Page 15 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - April 2024
P. 15

Silicon Valley’s Flying Saucer Man                                                                                     15

          The Forgotten Legend of

            Silicon Valley’s Flying

                     Saucer Man

                 Continued from Page 14

        As all the talk of UFOs heated up and the
        military got serious about the craft,
        Weygers became convinced his designs
        had been stolen. The local press agreed

        with him. In  April 1950, the San
        Francisco Chronicle ran one of the first
        stories about the Discopter with the
        headline “Carmel Valley Artist Patented
        Flying Saucer Five  Years  Ago:
        ‘Discopter’ May Be What People Have
        Seen Lately.” Rather matter-of-factly, the
        paper stated, “The invention became the
        prototype for all disk-shaped vertical

        take-off aircraft since built by the U.S.
        armed forces and private industry, both
        here and abroad.” Weygers sent a note to
        the U.S. Navy, accusing it of infringing
        on his patent, and he sent more letters to
        magazines and newspapers, asking them
        to correct articles about UFOs that failed
        to mention his invention. (Hunter
        managed to find much of this
        correspondence over the course of his
        decade of digging and indexed it all in

        his files.)

        In interviews, Weygers said he knew the
        original Discopter designs lacked a
        viable power source for propulsion, but
        he felt that advances in lightweight
        materials and motors had arrived to make
        the device feasible. All he needed was           soul-killing system.                             course in which students would learn
        someone to gamble on him with a few                                                               how to scavenge for materials, make

        million dollars, and he could turn the           Following the flurry of attention in the tools, and sculpt. He ran six fires at a
        Discopter into a reality. But as the years       early 1950s, Weygers went back to living time and had 14 anvils for people to work
        ticked by, he turned away from his               a secluded life. Most of his time was on as he performed demonstrations. The
        invention and downplayed it. “With the           spent working on the house or sculpting. smells of burning coal, metal, and wood
        Discopter, I reached the limit,” he told a       He’d occasionally drop a sculpture off at chips flowed through his blacksmith
        reporter. “I invent something and then I         a fair or exhibit so people could look at shop, which he kept dark so people could
        go on. I still think someone could build         them, but he never stuck around to hear see the changes in the color of metal—
        it. Who really knows?”                           their comments or try to sell the work. yellow, blue, orange—as they worked it.
                                                         “People who come out here and like a Tall and thick, Weygers remained fit into
        These comments failed to capture the             piece may buy it or they may not,” he his 70s with powerful, muscled forearms,
        anger inside Weygers. The letters Hunter         told one reporter. “The hell with it. My and his personality matched this chiseled

        obtained dealing with the patent                 artwork I do for the love of it.”                presence. He didn’t suffer fools or people
        squabbles show a man who felt betrayed                                                            unwilling to commit to the work.
        by the government he hoped to help.              In the mid-’70s, Weygers published The
        Weygers had never been one to focus on           Making of Tools and The Modern Anywhere from six to a dozen students
        material possessions, but following the          Blacksmith. The books, which included would show up per session, most of them
        Discopter episode, he turned his                 step-by-step drawings and guides, in their 20s and 30s, and camp next to
        abhorrence of money and objects into the         became surprise hits. So did  Weygers: Weygers’s house. Each day at lunch, the
        basis of a fierce antigovernment                 People from around the world began students would gather around a kidney-
        philosophy. For the rest of his life, he         showing up at the house in Carmel Valley shaped dining room table he’d fashioned

        tried to earn so little money from his           to learn from this man who seemed to from redwood and put on a swivel.
        work that he never had to pay taxes and          come from a different time. He began
        feed into what he viewed as a corrupt,           charging a small fee for a six-week                                 (Continued on Page 16)
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