not synonymous, for the public at large or, more importantly, the military."

    This non-synonymity is well known. The Air Forces and the FBI, did not use the word "saucer" unless it was a 'mention', and in the AFOSI rendering of the famous Daily Record headline couldn't even quote
    'saucer', but wrote 'disc' instead.

    In the press, it depended on editorial policy (if there was one on the subject). Some preferred to follow the lead of the authorities, but many chose 'saucer'. The public chose 'saucer'. 'Disc' never caught on. In memetic terms the sibilance and ease of 'saucer' trumped the abrupt closure of 'disc'. Words and phrases become memes not due to their meaning but the way they feel when spoken and by their sound, especially, sibilance and susurus.
    The skeptics who read Dawkins should know this.

    What I thought you referred to was some statement that 'disc' is a label for one kind of thing and 'saucer' a label for another, in an FBI document.

    I think there is a misunderstanding between us, and I put the blame on the late hour and exhaustion from the discussion.

    Best Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

  • Don:

    The topic has become obscurant, obviously.

    You are probing, as usual, for a distinction that is irrelevant to the UFO phenomenon itself.

    This is one of the reasons I've tried to terminate the "thread" as David calls it.

    It's become bogged down by a skirt to picayune details, and the commentary is almost rambling in a way reminsicent of dementia.

    I've provided materials that show what the FBI called the things that are under discussion.

    David has provided examples of usage where saucer and disk are interchangeable.

    What you're looking for eactly is baffling.

    For instance, you write this:

    "In the press, it depended on editorial policy (if there was one on the subject). Some preferred to follow the lead of the authorities, but many chose 'saucer'. The public chose 'saucer'. 'Disc' never caught on. In memetic terms the sibilance and ease of 'saucer' trumped the abrupt closure of 'disc'. Words and phrases become memes not due to their meaning but the way they feel when spoken and by their sound, especially, sibilance and susurus.

    The skeptics who read Dawkins
    should know this."

    What the hell is that?

    It's a rambling, confused and confusing aside that takes the topic into a field of nonsense and makes the discussion anathema to readers here who want clarity and substantive copy.

    Again, please allow the topic to terminate.

    It's been battered long enough.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

  • Rich, I'm not probing anything. I have never come across in anything I've read or heard in all my life that in the late 40s and early 50s, people wrote flying saucer to mean ET and flying disc to mean not ET. Just like your saucer club, as you wrote.

    And after asking you for clarification, several times. You go all beyond reticence, and won't say.

    So, I'll ignore it.

    Best Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

  • Don:

    I don't get your confusion.

    David provided examples of flying saucers being designated as space craft by many persons, inlcuding the military.

    I've provided exmaples of the FBI and others utilizing flying disks for objects found that were odd but not seen as space vehicles of any kind.

    What do you mean you haven't found such designations?

    I've given you some and David has provided more.

    You seem to be probing for someone or one of us to give you something more definitive.

    You've taken us off into Don-land.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

  • Rich, I'm aware that the designation used by official agencies, like the FBI, was "disc", but that the public took up "saucer".

    I think it amusing the authorities wouldn't use common slang -- which is what saucer was...or a meme, if you prefer.

    Beyond these preferences, I think the terms were used synonymously, and you write, they were not, saucer meant ET, disc meant not ET

    I never heard that before.

    Best Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

  • Don:

    I'm contending with a zombie topic.

    I don't recall writing that flying saucer was used for an ET designation.

    Flying saucer came to mean a craft from outer space, mostly because of the Arnold sighting.

    The military (some) and the FBI and many media folks used flying disk for odd things found that had a circular shape and strange accoutrements.

    I've provided links and if you Google ufo iconoclasts and flying disks or anything else that is related you'll get a slew of commentary by me and others that gives you more to chew on.

    Yes, the terms flying disks and flying saucers were used to mean outer space craft, but not in all quarters, as shown by the FBI documents I've provided.

    You don't get the subtlety of the argument or materials provided.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

  • What I get is officialdom never used saucer unless it was to mention something someone else said or wrote, or to sneer at the usage. I don't think there is any other distinction.

    Best Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

  • I gave away, a few years ago, Don, a booklet we published that contained newsclippings (with photos) about UFOs from 1947 up to the late 1960s.

    I don't think we scanned all of the pages for the internet but there are a few that show how disk was used by police agencies and the military for items they came across that are like those I keep noting.

    Keyhoe made it specific to use flying saucer for what he was interested in: interplanetary craft.

    I don't know what else to say on the matter.

    Your view:

    "What I get is officialdom never used saucer unless it was to mention something someone else said or wrote, or to sneer at the usage. I don't think there is any other distinction."

    Is wrong-headed, as I read it.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

  • Rich, the usage begins to become ambiguous and ambivalent from April, 1949 when Shallet's articles are published, and then the USAF Preliminary Report on project saucer. Prior to that, there was only Palmer's Fate on the newstands or in bookstores. This is soon followed by Scully and Keyhoe and ufology is born and the deluge. Then UFO replaces both saucer and disc, and that seems to have been agreeable to everyone.

    I'm not arguing with you (much) on the usage. It is the intentionality of the usage (ET, not-ET) I've never encountered.

    That's all.

    ***
    I've got a possibly false memory that you had spent some time in Detroit. Any interest in the FBI's Espionage-X file on the Detroit Flying Saucer Club in 1954? I think it is in 3 of 16 of the FBI pdf set, if you haven't read it (I usually find you guys have got it all).

    Best Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

  • Yes, we have the FBI material.

    (Someone provided it to me a while back.)

    And yes, I'm from Detroit and worked for the Detroit News.

    I was an intern there in 1966 (before working full-time) and did the grunt work for the Ann Arbor-Dexter swamp gas sighting as long-time readers here know.

    That's all online.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

  • After the Arnold sighting, which triggered the media creation of the terms "flying disc" and "flying saucer" based on his descriptions, the two terms were initially about equally used in the media.

    There was all sorts of speculation in June/July 1947 about their origins, including outer space, but opinion was as widely divided then as now about whether they were even real, much less who made them if they were real.

    The popular media "meme" that they were from space didn't take hold until later. Only some fraction of the public in 1947 probably thought that, but it was never polled. If I were to hazard a wild guess, I would say about 10% of the public.

    With the media and public, "flying disc" gradually fell out of favor, leaving "flying saucer" as the popular generic description. "Flying disc" was rarely used by the mid-1950s, as I recall. In 1952, Ruppelt and the Air Force invented "UFO", gradually replacing FS, but FS is obviously still with us, though not as popular as it initially was.

    I would agree "flying disc" was originally preferred by the government and military until "UFO" came into use. I totally disagree that the term was reserved only for oddities found on the ground. E.g., the Schulgen Air Intelligence and Twining Air Materiel Command studies of 1947 were saying the "flying discs" were real flying aircraft of advanced design, without giving an opinion as to origins.

    Most people now use UFO and the popular generic usage is of an alien spaceship (whether they believe in them or not). The USAF/Twining in 1953 originally defined it as any anomalous by shape or performance flying object that remained unexplained after investigation and was to be further investigated for national security reasons and for their technical aspects.

    In other words, the Air Force was/is interested in real aircraft, not trash can lids on the ground. That is what they (or Twining) meant by "UFO" in 1953 or "flying disc" in 1947. (Except in a more generic sense when somebody might report coming across something odd. They had to call it something.)

    This applied not only at the highest level, but at the bases as well. As Walter Haut said, Blanchard and Marcel were not flakes. They were very intelligent, experienced, and competent men. It had to be more than some rancher thinking that maybe he found a "flying saucer" to make them investigate as they did. Brazel's 5 pounds of "rubber strips", wooden sticks, foil, paper, and Scotch tape would not have interested them in the least.

    Instead Marcel said after speaking to Brazel at the Sheriff's office, he returned to the base and conferred with Blanchard, both agreeing it sounded like an advanced aircraft of some type. THAT is why they investigated. Again, rubber strips, wood sticks, etc. would not make them think that.

    By Blogger David Rudiak, at Friday, May 16, 2014  

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