GCP 55 History with Steve - The Maury Island Incident
Episode 55: History with Steve
This episode is another great Tacoma history story with Steve Dunkelberger. They discuss The Maury Island Incident, and the alleged UFO sighting over Puget Sound in June of 1947.
Following Steve’s story, the show continues with Scott and Brogan contemplating UFO’s and the legitimacy of other sightings around the country. They also discuss other pseudo-science topics including Big Foot and ghosts. The episode ends with discussion about government conspiracies. Sit back and enjoy!
Show notes provided by Steve Dunkelberger
THE MAURY ISLAND INCIDENT: A SYNOPSIS
In early June, 1947, Harold A. Dahl, his teenage son Charles, two other crew members and the family dog were patrolling Commencement Bay between Maurey Island and Tacoma for salvage logs. Everything was boring. Then they saw six huge doughnut-shaped objects in the sky. The objects appeared to be about one hundred feet in diameter and made of some sort of bright metallic material. Five of the objects were circling a sixth, which looked as if it were in difficulty.
There was an explosion. The sixth object in the sky sent rain of metal shards to the water. Some of these metal snowflakes hit the boat, injured Dahl's son and even killed the family dog.
"Immediately following this sound the center aircraft began spewing forth what seemed like thousands of newspapers from somewhere from the inside of its center,” Dahl said of the event. “These newspapers, which turned out to be a white type of very light metal, fluttered to earth, most of them landing in the bay."
One of the circling discs approached the malfunctioning disc and seemed to have "jump-started" it before all of them zipped from the skyline.
The story goes that two Army Air Corps Officers, 1st Lt. Frank M. Brown and Capt. William L. Davidson, were sent to investigate the incident. They stayed in the Winthrop Hotel.
The story goes that the investigators thought there might have been “something” to the story, but they had to leave that night. They were in a hurry to be at Hamilton Field on August 1, the day when the Air Force was to formally split from the Army to become its own branch of the military. The two officers flew out of McChord Air Field around two o’clock in the morning on a B-25 bomber, with a crew of two other men.
They had photos, samples of the mystery material and sworn testimony. About twenty minutes later, the airplane crashed near Centralia. The two enlisted men managed to parachute to safety, but Davidson and Brown were killed, making them the Air Force’s first casualties, taking with them all the hard evidence of a UFO incident.
People thought they heard anti-aircraft guns shoot the plane down. That gave rise to conspiracy theories about government cover up.
Because of the loss of life, the Air Force broadened its investigation and the FBI launched their own.
The government investigators determined that the crash had been a terrible accident. One of the engines had caught fire. The men to began bailing out but Brown and Davidson couldn’t jump before a wing broke and struck the tail section, which also broke off. The plane went into a spin, trapping the men inside.
Another Air Force investigator spoke with Dahl and Crisman and visited their boat. He stated that the damage he saw did not match the damage the two sailors had originally described. There were no piles of metal on Maury Island, and the existing samples looked like slag from a Ruston metal smelter.
The standard story about “threats” by men in black about not retelling the story, however are true. But they were simple FBI agents warning Dahl and Crisman that their hoax could lead to prosecution for fraud that lead to the deaths of the two officers.
Today, most people believe that Crisman and Dahl faked the incident, perpetuating a hoax that just got out of control. Other people still believe that the U.S. Government was behind a conspiracy that may have involved anything from UFOs to dumping nuclear waste in Puget Sound to testing a new space craft they wanted to keep hush hush about. They believe a shadow government agency sabotaged the B-25 bomber in order to eliminate the investigators, destroy the “evidence” and label Dahl and Chrisman nutballs.
The case continues to be fodder for UFO hunters and is also the subject of The Maury Island Incident, a short film that was released last year. This is BEFORE the more famous ROSWELL by a few weeks. But I argue that it is a better story. And that is what it is, a story that has been debunked, explained and even retracted by the “witnesses.”
But true UFO conspiracy believers are never hampered by facts or logic. So the story lives on.
Thank you Steve for joining us for another great Tacoma History lesson. We look forward to your next history podcast!!
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