Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dorothy Kilgallen and Things We're Reluctant to Admit

Browsing through the “non-Earthly” anniversaries this week reminded me of a brief story by Dorothy Kilgallen, a reporter for the International News Service back in 1955. On May 23 of that year she issued a press release indicating she had received information from a high-level contact in the British government regarding an alleged UFO crash, including his confirmation that the craft was definitely not of Earth origin. Her story was linked to a rumored UFO crash in 1946 at Spitzbergen, Norway.

A number of legends surround the crash, few of which can apparently be confirmed, including the alleged involvement by retired US General James Doolittle and the craft’s subsequent transport to the United States on the USS Alabama. Most ufologists discount this story as being more in the realm of legend than reality.

What I find interesting is not the crash itself, but how the information was treated. Ms. Kilgallen was a reporter during a time when women in the profession tended to be relegated to “lighter” news, and she was in fact quite famous as a Broadway columnist. However, she began her career as a crime reporter and her coverage of the Sam Shepherd case (the wrongly-accused doctor portrayed in the movie The Fugitive) was instrumental in helping him to gain a new trial. She also interviewed Jack Ruby, the killer of the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, and publicly criticized the Warren Commission investigating the assassination. Obviously, Ms. Kilgallen was a reporter not afraid of difficult stories, yet her 1955 press release on UFOs seems to be presented as a strange aberration in the bios I’ve read about her, if it is mentioned at all.

With more than a half-century having lapsed between the 1955 press release and today, we’ve learned a woman can report the news as well as a man. Why are Earthers still struggling not to be embarrassed by the possibility that UFOs may truly be not from this planet?

1 comment:

  1. You make an excellent point as she was a ground-breaking reporter who obviously didn't take the role lightly and undoubtedly didn't come out with things unless her facts were in a row. In this day and age of women constantly being acknowledged, it's no less than shocking to me that decades pass after her at best suspicious death without so much as a peep of her life. To me that lends all the more credence to her claims.