63 Years Later, FBI Vault Releases "Flying Saucers" Report

More than sixty years ago, years ago the FBI made history — and forgot to follow up on it. On March 22, 1950, an FBI agent Guy Hottel reported to Director J. Edgar Hoover that there had been citings by an Air Force investigator of three 50-foot wide "flying saucers" in New Mexico. While the sighting is shocking now, at the time no further reports were issued regarding what was seen.

So why now? The memo was first released to the public in the 1970s and has been available in accessible records since. However, just recently these records were released to the FBI Vault — considered the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s "reading room" — as the information has moved up the ladder in suspicious material. Not to cause further anticipation, but just three years earlier, citings of two UFO crashes were reported in Roswell, New Mexico.

In 2011 the Daily Mail released a report issuing not only the citing of UFOs in relation to the Hottel report, but also the landing of aliens. Yes, aliens. And while we the public could rightfully be the first to hear about this, it was in 1977 that a retired U.S. Navy physicist Bruce Maccabee got a hold of the document under the Freedom of Information Act. So, it was not truly "released to the public" until the launching of the FBI Vault in 2011, when Maccabee handed over the document.

So, if we’ve got your attention this far, you might be wondering if Hottel found aliens as well, and what these supposed aliens looked like. In the Hottel’s memo there’s a fairly detailed description of some human-like bodies having been found within the aircraft: "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."

While many are skeptical about the report considering the lack of follow-through after the citings, the Bureau has released no reason to suspect that it was a hoax. No intention, no harm. Or was there? Has this new release to the Vault caused more hype than it is credited to? Should we be concerned that the FBI has withheld information from us that might be vital to our understanding of what we, well, don’t understand?

FBFor now, the lack of concern from the FBI lends some credence to the suspicion that they aren’t taking the matter too seriously. While it is a vital document to the Vault records, the hype seems to come more from serious sci-fi fans having just discovered this gem of an article rather than actual fear of there being extraterrestrial life among us. For now, we suggest questioning your neighbor about where she got her silver top.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Emily Harris

Emily Harris is a current student at Barnard College completing her third year in an English degree with a Sociology minor. Emily was born in New Jersey, raised in a half-serbian household who taught her a love for the fine arts and the importance of exploring culture and travel. Through these early experiences, Emily grew to love global literature and journalism, and has written for various publications with her working degree including Inside New York, Ideasmyth and HerCampus. She also served as the third member on Barnard’s Poetry Slam team for two years in 2010-2012, where she performed at the National College Competition (CUPSI) in Ann Arbor, Michigan and in La Verne, California. Her other internships include working for MUSE Film & Television on the nationally acclaimed and sundance-award winning documentary Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry as a post-production assistant to documentary filmmaker Alison Klayman. Emily is currently continuing her work in the editorial and publications field, while still holding onto her love for her Serbian roots, Poetry Slam, and filmmaking.

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