Mysterious Foo Fighters in the Sky

   FOO Final, yellow

 “AND THE TUNE AT THE TOP OF THE HOUR was by……if you guessed Foo Fighters, you would be correct,” the disc jockey voiced from 95.5 FM on the radio dial.

“Foo Fighters.  That’s a funny name for a group, Grandpa,” nine year old Jim Bob said as the truck bounced back to the farm.

“Yeah, they had a lot of funny names for musical groups back in the day: The Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Electric Prunes, The Psychedelic Furs, The Animals, more recently The Beastie Boys.”

“Ha ha ha ha.  That’s hilarious,” Jim Bob said.

Jim Bob’s grandpa was probably just one of a handful of farmers who preferred oldies rock to Country and Western.

“Say, I’m taking it that you don’t know what a Foo Fighter was, now do you?”

“No.  I don’t know what any of those things are, except animals,” Jim Bob answered.

His grandpa laughed, then decided to explain.

“Have you ever heard of World War II?  I doubt if you have studied it much in school yet, but you will.  My own grandfather was a flyer in WWII—that would be your great grandfather.”

“Yeah, I have heard of World War II,” Jim Bob replied.

His grandpa continued.  “To make a long story short, between 1941 and 1945, the United States was drawn into a war.  The US and her allies were trying to stop Hitler’s version of Germany from overtaking the free world.  A lot of our soldiers went over to Europe to fight and a lot of our Air Force flyers went over there, your great grandpa included.”

“Wow.  All the way over in Europe.”  Jim Bob was visualizing a globe like they had at school.

“It was a long war. About, oh about 1944, it was fall I think, American pilots returned from missions with some bewildering reports.”


“In fact, the reports came flooding in all at once.  They had seen some strange sights.  They first started seeing these sights over the Rhine.  Bizarre glowing balls seemed to come at the planes from out of nowhere.  They gave chase.  Most of the glowing balls were white, but some were orange, some red and some even blue.  Sometimes they trailed the planes in a straight line.  Sometimes they dipped, darted, and zipped.  Sometimes they made spiral patterns in their crazy flight or turned somersaults.”

“No!  Really?”

“Sometimes one lone luminous ball would madly chase a plane, or sometimes up to ten at once did.  They seemed to be taunting and playing with the American aircraft.  I heard some of your great grandpa’s stories of Foo Fighters firsthand.  They did no harm to the planes or pilots—they were just confusing and pesky.  After awhile, the allies were convinced they were some kind of secret weapon developed by the Germans.  The Germans had developed some pretty sophisticated technology—that had to be what the mysterious glowing balls were.”

“Was it?”

“Wait a minute, I’m getting to it.  After the war was over, the German pilots told stories of seeing the same glowing orbs, and they were convinced that the Allies had developed secret weapons to bedevil them.  Not only that, crews of Pacific bombers had seen the strange objects.  Later in the Korean War and the Vietnam War they appeared again.”

“So they called them Foo Fighters?  Why?”  Jim Bob wanted to know.

“That was the name the Americans gave them.  They borrowed a line from a popular comic strip, ‘where there’s foo, there’s fire.’  The cartoonist that developed the comic strip, ‘Smokey Stover’ probably got the word ‘Foo’ from the French word ‘feu.’”


“Feu means fire in French.  And you know what?”


“To this very day, no one—no one in the whole wide world—has ever solved the mystery.  What were the glowing balls?”  Jim Bob’s grandpa then did his best imitation of the sound of a Theremin.


“No.  It’s true.  No one knows.”

No one knows…


Please click the book cover image to read more about Sara Marie Hogg and her novels.

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