Where Have All The
Flying Saucers Gone?
James Neff

Note: It is this author's opinion that Meier and Adamski photographs
are not legit. Qualified people have both confirmed and denied the
authenticity of both Meier and Adamski photos. Each person must
come to his or her own conclusion. This piece is not intended as a call
to Meier or Adamski supporters to submit "evidence" to prove their case.
There are plenty of sites, including this one, which feature both views.
For those who seem to think this piece is questioning the validity of
UFOs & visitation, please see "You Don't Have To 'Believe' In UFOs Any Longer"

It seems that at one time, basically between 1955 and somewhere around 1979, the skies were filled with large, tangible, low flying "saucers," of which quite a number of people -- not normally equipped with cameras most of the time -- managed to snap some pretty impressive photos. UFO magazines flourished. The pictures were everywhere. Everyone knew them. Big, gaudy, gorgeous black and white space ships from other planets, with portholes and strange construction and sometimes enigmatic markings. From the McMinnville photos (see fig A) to George Adamski's "chicken brooder" (aka, a dozen other suspected devices) Flying Saucer from Venus (see fig B) to those wonderfully peculiar "foreign" shots that always seemed to shock with clarity and realism (see fig C), many of which were in FULL color; there seemed to be no shortage of alien visitors in their hotrods. Those were the days when Flying Saucers posed for pin-ups and posters, it seemed. Or were they all very clever (or not so clever) fakes? UFOs abound... but what has happened to the Flying Saucers?
Many of the famous Flying Saucer photos of the era have been carefully analyzed and determined to be frauds. And of course of these there remains continual debate, no single analysis seems accepted. Others remain a mystery. At one time, Billy Meier could be counted on for some real meat-n-potatoes 'beam-ships'... vivid 35mm color shots of marvelously crafted, reflective hubcaps and pie pans and chromium lamp tops with pinballs glued to them. The very BMW of Flying Saucers. Almost everyone felt they were phony, eventually, but most everyone enjoyed them. Billy had a real artists edge when it came to making his UFO photos; I'll give credit where credit is due. Calendar quality. Not a one of them, however, is real (in my opinion). Oh, I know. Die-hard Meier followers will want to burn my house down. Sorry. I think Billy was a lively source of UFO entertainment in an otherwise dull period, and were it not for his fetish for a lovely blonde popstar on TV who just 'happened' to look just like the photos he took of his famed Venusian woman (or, uh, visa versa?), well, he might have eventually impacted real UFOlogy at some point, his pictures were that convincing. But alas, like Adamski, he's suspected by most to be just someone looking for money and attention. The mad, cult like following that developed around Billy and subsequent informers and revelations have all but gutted any possibility of lending veracity to Meier. I do miss his photos, though. And especially the 8mm movies with the beam ships swinging on wires and banging into tiny model trees. Oops.
Now the jury is still out on what is perhaps the most controversial and recent "vivid" UFO photographs, those of Gulf Breeze, Florida resident Ed Walters, from 1987 onward. Ed's shots are a throwback to the height of the Flying Saucer mania of the 60's and 70's (see fig. D). They begin as more ghostly than the firm machines of the 60s, and gradually get more and more solid as Ed and time goes along. In Ed's book about the sightings one is treated to a somewhat funny photograph of Ed stiffly standing on his patio in nothing but a towel shaking his fist at the Flying Saucer as it looms over his back yard in the night. Someone else took that picture.

Some believe Ed,
some don't. Many have replicated Ed's photos down to the last detail, but it doesn't prove him a fraud. Ed even has videotape which UFO investigator Bruce Maccabee endorses as authentic. Is it ok that Bruce and Ed collaborated on a book and since then Bruce has validated all of Eds material? You decide. But hoax or no, Ed's is the closest thing to the Flying Saucers which once roamed the skies low enough and clear enough for a few good snap shots to keep everyone intrigued.
Generally, any witnessing or photographing of 'occupants' of these mechanical wonders back in the good ole days were as large, tin-foil clad or elephant skinned robot-like intruders, even as late as the famous Pascagoula, Mississippi abduction of Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson in 1973.
"... But they had feet shape... it was more or less a round like thing on a leg, if you'd call it a leg.... Calvin done went hysterical on me," Hickson reported.
Many shiny suited, tall statured aliens were reported in the era, and many that looked like Nordic gods of some sort. Russia seemed to flourish with such viking elder gods, landing in full view of spectators at sporting events in translucent, glowing egg shaped craft with greetings of "peace" and "fear not." No anal probes. No little buggers with big black eyes and a penchant buggery.

It seemed to take time for the 'official' Roswell alien motif to fully seed itself into the culture of descriptions, boosted of course by the Betty and Barney Hill abduction of 1961. And by the mid-seventies, the idea of many races and types of aliens became common language and general assumption. Now a days we hear from Betty Hill that she deliberately altered the original description of the UFO occupants, kind of an old police-trick when one wants to hunt down the real killer: add some false information, withhold several true specifics and any clown that shows up with the false items isn't your man. Smart Betty. Those details are still undisclosed and she'll likely go to the grave with them. Other less convincing, albeit equally famous, abductees and "experiencers" have attempted to make similar claims about holding back key information, but I notice it wasn't until after Betty said such that they all clamored around the same brilliant claim. Lots of 'borrowed brilliance' in this business.
Now we live in a culture where the camera is king. Practically everyone owns a camera, even disposable ones, millions have video cameras and digital cameras... but where are the striking pics? Where are the looming Flying Saucers of yesteryear? Shouldn't we be seeing some really awesome, full-frontal flying saucer pornography by now?? Something isn't right.

Today we have lights in the night sky, varied in array, zipping to a fro, little or no frame of reference, not much to look at. Not like the old days. We get the occasional white blip in the high atmosphere (as the recent Bolivian UFO sighting turned out to be a weather balloon), or the all too often macro-focused light in the sky that turns into the shape of the video cam or digi-cam's diamond shaped internal shutter. The best day time UFOs photographed in many years are from Mexico. My goodness, it seems if you want a good daylight photo of a Flying Saucer, you'd better be south of the border. They not only regularly have overflights but hundreds of people shoot the same object from hundreds of different vantages, including videotape... but you'll only see it covered on the 6 o'clock news as hysterical Mexicans photographing Venus (I can't recall ever seeing Venus in the daytime as anything but a star, much less as a moving silver disc with a deep black band around its bottom, tracked across the sky by hundreds even thousands of witnesses, can you?).. Oh well, Viva Mexico! They seem to be the center of the activity now. There have been some wonderful high-tech attempts at fakery since the 80s mass-market video dawn, even from south of the border (see fig E), but not as much as one would expect... not if the majority of those ripping photos from the 60s and 70s were all fakes. Human nature just doesn't change that much.
Elsewhere, there's a lot of what appears to be government experimental craft gone berserk. I say gone berserk with the assumption that the military doesn't intend on overflying seven towns just outside Chicago in one of those big black budget triangles, assuming they just got off course and couldn't get the darned thing to do what they wanted. I mean, this is supposed to be top secret stuff here, right? One doesn't drift over several state troopers and townships and then say, "What giant ship?" No, something isn't working right. And one has to wonder, is the general public in danger? Reports of these megalithic monstrosities almost landing in large commercial parking lots have popped up. In England, there appears to be an on going lack of concern that the public sees the hulking black thing silently cruising the nights sky. What in the world is going on with that?

Maybe the many alien races, from the bulky robotic to the dwarfish grey bugs, have decided we've seen enough. Maybe they think those pics from the 60s and 70s were damned decent shots and we should be grateful. I dunno. Or maybe that era was a time of teen-alien drunken road trips. Who knows. Alas, I miss the big, gaudy, strikingly vivid daylight photos, fake or not. Even the fakes today are so terribly bad as to be completely unentertaining. Meanwhile, I'll keep flipping through these great old UFO mags from back when and enjoy the glory days.... "Aliens Ate My Mother" and "Flying Saucers Are Living Creatures, Not Machines"... too much fun. I'll keep my window shades open, camera loaded and ... I'm waiting.
Jeff Griffith

Dear Mr. Neff,
Well, actually, there have been a series of videos shown on the old Sightings TV show which appeared to be quite genuine, wherein large numbers of people were all pointing and shouting about quite large objects in the hazy distance which were clearly (despite the haze) anomalous in nature. Also, the Mexico sightings, while they don't get a lot of press coverage here (if it didn't happen here and didn't involve US or Israeli troops, who cares?), get a great deal of coverage elsewhere in the world, as did the recent Peruvian sighting. You will also recall the rather vivid press reportage in 1990 of the Belgian giant black, lighted triangle which was pursued by F-16s, which story made the front page, above the fold, of the Wall St. Journal - not bad. Since then, the base commander, a Belgian Air Force colonel, stands by his story and those of his pilots and radar operators. The beauty of that story is that it has lots of eyewitnesses from all sorts of backgrounds, along with military/technical confirmation. The colonel assured the press that it could not have been a US or USSR (there still was one, then) craft, as its departure speed once it was painted with the fighter's tactical Westinghouse radars would have (under normal aircraft conditions) made the occupants into hamburger on the rear bulkheads, as in WHOOSH! . . . gone. So, while our flying hubcap days may be behind us, there are still plenty of vivid sightings in the neighborhood. The Illinois thing and the Phoenix bits weren't bad. And there's been doings in Canada of late that leave us scratching our heads as per normal. Jacques Vallee once wrote in The Invisible College that he thought that all of the sightings were an effort to change our cultural paradigm to accept and consider the existence of these way cool devices and their sometimes less than attractive occupants as a way of expanding our horizons.
Of course, history teaches us that this sort of thing has been going on for as long as there have been records, and not much has been gained so far in the paradigm department. Then again, with mass communications and the Web, the pace of sharing is somewhat increased. Still, it seems that there is as much darkness around the subject now as when Pharaoh's generals assembled his armies about his palace when the circular UFOs hovered for five days over the Nile Valley, belching out noxious fumes and generally upsetting the world view of the locals. It's in the Pharaoh's Chronicles, but I don't recall that being covered in my Egyptian Archeology class. The two Plinys and Livy wrote about flying shields over Rome and other venues. While they get cited as the source for a lot of more conventional goings on, I don't recall anyone mentioning the flying shields passages in my high school and college courses on Latin literature and ancient Rome.
What's the lyric? "Everything old is new again."
So, take heart, man; maybe there's still a flying hubcap in your future.
Jeff Griffith
Newport Beach, CA


This is true. It appears the nature of sightings is changing dramatically. As I said, there's plenty of UFOS, probably more than ever. But the 'type' is very different, especially on film.


FROM: St. George
Subject: Ufo's
I am dissapointed James in your article "Where Have all The Ufo's Gone?" You ressurect, as usual, all the silliest contactee cases you could find, particulatly from the 50's. You expect the classic,"tangible" saucer shape when in fact it isn't neccessarilly so. The craft I saw was a large sphere and I had several witnesses, at high noon, at work. I have seen it myself before but this was deliberate. I also mailed a tiny implant to Marilyn's site, the AAER. No batteries or antennas you will say but odd nevertheless. I study the PEOPLE in those things not the craft. Why you are facinated with devices when you are meeting a new race of people is beyond me. I wish you would stop making fun of these dim witted contactees and experiencers, if in fact they are. Start making fun of me and see what you are in for. For your government cannot order me to be silent, I am a Canadian. I was survellanced though. Many friendly experiencers from your country abruptly shut up after a few conversations with me. I did send them some files. I am visited frequently but do not claim outer space rides with Nordics or Venusians. The Greys are hidious if you must know.

St. George

St. George,

I think you misunderstood the entire spirit of my piece, just as you re-wrote the title itself! Not UFOs... but "Flying Saucers" -- and specifically, those photographed. Nothing in what I wrote casts aspersions upon those who witness UFOs, be they spheres, cubes, balls of light, triangles or anything else. My own UFO experinces are catalogued at this site. Nor does my article attempt to ridicule those who claim contact. This isn't the issue of my article.

Lighten up just a bit George, life will be more pleasant.


From JimmyMixThis
Hey Neff!
I've been waiting for someone to write this for a long time...a subject that nobody wants to admit, confront or talk about in any forum.  It certainly seems that there were so many 'drive by' saucer runs in the 50's, 60's and 70's that there must have been a continuous unbroken stream of something coming from somewhere!  But, where have they gone?  And who decided that they are now Flying Triangles instead of Flying Saucers?  Today everyone has a video cam, digital video, digital or 35mm-auto-wind-super-camera...and ask them to take a picture or video of an airplane and you would instantly get the most amazing shot of a plane crash...a face in a window...aircraft identification numbers up close...anything, anytime, day or night!  But, where is the convincing video or picture of a UFO?  If anyone can get a shot of rivets on an airline's wing flying at 30,000 feet, where is the nice, clear, close shot of a UFO from 30k feet?  The one that would stop us all in our tracks and say "See, it's true!  They're here!".  I don't get it.  It doesn't make sense.   I'm sure someone or something has visited us once...that drive-by could have happened thousands of years ago or maybe last week.  Maybe in 1947.  But, if it's happening now I'm sure we could get that pic...just once... and when it does I'm sure it won't look like those flying saucers of old. Nice one, Neff!
just my two-cents
los angeles, ca
For what it's worth, my one and only clear craft sighting was virtually identical to the McMinnville photo. It occured in Jacksonville, Fl. about 1954. I obviously can't say the photo was real, but I can say there ther was indeed something that looked like it capable of hovering about that time period. There is also a very similar craft in a photo from Rouen, France about 1952. I have seen noticed over the years that UFO's do seem to change models to appear close to or just ahead of what we think they should look like. That suggests to me a close psychological connection. Having seen one quite clearly, I am convinced they are objectively real. I am not convinced they are nuts and bolts spacecraft. I believe that Jacque Vallee was as close to an answer as anyone. I would pretty much be willing to bet several paychecks that things are far from what they seem.

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