Just as mysterious is a phenomenon that pervaded the war in both the European and Pacific theaters in the form of myriad unexplainable occurrences collectively known as “Foo Fighters.” These typically took the form of inexplicable orbs, lights, glows, and “balls of fire” that darted about in the war-torn skies with inhuman maneuverability to startle even the most experienced pilots, and which were first seen from around 1944. One of the earliest Allied accounts was from Army Air Major William D. Leet, who in December of 1944 was on a mission aboard a B-17 near the Adriatic Sea when he and his crew saw something up there in the clouds that did not belong, a small disc that seemed to defy all laws of physics in its movements and which tracked them for some time. In that very same month another pilot with the 415 Night Fighter Squadron over Hagenau, Germany had his own encounter with glowing orange balls in the sky, saying:
Upon reaching our altitude they leveled off and stayed on my tail. After staying with the plane for two minutes, they peeled off and turned away, flying under perfect control, and then went out.
Another early report is that of Charles R. Bastien, of the Eighth Air Force, who said that he had seen “two fog lights flying at high rates of speed that could change direction rapidly” while on a mission over the region of Belgium. In another report over the Indian Ocean one of the crew of a U.S. B-29 Superfortress says they saw something very unusual near the plane, saying of the bizarre experience: A strange object was pacing us about 500 yards (475 m) off the starboard wing. At that distance it appeared as a spherical object, probably five or six feet in diameter, of a very bright and intense red or orange… it seemed to have a halo effect. My gunner reported it coming in from about a 5 o’clock position (right rear) at our level. It seemed to throb or vibrate constantly. Assuming it was some kind of radio-controlled object sent to pace us, I went into evasive action, changing direction constantly, as much as 90 degrees and altitude of about 2,000 feet (600 m). It followed our every maneuver for about eight minutes, always holding a position about 500 yards (475m) out and about 2 o’clock in relation to the plane. When it left, it made an abrupt 90 degree turn, accelerating rapidly, and disappeared into the overcast. Such sightings became rather common and occurred all over the place, often seen by entire crews, and with none of these experienced airmen able to find a rational explanation for what they had seen. The objects were also picked up quite frequently by radar crews and air traffic control, who often claimed that they would accelerate rapidly or vanish from view for no reason.
Many pilots tried to take evasive maneuvers but this never really worked, and the occasional attempts to shoot the lights down were equally unsuccessful. These were beyond our comprehension. Sightings of the Foo Fighters were well reported in the press at the time, and became so numerous that they were obviously not simply a figment of the imagination, and what they could be was heavily speculated upon. The most common explanation was that they were some sort of experimental German aircraft, but this didn’t seem to fit as the mysterious objects were nonthreatening and never seemed to take any aggressive action, and it would also turn out that enemy forces had been seeing the exact same kind of things, which they had conversely thought to be experimental aircraft of the Allies. Other explanations have included that they were the result of some sort of atmospheric phenomenon such as electrical discharges called St. Elmo’s fire, that they were ball lightning or an electromagnetic disturbance, that they were merely afterimages of flashes from explosions, and of course that they were alien UFOs, but the strange phenomenon of the Foo Fighters of World War II has never been fully explained and remains a mystery. NOTE: The above image is CGI.
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