Dayton’s Hangar 18

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 9th, 2008

On April 9-10, 2008, I’ll be making a brief visit to Dayton, Ohio (to deliver a private cryptozoology talk). Today, I pause to pass along a bit of Forteana.

A couple years ago I was the co-author of Weird Ohio, and one of the stories I enjoyed sharing in that book was of Dayton’s so-called “Hangar 18.” I thought you might like to read a little about it today, while I travel to that fair city. (It is hardly about cryptids, but it certainly is a strange location tale, sort of an “urban legend of place,” and it speaks to what happens to some evidence, allegedly.)

hangar 18

Dayton’s Hangar 18

Arizona’s Senator Barry Goldwater asked to look inside it. Presidents, tourists, and ufologists have tried to see what’s there. How many aliens that crashed at Roswell, it is asked as if the question is full of facts, are stored at a special storage facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio? But the myths and reality of Hangar 18 are hard to pin down, and live on today.

According to reports, a flying saucer crashed during a violent thunderstorm in a remote area of New Mexico, just northeast of Corona, west of Roswell, on or around July 2, 1947. Military personnel from Roswell Army Air Force Base in Roswell, New Mexico quickly cleaned up the crash site. Roswell has always been a super secret location, because that’s where the bomb squads with Atom bombs were stationed. In addition to the crashed saucer, reports, unconfirmed eyewitness accounts, said that four-grayed skinned alien bodies, dead spacemen, no more than three or foot feet tall, were also recovered from the crash.

Where would they take these items of interest to national security? The remains of this spacecraft and its occupants were placed, we are told, on huge transports and quickly flown to the infamous “Hangar 18” at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
Did any of these events actually take place? Who knows now? But one thing is clear, Hangar 18 and Wright-Patterson have been the focus as the location they would have been stored.

Senator Goldwater, who was also a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force Reserve did actually ask his friend, General Curtis LeMay if he could take a peek in the room at Wright-Patterson where he had heard the alien bodies were kept. LeMay’s curt reply, according to Goldwater was: “Not only can’t you get into it but don’t you ever mention it to me again.”

In the 1960s-1970s, one of the most prominent ufologists in Ohio was Leonard H. Stringfield. As opposed to all the skepticism, ridicule and jokes that came from within the ranks of ufology about the reports of Hangar 18, Stringfield decided to conduct a series of serious investigations and interviews. As ufology historian Jerome Clark points out in his books, Stringfield then began publishing a series of monographs with credible firsthand accounts of people saying they had seen the bodies at Wright-Patterson.

As Clark writes in Encyclopedia of Strange and Unexplained Physical Phenomena (1993), what was striking about Stringfield’s informants’ descriptions of a pear-shaped headed, slant-eyed gray, four-feet tall aliens in his 1979 works is “its anticipation of the type of being that would figure in the UFO-abduction lore of the 1980s and beyond. Humanoids of this sort are rare in the early UFO literature of occupant reports.” Jerome Clark’s work confirmed that others had heard or seen some very strange things, some even said to be aliens in storage at Wright-Patterson.

But skeptics are hard on the story of Roswell and the grays at Hangar 18. What we do know is that Dayton, Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force base may not house aliens, but for certain it does contain wonderful archives and alleged outer space pancakes.

On April 18, 1961, Joe Simonton was having a late breakfast at 11 AM when some low, jet-like noises disturbed him and he went outside. Seeing a disc land, hatch open and a non-threatening being get out, Joe saw the visitors didn’t speak English, and all communication took place in the form of gestures. But also, according to Joe, he apparently telepathically picked up a message to get some water in a jug for the entity.

Then, according to the Air Force report: “Looking into the [saucer] he saw a man ‘cooking’ on some kind of flameless cooking appliance.” They were fixing what Joe took to be pancakes. Three humanoids in a silver craft landed in Eagle River, Wisconsin. Apparently in trade for the water, they gave Joe Simonton four pancakes. Each one was about three inches in diameter, and had little holes throughout their surface. Simonton ate one. “It tasted like cardboard,” Joe told the Associated Press.

Astronomer J. Allen Hynek was dispatched by the US Air Force to investigate. He took one of the pancakes away for government analysis at the Air Force Technical Intelligence Center. They found them to be made from flour, sugar and grease. One writer Jay Rath says it was rumored that the wheat in the pancake was “of an unknown type.”

Jerome Clark in his High Strangeness: UFOs from 1960 through 1979: The UFO Encyclopedia, Volume 3 (1996) gives a more detailed rundown of the Joe Simonton case under “Eagle River CE3” on pages 168-175. Clark’s comprehensive report on the case does not talk about anything but how the objects were seen as “pancakes.” The FDA who also analyzed one of the objects called them all “pancakes.” Clark also does note the “pancakes” were “still hot” when Simonton took a bite into one of them.
The official Air Force verdict for the Simonton Pancake Incident: “Unexplained.” Jerry Clark basically concurred: “There was, and is, no evidence to suggest that Joe Simonton cooked up–in the literal sense–a bogus UFO story.”


(I’ve also written about this episode at the Anomalist, see “Space Pancakes…
A Fortean Breakfast Story.”

Fortean investigator George Wagner tells me he actually saw the famed Simonton “space pancakes,” guess where? That’s right, at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. In the 1970s, Wagner writes: “My younger brother and I drove up to the United States Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson to see Glenn Miller’s trombone. Not far away from the Miller exhibit was another devoted to 1950s flying saucer contactees. Here was the ‘pancake’ fragment, behind plate glass, stapled (single staple) to a piece of white cardboard. The piece had a strikingly ‘honeycombed’ appearance, nearly as much air-holes as substance, but this may have been due to the ‘outer space’ food item drying out over the years. I really didn’t have much experience at studying 15-year-old pancakes!”

So, if you are ever at Wright-Patterson, on your tour of Weird Ohio, stop by. Ask if you can see the aliens, but be happy if they at least show you the “space pancakes.”

Of course, the little Air Force museum there and Hangar 18 may be two completely different things. But it’s all about location, location, location.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

12 Responses to “Dayton’s Hangar 18”

  1. steele79 responds:

    I have a English friend who was in the RAF and has some good connections with some USAF friends of his that served at Wright-Patt. He told me that he was told that hanger 18 and others hangers at the base were used for storing “Aircraft” that had been “captured” during the cold war. They were dismantled then rebuilt and then studied then tested there or sent to other bases for testing. But Wright-Patt was used because it has so many technical wings in the air force stationed there alot of engineers scientists etc. He also said some of them were standard soviet block planes like migs etc that the pilot defected by just flying to Germany or turkey or japan but some were unique aircraft. Like experimental planes that the pilot defected with it. And that the whole UFO story was made to distract people’s attention in case they saw the planes either in parts or assembled they wouldn’t think it was a Russian plane or something because sometimes the government had to give the soviet planes back if the soviets found out the U.S had there plane so speed distraction and deception was the name of the game. Because if the base was alerted to the presence of a defected soviet plane that would get into Dayton the soviets had eyes and ears in Dayton. So it was just easier to tell grunts that “these are pieces of a UFO but don’t tell anyone” that sounds better than we have a experimental soviet x plane. i don’t know but that was the explanation on hanger 18 i got

  2. red_pill_junkie responds:

    It’s so nice to find a bit of Ufology into my daily dose of Cryptozoology. Thanks for that Loren, and I hope you get to taste a bit of that space pancake, eventhough by now it must be really stale and rancid! 😉

  3. sschaper responds:

    I’m skeptical of this, but if the pancakes really exist, would DNA sequencing on the flour or the grease be possible?

  4. MattBille responds:

    I have a close friend with a clearance considerably higher than my own Top Secret who worked in the Foreign Technology Division of the USAF intelligence apparatus at Wright-Pat. He told me that not only was there no Hangar 18 and no alien articfacts or bodies, but that everyone made a running joke out of it. I’ve never known what to think of Goldwater’s anecdote.

  5. kittenz responds:

    My best friend’s uncle retired a few years ago, after a career in military intelligence. He died from a rare type of cancer, and before he died he swore that there were bodies of aliens at Wright-Patterson, although they had since been moved. He insisted right up until his death that he had seen them himself. He also said that more than one alien spacecraft had been captured over several decades and that there are teams dedicated specifically to reverse-engineering them.

    Truth or fiction? I just do not know. He was a very responsible, reliable person, a career officer. He also loved a good joke. But during the many conversations that I had with him, I never got the impression that he was anything other than serious about the alien bodies.

  6. gridbug responds:

    Love the UFO detour here! Always been severely interested in the topic, as well as all things Fortean. Personally, one of my all time favorite UFO pics is of George Adamski peering out the porthole of a flying saucer, though Billy Meier’s “authentic” time travel brontosaurus photos and Semjase portraits come in a close second!

    The truth really is out there… WAY out there! Paging Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D! 😀

  7. cryptidsrus responds:

    Thanks for the story, KITTENZ!!!

    The truth IS indeed out there!!!

    Thanks for the story, Loren!!!

    Speaking of reverse engineering, there was an excellent UFO HUNTERS episode dedicated to talking about just that subject.

  8. MattBille responds:

    By the way, the USAF Museum at Wright-Pat is a huge place, with dozens of aircraft, missiles, etc. (There’s a ground attack plane prototype, the Piper Enforcer, that my father did much of the wiring in.) It’s well worth a visit. While there was no UFO exhibit when I was there last, it would not surprise me if they’d once done one that included the “pancakes,” although I suspect the Air Force didn’t waste its time trying to duplicate the secret alien recipie.

  9. harleyb responds:

    That’s interesting thanks for the info. I’ve always heard stories about the place, so who knows. It seems plausible.

  10. Point Radix responds:

    “Grey Aliens” have undergone a pop-culture evolution similar to that of the Yeti, in terms of the perception of what they are “supposed” to look like. It is only since the 1970’s when everybody knew how they were supposed to look that their current form became entrenched (and standardized). While some general similarities in descriptions always existed in the 1950’s and 1960’s accounts, there was still much more variation described (and as such, the older accounts are often more interesting).

    The Roswell aliens (being from 1947) always had a slightly different description from the standard “Grey Alien”. However, their description (as well as the “autopsy” video) suggests that they were actually from the same planet as the Teletubbies. I mean, who else would be riding around on a weather balloon?

    The space pancakes may very well have been some sort of bio-polymer encoded with information about technology that would have averted the current energy crisis and global warming, but were mistaken for food.

  11. QOOS responds:

    little vehicles…little vehicles…on inca roads, apparently, they understand the portent of electric aunt jemima, goddess of love, khaki maple cryptowheats, sizzle on the habatchinoooo…

    ~ QOOS (Queen of Outer Space)

    p.s. BOTCHINO!!!

  12. Rafe1230 responds:

    I am a DOD contractor with 24/7 base wide access to WPAFB. Trust me. There is no Hangar 18 there. Was there in the past? I don’t know. The operating wing did remove four cryogenic vaults from one of the buildings about 6 years ago. What were they used for? I don’t know that either. Could have been alien storage. Anything is possible with the military. Everyone can speculate on their own. On another point. If you are a aviation enthusiast, you would be well served to visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force at WPAFB. There is no clearance required, and it is free. Plan on spending at least a day. It is large!

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