P.O. Box 391
Canterbury, CT 06331,

(860) 546-9135

    Dear Friend,

    Included below are ideas for researching material for Project 1947. By no means are they complete. Contributors always seem to find new ones. People look in places no-one would suspect.

    For the states and Canadian provinces of AB, AL, BC, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, ID, IN, KY, MA, MB, MO, MN, MT, ND, NE, NH, NM, NY, OK, OR, RI, SD, SK, TN, VT, WA, WI, WV, and WY over 60% of the newspapers published have been screened.

    For AK, AZ, CA, IA, IL, MI, ME, NC, NV, PA, TX, and UT, a significant sample of the newspapers have been screened. In most of the other states (LA, MD, NS, OH, ON, and PQ) only a small sample is complete. In other states and provinces very few or no newspapers have been searched: AR, HI, MS, NB, NL, NWT, PE, SC, and YK. I will update my list shortly and send out copies. If you wish to assist, please request a copy of this list.

    PROJECT 1947 has three goals: first and foremost to find and document as many UFO reports from the 1947 wave as possible; second to find UFO-like reports for the 1900-1946 era, and third to investigate certain official and scientific interest in UFOs during the early years (1947-1965) of UFO history. Also, Project 1947 will try to "Fill in the Gaps" (FIG) in early UFO coverage --1948-1965 -- by collecting accounts from this era as time permits.

    This project is not a Roswell investigation. Project 1947 will document UFO activity at the beginning of the UFO era and add to our understanding of one of the biggest UFO waves in history. However, new information about Roswell may be uncovered as a result of this investigation.


    Here are some suggestions:


    Many people have scrapbooks or clipping collections that they have assembled themselves or obtained from others. Some people may even have material they bought or that were given to them by others who lost interest in the subject. Some of these collections may contain material available nowhere else. Even recent clippings in a collection can refer to older events and would be helpful. Don't assume that clippings have been seen by me or are in the files of big UFO organizations. Except for the New York Times, there are probably no complete collections of post-1947 clippings for any newspaper. When the years 1900-1946 are considered, we are still finding unusual aerial object reports that were missed even in the New York Times. Copies of scrapbooks, clippings, reports, letters, investigative inquiries, and dairies are invaluable.


    Most newspapers have extensive clipping collections which many times include UFO reports in their "morgues", as the newspapers once liked to refer to their libraries. Some newspapers may have computerized their files and now only listings of the dates and pages for the stories are available. Unfortunately many newspapers now see these libraries as profit centers and they have closed them to the public. The newspaper staff offers to do the research for a fee. Some newspapers are indexed. As with vertical files, it is also possible to find items under headings that have nothing to do with UFOs.

    Many libraries and historical societies have files usually referred to as "vertical files." Vertical files often contain newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and possibly short research papers on various subjects. I have found UFO and other odd aerial phenomena reports filed under "UFOs," "unidentified flying objects," and "flying saucers", as one would expect.

    Also, you could check possible subject headings such as:

    Extraterrestrial Life
    Space events
    Spook lights

    I found UFO reports or items under these headings in at least one case.

    The following subject headings might also be helpful:

    Ball Lightning
    Flying Discs
    Ghost lights
    Odd Occurrences
    Strange Events

    Before the terms "flying saucers" and "unidentified flying objects" were coined UFOs were sometimes indexed under:



    Most newspaper and other printed items have only limited usefulness unless they are fully identified. Newspaper clippings or magazine articles should have the name, date, location, and page number of the publication from which they came. This is very important for followup or to link the item to other events.


    Genealogy is extremely popular now. Most libraries, historical societies, and some universities have set up their newspaper collections to facilitate genealogical research. In many cases these arrangements are not necessarily helpful for researchers looking at one period of time. Many libraries do not have lists of newspapers for separate years and cannot tell you what newspapers they have for 1947. Sometimes it takes time to look up each newspaper and find which period is covered in the library's collection.

    Most newspapers are now preserved on microfilm although some libraries retain bound copies of the actual newspapers. Nearly all libraries have different rules for the use of microfilm, however the most common procedures are given as an example.

    About fifty percent of libraries allow you to get your own microfilm (open stack system) from the storage area. Otherwise you must request your microfilm from a librarian (closed stacks).

    Once you get your film you should request that a librarian show you how to operate the microfilm readers and printers. There are a large number of different models of microfilm readers. They all have different methods of mounting the microfilm reel, threading the film, focusing the film image, and centering the image on the screen. The procedures are very easy and take about two minutes to learn. Librarians are happy to demonstrate the proper use of the machines.

    Most libraries prefer that you find those items you wish to copy on a microfilm reader, write down the date, page and column of your item, and then take your microfilm to a printer and make a copy. Generally, you may need instructions on making copies, but like the readers, most printers are very easy to operate. The cost per copy generally runs from 10-25 cents, but some historical societies charge as much as $2.00 per copy. If cost become excessive, I have a small amount of money budgeted for reimbursement.

    What do you look for in 1947? For daily US newspapers east of the Mississippi generally we look for the period of 25 June to 15 July 1947. For weekly newspapers the period is 25 June to 31 July. West of the Mississippi and Canada the period should be 25 June to 31 July for both weekly and daily newspapers. This is just a general rule of thumb. Some newspapers in the east (the Virginia tidewater for example) carried UFO reports into the late part of July. Newspapers in the west and Canada had UFO reports in October. The attitude of the editor and reporters was important here.

    Look for all the headlines carrying "flying discs," "flying saucers," "mysterious sky objects," etc. Some items may be under headlines such as "Here We Go Again," "Seen Again", which really contain no hint of the contents of the story. Wire service stories may contain an insert of a local item called a "tag." Most of the time a tag is put at the end of a story, but it may be inserted in the wire service item. It is best to copy all items then look them over at leisure for local material. Look for editorials, letters to the editor, and local columnists' stories. Many times these will contain UFO items.

    Out of about 11,000 North American newspapers nearly 4700 have been screened for 1947 UFO reports. I would like to say there are some general patterns to UFO coverage in the 1947 wave, but I am constantly surprised. Some daily newspapers carried no UFO material while another newspaper in the same city might have numerous UFO stories. Only about 15% of weekly newspapers contain UFO reports, however there is no telling what type of newspapers will contain UFO reports. Many times community newspapers which print only birth, wedding, and funeral announcements will also carry UFO reports. Project 1947 screened over 250 foreign newspapers. China, Central and South America had UFO reports. Until recently it seemed Europe had some reports but the coverage is unclear because most of the newspapers screened were from London and Paris. Contributions from Scandinavia, Italy and France have clarified the situations somewhat. With the exception of Italy, only a few newspapers per country were screened. There is much to do in this area.


    Between 1900-1947 there are several established UFO waves:

    1908-1910, World-wide "Airship Wave"

    1912-13 British "Phantom Airship Scare"

    Pre/During/Post World War I, (1914-15 and 1916-17 are the most prominent periods)

    1934-36 Scandinavia "Ghost Flier"

    World War II "Foo-fighters" (1942, 1944-45), and 1946 Scandinavia "Ghost Rockets"

    These are the main waves we know of and it is very possible we have missed others. The decade of the 1920s had little activity, but it's a period which hasn't been well researched.

    The name foo-fighter was invented at the end of World War II. Before this gremlin, kraut fireball,   jet, rocket, even vertigo might be attached to these reports. In most official documents the term "foo fighters" was not used. However, when unit histories, operations reports or intelligence reports are checked, there are reports of this phenomenon. The 1950 wave was more extensive than the literature indicates.

    PROJECT 1947 continues to turn up "new" material from the 1950, 1952, 1954, and 1957 waves.

    Local concentrations also occurred in other years:

    Europe, September to December 1952

    Northeast US, October 1952

    Middle East and Far East, October to December 1954

    Connecticut, August 1956

    Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, November to December 1956

    Western Canada, August to October 1959


    Some historical societies, genealogists and newspapers produced indices of local newspapers. Sometimes an index will be comprehensive, and sometimes it will contain only births, marriages and deaths. Sometimes the indexer's sensibilities were offended by UFOs or airships or unusual aerial phenomena, and such items were not used in the index. The subjects listed for vertical files may also be found in a newspaper index. Also, look under subject "Space." For 19th and early 20th centuries, try the subject headings of "Phenomena" and "Airships."


    Local town histories will often contain unusual occurrences. Generally, these are in 19th century items. During the 19th and early 20th centuries many localities had scientific societies. Occasionally unusual events can be found in their publications. Sometimes UFO collections and scrapbooks are donated to historical societies or universities. I would like to know about these collections.


    In addition to the references listed to date, I have hundreds of other references, some quite specific and others vague, for many UFO-like events. Searching for confirmation is often time-consuming and often unrewarding. However, sometimes significant new information is found. Use "The Aerial Phenomena Reference List" or write me for references in a specific area.


    I am very interested in learning more about the World War II Aircraft Warning Service (AWS) which was formed to warn of possible enemy air attack. It was active on the East Coast from 1942-1943 and on the West Coast all during the War. Its successor formed in 1951 and was active until 1958 as the Ground Observer Corps in the United States and Canada. Both these organizations had reports of unusual aerial phenomena. In the West I am interested in any local reports of Japanese balloon bomb (Fugo balloon) activity in 1944-45. In Britain the forerunner of the AWS and GOC, and most successful of the three organizations, was the Royal Observer Corps. Here is another organization which might have UFO-like reports in its files.


    Possibly you know a witness of a UFO event during 1947 or the other periods of interest. First hand accounts are most welcome.


    Some people have official documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act or from other sources. I would be very interested to see official items which might pertain to this project.


    A number of people, including scientists and military personnel, associated with UFOs during their lifetime and donated their personal papers to universities or historical societies. If you know of any such collection, please let me know. I would be very interested in inspecting it. Oral histories may also contain UFO related material.


    During 1947 radio was a big part of peoples' lives. Much UFO lore must have come from the radio. Some radio stations have archives of local news stories they ran. Also, there are several national organizations which might have archives. The same is true of the movie newsreels.


    No doubt I have missed several good sources of information or obvious ideas. Please let me have your input here. Several hints or ideas have resulted in significant developments.


    Jan. L. Aldrich

PROJECT 1947, P. O. Box 391, Canterbury, CT 06331 USA. Telephone (860) 546-9135 Voice or fax message service dial 1-800-864-1000 at the cue enter my address 9-71241-4776-6245 at the tone leave your message.

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Revised: June 9, 1997