The USS Memphis Incident And The Persistent Underwater UFO Presence

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
July 11, 2021
Last Updated
October 5, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
26 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

It is no secret that a little over half of all UFO sightings occur over or near water. Perhaps because of this, we shouldn’t be surprised that many crews of ships and, in particular, submarines have witnessed a great many of these incidents.

A depiction of a UFO over a submarine

Many submarine crews witness strange underwater objects

One particular sighting occurred at the end of the 1980s and involved a United States nuclear submarine whose mission was to patrol the waters ahead of a NASA space shuttle launch. Not only did they witness a strange triangular craft, but many other similar objects were witnessed in the days before and after the incident right across the United States.

The account, like many other aquatic incidents, was documented in the book Military Encounters with Extraterrestrials: The Real War of the Worlds by Frank Joseph. And as we shall see, these kinds of sightings have been taking place for decades in seas and oceans around the world, with some suggestions that these apparently extraterrestrial crafts might be responsible for some of the very real subaquatic disasters of the twentieth century.

And this, once more, points UFO researchers to the depths of the waters as opposed to the reaches of outer space.

A Sudden Malfunction 500 Feet Below The Water

According to the report, [1] courtesy of a crew member on the US Navy submarine the USS Memphis, they were around 150 miles off the coast of Florida when they experienced an event that would shake the very foundations of their beliefs.

The main witness would state that their mission was to protect the NASA space shuttle that was sitting on the launch pad in Florida. They would patrol the waters off the coast of Florida looking out for potential terrorist attacks or other attempts to sabotage the upcoming mission.

A depiction of a UFO and a submarine

Just what was witnessed by the crew of the USS Memphis

On this particular evening of the 24th going into the 25th October, the USS Memphis was cruising at a depth of around 500 feet. The mission had been standard until the submarine suddenly started to experience problems with their electronics. In fact, more than just problems, the witness would claim that the “ship was malfunctioning”, the “tanks were blowing” and “navigation ability and communication” became “totally lost”.

A decision was made to bring the vehicle to a stop so they could attempt to get a handle on just what was happening. However, when the controls in the reactor began to malfunction, the captain of the vessel ordered it shut down and for the crew to surface immediately, switching to diesel engines when they did so.

When the USS Memphis broke the surface of the water, the witness went immediately to his watch station.

A “Large, Inverted V-Shaped” Object That Made The Sky Glow Red

The witness looked out at the night sky, which was glowing “red like a neon sign” as rain lashing down on the water below. Only moments later, however, he witnessed a “large, inverted V-shaped” object to the port side of the submarine.

With him was an executive officer who told the witness to remain at his post on the tower while he went to inform the captain. Moments later, the officer returned to the tower, the captain with him.

Using a laser range finder, they would estimate that they were 200 meters from the nearest point of this strange V-shaped craft, which was around 650 feet from their vessel, with the furthest point being a little over 3000 feet away. This suggested to them that the object was around half a mile across.

They could see that it was circling around the submarine. As it passed overhead, the electronics began to “go crazy” once again. The red glow was clearly coming from the underside of the craft, lighting up the water below, which appeared to “rise almost a foot” as the object passed over it.

The object then came to a sudden stop, hanging motionless for several seconds causing the entire sky to shine a bright red. Then, without warning, it “moved off at tremendous speed” and disappeared.

At the same time, the electronics returned to working order, except the communications and sonar, which appeared to be permanently damaged.

“All Events Have Been Deleted!”

After the captain ordered a systems check, they returned to the reactor power and set out back on their patrol. After they were moving through the water once more, the captain told the witness and the executive officer, as well as two other petty officers to join him in the wardroom.

Ultimately, he would tell the group – the only ones to have witnessed the bizarre occurrence – that they should not speak about it until he had had a chance to report it to Commander Submarine Fleet. Strangely, when they reached port around seven hours later, the witnesses were taken into “protective custody”.

As they waited the main witness and the two officers each agreed that what they had seen was real.

It was around three hours later when an officer from the Air Force arrived to speak with the men. Unbelievably to all three of them, they were informed by this officer that what they had witnessed was merely an “exploding weather satellite”.

A depiction of an underwater UFO

Was the object witnessed bu the crew of the USS Memphis a UFO?

Perhaps even more suspicious, certainly according to the witness, was that every single person on the crew of the USS Memphis at the time of the incident – after having served around four years together – were suddenly transferred to completely new assignments without explanation. Even the captain was transferred from the mission. Essentially, the witness stated, they were “split up”, which “almost never happens”.

Ultimately, the officer remained quiet about the incident for several years, eventually reporting it to researchers after watching a television program that suddenly inspired him to share his encounter.

According to researcher and writer, Frank Joseph, the official record history for the USS Memphis states only that the submarine was “underway for a Dependent’s Cruise” in October 1989. “All other references to that cruise,” Joseph writes, “including the events of the 24th and 25th, have been deleted”.

A Few Points Of Interest

There are perhaps several things of interest to note about this sighting, not least the fact that the submarine was nuclear. Was the incident one of random chance – that the two vehicles happened to be in the same location at the same time? Or might it be the nuclear nature of the underwater vessel that attracted the interest of the UFO, essentially, causing it to shut down?

Might there have been a connection to the upcoming NASA space shuttle launch that the submarine was conducting patrols in order to protect? Might there have been a concern of just what we are sending into space and why?

A depiction of a UFO and a submarine

Was the fact the USS Memphis was nuclear the cause of UFO interest?

And perhaps more than anything else, why was the incident not only covered up but seemingly expunged from history altogether? What might this say of what governments actually know of the UFO presence on Earth that increasingly appears more likely?

We might also ask ourselves if this apparent extraterrestrial presence should be a concern to humanity as a whole. As we shall see shortly, many other submarine missions that could very well have encountered these mysterious underwater vehicles ended much more tragically.

Before we move on to those, however, around the same time as the USS Memphis incident, multiple UFO sightings of very similar crafts were reported from various locations around the United States. And it is there we will turn our attention to next.

Sightings Of Similar Crafts Around The Same Time

Whether there is a connection or not remains unclear, but there are several sightings of V or triangular-shaped crafts in the days before and after the incident involving the USS Memphis which are certainly worthy of quick examination here.

For example, at around 9 pm on the evening of 10th October in Kranklin, Kentucky, [2] a triangular craft was witnessed by a parent and the son, moving silently over their heads at an approximate altitude of 100 feet. They would estimate the object was around 100 feet long and 40 feet wide. It eventually disappeared into the distance with the witness claiming the incident left them in “shock”.

On the same night, in Centralia in the state of Washington, a huge triangle [3] with four glowing points of light on the underside was witnessed for approximately a minute by a local resident as it passed over their home. The man was sitting in a hot tub in their yard with their son when they first spotted the strange craft – something he knew was not a military or civilian aircraft due to his time in the military.

A depiction of a triangular UFO

There were many sightings of triangular UFOs at the same time as the USS Memphis incident

What the witness found most remarkable was that given the mammoth size of the object, it didn’t make a sound as it moved slowly over them. And given that the object must have been using “full power to stay airborne”, he should have heard the noise of whatever method of propulsion it was using. In fact, he would describe this propulsion as “gravitational rather than aerodynamic”. He would further state that the object appeared to float, although there was no question that it might be a balloon.

He would further estimate that the strange craft was at an approximate altitude of 5000 feet and was “many times” larger than a conventional large aircraft, “at least 1000 feet across”. He would also state about the lights that they were not conventional aircraft lights, but white glow lights. The object eventually disappeared into the night sky. The witness would go on to state in his report that he had “never seen a larger object in the sky”.

Five days later over Morgantown in West Virginia, at around 10:30 pm, a local DJ witnessed [4] three lights moving overhead. They were in the shape of an “arrowhead” and remained in the same position suggesting they were the underside of a solid object. They watched the object for around 15 minutes, noting how it would occasionally come to a stop, remain motionless, before rising slightly, and then moving forward once more. He would later announce the sighting on his radio show which resulted in several residents calling in and reporting that they too had witnessed the strange object.

On the same night, around two hours earlier [5] at 8 pm in Mint Hill, North Carolina, a silent, triangular object with three distinct lights on the underside was witnessed by two individuals while driving through their neighborhood. They continued to watch the object for several minutes until they pulled onto their driveway. After exiting their car they continued to observe the object, moving slowly across the sky. They would estimate it was approximately the size of a football field. Even more intriguing, according to a local news report, several other residents of the town also witnessed the strange object.

Craft Spotted Across The United States

Two days after the sightings in West Virginia and North Carolina, another similar object [6] was witnessed in Norwalk, Connecticut. The witness was driving along the highway coming up to an exit when they suddenly noticed a triangular craft moving through the skies just above tree level. The witness estimated it moved at around 20 miles per hour yet was completely silent. It remained in sight for around 90 seconds before disappearing out of sight.

On the same night on the other side of the United States in San Jose, California, the day after the 7.1 earthquake [7] in the Bay Area, two students were sitting outside their room at around 9 pm when they noticed a large, black triangular shape blocking out the stars as it moved across the sky. Even more bizarre, the object suddenly “swooped straight down” to around only 100 feet above them. By the time the witness realized what they were looking at, the object suddenly “accelerated off and vanished out of sight”.

A depiction of an underwater UFO

Perhaps many UFOs come from under the water

Only three days before the incident [8] involving the USS Memphis, just before midnight on the 21st October over Dublin in Ireland, a local resident who was walking home noticed a “very bright light” that he realized was getting closer to him. It was so close that he was forced to walk through the beam of light that shone down to the ground. It was only after he had done so that he realized he was “underneath some craft that was sat stationary” approximately 12 feet above him.

He would claim that there was a “weird hum” that he “felt (rather) than heard”. From the placement of the lights, the object appeared a definite triangular shape. He would run the short distance left to his house and informed his parents and sister of the strange object, who witnessed it also before it disappeared in a strange fog, “vertically and silent at an amazing speed”.

In the days following the USS Memphis incident, on 1st November in Falls Village Connecticut, state police would receive a report [9] of a triangular craft moving overhead with red and white lights. The sighting occurred at around 8 pm and the witness was certain the lights were part of one, large, triangular object. Further according to the report, several other residents would also corroborate the sighting.

As we shall see, though, there are plenty of other UFO encounters involving submarines on record, some of which date back decades.

The U-629 UFO Incident

During a patrol mission of the Second World War in early March 1944, the crew of a German submarine – the U-629 – encountered an apparent otherworldly object while in the Bay of Biscay in the North Atlantic.

The vessel had just surfaced when the radar operator noticed something approaching their location through the air at an incredible pace. He reported the object to Lieutenant Hans-Helmuth Bugs, who was in the conning tower. He was about to raise the alarm and get his crew to their stations when the object was suddenly directly over them.

A depiction of an underwater UFO

Have UFOs been under our waters since at least the Second World War?

As the crew looked on, they could see a disc-shaped craft with white, yellow, and red blinking lights. They weren’t certain if the lights were some kind of coded message or simply incidental. The craft, though, simply remained overhead, showing no obvious signs of aggression. They contemplated responded with their own lights, but Bugs declined to do so.

The object was around 40 feet above them and remained so for around five minutes. After this, it suddenly disappeared into the distance at lightning speed. Although they weren’t certain, Bugs and his crew assumed the object was some kind of secret Allied aircraft, possibly used to locate their position.

Incidentally, the U-629 was sunk on 7th June 1944 in the English Channel as they attempted to launch an attack on Allied ships. All onboard lost their lives.

A Strange Object Off The Coast Of Norway 1972

On 12th November 1972, a Norwegian patrol boat off the coast of Bergen in Sognefjord noticed what they thought was a Russian submarine on their sonar scope. They immediately notified the Norwegian navy, who responded by immediately sending several vessels – including battleships, aircraft carriers, and submarines.

Part of the response was to launch several Sea King helicopters, which would drop depth charges in the region of the ocean where the signals had been picked up. However, as they did so, they each began to experience problems with their instruments and other electronic equipment. They would return to their ship, essentially, crippled and unable to fully operate. In their place, several fighter jets were launched to patrol the area from the skies. However, they experienced almost identical issues.

A depiction of an underwater UFO

What was under the water off the coast of Norway in 1972?

The response would then gather pace. Realizing that the “Russian submarine” was no longer in the area, a blockade of sorts was set up along the end of the Sognefjord in order to prevent whatever the underwater vehicle was from escaping into the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean.

This blockade remained in place while intricate underwater searches took place, all of which proved to be unfruitful. Then, two weeks later, things changed.

An Object Different From Anything Previously Seen

On the morning of 26th November, the object was picked up once more. And what’s more, it appeared as though it was attempted to sneak out of the mouth of Sognefjord and out into the Atlantic.

The Norwegian Navy moved quickly, dropping depth charges in the area where the object had been picked up. A short time later, the vehicle surfaced. However, it didn’t take those at the scene long to realize the object was not a Russian submarine. Instead, the object was a huge, undetailed cigar-shaped craft, completely different from anything any of the crew had seen before.

One of the ships would open fire on the object, followed by torpedoes launched from the submarines beneath the water. However, the barrage appeared to inflict no damage at all on the strange vessel.

A depiction of a UFO and a submarine

Why are UFOs interested in submarines?

It remained on the surface for several more moments, as if surveying the scene before it disappeared under the water. As soon as it was out of sight, it vanished from all radar and sonar screens.

UFO researcher Frank Joseph would relay several UFO sightings that occurred on the same day as the incident with the Norwegian Navy. For example, several residents on the island of Kraakenes witnessed a huge object floating in the water before it suddenly disappeared beneath the waves. A short time later, what appeared to be the same object surfaced off the coast of Sala Island, being witnessed by no less than five policemen. When the two sightings were examined, it appeared the object must have traveled at a speed in excess of 120 miles per hour.

Two days later, things turned even more alarming.

Strange Tracks On The Seabed

The Norwegian Navy would ultimately track the strange object down again two days later, on the surface of the water. They immediately launched an attack on the vessel, once more coming from destroyers, submarines, and from the air.

However, the seemingly otherworldly craft simply continued on its way, unscathed and apparently unconcerned by the barrage of military fire. It would eventually submerge as if the attack wasn’t happening and disappear from sonar. This time, the object vanished for good.

If the Norwegian Navy were hoping to keep a lid on the incident, they were to be disappointed. A story appeared on page 3 of the 26th November edition [10] of the New York Times, which although two days before the apparent battle with the strange object, didn’t hold back when asking just what the Norwegian Navy were pursuing on the waters leading to the North Atlantic.

The report went on that not only had the Norwegian Navy been a part of the recent activity, but the British Royal Air Force aircraft had also been a part of the operation. And what’s more, still assuming – at least officially – that the mystery object was a Soviet submarine – the Minister of Defense for Norway stated that they would sink the object if it did not identify itself.

After interest in the incident had died down somewhat, the Norwegian Navy sent two deep-sea divers down to a spot where they believed they had identified something strange on the seabed near to where the incident took place in the opening weeks of 1973. The divers would observe strange tracks on the seabed as if a bizarre underwater tank had made its way through the area.

One of the divers would state on a documentary years later that whatever had made the tracks was “completely foreign to our technological capability”.

You can see a little bit more about that in the short video below.

The Deadly UFO Encounters At Sea Of 1968?

According to the writing and research of Frank Joseph in the book Military Encounters with Extraterrestrials: The Real War of the Worlds, several “deadly” encounters took place under the waters during the opening months of 1968. And while there is perhaps nothing to directly connect these very real naval tragedies to UFO incidents, the manner in which these respective incidents unfolded might lead us to speculate as to what exactly happened. Especially, as we shall see, when ample UFO reports occurred in each case around the same time as the disasters happened.

The Dakar Tragedy – What Caused Such Destruction?

The first of these, according to Joseph’s research, occurred in January 1968 and involved the Israeli submarine, Dakar. On the 9th of January, the Dakar left Portsmouth in England. The captain of the underwater vessel was Major Ya’cov Ra’anan and it was his job to oversee the overall performance of the newly acquired submarine.

By the 23rd of January, the Dakar entered the Aegean Sea, several days earlier than expected. They reported their arrival to the naval headquarters in Tel Aviv and then fell strangely silent. The next time there was any kind of communication from the Dakar was on 27th January when an apparent distress call was detected on the frequency of its emergency buoy – received by a radio station in Nicosia.

A search of the area – somewhere to the southeast of Cyprus – went on for several days before being abandoned. According to Israeli officials, the Dakar was involved in crash-diving tests and had sunk as a result of “mechanical failure”. They were quick to rule out any evidence of “foul play”. According to the report, the Dakar dove past her maximum depth which likely caused a rupture to the hull. As the hull collapsed, the emergency buoy was released.

Three decades later, the crippled vessel was discovered on the seabed between Crete and Cyprus. She was on her side, with the conning tower, essentially, snapped off. The stern had also come away and laid a short distance from the main hull.

As Frank Joseph states, “what could have caused such extensive damage remains unknown because the Dakar evidenced no signs of having experienced an explosion”. Was there an involvement with a UFO? Had this caused the Dakar to dive so deep? What is perhaps interesting is that another submarine tragedy unfolded around the same time as that of the Dakar. It is there we will turn our attention to next.

The short video below examines the incident a little further.

The Vanishing Into Thin Air Of The Minerve Submarine

It is thought that the Dakar went down on either the 24th or 25th of January, shortly after its last transmission to Tel Aviv headquarters. At around the same time, on the morning of 25th January at just before 8 am, the French submarine Minerve [11] notified its air escort that they were due to dock in Toulon at around 9 am that morning. They would never arrive.

Somewhere approximately 25 nautical miles off the French coast, the vessel simply vanished, as if into thin air. What is even stranger, there was no sign of anything untoward reported by the air escort.

Several searches were carried out over the years. However, even today there is no precise and accurate details about its final resting place.

Furthermore, there is no definitive explanation as to what happened that day off the south coast of France. There have been several theories put forward such as a collision (with what, though?) or structural damage (why?). Suggestions of the crew being undertrained have also been aired.

In short, the disappearance of the submarine at around the same time as the loss of another is at least slightly suspicious.

Interestingly, Frank Joseph highlights several sightings of strange objects on the day it is believed the Dakar and the Minerve sank. According to his research, a married couple were walking along the beach in southeast Florida just outside of Miami at around 2 am on the day in question when they witnessed a “flying disc” over the waves of the Atlantic.

Around two and a half hours later, over Knoxville in Tennessee, several people contacted the police to report a disc-shaped craft hovering overhead. Just short of 90 minutes later, at around 6 am, multiple people on Keats Island near British Columbia reported a “white starlike craft” that zig-zagged in “wide spirals” overhead, changing color from yellow to pink as it did so before finally disappearing. At around 8 am, over San Antonio, Texas, residents noticed their television sets and radios suddenly experiencing significant interference. A starlike object was reported moving over the area at the same time.

The sightings seemingly continued well into the afternoon and evening. In Millington, Michigan, for example, a disc-shaped object was witnessed by multiple people performing moves that defied any known aircraft. An almost identical aircraft was witnessed around four hours later over Modesto in California.

Were these objects connected to the sunken submarines? Had they caused their destruction as they traversed the planet via the seas and oceans as some UFO researchers believe they have been doing for some time?

Check out the video below – it looks at the incident a little further.

The Mysterious Sinking Of The K-129 Nuclear Submarine

Almost exactly a month later on the 24th of February, the Russian nuclear submarine the K-129 was performing test dives [12] in the central Pacific Ocean. After surfacing from the last of these, they contacted the Russian control to inform them that the tests had been a success and they were about to continue with their patrolling duties. Then, in a similar fashion to the French Minerve, they promptly disappeared off the face of the planet. Nothing was seen of the K-129 or the 97 crew – at least not for several weeks.

The Soviet Navy conducted extensive search missions in the region where they believed the submarine had last contacted them from. However, they were unable to locate the missing submarine. On 8th March, however, the United States military picked up on an underwater acoustic signal – specifically, the sound of an apparent explosion. They would track the sound and locate the wreckage approximately 600 nautical miles to the north of Midway atoll (an area in the North Pacific Ocean that is unincorporated territory), a little over 16,000 below the water – a depth that the since declassified CIA report [13] stated was such that “no country in the world had succeeded in raising an object” of such weight before.

The find would spark what became known as Project Azorian that saw the CIA set out to retrieve the K-129, ultimately, with the Cold War raging in the background, in order to learn more about Soviet technology and capabilities. Obviously, with this in mind, the recovery mission was to take place in absolute secrecy.

Interestingly – particularly when we consider the alleged intelligence connections to him – billionaire, Howard Hughes, would have his corporations construct a huge ship around 600 feet long. The Hughes Glomar Explorer was unveiled to the world as a deep-sea mining research vessel and was launched on its debut mission in 1973 from Pennsylvania. The American media immediately picked up on the apparent secrecy surrounding the ship, noting how no news reporters or journalists were permitted to view the launch and that no “details of the ship’s destination or mission” were released to the public.

After sailing around South America, the ship finally arrived in Long Beach, California, where technological equipment was loaded on board before they set out to the discreet location. Despite the presence of two Soviet ships likely overseeing the apparent scientific mission of the Hughes Glomar Explorer, the unit proceeded to raise over 270 pieces of the wreckage, placing it safely on board their ship.

Here is where the twists and turns of the intelligence world perhaps come into play. Officially, through the declassified files and “leaked” information, the main part of the submarine that contained such things as the control room was not recovered. Hence, the mission is widely regarded as having failed.

Vince Houghton, the curator at the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C., however, urges us to consider otherwise. He stated in an interview in Smithsonian Magazine that despite the “conventional wisdom” that the mission failed, the CIA has “allowed that belief to be what everyone understands”, and “why would they not?” And Houghton made be right when we consider that many files about the project remain classified.

Were they simply looking to retrieve intelligence about their Cold War counterparts? Or might they have had another reason to inspect the crippled Soviet submarine? One involving what brought it to its watery grave in the first place? It might be interesting to note that on the day the K-129 was lost, according to Frank Joseph, “a dozen UFO sightings – most of them made at or near large bodies of water – were reported worldwide”.

One of these occurred in Syracuse, New York when a disc-shaped object was seen overhead making its way across the region. On the same day, on the other side of the Atlantic in Rossington, England, three almost identical objects were witnessed flying in formation.

The video below looks at the incident a little further.

The USS Scorpion And The Hyades AF-28 Incident

Following a radioing of position from the United States’ submarine the USS Scorpion (just off the coast of the Azores) on 22nd May 1968, all contact was lost and the vessel seemingly disappeared. Onboard were 99 crew.

Although the crippled submarine was eventually located, there were no clues as to what might have caused the sinking. Given that Commander Francis Slattery had signed off his last message by stating he was going to “begin surveillance of the Soviets”, it was at first suspected that the submarine had come under attack from the Russian Navy. However, the fact that they were too far away and that there was no evidence of an explosion amid the wreckage – external or internal – this had to be ruled out. Ultimately, the US Navy’s inquiry into the incident stated that what caused the USS Scorpion to sink “cannot be ascertained from (the) evidence now available”.

Once more, Joseph points to another UFO sighting that coincided with the loss of the USS Scorpion, over Sherman Oaks, California. At around 11 am on the day in question, two local residents witnessed a disc-shaped craft moving very purposely across the sky. However, on this occasion, there was yet another sighting that only came to light in the early twenty-first century. And it is there we will turn our attention to next.

According to an incident [14] reported to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) in March 2002, and relayed by Frank Joseph, a witness onboard the Hyades vessel witnessed a bizarre incident shortly after the loss of the USS Scorpion. In fact, according to the report, the ship had been sent to the region in an attempt to locate the Scorpion.

According to the witness, the last known location of the Scorpion was just off the Azore Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. As they were nearby, they got the call to head to the region. They would search the area for three full days and nights. However, on the second night, something strange happened. As they were moving their searchlights over the waters, “an object reflected in the searchlight”. The ship immediately turned toward the object, however, it was unable to locate it again. In later years, though, the witness learned that some had seen the strange object “mysteriously lift off the water and disappear into the sky”.

If there is a connection between these strange sightings of disc-shaped objects around the same time as each of the respective submarines was lost, were they accidental meetings with unintended consequences? Or were they very much premeditated, perhaps due to the connection to nuclear power and weaponry? If the latter is the case, then we might want to reassess just how friendly these apparent alien visitors are, and what lengths they will go to to achieve whatever agenda or end goal they have.

Although they wouldn’t come to light until halfway through the second decade of the twenty-first century, an alleged incident involving another military submarine and a UFO took place only three years later in the arctic region.

The short video below looks at the incident a little more.

The Pictures Taken From The USS Trepang SSN 674

In 2015, images that appear to show a UFO, possibly being attacked by US forces and crashing into the sea, appeared in the French publication Top Secret. And while there is debate within the UFO community ranging from the authenticity of the pictures to what they actually might show, they are remarkably intriguing, and most certainly worthy of our time here.

It was claimed that the sensational pictures were taken from the submarine USS Trepang in March 1971 between Iceland and Norway in the Arctic Circle. One researcher who took an immediate interest in them was Alex Mistretta, who claimed a source who had drew his attention to them was “credible”.

One of the photographs is labeled as “Official Photograph. Not to be released. CT”, while another is labeled stating “Unauthorized Disclosure Subject. Security Certificat (sic) SSN 674. Criminal Sanction”.

They are also particularly interesting as they appear to show the sunlight reflecting off the surface of the water while also reflecting off the surface of the object, which hovers approximately 100 feet over the water. You can see a good example of that in the photos below.

Shown in sequence, they appear to show an unidentified object, either having emerged from or heading to the water, which then appears to suffer some kind of explosion before crashing into the sea.

One of the pictures, for example, shows a cigar-shaped object hovering over the surface of the water. The next shot, however, appears to show the same craft, slightly higher above the water’s surface, but seemingly emitting cloudy, smoke from it, as if something has gone terribly wrong. You can see those pictures below.

Even more intriguing, the next shot in the apparent sequence appears to show the same craft but with a red dot, that some researchers suggest is the beginning of an explosion, or perhaps even the impact of artillery fire. The picture after this shows the craft seemingly dropping into the sea, smoke still billowing out and water surging upwards at the point of impact. Those pictures are below.

Then, the object appears to be floating on the surface of the water, essentially crippled and like a sitting duck. That picture can be seen below.

An “Odd” But Intriguing Set Of Pictures

As we might imagine, such pictures caused quite a stir in UFO circles. According to most reports, the pictures were captured by the officer, John Klika, who was simply scanning the area through the periscope during a military-scientific expedition under the command of Admiral Dean Reynolds Sackett. Interestingly, attempts to locate these two men, while successful, have not yielded any further information with both men stating they witnessed nothing usual on the mission.

Shortly after the pictures were made available to the public, Mistretta, in light of the statements from Sackett and Kilka, offered that the pictures may have been taken from a crew member onboard the USS Skate USN 578, which is the same region only the previous month.

Perhaps interestingly, one UFO researcher, [15] Nigel Watson, would comment at the time that they were “an odd selection of pictures that feature types of UFOs that have been regularly spotted by witnessed in all parts of the world”. Indeed, from triangular shape to a cigar shape and even that of a disc – all are clear in the pictures said to have been taken from the USS Trepang.

Another picture alleged to show a real, genuine UFO

Another picture alleged to show a real, genuine UFO

Another researcher and commentator on UFOs, Bill Smillie, would state his belief that the pictures might very well be of the same object that “has the ability to shapeshift” which, as crazy as it sounds, is something that has been mentioned in other reports and theorized by other investigators and researchers.

Others who viewed the pictures drew attention to the likeliness of the strange craft to that of the Aereon 26, which was an experimental aircraft that the United States was testing around the same time in 1971.

Whatever the truth of the pictures, Watson would state that they had “certainly got UFO researchers scratching their heads”, while also pondering the notion that an extraterrestrial base might exist in the arctic region.

As we might imagine, though, many people believe that the pictures are perhaps not as clear-cut as they first appear.

Real, Photoshopped, Or A Purposeful Combination Of Both?

John Greenewald of The Black Vault would examine the photographs [16] shortly after they appeared in the public domain, as well as research the history of the account. He would ascertain that Trepang was in the area stated, in early 1971, and that the two crew members mentioned in the report were on board. However, all this proves is that – if we assume there is an element of untruth to the pictures – that whoever released them simply checked shipping and navy records beforehand (which are fully available to the public).

Shortly after the photographs were released, a discovery made by Wim Van Utrecht and then made public by UFO researcher, Gilles Fernandez, appeared to show at least one of the photographs (the one showing the apparent explosion) suggested manipulation.

Greenewald received further correspondence and an accompanying video from a person named Scott Brando, further concerning the pictures appearing to have been photoshopped.

You can see that video below.

What of the others, then? Are they simply fake too? According to several researchers who have studied them, the rest appear to be authentic.

Might it be the case that the pictures released in Top Secret magazine are a combination of genuine, credible pictures, mixed with one or two fake ones to act as a “banana peel” to trip up UFO researchers and investigators and, in turn, discredit the remaining photographs? Might this be another example of disinformation surrounding genuine releases?

Greenewald would state that the pictures, most of which appeared to be genuine photographs, did not show UFOs but rather US Navy weapons targets, possibly some kind of naval observation balloon which was used in the opening years of the twentieth century. Might the same technology, Greenewald asks, have been used more than half a century later in the early 1970s? And might this explain why Sackett and Kilka maintained that they witnessed nothing out of ordinary on the research mission?

Of course, while the navy weapons test might explain the cigar-shaped object, it perhaps doesn’t offer an explanation for the triangular-shaped craft. Whatever the photographs show and where they were taken, they are most certainly intriguing.

The video below looks at the intriguing pictures taken from the USS Trepang a little further.

Revelations From More Recent Times

Throughout much of 2021, and certainly during the last few months, talk of UFOs and disclosure have been not only prevalent in UFO circles, but even on mainstream media. Not least due to the several leaked videos that the Pentagon has since offered is genuine footage of unknown objects.

What’s more, it is officially recognized according to the Pentagon’s report, that Unidentified Submerged Objects (USOs) [17] are just as prevalent as those seen flying through the sky – if not more so.

Journalist, Tom Rogan, recently stated on Fox News that the public will very likely learn more about “interaction between US Navy submarines – nuclear ballistic submarines and attack submarines – picking up sonar contact of things moving at hundreds of knots under the water”. He would continue that there was very much an “undersea dimension to this, on top of what the pilots are seeing above the water”.

During a 2019 podcast interview with Joe Rogan, former United States Navy Commander, David Fraver, spoke about incidents reported to him by other navy personnel of strange underwater objects. The first occurred when a navy air pilot was involved in a mission recovering practice munitions from the water. According to Fraver, the pilot would report a “dark mass” moving under the water which was almost “circular” in shape. He was certain that whatever it was, it wasn’t a submarine.

The second incident, reported by the same pilot, saw a practice torpedo “sucked down” into the ocean while a similar dark object moved under the water.

Fraver would also go on to speak of a report given to him by the daughter of a one-time naval officer after she had read of his own 2014 sighting. The woman – now in her late 70s – recalled how her father (and his family) were based at a naval station in San Francisco in the 1950s. She had seen a military telegram of her father’s which stated that strange objects were often seen going in and out of the waters of the Pacific Ocean. What’s more, these sightings were almost always in the same location.

Does this suggest – as many researchers have claimed over the years – that a base of sorts exists somewhere off the coast of California, perhaps one of many around the world?

You can see that interview below.

Underwater UFO Incidents In The Russian UFO Files

It is perhaps worth our time examining some of the sightings that were revealed in the files of Russia a little further, which were declassified in 2009. [18] According to the releases of information on the Svobodnaya Pressa media site, the files speak of “unidentified objects technologically surpassing anything humanity ever built”.

A former Russian navy officer turned respected UFO researcher, Vladimir Azhazha, would claim that 50 percent of the reports were “connected with oceans”, with many further sightings involving many of the great lakes in the region.

One particularly intriguing sighting occurred in the spring of 2008 when a Russian nuclear submarine on a mission in the Pacific Ocean suddenly picked up six unidentified objects. They initially attempted to lose the objects by changing their course. However, when the objects continued to follow them, the captain made the decision to surface. Unbelievably, the six objects rose to the surface also, breaking from the water and shooting off into the air.

The files even contemplate a connection between UFOs and the Bermuda Triangle. A Navy Intelligence officer, Captain Igor Barklay would state that there was ample activity in the Bahamas near the Bermuda Triangle, particularly so “wherever our’s or NATO’s fleets concentrate”.

Interestingly the previously mentioned Vladimir Azhazha would offer “why not” to the possibility of alien bases under the water. He would go on to state that “skepticism is the easiest way – believe nothing, do nothing. People rarely visit the great depths. So it’s very important to analyze what they encounter there.”

More Evidence Of The Importance Of Underwater UFO Study

With the comments of Vladimir Azhazha in mind, perhaps we should turn our attention to the unexplored depths of the world’s oceans, seas, and lakes. We might remind ourselves that a large portion of these waters we know absolutely nothing about.

And when we examine just the handful of UFO sightings that have involved submarines it becomes obvious – if it wasn’t already so – that there is an abundance of activity of these apparent alien vehicles taking place beneath the waters. Indeed, just how active this extraterrestrial presence might be, remains unknown. However, it would appear that it is much busier than many might imagine.

Indeed, the answers that we seek may very well reside under the waters of the planet. And while it appears from recent reports that the world militaries know little of this subaquatic presence, the possibility that they know more than they publicly reveal remains.

Perhaps some of the disasters at sea that remain unexplained – including those of missing crews – should be reexamined with a UFO perspective in mind. It just might prove to be the case that this underwater presence has been there much longer than the start of the Modern UFO Era in the late 1940s.

Might, for example, some of the tales of huge aquatic beasts stretching back hundreds of years, actually have been mechanical vehicles that were misunderstood by their crews? Might that also explain the strange lights also reported by those who sailed the seven seas in the age of exploration? While this is pure speculation, there is very likely much more evidence and information yet to be uncovered that will allow researchers to paint a much clearer and fuller picture.

The video below examines the connection between the Earth’s oceans and UFOs a little more.


1 Military Encounters with Extraterrestrials: The Real War of the Worlds, Frank Joseph, ISBN 9781591 433248
2 Triangle seen in Franklin Ky – October 1989, National UFO Reporting Center
3 A huge triangularly shaped silent object that blotted out 25 degrees of the sky, lighted by four glowing points., National UFO Reporting Center
4 Triangle Over Morgantown, National UFO Reporting Center
5 Triangular UFO with 3 lights on each corner. No Sound. Low Flight Pattern, National UFO Reporting Center
6 Amber wing at treetop level, silent, low and slow, National UFO Reporting Center
7 Post earthquake flying Triangle gave us a quick visit, National UFO Reporting Center
8 Triangular Object Over Dublin, National UFO Reporting Center
9 Triangle ship white and red lights, no noise, National UFO Reporting Center
10 Norwegians Decide Submarine Is Real and Drop Depth Charges, New York Times, November 26th, 1972 (page 3)
11 Historique du sous-marin Minerve
12 During the Cold War, the CIA Secretly Plucked a Soviet Submarine From the Ocean Floor Using a Giant Claw, Lili Thulin, Smithsonian Magazine, May 10th, 2019
13 Project Azorian, The Story of the Hughes Glomar Explorer
14 USS Scorpion Sinking, Sighting Report, June 1968
15 Do these images look like alien ships? Bizarre theory claims US Navy photos taken in the 1970s show ET hunting for oil, Ellie Zolfagharifard, Mail Online, July 8th, 2015
16 Arctic UFO Photographs, USS Trepang, SSN 674, March 1971, John Greenewald, The Black Vault, June 29th, 2017
17 The US Navy Has Reportedly Encountered Underwater UFOS That Move Incredibly Fast, Steve Huffman, Maxim
18 Russian Navy UFO records say aliens love oceans, RT News, July 21st, 2009

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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1 Comment

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  • Al says:

    The X-Files rendered obsolete and fictional all observations and historical work by Vallee, et al. Not to mention the work of Bullard, Mack, and to some degree, Streiber and MUFON.

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