50 Years Ago Today Armada of Saucers Witnessed over
Farmington, New Mexico
March 18, 1950, Vol. 61, No. 194, Saturday
(front page banner headline)
Huge ‘Saucer’ Armada Jolts Farmington
Crafts Seen By Hundreds – Speed Estimated at 1000
MPH, Altitude 20,000 feet – For the third consecutive day flying saucers
have been reported over Farmington. And on each of the three days their
arrival here was reported between 11 and noon. – Three persons called
the Daily Times office to report seeing strange objects in the air just
before noon. – Persons along Main Street once again could be seen
looking skyward and pointing. – High winds and a dust storm prevented
Fully half of this town’s population still is certain today that it
saw space ships or some strange aircraft — hundreds of them zooming
through the skies yesterday. Estimates of the number ranged from
"several" to "more that 500". Whatever they were, they caused a major
sensation in this community, which lies only 110 air miles northwest of
the huge Los Alamos Atomic installation.
Image: Microfilm of March 18, 1950 Farmington
Image: Close-up of microfilm
The objects appeared to play tag high in the air. At times they
streaked away at almost unbelievable speeds. One witness did a
triangulation sighting on one of the objects and estimated its speed at
about 1,000 miles an hour, and estimated its size as approximately twice
that of a B-29.
Farmington citizens stood in the streets yesterday watching the first
reported mass "flying saucer" flight ever sighted. Traffic was slowed
to avoid hitting sky gazers. The office of the Farmington Daily Times
was deluged with calls from persons who saw the objects.
A Red Leader
Scores described the objects as silvery discs. A number agreed they
saw one that was red in color — bigger and faster, and apparently the
Clayton J. Boddy, 32, business manager of Farmington Times and a
former Army Engineers captain in Italy, was one of those who saw the
Boddy was on roadway when all of a sudden I noticed a few moving
objects high in the sky.
"Moments later there appeared what seemed to be about 500 of them,"
Boddy continued. He could not estimate their size or speed, but said
they appeared to be about 15,000 feet high.
Boddy’s account was confirmed by Joseph C. and Francis C. Kelloff,
retail grocers from Antonito, Colo., who were in Farmington to inspect
the site of a proposed new store, and by Bob Foutz and John Burrell of
Farmington. The Kelloffs said the objects appeared to be flying in
One of the most impressive accounts came from Harold F. Thatcher,
head of the Farmington unit of the Soil Conservation service. Thatcher
made a triangulation on one of a number of flying craft, He said if it
had been a B-29 it would have been 2,000 feet high and travelling more
than 1000 miles per hour.
"I’m not a professional engineer," Thatcher said, "but I have
engineers working under me and I know how to work out rough
triangulation on an object."
Thatcher emphatically denied an earlier report that the
objects could have been small pieces of cotton fuzz floating in the
"It was not cotton," he said, "I saw several pieces of cotton fuzz
floating around in the air at the time, but I was not sighting on any
The "cotton" report was started by State Patrolman Andy Andrews, who
quoted several Farmington Residents as asserting it was cotton they saw.
The residents denied Andrew’s report.
The first reports of flying saucers were noted a few minutes before
11 a.m. yesterday. For a full hour thereafter people deluged the Times
with reports of the objects.
A second large scale sighting occurred at 3 p.m. At that time, Mrs.
Wilson Jones, 27, and Mr. Roy Hicks, 33, housewives reported seeing
objects to the north of Farmington, flying in perfect formation. Others
reported the same sight.
Brooks, a B-29 tail gunner during the war, said he was positive the
objects sighted were not airplanes. "The very maneuvering of the things
couldn’t be that of modern aircraft," he said.
John Bloomfield, another employee of Smoak’s garage, said the objects
he saw travelled at a speed that appeared to him to be about 10 times
faster than that of jet planes. In addition, he said the objects
frequently made right-angle turns.
"They appeared to be coming at each other head-on," he related. "At
the last second, one would veer at right angles upward, the other at
right angles downward. One saucer would pass another and immediately the
one to the rear would zoom into the lead."
Marlow Webb, another garage employee, said the objects to the naked
eye appeared to be about eight inches in diameter as seen from the
ground. He described them as about the size of a dinner plate." "They
flew sideways, on edge and at every conceivable angle," he said. "This
is what made it easy to determine that they were saucer-shaped." None of
the scores of reports told of any vapor trail or engine noise. Nor did
anyone report any windows or other markings on the craft.
In general Farmington accepted the phenomenon calmly, although it was
reported some women employees of a laundry became somewhat panicky.
Opinion was somewhat divided among those who saw the objects as to
whether they were from another planet or were some new craft of our own
nation’s devising. Some expressed the opinion the entire incident was a
fulfillment of a Bible prophesy.
From sifting all reports, the Farmington Times compiled this
"timetable" of sightings:
10:15 a.m., five to nine "saucers" zoomed
over the town’s business area for 10 minutes before moving out of sight
to the northeast.
10:00 a.m., report of hundreds seen west of town.
a.m., red "saucer" seen over town.
10:35 a.m., three objects staged
"dogfight" over town.
11:15 a.m., closest view of a large number of
11:30 a.m., all disappeared.
3 p.m., fleet of
"hundreds" seen flying in formation to the southwest from the northeast.