reply to post by StargateSG7
After researching many old newspaper stories I quickly learned that the Betz Mystery Sphere story was much less of a mystery in 1974 than it is made
out to be today. I believe the reason the mystery persists today is largely due to a few poorly researched UPI (United Press International) and AP
(Associated Press) stories and our own desire to believe that something unexplainable happened in 1974.
For example, the US Navy did x-ray the sphere and did find a few smaller spheres inside, an essential element of the story persisting today. What the
stories neglected to mention is that the Navy determined these internal spheres to be "tiny". Another essential story element persisting today is
the strange behavior of the sphere when the Betz family rolled the sphere across a floor in their home. What today's stories neglect to mention is
that the Navy investigated these claims too and determined the sloped and uneven floors in the Betz's home was entirely responsible for the strange
rolling phenomenon observed. See news story published in the St. Petersburg Times from April 15, 1974 below.
Not surprisingly, the existence of a second sphere in Jacksonville, FL is omitted from the story today because on April 18, 1974, the AP story in The
Palm Beach Post explained this sphere was scrap metal from the St. Regis Co. paper mill.
And the Betz Sphere became even less mysterious when UPI ran the story below a few days later explaining that the sphere is identical to paper pulp
mill valve spheres manufactured by Bell & Howell in Bridgeport, CT and distributed through a Jacksonville, FL company near Betz's home. I found a
copy of this UPI story on page 5 of the April 20, 1974 issue of the Lodi News Sentinel in Lodi, California shown below.
The mystery of how the sphere ended up near the Betz home was also answered during April of 1974. The Sarasota Journal April 24, 1974 issue contained
the AP story below on page 15A: out-of-round ball valve spheres smuggled out of a company by a Taos, New Mexico stainless steel sculpture artist.
So if the world knew within 2 weeks of the Betz Sphere discovery that it was an ordinary object why did it gain so much worldwide publicity? In the
April 16, 1974 issue of The Palm Beach Post, page C6, the editor suggests a possible answer - to distract the American public from the growing
On a final note, Dr. Hynek believed the Betz family to be honest, not publicity seekers, and not immediately interested in financial gain. The
financial aspect of the story changed within a few months with Mrs. Betz claiming she turned down a $750,000 offer for the sphere.
It appears that MSM investigative journalists needed just 2 weeks to solve the mystery in 1974 and the Betz Sphere was always just a ball valve
component used in the paper industry. Nevertheless, combine a mysterious shinny object, general scientific ignorance at the time, an uneven floor,
and media misquotes and we get the terrific urban legend of the Mysterious Betz Sphere that continues today.