Maury Island incident
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
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.
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. 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.
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."
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. 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.
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. 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]."
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