June 21, 1947 – Pre-Arnold/Pre-Roswell UFO Fleet Encounter

It was approximately 2pm when Harold A. Dahl, the captain of a coastguard patrol based on Tacoma, Washington, had his amazing UFO sighting. Dahl and his crew of U.S. coastguards were patrolling the southern end of Puget Sound, Washington – a place abundant with islands and fjords – when they put the launch into an eastern bay off Maury Island, a small, thinly populated island some three miles from the mainland. At the time there were two members of Dahl’s crew, his son and a dog on board. As they entered the bay, Dahl looked up from the wheel and was startled to see “six very large doughnut-shaped machines” in the air. He judged them to be approximately 2000 feet up, virtually overhead, stationary and silent. 

Intelligent Balloons? Initially he thought they were balloons until one decided to descend, followed by the other five. This lone machine seemed to be in trouble. Dahl though – although the others closely followed it at a range of approximately 200 feet above. It continued on a downwards movement until it was directly overhead, about 500 feet above the water. They remained totally silent and Dahl couldn’t see any visible means of propulsion – they didn’t appear to have any engines. 

Metallic Craft Dahl reckoned they were each about 100 feet in diameter and each had a hole in its center, about 25 feet in diameter. The clouds were low and thundery, but when the sunlight broke through, Dahl noted that it reflected from the metallic surfaces of the strange craft. However, there was not one brilliance, but many. In addition, the craft appeared to have what appeared to be ‘portholes’ equally spaced around the outside of their hulls. Dahl also reported what looked like dark and circular windows on the inside and bottoms of them. Dahl later said, “Fearing that the central and lowermost machine was going to crash in the bay, we pulled our boat over to the beach and got out our harbor patrol camera. I took four photos of these balloons, as I still thought they were. All the time, the five were circling around the one which was stationery. Five minutes passed, and then one of the circling machines detached itself from the formation and came right down to the stationery one.

It seemed to touch it and stayed motionless for about four minutes. Then we heard a dull thud, and the central craft spewed out what looked like thousands of newspapers from the inside of its center. But these falling fragments turned out to be a white type of very light metal that fluttered to earth, and also fell into the bay. The machine then seemed to hail on us in the bay, and over the beach, black and darker type metals, which hit the beach and the bay. All these latter fragments seemed molten. Steam rose when they hit the water. We ran for shelter under a cliff and got behind logs. My son’s arm was hit by a falling fragment of metal, and our dog was killed. Then the rain of metal stopped. The strange craft silently lifted and went westward towards the Pacific. All the time, the center one remained in the formation. We found the fallen metal too hot to touch, for some time. But when it cooled, we loaded a large number of pieces into our launch.” 

Electrical Malfunctions When he climbed back towards the launch, Dahl found that his radio refused to work. “When I started out on patrol, my radio had been in perfect order. But now, the static was so great, I could not make contact with our shore station! Yet the weather could not have caused all that interference. Our wheel-house had been hit by the rain of metal, and damaged. I started up the engines and returned to Tacoma, where my boy had to be attended in hospital. I reported the adventure to my superior officer, Mr Fred L. Chrisman; but I could see he did not believe me! I gave him the camera and the films and also the metal fragments we had collected in the island. Later, Chrisman went out to the island to look for the 20 tones of metal which I judged had been spewed from the strange machine. When my films were developed, they showed the strange aircraft, but the negatives were covered with white spots, as though they had been exposed to some radiation.” Apparently specimens of the strange metal were taken to Chicago University for analysis, who described them as “metal that had fallen from a great height in the sky and landed in sand.”

 Strange Geology! Some skeptics have said that Maury Island is rich in this type of metal as geological and natural deposits. Further analysis reported that the metal was an alloy of calcium, iron, zinc, and titanium. Also present were aluminum, manganese, copper, magnesium, silicon, nickel, lead, strontium and chromium together with traces of silver, tin and cadmium. This seems a very remarkable alloy to be found in a natural state all over Maury Island. One odd note added, was that the content of calcium was unusually high and that it had not been oxidized, as it does when heated – in terrestrial conditions.

 Cosmic Protection One theory which was put forward at the time was that the calcium had been cast into the hull of the strange machines to absorb the lethal cosmic rays out in space beyond our earth’s orbit.

 Enter the Men in Black Not only is this story extremely fascinating, if only by pre-dating similar events – the metal seems similar to that allegedly recovered the following month at the Roswell crash site. However, the following day Dahl was interrogated by what could be one of the first incidents involving MIB (Men in Black): According to Dahl, the following morning a strange man drove to his house and got out of a black Buick car of sedan type. He was dressed in a dark suit, was around 40 years old and in Dahl’s words, looked like “an insurance agent”. Dahl got out his own car and drove downtown – with the stranger following him. Why he didn’t use the stranger’s car for a lift is not recorded.

 Threatening Warnings Over breakfast in a hotel, Dahl was asked some curious ‘personal’ questions; Stranger: “Are you happy at your job, and in your family? “Dahl: “What the blazes are you getting at?” At this point, the stranger merely gave a peculiar smile and proceeded to tell Dahl of the previous events on Maury Island. This conversation puzzled Dahl as, so far, he had not told anyone about his experience and there had been no one on the island apart from his crew – and he did not think they had been talking. “Mr Dahl,” said the stranger, still smiling, “you had better forget what you have seen, and stop talking. Silence is the best thing for you and your family. You have seen what you ought not to have seen!” The stranger then abruptly got up and left the hotel.

 Further Verifications Kenneth Arnold later arrived on the scene after being asked to investigate the strange story. Arnold later interviewed Dahl’s superior officer, Chrisman, who told his own fantastic story: – Two days after Dahl had reported to me about these strange machines over Maury Island, I went out in the patrol launch. It was on the morning of June 23rd. I looked at some of the tons of metal on the beach. As I did so, one of the strange aircraft suddenly appeared from nowhere! It circled the bay, banked at an angle of 10 degrees, and shot up into the center of a cumulus cloud, high in the sky. I have never seen any aircraft before go into the center of such a cloud. It is very rough in there. The strange thing looked like a large inner tube to me. It was not squashed as Dahl had said. It had large portholes round the whole hull, and its brassy, golden surface seemed burled. I noticed, too, an observation window in it. When the sun shone on it, it was unusually brilliant. I picked up a load of the fragments of fallen metal and went back with them in the launch to Tacoma.” 

Military Investigations Arnold then spoke to Lieutenant Frank Brown of the U.S. military intelligence, who had also seen the fragments of metal when he flew over the location in a B.29 bomber. He sketched, for Arnold, photos that had come to intelligence. One of the sketches showed a photograph taken some three weeks previously by Wm. A. Rhodes over Phoenix, Arizona. It showed a strange vessel, looking like the heel of a shoe, ie. parabolic in shape, with a hole near one of the curves. Rhodes had said that there were two tails of vapor trailing from the edges of the ‘heel’. One even more remarkable picture shown to Arnold looked exactly like Arnold’s own (famous) sighting of nine strange machines flying in formation on June 24th 1947. The startling thing was that this picture was taken by a Captain F.W. Banner of the British barque, ‘Lady of the Lake’, in mid-ocean off the coast of Liberia on March 22nd, 1870 – 77 years BEFORE Arnold’s sighting. It looked like a half moon with a tail in it, or like a half-peak in the center of the disc. The object was flying against the wind and was visible for half an hour. This account seems to have all the hallmarks of a classic sighting; strange metallic craft, fragments of strange metal recovered and even being followed by a MIB encounter.