Col. Blakeslee / F-84 Incident

Blakeslee Flies Jet in 600 MPH Chase after Mysterious Sky Balls

Source: Painesville Telegraph (OH), Thursday, January 22, 1953 p.1

             Air Base in Northern Japan – Strange balls of colored light sometimes moving slowly and sometimes streaking through the skies over northern Japan so swiftly that a 600 – mile per hour U. S. jet couldn’t get near them were reported here today.

            The objects were seen both on Dec. 29 and Jan. 9, according to Col. Curtis Low of Needham, Mass.; commander of the 39th Air Division, which is responsible for the defense of northern Japan.

            He said the glowing balls sighted only a few minutes flying time from a Russian Far East base, change continuously from red to green to white.

            They have been spotted, Low said, both by U. S. radar observers and American pilots.

            At one time they appeared to be as far south as northern Honshu, he reported.

            “These were well corroborated sightings by trained men – not the reports of a few imaginative people.” he said.

            Col. Donald J. M. Blakeslee of Fairport Harbor, O., chased one of the flying balls in his F-84 Thunderjet for seven minutes at 600 miles per hour but couldn’t get near it before it “disappeared into the night.”

            Turning back toward his base he again spotted what appeared to be the same ball of light at his altitude of 35,000 feet, but again it disappeared before he could close in on it or determine its size.

            It was recalled that jet planes failed to track down mysterious lights reported last summer over Washington, D.C.

            The pilot and radar observer of an F-94 night fighter, a crew member of a B-36 bomber, and five airmen at scattered bases in Hokkaido reported seeing the glowing red-white-green objects at the same time, Low said.

            “They were always seen from a considerable distance,” he said, “and it was therefore impossible to determine how big they were. They were well up in the sky and appeared to have been grouped within a 100-mile radius.”

            Low reported, “I’ve had out best brains here trying to guess what they were, but we’re stumped. They definitely were not diffused northern lights.”

            But he said it was possible the objects were caused by freak electrical conditions in the atmosphere.

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