Over the next several days I will be posting a series of short articles written by my astrophysics students this summer. As our final assignment, I asked the students to investigate various famous UFO sightings and alien abduction incidents and evaluate the evidence based on sound critical thinking. These articles have become the main part of our latest edition of Ad Astra Per Educare, with a link included at the end of this blog post. I will present their articles in the chronological order in which the events occurred, although this gets a bit difficult during the UFO craze of 1947 when a number of these incidents happened and overlapped in time.
Battle of Los Angeles
On February 25, 1942, admits World War 2, US military radars picked up an unidentified aircraft fly over Los Angelos. During this time Pearl Harbor had caused tensions to rise and Americans believed the Japanese were going to attempt to invade. A few months early in December 9, 1941, false reports of aircraft had caused some invasion anxiety in New York City. At the time lots of untrained pilots had been making calls of Japanese warships and submarines when later found to be fishing boats, logs, and even whales.
A few days before on February 23rd a Japanese submarine surfaced and fired at the mainland. This attack caused minor damage but scared the armies in California. With the armies on high alert, a radar scanning reported that an aircraft was approaching Los Angelos and was 120 miles away. Immediately troops prepared to fire and swept the night sky with a spotlight.
About an hour later the army started shooting. Not long after many coastal city‘s weaponry joined in. The LA Times wrote, “Powerful searchlights from countless stations stabbed the sky with brilliant probing fingers while anti-aircraft batteries dotted the heavens with beautiful, if sinister, orange bursts of shrapnel.” Soldiers claimed they shot down one of the six reported planes but the next day nothing was found but shrapnel from the attack of the night before. Coastal artilleryman Charles Patrick later wrote, “I could barely see the planes, but they were up there all right. I could see six planes, and shells were bursting all around them. Naturally, all of us fellows were anxious to get our two-cents’ worth in and, when the command came, everybody cheered like a son of a gun.” Even the next day some soldiers claimed they saw nothing but smoke and clouds.
Later that morning they called it off after firing 1,400 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition. When they searched for bomb sites of enemy planes they were met with no proof of an attack from the night before. “Although reports were conflicting and every effort is being made to ascertain the facts, it is clear that no bombs were dropped and no planes were shot down,” said the Army’s Western Defense Command.
This ‘attack’ was shoved off and said to be a false alarm. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox said it was just nerves triggered by the ongoing war. Japanese leaders say that they did not fly any aircraft over the city. It was later claimed to be a weather balloon mistaken for enemy planes in the dark. This balloon could have reflected light from the moon, catching the eye of the service members.
I believe that ‘The battle of Los Angeles’ was merely a strange accident. The whole country was on the balls of their feet from the war going on and seeing a plane would have sent them into a frenzy. The fact there is proof a weather balloon was sent just before this all happened was and when the soldiers thought they shot down a plane they merely saw the balloon get shot and fall into the ocean.
The Foo Fighters
During World War two there were strange sights that had been observed by WWII airplane pilots. The pilots had said that there were strange lights that were following their planes. There had been multiple sightings saying that there would be eight to ten lights that would follow the planes, the lights would be orange, green or red. The reports would say that the lights would show up alongside them but would mysteriously disappear and would never show up on the pilots’ radars. Each sighting had an unusual way of the lights approaching the airplanes. The lights would fly alongside, follow behind, close in on the pilots or rise to the planes. The pilots would set their planes to defense, attempt to flee, or try to take defensive maneuvers but each time the lights would follow and eventually disappear.
When the sightings had finally made it to the public, theories attempted to find a reason for these strange lights. None of the theories would match up because of all the things that were unusual about the sightings. It would be easy to produce a theory but it would be shut down by the fact that the lights would not appear on the pilots’ radars and how they could easily keep up with the planes and move faster and easier than the airplanes being used. The strangest part was the lights disappearing and reappearing.
The UFOs were named ‘Foo Fighters’ by the pilots that sighted the lights. The UFO was named after a cartoon comic strip called Smokey Stover. Smokey was a fire man that had a catch phrase that said: ‘where there’s a foo, there’s a fire.’
I had heard the name ‘Foo Fighter” before but I did not know what it was. I was not expecting the sightings to take place in World War II, I thought that the ‘Foo Fighter’ sightings would have been more recent. UFO sightings have been seen for many years, we must keep wondering and exploring the possibilities of what could be outside of our world.