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No. 117: May-June 1998

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Foo Fighters Recalled

U.S. airmen called them "foo fighters." These still-unexplained luminous phenomena seem to have been filed away and forgotten by science. It is not that good evidence is lacking. Perhaps the foo fighters cannot be encompassed by recognized laws of physics! We last reported on them in 1992 (SF#83), when some old Air Force records turned up. We now re-resurrect the foo fighters with an Associated Press Bulletin from 1945.

"AMERICAN NIGHT FIGHTER BASE. France, Jan. 1. -- The Germans have thrown something new into the night skies over Germany -- the weird, mysterious "foo-fighter," balls of fire that race alongside the wings of American Beaufighters flying intruder missions over the Reich.
"American pilots have been encountering the eerie "foo-fighter" for more than a month in their night flights. No one apparently knows what this sky weapon is.
"The balls of fire appear suddenly and accompany the planes for miles. They appear to be radio-controlled from the ground and keep up with planes flying 300 miles an hour, official intelligence reports reveal.
"There are three kinds of these lights we call 'foo-fighters,'" Lieut. Donald Meiers of Chicago said. "One is red balls of fire which appear off our wing tips and fly along with us; the second is a vertical row of three balls of fire which fly in front of us; and the third is a group of about fifteen lights which appear off in the distance -- like a Christmas tree up in the air -- and flicker on and off."

.....

"A 'foo-fighter' picked me up recently at 700 feet and chased me twenty miles down the Rhine Valley," Lieutenant Meiers said. "I turned to starboard and two balls of fire turned with me. I turned to the port side and they turned with me. We were going 260 miles an hour and the balls were keeping right up with us."

(Anonymous; "Balls of Fire Stalk U.S. Fighters in Night Assaults over Germany," New York Times, January 2, 1945. Cr. M. Piechota.)

From Science Frontiers #117, MAY-JUN 1998. 1998-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987