While UFO activity certainly didn’t stop following the wave of sightings in the second half of 1947, it did slow down somewhat, even though 1948 had some of the most intriguing UFO encounters on record.
However, by the time the fifties were but days old, there was a sudden and dramatic increase in UFO sightings. And what’s more, these sightings continued right through the year at an (at the time) unprecedented pace. And while these sightings were occurring worldwide (indeed we have examined several of them in detail previously), the majority of activity appeared to unfold over the United States.
Perhaps of even more interest, is there appears, even before the new wave of sightings was underway, to have been a campaign of disinformation and purposely outlandish and bizarre stories appearing in newspapers around the United States. According to Brad Sparks, many of these stories were “inspired” by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) “as a disinformation campaign to discredit the Roswell incident in advance”.
This was, it appeared, a response to an article that appeared in TIME magazine written by a retired military officer, Major Donald Keyhoe, who shared his belief that UFO activity, including the events at Roswell, were the result of extraterrestrial intelligence and visitation.
It was against this backdrop of mistrust and inaccurate information, that the 1950 UFO wave would unfold. And once more, like in our case study article of the 1947 UFO wave, what follows is just a small fraction of the sightings that are on record during this time.
- 1 The Beginnings – The Usual Mix Of Fact And Disinformation – January To March
- 1.1 Strange Sightings Over Air Bases Across America
- 1.2 The Gulf of Mexico Incident
- 1.3 Sightings Spreading Out Into Urban Areas
- 1.4 The Kodiak, Alaska Incident
- 1.5 The Falmouth Airport Incident Massachusetts
- 1.6 Cone And Cigar-Shaped Objects With Glowing Green Lights
- 1.7 A Surge Of Activity In New Mexico, Late-February
- 1.8 International Sightings Continue
- 1.9 A Dramatic Increase In Incidents
- 1.10 The Selfridge Air Force Base Incident
- 1.11 The Houston Village Theater Sighting
- 1.12 The “Midget Pilot” Incident, Mexico City, Mexico
- 1.13 UFO Chase Over Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
- 1.14 Multiple Sightings Everyday, All Times Of Day And Night
- 2 The Wave Goes Around The World, April- July
- 2.1 “Immense Turtles” And “Metallic, Silver Football”
- 2.2 “We Know Nothing About Flying Saucers!”
- 2.3 Multiple Sightings On The West Coast Blamed On Venus!
- 2.4 The Ardennes Incident, France
- 2.5 The McMinnville Photographs Case
- 2.6 The Illuminous Disc, Quebec, Canada, June 1950
- 2.7 Another Encounter With A Technical Handheld Device
- 2.8 Close Encounter In Estonia
- 2.9 UFO Circles Hamilton Air Force Base Several Times
- 3 The Winddown – August To December
- 4 A Temporary Period Of (Relative) Quiet
- 5 Another Extraterrestrial Reconnaissance Operation
The Beginnings – The Usual Mix Of Fact And Disinformation – January To March
Perhaps one of the first of these outlandish and misleading stories may have occurred on New Year’s Day in the Mojave Desert in California. According to the report, a “disc-shaped object” was discovered crashed in the desert, seemingly still intact. Of even more interest, however, was the apparent 18 humanoid occupants, each around 3 feet tall. Although they were apparently all dead as a result of the crash, their bodies, like the craft, was seemingly still in good condition.
The craft and the bodies were allegedly recovered and taken to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. According to apparent descriptions of the occupants of the craft, they were more human in appearance than the gray aliens that would be reported in later years.
If there is debate as to the authenticity of the Mojave Desert incident, one of the first officially recorded sightings of the 1950 UFO wave occurred on the afternoon of 6th January at a little after 2 pm over the town of Howard in Kansas.  Three United States Air Force crew were piloting a C-47 on their way to Offut Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska.
They would describe the object as between 30 and 60 feet long and “shaped like a football”. They would also note how it was a “bright silver color” which would shine in the afternoon sun. It was in their sights for around two minutes, moving between 300 to 500 miles per hour at an altitude of approximately 2,000 feet.
Whether there is a connection or not, later that day at 9:45 pm over Mundy Point in Virginia, two witnesses would report seeing a strange object moving through the sky, remaining visible for around 30 seconds.
Strange Sightings Over Air Bases Across America
The following evening, at around 10:15 pm at Holloman Air Force Base in Corona, New Mexico, another bizarre sighting occurred. This time, several strange balls of light were seen traveling through the sky, changing color as they did so from yellow-white to a distinct orange. Bizarrely, as it approached the mountain ranges in the area it would “level off” and change color once again to a blue-green color.
Of course, this last detail would dismiss the notion that the objects were merely “falling” and were in fact under some kind of control. The lights would return on the evening of the 12th January, once more changing direction before disappearing out of sight.
Less than 24 hours after the initial sighting over Holloman Air Force Base, on the morning of the 10th January at a little after 10 am in Las Vegas, two civilian pilots  at the Las Vegas Air Force Base – a father and son – would observe two F-80 fighter jets approaching the base as they came in to land.
However, at an altitude of around 2,000 feet, each of the witnesses would also observe a strange round balloon-like object of “pure silver” and seemingly of solid metal. They would further estimate that the object was between 25 and 30 feet across and made no noise whatsoever. Furthermore, they could see no antennas or any other external fittings of any kind. It would move calmly through the skies, seemingly uninterested in the two fighter jets, and then began to accelerate somewhat before disappearing over a nearby mountain range.
On the evening of the 11th January at the Ohio Air National Guard at Norwood in Ohio, several members would happen to point their searchlight at a “space platform” in the night sky above the city.
The Gulf of Mexico Incident
On the evening of 12th January, at 11:25 pm, the crew of a B-29 aircraft would notice three strange objects on their onboard radar while flying over the Gulf of Mexico. As an example as to the speed with which these strange objects were moving, the radar screen onboard covered a 100-mile radius. The objects would clear the screen from one side to the other in no more than 20 seconds. The overall estimated speed of these bizarre, metallic and most definitely solid objects was between 2,500 and 3,000 miles per hour.
While two of the objects would eventually disappear from sight, the other would continue to follow the B-29. Even more concerning were the two near approaches from the craft before it halted and hovered only 20 miles away. It would then move back into a pursuing position.
The object would disappear after around half-an-hour. However, the plane’s radar systems would remain jammed for around ten minutes after.
Interestingly, despite the wealth of radar information, no visual sightings of the object were made by any of the crew. This, of course, leaves open the possibility, however, remote it might be, that the incident was down to radar malfunction. A chink that many skeptics will point out.
Sightings Spreading Out Into Urban Areas
Sightings would continue throughout the United States following the incident, however. For example, in Peoria in Illinois on the evening of the 14th January, an aerial object was witnessed overhead. And while it didn’t move in a manner that would suggest it wasn’t a normal aircraft, residents would report “electromagnetic effects” as it passed.
Earlier the same day, just before 5 pm in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, several workers at the town’s nuclear facility witnessed a “fiery ball of light” hover for several moments over restricted military airspace.
Although further afield than the United States, the 15th January brought three more reports. A saucer-shaped object was witnessed hovering and rotating just off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada. On the same afternoon at Sierra de Comechingones in Argentina, a silver cigar-shaped object emerged from nearby mountains and remained visible for several minutes.
Later that evening, back in the United States, multiple witnesses would report “several strange objects” hovering over Tacoma, Washington. The following evening in Portland, Oregon, a husband, and wife would watch a similar object for almost two hours.
During the early evening of 17th January, just off the coast of Kauai Island in Hawaii, another silver disc-shaped object was reported hovering over the water. Then, it would shoot “straight-up” and vanish into the early evening sky. The following evening, on the other side of the United States in Summit, New Jersey, several witnesses observed a “spherical UFO” glowing a “reddish-orange” color moving slowly over the region.
On the same evening six military pilots, including Lieutenant Webb, would witness a “round reddish-white” object moving slowly through the evening sky over Denver, Colorado.
The Kodiak, Alaska Incident
In the early hours of 23rd January 1950 at around 2:40 am, Navy Patrol pilot, Lt. Smith was guiding his plane near the Bering Sea at Kodiak, Alaska in what was a routine security flight. He would pick up an unidentified object on his radar on two separate occasions.
When he radioed the control tower at Kodiak to enquire if there were other aircraft in the area, he was informed by the operator not only wasn’t there any other craft, but the interference on the communication line was some of the worst he had witnessed.
Around 20 minutes later, on board the USS Tillamock slight to the south of Kodiak, came the first visual confirmations of the incident. One of the on-duty personnel on the deck of the vessel would report seeing a “very fast-moving red glow light”. What’s more, the object appeared to circle the Kodiak region. Another member of the crew then came to the deck and also witnessed the bizarre object for around 30 seconds. Bizarrely, no sound whatsoever came from the glowing craft.
At 4:40 am – two hours after first noticing the strange activity – Lt. Smith was still experiencing problems with his onboard systems. However, he would notice another read on the radar. One that moved so fast that it “left a trail on the screen”. When Smith notified his crew, they would witness the object visually.
It made some bizarre maneuvers in the sky and appeared to be moving somewhere in the region of 2,000 miles per hour. General descriptions of the craft were of “two orange lights rotating around a common center”.
After heading toward his plane following a sudden sharp turn, the object disappeared from sight.
The Falmouth Airport Incident Massachusetts
During the early evening of 5th February 1950 at a little after 5 pm, Falmouth Airport in Massachusetts was at its busiest. Both civilian and military personnel were at the airport when two strange lights were clearly visible overhead.
The objects were described as cylindrical in shape and most definitely unlike any of the usual aircraft that used the airport daily. After approximately five minutes, the object began to ascend into the sky, disappearing “at great speed”.
One of the witnesses to the incident, Lt. Foushee, would claim that something was seemingly dropped from the strange craft before it vanished into the dark sky overhead. He would state:
Something dropped from the body of the left object as we looked at it. Whatever was dropped was ablaze. A sort of fireball with no smoke!
He would further state that the brightness from the strange objects was so intense that its influence was seen inside the airport itself.
Cone And Cigar-Shaped Objects With Glowing Green Lights
Despite scattered reports from South America and Europe, including a strange object over Golfo de Penas in Chile, several strange objects spotted over the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aries, and a “flying saucer” over Caioggia in Italy, most of the sightings were still coming from over American airspace.
For example, on the 8th February, multiple reports would come of a “flying cone” over the San Francisco Bay Area in California. On the same day in Tampa, Florida, the crew of a B-29 bomber would witness a rocket-shaped craft seemingly moving at close to 2,000 miles per hour. Three days later, back in California in Pacific Grove, a silver disc was observed hovering in the sky just before sunset.
On the 14th February in Waco, Texas, two local residents would observe “a pair of green UFOs” speeding through the sky above, similar to “two dimly glowing little moons”. Furthermore, the edges were much brighter than the middle, leading the witness to believe they were spinning or rotating.
The following day in Sandia, New Mexico, a similar object was spotted in the late afternoon at around 3:30 pm. They were visible for several minutes and had the appearance of a “marble” in the sky. The object, while glowing green would occasionally turn a reddish color. It would eventually disappear without making a sound.
Pilot, Richard Lemmon was flying toward Du Quoin in Illinois early on the morning of the 27th February along with his wife when, at around 7 am, he noticed a strange object in the air above them. He would climb to the object’s level, coming to within half a mile of it. He would later describe it as disc-shaped with a “high metallic shine”.
A Surge Of Activity In New Mexico, Late-February
Beginning on the afternoon of 24th February and lasting for several days, a surge of UFO activity appeared to take place over various bases and locations around New Mexico.
At just before 2 pm on the 24th February, Weather Observer, Luther McDonald was tracking a weather balloon in a field near Municipal Airport when he noticed round object similar to an “elongated egg” with a slight darkening on the top-left side. Unfortunately, McDonald would take his eye off the strange object for a second while he went to locate the weather balloon. When he returned his focus to where the object was only moments before, it had disappeared.
Later that same day, at around 7:30 pm in the evening, at Holloman Air Force Base, several Photographic Branch Project Staff, whose duty it was to track and photograph strange aerial phenomena, would witness and indeed capture a picture of a “circular luminous object” as it hovered overhead.
Several hours later, at 2:30 am in the early hours of the 25th February, a “white round object” appeared in the sky overhead and remained there for around 4 hours. It would finally move of its own accord and head toward nearby mountains, changing color from red to green as it did so.
Later that afternoon, at just before 4 pm at the Atomic Energy Security Service in Los Alamos, 12 different members of the group witnessed silver, flashing, cylindrical object overhead. It would “fly slow, then fast, flutter and oscillate, (and then) change course”.
International Sightings Continue
Before we move on to some of the sightings that would unfold over the United States in March 1950, it is worth examining some of the incidents taking place in other parts of the world at the same time.
For example, on the evening of 18th February in Copenhagen, Denmark, at around 8:30 pm, farmer, Christian Sandersen, and his wife would see two “flying saucers” moving at great speed over their land. What’s more, while one of the bizarre futuristic crafts hovered over the farmland, the other would seemingly explode and “disintegrate into thousands of brightly glowing sparks”.
The following morning, at around 7:20 am on 19th February, 11 witnesses would see a “bullet-shaped object” near Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
A similar report would come from Durban in South Africa in the early hours of the 21st February. At just before 5 am three road users and several other witnesses in the vicinity, would report seeing a “dark, red torpedo-shaped object” moving overhead.
Perhaps one of the strangest reports during this time comes from Captain Arturo Prat Base in Antarctica on 23rd February. Not only was a strange aerial object observed overhead and hovering near the ice, but animals at the facility would become suddenly anxious at the object’s presence.
On the evening of the 25th February in Paso Hondo, Mexico, an anonymous male witness would report “several cone-shaped objects” overhead. Similar reports at roughly the same time would come from Spain, France, and Italy.
They would also continue much further afield. For example, several “flying discs” were reported in Ethiopia, while a single silver disc was witnessed over Morocco, and over Heliopolis in Egypt. Similar objects would be seen over Cyprus, Turkey, Brazil, and Chile.
A Dramatic Increase In Incidents
One of the first sightings of March – which saw a dramatic increase once more in UFO encounters – would unfold on the 1st of the month over the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The main witness, Robert Ostos, an aeronautic official, would report that an “unexplained object of metallic appearance” hovered over the region for around five minutes at an altitude of around 15,000 feet. It would then speed off at breakneck speed toward the south.
Ostos would report the incident himself to the El National newspaper. However, when the publication contacted Mexican authorities for follow-up information on the investigation they were met with silence on the matter.
On the same date in the United States in Knoxville, Tennessee, despite there being some division as to the authenticity of the account, radar equipment would pick up several strange objects in the region at an estimated altitude of 40,000 feet. Checks with airports and authorities would confirm that no other planes were in the region at the time.
The following day, in the morning at approximately 11 am, and once more at 10 pm, as well as on the afternoon of the 3rd March, radar equipment would again pick these strange anomalies. What’s more, on these repeat sightings, the objects had increased their altitude to 80,000 feet and were traveling at around 200 miles per hour.
The US Air Force would put the radar reading down to faulty equipment or possibly due to a nearby atomic plant. With this last point in mind, the atomic plant very well may have been the point of interest of these strange visitors.
Whatever the cause of the strange sightings over Knoxville, several hours later, similar incidents were unfolding over Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan.
The Selfridge Air Force Base Incident
Although the witness would remain anonymous, a serving member of the United States Air Force stationed at Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan would have several strange sightings beginning a little after 11 pm on the evening of 3rd March.
The officer in question was on his way from the Officer’s Club toward the main gate of the facility when he noticed a strange object descending directly over the Post Exchange building. At an altitude of around 5,000 feet, the object stopped its descent and hovered for approximately 60 seconds before moving off toward the west. It would eventually disappear into the distance out of his sight. From his first noticing the object to the point it vanished, four minutes had passed.
The officer would also offer that the “great speed in the lateral plane” and its “rapid change in direction” distinguished it from both conventional aircraft and other “heavenly bodies”.
Five days later, the witness experienced a similar incident. While on radar duty during interceptor exercises, another strange object appeared on the radar screen. This time, it appeared to be around 20,000 feet above the F-80 jets that the witness was overseeing.
When the radar data was later analyzed, it was estimated the object was moving anywhere from 420 miles per hour its slower speeds to in the region of 2,500 miles per hour at its higher speeds. Military investigations into the incident would suggest an aerial anomaly had caused the radar reading.
The Houston Village Theater Sighting
A sighting on the 5th March in Houston was witnessed by a bus driver and a family who were passengers on his bus after visiting the Village Theater in the city. Despite the increasing number of sightings and reports being made all around the United States and the newspaper coverage that these incidents were receiving, the witnesses were hesitant to make a report at first, fearing ridicule if they should do so.
However, ultimately, they would come forward and volunteer what they had seen. As the driver put the vehicle in motion on the evening in question after picking up the family near the Village Theater, he would spot the strange “glowing auto tire” hovering over the top of the Meilie Experson Building.
As the strange object moved in a bizarre “left-right” motion overhead, the driver also noticed that it appeared to have a tail similar to a kite. The family on the bus would corroborate the driver’s statements, with one of the children, a 10-year-old girl, claiming it was “better than the movie” they had just seen.
Strangely, in the days following the report of the sighting, the bus driver would claim to receive a visit from a Mr. Crawford, who claimed to be a “government agent”. What’s more, he was keen to discuss the bus driver’s recent sighting in more detail.
During the month of March, UFO sightings were literally a daily occurrence, with most days being witness to multiple sightings. An incident on 8th March across the Texas border in Mexico, however, would stand out more than most.
The “Midget Pilot” Incident, Mexico City, Mexico
According to a report in the 9th March edition of the Washington Herald, a “chemicals and explosives expert” witnessed the ruins of an “ultra-streamlined flying saucer” in the mountains on the outskirts of Mexico City the previous day. Furthermore, whether through invitation or not, “top US officials” had visited the site and explored the wreckage.
The witness, Robert Dimmick, who was in the area on business for his employers the Apache Powder Co., claimed to have seen a part of the wreckage up-close – a “sheet of metal” that appeared similar to aluminum but was “much harder”.
Furthermore, and using the information given to him by associate businessmen in the region, a small occupant pilot was also discovered in the wreckage. The body, according to Dimmick, was now “embalmed for scientific study”.
The account is another that divides opinion within the UFO community. It is perhaps worth remembering what we mentioned in the opening. That many newspaper articles, seemingly with information being discreetly fed by the Air Force, were creating a layer of disinformation among the UFO accounts of the era. Almost as if they had prior knowledge of the wave that was upcoming. Was this account one of those or a genuine incident?
UFO Chase Over Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Whether the account of Robert Dimmick is genuine or not, back in the United States, at approximately the same time, another UFO encounter was unfolding. At a little after 10 am over Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
As the Trans-World Airlines plane made its way through the Ohio skies, the Civil Aviation Authority would receive a report from its captain. According to the communication, a “gleaming UFO was visible” from their position. The anomaly was simply hovering over their position. Furthermore, the CAA would receive around 20 separate calls referring to the strange objects hovering overhead.
Even more crucial, multiple witnesses would view the object from the ground, including those at the air force base and the Technical Intelligence Center. Radar operators would further pick up the object as F-51 fighter jets were preparing to scramble on intercept missions. As they left the runway, radar operators would advise them of where their target was.
It appeared to be at high altitude – at least 15,000 feet – but the jets had the strange craft within their sights. Then, however, a bank of clouds rolled over and obscured their view. By the time they refocused, the object had vanished.
They would spread out and head into the clouds. However, it would soon become apparent that they were much thicker than they expected. Furthermore, their instruments and equipment icing up at an incredible rate. Their radars, though, claimed they were almost on top of their target. However, with the cloud continuing to thicken the pursuit was abandoned.
Multiple Sightings Everyday, All Times Of Day And Night
As the end of March neared, UFO activity was going into overdrive. And not just in the United States. Mexico, for example, at least according to some of the newspaper reports of the time, was experiencing “fantastic phenomena” with visits from “silvery balls”, “luminous discs”, and “strange objects”.
Furthermore, whether in the North American continent, South America, Europe, or wherever such reports were coming from during this time, the vast majority were seemingly of “saucer” or “disc” shaped crafts, usually a glistening silver in color.
Night sightings were usually accompanied by strange glowing lights, usually red, white, or green. And while these strange crafts certainly appeared to have the capabilities to pick up great speeds, many of these sightings in the opening months of the 1950s featured prolonged periods of calm flight or even hovering in one spot for several minutes. Almost as if some kind of surveillance was taking place as part of a global reconnaissance mission.
One particular incident from the end of March that stands out took place on the evening of 20th March over Stuttgart in Arkansas. At just before 9:30 pm, Chicago and Southern Airlines pilots, Captain Jack Adams and First Officer Gary Anderson were flying a DC-34 over the region when they witnessed a disc-shaped object approaching their location.
The pilots would estimate the object to be approximately 100 feet across with a light on the top in the middle which would blink or flash. On the underside were several evenly spaced and perfectly symmetrical ovals from which a “soft purple light” leaked out. After approximately 30 seconds, the object vanished as fast as it had arrived.
And while there were multiple sightings taking place each day, this activity was about to increase even more.
The Wave Goes Around The World, April- July
While the vast majority of sightings were still very much in the United States and the North American continent as the second quarter of 1950 began, there was a distinct increase in sightings coming from all other areas of the world. Reports were coming from everywhere, from Australia and Japan, the Far East, Africa, and all over Europe.
“Immense Turtles” And “Metallic, Silver Football”
One of the first encounters of April, and certainly one that was unnerving for all involved, would take place in the skies over Venezuela in a DC-3 commercial passenger plane on the evening of 2nd April 1950. In what was an “uneventful” flight, pilots John Power and Angel Delgado would suddenly feel their plane shaking violently. As they grabbed hold of the controls each of them witnessed a “huge machine” surge past their aircraft. Powers would recall later:
It was an enormous apparatus of aerodynamic form, similar to an immense turtle. And I have no doubt this machine was (intelligently) guided!
On the same evening, over Butler in Pennsylvania, several motorists driving along Highway 38 witnessed a strange light overhead. They would bring their vehicle to a stop so they could get a closer look at this strange aerial anomaly. As they did, they witnessed a fast-moving “silver football” which glistened in the late-afternoon sun.
The witnesses, calm and concise with their details, were insistent that they had not witnessed an airplane or any other type of conventional aircraft. They would describe the object as making no sound whatsoever and around 100 feet long. It was, they would insist, a “metallic-like football” that passed overhead at around 6,000 feet.
As the sightings not only continued but seemingly increased daily, so did the explanations from the authorities. Anything from birds, meteors, and reflections, to simply mass hysteria and outright hoaxes.
Perhaps around this time, the realization that had already hit many investigators who had stuck with such strange incidents in the aftermath of the Roswell incident. The authorities, it would seem, was not only more aware of such activities than they would let on publicly, but where possible, they were actively covering up such encounters.
“We Know Nothing About Flying Saucers!”
On the morning of 4th April over the Air Force Intelligence headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, two UFOs would approach the base and perform a “fly-around” the perimeters. It was just after 5 am when two “brilliant points of light” appeared in the early morning sky. As they increased in size and glow, more and more people gathered outside the base to witness this most bizarre experience.
Within no time at all the two lights were over the base, “sweeping down” with alarming speed. After circling the base, they then shot back upwards at an equally fantastic rate. They would maintain this climb until they were out of sight of the witnesses.
Before daylight had fully claimed ownership of the skies over Dayton, the two lights appeared once more. This time, they would “dart about in all directions” over the city. Every now and then they would pause and hover momentarily.
Perhaps bizarrely, and once more a testament to the exercise in denial already underway, when authorities received calls from concerned members of the public, they would deny any knowledge of the strange lights and that they “know nothing about flying saucers”. This would prompt one Dayton resident to claim the air force must be “napping over there” if they really didn’t witness the bizarre events.
Whether there is a connection or not is uncertain, but later that afternoon over Denver, Colorado, two similar lights, apparently darting around the skies for several minutes, were witnessed by several residents.
Later that evening at around 9:30 pm over the skies of Delano in California, a “circular object” was witnessed by several residents of the city. According to their report, the object was “whirling on its axis” as it made its way over the city, barely 200 feet from the ground.
Multiple Sightings On The West Coast Blamed On Venus!
The following day brought more multiple sightings across the United States. For example, at around 7 pm on the evening of 5th April in San Jose, California, an anonymous female resident witnessed a “dull white disc” moving through the morning sky before vanishing behind a shock of trees. The object made no sound and left no vapor or smoke behind. Furthermore, although the witness could tell the craft was metallic, she couldn’t see any markings that you might expect to see on a conventional aircraft.
Later that day, reports of similar objects would surface in Colorado, Michigan, and Arizona. Whether a legitimate explanation or not, many of the sightings, particularly those in the western states of America, were blamed on the planet Venus, which was particularly low on the date in question.
On the same night, across the Atlantic Ocean in the town of Whitby in England, several people witnessed “two rings” moving overhead for around a minute before they disappeared from sight.
The Ardennes Incident, France
Perhaps one of the most bizarre encounters during the 1950 UFO wave took place in early May near Buzany in the Ardennes region of France. On this particular morning, at their usual time of 6:30 am, 14-year-old Madeleine Pierrad went with her father to the meadows to assist in rounding up their cows.
As they made their way to the fields, however, the young girl was surprised at what she at first thought was the unusual lowness of the sun. Then, a strange sound the young girl would describe as “Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!” rang out. As she and her father made efforts to process the bizarre scene in their heads, a “ball of fire” was now visible in front of them. The more they looked at this strange shape in front of them, the more it began to appear saucer-shaped behind the glare.
Then, when the flames cleared a little more, the pair could see through the glass-like exterior. Inside, was a humanoid occupant, wearing a suit that made him appear like the “Michelin Man”. Then, as she was watching this strange figure, she suddenly realized that it too was watching her. The realization shocked her somewhat.
The whole incident lasted approximately two minutes. Then, the object began to rise into the air, spinning slightly as it did. Within several moments, it had vanished from their sight.
The McMinnville Photographs Case
Perhaps one of the most well-known incidents during the 1950 UFO wave took place on 11th May in McMinnville, Oregon. The witness, farmer Paul Trent, would capture two photographs which would go on to become two of the most famous and most recognized UFO photographs in history.
On the afternoon in question, Mrs. Trent was feeding the rabbits in the farmyard. As she looked upward, however, she noticed a “large disc-shaped object” overhead. She immediately called out to her husband. He ran out, saw the object and then immediately went inside to grab his camera.
He came back out immediately with the camera in his hand. Trent positioned himself in the yard outside his property and took the first shot. After winding the camera on, he would reposition himself and take the second shot.
Although Mrs. Trent would attempt to get the attention of her in-laws who were on the Trents’ porch, by the time they reached the yard, the object had disappeared. It was another month before Trent would have the photographs developed. When he did, the pictures would appear in the bank where the Trents’ banker worked. It was there that a reporter witnessed them and would subsequently hunt the Trents down to convince them to “tell their story”.
They would decline at first but would ultimately relent and allow him to do so. The photographs themselves have been subject to numerous tests and examinations. To this day, they remain, until proven otherwise, genuine pictures of an unidentified flying object.
The Illuminous Disc, Quebec, Canada, June 1950
In early June 1950 in Quebec in Canada, a close contact incident would unfold one evening after the witness, “LB” was walking home from an evening at his neighbor’s house. The night was clear, warm, and pleasant as he made his way down a quiet country road.
As he was making his way along, however, a bright light suddenly illuminated the area. At the same time, the sound of machinery filled his ears. He turned his attention to where the source of the commotion appeared to be. He then moved forward.
Almost instantly, shouts and a cacophony of voices rang out. He immediately stopped, thinking he had walked into the middle of some “clandestine still operation”. When he came to his senses several moments later, he saw a “luminous disc”, approximately 6 meters wide, and hovering around a meter off the ground.
Next to the craft was a humanoid figure, a little over 5 feet in height. It wore some type of strange phosphorescent clothing and a leather mask on its face with eye holes cut out. The figure did speak to the witness, but the language was unknown to them. They would claim that German was the closest sounding language he was aware of that sounded similar to the dialect used by the strange creature.
Another Encounter With A Technical Handheld Device
Then, LB noticed a second humanoid appear. This one was slightly smaller than the first one, but seemingly with a larger head. On its belt, was a strange device that appeared similar to flashlight. Almost as soon as LB noticed the device, the figure pointed it at him, instantly paralyzing him.
Perhaps most unnerving of all, following the two figures talking to each other, the second figure approached LB. He was still paralyzed and began to take in the creature’s bizarre features. He could notice, for example, how wrinkled and old the fingers looked.
As the creature came closer, the figure reached to pull the hood from his head, revealing a wrinkled and almost deformed face below. The next thing LB knew, the object and the creatures were gone. He guessed he must have blacked out.
The idea of paralysis issued by some type of hand-held device is one that would come up in many close encounter accounts over the years. Perhaps not least during the worldwide 1954 UFO wave (which we will examine in a future case study article). What this tells us, then, is that at least in part, many of the sightings in the 1950 UFO wave, were seemingly still active here four years later.
Close Encounter In Estonia
Another strange but intriguing encounter from Europe during the summer of 1950 would come from Estonia. The witness, a 6-year-old girl see an “airplane” land in a field near her home. However, when she walked closer to the location, she could see no wings and no wheels. Furthermore, the object was distinctly oval-shaped and shiny silver color.
As she looked further, she could see an open doorway which extended to a darker central part of the craft. Even more bizarre, “four beings” were moving around this doorway. They appeared to be a similar height to herself and were dressed “bright green outfits with a kind of hood over their heads”.
Only their eyes were visible through an oval gap. The witness would recall how their eyes appeared “strange and immobile”. She would walk closer to the strange entities and began talking to them. Only years later, as she could understand such concepts, did she realize that the conversation was through telepathy.
She couldn’t recall the subject of the conversation. However, she did recall that a sudden fear overcame her. So much so that she turned and ran from the scene as fast as she could. As she did so, she turned and looked back, seeing the craft moving upwards and into the sky.
She would make attempts to return to the field the following day. However, for reasons, she couldn’t explain she could not force herself to complete the journey and turned around.
UFO Circles Hamilton Air Force Base Several Times
One of the most intriguing encounters according to back in the United States at Hamilton Air Force Base. It was early in the morning, a little after 1 am on the 21st June when the two witnesses, Garland and Pryor, were going about their normal on-duty activities.
However, a strange blue-flame-like object began approaching them in the distance. They would estimate it to be around 2,000 feet high and moving through the air in excess of 1,000 miles per hour. When the two airmen used their military-issued binoculars to view the objects, they could clearly see a “circular craft, think in the center and tapered to (the) edges”. They would go on to describe the object as a cone-shape.
As the object passed over them, the blue flame was distinctly clear. What’s more, it appeared perfectly clear to them that the object was under intelligent control. After it disappeared into the night sky, it would seemingly come back around again. As it reappeared there was a “roaring like thunder” sound that rang over the entire region.
The craft would pass over the base four more times in the next 25 minutes before it finally disappeared. Once again, this continuing circular passes over the base would suggest some kind of reconnaissance mission.
Perhaps of most concern, however, was the suddenly called press conference the day after the sighting. The two pilots would appear and essentially withdraw everything they had said the previous day. With that, the Air Force stated there would be no further comment on the incident. To say some were suspicious of the move would be an understatement.
The Winddown – August To December
Although sightings were still taking place regularly throughout August, they would begin to confine themselves to the northern hemisphere, around the United States, Canada, and part of Europe. And as the months progressed and 1950 wound down, sightings did indeed began to slow up somewhat. We should note, though, that despite the slowing up and eventual “stopping” of the 1950 UFO Wave, sightings themselves never stopped outright.
As the summer continued on, though, particularly on the west coast in California, strange reports of glowing clouds and bizarre explosions would captivate, and concern Californians. For example, a “mysterious cloud” glowing green, red, and blue, was witnessed moving against the wind. Several nights later, a “soundless explosion of green light” shocked residents of Los Angeles and San Diego.
Perhaps one of the strangest incidents, though, occurred on the other side of North American continent off the coast of Nova Scotia.
The MARCALA Incident
At around 10 am on the morning of 4th August the MARCALA ship, featuring an international crew, was on its way from Walton in Nova Scotia heading to a United States Naval port on the northeast coast of America. As the witness and several of the other on-duty personnel were going about their duties, a cry came out claiming that an object was flying straight toward them.
When the crew focused their attention on the approaching craft, they could see it was flying at an altitude of around 50 to 100 feet above the surface of the water. Rates of speed varied from the crew, with some claiming the object moved around 250 miles per hour while others put the pace closer to 500 miles per hour.
When the cylindrical shaped object was within around 1,000 feet of the ship it would suddenly change course and quickly vanish over the horizon. What further amazed the witnesses was the complete lack of noise from this shining, silver-colored craft.
What perhaps made this incident even more interesting is the interest the United States intelligence services took in it. They would interview all of those on deck at the time of the sighting, including the three main witnesses. They would determine that “despite the discrepancies, it was quite evident to the Intelligence Officers” that the three men were certain of what they had seen.
The Case Of Lily F – Alien Intervention Or A “Missing 411” Case?
One of the most intriguing encounters during the summer of 1950, took place in Dardennes in Var, France on 3rd August. 3-year-old “Lily F” would go missing while playing in a field right next to her parent’s home. However, she wouldn’t return home and her frantic parents began searching the area. They were doing so for over 2 hours and much to their despair they couldn’t find her.
However, she was soon discovered near a small ravine, unharmed and not at all scared. She would go on to tell her parents that she was looked after by a “beautiful lady” who had on a “brilliant white costume”. While some would put such a description down to an angel-type entity. However, such a description might also fit with an extraterrestrial occupant.
Incidentally, this case has all the hallmarks of the Missing 411 type of disappearance cases, some of which reappear in much the same circumstances as Lily F did. Was this a case of alien intervention? Or was it one of the missing person’s cases as recorded by David Paulides? Or might, in a bizarre way, it be partly both of those things? We will examine the Missing 411 mysteries in a future case study article.
The Newfoundland Surge
Newfoundland in Canada would experience a surge of sightings within a 72-hour period. On 20th August alone, four sightings across the region were reported. It is almost certain that others took place that was not reported. Or whose reports have simply not survived into our contemporary digital age.
What’s more, many of these sightings also had corroborating radar confirmation. It is perhaps interesting that, once again, the area of Newfoundland is right next to a substantial body of water.
One of the most bizarre encounters of the Newfoundland surge took place at Harmon Air Force Base on the evening of 2nd September. One of the personnel at the base claimed to witness a strange figure on the runway. The military member approached the strange figure. However, when he did so, he immediately felt a sharp burning pain in his hand. He looked down at his hand for a moment. When he returned his focus to the runway, the strange figure was no longer there.
A little over a week later on the 10th September, claims of a crashed UFO just outside of Albuquerque in New Mexico. According to reports, “three alien bodies” were recovered from the wreckage.
The Van Nuys-San Fernando Incident
On the evening of 5th October, just before 8 pm, a California Central Airliner would leave the runway at Burbank-Hollywood Airport. They were heading to Oakland. However, barely five minutes into the journey, between Van Nuys and San Fernando, while still climbing at an altitude of 4,500 feet.
Then, out of nowhere, Captain Cecil Hardin would yell out to Co-pilot Jack Conroy. When he turned around, he could see a glowing object seemingly heading straight for them. However, at the last minute, the craft swerved and ducked underneath the plane.
Conroy would state that due to how fast everything happened, it was “impossible to say exactly how fast it was going”. The same was true of the size of the craft. Furthermore, the object appeared to have no obvious means of propulsion.
Both men agreed that they witnessed several bright lights on the craft as it swerved past their window.
Wave Of UFO Sightings Across Tennessee
Several sightings of a silver disc would surface around Knoxville and Oak Ridge in Tennessee. Beginning on 12th October, at around 11:25 pm, radar operators at Knoxville Airport would begin tracking 11 different objects.
An F-82 fighter jet was scrambled in an effort to intercept the strange targets. On two occasions it would get near to its targets only for them to disappear. Although the pilot and radar operators were aware of the object’s presence, a visual sighting was not forthcoming.
Three days later, however, on the afternoon of the 15th October, two state troopers at Oak Ridge would see two “shiny silver objects shaped like a bullet” at around 3:20 pm. While one of the objects seemingly disappeared out of sight, the other remained, hovering for around five minutes. Then, it changed direction and disappeared into the distance.
Around an hour later, Special Agent William Price would receive a report that a shiny, silver disc was hovering over the K-25 plant also in Oak Ridge. The object was also picked up on radar. Observers on the ground would also report seeing an F-82 jet plane in the vicinity seemingly attempting to intercept the craft.
Sightings of almost identical silver disc-shaped craft would surface on several other occasions throughout October, on the 20th, 23rd, 24th, and on 5th November. While sightings were unfolding over all of the United States, they do seem to be particularly concentrated in this region for several weeks.
A Temporary Period Of (Relative) Quiet
By November of 1950, sightings of strange aerial activity had returned to a level much more in line with sightings of the previous years of the 1940s. And while they did still occur, they were not at all at the levels the world had seen over the previous months.
There would be a respite of sorts for 12 months throughout 1951 where sightings would continue, but not all at the pace of 1950. Then, in 1952, another wave of UFO activity would begin again. And once again, such territories as the United States and the North American continent, much of South America, as well as parts of Africa and most of Europe would be subject to the barrage of aerial incidents.
We are probably correct to ask if such waves of UFO sightings had any type of purpose and pre-planning?
While we will look at the potential consequences of these UFO waves being the result of extraterrestrial visitation in a moment. However, might it be that the waves were the result of American military experiments and test flights? It is an unlikely notion, regardless of apparent admissions by former members of the military.
While there is no doubt that some of these sightings very well may have been the result of such the United States top-secret military experiments. However, many others appear to be a genuine mystery even to high-ranking military personnel.
Just what was unleashed in our skies in the summer of 1947, and how does it relate to the bizarre waves of UFO activity that followed?
Another Extraterrestrial Reconnaissance Operation
Much like the UFO wave of 1947, many of the UFO sightings conformed to the same basic details. And while interest in UFOs, aliens, and space, in general, was rapidly increasing, it was still several years off the dominance it would enjoy in terms of entertainment and general popular culture.
The sightings were most definitely in greater number, however, although largely unconfrontational and without interaction. As we have speculated throughout this selective look at some of the more intriguing incidents of the year in question, if we can say that the intelligence behind these crafts were indeed of extraterrestrial origin, then was some kind of reconnaissance mission? And if so, what was the result of such a mission? Did it factor into the UFO waves that would take place in the years and decades that followed?
We have examined here, as we mentioned in our opening, only a minuscule amount of the sightings and reports that are on record for the year of 1950. And there are, most likely, others hidden away somewhere in dusty files. And, unfortunately, most likely others that will be lost to the sands of time, permanently contained within the memories of those who might have since passed on without speaking of their experiences.
One thing is certain, however. The UFO encounters of 1950 were, at the time, unprecedented. And there is much investigative work to be done in order that we might one day be able to make sense of a potentially bigger picture of the UFO and alien question.
|↑1||UFOs: A History, Volume 5, January-March 1950 https://sohp.us/collections/ufos-a-history/pdf/GROSS-1950-Jan-Mar.pdf|
|↑2||1950 UFO Chronology and Graphic Evidence of UFO Reality, NICAP http://www.nicap.org/chronos/1950fullrep.htm|
|↑3||UFOs: A History, Volume 6 April-July 1950 https://sohp.us/collections/ufos-a-history/pdf/GROSS-1950-Apr-July.pdf|
Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.
Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.