Eyes on the Sky

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Eyes on the Sky

A number of UFO sightings have been reported in the Washington area in the past 60 years. Here are five of the more interesting ones:

July 4, 1947: An Arlington woman calls The Washington Post to report that she saw a flying saucer in the sky at 4:40 a.m. The craft, she tells the paper, had a clearly defined outline and a fiery appearance.

July 19 and 26, 1952: Strange blips show up on radar screens at area airports. Reports come in of bright, unexplained lights in the Washington sky. The Air Force scrambles jets to track down the unidentified glowing objects, and the futile chase prompts front-page headlines in the New York Daily News ("JETS CHASE D.C. SKY GHOSTS") and the Washington Daily News ("AERIAL WHATZITS BUZZ D.C. AGAIN!"). A 2001 book, "Invasion Washington: UFOs Over the Capitol," by Kevin D. Randle, chronicles the strange events.

Dec. 31, 1953: Two marines based at Camp Barrett, 15 miles from Quantico, report seeing a flying saucer. They immediately tell their commanders, and a Marine helicopter is dispatched to track down the object. The search proves fruitless.

Jan. 15, 1965: Several sightings of UFOs are reported in and near Waynesboro, Va., west of Charlottesville. One family says it saw a flying saucer that hovered above the ground and then disappeared like a "snap of the finger."

July 26, 2002: Fifty years to the day after major UFO sightings were reported over Washington, witnesses claim to see another UFO. "It was this object, this light-blue object, traveling at a phenomenal rate of speed," Renny Rogers of Waldorf tells The Post. Two F-16 jets from Andrews Air Force Base are scrambled after radar detects the unknown craft, but military officials dismiss the idea that it was a UFO.

-- Joe Heim and Karl Evanzz

© 2007 The Washington Post Company