Subject: IUFO: 1952 military engagement with UFOs myth or mystery?

1952 military engagement with UFOs myth or mystery?

Port Orange man details the day in 1952 when Air Force took on UFOs


In an account of a military engagement sure to leave critics scoffing, a
UFO investigator claims more than a dozen U.S. Air Force jet fighters
were destroyed by flying saucers on a single day in 1952. But not before
their guns and rockets crippled several UFOs that wound up making
emergency landings in rural West Virginia.

In his book, Frank Feschino writes about how one of the UFOs barely
missed a passenger plane above Wheeling, West Virginia. Illustration by
Fran Feschino"I know how it sounds," says Frank Feschino, the Port Orange
artist whose new book attempts to reconstruct what would be the biggest
dogfight since the Marianas Turkey Shoot in 1944. "But I think it's going
to come out real soon. There's a lot of guys out there who know what
happened but are too scared to talk."

Feschino's book -- "The Braxton County Monster: The Cover-Up of the
Flatwoods Monster Revealed" (Quarrier Press, $29.95) -- revisits a
mystery that has been a part of West Virginia lore for more than half a


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At its core are a dozen eyewitnesses to a strange, robotic creature that
appeared on a hilltop following the crash of an alleged meteor on the
evening of Sept. 12, 1952. But following an investigation that took 14
years to research and write, Feschino claims the beginning of the
incident involved a UFO air battle that began in Florida, shifted to the
Eastern seaboard and ended in an Air Force whitewash.

Thirty five years ago this month, the USAF officially terminated its UFO
study, called Project Blue Book, by concluding there were no national
security aspects to the phenomenon. Arguably the most hectic phase of
Blue Book's 22-year existence was 1952, when a record 1,501 reports were
logged. July was the busiest month. Warplanes were scrambled to chase
nocturnal UFOs that buzzed Washington, D.C., on consecutive weekends.

Even Patrick Air Force Base got splashed by the wave on July 18 of that
year, when seven on-base airmen observed a series of silent amber-red
objects approaching restricted air space late one evening. One UFO passed
directly overhead before pulling a 180-degree U-turn and disappearing to
the west. According to the Blue Book reports, none of the objects were
spotted on radar and no planes were dispatched to confront them.

Blue Book ruled the avalanche of UFO sightings across the southeast on
Sept. 12, 1952, could be attributed to a meteor.

But no meteor showers were scheduled for that night, and the Harvard
Meteor Project, which tracked 2,500 cosmic fireballs from 1952 to '54,
recorded no activity on that date.

Feschino also quotes Indian Harbour Beach astronomer Hal Povenmire,
author of "Fireballs, Meteors and Meteorites," as dismissing the meteor
explanation. Povenmire declined to comment on Feschino's book, but he
reiterated his stance for FLORIDA TODAY: "It definitely wasn't a meteor."

Retired Air Force Col. William Coleman, chief spokesman for Blue Book in
the 1960s and head of the USAF's Public Information Office from 1969 to
'74, wasn't around for the 1952 investigation, and could only speculate
on the meteor theory. "Occasionally, you'll get a loner when you're not
passing through a belt," he says from his home in Indian Harbour Beach.
"It'll come in on a flat trajectory, which means it'll be exposed to a
longer burn in the atmosphere and leave a longer trail."

But Coleman is emphatic about one thing: No military aircraft were ever
destroyed during UFO encounters.

"Of all the (12,618) reports we collected, only 105 cases were what we'd
call 'worrisome,' from a military point of view," says Coleman, who
chased a UFO in a bomber in 1955. "These might involve pilots seeing
things in the air that also showed up as solid objects on radar.
Sometimes they'd pace our planes, sometimes they'd depart abruptly. But
we never lost anything to hostile activity."

Speaking during a book-signing tour in Charleston, W.Va., where sales are
brisk, Feschino says he began looking into the Flatwoods Monster case in
1990. Ten local kids and an adult, Kathleen May, were alerted when a
flaming, low-flying object apparently went down early one Friday evening
on a hilltop outside rural Flatwoods. After hiking to investigate, they
stumbled upon a "monster," reported to be 12 feet tall, lurking in a
tree. It glided away upon an apron of flames, but not before dribbling
what appeared to be an oily fluid onto the ground and their clothing.

Feschino says he grew more intrigued when he read scores of old newspaper
clippings about other UFO activity that night, from Pennsylvania to
Florida. Many reported objects trailing tails of fire, following three
separate westward trajectories from the Atlantic Ocean. Especially
compelling were newspaper reports concerning the loss of an F-94 Sabrejet
fighter over the Gulf of Mexico earlier in the day.