Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monkeys from Mars

During the height of the UFO craze in 1950's America, a butcher and two barbers pulled a hoax that garnered national attention:

Edward Watters, Tom Wilson, and Arnold Payne secured a monkey's carcass, shaved it, dyed it green, and cut off its tail. They then used a blowtorch to scorch a ring in the middle of a local highway and left the body there. They reported seeing a "large, red saucer" in the middle of the road, surrounded by 2'-tall creatures, and that they had hit one with their truck.

A police officer took the bizarre report on July 7, 1953, and within hours, the Decatur, GA, police station was flooded with phonecalls from all manner of bureaus and investigative agencies, including the Air Force.

But the founder of the local GBI office, Dr. Herman Jones, and an anthropology professor from Emory, Dr. Marion Hines, unraveled the mystery within hours. By then, the story had made national headlines. While the men were fined a modest sum for obstructing a roadway, Dr. Jones was credited for bringing forensic science to the Southern state of Georgia.

You can see the monkey, along with many other oddities, at the Decatur, GA Bureau of Investigation mini-museum -- by appointment only.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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