; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

God’s Celestial Ambassador: The Life and Times of Dr. Frank E. Stranges - Part XVI


God’s Celestial Ambassador: The Life and Times of Dr. Frank E. Stranges - Part XVI

By Raymond A. Keller, PhD, a.k.a. “Cosmic Ray,” the author of the international awards-winning Venus Rising Series, published by Headline Books and available on Amazon.com, while supplies last.

Venus Rising: A Concise History of the Second Planet

Final Countdown: Rockets to Venus

Cosmic Ray's Excellent Venus Adventure

The Vast Venus Conspiracy

Lady Columba Venus Revelations

Flying Saucers and the Venus Legacy

Airliner Buzzed by Saucer over South Bend, Indiana

As one of the early members of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), Dr. Frank E. Stranges was privy to insider information about the most fantastic UFO cases personally investigated by the organization’s director, Major Donald E. Keyhoe, USMC, Retired.  Directly from Keyhoe, the evangelist got the full story on the amazing aerial UFO encounter of a stocky ex-Navy pilot, with ten years post-military flying experience with Trans-World Airways (TWA), four-stripe Captain Robert Adickes, at 8:25 p.m., CST, on Thursday, 27 April 1950 in the clear, crisp night skies over South Bend, Indiana.  Adickes was in the left-hand seat of a TWA DC-3 that night; and on the right sat another four-stripe captain, Robert F. Manning, the first officer on a regularly scheduled nonstop flight from New York to Chicago.   “The DC-3, Flight 117,” later wrote Dr. Stranges, “was cruising at 2,000 feet when a strange red light below and behind the airliner suddenly caught Manning’s eye.  Puzzled, Manning watched it close in.  The light was steadily growing in size.”


Two veteran, four-stripe captain TWA airline pilots, Robert Adickes and Robert F. Manning reported a flying saucer buzzing their DC-3 aircraft at about 20,000 feet over South Bend, Indiana, on 27 April 1950.  Artist’s rendition of the UFO appears below.  Source of all photos and artwork pertaining to the TWA Flight 117, DC-3 UFO encounter from the August 1950 issue of True Magazine (New York City, New York:  Fawcett Publications).

Dr. Stranges continued with his rendition of the unusual UFO report: “It was now an orange-red color, like a blob of hot metal sweeping through the night sky.  Craning his neck, Manning looked down on a spherical shape which glowed brightly on top, its lower half in shadow.  To Adickes, it looked like a huge red wheel rolling down a road.  He banked toward it; but the disc suddenly slid away, keeping the same distance.  He tried again, but with the same results.  Calling the hostess, Gloria Hinshaw, Adickes told her to alert the passengers, to make sure he had plenty of witnesses.”

TWA hostess Gloria Hinshaw directed the passengers’ attention to the starboard side, where they could catch a good view of the red-light pulsating flying saucer.

Dr. Frank E. Stranges was impressed with the reliability report on the pilots of Flight 117 obtained from the offices of TWA.  It described them as, “Quiet, conservative, serious and careful.”  He also learned that nobody in the TWA offices had any doubts that the object reported by Adickes and Manning was a real flying saucer, exactly as the two had reported it.  The hostess Hinshaw, in describing the UFO, noted that, “It looked like a big red wheel rolling along.  On top, it looked like it was on fire.”  And other witnesses were found among the passengers.  Eleven of them were interviewed by Major Donald E. Keyhoe himself over long distance phone calls.  The first one interviewed by the retired Marine Corps officer was S. N. Miller, the manager of a jewelry company in St. Paul, Minnesota.  He had watched the saucer for several minutes, getting a very good look at it.  “The thing was the color of a neon sign, jut a big red disc.  I used to laugh at saucer stories,” confided Miller, adding, “but I won’t anymore.”

When Dr. Stranges inquired of his friend Keyhoe about the identity of other passengers who had reported the UFO, the retired major noted that some of them were very prominent leaders in their respective spheres of influence; among them C. H. Jenkins and D. C. Bourland, engineers with the Boeing Aircraft Company; E. J. Fitzgerald, the vice president of a metal equipment corporation in Chicago, Illinois; and several officials of the International Harvester Company in Warrenville, Illinois, who were returning home from a business meeting, among others of lesser renown, mostly vacationers.  They all admitted to seeing the glowing flying saucer pacing the plane.  Keyhoe also filled Dr. Stranges in on some of the details concerning other reports of the fiery red appearance of the flying saucers.  There was one incident in Greenville, South Carolina, where on the night of 13 May 1952, astronomers had witnessed four glowing amber-colored UFOs flying in a straight line across the eastern sky.  And then, a little more than one month later, on 19 June 1952, military intelligence reports coming in from Goose Bay Air Force Base in Newfoundland, Canada, affirmed that, “A glowing red disc approached the (landing) field at night.”

Captain Adickes’ Assessment

Capt. Robert Adickes, the pilot, and his First Officer Robert Manning had the object in sight for six or seven minutes as it overtook their plane at about 2,000 feet and cruised along a parallel course.  When Keyhoe spoke with him, he noticed that Adickes was a cautious man and reluctant to say that he saw a "flying saucer." To him it was simply an “unidentified object” or a “guided missile.”  Regardless of the confidence placed in him by fellow TWA employees, he probably felt that calling the UFO a “flying saucer” might put his career at the airline in jeopardy.  

“I had just had my dinner and was wide awake,” said Adickes, “when this object flew alongside. It was definitely round, with no irregular features at all, and about 10 to 20 per cent as thick as it was round. It was very smooth and streamlined, and glowed evenly with a bright red color as if it were heated stainless steel. It was so bright it gave off a light. It left no vapor, no flame. It appeared to fly on edge, like a wheel going down a highway. I went back to show the passengers. Most of them saw it but they couldn't see it as clearly as we [pilot and co-pilot] did because cabin lights were on and their eyes weren't adjusted to darkness. I called South Bend air traffic control and asked if they had any record of unusual craft in the vicinity. They didn't.”

Adickes banked north in an effort to get a closer look. “It appeared to be controlled by repulse radar,” he said, adding that, “As I'd turn toward it, it would veer away, keeping the same distance. When I turned directly toward it, it took off at a speed judged to be about 400 m.p.h., twice my speed. It went down to 1,500 feet and streaked out of sight northward over South Bend.”  

Adickes had talked with other pilots who claimed to have seen strange sky phenomena before he saw the object over South Bend.  Hearing about the static they received from the higher ups at TWA and other airlines, as well as from Air Force brass poking their nose around the airports, he was careful to say that he did not see anything that could not be explained by physics, radar, or known aerodynamic principles. He examined it as well as he could and even opened the cockpit window on the right side so that he wasn't looking through glass. Because there was nothing to compare it with, he hesitated to estimate its size or distance, but compares it in size and color with an orange as it would be seen from about 20 feet away.

Dr. Frank’s Conclusions

In considering these cases, Dr. Frank E. Stranges concluded, “There is absolutely no question whatever concerning the actual existence of these flying objects.  There is certainly something in the skies above us and someone is responsible for them being there.  It has been stated time and time again that these objects ‘must’ be under intelligent control.  Pilot Adickes’ estimation of the radar-ranging capabilities of this object are proof of that.  However, I doubt that it was a guided missile from this Earth, however, insofar as our United States military would never launch such a weapon in the vicinity of a civilian aircraft under any circumstances.

“One of the greatest ‘thorns in the flesh’ to many Bible scholars, ministers, etc., is the statement of ‘Life on Other Planets.’  It seems very strange that who are ‘finite beings’ continually attempt to force God into the test-tube of our ‘2x4 human understanding and reasoning.’  We must never lose sight of the one prime fact that ‘God is the Creator’ while we are His creation.

“During the past few years, I have met men and women from all walks of life.  Many of these people are continually looking for truth.  They are seeking for the very truths that will cause a better life to come up over the far horizon.  Nevertheless, if we can but place our trust in God and lay hold of the blessings and provisions that are made for us through the Lord Jesus Christ, we might make the discovery that these great revelations are within the grasp of every honest believer.”