Monday, December 6, 2010
The Saturday Evening Post has long been more than a magazine; with us for nearly 300 years, the magazine has become an institution, a household name. It came into being before the United States. Published first in 1728 by Benjamin Franklin as the Pennsylvania Gazette, it became The Saturday Evening Post in 1821.
When residents of Minot received their most recent issue around this time in 1966, there was probably some shock when they discovered that their fair city was featured in an article…about UFOs. Reportedly, a UFO sighting had occurred at a minuteman missile site in Minot on August 25 of that year. It had not been picked up by the press at the time, but in response to the magazine article, the Minot Daily News investigated and wrote: “Base information officers confirmed such a report was made. It was never released in Minot, but was sent to Wright-Patterson Field in Ohio. From there, it presumably was channeled to the Secretary of the Air Force’s office—and he, again, presumably, released it to the magazine.”
According to the article, a launch control center officer in an underground capsule discovered static interfering with radio transmissions. At the same time, personnel on the surface spotted a UFO in the sky, with a red light, and a radar crew picked it up at a height of 100,000 feet. The object began to climb, and the static started to dissipate, when suddenly it swooped and dived to the ground. Missile-site control sent a team to investigate, but static again interrupted radio contact, and the object took off again a few minutes later. And in fact, one other man had reported a similar sighting in the area just a few days prior.
This incident was not singular to the area, according to the author, J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer who studied UFOs for many years for the Air Force. He was dismissive of some incidents, but also wrote that while some were easily explained—“hoaxes, hallucinations or misinterpretations”—he could not explain them all away. Including, it seemed, the case in Minot.
The Saturday Evening Post ceased production in 1969, but switched hands and began again in 1971 and is still in print today. UFO sightings—now, those may never go out of style.
Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker
The Minot Daily News, December 6, 1966