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Wilbert Smith, A Crashed Saucer, and the Ultimate Alien Encounter PDF Print E-mail
Written by Grant Cameron   
Sunday, 09 August 2009 04:38

As more and more is made public about the flying saucer research of Canadian Project Magnet Director Wilbert Smith, it becomes more and more apparent that Smith enjoyed a high “need-to-know” on the subject, and at least temporarily held a close relationship with those doing the highest-level research in the United States. Agencies included the CIA, U.S. Navy, FBI, NASA, and the U.S. Research and Development Board.

Wilbert Smith wrote about some of this cooperation in his November 21, 1950 Top Secret UFO memo to the Department of Transport. “They indicated,” Smith wrote, “that if Canada is doing anything at all in geo-magnetics they would welcome a discussion with suitably accredited Canadians.”

Vannevar Bush, who Wilbert Smith had described in the Top Secret UFO memo as the head of a small group in the United States making a “concentrated effort” to discover the modus operandi of the flying saucers, also discussed Canadian-U.S. cooperation.

“We must depend heavily on the Canadians for investigation of communication, navigation, projectile control methods and ionospheric measurements in the all-important auroral belt. Interchange of technical information should be uninhibited to enable us to gain necessary Canadian information so that studies of the earth’s magnetic field may be completed.” [1],[2]

As a strange footnote to the possible exchange of flying saucer secrets from the United States to the Canadians, all disclosure of technical information to foreign nationals was contained in policy document “State-Defense MIC (Military Information Control Committee) 206/29.” The committee determined the ”various potential countries-recipient and delineated the limits of classification” for each “whether made orally or by means of transfer of reports or other documents.”

The Committee had a member from each of the three military services, and there was a fourth member of the committee from the Research and Development Board. Interestingly, the R&DB member for the period 1950-1951 when Smith first interviewed Dr. Robert Sarbacher, wrote his Top Secret UFO memo, and was sending UFO papers to Vannevar Bush, was none other Dr. Eric A. Walker. (At the time Executive Director at the R&DB)

Dr. Walker would go on to give a number of UFO interviews, which became the basic of the book “UFOs, MJ-12, and the Government.” If Smith had requested access to the craft and bodies, later interviews with Dr. Walker indicate Walker would have known where to send him.

The Crashed Saucer

The Smith crashed flying saucer story actually goes back to the early 1980s. Alberta researcher John Musgrave told this researcher that Buck Buchanan, a close private associate of Smith in his post Project Magnet flying saucer research (1954-1961), lived near him and was telling him some incredible stories about his days working with Smith.

In a later letter to this author, Musgrave mentioned the story that Smith claimed he had been given a peak at a flying saucer at a Washington D.C. Air Force Base in the early 1950s. Although Musgrave didn’t reveal the source, it seemed certain that this was one of the amazing stories he had been told by Buchanan.

Musgrave stated his belief that he thought Smith might have been caught up in some sort of disinformation, and only thought he had seen a real craft. Musgrave made no reference to alien bodies being involved in the Washington saucer story.

In April 2002 I interviewed Wilbert Smith’s oldest son James and asked him about the crashed flying story told by Buchanan. James Smith confirmed the story, stating that his father had told him the story near the end of his life. What he had been told agreed with Buchanan’s Washington Air Force Base version.

The Bodies

A second item that adds credence to the idea that Smith had been taken into the ultimate inner circle of those who had actually controlled the extraterrestrial proof was a story that Wilbert Smith had actually seen the extraterrestrial bodies from one of the crashes.

This genesis of this body story goes back to the Hotel Algonquin in 1972. Psychiatrist and paranormal researcher Dr. Berthold Schwarz was meeting with Harold Sherman, a renowned paragnost, psychic researcher and author of more than 90 books. Sherman was also prominent for his experiments in telepathy conducted between himself in New York City and Sir Hubert Wilkins who was at the time in the Canadian arctic.

During the conversation with Dr. Schwarz, Sherman began talking about his friendship with Mr. Silas Newton. Newton was the geophysicist, and oil businessman who gave the original lecture about the 1948 Aztec, New Mexico crash at the University of Denver on March 8, 1950.

It was also Silas Newton who had approached prominent Hollywood writer Frank Scully with the story of the Aztec crash, which Scully wrote up in a best selling book called “Behind the Flying Saucers.” The book created a stir of controversy and was generally written off by the majority of researchers as a hoax.

Part of book’s problems was that despite many attempts from researchers, reporters, and people offering movie deals, neither Newton nor Scully would reveal the eight different sources that had provided the details of the Aztec crash.

Harold Sherman had met Newton through Frank Scully who had been a long-time friend. He went on to know Newton for 30 years and gained great respect for him. He called him “an altogether extraordinary person who probably was misunderstood in many fields, but he had an awful lot to him.”[3]

According to Schwarz, it was during the 1972 discussion that Sherman had told him Wilbert Smith had provided access to the Aztec crash bodies for Silas Newton. In his 1983 book “UFO Dynamics“ Schwarz wrote “through the intervention of Wilbert Smith, electronics expert and organizer of Project Magnet Newton later actually saw the humanoids himself.”[4]

The significant part of this disclosure is that the Newton, although accosted by many researchers as an untrustworthy con man, ended up describing an event that now fits with what we know about Smith.

As well as telling a story that other more reliable people were telling, the story also rings true because if Newton made up the story about seeing the bodies it makes no sense that he would claim to have been given this ultimate Top Secret access through a foreign national. He would surely have claimed access through some high level U.S. official, or through his mysterious group of eight scientists known as ‘Dr. Gee.”

Another fact not known in 1972 when Schwarz and Sherman spoke is the fact that Smith was very interested in the Aztec crash. In 1983 a transcript of a September 1950 interview between Wilbert Smith and a U.S. military scientist by the name of Dr. Robert Sarbacher was released.

In this interview Dr. Robert Sarbacher had told Smith “the facts in the book (Frank Scully’s book on crashed flying saucers) are substantially correct.”[5] Smith would therefore have been operating under the assumption that the Aztec crash did take place despite the numerous debunking articles that were being written about the Scully book in the early fifties. There is little doubt that Smith would have followed on Aztec with other high-ranking U.S. officials.

There was no correspondence between Smith and Scully or Newton found in Scully’s files at the University of Wyoming, or in the Wilbert Smith files found at the University of Ottawa. Any contact with Newton by Smith would have been by phone or through channels.

The evidence that Smith had seen the bodies continued to surface in a 1997 message published on the Usenet from a former President of the Montreal Flying Saucer Club. This group was very active during the sixties, and it had contacts with the Ottawa Flying Saucer Club just down the road. The two groups had also done work together on two large objects that had been recovered from the shore of the St. Laurence River in 1961.

The story told by the former president, who identified himself only as The Observer, is that four members of the Montreal group had been visiting Ottawa in early 1964, and that they had stayed over-night at Mrs. Smith’s home.

It was during supper during the evening that Mrs. Smith told tales about her former husband. One of the stories included the fact that Wilbert Smith had personally viewed dead alien bodies. In an E-mail to this author The Observer wrote,

“We were told about the bodies that Wilbert Smith had seen when he was personally invited by the US military. We were simply told that he saw the bodies and from the impression that I received it was for only a short time - minutes not hours.”[6]

This Montreal Flying Saucer Club member further described the bodies according to what he recalled Mrs. Smith had stated.

“Mr. Smith described (to his wife) the dead occupants as having been approximately 4.5 to 5 feet in height, grayish blue tint to the skin, large eyes, small slit for a mouth and four long fingers with no thumbs.”[7]

This large eyes and four finger description is the only time a “grey type” description of the alien was ever associated with Wilbert Smith. The Observer, in relating what Mrs. Smith had told the four Montreal members, might have added more than what they were actually told. For example, in a separate article written by The Observer concerning the disclosures made by Wilbert’s wife, the claim was made that the Smith description was associated with Roswell. The article also stated Smith had been invited to the crash site. Smith did not get involved in flying saucers till 1950, so there is no way he was at the Roswell crash site in July 1947.[8]

The large eyed grey idea was not only unknown to Wilbert Smith, it was also unknown in the UFO world prior to the 1961 abduction of Betty and Barney Hill. There were tall 7’ 8’ or 10’ beings, little men, small hairy dwarf like beings, dwarf-like beings with large heads, entities shaped like potato bags, robot-like creatures, entities without heads, and many many “humanlike figures.”

The days when Wilbert Smith was researching where dominated by contactees, and Wilbert Smith was one himself. In a letter to a Mr. Milne in 1957, for example, Smith stated, “It is my opinion that the people from outside are so much like us that they could mingle with us and we would be none the wiser.”

Once Smith died and the Hill abduction gained widespread publicity, all the alien encounters from 1947-1961 were basically removed from UFO histories as if they had never occurred.

Most present day researchers, for example, would probably agree with J. Allen Hynek (Scientific Consultant to the United States Air Force Project Blue Book) who described “most contactees as ‘pseudo-religious fanatics of low credibility value,”[9] or with abduction researcher David Jacobs who stated “basically contactee followers were gullible people who, through lack of adequate factual information about the UFO phenomena, formulated a belief system that easily incorporated the contactees “claims as fact.’”[10]

The usual telling of the Smith body story is the one related in 1998 when researcher and author Palmiro Campagna wrote the following in the Postscript section of his 1998 soft cover edition of “The UFO Files.” He wrote,

“According to James Smith, on one of his many trips to the U.S. Wilbert Smith told his son that he was shown recovered bodies from a recovered craft. Wilbert Smith described the bodies as small and humanoid in appearance.”

In July 2000 I interviewed James Smith by phone and revisited the issue of the alien bodies that Smith had seen. James stated that he had been told about the bodies as his father was near death. James was did not recall that the body description involved greys – simply small people.

In March 2002 James Smith was a guest on the “Strange Days... Indeed” radio show where he described the UFO hardware his father had received from the United States to analyze, and he again was asked about the alien body story.

James Smith described the aliens as “small humanoid” and “like descriptions of the time.” These descriptions were in agreement with descriptions made by many other people having alien encounters in the fifties. They would also agree with Smith’s notion that alien were not much different than we were and might even be distant relatives.


If it occurred, it seems most probable that the Smith viewing of the crashed saucers and bodies occurred in the early fifties. The reasons for that would include.

  • Correspondence from the Canadian Embassy in Washington during 1951 indicate that during that period Smith was dealing, at least indirectly, with Vannevar Bush at the Research and Development Board in Washington, D.C. Bush, being the head of the U.S. flying saucer effort would have been able to give Smith access to craft and bodies.
  • Most importantly, Smith directed the classified Project Magnet from December 1950 to August 1954. With his clearance he would have been in a position to be shown the craft and body. Once the classified program was closed down in August 1954, Smith’s clearance and “need-to-know” on flying saucers probably went with it.
  • Prior to the CIA Robertson panel in January 1953, the subject of flying saucers was more openly discussed. It is then more probable Smith was shown the craft and body before the CIA began the debunking campaign.
  • The report from Sherman that Silas Newton was given access to the bodies through Wilbert Smith’s help, also indicates an early fifties date.
  • The Musgrave story concerning the Washington crashed saucer viewing mentioned the early fifties.
  • The tone of Smith writings near the end of his life in 1962 was not upbeat. Smith had not received a message from AFFA for almost two years. He had taken his anti-gravity experiment apart telling his wife that the world was not ready for it. His writing began to reflect his strong belief that the important part of the UFO mystery was in the philosophy of the aliens rather than in their technological hardware. In the early fifties Smith’s writing had showed a keen interest in discovering the propulsion of the strange new objects.


[1] Memorandum: “Vannevar Bush to Colonel Wood” Research and Development Board Files, National Archives, Box 534, Folder 3. Most of the Canadian contact was made through the liaison of the Research Defense Board of Canada, which was “charged with the establishment of all policies in the field of military research and development as well as exercising the executive functions of administering all the research and development installations in the Military Establishment.

[2] Dr. Omond Solandt, then the head of the Canadian Defense Research Board has on many occasions denied that this Smith – Bush relationship occurred. In a June 8, 1991 interview with Dr. Henry Victorian Solandt said, “Not that they (U.S.) were doing any work on it. They were watching it very closely as far as I knew... I got my information from Van Bush. At that time I used to see him a couple times during the year, and that was a subject that we sometimes discussed, but we never did any joint work on it.”

Solandt was questioned many times about whether or not the Smith had worked with the Americans. In early interviews Solandt stated that Canadians were not granted anything higher than Top Secret. However, in the 1991 interview with Victorian he contradicted this when asked if the Americans would have shared such “very secretive or above top secret” material. “They certainly would have,” replied Solandt. “If we would have shown interest in it and the need to know. We have shared some above top secret information. This is not exactly what we regarded a s being very important.

[3] Schwarz, Berthold “UFO Dynamics – Book 2” Carlstadt, New Jersey: Rainbow Books, 1983 p.535

[4] Ibid. P. 534

[5] From the transcript of an interview between Wilbert Smith and Dr. Robert Sarbacher, September 15, 1950. Found in Wilbert Smith’s personal files.

[6] E-mail “The Observer < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > to Grant Cameron”

[7] The Observer “Roswell is Factual” alt. Alien Visitors 06/18/1997

[8] Another thing that indicates the grey was foreign to Smith and everyone else in the 1950s was the reaction of Wilbert Smith’s metallurgist to Dr. Robert Sarbacher’s description of the alien bodies as “insect like.” When this Sarbacher/Steinman letter became public I sent it to the metallurgist for comment. He phoned days later absolutely shocked at the insect description. He told me that the Smith group had discussed the aliens many times and that this type of alien was never brought up.

[9] Pope, Nick, “The Uninvited”

[10] Jacobs, David “The UFO Controversy In America” Indiana University Press 1975 p. 113`

crash_comic This comic released in January 1997 was released a full 18 months before Len Stringfield made is historic speech at the MUFON Symposium about crashed flying saucers and dead alien bodies. Some people assume discussion of crashes and aliens have always been around. It is not so.
Last Updated on Sunday, 09 August 2009 05:12


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