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This page last updated:
February 23, 2009

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  Salem, MA
July 16, 1952

During the peak of the 1952 UFO Flap, Shel Alpert, a USCG seaman on duty in the Coast Guard Weather Office at the Salem Coast Guard Station, saw four brilliant lights in the sky. He called another Guardsman to see the lights, but in those few seconds the lights had become more dim. When they brightened again, he quickly took a single photograph through the window of the office. This photo has been published in many books, newspapers and magazines.

Some attempts were later made to explain away the photo as reflections of interior lights on the window through which the photo had been taken. However, some accounts state that it was a screen window rather than glass, which would eliminate this theory. Also, it would seem that one would recognize reflections in the window as they would appear in the same place each day.

In 1962, the USCG wrote that "it has never been determined what caused the phenomenal lights shown [in the photograph]."

USCG 1952 Photograph

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