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Project Blue Book unexplained cases summaries with witness names:

Year 1950:

The following paragraphs relate to Project Blue Book's unexplained cases list. For the US Air Force who conducted Project Blue Book, these are the cases that had no "ordinary" explanation.


Along with a short summary, the location and dates, the witness or witnesses name are given. This may surprize many readers, as these names have been censored from the files before they were archived and later available to the public under the FOIA.

Please read the reference information at the end of the page to learn how I found out the witness names. Please refer to my main page on Project Blue book for more information on this USAF project.

Navigation help:

The cases which I have further studied or documented are accompanied by links to the supplemental information. To keep the browsing time reasonably short, I have split the summaries in one file for every year, you need to click on the years underneath to read all the summaries:

Choose: 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954
1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964
1965 1966 1967 1968 1969

Cases of the year 1950:

February 5, 1950, Teaticket, Massachusetts. 5:10 p.m:

Witnesses: Marvin Odom, former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, USAF Lt. Philip Foushee, pilot from Otis AFB, and two others.

Two thin, illuminated cylinders, one of which dropped a fireball, maneuvered together and then disappeared high and fast after 5 minutes.

February 24, 1950, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 1:55 p.m:

Witnesses: Municipal Airport Weather Observers Luther McDonald, Harrison Manson.

One white, slightly elongated oval was watched for 1.5 minutes through a theodolite while it flew straight and level.

February 25, 1950, Los Alamos, New Mexico. 3:55 p.m:

Witnesses: Twelve Atomic Energy Commission security inspectors.

One cylinder with tapered ends, silver and flashing, flew slow and then fast, fluttered and oscillated, and changed course. observations by individuals varied from 3 seconds to 2 minutes.

March 3, 1950, Selfridge AFB, Michigan. 11:05 p.m:

Witness: st Lt Frank Mattson.

One intense, dull yellowish light descended vertically, then flew straight and level very fast for 4 minutes.

See the Selfridge AFB case file.

March 20, 1950, Stuttgart, Arkansas. 9:26 p.m:

Witnesses: Chicago & Southern Airlines Capt. Jack Adams, First Officer G. W. Anderson, Jr.

One 100' circular disc with 9-12 portholes along the lower side emitting a soft purple light, and a light at the top which flashed 3 times in 9 seconds, flew at not less than 1,000 m.p.h. It was seen for 25-35 seconds.

March 27, 1980, Motobo, Okinawa. 10:30 a.m:

Witness: USAF radar operator Cpl. Bolfango.

Tracked on radar for 2 minutes while it was stationary and then moved at 500 m.p.h.. Visual observation not detailed, only mentioned in summary.

March 28, 1950, Santiago, Chile. 3:15 p.m:

Witness: M/Sgt. Patterson, of the office of the U.S. Air Attache.

One white object observed for 5-10 seconds through binoculars while it flew high and fast, crossing 30 degrees of sky.

March 29, 1950, Marrowbore Lake, Tennessee. 7 a.m:

Witnesses: real estate salesmen Whiteside and Williams.

Six-twelve dark objects shaped like 300-lb. bombs, estimated 5 feet long. Flew 500 m.p.h. and descended, making a noise like wind blowing through the trees.

April 8, 1950, Kokomo, Indiana. 2 a.m:

Witness: Earl Baker.

One grey metallic disc, 50' in diameter, 15' thick, top-shaped with a "conning tower" at the top and three ports on the rim giving off a blue light. It hovered for 2 minutes, then flew away. Baker aroused from sleep by his dog.

April 14, 1950, Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. 2:30 p.m:

Witness: Army M/Sgt. James.

Four rectangular, amber objects, about 3' by 4'. changed speed and direction rapidly, the group of objects rose and fell during the 3-4 minute sighting.

May 7, 1950, Nine miles sough of Ely, Nevada. 6:45 p.m:

Witnesses: Mr. and Mrs. George Smith and their grandson.

One silvery white object hovered at 100' altitude, moved back and forth for 10 minutes and then flew up and away. Note in case file: "No investigation."

June 27, 1950, Texarkana, Texas. 7:50 a.m:

Witnesses: Terrell and Yates, employees of Red River Arsenal.

One object, bright, shaped like two dishpans face-to-face, flew straight and level, fast for 4-5 seconds.

July 13, 1950, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. 5 p.m:

Witnesses: two skilled Arsenal employees including Mr. Washburn.

one object, shaped like a bowtie, and like polished aluminum. Flew straight and level, then one triangle rotated 1/4 turn in the opposite direction and returned to its original position. The object then made a right-angle turn and accelerated away after at least 30 seconds.

Aug. 4, 1950, approx. 100 mi. SE of New York City (39' 35' N., 72' 24.5' W.). 10 a.m EDT:

Witnesses: Master Nils Lewring, Chief Mate Jacob Koelwyn, Third Mate, of M/V Marcala.

One 10' cylindrical object at 50-100' altitude, flying with a churning or rotary motion, accelerated at end of 15 second sighting.

Aug. 20, 1950, Nicosia, Cyprus. 1:30 p.m:

Witnesses: USAF MATS liaison officer Lt. William Ghormley, Col. W. V. Brown, Lt. col. L.w. Brauer.

One small, round, bright object flew fast, straight and level for 15-20 seconds.

Aug. 25, 1950, approx. 250 mi. SW of Bermuda (29' 40' N., 67* 28' W.). 8 p.m:

Witness: B-29 radarman S/Sgt. William Shaffer.

Radar observation, plus possible blue streak 3 minutes later. B-29 followed unidentified target, then passed it at l/4-mile distance, target followed for 5 minutes, then passed B-29 and sped away. Total time of tracking: 20 minutes.

Aug. 30, 1950, Sandy Point, Newfoundland, Canada. 1:30 p.m:

Witnesses: three local employees, including Kaeel and Alexander, of the Air Force Base.

A dark, barrel-shaped object with a pole down from it into the water, flew at 3-5 m.p.h. and 15-20' altitude for 5 minutes.

Sept. 3, 1950, Spokane, Washington. 2 p.m:

Witnesses: Maj R.J. Gardiner, Mrs. Gardiner and neighbor (former saw three objects, others saw one).

Metallic bronze discs, 20-30' long, 2-6' thick. Moved independently and erratically for 5 minutes.

Sept. 20, 1950, Kit Carson, Colorado. 10:49 a.m:

Witness identified only as a "reliable source".

Two large, round, glowing objects and three smaller, internally lit objects. Two hovered for 1 minute, moved, and three smaller ones came from behind or within the two larger objects, and all sped upward and away.

Sept. 21, 1950, Provincetown, Massachusetts. 9:52 a.m:

Witness: M.I.T. research associate and Air National Guard Maj. M.H. Ligda.

Radar tracking of one object during M.I.T tracking of USAF flight of F-84 or F-86 jet fighters. Object speed was 22 miles/minute (1,200 m.p.h.), made turn of 11-12 gs acceleration during 1 minute observation.

Oct. 15, 1950, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. 3:20 p.m:

Atomic Energy Commission Trooper Rymer, J. Moneymaker, Capt. Zarzecki.

Two shiny silver objects shaped like bullet or bladder. They dove with a smoke trail and one vanished. The other hovered at 5-6, altitude, 50' away, left and returned several times somewhat further away.

See some of the official documents here.

Oct. 15, 1950, Pope AFB, North Carolina:

Witness: Daniel.

Listed as "unidentified" in folder index, but no supporting data could be found.

Oct 15, 1950, Pope AFB, North Carolina:

Witness: Woodward.

Listed as "unidentified" in folder index, but no supporting data could be found.

Oct. 23, 1950, Bonlee, North Carolina. 12:42 p.m:

Witness: ex-USAF pilot Frank Risher.

One aluminum object shaped like a dirigible or Convair C-99 cargo plane, with 3 portholes, arrived from southeast, hovered 3-5 seconds and flew away to the south-south-east at end of 40 second sighting.

Nov. 5, 1950, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. 11:55 a.m:

Witness: Fairchild Aircraft illustrator Don Patrick.

One translucent object, light grey with dark core, shaped like a pear or bean. Flew for 5-10 minutes with rapid, darting movements.

Dec. 2, 1950, Nanyika, Kenya. 10:50 a.m:

Witness: Mr. and Mrs. L. Scott.

One pearly, iridescent object with a flattened top, spun while hovering and made a sound like bees buzzing. Only data in files was from East African "Standard" newspaper.

Dec. 6, 1950, Ft. Myers, Florida. 5 p.m:

Witnesses: former aircraft purchasing agent Harry Lamp and four boys, using 10-power binoculars.

One 75' object, 3-4' thick, bubble on top, silver with a red rim having two white and two orange jets along it. The center revolved when the object hovered, then it flew away very fast.

Dec. 11, 1950, l0 mi. NW of Gulcana, Alaska. 10:13 p.m:

Witnesses: crew of Northwest Air Lines flight 802.

Two white flashes, followed by a dark cloud which rose and split in two.

Short discussion and comments:

"Unidentified" says a great deal... and it says almost nothing.

Probably the most controversial aspect of the entire Air Force investigation of UFOs was its handling of individual cases.

The means by which one case was determined to be "identified" and another "unidentified" has no doubt fueled more arguments about Project Blue Book than anything else it did.

For many years, Blue Book's most vocal opponents have insisted that the standards by which cases were allegedly explained were grossly unscientific. Blue Book's goal, according to those who held it low esteem, was to attach some explanation to every case, regardless of logic or common sense. Examples of Blue Book saying a violently maneuvering disc was an aircraft, or of blaming a puzzling radar tracking on a supposedly malfunctioning radar set which it never bothered to check out, are numerous in the popular UFO literature.

And they are even more numerous in the files of Project Blue Book. The urgency with which Blue Book officials tagged answers onto cases without having done the proper investigation is obvious, though not proven. But if the Air Force was so eager to label cases "identified", despite the lack of supporting evidence, then those few cases which it labeled "unidentified" presumably withstood every attempt to apply every other kind of label. And so it may be that those cases are truly unidentifiable in familiar terms.

Indeed, the Air Force defines "unidentifiable" cases as those which "apparently contain all pertinent data necessary to suggest a valid hypothesis concerning the lack of explanation of the report, but the description of the object or its motion cannot be correlated with any known object or phenomenon."

To meet such criteria, a report must obviously come from a reputable source, and it must not bear any resemblance to airplanes, balloons, helicopters, spacecraft, birds, clouds, stars, planets, meteors, comets, electrical phenomena, or anything else known to frequent the air, the sky, or nearby space.

Unfortunately, the Air Force failed to stick to its own rules. Some of the "unidentifiable" cases most certainly can be correlated with known objects or phenomena. But most of them cannot. Moreover, many of the so-called "identified" cases cannot honestly be so correlated. But we are primarily concerned here with those cases which Project Blue Book openly admits it tried to explain and failed.

The amount of detail in these cases varies enormously. Some cases - frequently those which were well publicized at the time of the event - contain considerable information, while others are vague and seriously incomplete. Project Blue Book generally placed the blame for such incompleteness on the witnesses, but it should take its own share of the responsibility. In thousands of cases, there is no completed questionnaire in the Project files, nor even any indication that one was sent to the witness. And in most of the instances where a questionnaire was filled out, it was never followed up to get more complete answers to questions which the witnesses failed to deal with properly. For much of the life of Project Blue Book and its predecessors, there was no satisfactory questionnaire at all. And one of those used for a lengthy period was so badly organized that a witness should not be held to blame for giving incomplete answers.

Yet, despite all the roadblocks, many reports are sufficiently complete to tell a pretty clear story of a puzzling experience. With this data now available, anyone can look at Project Blue Book's "unidentified" UFO reports and make up his own mind.


The above case summaries are from the work of Don Berliner, who compiled a listing of the Project Bluebook "unknowns". In January, 1974, he visited the U.S. Air Force Archives at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama, to review the files of Project Blue Book as the first step toward writing a book on the subject.

In a full week, he read all the "unexplained" cases in the original files and made extensive notes, including the names and other identifying information on all witnesses where given. The cooperation of the staff of the Archives was excellent, and no restrictions were placed on his work.

A few months later, the files were withdrawn from public view so they could be prepared for transfer to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. This process involved making a Xerox copy of almost 30 file drawers of material, blacking out the names and other identifiers of all witnesses, and then microfilming the censored Xerox copy. The microfilm has been available to the public at the National Archives since 1976. The original Project Blue Book files remain under lock and key at the Archives.

On almost every page of the 12,000+ case files, there are big black marks where information that could be used to cross-check Project Blue Book's controversial work has been censored.

This includes the names of witnesses to widely-publicized cases, and even names in newspaper clippings!

As it was perfectly legal for him to copy witness' names when he visited the Air Force Archives, those names can be found in this report of 585 (less 13 missing) unexplained cases. And since the Privacy Act, which motivated the Air Force to censor the files in the first place, does not apply to reporters or anyone else outside the Government, they can be used as the reader pleases.

Inasmuch as the book he planned to write has never further than the manuscript stage, he saw no reason to keep this information under wraps any longer, thinking that perhaps it will encourage others to re-investigate cases and make the results known.

This is why I published here all the summaries of these more than 700 cases, and publish a French translation for the French speaking UFO researchers.

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This page was last updated on December 15, 2003.