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Project Blue Book unexplained cases summaries with witness names:

Year 1953:

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 1953:

Jan. 1, 1953, Craig, Montana. 8:45 p.m:

Witnesses: Warner Anderson and two women.

A silver, saucer-shaped object with a red glowing bottom, flew low over a river and then climbed fast in a horizontal attitude. Ten second sighting.

Jan. 8, 1953, Larson AFB, Washington. 7:15 a.m:

Witnesses: men from the 82nd Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, including the squadron commander, all were on the ground.

One green, disc-shaped or round object flew southwest for 15 minutes, with a vertically bobbing motion and sideways movements, below clouds.

Jan. 10, 1953, Sonoma, California. 3:45 p.m or 4 p.m:

Witnesses: retired Col. Robert McNab, and Mr. Hunter of the Federal Security Agency. One flat object, like a pinhead, made three 360* right turns in 9 seconds, made abrupt 90* turns to the right and left, stopped, accelerated to original speed and finally flew out of sight vertically after 60-75 seconds.

Jan. 17, 1953, near Guatemala City, Guatemala. 3:55 p.m:

Witness: geologist/salesman J.J. Sackett.

One brilliant green-gold object, shaped like the Goodyear blimp with its length twice its height, flew 400 m.p.h. straight and level, stopped, then went straight up with one stop. Sighting lasted 22 seconds.

Jan. 28, 1953, Pt. Mugu, California. 1 p.m:

Witness: R.W. Love, owner of Love Diving Co., engaged in retrieving radio-controlled drones.

An 18-20' white, flat disc flew straight and level, overhead, for 6 minutes.

Jan. 28, 1953, Corona, California. 6:05 p.m:

Witness: USAF T/Sgt. George Beyer.

Five 25' green spheres flew in V-formation, then changed to trail formation at which time the end objects turned red. Sighting lasted 12 minutes.

Jan. 28, 1953, Albany, Georgia. No time given:

Witnesses: radar maintenance personnel.

Radar tracked one stationary target for 20 minutes. A visual sighting about the same time was explained. No further information in the files.

Feb. 3, 1953, Keflavik, Iceland. 5:25 p.m:

Witnesses: radar operators.

Four unidentified targets were tracked for 24 minutes. No further data.

Feb. 4, 1953, Yuma, Arizona. 1:50 p.m:

Witness: U.S. Weather Bureau observer Stanley Brown, using a theodolite.

One white, oblong object was tracked flying straight up, leveling off and being joined by a second, similar, object. The second twice flew away and returned to the first. After 5 minutes, both were lost to sight behind clouds.

Feb. 17, 1953, Port Austin. Michigan. 10:04 p.m:

Witnesses: two officers and three airmen of USAF AC&W squadron, visually and by radar.

Visual object appeared to larger and brighter than a star and changed color, it was seen to move slowly for 5 minutes until 10:09 p.m. Radar picked up a target at 10:08 p.m moving in a similar direction for 17 minutes, at similar speed.

Feb. 20, 1953, Pittsburg-Stockton, California. #1 time unknown, #2, 10:30 p.m:

Witnesses: USAF B-25 bomber pilots.

#1 was a bright yellow light seen for 8 minutes. #2 was a bright light which flew on a collision course, dimmed and climbed away fast.

Feb. 24, 1953, Sherman, Texas. 7:43 p.m:

Witnesses: Warrant Officer and Mrs. Alden.

Two bright red, round objects with big halos flew in small circles, climbed and faded during a 3-7 second sighting.

Feb. 27, 1953, Shreveport, Louisiana. 11:58 a.m:

Witness: USAF airman/private pilot.

Five yellow discs made circular turns, fluttered, three of them vanished, the other two flew erratic square turns for a total of 4 minutes.

March 11, 1953, Hackettstown, New Jersey. 4 a.m:

Witness: Mrs. Nina Cook, an experienced private pilot and wife of a Pan Am flight engineer.

A large light, blinking at 10-15 times per minute, moved up and down along a mountain range.

March 14, 1953, north of Hiroshima, Japan. 11:45 p.m:

Witnesses: radar and visual observation by 10 crew members of U.S. Navy P2V-5 patrol plane.

Groups of 5-10 colored lights, totalling 90-100, slowly moved aft off the left side of the airplane, as detected visually and by airborne radar for 5 minutes.

March 21, 1953, Elmira, New York. 3:05 p.m:

Witness: Ground Observer Corps observation post.

Six discs in a group flew high and fast for a few seconds.

March 25, 1953, San Antonio, Texas. 3:05 p.m:

Witnesses: USAF Capt. and Mrs. D.E. Cox.

Several lights, some of which moved straight, others which made 360degrees turns for 1.5 hours.

March 27, 1953, Mt. Taylor, New Mexico. 7:25 p.m:

Witness: pilot of USAF F-86 jet fighter at 600 kts. (700 m.p.h.).

One bright orange circle flew at 800 kts. (900 m.p.h.), and executed three fast rolls. Pilot chased object for 4 minutes.

March 29, 1953, Spooner, Wisconsin. 3:45 p.m:

Witness: L.C. Gillette.

One aluminum, circular object flew high and fast, twice reversing its course. Note: Mr. Gillette saw a similar object in 1938. Fifteen second sighting.

April 8, 1953, Fukuoka, Japan. 7:55 p.m:

Witness: 1st Lt. D.J. Pichon, pilot of USAF F-94B jet interceptor.

One bright blue light descended, accelerated, flew parallel to the F-94, increased its speed and blinked out after 45 seconds.

April 15, 1953, Tucson, Arizona. 5:45 p.m:

Witness: S/Sgt. V.A. Locey.

Three orange lights were seen for: 3 minutes, 30 seconds, and a few seconds.

May 1, 1953, Goose AFB, Labrador, Canada. 11:35 p.m:

Witnesses: pilot and radar operator of USAF F-94 jet interceptor, and control tower operator.

One white light evaded interception attempt by F-94 during 30 minute sighting.

May 27, 1953, San Antonio, Texas. 8:30 p.m:

Witnesses: many unidentified civilians, including Jacobson.

Nine separate meandering lights were seen during 15 minute sighting.

June 21, 1953, Naha, Okinawa. 7 p.m:

Witnesses: Nine Japanese and Okinawan weather observers.

One unidentified light moved slowly for 20 minutes. No further data in files.

June 22, 1953, Goose AFB, Labrador, Canada. 7:1O a.m:

Witnesses: pilot and radar operator of USAF F-94 jet interceptor.

One red light, flying at an estimated 1,000 kts. (1,100 m.p.h.) eluded the chasing F-94 after 5 minutes.

June 24, 1953, Iwo Jima, Bonin Islands. 11:30 p.m:

Witnesses: crew of USAF KB-29 aerial tanker plane.

Radar tracked an unidentified target which twice approached to within .5 miles of the airplane, and once to within 6 miles, during a 2 minute observation.

June 24, 1953, Simiutak, Greenland. 11:30 a.m:

Witness: weather observer A/2c R.A. Hill.

One red triangle hovered and rotated for 15 seconds, then climbed for 5 minutes.

Aug. 3, 1953, Amarillo, Texas. 12:04 p.m:

Witness: Airport control tower chief C.S. Brown.

One round and reflective or translucent object flew straight, stopped for 7 seconds, sped along, stopped again, was joined by a similar object and they flew off in different directions, after a total of 56 minutes.

Aug. 20, 1953, near Castle AFB, California. 9:05 p.m:

Witnesses: crew of TB-29 bomber/trainer plane.

One greyish oval object made four passes at the airplane (three times at 10-20 miles distance), then dived vertically as if two objects.

Aug. 27, 1953, Greenville, Mississippi. 9:45 p.m:

Witnesses: USAF pilot, M/Sgt., others, all on the ground. One meandering light was observed for 50 minutes. No further details in file.

Sept. 2, 1953, Sidi Slimane AFB, French Morocco. 9:14 p.m:

Witnesses: Lt. Col. William Moore and 1st Lt. J.H. McInnis.

Dec. 24, 1953, El Cajon, California. 8:04 a.m:

Witnesses: U.S. Navy Lts. J.B. Howard and L.D. Linhard, flying F9F-2 jet fighters.

Ten silver, oval objects flew at more than 400 kts. (450 m.p.h.), straight and level, for 5 minutes.

Dec. 28, 1953, Marysville, California. 11:55 a.m:

Witness: Yuba County Airport Manager Dick Brandt.

One saucer, with a brilliant blue light, reflecting on a nearby building, hovered briefly during the 1.5 minute observation.

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 June 30, 2001.