“Foo Fighters” mystery goes back to World War II

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Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV)- We have to go back to six months before the end of World War II.

Lt. Fred Ringwald of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron was the first to see them over Germany in November, 1944. He spotted eight to ten glowing lights, a fiery orange. Allied ground radar saw nothing.

The pilot turned to fight, thinking it might be some kind of German air weapon but the lights vanished.

In December, 1944, other flight crews saw the lights again over Germany, lights that seemed to follow them then disappear. Eventually, the airmen named the lights: Foo Fighters.

A comic strip called “Smokey Stover” inspired them. Smokey was a firefighter and in the cartoon would say “Where there’s foo, there’s fire.” Foo fighters stuck.

An Associated Press reporter broke news of the Foo Fighter sightings January, 1945 and the Army Air Force tried to come up with explanations: maybe flares or balloons or some electromagnetic phenomena, maybe just reflections of light from ice crystals.

And we found out after the war, German pilots were seeing them, too and were just as mystified. To this day, foo fighters remain a mystery.

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