Fargo’s most famous UFO sighting happened in the skies above a Bison football game
FARGO — It’s almost as though Fargo Forum Sports Editor Eugene Fitzgerald had a tiny crystal ball sitting beside his typewriter in the smoke-filled newsroom that day in the fall of 1948 when he wrote his headline for Oct. 1: “Aerial Display Likely in Bison-Augustana Game Tonight.” Of course, in this case, “aerial display” referred to Fitzgerald’s prediction that the game would feature more passing than rushing.
NDSU won that night 14-6, hardly a show of aerial dominance. Nonetheless, Fitzgerald’s headline turned out to be strangely prophetic as there was a pretty spectacular aerial display in the sky that night. It became the subject of a U.S. government investigation, the files of which have only recently been declassified and open for the public to see.
It’s come to be known as the “Gorman dogfight” and is one of the most well-known 20th century UFO stories. It’s also one of the most credible, considering the man who claimed to see the flying saucer was an accomplished World War II pilot and at least three other witnesses were experienced aviators.
For years, reports of what happened that night came from the eyewitnesses and Gorman himself. But now that the files have been declassified, more details have emerged. The incident was featured on a History Channel show called Project Blue Book in 2019.
Who was George Gorman?
According to columnist Curt Eriksmoen, who wrote about Gorman in The Forum in 2011, Gorman was born July 7, 1923, to Norbert and Roberta Gorman. He grew up in Fargo, where his father was a Cass County agent. During World War II, Gorman became a B-25 instructor for French aviation students. When the war was over, he returned to Fargo and was employed as the manager of a construction company.
When the North Dakota Air National Guard formed at Fargo’s Hector Airport on Jan. 16, 1947, Gorman joined the squadron as a second lieutenant.