The Kecks files
By JOE STUDENT
Weekender Associate Editor
Western Pennsylvania town marks UFO anniversary Tuesday
A mysterious object engulfed in a fireball streaked across the dusky sky while making itself visible to many witnesses.
Then it plunged to the ground.
Almost immediately, the U.S. military arrived at the scene to zone off the area around the object's resting place.
Despite the claims of many near the site, a U.S. Government investigation concluded that the phenomenon was most likely due to an un-recovered
Roswell, N.M. July 8, 1947?
Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, December 9, 1965.
Next week the small Westmoreland County town, which is located within an hour of Pittsburgh, will mark the 38th anniversary of the incident that has
inspired many heated debates among its townspeople, a 1990 segment on "Unsolved Mysteries," and most recently a Sci-Fi Channel Special Report "The
New Roswell: Kecksburg Exposed."
While everyone, including the government seems to agree that something happened, what that something is creates great debate and discussion both on
the special and in everyday life in the small town.
One of the principal contributors to the Sci-Fi special, which is hosted by tele-journalist Bryant Gumbel, was Greensburg, PA. UFO researcher Stan
Gordon who produced a 92-minute documentary "Kecksburg: The Untold Story," in 1998.
Gordon, who teaches a course on UFO encounters at Wetsmoreland County Community College, has been following the Kecksburg incident since it
"It's an intriguing story," Gordon said in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
"It's been almost 33 years and we still don't have an answer."
Much like the Sci-Fi special, his documentary features many eyewitness accounts of Kecksburg area residents who claim to have seen the fireball
maneuver before crashing into the woods in December 1965.
"A lot of key witnesses have passed away, are up in age, or not in the best of health. (The documentary) was the best way to have them tell their
story themselves about what they experienced," Gordon said in the same interview.
Gordon, in conjunction with Sci-Fi, convened a town meeting in early August to allow both believers and detractors of the UFO theory to debate and
inform each other and the entire country on what they believe happened.
According to Gordon, many witnesses have come forward without knowledge of each other's statements and have given like accounts of what they saw.
Gordon called them "credible witnesses."
"School teachers, cops, firemen."
Some of those witnesses indicate that when they made their way through the woods to the crash site almost 38 years ago they saw a bell-shaped craft
half-buried in a knoll. Others substantiate the idea by claiming that the military did take something out of the woods that night, while reporters
from Pittsburgh-area news agencies were kept away.
John Hays remembered.
Hays, who was 10 years-old at the time of the incident told a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter that he saw a flat-bed truck flee the crash site with
an object the "size of a VW."
He also indicated to the Trib-Review that he had seen members of NASA and the military roaming the area. Radio station WHJB also acknowledged military
presence in Kecksburg that evening.
"I'm here today because I really want to find out what's going on," Hays said before the town meeting to the Tribune Review. "I've thought about
this a lot over the years. Most of the people who deny anything happened are land owners. It's made me wonder what they were promised, or what they
were threatened with."
As cryptic as Hays' comments are, not everyone around Kecksburg believes that a UFO was at the center of the fireball that people all around the
Great Lakes region reported seeing in early December 1965.
"I was only two at the time, so I can't confirm or dispute anything that happened," resident Chuck Hilland, Jr. said to the Pittsburgh Tribune
"All I can tell you is my parents really believe nothing significant happened that night," he said.
Hilland and Hays' disparate thinking on the subject is common around Kecksburg.
Many people simply believe that there is another more obvious explanation of the incident. The tiny community does not extend itself to market the
incident as its western neighbor Roswell does. The most garish reminder is an acorn-shaped gold craft that rests behind the local fire company. The
mock craft was built for the "Unsolved Mysteries" episode.
Among the possibilities that have been offered in explaining the incident are the meteorite theory, Russian space probe Cosmos 96 or an experimental
American aircraft testing crash.
However no meteorite was recovered, Cosmos was tracked as landing in Canada and no test craft was ever admitted as existing.
It is known that during that era the U.S. Air Force possessed a classified program named Project Moon Dust, whose aim was to collect all "non-U.S.
and objects of unknown origin " that fell from space, which may explain the military presence, but not its findings.
While Gordon hasn't formally reached any conclusion about the cause of the incident, he continues to encourage that all of the information on the
event be brought forward.
"The law says they (the government) are obligated to release information," Gordon said during an on-line chat about the Sci-Fi program.
"You can all help us by signing the petition. Showing the level of interest could help the GAO to investigate," he said.
The researcher believes that once NASA and the U.S. Government have released all of the facts and evidence associated with the case, what actually
happened will become clear.
Excerpts from Ann Saul Dudurich of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and David Templeton of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette contributed to this story.
The New Roswell: Kecksburg Exposed
Saturday, December 6, 1 a.m.
To sign a petition for the release of Kecksburg related documents go to www.signpetition.com.
For Stan Gordon's site go to www.westol.com/~~~~paufo.
The most famous alleged UFO experience happened near Roswell, N.M. That community so embraces the alien possibilities that it includes an alien
illustration on its Chamber of Commerce site.
Air Force Captain Thomas Mantell died chasing a UFO over Western Kentucky on January 7, 1948. It was later speculated that Mantell flew to a higher
elevation than was safe for his oxygen-less fighter plane.
Prehistoric natives made drawings on the Nasca desert in Peru that are only visible by air. Some theorists have speculated that extra terrestrials may
have helped with these drawings.
can also be found here at