The UFO Files
Kecksburg UFO Incident
The Kecksburg UFO incident of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, USA occurred on December 9, 1965. A large, brilliant fireball was seen by thousands in at least six states and Ontario, Canada. It streaked over the Detroit, Michigan/Windsor, Ontario area, dropped reported metal debris over Michigan and northern Ohio, and caused sonic booms in western Pennsylvania. It was generally assumed and reported by the press to be a meteor.
However, eyewitnesses in the small village of Kecksburg, about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, claimed something crashed in the woods. A boy said he saw the object land; his mother saw a wisp of blue smoke arising from the woods and alerted authorities. Others from Kecksburg, including local volunteer fire department members, reported finding an object in the shape of an acorn and about as large as a Volkswagen Beetle. Writing resembling Egyptian hieroglyphics was also said to be in a band around the base of the object. Witnesses further reported that intense military presence, most notably Army, secured the area, ordered civilians out, and then removed the object on a flatbed truck. At the time, however, the military claimed they searched the woods and found "absolutely nothing."
The nearby Greensburg Tribune-Review had a reporter at the scene; the headline in the newspaper the next day was "Unidentified Flying Object Falls near Kecksburg — Army Ropes off Area."
The official explanation of the widely-seen fireball was a mid-sized meteor, however, speculation as to what the Kecksburg object had been (if there was one — reports vary) also range from it being an alien craft to the remains of an unmanned Soviet Venera 4 atmospheric probe, also known as Kosmos-96, originally destined for Venus. (However, see below where this was recently ruled out by NASA's chief in charge of tracking orbital debris.)
Similarities have been drawn between Kecksburg and the Roswell UFO incident, and as such, is known as "Pennsylvania's Roswell".
NASA Court-Ordered To Search
For UFO Docs
NASA has agreed to search its archives once again for documents on a 1965 UFO incident in Pennsylvania, a step the space agency fought in federal court.
The government has refused to open its files about what, if anything, moved across the sky and crashed in the woods near Kecksburg, Pa., 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
Traffic was tied up in the area as curiosity seekers drove to the area, only to be kept away from the crash site by soldiers.
The Air Force's explanation for the unidentified flying object: a meteor or meteors.
"They could not find anything," one Air Force memo stated after a late-night search on Dec. 9, 1965. Several NASA employees also were reported to have been at the scene.
Eyewitnesses said a flatbed truck drove away a large object shaped like an acorn and about the size of a Volkswagen bus. A mock-up based on the descriptions of local residents sits behind the Kecksburg Volunteer Fire Department.
UFO enthusiasts refused to let the matter die and journalist Leslie Kean of New York City sued NASA four years ago for information.
"This is about the public's right to know," Kean said. "We would be doing this lawsuit regardless of whether UFO groups were interested in it or not. It's a freedom of information issue."
The agency has turned over several stacks of documents which Kean says are not responsive to the request, an argument that U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan agreed with.
In March, Sullivan rejected NASA's request to throw the case out of court, resulting in negotiations that led to the agency promising last week that it will conduct a more comprehensive search.
Kean said Friday that she sued NASA rather than the
Army because the space agency a decade ago released some relevant documents
on the case.
© MMVII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved
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