Sixty-four years ago tonight a U.S. Air Force bombardier saw something over western Kansas that still spooks UFO researchers.
It had to be startling. Ethereal. The kind of thing that would make your skin crawl.
I devoted Chapter 6 of my book, UFO Cold Cases: Kansas, to the sighting on April 29, 1952, of one of Project Blue Book‘s 701 cases labeled as “unexplained.”
This real-life X-file started out routinely for First Lt. Ralph H. Bauer Jr.
Bauer was seated in the glass-enclosed nose of a B-29 Superfortress, the same kind of long-range warplane used to drop the atomic bomb a few years earlier on Hiroshima, Japan.
The B-29 was heading east at 30,000 feet, flying above the cloud ceiling, which was 2,000 feet below. It was about 10 p.m.
Bauer could clearly see the stars and the moon.
Out of nowhere the UFO was ahead of him at about a 45-degree angle.
He described it later to a Project Blue Book investigator, Lt. Col. George A. Hanselman, director of intelligence of the 90th Bombardment Wing M, stationed at Forbes Air Force Base in Topeka.
Bauer described the UFO as a “soft white fan-shaped light approximately 5,000 feet above, traveling very rapidly in a westerly direction toward the aircraft.”
It pulsated three to four times as it passed over the top of the plane at high speed and then out of Bauer’s vision, which was blocked by the B-29’s frame.
He estimated it took only two seconds to pass by. But he remembered every detail, which he gave to Hanselman.
What he saw was a bright light — he called it fan-shaped, as in the kind of fan you would hold in your hand that is narrow at the bottom and wider at the top.
A rough sketch is included in the documents. Hanselman calculated the speed of the object as about 2,000 mph.
It turns out that Bauer’s sighting that night was to be one of the first that year of what many researchers claim might have been an invasion of UFOs in 1952.
The Project Blue Book archives contain 196 “unexplained” sightings in 1952.
These are my own counts of the 196 unexplained cases in 1952, by month: January, one; February, two; March, three; April, 17; May, 12; June, 37; July, 49; August, 26; September, 26; October, 12; November, eight; December, three.
That’s a lot of unexplained cases in one year, considering there were only 701 such cases the Air Force documented in the 21 years that Project Blue Book was in operation.
There was probably a good reason that the military didn’t make the Goodland case — and many of the others — public.
Timothy Good, a British UFO researcher, says in his book, Need to Know: UFOs, the Military, and Intelligence, the U.S. military and other governments that sent planes up to intercept UFOs were losing planes and pilots — the UFOs were knocking them out of the sky.
He quotes Benjamin Chidlaw, Commanding General, Air Defense Command, as saying “… we have lost many men and planes trying to intercept them.”
Was the Goodland sighting part of an invasion force?
There are still so many questions out there after more than six decades that it’s difficult to sort through what’s speculation and what is reality. I’m still keeping an open mind as I sort through more documents.