In 1953, a mysterious aviation disappearance took place – with First Lieutenant Felix Moncla vanishing while attempting an interception.

Moncla appeared to simply vanish after a radar showed him merging with the object he had been tracking. There has been no trace of Moncla, nor his aircraft, ever since.

For Ufologists, the Felix Moncla case is important, and serves as what many believe to be very strong evidence for extra-terrestrial life on Earth. Its a highly-renowned case for them.

This article reviews this case. There is a reader’s poll at the end of the article, which we hope you vote on. This will help to provide a picture of what our readers believe happened in this case.

Felix Moncla was part of the US Air Force


Moncla was a First Leitenant in the US Air Force. He had served in the US Army during the Second World War and the Korean War.

Moncla trained to become a pilot, and by 1953, he had risen to the rank of First Lieutenant. He was stationed in the state of Michigan at the time of his disappearance.

The Disappearance

On November 23rd, 1953, radar operators at an Air Defence Command post identified an unusual flying object on their map. In anticipation of this object being a potential threat, a jet – piloted by Moncla – was scrambled.

Moncla set off from the nearby Kinross Air Force Base. Back at the defence post, a team gathered to view Moncla’s progress. Second Lieutenant Robert Wilson was among those watching.

The defence post struggled to track the object, leaving ground operators to try and direct Moncla to the object. Moncla was able to close within 9,000 feet of the object in altitude.

On the ground, operators watched as Moncla’s aircraft and the object became closer and closer, before appearing to merge as one. The operators waited for the aircraft and object to separate – but they didn’t.

Eventually, the solo dot went out of the proximity of the radar – with no confirmation on what had happened. It appeared as if they had merged as one, and flown into the distance.

Efforts were made to contact Moncla via radio, which was unsuccessful. The personnel at the defence post were left confused, with Moncla seemingly vanishing, and no plane or object returning onto the radar.

The Investigation

A search and rescue operation by both the US and Canadian Air Force were hastily launched. The area in which Moncla vanished involved both Canadian and American territory.

But neither forces found any trace of an aircraft, object, or most importantly – Moncla himself. Poor weather hindered the search, which lasted many days.

Moncla had been flying over Lake Superior at the time of the two objects appearing to merge. Lake Superior was a specific focus of the search, though in the vast area, nothing was found.

As the days and weeks went by, searches failed to bring up any results. Eventually, the search was called off, with Moncla sadly presumed dead. His aircraft too was declared lost.

But what happened next led to significant controversy and confusion. The official American report into the case concluded that Moncla had crashed into Lake Michigan while chasing a Canadian Air Force jet – which they said was the unknown object on the radar.

However, the Canadian Air Force adamantly denied that they had a jet in the area at the time. It has been reported that a Canadian aircraft could have been flying over a restricted air space at the time – which may have led to the Canadian Air Force trying to cover their tracks.

In terms of what caused the crash, the American report suggested that Moncla had suffered from vertigo, which led to him crashing. It would appear to be purely coincidental that this happened around the same time that he was merging with the object.

Later Developments

In the years since Moncla’s disappearance, the lack of answers and general mystery of this case has energised Ufologists and others seeking to prove the existence of extra-terrestrial life.

Many have pointed to how the two objects merging on the radar could have been the result of a UFO capturing Moncla and his aircraft, before vanishing into the distance.

In 2006, long after the case had been declared cold, there was an unexpected development. A hoax, which suggested that remnants of Moncla’s aircraft had been found, was created by a group that called themselves the “Great Lakes Dive Company“.

The hoax reached the internet forum “UFO Updates”, which led to a surge in interest in the case, with those that were part of the UFO community believing the hoax. In 2006, the internet wasn’t as sophisticated as it is today, with “fact-checking” sites non-existent. This resulted in scores of people believing the hoax.

A “spokesperson” for the Great Lakes Dive Company spoke to many reporters, and even made it onto a late-night radio talk show named Coast to Coast. But as the group’s story became more elaborate, journalists realised that they had been fooled, and it was declared a hoax.

This was the last development in this case – with sadly no further developments emanating. At the time of writing, Moncla and his aircraft remain missing.

The lack of answers and conclusions over what happened to Moncla has led to further speculation about extra-terrestrial involvement. For many, this case is an example that supports the existence of extra-terrestrial life.

The disappearance took place in the United States


There are a few different theories that have been put forward to explain the disappearance of Felix Moncla – each with some evidence in its favour.

We take a look at the evidence for each of these theories:

Theory One: Moncla crashed after vertigo

Many suggest that the logical explanation is the one put forward by the US Air Force – which suggested that Moncla suffered from vertigo and ultimately crashed.

Moncla had suffered from bouts of vertigo in the past. If he had vertigo again, he would’ve become disoriented and confused. He then surely would have crashed.

With Lake Superior being so vast, it is conceivable that he and his aircraft have never been discovered. Yet at the same time, searches have been going on for years. Is it really possible that after all this time, that he and the aircraft have never found?

Then there is also the question on how it seems awfully convenient that Moncla seemingly crashed at the same time that he appeared to merge with the object he was chasing. Is this almost too convenient to the extent that it couldn’t have been the whole truth?

Of course, the most glaring omission from this theory is that it doesn’t explain what the object that Moncla was chasing was. While it might have been a Canadian aircraft, as the US said, it was also denied by the Canadians.

Theory Two: Moncla crashed from pilot error

The theory that Moncla crashed into the lake as a result of pilot error is also possible. This theory shares many of the same dynamics as the above theory.

A relative of Moncla had been told of his proclivity for flying too low, and that this was a concern among his superiors. It is possible that during the chase, Moncla flew too low and crashed into the water.

However, similar to the above, there are some flaws in this argument. Again, could it really be possible for the aircraft and Moncla to still not be found after all the years of searches?

Moreover, as mentioned above, it would be incredibly convenient for the crash to take place as the two objects merged. Finally, it also doesn’t explain what the object truly was.

Theory Three: Intentional Disappearance

Could Moncla have tried to intentionally disappear? While this theory is far-fetched to most, there is a possibility that this could have happened.

Moncla may have decided that he wanted to start a new life, and took this opportunity to parachute out of his aircraft and start afresh. It would at least explain why Moncla was never seen again.

As Moncla wasn’t well-known, he could easily have settled into a new area. He may have blended in and started a new life for himself. He could have even lived for many years.

However, there are numerous flaws to this theory. Again, the precise timing that would’ve been required by Moncla to eject from his aircraft just as he merged with the object would need to be inch-perfect – something that would surely require years of experience and practice, which Moncla did not have.

Moncla also left behind a wife and young children, meaning he seemingly had very little reason to want to disappear. Again, this theory also doesn’t answer what the object was.

Theory Four: Accidental shootdown

Given the cagey and differing accounts by the American and Canadian personnel, it is possible that they attempted to cover-up the case. This may have been down to an accidental shootdown of Moncla’s aircraft.

At the time, both nations were on high alert, with the Second World War and Korean War fresh in the memory, as well as the brewing Cold War.

It is possible that as the aircraft approached Canadian airspace, it was shot down by personnel that mistook the aircraft for an enemy. This would explain why there were a lack of conclusions.

However, it is rare that an event like this could be successfully covered-up for many years without anyone coming forward with the truth. It is also the case that if this theory was accurate, there surely would have been eyewitness accounts of Moncla’s aircraft being shot.

Theory Five: Extra-terrestrial involvement

The Felix Moncla case is renowned for Ufologists, with some putting it in the same bracket as Roswell. It is very possible that there was some form of extra-terrestrial involvement in the case.

Many believe that Moncla was chasing an object that had some form of extra-terrestrial life on board. Why would the Canadian’s lie about an aircraft of theirs not being the object in question? They would have no reason to lie.

Moncla may have been abducted by the object. The object and Moncla appeared to merge, as if one had consumed the other. Could the object have abducted Moncla and his aircraft?

If this theory is correct, it would explain why no body or aircraft was ever found. It isn’t known either why extra-terrestrial life would engage with humans this way, or if they conducted some tests on Moncla, or his ultimate fate.

This theory does answer most of the questions asked. But it comes down to whether or not you believe in extra-terrestrial life or not. If anyone does, then this theory can make a lot of sense.

Reader Vote

With the above theories in mind, we now invite you to cast your vote on the theory that you believe is most likely in the poll below.

What Happened to Felix Moncla?


The fact that Felix Moncla never emerged from the disappearance is a tragedy, especially given that he left behind two young children and his wife Bobbie Jean Coleman.

What truly happened on that night back in 1953 will surely be never known. The lack of conclusions from this case is certainly strange, and for some, the Moncla disappearance is an important part of the case for extra-terrestrial life being present on Earth.

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