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Norwood , Ohio 1949 UFO Searchlight Incident

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posted on Sep, 17 2009 @ 12:47 AM
From August 1949 to March of 1950, thousands of people reported seeing a UFO in the sky over Norwood, Ohio. witnesses included Priests, Scientists, Civilians, Police officers and Military personel. a searchlight that was present at a local carnival was beaming it's light into the sky when the disc shaped UFO was first seen. this began a series of sightings that was photographed and video recorded. it was reported in the local newspapers and had many people puzzled as to what the object was. according to the story this case was not included in the Project Grudge files.

On August 19, 1949, during the Jitney Carnival at the St. Peter and Paul Church in Norwood, Cincinatti Ohio, Reverend Gregory Miller, pastor of the church had purchased from army surplus, an 8 million candle power searchlight. Sergeant Donald R. Berger of ROTC of the University of Cincinnati would operate it. During the height of the festivities, at 08:15pm, Sgt. Berger's sweeping searchlight suddenly flashed across a stationary circular object in the sky. Reverend Miller and later others joined in and observed. This was only the beginning.


Reverend Miller took several photographs. He also took several films which show the object in the searchlight beam.

The filmings were done on request of Reverend Miller, by cameraman Sergeant Leo Davidson of the Norwood Police Department. Filming most of it on October 23, he used three rolls, 25 feet each and a Hugo-Meyer F-19-3" camera with telephoto lens.

Smaller triangle shaped objects seemed to come out of the larger main disc and fly around independently, about five objects to a group. They came down the beam and then turned off. The light beam BENT toward the discs when they were not in the path of the beam.

Commenting on the smaller objects, Davidson said, "they were visibly the size of pinheads but they didn't have the intensity to register clearly on the film". He pointed out, however, that to the naked eye, he and all others present saw two groups of five small objects leaving the parent object, each, with halos, brighter than the searchlight beam. Said Davidson, "we watched each group fade out of view".

Scenes from Norwood Searchlight incident. On left is Sgt. Donald Berger and the 8 million candlepower searchlight which he was operating when he discovered the "space platform". Photo courtesy Cincinnati Post. On right is one of a series of photos showing the searchlight beam illuminating the object which was computed to be 10,000 feet in diameter.



An additional photo was found in the possession of RAY STANFORD, who states: "This is several generations down from the original16 mm movie film, but it seems to rather clearly show that while the beam was projecting several degrees away from the object, when it got within a certain event horizon of the object, it was simply bent or 'pulled' the beam directly into the object, seemingly bending it about26.5 degrees, as measured in the photo plane! This frame has always amazed me since I first saw it in the mid-'50s. Several persons, back then, who had seen the actual movie said that at one time the object seems, indeed, to 'suck' the beam squarely into it!


The Photo Analysis Norwood Searchlight Incident, Ohio August 19,1949


Dr. Richard Haines:
I have digitized the B&W (screened) print you sent and:

1) the UFO is not completely round. The upper-right 1/6th (approx.) is either missing or not illuminated to the same degree as is the lower portion of the object. This suggests that it is not self-luminous. If the photo was taken some distance away (at ground level) from where the searchlight was located then this viewing angle might have caught the upper portion of the object in its own shadow.

2) A diamond screen pattern was used to print the original photo for the newspaper article. Unfortunately, such patterns deletes as much as 50% of the original image in order to increase contrast.

3) I think that this photo still shows the presence of several (about 3) small luminous sources located at about 0.5 to 0.8 UfO diameters from its edge. They barely show up against the screen background since they are so small.

4) The weather on the night this photo was taken was hazy between the ground and the object.

5) It isn't clear whether the round object was seen by virtue of being illuminated by the searchlight or because it gave off its own light.

The various explanations given for the main phenomenon are mostly ludicrous and I intend to say this in my brief review of this incident in my book (CE-5). Why was Sgt. Donald Berger operating the searchlight at all? Did he belong to the Catholic church? Did he only volunteer as a private citizen but knew how to operate it from his military career? Why was he wearing his uniform in the photo? This strongly suggests that he is on official Army duty.

If, as Berger states, he "held the disk in the beam of his ... searchlight for more than an hour," does this mean he had to reposition the beam to keep the UFO illuminated, or that both the beam and the UfO were completely stationary for 60 + minutes? This is an important issue. Lighter-than-air craft of the time could not hover that precisely with or without any local winds. A ground-tethered gas (helium?) balloon could be the cause except that it: !) would be noticed during its launch in daylight hours, 2) would have to be hundreds of feet in diameter. See pg. 153 in my "Project Delta," 1994 for an aerial photo of a huge research balloon in flight. 3) Would be a definite hazard to aviation. How far is this UFO sight from your local airports? Are there any approach or takeoff paths near this site?

so ...what could be the explanation for this object that was seen over a period of 8 months time ? some speculated it was a balloon or just light reflected off the clouds. that seems unlikely as well as any idea that it was a planet or the Moon. could it have been a real ufo ?

[edit on 17-9-2009 by easynow]

posted on Sep, 17 2009 @ 04:06 AM
A very interesting story:

This is what BRuce Maccabee said about it:

>I studied this case when I first came upon it back in the '70's.
>The lack of multiple photos is disappointing. It would be nice
>if there were a photo taken from a distance showing the beam
>going up at a slant angle, similar to the photo from the BOLA
>(Battle of Los Angeles) case where several searchlight beams
>converge on.... something.

>Also, the Norwood case was particularly frustrating to read
>because the detection of the object was a repeatable event for
>several days, yet there was no really scientific study of it.

Actually, the Battle of LA was the first sighting that came to mind after reading the report. Honestly, i also think that it's extremely disappointing that despite the sightings took place so many times, there's some relative lack of evidences: yes, there's something, but of course not what you would expect in case of multiple-witnessed sighting that took place for days and days

But there's a reply by Kenny Young to Bruce Maccabee that raises some doubts about the real reason of the lack of images: basically he implies that some cover up took place

Not so, according to the available information. Dr. Dare A.
Wells, UC physicist, and Professor Paul Herget, U.S. astronomer
(and later "vanguard" of the nation's space program) were
present in Norwood for several 'viewings.'

Herget was present on October 23 and December 20. On the evening
of December 20, Norwood mayor Ed Tepe was there and told Leonard
Stringfield, in an interview several years later, that Herget
and Wells worked closely with two AFOSI agents strangely named
"Eichleberger" and Eichlbarger."

Using the searchlight, a telescope, camera and protractor,
Herget and Wells calculated the object as holding a position 10-
miles up and comprised a mass of 10,000 feet in diameter.

New information on this case suggests that The Cincinnati
Astronomical Society (who we know to be Herget) alerted Wright
Field in nearby Dayton, Ohio and the 123rd Aircraft Control &
Warning Squadron, headquartered at Lunken Field in Cincinnati,
was instructed to check the radar for the object. This
information, according to recent testimony from a squadron
member, informs that the object was confirmed on radar and
closely watched 'round the clock' as it held its position over
Norwood for 30 days prior to its rapid departure out into space
(more info on this to be coming soon, KY)

Full reply
I suggest to read the full reply.

Kenny Young was searching for people who may have seen the UFO in question: it would be interesting to know what he achieved: he was most likely the person who knew more about the case: see
Cincinnati Enquirer On Norwood 'Searchlight UFO' Of 1949
Unfortunately, he passed away on January 31st 2005 due to leukemia

Here's the relevant TheBlackVault entry:

His site ( ) is gone now, i couldn't retrieve it even with web archive.
But I could find this, though, after some search:
which seems to be his last website. Regarding the incident in question, there's some "coming soon" sentence, but i higly doubt anything will come neither the sooner nor the later

[edit on 17/9/2009 by internos]

posted on Sep, 17 2009 @ 12:45 PM
I was hoping the UFO came down and knocked out the search light.

posted on Sep, 17 2009 @ 02:28 PM
reply to post by internos

many thanks to you internos for the reply and the additional information you provided. i agree with you that this is a very interesting story and i agree with Maccabee , it's frustrating to not have more info on this. yes it seems there was somekind of cover up on this case.

While no one among the thousands of Cincinnatians, including the experts, who saw the object, could guess its identity, Harry Mayo of the Post wrote a feature article April 6, 1950 under the headline, "What Glows on Here? Norwood Muses". At the close of the article, Mayo wrote, "Dr. D. A. Wells, professor of physics at the University of Cincinnati, and Paul Herget, U.C. professor of astronomy, took a look. Said Dr. Wells: "In my opinion its an optical illusion". Said Professor Herget, "It's not a fake. I believe it may be caused by the illumination of gas in the atmosphere. We need an explanation to squash people's fears."

i believe the CIA had a ongoing dis info campaign regarding ufo stories to discredit them and i think it's still happening today.

this part about Wright Patterson Air Base being notified and the object was observed on radar is very interesting.

according to recent testimony from a squadron
member, informs that the object was confirmed on radar and
closely watched 'round the clock' as it held its position over
Norwood for 30 days prior to its rapid departure out into space

rapid departure into space ?

posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 03:53 PM
reply to post by easynow

Very interesting case easynow, I am glad you posted this (also thanks to internos for the great additions).The thing that I find very interesting is that the light would bend towards the object. To me that is indicative (possibly) of some type of gravity distortion around the craft (maybe a propulsion side effect?). That is a very important aspect to this case IMHO, one that really discounts a balloon or anything mundane, but yet it falls in line with some of the reported propulsion systems on these UFOs. Very interesting indeed, and I do not think this was a weather balloon or anything mundane, a true unknown. As stated, it is disappointing that this case (as so many others) will likely not get any further attention, but it still adds to the ever growing "pile" of quality cases and can provide the continuing fuel, knowledge, and experience that the UFO community needs. Thanks again for posting.


[edit on 10/16/2009 by jkrog08]

posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 07:50 PM
reply to post by jkrog08

thanks jkrog08,

yes i agree it was not a weather balloon and the light bending is no doubt a strange anomaly. i really don't know what could have caused it. some speculation would be the light was reflecting off the clouds but looking at the pictures it doesn't seem likely.

i thought it was important to post this story since i am sure not many people have heard about it. i just happened to find it by accident and was amazed when i read the object was seen numerous times. it's interesting to note that the Air Force was watching it and it finally disappeared towards space !

this will make a good addition to your ....

Chronological Thread Directory

[edit on 19-10-2009 by easynow]

posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 09:44 AM
Giving this thread a well deserved bump and to link to another light bending UFO case:

The Burkes Flat UFO

posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 02:51 AM
Truly fascinating... The bending of light towards these objects would suggest they are acting in a similar manner to "black holes" where time, space and light are drawn in towards an object of an extremely high gravitational force or gravitational distortion... Excellent thread!

posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 10:05 AM
Norwood , Ohio 1949 UFO Searchlight Incident

Thanks OP. Great work and contributing posts. Love the oldies, especially the reports with real-meat on the bone and I must admit this late-1949 incident is a new one for me.


posted on Feb, 19 2011 @ 05:44 AM

Originally posted by easynow
yes i agree it was not a weather balloon and the light bending is no doubt a strange anomaly...

Hey Easynow, great thread mate and it looks like this is not the only report of a 'light bending' case - here's a descripton of a UFO encounter which occurred around the time of the Westall incident and the witness also states the lightbeams from his car headlights 'veered off' towards the UFO.

See 39:28


edit on 2-11-2019 by karl 12 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 19 2011 @ 05:48 AM
reply to post by karl 12

Apologies - just seen the very comprehensive thread by Chadwickus.

Originally posted by Chadwickus
Giving this thread a well deserved bump and to link to another light bending UFO case:

The Burkes Flat UFO

posted on Nov, 2 2019 @ 03:29 PM
Shortly before his untimely death Ohio researcher Kenny Young discussed the Norwood case and also brought up testimony from an Officer with the 123rd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron describing radar confirmation of a massive object over Norwood (entire unit ordered to keep quiet).

See 5:05

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