On This Date In History: Back in 1938, the nation was put on edge by a radio broadcast by Orson Welles of War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. The war in Europe soon took the public’s attention away from little green men but I suppose the notion still was in the back of many American’s minds. The idea of space aliens returned in 1947 with the news of the Roswell Incident. The government continues to come up with explanations and many Americans still don’t buy it. While the UFO phenomenon may have quieted over the years, each year sitings of unidentifed flying objects continue to make news and actually may be on the rise with the advent of video recorders and camera phones. For instance, in November 2008, UFO’s were sited in Texas. In December 2009, a “Pyramid Imperial Cruiser” was caught on video over the Kremlin in Moscow. Some sightings are easily dismissed but others are not so easy, especially when it involves an investigation by government and military officials.
On this date in 1952, we had spies at the White House. Or more to the point, over the White House. Newsreels of the time captured the images and President Truman was hauled before the cameras to try to give an explanation. This video presentation claims that the event began on July 26. There seems to be some dispute as to exactly when the UFO’s were first sited over Washington DC in July 1952. This article claims that the event began on July 16, 1952 and a man who has photographic evidence could “destablize society” if it is made public, according to officials associated with the Obama White House. See…it’s another UFO story that never totally fades away.
It began when, Andrews Air Force Base radar operators, not far from the White House, noted seven blips that were said to “loaf along” at between 100 and 130 mph. Then they accelerated to an unheard of 7200 mph. Washington National Airport radar operators made the same observations. Airline pilots reported lights in the sky but when USAF jets were scrambled to intercept, they had disappeared. The official explanation? The old temperature inversion trick! Trouble is that temperature inversions don’t appear as blips and don’t race around. Experienced air traffic controllers disputed the official version. On July 26 a similar incident occurred and an interceptor jet couldn’t even get close to the objects. Also, amber lights were seen over numerous locations in the country, including over Florida’s Guided Missile Long-Range Proving Ground and a Coast Guard installation in Salem, MA. The Air Force conducted its “largest and longest” press conference since WWII to tell everyone it was just weather phenomena.
But, apparently there were some 300 UFO reports from across the nation in 1952 and I don’t think that they could all be related to weather phenomena. Most involved objects moving on radar at extreme speeds. President Truman was not in Washington DC during the several weeks sitings over Washington as he was back in his hometown of Independence, MO on vacation. So, right on cue, UFO’s were sited over Missouri while President Truman was there. Some in the press said that they followed him home. I suppose all of the confusion over when the sightings first began over Washington is due to several sightings. This source suggests that the most intense number of sitings over Washington happened on July 19/20, July 26/27 and August 2/3. One thing that is curious about this aspect of the story is that it seems awfully convenient that the mass sitings happened at one week intervals.
While UFO sitings have been reported almost since the beginning of the nation, many seem to be obvious hoaxes. Even today, photos look eerily similar to ones from decades past. The one from China in February of this year just doesn’t seem to pass the smell test. But, who knows. Maybe the objects that look so similar just means the same guys are visiting. The 1952 incident did bring a call for government action. The United States Air Force in 1952 began Operation Blue Book which was an effort to “to determine if UFOs were a threat to national security, and to scientifically analyze UFO-related data.” The project concluded in 1970 after reviewing 12, 618 UFO reports. Ninety-four percent of those reports were easily explained as either hoaxes or some sort of optic phenomena. But, 701 were classified as “unknowns.” You can gain access to that data through Freedom of Information Act but the names of individuals involved in the incidents or the investigation have been redacted. So, you can’t camp out on someone’s front yard to harrass them.
The photo to the right is supposedly from a recent photo and this website claims there have been “blip” incidents recently during which President Bush and Vice-President Cheney have been hustled to the underground bunker. The photo looks suspiciously like the one’s from 1952, so I’m skeptical; especially since the reports were of a single blip and not a whole mess of them like the photo shows. Nevertheless, this article from Turkish Weekly of April 28, 2005 reveals that the “blip incidents” were dismissed as radar reflections of a flock of birds. It confirm that both the President and Vice President were taken to a secure location on more than one instance due to unidentified radar reflections as Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said that they were taken to secure locations “for a very short amount of time.” A spokesman for the Department of Homeland security explained, “Out of an abundance of caution, appropriate security measures were taken.” So, even though its been a long time since the UFO incidents in Washington during the Truman Administration, modern day officials in the nation’s capital have not forgotten.
Weather Bottom Line: Funny thing, these here computuers. When you look at the conventional models, they indicate a shortwave in the morning in western Iowa but it travels east and dissipates through the day. I had a professor once who said that sometimes, as forecasters, we tend to sit in our concrete buildings looking at computers and never bother to look out the window. Well, I looked out the window so to speak. I see that there is indeed a disturbance in western Iowa..and there is another larger one in eastern Iowa. And the vector appears to be about 140 degrees, or Southeast. If it were to hold together it would run right over the area. Based on that and the heating of the day, I would say we will probably see what we did over the weekend and that is thunderstroms moving in late in the day or early evening. Saturday, they passed just North of my house. So, on Sunday when the sky turned dark, I watered my sunflowers because I had no faith that the dark clouds would make it to my house; they passed to the South. Maybe I’ll get lucky today.