Mid-Columbia, where UFOs are born

April 11, 2012 

Intrigued by the UFO report published in the Tri-City Herald on April 1? It seems that the Mid-Columbia has been a hotbed of UFO sightings since the 1940s. Project Blue Book looked into some of the sightings.

Looking for UFOs? Yakima Valley's the best place

Published on April 17, 1977

By Dick Moody, Basin Editor

Mid-Columbians have been looking to the heavens for years and haven't always been able to explain what they see, but they have reported 107 unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in the eight-county area in the last 20 years.

The U.S. Air Force's "Project Blue Book," a document of 12, 750 reports declassified in 1976 contains 44 reports from Mid-Columbia from 1948 through 1969.

Five of those 44 are listed as "unidentified."

"Project blue Book," discontinued in 1969, was operated solely to determine if UFOs presented a threat to national security. It was determined they did not.

Since the demise of the Air Force study, several private organizations, including Phenomena Research of Seattle, continue to document reports of serial observations.

Your best odds for sighting a UFO is the Yakima Valley.

According to reports filed with Phenomena Research in Seattle and the U.S. Air Force's Project Blue Book of 1948-1969, the most reports in the Mid-Columbia region have been in the Yakima Valley.

Toppenish leads with 11 reports. Others are Yakima, 10; Buena, 2; and Sawyer, Granger, Union Gap, Outlook, White Swan, Zillah, Selah, Harrah and Prosser, all with 1.

Walla Walla equals Toppenish with 11. Others are Kennewick, 8; Kahlotus, 7; Larson Air Force Base near Moses Lake, Richland and Pasco, all 6; Moses Lake, 5; Soap Lake and Pendleton, both 4; Heppner, Basin City and Othello, each with 3; Benton City, Hanford and Ephrata, each with 2 and Boardman and Royal City, each with 1.

With the assistance of the Phenomena Research staff and microfilm copies of "Project Blue Book' files the most interesting of the reports include these summaries:

YAKIMA (3-22-52) -- A sighting of an unidentified flying object resembling a large ball of fire which would build up and then fade away, of indefinite shape, indefinite size and red in color was made south of Yakima. An Air Defense Command Alert Aircraft was scrambled on a "Pronto Red One" alert and observed the light which "would appear brilliantly for a period of approximately 43 seconds and then fade out," at 22,500 feed and again and 25,000 feet. Project Blue Book analysis -- "Unidentified."

MOSES LAKE (5-1-52) -- Atomic Energy Commission employees at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation reported seeing a silver object with a fairly slow air speed for about 90 seconds at 5:38 a.m. The object did not have wings and made no sound, leaving no trail or exhaust.

Project Blue Book analysis -- "Unidentified."

WALLA WALLA (6-1-52) -- Observation of one small, oval object with a "definite airfoil" but no visible propulsion system, exhaust or contrail made at 1 p.m. by Air Force reserve officer. Sighting lasted seven seconds. The officer served as a rated pilot during 1942-1945. The object moved rapidly from the southeast to the east at an altitude from 10,000 to 15,000 feet and a speed estimated in excess of 1,800 miles per hour.

Project Blue Book analysis -- "Unidentified."

LARSON AFB (1-18-53) -- Located immediately north of Moses Lake, a green disc, the size of a weather balloon, was observed at 3:15 p.m. by 60 military personnel of the 82nd Fighter-Interceptor Squadron until it disappeared. The disc, though appearing like a weather balloon, was traveling opposite to the direction of the wind. An F-94 aircraft was scrambled but a 30-minute search of the area produced negative intercept results. There was no other air traffic in the area at the time.

Project Blue Book analysis -- "Unidentified."

EPHRATA (4/21/67) --Two businessmen and their wives were returning from a night meeting on a Grant County road near Blue Lake when a brilliantly lighted object hovered before them in the roadway. When the object appeared the auto's engine stopped, the auto's lights and radio became inoperable and remained that way until the object left. Several similar reports made to area newspapers during the week.

HARRAH (11/29/75) --Two farmers were plowing just at sunset when brightly lighted objects moved overhead. A they passed over the tractors without making any sound the alternator pins on the instrument panel jumped to full charge and fluctuated until the objects moved away. When the objects were gone the alternator pins returned to normal.

TOPPENISH (1/27/77) -- A 6-year-old boy observed a disc-shaped object near his home and reported seeing humanoid like creatures. Impressions remained in the ground for several day where the youth reported seeing the disc.

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