Washington UFOs 1952

Kevin D Randle. Invasion Washington: UFOs over the Capitol. Harper Torch, 2001.

Kevin Randle, who seems to be trying to catch up with his British near-namesake in the mass production of UFO books, here presents an account of the Washington radar visual cases of July 19-20 and 26-27, 1952, with a detailed transcription of the famous news conference which followed them.

Though Randle tries at the end of the book to push these stories into his pet ETH cubby hole, there is little in the actual accounts to suggest that spaceships were involved, or indeed 'craft' of any description. Mainly these were just vague lights in the sky, some of which were probably meteorites, others look suspiciously like the classic bright stars and planets plus autokinesis. The usual sceptical explanation of these stories has been that in large part they were caused by temperature inversions.

But of course, there appears to be the usual doubt and argument about the exact meteorological conditions at the time. Randle argues that the fact that some of the radar tracks vanished as aircraft approached rules out a meteorological explanation. Off hand, that doesn't seem too obvious to me, as it doesn't seem outrageous to think of some delicate atmospheric equilibrium which could be upset by the approach of the an aircraft, though I must leave it to the experts to assess how plausible that might be.

Against this there are some very odd features, such as that the 'invasion' seems to have been predicted, and that the events just happened to occur exactly a week apart and at the weekend (ETs sticking to the calendar!?). This makes one suspect that the whole thing was set up in some way. As readers of Magonia 48 will remember the USAF had its own reasons for keeping the flying saucers in the public eye in the Summer of 1952. Did someone decide to keep the saucers flying and test out some mechanism for fooling enemy radar at the same time?

Needless to say the Washington invasion itself cannot fill a book, so there is a fair amount of padding with other cases, including the Flatwoods monster, and some photos. One notes that in the best tradition of no UFO case being too dead to crawl out of its tomb and harass the living, that the Salem Coastguard photos, long explained as lamp reflections, are here resurrected as authentic unknowns. There is also a list of 1952 Bluebook unknowns. Many of these at other times would have been placed in the insufficient evidence bin. Again looking at the list, it is obvious they are a lot of very different things with different causes.   -- Peter Rogerson

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