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The Gorman UFO Dogfight

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posted on May, 23 2009 @ 10:10 AM

Image of vintage 1948 comic strip depicting the Gorman incident courtesy of

Hynek Classification: CE1

About nine months after the famous Mantell UFO Incident comes yet another great but sadly overlooked (by the general public) UFO-aircraft encounter case. This was another Air National Guard encounter, not in Kentucky but this time in Fargo, North Dakota. The difference between this and the Mantell incident however is the fact that on October 1st, 1948 2nd Lieutenant Gordon actually engaged in aerial combat maneuvers with the UFO. The Mantell case and this one make up two of the three “classic UFO cases that proved UFOs were a real event” according to Project Blue Book and Captain Edward J. Ruppelt’s(First leader of Bluebook) best selling book The Report On Unidentified Flying Objects. Again we have a World War Two veteran pilot who saw something that he thought was legitimate enough to not only go out of his way (and risk his life) to investigate but engage in a 27 minute “dogfight” with the unknown object. Can this again be honestly attributed to a mistaken identity of Venus, atmospheric phenomena, or a balloon? Can we continue to discredit military personal who actively engage in attempted UFO contact and chalk it up to a “mistaken identity” without taking a serious look at the facts? There is just way too many solid cases involving legitimate witnesses to ignore this phenomena .That again is the point of this thread; to present a detailed overlook of the facts of another excellent case involving contact with a UFO, I am not pushing any conclusion on anyone, I am simply providing the facts of the case and offering my opinion. As usual the final decision is up to you the reader.

Chapter Summary
1. Overview of Second Lieutenant George F. Gorman
2. The UFO Is Spotted
3. UFO Versus P-51 Mustang
4. The Official Investigation
5. Alternate Explanations
6. Official Conclusion and My Conclusion

1. Overview of Second Lieutenant George F.Gorman

Image of 2nd Lt. George Gorman courtesy of

2nd Lt. George Gorman of the North Dakota Air National Guard was 25 years old at the time of this incident and a veteran fighter pilot of World War Two. His job in the war was to train French student fighter pilots so it is unlikely that he mistook a balloon, Venus, or atmospheric phenomena for a UFO and then proceed to engage it. But things do happen sometimes so you never can be sure unless the facts show that an explanation is more likely than another. Also Gorman had no reason to lie as he was a well respected member of his community in Fargo, North Dakota, a business man, college educated, and a husband and father to a young daughter at the time. The following are some important facts noteworthy of Lieutenant Gorman:

Full name was George F. Gorman
• Was 25 years old at time of incident
• Address at time of incident was Building 18, Federal Housing Project, Fargo, ND
• Occupation was manager of a construction company
• Was married with one child
• Education consisted of two and a half years of college for mechanical engineering and physics
• Military rank was 2nd Lieutenant
• Serial number was A0943873
• Assigned unit at time of incident was the North Dakota Air National Guard
• Number of years served in guard was two
• Served in World War Two
• World War Two assignment was pilot instructor for French military students

The following is a Project Sign(remember, Project Sign became Blue Book) “personal evaluation “ of Lt. Gorman. Information is courtesy of

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.

So it appears that Lt. Gorman has quite the credibility and even the USAF investigators had no reason to doubt his credibility and thus his story. The real question becomes what exactly was Gorman chasing that October night? With his large amount of experience and education it seems much more possible that Gorman did in fact become engaged with a truly unknown flying object in 1948.

2. The UFO Is Spotted

Map showing location of Fargo, North Dakota indicated by black dot

On October 1st, 1948 2nd Lt. Gorman was flying a cross-country flight with other Air Guard planes, their aircrafts were the P-51 Mustang. At approximately 8:30 PM the flight arrived over Fargo, North Dakota, while the other pilots decided to land at Hector Airport in Fargo, Gorman decided to take advantage of the clear night to get some night flying time. At around 9:00PM his flight path took him over a football stadium where a game was being played, other then a small Piper Cub plane 500 feet below him the skies were empty, although apparently wouldn’t be for long. After being advised by the control tower that the Piper, piloted by Dr. A.E. Cannon had taken to the air, Gorman prepared to land. About five minutes later he contacted the control tower asking if another plane was in the area. He was told no; Gorman reported back that another light, looking like the light on the tail of a plane had passed him on the right. Gorman radioed in that he was going to investigate the unknown object.

Image of Piper Cub courtesy of
3.UFO Versus P-51 Mustang

The ensuing dogfight lasted approximately 27 minutes and is the first reported “UFO-aircraft dogfight”. I will present this in a detailed timeline format for ease of reading and understanding. The following took place on the night of October 1st, 1948 in the sky over Fargo, North Dakota. All quotes are actual statements made by Gorman.The entire chase took place between the time frame of 9:00PM to 9:27PM with altitudes varying from 1,000 to 14,000 feet.

2nd Lieutenant Gorman pulls his P-51 up and reaches within 1,000 feet of the object.

"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.

• Gorman then performs a steep dive in chase of the object but cannot keep up even as he raised his manifold pressure.
• The object then gains altitude again and makes yet another left bank.
• Gorman puts his aircraft into a sharp turn to try and cut the “light” off at 7,000 feet.
• The unknown object then suddenly makes a sharp right turn directly towards Gorman’s plane.
• Just as they were going to collide Gorman pulls out and dives.
• The light passes over his canopy about 500 feet above him.
• The object then proceeded to make a left circle about 1,000 feet above him, Gorman gives chase again.
• Gorman cuts sharply towards the light to pursue it.
• The two craft (Gorman and UFO) take yet another head on collision course.
• The UFO breaks off as collision seemed imminent and takes a steep vertical climb.
• Gorman again attempts to chase but his plane power stalls out at 14,000 feet and is still over 2,000 feet from the still climbing object.
• The object is not seen again after this.

At times during this chase Gorman pushed his plane to its limit of speed and maneuverability, at times reaching speeds of 400MPH and blacking out once due to extreme G-forces . With all that the object still easily managed to out perform Gorman’s craft in every aspect. Also it is worthy of noting that the experienced Gorman was so shook up after the incident that he had to circle the airport twice before landing!

Image showing circa 1948 P-51 (F-51) Mustang courtesy of

Image of actual newspaper showing story courtesy of


[edit on 10/18/2009 by jkrog08]

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 10:11 AM
4. The Official Investigation

Witness Statements

This is another case with ground witness confirmation of the object as well as the pilot. Another added perk to this particular case is that another aircraft with two occupants also witnessed the event. The only thing this case doesn’t have is a radar contact, but beings that radar was a recently new invention at the time it was not as sensitive as today. Also it is commonly reported that UFOs exhibit stealth-like capabilities in both sensory and visual spectrums. Within a few hours Project Sign personal were at the scene. The following is a compilation of the witness reports:

Witnesses Information and Statements:

• Air traffic controller Lloyd D. Jensen:

-Age: 28 years old
-Address: 1423 6th Ave. South, Fargo, ND
-Occupation: Airport traffic controller at Fargo Airport (civilian)
-Marital Status: Married with one child
-Education: Two years of college
Evaluation of witness:

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.

Summary of interrogation by Project Sign:

Courtesy of

Air traffic controller H.E. Johnson:
-Age: 34 years old
-Address: 1422 Broadway, Fargo, ND
-Occupation: Assistant aircraft traffic controller at Fargo Airport
-Marital Status: Married with no children
-Education: High School graduate
-Military: None
Evaluation of witness:

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.

Summary of interrogation by Project Sign:

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.

Other then mentioning that when Dr. L.N. Cannon landed his flight companion and he joined him on the south balcony and observed the object. Mr. Johnson had nothing more to add. The interrogating officer was Major Paul Kubala.

Occupants of the Piper Cub(second aircraft): Pilot Dr. L.N. Cannon and passenger Einar Nielson
-Age: Was 66 years old
-Address: Newman’s Jewelry Store, Fargo ,ND
-Occupation: Dr. Cannon was an Eye, Ear, and Nose specialists (Occultist)
-Marital Status: Widower
-Education: Six years medical school
-Military: None
Evaluation of witness:

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.

Summary of Interrogation:

Original source of image courtesy of

Apparently Dr. Cannon’s passenger was not interviewed by the USAF. Although unofficial, Mr. Nelson corroborated the doctor’s statements. The interrogation of the doctor was also conducted by Major Kubala. It is interesting to note that all witnesses, including Gorman, reported no sound what so ever, no smoke or exhaust, no smell, nothing but a very fast moving light apparently only around 6-8 inches in diameter.

• Sworn statement from 2nd Lt. George F. Gorman on October 23rd, 1948:

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.

From a later conversation….

"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."

Apparently Dr. Cannon was approached by several different government investigators after this incident. Something that I found as well is some major discrepancies from the USAF itself pertaining to names of witnesses (ie; In one report the doctors initials are A.E. but in others is L.N., and others A.D! This was also the case with newspaper reports. I went with L.N. because it was the initial given in the first report by Sign) and different accounts given later down the line according to different government researchers. Here is a report conducted later in December of 48’ where you can see the information I am talking about pertaining to the multiple officials that contacted the doctor…

Courtesy of

So why did I bring that up? Well it is an interesting note in the case because obviously someone isn’t getting their research straight and it ain’t me! Another reason I brought that up is to point out the constant disorganized research the USAF does, regardless if it is intentional (disinfo) or not. Another interesting point is why so many more officials (at least that we know of) contacted the doctor. It is probably nothing but I thought it worthy of attention.

Characteristics of The UFO

* Object was symmetrical from any side viewed
• Object traveled very fast, faster than the P-51
• Object appeared to be a small, bright light (Gorman said no larger than 8 inches around)
• Object could maneuver much better than the P-51
• Object was 3 dimensional
• Gorman saw the object through his canopy, windshield, rear, sides, and back while chasing it
• Object was as bright as the city lights
• The object became eclipsed for very short periods when in direct illumination of city lights
• Shape did not vary
• Size did vary in respect to the size when viewed from the windshield
• Total time observed was 27 minutes
• No sound, exhaust trails, or smell
• Altitude varied from 1,000 to 14,000 feet
• Object made extreme evasive-like maneuvers
• Color was “clear white”
• No distinguishing marks of any kind observed
• Flight direction varied
• The object seemed bound to the Laws of Inertia
• Appeared to Gorman to be under some kind of “intelligent control”

Some Helpful Links

Incident check list
Witness interrogations
Gorman directory

5. Alternate Explanations

NOTE: Project “Saucer” was slang for Project Sign.

A Lighted Weather Balloon?

This was the explanation that became the official answer to what Lt. Gorman was chasing. This theory however has some holes in it that need to be addressed.

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.

This official explanation still has some major issues. Here is what one atmospheric physicist said about it….

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.”


posted on May, 23 2009 @ 10:12 AM
Apparently the balloons where accounted for and not in the area at the time…

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.

Major Donald Keyhoe(USMC) firmly believed that this was an unknown case and that the balloon theory was bogus. Kehoe was a well respected military man and wrote many books and did much research into Ufology so I think his opinion should carry some weight. The following is an excerpt for Major Kehoe’s book ”Flying Saucers Are Real”, Donald Keyhoe, 1950,2006(reprint),Cosimo Classics that contained a transcript of his conversation with Lt. Gorman. This passage I am about to show you totally debunks the balloon theory in my opinion

"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
[p. 95]
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.

Illusion of Jupiter or Combination of balloon/Jupiter

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 "

Well this is more complex but not much better of an explanation, although it is still possible. The USAF didn’t even go with this theory but for the sake of ruling normal things out we need to take a look at it. For this to be true one must not take into account the uniform movements of the object as seen by multiple witnesses. They all would not be seeing the same mirage move at the same time, in fact that goes against all laws of physics if that is true. This was not the case here, the object appeared to move the same direction as observed by all witnesses. What does this mean? Well it means that if this was a mirage than likely no one but Gorman and possibly the Piper pilot would have seen it because they were in a reference frame close to each other. But the fact that observers on the ground as well saw the same thing means that a mirage is not possible(or at least not very likely in any sense). Because, simply put, if this was a mirage only seen by Gorman(as this alternate hypothesis goes) then it would be impossible for all the other witnesses to see the same thing, which they did. The only logical conclusion (in my opinion) from this observation must be that the object was actually physically there; meaning that this object had to physically exist and had to be creating these observations by itself, and not by the bending and stretching of light rays seen from a certain speed and position creating a mirage of the planet Jupiter. If this object was subjective or dependent on the observers then they all would have seen very different “flight paths” of the object or not have seen the object at all, which is not the case. So by applying some relatively simple physics and meteorological understanding to the problem (admittedly there wasn’t as much information known at this time) we can likely dismiss the mirage theory, not to mention the unrealistic atmospheric and optical dynamics that would have had to happen to even begin to cause this “mass illusion”.

To further delve into this theory let us take a look at how mirages can form….

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.


posted on May, 23 2009 @ 10:13 AM
The witnesses did not see a “stacked disc shape” or see changing colors, they saw a small, luminous ball. Now I am sure conditions can be created to cause this but I have found no mention of how that would happen anywhere.

Graph depicting temperature inversion courtesy of

There was no temperature inversion reported that night, and without that the chances of a mirage happening are highly unlikely.

A Canadian “Vampire” Jet?

Image of Vampire jet courtesy of

This was Dr. Cannon’s opinion, and for a brief time the opinion of Project Sign. This was quickly dismissed by multiple unavoidable facts:

1.) There was no Canadian aircraft near the area that night as confirmed by multiple military sources.
2.) Radar would have easily picked up this craft.
3.) Lt. Gorman and others would have obviously seen the outline of a jet but they did not. There is no way Gorman could have confused a jet(even without running lights) for a small, 8 inch in diameter white light.
4.)The following USAF Blue Book document I found instantly discredits this explanation of a “Canadian Vampire Jet”….(Read all of it, the official debunking of the vampire jet theory comes in the middle of paragraph 5)

Document courtesy of

Helpful Links
”Flying Saucers Are Real”-Online Version
Gorman directory

6. Official Conclusions and My Conclusion

Official USAF Conclusions

Well the official conclusions were (like the Mantell case) originally said to be “unknown”(in Project Sign), but later (after the formation of Blue Book) changed to “a lighted weather balloon”. Well I believe I have shown evidence that have already dismissed that fact, as have official USAF documents. But for the sake of a neutral presentation let us look at the final conclusions…

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.[5] The Air Force investigators also ruled out the possibility of the lighted object being "another aircraft, Canadian Vampire jet fighters, or a weather balloon."[5] Their initial conclusion, writes UFO historian Curtis Peebles, was "that something remarkable had occurred" to Gorman in the skies above Fargo.[5]

However, further investigation by Project Sign personnel soon revealed flaws in the evidence.[6] 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.

Here are the official readings from the Geiger Counter test (Gorman’s plane is the top)…

(For more detailed information on readings see link below)
Image courtesy of

The cropped image I showed is only the final average radioactivity of the craft in “rads”, notice the top plane (Gorman’s) is much higher then even the second highest plane which is at around 52.Personally I don’t believe that the above normal readings you saw can be attributed to a “high altitude” of only 14,000 feet (only for a brief moment). Here is some information on radiation levels throughout the atmosphere…

Courtesy of

Simply put, the radiation levels at that low altitude(or any altitude below around 30,000 feet at the least) are not sufficient to cause those types of readings. So what caused those readings? We may never know. But here is an interesting letter sent to Major Keyhoe pertaining to the “Geiger readings”…

The letter that came from Art Green, while I was working on the space plans, didn't make it easier:

Dear Keyhoe:

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.


[p. 98]

[6] 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.[6] 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.[6] The Project Sign personnel also noted that none of the witnesses in the Fargo Airport control tower reported the remarkable maneuvers described by Gorman.[4] 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.[6]

Here is a statement made by the leader of Blue Book himself directly contradicting their “evidence”…

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.'"

But the personal in the tower did see the object change direction and Dr. Cannon not only saw the object go one direction and then turn around but he also saw it make a steep bank while changing direction. Well that about sums up the USAF opinion of the incident, now I will give my opinion (and it is only that) on what happened. Here is another interesting statement from an aeronautical engineer who worked in depth with the government on the UFO phenomena in the late 40’s and 50’s whose name was changed by Keyhoe for privacy reasons…

"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."

Final Conclusion of The USAF: Lt. Gorman was chasing a “lighted weather balloon”.

NOTE: Project “Saucer” was the slang for Project Sign.

My Conclusions

To me this case is truly unknown and thus why Captain Ruppelt himself originally called this “one of the three UFO classic cases that proved UFOs were a real event”. But once again (I always seem to say that,lol) we are left with nothing but witness testimony, research, and circumstantial evidence. Even though I believe this case presents those in a manner greater than many others it still lacks the ultimate proof or “smoking gun”. It is of interest to note that Lt. Gorman was given orders by the Air Material Command to not divulge any more information than what he had already, they threatened him under Court Marshall and were saying they wanted to charge him for information he already divulged! The following is a copy of a letter sent from Gorman in response to
Kenneth Arnold (yes that Kenneth Arnold) :


posted on May, 23 2009 @ 10:13 AM

December 10, 1948

Mr. Kenneth Arnold
General Mgr.
Great Western Fire Control
Box 387
Boise, Idaho

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.

Seems like Mr. Arnold was trying to reach out to a fellow pilot who had encountered something truly amazing.

Now why would the USAF do that for a weather balloon? It is also said that the Geiger counter readings were hidden and denied as well. Now even if the plane wasn’t radioactive to a higher extent than the others that does not mean Gorman didn’t encounter a UFO. Who knows what kind of advanced propulsion systems a true alien craft might possess? Needless to say I think the research I have shown does show some interesting radioactive readings were found. With all the possible explanations having massive holes in them (to say the least) I truly think this case remains unknown and another explanation is needed, however the only one that fits in my opinion is that Gorman did encounter something “intelligently controlled and of an unknown origin”. There is a lot of information on this case but it is spread out and takes some time to understand and organize(it gave me multiple headaches!). Like many other cases in Ufology there is a lot more evidence to be discovered if one simply digs a little and doesn’t take the official explanation at face value. In my opinion this ranks in the top ten of best UFO cases ever, that is only my opinion however. Now if this was an actual alien probe or spacecraft is truly unknown but I think the evidence speaks for itself. At the very least this case remains unsolved in multiple peoples and my own opinion. Well that concludes this case for now, I just want to remind everybody who is celebrating Memorial Day to have a safe and happy holiday this weekend! Take care

Sources Report)
”Flying Saucers Are Real”, Donald Keyhoe, 1950,2006(reprint),Cosimo Classics
(Link to online version courtesy of
Link to online version of “Flying Saucers Are Real”

Related Threads
Top 100 UFO Cases by ATS member IssacKoi

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 11:55 AM
S & F!

Thanks. I really enjoy your threads mate. I don't usually reply, I prefer to read and that was some excellent reading material.

I read about this years ago as a kid, the Mantell incident also. As I read through you post, it really brought back memories from my childhood. You know? When everything was possible.

I've had my own sighting and nothing can change my mind about what I believe. I for one prefer to live in a universe where we are not alone and cases like this one makes that easier.....

Thank you so much for hard work in presenting this case and for stirring up
pleasant childhood memories of reading my 'Unexplained' book under my bed covers with a torch, way past bedtime.

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 01:27 PM
reply to post by Sam Vimes

Thanks, yea this was the first ever recorded "UFO-fighter" engagement, but certainly is not the only one. This is another solid case that is still wide open IMO. This happened during the "boom" of UFOs in the late 40's, back then the government was not so smooth at cover-ups,lol.

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 01:31 PM
These kinds of threads you make Jkrog, you should really send them out all over the internet because I believe this is how the evidence must be presented to get the people aware of the Ufo phenomenon.

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 01:38 PM
Wow that was an epic read and thoroughly enjoyable one to boot. Obviously you don't believe in the 5 second sound bite lol.

Anyway I feel I should say something pertaining to this case but you've seemed to have covered all the bases so there's not much left to say except great work on your research and presentation.


posted on May, 23 2009 @ 01:40 PM
reply to post by bl4ke360

ATS is a hot enough spot for this information to be seen I think (or hope,lol). So for the sake of discussion do you have any thoughts on this case?

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 03:00 PM
Another great thread and a very interesting case.

As I have said several times, I think the really unknown cases are the best; although they do not prove a thing they give us the best data, even if we do not know what to do with it.

And I don't think that the radiation reading has any meaning, not only is the value not that higher when compared with the second highest, that plane with the second highest value was flown to 7000 feet. Also, and even more interesting, the highest values were measured inside all cockpits.

This case shows one of the reasons for my post (that I haven't made yet) in this thread.

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 03:09 PM
reply to post by ArMaP

The radiation reading may or may not mean anything, I just through it in so all the facts of the case were there. 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.

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 03:13 PM

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.

Read it again.

I said "one of the reasons for my post (that I haven't made yet)", meaning that I am still thinking about how I will write that post.

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 03:20 PM
reply to post by ArMaP

Oh, okay I see.......

Sorry about the misunderstanding

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 03:40 PM
Excellent thread, really enjoyed all the well presented information. I also think that this is one of those examples that can not be dismissed just because there was no way of producing physical evidence to back up the story. The central character is very credible, and it includes witnesses, which pretty much secures the reality that this UFO was not something that could be explained by any known phenomenon.

I wonder if the light was so small due to something like the malfunctioning of a cloaking device.

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 03:56 PM
reply to post by jkrog08
Excellent thread Jkrog08. It's a very interesting incident and the information is extensive. It's been one of my favorite events for some time. I agree with Armap regarding the radiation readings, but it doesn't detract from an extraordinary incident.

I suspect several UFO accounts add radiation readings when they aren't really conclusive. Superficially, they encourage us to assume an ET aspect. Recent speculations about UFOs being 'inter dimensional' refer to quantum entanglement. Maybe they are correct, nevertheless we can't discount the projection of modern ideas on a phenomena. Likewise, UFO cases from the Atomic Age were similarly explained in terms of radiation and atomic propulsion systems because they were the reference points of the period.

Human endeavors in atomic/nuclear energy make great efforts to contain the radiation due to its detrimental effect on life. It seems counter-intuitive that an ET technology would 'leak' radiation to the degree it would leave high levels from brief encounters at a distance. As usual, it's all confusing and enigmatic...

Regardless of all that, the 'Gorman Dogfight' offers enough to remain deeply puzzling and yet (as you say) not enough to draw conclusions. Very interesting

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 03:57 PM
reply to post by poet1b

It has been speculated that the UFO was an orb-like probe, likely being controlled from a close by mothership. It also could be a totally self sufficient probe not being controlled by any craft near by. Also it has been said that ETs possess a type of "dimensional and mass manipulation" technology. So it could be anything.............even a balloon,lol.

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 04:01 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

Yea I agree about the radiation readings, like I told Armap I just wanted to present everything and offer some counter postulates to it. Quantum Entanglement is a good theory to associate with these type of craft, I mean for them to get from their planet to ours they must be using some type of advanced, dimensional type drive. As we progress more in our understanding of advanced technology I am sure we wil better understand theirs. Like you said, as the time changes so do the "modes of propulsion theories" we give these craft. Good case all in all though.

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 07:45 PM
reply to post by jkrog08

This is a very interesting post! I'm glad to see that there's still people out there worth putting some time into finding the right information that clearly proves that the 'official' statement as to what happened is completely FALSE.

The fact that we've got Veterans coming up and stating that they've had these sort of experiences and then getting pushed down by 'heads' stating that it was just a silly mishap with a weather balloon??

Please, spare me.

There are so many close-minded people that if they were to actually read through this sort of information, they may just explode.

Thanks for all the great info!

[edit on 23-5-2009 by undefy.gravity]

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 07:57 PM
It's really hard to dismiss cases like this one made by a military pilot who had nothing to gain by reporting his encounter (certainly not fame and fortune) but did have everything to lose at a time when cold war tensions were at their highest, when even the slightest irregularity could result in a backlash, it says a lot for this pilot's belief he was encountering a true ufo and his earnestness in reporting it.

S + F, not only for the topic but for the excellent posting style and research put into it, jkrog08 you rock!

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