When Richard Dolan, author of the superb history "UFOs and the National Security State," was on Dreamland July 20, he reminded us that 50 years ago, UFOs were seen flying over Washington D.C. by many credible witnesses. A story in the Washington Post gives quotes from some of the people who saw them.
Former air traffic controller Ed Nugent was in the control tower at Washington National Airport at the time and remembers seeing seven pale violet blips on his radar screen. He called his boss, Harry G. Barnes, and said, "Here's a fleet of flying saucers for you."
Barnes said, "They acted like a bunch of small kids out playing. It was helter-skelter, as if directed by some innate curiosity. At times, they moved as a group or cluster, at other times as individuals." Upstairs, in the glass part of the tower, Joe Zacko also glimpsed a strange blip streaking across his radar screen. He looked out the window and saw a bright light hovering in the sky. He turned to Howard Cocklin and said, "Look at that bright light. If you believe in flying saucers, that could sure be one." When it zoomed off at incredible speed, he said, "Did you see that? What the hell was that?"
Cocklin says, "I saw it on the screen and out the window. It was a whitish-blue object. Not a light--a solid form. An object. A saucer-shaped object."
Andrews and Bolling Air Force bases also picked up the UFOs. At Andrews, controller William Brady saw what looked like "an orange ball of fire, trailing a tail." It was "unlike anything I had ever seen before."
National's control tower radioed Capital Air Flight 807, en route from Washington to Detroit, and asked the pilot if he saw any unusual objects in the sky. Captain S.C. Pierman radioed back, "There's one--and there it goes."
For the next 14 minutes, as he flew between Herndon and Martinsburg, West Virginia, Pierman saw six bright lights that streaked across the sky at tremendous speed. "They were like falling stars without tails," he said.
Two Air Force F-94 jets flew over D.C., searching for saucers. The pilots saw several strange lights and gave chase, but they weren't fast enough to catch them. "I tried to make contact with the bogies below 1,000 feet," pilot William Patterson said. "I was at my maximum speed but, I ceased chasing them because I saw no chance of overtaking them." While the jets were in the air, the blips were no longer seen on the radar at National. When the jets headed back to base, the blips reappeared and lasted until dawn, when they finally disappeared.
If all that wasn't enough, it happened again, a week later. More UFOs were seen on radar and more jets were scrambled. Since this happened during the Cold War years, the government must have been frantic, worrying that the Soviets had somehow developed an incredibly advanced weapon that would bring us to our knees.
It was reported in the national news, not just the tabloids. "Saucer Outran Jet, Pilot Reveals," read the headline in The Washington Post. "Jets Chase D.C. Sky Ghosts," said the New York Daily News. "Aerial Whatzits Buzz D.C. Again," said the Washington Daily News. Life Magazine had a story about it with a cover blurb saying, "There is a Case for Interplanetary Saucers."
Cocklin says he never saw anything like that UFO, and he's never seen one again. "It just went away," he says, "Where did it go? Why don't people see these things today? Why 50 years ago?"
We don't have the answer to "Why 50 years ago" but we do know about today. The truths is, LOTS of people see UFOs today, all the time. Airline pilots and pilots of small planes see them. Civilian and military radar operators see them. And ordinary people on the ground see them.
But only the tabloids and a few valiant internet sites, like http://www.filersfiles.com, take them seriously and bother to report them. Airline pilots and military men have been told not to bring up the subject, no matter what they see. Government officials have adopted a policy of strict denial and respectable newspapers have used the tactic of ridicule to shut people up. This has caused a lot of frustration for UFO witnesses.
I used to think that something had to be done to make the media open their eyes and see what's going on and be brave enough to honestly report it. But now I remember their blithe reporting about huge profits being made by US companies, with no investigation into whether or not they were real, until it became obvious that the CEO emperors were wearing no clothes. I also notice that if I want to read hard facts about global warming, I have to turn to the English media since the US press seems utterly unconcerned. Of course, if the ocean currents change, London is going to feel like Alaska, so their concern is understandable.
The media seems more ignorant and skeptical about UFOs than about anything else, but it may just be business as usual for them. They don't seem to be able to see anything unless it?s right in front of their noses. But they'll catch on eventually. They put up major headlines when Enron failed and WorldCom went bankrupt, taking many people's pension plans with them. It will be big news when the sea levels rise, engulfing tiny island countries and the shores of major US cities. And when UFOs fly over D.C. again, and maybe even land on the White House lawn this time, they'll finally concede that maybe something's going on.
We call people who deny the existence of UFOs "skeptics," but the truth is, we're the ones who are skeptical, because we don't believe everything we read in the newspapers.
To read Washington Post article,click here.
NOTE: This Diary entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.