Fwd = A Gigantic "Cigar" Over the Atlantic in 1963.
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[U A S R]> UFOs-, ALIENs-, SPACE- RESEARCH MAILING LIST <[U A S R]
Date: Fri, 01 Feb 2002 00:23:02 -0700
From: "Terry W. Colvin" <fortean1@...>
CC: Terry Colvin <fortean1@...>
Subject: A Gigantic "Cigar" Over the Atlantic in 1963.
Flying Saucer Review, Volume 46/4, Winter 2001, pp. 17-20.
< http://www.fsreview.net > FRAMES warning...
[Words marked with "*" are italicized. - TWC]
A Gigantic "Cigar" Over the Atlantic in 1963.
[Reprint from FSR Vol. 27, No. 3 (Nov. 1981). In view of the extraordinary
similarity to the last case, I feel I really must republish this earlier
In 1980 we received a letter from a lady who had recently become a reader
of FSR, stating that she would like to talk with someone from the *Review*
and give us a confidential account of a strange experience that she had
had many years before. It had been terrifying at the time and had left a
most vivid impression in her memory. Having no knowledge of UFOs then,
she had no clue as to what she might have seen. It was only after the
chance purchase of a few books, and the discovery of FSR, that she had
realized the possible nature of her experience.
The lady is from one of the countries of Western Europe that are members
of NATO. She is now married to an Englishman, and it so happens that her
home is not far from mine. For reasons which will be evident, she has
asked that on no account should her name and address, or her nationality
at birth, be divulged. I have interviewed her twice, and FSR Director
R.H. Bryan Winder also heard the first account which she gave. Her
statements are supported by a lengthy and detailed written version and a
sketch. For reasons of economy I have reduced her story to more compact
proportions. The gist of it is as follows:-
"The events which I now describe took place in the first or second week
of May 1963.
"I was at the time working for NATO as an English language secretary, and
based in Paris. On the day in question I was one of a party of 50 NATO
personnel who were en route to Canada for the NATO Ministerial Meetings
in Ottawa. Our plane, an Air Canada DC-8, carried what seemed to be the
usual crew, and two stewardesses, though I had the impression that the
flight was under military or NATO control.
"We took off from Orly Airport, Paris, some time after 10.00 A.m., and we
were told that the flight to Ottawa would take about seven hours. As
there were only 50 of us, the plane was relatively empty. I took a
window seat on the port side (left) near the wing. The other two seats
in my row remained empty throughout the flight. As NATO personnel we
were all of course well known to each other, and very much a 'family group'.
"The weather was beautiful, and the Captain announced that we would fly at
36,000 (or maybe 38,000 - I do not recall clearly) feet. After lunch had
been served, I sat enjoying the view of the vast expanse of sky above the
clouds. The windows of the DC-8 were very large, the largest I seem to
recall having seen on an aircraft, and came down quite low beside the
"I was just reaching down to take a book from my hold-all, and was
astonished to glimpse below the 'plane something dark and absolutely
tremendous that stood out in vivid contrast to the brightness all
around. I could not believe my eyes. I pressed close to the window in
unbelief and there, almost beneath the DC-8, was a gigantic dark grey
'torpedo'. It seemed menacing and frightening, and I had the impression
that it was stationary. It was utterly unlike anything that I had ever
seen in my whole life. It looked as though made of steel. No portholes
or windows were visible. No wings or projections. Nothing but the long
perfect torpedo form, with its bullet-shaped head, and the rear end which
was cut off sharply and squarely. (1) The monster - and I emphasise that
it was this terrifying size that impressed me - was well below us. I
thought maybe 2,000 metres or so below us, but of course I had no way of
being able to gauge this or to estimate the size of the thing.
"I looked down again quickly at the monster, and saw that a swathe of tiny
clouds were beginning to pass over it, though it remained visible through
them for a few seconds before being lost to my sight.
"I sat there in utter amazement that such a craft could exist. Why, I
thought, had I never heard, in all my wife, of the existence of anything
like this! I felt stunned, and dazed, contemplating my utter ignorance
that such things could be, and that I could know nothing whatever about
"I glanced around the cabin. Most of my fellow-passengers were reading,
or dozing, or asleep. Only from the rear came sounds of animation from
a group who were playing bridge.
"I sat there feeling utterly frustrated, both because of my inability to
explain to myself what it was that I had seen, and because apparently not
one of the others had seen it. At any rate, not one gave any sign of
having done so, (2) and I felt too baffled to ask, and too scared lest
I might prove to be the only witness in which case they would simply
laugh at me. I sat back and closed my eyes, feeling that my mind had
been completely blown. I resolved that, when back in Paris, I would talk
about it to one of the NATO experts on nuclear weapons, a man whom I knew
well, and with whom I had often chattered on all sorts of subjects, such
as earthquakes, problems of energy, and so on. (But when I next saw him,
and had the opportunity to tell him about my 'monster cigar', I just
could not bring myself to raise the subject. My courage failed me. I
did not want to be laughed at. The whole thing seemed too incredible to
be taken seriously.)
"As for the rest of the NATO party, I never dared to mention it to any of
them, out of fear of being thought completely mad. But I made a private
resolution that I would go on trying to find out what it could have been.
(Little did I realize then that it would take seventeen years.)
"I had of course heard the occasional story about 'flying saucers,' but I
always thought that the name meant that these were just little things, no
bigger than a real saucer. I had no idea whatever that craft of all
shapes and sizes were being seen, all over the world, and that they were
all being given the blanket name of 'flying saucers.'
"To be truthful, I had already heard one story about a 'cigar', said to
be some 15 or 20 metres long, seen by people a few years earlier at
Santa Maria (3) in the Azores Islands. 'Fifteen to twenty metres' was
nothing in comparison with what I had just seen. And in any case,
everyone had said that the thing seen over the Azores was simply a
Russian secret device.
"It was only about two years ago that, while browsing through a
secondhand-bookshop, I found, and bought, two or three books on UFOs.
It came as an immense shock to me when I found that what I had seen,
came under the general term of 'flying saucers', and that other people
had also seen giant 'cigars' or 'torpedoes' in other parts of the world,
and at other times.
"But there is a second part to my story which was far more terrifying than
the sight of the huge 'torpedo,' and which I found it equally impossible
to explain to myself. I must emphasise that whether or not it was in any
way related to the 'torpedo' I cannot say, as I do not have sufficient
technical knowledge. Yet I have the feeling that it might be unwise to
exclude this part from my account, so I give it here now for the experts
to pronounce upon:-
"After my glimpse of the monster 'torpedo,' I sat there brooding on it
for half an hour or so, as I recall, when suddenly the DC-8 started to
shudder and pitch up and down violently, nosing steeply upwards, then
steeply downwards, and this went on for a long, long time. I might
explain that I had often encountered turbulence and 'air-pockets' when
travelling by aeroplane, but it had never been anything remotely like
this. This was as though we were in a gigantic lift that was shooting
up and down madly. And, as though that was not enough, there now came
a succession of reports like cannon-fire or thunder, filling the cabin.
Meanwhile the plane continued to shudder and 'buck' violently, and each
time it came down I had the sensation that it was going to break in half.
"Throughout all this, everybody in the passengers' cabin sat there
petrified, absolutely silent, white-faced.
"After a while of this, I felt such panic that I rushed up front in
search of a stewardess, and shouting '*What's going on? I'm scared!*'
I lifted a curtain in front of what seemed to be a sleeping-berth, and
found a stewardess lying on the bed there, her hands covering her eyes
as though she were weeping. She gave no response to my shouts, and
all around there was total silence still, apart from the sound of the
engines, overlaid by the repeated 'claps of thunder' and the continued
bucking up and down of the plane.
"I went back to my seat, and suddenly found myself bathed in perspiration.
Every pore in my body seemed to be hard at work. And yet I noticed that
the light dress I was wearing was still completely dry.
"A second time, I ran forward to the stewardesses' quarters but there was
nobody there. I hammered on the door leading to the cockpit, and shouted
again, asking what was happening, as I was scared to death. The other
stewardess came out and looked at me as though I were an idiot, and for a
while said nothing. Then, calmly, she announced 'Ladies and Gentlemen, do
not be alarmed: the cabin is being depressurized.' Shortly afterwards,
the Captain was heard to make the same announcement.
"I should like very much to know whether all that I have just described,
about the violent behaviour of the aircraft and the loud reports, is
explicable as being due to the process of 'depressurization' and, if so,
what are the circumstances that are likely to have made it necessary for
such alarming and drastic steps to be taken? Is this sort of thing usual
and normal - as the calm behaviour of the second-mentioned stewardess
seemed to indicate? And why, in that case, had the other stewardess -
as it seemed - been weeping? Was this simply because she, like all the
rest of us, found the turbulence just a bit too alarming? *Or is it
possible that she was still suffering from shock after seeing the
gigantic 'torpedo'? It certainly would be interesting to know the
answers to these questions.
"If an expert were to say that the behaviour of the aircraft was
definitely not 'normal,' and not explicable as due to depressurization,
then it is possible that such a situation could have been brought about
by either the action or the close approach of a UFO? (4) (Either the
same thing that I had seen - if it was indeed a UFO - or some other UFO
that was also active over the North Atlantic on that same day?)
"Whether or not this frightening behaviour by the DC-8 was in any way
connected with what I had seen is something that I have so far found no
way of knowing. Nevertheless, even if this second part of my story is
found fully explicable and discountable, I am still anxious that my
account of the great 'torpedo' shall find a place in the records.
"Did anyone else aboard the DC-8 see the 'torpedo'? That is the key
question. Given the position of the 'torpedo' in relation to the
passenger cabin, only a passenger looking out and downwards at that
precise moment would have caught a brief glimpse of the object and,
as I have said, I found no evidence that any other passenger did see it.
"As for the plane's crew, there was only the one stewardess who seemed
upset. What is certain is that the pilots up in the nacelle certainly
would have had abundant time in which to see the 'cigar,' as it cut
slightly diagonally across their route from their port side and well
below them. No explanation or comment whatsoever about the 'cigar' was
given by the Captain or any other crew member, and no statement was made
by the authorities when we landed in Canada.
"It must however be borne in mind that, although the machine was to all
appearances an ordinary DC-8 civilian passenger carrier, the party on
board consisted entirely of NATO personnel, and NATO is a *military*
organization. We were flying under NATO auspices and in that sense we
were under military control. In such circumstances it would not be
surprising if the cockpit crew and the stewardesses were less forthcoming
about a UFO than perhaps they might have been, were it an ordinary
NOTES AND REFERENCES by GORDON CREIGHTON.
1. The documentary records of Ufology contain numerous eyewitness reports
of what are alleged to have been "tubular", or "cigar-shaped," or
"torpedo-shaped" UFOs, often of enormous size, and there are also
photographs. I recall that several of these photographs reveal
"bullet-shaped noses" and "squarely cut-off rear ends." Quite a large
proportion of such craft have allegedly been seen over the sea, indeed
in some cases entering or leaving the sea. Nobody has written better on
this aspect of Ufology than our friend Toni Ribera of Spain, and it is a
great pity that his books have not yet been translated into English, for
one of them deals at great length with these reports of "flying submarines."
The most impressive account of such a huge "cigar" craft that I have read
so far was contained in a letter written in 1954 to Australian UFO
researcher Edgar Jarrold by a lady named Mrs. A.M. King of Nairobi, Kenya.
"I left Mombassa (Kenya) at the end of June 1947, on the *SS Llandovery
Castle* en route to Cape Town, and, as we were going through the Straits
of Madagascar about the beginning of July, I was on deck with another lady
passenger at approximately 11.00pm when we noticed a particularly bright
star. It was travelling very fast and approached the ship. Suddenly a
searchlight appeared which flashed a strong beam of light on the water
within fifty yards of the ship. It descended, its beam shortening and
becoming brighter as it neared the water, and the next instant there was
no more light, but an object appeared, apparently made of steel, and
shaped like a cigar cut at the rear end. It remained in the air about
twenty feet above the sea, parallel with the *Llandovery Castle*, and
travelling in the same direction.
"Gaining a little in speed, after a second or two the whole shape
disappeared without a sound, from the rear end issuing fierce flames
which shot out to about half the length of the object. It appeared
that there must be something like a huge furnace inside the thing,
but we still could hear no noise from the flames. No windows could
be seen, only a band of metal around the entire thing which, if it had
been a complete cigar shape, would have been centrally situated.
"The object was very large, about four times the length of the
*Llandovery Castle*, and at a rough guess, four times as high. We had a
wonderful view, but in a few seconds it had disappeared. No light was
seen forward on it as it left; it just vanished soundlessly in the
darkness. For a while we thought we were the only ones on deck at
that late hour, but, walking to the prow of the ship, we saw there
one of the ship's officers with a few passengers; the entire party
had seen the same thing. Whether or not it is recorded in the ship's
log, I know not."
If Mrs. King's estimate is right, the 'monster torpedo' must have been
*at least 1,600 feet long*.
A similar type of vast 'cigar', seemingly metallic, estimated to be at
least 800 metres (2,600 ft.) long, allegedly came down to a height of
only 2,000 metres in broad daylight one summer's day in 1961 over the
Russian city of Voronezh, and many thousands who saw it panicked. When
it departed, it stood straight up on its tail, let out a tongue of flame
said by some witnesses to be as long as itself, and vanished straight up
into the sky. (*Amazing News from Russia*, in FSR Vol. 8, No. 6 (Nov./
An Italian named Luciano Galli has claimed (FSR Vol 8, No. 5, September /
October, 1962) that he was taken up in a small disc to a huge tubular
machine which he thought was "at least 600 metres long" and which had
:one end cut like the end of a cigar." Taken inside it, he claimed that
he found it contained hundreds of beings and scores of discs.
Probably the best known account of a "cigar-shaped craft" with a "cut-off
rear" is that described in Adamski's second book, *Aboard the Space-ships*.
One almost trembles at the thought of even mentioning Adamski, for to do
so nowadays is considered very bad form in ufological circles "because
everybody *knows* he was a fraud." In fact some of his alleged photos
of such craft do show precisely such long, dark, zeppelin-like forms with
The emotional heat generated by the slightest mention of George Adamski is
curious because, if one troubles to reflect upon it, one will see that,
since the date of his experiences and his photographs, which would have
been principally around the period 1952-53, dozens and dozens of other
folk, all over our planet, in various countries and civilizations, have
claimed to have seen - and sometimes to have photographed - in these 29
years since 1952, precisely the same types of "Mexican Hat discs" and
large "flying cigars" as Adamski claimed to have seen and to have
photographed. I notice too that, all over the world, alleged UFO
percipients have continued to tell "contactee stories" that are far, far
"wilder" and far more fantastic than anything that Adamski ever said,
and yet on the whole, these percipients seem to be listened to with
considerable respect by many researchers. Almost never do they seem
to be greeted with the sort of obloquy that was heaped upon Adamski.
The fact of the matter, I suspect, is that we have all got used to the
UFO contactee syndrome now. We even *expect* their accounts to be wildly
absurd and illogical and full of lies and contradictions - as they usually
are. Adamski is all old hat and tame stuff now. But he hasn't stopped
being "a liar and a hoaxer". Others who tell the same stories go scot-free.
2. This mention of people "not showing any sign of having seen anything"
reminds me of an interesting report which I received a few years ago. A
middle-aged English lady, well known to old friends of mine (and in
background totally uninterested and uninformed as regards UFOs) came to
see me one day and described an extraordinary experience that she had.
She had been on a holiday trip to the Scilly Isles (lying off the south
western tip of England) one fine summer's day about nine or ten years
previously. In the evening she boarded a small steamer to return to the
Mainland. The ship was filled with holiday-makers and the decks were
crowded. She was standing right against the rail, enjoying the
beautiful scene and the last of the day when, out of the sea, right
beside the steamer, a large, round, shining silvery "saucer" came up
swiftly and silently and shot into the sky. She said it passed so
close to her that she could see the droplets of water swirling off
its gleaming surface. All around and behind her were the mass of
other tourists, pressed close together, and she said they could not have
failed to see it too. But, so she told me, not a soul amid that crowd
gave the faintest indication by word or gesture that they had perceived
anything out of the ordinary. As she remarked, laughingly: "*They were
all British They kept a stiff upper lip*".
(Admittedly however there do seem frequent to be cases where some
individuals "see" while others do not, and one is obliged to recognize
that, for all we know, the former category might conceivably involve a
minority of people who are *clairvoyant* - maybe only temporarily or
intermittently. This idea takes us instantly into the field of
Parapsychology, which is too vast and too mine-bestrewn for further
discussion in the present article. But it is something that we
absolutely must always keep in mind whenever considering any UFO
sightings whatsoever - including, of course the report from the lady
secretary who was with NATO.)
3. At this point I feel the lady's memory may be playing tricks. For -
unless of course there were *two* quite separate sightings of "flying
cigars" over Santa Maria in the Azores - the happening to which she here
refers is entered in our records as having been on July 9, 1965, and
therefore two years *after* her own experience.
The "cigar" or "torpedo" which we have in our documentation passed over
the Island of Santa Maria in the Azores on that date at an estimated
height of 20,000ft. and promptly stopped all the electric clocks at the
Santa Maria Airport, one report said for twenty minutes, others said for
forty-five minutes. (See FSR, Vol. 11, No. 5, p. 24, and Vol. 12, No. 5,
4. Readers will recall the recent experience of the U.S. Army Reserve
officer Captain (now Lieut. Colonel) Lawrence Coyne, whose helicopter
was on October 18, 1973 put by a UFO into a powered descent of 500 feet
per minutes and then 2,500 feet per minute, only to be bounced up again
into the sky at the rate of 1,000 feet per minute (see Jennie Zeidman's
*UFO-Helicopter Close Encounter Over Ohio* in FSR Vol. 22, No. 4, 1976).
Finally, since this NATO lady's account relates to something huge seen
over the North Atlantic Ocean, and possibly not too far from Canada,
these notes should not be ended without a reminder of one of the most
famous cases of all time, that of Captain James Howard who, on June 29,
1954, when piloting his B.O.A.C. Stratocruiser *Centaurus* on a flight
from London to Canada, flew on a parallel course for eighteen minutes
with a vast unknown object which he estimated to be "about the size of
an ocean liner." Captain Howard's crew of eleven and a dozen of his
fifty-one passengers also saw it, and one of the opinions expressed was
that it was "as big as the *Queen Mary*" (one of Britain's two huge
pre-war Cunard liners).
This particular UFO does not seem to have been described by anyone as a
"cigar" or a "torpedo". It was in fact apparently changing shape in a
puzzling fashion, but seems mainly to have looked delta-shaped or "like
a telephone mouth-cum-earpiece lying on its back", as indicated in
Captain Howard's sketches. It appeared to be accompanied by a group
of much smaller objects which finally seemed to enter it before it
vanished from sight. (See *Mystery over Labrador*, by Leonard Cramp,
in FSR, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1955).
The case of the Stratocruiser, *Centaurus* is given in slightly greater
detail in my editorial leader on pages 1 and 2 of this issue (i.e. FSR 27/3).
My memory of Captain Howard's narrative is that *most* of the passengers
saw the UFOs (larger craft and smaller ones). Stewardess Daphne Walker
came on to the flight-deck to ask the skipper "what it was out there", as
all the passengers wanted to know!
A few years ago, through a mutual friend, I secured the home address of
Stewardess Daphne Walker, so perhaps even more details can be obtained
from her one of these days. G.C.
Terry W. Colvin, Sierra Vista, Arizona (USA) < fortean1@... >
Alternate: < terry_colvin@... >
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