to put Farmington on the map, and real honest-to- goodness flying saucers. One explanation was never publicized,
however, and if there is an explanation, it is the best. Under certain conditions of extreme cold, probably 50 to 60 degrees below zero, the plastic bag of a skyhook
balloon will get very brittle, and will take on the characteristics of a huge light bulb. If a sudden gust of wind or some other disturbance hits the balloon, it will
shatter into a thousand pieces. As these pieces of plastic float down and are carried along by the wind, they could look like thousands of flying saucers.
On St. Patrick's Day a skyhook balloon launched from Holloman AFB, adjacent to the White Sands Proving Ground, did burst near Farmington, and it was cold enough at
60,000 feet to make the balloon brittle. True, the people at Farmington never found any pieces of plastic, but the small pieces of plastic are literally as light as
feathers and could have floated far beyond the city.
The next day, on March 18, the Air Force, prodded by the press, shrugged and said, "There's nothing to it," but they had no explanation.
True magazine came through for a third time when their April issue, which was published during the latter part of March 1950, carried a roundup of UFO photos. They
offered seven photos as proof that UFO's existed. It didn't take a photo-interpretation expert to tell that all seven could well be of doubtful lineage, nevertheless
the collection of photos added fuel to the already smoldering fire. The U.S. public was hearing a lot about flying saucers and all of it was on the pro side. For
somebody who didn't believe in the things, the public thought that the Air Force was being mighty quiet.
The subject took on added interest on the night of March 26, when a famous news commentator said the UFO's were from Russia.
The next night Henry J. Taylor, in a broadcast from Dallas, Texas, said that the UFO's were Uncle Sam's own. He couldn't tell all he knew, but a flying saucer had been
found on the beach near Galveston, Texas. It had USAF markings.
Two nights later a Los Angeles television station cut into a regular program with a special news flash; later in the evening the announcer said they would show the
first photos of the real thing, our military's flying saucer. The photos turned out to be of the Navy XF- 5-U, a World War II experimental aircraft that never flew.
The public was now thoroughly confused.
By now the words "flying saucer" were being batted around by every newspaper reporter, radio and TV newscaster, comedian, and man on the street. Some of the comments weren't complimentary,
but as Theorem I of the