If a group had been hand-picked to observe a UFO, we couldn't have picked a more technically qualified group of people. They were:
Dr. W. I. Robinson, Professor of Geology.
Dr. A. G. Oberg, Professor of Chemical Engineering.
Professor W. L. Ducker, Head of the Petroleum Engineering Department.
Dr. George, Professor of Physics.
On the evening of August 25 the four men were sitting in Dr. Robinson's back yard. They were discussing micrometeorites and drinking tea. They jokingly stressed this point. At nine-twenty a formation of lights streaked across the sky directly over their heads. It all happened so fast that none of them had a chance to get a good look.
One of the men mentioned that he had always admonished his students for not being more observant; now he was in that spot. He and his colleagues realized they could remember only a few details of what they had seen.
The lights were a weird bluish-green color and they were in a semicircular formation. They estimated that there were from fifteen to thirty separate lights and that they were moving from north to south.
Their one wish at this time was that the lights would reappear. They did; about an hour later the lights went over again.
This time the professors were a little better prepared. With the initial shock worn off, they had time to get a better look. The details they had remembered from the first flight checked. There was one difference; in this flight the lights were not in any orderly formation, they were just in a group.
The professors reasoned that if the UFO's appeared twice they might come back. Come back they did. The next night and apparently many times later, as the professors made twelve more observations during the next few weeks. For these later sightings they added two more people to their observing team.
Being methodical, as college professors are, they made every attempt to get a good set of data. They measured the angle through which the objects traveled and timed them. The several flights they checked traveled through 90 degrees of sky in three seconds, or 30 degrees per second. The lights usually suddenly appeared 45 degrees above the northern horizon, and abruptly went out 45 degrees above the southern horizon. They always traveled in this north-to-south direction. Outside of the first flight, in which the objects were in a roughly semicircular formation, in none of the rest of the flights did they note any regular pattern. Two or three flights were often seen in one night.
Armed with a list of names of other observers of the mysterious lights, an intelligence officer started out to try to get a cross-section account of the other UFO sightings in the Lubbock area. All the stories about the UFO's were the same; various types of formations of dull bluish-green lights, generally moving north to south.
We talked to observers in nearby towns. Their stories were the same.
Two of them, tower operators at an airport, reported that they had seen the lights on several occasions.
Two ladies, a mother and her daughter, had left their home in Matador, Texas, 70 miles northeast of Lubbock, about twelve-thirty P.M. on August 31.
They were driving along in their car when they suddenly noticed "a pear-shaped" object about 150 yards ahead of them.
It was just off the side of the road, about 120 feet in the air. It was drifting slowly to the east, "less than the speed required to take off in a Cub airplane.
"They drove on down the road about 50 more yards, stopped, and got out of the car. The object, which they estimated to be the size of a B-29 fuselage, was still drifting along slowly. There was no sign of any exhaust blast and they heard no noise, but they did see a "porthole" in the side of the object. In a few seconds the object began to pick up speed and rapidly climb out of sight. As it climbed it seemed to have a tight spiraling motion.
The investigation showed that the two ladies were "solid citizens," with absolutely no talents, or reasons, for fabricating such a story. The daughter was fairly familiar with aircraft. Her husband was an Air Force officer then in Korea, and she had been living near air bases for several years. The ladies had said that the object was "drifting" to the east, which possibly indicated that it was moving with the wind, but on further investigation it was found that it was moving into the wind.
Did a huge flying wing pass over Albuquerque and travel 250 miles to Lubbock in about fifteen minutes? This would be about 900 miles per hour. Did the radar station in Washington pick up the same thing? I'd checked the distances on the big wall map in flight operations just before leaving Reese AFB. It was 1,300 miles from Lubbock to the radar site. From talking to people, we decided that the lights were apparently still around Lubbock at 11:20 P.M. and the radar picked them up just after midnight. They would have had to be traveling about 780 miles per hour. This was fairly close to the 900-mile-per-hour speed clocked by the two radars. The photos of the Lubbock Lights checked with the description of what the AEC employee and his wife had seen in Albuquerque.
Witnesses said they saw "dots" of lights flying in "U" and "V" shapes, passing in two and three-second intervals. The number of dots reported in the formations ranged from eight to nine to 20 to 30. The lights appeared in the northeastern part of the sky and proceeded in a straight line to the southwest.
The color of the lights was "about like the stars, only brighter," while others said they were either a blue or white with a slight yellow tinge to them. Others described them as appearing "as a string of beads," moving roughly in a semi-circle, and were "soft, glowing, bluish-green."
Dr. J.C. Cross, head of Tech’s Department of Biology, examined the 35mm photographs, and asserted, "It definitely wasn’t caused by birds."
In Matador, reports were made of a "noiseless aircraft flying at a low altitude, without aid of propellers or wings." They said it was different from any aircraft they had ever seen.
Originally posted by Phage
I have a question about the radar reports. Where are they?
"Every time I get skeptical, I think of the other reports made by experienced pilots and radar operators, scientists, and other people who know what they are looking at. These reports were thoroughly investigated and they are still unknowns.
We have no aircraft on this earth that can at will so handily outdistance our latest jets... The pilots, radar specialists, generals, industrialists, scientists, and the man on the street who have told me, I wouldn't have believed it either if I hadn't seen it myself, knew what they were talking about. Maybe the Earth is being visited by interplanetary space ships.
When four college professors, a geologist, a chemist, a physicist, and a petroleum engineer report seeing the same UFOs on fourteen different occasions, the event can be classified as, at least, unusual. Add the fact that hundreds of other people saw these UFOs and that they were photographed, and the story gets even better. Add a few more facts, that these UFOs were picked up on radar and that a few people got a close look at one of them, and the story begins to convince even the most ardent skeptic."
Captain Edward J. Ruppelt
Chief of Project Blue Book, from his book, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, 1956.
I almost overlooked the report from the radar station because it was fairly short. It said that early on the morning of August 26, only a few hours after the Lubbock sighting, two different radars had shown a target traveling 900 miles per hour at 13,000 feet on a northwesterly heading. The target had been observed for six minutes and an F-86 jet interceptor had been scrambled but by the time the F-86 had climbed into the air the target was gone. The last paragraph in the report was rather curt and to the point. It was apparently in anticipation of the comments the report would draw. It said that the target was not caused by weather. The officer in charge of the radar station and several members of his crew had been operating radar for seven years and they could recognize a weather target. This target was real.
Originally posted by internos
I quickly took out a map of the United States and drew in a course line between Lubbock and the radar station. A UFO flying between these two points would be on a northwesterly heading and the times it was seen at the two places gave it a speed of roughly 900 miles per hour.
This was by far the best combination of UFO reports I'd ever read and I'd read every one in the Air Force's files.
The next morning as I rode to the airport to catch an airliner back to Dayton I tried to put the whole puzzle together. It was hard to believe that all I'd heard was real. Did a huge flying wing pass over Albuquerque and travel 250 miles to Lubbock in about fifteen minutes? This would be about 900 miles per hour. Did the radar station in Washington pick up the same thing? I'd checked the distances on the big wall map in flight operations just before leaving Reese AFB. It was 1,300 miles from Lubbock to the radar site. From talking to people, we decided that the lights were apparently still around Lubbock at 11:20 P.M. and the radar picked them up just after midnight. They would have had to be traveling about 780 miles per hour. This was fairly close to the 900-mile-per-hour speed clocked by the two radars. The photos of the Lubbock Lights checked with the description of what the AEC employee and his wife had seen in Albuquerque. Nobody in Lubbock, however, had reported seeing a "flying wing" with lights. All of this was swimming around in my mind when I stepped out of the staff car at the Lubbock airport.
The target had been observed for six minutes and an F-86 jet interceptor had been scrambled but by the time the F-86 had climbed into the air the target was gone.
Ruppelt's conclusion at the time was that the professors had seen a type of bird called a plover (Ruppelt, 110). The city of Lubbock had installed new vapor street lights in 1951, and Ruppelt believed that the plovers, flying over Lubbock in their annual migration, were reflecting the new street lights at night.
Witnesses who supported this assertion were
T.E. Snider, a local farmer who on August 31, 1951 had observed some birds flying over a drive-in movie theater; the bird's undersides were reflected in the light. Another witness,
Joe Bryant, had been sitting outside his home with his wife on August 25 - the same night on which the three professors had first seen the lights. According to Bryant, he and his wife had seen a group of lights fly overhead, and then two other flights. Like the professors, they were at first baffled by the objects, but when the third group of lights passed overhead they began to circle the Bryant's home. Mr. Bryant and his wife then noticed that the lights were actually plovers, and could hear them as well.
Hynek contacted one of the Texas Tech professors in 1959 and learned that the professor, after careful research, had concluded that he had actually been observing the plovers
However, not everyone agreed with this explanation.
William Hams, the chief photographer for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, took several nighttime photos of birds flying over Lubbock's vapor street lights and found that he could not duplicate Hart's photos - the images were too dim to be developed.
Dr. J.C. Cross, the head of Texas Tech's biology department, ruled out the possibility that birds could have caused the sightings.
A game warden Ruppelt interviewed felt that the sightings could not have been caused by plovers, due to their slow speed (50 MPH) and tendency to fly in groups much smaller than the number of objects reported by eyewitnesses. The warden did admit that an unusually large number of plovers had been seen in the fall of 1951.
Dr. Mead, who had observed the lights, strongly disputed the plover explanation: "these objects were too large for any bird...I have had enough experience hunting and I don't know of any bird that could go this fast we would not be able to hear...to have gone as fast as this, to be birds, they would have to have been exceedingly low to disappear quite so quickly".
Curiously, in his bestselling 1956 book The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects,
Ruppelt himself would come to reject the plover hypothesis, but frustratingly refrained from explaining what the lights in fact were:
"They weren't birds, they weren't refracted light, but they weren't spaceships. The lights ... have been positively identified as a very commonplace and easily explainable natural phenomenon. It is very unfortunate that I can't divulge ... the way the answer was found....
Telling the story would lead to [the identity of the scientist who "finally hit upon the answer"] and ... I promised the man complete anonymity".
April 7, 1952, LIFE article - "Have We Visitors From Outer Space
The observations have been too numerous and too similar to be doubted. In addition the Air Force, after the closest examination, has found nothing fraudulent about Hart's pictures. The lights are much too bright to be reflections, and therefore bodies containing sources of light. Since Professors Ducker, Oberg, and Robinson could not measure the size and distance of the formations, they could form no precise estimate of their speed. However they calculated that if the lights were flying at an altitude of 5,000 feet they must then have been traveling about 1,800 mph. The professors, along with other scientists, agree that in order to explain the silence of the objects, it must be assumed that they were at 50,000 feet in the air; in which case they were going not 1,800 but 18,000 mph.
This incident is of interest because it was observed during the same period as the objects over Lubbock, Texas.
LARSON AFB. WASHINGTON - 26 August 1951
On 26 August 1951 at O836 PST, an unidentified flying object was detected
by an AN/CPS-4 and AN/CPS-l radar sets. The object was tracked continuously for a period of six minutes and made a timed ground speed of 950 mph. The object was on a course of 340 degrees with only slight deviations enroute. An altitude reading of 13,000 feet was obtained but the accuracy of the measurement is questionable due to brief length of time the object was detected.
The F-86 aircraft were scrambled but radar contact with the object was
lost before the aircraft were airborne, A visual search was conducted from
17,000 to 25,000 feet with negative results.
The operator of the radar set, an Air Force Captain, is considered to
be an expert operator.
Status of Investigation.
Review of this incident by the Electronics Section of ATIC concludes
that the return was possibly due to interference. This was concluded be-
cause of the apparent path of the object, directly approaching the station,
and the fact that the target was observed on only the low beam of the AN/CPS-l radar set.
If it was tracked on two different radars, a CPS-4 as well as the CPS-1, then it couldn't be interference because they are on two different radio frequencies, interference could only affect one radar and could not possibly affect two radars and coordinate an identical target blip on both.
Article published in 'The Lubbock Morning Avalanche' newspaper, September 1, 1951.
'Strange Aircraft' Seen at Matador.
MATADOR, Aug. 31. (Special) -- A "noiseless aircraft, flying at low altitude without aid of propellers and wings," was reported seen early this afternoon by two Matador district women and a 5-year-old child.
Mrs. Tom Tilsom, her daughter Mrs. M. G. Bethard and little Noilene Bethard were driving on State Highway 70, one and one half-miles north of here about 12:45 p.m. when the wingless craft passed 150 feet in front of their car.
The slow-moving machine "shaped somewhat like a helicopter," began circling as Mrs. Bethard stopped the car. As the craft rose "it gained speed and was out of sight within a few minutes."
The women were near enough to spot one door, or porthole, in the side of the gleaming metal, they said. When first seen, it was moving at the rate of a commercial airliner taking off, they said. It had no exhaust showing.
Mrs Bethard, whose husband sailed for Korea recently, has lived near several Air Force bases, and reported the machine she saw today was different from any she had seen before.
On 31 August 1951 at approximately 1245 CST two ladies were driving in an automobile several miles north of Matador, Texas. The object was described as a pear-shaped object, aluminum or silver in color, which readily reflected the sunlight. The object had a port or some type of aperture in the side. It moved through the air with the small end forward. They judged the size to be about that of a B-29 fuselage. There was no sign of any axhaust and no nois was heard.
As the two ladies were driving north from Matadir, Texas, the driver of the automobile first noticed the object about 150 yards ahead of the automobile. They stopped and both ladies got out to observe the object. It was drifting slowly in an eastward direction at a speed they judged to be "less than the speed required to take off in a cub aircraft" and an altitude of abot 120 ft. Seconds later the object began to ascend rapidly and in a few seconds it moved out of sight to the east in a circular ascent. (The wind at this time was from the NE at about 5-7 knots.)
A background investigation showed that both women were of excellent character.
This incident is of interest because it was observed during the same period as the objects over Lubbock, Texas.
Originally posted by tigpoppa
Four doddering old men realize in life they never accomplished much and so created this elaborate hoax as a means to be well known by society since their peers did not respect them since they werent published enough to be respected and taken seriously in scientific circles.
Interesting series of UFO sightings from around the area of Lubbock, Texas in 1951 where a few hundred people reported witnessing lights in a 'wing shaped' formation.
All of this throws their credibility into question. Four doddering old men realize in life they never accomplished much and so created this elaborate hoax as a means to be well known by society since their peers did not respect them since they werent published enough to be respected and taken seriously in scientific circles.