The date: July 2, 1952. The time: 11 a.m. The place: seven miles out of Tremonton, Utah.
The event: unidentified flying objects.
Delbert Clement Newhouse was driving with Norma, his wife, and their two children Anne and Delbert Jr. from Washington, D.C., to Portland, for a family vacation.
The sun shined through a cloudless sky. As they passed through Tremonton, Norma noticed some strange objects flying in the sky. Pulling off onto a shoulder and stopping, Newhouse, a Navy officer, tried to determine what they were looking at; was it planes, or birds, or maybe, unidentified flying objects.
Today, it remains a mystery with no certain solution.
"There were about 12 of them, milling about in a round formation and proceeding in a general westerly direction. They were like nothing I had ever seen before, although I've logged some 2,000 hours in the air. They were identical in appearance," he said.
He went on to explain that the objects were a "bright silvery color" and were "in the shape of two saucers, one inverted over the other. I had no way of estimating the altitude.
"They appeared to me to be the size of B-29s at 10,000 feet," he said. Trying to quickly get out his camera, Newhouse realized that the film was in another bag. By the time he had successfully loaded the camera, the objects were much farther away. Nonetheless, he shot with his amateur movie camera. The family watched as the objects disappeared over the eastern horizon.
Later, Newhouse found the developed film disappointing. In an interview, filmed by Greene-Rouse Productions for inclusion in the documentary, Unidentified Flying Objects, he said, "The film falls far short of what I saw with the naked eye, due to the delay in getting the camera going and to my error in exposure. If I had had that camera on the seat beside me, loaded and ready to go, there wouldn't be any need for questions."
Newhouse was interviewed and the film was examined. In the hearings before the 90th Congress of the Committee on Science and Astronautics on July 29, 1968, Dr. Robert L. Baker explained that "preliminary analysis [of the film] excluded most natural phenomena. More detailed study indicated that the only remaining natural phenomenon candidate for the Utah film was birds in flight," he said. The bird idea seemed the most factual as the Salt Lake area is known for the white seagull.
This sighting, almost 40 years ago, along with countless other reported UFO sightings fascinate thousands of people. One web site, "National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena," boasts that it is "an international peer reviewed directory of the best UFO evidence." This site, found at http://www.nicap.co.uk, directs one to look at various reports and articles on UFO sightings. From this site, one can access the "UFO Intelligence Summary Selected Best Rated Cases." Here, they will find that the Newhouse sighting is ranked as one the best along with 13 other sightings from around the world inclusive of the period 1948-76.
Although not ranked as one of the best sightings by NICAP, another Utah UFO sighting was reported Feb. 28,1959. This time it was in Cedar City. Private Gerry Irwin was heading back to El Paso, Texas, from Idaho when he reportedly saw a glowing object land in a field. He thought he had just seen an airplane crash, so he left a note telling someone to call the police, wrote "STOP" on his car with shoe polish and then proceeded to go investigate.
An hour and a half later he was found unconscious in the field which had no sign of an airplane crash. He awoke in the hospital and couldn't explain the events he had seen. And six weeks later he failed to report for duty and was labeled a deserter.
Another sighting was on Oct. 2, 1961. Waldo J. Harris, a private pilot, was taking off at the Utah Central Airport at noon. In the distance, he noticed an airplane. As he became airborne, he noted that the plane was in the same place, and again after gaining some altitude, saw that it was hovering. As he looked this third time, he watched as the plane tilted and glinted in the sun. Harris reported that it didn't have any wings or tail. He radioed back to the airport and seven people shared binoculars and witnessed what Harris was radioing.
Harris attempted to get closer. As he flew, he watched as the object reportedly rose 1000 feet in a second or less. Harris continued to try and close the distance in his Mooney Mark 20A, but the object flew off before the military jets that the observers had called could arrive.
Finally, there was an update on the NICAP web site on the Newhouse sighting. It was a letter from James E. McDonald to Arthur C. Lundahl, dated May 4, 1970. McDonald, writing about a recent conversation with Newhouse about his sighting, explained to Lundahl that when he asked if he rejected the final "gull hypothesis," Newhouse said was insistent. He said the same thing he had and told those filing the official report, "You'd better go take a better look at some sea gulls!"
LETTER TO MAJOR KEYHOE OF NICAP BY THE AIR FORCE PRESS DESK
Received your latest bulletin. The order form has been turned over to our engineering library upon request and they intend to send for a membership. This, at the request of the research dept.
I have not heard further from de Garvaho since mailing him your address but expect that you will hear from him shortly.
In a recent TV appearance, Bob Baker and I opposed a Captain Eccles, of Col. Dean Hess' office, and a Dr. Bartolt ( not sure of the spelling) . We ate 'em up, and at the end had the good Doctor on our side. He was one of those endorsing the mirage and optical illusion theories. Capt. Eccles stated outright that he was not going to give personal opinions but would merely be representing the official AF position.
Incidentally, am enclosing a copy of Baker's report on the Montana and Utah sighting. Thought you might not have seen these. The analysis took over one year to complete. Baker is very interested in receiving any further motion picture films on the subject and will do similar analysis work for NICAP free of charge. The only request he has to make is that he be anonymous in the NICAP organization.
Baker is currently working with the Aero-nutronics Company, in Glendale, California and is tied up in AF Farside project, which explains his reluctance to be identified with NICAP as a special advisor or otherwise. I know he would be happy to get a chance to tie into those Miami films if they could be made available. All films will be returned as soon as the analysis is completed, along with a full report on the findings.
Baker's personal opinion (after working on the Montana and Utah films) is that there is a great need for further research of this type. He feels (but won't state flatly) that there are possibilities these things are interplanetary vehicles.
At any rate I think you might well consider Baker's proposition. I did give him your NICAP address and I suppose he will be sending in his membership fee. . . .if he doesn't forget it --you know how absent-minded these scientists are.
That's all for now... I know how busy you are. Meantime let me know if there is anything I can do on this end. I understand from Clarence Greene that the people at Cal Tech borrowed his film "UFO" for a private showing last week at the university. I do not know who the audience comprised.
Click for video - original film and interview
"Military captures saucer on film: The 1952 Tremonton Film", by Brian Keene - The Golden Age of Flying Saucers #9, October 1998
The World of Flying Saucers: A Scientific Examination of a Major Myth of the Space Age
"Report of scientific advisory panel on unidentified flying objects", Robertson Panel report