clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Scrapbook of the 20th Century: Nov. 26, 1957: Flying saucer debunking

Nov. 26, 1957

DESERET NEWS, CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (UP) -- Dr. Donald H. Menzel, director of Harvard College Observatory, said Tuesday flying saucer reports these days can be attributed largely to "Sputnikitis."Menzel, long known as one of the leading saucer debunkers, said he was not implying that all reports are psychological hysteria.

"Most of these images actually exist and have been seen," he said, "but they are just not what people thought they saw . . . " Menzel confesses that he has personally seen and chased saucers.

The Russian launch of Sputnik in October 1957 set off a deluge of Unidentified Flying Object reports. It remained one of the crazes of the 50s -- and beyond. Menzel explained them away as bright stars, fireballs or even the moon shining through broken clouds. Others had different reasons for believing or disbelieving the stories.