(Illustrated by Douglas Castleman)

When a magician makes something disappear in front of an audience, we applaud the deception. Misdirection, sleight of hand, ingenuity, we admire the skill of someone who can seemingly defy the laws of reality before our very eyes. However, every magician knows making something disappear pales in comparison to making something appear (or reappear), as if plucked from thin air. That’s what gets a crowd roaring with applause. To make an elephant appear out of nothing, evokes a sense of wonderment, it symbolizes endless possibilities. But what happens if a magician closes an act after making two audience participants disappear? Well, that symbolizes something else entirely. Something unsettling. The very real understanding, that in this world, by the work of accident, plot or very strange and unusual circumstances, any one of us could vanish without a trance. Never to be seen again.

As fate would have it, on the 23rd of November, 1953, as it stands, such an end(?) appears to have befallen the likes of First Lieutenant Felix Eugene Moncla Jr. and Second Lieutenant Robert L. Wilson. Their disappearance falls into the elusive category of ‘strange and unusual circumstances’.

At the time of writing this text, the following events took place 65 years ago. As the evening skies began to darken, air defense radar operators detected the movement of an unidentified flying object. The flight was tracked as the craft flew over the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Soo Locks. Unable to communicate with the craft to verify its clearance, it was decided to launch an F-89 Scorpion interceptor to investigate the nature of the unknown craft.

The Pilot of the craft was Felix E. Moncla and the onboard radar operator was Robert L. Wilson.

For unknown reasons Lt. Wilson was unable to track the craft with the onboard radar so Lt Moncla was guided by the ground radar at the Kincheloe Air Force Base (situated in the Kinross Charter Township, Michigan. The base sometimes referred to as the Kinross Air Force Base, hence this commonly being referred to as the ‘Kinross Incident’). The F-89 Scorpion interceptor was traveling at 500 mph and the chase was believed to have lasted for approximately half an hour. The two crafts were tracked on the radars from the airbase, where the two radar blips seemingly converged, 8000 ft above Lake Superior, Michigan.

At first it was believed that the F-89 Scorpion had either over or under shot the craft making it appear as though their blips had unified on the radar screen. But the Scorpion was unresponsive and there was total radio silence. It was now considered that the crafts collided and the blip would be the marker for the wreckage soon to be submerged in the lake. However, one remaining blip kept on its original flight path, as if nothing had happened. But the F-89 Scorpion along with its passengers, seemingly vanished without a trace. To this day, never to be seen again.

It was thought at the time (and said to be recorded by the United States Air Force) as an “investigation” of a Royal Canadian Air Force C-47 Skytrain. Although, the Pilot of the closest Canadian air craft, Gerald Fosberg along with the Canadian government deny there was a collision or encounter between aircraft of any kind.

The center of Lake Superior is about 148 miles (238 km) from the Soo locks, where the UFO was originally detected. An immediate rescue team, along with extensive searches in the years since have all been unsuccessful to retrieve any trace of the lost aircraft. Lake Superior contains 2,900 cubic miles (12,100 km³) of water, with a total area of 82,103 km². It’s widest length stretching around 350 miles (563 km).

While the search area is vast, if the assumption that the UFO was an RCAF C-47 Skytrain (or behaving very similar to one), at the time the maximum speed of that particular craft was around 224 mph at 10,000 ft. Maybe it was this speed along with altitude and behavior of the craft, that led to this belief. So assuming the speed being traveled was 224 mph, in half an hour at top speed, it would have traveled 112 miles. Therefore, if the origin of the radar blip began above the Soo locks, at maximum speed for the presumed craft, it would likely be within the radius illustrated on the map below. ☟

(Created with MapDevelopers.com)

It’s entirely possible that a series of accidents, mistakes, malfunctions or one fateful, singular error, led to the destruction of an F-89 Scorpion jet interceptor and consequently the loss of the lives of First Lieutenant Felix Eugene Moncla Jr. and Second Lieutenant Robert L. Wilson. Perhaps, somewhere in the depths of Lake Superior, 1,826 miles (2,938 km) at its deepest depth, there rests the submerged craft and what remains of those who were piloting it.

Alternatively, the watery depths of Lake Superior don’t hold the answers many have been seeking since the 23rd of November, 1953. Maybe something happened that evening, involving a UFO that possibly, somehow engaged with the F-89 Scorpion. Could have a foreign hostile aircraft have engaged and destroyed the Scorpion, where soon after, governments went to great lengths to cover up an event which could have led to escalations of national outrage?

But is it possible that something far more phenomenal occurred? Like for instance, a UFO of unworldly origins engaging with a USAF aircraft and either A) using such advanced weaponry, the F-89 Scorpion was absolutely obliterated 8000 ft above Lake Superior, leaving no physical remnants behind. Or B) as some have suggested about this iconic UFO encounter, is it possible that the F-89 Scorpion, along with those onboard, were never destroyed in a mid-air altercation, but rather abducted by an alien craft. Where the craft, or its crew are, in time and/or space, to this day, we don’t know.


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