10-11-2004, 09:07 PM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
- In heels
57 years later, BRF's flying saucer mystery revealed as hoax
BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. — Nearly six decades later, Bob Huntley is still reluctant to talk about the extraterrestrial prank he pulled in 1947 on the people of Black River Falls.
He was just trying to create a little summertime excitement, he explained last week in a telephone interview from his home in Lexington, Va.
It wasn't supposed to turn into a federal case.
But when a remarkably realistic-looking flying saucer landed on a field on the day of a big game, that's just what it became.
The Civil Air Patrol flew in an inspector from Milwaukee.
The FBI showed up.
"That was when I really freaked out,'' said Huntley, 76, after initially declining to be interviewed by the La Crosse Tribune. His cover was blown recently when a cohort sent a letter to the newspaper detailing the events of July 10, 1947.
"Of course it was a hoax, but its perpetrators have remained anonymous for some 57 years,'' wrote La Crosse attorney John McDonald. "I thought it best to clear up the mystery, to give credit where credit is due before those who created the saucer all pass into the great beyond from whence the saucer came.''
So though he'd rather let the whole ordeal fade into the oblivion of time, Huntley shared his recollections of the flying saucer story.
He was 17 at the time. He spent the early part of the month working after-hours at his grandfather's woodworking and sign-painting shop in Black River Falls.
The outside of the saucer was made of sign board, and the inside of balsa wood, with an engine made of old motor and engine parts, and a photo-electric bulb from an old motion picture player.
With help from three buddies — Bud Bowler and cousins John and Dan McDonald — Huntley "crash-landed" the saucer in a location that was sure to be noticed. The saucer measured 15.5 inches in diameter, 4 inches in height and weighed a pound and a half.
It was the late Sigurd Hanson, who was Black River Falls' city electrician, who discovered the saucer in the grass at the Jackson County fairgrounds as he, George Dickie and Aleck Gunderson installed lighting on the baseball diamond, according to an old edition of the Tribune.
The night before, Huntley and the group of young men had used shovels to dig up a landing strip for the saucer.
"We had to pick a place where we knew the disc would be found, and we knew there was a ballgame scheduled the next evening," Huntley said.
"Then it turned out Sig Hanson had to do some kind of work (at the park).
"He was a fine gentleman, and I am very sorry for whatever awkwardness I must have created," Huntley added. "A 17-year-old kid doesn't think on those terms."
While the town wondered about the flying saucer, rumors flourished. The Tribune published an Extra edition about the discovery on July 11, 1947, proclaiming, "Flying Saucer Found on Black River Grounds."
McDonald said it was "fear, in capital letters and put it in quotes," that led him to remain quiet about the incident for all these years.
Huntley agreed. "I had no desire to be arrested by the FBI or to be incarcerated by the army or anything."
10-11-2004, 10:30 PM #225 cents a look!
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
- Northwest Minnesota
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