"The Kinross Incident" is the fifth short in the mini-series True Terror With George Takei, a series of The Terror shorts narrated by George Takei, focused on real-life terrors. As with the other installments in the series save the premiere, it was released by AMC on YouTube on October 1, 2019. However, subscribers to the premium streaming service AMC Premiere were granted access on August 7, 2019.
When an unidentified radar blip was detected over Lake Michigan in 1953, First Lieutenant Felix Moncla Jr. was dispatched in an F-89 Scorpion to intercept and disappeared without a trace. No wreckage was ever found. Did Moncla experience vertigo, or encounter an unexplained storm? Or was it something more extraterrestrial?
The 1950s have arrived in the Great Lakes of America's Upper Midwest. It is a time of optimism, with people feeling like the future is finally there. Felix Moncla Jr., an ace Air Force Pilot, moves with his wife and son to this area in Wisconsin in order to serve out his deployment at the Kinross Air Force Base. Five months later, they have a second child and Felix begins making plans to return to civilian life, perhaps even going back to school. Nothing bad ever happens in this midwestern paradise. Then, Felix vanishes on a flight.
Felix was well-liked growing up by everyone in his neighborhood in Moreauville, Louisiana. He was voted prom king by his high school classmates. He was studying to become a doctor when the Korean War broke out. His patriotism roused, he joined the Air Force and had completed advanced training by the time he was deployed at Kinross. He had a specialized focus on the F-89 and was considered an expert pilot. He had no idea that he was about to fly into a special kind of terror. On November 23, 1953, the U.S. Air Defense Command spotted an unknown target in restricted air space. They immediately scrambled an F-89 Scorpion, crewed by radar operator Robert L. Wilson and pilot Felix Moncla Jr. They raced for 30 minutes at an altitude of 8,000 feet, flying 500 miles per hour. As Felix finally closed on the target, ground radar received their last communication from him - "I'm going in for a closer look."
Ground radar watched, expecting the blips to separate, but this never happened. Both U.S. and Canadian forces launched a joint search and rescue. Unfortunately, the F-89 Scorpion and its crew are never seen again. A day after incident, Ground Control released a statement reading "the jet was followed by radar until it merged with an unknown object." The statement was almost immediately refuted by the U.S. Air Force Headquarters, claiming the radar operator must have misread the scope. They claim to know exactly what happened that night. The unknown target was simply a Royal Canadian Air Force jet. As for the Scorpion, Felix suffered from vertigo and crashed the jet. The facts, however, don't add up.
Felix had no previous history of vertigo. Furthermore, the Canadians deny having had any aircraft in the sky at the time. In the years following Felix's disappearance, there were more and more reports of so-called unidentified flying objects in America's upper midwest. Famously, in 1966, numerous residents reported sightings of UFOs near Ann Arbor, Michigan. Authorities claimed they were simply seeing swamp gas, yet there were no swamps in most of the sighting areas. The Great Lakes region has a history of bizarre disappearances dating back before the Kinross mystery. In 1902, the SS Bannockburn and its 20 crew vanished on Lake Superior, the only wreckage found being a cork life vest washed up on a beach. Three years before Felix's disappearance, Northwest Airlines flight 2501 vanished while flying over Lake Michigan. Some suspect extraterrestrial activity. Even to this day, there are hundred of reports of UFOs in the remote regions of the Great Lakes. As for Felix, in 2006, divers discovered his F-89 Scorpion according to a spokesman for the Great Lakes Dive Company. The company's website posted sonar images of an intact aircraft at the bottom of the lake. Reporters, however, learned something surprising: locals had never heard of a Great Lakes Dive Company. Within three weeks, the company's website and its spokesman, who nobody had ever spoken to in person, simply disappeared. Was it merely a hoax, or was there some force at work trying to convince people that the jet merely crashed? To date, no wreckage has ever truly been found, leaving the matter an unsolved mystery to this day.