Guy Banister was someone who has become inextricably linked to the infamous events that occurred at Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas, USA on November 22, 1963. I am, of course, talking about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. For many of those who conclude that a conspiracy was at the heart of the killing of the president, Banister is seen as one of the key conspirators, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lee Harvey Oswald and David Ferrie. For those who don’t see a conspiracy, his connection is perceived as being, at best, tenuous. Born in 1901, Banister spent 20 years with the FBI – specifically from 1934 to 1954. One year later, in 1955, he took on the position of Assistant Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department. Then, in 1957, he established a private-detective agency, Guy Banister Associates, Inc., which he ran until his death in June 1964, at the age of sixty-three. But, there’s something else about Banister that’s worth noting. In the summer of 1947, and while with the FBI, Banister investigated a number of UFO reports for his boss: FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover. Without doubt the most visible case that fell into Banister’s jurisdiction occurred in Twin Falls, Idaho in July 1947.
On July 11, the Oregon Journal – in an article titled “FBI Describes Idaho ‘Saucer’ in Detail,” reported the following: “FBI Agent W. G. Banister said an object which appeared to be a ‘flying disc’ was found early today at Twin Falls, Idaho and turned over to federal authorities there. Banister, special agent in charge of the FBI in Montana and Idaho, said the bureau had reported the discovery to the army at Fort Douglas, Utah. An FBI agent in Twin Falls inspected the ‘saucer’ and described it as similar to the ‘cymbals used by a drummer in a band placed face to face.’”
The Oregon Journal continued: “The object measured 30.5 inches in diameter with a metal dome on one side and a plastic dome about 14 inches high on the opposite side, anchored in place by what appeared to be stove bolts. The gadget is gold painted on one side and silver (either stainless steel, aluminum or tin) on the other. It appeared to have been turned out by machine, reports from Twin Falls said. The FBI agent declined to elaborate further. At Fort Douglas, a high-ranking officer, who declined to permit use of his name, would not comment. He refused either to confirm or deny that army authorities had heard of the reported discovery, or were investigating it.”
Within hours, the matter was resolved, as the Boston Post noted on July 12: “Assistant Police Chief L.D. McCracken said tonight four juveniles had admitted making a metallic disc found this morning in the yard of Mrs. T. H. Thompson of Twin Falls. McCracken said that he was tipped that one of the boys knew about the case. The boys explained it took them two days to make the ‘saucer,’ which resembled band cymbals placed together and with frosted Plexiglas dome. McCracken said that army officers who came to Twin Falls from Fort Douglas, Utah, had taken the disc to Salt Lake City.”
The newspaper added: “The object measured 30.5 inches in diameter with a metal dome on one side and a plastic dome about 14 inches high on the opposite side, anchored in place by what appeared to be stove bolts. The gadget was gold painted on one side and silver on the other. The object was found by Mrs. F.W. Easterbrooks, who said she heard a thudding noise about 2:30 a.m. She ran outside, saw the ‘disc’ in an adjoining yard and called police.”
While the prank explanation was certainly correct, it’s intriguing to note that only hours before the matter was resolved in down-to-earth fashion, Banister was briefed by military personnel from Fort Douglas, Utah, on what was known about the “flying disc” issue at that time. The full story of what Banister was told – or was not told – remains unresolved. Banister was not done with UFOs, however. He soon investigated yet another Twin Falls-based report, this one from August 13. I quote from FBI records declassified under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act:
“…[deleted] of Twin Falls, Idaho…and two sons Billie, age ten, Keith, age eight, saw an object nine miles northwest of Twin Falls, resembling [a] flying disc. [Deleted] stated this object was proceeding down Salmon River at terrific speed estimated by him at one thousand miles per hour. [Deleted] and sons described object to newspapers as twenty feet long, ten feet wide and ten feet thick, light sky blue in color and also observed flames emanating from sides of object.” Banister informed FBI HQ he would keep it “promptly and fully informed” of any relevant and additional data that might surface. Nothing of any significance did.
On August 19, yet another UFO report reached Banister. On this occasion, a married couple and a family friend viewed a triangular formation of ten UFOs flying over Twin Falls, around 9:30 p.m. They reportedly resembled flying saucers and were “illuminated.” Banister evidently took the matter seriously. He wrote in his report: “In event Bureau in possession of any information concerning experimental activities on part of Army Air Forces which may explain these phenomena, advice would be greatly appreciated. It is believed continued appearance of such objects without official explanation may result in hysteria and panic [at] Twin Falls.” In total, Banister investigated no less than nine UFO reports in the July-August 1947 time-frame alone.
Guy Banister: a man who will probably forever be tied to the JFK assassination, someone who received a behind-closed-doors briefing on UFOs from the U.S. military in the summer of 1947, and an agent of the FBI who undertook a number of UFO investigations in his official capacity with the Bureau. Not only that: in 1944 Banister was at the forefront of an investigation into the landing of a Japanese “Fugo” balloon-bomb in Kalispell, Montana, in 1944. The late John Keel suspected that what came down at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 was a “Fugo” balloon, or a then-modernized variation on it. Taking all of the above into consideration, there’s little wonder that Guy Banister is perceived by many as an enigmatic character.