Army, FBI, Police in Circles
Written By: Lewiston, Idaho Daily Tribune - July 12, 1947
The home-made disc, replete with a plexi-glass dome, radio tubes, burned wires and glistening sides of silver and gold was discovered in the yard of the T.H. Thompson residence this morning by Mrs. Fred Easterbrook.
Assistant Police Chief L. D. McCracken withheld the names of pranksters because they were juveniles and no court action will be taken against them. He said they admitted the hoax after he was "tipped" that one of the boys knew something about the case.
Made In Two Days
The boys aged from 15 to 16 years were quoted by Mr McCracken as saying that they spent two days making the disc which measures 30 1/2 inches across.
It resembled two band cymbals put together. However, the disc looked "real" enough that an FBI agent took one look, notified his district office in Butte, Mont., and three army officers came post haste from Fort Douglas, Utah, in a military plane furnished by the state national guard.
Hoax With Galloping Disc Admitted By Idaho Youths
The practical joke started the biggest wave of speculation over flying discs this town has witnessed since about 30 residents reported 10 days ago they saw the galloping discs swishing overhead.
Two narrow strips of turf on the Thompson lawn were torn up as if the disc had ploughed into earth.
Officers were puzzled at first -- until the hoax was discovered -- how the metal object could have sailed to the ground through a maze of overhead telephone and power wires.
Mrs. Easterbrook, the Thompson family and neighbors in reviewing events last night, speculated today that they heard a "thud" during the night -- probably about 2:30 a.m. But the boys told police they planted the disc about 10 p.m.
A plane load of army officers -- two lieutenant colonels, two first lieutenants and a civilian -- arrived in a Utah national guard plane shortly after noon to inspire a new round of speculation. The army men refused to divulge their names to newsmen and kept distant from any persistent interviewers.
While speculation was highest, the army group slipped away from police headquarters with the saucer about the size of a bicycle wheel -- and whisked back to Salt Lake City. Shortly after their departure, McCracken announced the whole thing was a hoax.
The boys told officers they used parts of an old phonograph, burned out radio tubes and various discarded electrical parts to manufacture their device.
FBI Releases "Story"
Following the army‘s departure an FBI agent came into McCracken‘s office in the presence of reporters and asked "have you released the news?"
"What news?" countered McCracken.
"Well," the federal agent said, "the army intelligence man said you could tell the press that four teen age boys confessed making the object and throwing it into the yard."
McCracken then related the whole story of the hoax.