The 1947 UFO Wave

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
September 1, 2019
Last Updated
November 14, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
25 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Waves

We have written on several occasions of “waves” of UFO sightings. Such clusters usually occur around the same location or, and most often, are the result of a dramatic increase in sightings during a particular moment in time or “window”.

For example, we examined at length the UFO humanoid encounters of 1973. That particular wave of UFO sightings predominantly featured visuals or even interactions with the actual occupants of these strange crafts that occurred mostly in the United States throughout much of the year. Then, as 1973 welcomed 1974, the bizarre and very specific encounters stopped. Or at least became less regular and consistent.

We have also looked at the Belgian Wave, which took place over a period of around eighteen months, but specifically over the skies of Belgium. Not only were these sightings – of a distinctly triangular craft – regular and consistent, many of them were witnessed by police and military personnel. The Belgian government also displayed a remarkable openness in its attempts to get to the bottom of the mystery. The sightings do, though, remain unexplained.

There are, however, many other UFO waves that have taken place since the beginning of the modern UFO era following the Roswell Crash of 1947. And while we have looked at some individual cases that were part of those waves previously, we haven’t fully examined the wider detail, scale, and reach of such surges of activity.

While it is impossible to detail and examine every single incident of the 1947 wave here – in fact, even a large portion of them would be too much and more suitable for an entire volume – we will look at some of the most intriguing sightings from some of the most captivated windows in UFO history.

Waves Have Been Happening Throughout History

Before the modern UFO era, other waves of activity, that we would classify as UFO activity today, would unfold on several occasions. For example, we have examined previously the Airship sightings of the late 1890s over America, and then again over the United Kingdom and New Zealand in separate waves in 1909.

During World War Two, as battles raged in the skies over war-ravaged Europe, many pilots, of both the Allies and the Germans would claim to witness strange, glowing objects near their planes. They would become known as Foo Fighters, and each side suspected they were a secret weapon or reconnaissance device of the other. Only when records were examined after the war did it come to light that each side was not only seeing these strange objects, but they were both unsure of what they were.

Almost immediately following the Foo Fighter sightings of the Second World War another apparent wave broke out over much of Scandinavia. Known as the Ghost Rockets, and similarly to the Foo Fighter sightings, both the East and West would suspect the other as the Cold War was about to grip the two superpowers of the second half of the Twentieth Century, leaving them locked in a battle of ideology for decades.

However, it is perhaps a wave of sightings, many of them specifically disc-shaped, that occurred predominantly over the United States in the late-1940s that would not only capture the public’s imagination but signal a distinct shift in the activity of the Earth’s skies.

The Start Of The “Modern” UFO Era

Interestingly, following the Foo Fighter sightings of the Second World War and the Ghost Rocket sightings over Sweden and other parts of Scandinavia, one of the first UFO waves over largely residential areas would take place in the second half of 1947, coincidentally or not, around the same time as the Roswell incident.

In truth, and as we have detailed before, the start of the era really came, at least in terms of the larger public, following the sighting of Kenneth Arnold several weeks before the Roswell incident. From this encounter, as we also explained, came the term “flying saucer”. However, there were several other extremely similar incidents following Arnold’s sighting.

For example, on the afternoon of 29th June 1947, at around 4:45 pm in Clarion in Iowa, a bus driver would witness “several strange object” zip by his vehicle. As he was watching these bizarre aerial objects, four more suddenly shot by. This second group forced him to apply the brakes, and he brought the bus to a grinding halt.

Stepping off the bus for a moment, the driver looked upwards to the sky in an effort to see any more of the strange objects. Several seconds later, he focused in on around a dozen more of the “dingy-white oval” crafts. He would estimate they were traveling at around 300 miles per hour and were at an altitude of around 1,200 feet. Furthermore, he would estimate they were around 200 feet across.

The objects were only in sight for several seconds. However, even after they had gone, he could hear a strange “hum like an electric motor” still very audible in the air around them.

The incident, though, was only one of many to come. [1]

Sightings Occurring Daily All Across The United States

According to Loren Gross’ report, “public excitement reached full throttle” by the summer of 1947. As the military, perhaps purposely, appeared sluggish in their response to such incidents, “phones jangled their cradles in newsrooms, police stations, and airport offices” as the public reported sighting after sighting. And with each report, the collective anxiety of the public seemingly went up a little more. And what’s more, these sightings were taking place all over the United States.

On the late afternoon of 4th July in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 14-year-old Paul Moss claimed to have witnessed an orange “flying saucer” over the Delaware River. What’s more, the bizarre object appeared to be following a transport plane. On the same day in Springfield, Illinois, several motorists witnessed “flying saucers” moving across the sky over the Illinois State Fair. Some would even stop their vehicles to witness “the discs shoot across the sky”.

The following day on the 5th July, at the Civil Aeronautics Administration office in Maine received a similar report of multiple discs over Augusta. According to their report, Dan Kelly of WRDO Radio had contacted them to advise of a dozen discs traveling at great speed across the sky.

Another report came from Major A. Browning the following day. While piloting a United States bomber plane over Kansas City, Missouri at around 10,000 feet, he witnessed a “bright, silver disc-shaped object” in the skies with him.

The following afternoon on the 7th July in Phoenix Arizona, a strange object was witnessed “circling” high in the skies over the region. On the same day at around 3:50 pm, Lieutenant A. Moorman would report a “flat object with no wings” as he flew near Mount Baldy in California at around 20,000 feet.

The sightings of these mostly disc-shaped objects would continue.

A Slow Realization Of Vulnerability

Another sighting on the 4th July 1947, this time in Seattle, Washington, would result in what is regarded as one of the first UFO photographs on record. Coast guard, Frank Ryman would snap the picture of a distinctly circular object that was moving against the wind (meaning it wasn’t a balloon). Furthermore, there also appears to be several dots of light around the mysterious object. You can see that picture below.

During the late afternoon of 7th July over Tucson, Arizona, just days after the Roswell incident in neighboring New Mexico, Lewis Zesper and two more patients at a military veteran’s hospital would witness an oval-shaped craft. Zesper would estimate the object was around 25 feet across and made from a metallic material. What caught his and his colleagues’ attention was how “wobbly” the craft was as it made its way over the area.

Interestingly or not, several hours later in El Paso, Texas, an anonymous lady would report a strange object “more grayish than silver” moving in the night sky just short of 9 pm. Shortly after, near Shreveport, Louisiana, a military pilot known as “Harston” witnessed a “bright silver object” overhead.

What such sightings demonstrated was that the skies over the United States were awash with these strange objects. And when government officials, behind closed doors, claimed the crafts were not top-secret American aerial vehicles, the realization that the skies were undefended and open to attack began to set in. Whether these vehicles were of extraterrestrial origin or from the Soviet Union was now a question for debate.

An incident that would unfold in the state of Arizona is particularly interesting for several reasons. Not least due to the apparent belief, at least publicly, that the incident may be connected to secret Soviet aircraft.

The W.A. Rhodes Incident

On the afternoon of 7th July, at around 4 pm in Tucson, Arizona, sudden storm clouds formed over the region. Shortly after, lightning followed by the inevitable thunder announced the rainstorm. As the water came down, W. A. Rhodes would rush out from his house to the workshop at the back of his property. As he did so, however, he suddenly noticed a strange object in the sky to the east of his location.

He continued to watch the strange craft and after several seconds realized he was watching something quite extraordinary. The object was a “bizarre elliptical” shape and was traveling somewhere in the region of 500 miles per hour and was approximately 25 feet across. Due to the grey color of its exterior, it sometimes appeared to blend in with the gray sky in which it traveled.

Knowing his camera was just inside the door of his workshop, Rhodes reached in, grabbed the camera and managed to snap a picture of the craft. Almost as soon as he had pressed down on the shutter, the craft zoomed off at great speed. As it left, however, Rhodes managed to see a type of domed area on top of the craft that he assumed as “for the pilot”. He would also state that the shape was similar to a shoe heel or a U-shape, “with a definite front and rear”.

Rhodes would report the incident to the military, who would send investigators to speak with him. They would ultimately take the negative of the photograph into their possession. Before they did so, however, the picture he had taken had appeared in the Arizona Republic newspaper on the front page of the 9th July edition.

It would turn out that authorities were also interested in Rhodes for other reasons.

The First Seeds Of Disinformation?

The editor of the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper had received a strange letter three days earlier. It detailed an apparent conversation between two Soviet merchantmen who were speaking at Long Beach Harbor where their tanker had recently docked.

According to the opportunistic eavesdropper, Soviet scientists and engineers were working on “saucer-like aircraft”. What’s more, these futuristic vehicles were “powered by atomic energy”. Even more intriguing, once they were in the air they would “soar along the earth’s gravitational contour lines”. Furthermore, and undoubtedly unnerving if true, these vehicles could “spew controlled radioactive clouds” that could kill wildlife, at least.

Perhaps most intriguing in terms of connections to the Rhodes sighting was the “kidney-shaped” exterior of the craft. As well as the fact that the pilot would control it from a top raised section.

Had Rhodes photographed a secret Soviet vehicle? Was he himself a Soviet agent? Only when Kenneth Arnold clarified the shape of his famous sightings was also similar to a U-shape did authorities drop the line of inquiry.

Were these concerns genuine? Might they have even been correct and Arnold’s clarification of the shape of the craft he witnessed have been coincidental? Or might, as speculative as it might be, such notions allowed to seep into the UFO world so as to produce “reasonable” answers to similar sightings in the future? A kind of cross-generational discreet mental conditioning.

Once more, this is purely speculation on the author’s part, however, it is not that much of a stretch of the imagination. Especially if we accept, which does appear to be the case, that there was a stronger desire on the collective United States’ authority’s part to keep the public ignorant of the true facts of such sightings and encounters than the desire to disclose all information.

The Muroc (Edwards) Air Force Base Incident

On the afternoon of 9th July 1947, “JCM” was off duty from Muroc Air Force Base (now named Edwards AFB) in California and in the Post Exchange building near the base. He was well aware of the rash of “flying saucer” sightings. And he had something bordering on disgust for the people that made such claims that, to him, were merely attempts to get their names in the newspapers. However, on this particular evening, that perception would alter drastically. And permanently.

After conducting his business, he would leave the building, apparently claiming “I gotta see it to believe it” as he did so. Only seconds later, a strange and urgent noise overhead caused him to look skyward. Above him, a plane moved through the air. Following the aircraft, however, were two silver discs. Surprised but alert, he shouted for anyone nearby to come outside so they might also witness the objects. And provide him with corroborating witnesses. Three people stepped from the Post Exchange in time to see the crafts disappear. He would state in his report:

I have time to look away several times and renew my vision of the objects to make sure they were not the result of eyestrain, or in any nature an optical illusion! [2]

JCM was adamant that the two discs were not conventional aircraft of any kind. Furthermore, they were not weather balloons as they were “traveling against the prevailing wind”. Although JCM would attempt to round-up further witnesses, by the time he did so, the objects had disappeared from sight.

However, JCM and another military officer would continue to scan the skies for several more moments.

In Witness Terms, “What More Could The Air Force Want?”

Their efforts would be rewarded. At an altitude of around 8,000 feet, a “silver spherical disc-shaped” object was visible. It was seemingly circling overhead. They would call several more military personnel, as well as their supervisor. Once more, they would double-check that what they were seeing was not an illusion of their own eyes. Once more, it appeared obvious that the objects were very solid and very real.

JCM would dismiss any notions that the object may have been a bird due to the “reflection that was created when the object reached a certain altitude”.

As well as JCM’s statements and report, two other sergeants would also sign their name to the version of events. Further still, independent scientific advisors would suggest the incident was one that might warrant further study. They would write in their summing up of the case that the witnesses were credible and authentic and were describing events on a clear day with perfect vision. He would ultimately ask “what more could the Air Force want?”

The military, however, appeared eager to distance themselves from the incident, stating it was of little importance. Whatever their stance publicly, however, behind closed doors, the wrangling over what these strange crafts were, where they came from, and how best to deal with it continued.

Sightings Explode Everywhere Around The United States

Barely 24 hours after the Muroc Air Force Base sightings, another incident over a military installation would unfold. This time, over Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska. Multiple witnesses would see a “grayish balloon” traveling overhead close to the nearby mountain ranges.

This is perhaps an interesting and important detail. As we have examined on a number of occasions before, many UFO sightings take place in these mountainous areas. Some researchers even insist that many of them are home to the bases that house these strange disc-shaped crafts that were suddenly moving around the skies of the planet.

Also on the 9th July, at Catalan Island in California, three Army Air Force veterans would make a report of six “flying discs” overhead. One of the witnesses, Bob Jung, would even manage to snap a picture of one of them. You can see that image below.

Just as UFO sightings were reaching a peak in what is referred to as the “first wave” of the 1947 wave around the 9th and 10th July, they began to ease slightly. And much to the United States’ military’s relief. Many journalists and broadcasters were eager to take them to task over the “impotent” way they approached these bizarre and potentially historic sightings.

It was also during this time that meetings between the FBI and the United States military took place. According to official military records, an apparent mistrust continued to exist between the intelligence agencies and the military, with the FBI, in particular, repeatedly leveling the charge that the “flying saucers” were a “War Department Project” which the military continued – and continue – to deny.

Rampant FBI Activity Behind Closed Doors

Around a week after the wave of sightings began to settle down – around the 20th July – an agreement was in place that the military could no longer confiscate any downed discs for themselves and that any future recoveries would be an exclusively joint venture.

Again, whether it was to make future disinformation drives more authentic or not, local FBI offices would receive instructions to perform full background checks an all UFO witnesses and enthusiasts who came to their attention. They were, of course, looking for any communist ties – none of which were ever found to suggest such a link to the UFO community.

And while sightings certainly did occur during this time, it would appear that the public concern was nowhere near the heights it had reached in the opening days of July. One particular incident, however, involving a unit of United States’ servicemen based in the far east following the end of the Second World War would perhaps stand out from the rest.

The B-17 “Utah” Incident – Nine Round Discs In A V-Formation

The incident occurred on 16th July over Utah. At around 3: 30 pm, a B-17 passenger plane was traveling over Promontory Point when it would encounter “nine flying discs”. The witness was an active member of the United States Air Force and was stationed in Fuchu, Japan. He was on a return journey from the United States back to his post in Japan when he witnessed several strange objects while over the state of Utah.

The witness would claim that the objects at first appeared to be large birds as he viewed them from the nose of the plane. However, it soon became apparent that they were not only heading straight for them, but they were moving much too fast to be birds.

Right before the moment of impact, however, the objects “veered left”. As they did, the witness could clearly see they were “nine-round discs”. He would estimate them to be around 60 feet wide and had a faint blue color to their undersides. They moved in a loose V-formation and began to climb higher as they passed the plane.

The witness would immediately make his way to the cockpit to report the incident. Although the pilot claimed to have seen nothing out of the ordinary, the flight engineer did corroborate the sighting. Interestingly, from the flight engineer’s perspective, he could see the top of the crafts, which he would describe as “sand-colored”.

The witness claimed that he had been out of the United States for the 18 months leading up to the incident. Consequently, he was largely unaware of the “UFO excitement in the States at the time”. Both he and the flight engineer, however, were clear on what they witnessed.

Interestingly, the flight engineer in question was reassigned shortly after the incident.

The Second Wave?

On the 29th July, two more sightings – both on the western side of America – would take place. The first would unfold over Hamilton Air Force Base in California. As Captain Ryherd stood near the runway as another pilot had just come in and was leaving his plane, he noticed two strange objects approaching the facility.

He would nudge the pilot in question, Lieutenant W Stewart, to see if he too could see the bizarre aerial crafts. He did. Furthermore, each watched as a P-80 began to approach to land. The two strange visitors appeared as though they were going to pursue to plane. However, they simply flew overhead in a “weaving motion”.

The objects were definitely circular with an apparently raised section in the middle for the occupants. Ryherd would estimate that the disc was around 20 feet across and had a metallic, white tint to its exterior. As he and Stewart watched, the two crafts suddenly dashed off and were out of sight within seconds.

Shortly after, in Canyon Ferry, Montana, three motorists traveling to the city of Helena would witness a craft they would describe as a “flying saucer” flying through the air at an approximate altitude of 3,000 feet. It would approach the motorists at great speed – who had now stopped their vehicle – before coming to a halt.

It would remain hovering over them – a slight “flutter” every now and then making its exterior “glisten and shimmer” in the late afternoon sun. Then, the craft would zoom away, appearing to “melt into thin air” in only seconds.

It would later come to light that the previous day, an airliner would narrowly miss a collision with a disc-shaped craft as it came into land at Boise in Idaho.

Activity Increases Into August

The sightings would then continue to escalate well in August. On the afternoon of the 4th August at around 4 pm in the town of Everett in Massachusetts, a pilot and his navigator would witness a “bright orange object” zooming along beneath their position. The craft would remain visible for around 30 seconds and was moving approximately 150 miles per hour. It would disappear into a bank of clouds.

Two days later at around 6 pm on the evening of 6th August came an even more bizarre incident in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A former bomber pilot was in his garden when he witnessed a strange object “spewing blue-white flames” screaming over his property. He would later estimate it was moving around 450 miles per hour. With him were several neighbors, who also witnessed the extraordinary flight. As it passed, a strange “hissing sound” was clearly heard by all the witnesses.

On the same evening in the small town of Robert Lee in Texas, five people would witness a “flying disc” make its way overhead. As it did so, it would change direction and position several times. It would vanish from sight only to reappear around 15 minutes later. It would maneuver around in the sky for around half an hour. Then, it would appear to change shape, going from a disc to a “thin cigar-shaped object”. It then vanished into the early evening sky.

While the exact date is not certain, an incident in early August would see a hiker on the outskirts of Los Angeles witness a strange object on the grounds in the mountain area. Suddenly, it would take off and zip toward him, causing him to fling himself to the ground to avoid it crashing into him.

The Softball Game Incident, Outskirts Of St. Louis

On the evening of 11th August 1947, while attending a softball game on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri, a commercial pilot would notice several “dark specks” approaching their location. They were in a very definite V-shape.

The closer they got, however, it became obvious to the witness that they were “disc-shaped”. There was nine in total and were traveling around 1,000 miles per hour. Even more bizarre, every two seconds, the objects would flip in unison. They were dark on one side, and then upon flipping, light on the other. This detail is one that appears relatively often in other UFO descriptions.

Far from being the only witness, the players from both teams, as well as around two dozen members of the crowd watched the objects pass over the ballpark. Quite by chance, the softball game was between aircraft ground instructors and aircraft mechanic engineers. Certainly witnesses with a good knowledge of aviation.

A Steady Decrease In Activity

The sightings of silver disc-shaped crafts would continue throughout the remainder of August. They would, however, begin to decrease in their regularity. By the time September was unfolding, the sightings, or at least the reports of them, had stopped being a daily occurrence.

As we will examine in future case study articles, however, the 1947 UFO wave, as active as that particular summer undoubtedly was, would prove to be merely a precursor to subsequent waves that would follow over the decades. Particularly throughout the fifties and sixties.

The vast majority of the sightings during the summer of 1947 were for the most part exactly that. Sightings of the crafts, from various distances, with little or no interaction. And while it very likely happened, the notion of alien abduction was one not yet lodged into the collective psyche as it would become over the upcoming years.

However, such encounters did take place alongside the abundance of UFO sightings. And such interaction between the witnesses and the apparent occupants of these mysterious crafts in the skies of our planet perhaps offer us a little insight into the mindset of the intelligence of these futuristic vehicles.

1947 Occupant Encounters

Not all of the sightings were from afar, then. For example, a letter from a resident in early July 1947 appeared in the Nashville Tennessean. In it, he would claim to have witnessed a “flying saucer” land in a field next to the road he was driving along. Furthermore, two strange figures, “all heads and arms and legs – and glowing like fireflies” emerged from the strange craft. The witness claimed they attempted to communicate with him through some kind of sign language and then re-entered their craft and left.

Another strange encounter occurred on the evening of the 7th July in Tacoma, Washington. Several residents of a neighborhood in the region claimed several discs were visible over the area, with one evening landing on the roof of a neighbor’s house. After this, “several little people” emerged from the craft. Even more bizarre, these little people would “vanish” whenever reporters would approach.

This is an interesting detail. We have examined several cases that revolve around the claim of “invisible aliens”. And furthermore, it also suggests a distinct and clear desire to keep their presence largely unreported. At least proof of it.

The 7 Feet Aliens Sighting In Brazil

On the afternoon of 23rd July 1947, perhaps one of the most intriguing claims of alien encounters would unfold. Not least due to the claims of bases in the South American region – particularly in Brazil and to the north in Puerto Rico.

On this particular day, according to the May 1961 APRO Bulletin, topographer, Jose C Higgins would witness a huge metallic whitish-gray disc land in a field near to where he was working. He would state:

The strange craft crossed over the field in a closed circle and landed softly about 150 feet from where I stood! [3]

He would estimate the disc was approximately 150 feet in width and around 15 feet high. Despite it being “crossed by tubes in several directions” there was no smoke or flames, at least that was visible. The grey-white metal appeared as though from one piece of material.

Even more unbelievably, three 7-foot alien beings would emerge from the craft. Each had on a “transparent outfit” that was similar to a “plastic bag”. Each carried a metal box on their backs that appeared as though attached the transparent suit.

Under this bizarre see-through outer garment, each wore pants, shirts, and sandals. However, these clothes appeared to be made from some “brilliant colored paper” as opposed to cloth. Their hairless heads appeared a little too large for their frame, as did their eyes for their face. Similarly, the legs were also out of proportion to the smaller size of their torsos.

As he continued to watch the trio, one of them pointed a metallic stick toward him.

An Almost Alien Abduction

Moments later, they had surrounded him in a triangular formation. The one with the stick – which appeared to be from the same material as the craft’s exterior – would motion with it for him to walk toward the door of the object. All the while, he could hear them talking to each other, although he didn’t understand anything that was said. Or what language they might be speaking.

He did as they asked and cautiously made his way to the craft’s entrance. However, he would only have a limited view, mainly of other doors and tubes. At this point, Higgins stopped and asked where he would be going if he entered the craft. They appeared to understand his concerns and responded by using the stick to draw a large circle with a spot in the center and seven circles around it. They would then point to the sky, their craft and then to one of the circles on the ground.

Not wishing to go with the strange entities, Higgins reached into his wallet and walked toward the one with the stick. He showed a picture of his wife and claimed he wished to go and get her so she could come with them also. As they didn’t appear to make any attempts to stop him, calmly as he could he made his way into the woodland nearby. Once out of sight, he found a discreet place where he would remain hidden but could still watch the strange activities of the three strange aliens.

After around half an hour, they would reenter their craft which then took off into the air. As it disappeared, a strange “whistling sound” was audible.

One intriguing detail he did notice, aside from their pale skin, was they appeared extremely uncomfortable in the direct sunlight.

Interactions And Recovered Alien Beings

As the second wave of UFO sightings in 1947 continued, so did the bizarre encounters of apparent alien encounters. Although, many such incidents were unlikely recognized as such at the time.

For example, an incident in Modesto, California a little after 10 pm on the evening of 8th August is quite possibly, if not likely one of alien abduction. The witness, who was only 9 years old at the time, was awoken by his grandmother. There was a bright, blue light at the back of the house. When they went outside to investigate, both of them could see a “disc-shaped object” hanging overhead. Rings of multi-colored lights spun around underneath.

However, the next thing he knew, he was waking up once more. This time he was lying in the garden outside. However, the ground appeared “ashen and dry”. Even more bizarre, his skin felt as though he had a bad sunburn and he had “blood oozing” from a wound on his head.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing encounters of apparent UFO and alien interaction during the 1947 wave comes to us thanks to the late Jim Marrs, who would tell of the encounter in his book Alien Agenda.

According to Marrs, on the 13th August in the New Mexico Desert, six Native Americans would happen upon a crippled, crashed craft. What’s more, inside the craft was the apparent occupant and pilot. Although it was injured, it was still alive. With the approach of the United States military clearly audible in the distance, the Native Americans wrapped the creature up and discreetly made their way away from the site. According to the account, the creature would recover from its injuries. Furthermore, it would communicate with them through a crystal that would produce images.

Incidents Across The Globe

Strange sightings and incidents were not limited to the United States at the time either. In early-July 1947 in Zacatecas State in Mexico, for example, a rancher would claim to have discovered a landed “metallic rocket-shaped object” in the desert. Even stranger, when he peered inside this apparently cosmic vehicle, he could see two short humanoids dressed in silver-colored overalls. The rancher left the area immediately to report the strange craft. Upon returning the object was gone.

At around the same time, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Andrew Cherry stood at his bus stop at around 5:30 am near St. John’s School. By pure chance, he glanced upwards and witnessed a “disc-shaped” object hovering at approximately 300 feet from the ground. On the top of the craft was a “large glass dome” inside of which was a “humanoid occupant”. The occupant, who the witness would call “the alien” was sat in front of a control panel which he appeared to be manipulating. After several moments, the object began to tile and then “spun away”, vanishing from sight in seconds.

Another incident in early July occurred in the Mediterranean Sea around 20 miles off the coast of Malta. That afternoon, several fishermen were sorting through their nets when they noticed a strange object seemingly floating on the water’s surface. The appearance of the craft was so unnerving for the men that they quickly gathered their nets and looked to vacate the area.

However, before they could do so, a bright light coming from the strange object suddenly lit up the entire area. On top of the object, the fishermen could now clearly see several small entities moving over the top of the craft. They appeared to have a strange “apparatus” attached to their waists. The fishermen left the area shortly after.

The Hungary Incident

Perhaps one of the better-documented encounters from Europe during this time took place in Hungary. What’s more, the incident would unfold several weeks before the Arnold sighting and the Roswell incident.

On the afternoon of the 10th June, at around 3:30 pm, Gyorik Ference stood at a roadside in the city of Budapest waiting to cross. For reasons he couldn’t explain, he would suddenly look upward to sky above him. As it happened, several other people were also looking upwards too. Above them, several “strange yellow-red platter-like objects” hovered just above the horizon.

One of these objects was out in front while the others purposely trailed it. They would move through the sky in a “swimming” motion and would remain in view for around 30 seconds before disappearing out of sight.

The Newfoundland Incidents, Canada

While the “first wave” of the 1947 UFO wave was reaching its peak in the United States around the 9th July, an incident over Newfoundland in Canada would unfold. At around 11:30 pm in the Grand Falls region, several people witnessed a “barrelhead-like thing” shoot through the skies. At the same time, four “round” objects appeared to trail the first one.

The following morning, almost exactly 12 hours later, multiple witnesses would report seeing the same or a very similar craft. At Harmon Air Field, for example, several people witnessed a round object which “glistened in the sun”. And was approximately the size of a transport plane moving over the military base.

Behind it, a trail of blue-gray smoke marked the sky. It would twice “bore a hole” in the clouds, leaving a visual aftereffect as it did.

On the same morning, three witnesses, J. Mehrman, R. Leidy, and J. Woodruff, were returning home from a fishing trip. While they were driving along a mountain road near Stephenville Crossing, the three friends would notice the strange “cuts in the sky”. When Mehrman noticed a strange blue-black trail similar to smoke, he urged that the car be pulled over so they could scan the skies properly.

Once it came to a stop, they would step out of the vehicle. When they examined the skies again, it was perfectly obvious that the trail, or whatever it belonged to, had cut straight through the clouds, fast enough to disperse them in the strange manner it had done. It would be Woodruff who would see the object first.

Clear Evidence That “Something” Took Place!

Following the trail, Woodruff managed to connect it to a disc-like object overhead. He would later state:

I saw the object break out where the clouds opened, and it left its trail behind it…(it) appeared to be a translucent disc-like wheel traveling at a terrific rate of speed and opened the clouds as it went through the air!

Each of the witnesses would face further questions regarding the sighting. Much of their descriptions could put the sighting down to nothing more than a meteor. The fact that none of them heard any explosion or noise meant that this was an unlikely explanation. What’s more, both Canadian and British Air Force (who also operated nearby) would state they didn’t have aircraft operating in the area at the time of the incident. Even a check on the apparent weather conditions would show them to be accurately described by the witnesses.

Investigators would ultimately state that it was “evident that some phenomenon did occur”. The sighting, however, remains unexplained.

What is perhaps most interesting is the blue-black trail that the object left behind it. This could suggest an “ordinary combustion” engine, similar to that of a turbojet. The lack of noise and the way the clouds were “cut through”, at least according to military analysis, would suggest a “large mass flow of rectangular cross-section containing a considerable amount of heat”.

It is perhaps tempting to dismiss the sighing as a terrestrial craft due to the apparent propulsion trail. And this might be the case. It is, however, important that we remember that only a meteor could produce such heat. And chances are it wasn’t a meteor. And unlikely to be a terrestrial craft. Just what, then, was this bizarre aerial anomaly? And where did it come from?

The Amfreville la mi-Voie Incident, France

Perhaps one of the most intriguing UFO encounters to come out of mainland Europe at this time took place in early July in Amfreville la mi-Voie near the River Seine in the Normandy region of France.

The encounter would first appear in the book Phenomenes Inconnus by M.B. Delabroye in 1972 – almost a quarter of a century after it took place. The witness, a woman in her late-20s or early-30s at the time of the incident, would witness the strange craft hovering near a road on which she rode her bike which would lead to Rouen and ran alongside the river.

She would describe the craft as oval in shape and gray in color and at a distance of approximately 100 meters. She couldn’t recall seeing any legs or other landing apparatus giving the craft a floating appearance. Mrs. S would estimate it to be around two meters high.

A little more unnerving, though, was the two creatures that were seemingly stood next to the craft. She would describe them as being around a meter tall and apparently preoccupied with something near the craft itself.

When she was around 100 meters from the entities and the craft, she rang the bicycle’s bell. The two creatures immediately turned to face her as they located the source of the noise. Seconds later, they both rushed inside the craft which took off immediately into the air. It would hover for several moments before disappearing into the sky.

Just What Did Authorities Know, And When?

We know, at least according to the claims, that there were several UFO encounters and crashes throughout the United States. All in the years prior to the Roswell incident of 1947. And the start of the modern era of UFO activity. We also know, if we accept the accounts without question for a moment, that the United States military, and to a lesser extent, certain aspects of the government, were actively involved in their recovery. And the secret storage of these ruined space vehicles.

With that in mind, then, just how much did the authorities know? And what did they understand regarding these “sudden” UFO encounters? Especially when they began to unfold throughout the summer of 1947? Might the UFO wave of 1947 even be a consequence of such clandestine activities?

Whatever the reasons for the sudden explosion of UFO sightings in the summer of 1947, a UFO wave that would prove to be only the first of many in the second half of the twentieth century, that something extremely strange was taking place is beyond any doubt.

Was the wave some part of the reconnaissance mission, for example? And if so, for what exact purpose? Were these apparent alien visitors “sizing up” the inhabitants of our planet to determine their future course of action? Given what we know of the logistics of space travel, it is hard to imagine that such a space-faring race would be concerned with the capabilities of humanity at the time.

Or might the roots of the 1947 UFO wave have more to do with the times? And the many conspiracies that surrounded them? Might, for example, they have their roots in the apparent alien technology of the Third Reich?

A Truly Important Time In UFO History

Without doubt, then, the second half of 1947 was a key time in UFO history. And certainly appears to be the definite start of increased sightings. As opposed to simply more awareness of the populace in general.

Perhaps what first stands out in the UFO wave of 1947 is how the vast majority of the sightings were disc-shaped. Usually of shiny, metallic, material. Or, and of the same material, a U or kidney shape. It would certainly appear that the wave of 1947 was either one particular race of extraterrestrial visitors with two distinctly different crafts. Or two alien races, who happened to arrive or increase their presence in the summer of 1947. For what reasons these visits “suddenly” began is perhaps one of the key questions to better understand the UFO and alien question.

Was it the destructive nature of the Second World War that sent a beacon of sorts into space? A consequence of dropping the atom bomb that almost no one would have imagined as being a realistic outcome? Or, was it pure chance that one or more alien races happened to stumble on to our planet? In the years following this most destructive period in our collective history, no less.

Perhaps, if the manifestation of energies and opening of gateways to other realms has a connection to UFO activity, the sheer amount of negative energy the slaughter World War Two brought managed to open such a realm.

The following summer in 1948, another wave of sightings would unfold over the United States. Several of which would involve active personnel. Those sightings, like the ones the previous year, very much captured the public’s imagination. The following decade, however, would bring several significant UFO waves with it.

Check out the video below.


1 UFO Waves: An International Bibliography, Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, FOTOCAT Project
2 The UFO Mystery, 1947, July-December
3 The APRO Bulletin, Tucson, Arizona, May 1961

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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  • Marlynn says:

    Your article was very informative. I enjoyed reading the facts for a change.

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