The resurrection of a hoax into a new UFO movie.
The mysteries behind many UFO sightings may never be explained, but what happened over Puget Sound on June 21, 1947 is a mystery that’s getting new life in a film.
It’s a complex story with many facets, but it that can be summarized like this: At 2 p.m., Harold Dahl was on a fishing boat salvaging logs with his young son when he said he saw six flying discs appear above him over the water.
One of the donut-shaped discs appeared to be in trouble and dropped what appeared to be tons of a hot molten substance in the water and the beach. As the story goes, the heat and debris killed his dog and burned his son.
Days later he was visited by a mysterious “man in black,” who told him not to talk about what he saw. He was then visited by two Air Force investigators who were on a classified mission to see him and gather evidence. On the investigators’ return to a California airbase, the B-25 they were piloting crashed, killing both of them and destroying whatever evidence they were carrying. The FBI closed the case without any resolution.
It’s known as the Maury Island Incident.
This episode of Skeptoid traces the origin of the Men in Black to Albert Bender who inspired the writer Gray Barker.
By studying the secondary literature — basically, books that cite original accounts — we find that the first time the phrase “Men in Black” was used was in a 1956 nonfiction book called They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers, by UFO writer Gray Barker (1925-1984). The book purports to tell the true, dramatic story of a UFOlogist who had been threatened by government agents telling him to stop researching and writing about UFOs. It’s a startling book, and tells quite a gripping tale. Barker’s book became the seminal source for the Men in Black corner of UFO mythology. Since its publication, it’s been referenced by virtually every UFO author since who has discussed the subject.
But this Maury Island event took place in 1947, three days before the Kenneth Arnold sighting at Mount Rainier which coined the description of “flying saucers”. That, the article notes, makes this event particularly noteworthy.
This 1947 date then is confusing to the MIB story. I’m not clear when the Dahl version of MIB was released to the public and what connection it has with Bender, the suspected originator of the idea. Can anyone help me out on this?
At the very end of the piece, the anchor states that Dahl once said it was just a hoax but later recanted that. So which is it? Did everything happen as they said? Kenneth Arnold investigated the event for his book. But he got word of it a month later. There is no documentation that it took place before Arnold’s well-publicized event except Dahl’s word.
Maury Island is located directly across a narrow section of Puget Sound from Sea-Tac International Airport and Boeing Field. Dahl reported seeing four, five or six “doughnut-shaped objects” flying in formation over his boat and that he could see sky through the hole in them. Contrary to what was in the news clip below, Dahl told his supervisor, Fred Crisman, a dubious character. Then the interpretation gets odd as it is supposed that the men devised the hoax with Crisman in the lead.
One retell of the Maury Island incident is that military craft, not flying doughnuts, were dumping radioactive waste into the harbor.
The consensus even by the UFO community seems to be that this event did not happen.
The event -which has stirred the imaginations of many over decades- was itself born of imagination. It simply never happened. Harold Dahl’s own family and the sage perspective of history now reveal: The only reality about the “incident” was that it was conjured up in the mind of an enterprising and attention-craving 27 year-old schemer and amateur fiction writer.
The material that was examined to be from the craft was man-made or volcanic slag and pieces of aluminum. Even Dahl’s son, reported to be injured in the event, said it never happened. Even his daughter noted that the events didn’t occur – her brother was not burned and the dog did not die.
But never let that get in the way of a “based on a true story” movie.
The movie is set to begin shooting this June.