Mysterious Object in the Soo: The 1953 UFO Called “One of the Strangest Cases on Record”

Felix Moncla with a T-33 in 1953. Photo Credit: Gordheath/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0.

By Isaac Constans
March 21, 2023

MICHIGAN—It all started with the mysterious object the US military shot down over Lake Huron on Feb. 12. Although the US Coast Guard spent 60 hours conducting 23 different searches over 4,000 square miles—aided by the Canadian Cost Guard and the Canadian Royal Mounted Police—the object could not be recovered from Lake Huron.

We’re pretty sure this and the other unidentified flying objects that have floated over the country in 2023 weren’t sent by aliens, but if you’re skeptical, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that Michigan ranks in the top 10 states in the nation for UFO sightings.

When we at The ‘Gander started digging into the Lake Huron object, we learned that Michigan has one of the most curious UFO cases in US history—so mysterious that a future President asked the federal government to take a deeper look. How could we not go down this rabbit hole?

That’s why, every other week, we’re bringing you “Extraterrestrial Tuesdays: UFO Sightings in Michigan.” Never forget, ‘Ganders: The truth is out there.

ICYMI: Here’s a link to our first in the series, Michigan’s “Swamp Gas” UFO: Real, Imagined, or a Government Cover-Up?

The Kinross Incident

Sault Ste. Marie—Nov. 23, 1953

On the night of Nov. 23, 1953, Air Defense Command operators took note of an unspecified flying object on the radar, zooming at 500 miles per hour and 30 miles away from the nearest charted flight path. 

Second Lieutenant Felix Moncla, Jr., on temporary assignment to the Kinross Air Force Base just south of Sault Ste. Marie, was sent to track down the object over Lake Superior. Accompanying Moncla was Second Lieutenant Robert Wilson, operating the radar device in their F89-C Scorpion jet. 

Wilson had trouble getting the radar device to work, so Moncla took instructions from officials on the ground. At about 8,000 feet, he closed in on the object—but what happened next is still a mystery.

Air Defense Command watched the radar screen as the object and the jet—two blips of light against the dark screen—seemed to converge. It may have been that Moncla passed over or under the unidentified aircraft, successfully completing an interception. The next flash, however, showed only one blip continuing on… that of the UFO they had been tracking before it veered away and disappeared.

Officials tried unsuccessfully to reach Moncla over the radio. The US Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force quickly deployed search and rescue missions, with no success in finding the F89-C Scorpion jet or the two men on board. Moncla and Wilson were presumed dead.

The Air Force later said that the unknown blip was believed to be a Royal Canadian Air Force jet that veered 30 miles off course, but Canadian officials repeatedly denied the presence of any flights in the area.

A FOIA at the time contained several passages of redacted information, and the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena found there was no mention of the mission in Air Force records.

Donald Kehoe, a former Marine Corps pilot and a prominent UFO researcher at the time, labeled it one of the “strangest cases on record.”

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