Case Directory
  Category 1, Distant Encounters 
Rating: 5  


A Hynek Classification of Distant Encounter is usually an incident involving an object more than 500 feet from the witness. At night it is classified as a "nocturnal light" (NL) and during the day as a "daylight disc" (DD). The size of the object or the viewing conditions may render the object in greater detail but yet not qualify the sighting as a Close Encounter which is an object within 500'. 

Multiple Witnesses Observe Strange Maneuvering Object (McDonald Case 13)
Summer, July (19?), 1952
Savannah River AEC Plant

Dr. James E. McDonald:
A rather illuminating multiple-witness case was called to my attention by John A. Anderson, now at Sandia Base, New Mexico, but in 1952 working as a young engineer in the Savannah River AEC facility near Aiken, S.C. After a considerable amount of cross-checking on the part of both Anderson and myself, the date was inferred to be late July, 1952, probably 7/19/52. The circumstance giving a clue to the date was that, at about 10:00 a.m. on the day in question, Anderson, along with what he estimated at perhaps a hundred other engineers, scientists and technicians from his group were outside watching a "required attendance" skit presented from a truck-trailer and commemorating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the DuPont company, July 18, 1802. Anderson indicated that some less than absorbed in the skit first spotted the unidentified object in the clear skies overhead, and soon most eyes had left the skit to watch more technically intriguing events overhead. A greenish glowing object of no discernible shape, and of angular size estimated by Anderson to be not over a fifth of full-moon diameter, was darting back and forth erratically at very high speed. Anderson had the impression it was at great altitude, but conceded that perhaps nothing but the complete lack of sound yielded that impression. It was in view for about two minutes, moving at all times. He stressed its "phenomenal maneuverability"; it repeatedly changed direction abruptly in sharp-angle manner, he stressed. The observation was terminated when the object disappeared over the horizon "at apparently tremendous velocity."

Discussion. -- Anderson said that the event was discussed among his group afterwards, and all agreed it could not possibly have been a conventional aircraft. He remarked that no one even thought of suggesting the unreasonable notion that it was an hallucination or illusion. Despite searching local papers for some days thereafter, not a word of this sighting was published, and no further information or comment on it came from within the very security-conscious AEC plant. He was unaware of any official report. Months after hearing of this from Anderson, in one of my numerous rereadings of Ruppelt's book (Ref. 5), I came across a single sentence in which Ruppelt, referring to the high concentration of reports in the Southeast around September of 1952, states that: "Many of the reports came from people in the vicinity of the then new super-hush-hush AEC facility at Savannah River, Georgia." Whether one of those reports to the official investigative agency came from within Anderson's group or other Savannah River personnel on the 7/52 incident is unknown. If not, then we may have here a case where dozens of technically-trained personnel witnessed an entirely unexplainable aerial performance, yet reported nothing. Anderson knew of no report, and was unaware of any assembling of witness-information within his group, so the evidence points in the direction that this event may have gone unreported. If, as Anderson is inclined to think, this event was on July 19, 1952, it occurred only about twelve hours before the famous Washington National Airport radar-visual sightings; but this date remains uncertain.
(Source: In a Prepared Statement before the House Committee on Science & Astronautics, 1968).

Detailed reports and documents
reports/520719savannah_report.htm (Fran Ridge)

NICAP Home Page