That same year, 1953, the military investigated another incident. This time it was in Bismarck, North Dakota. The event takes place on two nights. It is witnessed not only by some forty-five alarmed townspeople, but also the military Air Defense System personnel.
The ingredients of the story add yet another eerie dimension to our portrait of the UFO.
The object was first sighted by Miss Kellian at 8:05 p.m. It was seen as a red glowing light making long sweeping movements. The information was relayed to the Bismarck North Dakota air Defense Filter Center. Sergeant Harry, some time later, spots the object from the roof. Sighting it, he plots its irregular course as it dances between telephone lines. Others on duty watch the moving light that would be visible in the night sky for some three hours. Sergeant Harry described it this way: "It would remain stationary - then hop up several degrees very quickly - almost instantaneously."
Another witness added, "It would stop...move to the left and then swerve down in a sort of slanting motion, repeating these maneuvers several times."
At midnight, three more objects appeared in the Dakota night sky, as if to join the first object. "Everybody at the Filter Center had the feeling that somebody was watching us."
Before being sighted in Bismarck, two F-84s had been vectored into the area over Blackhawk, South Dakota. The objects and the jets were monitored on radar. One pilot had visual contact for twenty to thirty seconds. Over the intercom you could hear the description: "It's brighter than the brightest star I've ever seen." As the pilot gave chase, the light unexplainably disappeared. Now Lieutenant Needham, the second pilot, spotted one of the objects at 15,000 feet. It was below him to his right. The object moved spasmodically up and down, changing colors from white to green. In pursuit, Lieutenant Needham climbed to 26,000 feet and changed course to 360 degrees. After being steady on 360 degrees for a short time, Needham's radar lock-on-light on the A-4 gun-sight came on and remained on. The object was ahead of him. It increased its speed and moved rapidly ahead and up.
The chase was being carried on the radarscope back at the control room. Radar clearly showed that the UFO was staying five to ten miles ahead of Needham and his F-84. Finally, Lieutenant Needham had to give up the pursuit and return to his base. The object continued on and was picked up by the Filter Center in Bismarck.
At 1:09 a.m. an Air Force Globemaster C-124 flew over Bismarck. As the plane approached, the object closest to the plane appeared to send out a signal by blinking red and green. This signaling was then picked up by the other three objects. An observer put it this way: "It was as if a 'wave' passed from one to the other."
A signaling effect - a description that would cause Dr. Hynek, in his then-classified Air Force report, to conclude, "The entire incident, in my opinion, has too much of an Alice-in-Wonderland flavor for comfort." Hynek even today confirms it: "That's exactly how I felt at the time."
The Air Force offered many possibilities as to the cause of the sightings, but in the final analysis the objects would remain on the records as "unknowns."