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The Ellsworth AFB radar multiple visual case, 1953:

In this file:

Click! The Ellsworth AFB 1953 case, discussion.
Click! The official report by US Air Force's Project Blue Book.
Cliquez! Les événements, par le Capitaine Ed Ruppelt, USAF, chef du projet Blue Book.
This page The article in TRUE magazine by Capt. Ed Ruppelt, USAF ret., head of Project Blue Book (This page).
Click! A word on the case by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, astronomer and consultant of Project Blue Book.
Click! The study of the case in the Condon Report, with comments.
Click! A skeptical article in Magonia magazine, 1994, with comments.
Click! Case summary by Robert Emeneger.
Click! References.

Article in TRUE magazine, by Cap. Edward J. Ruppelt:

Captain Edward J. Ruppelt was the head of Project Blue Book, the US Air Force UFO study at the time of this case and he investigated it. This is what he told about this case in TRUE Magazine.

"Why Don't The Damn Things Swim -
so we can turn them over to the Navy!"

Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt USAFR

"This is how an Air force investigator summed up his exasperation in trying to sift UFO facts from fancy. From 1951-53, the author headed up Project Blue Book, the now-famous official investigation into UFO's. Here is what he learned."

[Picture, with following caption:]

Air Force officers in 1952 set up a battery of 200 cameras across country in response to many sightings.

From left are:
Capt. R. L. James, radar expert; Maj. Gen. Roger Ramey, deputy chief for operations; author, Capt. Edward Ruppelt; Maj. Gen. John A. Samford, air intelligence chief; Col. Donald L. Bowan, and civilian expert B. L. Griffing.

ON AUGUST 12, 1953, a woman in Ground Observer Corps in the Black Hills of South Dakota light hovering in the sky to the east of her position. Two operators from a radar station went out to check the thing while the woman was still on the telephone. While they were scanning the sky, the woman reported, "The thing is beginning to move over Rapid City." At the same time, the two radar men observed the light start to move. They returned to their radar to pick it up, and the woman reported that the object was moving back to its original position. The radar got a fix on it at that spot.

An F-84, in the air at the time, was vectored into the target. The jet pilot sighted the light visually and started after it. The object headed north with the jet after it, and the radar operators observed the chase on their scope. The Unidentified Flying Object stayed ahead of the jet and seemed to put on speed whenever the pilot speeded up the jet. After chasing the object 120 miles, the pilot ran low on fuel and was granted permission to return. When the jet turned around, the UFO also turned and followed him back.

After the first jet landed, a second F-84 went up to investigate. He was talked into position and spotted the thing visually above him. He went up to 20,000 feet, reported that he was level with the light, and again the object took off the to the north with the jet in pursuit. Again the chase was observed on ground radar, with both the UFO and the jet showing plainly on the scope.

In the second pursuit, the pilot made a number of tests to rule out some of the common phenomena that have been mistaken for "flying saucers." He turned off all his instrument lights and kicked the plane around to make certain that he was not chasing a canopy reflection. He was not. He observed the object carefully in relation to the stars, and swore that it moved across them, thus eliminating the possibility that he was chasing a planet or a star. Finally, when he thought he was closing in on the object, he switched on his radar gun sights. This type of jet has a light on the instrument panel that goes on to indicate a "lock on" with the target by the radar sights. The light went on.

The second jet chased the light 160 miles to the north before abandoning the pursuit. This time the UFO continued flying north. The Ground Observer Corps Filter Center ahead was alerted, and observers there reported a light speeding north.

This was indeed an astounding occurrence. There were simultaneous visual sightings from two ground sites linked by telephone, simultaneous ground and radar sightings, simultaneous ground-radar and jet-visual sightings, a pursuit in which the UFO outran the jet, a reversal in course, a second jet-visual sighting confirmed by ground radar, an air-radar "lock on" and finally a sighting from the ground hundreds of miles away.

What was the object? For two years, from 1951 to 1953, I flew 200,000 miles, conferred with dozens of top American scientists and an exotic collection of hot-eyed screwballs, stumbled through Florida mangrove swamps, dragged myself out of bed at 3 a.m. to answer transatlantic telephone calls, inspected scores of strange photographs and watched one short amateur movie ninety-seven times in an effort to answer this and similar questions.

My colleagues and I were lambasted by fellow Americans for concealing the biggest news story in the history of modern man, and by Radio Moscow for setting the stage for atomic war.

I was called an ignorant dupe, a Charlie McCarthy manipulated by powerful forces in the Pentagon. I was consulted by the White House, and I briefed the highest figure in the Air Force, who listened respectfully and let me do all the talking.

For two years, with the help of the best brains in the country, we worked on a giant jigsaw of a puzzle that was either utterly meaningless or would rock the world.

For every piece that we fitted into place, we found that two more had been added to the puzzle's pile.


Complete TRUE Magazine article here.

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This page was last updated on February 22, 2003.