The Cold War was a hard time on the people of Washington D.C. Fears of communist infiltration and the potential for innocent people to get caught up in the terror were regular nightmares in the District and the city’s first steps into integration were not terribly painless either. Every day, the residents of the city knew that if the bombs dropped, their city was first on the target list.
During this time Washington D.C. never really needed monsters and phantasms to frighten people. Yet in the sweltering July of 1952, something strange and inexplicable did happen in Washington D.C. that terrified the residents.
It was one of the most famous incidents of UFO sightings in American history. On 19 July 1952, seven sharp and fast moving blips were found on the radar stations of both the military installation of Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s county and the civilian Washington National Airport flying over restricted airspace.
With such high paranoia in the air, it was unsurprising that this was instantly considered a potential national security emergency. The blips appeared seemingly out of nowhere, in less than ten seconds in fact, and one air traffic controller at Washington National Airport even reported seeing a bright glowing orange object glowing in the sky, surging past his post and disappearing straight into the heart of Washington D.C. airspace.
The radar continued to follow the objects and they fanned out in an apparent planned maneuver and two flew over the White House and a third surged over the Capitol Building. With such a potential threat easily slipping into some of the most highly secured airspace on the planet, the United States Air Force scrambled every jet it could get to intercept the invaders. However, the jets were flying in from Newcastle, Delaware because the runway at Andrews Air Force Base was being repaired.
The jets didn’t make it in time to see anything before the blips disappeared, but one civilian pilot did, also describing a bright orange light in the sky. The strange blips on the radar then disappeared, only to return five minutes later, again marked by sightings of bright lights and one report of flying disks. When it all happened again a week later, with even more sightings of lights and disks this time around, Washington D.C. knew that something was amiss. Then, as quickly as they arrived, the mysterious sights simply vanished into the mists of mystery.