During World War II, as bombers from Britain began their attack runs one warm August morning in 1944, several of the pilots noted strange formations just ahead of their squadron. The objects were pale blue seemingly solid spheres of light that ran ahead and would perform sometimes strange or complex aerial patterns similar to those of a standard attack pattern of an enemy fighter wing. But to the amazement of those onboard, the fighters were able to perform maneuvers far in excess of anything they had witnessed before.
The strange phenomena was soon seen again and again throughout the world by not only British troops, but by squadrons of all nationalities. The Foo Fighters, as they became known as were not only sighted a few times, but on so many occasions that they were soon a commonly known occurrence in the war. They were spotted on several high profile aerial battles, including those flown by well known names in the war. But the traditional “foo fighter” wasn’t necessarily always described as a glowing ball of light. In 1943, for instance on the 26th of May, an RAF bomber crew spotted a mysterious object of cylindrical nature with several “port holes” moving at speeds in excess of thousands of miles per hour. The aircraft was estimated to be far larger than the bomber, and moving at such incredible speeds that the pilots feared it could be an experimental enemy aircraft. It did not interfere with their run, however, so they estimated it may be something else entirely. Though they were largely unknown at the time, such sightings were reminiscent of modern UFO reports.
The theory has also been posited that a phenomena known as St. Elmo’s fire could have been a possible explanation for the strange sightings. St. Elmo’s fire is a rare phenomena in which electrical discharge appears in the atmosphere off of large pointed objects such as ship’s masts, radio control towers, and aircraft wings. The glowing plasma appears as a mysterious glowing blue, green, or violet fire that -if taken into perspective- can appear to move at incredible speeds without actually moving much faster than the craft itself. Due to the perspective difference, however, the St. Elmo’s fire appears as a small craft on the horizon. But this doesn’t explain the myriad reports of other craft being seen and corroborated by several independent witnesses from diffrent craft, of which there are several hundred cases.
So if it wasn’t Saint Elmo’s fire, then what? Several historians point to the possibility of early UFO sightings as a possibility. The earliest recorded example of a Foo Fighter in World War II was in 1941, when the crew from the S.S. Pulaski noted a mysterious object with a green light hovering in the sky approximately half the size of the full moon from their perspective. An Officer onboard was immediately called in, and the witnesses tracked the object for well over an hour before it became obscured. What are these mysterious objects? And why are there entire legions of observers to this day? Though the terminology was changed, it is indicative that the “modern era” of UFO sightings may have begun prior to Mt. Rainier in 1947.