By George Eberhart
UFO Report 1976
Captain De Haven watched the object through his spyglass as it drifted over the ice-packed sea to the north. At first, it looked like a kite, but when Chief Medical Officer Elisha Kane saw the UFO, he was convinced it was a balloon.
Indeed, there was a second, smaller object below it that seemed to be attached. The wind was blowing from the southeast and the object slowly floated out of sight to the icy north. The time was 6:30 p.m., Sept. 15, 1850.
The officers thought the object was a signal balloon from one of the ships of Sir John Franklin, who had disappeared in the Canadian Arctic five years earlier.
But De Haven’s ship, the Advance, was in the Wellington Channel and, although no one knew it at the time, Franklin’s men were then trekking overland some 400 miles to the southwest.
As far as anyone knows, this was the first UFO sighting in the Arctic in modern times. And it seems tQ. have been a genuine “unknown,” for there were no other ships for miles around that could have launched any balloons.
Today the Arctic is dotted with U.S. and Canadian radar stations that are constantly on guard for aircraft and missiles entering North American airspace. Although one usually hears that UFOs are more common over sparsely-settled areas, very few UFO sightings have been reported from these northern bases. This could mean that the Arctic wastelands are somehow different from other wildernesses where reports are more common, but it is more likely that our military authorities never make their UFO sightings public.
Reports do leak out, however.
Around midnight on Jan. 22, 1952, a strange object was tracked on radar at a military outpost in northern Alaska.
The radar clocked it approaching at 1,500 miles per hour, a speed that was not attained until almost two years later by the X-1 A aircraft. Since this was the height of the Cold War no one was taking any chances, and three F-94 jets were immediately scrambled to see what the thing was.
When the jets approached, the radar blip slowed down to a hover. One of the F-94s made four passes to within 200 yards of where the object should have been-but saw nothing. After the fourth pass the unidentified blip streaked out of radar range to the west.
The Air Force explained the sighting as “freak weather,” but the target was a distinct, bright image-not a vague blob like distant radar reflections from a layer of warm air.
On the other side of the continent, radar men at the Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station at Thule, Greenland, got the scare of their lives Oct. 5, 1960, when they saw on their screens what seemed to be a Soviet missile attack.
Within minutes U.S. bases in England and Canada were mobilized, and NORAD and the Strategic Air Command were alerted, but what exactly happened has never been clarified. The mysterious .radar blips suddenly changed course and disappeared before U.S. and Canadian commanders could decide what to do.
One report said the radar signals were misread by the station’s computers while a later report claimed the radar had picked up signals that had bounced back from the moon. It was also announced that at the time of the alert an iceberg had cut the underwater cable that linked Thule to bases in the U.S. hampering communications. The entire case is very confusing and no satisfactory answer was ever given for the mysterious sighting.
One of the most unusual UFO theories ever formulated suggests that UFOs originate in the center of the Earth and emerge from openings in the North and South Poles.
The Hollow Earth Theory is older than UFOs, however. As early as 1692, Sir Edmund Halley, discoverer of the famous comet, postulated a hollow void in the center of the Earth having an entrance and Arctic UFO’s have been keeping the military busy since 1945. Alaska’s first UFO came not from the sky but from the sea near the Aleutian island of Adak in March of that year central nucleus or “sun” responsible for compass variations. Similar ideas were also held by 18th Century Swiss physicist, Leonard Euler, and Cotton Mather, American clergyman, and author who lived at the end of the 17th Century. But the man responsible for the concept of “holes-in-the-poles” leading to the center of the Earth was John Cleves Symmes, an infantry captain in the War of 1812 who later established a trading post at St. Louis.
Symmes believed that the Earth was composed of five concentric spheres with spaces in between. Each sphere had its own atmosphere and inhabitants who lived on both the convex and concave sides. An explorer could reach these regions by entering large openings at the North and South Poles.
Symmes was so convinced of these openings that he managed to talk millionaire James McBride of Miami, Ohio, into contacting Rep. Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky about his theory.
Johnson, who later was elected Vice President under Martin Van Buren, startled everyone in 1823 by proposing that Congress finance an expedition to claim the interior lands for the U.S.
The petition was shelved, however, because Congress had its hands full consolidating U.S. territory in the West.
By 1829, Symmes had even convinced Samuel L. Southard, Secretary of the Navy, that a trip to the South Pole was in order, but the proposed expedition was vetoed by President Jackson.
Symmes’s banner was taken up by many others. William Reed claimed, among other things, that the aurora borealis was a “reflection upon the clouds, ice, and snow of a burning volcano, prairie, or forest fire in the interior of the Earth.” Reed thought that there was or” n water at the North Pole and if explorers sailed far enough north they would sail right into the interior without noticing the change.
In 1913, Marshall B..Gardner claimed that Robert Peary could never have been to the North Pole. If he had really been there, Gardner said, he would have discovered open water, warmer temperatures, and, of course, the polar opening, which Gardner thought was 1,400 miles in diameter. Gardner also believed that mammoths originally lived in the center of the Earth, and the ones found frozen in the Arctic had inadvertently wandered out.
Modern Hollow Earth theorists propose that UFOs are built and manned by civilizations from/ the Earth’s core.
The leading American proponent is Ray Palmer, who in 1970 published a photograph taken by the U.S. weather satellite ESSA-7 over the North Pole.
The photo shows a dark, circular area that Palmer claims is free of ice and is none other than “the Hole.” It seems more likely that the area in question is merely free of cloud cover. Nonetheless, the British Hollow Earth Society headed by Albert McDonald still keeps the theory alive, and a few UFO groups have adopted it.
While UFO sightings are not widely reported in the Arctic, word does leak out about strange incidents. One aerial puzzle that might possibly be related to them is the mirage of the “Silent City.”
Near the Muir Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, the mirage of a city has occasionally been seen in the sky. The Indians of the area, who call the vision the Silent City, have known it for generations. In 1887, a prospector named Willoughby succeeded in taking a photograph of the city, which he saw suspended in the air in front of the Fairweather Range. It first appeared as a glow of light but graduallly became more distinct until it stretched into the far distance. He could see cathedrals, many large buildings; and trees, all framed in a halo of light. Gradually the vista faded into nothingness. Willoughby apparently made quite a bit of money from selling his photograph as a sort of tourist souvenir. One of the people who saw the photo, W. G. Stuart of the Wells Fargo Company, recognized the scene as a section of Bristol, England. And since it was later discovered that Willoughby had previously been to England, the photo was declared a hoax.
But many others have also seen the mirage. Another photograph of the Silent City was supposed to have been taken by a man named Taber, who saw the mirage reflected in a pan of mercury.
His photo shows several large buildings, one like a coliseum and another similar to a mosque.
The mirage is said to appear regularly each year between June 21st and July 10th. Israel C. Russell described it in 1891 as a “vast city, with battlements, towers, minarets, and domes of fantastic architecture, rising where we all knew the berg-covered waters extended.”
The traveler L. B. French saw the spectral city in 1889: ·”We could plainly see houses, well-defined streets, and trees. Here and there rose tall spires over huge buildings which appeared to be ancient mosques or cathedrals. It was a large city, one which would contain at least 100,000 inhabitants.”
It was seen by members of the expedition to Mt. St. Elias in August 1897, headed by Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi, and various other tourists and expeditions up to about 1901. We have no record of its appearance since then.
According to the Glacier Bay park naturalist, the unusual conditions of fog and water can cause severe visual distortion, creating “cliffs” and “islands” where none exist. But the Silent City must have been more impressive than most mirages. It’s probably too late to determine whether the photographs are genuine or not, but if the mirage is still around it can be photographed again.
There are several similar mirages found elsewhere in the world, but they can usually be traced to a nearby city. The nearest large settlement to Glacier Bay is Juneau, which is about 50 miles away, but in the late 19th Century it was only a small mining town, hardly big enough for its mirage to be described as “vast.”
Arctic UFOs have been keeping the military busy since 1945. Alaska’s first UFO came not from the sky but from the sea near the Aleutian island of Adak in March of that year. Fourteen crew members of the U.S. Army Transport ship watched the object emerge from a location about a mile away The UFO then approached the ship, circled it, and flew away to the south, vanishing in three flashes of light.
In July 1947, two officers at Fort Richardson near Anchorage, watched a spherical object fly through the sky at a tremendous speed. It seemed to be 1O feet in diameter and it left no vapor trail.
Eight disc-shaped UFOs were photographed by Mikel Konrad as they landed about 50 miles north of Juneau in April 1950. And that same year in September, George R. Peck took an apparently double-exposed photo of four lights in the sky at Adak.
A huge disc passed over Anchorage on Apr. 14, 1952, and three vapor trails were seen at Nome two days later.
Vapor trails again put in an appearance over the Brooks Range in north Alaska on the 16th, and the Air Force listed them as unexplained.
Sightings came trickling in throughout the 1950s. Planes at Elmendorf Air Force Base chased a bright red light that appeared near Anchorage twice in February 1953. A glowing UFO made four quick passes across Cook Inlet the night of Apr. 21 , 1954, before racing away.
In 1956, Soviet pilot Valentin Akkuratov was flying over Kap Jesup, Greenland, conducting some “strategic ice reconnaissance.” The sky was predominantly cloudy, but when he broke into clear weather he saw a UFO similar to a pearl-colored lens on his. left flying parallel to his own course. And when he changed course to approach it, the object made a similar maneuver. After 15 minutes the UFO changed direction again and sped off into the sky at an “impossible speed.”
On Aug. 13, 1957, Eskimos in the village of Niaqornarssuk, Greenland, observed a silvery, elliptical object drifting in the sky from the east. It was first seen by some children at one p.m., and by 8 o’clock the whole town had seen it.
Two lights shone out from the . object, one blue-green and the other red. On September 24th Qapak Jeremiassen saw a red object zipping through the sky from east to west at midnight.
A similar UFO with red lights passed over a school in Kodiak, Alaska, as a policeman picked up interference on his cruiser radio the night of Nov. 4, 1957.
A rare sighting in the northern wasteland took place in February 1959.
Some trappers 200 miles east of Umiat, Alaska, saw a red disc-shaped object bobbing close to the ground. Then it circled and sped away.
Airline employees at Nome spotted a silvery, tube-shaped UFO on Feb. 14, 1960. The object appeared from the direction of Siberia and sped to the southeast with orange flame spouting from its tail. Observers at Nome said it traveled at a tremendous speed at an altitude of 2,000 feet and appeared to be ” manned and controlled.” A spokesman for NORAD in Colorado Springs, Colo., confirmed the Nome reports and mentioned that a similar object was seen at Unalakleet, moving rapidly to the northwest. The Air For e was also unable to explain two other apparently controlled UFOs that maneuvered above Palmer, Alaska, on May 27, 1962.
As more people visited and settled in Alaska during the 1960s, more people saw UFOs. Barty Andersson took a color photograph of an object that was hovering above the opposite shore of the Russian River on July 5, 1965. His slide shows an orange-colored spiral which is reflected in the waters of the river.
Toward the end of August 1965, a large disc hovered in the sky at Hyder, , Alaska, for more than eight hours, speeding away at 800 miles per hour around 10:30 p.m. And a buzzing UFO was seen at Ward Lake the following September.
During a power failure at Barrow in 1967, residents observed an object with red and white flashing lights. And that same year UFOs were seen in the Chugach Mountains.
The scene then shifted to northern Canada in late 1967. An object making 90-degree turns was seen on November 15th by an airport weather observer at Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories. Although the observation lasted only 30 seconds, the maneuvers of the UFO included drastic speed variations and right-angle turns.
On Jan. 2, 1968, Tom Banks and Errol Smyth reported a low-flying, orange yellow light near Whitehorse in the Yukon. They were riding their snowmobiles when they saw the UFO, which was brighter than the sun, hovering at treetop level. Banks felt “unusual heat” and his snowmobile stopped running until the object disappeared.
On Feb. 19, 1968, a woman was outside Fort Norman in the Northwest Territories chopping wood in the bush when her dog team became extremely nervous and excited. As she went over to quiet them she saw a huge, bright orange ball of fire moving over the Canadian National RR telephone lines nearby. She drove her team quickly into town without seeing the object again.
The crewmen of the cargo boat Teel were plagued by a similar globe of light at Hawk Inlet, Alaska, on December 15th and 16th, in 1968. The first night it soared in the sky for more than two hours and then landed and floated on the water for some time, after which it slowly rose _and disappeared behind some mountains. Ken Marlowe, the Teel’s owner, said the ball was about 20 feet in diameter and had two smaller globes above it, all giving off a “pure white light.” The next night the light hovered 70 feet directly above the Teel.
Marlowe found that the boat’s batteries and diesel engine had conked out until the object moved away 15 minutes later.
What may have been the same globe of light hovered 1,000 feet above the vessel Nore! in Prince William Sound. It moved in from the mountains early on the morning of Jan. 16, 1969, and stayed visible for 25 minutes. Charles McCracken and boat owner William Webber, saw two rows of white lights with a red light near the center as they viewed the object through binoculars.
Quite a different type of UFO landed near St. Michael, Alaska, on Aug. 17, 1972. Eskimo scout Sgt. John Cheemuk and his wife saw a football-shaped object with a cockpit and red lights land for five minutes. The Army Corps of Engineers went to the site and found a hole three feet in diameter and two inches deep. Army Capt. Tom William’s reported finding charred grass at the bottom of the hole when he came to take photos and soil samples.
Twenty people at Stebbins, a short distance away, had seen another UFO on the 16th.
The Eskimos of the Arctic regions have apparently encountered UFOs in the past and incorporated them into their myths. A Buckland River Eskimo once came across, what sounds suspiciously like a UFO landing site. On two necks of land separated by the winding river was a path about two feet wide where willows and undergrowth had been burned off close to the ground. There were no human or animal tracks nearby in the soft soil. The Eskimo attributed the trail to a giant worm that is said to live in the rivers.
The vegetation was burned, he thought when the worm stretched its body overland to avoid swimming upstream.
Eskimos on Sledge Island tell the story of a great ball of fire like the moon that came from the sky. Shortly after the object was seen, a creature like a “human skeleton” came to the Eskimo vilage and slaughtered most of the inhabitants.
Around Hudson Bay, Eskimos tell the story of a woman who was struck by a fireball that came shooting down from the sky. The woman saw everything grow very light within her and she glimpsed the spirit of the meteor, who had “two kinds of bodies, that rushed all glowing through space; one side was like a bear, the other was like a human being; the head was that of a human being with the tusks of a bear.” She then lost consciousness, but when she awoke she found that she had become a great magician and could prophesize and heal the sick. Shortly before her death she held a great seance and brought all varieties of wild game from somewhere in the interior of the Earth so the Eskimos would not starve that winter.
The Greenland Eskimos also believe in a land in the center of the Earth, but the road to it is long and difficult. At one point you have to slide down a rocky cliff for five days. Dwarfs called ingneriugjet live in the Earth, some good, others evil, and th!:ly occasionally come to the surface via mounds of turf.
In other regions these dwarfs are called iserak, and medicine men sometimes see them disappearing into fissures in the rocks where they live.
Eskimos who have been captured by them have found strange implements at their dwellings which look like the mirrors used by white men. They glitter like mica, and when an ise’rak looks through them he can see events which are happening a great distance away.
Eskimos of the St. Michael area sometimes see dwarf people on the neighboring tundra. These little men usually carry bows and arrows and disappear into the ground when approached.
Deer hunters come across their tracks occasionally near the Pikmiktalik Mountains. In ancient times these same dwarfs showed the Eskimos how to bury their dead, instead of throwing the bodies on the tundra for animals as they did in former times. The drawfs also showed them how to build more sturdily-constructed sleds.
The tinmiukpuk, or thunderbird, was an enormous eagle that fed on whales and caribou . According to Norton Sound Eskimos, these birds looked like clouds in the sky when they flew and their wings made sounds like thunder.
The last pair of them lived on an old volcano south bf lkogmut, but they were killed by an intrepid Eskimo hunter avenging the abduction of his wife.
And it should be noted that the Eskimos believe the Earth was created by the Raven Father, who came from the sky where his father and another strange race of dwarf people lived. The Raven made things on Earth so much like those in the sky that Eskimo medicine men still pretend to replenish species of earthly animals with sky animals when they visit the Sky Land.
Eskimos other than medicine men are able to visit Sky Land, especially pregnant women, those who have broken certain taboos, and women that some sky-person has fancied. Some of these latter are even said to have had children by a “moon spirit.”
The Eskimos call those persons who have visited this aerial place pavungnartut, or “those who rise up into heaven,” which seems to correspond to our word “contactee.” In the Sky Land live people who eat and play games like everyone else and they have a sort of peephole where they can look down and see what people on Earth are doing. But if a pavungnartut should eat any of the food offered him in the Sky Land, he would never be able to return to Earth.
The Eskimo Sky Land bears distinct resemblance not only to the space voyages of modern contactees, but also to Celtic and Germanic myths of a “fairyland.” Numerous Irish tales speak of humans who have visited fairyland either willingly or because they have been abducted by these creatures.
Pregnant women and young mothers are often specially selected so that the fairies can substitute a fairy child (a changeling) for the real one. And if you are taken by the fairies, according to the Irish, you must not taste any food offered you, or you will become a fairy yourself and never return to Earth.
The North American Arctic is a good place to observe UFOs. Crystal-clear atmospheric conditions, sparsely populated country, and an excellent radar network should all encourage excellent UFO observations. However, the secrecy of the military with regard to unexplained blips tracked by NORAD radar and the more primitive communication and transportation systems in the North tend to hinder reports of many UFO sightings.
Perhaps the construction of the Alaskan pipeline will bring more UFO sightings to us from the northern wasteland!