From: "Martin Shough" <>
To: <>
Date: Sat, 27 Jul 2013 12:04:19 +0100
Subject: Aug. 11, 1952; Hampton, Virginia (BBU): DECAT 

To save future readers a lot of head-scratching, it's worth noting that the 8-page "observer's questionnaire" here is NOT a part of the report on the Record Card made by the AF captain and his wife.

The latter sighting was three observations of multiple steady lights, all made from the officer's car during a drive near Hampton on Aug 11 1952.

The questionnaire relates to a sighting of a single "blinking" light seen by a nurse and her children from her yard on "Aug 12" or "Aug 13". Both answers are given in different places - witness "not sure of the exact day" so one supposes it might even have been Aug 11.

There may or may not be a connection between these sightings.  Nothing indicates whether or not the difference between these sources was even noticed, or if it was whether the relationship if any between these reports was considered, or whether or not this would have any bearing on the conclusion "possible balloon" given for the AF Captain's sighting.

As to that conclusion, the rest of the file is also a typical pig's ear.

The objects were headed SW according to the Captain. No balloon launch was identified within five hours of the sighting. A balloon might have come "from Dahlgren", says the file. Dahlgren is about 95 mi NNW of Hampton. A SW heading over Hampton would not extrapolate back to anywhere near Dahlgren, but ok, level heading can be hard to judge especially if objects are thought to be "climbing" too, and a 70 degree error might be acceptable. The file card says "objects travelling in same direction as wind".  Game set and match?  No. The wind given in the file is 5 kt, SW (surface, no other levels are given). This means wind FROM the southwest, obviously, which is in the opposite direction to the reported heading, and is completely inconsistent with the suggestion of the hypothetical balloons (7 would be needed) from Dahlgren far to the north.

If BB wanted to make a balloon solution work they would have been better trying fire balloons (lanterns). The limited report data could fit that quite well - except for the 180-degree error in wind direction. Maybe winds above the surface did swing round? But who knows. Certainly not BB, who never bothered to find out.