The 701 Club: Case 2022: September 1, 1952 Marietta, GA
The case actually encompasses many reports filed on the same date, the same general area, and roughly the same time. Don Berlinner lists these cases as follows:
Sept. l, 1952; Marietta, Georgia. 10:50 p.m. Witness: ex-AAF B-25 gunner. Two large white disc-shaped objects with green vapor trails flew in trail formation, merged, flew away very fast.
Sept. 1, 1952; Marietta, Georgia. 10:30 p.m. Witness: one unidentified person using binoculars. Two large objects shaped like spinning tops and displaying red, blue and green colors, flew side by side, leaving a sparkling trail for 30 minutes.
Sept. 1, 1952; Atlanta, Georgia. 9:43 p.m. Witnesses: Mrs. William Davis and nine other persons. One light, similar to the evening star, moved up and down for a long period of time.
Sept. l, 1952; Marietta, Georgia. 10:30 p.m. Witnesses: Mr. Bowman (ex-artillery officer) and 24 others. A red, white, and blue-green object which spun and shot off sparks for 15 minutes.1
Sparks entry mirrors what Berlinner wrote.2 One would think that with all these witnesses, there might be a chance to get some sort of triangulation and determine what the witnesses might have seen.
The Blue Book file
The Blue Book file contains many messages regarding the various sightings. These reports mirror what Berlinner wrote:
Marietta 2230 - One white object
Marietta 2230 - White and red object throwing off sparks. Visible for 15 minutes moving up and down right and left. Seen 10 degrees above southwest horizon. Estimated 40-50 miles away.
Marietta 2250 - Visible western horizon. Moved west to east very fast. Visible 5 minutes. Six individuals stated it moved. Twelve reported it as stationary. Witness also stated the object was to the NW at “full stop”. It also stated it “just faded”.
Marietta 2250 - Two white objects, with a greenish vapor trail, went from horizon to horizon in 5 seconds. They were initially in trail and then merged.
Marietta 2230 (Binoculars) Two objects spinning like a top, flashing red, blue green, very fast (left-right-up-down) throwing off sparks Visible 30 minutes to the south and eventually went towards the horizon.
Atlanta 2143 Moving up and down still visible. Visible between Atlanta and Marietta (towards the West or Northwest). It was still visible when it was reported.
These observations are little more than a collection of reports that appear to be of different objects in the sky and not one singular object. At least two of these sightings involved multiple observers. Mr. Bowman reported that 25 people saw the object . The unidentified observer in Marietta at 2250 implied that 18 individuals saw the object. It is important to note that Labor day was cel- ebrated on September 1 in 1952. As the unofficial end of summer, it seems possible that several of these observations were made at a local block party, where a group of individuals managed to convince each other that what was being seen was unusual. The resultant reports could have been each individuals interpretation of what was seen.
Summarizing the sightings, we have the following objects reported:
Two reports mentioned one, or two, objects to the south or southwest
Two other reports mentioned a single object to the west or northwest that was stationary and eventually faded out.
Another report mentioned a rapidly moving pair of objects that went from horizon to horizon in just five seconds.
All of these observations seem to have potential astronomical explanations.
The one or two objects to the south or southwest were probably the star Antares and/or Mars, which were pretty close together. Both were between magnitude 0 and 1. As they descended low in the southwest, atmospheric effects would cause the stars to scintillate and appear to “emit sparks”. The use of binoculars could have enhanced this effect. The rapid movement of “up-down, left-right” was probably due to the auto kinetic effect or the inability to keep the binoculars stable. Mars set first around 2253 at azimuth 241 degrees. This was about the same time as the event ended for the observations that began at 2230.
The single object to the west/northwest could also have been Mars or, possibly, Arcturus. Arcturus was also around magnitude 0 and set around 2300 at azimuth 294 degrees.
The object(s) that went from horizon to horizon in five seconds probably was a bright meteor. The “greenish vapor trail” is a pretty good description of a meteor train.
When I initially looked at the summary of the case by Berlinner/Sparks, I was hoping for observations from varied locations that could possibly result in some sort of crude triangulation that could give a possible identification. I was disappointed in the collection of reports because the locations were very general and the numerous reports described various events that seem related only in a general sense. All of the observations appear to be astronomical in nature and not very exotic. These sightings should all be reclassified as Astronomical: possible stars/planet/meteor.
Quelle: SUNlite 5/2019