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When an Air Force Jet Was Scrambled to Intercept a UFO—Then Disappeared

January 7, 2020 in History

By Darryn King

The Air Force offered the pilot’s widow conflicting explanations.

The night an Air Force jet mysteriously disappeared over Lake Superior—November 23, 1953—was a stormy one.

Near the U.S.-Canadian border, U.S. Air Defense Command noticed a blip on the radar where it shouldn’t have been: an unidentified object in restricted air space over Lake Superior, not far from Soo Locks, the Great Lakes’ most vital commercial gateway. An F-89C Scorpion jet, from Truax Air Force Base in Madison, Wisconsin, took off from nearby Kinross AFB to investigate, with two crew members on board. First Lieutenant Felix Moncla—who had clocked 811 flying hours, including 121 in a similar aircraft—took the pilot’s seat, while Second Lieutenant Robert Wilson was observing radar.

The men would not return from their intercept mission.

What followed, according to Donald Keyhoe, the former Marine Corps naval aviator and UFO researcher who wrote about the incident in his 1955 book The Flying Saucer Conspiracy—was “one of the strangest cases on record.”

READ MORE: When a U.S. Fighter Pilot Got into a Dogfight with a UFO

The two radar blips ‘converge’

F-89C Scorpion jet pictured 1956, the same aircraft Moncla was flying the day of the incident.

Once airborne, Lieutenant Wilson had difficulty tracking the unknown object, which kept changing course. So with ground control directing the aviators over the radio, the Scorpion gave chase. The jet, traveling at 500 miles per hour, pursued the object for 30 minutes, gradually closing in.

On the ground, the radar operator guided the jet down from 25,000 to 7,000 feet, watching one blip chase the other across the radar screen. Gradually, the jet caught up to the unknown object about 70 miles off Keweenaw Point in upper Michigan, at an altitude of 8,000 feet, approximately 160 miles northwest of Soo Locks.

At that point, the two radar blips converged into one—“locked together,” as Keyhoe would put it later. And then, according to an official accident report, the radar return from the F-89 simply “disappeared from the GCI [ground-controlled interception] station’s radar scope.”

And then the first radar return, indicating the unidentified object, veered off and vanished too.

The United States Air Force, United States Coast Guard and Canadian Air Force conducted an extensive search-and-rescue effort. No wreckage, or sign of the pilots, was ever found.

READ MORE: Two Pilots Saw a UFO. Why Did the Air Force Destroy the Report?

The Air Force flip-flops in its explanation

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Lewis and Clark's Travels Included Dozens of Astonishing Animal Encounters

January 7, 2020 in History

By Dave Roos

The explorers not only produced maps from their 1804-1806 expedition to the American West, they also recorded some 122 animals new to science, including the grizzly bear, coyote, prairie dog and pronghorn sheep.

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