Friday, September 4, 2009

Frequent Ufos over Capitol hill

This picture was the cause of public shock and furor in 1953 as ufos were fotographed over the whitehouse on capitol hill
1952 started with fewer than one ufo sighting per day in the first three months. In April and May, the flow increased to 3 per day, and this rate doubled in June. For the first half of the year, there had been 300 unexplained observations reports, 4 times the previous annual rate, and still the peak was not reached.

There were 3 nights of intense activity over Washington, D.C. On July 19/20, July 26/27 and August 2/3, the skies above the nation's capital were crowded with UFOs darting here and there, over the White House, over the Capitol Building, over the Pentagon.

They were seen from the ground, seen and also detected on radar from control towers at Washington National Airport, Bolling Air Force Base across the Potomac River, and from nearby Andrews Air Force Base. The radar operators conferred by telephone to ensure they were tracking the same targets. In many cases, airline pilots flying in the area were able to provide visual confirmation of radar tracking.

The appearance of unidentified objects flying with impunity over the heart of the American government and its military establishment was embarrassing to the Department of Defense, whose responsibility it was to protect the country from airborne intrusion. A flood of questions from reporters led the U.S. Air Force to call its biggest but also most embarrassed and confused press conference since World War II.

The conference was held in Room 3E-369 of the Pentagon, and was presided by Air Force Intelligence Chief, Major General John Samford. The main explanation given for the rash of sightings over Washington was something called a "temperature inversion," which is the immediate cause of a mirage, but usually on the ground. General Samford suggested that lights on the ground may have looked like they were in the air because an inversion can act like an "air lens" and bend light rays. He added that something similar could have "tricked" radar into thinking it was tracking aerial targets, which were actually ground objects. This was the first time that this ad hoc explanation was used, it became very useful as an explanation for numerous later cases, though no one in the larger scientific community had a clue about this phenomenon. It wasn't until 1969 that an Air Force scientific report made it clear that inversions strong enough to create the effects with which General Samford credited them, could not exist in the earth's atmosphere! Moreover, probably no radar/visual UFO report had ever been caused by a temperature inversion or mirage.

For the larger audience, there were two surprises. First, the pres was surprised to learn that UFOs were picked up on radar. Until then, this was never mentionned by the Air Force. Second, they were told it is all a natural phenomena, temperature inversion. From then on, the press, the larger scientifi community, the public, all accepted that radar UFOs are "temperature inversions." 50 years later, it is mostly still so.

(Of course, it happens that hot air layer are under cold air layers, but the thermal gradient necessary to creates anomaous propagation echoes that can be interpreted as solid flying object with anomalous performances is quite high. If one also expects that temperature inversion produce simultaneoulsy a visual mirage, the required gradient becomes impossible to reach except at ground level, as in mirages on a heated road. If the visual mirage is supposed to be luminous, then it requires a ship with lights at sea under a very important temperaure inversion layer. If all that flies in the air, tracked at the same location by several different radar systems located at different places, then ... it is not possible to get the required conditions. Even if it arrives very exceptionally that such inversions returns echoes vaguely definite of vehicles on the ground, one visually does not see them in the sky with naked eyes, obviously. In the cases of Washington 1952, the weather conditions did not at all allow such an explanation.)

The same day that General Samford held his press conference, the wheels began to turn at the Central Intelligence Agency. A memo from Ralph Clark, Acting Assistant Director for Scientific Intelligence to the Deputy Director for Intelligence, stated: "In the past several weeks, a number of radar and visual sightings of unidentified aerial objects have been reported. Although this office has maintained a continuing review of such reputed sightings during the past three years, a special study group has been formed to review this subject to date."

In 1952, few people other than radarmen knew what a temperature inversion layer could produce and what it could not produce. Among these few people was Major Donald E. Keyhoe, USMC ret., who explained it properly. But of course, only those willing to hear this, heard it.

See the official CIA report to get details on the CIA deep concerns about UFOs at that time: " long as a series of reports remains 'unexplainable' (interplanetary aspects and alien origin not being thoroughly excluded from consideration), caution requires that intelligence continue coverage of the subject."
Supplementary info sources;

More UFOs over Capitol Hill;

Taken in early 2006

May 17, 2005

Ufo over Whitehouse September 2005 foto
1959 evidence - claimed to be an ordinary aircraft

Observer Dispatch documented the case in 1952

New Reports of Saucers Above State and Washington
Compiled by the Observer-Dispatch From Press Association Dispatches

Radar, which normally doesn't show something that isn't there, has picked up "flying saucers" near the nation's capital for the second time within a week.

Jet fighters pilots searched the skies without directly contacting anything during the six hours that four to 12 unidentified objects intermittently appeared on radar screens at Washington National Airport and nearby Andrews Air force Base.

One pilot said he saw four lights approximately 10 miles away and slightly above him. But they disappeared before he could overtake them, the Associated Press said. Later, the same pilot said, he saw "a steady white light" five miles away that vanished in about a minute.

As far as could be determined, this was the first time jets have been sent on the trails of such sky ghosts.

Officials carefully avoided mentioning "flying saucers," just as they did when radar picked up seven or eight unidentified objects near Washington last Monday. But the Air Force was expected to add the report to its long list of saucer sightings, which officials say are coming faster than at any time since the initial flurry in 1947.

UPSTATE NEW YORK had another report of the mysterious sky "things" again, too. It came from Nat Marsh, 27, Prospect.

UFO Lights In Washington D.C. on Live Broadcast on BBC

Marsh said that he and his wife and 13-year-old son, Wallace, were driving home from Binghampton at about 7 last night when his son called his attention to a silver disc in the sky.

The disc was moving southward at what he described as a "terrible speed." He says he and the members of his family watched it for several minutes before it disappeared. He was sure the object was not a plane.

"WE DON'T KNOW what they are, but we are investigating", an Air Force spokesman said of the Washington report.

"We have no evidence that they are flying saucers. Conversely, we have no concrete evidence that they are not flying saucers."

There was no agreement whether the recent reports are the first of such mystery objects appearing on radar. At least, officials agreed that they are unusual.

Radar normally does not register anything without substance - such as light. But it can pick up such things as a bird in flight or a cloud formation. And one expert said radar is not infallible.

The Air Force reported that between four and 12 unidentified objects appeared at 9:08 p.m. Saturday on the radar screen at the air route traffic center operated by the Civil Aeronautics Administration. Their position was estimated at 10 miles east of Mount Vernon, Va., which is near Washington National Airport.

Word went to the Air Force, which sent up two jet fighters interceptor planes from a base in Newcastle, Del., some 90 miles from Washington.

When the planes appeared on their radarscope at approximately 11:25 p.m., the CAA tried without success to guide the planes into contact with the mystery objects. It was during this search that the pilot made his two sightings of lights.

The planes left for their base at 1:40 a.m. and the two other jets took over and stayed in the sky until 2:20 a.m. without making contacts.

The pilot who sighted the lights said they "were really moving" - faster than 600 miles per hour. But radar operators at Andrews Air Force Base said they [...] at a "slow rate of speed" - - [...] miles per hour. This was much the same pattern as last week's sightings - slow moving objects with bursts of speed.

One woman in Washington reported she saw "a very bright light" streak across the sky towards Andrews Base at about 12:15 p.m. Later she said she saw an object with a tail like a comet whiz by and a few seconds later a third in another direction.

ufo over Capitol Hill 1949

Athens News, Georgia made an observaiton of the same sightings occurring exactly 50 years apart;


Strange happenings: Similar UFO sightings occur exactly 50 years apart

2002-10-17 By Barb Campagnola Athens NEWS Contributor

It was Sunday morning, July 28, 2002. The news came on the radio as I was chatting with a friend: a big ball of blue light had been spotted in the sky, but we didn't catch where. It was picked up on radar; fighter jets had been scrambled to the scene. The chase was witnessed by people on the ground. The light traveled at a phenomenal rate of speed and then Blip! - it vanished from the radar and from the skies.

My eyes grew big as saucers. "Did you just hear that?" I asked. I was amazed, having never heard such a thing reported on the news.

Though I have been a skeptic, I do know people who not only believe in UFOs, they say they have seen them. They also think that the government is keeping the truth from us. I couldn't imagine anyone trying to cover up such an important scientific discovery. And why would a ship travel this far just to "blip away"?

When I unfolded the story for myself, my thinking began to take a turn.

I watched and listened all day for the exciting updates. Nothing. I looked in the papers. Nothing. How could a big blue ball of blazing light traveling at phenomenal rates of speed be nothing?

Monday morning, I called my friend J.D. Hutchison, the unofficial UFOologist of Athens. He said he thought it was over Oregon somewhere on July 26 and would check into it. Meanwhile, I searched the Internet: blue light/UFO/July 26.

Apparently on July 26, UFO activity was observed over Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C. Witnessed by credible, reliable Air Force pilots and engineers and recorded on radar, a fleet of seven solid-targets were seen hovering, cruising, surrounding and accelerating at phenomenal rates of speed. Then Blip! - they vanished from the radar and from the sky.

Interesting indeed, but I soon discovered that I was reading about the appearance of UFOs on July 26 -- of 1952!

It seems that to date, one of the largest waves of UFO sightings was recorded in July 1952, with an exceptional sighting on the 26th. The government, though it asserted nonchalance, took action. Project Blue Book was instituted in early August immediately after these sightings. It was intended to sort fact from science fiction about UFOs.

Project Blue Book was headquartered at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. Apparently, there had been so much activity to investigate before and after July 26 that the tiny office was overwhelmed, inundated by the stacks of reports. Many of the original documents were moved to the National Archives in Washington when it closed in 1969.

Yes. Yes. This was all very interesting, I thought, as I scrolled down the page. But I wanted to find out about this big blue ball of light in 2002.

J.D. called me back.

"Babs," he said. "It was July 26, but not in Oregon. It was over Andrews Air Force Base."

My jaw dropped.

Andrews Air Force Base? THE Andrews Air Force Base? Exactly 50 years to the day later?

This blue light was beginning to sound very intelligent indeed. An anniversary appearance? How very attention-getting.

I made a few comparisons.

In a press conference on July 29, 1952, Maj. Gen. John Samford of the U.S. Air Force stated that the sightings were caused by temperature inversions. The public was easily convinced, and for many, that was that.

On July 27, 2002, in a telephone conference with UFO researcher Kenny Young, Major Snyder, command spokesperson for both NORAD and the U.S. Space Command, said, "NORAD is absolutely not concerned about this situation. We posture our forces according to the threat and at no time did this incident involve any threat to our country. It was an innocuous happening."

And that was that.

But is history repeating itself?

Released under the Freedom of Information Act, the once-classified transcripts from the tower that night tell a very different story. That night, no one thought it was temperature inversion, including the lieutenant in charge. The report read, "He (Lt. Holcomb) felt that the scope targets at that time were not the result of this inversion and so advised the command post with the suggestion that a second intercept flight be requested."

Statements taken from commercial national airline pilots in the same area on July 13, 1952 are also extraordinary. They say that they observed a blue-white ball of light hovering to the west.

According to the pilot, the object came up to 11,000 ft. and then maintained a parallel course on the same level, at the same speed, until he turned on all lights. The object then departed from the vicinity at an estimated 1,000 mph. The weather was excellent for observation. The crew said that the object "took off, up and away."

On July 14, 1952 Pan Am pilots in the same area reported six glowing lights or discs cruising beneath them. They remained until the pilots turned on the lights. The discs then flipped on their edge, rose up over their plane in formation and then disappeared one by one. Blip. Blip.

About 60 reports were made in July 1952 from credible witnesses. But how many went unreported? How many go unreported today for fear of scoffing? And while this documentation from commercial pilots is fascinating, volumes upon volumes more exist. To do the subject justice one would have to make it a lifelong pursuit. Many have.

Project Blue Book recorded some 12,618 sightings before closing operations in 1969. Of those, 718 remain unexplained. But according to the Air Force and their conclusions from Project Blue Book, UFOs have been proven to be neither a security threat nor extraterrestrial, so we do not need to investigate them any further. Case Closed. And this has become our official position to date. See nothing and say nothing.

So it's probably fair to say that given the penalties, like prison, for divulging classified information, we may never know the truth about July 26, 2002.

Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Or was it... a temperature inversion.


National UFO Reporting Center Case Brief
July 26, 2002 - Washington, DC

NUFORC Home Page

On the morning of Friday, July 26, 2002, the National UFO Reporting Center began receiving forwarded news reports of, and queries about, an incident that allegedly had occurred early that morning in the vicinities of Waldorf, MD, Andrews Air Force Base (Maryland), and the surrounding vicinity. The reports, released by FOX television, CNN, the Washington Post, and several local radio stations, described an incident in which local residents had been awakened at approximately 1:00 a.m. on that morning by fighter aircraft taking off from nearby Andrews AFB, and which then passed overhead several times at possibly low altitude, perhaps with the afterburners engaged. Many people went outside to see what the matter was, and reportedly were witness to an apparent pursuit by the fighter aircraft of a brightly lighted object, which was seen maneuvering ahead of the jets, and which suddenly accelerated and pulled away from the pursuing aircraft quite suddenly.

Spokesman for both NORAD and the D.C. Air National Guard later admitted that a "scramble" had occurred in response to a radar intercept of an unidentified target, but they appeared to downplay the significance of the event.

NUFORC received a number of reports from eyewitnesses and interested parties, which can be read in our July Sighting Reports.

We express our gratitude to Joan Woodward and the Fund for UFO Research for conducting the investigation, and for sharing her report below. Several UFO investigators on the east coast have investigated the incident by speaking with the military spokesmen and with several witnesses on the ground. Many other individuals and investigators, not named here, were instrumental in spreading early word about the incident, and in arranging to have the investigation initiated.

One additional item we would like to call to the readers' attention is that our sources indicate that Washington, D.C., is still under continuous, 24-hour surveillance by AWACS aircraft. If this assertion is correct, the military almost certainly observed the entire incident in exquisite detail. Whereas in past cases, authorities revealed the details about an intrusion in the closed airspace around Washington, D.C., in this instance, they did not release the same detailed information, and they attempted to diminish the significance of the "scramble" of fighter aircraft. This fact seems unusual to us, and suggests that there was something unusual about the object detected, and/or the subsequent pursuit by fighter aircraft.

Joan Woodward, affiliated with the Fund for UFO Research, Mt. Rainier, MD, has compiled this preliminary statement of her findings. This report is also posted on the FUFOR website.


Sighting of July 26, 2002, Waldorf/Andrews AFB area, MD.

GPS reading for Waldorf site: 38 degrees, 37'24"; 076 degrees, 55'46" Time of sighting was between 1-2 am EDT.

Witness: Renny Rogers, Waldorf MD. Renny is a Government employee and lives with his wife and 2 collies in a townhouse development in Waldorf. He has always lived near Andrews AFB and is very familiar with aircraft that fly in and out. His current townhouse is under a flight path for Andrews, and he states that he has never seen the kind of activity before in his life that occurred in the early morning of July 26. His time and spatial estimates are unusually accurate. He has a good eye for spotting aircraft. Although he has a strong interest in the UFO field, this is his first sighting. After the sighting was over, he reported it to WTOP radio, in Washington, D.C., and the the FUND. He has extremely strong feelings about pursuing to a final answer the riddle of what he saw and what the military know about it.

Weather conditions: Few scattered clouds at 3500' with an overcast at 5500-6000'. Temperature at Reagan-National Airport, 15 miles NW of Waldorf, was 70 degrees; relative humidity-76%; wind was 5-6 mph from the ESE. {Humidity numbers look a little high, so they need to be checked after corrected data is out.} Visibility was 10 statute miles.

Sequence of events:

1. Witness heard aircraft taking off from Andrews AFB.
2. Jet aircraft rattles his house, afterburner on.
3. Witness sights a blue light being pursued to a flighter

1. Aircraft take off from Andrews AFB--Rogers heard planes take off from Andrews (estimates the time as 1:30-2 am but he is not sure of this), and he estimates that in 5-7-10 minutes* they were in his immediate area. After take off, there may have been a very short period with no aircraft noise, but aircraft sounds got louder and louder and sounded as though the jets were circling in his area and not leaving. The noise made him think there were multiple jets in the area. He felt there were more than 2.

2. The aircraft noise level brings Rogers outdoors--The noise was rattling the house and was so great that Rogers went outdoors, turning to his right and walking a few steps so he could get away from trees and see the sky. He saw a military fighter flying directly away from him going SSE about 35-45 degrees above the horizon. He was looking directly at the tail end of the aircraft, and its afterburner (orange-white plume of fire) was on and remained on for 2-3 seconds before reducing to a residual short plume for the remainder of the viewing time. No sonic boom was heard. The fighter was in level flight at an estimated altitude of 3000' (broken clouds at 3500' from weather report) and was in view for about 11 seconds. Rogers goes back indoors.

3. Sighting--For approximately 3-5 minutes it was quiet with no jet noise or distant jet noise. Then the noise level increased again to near the previous levels. Rogers goes back outside to see what was happening. He goes out the door to the right(south), and sees nothing this time, though he hears loud jet noise. The he goes to the left of his front door(north). At this point he sees a pale bluish light moving at a phenomenal rate of speed. His sense is that the light is moving in an effortless almost floating manner but at high speed, but not at meteoric speed. When first seen, the light was estimated to be 35 degrees above the horizon in the NE sky above the treeline. When first seen, its path dipped and came back up like a small dip in a roller coaster and it flew straight line to about 85 degrees from the horizon in the ESE sky, where it was obscured by a mature deciduous treeline about 30' from Rogers. The estimated time from first sight to treeline interference was 3-4 seconds. Speed was constant, straightline, and there was no sound associated with the light. At this point, no aircraft was in view, and although jet noise could be heard, it was not in the immediate vicinity.

Rogers ran to the south and picked up the light again at about 45 degrees from the horizon in the southwest sky and moving away from him. About 3 seconds after finding the light again, a military aircraft flew over his house, which was behind Rogers, coming from the north and straight-lining after the blue light. Light and aircraft are now on the same path going southwest. Rogers was moving out into the street to keep them in view as long as possible. The aircraft was in sight about 22 seconds before it could no longer be seen. The blue light was in sight for about 5-6 seconds before it could no longer be seen (the aircraft could be seen much longer because it was so much bigger than the light). Rogers did not know when the aircraft began its pursuit of the light, but when it appeared over his house, he is sure it was then in pursuit of the light but that it had no chance of catching it as the blue light was much faster than the pursuing jet. The aircraft used no afterburner and followed the blue light's path until they both disappeared in the SW sky. Rogers estimates they were between 1000-2000' apart . {This may be the most iffy estimate because of viewing angles-JW}

As the aircraft pursued the light in level straightline flight, it was tipping its wings from side-to-side constantly, at least 4 times to each side. In the partly cloudy sky, the blue light was sometimes briefly obscured or partly obscured by clouds. Because the fighter was so much larger than the light, visual was not lost when broken clouds were between it and the witness.

Description of the light: A constant pale blue in color and starlike, about 2 or 3 times the size of the red wing tip lights of the jet pursuing it. He could see no hard edge to where the light, any more than a hard edge could be seen on a airliner beacon light or radio tower light. The entire light flickered from: light-to-faded-to-light on a cycle of about 1.5 seconds throughout the time it was visible. The brightness of the light was unchanging. He compared the flicker to a high flying airplane beacon light but with different timing. Rogers compared the quality (not the behavior) of the light to "blue" (rather than green) glow sticks held aloft by a helium balloon.

*All times were estimated by re-enactment against a stopwatch.

Investigation to this point:

I interviewed Renny Rogers 3 times by phone, on the July 26, 27, and 29th, and did an in-person interview at his house on July 31.


I spoke with Maj. Barry Venable on July 26. He said that two F-16's were scrambled from Andrews about 1 am to investigate "suspicious air activity over D.C." They found nothing and returned to Andrews. I asked about the activity over Waldorf, and he said that was close enough to Andrews that they might well fly over the area on return, and it's possible they may have hotdogged to burn up some fuel. I asked if there was any mechanism whereby the F-16 could project a light ahead of itself. He said no, but at certain angles and in misty weather, an afterburner could appear blue. He had no information beyond "suspicious air activity" in terms of what initialed the scramble.

I again spoke with Maj. Venable on July 29, when he asked me to email him about what had occurred and what questions I had. But the only information that came forth was: "Two F-16 jets from Andrews Air Force Base were scrambled approximately 0100 hours 26 Jul 02 after radar detected an unknown aircraft. The unidentified aircraft's track subsequently faded from the radar. The F-16s investigated, found nothing out of the ordinary, and returned to base." For operational security reasons, other details would not be discussed.

Radar Tracks:

I contacted an acquaintance who is a top notch radar engineer for his thoughts on NORAD's radar comments, particularly asking if the fact that NORAD referred to radar detecting an unknown aircraft meant the target had a transponder. His comments follow:

l. Ground movers can often generate radar returns, as can wind blown rain, trees, birds, insect swarms-any thing with motion can create a Doppler return that might appear as slow low aircraft.

2. The term "aircraft" is probably not enough to infer that they had a transponder return.

3. Keep in mind that combat aviation annals are rich with examples of intercept controllers sending fighters in hot pursuit of nothing.

What were the F-16's doing?

Background information has been sent to FUND from Don Ledger (Zone Commander Civil Air Search & Rescue with 20 years of flying light aircraft up to 2 engine) and from Jim Canan, who got background from a former F-15 pilot, so I will not restate their comments here.

Final thought, is it possible that the F-16's have some sort of perhaps targeting or ranging finding equipment that can project a hologram-like image ahead of the aircraft? The thought keeps occurring to me.

Joan Woodward
Fairfax, VA


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