This final article in a six-part series on unidentified flying objects (UFOS) examines one of the most talked about and controversial incidents in the area, what has been termed a meteorite by some and an alien craft by others, which crashed in Kecksburg December 9, 1965.
The object was first seen streaking across the sky, with thousands from Michigan to New York witnessing a brilliant ball of fire which left a smoke trail, visible for about 20 minutes after it passed.
Many, including pilots who observed it, thought it was an aircraft which was on fire. Reports of debris from the object were made in many states, and an Ohio fire department was called to extinguish 10 small fires in an area where witnesses said they saw flaming fragments falling from the sky.
Shock waves were reported by pilots, and a seismograph near Detroit recorded a shock, wrote investigator Stan Gordon, of Pennsylvania Association for the Study of the Unexplained (PASU) in a recent journal article. The crash has been a pet project of the Greensburg man "since the night it happened," he said, noting he is still trying to obtain information on the incident.
Although the military eventually labeled the object a meteor, as did the Associated Press account published in The Bulletin the day after the crash, Gordon says recent evidence, including the discovery of a man who saw the object, supports the idea that the object was atrue UFO.
"I was a teenager then," said John (not his real name). "It was in the early part of December and there was a little snow and a little rain, and mud."
He was called to the scene after the 4:44 p.m. crash as a fireman from the Latrobe area, to search for the crashed object.
"I had seen a fiery object in the sky. I can't say exactly which direction but it was coming from the north. It was not too much longer and the fire whistle went off," he said. "I answered the call and was told they needed a search team because at the time they believed it was a downed aircraft. And I thought, 'My God, this is what I have just seen'."
When firemen arrived at the Kecksburg Fire Hall, maps were reviewed and groups were given sections to search.
"It was getting semi-dusk and we had flashlights. We were taken in the back of a truck and dropped off and told to go 'this way' which we did. I was not on the initial contact team. Another team found the object.
"It was definitely, unequivocally, positively, absolutely no aircraft, plane, helicopter or rocket, at least not to my knowledge. It was in an area that was part field and part woods and we went down to investigate," he said.
"We found the object had crashed at a 30 to 40 degree angle, and had broken off numerous tree branches in its impact path. My initial reaction was 'This is no airplane.' I observed no shrapnel, no breaking up of the fuselage. It was one solid piece, no doors, no windows.
"Preliminary searches found no bodies or casualties. It was shaped like an acorn, laying on its side, like the acorn nut is in its shell when it's on a tree," he explained. "I've been a machinist for 24 years and I've worked with a tremendous amount of different metals, and I have never seen any type of metal that looked even close to that."
John said the object was not broken, "not even cracked, just dented a bit. It did not give off smoke, steam or vapors, at least none that we could see."
Reports from neighbors in the area said it had given off a faint trail of blue smoke, which disappeared after the crash.
He described the portion visible as between eight and 10 feet long, six and seven feet across, and said a man of average height would probably have had little trouble standing up inside it. The creator it plowed into the ground was "rectangular in shape."
Continued in part 2 >
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