The name foo fighter was coined by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II for mysterious aerial phenomena, such as glowing balls, seen in the skies over Germany. Originally used as a semi-derogatory reference to Japanese fighter pilots (known for erratic flying and extreme maneuvering), it became a catch phrase for fast moving, erratically flying objects (such as UFOs). It was thought at the time that they might be some German secret weapon, but the Germans were just as mystified by the phenomenon.
The term originated in the surrealistic comic strip Smokey Stover. Smokey, a firefighter, was fond of saying "Where there's foo there's fire." A Little Big Book titled Smokey Stover the Foo Fighter was published in 1938.
During WWII, when a series of incomprehensible events suddenly erupted over battle zones from North Africa to Guadalcanal to the Rhineland, hundreds of fliers and infantrymen on both sides of the conflict had occasion to look into the skies at a mystery that has never been explained. Whatever the cause, these weird aerial apparitions, which came to be known as "foo fighters", were enough to make witnesses forget momentarily the life and death concerns of men in combat.
June 24, 1947--the date Kenneth Arnold's Mt. Ranier sighting would firmly plant the phrase Unidentified Flying Objects in the public consciousness-- was more than five years away when the first known sighting of a "foo" took place. The witnesses were tow sailors of the deck of the S.S. Pulaski, an old Polish vessel which had been converted into a British troopship for use in ferrying soldiers between Durban, South Africa, and Suez, Egypt. While the ship was cruising through the Indian Ocean during the early morning hours of a clear, starry night in September 1941, seaman Mar Doroba happened to look up and saw, as he recalled some years later, "some strange globe glowing with greenish light, about half the size of the full moon, as it appears to us."
He called out to one of the English gunners and the two of them watched the strange light, which they estimated to be at an altitude of 4,000 to 5,000 feet, as it followed them for the next hour. Finally the thing "just disappeared."
Several months later on Febryary 26, 1942, William J. Methorst underwent an equally weird experience while aboard a ship in the Timor Sea near New Guinea. In 1957 Methorst, then a resident of Melbourne, Australia, told Peter Norris of the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society:
While on watch for enemy aircraft just after noon, I was scanning the skies with binoculars when suddenly I saw a large illuminated disc approaching at terrific speed 4,000 or 5,000 feet above us. This object proceeded to circle high above our ship, the cruiser, Tromp, of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
After reporting it to the officers on the bridge, they were unable to identify it as any known aircraft. After keeping track of this object for about three to four hours, as it flew in big circles and at the same height, the craft suddenly veered off in a tremendous burst of speed (at about 3,000 to 3,500 miles an hour) and disappeared from sight.
Stephen J. Brickner, a sergeant with the 1st Marine Division, had an even more fantastic encounter with mysterious aerial objects.
"The sightings occurred on August 12, 1942, about 10 in the morning while I was in bivouac with my squad on the island of Tulagi in the southern Solomons, west of Guadalcanal," he recalled.
It was a bright tropical morning with high banks of white, fleecy clouds. I was cleaning my rifle on the edge of my foxhole, when suddenly the air raid warning was sounded. There had been no 'Condition Red.' I immediately slid into my foxhole, with my back to the ground and my face turned up to the sky. I heard the formation before I saw it. Even then, I was puzzled by the sound. It was a mighty roar that seemed to echo in the heavens. It didn't sound at all like the 'sewing-machine' drone of the Jap formations. A few seconds later, I saw the formation of silvery objects directly overhead.
At the time I was in a highly emotional state; it was my fifth day in combat with the Marines. It was quite easy to mistake anything in the air for Jap planes, which is what I thought these objects were. They were flying very high above the clouds, too high for a bombing run on our little island. Someone shouted in a nearby foxhole that they were Jap planes searching for our fleet. I accepted this explanation, but with a few reservations. First, the formation was huge, I would say over 150 objects were in it. Instead of the usual tight 'V' of 25 planes, this formation was in straight lines of 10 or 12 objects, one behind the other. The speed was a little faster than Jap planes, and they were soon out of sight. A few other things puzzled me: I couldn't seem to make out any wings or tails. They seemed to wobble slightly, and every time they wobbled they would shimmer brightly from the sun. Their color was like highly polished silver. No bombs were dropped, of course. All in all, it was the most awe-inspiring and yet frightening spectacle I have seen in my life.
What may be one of the best UFO photographs in existence lies buried in U.S. and British intelligence files, if we are to credit the testimony of "C.J.J.", an informant known to ufologist Leonard Stringfield.
C.J.J. was attached to a wing of an antisubmarine squadron that patrolled the Bay of Bascay off France. One day in November 1942, the plane's tail gunner spotted a "massive" object without wings, which appeared, suddenly, behind the bomber. Stunned at the strange sight, he alerted the rest of the crew, including C.J.J., who was in the nose turret. By the time he climbed into the waist gunner's position, virtually everyone on board was watching the "thing," which remained in sight for 15 minutes. Sgt M.F.B. was busy taking pictures with a K-20 camera.
The object soon gained altitude and did an abrupt 180-degree before disappearing.
Only one of the pictures--the one taken with a filter--turned out, and it was, in C.J.J.'s words, "a perfect print." Today, more than 60 years later, it has yet to be released.
Usually foos were amorphous lights, not the kind of apparently solid, craft- like objects Brickner, C.J.J., and several other witnesses reported. Royal Air Force pilot B.C. Lumsden observed two classic foos while flying a Hurricane interceptor over France in December 1942.
Lumsden had taken off from England at seven p.m., heading for the French coast, using the Somme River as a navigation point. An hour later, while cruising at 7,000 feet over the mouth of the Somme, he discovered that he had company: two steadily climbing orange-colored lights, with one slightly above the other. He thought it might be tracer flak but discarded the idea when he saw how slowly the objects were moving. He did a full turn and saw the lights astern and to port but now they were larger and brighter.
At 7,000 feet they stopped climbing and stayed level with Lumsden's Hurricane. The frightened pilot executed a full turn again, only to discover that the objects had hung behind him on the turn.
Lumsden had no idea what he was seeing. All he knew was that he didn't like it. He nose-dived down to 4,000 feet and the lights followed his every maneuver, keeping their same relative position. Finally they descended about 1,000 feet below him until he leveled out, at which point they climbed again and resumed pursuit. The two lights seemed to maintain an even distance from each other and varied only slightly in relative height from time to time. One always remained a bit lower than the other.
At last, as Lumsden's speed reached 260 miles per hour, he was gradually able to outdistance the foos.
"I found it hard to make other members of the squadron believe me when I told my story," Lumsden said, "but the following night one of the squadron flight commanders in the same area had a similar experience with a green light."
We have no specific date on the following story, which Sgt. Dirk Wylie recounted in a letter published in the May 1946 issue of Ray Palmer's Amazing Stories:
In 1942 I was on a little island outpost off the southern U.S. coast. While on duty at the observation post one clear, moonless night, I saw a brightly glowing, unidentified object, like a flare in appearance, traveling horizontally over the sea at moderate speed; I can't even guess at its size, height or distance from where I was.
Possibly 30 seconds or a minute after my first glimpse of it, the object plummeted straight down toward the water and disappeared. I watched the area where it had vanished, and a couple of minutes later it reappeared, rising swiftly in apparently an absolute vertical line until it was out of sight.
If there were foo sightings in 1943, as surely there must have been, we have no record of them. One possible explanation for the scarcity of reports from that year is that, since at that time UFOs were usually assumed to be secret military weapons, military security kept reports out of the press and discouraged observers from speaking to outsiders about their experiences. It is also likely, though, that there were comparatively few sightings that year, because even after the war, when soldiers were free to talk, few if any recalled seeing UFOs in 1943.
However, 1944, was another story altogether. From April of that year through August 1945, there would be no shortage of bizarre phenomena in the sky.
Among the first to witness the "things" were the radar plotters of the Argus 16 Combat Intelligence Center at Tarawa, where in April 1944 a "bogey," the blip of an unknown object, was traced moving at the then incredible speed of 700 miles per hour. When the radar operators had determined there was nothing wrong with their sets, they had no choice but to conclude that it was a supersonic Japanese plane. Of course, it wasn't, since after the war American intelligence experts found that the Japanese had no such fighter.
The invasion of Europe, which began on June 6, 1944, at Normandy, apparently attracted the foos. At least one sighting was made at Omaha Beach from the deck of the U.S.S. George E. Badger, which lay anchored off shore. Gunner Edward Breckel, who was on duty, happened to be watching the sky when a dark cigar-shaped object crossed the horizon about five miles away. Visible for three minutes, the UFO, which was moving too low and too fast to be a blimp, traveled a smooth, circular course about 15 feet above the water. It had no wings.
Then there was the dispatch by George Todt, a columnist for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, who recalled, "On one occasion a party of four of us-- including a lieutenant colonel--watched a pulsating red fireball sail up silently to a point directly over the American-German front lines in 1944 during the Battle of Normandy. It stopped completely for 15 minutes before moving on."
In 1950, Edward W. Ludwig of Stockton, Calif., recalled this very strange story:
It happened in the last week of June 1944. The small Coast Guard-manned cargo vessel, of which I was executive officer, was approaching the tiny island of Plamyra, about 800 miles southeast of Hawaii... Suddenly the atmosphere of calm was shattered by a crackling radio message telling us that a Navy patrol plane had been lost at sea. Plamyra naval authorities appealed for our assistance in the search.
So we cruised back and forth, shouting into the black still night, playing our searchlight beams over the dark waters. We found nothing. Not even a scrap of floating debris or spot of oil to indicate where the plane had crashed. Twenty-four hours later we anchored in the lagoon-harbor of Palmyra, weary, our minds numbed by the tragedy.
That midnight I was on watch on our ship's bridge. Suddenly I glimpsed what first appeared to be a brilliant star, high in the dark sky over the island. As I watched, the light began to swell like a balloon and to come closer. I grabbed my binoculars, hoping for an instant that the lost plane might be returning.
But I soon saw that the object in the sky was neither plane nor star. It was definitely round, a sphere hovering above me, motionless and silent, and at least five times as bright as the most brilliant star. The sphere began to move with almost imperceptible slowness. Then it stopped... For half an hour the light continued its slow, purposeful maneuvers until it covered an area of approximately 90 degrees. At last it headed northward, away from the island and in the direction where the plane had been lost.
The following morning I made inquiries, my mind toying with the thought that the two incidents--the sphere and the lost plane--might be related. The Naval lieutenant in charge told me that absolutely no aircraft had been aloft that night and that no Japanese could possible be within 1,000 miles.
He was extremely puzzled by the problem of the missing plane. Its radio direction finder, he believed, had somehow malfunctioned, resulting in a reversal of directions. But this theory, of course, would not explain why two experienced pilots, familiar with the area, would fly directly into the setting sun, away from the island, instead of in the opposite and correct direction. I will never forget the lieutenant's final words. 'Perhaps,' he suggested, 'the inhabitants of the strange sphere wanted specimens'.
Admittedly in this instance any connection between the plane disappearance and the UFO is purely speculative, but Ludwig's account is interesting in view of the growing number of aircraft disappearances in which UFOs seem to be connected. The Kinross Air Force Base incident of November 23, 1953, is the most famous of these cases.
Shortly after midnight on August 10, 1944, a B-29 was returning to Ceylon after a bombing mission over Palembang, Sumatra, when, as the pilot said "my copilot reported a strange object pacing us about 500 yards off the starboard wing. At that distance it appeared as a spherical object, probably five or six feet in diameter, of a very bright or intense red or orange in color. It seemed to have a halo effect.
My gunner reported it coming in from about the five o'clock position at our level. It seemed to throb or vibrate constantly. Assuming it was some kind of radio-controlled object sent to pace us, I went into evasive action, changing direction constantly, as much as 90 degrees and altitude about 2,000 feet. It followed our every maneuver for about eight minutes, always holding a position about 500 yards out and about two o'clock in relation to the plane. When it left, it made an abrupt 90 degree turn; accelerating rapidly, it disappeared into the overcast.
Late in August, during the Battle of Brest in France, a UFO was seen by two men of the 175th Infantry Regiment. As members of a mine-laying platoon, they were entrenched a few thousand yards outside the city waiting for the Germans to launch a counterattack. The night was clear and quiet.
"I saw this craft traveling no faster than a Piper Cub on a straight course," one of them told NICAP years later; he asked that his name not be published.
When I got over the shock of seeing this silent aircraft, I tapped Sergeant Ness on the shoulder, motioning for him to look up... When he looked skyward, he leaped to his feet to stare at this phenomenon... Both of us were so awed, we forgot the war. If you knew Sergeant Ness as I knew him, you would know that he was too clever a combat soldier to stand up, even at night, near the enemy. So it had to be awesome.
I swear to God, it was the same as a railroad boxcar, rectangular not cylindrical... It seemed five times as large as a boxcar... I looked closely for evidence of propellers, wings, or other protruding devices, but saw none on the three edges visible to us. There was absolutely no noise from it. It traveled at no more than 90 miles per hour. We had a long look at it before it vanished over the sea. Neither the German nor the American antiaircraft batteries opened fire...
For a brief moment the UFO passed across the surface of the moon and blotted it out. It finally vanished out to sea.
(Amazingly, a strikingly similar object was observed in Apache, Okla., that October. The witness, Robert Spearman, had just returned from a fishing trip and was standing on his front porch when a "rushing wind sound" made him look up into the midday sky. There he saw a "silver train--like a streamlined passenger train--of our make with about nine coaches with landing gear that looked like inflated pillow-like wheels for soft landing... It traveled from east to west with a swish sound." Moving low and "very fast," it was visible for 10 minutes. It passed behind Spearman's 60-foot windmill about 100 yards to the south of the house before disappearing.)
Another UFO appeared over Sumatra in September. The witnesses, members of the Japanese Imperial Navy, thought the object was the size of a B-29 at 8,000 feet. It was white, egg-shaped, and brilliant.
In 1958 Carson Yorke, who in 1944 was a lance corporal with the first Canadian Army fighting in northwestern Europe, recalled this sighting:
This occurred in September 1944, just outside Antwerp, Belgium, which the Germans were bombarding at the time with V-2 rockets. At about nine p.m. I stepped out of my vehicle and on looking upward saw a glowing globe traveling from the direction of the front line toward Antwerp. It seemed to be about three or four feet in diameter and looked as though it was cloudy glass with a light inside. It gave [off] a soft white glow. Its altitude seemed to be about 40 feet, speed about 30 miles per hour, and there was no sound of any sort.
I noted that the object was not simply drifting with the wind but was obviously powered and controlled. Immediately [after] it had gone out of view it was followed by another which in turn was followed by five others in all.
During this time I called some other men out to see so the objects were observed by about five men. We weren't very impressed at the time because the Germans were using so many new weapons against us, such as the V-1 and V-2, so we assumed that these were simply some new sort of device of theirs. Also, remember that these objects were apparently following the same course V-2s which were falling on Antwerp regularly at the time, one every few minutes if I remember correctly.
Near Weert, in southeastern Holland, half a dozen men spotted a "brilliant point of light" at 9:30 one clear October evening. They quickly notified their commander, Capt. J.B. Douglas, Jr., who studied it through binoculars, noting that "the object appeared slightly larger and more brilliant--just as a planet would when viewed through field glasses." Passing slightly to the 7F south and directly above the witnesses, it remained in sight for about 45 minutes.
All during 1944-45 Allied airmen over Germany encountered what B-17 pilot Charles Odom described as "crystal balls", clear, about the size of basketballs." They would approach to within 300 feet of the bomber formation, "then would seem to become magnetized to our formation and fly alongside... After a while, they would peel off like a plane and leave." Mostly they were seen at night but some airmen reported spotting them during daylight hours.
Over the Rhine Valley early one November evening in 1944, Lt. Henry Giblin and his radar observer, Lt. Walter Cleary, sighted a "huge red light" 1,000 feet above them (they were flying at 1,000 feet). The object was moving at about 200 miles per hour. About the same time two other airmen encountered a "glowing red object" which shot up vertically, turned over, and plunged into a steep dive. The witnesses were sure the thing was under intelligent control.
Later that month, the Lincoln and Welland Regiment of the Canadian Army, stationed south of the Maas River, watched a star-like object cross the night sky toward the east. After 20 minutes is disappeared.
About eight or 10 bright orange lights startled the crew of an American aircraft connected with the 415th Night Fighter Squadron as the plane cruised the Rhine River area north of Strasbourg one November night. Curiously, the lights, which were moving across the sky at tremendous speed, did not show up on either ground or aircraft radar. The pilot, Lt. Ed Schlueter, banked into them expecting a dogfight, but much to his astonishment the objects completely disappeared, only to reappear seconds later. After five minutes the lights were gone.
According to Maj. William D. Leet:
My B-17 crew and I were kept company by a 'foo fighter,' a small amber disc, all the way from Klagenfurt, Austria, to the Adriatic Sea. This occurred on a 'lone wolf' mission at night, as I recall, in December 1944 in the 15th Air Force, 5th Wing, 2nd Bomb Group. The intelligence officer who debriefed us stated that it was a new German fighter but could not explain why it did not fire at us or, if it was reporting our heading, altitude, and airspeed, why we did not receive antiaircraft fire.
Some time in late 1944, a P-47 pilot west of Neustadt, Germany, saw "a gold-colored ball with a metallic finish" moving slowly through the air. The sun was low in the sky so the observer could not tell if the sun was reflecting off the object or if the object had its own light source. A "phosphorescent golden sphere" three to five feet in diameter was seen by another P-47 pilot in the area.
On December 22nd a pilot with the 415 Night Fighter Squadron encountered two "large orange glows" which climbed rapidly toward him as he flew over Hagenau, Germany, at six a.m. The radar operator also saw the strange objects.
"Upon reaching our altitude," the pilot said, they "leveled off and stayed on my tail." He execauted a steep dive, a sharp bank, and other intricate maneuvers but the objects matched them all. "After staying with the plane for two minutes," he said, "they peeled off and turned away, flying under perfect control, and then went out."
Foo fighters continued to plague the 415th all through January 1945. Usually the lights, colored orange, red, or white, would tail the aircraft for a few moments before streaking away. The ghostly objects never showed up on radar, but the veteran crews discounted theories that the glowing globes were reflections, St. Elmo's fire, or flares, all of which they had observed many and would have easily recognized. One pilot even insisted that he had felt prop wash as the foos zipped passed him.
That same month George Todt, in the company of 50 or 60 Frenchmen, watched a glowing object in the sky over Paris. "We all saw the same thing," he said. "It was neither an hallucination nor a 'temperature inversion'."
Robert Crawford, now a consulting geologist, was one of 14 sailors who witnessed an incredible sight south of the Aleutian Islands in March 1945. Crawford and the other sailors were aboard the U.S. Army transport Delarof when they saw a dark sphere suddenly erupt out of the water half a mile away, circle the ship, and fly away in an instant. He estimated the UFO to have been about 400 feet in diameter.
On March 25th elements of the 6th Armored Division were dug in south of Darmstadt, Germany, east of and overlooking the Autobahn when a formation of 7 UFOs flew overhead. Later in the evening 30 soldiers watched six or seven bright yellow-orange circular objects approach the Autobahn from the west at an altitude of about 150 feet. The lights were not traveling in formation; while moving in the same general direction as the rest, each object had its own distinct erratic movement as if individually controlled. They were three to four feet in diameter and so bright that they illuminated the trees around them. They descended slowly, moving about 10 miles per hour, until they entered the forest. After five or six minutes the foos were too far inside the dense forest to be visible any longer. Even the combat-hardened observers found the sight eerie and frightening.
Germans were also seeing unconventional aerial objects which they, like their Allied counterparts, assumed to be enemy weapons. A resident of Dresden gave these accounts to the German UFO magazine Weltraumbote in 1958:
It happened here, in March or early April 1945. I had a clear view of the sky from my position. My first thought was that it was an airplane. But I could see plainly that it was round, and had neither propeller nor wings. Also, it was hovering noiselessly in the air. Then it suddenly disappeared, like a broken soap bubble. I also recall that the unfamiliar object was silvery-colored and flat--not round like a balloon. I especially remember the sudden disappearance, like something that wanted to avoid my gaze... The war was till going on at the time, and that evening I spoke to a friend. 'Oh, did you see it, too?' he asked. No doubt aircraft pilots also observed it.
In April, aerial gunner James V. Byrnes observed a "crystal ball" as it paced his B-24 bomber at a distance of about 30 to 40 feet. "This object was definitely no hallucination," he told NICAP many years later.
A few days before V-E Day in May 1945, a yellowish-white foo, "brighter than any star, or even the planet Venus... passed completely from horizon to horizon in about two seconds," according to Lynn R. Momo, who was on guard duty at Ohrdorf, a small hamlet on the Elbe about 40 miles west of Berlin. "Its speed was enormous," and it made no sound. Momo was certain its altitude was no more than 2,000 feet.
As we already have noted, radar sightings of UFOs during WWII were extremely rare, but they were not nonexistent, as Andrew V. Amrose, a radar operator with an antiaircraft battalion, was able to attest.
I had frequently picked up a target on the radar screen that appeared to be a conventional aircraft," he said. "But... upon being tracked [it] would accelerate to a fantastic speed, which made it impossible to set a rate on and even more difficult to identify. So we referred to them as 'ghosts'... I have always been puzzled by the occurrence of these sightings I have personally made on radar.
William A. Mandel of Los Angeles recalled:
During the summer of 1945 I was stationed in northern Okinawa. I was an artillery captain on duty with the military government. I don't recall the exact date.
Our bivouac was situated on a bluff facing the East China Sea and overlooking a very narrow stretch of beach. On a clear moonlight evening I was gazing seaward when I suddenly saw a bright speck of light approaching from the south paralleling the coast.
The light proved to be coming from the rear of a cigar-shaped object which I could see quite clearly. It gave out no light except from the tail. It passed me at a distance of no more than 500 yards and must have been considerably closer. I judged its speed at from 200 to 300 miles per hour (definitely not jet or rocket speed) at an altitude of not over 400 feet-- probably less since it seemed to pass me at eye level and I stood no more than 200 feet above sea level.
The object had no wings nor were there any ports or windows visible. The object moved smoothly and silently at a constant speed along the coast until it disappeared from sight. I judged the object to be 30 to 40 feet long with a diameter of six to eight feet.
Another series of sightings from the Pacific theater occurred somewhat earlier, on the nights of May 23rd and 25th. During the bombing raids on Tokyo Americans and Japanese saw objects described as "round, speedy balls of fire" and "flying hotcakes." The weird lights, about 20 yards in diameter, "were blue--maybe gray... They were followed several times six foot wide and 30 foot long colored air waves," in the words of one witness Tomoyo Okado.
Andrew Cimbala of Duquesne, Pa., told this story in 1954:
In August 1945, while in the Navy, I had the anchor watch at Ulithi in the South Pacific. Just after sunset, while it was not yet dark enough for the stars to show, I saw a red streak appear in the sky to the east. It traveled directly over my head, heading west toward Japan. It was visible for 40 seconds or more from the time it came into view. It reminded me of a hot bar of steel about a half inch wide and about a foot long. It was not a flame. No object of any kind was visible in front of the red streak.
Leonard Stringfield, who would later become a prominent ufologist, was among those aboard a C-46 en route to occupy Atssgi Airdrome, near Tokyo, on August 28th, just prior to the proposed major Allied landing of occupation forces. Suddenly, midway between Ie Shoma and Iwo Jima, the plane's left engine began to fail.
"As the plane dipped, sputtered oil, and lost altitude," he wrote, "I remember looking out through one of the windows and to my surprise, seeing three unidentifiable blobs of brilliant white light, each about the size of a dime held at arm's length." The lights traveled in a straight line through the clouds, keeping pace and staying parallel with the C-46. "When my plane pulled up," Stringfield said, "the objects remained below and then disappeared into a could bank."
It was only years later that Stringfield, who my then had become familiar with cases in which UFOs seem to have cause electromagnetic interference with planes and cars, thought to connect the sputtering engine with the enigmatic blobs. He remembered that it had been the left engine which had malfunctioned, and that the UFOs had been on that side of the aircraft.
That same month the crew of the U.S.S. Bradford spotted a "star" streaking across the sky 600 miles east-southeast of Kyushu, Japan. After turning right, it shot upward at fantastic speed, later estimated to be about 3,000 miles per hour. Oddly, according to Lt. Dan MacDougald, though "we were equipped with surface search, air search, and fire control radar... none... could pick up the object."
One curious feature of the WWII sightings is the absence of landing or occupant reports. If there were any, to our knowledge no one has come forward with information to this effect. Of course, we assume for the moment that some kind of intelligence directs the UFOs, we might speculate that the ufonauts considered such activity too dangerous--they might have been mistaken for enemy soldiers and shot at. But that, as we say, is just speculation.
Another puzzling aspect of all this, in view of the many post-1947 radar cases, is the foos' way of foiling radar scopes. Skeptics have always taken delight in this fact, seeing it as proof that the objects were in fact optical illusions of natural phenomena.
Those not content with such simpleminded solutions include researcher John Keel, who believes that the amorphous lights which figure in most WWII accounts, and in many postwar reports as well, are the "real" UFOs. The so-called craft--the discs, cigar-shapes, and the other objects out of whose appearances flying saucer enthusiasts have fashioned the interplanetary theory of UFO origin--in Keel's opinion are really engineered to mislead us.