Awesome or Off-Putting is a weekly delve into cryptozoology, ufology, aliens, medical marvels, scientific wonders, secret societies, government conspiracies, cults, ghosts, EVPs, myths, ancient artifacts, religion, strange facts, odd sightings or just the plain unexplainable.
In July of 1952 Washington DC was changed from a town of confusing, argumentative and boring politics to one overrun with UFOs.? The sightings were real enough to scramble fighter jets, confuse radar operators – and perhaps most importantly – to be recorded on film.
Part of the strange episode is still floating around on YouTube – we have some of that footage for you here today.
The UFO concept is not a new one by any stretch of the imagination. Why, we’ve told you about the ‘classic’ alien contactees who claim to be receiving mental-inter stellar transmissions meant to bring peace for all of humanity. And more recently then that we told you about the Wow! signal – a radio transmission of some sort or other that definitely did not emanate from Earth.
One UFO-related case that has remained surprisingly unknown given its chosen location, has come to be known by several different names: The Washington Merry-Go-Round, The 1952 Washington D.C. UFO incident, the Washington flap or the Washington National Airport Sightings.
Whatever you want to call it – here is part of what happened, according to Unexplained-Mysteries.com:
“On 19th July,1952,several UFOs were plotted on multiple radar screens travelling over the White House airspace corridor. They were also witnessed by huge numbers of people and fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the objects but where ‘outran’ by the UFOs. Exactly seven days later on July 26th,the UFOs returned,were again captured on multiple radar, were again witnessed by huge numbers of people and were again able to outrun military fighter jets.”
The great concern at the time was that the cold war was raging – and it appeared that the Soviet Union had possibly developed flying technology that was so fast US fighters couldn’t catch them if they tried. The first time pilots launched they arrived to where the ships were supposed to be – and nothing was there. Almost exactly when the fighters returned to their air base, the ships popped back up on radar. The jets were launched again, this time making visual contact.
According to Wikipedia – here is some more of what happened during the July 19 & 20 sightings:
“At Andrews AFB, meanwhile, the control tower personnel were tracking on radar what some thought to be unknown objects, but others suspected, and in one instance were able to prove, were simply stars and meteors. However, Staff Sgt. Charles Davenport observed an orange-red light to the south; the light “would appear to stand still, then make an abrupt change in direction and altitude . . . this happened several times”. At one point both radar centers at National Airport and the radar at Andrews AFB were tracking an object hovering over a radio beacon.
“The object vanished in all three radar centers at the same time. At 3 a.m., shortly before two jet fighters from Newcastle AFB in Delaware arrived over Washington, all of the objects vanished from the radar at National Airport. However, when the jets ran low on fuel and left, the objects returned, which convinced Barnes that “the UFOs were monitoring radio traffic and behaving accordingly”. The objects were last detected by radar at 5:30 a.m. Around sunrise, E.W. Chambers, a civilian radio engineer in Washington’s suburbs, observed “five huge disks circling in a loose formation. They tilted upward and left on a steep ascent.””
But these sightings lasted longer than just the July 19 & 20 dates – the ships came back on July 26 & 27. Wikipedia has more on this too:
“At 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, 1952, a pilot and stewardess on a National Airlines flight into Washington observed some strange objects above their plane. Within minutes, both radar centers at National Airport, and the radar at Andrews AFB, were tracking more unknown objects. The objects were traveling between 90 and 100 miles per hour. A master sergeant at Andrews visually observed the objects; he later said that “these lights did not have the characteristics of shooting stars. There was [sic] no trails . . . they traveled faster than any shooting star I have ever seen.”
“…By this time (9:30 p.m.) the radar center was picking up unknown objects in every sector. At times the objects traveled slowly; at other times they reversed direction and moved across the radarscope at speeds calculated at 7,000 mph. At 11:30 p.m., two jet fighters from Newcastle AFB in Delaware arrived over Washington. Capt. John McHugo, the flight leader, was vectored towards the radar pips but saw nothing, despite repeated attempts. However, his wingman, Lt. William Patterson, did see four white “glows” and chased them. Suddenly, the “glows” turned and surrounded his fighter. Patterson asked the control tower at National Airport what he should do; according to Chop, the tower’s answer was “stunned silence”. The four objects then sped away from Patterson’s jet and disappeared.”
Now that sounds eerily familiar. Luckily this outcome was a tad better.
All of that UFO-surrounding stuff sounds fantastic alright – and dare we say unbelievable. But its on video. We’ve posted two such videos below – the first one is just the sighting alone – a bunch of ships casually floating past the US Capital Building back when CGI’s greatest achievement was a wooden cowboy puppet attached to several strings.
The second video clip is a segment from a History Channel documentary that delves deeper into the sighting – even interviewing actual witnesses. It’s 10 minutes long – and a very worthwhile watch.