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Astronaut Deke Slayton's UFO Encounter

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posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 10:18 PM
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Deke Slayton was one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts. He served as NASA's Director of Flight Crew Operations and as the docking module pilot of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

In 1951, Slayton had an extraordinary aerial experience that he described in his autobiography.



Deke Slayton
I realized I wasn't closing on that son of a bitch. A P-51 at that time would cruise at 280 miles an hour. But this thing just kept going and climbing at the same time at about a forty-five-degree climb. I kept trying to follow it, but he just left me behind and flat disappeared. The guys on the ground tracked it with a theodolite, and they'd computed the speed at four thousand miles an hour.


You can read the full account, which begins at the bottom of page 49 here.

This is a simply amazing UFO incident considering both Slayton's credibility and the speed of the UFO. To put it in context, the SR-71 Blackbird, which wasn't introduced until more than a decade later and was the fastest plane in the world in its' day, topped out at around 2200 MPH.




posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 11:13 PM
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They exhibit a great speed.
I thought this might have been a Russian video of a pulsing light but
then I saw the 1951.
Some how there is instantaneous speed due to a great force.
Newton law might apply as a body once set in motion it remain in motion.

ED: put great in front of speed


[edit on 9/1/2009 by TeslaandLyne]



posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 11:42 PM
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There is more to the story. Deke's first impression was that he was seeing a balloon. He later found out more.

From Deke!: An Autobiography

Then they told me: Just for your information, the day you saw this object a local company was flying high-altitude research balloons. They had a light airplane tracking it, and a station wagon on the ground. Both observers were watching this balloon and had seen this object come up beside the balloon. The object appeared to hover, then took off like hell.

The guys on the ground tracked it with a theodolite, and they'd computed the speed at four thousand miles an hour.

I guess they were trying to tell me I wasn't exactly crazy: somebody else had seen something unusual, too. But I never heard another thing about it.



My position is, I don't know what it was: it was unidentified. Maybe what I saw was the company's weather balloon-maybe the object going four thousand miles an hour to these guys on the ground was me. Maybe there was something about the environment and the setup that confused me. I don't know. Or it could have been something unknown. (I don't automatically presume that it came from Alpha Centauri, just because I can't identify it.). It's still an open question to me.



The observers on the ground did not report seeing Deke's plane and an object, just the balloon and an "object". Deke did make a pass near the object (at which point he was pretty much convinced it was a balloon). Computing the speed of an object with either unknown altitude or unknown distance with a theodolite is impossible. To come up with a speed, the observers had to have been making some assumptions about the object they tracked. Those assumptions could have been wrong and the object could have been Deke's plane. If it was, and the plane was lower than the balloon (as Deke describes the situation) the speed they calculated would have been higher than it actually was. At 10,000 feet a P51, shining in the sun, could be difficult to identify.

Slayton says a bit later in the book:

I sort of wondered if my story wound up in Project Blue Book, the Air Force's official investigation of UFOs. I know people have been saying for years that a UFO crashed out in New Mexico in 1946, and it's been hushed up ever since.

In my experience it's pretty tough to keep a secret that big that long. I was pretty surprised at the way that they were able to keep the lid on the F-117A Stealth fighter and B-2 bomber and some of those airplanes for as long as they did. But you're not going to do it forever.



[edit on 9/2/2009 by Phage]



posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 12:01 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


I didn't want to quote too much, copyright and all. The hovering and then hitting that speed in apparently very short order is really astonishing. I had known that Slayton had a sighting, but never looked at the details and they are well worth a mention.



posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 12:09 AM
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reply to post by fls13
 

It is a good story. That Slayton acknowledges that his perceptions could have deceived him indicates that he was a good observer.

I find it interesting also that he says that Gordon Cooper never said anything to him about his earlier experiences. And that;


There have been two or three space program reports that have gotten picked up by the UFO people, but those weren't legitimate.



posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 12:19 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
I find it interesting also that he says that Gordon Cooper never said anything to him about his earlier experiences. And that;


There have been two or three space program reports that have gotten picked up by the UFO people, but those weren't legitimate.



I'm not sure which ones specifically he's talking about. I saw an interview with Martyn Stubbs where he actually talks about the John Glenn "fireflies" incident as if that was still a UFO, although it technically was until Scott Carpenter figured out it was paint chips on the next flight.

It really doesn't surprise me at all about Cooper not talking about his UFO encounter while he was still an active astronaut. I'm sure you know how adamant Cooper ultimately became about alien visitation in his later years.



posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 01:16 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
I find it interesting also that he says that Gordon Cooper never said anything to him about his earlier experiences.


But why would you be surprised? From about 1952/53 it was official USAF policy to debunk UFO reports and to insinuate witnesses had some sort of mental problem. This is well documented.

Why would Slayton think that Cooper would confide this sort of information with him when it would most certainly have jepordized Cooper's position as a NASA astronaut? At a minimum, it would show that Cooper might not have a personality which would be compliant in cooperating with authorities when they wish to keep secrets.



posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 01:26 AM
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reply to post by bluestreak53
 


I didn't say I was surprised.

Slayton's sighting was in 1951. He was encouraged to report it, he did, and he suffered no consequences from his report. Cooper's alleged sighting was also in 1951. He claimed to have reported it and he apparently suffered no consequences.

Slayton's report appears in Project Blue Book.
www.bluebookarchive.org...
Cooper's alleged report does not.

Both occurred well before the manned space program started in 1959.


[edit on 9/2/2009 by Phage]

[edit on 9/2/2009 by Phage]



posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 01:09 PM
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Originally posted by Phage
Slayton's sighting was in 1951. He was encouraged to report it, he did, and he suffered no consequences from his report. Cooper's alleged sighting was also in 1951. He claimed to have reported it and he apparently suffered no consequences.

Slayton's report appears in Project Blue Book.
www.bluebookarchive.org...
Cooper's alleged report does not.

Both occurred well before the manned space program started in 1959.


Are you saying that UFO sightings which are not included in Project Bluebook did not occur? Or that because some military sightings that were reported appear in Project Bluebook that ALL military sighting reports must have be documented in Project Bluebook? It is my understanding that many military sighting reports of UFOs never appeared in Project Bluebook. It is not only Cooper who has reported a sighting that never appeared in the files. Since Cooper's sighting was made in Europe, the reason could be as simple as the possibility that sightings made in Europe went through a completely different processing - or that it was lost. The military is one huge bureaucracy so is it surprising that it doesn't always work as a predictable machine?

How is Cooper's report an "alleged report". Are you saying he was lying? If so, can you provide evidence to back up this allegation?

In his own autobiography, "Leap of Faith", Gordon Cooper makes it quite clear that many of the alleged sightings by astronauts, never happened (see page 76 "The only problem with these stories: never happened.") So I believe this does provide some evidence that Gordon Cooper was interested in separating the fact from fiction as far as UFO reports goes.



posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 01:23 PM
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reply to post by bluestreak53
 

There have been problems with attempts to corroborate the story as Cooper told it.

The answers trickled in over the passing weeks. Nobody knew what "Coop", as they called their former flying buddy, was talking about (along with frequent testimonials to his honesty and integrity, which have never been in doubt). "I never experienced such sightings," wrote one. "If I had it would be indelibly inscribed in my memory, and I'd be happy to share any such recollections with you." Another former Air Force pilot who later entered the priesthood and became a state bishop wrote, "I recall nothing about any UFOs.... As to what Gordon Cooper saw, I have not the slightest idea." Another: "Absolutely no recall of any such incident.".

www.zipworld.com.au...



posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 01:27 PM
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Originally posted by bluestreak53
Since Cooper's sighting was made in Europe, the reason could be as simple as the possibility that sightings made in Europe went through a completely different processing - or that it was lost. The military is one huge bureaucracy so is it surprising that it doesn't always work as a predictable machine?


Blue Book director Ruppelt stated directly in his book that foreign based military sightings by US personnel did not come his way. They only handled domestic incidents.



posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 01:28 PM
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reply to post by fls13
 


Thanks. I didn't know that.



posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 10:05 AM
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Originally posted by fls13
Blue Book director Ruppelt stated directly in his book that foreign based military sightings by US personnel did not come his way. They only handled domestic incidents.


Good detail, thanks.

The problem with Cooper's 1951 story is that not only did nobody else in his unit (those dozen who responded) remember it, but it wasn't on the declassified unit history, and wasn't reported by police, scientists, amateur UFO watchers, newspapers, or anyone else in Munich, where Cooper was based at the time of the sighting. Cooper's family members, when asked in the early 1980s, recall nothing. Edgar Mitcell, who trained for an Apollo moon mission with Cooper in 1968-9, reports nothing.

In the early 1960s, the version of the story one colleague recalls hearing was that it occurred in 'the American middle Rockies'. There is other evidence that Cooper's stories evolved dynamically with the retellings over the years. In 1976, recalls stuart nixon, then head of NICAP, Cooper related the story with the conclusion, "In the end I figured out it was a weather balloon."

The most significant evidence for the malleability of the myth is Cooper's account in his book of his own space missions and of the 1957 Edwards case. In all these cases significant dramatization and role-inflation occurred relative to all other written and oral accounts.

Fighter pilots are known for this, sad to say.



posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 11:09 AM
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Originally posted by JimOberg
Cooper's family members, when asked in the early 1980s, recall nothing. Edgar Mitcell, who trained for an Apollo moon mission with Cooper in 1968-9, reports nothing.

In the early 1960s, the version of the story one colleague recalls hearing was that it occurred in 'the American middle Rockies'. There is other evidence that Cooper's stories evolved dynamically with the retellings over the years. In 1976, recalls stuart nixon, then head of NICAP, Cooper related the story with the conclusion, "In the end I figured out it was a weather balloon."

The most significant evidence for the malleability of the myth is Cooper's account in his book of his own space missions and of the 1957 Edwards case. In all these cases significant dramatization and role-inflation occurred relative to all other written and oral accounts.

Fighter pilots are known for this, sad to say.


Well that's the usual mixed bag you get with UFOs, isn't it?

You've got Edgar Mitchell, who makes no claim of a direct UFO encounter but is adamant about alien visitation.

You've got Deke Slayton who reported initially and wrote about a UFO encounter but declined to attempt to explain it himself.

You've got Gordon Cooper who was adamant about his own encounters, even if details did change over time, in particular and alien visitation in general. I don't find other astronauts, family members or Air Force personnel not recalling him discussing these very significant.

Slayton himself said he had to be talked into making a report and the book wasn't written until 1994. Did he tell a lot of people about it in the 40+ years in between? I don't know if he did or didn't, but I don't buy the general argument that silence for an extended period equals nothing happened.



posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 11:42 AM
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Originally posted by fls13
... but I don't buy the general argument that silence for an extended period equals nothing happened.


I totally agree -- in fact, the less a person retells his story, often the better. It retains its original impressions rather than being overlain by repeated retellings that can alter it.

But it's a common problem with oral history in general -- heck, it's a problem with my OWN personal memories. A little more awareness of this, and humility in the face of human mnemonic frailties, and avoidance of equating questioning gospel-ness of memories with personal attacks on a recounter's intelligence or character, might provide a better basis for trying to understand the UFO phenomenon.



[edit on 3-9-2009 by JimOberg]



posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 12:32 PM
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reply to post by JimOberg
 


I think it's also important to consider that when you're recounting an event, who the audience is matters. If it's a casual conversation, the story might go one way, if it's for a formal report or part of a book or article or a media interview, it could go quite differently. Discrepancies don't necessarily equal dishonesty.



posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 12:54 PM
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Originally posted by fls13
Discrepancies don't necessarily equal dishonesty.


Precisely. I've encountered more intelligent, sincere, level-headed people spouting more garble than I care to remember -- and it's a constant reminder to take all possible measures to minimize the amount of such behavior I slip into.



posted on Sep, 13 2009 @ 10:48 PM
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Originally posted by Phage
Slayton's report appears in Project Blue Book.
www.bluebookarchive.org...


Excellent find! Pretty interesting quote here. "The pilot assumes the speed of the object at this point was about 380 to 400 mph."

If he assumed much higher then he would have been making a pretty bold statement considering the speed of planes in those days. The math doesn't check out for the object to flat out disappear in the 3-4 minutes Slayton said the incident took place in, at that speed either, not with excellent visibility that day.

My guess: he deliberately low balled the speed in the report. Of course a stone cold debunker might say he exaggerated his account in the book to make for a better read.



posted on Sep, 13 2009 @ 11:42 PM
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reply to post by fls13
 

Slayton does not say the object disappeared. He does not say it flew out of sight. He says he lost sight of it.

When the pilot went back into the turn he lost sight of the object


Big difference. He turned and lost track of it. It's easy to lose track of an object when both are traveling in three dimensions. Particularly if you've misjudged its size, distance, and speed. If he thought it was moving at 350 knots and it was actually moving at 20 knots, he would have expected to catch sight of it somewhere it was not. When he tried to reacquire it he would have been looking in the wrong place.

[edit on 9/13/2009 by Phage]



posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 05:55 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by fls13
 

Slayton does not say the object disappeared. He does not say it flew out of sight. He says he lost sight of it.

When the pilot went back into the turn he lost sight of the object


Big difference. He turned and lost track of it. It's easy to lose track of an object when both are traveling in three dimensions. Particularly if you've misjudged its size, distance, and speed. If he thought it was moving at 350 knots and it was actually moving at 20 knots, he would have expected to catch sight of it somewhere it was not. When he tried to reacquire it he would have been looking in the wrong place.

[edit on 9/13/2009 by Phage]


"I kept trying to follow it, but he just left me behind and flat disappeared. "

From the book. There are some discrepancies between the report and the book that are interesting. That's why I posted above.






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