THE AIR FORCE HANDS ME A RIDDLE
"We're not against them," he said, "but there's one bad effect. It gives the public the idea we're not taking the saucers seriously."
"After that press conference you couldn't expect anything else."
Chop looked unhappy.
"I know, but we are working hard on it. Sightings are being analyzed more carefully than ever, even some apparent hoaxes. The trouble is, we've learned as much as we can until the saucers move into a new phase."
Two weeks before, newspapers had carried a new "natural phenomena" theory by two Chicago engineers. The saucers, they said, were only pockets of ionized air, caused by the recent A-bomb tests in Nevada.
Chop smiled wearily when I mentioned it.
"I wish to heaven it were right. We could stop scrambling all those jets, tell the public this was it, and close the project. But ATIC had scientists look into that long ago, though they knew it wasn't the answer, we had sightings before the first A-bomb blast. No, it's just another wild idea by people who don't know the evidence. If they'd seen Intelligence reports like these, they'd know better."
He took two new IRs from a folder.
"If you think Major Norman told you something, read these. Funny thing, this first one happened the very night of the press conference."
This UFO encounter, the report showed, had occurred just ten minutes before the "yellow saucer" sighting at Los Alamos. At 9:40 Central Standard Time, a GCI station in Michigan was tracking three F-94s which were making practice runs on a B-25 bomber. Suddenly a trail of saucer blips appeared on the radarscope. The unknown machine was making 635 m.p.h., flying a course of 350 degrees.
Seconds after the blips appeared, GCI called Captain Ned Baker, one of the F-94 pilots. Giving him the UFO's position, they ordered an interception.
Baker put the jet into a steep climb and his radar operator, Lieutenant Guy Sorenson, carefully watched the rear-pit scope. As the F-94 reached 20,000 feet, GCI vectored Baker into a left turn. A moment later Sorenson picked up the saucer's blips and locked on. The UFO was four miles away, flying at their altitude.
Calling Baker on the intercom, Sorenson gave him the bearing. Peering into the night, Baker saw the strange machine, its position marked by a flashing light. As he watched, the light changed from red to green to white, alternating at regular intervals. Opening up to full power, he tried to close in.
Back at Ground Control, fascinated radar men watched the chase on their scope. They could tell the F-94 was at its maximum speed. But the saucer, slightly increasing its speed, easily stayed ahead.
For 20 minutes Baker stubbornly kept on. By now they were over Sanilac County, at a point some 20 miles north of Port Huron. The lights on the saucer were still flashing red, green, and white, and its blips were clear on Sorenson's scope-exactly where GCI had them on its screen.
Finally Baker gave up and turned back. Though he didn't know it, several residents of Sanilac County had also seen the saucer. Every night for the past week machines of this same type had been sighted over the county, identified by their red, green, and white lights.
When I finished the action account, I looked down at the ATIC conclusion. I read it twice to be sure I was seeing correctly:
"The temperature inversion theory will not explain simultaneous visual and radar sightings when observers on the ground and in planes see a UFO at the same spot, when a plane's radar has locked on the object, and ground radar stations have both the plane and the UFO on their scopes at the same spot. Conclusion: Unknown."
I looked up, caught Chop studying my face.
"Al," I said, "what the devil goes on here? This absolutely contradicts-"
"I know," he interrupted. "But if you think that's hot, read the other one. You've seen the preliminary, but this is the final analysis."
It was the Bellefontaine case, the saucer chase which the AP had briefly mentioned before ATIC banged down the lid.
Source: From "The Air Force Hands Me A Riddle", FLYING SAUCERS FROM OUTER SPACE, Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe, extracted from pages 105-106
to Case Directory
NICAP Home Page