November 16, 1952 Landrum South Carolina
NICAP describes this event as follows:
November 16, 1952--Nr. Landrum, S. C. Hundreds of people saw a huge disc, watched through binoculars by air traffic controller.1
There is no footnote and no mention of where this information came from. However, there are other sources that gives us some information about this event. If hundreds of people saw this “huge disc”, more information should be found in the local media.
Looking in the newspaper archive, I found several papers describing the event. The object was described as a “tremendous glowing streak” that had been visible for roughly 10 minutes. It eventually disappeared in the southwest. The air traffic controller mentioned by NICAP was a man named John Ellis. He was quoted in the Lumberton, North Carolina Robesonian:
John N. Ellis, aircraft communicator for the CAA for 11 years and a licensed pilot, said the object was “unlike anything I have ever seen.
Ellis said that, when he first saw the object, it was in the west at about 10,000 feet and that it slowly moved to the southwest before dis- appearing. He added that he watched it for six minutes which dispelled an early thought that it was a jet aircraft but lasted too long and moved too slowly,” he said.
The CAA official described the object as glowing extremely brightly and likened its shape to a saucer tilted at an angle of about 30 degrees with a thin edge down and a heavier lip up. He said he heard no sound or heard no smoke.2
Lumberton was 50 miles to the Northeast of Florence, South Carolina. The Florence morning news of November 17th gave this description of the object from an EAL pilot, who saw the event from the ground:
...was with some 25 persons at the Florence Airport at 5:13 p.m. yesterday when “it” was sighted northwest of Florence. The captain said the craft was silver and one side had a hexagonal shape.
In giving his description, he said when the object was first sighted it appeared as a bright light; it passed the airfield tilted at a 30 degree angle and had the shape of a sphere.
The side, he said, that could be seen by the group, looked like a saucer, but had six sides, or edges. Because of the 30-degree tilt, he as- sumed the visible side to be the top of the craft.
He said the object reflected a silver light and left a “stream” or ‘trail” that was unlike the ‘stream” left by jets flying at high altitudes.
The “stream” he described, and the one described by many of the 25 or more in the crowd, was more like “heavy fan tailed blast, some two miles long—or would be two miles long at the height the object was flying. It was visible until it was 30 degrees above the horizon, which would have been 50 or 60 miles from here’3
Sounds very interesting but, because it was visible for some time, one wonders why there were no photographs taken of the event. Was it really that strange or was it something else?
Looking at the Blue Book file reveals that the UFO was recorded on film. The roll was sent to both the USAF and True magazine. It was shot from Landrum, South Carolina, which was over 150 miles to the north-northwest of Florence. The USAF noticed the following about the film:
a. Only a few frames show anything that is discernible.
b. No movement of any object can be seen.
c. On the frames that something could be seen there were two blobs of bright light, apparently reflected from the sun. In that the films
were taken at dusk and the sun was setting from the clouds, it is believed the light spots indicated in the film are reflections from the sun. This phenomenon sometimes called “mock sun” or “sun dog”. 4
Donald Keyhoe has a letter in the files, where a letter from the cameraman to his son was transcribed.
When I glimpsed them first they were about the size of a conventional automobile tire and were the color of aluminum. I could not ob- serve any forward speed at any time, but I did get the impression that they were traveling in a westerly direction, that is, away from us, and I have this on the fact that they diminished in size, from that of an auto tire to about the size of a tennis ball.
They did, however, show a definite north to south movement at times. At other times one would go straight up like an elevator while another would show a like downward descent. This up and down movement was quite marked both in speed and visibility. Some times several would disappear and at times we could see varying numbers of them although we never saw more than eleven and never less than three. The color when first seen by me was burnished silver which gradually changed to a burning orange. The was no noise, due no doubt to the great distance, nor were there any vapor trails to be seen. 5
Lumberton and Florence are pretty far away and one has to wonder if they are related to this event. NICAP seemed to think so because they mentioned the air traffic controller in Lumberton and linked it to the Landrum film. If these events were related, the large area of where the obser- vations were made indicate the phenomenon observed was not close but probably far away. I did not see any images from the film in the files but the reported observations appear to be sim- ilar the “sun dog” explanation given by the USAF. It might not have been something as ordinary as a “sun dog” but it could have been some other form of parahelia.
Another possible theory is that it may have been an unusual airplane contrail similar to the ones reported as missiles and UFOs in the past.6 A high flying aircraft might explain some of the de- scriptions made by the witnesses in Lumberton and Florence. Jet aircraft were not common in 1952 and contrails produced from new high altitude jets like the B-47, would look different than those being produced from propeller driven aircraft like the B-29 or B-36.
According to the Blue Book files, the film was also given to True magazine but they never, to the best of my knowledge, published the images from that film.7 If it really showed something exotic, they would have published it. The lack of publication indicates the publishers felt this film was not that extraordinary.
It is tough to call this one “explained”. Without any images, one can not say exactly what was seen but I would tend to suggest it probably was an unusual airplane contrail or some sort of parahelia. The one thing that can be concluded is that this is not evidence that supports NICAP’s conclusion that this proves UFOs are “intelligently controlled” and are “manifestations of extraterrestrial life”.
Quelle: SUNlite 5/2015