Ray Palmer on the Source of the Saucers

Editorial, Flying Saucers Magazine, October 1959
(With some vintage cover art at the bottom of the page)

Recently we conducted an experiment: we went around asking people at random just one simple question: is the Moon round or square? You can imagine the reactions we got-and we'll go into them a little later on in this editorial; but first we'd like to have you imagine that you've never heard of a flying saucer, and picture your reaction to a stranger approaching you in the street and telling you about them. We're sure you can see that there is a similarity in reactions to both questions! Just what would you say to the second question, if asked whether flying saucers were shaped like pie plates placed together, with a dome on or were shaped like a top?

You would probably say the question was immaterial, because the first thing to do would be to prove that the saucers actually existed, and if you proved that, you'd have to say where they came from. In fact, that last question is the basic one today-where do they come from? Invariably we are challenged thusly: "If you're so smart, where do these saucers come from?"

Up to how we've carefully avoided giving a direct answer to the question, because anything else demands proof -and proof is difficult to secure. However, in a few issues (maybe next, who can tell) we'll tell you where they come from, and we'll prove it. We have said that they do not come from outer space. It is easy to say where they do not come from, because a negative statement does not require proof. We might be asked how we can be sure they do not come from outer space, but there is a safe answer to that - what shred of evidence can the doubter himself offer that they do? None of course.

Those proponents of the outer space origin actually do not possess any proof to support their opinion. They base their thinking on a process of elimination - since they are not U.S. projects, Soviet inventions, or any other local origination point which can be checked, the admission that they are real postulates a very distant and unprovable organization. Thus, the hue and cry for outer space. It is safe to say that is where they come from, faced with their reality. People like Major Keyhoe can write books about them, in which there can be no real challenge concerning the saucers themselves, because the doubter is asked to look starward and be forced to admit that it is "possible". If Keyhoe does not point starward, he must finally deny the existence of saucers. He cannot take that stand, or he must be ignored. It is "safe" to point that way, because it indefinitely postpones a showdown on the entire question.

Let us point out the facts: a) saucers exists; the proof is in the observations made which cannot be explained away- that proportion of the whole which even the "experts" admit must fall into the category of the factual, but unexplainable; b) no one has thus far publicly produced an actual flying saucer. Do you know of any other facts?

In our experience we have heard many theories; ranging from Keyhoe's interplanetary origin, to red corpuscles in your eyeballs. Some say they are from another "dimension", whatever that is; others say they are from any one of the various governments, being secret inventions; spiritists say they are the spirits of the dead; some say they are living creatures, perhaps made visible to-us through some effect on them or on us by atomic radiation; and there are a number of other explanations, some even quite mad. The only fact about them all is that none can be proved.

Proof, in itself, is a matter of definition: to some, only the placing before them for personal examination of an actual saucer is to be considered proof; to others there is a variability of credibility attached, i.e., an indisputable photo, an unimpeachable witness; a personal experience (such as being taken in a ride in one and then set down without anything to back up your own story). To many, a complete set of rationalizations will constitute proof, sacking the machine itself. Into this latter classification falls such opinion as the interplanetary one. Faced with reputable witness' accounts, these people must cast about to' find the "possible" or "logical" places of origination.

Since a local search (the earth) reveals nothing, next in line is inner space, or our Solar System. Since astronomical science tells us that none of the planets possess the ability to maintain intelligent life, capable of constructing flying saucers, we are forced to look further out, into outer space. Naturally we select the nearest of these areas, and in the early days Wolf-359 was mentioned often. Here the matter stands. Many admit the saucers are real, and unable to go to the stars, they drop the matter there, leaving it to the doubter to make the actual trip to Wolf-359 and prove or disprove the theory. If he disproves it, it is a simple matter to move our origination point to other galaxies.

Another thing we do not know is WHAT flying saucers are. In order to begin a search, we should first determine what they are-it would aid us in deciding where to look. For instance, if living creatures, then we can search unknown areas (such as the sea depths), or the atmosphere in which the "creatures" are usually observed. This gives us an area of anywhere from the surface of the earth itself to the outer limits of the "breathable" atmosphere. It may be that a living thing can exist on a remarkably tenuous atmospheric vapor, perhaps even something approaching a "vacuum" as we have attained it with our laboratory equipment. Maybe a living creature can live at an altitude of 100 miles, or 300 miles. Who knows until we search that area thoroughly?

There seems to be some evidence that there ARE mysterious living forms on our earth and in its atmosphere; even in the depths of ocean and soil. But observations of "flying saucers" have more often possessed the characteristics of a machine than an animal. It may be that both exist. We can discount the animal, because if he does exist, he still leaves us with the machine.

Is there any evidence that the machine COULD originate on Earth? The editors of FLYING SAUCERS say flatly that there is. And we say it now because we are going to present it in these pages just as soon as it is completely prepared for presentation. It is a fact that once we have printed our information, it will be subject to attack. We do not intend that that attack shall prove successful by virtue of leaving the burden of proof on our shoulders, but rather that any denial will necessitate factual proof on the part of the attacker. In short, we will present only provable facts complete with the proof. In order to deny them, they will have to be proved false. In short, if we say the saucers are parked in Ebbetts Field (now vacated by the Brooklyn Dodgers), anyone who denies it will have to go to Ebbetts Field and demonstrate that the statement is false. We will not, however, make a statement that cannot be proved by such definite action.

Before we decided to offer this proof, we decided, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, to conduct an experiment. We wanted to know how far we would get with a challenge. Will we actually be attacked, our proof subjected to scrutiny, or will we be faced with a sort of "prejudice" which will force our critics to refuse to make a scientific rebuttal, but merely resort to vituperation, ignore us, or punch us in the nose. So, we went about asking if the moon was round or square.

You might ask how we can conceivably claim to have any proof that there could be even the possibility that it was square? You might say the question is irrational, since there is no alternative-that the moon is round, and it is completely proved to be so.

Is it? Many educated people have a tendency to accept things on previous acceptance. From childhood they have been taught (along with reproduction of proof) that the moon is round. Besides, they can prove it easily to their own satisfaction. They need merely go outside and observe it. They can look at it with naked eye or telescope. They can observe that the earth also is round, by watching its round shadow cross the face of the moon during an eclipse.

Here is where we can get back, with a vengeance, at those people who claimed that what we see and call flying saucers are merely illusions, visual fantasies induced by our eye structure itself, or mental defects causing misinterpretation of those observations. For it is just plain truth that our concept of the roundness of the moon is based on illusion-the illusion created by the mechanics of our organs of sight, basically a crystalline lens imbedded in a fleshy structure, which activates certain cells to cause them to flash an electrical (?) message to the brain, there to be ' interpreted as a particular form and shape.

But, you protest, the eye does not register an illusion. Not a healthy eye, flashing messages to a healthy brain. Says you! How many of you have flown over a city in an airplane? Those of you who have, have you ever looked down and made a factual count of the number of houses which have square chimneys and these which have round ones? We could tell you the answer, but we don't need to. That is one of the things you can do yourself! Next, how many of you have ridden on the back platform of a train which goes through a long tunnel? Specifically, a tunnel with a square opening? Do you know what happens as you watch this square opening recede behind you? Again, we have no need to tell you -the answer is up to you.

What does distance do to the shape of an object as seen by the human eye; i.e., by a round lens? The lens of a telescope is identical to the lens of the human eye. The lens of a camera is identical to the human eye. In order to restore the observed object to its local appearance, the conditions of locality must be restored. Either you must draw closer, or greatly enlarge. But the main point here is that we ask you to determine by actual experiment what actually happens to observed objects by reason of distance? The moon is a great distance away. Further than anything on earth. It is distance enough to appear to be something, it isn't, when observed by means of a lens (and that is the ONLY way we can observe anything). Nature has placed a barrier to our seeing things as they really are, but instead only as seen through a lens. A lens distorts. How? Again, do your own investigating! Don't take our word for it. And when you've investigated all these things properly and scientifically and as completely as today's science will allow you to, come back to us and. say the moon is roundpositively!

It might be square, just like the chimneys on most houses!

We sincerely hope that somebody will be able to come up with proof that the moon isn't square, but it will have to be proof, not opinion, or general acceptance, because frankly the idea of a square moon appalls us.

Whatever shape the moon is, the earth is likely to be much the same shape-and if it's square, it will be a fearful prospect; there are enough squares in this flying saucer business already!

P. S. We couldn't get anybody to consider the question seriously, which worries us worse. Won't anybody think for himself these days. And come to think of it, it's only comparatively recently that we thought of the earth as round - for thousands of years everybody believed it to be unquestionably flat! Wouldn't it be funny if we finally wound up with it square?-Rap,

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