Skip to main content

FBI's 'flying saucers' online memo intrigues public

By Dugald McConnell and Brian Todd, CNN
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Fri March 29, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than a million people have checked out the 1950 report online at FBI website
  • Investigator stated "three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico"
  • Report said three bodies found "dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture"
  • UFOs not your thing? Check out reports on Al Capone, Marilyn Monroe, Tupac Shakur

(CNN) -- Out of all the case files made public by the FBI online, the most popular is a memo from 1950 titled "FLYING SAUCERS," the agency said this week.

The mysterious report from Guy Hottel, special agent in charge in Washington, begins with this:

"An investigator for the Air Force stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. 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 3 feet tall."

The name of the source is blacked out.

So did the bureau take it seriously?

"It certainly looks like, they thought this was third-hand information," said FBI historian John Fox. Either it was the result of a hoax, he said, or "someone was simply reporting hearsay."

Still, over a million people have looked at the sensational memo online.

The account goes on to say that the bodies were "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."

The memo also relays a potential explanation for why the flying saucers were found in New Mexico.

"The Government has a very high-powered radar set up in that area," the allegation says, "and it is believed the radar interferes with the controlling mechanism of the saucers."

The FBI took no further action on the case.

Although the file was first released in the 1970s, it was posted online in 2011 as part of the Vault, unleashing a flood of tabloid headlines about little green men. In an article headlined " 'Aliens exist' say real-life X-Files," the London tabloid The Sun said the memo appeared to back the claim that extraterrestrials landed in Roswell, New Mexico.

But in a new commentary posted this week, the FBI said that since this memo was dated three years after the supposed Roswell landing, "there is no reason to believe the two are connected."

The memo is part of a cache of hundreds of pages of accounts under the heading "Unexplained Phenomenon," describing claims of UFO sightings, spacecraft debris and alien landings.

Also posted in the Vault are hundreds of files on some of the FBI's most storied criminal cases such as Al Capone and Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger.

It also includes entertainers: Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra and Tupac Shakur.

Many of the files chronicle cases in which agents used painstaking methodologies and high-risk raids to solve crimes and capture dangerous fugitives.

By comparison, Fox says, "the descriptions here of you know, 50-foot diameter saucers and human-shaped three-foot tall metallic-clothed aliens -- that's unique."

CNN's Carol Cratty contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:43 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
updated 9:31 AM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
updated 7:40 PM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
In a plot straight out of Hollywood, federal agents gain access to a suspected Triad boss' Vegas hotel room by pretending to fix the Internet connection.
updated 12:34 AM EDT, Fri October 31, 2014
Was it only black and Latino men who harassed a woman in NYC? The filmmaker has found himself in a race controversy.
updated 11:17 PM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
The history of human rights often overlooks the struggles of gay people. This must change.
updated 9:15 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
updated 8:46 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
updated 1:28 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
updated 11:12 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 7:06 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT