MY MAY 22ND, 1957 BIRTHDAY UFO ENCOUNTER
The night my Mars research really began.
My old boss at Coast Guard Pacific Area used to say, “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink.” So I learned that if you ask for my opinion about UFOs, aliens, or Mars, I’ve got to give you more than my opinion. I’ve got to give you the facts as I’ve encountered over my life, and let you choose for yourself. Then you can form an opinion as to whether I’m mad as in crazy, or we all have a right to be mad as in angry because we’re being denied fundamental truths in order to preserve social order and keep many of our leaders out of jail.
Maybe there are really only two types of people – those who’ve never seen a UFO and those who have. Those haven’t seen one often follow the government’s suggested line and espouse the opinion that those who have seen them are wrong, or crazy. I’ll take the risk that they do that with me, and start my story with my 10th birthday. On that date I experienced something that would help shape how I attempted to make contributions in the fields of science education, military doctrine, and religious understanding. But at the time, on May 22, 1957, what I saw was simply terrifying.
I'm pretty sure that I had a party earlier in the day, but my memory of that date really begins sometime shortly after dinner. My father took me to a bicycle shop on Roosevelt Boulevard (U.S. 1) around Rising Sun Avenue in Philly. I’m not certain of the color of the bike chosen, but when it was loaded into the trunk of my dad’s red ’55 Plymouth Belvedere, and we opened the box at home (1230 Greeby Street), it was the wrong bike. In fact, it was a girl’s bike.
“Sorry about that son,” Dad said. “Go to sleep. I’ll drive back to the store now and get the right one. When I have it assembled later tonight I’ll wake you and you can try it out.”
Dad assembled the new bike by 11:30 or so. When he woke me I went two stories down to the basement in our row house and rode around in circles like a happy little idiot for a few minutes. Then I went back up to go to sleep. What could be less threatening than that?
The street just south of ours was Hellerman. As is shown on Figure 1 there was a gap in the row houses there that allowed me to see further south. As I was just climbing into bed I happened to look out the window. What I saw was very much like the UFOs shown on Figure 1, except that it was only a single craft. It was not, I think, moving particularly fast, however sometimes where fear is involved, time seems to slow. This scared the hell out of me.
My parents had taken me to drive-in movies about flying saucers. I had no desire to meet aliens that had been portrayed in Invaders from Mars as implanting people to make them like walking zombies. So, I screamed. I yelled my head off, and dropped under my bed. My father charged upstairs to find out what was going on, but as you can see from Figure 1, the time to view the object was severely limited by the narrow opening between the homes on Hellerman Street, so he saw nothing... and he told me that I probably didn’t see anything either. Easy for him to say, but for more than 20 years after that whenever I got up at night to pee, I’d always look out the window to see there was anything like it again. Fifty seven years later I can testify that what I saw that night I never saw again, and yet my memory is akin to what I would have if it was only 57 minutes ago. Somebody asked me why I thought a UFO might have been in our neighborhood. The trajectory that I saw it take looks like it would have been over what is now called Naval Support Activity Philadelphia at 700 Robbins Street. I believe it was a naval weapons command back in 1957. It's less than a mile from my old home. Perhaps they were curious about whether there were nuclear weapons stored there.
I remember there were many calls to the Franklin Institute about it the next day, perhaps as many as 250 although I don't remember what number the Philadelphia Bulletin put it at. For years I wondered about whether there was someplace where the sighting was recorded by anyone else. Yea, Internet! On August 24, 2014 I scored a Bull’s-eye in the hunt at http://thecid.com/ufo/chrono/chrono/1957.htm, UFO Sightings in 1957. There were 5 UFOs seen in the world that day. Two were in the UK, one in Germany, and one was in Coral Gables, Florida. The fifth one, however, was reported from 241 East State Street in Trenton, New Jersey. That was about 20.85 miles from my home (as the crow flies) – just a few minutes flying time. It was reported as a single UFO, which is what I saw. See Figure 2 below for locations of the report filed, and where I lived.
Through most of my career as a science teacher I knew there was something wrong with the information we were being given about Mars from Viking 1 on, however I never made any link between what we were told and what I saw on my 10th birthday. But an old dog can learn new tricks, and as my younger son (David) started to work on his BS in space physics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with his help I began to uncover the tricks being employed by NASA and JPL to keep us from learning the ultimate truth.