UFO Encounters Of The Korean War

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
June 30, 2018
Last Updated
October 11, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
9 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

Most UFO enthusiasts are more than aware that times of conflict are usually mirrored by increases in UFO sightings in the conflict zones. The Korean War of the early-1950s, it would seem, was no exception. An absolute plethora of strange encounters with disc-shaped crafts and glowing lights of various colors are on record during this time. And while many are officially dismissed as “balloons” or “meteors”, the details in them that match with other sightings suggests there is likely much more to many of them.

Superimposed UFOs over Korean war ruins

Superimposed UFOs over Korean war ruins

One particular sighting was witnessed by an entire unit of men. And furthermore, they would go on to suffer a sudden, mystery illness following their encounter. However, the incident would remain unknown for almost forty years until one of the men told of the account to a Chicago UFO investigator in the late-1980s.

Before we look at that, and other cases, check out the short video below. It gives a basic overview of the what’s and why’s of the Korean War.

Account From The “Iron Triangle” Regiments

During a typical, cold, Chicago winter in January 1987, former private first class in the Korean War, Francis Wall, sat down with UFO investigator, John Timmerman. [1] The story he was about to tell remains one of the most fascinating on record.

Wall took Timmerman back to the spring of 1951, in war-torn Korea. Wall was serving with regiments now known as the “Iron Triangle” and was based near Chorwon. He and his unit were on the slopes of a mountain overlooking a small village. In the days previously, small units had ventured into the village to issue warnings of an upcoming attack to civilians. They believed there were militant targets in the village. On this particular evening, Wall’s unit was just about to launch that attack.

“We had aerial artillery bursts coming in,” Wall told Timmerman. “We suddenly noticed on our right-hand side what appeared to be a jack-o-lantern come wafting down across the mountain”.

The men continued to watch the object as it floated down gracefully, seemingly unaware of the bursts and explosions around it. Then, it started to speed up dramatically. Wall would describe it as “so quick that it could get into the center of an airburst of artillery and yet remain unharmed”.

This would continue for some time, with the aerial bombardment lasting up to forty-five minutes. Then, the orange-glow would head in their direction. The light was pulsating and as it approached it changed color to an intense blue-green.

Wall would request permission from his superiors to open fire on the object. He would receive such permission.

Under Attack!

As Wall took aim and fired with the “armor-piercing” bullets of his M-1 rifle, the audible sound of his bullet striking metal proved he had hit the object. To his amazement, it began to exhibit signs of damage. Wall couldn’t understand why a lone bullet caused this reaction when the barrage of heavy artillery had seemingly no effect.

Regardless of the reasons, the strange object began to move erratically. The lights were flashing on and off in random sequences. Suddenly, after having moved in complete silence before, the sound “like diesel locomotives revving up” washed over the night air. The unit watched in silence, anticipating something, but not at all sure what.

“Then”, Wall would state, “we were attacked!”

A strange ray beam came from the object in pulses, “in waves you could visually see (but) only when it was aiming directly at you”. The beam reminded him of a heavy-duty searchlight. Only, when it swept over the men, “a burning, tingling sensation (spread) all over your body”. Wall would describe this burning as “penetrating”.

Orders would sound out into the air for the men to retreat to their bunkers. Still unsure just what the strange object was, the men did as instructed. Wall would state later in no uncertain circumstances, “We were scared. We didn’t know what was about to happen”.

A depiction of a portal

A depiction of a portal

Mysterious Outbreak Of Illness

From the relative safety of their bunkers, Wall and the unit would use their “peepholes” to peer out at the strange object outside. It was hovering in the air, shining its light across the area as if looking for the men. And then, in a matter of a second or two, it would shoot upwards at lightning pace and was gone.

Things returned to normal for Wall and the rest of his unit, but only for so long. Three days after the incident, the entire unit became suddenly and seriously ill. Many were so weak from this sudden illness that they could no longer walk. The unit was evacuated from their positions with suspected dysentery. When doctors eventually conducted tests, however, each of the unit had white blood cell counts that were “extremely high”. What’s more, they had no idea why this was the case.

At this time, only the unit and the unit-commander were aware of the sighting. Wall would state, “at that time, no such thing as a UFO had ever been heard of, and we didn’t know what it was”. Fearing “they’d lock every one of us up”, the men would decide not to mention their sighting in their usual daily reports. Nor did they mention it upon admittance to the military hospital following their sudden illness.

Although all the men would recover eventually, according to Walls, he and the ones he still knows continue to suffer from memory loss, disorientation, and difficulty maintaining weight. Officially Walls (in 1987) is “retired and disabled”. It is hard not to think the sudden illness, and the lifelong “conditions” Wall and the rest of the men suffered was linked to their bizarre UFO encounter.

Regular Sightings

Through declassification of files and from direct accounts, numerous UFO sightings during the Korean War are now on record.

Several months prior to the incident involving Wall and his unit, in September 1950, for example, an early morning combat mission would end with “two large discs” approaching [2] a US Navy airplane. The two strange crafts would fly to approximately within a mile of the plane before performing “an inspection” of it. They had a “silvered mirror appearance” and a “reddish glow”. On the underside of the object was a black circle that, unlike the rest of the craft, offered no reflection at all. This black circle also remained motionless while the shining exterior had a shimmering appearance.

In Chinnampo on 10th March 1951, came another airborne sighting. While flying at around 17,000 feet, the scanner on a B-29 plane saw an intensely bright light to his left. The time was just before 1 am and although the sky was clear there was no moon. All eight of the crew also saw this “brilliant flash of light”. It would be described in the report as “a flare” of “reddish-yellow” color and that purposely dropped to and maintained the same elevation as the aircraft. The sighting is officially “unidentified” in military records.

Several months later, shortly before 11 pm on 1st July 1951 came a report from four different US pilots, in four separate locations and at the same time of a “large green ball”, glowing brightly with “trailing streaks of red which soon turned blue”. The object was moving “with tremendous velocity”. The official explanation by the military was the object was a meteor.

Glowing Lights At Breakneck Speed

Although the exact date and location are unknown, sometime in September-October 1951 off the coast of Korea, a US Navy radar picked up a UFO circling the entire fleet. The mysterious object would record speeds in excess of 1,000 miles per hour before stopping suddenly and hovering temporarily. In total, fourteen separate radar operators recorded the apparent reconnaissance mission of unknown intelligence.

Several months later, just after 11 pm on the 29th January 1952, the crew of a B-29 plane would report a sighting of a “light orange colored sphere” which would sometimes change to a “bluish tint”. One of the crew would state in his report that “…it seemed to have an internal churning movement like flames or fiery gases”. The crew never felt the object was a threat, and after several moments it would shoot upwards and vanish.

The following month came consecutive sightings over Sinuiju, and Antung on the 23rd and 24th February respectively. While flying over Sinuiju in North Korea in their B-29 plane, the crew would make a little-detailed sighing of a strange UFO during their journey. Unfortunately, that is all the detail available which would indicate one of two things. Either the sighting was considered as having little importance by the crew and so was mentioned as an afterthought. Or, and this is only speculation, the sighting details are intentionally missing. While it is most likely to be the former of those options, the sighting the following night in Antung would contain considerably more detail.

Depiction of a UFO over Korean war ruins

Depiction of a UFO over Korean war ruins

Sightings Over The Battle Zones

On the evening of the 24th February at 11:15 pm, a “cylindrical UFO” which shined a blue color was in full view of the navigator of a B-29 for around forty-five seconds. According to the witness the object had “rapidly pulsating gaseous type of exhaust trail”. This was around three times the actual size of the strange craft and a “bluish color”. The object appeared to circle the plane several times, at one point coming to within 3,000 feet of the B-29. Some weak electrical signals registered on US monitoring devices, but they were unable to return any signal. There was interference of some kind – possibly intentional. Without warning, the object then vanished from the location at considerable speed.

In the early evening of 30th April 1952 on the frontlines of battle, “two white, silvery objects, one behind the other rumbled high in the sky” over US and enemy positions. The sighting occurred at 6 pm and as well as the main witness, Sgt. Bill McCorkle, six other members of the unit witnessed the incident. They would estimate the speed of the objects to be somewhere around 1,000 miles per hour. They would further state that “a trail different than jet streams appeared behind them”.

A Summer Of Sightings

Two sightings over North Korea occurred on the evening of the 15th May 1952. At a little after 8 pm, two F-86E fighter jets were returning from a mission when “a silvery object larger than a MiG jet airplane” was visible. The pilots – both experienced in combat – estimated the object to be around twenty miles away. It was visible for around five seconds before it vanished in an instant.

Around ninety minutes earlier, the pilot of an F-51 fighter-bomber encountered a “silver object” that performed moves not possible for a human-guided plane. Furthermore, it was traveling in excess of 1,000 miles per hour.

In the early hours of 31st May 1952, a US airman on guard duty at an undisclosed base answered his telephone. It was 4 am and calls were unusual at this hour, even for a military post. A fellow guard at another post claimed he could see “a bright spot in the dark sky”. And furthermore, it was approaching them with speed.

Within several minutes a “disc-shaped” object was hovering over the base at around 2,600 feet. It was estimated to be the size of a large fighter jet and a “pulsating noise” was audible. After several seconds it moved on, stopping momentarily at several positions as if scanning the area. It continued this for several moments before suddenly vanishing from sight in a matter of seconds.

A similar sighting occurred on 25th June at a US base near Seoul. The witness observed the dull, silver, coin-like object from the ground. It appeared to be spinning in a clockwise direction as it moved. Furthermore, its edges were a dark-blue color. The strange disc would stop and hover over the base for several seconds before shooting straight up and disappearing into the night sky.

A depiction of a UFO in a cloudy sky

A depiction of a UFO in a cloudy sky

No Visible Means Of Propulsion

Sightings of strange silver objects or glowing lights in and around the battle zones of Korea in the summer of 1952 were regular. And it is probably accurate to state that many more sightings occurred that are not on record. A sighting over Pyongyang in North Korea on 15th November is of particular interest, however. Not least due to the incident taking place in broad daylight at just after 1 pm.

The records of the incident show that Lt. Layten Bass noticed the object initially. It was approaching their position and appeared to be relatively low down and “close to the terrain”. He initially believed it to be a US aircraft. However, as it gained altitude something caused him to look again. Now satisfied it was not an American craft, Bass raised the alarm by drawing his superior’s attention to it.

He would later describe the object as shining silver and spherical. He would estimate it to be around ten feet across. The surface was ultra-smooth with “no protrusions” and ultimately “lacking any visible means of propulsion”. Bass also recalled how the object was completely silent.

Another witness, Lt. Bernard, would describe the object as being “darker around the edges, as a translucent sphere would appear when held up to the light”. In fact, the fact that the witnesses managed to observe the object against a multitude of backdrops offers more evidence for its credibility. Against the sky, clouds, and various colors of the trees and terrain, the color, size and shape of the object remained constant. This ruled out what they were seeing was a trick of the light.

Despite the intense detail offered by the two witnesses, the military ruled the object was “probably a balloon”.

A Collective Wake-Up Call?

At 6:50 am on 24th January 1953, over Suwon, a Staff Sergeant on the grounds of a US base noticed “two round objects” in the sky. They were a “whitish-silver color” and glowed quite distinctly. Around the edge of each object there appeared to be a darker outline. He could see no obvious propulsion system. He would witness them for around five seconds before they moved upwards at a speed “considerably faster than an F-86”.

Two weeks later on 7th February, a pilot of an F-94 jet observed a “bright orange ball” in front of his position. Confirmation of the sighting came on radar. It remained in his sight for several seconds before suddenly shooting away at blistering pace. Three days following this incident on 10th February in Cho-do in North Korea, Marine Sergeant, John Muciek witnessed “an object like a falling star” while on guard duty. That was until it suddenly stopped dead in midair.

It then proceeded to move back and forth in the sky, certainly not like a naturally falling object. Then the light changed from white to red, and back again. After several minutes the object moved away from the base and disappeared. According to the report, rumblings among the men the following day were of a supportive witness who had “seen a flying saucer” at the same time as Muciek made his report.

On 19th April, over Seoul, a “white shiny object” with “no visible means of propulsion” made its way across the sky at just after 1 pm. Its speed was estimated to be around eighty miles per hour and it moved in a “vibrating motion”.

Perhaps wartime UFO sightings and their increased interest in humanity’s destructive nature should serve as a collective wake-up.


1 Korean War UFO Encounters, Phantoms and Monsters, September 28th, 2013 https://www.phantomsandmonsters.com/2013/09/korean-war-ufo-encounters.html 
2  American Pilots Report UFOs over Korea, NICAP http://www.nicap.org/books/aadkw/aadkw_ch3.htm

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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  • Rw says:

    The interview was in 1987 at a shopping mall located in Eden, NC. There was a booth setup and there was construction work inside one of the stores across from it.

  • Jo says:

    I have not heard about Ufos during other wars yet. .. so far, none in Ukraine/Russia, Afghanistan or etc. But this is very interesting. 1952 Washington DC Ufo incident has been well documented as well, and i remember the US could not access its nukes because of Ufos.

  • Banditqueen says:

    We now know these sightings are all caused by hallucinations from combat stress and that numerous military personnel suffer from combat related trauma and illnesses for most of their lives. Radiation poisoning is potentially another cause and if gas was dropped then this could also be a cause. Sightings increased during most combative situations because of the extreme conditions and stress and fear experienced. Normally UFOs are later identified and most are explained by cloud formation, military craft, birds, the sun, Venus or Mars, even the moon, lanterns, balloons, imagination, fatigue, or even helicopters or headlights reflecting. Other natural phenomenon can explain many and of course there are genuine mysteries. I doubt that UFOs from another planet are going to fly over military zones and not intervene to end the conflict. They would fly in the opposite direction. The USA have tested their own advanced aircraft in the deserts and been mistaken for other world craft. We now know these are the advanced craft used in modern warfare. Fear and anxiety and traumatic experience all account for the imaginary craft seen during the Korean War.

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