Maury Island incident

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Maury Island incident is located in Washington (state)
Maury Island incident
Location of Maury Island, Washington

The Maury Island Incident (June 21, 1947) refers to claims made by Fred Crisman and Harold Dahl of falling debris and threats by men in black following sightings of unidentified flying objects in the sky over Maury Island in Puget Sound.

Incident and immediate aftermath[edit]

Most of what is speculated comes from a report by Kenneth Arnold, an aviator who had claimed to see several UFOs in the area around that time, in the first UFO sightings ever recorded in the modern era.[1][2]

Crisman and Dahl claimed to Arnold that they were harbor patrolmen on a workboat near Maury Island and that they saw six doughnut-shaped objects in the sky. According to Crisman and Dahl, one of the objects dropped a substance that resembled lava or "white metal" onto their boat, breaking a worker's arm and killing a dog. Dahl also claimed he was later approached by a man in a dark suit and told not to talk about the incident.[3] While even the claim that Crisman and Dahl were harbor patrolmen is now believed to be false, Arnold was convinced by their story and contacted an Air Force intelligence officer, who flew in along with another from California. The officers concluded the metal objects were aluminum and not of interest. They did not reveal this to Arnold, however, to avoid embarrassing him. The officers then died in a crash on their way back to California.[4]

The FBI then proceeded to investigate this case, and concluded that Crisman and Dahl's sightings were a hoax. In their files, they noted that Dahl stated that "if questioned by the authorities he was going to say it was a hoax because he did not want any further trouble over the matter." The files also detail a few alternate stories communicated by Crisman and Dahl to local newspapers and other media outlets, and conclude that they had contacted a variety of publications "in the hope of building up their story through publicity to a point where they could make a profitable deal with Fantasy Magazine, Chicago, Illinois."[5]


Raymond A. Palmer, who is often credited with inventing the concept of the UFO, began Fate Magazine in 1948 with a cover story by Arnold on his investigation of the Maury incident as well as his nearby alleged UFO sightings. The pair also wrote the book The Coming of the Saucers.[1] The story was later retold in Gray Barker's 1956 book "They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers," which helped to popularize the image of "Men In Black" in mainstream culture.[6]

An account also appeared in the debunked Majestic 12 documents, which claim that the metal fragments were part of a nuclear reactor and that they were subsequently turned over to the CIA.[7] Craig Glenday also cited the Maury Island Incident, along with the Arnold sightings, in his 1999 book The UFO Investigator's Handbook as a notable UFO incident surrounding Mount Rainier, which he described as a "UFO laborator[y]."[8]

Dahl's story was told in the 2014 short film The Maury Island Incident.[9][10]

In 2017 the Washington State Senate passed a resolution acknowledging the 70th anniversary of the incident.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Nickell, Joe. "Creators of the Paranormal". The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Center for Inquiry. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  2. ^ Sheaffer, Robert. "The First "Flying Saucer" Sighting - Kenneth Arnold Mt. Rainier, Washington - June 24, 1947". The Debunker's Domain. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  3. ^ Harrison, Albert A. (2007). Starstruck: Cosmic Visions in Science, Religion, and Folklore. Berghahn Books. pp. 123–. ISBN 978-1-84545-286-5. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  4. ^ "The Maury Island UFO Incident". How Stuff Works. How Stuff Works. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  5. ^ "
  6. ^ Patton, Phil (24 June 1997). "Modern Myth Men In Black Movie Offers New Twist On Flying-Saucer Folklore". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  7. ^ Klass, Phillip J. "Skeptics UFO Newsletter 74" (PDF). The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Center for Inquiry. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  8. ^ McGaha, James; Nickell, Joe. "Mount Rainier: 'Saucer Magnet'". The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Center for Inquiry. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  9. ^ "The Maury Island Incident | Before Roswell". Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  10. ^ Schaefer, Scott (22 May 2014), The Maury Island Incident, Aaron Breitbarth, Tony Doupe, Allen Fitzpatrick, retrieved 7 March 2018
  11. ^ "Washington State Legislature". Retrieved 2 July 2019.