UFO memo is FBI's most viewed

Screenshot from KDVR video on CNN.
Screenshot from KDVR video on CNN.
Posted: March 27, 2013

It's little wonder. An FBI memo noting the alleged recovery of three UFOs in New Mexico is the law enforcement agency's most requested and viewed document. By far.

Not that you need to make an official request. The truth is out there. It's available to anyone who navigates to the FBI's website.

Dated Mar. 22, 1950, and addressed to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the memo relates a third-hand claim as told to an FBI agent.

The person, whose name is redacted, told the agent that an Air Force investigator had told him "high-powered radar" had jammed the steering mechanism of three "flying saucers" causing them to crash to Earth.

The memo reads:

"They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only three feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed fliers and test pilots."

Despite the dramatic account, the memo abruptly states that its writer, Washington-based agent Guy L. Hottel, declined to investigate. "No further evaluation was attempted," Hottel wrote.

There's little mystery to the memo. It's connected to a 60-year-old hoax. And it bears the traces of at least seven generations of whisper-down-the-lane.

The International Business Times reported in 2011:

"The memo was the end of a long chain of tale-telling. The Hottel memo repeats a story from the Wyandotte Echo, a legal newspaper in Kansas City, Kansas, in January of 1950, which was repeated to Guy Hottel by an Air Force investigator who read the story (and pasted into a memo himself. Such practices were common in the days before scanning documents was possible and memos had to be typed out). That news story draws from the account of a Rudy Fick, a local used car dealer."

Fick had heard the story from two men who had heard it from a radio station advertising manager who had heard it from a con man. (Whew!)

The con man, Silas Newton, sold a treasure-finding device called a "doodlebug." And he claimed his dooglebugs were the best because they were constructed with alien technology, according to the International Business Times.

The FBI, which wrote about the memo yesterday, did not elaborate on the hoax element of the story. But the agency's post links the Hottel memo to the FBI file on 1947's so-called Roswell incident - if only because both files are publicly available in the agency's vault. It notes that the FBI rarely investigates reports of extraterrestrial sightings.

Said the FBI:

"For a few years after the Roswell incident, Director Hoover did order his agents - at the request of the Air Force - to verify any UFO sightings. That practice ended in July 1950, four months after the Hottel memo, suggesting that our Washington Field Office didn't think enough of that flying saucer story to look into it."

Contact Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com.

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