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2nd Lieutenant Gorman did not make the impression of being a dreamer. He reads little, and only serious literature. He spends 90% of his free time hunting and fishing; drinks less than moderately; smokes normally; and does not do drugs. He appears to be a sincere and serious individual who was considerably puzzled by his experience and made no attempt to blow his story up.
"It was about six to eight inches in diameter, clear white, and completely round without fuzz at the edges [i.e., sharp and clear]," he said. "It was blinking on and off. As I approached, however, the light suddenly became steady and pulled into a sharp left bank. I thought it was making a pass at the tower.
Mr. Jensen is exactly what his name implies- typical quiet, steady. Scandinavian type of individual. He seems very reliable, deliberate, and calculated in his observations. He is sober, does not smoke, use drugs, nor have any habits which could affect his normal way of thinking.
Mr. Johnson is approximately the same type as Mr. Jensen, stoical, quiet, Scandinavian type, not easily impressed, (un readable), smokes pipe only, has never used any habit forming drugs.
Mr. Johnson was on duty at the Fargo Airport tower since about 1600 hours (4:00PM) 1, October 1948, and was in the tower at the time the F-51 called in requesting information about local traffic. At the time when Lt. Gorman called the second time in regard to the object. Mr. Johnson walked to the rear of the receiver and, looking out the south window, saw the object and the Cub. Object at this time was a little higher than the Piper Cub, and outside of him, the object seemed to be on a north heading and then turned northwest.
The doctor, in spite of his age, appeared to be highly alert, quick witted, and very capable. He took up flying two years ago and owns two aircraft today, flying them from the Fargo Flying Club, which is located south of Fargo. The doctor was not at all impressed with the occurrence of the night of 1 October, and seemed to be of the impression that a Canadian jet airplane may have come over and played tag with Lt. Gorman.
I am convinced that there was definite thought behind its maneuvers. I am further convinced that the object was governed by the laws of inertia because its acceleration was rapid but not immediate and although it was able to turn fairly tight at considerable speed, it still followed a natural curve. When I attempted to turn with the object I blacked out temporarily due to excessive speed. I am in fairly good physical condition and I do not believe that there are many if any pilots who could withstand the turn and speed effected by the object, and remain conscious. The object was not only able to out turn and out speed my aircraft...but was able to attain a far steeper climb and was able to maintain a constant rate of climb far in excess of my aircraft.
"I can tell you this much," he said, "because it's been mentioned in print. There was thought behind every move the light made. It wasn't any radar-responder gadget making it veer away from my ship."
"How do you know that?"
"Because it reacted differently at different times. If it had been a mechanical control, it would have turned or climbed the same way each time I got near it. Instead, it was as if some intelligent mind was directing every turn like a game of chess, and always one move ahead of me. Maybe you can figure out the rest."
Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, who headed the Air Force's PROJECT BLUE BOOK in the early 1950’s, later hypothesized that Gorman bad chased a lighted balloon (a plane would rapidly overtake a balloon creating the illusion of head-on passes), however, the reported high speeds away from the F-51 created a problem with this answer.
Dr. James E. McDonald. a University of Arizona atmospheric physicist, stated in 1970: "Although the pilot-balloon light became the official explanation there are a number of explicit statements in the Blue Book file that thoroughly discount that hypothesis.”
Some months later, 24 January 1949, the Air Weather Service provided ATIC with an analysis which indicated that Gorman had been chasing a lighted balloon. This explanation is not accepted by Keyhoe (1953), who says that although the Weather Bureau had released a weather balloon, it had been tracked by theodolite and found to have moved in a different direction from that in which Gorman had his UFO encounter.
"Anybody suggest it was a balloon?" I said casually.
"At first, they were sure that's what it was," answered Gorman. "You see, there was a weather balloon released here. You know the kind, it has a lighted candle on it. The Project teams said I'd chased after that candle and just imagined the light's maneuvers--confused it with my own movement, because of the dark."
Gorman grinned. "They had it just about wrapped up--until they talked to George Sanderson. He's the weather observer. He was tracking the balloon with a theodolite, and he showed them his records. The time and altitudes didn't fit, and the wind direction was wrong. The balloon was drifting in the opposite direction. Both the tower men backed him up. So that killed the weather-balloon idea."
An astronomical check by Professor Hynek ruled out stars, fireballs, and comets--a vain hope, to begin with. The only other conventional answer, as the Project report later stated, was hallucination. In view of all the testimony, hallucination had to he ruled out. Finally, the investigators admitted they had no solution.
The first Project "Saucer" report, on April 27, 1949, left the Gorman "mystery light" unidentified.
In the Saturday Evening Post of May 7, 1949, Sidney Shallett analyzed the Gorman case, in the second of his articles on flying saucers. Shallet suggested this solution: that Gorman had chased one of the Navy's giant cosmic-ray research balloons. Each of these huge balloons is lighted, so that night-flying planes will not collide with the gas bag or the instrument case suspended below. Shallett concluded that Gorman was suffering from a combination of vertigo and confusion with the light on the balloon.
As already mentioned, these huge Navy balloons are filled with only a small amount of helium before their release at Minneapolis. They then rise swiftly to very high altitudes, unless a leak develops. In Shallett's words, "These balloons travel high and fast. . . ."
Fargo is about two hundred miles from Minneapolis. Normally, a cosmic-ray research balloon would have reached a very high altitude by the time it had drifted this far. The only possible answer to its low-altitude sighting would be a serious leak.
If a leaking balloon had come down to one thousand feet at Fargo, it would either have remained at that height or kept on descending. The mystery light was observed at this altitude moving at high speed. If a Cub's outline was visible against the lighted football field, the massive shape of even a partly deflated balloon would have stood out like an elephant. Even before release, the partially inflated gas bags are almost a hundred feet tall. The crowd at the football game would certainly have seen such a monstrous shape above the glare of the floodlights, for the plastic balloons gleam brightly
in any light rays. The two C.A.A. men, watching with binoculars, could not possibly have missed it.
For the cosmic-balloon answer to be correct, this leaking gas bag would have had to rise swiftly to seventeen thousand feet--after a loss of helium had forced it down to one thousand. As a balloon pilot, I know this is impossible. The Project "Saucer" report said unequivocally: "The object could outturn and outspeed the F-51, and was able to attain a much steeper climb and to maintain a constant rate of climb far in excess of the Air Force fighter.
A leaking balloon? More and more, I became convinced that Secretary Forrestal had persuaded some editors that it was their patriotic duty to conceal the answer, whatever it was.
Dr. Donald H. MENZEL, a Harvard University astronomer. recognizing some problems of applying the balloon hypothesis to the witness testimony, decided that there were two objects responsible for the "illusion"--a balloon and the planet Jupiter. Gorman was at times seeing a lighted balloon, and at other times "very probably a mirage of the planet Jupiter "
Light reaching our eye, after traveling through a region of the atmosphere where the temperature gradient is constant, follows a curved (parabolic) path. (See diagrams below. In them, the dark lines indicate the actual light ray path and the white dashed lines the path our mind thinks it sees.) The degree of curvature is proportional to the temperature gradient along that path -- the stronger the temperature gradient through which the light passes, the greater the bend. When the temperature gradient is not constant but changes with height, the curvature of the light path can increase more rapidly at some heights than others, thus producing interesting effects such as object distortions and multiple images.
The light ray always bends toward the colder (and thus denser) air, so that the colder air is on the inside of the curvature. The image we see is always displaced in the direction of the warmer air. Therefore, if we have a temperature gradient with warmer air nearest the surface, the image will be displaced downward toward the surface -- forming an inferior mirage. When the air is colder near the surface (an inversion condition), the image is displaced upward, forming a superior mirage.
Mirages are confined to small viewing angles even when they appear large, about half a degree in width -- the size of the solar disk -- and most portray objects located from half a kilometre to about five kilometres (about a quarter mile to three miles). Under strong inversion conditions, however, objects hundreds of kilometres away can be seen, including those located beyond the normal viewing horizon.
Within a few hours, military officers from Project Sign arrived to question Gorman and the other witnesses. Project Sign had been created by the US Air Force in late 1947 to investigate UFO reports. The officers interviewed Gorman, Dr. Cannon and his passenger, and the control tower personnel at Fargo's Airport. The officers also checked Gorman's F-51 Mustang with a Geiger counter for radiation. They found that his Mustang was measurably more radioactive than other fighters which had not flown for several days; this was taken as evidence that Gorman had flown close to an "atomic-powered" object. The Air Force investigators also ruled out the possibility of the lighted object being "another aircraft, Canadian Vampire jet fighters, or a weather balloon." Their initial conclusion, writes UFO historian Curtis Peebles, was "that something remarkable had occurred" to Gorman in the skies above Fargo.
However, further investigation by Project Sign personnel soon revealed flaws in the evidence. A plane flying high in the Earth's atmosphere is less-shielded from radiation than one at ground level, thus the Geiger-counter readings were considered invalid evidence for stating that the lighted object was atomic-powered.
The letter that came from Art Green, while I was working on the space plans, didn't make it easier:
Just heard about your Seattle visit. That Fairfield Suisan thing is on the level; several Air Force pilots have told me about it.
When you get to Fargo, ask Gorman what they found when they checked his ship with a Geiger counter. If he says it was negative, then he must be under orders. I happen to know better.
 In addition, the Air Weather Service revealed that on October 1 it had released a lighted weather balloon from Fargo at 8:50 PM. By 9 PM the balloon would have been in the area where Gorman and the Piper Cub passengers first saw the lighted object. Project Sign's investigators also believed that the incredible movements of the object were due to Gorman's own maneuvers as he chased the light - the object's maneuvers were an illusion brought about by the movements of Gorman's fighter. The Project Sign personnel also noted that none of the witnesses in the Fargo Airport control tower reported the remarkable maneuvers described by Gorman. By early 1949 the Gorman case was labeled by Project Sign and its successors - Project Grudge and Project Blue Book - as being caused by a lighted weather balloon.
Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, 1956... "Other assorted historians point out that normally the 'UFOs' are peaceful, [fighter pilots] Gorman and Mantell just got too inquisitive, 'they' just weren't ready to be observed. If the Air Force hadn't slapped down the security lid these writers might not have reached this conclusion. There have been other and more lurid 'duels of death.'"
"Only possible answer," said Redell. "But just try to imagine crowding a motor, or jet controls for rim jets, along with remote controls and a television device, in that small space. Plus your fuel supply. I don't know any engineer who would even attempt it. To carry that much gear, it would take a fair-sized plane. You could make a disk large enough, but the mechanism and fuel section would be two or three feet across, at least. So Gorman's light must have been powered and controlled by some unique means. The same principle applies to all the other light reports I've heard. No shape behind them, high speed, and intelligent maneuvers. That thing was guided from some interplanetary ship, hovering at a high altitude," Redell declared. "But I haven't any idea what source of power it used."
December 10, 1948
Mr. Kenneth Arnold
Great Western Fire Control
Dear Mr. Arnold,
I am sorry that I have been unable to answer your letters. However I think that you can understand my position better when you know the facts.
First of all I am under the military control of the Tenth Air Force and they have issued direct orders concerning the disc or object.
Second the Air Materiel Command has issued orders classifying the information as Secret. And this makes it a General Court Martial to release any more information. The Command has asked that My commanding officer and myself be court marshaled for releasing what information we did. I have General Ewards or some high officer to think for refusing to carry it out.
Third the Counter Intelligence Corp have asked that I turn over all information over to them. And I have no doubt the F.B.I. Will get around to sending a few letters too.
The public relations officer released more then he should have and now we are being given a rough time. And they can do it too.
I have a normal amount of curiosity and I have a lot of questions to ask. But then I had a lot of them answered that nite. The rest of that I have will have to wait until they get ready to answer them.
One of these days I will be out to Boise and look you up and we can visit. I think that I can be out there just after the first of the year.
I would enjoy hearing from you again and I hope to see you soon.
George F. Gorman
1421-13th st. N.
Fargo, N. Dak.
Originally posted by jkrog08
I am not sure what you mean by "this case is one of the reasons I haven't made a post yet" in that thread.