The Maury Island incident is nothing more than a hoax; here are the facts. In July, 1947, Kenneth Arnold received a letter from Raymond Palmer. Palmer wrote Arnold that he had received a letter from a man named Fred Lee Crisman. In the letter, Crisman claimed that he was a harbor patrolman at Tacoma, Washington and that he and an employee of his named Harold Dahl had seen several UFOs near Maury Island in Puget Sound.
Story of Six UFOs:
The story that Dahl told was this: On June 21, 1947, Dahl, his son, his dog, and two crewmen were on a boat near Maury Island when suddenly six large metallic objects appeared silently overhead. They were doughnut-shaped, with a hole in the center and rows of windows around the outside. Five of the UFOs were circling the sixth, which seemed to be having problems. Dahl beached the boat on Maury Island in order to take photos.
Hot Material Spews Out:
The UFOs hovered about 500 feet over them and one of the circling UFOs moved in and touched the ailing one in the center. When it did, the center object began spitting out hot metallic material from its center hole. A lot of the stuff fell on the boat, damaging it, and some fell on the dog, killing it. One piece even burned Dahl's son's arm. This regurgitation seemed to "fix" the ailing UFO, and all six objects headed off toward the ocean.
Men in Black:
Dahl picked up some of the debris and put it into the boat and then headed back to Tacoma. He took his son to the emergency room and then reported to his superior, Fred Lee Crisman. Crisman did not believe Dahl, and was in fact angry about the boat being damaged. The next morning, Dahl received a visit from a "man in a dark suit", who told him that he had seen something he wasn't supposed to and warned him not to discuss it with anyone.
Arnold Gets Help:
Crisman, meanwhile, had taken a boat out to the spot on Maury Island to investigate. He found tons of debris scattered about, and, as he was examining the debris, he saw one of the objects appear overhead. After hearing the story and being shown a lump of the material, Arnold decided he needed some help, so he called his friend and fellow UFO witness, United Airlines Captain E. J. Smith. Smith said he would be glad to help, so Arnold flew up to Seattle and brought him back to Tacoma.
Cannot Produce Pictures:
The two examined the debris that Dahl and Crisman brought them, and heard the story over several times. Dahl claimed the pictures had come out spotted, as if exposed to some sort of radiation. Somehow, the two men could never seem to actually produce any of the pictures, spotted or not. The local United Press representative called and said that he was receiving anonymous phone calls from someone who apparently knew everything that Arnold and Smith were doing and saying.
Two Killed in Plane Crash:
After seeing the debris and hearing the story, Brown and Davidson decided that it was a hoax. They took a box of the debris and told Arnold they had to leave. They drove to McChord Field and told the intelligence officer there that they felt it was a hoax. They hadn't told Arnold because they didn't want to embarrass him, he was so taken in by Dahl and Crisman. The next morning, August 1, they boarded a B-25 back to Hamilton Field. A few hours later, they were killed when the B-25 crashed.
The newspapers hinted that the plane had been sabotaged because they were carrying classified material about flying saucers. They made much of the fact that the crew chief and a passenger were able to bail out, but that Brown and Davidson were not. The official explanation was that the only classified material they were carrying was a file of reports that had nothing to do with flying saucers.
Debris Found to be Worthless:
The plane crashed because an engine caught fire. Brown and Davidson couldn't bail out in time because a wing broke loose and tore off the tail section. Under questioning, Dahl and Crisman later admitted that the "debris" was only worthless slag from a local smelter. There had been no UFOs. They had only been telling publisher Raymond Palmer what he wanted to hear. The Air Force considered prosecuting the two men, but decided that they hadn't actually meant to cause any harm.
Arnold's Plane Crashes:
Arnold packed up and flew home in disgust. On the way home, however, he crashed his plane at Pendleton because somehow the fuel valve had gotten turned off. He wasn't hurt. Crisman and Dahl seem to have vanished. No one could find them. According to Jenny Randles, two intelligence analysts who studied the case in 1980 said it had all the earmarks of an intelligence operation intended, perhaps, to discredit Arnold's original UFO sighting.