The Frank Scully "Crashed Saucer" Hoax (1950)
In 1950, Frank Scully's book Behind
the Flying Saucers was published.
It was the first to claim that a saucer had been recovered by
the U. S. government. You
can read it as an E-book here.
From my book, UFO Sightings:
stories first began to circulate in 1950, when a mysterious
figure delivered a lecture to an undergraduate science class
at the University of Denver. He regaled his audience with
tales of a crashed saucer that reportedly had been
examined in minute detail by U.S. officials. Theatrical writer
Frank Scully very quickly put together a book on the incident titled Behind
the Flying Saucers, creating a nationwide
sensation. In the Scully book, we read that government scientists have
learned that saucers utilize "magnetic" propulsion and derive their
energy from following "magnetic lines of force" (an absurdity, say
physicists), and that all of the saucer's dimensions were evenlyly
divisible by nine (but apparently only when measured by the English
system of inches, feet, and yards). The bodies of the craft's occupant,
looking very much like earthly midgets, were said to have been dressed
in 1890-style clothing. Scully identified the anonymous lecturer as
Silas M. Newton, a supposed oil millionaire, and Newton's mysterious
"scientific" source, "Dr. Gee," who was later identified as Leo A.
Gebauer. Both Newton and GeBauer were indicted two years later for
a scheme in which they allegedly tried to swindle an
unsuspecting investor into buying a worthless device
for "detecting oil."' Journalist J. P. Cahn, whose investigations
exposed the swindles of Newton and Gebauer, explained to me much later
that the purpose of the UFO fable was to expand their "sucker list."
When credulous letters sent to Scully and forwarded to Newton and
GeBauer suggested that the sender had money, the latter would contact
the sender to regale him with stories of saucer crashes - and
of fantastic new devices for discovering
I got this clipping
(right) from J.P. Cahn, I don't know its origin. Scully was a devout
government records containing "the
FBI’s investigations into Newton’s fraudulent activities between 1951
and 1970." According to the FBI, "Silas Newton (1887-1972)
was a wealthy oil producer and con-man who claimed that he had a gadget
that could detect minerals and oil." Newton's first arrest was as far
back as 1931.
A very unusual story about Silas Newton's
brief marriage in 1939. A red-hot lover apparently he was not!
Writer J.P. Cahn
(1919-2004) Unravels the Scully/Newton/Gebauer Hoax
The editor [signed as k.w.p.]
explained in that issue, "TRUE never believed Mr Scully. We had many
conversations with Mr. Scully about the matter before he began to write
his book. When he offered "material proof" we sent a correspondant
[Cahn] to his home in California to see it. This gentleman was less
than awestruck by what he was shown. Finally, convinced that Mr. Scully
was talking nonsense, we offered him a flat $25,000 for proof of his
story. We never heard from him again. In due course his book appeared
and it was a best seller."
Cahn never blamed Scully personally for
perpetrating the hoax. He always held open the possibility that Scully
was the innocent victim of a hoax masterminded by Silas Newton. Based
on my knowledge of the case, I think that Scully knew that what Newton
and GeBauer were saying was very, very dubious. But he knew enough
about journalism and publishing to pretend to believe it.
The following audio is a talk given by
J.P. Cahn to the Bay Area Skeptics in Campbell,
California, February 14, 1984. So far as is known, this is the
only recording of Cahn speaking about his research
into the Saucer Crash Hoax. He was a very entertaining
speaker. (My voice is also heard, introducing Cahn in the first part,
and also presenting some info on other claimed "UFO
crashes" before the Q&A in the second part).
About 38 mins into the second part, Cahn relates how
he was contacted by UFOlogist William L. Moore, who was one of the
first promoters of the Roswell Crashed Saucer story. Moore phoned his
house and introduced himself on the telephone. Moore said "I'm an
investigative reporter, and I've been looking for you for three years."
Cahn questioned Moore's investigative skills, saying "you'd think he'd
pick up a phone book," because Cahn had always been listed in the San
Francisco White Pages.
Talk Part 1 46 minutes
The annual Aztec UFO Symposium, which
operated from 1998-2011.
A new book: The Aztec Incident
Recovery at Hart Canyon by Scott and Suzanne Ramsey, tries
to bring the crash story back from the dead.
Nonetheless, the "Aztec UFO Crash" Lives On!
Read my review of that book.
Roswell proponent Kevin Randle isn't buying it. Neither is Jerome Clark, who typically believes almost anything.
The New Mexicans for Science and Reason's
page on the "Aztec NM
The New Mexicans for Science and Reason's
page on the Guy Hotter UFO Crash Memo of 1950,
derived from the Silas Newton's claims abut the supposed "Aztec Crash."