14 March 2020

IN THE BEGINNING

Maurizio Verga. Flying Saucers In The Sky: 1947: When UFOs Came From Mars. Self Published via Amazon. 2020.

Every now and then a UFO book arrives where you just have to go Wow! This is most assuredly one of them. Maurizio Verga is a UFO researcher of great repute from Italy, who deserves wider recognition globally than the language barrier tends to allow.
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This remarkable work will change that and deservedly so. It is a culmination of his four decades in the field and lengthy research. Non Italian readers need not worry, as this book is not parochial, nor hard to read as the English text flows easily. It is not a small book and is crammed with illustrations – from reproduced newspaper articles to sketches and cartoon strips. It is a tour de force on one year in UFO history.

That year – 1947 – is, of course, seminal. It was the time when the TERM flying saucer was created by a journalist misinterpreting the words of private pilot Kenneth Arnold after he saw a formation of strange 'craft' crossing the Cascade Mountains of north western USA on 24 June. A date that UFO enthusiasts still regard as the anniversary of the subject. Indeed, in 1997, for the 50th anniversary, ITV networked across the UK a live 90 minute special of TV series Strange But True? Revealing just how important that year was considered historically. Five decades on several million viewers were still fascinated by what 1947 kick-started.

But, whilst, of course, the Arnold case gets a thorough dissection here, 1947 was so much more than one event. It featured other legendary incidents such as the alleged Roswell, New Mexico, 'crash' with alien occupants. this famous saga is an incident that has ALSO spawned a popular TV drama series loosely extrapolating forward. Very loosely you might think, Though when you see what happened back in the day, less so!

The real strength of this labour of love is not just the phenomenal research into the background of well known events, but the other incidents that presaged and followed them. For 1947 began in January with RAF encounters over the North Sea in a time when 'saucers' did not yet even exist.

It is not until page 93 before we get to the supposed starting point of the Arnold sighting. Verga sets out the context of why society then was primed to 'discover' or 'invent' or 'misperceive' an invasion from beyond, with a cogent assessment from the 1897 phantom airships, via science fiction stories and other events that tilled the ground to be planted with saucer stories.

From there on the book has multiple sections devoted to the key moments, influential people who were early players in the nascent UFO community and a useful time-line of first events or mentions that resonate with cases many modern readers will likely associate with more recent times.

Throughout the text the book is just stuffed full of the raw accounts, articles and images reproduced from the time. These help show how and why thought processes developed and the movers and shakers who by accident or design set in train the things we take for granted today, and shows that did not spring up out of nowhere.

How and why these things came about matters now as much as it did back then. But thanks to this well told account of what occurred we can perhaps see more lucidly than many did in those distant post war days. The strength of a book like this is in not skimping on presenting the raw data. You can use it to test your own ideas and theories. It is treasure trove of historical evidence.

Considering the self produced nature of this book – with Amazon's help ensuring it does not look like some amateur UFO magazine by youthful enthusiasts – this is well presented and easy to follow. The larger format helps make it look and feel weighty and easier to read the newspaper small print reproduced.

This book has a moment that matches the substance it reveals. Yet it is not overpriced as many books are these days. If you have any interest in how the UFO mystery began and the twists and turns of how society viewed it and newspapers across America and the world interpreted this new quirky phenomenon – then don't hesitate to buy it, you will not be disappointed.

This is quite possibly the most important UFO book of the 21st century. – Jenny Randles.

1 comment:

Curt Collins said...

I picked up the ebook version recently and it's outstanding. The information documents and demonstrates how UFO lore evolved and was transmitted. It's a great examination of the birth of ufology. Bravo!|

For anyone interested, it's very similar to the approach Claude Falkstrom and I use to examine the first 25 years of UFO history at The Saucers That Time Forgot.
https://thesaucersthattimeforgot.blogspot.com/