Newspaper Archive of
The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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July 28, 2017     The Catalina Islander
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July 28, 2017
 

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From page 1 There were numerous sightings of "ghost planes"--crippled aircraft returning from battle--years and sometimes decades after their fate- ful last mission. There was the disappearance of Big Band legend Glenn Miller, whose plane mysteriously vanished over the English Channel in the absence of any enemy activity. Then there were more down to earth mys- teries, such as the fate of German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel's treasure; pilfered gold to the tune of $25 million hidden somewhere in the Mediterranean. The only clue to its location? A cryptic message written on the back of an old photograph of an unknown German soldier. But no wartime mystery matches that of the strange and legendary aerial phe- nomena known as "foo-fighters," the craft that today would be called UFOs or flying saucers. There are numerous eyewitness accounts from startled air crews of these strange craft appearing along- side of, or even teasing and toying with their aircraft. In fact, at one point British Prime Minister Winston Churchill himself ordered a cover-up over the reported sighting of a foo-fighter by a British air crew during the war. The crew of the reconnaissance plane was returning from a mission over con- tinental Europe when a metallic cyl- inder suddenly appeared alongside, matching their speed and move- ments. Churchill was so concerned that the news would send the public into a panic that he ordered the file sealed for more than 50 years. The people of Catalina Island learned of the existence of this phe- nomenon towards the end of the war. Not long ago, I was perusing the January 18, 1945, edition of this very newspaper, the Catalina Islander, when I came across an article simply titled "Foo-Fighters." The source of the news brief was the national wire and it represents one of the first public acknowledgements of the phenomena. Naturally, the general consensus at the time was that the mysteri- ous "craft" represented a new secret Nazi weapon. Problem was, both the Germans and the Japanese were experiencing the same aerial phe- nomena and they thought these were OUR secret weapons. "Though it apparently doesn't maim or kill" begins the article, "the newest Nazi secret weapon is a lot pleasanter to write about than to meet UP with in a night sky over the Reich, we judge. "The fiery will-o'-the-wisps whose red flames race alongside American night pilots, or stand elu- sive at the very nose of a plane trav- eling 300 miles an hour, first pulled a surprised pilot and his crew up out of their seats several weeks ago?' Expecting the "weapons" to explode, the pilots "ducked and dived and raced to get out of the way. "But the weird lights fol- lowed along," continues the article, "reportedly harmlessly..?' '"Foo-fighters' our boys call the fire balls..." Remember, this is several years before there were any discussions of alien visitations to earth. In fact, the term "UFO" hadn't even been coined yet and the phrase "fly- ing saucers" had only been used obscurely. Besides their super- advanced technical feats, one of the features of these foo-fighters that puzzled the Allies the most was that they did no harm and didn't even seem to try. This led Allied forces to believe the strange craft were merely a psychological weapon. This lack of aggression "[assured] our flyers that this newest wrinkle in German psychological warfare is intended just to scare them to death." To be sure, the Nazis had indeed been working on "UFOs" and "fly- ing saucers." But by all accounts, these craft were only in the very preliminary stages of development. They certainly had not yet reached the stage where they could shadow and "duck and dodge" Allied air- craft. "Logical" explanations for the phenomena range from the reflec- tion of light off of ice crystals to ball lightning or static electricity akin to the seafarer's "St. Elmo's Fire." These explanations, however, did not satisfy those air crew members who had witnessed the craft and one is left to wonder why this phenom- enon had not been seen before and is not commonly seen now with far more air traffic aloft. The answer may lie buried in history, just like Rommel's treasure. Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Mostly Sunny Partly CloudyPartly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Sunny Sunny Sunny 76/64 76/63 81/66 78/63 74/59 71 156 73/58 Precip Chance: 0% Precip Chance: 0% Precip Chance: 5% Precip C "hance: 5% Precip Chance: 0% Precip Chance: 0% Precip Chance: 0% Recreational Forecast 0-2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11+ 0-2: Low, 3-5: Moderate, 6-7: High, 8-10: Very High, ll+: Extreme Exposure Dat...._.ee High Low Normals PreciE 7118 74 59 78/600.00" 7119 79 62 78/610.00" ! 7/2077 61 78/600.00" 7/21 75 58 78/600.00" 7/22 79 65 78/600.00" 7/23 79 60 78160 0.00" 7/24 74 59 77/60 0.00" Are small raindrops shaped like teardrops ? ~luqs u! I~opoqds axe attl 'oN Today we will see mostly sunny skies, high temperature of 76, humidity of 63%. West southwest wind 4 to 13 mph. The record high temperature for today is 90 set in 1952. Expect mostly cloudy skies tonight, overnight low of 64. Southwest wind 2 to 8 mph. The record low for tonight is 52 set in 1948. Saturday, skies will be partly cloudy, high temperature of 76, humidity of 75%. Southwest wind 4 to 10 mph. Saturday night, skies will be mostly cloudy, overnight low of 63. Southwest wind 2 to 6 mph. Sunday, skies will be partly cloudy, high of 81, humidity of 63 %. Day AM PM Fri 4:15-6:15 4:37-6:37 Sat 5:00-7:00 5:22-7:22 Sun 5:44-7:44 6:06-8:06 Man 6:29-8:29 6:51-8:51 Tue 7:14-9:14 7:37-9:37 Wed 8:00-10:00 8:23-10:23 Thu 8:47-10:47 9:11-11:11 Avalon Catalina Harbor Day mgh Lo___~w meh Low Day mgh Low ~ Low Fri 1:09 am 7:48 am2:31 pm8:40 pm Fri 1:14 am 7:56 am2:36 pm8:48 pm Sat 2:11 am 8:33 am3:26pm 10:09 pmSat 2:16 am 8:41 am3:31 pm10:17 pm Sun 3:36am9:24am 4:25pm ll:39pm Sun 3:41am9:32am 4:30proll:47pm Man 5:27 am 10:27 am 5:22 pmNone Man 5:32 am 10:35 am 5:27 pmNone Tue 7:02am12:48am6:12pm ll:34am Tun 7:07am12:56am6:17pm ll:42am Wed 8:02aml:38am 6:55pm 12:32pm Wed 8:07aml:46am 7:00pro12:40pro Thu 8:43 am 2:17 am7:34 pm1:19 pm Thu 8:48 am 2:25 am7:39 pm1:27 pm :July 28, 1952 - A severe storm with hail up to an inch and a half in diameter broke windows, ruined roofs and stripped trees of their Benson, Ariz. The temperature dropped to 37 degrees and hail was three to four inches deep. Day Sunrise Sunset Moonrise Moonset First~ Fri 6~. 7~. ~ 1~.~ Last 7/30 Sat 6:04 a.m.7:55 p.m.12:28 p.m. Next Day 8/14 Sun 6:05 a.m.7!54 p.m.1:23 p.m.12:11 a.m. Man 6:05 a.m.7:53 p.m.2:17 p.m.12:45 a.m. Full Tue 6:06 a.m.7:52 p.m.3:11 p.m.1:21 a.m. New 8/7 \~7 Wed 6:07 a.m.7:52 p.m.4:03 p.m.2:00 a.m. 8/21 -~.t~-" Thu 6:07 a.m.7:51 p.m.4:54 p.m.2:42 a.m. It is one oelock in the morning, and its not even time for bed. Im at the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah and participating in the construction of the new robotic observatory which Moravian has a 25 percent share in time usage, lm tired and thirsty. Inn also sitting on the throne in our luxurious state of the art bathroom facility which is simply an adapted RV toilet. It you dont have to reinvent it, why not use whats available? Soddenly, and I ~ean suddenly, the largest moth that I have ever seen in my entire life flutters down within inches of my face and lands on the floor. I notice that its wings have bones in them so I immediately realize that its a bat. It doesnt want to be there in company with me, and frankly, Id like to see it depart. Irn not primo bat food, you know. I reach forward, crack open the door, and hope that it will see its escape (bats are not blind), move in that direction, and find insects elsewhere. It does precisely as I predicted, but as fin closing the door and regaining my sense of composure, I realize that ldl the other doors in the MDRS facility are shut too. So now were got a bat in a hatactually, in a large tin can. That was enough excitement for one evening. The bat found a place to hide; I eventually finished my assigrmaents, then navy showered, and went to bed, munediately falling into a deep sleep in my small cubicle on the upper deck. Suffice to say that living on Mars in the Utah desert has its exciting moments, but it also has some of the darkest skies in the US; and if youre an astronomer, yoUU take the occasional surprises for the nighttime bliss. [Literally, as Im writing this, a gust of wind just knocked out the window of our front door. F'Lxed it!] There is an ecosystem flourishing under the habitat that we rarely get to see, but its there. No snakes or scorpions yet, but an occasional rodent makes its way inside, including bats, and a very lost and hairy tarantula that greeted my buddy, Pete, on a bathroom mn several years ago. Unfortunately, after numerous attempts at extrication, it did not get the chance to grow old. The biggest problem this year has been the heat. The MDRS is not air-conditioned. Days are hot with highs in the low hundreds, but the nights are pleasant with temps in the upper fifties to low sixties: Fans pump enough cool air into the facility during the evening hours to create pleasant sleeping conditions and make the days almost bearable. Our record indoor high this trip was 99.1 degrees F. Hydration is essential with humidity levels under 15 percent. More about life on Mars next week. www.astronomy.urg Purchase a Brick for the Memorial BENDEDCOFFEE DRINKS FLESH FUDGE M,LTS;. SHAKES & 5MOOTHIES ICID COFFEE DRINKS ES'RESSO BAR rlls THE CATALINA ISLANDER Friday, July 28, 2017 i 11