- There is no indication for certain that
the strange story to follow [which I have had stashed away in my files
for a number of years] is of any relation to the UFO subject, but perhaps
someone may have knowledge of the account.
- I found the following newspaper article
while strolling through microfilm of 1947 newspaper articles looking for
information about Kenneth Arnold's UFO sighting.
- My interest in the article even went
as far as making a few phone calls trying to locate relatives of the Mr.
Snodgrass mentioned in the report. I probably called about 6 or 7 numbers
in this area, but to no avail.
- If anyone has additional information
to shed some light on this one, please let me know.
- Kenny Young
- The Cincinnati Enquirer June 15, 1947
- Page One
- "WAR DEVICE BARED" Awful as
A-Bomb, Cincinnatian Says WEAPON IS SECRET, Based on British Idea from
Tarawa Battle, Not Biological
- A devastating new instrument of war placed
in the Anglo-American arsenal by scientists working secretly in New Zealand
yesterday was termed "as awesome in its effects as the atomic bomb"
by a Cincinnati bio-physicist who aided in its development.
- James Marion Snodgrass, 39, chief engineer
of the motion picture division of the Dayton Acme Co., consultant engineering
firm, declined otherwise to lift the cloak of mystery surrounding the weapon.
- Pressed by reporters, Snodgrass said
only that it was not connected with the atomic bomb and had no relation
to biological warfare. He would not say whether it was intended to be directed
against humans, aircraft or ships.
- DATED FROM TARAWA
- Development of the weapon started after
the invasion of Tarawa Island in the Pacific by American forces, Snodgrass
*line of text not legible* loss of life.
- Asked whether the weapon had any bearing
on the casualties or a military problem encountered on the island, Snodgrass
replied tersely, "Could be."
- Snodgrass, who lives at 150 Somerset
Dr., College Hill, was a civilian when he was assigned to a group of British
and New Zealand scientists engaged in the development project. The weapon
was conceived by the British, Snodgrass said, and research was pressed
despite lack of enthusiasm shown by the U.S. Navy officers who received
reports during development.
- CLUE IN HONORS LIST
- Existence of the weapon first was disclosed
when Prof. T.D.J. Leech of New Zealand was mentioned in the birthday honors
list of King George VI in London. A news dispatch reported Professor Leech
as calling the weapon an effective alternative to the atomic bomb.
- Asked whether the weapon could replace
the atomic bomb, Snodgrass said only: "First reports are substantially
true, but perhaps they are exaggerated a little."
- The research was conducted in New Zealand
because of fears of espionage, Snodgrass said, although it had been planned
to transfer the work to Florida.
- Snodgrass, who is married and has two
children, formerly was an instructor of psychology at Oberlin College,
Oberlin, Ohio. Before the war, Snodgrass said, he performed considerable
research on the effect of electric currents on the human body.
- End of article
- "Pledged To Silence On Secret Weapon,
Cincinnatian States" The Cincinnati Enquirer, page-1 June 16, 1947
- James M. Snodgrass, Cincinnati biophysicist,
yesterday refused to describe any further the secrecy-shrouded weapon of
war that he and a group of British and New Zealand scientists devloped
in New Zealand during World War II.
- As speculation developed concerning the
weapon which Snodgrass termed "as awesome as the atomic bomb."
The scientist said that he was "under obligation" to remain silent.
- Although only the barest of facts have
been made public concerning the weapon, it is known that it was developed
following the invasion of Tarawa Island and was never used in the war.
- End of article
- Update On Alleged 'Secret Weapon' Reported
From Kenny Young 4-18-99
- Here may be some additional details relevant to the alleged
'Secret Weapon' referenced in a 1947 Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper article.
-- text of this article can be found at
- Apparently the papers of James Marion Snodgrass were
sought after by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in 1995, as per the
following item from: http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/sionet/qrept/9596-1-arch.html
- October 27, 1995 SIO Archives Quarterly Report July/September
- 1995 ACQUISITIONS
- "During this quarter we received 56 films of Eugene
La Fond documenting work at sea during the 1960's and the papers of James
Marion Snodgrass (38 cartons). The Snodgrass papers were received with
a deposit agreement. A deed of gift is under negotiation now. We also received
an original 1969 political cartoon signed by Ronald Reagan concerning state
oceans policy and slides of work at sea from Peter Brueggeman."
- ---end excerpt---
- This item was courtesy of Mr. Bob Barnes, who located
it while browsing through a search engine under the name of SNODGRASS.
I would be inclined to wager that the James Marion Snodgrass indicated
in this article may be the same as from the '47 newspaper report, as the
"James Marion Snodgrass" combination of 3-names together seems
- It appears that the Scripps Institute of Oceanography
knew of Snodgrass and had an interest in the acquisition of some of his
files, which may or may-not be relevant to this 'Secret' situation he was
reportedly involved with while at the motion picture division of the Dayton
Acme Company [Dayton, Ohio and Wright-Patterson AFB?].
- Upon reading the '47 article, I first presumed that this
exotic weapon was perhaps related to the projection of images -holograms,
as per his association with a 'motion picture division' of the Dayton Acme
Co., but upon closer scrutiny, the term 'weapon' and comparison to "A-bomb
potential" seems to negate that possibility, as holographic projection
would only serve as a potential counter-measure in any battlefield application
and not have destructive capability as the term 'weapon' would imply.
- I also surmised that this weapon may be an early EMP
[Electromagnetic Pulse] bomb. However, according to a report by Defence
Analyst Carlo Kopp entitled: "The Electromagnetic Bomb - a Weapon
of Electrical Mass Destruction," Kopp states, "The ElectroMagnetic
Pulse [EMP] effect was first observed during the early testing of high
altitude airburst nuclear weapons." This statement indicates that
the EMP effect was observed *after* the conflict at Tarawa, which was during
WWII at which time no high altitude atomic tests had been conducted there.
- The second person mentioned in the article, Professor
Leech, would be another name to keep alert for.
- In light of Snodgrass' connection to The Scripps Institute
of Oceanography, I think it could be plausible that the alleged "Secret
Weapon" could be nautically based. What seems puzzling is how that
Snodgrass could go from a Chief engineer of the motion picture division
of the Dayton Acme Co., a consultant engineering firm in Ohio from 1947,
to having papers considered valuable to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography
- Further, our understanding of the Tarawa Battle during
WWII may shed some light on this. A Navy-Marines operation was enacted
in the Central Pacific against Japan in August of 1943. The following information
was found at: http://ac.acusd.edu/History/WW2Timeline/CRAIGE/doc1.html
- --begin excerpt--
- The Marshall Islands would serve as an air base from
which further operations could be launched against the Marianas, and from
there against the Japanese home islands. But 500 miles to the southeast
of the Marshalls, an archipelago of atolls called the Gilberts stood between
U.S. forward ground air bases and the Marshalls.
- The Gilberts had only one workable airstrip for refueling
American aircraft and that was on the island of Betio in the western Gilbert
Island atoll of Tarawa.
- The Japanese commander in charge of the defense of Tarawa,
Rear Admiral Keiji Shibasaki, said "A million men cannot take Tarawa
in a hundred years." He commanded 2,600 imperial marines, the best
amphibious troops in the Japanese armed forces. With the importation of
1,000 Japanese workers and 1,200 Korean laborers the island airstrip of
Betio had been transformed into one of the most formidable fortresses in
the world, boasting 14 coastal defense guns(four of which were taken from
the surrendered British garrison at Singapore), 40 strategically located
artillery pieces, covering every approach to the island, a coconut-log
sea wall four feet high lining the lagoon and over 100 machine gun emplacements
behind the wall. All this was concentrated on an island only a mile long
and a few hundred yards wide.
- Meanwhile an armada of 17 carriers, 12 battleships, eight
heavy and four light cruisers, 66 destroyers and 36 transports carrying
the 2nd Marine Division and a part of the 37th Infantry Division- some
35,000 soldiers and Marines headed for Betio in early November of 1943.
- In the moments before pre-invasion bombardment began,
the task force naval commander, Rear Admiral Howard F. Kingman announced
to the landing troops "Gentlemen, we will not neutralize Betio. We
will not destroy it. We will obliterate it!"
- Neither Shibasaki nor Kingman knew what they were up
- --end excerpt--
- [Thanks to Jim Martin for the information regarding Tarawa]
- Aside from being a slight curiousity, there is nothing
substantive indicating that this strange story is UFO-related.
- Update - April 18:
- Bob Barnes added that The Scripps Institute of Oceanography
has a research facility in New Zealand, and they receive funding from NASA
for oceanic gravitational studies.
- He passed along the following information and comment:
- "By the end of 1948, the Library collection comprised
over 22,000 volumes and 450 journal titles. In this photo dated Oct 27,
1943, SIO Library is the building in the middle, looking south from the
pier. By 1949, the Library was outgrowing the stack space in the 1916 building.
A working group on SIO space requirements, chaired by James M Snodgrass,
developed a "master plan for the Library building" which presented
plans and recommendations for present and future quantities of volumes
and for upgrading deficient facilities in the building.
- ---end excerpt---
- Barnes also remarked that SIO has a lab in New Zealand
and SIO receives funding from NASA. Of interest is the area of Marine Gravity.
- There is a possibility that Snodgrass may have been removed
from the alleged Secret Project referenced in the '47 Cincinnati newspapers
resulting from his mention in media reportage. If this scenario is likely,
it could be possible he ended up with the SIO by '49 in a capacity totally
unrelated to the '47 "Secret Weapon" situation.
- Also of interest from the original article was the mention
that Snodgrass had previously dealt with "research on the effect of
electric currents on the human body." It remains to be seen how this
relates to Snodgrass' involvement with the Motion Picture division of the
Dayton Acme Co., and his ultimate involvement with Oceanographic research.
- Kenny Young --
UFO Research http://home.fuse.net/ufo/