Extraordinary stars or UFOs?

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A puzzling Foo Fighter incident

While the Foo-Fighter phenomenon occurred over 60 years ago, some intriguing cases seem to be both detailed and strange enough for seriously undermining the possibility of any conventional explanation.

A plane flying across a cloudy sky encounters a Foo Fighter looking like a dark sphere.

A plane encounters a Foo Fighter. I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the picture.

 

Here is one of these cases.

*********
EASTERN Command
NUMBER 40 1 JUNE 1945
RAF LIBERATORS HIT
CHATHAM ISLAND

Weekly

INTELLIGENCE SUMMARY

HEADQUARTERS EASTERN AIR COMMAND SOUTH EAST ASIA

S E C R E T
B-24 SIGHTS „CIRCLES OF LIGHT“

A B-24 of the 11th Bomb Group on a snooper mission over
Truk during the early morning hours of 3 May 1945,
encountered what may prove to be as baffling a
phenomena as the balls of fire seen by the B-29s while
over the Japanese mainland.

(Excerpted From: Hq. AAF, POA, Air Intell. Memo No. 4, 8 May 1945.)
The B-24 first observed two red circles of light approaching the plane from below while still over the Truk atoll. One light was on the right and the other was seen on the left of the B-24. The light on the left side turned back after one and one half hours. The one on right remained with the bomber until the B-24 was only 10 miles from Guam. From the time that the B-24 left the atoll, the light never left its position on the right side. It was reported by the crew members as sometimes ahead, sometimes behind, and sometimes alongside the B-24 and always about 1200 to 1500 yds distant.

At day break, the crew reported that this light climbed to 15,000 ft and stayed in the sun. It was a short time afterward that the B-24 let down and went through a 300 foot undercast and lost sight of the light.

During the flight from Truk to Guam, the light was observed to change from an orange color to a bright yellow or white like electric light. The light was also described as sometimes looking like a phosphorous glow. This sequence of color changes occurred at regular intervals. The light appeared to be about one foot in diameter and the changes in color did not follow a pattern of acceleration or de-coloration.

The light followed the B-24 in dives from 11,000 ft to 3000 ft, through sharp course changes and even brief cloud cover always keeping its same relative position and distance. At one time, the pilot turned into the light and he definitely reports no closure occurring. During the night high cirrus clouds masked the moonlight and no part of object was observed except the light. At daybreak, the light changed to a steady white glow and a possible wing shape with a silver glow was noted by some members of the crew.

Guam radar units reported no bogies plotted at any time that this light was within its range. The crew members reported that the light finally left them when only 10 miles from Guam. The light was never close enough to the bomber to give a single blip on the radar and therefore should have been easily detected. Two blips with IFF were not reported at this time, the B-24 being the only plane on the scope.

The report from the Guam radar units plus the fact that the light was always seen on the right side of the B-24, and that even when the bomber turned into the light, no rate of closure was noted tends to make the possibility of a jet powered or even a conventional type aircraft a doubtful one.

A preliminary evaluation by the Assistant Chief of Air Staff Intelligence gives the following possibilities:

„It is believed the lights observed were those of an unknown type mounted on Japanese aircraft with the capabilities of an Irving on an experimental or observation mission. While certain jet exhaust flame characteristics are apparent, the range and length of light greatly exceed the known capabilities of friendly or enemy jet aircraft. While observations vary considerably from characteristics of „Balls of Fire“ recently seen over Japanese homeland, there is great need for intelligence on all air phenomena.

**********

Were the Foo Fighters two weird stars?

Two luminous bodies outshine the other stars.

Weird stars are often mistaken for UFOs.

I’m pretty sure that most debunkers reading this account would assert they feel very confident that the sighting was caused by two stars (or perhaps more generally heavenly bodies).

They will try to create this impression by picking and choosing some of the facts and leaving aside everything which doesn’t readily match their idea.

Debunking the case

These facts would be:

  • the two lights remained at the same position during almost the whole trip.
  • the one which remained on the right side kept its position there during the entire trajectory.

  • the light even „followed“ the aircraft across clouds.

  • its white electrical color is consistent with that of a star: actually its regular change from orange to bright yellow / electrical white is consistent with its being a pulsar.

  • it disappeared at dawn.

Critical evaluation

To begin with, it seems unlikely (albeit not impossible) that the whole crew of a military plane would mistake two stars for aircrafts during more than two hours while engaged in highly diverse maneuvers.

Objects flying up to them

The trigger of this event seems to be extremely problematic for that reductionist explanation.

„The B-24 first observed two red circles of light approaching the plane from below while still over the Truk atoll“ 

Of course, no stars can achieve this.

Departure of one of the objects

What is more, it is said that the “ The light on the left side turned back after one and one half hours.“

The crew members would have naturally described a star as „disappearing“ or „fading“ but not as „turning back“ which evokes a movement rather than a heavenly body leaving their visual field or faining.

Object keeping its position.

While the plane performed several wild maneuvers, the object remained roughly at the same relative position (on the right side) all the time.

„The light followed the B-24 in dives from 11,000 ft to 3000 ft, through sharp course changes and even brief cloud cover always keeping its same relative position and distance. „

„The one on right remained with the bomber until the B-24 was only 10 miles from Guam. From the time that the B-24 left the atoll, the light never left its position on the right side. It was reported by the crew members as sometimes ahead, sometimes behind, and sometimes alongside the B-24 and always about 1200 to 1500 yds distant.“

What is more, the luminosity conditions seemed to have been pretty dim during an important part of the night.

„During the night high cirrus clouds masked the moonlight and no part of object was observed except the light. „

Given all these facts, it would have been pretty likely that the „star“ would have left again and again their visual field or at least considerably changed its relative position during their sharp turns.

Flight into the sun

The most natural disappearance of the star at daybreak would have been to fade progressively. Yet, this is not at all what we read:

„At day break, the crew reported that this light climbed to 15,000 ft and stayed in the sun.  It was a short time afterward that the B-24 let down and went through a 300 foot undercast and lost sight of the light. „

„At daybreak, the light changed to a steady white glow and a possible wing shape with a silver glow was noted by some members of the crew. „

The light took on a white/silver glow and ascended towards the sun at an altitude considerably higher than that of the aircraft which was about to prepare its descent.

Again, this is a terrible fit for the „star hypothesis“.

A True Debunker

I think that a hardcore debunker might try to salvage this explanation by resorting to a flurry of ad-hoc and far-fetched hypotheses. I’ll try to put myself in his shoes for a while.

The two circles of red light at the beginning of the sighting were mundane objects (cars, trucks, ships…) on the ground or the water that the crew could not recognize.

Then, they mistakenly perceived these two sources of light as flying up to them. Several seconds later, they made out two stars they erroneously identified with the objects below they had just seen.

During one and a half hour, they had the impression they were being surrounded by the two stars at their left and right side.

Then, the left star fade away or got somehow out of their visual field. For some reason, they were under the impression it had turned back.

Being a pulsar, the color of the remaining star regularly changed from orange to bright yellow / electric white in a way which appeared very puzzling to them.

While high cirrus clouds often masked the light of the moon, they never hid that of the star by a pure coincidence.

The sharp course changes were such that the star kept approximately its same position in their visual field. Another unfortunate coincidence contributing to the illusion of an UFO.

At daybreak, the star disappeared but at roughly the same moment a majestic bird flew upwards. Its reflecting the sun in a white/silvery manner made the crew believe this was the same „UFO“ which had accompanied them all along.“

I’m open to any suggestion but frankly speaking I think this is the best I could come up with.

Some people might say I have been too parodying here. Yet, I have found this kind of convoluted explanations over and over again in the „Skeptical“ literature.

Anyway, as far as I am concerned, I find it a lot easier to believe in an Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) than in such an implausible chain of unlikely events.

A genuine anomaly?

Once we have discarded the star-hypothesis as being really far-fetched, what are we left with?

I have argued why it is highly unlikely that a phenomenon called „St. Elmo’s fire“ is responsible for typical Foo-Fighter sightings and this case is no exception.

The extreme long duration of the sighting coupled with the huge trajectory covered by the aircraft make it very unlikely that they were paced by a ball lightning all along.

And the radar results as well as the B-24 flying into the light at one point (along other features of the apparition) make it very hard to interpret it as a conventional aircraft.

If anyone had a credible conventional hypothesis, I’d be delighted to learn it.

I’m tempted to conclude that this case provides us with an anomaly not readily accounted for by our current knowledge.

Was it some sort of stealth aircraft as speculated by the American intelligence at that time? Perhaps, but it’s rather astounding we did not find any such devices among the defeated Germans and Japaneses in the aftermath of World War II.

Was it a yet unknown natural phenomenon, possibly related to electromagnetism? Maybe.

Was it something else? Who knows.

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