Talk:1952 Washington, D.C. UFO incident

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Cold War (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Cold War, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the Cold War on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Note icon
This article has been marked as needing immediate attention.
WikiProject Paranormal (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon This article falls under the scope of WikiProject Paranormal, which aims to build a comprehensive and detailed guide to the paranormal and related topics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, you can edit the attached article, help with current tasks, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and discussions.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.

Photo Links for Article[edit]

I don't know how to add photos to articles, but listed below are links to a couple of photos that would, imo, enhance the article. The first photo is of controller Harry Barnes looking over a radar, I've seen this photo in numerous books and it was published in TIME magazine in a 1952 article about the sightings. The other photo is a Washington Post headline about the jets chasing the UFOs. If anyone is interested and knows how to add the photos to the article, they're welcome to do so. Cheers!

Barnes Photo:,i:139

Washington Post Headline:,i:90 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:30, 23 February 2013 (UTC)


Thanks for adding this article! Puddytang 06:15, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Military Response[edit]

The military actually played "Cat and mouse" by chasing the UFOs and some jets were chased by the UFOs. 22:24, 6 April 2007 (UTC)


Can someone add some photos to this? I've seen several shots with the UFOs and the Capitol building in the same frame.

The UFO Book[edit]

Good article, easy to read, thanks for the info, but ... aren't there any other sources than "The UFO Book" on this incident? Some additional readings or external links would be helpful. Thanks! 12:29, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Much of the information from "The UFO Book" are direct quotes from primary sources. There is a reference section at the bottom of the article which lists other sources and additional readings. User: Populism

I agree with the OP here: this article is almost entirely dependent on the writings contained within one book–24 quotes by my count, with only two from one other source (and one of those is just a reprint of a newspaper headline)-and that's unacceptable. This article is simply an extension of one individual's work, which renders it poorly sourced. The judicious use of third-party accounts in Grant's book is neither here nor there. To be blunt: filtering a thousand third-party accounts through one person only results in one person's output. Grant chooses the quotes, how they are presented, the context they are placed in, even the people whose quotes are used. He has entire control over the sources of information, and the way that information is passed on. In essence, this article asks us to trust the opinion of an individual they've most likely never met, and will never meet. So, it becomes an exercise in faith and belief, and not objectivity based on empirical evidence. SiR GadaBout (talk) 12:07, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

The article has been updated to include other sources besides Jerome Clark. Currently, Clark's book is mentioned 14 times, Ruppelt's book is mentioned 13 times, Peebles is mentioned 8 times, and Michaels is noted twice. Peebles is an aviation historian for the Smithsonian and a prominent UFO skeptic, Ruppelt was an Air Force officer who supervised the Air Force's Project Blue Book from 1951-53, and Clark is a UFO historian whose work "The UFO Book" won the 1998 Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association. In other words, all three would appear to be credible sources. Also, such mainstream publications as the Associated Press, The Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and a CIA report are sourced as well. Thus, since the article does now use a variety of sources, the "one source" tag has been deleted. (talk) 15:07, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

The article has undergone a major edit of its sources. Jerome Clark is now cited only 3 times. Instead, mainstream news media sources such as The Washington Post, congressional testimony using transcripts taken from the website of the well-known skeptical organization National Capital Area Skeptics, and the Condon Report, are now used in place of Clark. The 3 remaining citations from Clark all appear to be reliable, given as they are taken from newspaper sources.2602:304:691E:5A29:E5C3:C37C:1156:2BB9 (talk) 03:46, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Can you spot what's wrong with this?[edit]

By coincidence, USAF Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, the supervisor of the Air Force's Project Blue Book investigation into the UFO mystery, was in Washington at the time. However, he did not learn about the sightings until Tuesday, July 22, when he read the headlines in a Washington-area newspaper. After talking with intelligence officers at The Pentagon about the sightings, Ruppelt spent several hours trying to obtain a staff car to investigate the sightings, but was refused as only generals and senior colonels could use staff cars. He was told that he could rent a taxicab with his own money; by this point Ruppelt was so frustrated that he left Washington and flew back to Blue Book's headquarters at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio (Ruppelt, 162). Ruppelt did speak with an Air Force radar specialist, Captain Roy James, who felt that unusual weather conditions could have caused the radar targets (Ruppelt, 163). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:58, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Here is the actual passage regarding Ruppelt's difficulties in getting a staff car, quoted verbatim, from Ruppelt's memoir The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, page 162:

"Feeling like a national martyr because I planned to work all night if necessary, I laid the course of my investigation. I would go to Washington National Airport, Andrews AFB, airlines offices, the weather bureau, and a half-dozen other places scattered all over the capital city. I called the transportation section at the Pentagon to get a staff car but it took me only seconds to find out that the regulations said no staff cars except for senior colonels or generals. Colonel Bower tried - same thing. General Samford and General Garland were gone, so I couldn't get them to try to pressure a staff car out of the hillbilly who was dispatching vehicles. I went down to the finance office - could I rent a car and charge it as a travel expense? No - city buses are available. But I didn't know the bus system and it would take me hours to get to all the places I had to visit, I pleaded. You can take a cab if you want to pay for it out of your per diem was the answer. Nine dollars a day per diem and I should pay for a hotel room, meals, and taxi fares all over the District of Columbia. Besides, the lady in finance told me, my travel orders to Washington covered only a visit to the Pentagon...I couldn't talk to the finance officer, the lady informed me, because he always left at 4:30 to avoid the traffic and it was now exactly five o'clock and she was quitting. At five-one I decided that if saucers were buzzing Pennsylvania Avenue in formation I couldn't care less. I called Colonel Bower, explained my troubles, and said that I was through. He concurred, and I caught the next airliner to Dayton." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:36, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Inaccurate Video Information?[edit]

In the opening paragraph to the article it states: "The incident has also resulted in a famous piece of UFO footage known as the "Washington Merry-Go-Round", which has seen wide circulation." The link to the "footage" is to youtube, but several statements there claim that the video (bright lights flying over the Capitol Dome) is actually FX from a "History Channel" documentary, and is thus not "real" UFO footage. I have read a good deal about this incident, and while it was called the "Washington Merry-Go-Round" by some of the participants, I had never seen or heard of such video footage associated with the 1952 "Washington Merry-Go-Round" until this statement. The video does look more like CGI for a documentary than actual footage of the 1952 incident. If so it needs to be deleted and the claim that it is "real" video footage from the incident needs to be deleted as well. Just a thought. Unsigned comment.

I agree. I have seen the footage on History Channel documentaries. The footage cited in the article is just a CG recreation. I have removed the citation to it in the article.Watonga (talk) 02:13, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

  • Can we perhaps mention something about that in the article - that video and still photos from it crop up all over the place - just search for this article on Google and look at the images. Same with YouTube. - (talk) 14:34, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

--JeffGBot (talk) 17:48, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

I corrected the link to the CIA website article; it should now work correctly. 2602:304:691E:5A29:911A:AC9E:205D:E74F (talk) 23:16, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Actual photos?[edit]

In any of the newspapers of that time was photos attached? Any kind of officialy accepted photo of the phenomena was taken? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:16, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm not aware of any photos that were taken of the "UFOs" themselves; at least not any that were published or publicized. There are some newspaper photos of Harry Barnes and the Washington National radar personnel during the incidents, and photos of the Air Force's July 29 press conference. (talk) 01:53, 11 December 2012 (UTC)