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Project Blue Book unexplained cases summaries with witness names:

Year 1954:

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 1954:

Jan. 28, 1954, Rangeley, Maine. 110-10:15 a.m:

Witness: Wilhelm Reich.

Two bright lights moved into valley, and were seen against the mountain background, for 15 minutes.

Feb. 26, 1954, Newburyport, Massachusetts. 2:30 p.m:

Witnesses: architect R.M. Pierce, marine engineer George Avery and one other person.

One silver disc, with a white trail, made a loud roar for 30-60 seconds.

March 2, 1954, vicinity of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 10 p.m:

Witness: research engineer R.C. Swengel.

Three objects, each with two lights, flew straight and level at medium speed for an unknown length of time.

March 5, 1954, Nouasseur, French Morocco. 8 p.m:

Witnesses: crews of USAF KC-97 aerial tanker planes. One object or light made passes at KC-97s, the other flew straight and level. Sighting duration unknown.

March 12, 1954, Nouasseur, French Morocco. 9:35 a.m:

Witness: USAF 1st Lt. Robert Johnson, flying an F-86 jet fighter.

He chased an object at more than 530 m.p.h. for 30 seconds, but was unable to catch it. It appeared to be the size of a fighter plane but had neither tanks nor trails.

April 8, 1954, Chicago, Illinois. 4:30 p.m:

Witness: Lelah Stoker.

One white round-topped disc, with a humanoid suspended beneath it, skimmed over the water, landed, and an occupant in a green suit walked around. It then took off very, very fast. Sighting lasted 30 minutes.

April 23, 1954, Pittsfield, Maine. 9:30 a.m:

Witnesses: Mr. and Mrs. F.E. Robinson.

One silver dollar-shaped object with a dome and a flashing light made a sound like a swarm of bees. It hovered and tilted, flew horizontally, then rose vertically without tilting. Stones underneath it moved. Four minute sighting.

April 24, 1954, Hartland, Maine. 6:10 p.m:

Witness: D. Robinson.

One large, silver, oblong object with a dome and a flashing light flew straight and level and then straight up. Total of 15 minutes under observation.

April 26, 1954, Athens, Georgia. 7:35 p.m:

Witnesses: C. Cartey, Mr. and Mrs. H. Hopkins and their daughter.

Fifteen to twenty yellow objects in a V-formation, flew from south to north for 10 seconds.

May 10, 1954, Elsinore, California. 12:40 p.m:

Witness: U.S. Marine Corps Squadron Leader D.R. Higgin, flying an F3D-2 jet fighter.

One dark gunmetal delta-shaped object, 22' long and 10' wide, with a fin on the top, descended at a 25-30' angle under the lead airplane of a formation, and over the airplane of Higgin. Sighting lasted a few seconds.

May 11, 1954, Washington, D.C. 10:45 p.m:

Witnesses: three USAF.air policemen at Washington National Airport. Two bright lights were seen on three occasions to fly straight and level, make 90* turns and fade. Each sighting lasted about 45 seconds.

May 22, 1954, LaPorte, Indiana. 9:15 p.m:

Witnesses: highway engineer R.W. Dring, engineer Geert Tibma.

One bright light made a shallow climb for 45 seconds.

May 31, 1954, Concord, New Hampshire. 10:15 a.m:

Witness: Mrs. L.K. Stevens. One very white, elongated object flew very, very fast, and then blinked out after 8-10 seconds.

June 1, 1954, from 400 miles south to Minneapolis, Minnesota. 9 p.m:

Witnesses: crew of USAF B-47 jet bomber at 34,000' altitude.

One object with running lights flew at 24-44,000' altitude for 1 hour.

June 8, 1954, Texarkana, Texas. 1 a.m or 2:30 a.m (file not clear):

Witness: L.T. Prewitt, employee of Red River Arsenal.

One golden yellow light flew over his house, making a "shhh" or buzzing sound for 2 minutes.

June 10, 1954, Estacado, Texas. 9:09 p.m:

Witness: USAF pilot Capt. Bill McDonald, in flight.

One white light descended at 45degrees from great altitude, passed under his aircraft, made two 360' turns and went out after 30 seconds.

June 22, 1954, Miami Beach, Florida. 9 p.m:

Witnesses: U.S. Marine Corps Maj. E. Buchser and Maj. J.V. Wilkins.

One meteor-like object descended, stopped, and became extremely bright. Sighting lasted 7 minutes.

June 24, 1954, Danvers, Massachusetts. 12:45 p.m:

Witness: R.B. Tomer, director of commercial engineering for CBS-Hytron.

One white, elliptical-shaped object covered 45degrees of sky in 30 seconds.

June 25, 1954, Indian Lake, Ohio. 5:05 p.m:

Witnesses: experienced private pilot John Mark, flying Navion lightplane, radar at Dayton, Ohio airport, tracked very fast target at same location.

One silver or aluminum round object with a flat bottom, raised front edge, inverted cone on top, and a diameter of about 60'. Flew horizontally, hovered, made a high-G pull up and then a steep climb into an overcast. Sighting lasted 3-5 minutes.

July 18,, Normandy, Missouri. 8:40 p.m:

Witness: A.T. Chamblin.

One greenish-white disc was seen for 30 minutes.

July 25, 1954, Middle Sister Island, on U.S.-Canadian border in western Lake Erie. 7:12 p.m:

Witness: attorney L.B. Tussing. One black cylinder, 12 times long as wide, moved fast along the surface of the lake.

July 30, 1954, Los Angeles, California. 10:15 a.m:

Witness: Hughes Aircraft test pilots Englert and Peterson, flying a B-25 bomber.

One metallic, pencil-shaped object flew slowly or hovered for an unstated length of time.

Aug. 2, 1954, Westlake, Ohio. 5:17 p.m:

Witness: ex-AAF B-17 gunner (19 missions) N.E. Schroeder.

One thin, bright ellipse, like polished metal, hovered for 5-8 seconds, dropped down 3,000' in 3 seconds, hovered again and faded out after a total of 20 seconds in view.

Aug. 6, 1954, San Antonio, Texas. 6 p.m:

Witness: mechanical engineer L.H. Hormer.

One intensely white elliptical light changed to yellow, then orange, then pink, four or five times while flying straight and level for 5 minutes.

Aug. 11, 1954, Yoron Jima, near Okinawa. 8:55 p.m:

Witness: P.L. Percharde, electrical engineer and assistant manager of Moeller Shipwrecker Co., of Okinawa.

A line of blue lights, underneath. a blue circle with a black center. Flew over ship and climbed, illuminating and agitating the clouds.

Details of this sighting here.

Aug. 15, 1954, San Marcos, Texas. 10:20 p.m:

Witnesses: USAF Maj. W.J. Davis, Capt. R.D. Sauers, flying a C-47 transport plane.

One dark blue oblong object paced the C-47, veered away, then crossed in front of it. Five minute sighting.

Aug. 24, 1954, Egilstadir, Iceland. 8:30 p.m:

Witness: one unnamed farmer.

A cylinder, 2-2.5' long, 4-5' in diameter, made a loud whizzing sound, flew straight and level fast, then slow, then fell into sandbar.

Aug. 26, 1954, Danville, Virginia. 6:15 a.m:

Witness: Rev. W.L. Shelton.

Two domed ellipses, 20' long, 8' thick, 10' at ends, glowing silver or orange. Hovered, then climbed side by side while getting brighter. Observed for 2 minutes.

Aug. 27, 1954, Dorchester, Massachusetts. 1 p.m:

Witness: E.A. Srazdes. Seven large, white, teardrop-shaped objects turned blue. Flew in line formation and increased speed during the 2 minute sighting.

Aug. 29, 1954, Prince Christian, Greenland. 11:05 a.m:

Witnesses: 1st Officer H.G. Gardner, engineer J.V.D. Whitisy, flying Royal Dutch Airlines DC-4 (PH-DBZ).

Three or four dark, lens-shaped objects veered north and changed position in formation during the 10 minute sighting.

Sept. 4, 1954, Butler, Missouri. 3 a.m:

Witness: J. Faltemeier, CAA communications specialist.

Twenty-thirty lights, as if on a string, flew straight and level for 1.5 minutes.

Sept. 5, 1954, Butler, Missouri. 12:23 a.m:

Witness: J. Faltemeier, CAA communications specialist.

One silver or white object with a slightly swept-back leading edge and a following exhaust, flew straight and level, then veered southwest to south after 30 seconds.

Sept. 18, 1954, Kimpo Air Base, Japan. 5:55 a.m:

Witnesses: two control tower operators, a weather forecaster and a weather observer.

One round object, like polished aluminum, flew straight and level for 11-13 minutes.

Sept. 21, 1954, Barstow, California. 1 a.m:

Witnesses: two local policemen, four U.S. Marine Corps police, one highway patrolman. One red-orange ball giving off sparks, and a smaller light, made a zigzag descent and then hovered. Total of 20 minutes.

Sept. 21, 1954, Santa Maria, Azores Islands. 9:45 p.m:

Witness: airport guard.

One 10'x5' light metallic blue, pecan-shaped object with a clear glass or plastic nose having a door, and with poles or aerials on the nose. Humming or whining, it hovered, landed vertically, 50' away. A blond man, 5' 10" tall appeared, spoke in a strange language, patted the guard on the shoulder, got in the object, hooked up his harness, pushed a button, took off with the object's nose pointed up, then levelled off and climbed vertically. Sighting lasted 2-3 minutes.

Sept. 22, 1954, Marshfield, Missouri. 9 a.m:

Witnesses: private pilot J.N. Williams, E.J. Ash.

A thin, translucent tan asymmetrical boomerang-shaped object revolved, then tumbled down behind some trees. Marks were found in the dirt. Sighting lasted 15 minutes.

Sept. 23, 1954, Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 9:45 a.m:

Witness: Dave Owenby.

Two bright silver, wheel-shaped objects flew from north to south in trail for 2 minutes.

Oct. 13, 1954, Nouasseur, French Morocco. 10:05 a.m:

Witness: weather observer, following a balloon with his theodolite. One round, flat, silver object flew straight and level for 30 seconds.

Oct. 15, 16 and 17, 1954, Kingfisher, Oklahoma. 8:45 p.m:

Fifty objects with illuminated bottoms were seen flying in a V-formation, very fast, on successive nights. Only data is on summary card.

Oct. 28, 1954, Miho Air Base, Japan. 5:32 p.m:

Witnesses: USAF pilots Lt. Col. O.C. Cook and Lt. J.W. Brown, on ground using 7x50 binoculars.

One brilliant white, round-oval object climbed in front of clouds, brightened, turned 90 to the north. Seen for 45 seconds.

Oct. 29, 1954, Terciera Islands, Azores. 9 p.m:

Witnesses: four Portuguese nationals.

One object, shaped like a stovepipe with a center bulge and short wings (10' long, 3' in diameter, 3' wings) having concave wingtips, and grey colored. Made a gargling sound when hovering, then disappeared in the glare of airplane landing lights. Sighting lasted 4-5 minutes.

Nov. 15, 1954, Augusta, Maine. 44 p.m:

Witness: N. Gallant, manager of radio station WFAV.

Ten gold, circular objects flew in vertical V-formation, straight and level for 3 minutes.

Nov. 19, 1954, Corvallis, Oregon. 4:15 p.m:

Witness: P.J. Gunn, assistant professor of art at Oregon State University and ex-U.S. Navy aviation cadet.

One bright white light hovered 8.5-9 minutes, then crossed 20 of sky in 3-3.5 minutes.

Nov. 28, 1954, Manilla, Phillipine Islands. 10:50 a.m:

Witness: one anonymous medical doctor.

One flat-bottomed, domed object (65-70' across, 18-20' high), bright orange with yellow discs attached and an exhaust trail. Flew north, stopped, reversed its course during 4 minute sighting.

Dec. 3, 1954, Gulfport, Mississippi 12:12 p.m:

Witnesses: Mr. and Mrs. S.P. Mellen.

One translucent grey, round, flat object rotated on its vertical axis at high speed for 30 seconds.

Dec. 7, 1954, Cape Province, South Africa. 1:15 p.m:

Witness: weather officer, using a theodolite.

One white, semi-circular, flat object with a dome flew from west to east, then turned north. Sighting lasted 7 minutes.

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 February 9, 2004.