Blips on the Scopes

ISGP section: UFO press reports index

Time Magazine
August 4, 1952

...The operator told Barnes: "Here are some flying saucers for you."

Barnes laughed at first, but the blips kept popping up all over the scope. They sometimes hovered, sometimes flew slowly and sometimes incredibly fast. Technicians checked the radar; it was in good working order.

Barnes began to get worried when he saw the blips apparently flying over the White House and other prohibited areas. He called the airport control tower. Sure enough, its radar showed the strange blips too. When the towermen measured the speed of a fast blip, they found that it had flown for eight miles at 7,200 m.p.h...

... Now the blips on Barnes's scope were moving toward Andrews Air Force Base about ten miles to the east. Barnes called the Andrews tower. Nothing strange showed on its radar, but both towermen and an enlisted man on the field saw a single, round, orange light drifting in the southern sky. That was enough for Barnes. He called the Air Defense Command and reported an unidentified object was over the Washington area...

... Over from a Delaware base came a flight of radar-equipped F94 jet fighters. Before they reached Washington, all the blips vanished. The jets saw nothing at all. But when the jets departed the blips reappeared, playing all over the scope, Barnes said, "like a bunch of kids." He called all airliners flying near Washington, asked their pilots to report any strange objects. One pilot saw a white light, moving fast. But during all this uproar, other radars near Washington (e.g., Quantico and Fort Meade) saw nothing unusual.

All the rest of the week, a few strange blips appeared now & then. Then on Saturday night they broke out all over, crisscrossing the capital as they had the week before. This time, the radar at Andrews was seeing the things too. One blip hung over Boiling Field, across the Potomac from the airport, but observers at Boiling saw nothing in the sky. Some airline pilots saw mysterious lights; others saw nothing....