Round, White and Shiny: UFO in Wilson, NC, 1949


A coworker recently found a  formerly classified report on Internet Archive about the sighting of an “Unexplained aerial object” over Wilson, NC. Yes, aliens visited Wilson at 4:38 pm, October 23rd, 1949.  The UFO was described as “round, white and shiny,” but the the witness could not discern whether it was “disk shaped or spherical.” He did say that it was going fast, faster than the P38 fighter plane that was tailing it.  This sighting was only two years after the weather balloon that carried a couple of aliens crashed in Roswell, NM.  So maybe the round, white, speedy thing  was looking for their comrades and misidentified a whirligig.

Support your Scientific and Cultural Institutions


The logbook for the CSS Shenandoah and a photo description of how it was conserved.


A wide variety of projectile points from a well documented private collection that was donated to the OSARC that includes the iconic 13,000 year old Clovis points at the top.


Our guide showing us some artifacts from a historical tavern site. And I was “that question guy” that messes up time schedules.


A scene that could be from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.


An example of how not to conserve a pot, ca.1970s. All you need is the rim to tell what it is.


A table of forgotten taxidermy at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.


Chipmunks in a drawer. A comparative anatomy research collection.

Last Friday I had the opportunity to attend the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association 116th meeting and the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies 41st meeting that was held- well, all over Raleigh with the the deputy secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and director of the Office of Archives, History and Parks, Dr. Kevin Cherry.   First we toured behind the scenes at the NC Archives and viewed singular artifacts such as Colonel Isaac Avery’s note to his father that he wrote as he lay dying on the Gettysburg battlefield after being shot from his horse.  We also gazed upon the log book for the CSS Shenandoah,  the ship that fired the last shot of the American Civil War.  We also saw John Adam’s ‘Thoughts on Government’,  a letter he wrote in 1776 in his efficient handwriting to the delegates of North Carolina.

From there we walked several blocks to the spacious and advanced  Office of State Archaeology Research Center (OSARC). There, I really geeked out because archaeology was what I was doing before I went into librarianship.  I am sure that  Emily McDowell, the OSARC lab assistant who gave us the tour, was annoyed at my many questions.  In the storage facility we learned that the artifacts in the banana boxes were not yet curated and I glimpsed an enigmatic box with ‘Mystery’ written in marker on it.  We also learned how not to conserve Native American pottery when were shown a pot covered in masking tape.

Our next stop was the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and a tour behind the scenes with the chief of research and collections, Dr. Jason Cryon. There, we delved into the paleontology storage area where I saw giant femurs of sauropods still in their plaster from the field. We also got to see countless specimens of birds and mammals that are a part of their research collection.  It brought back fond memories of when I was a biology major, before I switched to anthropology.

Afterwards, we retired to the Doubletree Inn on Hillsborough Street to watch various awards being presented and then heard speakers on Sir Walter Raleigh (it was actually about the pageant in Raleigh in 1920 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of his death) and another on George Washington’s Southern tour in 1920.

A repeated theme of the gathering was to support your scientific and cultural institutions through visits and donations.  Many are afraid that money, especially federal money, may dry up in the near future. So support them with your feet and your dollars to keep them doing great things!

Photo Albums of Henry Battle


Unknown woman in Atlantic City, NJ.  Raines & Cox Studio Photo Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC.


Henry Battle in Italy? Raines & Cox Studio Photo Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC.

Raines and Cox Studio got its start in Wilson, NC in 1947 and went about documenting Wilson’s history, culture and people up until the 2000’s.  Guy Cox died a couple of years ago and his vast collection of mostly photographs and negatives were donated to the State Archives of North Carolina. I recently requested that they digitize the collection and the first fruits of this request are now on their Flickr page!  Hopefully with more to come soon.

The images are from two albums from the 1940’s owned by probable Wilsonian, Henry Battle. The images and the metadata suggest that he was a US Army soldier during the occupation of Italy? (my guess, they suggest eastern Europe).  The other album is from a trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey.


According to the 1940 census there was a Henry Battle (b. 1920) living in Rocky Mount, NC.

What is this Building?

jesuit-universityThis  is photograph of an unknown building  from the Monk Moore collection.    Does anyone out there have any ideas as to what it is?  The double barred crosses on the wall are called the cross of Lorraine and are associated with the Lorraine region of France. It is also a symbol of the Jesuit order of the Catholic Church.  At first glance, I thought the smeared writing at the bottom said “Dear old State School.”  But now I’m not so sure.

Edit: I just realized it is the symbol of the American Lung Association.  So maybe the  writing says Dear old State Sanitarium.  Hmm maybe.

Edit: Yeah that is probably what it is .  The North Carolina State Sanitorium was built in Hoke County between Aberdeen and Raeford in 1908 for patients with tuberculosis, hence the American Lung Association symbol of the cross of Lorraine.

In 1913, the Wilson Hospital and Tubercular Home was opened for the treatment of African Americans with tuberculosis and was one of only three hospitals in the state for African Americans.  It was later renamed Mercy hospital.