Location: Over the Atlantic Ocean,
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.
Flying Saucer Review, Volume 46/4, Winter 2001
Gigantic "Cigar" Over the Atlantic in 1963.
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 one -Ed.]
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
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:
events which I now describe took place in the first or
second week of May 1963."
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."
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'."
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 passenger."
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."
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."
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
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
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.)"
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.)"
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.'"
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
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."
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:-
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."
all this, everybody in the passengers' cabin sat there
petrified, absolutely silent, white-faced."
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
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."
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
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."
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
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."
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."
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
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 passenger flight."
NOTES AND REFERENCES by GORDON CREIGHTON.
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."
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. She
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 11.00 p.m. 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."
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
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."
Mrs. King's estimate is right, the 'monster torpedo' must
have been 'at least 1,600 feet long'.
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./ Dec., 1962)
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.
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 "cut-off rear."
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.
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.
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
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
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
"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 20,000 ft. 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, p. 32).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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!
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.