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Unidentified Object Seen On Ground in 1940s by Multiple Witnesses

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posted on May, 12 2008 @ 01:27 AM
On one Sunday in the summer at approximately 8:00am at some point in the period between 1947 and 1949, my mother and her two sisters were walking home after attending a children’s mass in rural Providence, Rhode Island.

At the time, all three sisters were under 10 years old.

Directly in front of their house was a field which they used as a shortcut on their way home from the church.

In the field, the sisters clearly saw a 20-30 feet high metallic gray “football” shaped object (wider than it was high) possibly with multiple (3 or 4) “landing legs” resting on the ground. At that time, the sisters believed that they were possibly seeing a blimp, since they had heard of blimps and of course seen pictures of them, and they could not otherwise think of what this object could be, although they all agree it did not look like what they thought a blimp should look like up close.

They passed within 10 feet of the object but did not get closer or touch it. The object was not making any noise. No propeller was visible. The object did not have tailfins or stabilizers. There was no apparent writing on the object. There were windows/portholes visible on the object. No occupants were seen either through the windows or on the ground near the object. The object was not “tethered” to a mooring or ground vehicle as a blimp would normally require, nor was there any ground crew as described here: The object did not have a gondola at the bottom as pictured in this diagram:

Although there were nearby houses, it was early, and nobody else appeared to be awake at the time, or at least nobody was outside.

Upon entering their home, they told their father (my grandfather), who immediately raced out of the house to see the object. He had always been interested in technology (the kind of man who built one of the first televisions in his neighborhood from a kit). When they exited the front of the house, the field was visible, and there was no object in the field. No object was seen rising from the field or in the sky. There was insufficient time for a blimp to have flown away in the moments that elapsed since they left the field. According to one of the links above, blimps currently travel at approximately 35mph and likely take several minutes to maneuver, rise and reach this speed from the ground. I do not know what speed blimps travelled in the 40’s, but it was most definitely not faster than today’s technology.

No remaining markings on the ground were noticed, although they didn’t think to check that at the time. No further investigation was performed.

My mother recalls hearing reports of other strange sightings of objects (in the air) during that period, but nobody ever claimed to have seen this particular object.

This object was not reported by my grandfather.

The incident was never forgotten, and had been repeated verbatim since I was a child by all three sisters and my grandfather. The facts between the sisters remain generally consistent with the above, although there is some disagreement on whether the object had landing legs and the exact number of legs (0, 3 or 4).

All three sisters, as well as my grandfather, are still alive, although my grandfather is 90, and all are available to answer further questions.

posted on May, 12 2008 @ 01:27 AM
Here is an aerial photo of the site showing the exact landing area:

You can easily find this on Google Earth using the coordinates: 41◦49’ 18.07” N 71◦26’49.68” W. I have marked on the aerial view the location of the church and the field. I have not marked the location of the house, but it was directly across (East) from the field. Oddly enough, the object was seen on the ground in the Southernmost corner of the field directly on the baseball diamond. The worn spot on the ground is the result of more recent baseball games. Before the school was built, baseball was played there, but in a different corner of the field.

This neighborhood has changed little since that time, with the exception of the building of a school in the Northern portion of the field, and the absence of a building that burned down across from the church. Approximately 5 houses were torn down to clear the way for the school, so the field is roughly the same size as it was in the 40’s.

My mother is one of the most trustworthy sources I know, and I say that not only because she is my mother. She is old fashioned to an extent, and not prone to a wild imagination or belief in any new age theories. Apart from this one event, she has lived a very normal lower-middle class life with no deviations into the unusual whatsoever. She has one unusual characteristic – she can remember the finest details of the most mundane events, so remembering this event is particularly easy for her. She can recall the neighborhood with amazing detail. She can tell you what color each house was in the neighborhood back in the 40’s. This is, of course, a single event 60 years ago, so there is naturally some faded memory of this event.

My aunts are also trustworthy, with one of them being a former teacher and the valedictorian in mathematics from a large Rhode Island college. I have never known any of them to exaggerate or fabricate stories.

They, and I, have nothing to gain from relating this story. I am now collecting the story for ATS in part because my grandfather is getting very old (last chance to get his story again), and also because after reading stories on ATS and reading about the various sightings that have been reported, I recognized that my mother’s is a significant sighting.

I know the ATS motto, pictures or it didn’t happen. For the most part I agree, but the quality of the three witnesses (in my opinion) involved in this case are extraordinary. The fact that the story has remained unchanged for 60 years is impressive. The lack of any dramatic flair common to these stories adds credibility. And finally, she is my mother, and I know her better than anyone, and I believe with all my heart that she saw what she says she saw.

Assuming you don’t want to call my mother and her sisters liars (feel free, but I will disagree), it’s a matter of misidentification. The only possible alternative would be a blimp, but this is inconsistent with the evidence. This link shows the history of the blimp and general structure:

To counter the usual comments about postings on here, yes I joined fairly recently, and specifically for the purpose of posting this story. I have no other accounts on ATS, and I have never posted before. I have been reading ATS for about a year now with mixed emotions on the postings. I am not interested in hits on this topic, and if nobody even comments on it I won’t be terribly disappointed. I don’t much care about flags and stars, but if those help the story to get to the right people, then I encourage it. This is not a hoax, but I know that merely saying that means nothing. I’d welcome alternative explanations. Feel free to ask questions, and I’ll do my best to get answers, but have patience, since I have a full time job and I may have to check with up to 4 people to get the answer.

posted on May, 12 2008 @ 01:35 AM
reply to post by A51UFO

I e-mailed this story to Tony Avak, a blimp expert, enthusiast and historian. Tony has been building and flying model airships since the early 70's. He has a degree in mechanical engineering from UCLA (class of '79). Since 1981 he has been working at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (formerly Naval Air Test Center) at Patuxent River Maryland as a reliability and maintainability engineer for tactical strike aircraft (AV-8B Harrier, A-6E Intruder and F-14 Tomcat).

This is what he had to say about this story:

“It is possible that the object they saw was a blimp from nearby South Weymouth Naval Air Station. That would have been a bit over 30 miles away from Providence RI. The base had 8 blimps in Squadron ZP-11 during and immediately after WW II that were used for anti submarine patrol. (The next closest base was Squadron ZP-12 at Lakehurst NJ almost 200 miles away, and then Squadron ZP-24 in Weeksville NC after that.) They continued to fly blimps out of South Weymouth until the Navy discontinued its lighter-than-air programs in the early 1960's. You can read more about the South Weymouth base and see pictures at

All blimps of that era were coated with aluminum paint to minimize the effect of sunlight heating the helium gas. Sunlight would cause the gas to expand and greatly increase lift during the day requiring the ship to vent the excess gas off. (Helium was very expensive in WW II, venting it away without good reason was frowned upon.) Then, at sunset, the gas would cool off and lose lift, and the ship would have to jettison ballast (water or sand) to keep from sinking too fast. The aluminum paint helped to minimize these extremes. Modern blimp bags are made from different materials than those of WW II, but they still are either silver or white in color to minimize heating from sunlight. (Helium is still expensive.)

What the blimp may have been doing in this small field is anyone's guess. I can't imagine that it landed there except as some kind of emergency landing training exercise. Helicopter pilots today must constantly practice landing in unusual places if there is a sudden engine failure or other mechanical problem. It normally takes a ground crew of 3-5 people to land a blimp (I've seen the Goodyear blimp in operation many times), and for remote overnight stays the crew travels in a large truck that has a retractable mooring mast on top. Your relatives reported seeing none of these people or hardware, so perhaps the blimp was only doing a "touch-and-go" landing. However, these kinds of landings are risky in unfamiliar rural or suburban neighborhoods because of power lines and other things they might hit.

Also, if it was only a touch-and-go landing there would have been two or more crew members on board (easily seen through the gondola windows in front) and there would have been no way to miss the two large engines and propellers rumbling away on either side of the gondola. Blimps are relatively quiet, but their distinctive drone still would have been heard and noticed by anyone in the neighborhood who was awake at that hour and drawn them outside to see what was making that unusual sound.

That they did not see any markings on the outside would not have been unusual. The military markings would have been only a foot or so tall on the tail or side of the blimp, easy to miss given the overall size of the ship."

posted on May, 12 2008 @ 01:37 AM
Tony's reply, continued:

"I can't give you any explanation for the three or four landing legs they reported. With the exception of some of the large airships built in the 1950's and early 1960's, normal patrol blimps had only a single landing wheel under the gondola. No markings would be seen on the ground from a landing gear as the flying weight of a blimp is approximately zero. In fact, if a blimp has been flying for a long time and has burned off a lot of fuel they are so light they have to fly it into the ground so several ground crew members can catch the mooring lines and drag it down to earth to land it.

The most common patrol blimp of that era was the "K" ship, over 129 were made between 1942-44. There were a few variations, but most were about 250 feet long (a bit bigger than the 192 foot long Goodyear blimp of today) with a gondola almost two stories tall. There were also 19 small "L" patrol ships made at that same time, these were only 150 feet long. It would be possible for ships that size to land and immediately take off again in a baseball sized field without a ground crew and no power lines or other obstructions, but they wouldn't do it on a regular basis. The usual patrol fields for these ships was off the east or west coasts looking for enemy submarines.”

posted on May, 21 2008 @ 07:30 PM
Here is the witnesses best approximation of the object:

posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 02:42 PM
reply to post by A51UFO

Wow, not one response since this was posted? Maybe I should mention reptilians or chemtrails or ascension...

posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 02:52 PM
Don't feel so bad, lots of threads get lost in the shuffle just because of the amount of information coming up on the site every second.

I for one found this to be a very interesting story and while in the end it may be a misidentification of a conventional aircraft of some sort I certainly think any researcher could appreciate the due diligence you put into this.

thumbs up from here.


posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 02:53 PM
reply to post by A51UFO

Why does your pic show windows on the object? In your first post, you said there were no windows or portals on the object.

posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 09:36 PM
Sorry, but no, the first post stated that there were windows. So, yes, there were windows.

As far as a misidentification of a conventional aircraft, I know of no aircraft that are round with windows, plus it wasn't airborne at any point (presumably it left by the air, but nobody witnessed that). But I agree, I am hoping to hear alternative explanations.

posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 10:46 PM
reply to post by A51UFO

Hmm I found the information Tony provided to be informative and your story was intriguing. Given the data, I would guess the sisters saw an alien vehicle. Either that or some local aeronautical engineer made a hell of a toy.

posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 11:07 PM
Very interesting family story. I have no reason to think there is now, or was then, a reason to lie or exaggerate here. I too have heard old stories, though it's far too late for me to collect first hand accounts as you are doing.

My mother was seven years old in 1927 when a noise was heard outside the coal company house they lived in back in West Virginia. My grandmother, then in her early 40's and partially bed ridden told mother to go to the porsh and look up the "holler", and she would see a sight like she had never seen before. (No one asked her then, but from the telling, it seems Grandmother recognized the sound from some time before in her life.??)

My mother went to the porch and looked as instructed. In a few seconds, as the sound my mother later in life described as a "whooshing" grew, a greenish blue "fireball" flew down the little valley between the hills "faster than anything she had ever seen before. It disappeared and the incident was never repeated.

I imagine many families have "stories" of the strange and odd things that happened years past. Almost none were ever reported to anyone. In rural W.Va. at that time my mother grew up there, it was all an all day trip into town to tell someone, and electricity had not yet found it's way that far out in the "sticks", much less a telephone.

But since you still have someone with first hand knowledge, I do have a question. Since this occured around or shortly after the (in)famous radio broadcast of Orson Wells' War of the Worlds, does anyone remember how this personal story related in the minds of those present to that radio event?

Thank you for a trip down memory lane.


[edit on 16-6-2008 by NGC2736]

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 12:17 AM
reply to post by A51UFO
hello A51UFO don't worry your story and detailed account is fine in my book although others might deam otherwise. Many might prefer quick and short paragraphs few sentences and a whole lot of images [some real some fake] instead of a well told, detailed account such as yours. At least you have the courage and fore'knowledge to recount that event here where many will see and read even though they won't reply. Speaking by expierience; nonetheless a good story.

posted on Jun, 18 2008 @ 02:05 PM
Thank you for the replies, and I appreciate the review of the account by others. I will ask my mother about the War of the Worlds broadcast, but that was about 10 years before this event, so I doubt it was fresh in anyone's mind at the time. My mother has never mentioned that.

NGC2736 - very interesting... reminds me of accounts of the Tunguska event of 1908. On a related note, a recent issue of Scientific American details a recent expedition to the Tunguska site, and they seem to have found the elusive crater (now a lake), possibly with a meteorite at the bottom. It would be interesting to see what they dredge up. It's a stretch, but maybe your grandmother had some knowledge of that event.

posted on Jun, 18 2008 @ 04:52 PM
I appologize. I misread it. Interesting story.

posted on Jun, 18 2008 @ 06:23 PM

Originally posted by Blueracer
I appologize. I misread it. Interesting story.

No worries - I listed a lot of negatives and threw a positive in there to confuse you.

One other note, with regard to the War of the Worlds broadcast, while I am awaiting a response from my mother about the impact that program may have had on my grandfather... keep in mind that the program couldn't have much influence if any on the three sisters, since they would have either been unborn, or too young to have listened to the program.

As I mentioned in the original post, she does recall sightings happening around the time, but that would have common in the late 40's with the many reports occurring (some of which which now form the cornerstone of UFO lore, i.e., Kenneth Arnold and Roswell to name two from 1947).

posted on Jun, 21 2008 @ 01:23 AM
reply to post by A51UFO

My mother states that she has never heard my grandfather mention the War of the Worlds broadcast. Perhaps it wasn't as serious an event in some parts of the country. In any event. it appears this wouldn't have been a factor in influencing the sighting in any significant way.

Still, she's going to ask him about it - it would be interesting to get the perspective of someone who lived through that event and was old enough at the time to remember it. He would have been around 20 at the time.

posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 04:49 PM
reply to post by A51UFO

I spoke to my grandfather this weekend. He remembers the War of the Worlds broadcast, but didn't listen to it. He remembers people panicking and torn between shutting lights off to hide and turning them on to not be in the dark. Apart from that, he didn't have much to say about it.

He also confirmed the facts of the original post.

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