Subj: 1950's Moon Activity
from: The Flying Saucer Conspiracy
by: Major Donald E. Keyhoe
Enigma On The Moon
Driving home after I left Redell, I went over what he had said. Even thought I had considered a moon base as a possibility, I found myself
resisting the idea.
Yet even we were planning, working hard, to build a base on the moon. The advantages from a military viewpoint would be overwhelming. Willi
Ley, an authority on space operation plans, had summed it up in an article called "Invasion Base on the Moon."
After a technical discussion Ley stated that the moon's terrain, scarred with countless craters, had thousands of excellent sites for offensive base. The aggressor who sets up the first interplanetary outpost on the moon, he said, can dominate not only our world but our
entire solar system.
Like other space-travel experts, Ley had suggested an underground base, to escape the terrific heat of daylight and bitter cold of night.
Other experts had agreed with Ley that missiles could be launched from the moon and guided toward any point on earth. Because of the thin
atmosphere, telescopes could clearly show the earth's details far better than we-with out dense atmosphere-could see the moon's.
Because of the moon's lower gravity-one sixth that of the earth-space ships could easily take off for other planets or for a reconnaissance
of the earth. It would be an ideal base, and both we and the Russians hoped to be on the moon within 20 years, perhaps even sooner.
In spite of these factors it was not easy to admit that the moon might already be occupied by an unknown race.
Then I realized why the thought was disturbing. Like most people, I'd grown up with a friendly, safe feeling about the moon. It had always
seemed our special property, placed in the sky for our convenience. The suggestion that it was now occupied by living creatures from another
world was still hard to accept.
However, it might not be true. As cagey as Redell was, he could have been taken it. More than once I myself had started to follow some dramatic lead, only to find it had no foundation.
But Redell was on more solid ground, as I learned later....On the night of July 29, 1953, John J. O'Neill, science editor of the _Herald Tribune_, settled himself at his telescope for an evening's observation of the moon. It was 6:30 U.T., and the moon, on its northerly course, was approaching the equator when O'Neill made an amazing discovery.
Streching above the Mare Crisium crater was a gigantic bridge!
For a moment O'Neill refused to believe his senses. It might be an optical illusion. With utmost care he rechecked his telescope. He was
using a 90X eyepiece. The "seeing"-an Astronomer's term for visual conditions-was excellent.
He took another look.
The bridge was still there. Streching in a straight line from pediment to pediment, it was more than 12 miles long.
The thing seemed impossible. In all the years he had watched the moon, there had been no bridge-nothing at all-above the Mare Crisium.
But there it was.
Fascinated, O'Neill watched the mysterious bridge for an hour and a half. Twice he changed eyepieces, to a 125X and 250X. Both times, under
the higher magnification, the huge structure appeared sharply in outline, an unbelievable engineering marvel apparently erected in
weeks, perhaps days.
Knowing the furor it would cause among astronomers, a man with no less courage would have kept silent. As it was, not even O'Neill dared to tell the whole story. In his report to the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers, he called his discovery a "gigantic natural
bridge." But the sudden appearance of such a structure by an act of nature was absolutely impossible, as many privately admitted.
As O'Neill expected, he was quickly attacked by some astronomers. But most critics were abruptly silenced. For in August, 1953, one month
after O'Neill's discovery, the existence of the bridge was fully confirmed by the great British astronomer, Dr. H.P. Wilkins. The following month it was also reported by another English lunar
authority, Patrick Moore, a leading member of the British Astronomical Association.
The courage shown by O'Neill, Wilkins, and Moore soon led several astronomers to speak out on other moon mysteries-especially the strange
lights so frequently seen in some craters.
On September 16, 1953, a peculiar, bright flash was seen on the moon by Rudolph M. Lippert, a member of the Lunar Section of the British
Astronomical Association. Through his eight-inch Cassegrain reflector,with 90X power, the mysterious light glowed a yellowish orange, as
bright as a first-magnitude star. Like the previous reports of strange lights, this was quickly explained away by more skeptical astronomers, who claimed it was a meteor hitting the moon.
But there was no way to brush off the Mare Crisium bridge discovery.
In public Dr. Wilkins, like O'Neill, had called it a strange "natural bridge." But his private comments had astonished members of the Royal
Astronomical Association and the British Interplanetary Society.
It was not long before word of his comments reached the Pentagon. There the silence group learned with alarm that Wilkins was planning to make public his opinion of the bridge.
There was no way for the Pentagon censors to muzzle a British subject. All they could do was to pray the censors in London would somehow keep
him from talking.
As I puzzled over the question of a moon base, I vaguely remembered some of the earlier recorded observations of the moon.
Within a short time, after I had talked with astronomers and searched astronomy records, a startling picture began to emerge.
For almost 200 years astronomers had watched mysterious activities on the moon.
Early in the nineteenth century Sir John Herschel, one of England's great astronomers, reported seeing strange, bright lights when the moon was darkened by an eclipse. Some of the lights, he said, seemed to be moving "above the moon."
Later, startling geometrical patterns resembling city streets were seen by the astronomer Gruithuisen.
In 1869 a sudden eruption of mystery lights, in regular patterns,caused a three-year investigation by the Royal Astronomical Society of
Great Britain. Most of these puzzling lights were seen in the Mare Crisium area, where the gigantic bridge was later discovered. Watched by dozens of astronomers, the lights appeared in circular groups, triangular formations, and straight lines, their intensity varying as if by intelligent control.
Though the Royal Astronomical Society would not admit it publicly, some of its members believed this was an attempt by an unknown race on the
moon to signal the earth. Until 1871 careful records were made every night, in the hope of deciphering the messages. Then, after nearly 2000
observations, the strange lights ceased to appear. If they were signals, their meaning was still a riddle.
Beside the puzzling lights, several mysterious dark objects had been sighted moving over the moon's surface. In 1912 Dr. F.B. Harris picked
up a huge black object with his telescope. Estimated to be at least 50 miles across, it was clearly visible as it traversed the shinning face
of the moon.
Since 1915 straight and curving walls had suddenly appeared in several craters, among them Archimedes and Aristarchus.
On March 30, 1950, Dr. H.P. Wilkins, using a 15 1/4-inch reflector, picked up a wierd glow in the Aristarchus-Herodotus region. Oval-shaped
and strangely brilliant, it apparently came from some type of glowing machine hovering near the crater floor.
Three months later an almost identical light was sighted at the same spot by an experienced American astronomer, James C. Bartlett, Jr.
Most recent of all were the mystifying white "domes"-strange round formations, which appeared abruptly in many of the moon's craters.
All the evidence suggested not only the existence of a moon base, but that operations by an intelligent race had already begun. If so, who
could the creatures be? Were they from other planets or did they originate on the moon?
The possibilities were numerous.
Surface creatures may have inhabited the moon long before its atmosphere thinned. If this were so, they might have adapted to changing conditions by creating a synthetic "atmosphere" underground.
But it was more likely that any moon race-if one actually existed-had always lived underground, protected there from the constant meteor
bombardment. In that case the moon creatures might merely be animals with a low intelligence.
But this would not account for the strange geometric light formations or the many other mysteries that had occurred on the moon during the
last 200 years.
If these strange reports were correct, an intelligent race must have been on the moon for nearly two centuries.
A highly advanced race could have achieved space travel before we had even steamships. In the moon's thin atmosphere they might have trained
telescopes on the earth and seen our cities grow. Their space ships might have circled our globe periodically, checking on our progress.
That would explain scores of old sighting reports, going back to the eighteenth century.
Such a race might not have understood what they saw. To them we could have seemed merely strange animals, or creatures too primitive to attract their interest.
But as our planes and rockets appeared, and our A-bombs exploded, their picture of us would have changed. Perhaps the historic radio message
which the U.S. Signal Corps bounced off the moon-"'What had God wrought?"-had been mistaken as a signal to them.
If this were true, and a highly intelligent race inhabited the moon, the danger from us would be obvious. The moon would be the first target
for our space ships and exploration rockets. From the A-and H-bomb explosions seen on our globe, and the almost constant wars they had
watched, they could easily have supposed one thing: We planned to take over the moon.
Ironically, they wouldn't have been far wrong, for we and the Soviet had announced plans to use the moon as a base.
But it was only one of a dozen possible answers.
The moon could have been inhabited long ago, then abandoned as conditions changed. Its creatures could have reached Mars and established a civilization there, to return "home" only a frequent intervals. Perhaps _they_ used the moon as a space base for travel to other planets.
Or there may never have been a moon race at all. The lunar sphere could have been occupied by outsiders-from Mars, for example, or from a
planet beyond our solar system. Gradually a base could have been built up, most of it underground to avoid meteor falls. The intermittent use
of the moon as a space base would explain the strange lights of the past two centuries, as well as the mysterious radical cracks or lines
which might be caused by intense heat from "blastoffs."
This unknown race might have regarded with increasing interest our own world. They too may have feared our explorations.
There was one other possible answer.
The creatures on the moon might be a combination_ of several races from other planets. We might never know until we reached the moon-unless one of their space ships landed on earth.
Could the moon race have been enslaved and forced to build the space base for outsiders? Perhaps so. It was even possible that a strong moon
race, perhaps with unknown weapons, could have overwhelmed the space visitors and now might be in control.
As to which was the right answer, I could only speculate. But the evidence of _some_ intelligent race on the moon seemed undeniable...
Fortunately for the silence group, very few besides astronomers knew of the moon bridge. But if Wilkins revealed his startling opinion, the
press might look into all the historic reports.
As the weeks passed, with no word from London, the Pentagon censors began to breath easier.
Then the news broke. On December 23 in a British radio broadcast, Dr. Wilkins disclosed the dramatic story. He was interviewed at his
telescope by BBC radio commentator Bernard Forbes, after this opening statement. *
"Since the beginning of this century, astronomers have been observing features on the surface of the moon which have not been noticed before.
During the last few years many dome-like swellings have been seen through powerful modern telescopes, and only a few months ago astronomers detected what is perhaps the most curious feature of all. It looks like a gigantic bridge, and the Director of the British Astronomical Association, Dr. H.P. Wilkins, when interviewed, discussed this new discovery.
"Dr. Wilkins:...If you look through the eyepiece [of the telescope], you will see one of the most interesting regions on the moon...called the Mare Crisium. It's that comparatively small, dark oval marking.
"Forbes: Yes, I can see it now.
"Dr. Wilkins: I've mentioned this gap in the mountain barrier...but there now exists what looks like a bridge across this gap.
"Forbes: That's most extraordinary.
"Dr. Wilkins: Now this is a real bridge. Its span is about 20 miles from one side to the other, and it's probably at least 5000 feet or so
from the surface beneath.
"Forbes: It must be a most gigantic arch if it's 5000 feet high.
"Dr. Wilkins: It certainly is.
"Forbes: How wide is it?
"Dr. Wilkins: The width is about a mile and a half or two miles. It tapers-narrows, rather-in the centre.
"Forbes: Are you quite certain that you haven't mistaken it for some other object?
"Dr. Wilkins: Oh, no, there's no mistake at all. It's been confirmed by other observers. It looks artificial. It's almost incredible that such
a thing could have been formed in the first instance, or if it _was_ formed, could have lasted during the ages in which the moon has been in existence. You would have expected it either to be disintegrated by temperature variations or by meteor impact.
"Forbes: And when you say it looks artificial, what do you mean exactly by this?
"Dr. Wilkins: Well, it looks almost like an engineering job.
"Forbes: (Exclamation of astonishment.)
"Dr. Wilkins: Yes, it is most extraordinary.
"Forbes:And is it more or less regular in outline?
"Dr. Wilkins: Absolutely regular in outline. That makes it all the more remarkable.
"Forbes: And does it cast a shadow?
"Dr. Wilkins: Yes, it casts a shadow under a low sun and you can see the sunlight streaming in beneath it."
* This is a verbatim transcription from the BBC tape recording, secured for me by Isabel L. Davis, of Civilian Saucer Intelligence, N.Y.C.
Next day a brief cable report on Wilkins' historic broadcast appeared in U.S. papers. Significantly, the mysterious structure was called a "natural" bridge, though Wilkins had not used this word once in his broadcast.
But even with this reprieve, the message shook the Pentagon censors. For Dr. Wilkins or some other famous astronomer still could deny the
possibility of any natural bridge.
At any time this would have been bad news. But it came just as the silence group was facing a new crisis. Starting in late October, increased saucer sightings, combined with blows from all sides, had driven the UFO censors into a tight corner...
After the Conowingo incident several UFO reports had increased the pressure on the Air Force.
On the afternoon of October 24 a round, silvery, metallic machine streaked above the Massachusetts coast at a speed between 900 and 1200 mph.
That night, in Iowa, state highway police sighted a huge disc, glowing blue-white, near the town of Cascade.
>From England, too, the reports came in. Several dramatic sightings had upset the Air Ministry.
On October 18 two British airline pilots, Captain Peter Fletcher and First Officer R.L. Lemon, saw a strange craft flying over the English
Channel. It had the appearance of two saucers with their rims together.
In his official report to the Air Ministry, Captain Fletcher said, "We have no doubt whatsoever the object was solid...that it was constructed of metal..."
On November 3 there had been an even more startling encounter. Two RAF pilots, Flying Officers T.S. Johnson and C.H. Smythe, had sighted a UFO from their Vampire jet. Moving at tremendous speed, the saucer also was tracked on radar by the 256th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment.
On November 12 the Canadian government revealed it had set up a flying saucer observatory near Ottawa.
"Defense research scientists," the Ottawa release said, "have never pooh-poohed the flying saucers."
Dr. O.M. Solandt, Chairman of the Defense Research Board, told the press that the government had given orders to ship captains,
meteorologists, and other special observers to report UFO's at once.
The wide publicity given the story in this country increased suspicion that the Air Force was covering something up. This infuriated the
silence group, but they did not dare to criticize the Canadian government.
Seven days later the British War Office confirmed the saucer encounter and radar report of November 3 and released statements from radarmen
and the two RAF pilots.
"Apparently," Frank Edwards remarked on his program that night, "the British War Office and our Air Force have different ideas on trusting
The Air Force was still smarting over this when Captain Walter Karig's story, "The Official Truth About Flying Saucers," appeared in the
_American Weekly Magazine_.
Contradicting the Air Force, Karig revealed that the Utah pictures were still under study. The UFO's, he said, were apparently solids,
traveling at speeds never achieved by earthlings. Moveover, there was every evidence of control by intelligent beings.
The following night I heard from the Intelligence officer who had advised me to call Ruppelt for help. He told me Karig had set off a row
almost as bad as the one I caused. But all that the censors could do was to lick their wounds and curse Captain Karig in private. For he had
too many powerful friends in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill.
"And that article by Shapley in the November _Atlantic Monthly_ scared the hush-hush crowd," the Intelligence officer told me. "Coming from
the number-one Harvard astronomer, it could have made headlines all over the world."
I had already seen the article, taken from Dr. Shapley's new book. After the officer hung up, I remembered one haunting sentence, which followed Shapley's declaration about the millions of inhabited planets. It consisted of just four words:
"We are not alone."