The post-war UFO era did not begin with pilot Kenneth Arnold’s famous sighting of unidentified craft in formation over the Cascade Mountains, but three days earlier, on 21 June 1947, over nearby Maury Island in Puget Sound near Tacoma, Washington. One Harold Dahl, on a patrol boat recovering logs, allegedly observed and filmed six doughnut-shaped craft, one of which was in trouble, lost altitude and spewed black and white metallic substances into the bay, burning his son’s arm and killing his dog. Two days later, Dahl’s associate Fred Crisman visited the site, viewed the debris and had his own UFO sighting, he claimed.
These incidents have been generally regarded as hoaxes in UFO lore, but, as Kenn Thomas describes in Maury Island UFO, the players and the associated circumstances warrant further analysis. Who was the mysterious Man in Black who visited Dahl the day after his sighting? And why did the Air Force send two investigators to interview eyewitnesses, only to dismiss their deaths in a plane crash and henceforth clamp down on official UFO investigations?
Well, Thomas doesn’t have all the answers (many witnesses are now dead), but, drawing on FBI and Air Force documents and his own interviews with eyewitnesses, he convinces us that weird things did indeed happen at Maury Island. The connections he makes between Crisman’s intelligence background and various conspiracy-type events (e.g., the JFK assassination) in ensuing decades take this book well beyond the bounds of ufology, but without necessarily resolving their relationship to the original event. With extensive footnotes and appendices (occupying nearly half the pages), Thomas’s book is the most definitive Maury Island account yet available.