The UFO Files
The Kecksburg UFO Crash: December 9th, 1965
Posted by jkrog08, on September 8, 2009 at 22:56 GMT
Hynek Classification: **Reported Crash/CE2
The Kecksburg, Pennsylvania UFO crash of December 9th, 1965
Yes, most of us probably know at least some of the story, some probably know the entire available story. This case is also sometimes referred to as the “Great Lakes Fireball of 1965”. But even with ATS being as great of a ufological knowledge database as it is, this top ten UFO incident as not been covered to any detail it deserves. Thus I will documenting this crash in detail to add to the ATS archives for all to see and learn. This is a very in-depth case with investigations STILL going on, with the most recent breakthrough happening in 2003, with NASA releasing some records via the Freedom of Information Act due to a class action law suit filed by the Coalition of Freedom of Information against them. Unfortunately the 40 pages released added nothing to this case.
In this case we have numerous witness reports of an “acorn shaped” UFO crash landing in the woods of Kecksburg, PA on the night of December 9th, 1965. We have numerous witness reports of USAF, US Army, NASA, and unknown government agents at the scene covering up the incident while recovering something—that much is known and admitted, what it was however is still disputed to this day, some 44 years later. We also have a town conflicted, with some residents not even talking to each other because they are so divided about what really happened that fateful night in 1965. This case is chalk full of accusations a United States government and NASA deflection/disinformation campaign and alien cover-ups, misidentifications, and inflation of mundane evidence. Some researchers consider this case the “second Roswell”, while some consider this nothing but a ‘conventional’ cover-up of a downed Soviet space probe. As usual it is up for you all to decide for yourselves what really crashed that night---Something truly unknown or something truly mundane?
1) The Incident
At approximately 4:44 PM EST on December 9th, 1965 an unknown fireball was seen and detected entering the atmosphere at a calculated speed of 1,600 km/h by aircraft pilots, witnesses over several states as well Ontario, Canada, and multiple witnesses in the Kecksburg, PA area. The object was said to have dropped molten debris over Michigan and Northern Ohio, which started several grass fires reportedly. Sonic Booms were also heard in western Pennsylvania and by pilots who reported being rocked by shock waves. It was also noted that the smoke trail from the object lasted for around 20 minutes. When the object finally came to rest in Kecksburg, PA police phone lines were jammed with calls from witnesses reporting an object crashing into the woods of Kecksburg. Emergency officials went immediately to the scene.
Photograph showing objects smoke trail over Royal Park, Michigan on December 9th 1965 4:43 p.m. E.S.T. by Richard Champine. 2 miles east of Pontiac, Michigan, photo taken approximately 45 seconds after the fireball passed.
Among the first witnesses to report the incident was Frances Kalp, who reported seeing a fiery object crash into the woods and called the WHJB radio station at around 5:30 PM EST. She contacted the stations reporter and news director John Murphy, who in turn immediately reported the incident to the Pennsylvania state police. Multiple witnesses managed to investigate the scene before military officials arrived. Of them were fire department officials, regular civilians, Murphy, and the Pennsylvania state police. Here is some more information:
So now we have an official search and rescue operation going on by the local fire department. The interesting part of this story as really always been what these witnesses saw when they got to the actual site. Here is some more information:
Picture taken on the 9th by same person from another angle
Now anyone familiar with this case (which I expect quite a few, being this IS ATS ;) ) would be familiar with the common theories (which I will get into in a bit) about what really crashed that night. Well here is an interesting eyewitness account of what was seen that night by some witnesses:
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."Now reportedly the state police and fire department went into the woods to search while Murphy was interviewing Kalp and her children. Whatever the police saw in the woods caused them to come back out stating they “you better get your information from the military.”Of course this did not stop other witnesses from walking into the woods and trying to see what crashed for themselves. Every witness (including firemen) that entered the woods and viewed the object reported it as being “acorn” or “cone” like, with “hieroglyphic-type” writing on a “fender-like bulge” at the base, as well as leaving a trench in the ground where it crashed. Here is some more information on the early part of the incident, according to what witnesses claim to have happened:
Most witnesses thought they were observing a plane going down in flames. But in Kecksburg, where the objects arrived suddenly and made its spectacular landing, the earliest reported eyewitness, a seven year old boy playing outside with his sister, declared that it looked like "a star on fire." The children's mother later described, "a column of blue smoke rising through the trees, "from the woods about a mile away where the object landed, and another "brilliant object," hanging above the tree line and to the left of the smoke column. She described this second objects at resembling a "four-pointed star."Some more witness reports...
Report By Doug YurcheyJohn Murphy reportedly managed to take several rolls of film of the crash site, as well make an audio recording of what he saw. Unfortunately he could not exit the area before the United States Army arrived to secure the crash site. They are reported to have confiscated all but one roll of film and his audio files. Murphy reportedly (according to his wife) showed one image to his wife:
“It was very dark and it was with a lot of trees around and everything. And I don’t know how far away from the site he was. But I did see a picture of a sort of a cone-like thing. It’s the only time I ever saw it.”The remaining roll of film and audio recorder data Murphy had is thought to have been taken during a reported later encounter with two reported Men in Black shortly after the event, thus no pictures or data recorded from him exist. Murphy was heavily investigating the crash and intending to come out with an in-depth documentary with pictures and such, obviously after the MIB event the interview was highly edited and nothing new came to light in it, in fact Murphy refused to talk of the incident again. It is also noteworthy to add that John Murphy was killed in a “hit and run” four years later while in California.
Apparently the local fire department got within 200 feet of the object before being turned away by the military:
After some investigation they found out that the fire service had come within 200ft of the object before being turned away by the military. They reported seeing blue flashing lights, and noticing that the tops of several of the trees nearby were broken as if an object had come crashing through.There were many witnesses that claim to have either seen the conical shaped craft itself or the heavy military presence in the area shortly afterwards. However there is also an equally strong amount of witnesses in Kecksburg who claim there was no more than a small team (Oakdale radar unit) in the area. Current theories by many ufologist do lead to a much heavier military presence- including NASA, however.
Summation of Events
According to about half the town of Kecksburg(that were alive during the time) NASA, USAF, and US Army, as well as other unknown government personal, were at the scene that night. According to some witness reports the numbers were over 100, with full command set-ups. Some witnesses report hearing a “horrifying scream” come from within the woods hen the military proceeded to penetrate the crash site. Some time later a large military flatbed truck was seen with a “acorn or cone shaped” object being load on to it and covered with a tarp. The truck is said to have then sped off, after that all of the officials in the area are said to have departed—but not before warning certain people who may have seen something to “shut up or else”. To this day the entire severity of military involvement is disputed between townsfolk in Kecksburg, with disputes leading to lost friendships and serious disputes in some cases.
The official military explanation from 1965 to 2005 was that “nothing but a meteor had crashed that night”....
Example of conflicting witness accounts:
The meeting — an “historic” event, said Greensburg UFO investigator Stan Gordon — was organized and filmed by the cable channel as part of an investigative documentary titled, “The New Roswell: Kecksburg Exposed.” The two-hour special, produced by MPH Entertainment, Inc., and hosted by Gumbel, is scheduled to air 9 p.m. Oct. 17.More witness accounts of some strange events at Kecksburg that night...
Michael Slater, then 14 and living in Kecksburg, was outside with his brother that evening when a military jeep pulled up. The two boys were asked to assist with “crowd control.” If anyone asked for directions to the crash site, they were to give them the wrong directions.Now one must seriously question exactly what was of such a high priority for the following to take place (according to witnesses):
"They drove us out. It was late at night when we finally got back to the fire hall and it had been completely taken over by the military. They were carrying in large pieces of equipment, radios and such, and they had armed guards posted outside so nobody could get in or out. The firemen were thrown out. We weren't even allowed in to use the bathroom.
2) The Investigation
The official Kecksburg explanation of a meteor, as stated by the military, stood and was accepted by the mainstream until the case came out of its’ stagnation again in 1990 when native and UFO researcher, Stan Gordon came across a first hand witness, who was with the volunteer fire department and was on the scene that night, as well (mainly) when Unsolved Mysteries aired a nationally televised documentary on the incident in 1990. The witness, James Romansky had recalled seeing the object on the ground about 25 yards away. He also reported that he had been expecting to see a crashed airplane but when he got there he saw a bronze colored, acorn shaped, and 12 by 25 feet in size object with a raised “blunt” end that had strange markings on it:
"It had writing on it, not like your average writing, but more like ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. It had sort of a bumper on it, like a ribbon about six to 10 inches wide, and it stood out. It was elliptical the whole way around and the writing was on this bumper. It's nothing like I've ever seen, and I'm an avid reader. I read a lot of books on Egypt, the Incas, Peruvians, Russians and I've never to this day come across anything that looked like that."After the Unsolved Mysteries documentary aired two important witnesses came forward in the investigation. Both were military, here is the information gathered by the witness testimony:
After the television show ran, two new witnesses came forward. One was a USAF officer at Lockbourne AFB (near Columbus, Ohio). In the early hours of December 10, a truck arrived by the little used back gate of the base and he was ordered to patrol it. It was a flat-bed with a large tarpaulin on the surface covering a conical object.There were high hopes for this case being totally explained in the early part of this century, as a law suit was filed against NASA in December of 2003:
A researcher backed by cable television's Sci Fi Channel plans to sue NASA for records she contends the agency has of a UFO that reportedly crash landed and was recovered by government workers in southwestern Pennsylvania in 1965.They were asking for any and all information pertinent to Kecksburg be released. The lawsuit was sponsored by the SyFy Channel and the Coalition for Freedom of Information ended with NASA, in November of 2003, releasing 40 pages of documents pertaining to the incident. The released documents were of absolutely NO HELP to the investigation and mostly contained references to other works on Kecksburg. NASA claimed that “two other boxes went missing” and could not be found. You can explore the FOIA files yourself below, if you wish:
The lawsuit contends NASA has thwarted Kean's efforts to retrieve official files on the incident by sending her irrelevant information or nothing in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.I can personally state that NASA, the USAF, and any other branch of the government are near impossible to attempt to gain information on Kecksburg from. This summer I was personally trying to gain access to FOIA records and was met with many ‘brick walls’ by all agencies, sometimes with sarcastic comments such as “we are not a repository for UFO knowledge”. So for the moment I have given up on any FOIA related Kecksburg requests as you really are ran in circles for nothing.
After this ordeal the SyFy channel released a long documentary hosted by Bryant Gumble in October of 2003. This did bring further attention to the Kecksburg incident but unfortunately yielded no now evidence other than new interviews with witnesses of the incident. This was not the end of the NASA lawsuit however, as it still continues today with the request being for NASA to attempt to search for the reported lost records:
In December 2005, a lawsuit was filed to get NASA to search more diligently for the alleged lost records.The History Channel series, UFO Hunters, went out to the Kecksburg site for a February 2009 episode, but nothing conclusive was found.
So in summation what we have here is some documentaries and a few new witness accounts, as well an expensive lawsuit against NASA, which as still not added anything of value to this case, and likely will not in my opinion. I must say that in my humble opinion the only good thing that has came from the efforts since 1990 was the drawing of public attention to this case as well some hope (as slim as it is) that the legal system can indeed be used to uncover classified information in regards to UFOs.
This was the USAF and official explanation for 40 years until NASA stated the object was debris from Cosmos 96. Many skeptics still think this is true, since the Cosmos theory has been destroyed by NASA itself. In 1967 the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (JRASC) published their findings on the fireball and came to the conclusion it was in deed a meteor. The conclusions was that the fireball was falling at a steep angle, moving southwest to the northeast, and likely impacted on the northwestern shore of Lake Erie near Windsor, Ontario. However, newer and further analysis of available photographs and the calculations seem to show that may have been a hasty conclusion by the astronomers:
Here is a link to another report on the JRASC findings, followed by the disputing research (a lot of trig here guys):
In addition to all that, I mean SERIOUSLY, all that activity for a meteor, which NASA has already stated is Cosmos debris—WHICH we now know is false..
In 2005 NASA claimed that the examined debris from the object in Kecksburg showed that it was indeed from the failed Soviet craft, Cosmos 96 and NOT a meteor as the USAF had previously claimed. However one of NASAs own and best scientists in the field of orbital mechanics and debris, Dr. Nicholas L. Johnson has stated that there is no way what crashed in Kecksburg was a Russian probe, its debris, or anything manmade in space at the time. Here is some more information:
Here is some interesting information from Dr. Johnson who states that there is a very slim chance that what crashed was anything currently known to have been flying in orbit at the time:
Credentials of Dr. Johnson: Dr. Nicholas Johnson, NASA
A US Spy Satellite Film Canister
This has also been ruled out, here is some more information:
The possibility of a US reconnaissance satellite dropping a large film canister on that day has also been ruled out. These capsules were dropped following secret missions over the Soviet Union. Data on these flights was recently declassified. By checking launch and retrieval times, these capsules can also been eliminated as a possible explanation for what landed in Kecksburg.Aside from that professional statement from NASAs leading orbital debris scientists, we can clearly see that although the shape and color do match the Kecksburg object the size is WAY off for any known or practical satellite film canister.
A US or Soviet Nuclear Warhead
Another theory is that what feel from the sky that evening was a nuclear warhead that was possibly part of an early US attempt at SDI-like technology. The object which seems to possibly match the object is the Mk-6 RV, or Mark 6 Re-entry Vehicle:
The Mark 6 was designed to be shot into space. The MK 6 RV, manufactured by General Electric, was built to sit on top the Titan II ICBM and carry the W-53 multi-megaton warhead. The MK 6 was 122.27 inches long, 57.27 inches in diameter at its base, and weighed 2,076 pounds. The spherical-nose of the RV was composed primarily of aluminum honeycomb internal structure to which was bonded an ablative phenolic heat shield.This would surely be of enough concern for a massive military build up in the area which would make sense to involve multiple branches and NASA, as well the secrecy, even today. This, to me, seems like possibly the most likely alternate explanation to the Kecksburg incident. Although there are no records showing that anything remotely similar to this fell from orbit that day it still seems like a plausible explanation. Now even though the size of the RV does not match the reported size of the Kecksburg object I think it is important to remember that SDI was also working on a multiple warhead delivery system, which is exactly what the object that fell could have been. This theory deserves more attention in my opinion. Here is a related thread I found: NAZI Bell, and there is some credence to the popossibilityn my opinion. But in an effort not to postulate a theory upon a theory I will not discuss any other theories in greater detail as any decent evidence is still lacking for them.
A related link on the Bell theory:
3) Official Conclusions and My Conclusions
The official conclusions of this case come from NASA, which states that the object at Kecksburg was the crashed Cosmos 96 probe. Of course one of NASAs own said this is impossible but this is the only official response that exists to this day. The following are relevant links confirming NASAs stance:
This is a great and now well known case. But even rehashing this as I just have is lengthy because there is so much information but so little absolutes. What we can say for sure in my opinion is that what crashed that evening in Kecksburg was NOT the following:
Of course we still have the question of the strange hyhieroglyphicike writing, the ‘scream’ (which may or may not be credible), and the fact that the majority of everything else seems not to fit. So that obviously leaves us with the “UE” (Unknown Entity) origin theory. One also must consider the other reports in other cases of similar shaped objects and writing as well, and when you do I think the UE hypothesis becomes a very strong possibility to consider.
Now as far as my own conclusions goes, I think I summed it up above. I really have no certain idea what crashed in Kecksburg, but SOMETHING did crash and it WAS NOT anything we have been told thus far. I am interested in hearing some members own opinions on what they think might have crashed that night. I do have a feeling that whatever did crash was and still is extremely secret to this day for whatever reason. So right now if one were to ask me what I think crashed in Kecksburg on December 9th, 1965 I would say either an alien spacecraft, some ultra black government related craft, or a nuclear warhead re-entry vehicle (possibly related to SDI). Again, I know many here likely already know of this case but it has not been ththoroughly documented on ATS before so thus this re-hash. Hopefully we can spark up some good discussions or draw new information to light. I truly hope everyone enjoys reading about this GREAT UFO case, that in my opinion is second or third only to Roswell and Height 611 in ufology. This still is a fairly active investigation with the ensuing lawsuits and all, as well as continuing digging by other means so maybe one day we can all know the truth of what crashed that night. Thanks for reading everyone.
Posted by easynow, on Sept 9, 2009 at 00:53 GMT ATS Post ID 7058682
Hey nice job on putting this together jkrog08
Posted by JimOberg, on September 9, 2009 at 04:19 GMT ATS Post ID 7059927
Fascinating case -- my input follows:
Jim Oberg on the “NASA lawsuit
over Kecksburg UFO Documents”
The October 26, 2007, Associated Press story on NASA
searching its files for secret data on the ‘Kecksburg UFO crash’ of
1965 must have been written by a lazy reporter based on dictation from
the filer of the lawsuit, with no attempts at background or balance. The
story as written is seriously misleading. It is posted on msnbc at
NASA is unlikely to have any such documents, and the suing party knows it – the move is almost certainly a publicity stunt for the television documentary company she works with. Last time NASA was sued, it dug and dug and found a few copies of news clippings of the event, and also copies of letters from UFO buffs demanding NASA release all its secret files on the event. That was all.
There’s no reason NASA would ever have any other
files on the event, anyway. Here’s why: The Air Force explanation of
“meteors” refers to the explanation of professional astronomers who
observed, photographed, and analyzed the path of the real meteor that DID
enter the atmosphere that day. There is nothing trumped-up or imaginary
about the meteor, that was seen over a wide area, including western Pennsylvania.
The USAF had a program to recover space satellite debris after entry into the atmosphere, particularly Soviet satellite debris. In the 1970-2 period, I personally read such classified reports of recoveries when I was a young lieutenant serving at the AF Weapons Lab at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, New Mexico. One case I distinctly remember involved fragments of the heat shield of an off-course spy satellite that allowed analysts to assess the pressurized canister volume – that material was picked up by a missionary in southern Africa and mailed to a military intelligence contact he had.
In early December, 1965, a Soviet spacecraft of very
high interest was about to fall out of orbit. It was the entry capsule
of a Venus probe, whose engine had failed during launch, trapping it in
low Earth orbit. That spacecraft would contain the very latest Soviet hardware
for heat shielding, hi-G structural strength, guidance, navigation instrumentation,
and computer/communications systems, since the same factories that
Previous acquisitions of Soviet space probes (such as the ‘moon probe’ that was secretly ‘borrowed’ overnight from a touring exhibit in Mexico in 1959) had provided valuable information.
So it’s entirely likely an alert message would have gone out to all military units to be on the lookout, in this period, for stuff falling out of the sky. This had paid off before.
There was an AF radar site in Ohio, with skeleton staffing. Apparently, when they read the papers (or heard radio accounts) about people in the Kecksburg area seeing a flaming object fall nearby, after other folks had seen a fireball crossing Lake Erie, it would have been worth sending a few enlisted men over to look around. For all I know, they identified themselves as ‘NASA’ – military personnel in mufti had done this regularly in the 1960’s, especially overseas, for convenient cover – and found nothing. The paper trail of this trip would have been sparse, and short-lived.
The later stories of things crashing in the woods and being hauled away on flatbeds seem to have sprung from local competitive tall-tale-telling. The stories refer to different locations, and some are to locations you couldn’t, then or now, even drive a vehicle into.
The acorn appearance of some descriptions – others describe a Hollywood-style winged space plane – intrigued me because that, in fact, is what the Venus entry probe DOES sort of look like. But then I learned that the description only originated some years later, when TV reporters and UFO buffs showed the witnesses photographs of the Venus probe – and some responded, “Yeah, THAT’S what I saw…” Sure.
‘Kosmos-96’, the Soviet cover name for the off-course Venus capsule, DID fall from orbit a few hours before the meteor was seen. The AF said it was over western Canada. Personally, I had wondered if the AF claim was a diversion to camouflage their recovery of the actual satellite. After all, it was against international law to recover and then retain objects launched by other nations – the ‘originating state’ had full legal ownership. Far better (I mused) to avoid a fuss by just never admitting possession – and far MORE valuable from an intelligence point of view if the ‘other side’ never realized that you had discovered some of its technical secrets.
But subsequent analysis of the Kosmos-96 orbit confirmed the authenticity of the AF tracking data, and confirmed that its path could not possibly be made to coincide with the path of the meteor observed in southern Ontario.
In the end, the same-day fall of the super-secret Soviet Venus capsule, and the bright meteor, must have been coincidences. That happens, too.
The Kecksburg local industry in its ‘UFO crash’ continues to thrive, although many key personnel from that area insist, as they have always insisted, that the tales of trucks and troops and mystery spaceships are all imaginary – THEY were there, in responsible emergency services jobs, and they say they saw nothing. For UFO believers, this is easy to explain – they have had their brains wiped by a memory ray, further evidence the crash was real.
For the genuinely curious, it’s a fascinating case
with a long history. There’s been both sincerity and charlatanism in
equal measures. The latest press stories, in my view, are based very strongly
on the latter type of evidence.
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