The Mystery Behind Real Flying Saucers
Authors Jon C. Rogers and Jack Hagerty delve into the history of real and imagined flying saucers in their new book "The Saucer Fleet."
Credit: Apogee Books.

Could today?s widespread belief that flying saucers are extraterrestrial spaceships be the result of an unintentional, civilian conspiracy? One that created real flying saucers in order to achieve its end?

Now, historian Jack Hagerty and I may have uncovered just that in our latest book, ?The Saucer Fleet? (Apogee Books, 2008). What we discovered was that the desire to make money from a current news event led several major entertainment corporations, perhaps the entire industry, into individually promoting the same sensational, but unproven theory with all their persuasive power. Thus they effectively became co-conspirators in the greatest public deception of the 20th century! It is a phenomenon that today, having existed for so long, is taken as indisputable fact.

How did it happen? To begin with, we analyze the social environment that created the original "flying saucer scare" that occurred just after World War 2. Then we show how people in the entertainment industry grabbed at that event, quickly producing books, articles, art, movies and TV shows all promoting the same idea, the idea that the lights people had seen in the sky were spaceships from another planet.

We point out that ?Thus, because of a politically charged environment, the Saucer Fleet had changed the world. And the major movie [studios] had finally stepped in to carry their image - and their message - to people everywhere.?

Central to the book, we thoroughly examine the resultant popular films, like ?The THING,? ?The Day the Earth Stood Still,? ?War of the Worlds?, ?This Island Earth,? ?Forbidden Planet,? ?Earth vs. the Flying Saucers,? TV shows like ?Lost in Space,? ?The INVADERS,? advertising campaigns and Newspaper Adventure strips - all containing real flying saucers that were created to convince people of a controversial idea. In the book, we explain, ?Our main mission here is to [uncover] some new facts about real flying saucers....??

And we do. Along the way we also uncover some other very interesting items, such as:

Originally ?flying saucers were invented, developed, and flown by humans. Ironically, they had their name stolen by the very thing they would have become?in time.

Hagerty reveals the hidden story of Christ being crucified in ?The Day the Earth Stood Still,? and observes that ?War of the Worlds? is ?so deeply entrenched in our culture that there will probably be versions of it being made for the next 100 years.? These discoveries reveal messages that are hidden in our culture today.

In this way, ?The Saucer Fleet? contains many fascinating facts that reveal a different explanation of where flying saucers came from and why they are here. As we state early in the book, ?We want to give you a new appreciation for the tremendous human effort that went into creating these popular media events [real flying saucers]."

Jon Rogers is an author/illustrator living in Bow, Wa., and co-writer of ?The Saucer Fleet? and ?The Spaceship Handbook? with Jack Haggerty. This account of ?The Saucer Fleet,? available here, was written for SPACE.com.