Titusville Incident



Titusville’s ‘Flying Saucer’ Mystifies Gannon, Allegheny College Scientists

A small piece of coral-appearing material, the residue of a flaming mass that streaked through the skies near Titusville, Pa., early on the morning of June 21, and then plunged a molten red ball into a field yesterday mystified men of science at Allegheny College in Meadville and Gannon College here.

Chemists today will attempt to solve the physical content of the find made by Donald Bunce, Troy Center, RD 1, near Titusville, a machinist employed on the second shift at the Struthers Wells Corp. Iron Works in Titusville.

Coming to light at a time when the “saucer disc” stories are popping up from all parts of the country, Mr. Bunce’s story at first caused lifting of the eye-brows among scientific persons, but at least Mr. Bunce produced something which he says came out of the skies.

Mr. Bunce’s story developed accidentally yesterday in Meadville, but he gave an Erie Dispatch reporter a written statement of the “white glow that he saw in the sky” on the morning of June 21 and the subsequent recovery of the octagonal shaped piece of substance that remained when the fiery mass cooled off.

The material was taken by The Dispatch reporter to Prof. H. E. Rhinesmith, chemistry teacher at Allegheny College, who said he never saw anything exactly like it.

It was brought to Erie by Jim West, The Dispatch’s Meadville writer, and submitted to Prof. R.H. Mitchell of Gannon College, geologist.

Prof. Mitchell said to him the substance was what commonly would be called “scoria,” a solidified frothing from a volcano – but where is the volcano that threw out the object? That question stumped the professor.

“The thing gives the appearance of a meteorite in that its surface is indicative of quick cooling, but it apparently has no metal content. It has a metallic lustre, but without a chemical analysis,  it would not appear to contain metal. It is too light.”

“It has a sulphuric odor, but it will take a chemical analysis to further state what its physical properties are,” Prof. Mitchell declared.

Experiment proved the substance would float, but it didn’t absorb water.

The outer side of the small object is honeycombed, it files like steel and it breaks like cast iron, the latter observations having been made by Mr. Bunce.

Mr. Bunce told The Dispatch he had worked the regular second shift at the Titusville shop on June 20 and was en route to his home some time after midnight when he saw the phenomena in the sky.

He said: “I noticed a white glow off to the left in the sky. I took it to be a falling star. The glow was about 3 feet in diameter and as I watched it came nearer. It fell very near to the road in Lawrence Proper’s pasture.

I stopped to investigate. I could see its glow from the road. After it landed, the white glow changed to a whiter one. I climbed the fence and walked to it.

“When I approached within two feet of it I could feel the heat so I returned to the car and got out a small shovel. I scooped up the fragment that was about half buried in the earth and carried it on the shovel to the car.

“No smoke but a sort of vapor seemed to surround it as it lay on the ground. I was surprised to see how small it actually was, it had appeared so large in the air.

“When I got home I left it in the trunk of my car. I told my wife Theora about it but she only smiled. Neither of us had heard anything about Flying Saucers.

“I took it to the shop the next day and showed it to the fellows, but no one seemed to know what it could be. We tried filing it and it filed like steel. We also tried breaking off a small piece. It breaks like cast iron.

“I left it in the shop and the reporter got it out today when he came asking about it.”

Scoria is defined in scientific terms as “rough, vesicular, cinderlike lava, generally dark, developed the expansion of the enclosed gases in basaltic magma.”

Basaltic magma is defined as a volcanic basaltic rock consisting essentially of olivine and augite in a glassy ground mass.

Dr. Mitchell theorized that the article might have been blown from a well explosion in the neighborhood but he said under those circumstances it would not be heated to a glowing condition as described by Mr. Bunce.

“It’s puzzling, and it’s interesting,” he said as he indicated he would be anxious to follow the chemical analysis which he suggested be made.

End of article



 
Area ‘Flying Saucer’ Believed Meteorite
 
The Erie [Pennsylvania] Dispatch
Thursday, July 10, 1947
The small piece of metallic material found by Donald Bunce, Troy Center, R.D. 1 and identified as part of the “Flying Saucers” stories that are circulating through the nation have been described by a Gannon College professor as “of meteoric origin.”

A SCIENTIFIC spot test made by Professor Francis J. Herrmann, chemist at Gannon College showed that the object contains “both nickel and iron, definite signs of its meteoric origin,” Prof. Herrmann said.

The object was found by Mr. Brunce, shortly after midnight June 21. He said that he had noticed a white glow in the sky and upon investigation after it hit the ground, found the meteoric object.

DESCRIBING THE properties of the object, Mr. Brunce, in a written statement to the Erie Dispatch, said “I took it to the shop the next day and showed it to the fellows… We tried filing it and it filed like steel. We also tried breaking off a small piece. It breaks like cast iron.”


End of article



 
More ‘Meteorites’ Reported Found In Nearby Areas
The Erie [Pennsylvania] Dispatch
Thursday, July 10, 1947
Albert Edward Jones, RFD 1, East Springfield, said last night that an object similar to the one described in The Erie Dispatch landed 25 feet from his home early yesterday morning.

Mr. Jones said he and his wife were sleeping at 2 a.m. when they heard a terrific noise which they took to be thunder.

His wife, Ellen, yesterday morning found the object half buried in the earth. Mrs. Jones described the object as similar to the one pictured yesterday in The Erie Dispatch, but he said it was a little larger.

John L. Brice, 2925 Liberty St., also reported finding a similar object Thursday evening on Manchester Beach.

Mr. Brice was walking with his two boys when he came across the object.

He said it was nine inches long, five and one-half inches wide and three inches thick.

Police Officer Hugh Wolcott of Warren reports he also sighted what he thinks was one of the mysterious “flying discs” over the southern horizon. The night man at the Carver Hotel, Warren, and one of the hotel guests as well as a passenger and driver of a local taxicab also observed the object in the sky.
End of article



 
 
It Was Bound To Happen And It Has –
Girard Has Own Verson of “Saucer”
The Cosmopolite – Herald [Cambridge Springs & Girard, PA]
July 17, 1947 – page 1
Maynard Sanders and Tom Rumberger Uncover Queer Object
While on Swimming Outing at Mouth of Elk Creek. “It” is Twin
of That Found Near Titusville, PA
They’re seein’ em from Main to Kokomo and from Kokomo to Pismo Beach so it doesn’t seem strange that one of the things pop up here in the little community of Girard. After all, folks around here like to be in on the show, too.

Maybe that’s what Maynard Sanders, 130 E. Main St., Girard, thought when he picked up what he deemed might be a “flying saucer” or at least a part of one thereof. Maynard didn't think much about it when he and a buddy while on a swimming outing at the Mouth of Elk Creek on Sunday, July 6, came upon a queer looking object.

The Union football star casually bent over to pick the object up and although it was something new to him, he gave no more than a second look before tossing the crude stone into the waters at the Mouth. Surprised when the stone-like object remained afloat, he and his buddy, Tom Rumberger, retrieved the object to gain a better look at it.

Baffled by its strange characteristics but not greatly impressed, they discarded it on the beach and returned to their homes. A couple days later, however, they rushed back to the beach when they read a newspaper account in an Erie paper, about a similar object found by a Titusville man. Finding the object, they gave it the supreme test and it held up under fire.

Like the one found at Titusville, Girard’s own “Flying Saucer” gives the appearance of a meteorite, possessing a surface indicative of quick cooling. It has a metallic luster and gives off a sulphuric odor when broken or chipped. The outer side is honeycombed and when filed it files like steel while breaking more like iron. “It” is in octagon shape.

And so the mystery of the flying disk spreads to Girard and vicinity. But while there’s always the margin for error, the substance is certainly of freak variety in these parts. Who knows? Perhaps the pair, Maynard Sanders and Tom Rumberger, stumbled on to a portion of the mystery objects while enjoying a casual, lazy day on the Beach at the Mouth of Elk Creek and then, too, perhaps they didn’t.

But there’s one thing definite about this “Flying Saucer” business. It’s crowded  the weather out of civilian conversation and it’s pushed several murder and sex-perversion stories off the front pages of the American press – a refreshing diversion to several.
End of article

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