For decades I have avoided answering the questions about what I believe to be the ten best UFO cases. I understood it to be a trap. Once I provide the answer, the debunkers would attack, explaining why those cases are nothing spectacular. There would find mundane answers for all of them, even if they have to make up the answers, which is not an unreasonable assumption.
I have discussed the Coyne helicopter case in the past. While some of you might disagree with some of the evidence of the case and point out that it is mainly the testimony of the flight crew, the fact is they were interviewed within hours of the event which provides us with a very good record of what they experienced. As you might remember, Phil Klass explained the sighting as a meteor with no evidence to support that explanation.
True, it might not have been an alien spacecraft, but Klass’ answer was pure fiction. This is the thing that worried me. People will remember this cockamamie explanation not realizing that it is bogus. The claim of an answer lives even when it makes no sense given the facts.
But this is about the cases I believe have not been explained. These are the ones that should have been investigated in depth at the time. Had that happened, we might have learned something important. Had that happened, we might be having a completely different discussion. As you will see, this is not a numbered list or a top ten list. It is a list of those cases I find interesting.
|Pilots who attempted to intercept UFOs over|
In July 1952, on two consecutive weekends, UFOs were seen over Washington, D.C., reported by airline pilots, people on the ground and seen on radar. There were multiple attempts by Air Force fighters to intercept the objects. The Air Force pointed out there was a temperature inversion over Washington on those days which caused the radar returns and that some of the sightings were caused by the same natural phenomenon. The explanations don’t fit all the observations, but the press had an answer that made them happy. The Blue Book files on these cases are rather confusing which might have been the whole point.
(As a side note, and as I have mentioned here, these sightings were responsible for what I think of the greatest newspaper headline ever… SAUCERS SWARM OVER CAPITAL.)
|Photo copyright by the Cedar Rapids Gaxette.|
In November 1957, witnesses in at least thirteen separate locations in and around Levelland, Texas, reported a glowing object close to the ground, that stopped their car engines, dimmed their headlines and filled their radios with static. Many of them called the sheriff’s office or the local police to report the sighting unaware that others had seen the same thing and had reported the same thing. Sheriff Weir Clem (yeah, I wish he had a name like Jack O’Neill or something with a little more pizzazz) saw the object when he went out in search of it (he said publicly, he saw it in the distance, but it seems he might have gotten much closer) as did other law enforcement officials. The Air Force and NICAP’s Donald Keyhoe got into public arguments over the number of witnesses while no one actually made the attempt to interview them (no I don’t really count the afternoon that one Air Force NCO spent in Levelland talking to a few of the people and who proposed an explanation that did not fit the facts).
|Looking down on the White Sands Missile Range. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.|
Within hours of the Levelland sightings and before the news media was reporting on them, MPs at White Sands Missile Range reported an object that landed near them. Twelve hours later a second team made a similar sighting. The Air Force interviewed three of the four MPs, mentioning that they were all very young, 20, 21 years old as if this disqualified them as observers. The Air Force explained the sightings as the moon and Venus. (As an aside, I remember being an aircraft commander and flight lead in Vietnam at 19 but you just can’t trust those teenagers and young men with anything important).
I would include the Lonnie Zamora case but it is single witness with some landing traces. I do know that Phil Klass suggested that this was a hoax concocted by the mayor of Socorro, New Mexico, and Zamora to create some sort of tourist attraction on land owned by the mayor, except the mayor didn’t own the land and no tourist attraction was ever build. For me this case is somewhat problematic, though there are some very interesting aspects to it.
I also like the sightings around Belt, Montana, in March 1967. At the time these were going on, there was a shutdown of a Minuteman missile site nearby that the Air Force went out of its way to say it had nothing to do with the UFOs. What is important here is that Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Chase (he of RB-47 fame in 1957), the base UFO officer, when asked about some of this told the University of Colorado (Condon) investigator that he couldn’t discuss it because of national security… and yes, if a flight of missiles had been rendered inoperable by an outside force, whatever that force might have been, that was a matter of national security. The UFO sightings might have been a coincidence… but what if they weren’t?
One of the most documented UFO sightings took place in October 1967, while the Condon Committee was allegedly investigating UFO sightings. There were multiple witnesses to something falling into Shag Harbour in Canada. Although the initial reports came from a group of teenagers, eventually law enforcement and the military were involved in attempts to recovered whatever it had been… but the Condon Committee members, after a telephone call or two, decided the sighting was not worthy of additional investigation.
The series of sightings in Rendlesham Forest in December 1980 are also interesting. The sightings were multiple witness, were reported officially, and there was physical evidence of the landings. Debunkers have explained the case, but I don’t find their explanations particularly persuasive. I have met both Jim Penniston and John Burroughs and I find them to be solid witnesses. I have also met Larry Warren who first leaked the case.
The JAL 1628 case is important because there are complete radar records of the flight. The FAA investigated and the chief investigator John Callahan has those files. He said it was the only case he knew of where there were thirty minutes of radar data with voice recordings so you could watch and listen to the case in real time. Callahan said that he briefed people at the White House about the case.
I haven’t mentioned many photographs simply because I have noticed that about
of them were taken by teenagers and 99% of those were faked. But there are two
movies, one made in Great Falls, Montana in 1950 and the other near Tremonton,
Utah in 1952 that are very interesting. There is also evidence that the Air
Force tampered with the Montana Movie, removing a portion of it that showed the
objects as disk shaped. Allegations were made that they had done the same with
the Tremonton Movie, but the evidence argues against it.
|Blow up of images from the|
|Frame of the Tremonton Films, and no I don't believe sea gulls answers the question.|
Yes, the list is incomplete and involves cases that I investigated, talked to the witnesses, been to the locations and the like. I do not believe that adequate explanations have been offered. I believe that some of the evidence has been twisted to force it into an explanation because like nature abhorring a vacuum, the Air Force and debunkers abhor an unexplained UFO sighting… But sometimes there just isn’t a good solution which is not to say that one won’t appear someday or that any of them proves alien visitation, only we don’t have a good explanation… and some of them suggest that had a proper investigation been conducted at the time, we might be having a different discussion.