The first half of a massive interview with Keith Chester about his excellent book "Strange Company", detailing the often overlooked but critically important Foo Fighter era in Ufology. In this installment, we cover the surprising variety of actual Foo Fighter objects that were reported to be seen, how the Allied Forces investigated the Foo Fighters, notable figures from that era, ten key Foo Fighter cases discussed in detail, and the explosion of the Foo Fighter story on American shores. And that's just Part One.
It's an intensely thorough edition of BoA : Audio, where you're almost guaranteed to walk away having heard something new. A must-hear interview for any serious student of Ufology's rich history.
Full Preview : We start out with the standard bio / background as we find out who Keith Chester is, how he gravitated towards looking at the UFO phenomenon, and the fascinating story of the first interview he conducted. Keith speculates on why the Foo Fighter era of Ufology seems to have fallen through the cracks of UFO history.
Diving into the Foo Fighter discussion, Keith details some of the various anomalous objects that were seen by fighter pilots during the war. Keith explains why there seems to be a lack of Foo Fighter pictures from the era, despite there being a fair amount of photographic technology on the planes. We talk about the difficulty of having no clear nomenclature for identifying anomalous phenomenon in the air and how the Allied air forces classified the various sightings.
This leads into Keith talking about how the Royal Air Force and, subsequently the US Air Force, began investigating the Foo Fighters and how that investigation may have had roots prior to the start of WWII. This segues into a discussion on the role of Bob Robertson (of Robertson Panel infamy) overseeing the investigation of the Foo Fighters. From there, we find out about one of the most important figures in the Foo Fighter investigation era : Dr. David T. Griggs. We talk about his role in the war and in the FF investigation and the story of his final report on the Foo Fighters and how it has gone missing.
We talk about the disconnect between the pilots who saw the aerial phenomenon, the base intelligence people who were in charge of collecting the reports, and the higher ups who wanted to receive the reports. What was the culture on the base like when the pilots returned after seeing a Foo Fighter, was there a standard operating procedure with regards to the FF phenomenon, and did the situation evolve over time. This leads into a discussion on how prevalent military coersion of silence was inflicted upon the witnesses, as seems to be the case in modern military UFO sightings.
Next, we cherry pick some of the key cases of the WWII aerial phenomenon era, starting with the Sabinsky Case (1942), which Keith says is the "key early war sighting". Following that, we cover the Stuttgart / Schweinfurt series of sightings (1943), which saw a downed plane, glass balls falling from the sky, and the introduction of the term "flying disc" to the nomenclature of reporting. Keith explains why it is common believe amongst those in Ufology that the downed aircraft was ordinance related and not the result of the Foo Fighters.
Moving ahead chronologically, we then discuss the Leet case of 1944, which saw the first report of heat coming from the mysterious aerial object. After that, we talk about Len Stringfield's Foo Fighter sighting from August of 1945, which occurred over Japan soon after the war had ended, and the strange effect the presence of the Foo Fighter had on the plane Stringfield was flying in. Wrapping up the key case discussion, Keith tells us about the 1942 USS Helm sighting case which was the first reported cigar shaped Foo Fighter sighting, a 1942 case over Turin, Italy, a 1943 case over Germany, two reports from early 1944 of Zeppelin-like objects, a '44 sighting of a massive, motionless object, the series of big sightings in early 1945 which gave the world the name "Foo Fighters", and, finally, a ground sighting of the Foo Fighters from March of 1945.
Wrapping up this week's installment, we talk about Bob Wilson, of the Associated Press, who was largely responsible for breaking the Foo Fighter story in America. We find out how extensive the reporting, if any, on anomalous aerial phenomena in WWII had been and how long the media firestorm as a result of Bob Wilson's story lasted.
Keith Chester Bio
Born in 1957 - a sputnik baby - Keith Chester's interest in UFOs began in 1966 with a daylight sighting while growing up in Frederick, Maryland. Art, film, and music have been the constant fuel from which he has drawn inspiration throughout his fifty years. Around 1989, his passionate interest of the UFO phenomenon culminated in the book "Strange Company : Military Encounters with UFOs in WWII".
At present, he's researching for another book, making abstract films, and tapping into the world around him.