OVNIs misteriosos vistos pelo aviador da segunda guerra mundial ainda inexplicados

OVNIs misteriosos vistos pelo aviador da segunda guerra mundial ainda inexplicados


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Era quase o fim da Segunda Guerra Mundial. Mas para os aviadores do 415th Night Fighter Squadron, parecia mais o início de Guerra dos Mundos.

O tenente Fred Ringwald foi o primeiro a ver isso. Ele estava cavalgando como observador em um caça noturno pilotado pelo tenente Ed Schlueter, com o tenente Donald J. Meiers no radar. Era uma noite de fim de novembro de 1944, parcialmente nublado com um quarto de lua. Eles estavam vagando pelo Vale do Reno ao norte de Estrasburgo, na fronteira franco-alemã, quando Ringwald disse: "Eu me pergunto o que são aquelas luzes, ali nas colinas", de acordo com um American Legion Magazine história sobre os avistamentos de 1945.

Havia oito a dez deles em uma fileira, brilhando em um laranja flamejante. Então Schlueter os viu em sua asa direita. Eles verificaram com o radar de solo dos Aliados, mas não registraram nada. Pensando que as luzes poderiam ser algum tipo de arma aérea alemã, Schlueter virou o avião para lutar ... apenas para as luzes desaparecerem.

A princípio, os homens não disseram nada, temendo serem condenados ao ostracismo. Mas então os avistamentos se espalharam pela unidade.

LEIA MAIS: Mapa interativo: avistamentos de OVNIs levados a sério pelo governo dos EUA

Mais equipes, mais avistamentos

Em 17 de dezembro de 1944, perto de Breisach, Alemanha, um piloto estava voando a aproximadamente 250 metros quando viu "5 ou 6 luzes vermelhas e verdes piscando em forma de 'T'." As luzes pareciam segui-lo, aproximando-se "de cerca de 8 horas e 1.000 pés". antes de desaparecer tão inexplicavelmente quanto veio.

Então, em 22 de dezembro, mais duas tripulações de vôo avistaram luzes. Uma tripulação, perto de Hagenau, relatou duas luzes em um grande brilho laranja, parecendo subir da terra a 10.000 pés, seguindo o caça “por aproximadamente dois minutos”. Depois disso, as luzes “se apagam e se afastam, voam ao longo do nível por alguns minutos e depois se apagam. Eles parecem estar sob controle perfeito em todos os momentos ", de acordo com Keith Chester Estranha Companhia: Encontros Militares com OVNIs na Segunda Guerra Mundial.

E então houve a experiência do tenente Samuel A. Krasney: um objeto em forma de charuto sem asas, brilhando em vermelho, a apenas alguns metros da ponta da asa do avião. O tenente Krasney, justificadamente assustado, instruiu o piloto a tentar manobras evasivas, mas o objeto brilhante permaneceu ao lado do jato por vários minutos antes de "voar e desaparecer".

Eventualmente, os aviadores nomearam as luzes: foo fighters, inspirado na história em quadrinhos "Smokey Stover", em que Smokey (um bombeiro) costumava declarar: "Onde há foo, há fogo."

LEIA MAIS: Quando dezenas de soldados da Guerra da Coréia reivindicaram um OVNI, adoeceram

A explicação de ‘fadiga de combate’

Um repórter da Associated Press deu a notícia dos avistamentos de foo-fighter em 1º de janeiro de 1945, e as teorias sobre suas origens rapidamente se espalharam: os avistamentos foram flares, ou balões meteorológicos ou Fogo de Santo Elmo - um fenômeno onde uma luz aparece nas pontas de objetos em tempo tempestuoso. Mas os membros do 415º rejeitaram todas essas teorias. Sinalizadores e balões meteorológicos não podem rastrear aviões como esses objetos podem, e eles viram o fogo de Santo Elmo e conseguiram distinguir os dois.

Depois, houve aqueles que alegaram que os aviadores estavam sofrendo de “fadiga de combate”, uma forma educada de dizer que o estresse da guerra os estava deixando loucos. Mas havia poucas evidências para sugerir psicose coletiva: o 415º teve um histórico excelente, e quando um repórter de American Legion Magazine foi relatar sobre o esquadrão, ele os descreveu como “aviadores muito normais, cujo principal interesse era o combate, e depois disso vieram garotas pin-up, pôquer, donuts e os derivados da uva”.

O filho do tenente Krasney, Keith Krasney, diz que seu falecido pai não se encaixava no perfil estereotipado de um teórico de OVNIs. Na verdade, ele nunca sugeriu que o objeto brilhante parecido com um charuto sem asas que voou ao lado de seu avião era de origem extraterrestre.

“Ele era muito sensato, muito analítico”, diz Krasney sobre seu pai, acrescentando que mantinha um caderno onde escrevia (e desenhava) seu avistamento de foo-fighter. Mas embora ele nunca parecesse propenso a teorias de conspiração, Krasney diz que seu pai estava aberto a uma: “Ele alimentou a ideia de que poderia ser a tecnologia alemã de última hora. Ele expressou a opinião de que muitas coisas durante a guerra foram mantidas em segredo. ”

LEIA MAIS: Quando um piloto de caça dos EUA entrou em uma briga de cães com um OVNI

Foi o trabalho de astrofísicos nazistas?

Considerar a Alemanha nazista responsável pelas orbes brilhantes voadoras não é muito rebuscado. Por um lado, os avistamentos ocorreram na Europa ocupada pelos nazistas, em um momento em que a Luftwaffe da Alemanha estava fazendo grandes avanços. Depois, há o fato de que os avistamentos pararam quando o exército alemão foi derrotado.

Mas o link mais atraente para os foo fighters pode ser Wernher von Braun, um engenheiro de foguetes prodígio de 32 anos. Von Braun ajudou os nazistas a desenvolver o foguete V-2: um míssil balístico guiado de longo alcance que Hitler estava usando em 1944 contra a Bélgica e outras partes da Europa Aliada. Não é difícil imaginar pilotos - não familiarizados com balística de longo alcance - comparando esses foguetes a aviões sem asas parecidos com charutos. O V-2 poderia até explicar o brilho, já que sua cauda emitia uma longa pluma ardente.

Nicholas Veronico, um autor que escreveu vários livros sobre a história da aviação militar, diz que essa explicação é insuficiente.

“O foguete V-2 não tem capacidade de manobra”, diz ele. “Ele não poderia girar em um centavo e mudar seu padrão de aceleração. Assim que começou a queimar, queimou e produziu empuxo em uma classificação. ”

Nada no arsenal de aviação militar da Alemanha nazista pode explicar a descrição do foo-fighter, Veronico diz. A observação de um aviador da época - que os foo fighters seguem os caças tão de perto que parecem quase magnetizados por eles - é particularmente confusa, dado que "simplesmente não havia propulsão ou tecnologia metalúrgica que pudesse permitir algo assim."

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E ainda assim, a carreira de von Braun após a Segunda Guerra Mundial vale a pena ser considerada. Após o colapso do Terceiro Reich, o engenheiro foi recrutado para fazer parte da Operação Paperclip, um programa militar clandestino dos EUA que poupou 1.600 cientistas nazistas de processos por crimes de guerra, transferindo-os para o exército americano, onde seu passado foi pintado de branco para o público .

Em 1952, von Braun reinventou-se como um defensor do voo espacial, escrevendo um artigo naquele ano em Collier’s revista declarando que "nos próximos 10 ou 15 anos, a terra terá um novo companheiro nos céus, um satélite feito pelo homem que pode ser a maior força de paz já inventada, ou uma das mais terríveis armas de guerra- dependendo de quem o faz e controla. ” Sua previsão se mostrou excessivamente conservadora: os soviéticos lançaram o Sputnik 1 apenas cinco anos depois. Von Braun ajudou o Exército dos EUA a lançar o Explorer 1 logo depois. Em 1960, ele estava na NASA, onde se tornou o arquiteto-chefe do Saturn V - o foguete que enviou Neil Armstrong e a tripulação da Apollo 11 à lua.

Enquanto von Braun se transformava em um patriota americano, sua carreira no partido nazista o obscurecia, um segredo ambíguo que os repórteres iriam brincar. Em uma entrevista coletiva antes do lançamento da Apollo, um repórter pediu a von Braun que garantisse à imprensa que o foguete não atingiria Londres. Mas eles nunca puderam provar seu envolvimento, e foi apenas em 1985 - vários anos após a morte de von Braun - que a CNN deu a notícia de toda a extensão do passado nazista do engenheiro aeroespacial, mais de 40 anos após o fato.

Veronico espera que a narrativa do foo-fighter siga uma trajetória semelhante.

“A fantasia é que 100 anos após a guerra, os EUA ou os soviéticos divulgarão informações sobre o que capturaram e isso vai nos surpreender. Mas acho que eles já teriam capitalizado sobre isso neste ponto ”, diz o historiador. "Ou transformou-o em uma arma."

ASSISTIR: Episódios completos do Projeto Blue Book online agora.


Mistérios de OVNIs: esses avistamentos nunca foram resolvidos

Quebra em Roswell, Novo México, e luzes piscando em Nova Jersey - por décadas, pessoas ao redor do mundo olharam para o céu e relataram objetos misteriosos não identificados (OVNIs).

Mas esses avistamentos são sinais de visitação alienígena? E eles são realmente inexplicáveis?

Uma investigação recente do New York Times descobriu que o Pentágono havia, por anos, financiado um programa para responder exatamente a essa pergunta. O programa encontrou vários relatos de aeronaves que pareciam viajar em alta velocidade e não tinham sinais de propulsão, relatou o Times.

Embora a grande maioria dos avistamentos de OVNIs, quando investigados, tenham se revelado o resultado de fenômenos terrestres comuns, como balões meteorológicos, foguetes ou foguetes, alguns ainda deixam especialistas coçando suas cabeças - e olhando para o céu em busca de homenzinhos verdes. De Tic Tacs brancos a luzes piscantes, aqui estão alguns dos avistamentos de OVNIs mais misteriosos que existem. [7 coisas mais frequentemente confundidas com OVNIs]


Relatório completo?

Já há quem diga que o relatório equivalerá basicamente a um "nothingburger".

"Estou interessado no relatório, mas menos do que otimista, qualquer coisa significativa virá à tona", disse Scott Miller, presidente e professor do Departamento de Engenharia Aeroespacial da Wichita State University.

Provavelmente será um relatório governamental típico e direto, acrescentou Miller - uma revisão dos avistamentos, sem conjecturas, sensível a questões políticas e ausente de qualquer informação confidencial. "É claro que essas características o deixarão aberto a críticas e oportunidades", disse ele ao Space.com.

Miller suspeita que muitos dos avistamentos estão relacionados a indivíduos ou nações simplesmente fazendo alguma "espionagem". Construindo e operando de alto desempenho veículos aéreos não tripulados é relativamente fácil para indivíduos experientes e, especialmente, para países. Ele imagina pessoas fazendo suas próprias aeronaves e operando-as em lugares onde não deveriam estar, como dentro de um espaço aéreo restrito onde UAPs foram avistados.

"Os chineses e russos poderiam facilmente fazer esse tipo de coisa, de dentro dos EUA, usando hobby e outros recursos comuns", disse Miller. "Se eu fosse eles, teria certeza de que meu veículo espião parecia de outro mundo. Ser visto enquanto espionava não é desejado, mas a confusão relacionada que se segue aumenta o barulho de sua travessura. É também engraçado para eles."


Os mistérios mais estranhos não resolvidos da Segunda Guerra Mundial

A Segunda Guerra Mundial foi um período de mudanças dramáticas em todo o mundo. Mas junto com todas as maquinações políticas e estratégias militares, algumas coisas seriamente bizarras aconteceram. Aqui estão cinco dos incidentes mais misteriosos da Segunda Guerra Mundial.

A confusa batalha de Los Angeles

Poucos meses depois de Pearl Harbor, a América estava bastante nervosa, especialmente ao longo da costa oeste. Todos estavam esquadrinhando o céu e o mar com medo de outro ataque japonês. Na verdade, um submarino japonês bombardeara o campo petrolífero de Ellwood perto de Santa Bárbara em fevereiro de 1942. Mais tarde naquele mês, a tensão crescente explodiu em completa histeria. Um balão meteorológico AWOL desencadeou o pânico inicial. Depois disso, sinalizadores foram disparados para o céu noturno, seja para iluminar ameaças em potencial ou sinalizar perigo. As pessoas viram os sinalizadores como mais agressores, e uma saraivada de fogo antiaéreo logo encheu a noite.

A atividade continuou por várias noites. No final, as únicas vítimas de todo o caso foram três vítimas de ataque cardíaco e três mortos devido ao fogo amigo. Nenhuma aeronave japonesa foi encontrada, e os japoneses mais tarde negaram ter algo no ar perto de L.A. na época.

Essa é a história oficial, pelo menos. Na época, houve reivindicações de um acobertamento e um monte de teorias selvagens. O incidente ocorreu cinco anos antes do relato do disco voador Kenneth Arnold que desencadeou a mania de OVNIs nos EUA, mas isso às vezes é retroativamente descrito como um dos primeiros grandes avistamentos de OVNIs. Os jornais da época pensaram que a coisa toda foi orquestrada para angariar apoio para o esforço de guerra, induzindo o pânico. Relatórios militares fechados fizeram pouco para aliviar as preocupações - uma investigação pública completa não foi realizada até 40 anos depois.

O misterioso desaparecimento do vôo 19

Este é um dos incidentes misteriosos mais famosos de todos os tempos. Tecnicamente, aconteceu alguns meses após o fim da guerra, mas envolveu os militares dos EUA e aeronaves usadas durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial. A história básica é bastante simples: o tenente Charles Taylor liderou um vôo de cinco aviões TBM Avenger em um exercício de treinamento de uma estação aérea naval em Fort Lauderdale, Flórida. Pelo rádio, Taylor reclamou que suas bússolas não estavam funcionando e que ele não sabia onde estava. Depois de voar confuso por várias horas, os aviões ficaram sem gasolina. Nenhum deles foi visto desde então, e todos os 14 homens a bordo foram considerados mortos.

O inquérito da Marinha e # x27 também foi bastante claro. Taylor tinha um histórico de se perder durante o vôo, e vários operadores de rádio e até mesmo membros juniores do vôo 19 pareciam saber onde eles estavam, mas seguindo a liderança falha de Taylor & # x27s, eles voaram para longe no Atlântico em vez de de volta para a Flórida. Muito do mistério em torno do incidente decorre dos esforços da Marinha para acalmar a mãe de Taylor, que reclamou quando o inquérito culpou seu filho sem evidências concretas. Eles mudaram para & quotcausar desconhecido. & Quot

Escritores posteriores envolveriam elementos sobrenaturais em torno da história, criando a lenda do Triângulo das Bermudas e inventando detalhes do nada, como pilotos tendo premonições de tragédia que os impediram de entrar no vôo condenado, e misteriosas transmissões de rádio como, & quotthe sky is tudo errado aqui. & quot

É uma história assustadora por si só - cinco aviões perdidos em mar aberto com a noite caindo e o mau tempo se aproximando, a certeza de suas próprias mortes pairando sobre eles. A transmissão de rádio final real foi uma mensagem fraca e distorcida. Operadores de rádio conseguiram apenas distinguir o indicativo de chamada do vôo & # x27s, & quotFT ... FT ... FT ... & quot

Como os aviões ainda não foram recuperados, o verdadeiro destino do vôo 19 permanece um mistério tecnicamente.

A Estranha Vida de Rudolf Hess

A vida de Rudolf Hess & # x27 saiu diretamente de um romance de espionagem, cheia de voltas e reviravoltas bizarras antes mesmo de você chegar às coisas realmente estranhas. Ele era um nazista de alto escalão que carregava o título de & quotDeputy to the Fuhrer. & Quot Em 10 de maio de 1941, Hess jantou em sua casa em Augsburg, Alemanha, depois pulou em um Messerschmitt Bf 110 e voou para a Escócia. Ele foi perseguido por aviões britânicos, caiu, sobreviveu e foi capturado por um fazendeiro. Ele pediu para falar com o duque de Hamilton e outros oficiais britânicos, alegando que buscava um acordo de paz entre a Alemanha e a Grã-Bretanha (ele temia o banho de sangue de uma longa guerra entre a Alemanha, a Grã-Bretanha e a Rússia).

Não está realmente claro se Hess tinha autoridade para criar um acordo de paz por conta própria (Hitler certamente não estava no negócio), e os britânicos simplesmente o mantiveram como prisioneiro de guerra. Ele passou algum tempo na Torre de Londres e outras prisões, depois foi julgado em Nuremberg. Considerado culpado de conspiração e crimes contra a paz, Hess foi condenado à prisão perpétua. Ele passou a maior parte desse tempo na prisão de Spandau, em Berlim - nos últimos 20 anos de sua vida, ele foi o único prisioneiro em todo o lugar. Quando ele morreu em 1987, eles derrubaram Spandau, em parte porque era obsoleto e desnecessário, mas em parte para evitar que se tornasse um santuário para neonazistas.

Isso é muito estranho, mas existem muitas teorias da conspiração. Os russos sempre suspeitaram que Hess estava tentando unir secretamente a Alemanha e a Grã-Bretanha para que pudessem se unir contra a Rússia. Churchill e Stalin tiveram alguns confrontos memoráveis ​​sobre o assunto. O estado mental de Hess declinou dramaticamente depois que ele foi preso, apesar dos relatos de que ele parecia mentalmente bem quando chegou pela primeira vez à Escócia. Na época do julgamento de Nuremberg, ele sofria de amnésia severa e periodicamente não conseguia se lembrar de nada de seus anos como nazista. Isso resultou em alegações de que o verdadeiro Hess estava escondido, e o homem julgado em Nuremberg e deixado para apodrecer em Spandau era um impostor.


O que foram os misteriosos “Foo Fighters” vistos pelos Night Flyers da segunda guerra mundial?

Perto do final da 2ª Guerra Mundial, as atualizações da missão do 415th Night Fighter Squadron deram uma reviravolta misteriosa. Junto com detalhes de combates aéreos sobre o Vale do Reno ocupado pelos alemães, os pilotos começaram a relatar luzes inexplicáveis ​​seguindo suas aeronaves.

Certa noite, em novembro de 1944, uma tripulação do Bristol Beaufighter & # 8212Pilot Edward Schlueter, o observador de radar Donald J. Meiers e o oficial de inteligência Fred Ringwald & # 8212 estava voando ao longo do Reno ao norte de Estrasburgo. Eles descreveram ter visto & # 8220 oito a 10 luzes laranja brilhantes na asa esquerda & # 8230 voando pelo ar em alta velocidade. & # 8221 Nem o radar aerotransportado nem o controle de solo registraram nada nas proximidades. & # 8220Schlueter virou-se em direção às luzes e elas desapareceram, & # 8221 o relatório continuou. & # 8220Mais tarde, eles apareceram mais distantes. A exibição continuou por vários minutos e depois desapareceu. & # 8221 Meiers deu um nome a esses objetos, assumindo uma palavra sem sentido usada pelos personagens do popular desenho animado de bombeiro & # 8220Smokey Stover & # 8221: & # 8220foo fighters. & # 8221

Os relatórios continuaram chegando. Os objetos voaram ao lado de aeronaves a 200 & # 160 mph eles eram vermelhos, ou laranja, ou verdes eles apareciam sozinhos ou com até 10 outros em formação e eles freqüentemente manobravam os aviões que estavam perseguindo. Eles nunca apareceram no radar.

Assine a revista Air & amp Space agora

Esta história é uma seleção da edição de agosto da revista Air & amp Space

Richard Ziebart, historiador do vizinho 417th Night Fighter Squadron, ouviu muitas das histórias diretamente dos membros da tripulação do 415º: & # 8220Os pilotos foram muito profissionais. Eles fizeram o relatório, falaram sobre as luzes, mas não especularam sobre elas. & # 8221 Ainda assim, os pilotos acharam os avistamentos enervantes. & # 8220Scared shitless & # 8221 foi como um 415º piloto descreveu os sentimentos para Keith Chester, autor de Strange Company: Military Encounters With UFO & # 8217s na Segunda Guerra Mundial.

No final do ano, um correspondente de guerra da Associated Press, Robert C. Wilson, celebrou a véspera do Ano Novo & # 8217 com o 415º. No dia seguinte, sua história sobre os foo fighters foi destaque na primeira página dos jornais de todo o país. Outros esquadrões os viram, mas foi o número, a consistência e o impacto nas tripulações do 415º & # 8212 e o fato de um repórter ter ouvido os aviadores & # 8212 que finalmente motivaram as investigações sobre os avistamentos.

Psicólogos amadores, entusiastas da aviação militar e teóricos da conspiração ofereceram explicações, mas nenhuma que os aviadores considerassem verossímil. Eles não acreditavam que estavam tendo alucinações por causa do cansaço da batalha. E como as luzes não causaram danos, os pilotos duvidaram que viessem de armas secretas alemãs controladas remotamente. O fogo de St. Elmo & # 8217s, uma descarga de luz de objetos pontiagudos em campos elétricos, parecia improvável, uma vez que os foo fighters exibiam extrema capacidade de manobra.

Eventualmente, o Comando Aéreo do Exército enviou oficiais para investigar, mas sua pesquisa foi perdida após a guerra, relatou Chester. Em 1953, a CIA reuniu um painel de seis importantes cientistas familiarizados com a tecnologia de aviação experimental para determinar se as luzes constituíam uma ameaça à segurança nacional. O Painel Robertson, nomeado em homenagem a seu presidente, o físico do Caltech Howard P. Robertson, não ofereceu nenhuma conclusão oficial.

Ziebart, o historiador, também não ofereceu nenhuma explicação, apenas um insight. & # 8220Acho que os foo fighters não & # 8217não apareceram no radar porque eram claros & # 8221, disse ele. & # 8220Radar precisava ter um objeto sólido. Se houvesse algum bogey lá fora, os pilotos seriam absolutamente capazes de dizer. & # 8221

Sobre Zoe Krasney

A escritora freelance Zoe Krasney mora no Novo México, cercada pela história e pelo futuro da aviação e da exploração espacial.


Os verdadeiros gremlins da segunda guerra mundial

Quando a maioria das pessoas ouve a palavra "gremlins", a primeira imagem que pode surgir em suas cabeças é a das estranhas criaturas reptilianas do filme de Joe Dante de 1984 com o mesmo nome, onde os pequenos monstros titulares correm descontroladamente e causam o caos dentro de um pequeno Cidade. No entanto, o que algumas pessoas podem não perceber é que estes foram realmente baseados em entidades supostamente reais que, durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial e mesmo antes, atormentaram pilotos e tripulações de aeronaves com todos os tipos de travessuras enquanto eles lutavam nos céus durante um dos mais sangrentos eras da história humana. Aqui nos céus sangrentos da Segunda Guerra Mundial, entre a fumaça aparentemente interminável, explosões de bombas, metralhamento de fogo antiaéreo, zumbido de aeronaves inimigas e morte, as tripulações de várias aeronaves de todos os lados se depararam com um novo inimigo bizarro e travesso que foi dito para infestar aeronaves e parecia não querer mais nada além de criar confusão e derrubá-los das nuvens.

A origem do termo moderno & # 8220gremlin & # 8221 é contestada, mas costuma-se dizer que deriva da palavra do inglês antigo greme, o que significa irritar ou irritar. Refere-se a um tipo de diabinho ou demônio parecido com um gnomo travesso, tipicamente dito ter cerca de trinta centímetros de altura, que provavelmente tem suas raízes no antigo folclore de goblins e fadas. A representação inicial original dessas criaturas era a de artesãos habilidosos com proficiência sobre-humana com máquinas de todos os tipos, e eles já foram creditados por ajudar a humanidade junto com nossa tecnologia, como na criação da máquina a vapor e até mesmo afirma que eles ajudaram no trabalho de Benjamin Franklin com eletricidade. No entanto, apesar de todo o folclore benevolente associado às criaturas travessas, era sua propensão para a travessura e o caos que eles se tornariam mais conhecidos.

A versão moderna do gremlin como um mal-intencionado criador de problemas que cria problemas tem suas origens com aviadores britânicos, alguns dos quais acreditavam que havia duendes, gnomos ou fadas em miniatura que pareciam mostrar um intenso interesse na aviação e causavam avarias ou avarias de navegação . Uma das primeiras menções das criaturas pode ser rastreada até uma referência a eles no início de 1900 em um jornal britânico chamado de Espectador, no qual foi escrito:

O antigo Serviço Aéreo Real Naval em 1917 e a recém-constituída Força Aérea Real em 1918 parecem ter detectado a existência de uma horda de duendes misteriosos e maliciosos cujo propósito na vida era ... trazer o maior número possível de infortúnios inexplicáveis ​​que , naqueles dias como agora, perturbava a vida de um aviador.

A existência de tais entidades estranhas tornou-se verdadeiramente popularizada a partir de 1923, quando um piloto britânico bateu seu avião no mar e mais tarde relatou que o acidente havia sido causado por pequenas criaturas que o seguiram a bordo de seu avião e começaram a causar estragos a bordo da aeronave , sabotando o motor, bagunçando os controles de vôo e, por fim, causando sua queda. A história se espalhou, e não demorou muito para que outros pilotos britânicos também começassem a reclamar de serem assediados por criaturas semelhantes a trolls em miniatura com domínio de tecnologia e maquinário, o que causou falhas de motor, mau funcionamento elétrico, desligamento de comunicações, aterrissagens ruins, acidentes estranhos e praticamente qualquer outra coisa que poderia dar errado com uma aeronave.

Dizem que os gremlins se envolvem em uma miríade de mau comportamento, como sugar o gás dos tanques por meio de mangueiras, bloquear frequências de rádio, limpar o trem de pouso, soprar poeira ou areia em tubos de combustível ou equipamentos elétricos sensíveis, cortar fios, remover parafusos ou parafusos , mexer com mostradores, botões ou interruptores, empurrar controles, cortar asas ou pneus, cutucar ou beliscar artilheiros ou pilotos, bater incessantemente na fuselagem, quebrar janelas e uma ampla variedade de outros atos de travessura. Houve até pilotos que alegaram que as criaturas tinham poderes telepáticos e podiam criar ilusões realistas na mente de uma vítima, como a aparência do solo ou uma montanha emergindo repentinamente das nuvens. Também foi relatado que eles às vezes eram vistos sentados no nariz do avião ou nas asas da aeronave no meio do vôo, mexendo nas asas ou mesmo nos motores. Ocasionalmente, dizia-se que os gremlins gritavam, riam, sussurravam, rosnavam ou de alguma outra forma faziam barulho para distrair as tripulações das aeronaves, em particular os artilheiros enquanto alinhavam a mira em um inimigo e os pilotos ao realizar manobras para as quais a concentração total era um necessidade. Esses relatos se espalharam rapidamente entre as fileiras e, no final da década de 1920, parecia que qualquer piloto que já tivesse tido um problema de aeronave de qualquer tipo tinha visto as coisas, e eram comumente relatados em toda a Royal Air Force por pilotos estacionados em tão longe lugares como Malta, Oriente Médio e Índia.

Um dos mais famosos relatos de supostos gremlin deste período foi feito por ninguém menos que o renomado aviador, autor, inventor, oficial militar, explorador e ativista social Charles Lindbergh enquanto ele estava envolvido em seu histórico vôo solo sem escalas sobre o Atlântico de De Nova York a Paris em maio de 1927. Lindbergh estava pilotando seu monomotor monoposto Spirit of St. Louis do Roosevelt Field em Garden City, NY para o Le Bourget Field em Paris, França, que era para ser um épico 3.600 milhas (5.800 km), voo de 33 horas e meia e o primeiro de seu tipo. Na nona hora de decolagem, Lindbergh relatou que de repente se sentiu um pouco separado da realidade e se viu cercado por vários seres vaporosos e estranhos dentro dos confins de sua minúscula cabine, que falavam com ele e demonstravam um conhecimento incrivelmente complexo de equipamento de navegação e voo. Curiosamente, neste caso, em vez de causar danos, Lindbergh disse que os gremlins na verdade o mantiveram alerta e garantiram que ele permaneceria seguro em sua jornada. Lindbergh manteve essa experiência bizarra para si mesmo por anos, até que o relato foi finalmente publicado em seu livro de 1953 O Espírito de São Luís. Curiosamente, este não seria o único relato de atividade gremlin benevolente, já que havia outros relatos de vez em quando que falavam de monstros tipicamente travessos ajudando pilotos a evitar desastres ou alertando-os quando virar ou mudar de curso ou altitude, o que mostrava que havia mais de uma faceta para o que quer que as coisas fossem.

As descrições físicas reais dos gremlins variaram bastante. Em alguns casos, eles foram descritos como pequenos seres elfos semelhantes aos humanos, usando sobrecasacas trespassadas vermelhas ou verdes brilhantes, chapéus antiquados com penas e sapatos pontiagudos. A cor da pele pode ser verde, dourado, rosa ou vermelho. Outros deram às entidades uma aparência mais sinistra, dizendo que pareciam animalescas, com corpos peludos, orelhas grandes e pontudas, olhos vermelhos profundos ou mesmo brilhantes e chifres. Ainda outros relatos falam de gremlins como tendo pele cinza sem pelos, tendo uma aparência vagamente reptiliana e tendo bocas enormes cheias de dentes pontiagudos. Houve casos que disseram que se pareciam com coelhos, bull terriers ou alguma combinação dos dois. Em alguns casos, eles eram apenas entidades tênues, aparentemente compostas de névoa ou fumaça. Alguns relatos mencionam mãos e pés palmados, nadadeiras ou asas de morcego. As descrições de tamanho também variaram consideravelmente, com gremlins considerados algo entre meros 15 centímetros de altura e até um metro de altura. Em alguns casos, eles teriam pés grandes com ventosas ou mesmo sapatos de couro com ganchos, os quais lhes permitiam andar do lado de fora da aeronave ou ficar pendurados de cabeça para baixo. Um traço comum em todos os relatórios é que, por quaisquer meios, os gremlins eram conhecidos por serem capazes de aderir à fuselagem externa de aviões e resistir a incríveis extremos de temperatura, altas altitudes e ventos violentos.

Gremlins e suas travessuras incômodas foram relatados ao longo das décadas de 1920 e 30, mas talvez o período da atividade gremlin mais intensa foi durante os combates ferozes da Segunda Guerra Mundial. Relatos de gremlins foram especialmente prolíficos entre as unidades RAF (Royal Air Force) do Reino Unido, especialmente as Unidades de Reconhecimento Fotográfico de alta altitude (PRU), que realizaram missões perigosas em Spitfires e Mosquitos desarmados e não blindados em grandes alturas em missões fotográficas sobre o inimigo território. Foi durante essas missões angustiantes, quando os pilotos operaram em um frio cortante quando o calor foi redirecionado para as câmeras para mantê-los aquecidos, que os pequenos monstros trapaceiros eram regularmente vistos e culpados por todos os tipos de problemas e infortúnios técnicos inexplicáveis. Em alguns casos, problemas mecânicos surgiam apenas para se corrigirem misteriosamente assim que os aviões pousassem ou os gremlins fossem embora.

A Batalha da Grã-Bretanha, uma enorme campanha aérea travada contra o Reino Unido pela Força Aérea Alemã (Luftwaffe) durante o verão e outono de 1940 em particular, viu muitos casos de atividade gremlin relatada, tanto que o Ministério da Aeronáutica Britânico até reconheceu o problema e fez sérias tentativas de investigar o fenômeno. O Ministério chegou a ter um manual de serviço escrito por um "Gremlorista", o oficial piloto Percy Prune, que era um documento oficial que consistia em uma lista das façanhas das criaturas, como aplacá-las ou distraí-las e várias maneiras evitar acidentes por sua presença, como não exibir bravata, arrogância ou excesso de confiança, o que se pensava atrair as criaturas. Também havia cartazes que alertavam sobre os monstrinhos mal-intencionados, bem como boletins que muitas vezes incluíam as seguintes canções:

Aviões durante a Batalha da Grã-Bretanha

Este é o conto dos Gremlins

Conforme contado pela PRU

Em Benson e Wick e St Eval-

E acreditem em mim, seus desajeitados, é verdade.

Quando você estiver 11 quilômetros no céu,

(Esse é um local muito solitário)

E ele & # 8217s cinquenta graus abaixo de zero,

Que não é exatamente quente.

Quando você está congelado e azul como seu Spitfire,

E você está com medo de um mosquito rosa.

Quando você estiver a milhares de milhas de lugar nenhum,

E não há nada abaixo, exceto a bebida.

É então que você verá os Gremlins,

Verde e gamboge e ouro,

Macho e fêmea e neutro,

Gremlins jovens e velhos.

Não adianta tentar evitá-los,

As lições que você aprendeu no Link

Não vai ajudá-lo a fugir de um Gremlin,

Embora você dê um impulso, mergulhe e dê uma cambalhota.

O branco & # 8217s vai mexer as pontas das asas,

O macho & # 8217s confundirá seus mapas,

O verde & # 8217s engolirá seu glicol,

As fêmeas agitarão seus flaps.

Pink one & # 8217s ficará empoleirado em seu perspex,

E dançar piruetas em seu suporte,

Há um Gremlin esférico de meia-idade,

Quem vai girar em sua vara como um pião.

Eles congelarão os obturadores de sua câmera,

Eles cortarão os fios do seu aileron,

Eles se dobrarão e se quebrarão e baterão,

Eles inserem garfos de torrar em seus pneus.

E essa é a história dos Gremlins,

Conforme relatado pela PRU,

(P) retty (R) uddy (U) improvável para muitos,

Mas um fato, no entanto, para poucos.

At first this seemed to be a phenomenon completely unique to the Royal Air Force and it was often whispered among airmen that the gremlins were in league with the enemy, but it later became apparent that enemy aircraft were also suffering from the creatures’ tomfoolery and that they took no sides, taking equal glee in harassing both British and enemy aircraft alike. When the American Allies came to British shores, they too began to experience the strange phenomenon. American pilots and airmen typically described seeing strange creatures out on the wings of the aircraft, where they would fiddle around with the aileron, which is the hinged flight control surface on the wing that allows it to roll or bank. So persistent were the stories of gremlins fiddling and tampering with the aileron of American aircraft that the Americans often referred to the creatures as Yehudis, after a famous violinist of the time, because they were always fiddling.

One American Boeing B17 pilot during WWII known only as L.W. had a rather bizarre and harrowing experience with gremlins typical of these encounters while engaged in a combat mission. The man reported that as he was taking the enormous plane higher he could hear a strange sound coming from the engine and instruments on the panel in front of him started going haywire. When the confused pilot looked outside to his right he saw an freakish “entity” outside of the plane’s window latched onto the plane that was described as 3 feet tall, with abnormally long arms, grey hairless skin, deep red eyes, a gaping mouth full of teeth, and pointed ears with tufts of black hair at the ends like “owl ears,” just staring in at him from the wind and bitter cold beyond the glass. When the frightened pilot looked to the nose of the aircraft he was astonished to see yet another one of the creatures apparently dancing about out there and pounding away haphazardly at the fuselage. The pilot thought at first that he was perhaps hallucinating or experiencing disorientation, but he reported that he felt sharp and in control of his senses. The pilot said that the strange creatures appeared to be laughing maniacally, and that they gleefully cavorted about outside of his plane pulling on whatever they could get their clawed hands on, banging on the aircraft with all of their might, and obviously trying their best to bring the plane down. After a bit of maneuvering the pilot managed to shake the critters off of his plane, although he would later say he had no idea if they had fallen to their deaths or merely jumped to another plane. L.W. was apprehensive about telling anyone about the frightening ordeal, but when he told a gunner friend of his about it, the gunner reported having had a similar experience on a training mission just a few days before.

Interestingly, there is a rather bizarre incident pertaining to an American aircraft from 1939, before America’s participation in the war, which may or may not be related to gremlins but seems worth mentioning. Allegedly, a transport plane left the Marine naval Air Force Base in San Diego, California at around 3:30 in the afternoon in the late summer of 1939 on a routine flight to Honolulu with a crew of 13. Somewhere around three hours into the flight, it was reported that the aircraft made a sudden distress call, after which communications went dead. Despite the fact that its radio had gone completely silent, the plane managed to arrive back at its base, yet the way it limped in for a bumpy, sloppy emergency landing and the heavy damage on its exterior that almost looked like missile damage immediately worried the ground crew. As soon as the damaged plane had skidded to a halt on the runway, crews moved in to investigate. What they found would horrify them. An inspection of the craft’s interior uncovered the bodies of 12 of the plane’s crew, all of them displaying gruesome, gaping wounds of unknown origins. Further adding to the strangeness was the fact that the whole cabin reeked of a wretched sulfuric stench, and there were empty bullet shells strewn about the floor of the cockpit as well as the pilot and co-pilot’s empty firearms, indicating that the dead men had frantically fired at something. The only survivor was the co-pilot, who had managed to land the plane despite being severely wounded himself. He would die later at a hospital before having any chance to give an account of what had exactly happened aboard the doomed flight.

Reports of gremlins and their knack for hiding aboard planes to sabotage them persisted throughout WWII, from all sides and nations involved in the conflict, more often than not by experienced pilots and aircraft crew that were sober, level-headed and rational. What could have been at the heart of these accounts? What were all of these people seeing or experiencing? It is often pointed out that the lack of adequate pressurization of aircraft back in those days most likely led to hallucinations, which were then shaped by the stories of little trickster, prankish imps with a tendency to sabotage or damage machinery. There could also have been some element of “passing the buck” so to speak, or deflecting blame for human error by blaming accidents on these fantastical creatures. This could have helped build morale among the men, as it would have been more constructive to blame the gremlins for aircraft mishaps rather than accuse members of their own squadron.

Yet those who claim to have seen gremlins or to have been the victims of their attacks insist that they were no figment of the imagination and were in fact very real. Survivors of the war who have lived to tell the tale have no doubt in their minds that gremlins were a very real threat and that they were no mere folklore or spooky legend, adamantly refusing that all cases can be explained away by mere hallucinations or human error. Nevertheless, these sorts of reports largely fizzled out in the wake of the war’s end, and by the 1950s there was very little talk of gremlins among airmen, perhaps largely due to the fact that the military began to strictly discourage rumors or talk of the creatures, calling it unprofessional and morale inhibiting behavior. Most mention of gremlins nowadays in made half-jokingly, when an aircraft experiences trouble or if machinery breaks down or malfunctions for no apparent reason.

So was the gremlin phenomenon all just hallucinations, folklore, overactive imaginations, and tall tales that managed to spread out across aircraft crews of various nationalities to lodge itself squarely into contemporary myth? Or could there have been something else behind the phenomena? Could these have been somehow real creatures that gave air crews a new enemy to face in the heat of battle? If these gremlins were indeed real entities then what could they have been? Could these have been faeries, ghosts, demons, a real animal of some sort, aliens, or something from beyond our dimension? Whether they were real or not, gremlins were indeed very real to many of the brave men who served to risk their lives for their countries high in the treacherous skies of the Second World War. Perhaps next time you are flying in a plane that experiences a sudden technical difficulty or uncommon turbulence, you may just want to look under your seat or peer out of the window just to be sure. You just may see some gremlins peering right back.


Some Peculiar Air Mysteries From World War II

World War II was an expansive morass of violence that spanned two regions of the globe and went on to grip the entire world with fear and suffering. It was a turbulent time already infused with a rich history, but scattered amongst the tales of battle and valor are other, more little-known stories of strange mysteries from beyond our understanding. Many of these are connected to the skies of World War II, which were invaded by warplanes, bombs, and explosions, but which also hold some of the most intriguing unexplained mysteries of the era. Here is a selection of some of the weirder unsolved mysteries of the skies of the intense cauldron of human violence that was World War II.

Of all of the planes flying about and tearing up the skies in the era of World War II, many of them obviously never came back, but the strangest of these cases are when they simply vanished into thin air without a trace. One of the most oft-discussed and mysterious vanishings of aircraft revolves around the enigmatic Flight 19, in 1945. The flight in question was actually a group of U.S. Navy TBM Avenger torpedo bombers that took off from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on December 5, 1945, on a Naval exercise called “Navigation Problem Number One,” which was for the purpose of carrying out mock bombing runs along an area known as Hens and Chickens Shoals in the Bahamas. It was all a standard, routine flight, and each of the five planes in the squadron was manned by 3 experienced men, with the whole thing under the command of a seasoned pilot by the name of Lieutenant Taylor.

The first half of the mission all went according to plan, the dummy bombs were dropped, and the planes headed off on the second leg of their mission, but this was when things would get strange indeed. The leader, Taylor, began to complain that his compass was on the fritz, and he further proclaimed that the planes were all flying in the wrong direction. As the group of planes floundered about trying to get their bearings, one of the pilots radioed, “I don’t know where we are. We must have got lost after that last turn.” A passing Navy plane piloted by a Lieutenant Robert F. Cox was flying by at the time and overheard the radio chatter, after which he extended an offer of help, as well as a message to the nearest air station of what was going on. In response, he got a chilling message from a frightened sounding Taylor that said:

Both my compasses are out and I’m trying to find Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I’m over land, but it’s broken. I’m sure I’m in the Keys, but I don’t know how far down.

This was strange to say the least, as the group had just successfully fulfilled the first half of their mission near the Bahamas and should have been nowhere near the Florida Keys at that point in time. After this, Taylor, convinced that he was way off course, instructed his squadron to veer off towards the northeast, thinking it would take them home but really only sending them further out to sea. Some of the other pilots in the group protested the move, saying they should fly west, but the order had been given and off they went. At one point Taylor changed his mind and directed them west, but then they changed their course to east once again. It was all rather bizarre behavior to say the least. As this was happening, the radio chatter from Flight 19 became fainter and more distorted, and one of the final transmissions was:

All planes close up tight. We’ll have to ditch unless landfall…when the first plane drops below ten gallons, we all go down together.

This seemed to suggest that Taylor was aware that their fuel was running low and that they were on a one way ticket into the sea, and after that the radio transmissions became plagued by strange static before going silent. The Navy was quick to respond, sending out a search crew almost immediately after this final transmission, but they were unable to find any sign of Flight 19. Indeed, one of the searchers, a Mariner aircraft and its 13 crew members, also suddenly lost communications and dropped off the face of the earth as well to join Flight 19 in the annals of great mysteries. This in turn prompted its own search party and the whole thing turned into a hot mess quite rapidly.

In the end, the Navy would scour over 3,000 square miles of sea in search of the missing planes but would turn up not even a scrap of wreckage. Of course, considering the proximity to the notorious Bermuda Triangle the media was all over this and theories began to fly. One was that Taylor had been somewhat unfit for duty, which had impacted his judgement during the doomed mission. There are reports that he had arrived late on the day of the mission and had for unknown reasons implored the command not to go through with it. This has led to the most popular, “rational” theory that these planes under his questionable state simply made a mistake, ran out of fuel, and crashed into the ocean to never be seen again. The mystery was even tantalizingly “solved” for a time when in 1991 a team of treasure hunters came across the wrecks of five World War II Avengers planes at the bottom of the sea, but these turned out to have not had anything to do with the mysterious lost flight. The fate of Flight 19 remains unknown.

Just as mysterious is a phenomenon that pervaded the war in both the European and Pacific theaters in the form of myriad unexplainable occurrences collectively known as “Foo Fighters.” These typically took the form of inexplicable orbs, lights, glows, and “balls of fire” that darted about in the war-torn skies with inhuman maneuverability to startle even the most experienced pilots, and which were first seen from around 1944. One of the earliest Allied accounts was from Army Air Major William D. Leet, who in December of 1944 was on a mission aboard a B-17 near the Adriatic Sea when he and his crew saw something up there in the clouds that did not belong, a small disc that seemed to defy all laws of physics in its movements and which tracked them for some time. In that very same month another pilot with the 415 Night Fighter Squadron over Hagenau, Germany had his own encounter with glowing orange balls in the sky, saying:

Upon reaching our altitude they leveled off and stayed on my tail. After staying with the plane for two minutes, they peeled off and turned away, flying under perfect control, and then went out.

Another early report is that of Charles R. Bastien, of the Eighth Air Force, who said that he had seen “two fog lights flying at high rates of speed that could change direction rapidly” while on a mission over the region of Belgium. In another report over the Indian Ocean one of the crew of a U.S. B-29 Superfortress says they saw something very unusual near the plane, saying of the bizarre experience:

A strange object was pacing us about 500 yards (475 m) off the starboard wing. At that distance it appeared as a spherical object, probably five or six feet in diameter, of a very bright and intense red or orange… it seemed to have a halo effect. My gunner reported it coming in from about a 5 o’clock position (right rear) at our level. It seemed to throb or vibrate constantly. Assuming it was some kind of radio-controlled object sent to pace us, I went into evasive action, changing direction constantly, as much as 90 degrees and altitude of about 2,000 feet (600 m). It followed our every maneuver for about eight minutes, always holding a position about 500 yards (475m) out and about 2 o’clock in relation to the plane. When it left, it made an abrupt 90 degree turn, accelerating rapidly, and disappeared into the overcast.

Such sightings became rather common and occurred all over the place, often seen by entire crews, and with none of these experienced airmen able to find a rational explanation for what they had seen. The objects were also picked up quite frequently by radar crews and air traffic control, who often claimed that they would accelerate rapidly or vanish from view for no reason. Many pilots tried to take evasive maneuvers but this never really worked, and the occasional attempts to shoot the lights down were equally unsuccessful. These were beyond our comprehension.

Sightings of the Foo Fighters were well reported in the press at the time, and became so numerous that they were obviously not simply a figment of the imagination, and what they could be was heavily speculated upon. The most common explanation was that they were some sort of experimental German aircraft, but this didn’t seem to fit as the mysterious objects were nonthreatening and never seemed to take any aggressive action, and it would also turn out that enemy forces had been seeing the exact same kind of things, which they had conversely thought to be experimental aircraft of the Allies. Other explanations have included that they were the result of some sort of atmospheric phenomenon such as electrical discharges called St. Elmo’s fire, that they were ball lightning or an electromagnetic disturbance, that they were merely afterimages of flashes from explosions, and of course that they were alien UFOs, but the strange phenomenon of the Foo Fighters of World War II has never been fully explained and remains a mystery.

In addition to vanishings and mysterious lights there are also cases of what can only be called “ghost planes.” One famous case of such a mystery is what is often called the “Pearl Harbor Ghost Plane,” and which involves a very odd occurrence that supposedly happened on December 8, 1942, just about a year after the infamous attack. On this day, an unidentified incoming plane was detected flying towards Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from out over the Pacific Ocean, seemingly coming from nowhere. Attempts at radio contact were met with silence, and warplanes were scrambled to investigate the intruder.

On closer inspection the plane was seen to be an out of date model called a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, which had not been in operation since the attack on Pearl Harbor. The mystery aircraft seemed to have seen better days, its shell perforated by numerous bullet holes and the engine sputtering and coughing noticeably, and there seemed to be a pilot within who was bloody and struggling to keep his plane under control. The military escort paced the plane for a while, baffled as to where it had come from and wondering what to do, when the mysterious pilot waved at them and proceeded to crash land. When the wreckage was examined it is said that there was no sign of the pilot that had been seen, and the only clue that could be found was a diary in which it was written that the plane had flown in from the island of Mindanao, a full 1,300 miles away. The pilot has never been located or identified, no reason ascertained for why the plane appeared out of the blue, and the Ghost Plane of Pearl Harbor continues to be a weird World War II mystery.

Probably even more bizarre is a case from November 23, 1944, when a British Royal Air Force antiaircraft unit stationed near Cortonburg, Belgium was surprised by something they saw lumbering towards them in the sky. There barreling in their direction was an American Army Air Corps B-17 bomber, a four-engine heavy bomber so colossal and heavily armed that it was nicknamed the “Flying Fortress.” The plane was coming in rather fast with its landing gear down, and because there was no such landing scheduled and because of the speed of the incoming aircraft it was assumed that it was preparing to make an emergency landing at their base. A communication with the base proved that indeed no such B-17 landing was expected, and the gunner crew braced themselves as the massive aircraft came hurtling in towards a nearby open, plowed field.

It was a rather messy landing to say the least, with the aircraft bouncing and swerving along as the terrified gunners looked on, finally stopping dangerously close to the position after one of its wings clipped the ground, yet it was still in one piece and had not actually crashed. The aircraft sat there looming over the field as its formidable propellers continued to spin in a cacophony of noise, but as the minutes ticked by no one exited the plane. When 20 minutes had passed with no sign of human activity, and the plane just squatting there with its engines running like some growling beast, it was decided to go in and investigate.

The team warily went in, opened the entry hatch located under the fuselage and proceeded to enter, expecting that perhaps the crew had been injured or otherwise unable to get out of the plane. What they did not expect was that the plane would be completely empty. A full sweep through the aircraft showed that not a single crew member was aboard, although it would later be reported that there were signs that the crew had just recently been there and must have vacated the aircraft in a hurry. There were found to be chocolate bars unwrapped and half eaten lying about, a row of neatly folded parachutes, with none apparently missing, and jackets that had been neatly hung up. The superior officer, a John V. Crisp, would say of the eerie scene:

We now made a thorough search and our most remarkable find in the fuselage was about a dozen parachutes neatly wrapped and ready for clipping on. This made the whereabouts of the crew even more mysterious. The Sperry bomb-sight remained in the Perspex nose, quite undamaged, with its cover neatly folded beside it. Back on the navigator’s desk was the code book giving the colours and letters of the day for identification purposes. Various fur-lined flying jackets lay in the fuselage together with a few bars of chocolate, partly consumed in some cases.

Where had they gone and how had the plane landed on its own? No one had any idea. Crisp had the engines shut down and the interior was further inspected. The log book was found opened, and the last cryptic words written in it were “bad flak.” Yet considering that all of the parachutes seemed to be accounted for and the exterior of the plane did not have evidence of damage except for what it had incurred in its rough landing, such as the buckled wing and one disabled engine, it seemed to be a rather strange last message.

The mystery B-17 began to be called the “Phantom Fortress,” and nobody knew just how it could have come in to make a landing by itself minus a crew, or what had become of those aboard. It would not be until a team was sent in by the Advanced Headquarters, 8th Air Force Service Command in Brussels, that a picture of what occurred was formed. It was ascertained through the aircraft’s serial number that the plane had been part of a bombing squadron called the 91st Bombardment Group, and that they had been on a mission to bomb oil refineries in Merseburg, Germany, when problems arose.

According to the bomber’s crew, all of whom were tracked down and found to have been alive and safe, their aircraft at some point had developed a malfunctioning bomb rack and had been forced to abort. They flew off away from the rest of the group but had been hit by enemy fire, which knocked out one of the aircraft’s four engines. There was also a hit on the bomb bay itself, which had caused a bright flash, but rather oddly had not set off the ordnance. The decision was made by the crew of the limping, damaged plane to set a course towards England, but this idea was quickly abandoned when it became apparent that the hobbled aircraft was never going to make it that far.

They changed their course towards Brussels, Belgium, at the same time making the plane lighter by dumping and jettisoning any unnecessary or nonessential equipment on board. When the plane still continued to suffer and a second engine on the struggling plane sputtered out, it was decided that the aircraft would be unable to make the journey, and the crew had then decided to bail out. The B-17 was put on autopilot and left to its fate as the crew jumped to safety. No one thought it would make it very far, let alone somehow land, but land it did. This was all very interesting information, but it still did not seem to explain a lot of odd details. For one, why did ground crew report all 4 engines working as the bomber had approached, with one being damaged only upon landing, when the report said that 2 engines had been knocked out during the mission? Indeed, where was the damage from the claimed enemy fire? Also, why were all of the parachutes still there if the crew had bailed out? Perhaps most mysterious of all, how had a large, cumbersome plane like the B-17 manage to come to a landing without a pilot?

Authorities on the case, as well as crew members of the Phantom Fortress, offered up some theories to try and shed some light on at least a few of the mysteries surrounding the event. For instance, with the engines it could have been that the technical difficulties cleared up on their own after the crew had bailed out, making the plane seem to have 4 fully operating engines on approach, although why they would start working again after being taken out remains mysterious. If the engines had been in bad enough shape for the crew to abandon the aircraft it seems odd that they should kick back into working order on their own and continue whirring away even after the rough landing.

With regards to the lack of any apparent visible damage from enemy fire, it has been suggested that this could have just been simply due to the untrained eyes of the team that initially investigated the plane after it had landed. They were after all a gunner crew, not trained aviators, and may have mistaken the damage reported by the B-17 crew as being from the crash. They simply might not have noticed that the aircraft had sustained battle damage, but then again they were antiaircraft gunners and might have had some idea. With the parachutes, it was surmised that they had possibly mistaken some spare parachutes as the full compliment. However, this is all speculation, and the mystery has never been totally solved.

As to how the B-17 could have come to a landing mostly intact without a pilot, that is still largely a mystery as well. Autopilot is one thing, but landing is another beast altogether. After all, there is that old saying, “Flying is easy, landing is hard.” Even with a pilot landing such an immense aircraft would be very difficult. A pilotless B-17 landing by itself with no one on board was totally unprecedented, and one would expect it to have careened into the ground to crash into a ball of fire and debris, or at least ended up a heap of twisted wreckage, so how could this happen?

Although no one really knows for sure, the main theory is that the plane simply lost altitude slowly, at just the right speed, and with just the right angle of descent to come down relatively softly enough to appear as if it was landing, with the B-17’s legendary toughness and sturdy frame managing to hold it together to keep it from disintegrating. The odds of all of this happening in just such a way seem to be extremely small and unlikely, but is this really possible at all? Also, there is the rather odd detail that this unmanned plane just happened to come down in the exact best place to land under the circumstances, in that wide open field, and not one of the countless other places it could have come down more tragically. This could very well all be pure, blind chance, and these disparate factors all amazingly coming together just right, but it still all seems very strange indeed.

The mystery landing of the “Phantom Fortress” did happen, but the details of how it did remain mysterious and open to speculation. What we do know for sure is that this B-17 was on a bombing mission in Germany, that it did land without a crew in that field, and that the crew members were later found to have been alive and well with quite a story to tell, but questions remain. Are the B-17 crew’s reports or the British gunnery crew’s accounts totally accurate? Why don’t they line up? Did everything happen as they said it did? How could this plane have landed by itself in just the right way and in just the right place to keep from being a mangled pile of metal? Just what in the world happened here?

There is also the ghostly plane that haunted the skies of Northern Italy during the war to rain down destruction upon the countryside, and came to be known to the cowering people as “Pippo.” The rather cartoonishly named Pippo was said to appear only at night, always alone, and would most often perform punishing strafing runs on seemingly indiscriminate targets, either firing with its blazing machine guns or dropping fiery bombs. Sometimes it was said to deploy rather bizarre ordinance, such as exploding pens, incendiary flares, or poisoned candy. Sometimes it was known to drop so-called “butterfly bombs,” which was interestingly a German 2 kilogram anti-personnel submunition used by the Luftwaffe.

The mystery plane seemed to have no rhyme or reason to its choice of targets, unleashing death upon everyone from both Axis and Allied soldiers, to innocent civilians, to farmers working their fields. At other times, the plane would not attack at all, and would merely circle overhead for some inscrutable reason known only to it, all the while emanating that strange, haunting sound said to be unlike any other known aircraft. The terrified people deeply feared the plane, and would retreat into their homes at the slightest sign of the unique, unmistakeable, and rather strange unsettling “pip-pip” sound it was said to make, perhaps the origin of its relatively non-threatening sounding name. Once inside, the lore suggests that it was necessary to turn off or block all lights or else the phantom plane might choose your house as its next target.

Most of the time the bizarre phantom plane remained unseen and cloaked in darkness, its odd sound and the destruction it delivered the only evidence that it was even there at all. In every case, Pippo would appear from nowhere, go about its dark work, and then simply vanish. In more than a few cases it was said to sometimes vanish into thin air right in the middle of one of its attacks, as if it had never been there at all, with only burning rubble and dead bodies testament to the fact that it had made its presence known. It is unsure just where Pippo came from, what type of plane it was, or who was piloting it. Those loyal to the fascist government regime blamed the plane on the Allies, while those siding with Allied Forces thought it to be a Luftwaffe or Italian Air Force aircraft. Most of the terrified people claimed that there was no pilot at all, and that it was a ghost plane powered by some malevolent force loyal to no one or even the devil himself.

There are scarce records of this phenomenon in the official aviation literature. Accounts of Pippo are known of mostly through oral tradition, letters, diaries, and newspaper reports, but as phenomenal as the idea of a spectral plane flying solo missions over the Italian countryside may seem, it has been mostly agreed upon that the stories have some grain of truth to them and were likely based upon an actual plane. However, it is not clear just what its origins could have been. One possibility was that it was the Italian government orchestrating a propaganda campaign against the Allies or some kind of psychological warfare, by having one of their own planes attack its own civilians and then blame it on the enemy to turn public opinion against them. Others say it was some loose cannon pilot waging a personal vigilante war against his enemy, perhaps on some unknown vendetta. There is also the possibility that the plane could have been one of the many tactical night missions launched by the Allies in the aftermath of gaining the upper hand in Italy.

At this time, there were numerous solitary sorties done in the dark of night which were meant to halt German troop movements and prevent them from reinforcing their ranks. For such perilous missions, the Royal Air Force made much use of a type of aircraft called the de Havilland Mosquito, which was known for its rather unusual and distinctive buzzing drone, a fact that could explain the persistent detail of Pippo’s unusual sound. It has been surmised that the planes on these solo night missions, such as the Bristol Beaufighter, Northrop P-61, or de Havilland Mosquito, may have given rise to the stories of a lone ghostly plane terrorizing the populace. Still others stand by the theory that Pippo was exactly what many of the citizens thought it was a phantom or ghost hellbent on some unknowable purpose.

There are other cases like this as well, and this has only been a section of the many air mysteries of World War II. It seems that even as the sky exploded and warplanes buzzed overhead there was something more to just the blood and the carnage. Beyond the violence and the fog of war were also mysteries that have never really been satisfactorily explained, and which serve to put a new sheen of the weird over one of the most tumultuous and bloodiest times in human history.


Mysterious UFOs Seen by WWII Airmen Called Foo Fighters Remain Still Unexplained Here In 2020

FROM HISTORY: Lt. Fred Ringwald was the first to see it. He was riding as observer in a night fighter piloted by Lt. Ed Schlueter, with Lt. Donald J. Meiers on radar. It was a late November evening in 1944, partly cloudy with a quarter moon. They were roaming the Rhine Valley just north of Strasbourg on the French-German border when Ringwald said, “I wonder what those lights are, over there in the hills,” according to an American Legion Magazine story on the sightings from 1945.

There were eight to 10 of them in a row, glowing fiery orange. Then Schlueter saw them off his right wing. They checked with Allied ground radar, but they registered nothing. Thinking that the lights might be some kind of German air weapon, Schlueter turn the plane to fight…only to have the lights vanish.

At first the men said nothing, fearing they’d be ostracized. But then the sightings spread through the unit. On December 17, 1944, near Breisach, Germany, a pilot was flying at approximately 800 feet when he saw “5 or 6 flashing red and green lights in ’T’ shape.” The lights seemed to follow him, closing in “to about 8 o’clock and 1,000 ft.” before disappearing as inexplicably as they came.

CLICK TO READ ARTICLES AND MEMOS OF FIRST-HAND TESTIMONY OF SEEING THE FOO FIGHTERS BY US PILOTS

Then on December 22nd, two more flight crews sighted lights. One crew, near Hagenau, reported two lights in a large orange glow, seeming to rise from the earth to 10,000 feet, tailing the fighter “for approximately two minutes.” After that, the lights, “peel off and turn away, fly along level for a few minutes and then go out. They appear to be under perfect control at all times,” according to Keith Chester’s Strange Company: Military Encounters with UFOs in World War II.

And then there was Lt. Samuel A. Krasney’s experience: a wingless cigar-shape object, glowing red, just a few yards off the plane’s wingtip. Lt. Krasney, justifiably spooked, instructed the pilot to attempt evasive maneuvers, but the glowing object stayed right next to the jet for several minutes before it “flew off and disappeared.”

ENTER THE WORLD OF VERIFIED AND LEGIT UFOs AND FOO FIGHTERS COMPLETE WITH PHOTO AND VIDEO EVIDENCE

Eventually, the airmen named the lights: foo fighters, inspired by the comic strip “Smokey Stover,” in which Smokey (a firefighter) would often declare, “Where there’s foo, there’s fire.” An Associated Press reporter broke news of the foo-fighter sightings on January 1st, 1945, and theories about their origins quickly abounded: The sightings were flares, or weather balloons or St. Elmo’s Fire—a phenomenon where a light appears on the tips of objects in stormy weather. Mas os membros do 415º rejeitaram todas essas teorias. Flares and weather balloons can’t track planes like these objects could, and they’d seen St. Elmo’s fire and could distinguish the two.

Then there were those who claimed that the airmen were suffering from “combat fatigue,” a polite way of saying that war stress was driving them insane. Mas havia poucas evidências para sugerir psicose coletiva: o 415º teve um histórico excelente, e quando um repórter de American Legion Magazine went to report on the squadron he described them as “very normal airmen, whose primary interest was combat, and after that came pin-up girls, poker, doughnuts and the derivatives of the grape.”

Lt. Krasney’s son, Keith Krasney, says his late father didn’t fit the stereotypical profile of a UFO theorizer. Na verdade, ele nunca sugeriu que o objeto brilhante parecido com um charuto sem asas que voou ao lado de seu avião era de origem extraterrestre.

“He was very level-headed, very analytical,” says Krasney of his father, adding that he kept a notebook where he wrote about (and drew) his foo-fighter sighting. But although he never seemed prone to conspiracy theories, Krasney says his father was open to one: “He entertained the idea that it could be late-breaking German technology. He did express the view that there were a lot of things during the war that were kept quiet.” READ MORE


4 mysterious UFO sightings that are still unexplained

Some UFO sightings can be explained away – but we still don't know the truth behind these ones.

Published: 22nd January, 2021 at 20:11

Many objects have been mistaken for UFOs, from natural phenomena such
as lightning sprites and meteors, to experimental aircraft and weather balloons. The French UFO research group, GEIPAN, found that 3.5 per cent of sightings remained unidentified. Here are a few that, so far, have defied explanation.

Florence, Italy, 1954

In 1954, two local football clubs were playing in Florence, Italy, when the crowd stopped watching the game. Instead, around 10,000 fans were looking upwards at a strange craft.

It was described by witnesses as either cigar-or egg-shaped along with silvery-white threads falling from the sky. Samples mostly disintegrated on contact, but some were examined at the University of Florence and found to contain boron, silicon, calcium and magnesium.

While migrating spiders, which use webs as sails, were suggested as a rational answer to this aspect of the sighting, their silk is an organic compound and does not contain any of those elements.

Melbourne, Australia, 1966

Around 350 children and teachers at Westall High School in Melbourne, Australia, watched five planes surround a silvery flying-saucer-shaped UFO in 1966. The planes attempted to aerially herd the craft for about 20 minutes before it disappeared.

A UFO-themed play park commemorates the event and, to this day, witnesses meet once a year to discuss their experience.

USA and Mexico, 1997

In 1997, thousands of people reported lights across several hundred miles of night sky in Arizona and Nevada in the United States, and Sonora in Mexico. These lights were either stationary, or on a moving V-shaped craft in a triangular formation (artist’s impression above).

The United States Air Force stated that the lights over Phoenix were military flares but the V-shaped UFO remains a mystery.

Rendlesham Forest, UK, 1980

In December 1980, US airmen stationed at RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk, England were investigating reports of lights in Rendlesham Forest when they saw red and blue lights and a UFO land. It was described as around three metres high and three metres in diameter and appeared to be standing on fixed legs. The material of the craft was like ‘smooth, opaque black glass.’

The next day, indentations were seen on the ground and radiation levels recorded. On a separate night, another member of the US Air Force set out to disprove his colleagues with a tape recorder. He reported lights in the sky that looked ‘like an eye winking at you’ and observed ‘a beam coming down to the ground’. Three years later, the US government released a report that described the encounter, which has become known as Britain’s Roswell.

While there remain believers, psychologist Prof Chris French – who has also visited the site – is among many of those who are unconvinced. A local forester said the indentations were caused by rabbits, and the levels of radioactivity were not especially high. As for the lights? “I’ve heard the tape,” says French, “and the lights are in complete synchrony with Orfordness Lighthouse nearby.”

Enter the BBC Science Focus draw an alien competition by 5 January 2021 for a chance to win a bundle of Dara Ó Briain’s science books.


Sightings over the US

Pilots offer our best source of anecdotal data when it comes to UFOs. To the common observer, a zeppelin or a weather balloon might look like one, but pilots have unique knowledge of the shape and aerodynamics of airframes and are experts in the maneuvering capabilities of aircraft as allowed by simple physics.

Getty Images

Pilots seeing UFOs is not something localized to WWII either, as in the case in 2004 when an F-18 out of San Diego captured spectacular footage of a &ldquotic-tac&rdquo shaped object flying at speed. &ldquoIt accelerated like nothing I&rsquove ever seen,&rdquo the pilot told O jornal New York Times. &ldquoI have no idea what I saw.&rdquo It seems foolish to think it was an American super weapon, effectively meaning the pilot was tricked by his own government. But they&rsquore out there in many shapes and forms, and since not one pilot has been able to successfully make contact with foo fighters of UFOs (as far as we know), the instances in WWII and since remain a mystery.


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