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The Kecksburg UFO Crash: December 9th, 1965

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posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 10:18 PM

Image courtesy of

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?

Chapter Summary
1. The Incident
2. The Investigation
3. Official Conclusions and My Conclusions


1. The Incident

Image courtesy of

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:

Shock waves were reported by pilots, and a seismograph near Detroit recorded a shock, wrote investigator Stan Gordon, of Pennsylvania Association for the Study of the Unexplained (PASU) in a recent journal article. The crash has been a pet project of the Greensburg man "since the night it happened," he said, noting he is still trying to obtain information on the incident.

Although the military eventually labeled the object a meteor, as did the Associated Press account published in The Bulletin the day after the crash, Gordon says recent evidence, including the discovery of a man who saw the object, supports the idea that the object was a true UFO.

"I was a teenager then," said John (not his real name). "It was in the early part of December and there was a little snow and a little rain, and mud."

He was called to the scene after the 4:44 p.m. crash as a fireman from the Latrobe area, to search for the crashed object.

"I had seen a fiery object in the sky. I can't say exactly which direction but it was coming from the north. It was not too much longer and the fire whistle went off," he said. "I answered the call and was told they needed a search team because at the time they believed it was a downed aircraft. And I thought, 'My God, this is what I have just seen'."

When firemen arrived at the Kecksburg Fire Hall, maps were reviewed and groups were given sections to search.

"It was getting semi-dusk and we had flashlights. We were taken in the back of a truck and dropped off and told to go 'this way' which we did. I was not on the initial contact team. Another team found the object.
Reported track of object courtesy of

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:

"It was definitely, unequivocally, positively, absolutely no aircraft, plane, helicopter or rocket, at least not to my knowledge. It was in an area that was part field and part woods and we went down to investigate," he said.

"We found the object had crashed at a 30 to 40 degree angle, and had broken off numerous tree branches in its impact path. My initial reaction was 'This is no airplane.' I observed no shrapnel, no breaking up of the fuselage. It was one solid piece, no doors, no windows.

"Preliminary searches found no bodies or casualties. It was shaped like an acorn, laying on its side, like the acorn nut is in its shell when it's on a tree," he explained. "I've been a machinist for 24 years and I've worked with a tremendous amount of different metals, and I have never seen any type of metal that looked even close to that."

Picture taken on December 9th by Lowell Wright in Orchard Lake, Michigan

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."
He described the portion visible as between eight and 10 feet long, six and seven feet across, and said a man of average height would probably have had little trouble standing up inside it. The crater it plowed into the ground was "rectangular in shape."

John said the state police were there and the area was soon quarantined.

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:


posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 10:19 PM
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.

“We had fun sending people all over the place,” he said, adding the men in the jeep told them they were “doing a service for your country.” Slater said he and his brother later saw a flat-bed truck emerge from the woods, carrying an object covered by a tarp.

Don Sebastian, who lived in Johnstown at the time, was in the area visiting friends when they heard the radio report that something had crashed near Kecksburg. They jumped in the car, only to be turned away by armed state police, he said. But determined to find out what was going on, Sebastian persisted, sneaking around the roadblock and heading back toward the scene.

“I saw a line of soldiers down in the clearing ... best guess, maybe 100 guys ... armed at hip level and walking single file parallel to the crash site,” he said prior to the meeting. “It looked like a drill. Perfect formation. Nobody out of step.” Until they heard a scream, he said.

“This was a terror scream, and it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up,” he said. After a minute or two, he heard another scream.

“It didn't sound human,” he said. “That’s when I lost my nerve. I figured this was a place where I could get shot. So, I was out of there.”

“The Army was definitely there. It’s irrefutable. I saw them,” said Dave Newhouse, a teenager at the time. When he and a friend tried to sneak into the woods, they were stopped by an Army guard.

“He pointed his rifle at me and said get out,” Newhouse said before the meeting. “So, something was definitely there. I don’t have any idea what it was, but the Army doesn't’t come out to guard a patch of woods.”

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.

"The military had control of the whole operation," John recalled. "After a while we saw a flat bed truck come by with some other military equipment, a crane or something.

"It was not too much longer, an hour, an hour and a half, when the trucks came back and there was a large object on the back of the flat bed, covered by a tarp, with military escorts front and back. I got the feeling that if you had stepped on the road you were dead meat. They weren't stopping for anything."

2. The Investigation

Reproduced model courtesy:

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.

He was told to shoot anyone who tried to get too close. He was advised the truck was bound for Wright Patterson AFB, which is the reputed home of other crashed saucers.

The other witness was a building contractor who was asked two days later to take a load of 6,500 special bricks to a hangar inside Wright Patterson. When he sneaked a look inside the hangar he saw a bell-shaped device, some 12 feet high sitting there. Several men wearing white anti-radiation style suits were inspecting the object.

After he had been escorted out he was told that he had just seen an object that would become common knowledge in 20 years time.

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.

The Associated Press obtained an advance copy of the lawsuit to be filed Tuesday in federal court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Leslie Kean, a San Rafael, Calif., investigative reporter backed by the cable channel and a group called the Coalition for Freedom of Information.

"Our lawsuit is aimed at getting NASA to tell the public what it knew and when it knew it," said Ed Rothschild, a lobbyist the Sci Fi Channel hired from the Washington firm PodestaMattoon, who is also identified as CFI's executive director. Former President Clinton's one-time chief of staff John Podesta, whose brother is a principal in the lobbying firm, has supported the cable channel's effort to declassify the documents.

Bob Jacobs, a spokesman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said he was unaware of the lawsuit and could not comment.

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:

This from a SyFy channel official (remember they were backing this whole law suit) :

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.

"Despite our serious effort to uncover the facts, NASA still refuses to provide the public with any information," said Sci Fi Channel president Bonnie Hammer. "We are hopeful that our legal system will help us find out what really happened in the woods outside Kecksburg."

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:


[edit on 9/19/2009 by jkrog08]

posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 10:20 PM

In December 2005, a lawsuit was filed to get NASA to search more diligently for the alleged lost records.
On October 26, 2007, NASA agreed to search for those records after being ordered by the court.[11][12] The judge, who had tried to move NASA along for more than 3 years, angrily referred to NASA's previous search efforts as a "ball of yarn" that never fully answered the request, adding, "I can sense the plaintiff's frustration because I'm frustrated."[13]
During the hearing, Steve McConnell, NASA's public liaison officer, admitted two boxes of papers from the time of the Kecksburg incident were missing. Stan Gordon, principal investigator of the Kecksburg incident for several decades, stated "I have no doubt the government knows a lot more about this than it has revealed to the public."[14]

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.

Alternate Explanations

A Meteor
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:

The triangulation base used by the astronomers in their calculations was very narrow. As a result, even very small errors in determination of directions could result in a very different triangulated trajectory. It was found that measurement errors of slightly more than one-half degree would make possible a straight-line trajectory towards the Kecksburg area and a much shallower angle of descent than reported in the JRASC article. It was also pointed out that the photos used actually show the fireball trail becoming progressively thinner, indicating motion away from the cameras or in the direction of Pennsylvania. Had the trajectory been sideways to the cameras, as contended in the JRASC article, the trail would have remained constant in thickness. Thus, the contention that the JRASC article conclusively ruled out any connection between the fireball and the Kecksburg events is now open to question.
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..
    Cosmos 96
    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:

    Chief Scientist for Orbital Debris at the NASA Johnson Space Center, Nicholas L. Johnson, who is recognized internationally as an authority on orbital debris and foreign space systems, has determined that Cosmos 96, the Russian Venera probe that has been considered a possible explanation for the Kecksburg object for decades, did not land in Pennsylvania on the afternoon of December 9, 1965. Furthermore, he states that no other man-made object from any country came down that day.
    Debris from Cosmos 96 has been a leading contender as an explanation for the Kecksburg object, due to the fact that it came down early that morning over Canada. Perhaps part ended up in Pennsylvania later, the theory went. The Air Force stated at the time that no space debris entered the atmosphere that day, and that all aircraft and missiles were accounted for.
    Johnson examined the orbital data for Cosmos 96 and was able to calculate when it would have passed over Pennsylvania if it had been in orbit that day. The time, when it traveled from north to south, was at approximately 6:20 am. The Kecksburg object came down at 4:45 p.m. “I can tell you categorically, that there is no way that any debris from Cosmos 96 could have landed in Pennsylvania anywhere around 4:45 p.m.,” said Johnson in an interview on October 10, 2003. “That’s an absolute. Orbital mechanics is very strict.”
    The US Space Command reported in 1991 that Cosmos 96 crashed in Canada at 3:18 a.m. Johnson does not have information about the time of demise of Cosmos 96, but he did confirm that it was over Canada at this time.
    One part of Cosmos 96 could not have stayed in orbit until 4:45 p.m. after the object came apart hours earlier, as some had speculated.
    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:

    Even more intriguing, Johnson’s data shows that no man-made object from any country entered our atmosphere and landed in Pennsylvania on the afternoon of December 9. Cosmos 96 was the only catalogued object that came down at all that day. He says that anything not catalogued would have been so small that it would not have survived reentry. “I cannot absolutely confirm that it was not some completely unreported event, but the chances of that are virtually nil,” said Johnson. “You can’t launch something without somebody seeing it. By 1965 the US and Soviets were both reporting their launches.”
    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
    Image of Mk-6 RV courtesy of
    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:


    [edit on 9/9/2009 by jkrog08]

  • posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 10:20 PM
    On the ground at Kecksburg

    Now there is other theories, such as the Kecksburg object being a crashed object similar to the rumored 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:

    NAZI Bell at Kecksburg


    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:

    My Conclusions

    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:

    • A meteor
    • Cosmos 96
    • A satellite film canister
    • Any other known manmade object
    • Nothing

    Now what is could have been is the following, although there is little if any evidence to back up these claims:

    • A Soviet or US warhead re-entry vehicle (dummy or live)
    • A craft similar to the rumored “NAZI Bell”.
    • Some other type of unknown manned or unmanned spacecraft or aircraft.

    Of course we still have the question of the strange hieroglyphic-like 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 thoroughly 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.


    [edit on 9/9/2009 by jkrog08]

    posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 10:29 PM
    Excellent post! Objective, informative, and certianly entertaining! Keep raising the bar jkrog! Truely deserving of that FSME status.


    [edit on 8-9-2009 by MysterE]

    posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 10:31 PM
    My absolute favorite case. One of only two I got off my ass for and actually looked into the old fashioned way. Funny, I was thinking of putting up a thread in the next couple of days, not talking about this case but rather asking who has actually done any investigations that you left the house to do (and possibly traveled a bit too). And wouldn't you know it, I check in here and there is an excellent thread about a case where I had done exactly that.

    jkrog08, excellent and well put together thread! I know this took some time do put together and it shows. I am short on time, and would like to go into this further but I can't right now (time limited, not trying to imply anything ominous or suspect, lol). I will say you have good information here, some of it that I have heard 1st and 2nd hand both in person and over the phone. The reason why this case intrigues me so much is beyond me, I have no idea. But I have yet to conclude anything that would cause me to dismiss it as bunk or dismiss it as tin foil hat territory.

    I doubt I can post much, if anything that you haven't covered here already. I see if I can find any gaps where I might find something to add.

    Again, good thread. This is one of those diamond in the rough cases I talk about from time to time.

    [edit on 8-9-2009 by IgnoreTheFacts]

    posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 10:44 PM
    reply to post by jkrog08

    What a superbly well done post. Salut.

    Definitely one of the cases that first piqued my interest in UFOs.

    And still one of the most unexplainable if you ask me .

    posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 10:52 PM
    Alright guys, lol I messed up and did not add an entire OP, this should have been the second post in my OP, sorry for the inconvenience:

    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."

    There were other witnesses in different parts of the village who independently saw the object go down into the woods, and at that time, they heard no sound, but momentarily after it happened, they saw the dust rise and a blue column of smoke go up, and in a matter of minutes it dissipated. When they saw this thing coming in, by the descriptions, they were not just seeing a fireball or bright meteor. Some of them had seen this thing pass very close over their heads, it was slow moving, it was gliding in. . It appears to have been a controlled reentry vehicle of some type. . It appears that it was purposely trying not to hit the edge of the ridges, to guide itself around those ridges, and was trying to gain altitude.

    Apparently, it did not gain enough over the last ride when it crashed. Not long after the crash, members from the local volunteer fire companies were combing the woods, searching for what was still assumed to be a downed airplane. The state police also arrived, to coordinate the search as well as keep order, as radio and TV news reports of the mysterious, no longer assumed to be a mere airplane, had drawn crowds of curious onlookers to the site for a glimpse of whatever it was. A state police fire marshal, accompanied by an unidentified man carrying a Geiger counter descended into the woods.

    Upon their return a few minutes later, the state police fire marshal ordered the woods sealed off. John Murphy, news director of the Greensburg radio station WHJB, was one of the first people on the scene. Murphy knew the fire marshal well, but when he attempted to get information from him as to what he had seen in the woods, received the reply, "I'm not sure. You better get your information from the army."

    Some more witness reports...

    Report By Doug Yurchey

    It was a warm December night in 1965. I was 14 years old and my cousin John was 12 years old as we left my house to sneak a few cigarettes down the alley. We lived in the suburban community of Bridgeville; 12 miles southwest of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We came to this lithographic building which had a loading dock in the back. It was the perfect place to sit and smoke in secret. We knew we had to leave soon. The time was getting late into the evening. But, before we made our way back to my house:

    Something pierced the night's sky over my left shoulder. Our heads turned to the left and our eyes could not help but notice a bright ball of light! Both John and I were stunned. Our mouths dropped. The object was about the size of a full moon and it trailed sparks or little bits of light. The odd thing about it was the thing did not fall straight down. The UFO went laterally; sideways; almost up! Whatever this could not have been a meteor. A shooting star (or space debris) falls down. A natural object does not move horizontally. Meteors do not go up.

    John 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.

    [color=gold]Summation of Events
  • 4:44 PM EST: Unknown object detected over many states and Canada traveling at around 1,600 kph.
  • 4:50 PM EST: Unknown object believed to have crashed into the Kecksburg, Pennsylvania area. The object is reported to have been immersed in a “bluish glow with smoke” and have “descended intelligently” before finally coming to rest in a old creek bed in the woods of Kecksburg. Emergency officials called, fireman on scene shortly after.
  • 5:30 PM EST: One of the first reports come into radio station WHJB, received by John Murphy. State police contacted and arrive shortly after.
  • 5:30 Onward: Multiple witnesses including state police, fire officials, John Murphy(reporter), and civilians report seeing something unusual either in the woods or that crashed ‘intelligently’ from the sky. Common reports are consistent with a “cone or acorn shaped object” resting horizontally in a disturbed creek bed. Reports also state that “hieroglyphic-type writing” was observed on the object.
    Thie writing was seen around the base of the object. A hour or so after the call to the state police the military arrived, the only officially acknowledged group was the Oakdale radar unit which was reportedly sent by Project Blue Book to investigate. The military are then said to have completely closed off the site and threaten anyone around the area with force. They reportedly took all pictures they could find from John Murphy and stop anyone else from viewing the crash area.

    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.

    After a brief on-camera introduction, Gumbel turned his attention to Chuck Hilland, Jr., whose family has long maintained nothing happened that night.

    “I was only 2 at the time, so I can’t confirm or dispute anything that happened,” he said, adding his father was working that night and didn't’t get home until after midnight. His mother didn't leave the house.

    “All I can tell you is my parents really believe nothing significant happened that night,” he said.

    In 1965, John Hays, now of New Florence, was living in a farmhouse close to the scene.

    As a 10-year-old, he thought all the activity was “exciting ... like a big party.” And even though he was told to go to his room, Hays said he tried to sneak downstairs frequently to get a look at all the members of the military and officials from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration who were gathering at his house. Hays said he later saw a flat-bed truck emerging from the site near his house carrying something the “size of a VW.”

    [edit on 9/10/2009 by jkrog08]

  • posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 10:56 PM
    I think the Nazi bell makes more sense than some others. The flight path has me wondering if this was something the Russians got a hold of and lost.

    Depending on the size, it could have been launched from a ship or a submarine.

    I've recalled a most likely delusional scenario, but it was pretty vivid and interesting. It supposedly involved some type of nanite shapeshifting material in a capsule that than left the pod and disguised itself as some screaming beast. Sounds like a tabloid story.

    posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 11:29 PM
    Amazing thread... S&F jkrog!

    My input is pretty basic.

    In my opinion, it was some sort of advanced prototype and it was manned. If you trace the movement of the object (just put a straight line in the direction of the smoke) you can tell that whoever controlled the craft was trying to keep it steady for the less lethal crash landing approach.

    And the flight path seems to indicate that the UFO lost some type of stabilizers, or engine. the path doesn't indicate that it was falling from orbit or free falling... It had propulsion.

    As for the sound, it could very be from any of the parts of the ship. We don't know what it was, so we can't say what could have made a weird noise. I mean, hydraulics make weird noises for example.

    just 2 cents.

    [edit on 8/9/09 by Tifozi]

    posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 11:29 PM

    i was just thinking about this crash today and was doing some research on it. S+F for you!~

    posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 12:51 AM
    reply to post by jkrog08

    hey nice job on putting this together jkrog08 ,

    NASA provided packs of documents to Leslie Kean prior to the trial, but the documents had nothing to do with the case. It was obvious, which made Judge Emmet Sullivan agree on that. The judge’s refusal to close the case pushed NASA towards looking for more reliable.

    December 2005, just before the Kecksburg crash 40th anniversary, NASA released a statement to the effect that they had examined metallic fragments from the object and now claimed it was from a re-entering "Russian satellite." The spokesman further claimed that the related records had been misplaced. According to an Associated Press story:

    Kean and others deem it highly questionable that NASA could actually lose such records. In December 2005, a lawsuit was filed to get NASA to search more diligently for the alleged lost records.

    On October 26, 2007, NASA agreed to search for those records after being ordered by the court. The judge, who had tried to move NASA along for more than 3 years, angrily referred to NASA's previous search efforts as a "ball of yarn" that never fully answered the request, adding, "I can sense the plaintiff's frustration because I'm frustrated."

    During the hearing, Steve McConnell, NASA's public liaison officer, admitted two boxes of papers from the time of the Kecksburg incident were missing. Stan Gordon, principle investigator of the Kecksburg incident for several decades, stated "I have no doubt the government knows a lot more about this than it has revealed to the public."

    some peeps might say other documents didn't exist but if NASA wanted to keep whatever crashed in Pennsylvania a secret , it would not be a surprise to me that they would make that claim. i also believe further obfuscation of this story might include a ridiculous claim that this object was just a meteor. the witness testimony clearly refutes that. imo, i don't think we will ever know the truth about this story.

    [edit on 9-9-2009 by easynow]

    posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 04:33 AM
    Fascinating case -- my input follows:


    Jim Oberg on the “NASA lawsuit over Kecksburg UFO Documents”
    January 7, 2008

    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. See link” From the Kecksburg area, the meteor was low in the western sky and was reported to have hit the ground behind a tree-covered hill. It was actually hundreds of miles away. Eyewitness reports of distant meteors crashing ‘nearby’ are very common.

    History background: 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
    built space probes also were involved in building military missile and warhead systems.

    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.

    [edit on 9-9-2009 by JimOberg]

    posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 07:47 AM


    Wow, what a great first thread as an FSME my friend! Quite honestly the best of your work to date
    I think that what crashed, in my opinion was SOMETHING. I think you made that clear and backed that part of your evidence up. Something did crash. I personally think it maybe or could have been a failed Satelite or even a high tech Black Operations plane. Because in 1965, they were testing new spy planes. If memory serves corectly, I will have to come back and leave my sources for that one! But I believe that is when the height of this was really active, because in the 60's they were playing with eveyrthing- mind control, spy planes, and new weapons for war.

    Or it could have been aliens....

    Again, congrats my friend, one of the best ever!

    posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 07:57 AM
    Excellent post Jkrog! Star and flag!

    You did a top notch job of covering most of the literature about this topic!

    This has always been one of my favorite cases.

    One of the interesting thoughts you pointed out is the possibility of a disconnect between the fireball that was photographed in the sky, and what may have possibly crashed in Kecksburg, as I never really thought of that, but now that you mention it, it would be possible for me to see a fireball in the afternoon, then go to sleep and have something else actually crash while I was sleeping.

    I have to comment on what one of your sources said in the meteor explanation that seems flawed:

    Originally posted by jkrog08
    Alternate Explanations

    A Meteor

    ....It was also pointed out that the photos used actually show the fireball trail becoming progressively thinner, indicating motion away from the cameras or in the direction of Pennsylvania. Had the trajectory been sideways to the cameras, as contended in the JRASC article, the trail would have remained constant in thickness. Thus, the contention that the JRASC article conclusively ruled out any connection between the fireball and the Kecksburg events is now open to question.

    The problem I have with this statement about the fireball trail becoming thinner assumes that ALL fireball trails are of constant size. While one might argue that SOME fireball trails are of constant size, (or one could even claim many are), there is no reason to conclude that ALL fireball smoke trails are of constant size and there are many good reasons to conclude that some are NOT of constant size. Here are some reasons:
    1. If the falling object is "burning up", there can be less and less mass to the object as it moves through the atmosphere. Couldn't it then logically follow that as the object gets smaller it could leave a smaller smoke trail?
    2. In addition to the falling object getting smaller isn't it also slowing down from atmospheric friction? Couldn't a reduction in speed also cause the smoke trail to get smaller?

    Now don't show me a picture of a constant size smoke trail and say "see this proves all smoke trails are constant" because it does no such thing. If the trail is constant it's probably a larger object. If it's a smaller object it would be more likely to have a decreasing size smoke trail even if the position of the object relative to the photographer remains relatively constant. And I find it more than a little ironic that someone's analysis of errors in someone else's work contains perhaps larger errors itself such as this.

    And Jim Oberg I respect your contribution and learned some things from you I didn't know about this case! Thanks for adding that! But one argument I first heard on a TV documentary sounded flawed to me that you repeated, I have to dispute:

    Originally posted by JimOberg
    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.

    OK so there were people in Kecksburg in responsible positions who didn't hear or see anything. I accept that is the truth and that the witnesses are being truthful, but didn't a lot of this occur while most people were sleeping? Or if I'm in a responsible emergency services job, who is going to call an ambulance or a firetruck if there's no injury or no fire? I live in a town too and I'm pretty sure it's possible for something to happen in my town without me knowing about it, so even if I honestly say I didn't see or hear anything, my testimony is not really what I would consider good evidence that "nothing happened". And there's really no "memory ray" theory needed for just simply not being in the right place at the right time, as a supposed crash site was somewhat remote so how many people are really aware of what happens in a remote area? So I don't find the argument that SOME people who lived there say they didn't see or hear anything to be persuasive at all, but I was fascinated by the rest of your post.

    OK having made those observations, I really still haven't put all the pieces together on this one. I hadn't heard of the nuke theory before, whether it could have been a dummy or real warhead, and the "conical" shape description and size reported would seem to be consistent with that. And if that WERE the case (I'm not saying it is), I could understand why there would be incentive to keep it secret to this day. How could a nuke arrive on the ground relatively intact though? That part of the nuke theory I don't understand.

    Now that you've pulled all this together I'm going to look at it a little more and see what conclusions I can reach.

    @Ignorethefacts I'm also interested to see what you found in your personal investigation, please post about that when you get the time! Or anyone else for that matter!

    And thanks again to jkrog08 for such a great topic with so much detail, truly outstanding work!

    [edit on 9-9-2009 by Arbitrageur]

    posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 08:07 AM
    reply to post by JimOberg

    Thanks for that very in-depth and professional analysis Jim, MUCH appreciated that you added this to the thread. It certainly is a possibility, although with Dr. Johnson saying it was impossible for anything manmade to have crashed in Kecksburg that night I think the Cosmos (Kosmos to say the correct Russian name) explanation is still very lose at the moment. Thanks again for your lucid insight.

    Reply to TheMythLives

    LOL, thanks my friend, but there are MANY other members that do things, or have been doing things for this board as long or longer than me.
    I am glad you liked this one, lol even though I messed up with one of the OPs!

    posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 08:13 AM
    reply to post by Arbitrageur

    Thanks for your kind words my friend. The fireball thinning out was not the only possible discrepancy

    The problem I have with this statement about the fireball trail becoming thinner assumes that ALL fireball trails are of constant size.

    Below the passage you linked I have two more links, both heavy with calculations for and against this location of the fireballs landing.

    posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 08:29 AM

    Originally posted by jkrog08
    reply to post by Arbitrageur

    Thanks for your kind words my friend. The fireball thinning out was not the only possible discrepancy

    They are well deserved kind words my friend!

    And yes some of their statements are correct, such as the fact that a 1/2 degree error in the trajectory can make a big difference! I was only disputing that one specific observation about the smoke trail.

    posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 08:42 AM
    My impression was that there were lots of sightings to base the fireball trajectory reconstruction on -- not just one photo. Aren't there links to the scientific papers on that?

    As to thickening/thinning trails, that doesn't impress me. The object was moving into thicker layers of atmosphere undergoing increasing stress and heat, so any assumption that its smoke trail would STAY THE SAME is pretty non-credible, to me.

    Thanks for the kind words, folks. I've also been fascinated with these kinds of stories, ever since a buddy of mine at Kirtland AFB in 1971-2 told me how in his 'Broken Arrow' exercises (never had any real cases) he used the 'crashed flying saucer' cover story to deflect local attention from the much scarier 'spilled radioactive material' story.

    posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 09:13 AM
    Maybe I missed, but has anyone related the blue smoke to known chemicals that release blue smoke?

    I mean, if we know which chemical does that, maybe we can take out the meteor scenario immediatly.

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