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10 Lesser-Known UFO Encounters Of World War II

by Marcus Lowth
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Although there were numerous accounts of “foo-fighters” during the six years of World War II, underneath the sensational reports were encounters that didn’t make it into the public arena until many years later. These sightings were much more specific than mere orbs in the sky, with several even involving encounters with actual flesh and blood beings.

While much of Europe engaged in bloodshed and spreading misery to all corners of the continent, some individuals would experience incidents that perhaps quite literally came from out of this world. Were they close encounters? Were they “war nerves?” You decide.

10 Daniel Leger And The Aviatrix

In July 1943, 21-year-old Frenchman Daniel Leger was on a day’s leave from German compulsory work service at a labor camp near the Baltic Coast of Poland. He would run into a situation that was equal measures strange and fascinating.[1]

He had taken a shortcut to the nearby town of Exelgroud. As he was making his way through the sand dunes, he could make out a strange object sticking out of the sand ahead. In front of it stood a woman with long, blond hair who was dressed all in black. She appeared to be trying to free the metallic object. Believing the woman to be one of the German test pilots from the nearby naval base, he thought it wise for him to back away. Before he could do so, however, she turned her gaze to him.

She spoke to Leger in a language he didn’t understand, but from how she motioned her arms, he understood she wanted him to help her free what he believed to be a top secret German aircraft. He moved forward and proceeded to pull away sand from around the object. After ten minutes or so, the craft was free. The woman’s tone was one of obvious gratitude.

She touched a silver square button on her belt, which opened a doorway in the object. She motioned that he should stand back before she entered the craft, the doorway sliding shut behind her. The UFO began to rise slowly, glowing slightly, before shooting upward and vanishing. Only years later, when more and more reports of UFOs were becoming known, not to mention the exploration of space in the 1950s and 1960s, did Leger begin to believe the woman was quite probably an extraterrestrial and that the top secret aircraft was actually her spaceship.

9 German Fighter Planes Attack ‘Gray Cloud’

The incident with the aviatrix (female pilot) was not Leger’s first strange encounter of an apparently extraterrestrial nature.[2] Two years earlier in 1941, he witnessed, along with many other people of a French village, an object that looked like a “gray cloud” but seemingly had more mass to it. The fact that German fighter planes were following this cloud also brought people’s attention to it.

The planes would take turns engaging the object and attacking it. However, whenever they got within a certain distance from the cloud, their engines would completely shut down, leaving the planes to free-fall away. Only when they had fallen a certain distance would their engines spark back to life, allowing the pilots to regain control.

The one-sided aerial battle would play out before the throng of onlookers below and went on for over an hour. When Leger attempted to research the incident years later, he could find no mention of it in any newspapers, local or national. He reasoned that as the German war machine had full control of such mediums during this time, it is perhaps not surprising that no record of the account—aside from his own—exists.

8 The Revelations Of Charlotte Mann

In early 1941, around 24 kilometers (15 mi) from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, according to the startling information given by Charlotte Mann, her grandfather, Reverend William Huffman, was standing in front of a ruined aircraft unlike any other he had seen.[3] He had been contacted late that evening and asked by the military to attend.

Parts of the craft looked to have broken away during the impact with the ground, although one large “disc-shaped” section was clearly visible and mostly undamaged. It had a metallic look to it and was extremely shiny. Most chilling were the three bodies that lay neatly next to the ruins, having been removed from the crippled ship by the military personnel in attendance. According to what Huffman would tell his family upon returning home, including the 13-year-old Charlotte, the corpses were definitely not human.

Huffman was asked to say prayers and blessings over the bodies. As he did so, he could see that they were covered from “head to foot in what looked like wrinkled aluminum foil.” He also stated that he could see no visible injuries.

Many pictures were taken by plainclothes men who mingled with the military and police. Two of them even held up one of the “little men” under each arm before posing for a picture. Charlotte would state that her grandfather had shown this picture to his family before warning them they must never speak of it again, something that Huffman never did.

7 UFO Crash At Military Base

In 1942, in a location described only as “somewhere north of Georgia,” a UFO crashed right on the grounds of a US military base, causing considerable damage to both the base and the craft.[4]

According to the account, one side of the silver-colored craft was completely torn away, allowing easy viewing into its interior, which was mostly of the same silver color as the exterior. The craft appeared to be separated into three compartments. They were what appeared to be a control room, a cockpit which also contained four separate seats, and a section below the main compartments that had some kind of trapdoor exit—presumably for the beings to leave the vehicle.

Respected UFO researcher Leo Stringfield would bring the account to the public in his book UFO Crash Retrievals: Search For Truth In A Hall Of Mirrors. According to his research, the story was given to him by the anonymous mother of one of the military personnel at the base. Although there have been several secondhand witness statements in relation to this account, no other firsthand accounts have come to light.

6 UFO Retrieval By US Naval Intelligence In Mexico

UFO researcher James Harder states that a UFO crash and retrieval occurred in late 1941 (some sources state around Halloween) in Sonora in Mexico.[5] A US Naval Intelligence team supposedly took control of the downed craft shortly after the incident, moving it to an unknown location inside the United States.

According to Harder’s research, family members of the recovery team were told of the account, with one unnamed nephew of a retrieval team member even claiming to have seen photographs of dead extraterrestrial bodies being held up by his uncle. Speaking with UFO researcher Timothy Good, the witness stated years later that his uncle “was holding up a small, spindly dead body, about three and a half feet tall. The picture had been taken by a friend. A small pile of other small bodies was over to one side. The UFO took up nearly the entire frame.”

It sounds preposterous that such “souvenir pictures” would be taken amid such a situation. However, imagine if the incident had happened today (however bizarre the notion of UFOs might be to you). It is not that much of a stretch to think, particularly given the technological advancements of mobile phones and how many of us use them, that people would act in such a way.

5 UFO Encounter Above Nuclear Plant

In the summer of 1945, only weeks away from the end of World War II, Roland D. Powell was helping to train young pilots in the specifics of aircraft carrier operations. He was also responsible for guarding the top secret plutonium-producing Hanford Engineering Works, which sat around 100 kilometers (60 mi) from Pasco, Washington.[6]

This particular afternoon, the radar at Pasco picked up on an extremely fast-moving object that had since become stationary over the nuclear plant. Powell would be part of the squadron sent out to see what the strange object was. He would later recall it to be “the size of three aircraft carriers” and that it looked extremely streamlined. The estimated altitude was around 19,800 meters (65,000 ft). He would also recall seeing some kind of vapor that would periodically be dispersed from portholes around the edge of the craft.

As the planes—Grumman F6F Hellcats—could only achieve altitude of 11,300 meters (37,000 ft), they were unable to draw level with the mammoth object. They would ultimately return to base, whereupon the lightning-fast object vanished directly upward.

4 Official Documentation Of Massive ‘Mother Ships’

According to an official report made by the Ministry of Defense, following a mission in Turin in December 1942, the entire crew of a Lancaster bomber would witness a huge airborne ship around 60 to 90 meters (200–300 ft) long.[7] Four pairs of red lights were visible on the craft’s underside, and later estimates of its speed would put its pace at around 800 kilometers per hour (500 mph). The object stayed in sight for around five minutes before the lights went out, and it seemingly vanished.

Furthermore, a footnote in the report would indicate that the captain of the bomber stated he had witnessed the same object three months previously during a mission over the skies of Amsterdam. This time, however, the object was below their plane, but the lights were still visible until the craft moved out of view.

Some skeptics have wondered if these particular sightings of “mother ships” were actually secret (at the time) experiments with larger aircraft that would ultimately become the jumbo jets of the modern age. There exists no evidence, official or otherwise, that this was the case, though, and the sightings remain a mystery.

3 UFO Flies Alongside Pilot Off California Coast

As he was flying over the Pacific Ocean on a glorious day off Long Beach, California, on April 5, 1943, pilot Gerry Casey noticed a flash of light in the direction of Santiago Mountain.[8] He quickly realized a craft was coming toward him, which he would later describe as being “unlike any airplane [he’d] ever seen.” He noticed how it began to wobble slightly in the air, and then in an instant, it was just off the left wing.

A student was also in the plane. However, he was practicing “blind flying” (where the student places a hood over his head and relies solely on the navigation equipment) and was unaware of anything out of the ordinary. Casey ordered him to come out from under the hood.

The strange craft was now flying alongside them. Casey reached for his camera, but just before he was about to take a picture, the thought occurred to him that the “propeller-less” plane might be a secret experimental craft. If this was the case, he believed he might face penalties, even charges, from his superiors for photographing military secrets. He put the camera away.

The craft then made a “curved turn” toward the ocean and shot off out of sight. Both Casey and his student would later estimate the speed to be somewhere close to 11,200 kilometers per hour (7,000 mph) and reckoned that the entire encounter lasted no longer than 90 seconds. Much like Daniel Leger, who we mentioned at the beginning of this list, Casey wouldn’t make the connection to what he saw being an otherworldly craft until years later when other reports made him reexamine his own encounter.

2 UFO Forces Soviet Pilots To Abandon Bombing Mission

Soviet pilots Boris Surikov and Major Bajenov, during a 1944 bombing mission targeting oil refineries in Romania utilized by the Germans, each noticed a strange and unusual craft fly toward them out of nowhere.[9] Their position was in what is now Southwest Ukraine.

Each thought the UFO to be one of the “new German weapons” that newspapers were reporting around the world, although Surikov would later state that neither of them had “seen anything like [it].” When Surikov spoke of the incident years later, he would liken the object to the space shuttles used by the United States.

Surikov would also tell how their plane (which was of considerable size and bulk in its own right) began to shake erratically. The oil pressure began to shoot upward, and Surikov stated he could feel a “strong electrostatic charge” whenever he leaned too close to the cockpit window. Each pilot was equally concerned with the full bombload their plane carried as they were with the bizarre object outside.

The huge craft would move away from them at speed after only a few minutes, but the effects it had on their plane continued. Finally, Bajenov, being the higher-ranking pilot, gave the command to jettison their payload immediately. Each pilot agreed to say nothing of the incident, and in particular of dropping their bombs before reaching their target, not only for fear of mocking by their fellow pilots but also for fear of reprimand by their superiors.

1 Madeleine Arnoux’s Humanoid Sighting

Surely one of the most bizarre sightings is that of 13-year-old Madeleine Arnoux, who in the summer of 1944, while picking berries in the small village of Le Verger in France, witnessed not only a strange flying object but also its astonishing humanoid occupants.[10]

Madeleine, who spoke about the incident years later, stated the object to be a dull, metallic gray color and “about the size of a small car.” Beside the object, she could clearly see strange beings, about 1 meter (3 ft) high and dressed in “sort of brown-colored overalls.”

She noticed how the atmosphere around her had suddenly changed to an electric “thundery state.” More worrying for the young girl was her inability to move despite her desperately wanting to. All the while, the beings in front gave no indication that they were aware of her presence and went about their business—whatever they were doing.

Suddenly, her body obeyed her commands, and she ran toward her bike several meters away. By the time she had bent down to pick it up and stood upright again, the beings and their strange craft were nowhere to be seen.

Over the years, Madeleine has discounted those who have wondered whether she may have seen German soldiers, or perhaps members of the French Resistance, or even that she imagined the whole incident, stating had it been soldiers or resistance members (who she had encountered relatively frequently), they would have approached her. And as for imagining it, in her words, “I know what I saw!”


Read more about UFO sightings from the past on 10 Fascinating Early UFO Sightings and 10 UFO Sightings That Predate The 1900s.

fact checked by Jamie Frater
Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a passion for anything interesting, be it UFOs, the Ancient Astronaut Theory, the paranormal or conspiracies. He also has a liking for the NFL, film and music.

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