There are many UFO sightings in the world, but few involve military encounters or police chases. These are some of the most exciting alleged engagements between human forces and extraterrestrial visitors.
10 Tehran UFO Incident
Iranian air force commanders working in Tehran on September 19, 1976, began to receive calls from civilians, who reported weird lights in the skies over the city. There were no Iranian aircraft in the air at the time. At first, the general in command thought that the object was a star, but when he stepped outside of his command post to see it, he promptly ordered fighters launched to intercept.
Two F-4 Phantom fighters scrambled. The second, piloted by Lieutenant Parviz Jafari, closed within visual distance of the object, which was a ball of flashing light. As Jafari closed in, a second object detached itself from the first. Thinking he was under attack, Jafari tried to launch a Sidewinder missile, but as soon as he activated the missile, his airplane lost all electrical power, and the systems shorted out. He dived away, regaining electrical power as soon as he fell away from the object. Jafari continued to watch the object from a safe distance. Once again, an object detached itself from the first, diving down to the ground and coming to rest on the desert surface.
The next day, the Iranian air force went to investigate the site where the object had landed, but they found nothing. They picked up a beeping transmission, traced the source to a nearby house, and found a small beeper transponder. Skeptics of the story point out that the light may have been the planet Jupiter, which appears extremely bright in the night sky. The F-4 that Jafari was flying was well-known for mechanical and electrical failures, and one of the investigators believed that the beeper was from a United States C-141. It may have become dislodged by turbulence during an overflight of the nearby mountains.
9 Fukuoka Incident
1948 was a big year in terms of military encounters with UFOs. Aerial radar was just starting to appear on combat aircraft, so not every fighter in the United States Air Force had it. That is why the Fukuoka incident is so interesting, since it involved an F-61 Black Widow night fighter, which had radar. The airplane in question was on night patrol above Japan when the radar operator picked up an unidentified object nearby. The F-61 pilot decided to attempt to intercept the mysterious object.
When the crew closed within gun range, the object suddenly accelerated from 320 kilometers per hour (200 mph) to 1,900 kilometers per hour (1,200 mph). It slowed down, allowing the F-61 to catch up once again, but this time, the object made a sharp turn and dived under the plane. The F-61 pilot tried to follow the turn to keep the object in sight, but he was quickly outmaneuvered. Four more times, the crew almost intercepted the object, but each time, it ran away right before it fell within gun range. On the last time, the crew could see their target, which they described as a stubby craft, 6 to 9 meters (20–30 ft) long with no discernible design features aside from its bullet-shaped fuselage.
This was probably the first time that pilots used airborne radar to track a UFO. Oddly, the ground radars nearby didn’t pick the object up during the 10-minute dogfight. While the strange appearance of the object has become a point of proof for UFO believers, it’s also interesting to note that one of the crew members said that the object looked very similar to the German Me-163 rocket fighter. At the time, the US Air Force owned captured examples of the fighter.
8 Gorman Dogfight
Also in 1948, another US Air Force pilot did battle with a UFO over Fargo, North Dakota. On October 1, veteran pilot George Gorman launched to intercept a mysterious radar contact. Flying in his P-51, Gorman rapidly approached his target. When he got within visual range, he could see that it was a periodically flashing ball of light. Getting his guns ready, Gorman started to chase down the target.
The flashing ball of light was moving faster than Gorman, but it was also turning, so Gorman realized that he could attempt to turn fight the object, using his P-51’s maneuverability to try to cut it off. Suddenly, the object made a sharp turn and headed straight at Gorman, passing only a few hundred feet above him. Shaken by the near collision, Gorman rapidly tried to reacquire his target, but he found that it was too high above him for the P-51 to catch it. Nearby, men in the Fargo control tower were watching the event through binoculars, and the pilot of a Piper Cub flying nearby also watched the dogfight.
At the time, the Gorman Dogfight was one of the best examples of UFO sightings, and it remains a classic sighting that UFO researchers love to point out. However, the Air Force was quick to put a damp blanket over the affair. They announced that just minutes before Gorman took off, they had launched a weather balloon but failed to communicate about it to the Fargo controllers. Even UFO researchers are split on this case, with some stating that the Air Force explanation is probably the correct one. Since at least three different eyewitnesses corroborated the events, however, others believe that the dogfight is still open for explanation.
7 Mantell Incident
While George Gorman was lucky enough to survive his alleged UFO encounter, that same year, P-51 pilot Thomas Mantell was less fortunate. At Fort Knox, military air controllers received reports of a bright, white- and red-colored object that was hanging stationary in the sky. They quickly launched four P-51s to chase the object down. One had to turn back before the pilots saw the target. The remaining pilots could see an object in the sky, but it was too indistinct to make anything out. Mantell pulled his airplane into a steep climb, while the other two pilots pulled away. The last they saw of Mantell’s fighter was it spiraling down to the ground and crashing.
The US Air Force quickly investigated the incident. While UFO enthusiasts quickly latched onto the idea that a UFO killed Mantell, the Air Force found a series of explanations for the crash: For one, Mantell didn’t have an oxygen mask during the mission, which could have led to him passing out at an altitude of around 8,000 meters (25,000 ft). The plane out of control and disintegrated in the sky. Transcripts of communications between the pilots also showed that the other two pilots were unable to see the target that Mantell chased, with one even asking, “What the hell are we looking for?” The target itself was explained as Venus. For the Air Force, there was no case. Mantell chased Venus, and due to his inexperience with the P-51, he lost consciousness and crashed.
UFO believers were persistent, however. People on the ground came forward stating that they saw the UFO, not just the light of Venus. Astronomers interested in the case stated that Venus was only 33 degrees above the horizon at the time, not where Mantell was flying. The Air Force then changed its story to state that it the object was actually a weather balloon. But there were no recorded launches of weather balloons in that time frame. Thus, UFO believers still think that an extraterrestrial visitor killed the young pilot.
6 Torres UFO Encounter
Milton Torres’s 1957 UFO encounter stands out, as controllers clearly ordering pilots to shoot down a UFO. Torres served in England, flying the F-86D, a radar-capable version of the famous F-86 Sabre fighter, which used a salvo of rockets as its main weapon. The F-86D was one of the first jet interceptors to use radar.
On May 20, 1957, air controllers picked a UFO up on radar and scrambled Torres to intercept, telling him to go to full afterburner. After getting to altitude, Torres asked if he could turn off his afterburner, but the controllers ordered him to keep his afterburner on full blast as he approached the target. That was a weird order, since the F-86D was already at its top speed. As Torres sped at the target, he picked it up on his radar.
Suddenly, ground control gave ordered Torres to launch rockets at the target when he could see it. The order shocked Torres, but it was authentic. As he closed on the target, he could see it as an indistinct circle. When he was within 10 seconds of intercepting it, the UFO suddenly sped away and disappeared off his scope. Ground control also lost lock on the target and ordered Torres to safety his rockets and return back to base.
The sighting and almost having to launch his rockets shook Torres. After landing from a patrol the next day, a man in a blue trench coat accosted Torres, bringing him to a nearby office for questioning. After the questioning, Torres’s squadron commander told him never to speak about the incident to anyone, since it was an important matter of national security. In 1988, Torres finally came forward with his story, although he was unclear why it was suddenly OK to talk about the incident when he was specifically told not to.
5 Portage County UFO Chase
In 1966 officers in Portage County, Ohio, watched a UFO descend out of the sky and hover over their jurisdiction. The disk-shaped object was extremely bright and was originally sighted by two officers, Deputy Sheriff Dale Spaur and Mounted Deputy Wilbur “Barney” Neff, who had just left their squad car to investigate an abandoned vehicle. While they were investigating, they saw the object come over the treetops, headed right at them. Frozen in shock, the two officers watched as the UFO passed overhead and began to hover again a few hundred meters away.
The officers hastily got on the radio and called the dispatcher. By that time, the UFO started moving again. The dispatcher gave the officers permission to chase after the mysterious object. As the officers gave chase, the UFO stayed just ahead of them. Eventually, they crossed the state border into nearby Pennsylvania. Officers from Pennsylvania joined in the chase. After 30 minutes, the pursuing police looked up to see fighter planes flying overhead at the object. When the fighter planes got in close range, the UFO suddenly stopped and shot straight up into the sky with blinding velocity.
Air Force officials explained the case away as two astronomical phenomenon happening back to back. According to the officials, Spaur and Neff had seen an extremely bright satellite fly overhead and had then chased Venus all the way to Pennsylvania. Air Force officials also denied that they scrambled any jets to intercept the UFO. While the case disappeared into obscurity, one odd aspect that UFO researchers latch onto is the fact that Neff seemed to experience PTSD after the case, which seems odd for somebody who was just chasing Venus.
4 The Disappearance Of Felix Moncla And Robert Wilson
On November 23, 1953, Lieutenants Felix Moncla and Robert Wilson were scrambled from Kinross Air Force Base to intercept a mysterious radar contact near the Wisconsin-Canada border. The two airmen were flying an F-89 Scorpion, designed specifically for interception missions and equipped with airborne radar. As they approached the target, Wilson (the radar operator) had issues tracking the contact with his radar, so ground control guided the interception.
The radar operators watched as Moncla closed in on the object. Suddenly, the mysterious object and the F-89 merged into one contact on the radar screens. Almost immediately, the object kept moving in the same direction, but Moncla and Wilson were gone. Search and rescue teams launched to find the downed aviators, but bad weather made their efforts useless. After a few days, Moncla and Wilson were officially declared dead. Air Force investigators jumped on the incident and quickly released a report that the mysterious target was a Canadian airliner that had gone off course. However, all the Canadian airline companies denied that they had any aircraft in the vicinity on the night of the disappearance.
Officially, the statement stood. Moncla had chased after a Canadian airliner, got vertigo in the nighttime conditions, and crashed his fighter into a nearby lake. With the disappearance making local news, UFO believers theorized that Moncla had crashed into a UFO or that he was possibly abducted. The fact that wreckage of the F-89 was never found only strengthened the conspiracy theories.
The tale took an odd turn in 2006, when a diving company called the Great Lakes Diving Company announced that they had found the F-89 in a lake. Not only did they claim to have found the wreckage of the fighter, but they also released images of the object that it collided with, which was also lying on the lake bed. When experts figured out that the images were false, the Great Lakes Diving Company disappeared.
3 Rajasthan UFO Downing
Not every showdown between UFOs and fighter jets happened decades ago. On January 26, 2016, Indian Air Force (IAF) radar controllers identified a balloon-shaped object near the border of India and Pakistan. An IAF Su-30 fighter took off to intercept the object, which appeared to be slowly traveling near the border. Making contact, the Su-30 pilot shot down the object. Wreckage of the UFO fell nearby, and IAF officials quickly moved to recover the parts.
The IAF has been pretty hushed about the incident, only revealing that they have found five triangular pieces of metal that are undergoing further examination. The official explanation is that the object was a weather balloon that originated from Pakistan.
However, villagers in the area offer more details to this interesting story: According to them, before and during the time that the Su-30 was intercepting the object, they heard a serious of loud explosions. A total of five explosions reverberated through the area, being heard from 5 kilometers (3 mi) away. The reverberations were strong enough that some buildings suffered minor damage as a result. Oddly, this wasn’t the first time that villagers in the area had heard such loud explosions.
The weather balloon story seems unlikely, and various other explanations are surfacing: Some believe that the object was a secret Pakistani spy plane. Others are sticking to the UFO explanation, pointing out that the case has eerie parallels to the famous 1947 Roswell incident in the United States. Whatever the real explanation is, “India’s Roswell” will keep UFO researchers busy for years.
2 Dulce Wars
Dulce, New Mexico, is a small town that you probably haven’t heard of, unless you’re a paranormal enthusiast. To most, there isn’t much going on there, but conspiracy theorists have as much interest in Dulce as they do in Area 51. According to them, Dulce is the home of a secret underground base where aliens and humans work in close contact to create human-alien hybrid technology. However, relationships were not always so cordial between the two species.
A man named Philip Schneider has come forward and stated that he worked on building the secret base back in 1979. Schneider was an engineer on the project. Early on, he felt uncomfortable when special forces soldiers were also present during the construction. One day, while digging, Schneider and his crew suddenly came face to face with a group of 2.1-meter-tall (7 ft) aliens. A firefight began between the humans and aliens ensued. During the battle, an energy beam hit Schneider, knocking him down and burning off some of his fingers. The battle raged on until 60 humans lay dead, and the aliens retreated.
Schneider and other believers in Dulce Base are quick to point out that there are many underground bases across the United States that are engaged in operations to fight against unfriendly aliens. Obviously, this is pretty far-fetched. Political scientist Michael Barkun has pointed out that these rumors do have some truth. During the Cold War, the United States built a large network of underground ICBM bases, which probably lead to the rumors about large underground research bases. Combine the knowledge of ICBM bases with alien conspiracy theories, and it’s easy to arrive at stories like the Dulce Wars.
1 Battle Of Los Angeles
Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, wartime hysteria gripped Los Angeles. On February 23, 1942, a Japanese submarine surfaced off the California coast and conducted a raid against oil refineries there. When news of the submarine attack reached Los Angeles, the citizens and military believed that an attack was imminent. The next night, military spotters saw strange, blinking lights over a Los Angeles defense plant. The anti-aircraft (AA) crews went on alert, but a few hours later, the lights were gone, and the crews stood down.
The following night, spotters once again saw something strange over the Los Angeles sky. This time, it was supposedly a large, glowing object. While the previous spotting ended peacefully, this time, every AA gun in Los Angeles started shooting at the sky. Ground observers continued to report strange lights in the sky as the guns fired around them. With no conclusive evidence that the AA was accomplishing anything, the crews stood down.
Instantly, conspiracies started to show up. The next day, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox stated that the incident was just a false alarm. No airplanes were in the sky. But people on the ground came forward, stating that they had definitely seen something in the night sky. A photo surfaced showing a bright disk illuminated by searchlights. Official reports stated that there was nothing in the sky and that the crews were shooting at the explosions of anti-aircraft shells bursting in the sky. After the war, Japan stated that they had never launched an air attack on Los Angeles. The case seemed settled.
However, various oddities about the incident have kept UFO researchers and conspiracy theorists talking. UFO researchers cite eyewitness reports of seeing lozenge-shaped craft in the sky, even though this was years before the UFO craze started in the United States. Reports from the War Department found after the war also provided more confusion: According to the War Department, there were between one and five unidentified airplanes over Los Angeles that night, directly contradicting the Navy report. These facts give UFO believers reason to believe that the Battle of Los Angeles was the biggest battle between humans and aliens that our world has seen.
Zachery Brasier writes.