Good morning from Adelaide, South Australia
This post will complete my reading of the latest issue of the English "Fortean Times" (FT) magazine.
In a post dated 16 August 2010, I alerted readers to a new book "Mirage Man" by Mark Pilkington. The September issue of FT carries an article by Mark, taking a look at the July 1952 Washington DC, USA, flap, from a different perspective than I have seen before.
Pilkington first sets the scene in 1952, describing "...the breakdown of relations between the US Air Force and the Navy..." and poses the question "Was the navy taunting its rivals with its superior technology?" Pilkington mentions here, the Navy's XF-5U flying flapjack. (Click here for more information on this aircraft.) It was at this time that the USAF issued JANAP 146 (b), an instruction to the armed forces to report 'unknown aircraft.' This order, was followed by the April 1952 issue of LIFE magazine's article "Have we visitors from space?", written by H B Darrach Jnr and Robert Ginna. The magazine article was pro-UFO, and painted the USAF as regarding some sightings as defying natural explanation.
It was then that the July 1952 radar and visual sightings erupted over Washington DC.
Introducing Leon Davidson
Pilkington next goes on to describe the thoughts of one Leon Davidson, who worked on the Manhattan Project and then at Los Alamos Laboratories, and who became deeply interested in the UFO subject.
"Davidson gradually came to believe that secret military tests lay behind these and most other UFO incidents." (page 35.) and he looked at the Washington flap from this perspective.
Davidson suggested that the Washington events involved USAF electronic counter measures (ECM) which had been used to generate false radar returns.
As an aside, some of Davidson's letters to the CIA are available on the CIA's Freedom of Information requests dealing with UFOs. There are also internal CIA documents relating to Davidson (click here for a sample.)
Who conducted this experiment?
Davidson suggested that "Since 1951, the CIA has caused or sponsored saucer sightings for its own purposes. By shrewd psychological manipulation, a series of "normal" events has been served up so as to appear as quite convincing evidence of extraterrestrial UFOs..." (page 36.)
Pilkington also takes a look at the claims in recent times by Milton Torres, that in 1957, when based in the United Kingdom, he pursued a UFO visible only on radar, and was ordered to fire rockets at it. neither Torres or the pilot of another aircraft, ever saw any visual object, it was only on radar. Pilkington's inference was that this event was really a case of "radar spoofing."
Palladium, is said to have been a project of the CIA and the NSA in the early 1960's which could create ghost aircraft which could be detected on Soviet radar, while the NSA monitors the enemy's responses. (Click here for a detailed article on Palladium.)
"So were the Washington UFOs an early attempt to put the galloping ghosts under human control?" (Page 36.)
What of the visual UFOs seen over Washington?
Davidson "...also wondered whether the bright lights seen on the nights in question were created by the 'Hell Roarer', a missile-bay-mounted magnesium lighting device that burned at 10 million candle power and had caused a flood of saucer reports when tested by the Air Force over Connecticut in October 1951." (Page 36.)(Click here for more on the hell Roarer system.)
While Davidson thought the CIA was behind the event, Pilkington favours it being the USAF.
I found this piece an intriguing piece of writing. As you know, I have a deep interest in the involvement of intelligence agencies in the UFO phenomenon, and Pilkington's thoughts are reasonable speculation.
Certainly a thought provoking piece!
For more on Leon Davidson click here.