venerdì 20 febbraio 2015

6 most interesting Bay Area UFO sightings investigated by the U.S. Air Force

From 1947 to 1969, the Air Force recorded 12,618 UFO sightings and spent significant resources investigating each claim during an era rife with Cold War paranoia about enemies' secret weapons.

Here's six doozies from the Bay Area:

San Mateo: Boy spots 'flying saucer'
In the morning of Dec. 6, 1962, a young San Mateo teen looked up in the sky and reported seeing a "flying saucer" about 100 feet in diameter, oval-shaped, soundless and red. In his handwritten letter to the Air Force the 13-year-old boy recounted how he eyeballed the object traveling at between 100 mph and 2,000 mph. He included a drawing of the UFO, an oval with another concentric oval inside of it. The inner circle was labeled "elevated" while the large ring was "smooth." He compared the drawing to the 1951 movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still," in which an alien lands and tells Earthlings they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.
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He concluded his report: "A lot of people think I'm batty but I don't care because I really did see it. I think it came from Venus. I'm very interested in science too so I'm not a crackpot."
Despite the boy's efforts, the Air Force determined it an "unreliable report," calling his story "conflicting" and speculated he might have seen a jet with afterburner or a meteor.
Placer County: Hunter encounters strange beings
On Sept. 5, 1964, a 27-year-old Orangevale man, armed with a bow and arrow, set out on a deer hunt with friends near Emigrant Gap, a wooded area in the Sierra Nevada on the route to Lake Tahoe.
He got lost during the hunt and decided to sleep in a tree overnight, fastening himself to a branch with his belt.
He described what happened next to Victor Killick, then the operator of Sacramento City College's observatory, who forwarded the story to the Air Force. Military officials recorded an interview with the married painter, who worked at a missile production plant.
While in the tree, the man noticed a glowing light hovering near a ridge. A vehicle appeared to land on the ridge and he heard the crackling sound of someone approaching in nearby shrubbery. Two "aliens" appeared below him, according to the documents.
"They were garbed in a silver-like suit but visually had the complete absence of a neck. These strange (individuals) has unusual facial features especially in the region of the eyes that protruded extensively," the Air Force investigator wrote, summarizing his recorded interview with the hunter. They did not speak, only cooed like a dove, the hunter said.
A third "robot" appeared and the hunter fired arrows at it. He set fire to pieces of his camouflage gear, everything but his T-shirt, to try to signal help, but the beings had "violent reactions," he told investigators.
Finally, the beings emitted a vapor and the hunter said he blacked out. When he awoke, it was dawn. He found his fellow hunters, returned home and family members told him to report the incident.
"He stated he knew the story was hard to believe and that he did not want to let it get out in the newspapers," Killick wrote to the Mather base commanding officer. "He said he thought it was his duty to notify someone in authority to have the matter investigated, (as a public security matter)."
Asked by investigators why he got a physical shortly after the experience, the hunter said: "I didn't know if I had contacted radioactivity."
In the end, the Air Force attributed his encounter to "psychological causes," saying it could have been an owl, "coupled with an overactive imagination."
San Mateo: 'Strange object' prompts presidential letter
"Dear Mr. President, I know you are a busy man but I am a citizen of this good old U.S.A.," San Mateo resident Alice Reynolds wrote in 1961. "Just by accident, I went out to feed the birds some bread. We do this twice a day ... I looked up into the sky and saw this strange object -- I watched it for some time."
Reynolds described seeing two stationary white balls, one with a tail, in the sky on Nov. 13, 1961. She complained that she tried to contact the Civil Defense Control Center in Belmont, but they weren't open so she called the police: "They were more curious as to why I (was) up at that time than what I called about," she wrote. She also fretted to the leader of the free world that the police report made it into the newspaper.
The 63-year-old's letter was forwarded from President John F. Kennedy's office to the Air Force, who mailed Reynolds a UFO questionnaire.
Air Force investigators stopped their probe due to "insufficient data," saying it was likely a weather balloon or mirage.
They included a newspaper clip about the woman's sighting headlined "Saucers With Tails Spotted." The short UFO report was tucked below an article about Gov. Edmund Brown, the current governor's father, canceling his appointments that week due to the flu.
San Francisco: Oakland UFO observer doubted due to his race
On Aug. 1, 1949, as the fishing charter chugged back into the bay underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, the men aboard looked toward Alcatraz and saw silver objects in formation traveling faster than aircraft.
The Air Force interviewed the fishing trip members and had them sketch what they saw. The investigator in the lengthy report said he checked with the "Criminal and Subversive Files" of San Francisco and Oakland police departments and FBI regarding all of the reporting parties.
A sales clerk was found to be "rather excitable and as having a tendency to exaggerate," but "honest and trustworthy."
However, investigators who interviewed an Oakland reverend noted he was "colored" and the agent considered him a "religious fanatic" and unreliable. He said the reverend's wife was considered a "Prophetess" and that he lived in an "extremely low class Colored neighborhood." It was the only time race was mentioned in any of the Bay Area UFO reports.
The Air Force determined the men had seen radar testing kites, which were released from Treasure Island and Fort Baker twice a day.
San Jose: Flying ice cream cone spotted
On Feb. 7, 1950, from Berkeley to Alameda to San Jose, folks, including military officials, saw what many described as a "flying ice cream cone" drift across the sky.
An attorney wrote the Air Force describing his train ride home from work near San Carlos. He spotted what appeared to be a comet. He drew a triangle in the typewritten letter: "The whole area of the triangle appeared a solid mass of fire."
Two Piedmont nurses wrote to authorities about the "mysterious" object, describing themselves as "non-drinking" WWI nurses.
Newspapers had a field day.
"Flying 'Ice Cream Cone' Reported Over Alameda," a San Francisco Chronicle headline screamed, including a cartoon drawing of a flying ice cream cone with a navy officer looking through binoculars yelling "Vanilla!" while a young boy said: "I say it's chocolate!"
The article described Air Force personnel as "baffled."
A San Jose Evening News Associated Press article began: "Intelligence officers of the Western Air Defense zone are checking on reports of a 'flying ice cream cone.' They didn't seem excited about it." Witnesses called it a 30-foot ice cream cone, leaving a vapor trail. As the investigation stalled, reporters joked that the ice cream cone caper was closing "without getting in a good lick."
A San Jose man eventually wrote to the Air Force explaining how he saw a single-engine airplane with a reddish vapor trail behind it. The agency concluded the plane caused the sightings.
Redwood City: Astronomy buff snaps photo of rotating sphere
While driving on the Bayshore Freeway near the Whipple Street exit on Nov. 2, 1964, a man said he saw an object the size of a half-dollar, rotating and pulsating from white to orange. The man described it as "several lights connected together and rotating in a counter clockwise direction" and included drawings. He also snapped a photo.
The "amateur astronomer" wrote a letter to the Air Force describing how he builds his own telescopes.
"I have observed weather balloons, mirages, planets, aircraft at night, helicopters at night, meteors, aurora borealis and other assorted sky phenomena, but this was not like any of those things I have seen previously," he wrote.
As with many investigations, the Air Force took it seriously, sending the report to Washington, D.C., and reviewing his film.
Months later, the Air Force wrote the man saying they studied his film and determined a "film flaw, duplicating flaw, or chip in the emulsion."

 Matthias Gafni

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