1947 Maury Island UFO Incident
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The Maury Island Incident is said to be an early modern UFO encounter incident, which allegedly took place in June 1947, three days before the famous sighting by Kenneth Arnold, widely considered the original encounter with flying saucers. It is also one of the earliest reported instances of an alleged encounter with so-called Men in Black. Opinions remain divided on whether the case was a genuine flying saucer sighting, a hoax or an attempt to cover up the leak of an advanced, classified aerospace project. The incident took place shortly after June 21, 1947. On that date, seaman Harold A. Dahl, out scavenging for drifting logs, claimed to have seen six UFOs near Maury Island (which is now a peninsula of Vashon Island, in Puget Sound, near Tacoma, Washington, United States; Maury Island is located directly across a narrow section of Puget Sound from Sea-Tac International Airport and Boeing Field). Dahl, his son Charles, an unnamed hand and Dahl's dog were on the boat. Dahl reported seeing four, five or six (the initial FBI report says four or five) "doughnut-shaped objects" flying in formation over the area where his boat was. He said he could see blue sky through the holes in the center of the discs, and that there appeared to be port holes lining the inside of the ring. One of the craft appeared to be malfunctioning, Dahl reported, and another craft edged up to it, then retreated. At this point the troubled craft began ejecting objects through the inner port holes. Slag-like material began hitting the boat and damaged the windshield, the wheel house and a light fixture, and killed his dog on the deck. He said his son was also slightly injured by falling debris. Dahl claimed to have taken a number of photographs of the UFOs, and recovered some type of slag ejected from the craft that malfunctioned. Dahl also recovered samples of sheaves of lightweight white sheets of metal that fluttered like "newspapers" out from the inner ring of the troubled UFO to the ground.The next morning, Dahl reported a man arrived at his home and invited him to breakfast at a nearby diner; Dahl accepted the invitation. He described the man as wearing a black suit and driving a new 1947 Buick; Dahl assumed he was a military or government representative. Dahl claimed the man told him details of the UFO sighting while they ate, though Dahl had not related his account publicly. The man also allegedly gave Dahl a non-specific warning which Dahl took as a threat that his family might be harmed if he related details of the sighting.Some confusion and debate over Dahl's statements have occurred. Dahl later claimed the UFO sighting was a hoax, but has also claimed the sighting was accurate, but he had claimed it was a hoax to avoid bringing harm to his family.In spite of the threat, Dahl had reported the incident to his employee at his sawmill operation, Fred Crisman, who had long claimed to have experience with unusual phenomena (and who was later alleged to be linked to the John F. Kennedy assassination) and who also was the owner, or co-owner, of the boat. Crisman sailed to the island the following day and said he spotted a craft briefly, but it went behind a cloud. He gathered more of the slag which he found littering the beach area. He then sent a sample to Chicago with a request it be tested. Arnold flew from Boise, Idaho, to Tacoma and met with Crisman, Dahl and at least three military intelligence officers at the Winthrop Hotel there. During the meetings over several days, an unknown person (the FBI agent who wrote up the main report on the incident believed Crisman was the most likely suspect) began leaking details of the UFO sighting at Maury Island, the meeting in the hotel room and details of the conversation there to reporters at the Tacoma Times and at United Press, the latter reporter also working for Tacoma News Tribune. The anonymous caller also contacted the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Boise Statesman. The two United States Army Air Corps investigating officers who arrived at Arnold's request, Captain William L. Davidson and Lietuenant Frank M. Brown of Army A-2 Intelligence, decided to fly back to Hamilton Field the same day they arrived in Tacoma after interviewing Crisman in the hotel room. Dahl had decided to leave, citing possible danger to himself if the story got out, presumably because of the warning he received from the man in black previously. The two intelligence officers said they had to return to Hamilton Field in California quickly because the next day was Air Force Day, when the Air Force officially became a new service branch distinct from the Navy, Marines and Army. As the investigators were preparing to leave, Crisman produced samples of the "rock formation" from his automobile and gave it to the investigators to take back to California. The plane carrying the two investigators and the slag crashed near Kelso, Washington, shortly after leaving Tacoma, killing both men.