Let us take another expedition into uncharted territory where the light of day is blunted by the presence of dark and questionable events. You have just tresspassed into the UFO graveyard. It is here that the mist of time coupled with the uncertainty of the subject matter itself merge to provide an unclear picture of strange aerial phenomena and sometimes worse occurrences than that.
The first of many questionable circumstances that may perplex UFO enthusiasts occurred in June 21, 1947 in the state of Washington. The Maury Island Mystery is an incident like many that has left more unanswered queries than facts in the wake of a dead Air Force Flight crew.
On a small boat salvaging logs in Pugent Sound, Harold Dahl, two other fishermen, and his son, Charles were routinely going about their business. Suddenly they noticed a bizarre sight. What appeared to be 6 circular objects, hollow in the center, were rotating around a central object that was wobbling. The strange round object seemed in mechanical trouble as it hovered closer to the ground at 500 feet in height. As the craft began drifting over Dahl’s boat it began to emit a molten slag that dripped onto the deck being very hot. His son Charles was injured and burned by the melting substance that killed their dog as well. The object then rose into the air, there was a reported mid air explosion, and the UFO’s were gone. Charles was rushed to a nearby hosptial in Tacoma to be treated for burns and his dog was given a burial at sea.
It is interesting to note that this incident predated the sighting that would ignite the UFO controversy for decades to come. A few days later the famous Kenneth Arnold sighting over Mt. Rainier of nine silvery saucer shaped objects burst upon the wire services and the world was rocked by the news of unidentified disks in the skies. The world would never be the same. On June 24th Harold Dahl was visited by an inquisitive Kenneth Arnold and an airline captain E. Smith after hearing of the events at Maury Island.
About that time too Lt. Frank Brown and Captain William Davidson of the US Air Force arrived to debrief Harold Dahl and those aboard his boat who had seen the six airborne objects just days before.
Dahl had collected the now cooled metal slag from the deck of his vessel for the two intelligence officers to take back with them. The two USAF officers had arrived from Hamilton Field and would depart for McChord Air Base with their interviews completed and the foreign material that Dahl had given them in their possession. According to Air Force authorities the slag was considered classified material and was packaged and loaded onto the B-25 Mitchell Bomber scheduled to carry the officers and their evidence. Kenneth Arnold and Captain Smith had left by that time.
Ted Morello, a local news reporter who, had covered the story reportedly received strange phone calls from, an unidentified informant, who was giving him details that no could have known. An eerie sequence of events was to follow. Morello feared for the lives of the two Air Force investigators.
It was after 9:00 PM Pacific standard time as the B-25 Mitchell rolled down the runway at McChord AFB and climbed into the darkened skies loaded with its passengers and classified material. Unfortunately, it would never reach its destination. Fred Crisman, one of the men aboard Harold’s boat that saw the UFO’s called Dahl at 9:30 to inform him that the news reported that a plane crash had just occurred in nearby Kelso, Washington. It was the B-25 aircraft carrying the captain and lieutenant along with their strange cargo that had caught fire in midflight and plowed into a hillside.
Ted Morello claimed to have received anonymous calls from an informant telling him that the B-25 Mitchell had been brought down by a 20mm anti-aircraft gun. Apparently someone in the military didn’t want proof of the UFO incident to leave the area. The caller also informed him that the B-25 had been heavily guarded once it had landed at McChord AFB which was an unusual procedure while Air Force officers, Davidson and Brown, had left in a command car to interview Harold Dahl and return later.
Only two airmen survived the crash by bailing out in their parachutes, Sgt.Taff and Crew Chief, Matthews got out in time as the left wing engine burned, but apparently Lt. Frank Brown and Captain Davidson did not. Their bodies were found by the first to arrive at the crash site. Civilians, who crept through the darkness and witnessed a flaming impact area with scattered pools of igniting aviation fuel, braved the dangerous scene and made their gruesome discovery.
More puzzling events only further complicated the already disturbing incident as the local newspaper article written by Paul Lance read, “Plane May Hold Flying Disk Secret”. Townspeople were already alerted to the fact that an unusual sequence of events had transpired.
Strangely, Brigadier General Ned Schramm, Chief of Staff Fourth Air Force stated that he was never notified of any classified material having been aboard the B-25 Mitchell prior to the tragic plane crash. The general’s actions seemed contrary in light of an Air Rescue Final Mission Report that stated that top secret material was in the navigator’s kit and a request that the Commanding Officer at McChord contact the Officer in charge at Hamilton AFB, California to expedite all available information.
To add to the chain of weird events surrounding this UFO mystery, yet another untimely death. Paul Lance, the author of the local newspaper article died. After a 36 hour autopsy a coroner was unable to determine his cause of death. Apparetly, Lance had been in perfect health prior to his contact with the bizarre UFO case that had already left two men dead, a child burned, and his dog killed by an odd circumstance as well. The mystery was deepening, but clues were becoming scarce as more people died.
Although a recovery crew from the Air Force remained at the crash site for a week scouring the area, General Schramm reported that the classified material was never recovered. The cause of the crash was determined as being a defective engine exhaust part, but further answers to who or where the UFO’s came from, what happened to the slag that had fallen from the object, or who the unidentified informant was were never solved.
Explanations have ranged from a hoax on the part of Harold Dahl to an unfortunate chain of random circumstances that led to a crash and the deaths of two Air Force officers. Others have theorized that the strange circular crafts observed by Harold Dahl, Fred Crisman, and the young boy might have been experimental atomic powered crafts and one of these objects had simply malfunctioned in mid-flight and exploded. Admittedly, this would be a far fetched explanation even though the AEC did have much to do with the early history of UFO sightings and even alledged crashes. However, one might choose to look at this troubling page in history, it seems that something indeed was afoot, but may forever remain in the cloaked category of the unknown. Perhaps, some mysteries were tragically never intended to be solved. Alas, in the realm of UFO’s the unexpected can always be considered to be the norm.