Science: Balloon Bombs

They were on a fishing trip in the woods of Oregon's Lake County: the Rev. Archie Mitchell, his wife, and five children. Joan Patzke, 11, spotted a strange white object. Another child tugged at the thing. Suddenly there was a tremendous explosion. Only the minister survived.

Thus, announced the War Department last week, death came early last month to the first victims of Japanese bombing on the U.S. mainland. And Chief Lyle F. Watts of the U.S. Forest Service made public some facts and estimates about the ingenious workings of the Jap bomb-bearing balloons (TIME, June 4).

The balloons are kept in the...

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