The Flying Saucer Mystery
Chapter 1 - A Spooked Horse
Nancy, Bess, George, Ned, Burt and Dave are going camping in the Shawniegunk Forest, which is a two-hour flight from River Heights. Once there, they are planning to investigate reports of UFO sightings. The group goes out on horseback and while resting along the trail, George's horse runs away (he is later retrieved). It was spooked by a snake which has previously harrassed Bess. Once the group reaches their campsite, they realize they have left one sack behind; Nancy and Ned draw the duty of retrieving it. They are gone a long time and become lost in the forest.
Chapter 2 - The Wild Cat
Back at camp, eerie screams are heard. They are coming from a wildcat, which Nancy and Ned have encountered while lost. An unkempt mountain man by the name of Old Joe appears and scolds "Kitty" for bothering the campers, and tells her to skedaddle. Nancy and Ned listen to Joe's philosophizing for a while, then he shows them back to the camp. They ask Joe if he has ever heard of a UFO in the area.
Chapter 3 - Mountain Mishap
Joe admits he has seen the UFO and even made some sketches. He invites the group to visit him at his cabin sometime, and tantalizes Nancy with the prospect of a mystery of his own which needs solving. The next morning the group sets out for Joe's cabin and are delayed by several mishaps along the way, such as when Bess tumbles down a ravine.
Chapter 4 - Trixie, Lifesaver
Dave cannot reach Bess in time to stop her from tumbling into a stream with jagged rocks, but a dog comes in the nick of time and stops Bess's progress. It is determined that the lifesaver is Joe's dog, Trixie &endash; the group follows her to the cabin, leaving Bess and Jan behind with a walkie-talkie. Later, Bess reports seeing a "giant" Indian who is dressed in leaves. The group conjectures that the creature might be connected to the UFO. When the group is preparingt heir dinner of fish over an open fire, a large gusting wind blows over their spit.
Chapter 5 - The Spying Stranger
The flying saucer comes and goes, and Joe figures it has landed nearby in the Dismal Swamp. The group goes to check on Bess and Jan, and they say they have seen the Indian again (Bess now thinks he is good looking). Returning to camp, the rest of the gang encounters the Indian, and he is poised with his arm upraised, holding a rock, as if he is about to throw it.
Chapter 6 - Sign Language
Nancy and Ned use a friendly approach with the man and are able to communicate their names using sign language &endash; he is called Shoso. He indicates that some of the horses were scared by the wind storm and have run off. Included are the pack horses which were carrying all the camping equipment and the food.
Chapter 7 - Old Joe's Secret
The group rallies and forages the forest for food, and sleeps al fresco on a bed of pine needles. The next day, Hal and Burt go out in search of the missing horses. Old Joe comes with 2 of the lost horses and some hard boiled eggs for everyone. Joe tells the story of coming to the forest once with his father, who was carrying a lot of money and valuable papers. On his death bed, the father tried to communicate that he had hidden them in the forest. Joe asks Nancy to find the wallet and secret papers.
Chapter 8 - Pyramid of Rocks
Joe hears Trixie barking frantically and has to leave. Nancy and George decide to start searching for clues to Joe's treasure. George reaches into a hollow tree and is bitten by a snake. Nancy acts quickly and drains the poison from George's bloodstream. To get their bearings, Nancy climbs a tree, and from there she can see that the saucer is no longer in the swamp. On the way back to camp, Nancy notices an 18" pyramid built of rocks that have been cemented together over a stream.
Chapter 9 - The Black Deluge
A bear had broken into Joe's cabin, looking for food. A note regarding the pyramid is sent to the naturalist attached via rope around Trixie's neck. It starts raining heavily and the wind and lights return. Nancy wants to go to the swamp immediately as she doesn't want to miss this second chance to see the saucer. Nancy and Ned set off with backpacks and raingear and find the saucer in the swamp, quiet and deserted. They bang on the hull, but get no response.
Chapter 10 - Space Trip
Ned tries to communicate with the saucer's occupants by tapping in mathematical signals. There is still no response and they give up in frustration. They decide to have a snack of chocolate, then feel drowsy. Nancy feels the spaceship begin to vibrate and then a door opens; she and Ned enter. The interior has many lights and buttons and Nancy finds she cannot speak. The saucer takes off, turning into a glass cage, from which Nancy can see the landscape below, until she blacks out.
Chapter 11 - Human Birds
Nancy and Ned wake up on green grass, realizing that they can communicate by thought waves. They are dressed in silver space outfits with matching helmets and claw-like footwear. They discover that they have wings and go airborne, but have trouble figuring out how to land.
Chapter 12 - Where? What?
Nancy awakens to find herself back at Dismal Swamp with Shoso kneeling by her, trying to get her to chew a bitter leaf. The saucer is gone. Ned is also revived and they exchange stories about their amazing dreams, then speculate that some kind of gas from either the swamp or the saucer caused them to black out and hallucinate. They find a scorched area in the swamp where the saucer had set down and dig up a sample to take back to camp, which they place in Susan B's saddlebag. On the way back, the Nancy's horse goes out of control.
Chapter 13 - A Discovery
Nancy discovers that the swamp soil has burned a hole through the saddlebag and scorched Susan B's flank. Nancy and Ned are concern about radioactivity and decide to bury everything that has been contaminated. Later, Nancy goes into town where she contacts Mr. Drew - he calls in doctors and scientists to investigate. Susan B is taken to the vet. Carson and the scientists arrive, declare Nancy and horse negative for radioactivity. Back at camp, Hal and Burt have returned with the lost packhorses. Trixie arrives with note from Joe that he has been injured and cannot continue his search.
Chapter 14 - A Valuable Clue
Shoso appears and leads Nancy, Bess and Jan to Joe's cabin. By playing charades with Shoso, they are able to communicate that they'd like some specimens of the leaves that were administered to revive Nancy and Ned.
Chapter 15 - Lab in the Forest
A helicopter is heard overhead, and the group speaks to the pilot via walkie-talkie. The group clears a space in the forest so the copter to land safely. More scientists arrive and set up a lab to analyze the sod in the swamp. The burning agent is found to be an acid, but the scientists are not sure if it is derived from the swamp or is extra-terrestrial in nature.
Chapter 16 - The Eerie Cave
While the group is sleeping, Shoso calls to Nancy. He has brought her some of the restorative leaves. The group decides to leave the scientists to their work and continues the hunt for Joe's treasure. They follow arrows carved into tree trunks by Joe Sr., which eventually lead them to a cave, which is guarded by a wildcat. Fortunately it is just Kitty, who immediately becomes tame when called by her name, and allows Nancy and Ned to pet her. Inside the cave Bess discovers some wall paintings, depicting footprints leading to a tree with an Indian head carved on it.
Chapter 17 - Fire!
After a few false starts, the group finds an enormous tree which has fallen - it appears to have an Indian face carved on one side (face down) but the trunk cannot be turned over to see it as it is too heavy. Nancy hires lumberjacks to help. Meanwhile the scientists have determined that acid was produced by the saucer, but contains some secret substance. While the group is on their way to see fruits of lumberjacks' efforts, a forest fire breaks out.
Chapter 18 - A Rewarding Find
The boys manage to get the trunk turned over and can see the Indian face; they then drag the piece to a safe place where it will not get burned during the forest fire, then the group goes to help fight the fire by digging backfire trenches. After being thanked by the forest rangers for their efforts, the group returns to the log and removes the carving of the Indian head. Beneath they find a metal box inscribed to Joe.
Chapter 19 - A Strange Reunion
They bring the box to Joe to open - it contains a lot of money and a long letter from the father explaining that he had seen the saucer 10 years ago. It is also revealed that Joe's mother was a full blooded Shawnee and that there was an older brother who disappeared at an early age, by the name of Shoso. Everyone immediately recognizes the similarities between the naturalist and the elusive Indian. Joe Sr. has thoughtfully provided the translation for several phrases in Shawnee, including how to say "older brother." Shoso appears at the cabin, and Joe addresses him using the new vocabulary.
Chapter 20 - UFO Capture
The two brothers are reunited. The group returns to camp where they discuss the further developments of the scientists' research. They have determined that the forest is a natural pharmacy, filled with rare medicinal plants. The flying saucer returns and everyone runs to the swamp, where it has crash landed. Another craft appears, this one cylindrical, from which a US Air Force Colonel emerges. He explains that the saucer was a government experiment gone awry, but cannot reveal any further details as the project is top secret. The group is rewarded for helping to find the rogue saucer with promise of a ride on the newly developed space cylinder.
6 grayscale pictures by Ruth Sanderson © 1980 by Simon & Schuster, New York. 3 black and white line drawings by Jean Sidobre © 1983 by Hachette, Paris. color image by Peter Archer © 1980 by Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
© 2001, Lea Shangraw Fox