It was a period of large-scale interest in UFOs and aliens, when strange lights and objects were reported almost every month. But this event remains in the memory of eyewitnesses, as the objects were seen above the White House and the Capitol, which really worried the military.
Events begin July 19, 1952. At 23:40, air traffic controller Edward Nugent was near the radar at Washington National Airport when he noticed 7 unusual flashes on the screen. There was not a single known aircraft in the area, so he turned to the commander Harry Barnes. Together they watched the flight of unidentified objects. They even had to check if the radar was working properly. But the mechanism responded clearly.
Then they contacted the control tower, where they would also reply that they see bright bursts in the night sky. From the Andrews air base confirmed the observation. It turned out that two bright objects were noticed over the White House, and one was floating over the Capitol.
The day after the incident, all the newspapers wrote only about it.
Dispatchers at both airports continued spying on UFOs that flew at a speed of 209 km / h. But they suddenly disappeared from the radar. Then they reappeared, making a 90 degree turn, and one began to move sharply in the opposite direction. Then a message was received from Captain S. S. Pierman, who was sitting in the cockpit, awaiting departure and watching 6 bright objects for a 14-minute flight. On July 20, at 5:30 am, the objects disappeared. But this is not the end.
July 26 at 20:15 UFO returned. And they saw the captain and the stewardess, flying to Washington. They reported that the lights flew in front of them, and then hung over the cockpit. The officers at Andrews Air Base also saw them on radars. Everything stopped again the next morning closer to dawn.
The incident on July 19 made everyone nervous. Washington newspapers were filled with articles about UFOs, scouting the situation over the White House. Journalists wrote that the objects were seen at a height of 518 m above the White House lawn. Representatives of the Air Force called not to panic and promised to investigate the event. However, journalists later began to write that the military refused to give comments and communicate with the press.
Edward Ruppelt, who was the head of the secret Blue Book project (studying UFOs and extraterrestrial life), learned about the situation and the growing panic. After his intervention, Air Force Maj. Gen. John Samford presented the official findings:
- objects were air phenomena, like stars or meteors.
- outbreaks on radar caused by temperature changes. When the weather inverts, the lights on the ground may look like they are in the air. This distorted radar data.
These explanations did not please both ufologists and the public, as well as many specialists. Ruppelt noted that during June, July and August, temperature fluctuations were constantly observed in Washington, but the UFO radar did not appear. Air traffic controllers also said that the weather can cause a flash on the radar, but it will be a straight line and it will not glow.
Ufologists are confident that these were UFOs that had been spent in Washington for a long time, doing research. They cite the fact that in 1952 there were too many reports of unidentified objects in the sky. In the first 6 months alone, the number reached 300 unexplained observations. Perhaps it was the most active UFO fixation period. Therefore, the events of July 1952 in Washington still remain a mystery.