Maury Island UFO Incident
Early Modern UFO Encounter - The UFO Before Roswell

Maury Island UFO Incident (1947)
Early Modern UFO Encounter Incident - The UFO Before Roswell

The Maury Island Incident is said to be an early modern UFO encounter incident, which allegedly took place in June 1947, three days before the famous sighting by Kenneth Arnold, widely considered the original encounter with flying saucers.

It is also one of the earliest reported instances of an alleged encounter with so-called Men in Black.

Opinions remain divided on whether the case was a genuine flying saucer sighting, a hoax or an attempt to cover up the leak of an advanced, classified aerospace project.

The incident took place shortly after June 21st, 1947. On that date, seaman Harold A. Dahl, out scavenging for drifting logs, claimed to have seen six UFOs near Maury Island.

Dahl, his son Charles, an unnamed hand and Dahl's dog were on the boat. Dahl reported seeing four, five or six (the initial FBI report says four or five) "doughnut-shaped objects" flying in formation over the area where his boat was.

He said he could see blue sky through the holes in the center of the discs, and that there appeared to be port holes lining the inside of the ring.

One of the craft appeared to be malfunctioning, Dahl reported, and another craft edged up to it, then retreated. At this point the troubled craft began ejecting objects through the inner port holes.

Slag-like material began hitting the boat and damaged the windshield, the wheel house and a light fixture, and killed his dog on the deck. He said his son was also slightly injured by falling debris.

Dahl claimed to have taken a number of photographs of the UFOs, and recovered some type of slag  ejected from the craft that malfunctioned.

Dahl also recovered samples of sheaves of lightweight white sheets of metal that fluttered like "newspapers" out from the inner ring of the troubled UFO to the ground.

The next morning, Dahl reported, a man arrived at his home and invited him to breakfast at a nearby diner; Dahl accepted the invitation.

He described the man as wearing a black suit and driving a new 1947 Buick; Dahl assumed he was a military or government representative. Dahl claimed the man told him details of the UFO sighting while they ate, though Dahl had not related his account publicly.

The man also allegedly gave Dahl a non-specific warning which Dahl took as a threat that his family might be harmed if he related details of the sighting.

Some confusion and debate over Dahl's statements have occurred. Dahl would later claim the UFO sighting was a hoax, but has also claimed the sighting was accurate, but he had claimed it was a hoax to avoid bringing harm to his family.

This event took place at the very beginning of the modern phase of UFO sightings, usually connected with Kenneth Arnold's report from Mount Rainier and the Roswell incident.

It contains elements that became embedded in UFOlogy until now, including men in black, what appeared to be a government cover up, mysterious disappearance of physical evidence, mysterious disappearances of eye witnesses (Dahl and Crisman), mysterious deaths and inexplicable situations.

Was it a hoax? If so, whose? Dahl claimed the mysterious dark man driving the black 1947 Buick who visited him retold the events on the boat as if he had been there, although Dahl himself hadn't related the story publicly at that point. Dahl began denying the story only after the two Army Air intelligence officers died in the B-25 crash.

Dahl and Crisman told the FBI investigator they had concocted the story at the urging of Ray Palmer who wanted the mysterious rock formation to have originated on an alien saucer.

They claimed to be playing along with Palmer who wanted a story to publish, and yet the FBI agent also notes that Dahl and Crisman were "obviously" not telling all they knew and were attempting to cover something up.

Confronted on the one side with credible testimony by reliable witnesses and even military personnel with top secret security clearances on the one side and clamor in the public media on the other side, some U.S. military organizations undertook studies to determine the nature of and possible threat posed by the UFOs.

Many wondered whether the UFOs were extraterrestrial or whether they were a new Soviet espionage method, and the public and intelligence communities noted the tendency of UFOs to appear over military bases during the early years of the Cold War.

One of the earliest investigations was Project Twinkle associated with sightings of green fireballs by scientists and staff with the post-WWII Manhattan Project and at Sandia National Laboratories in the American Southwest. Project Grudge soon followed, which in turn was replaced by Project Bluebook.