UFO Conjectures

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Fate magazine – the once premier UFO source

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

This is the November 1954 issue of Fate magazine:


It had an article by Major Donald E. Keyhoe – How The Saucers Fly.

The article (Page 27 to Page 43) was essentially an excerpt from Keyhoe’s book, Flying Saucers From Outer Space, with a smattering of 1950s UFO sightings that Major Keyhoe thought important.

What was interesting, to some of us, was the extensive use of comments and material from Canada’s Wilbur B. Smith, who is often given short shrift by UFO researchers but whom Major Keyhoe considered a serious scientist.

When one reads Mr. Smith’s hypotheses about flying saucer propulsion – electrical and/or magnetic – one can see that Smith and his Canadian colleagues were on to something about UFOs, or saucers.

The elaborate presentation of Smith’s views in Fate and the book it came from provides a reason to reconsider Smith’s status with the Canadian and United States governments.

Smith’s views were underwritten by scientists such as Dr. Fernand Roussel, a notable Canadian physicist, Dr. Franz Zwicky of the California Institute of Technology, and scientists from the British Interplanetary Society.

(Some visitors here wonder why we hark back to the past. The Fate article and stance on UFOs were sober and dramatic. They offered non-sensationalized views of the flying saucer phenomenon – something that is sorely missing in today’s UFO reportage. We note that this Fate approach was intact before Jerome Clark got involved with the magazine and changed its tenor.)

To further our examples of Fate’s early, serious take on flying saucers, we cite this issue of the magazine:


This March 1955 issue had a piece about some of those encounters we like of little creatures spotted by a European peasantry, including the Lotti encounter:


But for our purpose(s) here, we note that the article Unsolved Saucer Mysteries by Fate editor Curtis Fuller made a point to exploit the magazines use of Dr. Lincoln La Paz, Director of the University of New Mexico Institute of Meteorics (along with J. Stewart Williams and Clyde T. Hardy, professors of Geology at Utah State).

The Fuller piece was about an explosion in Logan, Utah on May 1st, 1954 from which emanated a red sphere.

La Paz investigated for Fate and was used by the magazine for other UFO incidents.

La Paz, a highly respected and noted scientist, was not loath to work with or for Fate. (And La Paz was implicated in the 1964 Socorro sighting, and some say he had a tangential connection to Roswell’s 1947 event.)

The point, again, that I’m trying to stress here, is that the early, modern years of flying saucer and UFO sightings were regarded seriously and with much expertise when written up in magazines, until 1978 (which we’ve dealt with previously here).

Fate was and is good resource for details and objectivity about UFOs/flying saucers, up to the point when Jerome Clark got involved. (Mr. Clark did no wrong; it’s just that his time in the UFO heyday is marked by a smug attitude that was more cavalier than that of his predecessors.)

Scientists, like La Paz and Wilbur Smith and UFO buffs (like Keyhoe. Max Miller, et al.) were conscientiously determined to get a handle on the UFO mystery.

They were methodical and cogent.

Today that is not the case with science, surely, nor with “ufologists” who strive mostly to make a buck off the phenomenon or its mavens.

But in the good ol’ days there was a curious purity. And some of us miss that.



  • Rich you make a good point about how far Fate has fallen... The thing is it is symptomatic of our increasingly dumbed down culture.

    It is not just the UFO literature or what passes for it, it is everything. Hollywood sure always made turkey movies, but they made plenty of good stuff too. Yet since that same time period (mid to late 1970s) their films have gotten worse and worse, more expensive (in real terms) and more stupid. There are occasional gems for sure, but there appears to be more garbage than ever. The same can be said for literature, sure there are plenty of good novels published; yet could one ever have imagined derivative and mediocre children's literature dominating the adult bestsellers lists on both sides of the Atlantic in say 1970? Or 1980 even?

    And what of popular music? It's gone the same way, the horror of MTV is a window on the brain-deadness of our youth (and yes our generation is responsible).

    In other words, as goes the world, goes Forteana or what passes for it.

    By Blogger Lawrence, at Saturday, November 03, 2012  

  • Lawrence...

    I am with you all the way.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, November 03, 2012  

  • Much of that "curious purity" was destroyed by the Condon Report and the almost endless ridicule campaign associated with the mainstream media, electronic and print. University and scientific research, with heavy funding from government, has not been able to touch the subject seriously for decades. Even the Cato Institute, non-governmentaly funded and concerned mainly with economic policy, dropped me immediately as a (non-paid) "academic scholar" for writing an Op/Ed on UFO secrecy for our local newspaper here in Vero Beach, Fl. That after an association of over 20 years with hundreds of Op/Eds published under my byline and theirs. "Curious purity", indeed.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Saturday, November 03, 2012  

  • Dominick:

    Condon's Committee bore "bitter fruit."

    We have a thing on Condon, at the very opening of our blogs; this one and the RRRGroup blog.

    It might do well to take a look at our Condon expose.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, November 03, 2012  

  • The Cato Institute doesn't endorse all conspiracy theories about the government? Quel suprise.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Sunday, November 04, 2012  

  • Damn Baby Boomers! They ruined everything. Or was it Gen X (or Y or Z)? Who cares. In America one thing is for sure, crap abides . . . and it prospers.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Sunday, November 04, 2012  

  • Lincoln La Paz was an incompetent and Wilbur Smith was a flying-saucer crackpot.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Thursday, November 15, 2012  

  • La Paz was eccentric.

    Smith, like most UFO aficionados, was obsessional, and goofy therefore.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, November 15, 2012  

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