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Monday, March 26, 2012

UFOs - The Mantell Incident (4)

Part 2 - 10 - Incident 48:   The Alert Crew Sightings

CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS




A sky phenomena which had the appearance of a flaming red cone trailing a gaseous green mist appeared in the southwest skies of Wilmington, Ohio, between 7:20 and 7:55 P.M. Jan 7, 48.

The sky phenomena hung suspended in the air at intervals and then gained and lost altitude at what appeared to be terrific bursts of speed. The intense brightness of the phenomena pierced thru a heavy layer of clouds passing intermittently over the area and obscured other celestial phenomena.

CONFIDENTIAL



T/Sgt. LeRoy Ziegler Statement


CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS




Object appeared to be moving up and down and from side to side. At the time the object was covered by a cloud but the light could be seen thru the cloud. It was the same color as a star only very much brighter sometimes changing to a more reddish hue then turning white or yellow. At first it did not appear to be traveling at any speed. Then it seemed to go up and down and sometimes change off and go from side to side at what seemed to be a very great speed. It seemed pretty high in the air ­ too high to be any kind of a light from the ground. There was no beam. No sound could be heard. A faint exhaust trail was discernible when it moved up or down or from side to side. Finally it began to move away toward the SW at very great speed and disappeared over the horizon at about 20:00.

CONFIDENTIAL

TO: WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.
                                                                                                                       Inc 48A

ON THE EVENING OF 7, JANUARY 1948 AT APPROXIMATELY 19:25 O’CLOCK THE UNDERSIGNED WITNESSED A VERY BRIGHT LIGHT IN THE SKY, IN THE SOUTH WEST DIRECTION OF C. C. A. F. THE OPERATIONS CLERK AND MYSELF FIRST WITNESSED IT AND CALLED THE TOWER AND HAD THEM LOOK AT IT THROUGH THEIR FIELD GLASSES. THEY SAID IT WAS MOVING BUT COULD NOT MAKE OUT WHAT IT WAS. I WENT UP TO THE TOWER AND LOOKED AT IT THROUGH FIELD GLASSES AND IT APPEARED TO BE MOVING UP AND DOWN AND FROM SIDE TO SIDE. AT ONE TIME CLOUDS CAME BETWEEN THE OBJECT AND THE BASE BUT THE LIGHT COULD STILL BE SEEN THROUGH IT. AT APPROXIMATELY 19:45 THE OBJECT BEGAN TO MOVE AWAY TOWARD THE SOUTH WEST AND DISAPPEARED OVER THE HORIZON AT ABOUT 20:00.
                                                                            
T/Sgt. LeRoy Ziegler  A.S. K. 17014131



USAF-SIGN1-524

Unidentified Object Seen by me at Clinton County Air Field                             Inc 48a


   * Sighting:              Approximately southwest of the Air Field
   * Location:            The exact distance from the field is unknown but it was pretty high up in the air southwest of the field.
   * Time:                  I do not know what time the object appeared but I first saw it about 19:20 o’clock.
   * Weather:            The weather at the time was cold and clear with a few widely scattered clouds.
   * Reported by:      Myself
   * Number of Objects Reported:            1
   * Shape:               The shape of the object seemed to be circular or like a very bright start in the sky only larger.
   * Size:                   It would be very hard to say what size it was but if comparing it to the lights on an airplane, it must have been very large.
   * Color:                It had the same color as a star only very much brighter and would sometimes get a little more red then turn to a white
                                or yellow color.
   * Speed:               At the time it was spotted it did not seem to be traveling at any speed neither coming toward us or going away.
   * Maneuvers:        The object seemed to go up and down and sometimes change off and go from side to side at what seemed to be a very great speed.
   * Altitude:             The object seemed to be pretty high in the air. It was too high to be any kind of light from the ground and did not have a beam on
                                it as thought it was being shined from the ground.
   * Heading:            At the time it was spotted it did not seem to be heading in any direction but after watching it for awhile it started southwest at
                                what seemed to be a very high speed.
   * Sound:               I did not hear any sound at all from it.
   * Exhaust trail:       It seemed to leave only a very faint exhaust trail when moving up and down or from side to side.
   * Effect on Clouds:  A cloud came between the object and myself only once that I know of. I thought the object was gone but the soldier looking at it through the field glasses as the time said it was still there and that a cloud had come between us and the object. After the cloud passed we could see it just as good as we could before.

T/Sgt. LeRoy Ziegler  A.S.W. 17614131

CONFIDENTIAL



CPL James H. Hudson Statement

USAF-SIGN1-517

CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS




The object when first sighted appeared white then it turned red. Its real shape could not be distinguished until it descended. It then took the form of a cone or up-side-down triangle. (See Sketch “A”)

                       Sketch “A”

When it climbed it was right side up (Sketch “B”)

On ascending and descending it appeared to have a green mist following it

See sketch “C” --      ‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’   ­ green mist

Speed could not be determined in miles per hour for it appeared to hover at spots, then, when it moved, it moved with great speed. After making a vertical descent and ascent it headed due SW at great speed and disappeared at approx 1955 EST. Distance from the field when first sighted was some 15 to 20 miles. There was no sound. The trail, maybe from exhaust, was green (at least thru field glasses it appeared green). During the time it was under observation a cloud passed under it and the light shown thru.

According to this observer the object was not a balloon, a comet, star or any known aircraft. The light did not come from an aircraft’s running lights. The whole object appeared surrounded with burning gas or something which emitted a light.




TO: WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.

SUBJECT: OBJECT SEEN IN SKY JAN. 7, 1948                                             Inc 48b

THE TOWER FIRST SEEN THE OBJECT ABOUT 1910 EST TO THE SOUTH WEST OF THE FIELD FROM THE TOWER. WHEN FIRST SIGHTED IT APPEARED TO BE A BRIGHT XX LIGHT. THE TOWER FOLLOWED IT WITH THE FIELD GLASSES THAT ARE  7X50.

IT THEN DESCENDED AND AS IT DID THE OBJECT TURNED RED WITH A GREEN TAIL. IT DESCENDED AND ASCENDED WITH GREAT BURST OF SPEED. THE SKY HAD SCATTERED CLOUDS AT THE TIME. A CLOUD PASSED OVER IT ONE TIME AND THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE OBJECT SHOWN THRU THE CLOUDS WHILE THE STARS DID NOT.

IT DISAPPEARED ABOUT 1955EST. IT DISAPPEARED ABOUT XXXXX WEST SOUTH WEST OF THE FIELD. THIS STATEMENT IS TRUE TO THE BEST OF MY JUDGEMENT AND KNOWLEDGE.

CPL. JAMES H. HUDSON 13220875




STATE OF OHIO            }
COUNTY OF CLINTON}                               CONFIDENTIAL

Before me, the undersigned authority for administering oaths of this kind, personally appeared one James H. Hudson, Cpl, ASN 13220873 who, being first duly sworn by me, deposes and says:

Subject:            Unidentified Flying Object.
Time:                January 7, 1948, 1920 EST
Station:             Clinton County Army Air Field, Wilmington, Ohio
Location:          Wilmington, Ohio
Weather:          The weather at the time was light scattered coulis (clouds), with a haze towards the South
                        West.

Statement: I, James H. Hudson, was on duty in the Control Tower at the time the object was sighted. It was called to our attention by the dispatcher in Operations. He asked us to see if it was an aircraft flare. We then looked at it with the field glasses. At the time first sighted, the object was white, then it turned red. There was only one object. The real shape of it could not be distinguished from this station ‘til the object descended. Then it did, the object took a form of a cone or up-side-down triangle. (See Sketch “A”). When it climbed, it was right side up (See Sketch “B”).

The above is to my observation and opinion the size of the object, I could not determine, but it was much larger than any star. On it’s climb and descent it appeared to have a green mist following it (See Sketch “C”). The speed I could not determine in miles per hour for it hovered at what appeared to be one spot, then when it moved, it moved with great speed. It’s maneuvers are as follows, from the tower (See Sketch “D”).

Then it headed due South West at great speed and disappeared, at 1955 EST. The distance from the field when first sighted, estimated fifteen to twenty miles. There was no sound. The trail, maybe from exhaust, was green from the field glasses. The glasses have coated lens which may change the color some. At one time, during the time seen, a cloud passed under it and the light shown through. Example: Say you take a black wool cloth and pass it under a light bulb, you see no direct light, but you can still see that there is a light there behind it. (Continued on Page 2)

Further the deponent sayeth not.

JAMES H. HUDSON
cpl 13220873
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 20th day of January, 1948




PAGE II

STATE OF OHIO            }
COUNTY OF CLINTON}                               CONFIDENTIAL

Before me, the undersigned authority for administering oaths of this kind, personally appeared one James H. Hudson, Cpl, ASN 13220873 who, being first duly sworn by me, deposes and says:

The following information came over Plan 62:

This observation was made in Kentucky at the scene of the P-51 crash with 8” telescope:

1.       Height, 4 miles.
2.       Width, 43 feet.
3.       Height of the object, 100 feet.
4.       Speed at the time, 10 mph.
5.       Shape, Cone.
6.       Color, red with green tail.

This observation was taken at Godman Field, Kentucky, with a theolite:

1854 CST.
Elevation, 2.4 Azimuth 254.6
1856 CST.
Elevation, 2.0 Azimuth 253.9
1902 CST
Elevation, 1.2 Azimuth 253.0
1906 CST
Disappeared

The following is my opinion: The object is not a comet or star, but was man made. It was not a balloon, comet, star, aircraft of known type. The light did not come from an aircraft’s running lights. The whole object appeared to be surrounded with burning gas or something that gave a light.

Further the deponent sayeth not.
JAMES H. HUDSON
cpl 13220873

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 20th day of January, 1948

George W. Hohanness
Captain, USAF
(Unintelligible)


S/Sgt. John P. Haag Statement

CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS




Witness observed very bright light in the sky southwest of Clinton County AF Base which appeared to be the complete wing of an aircraft on fire. When viewed thru field glasses from the Control Tower the object would gain and lose altitude very rapidly xxxxxx with barely any discernible forward or backward motion. At times it changed colors (from red to green, etc). At one time it disappeared behind the overcast but its light penetrated thru the overcast. At approximately 19:45 o’clock it began to move away from the field on a heading of 210° and disappeared over the horizon at approximately 19:55. (1st acct)

At the time of the sighting the weather was clear over the Base, with a South West wind which was moderate. There was an overcast in the SE which appeared to be a layer approximately 1000 feet thick. The height of this overcast was approximately 5,000 ft. Object seemed to be about 5 miles from the field at an altitude of from 15,000 to 20,000 ft. The object which appeared stationary at first resembled the complete wing of an airplane on fire. No beam of light was projected. After observing it with the naked eye for some five minutes, witness went to control tower and looked thru field glasses and then decided that it was not a comet or a falling star to his knowledge of astronomy. With the aid of the glasses the object appeared to go from an altitude of 15,000 to 10,000 feet without any noticeable forward or backward motion, and then back up to its original altitude very rapidly. This occurred some 3 or 4 times. When it moved a red light would dominate and change to a green light and then back to its original color. It then started to receed on a heading of 210° going behind the overcast. However, the light was discernible thru the overcast. It then moved very rapidly away, stopping momentarily for 3 or 4 minute intervals and then disappearing over the horizon at 19:55. No sound was heard. No photographs were taken (From a signed statement second account)

CONFIDENTIAL




To: Whom it may concern.

Inc 48c

On the evening of 7, January 1948 at approximately 19:30 o’clock the undersigned witnessed a very bright light in the sky, in the South West direction of C. C. A. F.  which appeared to be the complete wing of an aircraft on fire with the naked eye. Then the following observation with the aid of field glasses from the control tower was made, the object would gain and lose altitude very rapidly without much noticed forward or backward motion and at times changing colors of red and green, at one time it disappeared behind the overcast but its light penetrated through the overcast. At approximately 19:45 o’clock the object began to move away from the field at a heading of 210 degrees and disappeared over the horizon at approximately 19:55.

S/Sgt. John P. Haag            A.F. 17003481




STATE OF OHIO            }
COUNTY OF CLINTON}                               CONFIDENTIAL

Before me, the undersigned authority for administering oaths of this kind, personally appeared one John P. Haag, S/Sgt, AF 17003481 who, being first duly sworn by me, deposes and says: The unidentified flying object was sighted in a South-West position at Clinton County Army Air Base at a heading of approximately 210° on 7 January 1948, first being visible to this person at 19:35 o’clock when it was pointed out to me. The weather at the time was clear over the Base, with a South-West wind which was moderate. There seemed to be an overcast in the South-West which was a layer approximately 1000 feet thick. The height of this overcast was approximately 5000 feet. This one and only object which was seen with the naked eye seemed to be about five miles from the field at an estimated altitude of 15,000 to 20,000 feet. The object seemed to remain stationary as first seen, with a light which resembled a complete wing of an airplane on fire. There was no beam of light projected. Then, for a period of five minutes I just took occasional glances at it as I went up (to) the the Control Tower and observed the object through field glasses, which I then decided was not a comet or falling star, to my knowledge of astronomy. With the aid of field glasses, the object appeared to go from an altitude of 15,000 feet to 10,000 feet without any noticed forward or backward motion, and then back up to its original altitude very rapidly, about three or four times. It seemed that when the object moved, a red light would dominate and change to a green light and then back to it’s original color. It then began moving at a heading of 210° and went behind the overcast and the light was seen through the overcast. The object moved very fast away; it stopped momentarily for three or four minutes and disappeared over the horizon at 19:55. No sound was heard from this object or no photographs taken.

Further the deponent sayeth not.

JOHN P. HAAG
S/Sgt. A.F. 17003481

Sworn to and subscribed before me this (unintelligible) day of January, 1948


Mr. Ralph L. Stirr Statement

CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS



Object seemed to be some sort of flare. Witness thought it was some aircraft in trouble. Requested the tower to take a look at it to determine if it were a flare. It appeared, with the naked eye, to be a very bright light the color of ordinary fire which lost and regained altitude in the manner of a parachute flare riding on thermals. The intensity of the light varied. This was attributed to clouds passing  xxxxxx below; however, the light was readily discernible thru the clouds. The sky was clear to scattered. When the object was compared to the stars there was a decided difference. Stars were of the usual white; this object was yellow or flame color. When first seen it appeared to be about 4,000 ft but disappearing over the horizon would make it much higher. The movement was very slow in appearance and it left no trails or tails like a meteor or comet. Place of disappearance was approximately due west from position of observer.

CONFIDENTIAL




STATEMENT

Inc 48d

This is a statement of a sky phenomena observed by me on 7 January 1948, between the approximate hours of 1920 to 1950.

It appeared to be some sort of flare. My first reaction to the sight was the belief that an aircraft was in trouble, and had shot a flare to attract attention. I then requested the tower to take a look at the object through glasses so they could attempt to determine whether or not it was a flare.

With the naked eye it appeared to be a very bright light with the color of ordinary fire. I was not able to maintain a watch continuously, due to my duties, and see the whole pattern of movement. I did observe it long enough at intervals to note that it lost and regained altitude in the manner that a parachute flare would when riding on thermals. The intensity of the light varied. This can be attributed to clouds passing in front of the light, however, I was able to see the light when clouds obscured it.

The sky condition at the time was what I would say was clear to scattered. Stars directly above me were compared to the light of the object and there was a decided difference. The stars were of the usual white and the object was yellow or flare color.

The altitude evidently was very high. The object when first seen appeared to be in the neighborhood of four thousand feet, but disappearing over the horizon would make it much higher. It described an imaginary arc from the point first seen to the horizon. The movement was very slow in appearance and left no trails or tails like a meteor or comet. Place of disappearance was approximately due west from my position.

Signed ______________________
            Ralph L. Stirr (civilian)


Part 2-11:  "...Was Not The Planet Venus"

June 4, 2006

Tom DeMary:
Venus was not simply in the sky; it set at 19:58 EST in the WSW as seen from Wilmington on 7 Jan 1948, about as close in time and space to the disappearance of the UFO over the horizon as might ever be reported.

Loren Gross:
You may put my version of the Mantell case on the web site. It may help sort things out. Include all footnotes.

One of our most esteemed colleagues is one we mentioned earlier in this report, and he is Michael Swords. Mike is a very busy person who chooses not to get involved with, what we consider almost necessary, email. I communicate with him by phone or normal U. S. mail. Eight years ago (2000) Michael Swords put out his paper that was printed in the Journal of UFO Studies, entitled, Project SIGN & the Estimate in the Situation.  In this report he mentioned something that we were late in discovering:

"
After the crash and investigation, the USAF (not Project Sign) said that Mantell had been chasing the planet Venus. No one involved with the investigation at Sign believed that, and in November 1948 they were still puzzling over this. Deyarmond wrote that this clearly was not Venus, and the case was unexplained."
Our investigation and chronology continues.

Brad Sparks:
The more I look into the Mantell case and the allegations of a Skyhook balloon or Venus as causes, the more problematic it gets.  First though, I find it strange that the AF's official position for many years was that Mantell was killed chasing Venus, yet the AF (and Ruppelt) concealed the fact that its files contained analyses by top intelligence officers at AMC Project Sign flatly denying the Venus explanation in unusually strong language, based on Godman Field Commander, Col. Guy F. Hix's azimuth data, and a THEODOLITE TRACKING from Godman Field of the same or similar object two hours after Mantell's crash.  I have never seen these documents or statements or THEODOLITE TRACKING ever pointed out by anyone before (Ruppelt concealed them), so here we are finding out about a coverup of the Mantell case, now in 2006, 58 years after the fact:

(See USAF-SIGN7-28 posted by Dan Wilson on June 3rd):

An AMC memo of 8 Nov 48 by C. A. Griffith, Chief of Operations Section, AMC Intell Dept (written by Sign's Project Officer Capt Robert R. Sneider) states sharply:

"4. The evidence obtained from MCREXE44 conclusively proves that this object was not the planet Venus."

Conclusively.  Have you ever seen an AF document make such a strong statement in a pro-UFO direction???  And this was AFTER the Project Sign TOP SECRET Estimate of the Situation had already been rejected by the Air Staff in August and Oct 1948, when the Project Sign staff was demoralized as a result.

Then Albert Deyarmond, Asst Deputy for Technical Analysis in the AMC Intell Dept, comments on this analysis, based again on the (covered up) THEODOLITE TRACKING and azimuth data, two days later with his own conclusion that the Mantell case was "UNEXPLAINED":

MAXW-PBB3-704 (*)

"10 Nov 48

"It is apparent from the data given above, that the object sighted at Godman Air Force Base on 7 January 1948 was not the planet Venus. Therefore, this sighting must be considered as unexplained."

I don't know about you but I feel this document is something of a bombshell, virtually the EQUIVALENT of the TS Estimate of the Situation, it is just short of stating "extraterrestrial."  And as we ought to know, in the Navy document I found that quotes the suppressed Project Sign Interim Status Report of 30 Nov 1948 (the actual Ghost of the Estimate, not the AIR 203 study which said nothing about ETH), they were still asserting in that Interim Report the ETH or "inter-planetary" as a possible explanation for flying discs. 

I also want to convey how amazed I am to find so many AF brass inside the Control Tower at Godman Field during the Mantell incident.  I have never heard this before.  This was not some case of a bunch of dumbcluck hillbilly enlisted men and low-ranking green officers.  The base CO was there, Col. Hix, along with Lt Col. E. G. Wood probably his deputy, Base Operations Officer Capt Cary Carter, Capt James Duesler, and more, this is just off the top of my head.  Also there was a Control Tower shift change at 3 PM in the middle of the Mantell chase, so an entirely new set of Tower personnel were then exposed to the whole incident, effectively doubling the number of personnel involved. 

This reminds me that back in 1975 I interviewed Gen. Garland and was surprised to hear him say "I knew Tommy Mantell" and he said he thought highly of him (if I can find my notes I can check the exact quotes I think I made)  Clearly Mantell was not a hick barnyard pilot in some hillbilly Kentucky ANG but was known to important AF brass as having a high reputation long before his death. 

And although Ruppelt lies and covers up a lot in this case, as he does in so many others, he does let slip (as he sometimes does in other cases) one intriguing comment of special human interest (p. 37):

"A long-time friend of Mantell's went on record as saying that he'd flown with him several years and knew him personally. He couldn't conceive of Mantell's even thinking about disregarding his lack of oxygen. Mantell was one of the most cautious pilots he knew.

"The only thing I can think," he commented, "was that he was after something that he believed to be more important than his life or his family."

Keep that ultimate sacrifice in mind before you dismiss this case as just a stupid IFO and dumb pilot error in flying too high without oxygen.  There are many troublesome aspects of this case that call for a fair hearing at last be given to Mantell.  Maybe it will turn out that it was an IFO and was hypoxia/pilot error.  But let's finally review ALL of the available FACTS and DOCUMENTS FIRST before doing so shall we?

Yes Venus set as would be seen from Clinton County AFB, Wilmington, Ohio, the time I get by US Naval Observatory online calculations at 7:56 PM EST (19:56 rather than 19:58) or 6:56 PM CST the time zone used for most of the Godman Field reporting.  The Clinton County AFB Control Tower was about 3 miles southeast of Wilmington so a more pinpoint calculation based on its exact coordinates might account for the couple minutes' difference:

Clinton County AFB, Wilmington, Ohio
Control Tower 39 25 47 N, 83 47 32 W elev about 1055 ft

However, at about the same time as the 6-7 PM (CST) sightings from Clinton County AFB, the same or similar sighting was made from Lockbourne AFB, Columbus, Ohio, where a key witness in the Control Tower was an AMATEUR ASTRONOMER with 6 years' affiliation with the Hayden Planetarium/American Museum of Natural History.

True, witnesses can see Venus or stars on the horizon changing colors, twinkling, seeming to move up-down, side-to-side, back-and-forth, without actually going anywhere, due to autokinesis effects of involuntary eyeball movements viewing largely featureless backgrounds like the sky where the eye cannot hold its focus perfectly still.

But the amateur astronomer witness in the Lockbourne Control Tower states that he saw the light in the WSW at about 15 degs elevation, a very specific figure, at roughly 6:45 PM (CST), TWO HOURS AFTER SUNSET, and that it was red, changing to amber-yellow for 1-2 secs at a time, and INTENSELY BRIGHT "greater than that of any star" and comparable to a RUNWAY LANDING LIGHT AT "FULL INTENSITY" at 500 feet away.  Assuming a runway light is 2 feet in diameter (someone could check on that) the angular size would be over 1/3 Full Moon, much much larger than a star or planet or pinpoint. 

It appeared to be circular with "a thin wisp of tail extending towards the horizon" and its length about 5 object diameters.  Obviously very specific and hard to imagine anyone with astronomy background can extrapolate 5 times a pinpoint, it had to have an extended angular diameter.  Presumably this "tail" was about 2 Full Moons in length.

Then at the very specific time of 6:50 PM this object suddenly dropped to the horizon in about 4 seconds, hovered there for 3 seconds, then climbed back to its previous position (about 15 degs elevation) in 3 seconds, but not in a straight line, but in an elliptical course counterclockwise.  That does not sound like autokinesis of a star or planet Venus.  He estimated its speed in this rapid maneuver as about 500 mph and that it appeared to be about 5 miles away from Lockbourne.  Allowing for human error in estimating the 15 deg elevation (witnesses usually overestimate) so that it was say 5-10 degs elevation, in fact, that is roughly correct for a 5-mile distance moving 5-10 degs in 4 secs (400-800 mph). 

Then it lowered to the horizon and faded out of sight at 6:55 PM.  Yes this was the setting time of Venus to within a minute or so, and it was in the same direction (WSW).  Extraordinary coincidence. 

This just screams out "astronomical"!!!!  But before you decide to dismiss this as Venus just consider a few more troubling observations by the amateur astronomer in the Lockbourne Control Tower (and the sightings by the 6 Tower and base personnel at Clinton Co. AFB at the same time).  And keep in mind this is a PARTIAL analysis based on only a small part of the scattered files on this case in the BB files (it is very time-consuming pulling this all together, a detailed Chronology minute by minute is desperately needed and it needs to watch for numerous typos and other errors in the AF files and not just blindly accept what they read in black and white):

He reported that there was "a high overcast and not one heavenly body was visible."  How then could Venus have been visible?  He concluded "The object apparently being under the overcast, and its erratic movement proves that it was not an astronomical phenomenon." 

So then we have to postulate that the overcast was not overcast but a haze that Venus could shine through.  But that does not explain the Clinton Co. AFB observations which in fair agreement with Lockbourne describe a vertically elongated lighted object, specifically in a triangular or ice-cream cone shape and colored red in parts.  The Clinton Co. AFB witnesses say the object was so bright that when a cloud drifted in front of it the light shined right through, even though the cloud blotted out the stars (from there the weather was not overcast but scattered clouds).  They made several drawings of this Skyhook-balloon shape, which Ruppelt redrew again to show how they were so similar to a Skyhook which he drew right next to them.  Yet it was 2 HOURS AFTER SUNSET and a Skyhook could not possibly be seen. 

The covered-up THEODOLITE TRACKING from Godman Field raises potentially insuperable problems for a Skyhook theory and of course it totally excludes Venus (which was 40-50 degs away), which could hardly be seen in daylight anyway. 

The THEODOLITE TRACKING was made by 1st Lt Paul I. Orner, Airways and Air Communications Service, ATC (Air Transport Command), Detachment 733-5, Air Force Base Unit (103rd MCS Sq), Godman Field, he was the Detachment Commander. 

Lt Orner was in the Control Tower during the Mantell chase and he records a number of key facts, including the fact that Mantell's wingman Lt Clements refueled and went back up to search for the UFO and for Mantell, but with oxygen, went 100 miles out, (up to 33,000 ft) which would be over past Franklin where Mantell had crashed (but no one had heard the report yet) and just over the Kentucky/Tenn border.  Yet he saw absolutely nothing, he saw no object, as he reported to the Tower at about 4:45 PM.  If it was a Skyhook balloon why didn't Clements see it? 

Why didn't Mantell and his 3 wingmen see the Skyhook on their way in to the Louisville/Godman area?  In fact the Mantell flight was SPECIFICALLY ASKED by Godman Tower when they approached Godman if they had seen the object on their way in!!!  This isn't just assumption based on a hope, but a specific query put to them while they were still in flight! 

Godman base Commander Col. Hix was phoned about the object sighted by the Tower at about 2:15 PM and he arrived at the Tower at about 2:20 PM to see for himself.  Sure enough he saw the stationary white object at about azimuth 215 degs (bet. SW and SSW) about 1/4 Full Moon in angular size.  When viewed through the 8x binoculars Col Hix could sometimes see RED COLOR bordering the top or the bottom.  Skyhooks in mid-afternoon sunlight are WHITE NOT RED.  Only sunset lighting gives them a fiery red coloration.  Col Hix and the Tower personnel lost sight of the object at 3:50 PM when it went behind a cloud, and it had remained "stationary for 1-1/2 hours" according to Hix's statement.  They did not know yet that Capt Mantell had already crashed at about 3:18 PM.  About this time (maybe 3:45), Lt Clements had refueled and went up in his F-51D to look for Mantell and the UFO and he was told by the Tower that the object had disappeared behind a cloud but gave him the last known heading, apparently 220 degs (I'm still trying to verify and correct the bad typos in AF's poorly retyped copies of key witness statements like Clements' and many others).  Then they told him the adjust heading by 5 degs to the left, apparently to the 215 azimuth at which the Tower had watched the UFO for 1-1/2 hours.  (Mantell had reportedly followed a 210 heading but all these figures need to be carefully checked.) 

Lt Orner also saw the small white object stationary object in the SW sky from the Tower with Col Hix and the many other AF officers and personnel.  Orner said that through binoculars it looked like a white parachute with bright sunlight reflecting off the top.  Sounds like a SKYHOOK balloon!!!  EXCEPT that he too saw "RED LIGHT" on the lower part of it. 

This is Lt. Orner's report of his THEODOLITE TRACKING of the UFO from Godman Field which began at about 5:35 PM (CST), or 1/2 HOUR AFTER SUNSET for a high-altitude Skyhook balloon (almost an hour after sunset on the ground):
"At about 1735 CST I returned to the Control Tower and [saw] a bright light different than a star at a position of about 240° azimuth and 8° elevation from the Control Tower.  This was a round object.  It seemed to have a dark spot in the center and the object moved north and disappeared from the horizon at a point 250° from the Tower.  The unusual fact about this object was the fact that it remained visible and glowed through the haze near the Earth when no other stars were visible and did not disappear until it went below the level of the Earth in a manner similar to the sun or moon setting.  This object was viewed and tracked with the Weather Station theodolite from the hangar roof."

We now know that the 1-6-48 Skyhook launch from Milaca, Minn., (NOT Camp Ripley 43 miles away, that was g.d. lie) reached its MAXIMUM HEIGHT of 80,000 ft in 3 hours of launch, or presumably at about 11 AM on the 6th.  It could therefore not go any higher.  Thus the nonsense about 100,000 ft is sheer falsehood.  It had gone almost DUE SOUTH from Minnesota, slightly to the W, at about 190 degs.  It did not get tracked heading SE towards Kentucky so it is anyone's guess where it actually went, unless there are lots of news reports charting its course along the way.  There are no upper winds data in 1948 from 80,000 ft so no way to check using meteorological records. 

That means that when Lt Orner tracked the object by Godman's theodolite at 5:35 PM CST at 240° azimuth and 8° elevation, if it was a Skyhook balloon at 80,000 ft it had to be about 100 miles away to the WSW, which would be the vicinity of HOPKINSVILLE, Kentucky.  YES THAT HOPKINSVILLE from the 1955 incident.  It would NOT be anywhere near Nashville, Tenn., where famed astronomer Carl Seyfert sighted from 4:30 to 4:45 PM CST what he called a balloon with cable to a suspended basket (the Skyhook pictures of 1-6-48 do not show a "basket" or any other large object hanging beneath, only relatively tiny payloads). 

Even worse, when Lt Orner lost track of the UFO in the theodolite it was at the horizon (0 degs elevation) still farther north at 250 degs azimuth.  An 80,000 ft balloon would have to be at about 350 MILES away at that point over southern Missouri!!!  Even more discrepant with Seyfert's sighting in Nashville, which would also be about 350 miles away.  AND IT IS IN PITCH DARKNESS!!!!!  The Skyhook could not have been seen!!!

Finally there is a question about the SIZE of the Skyhook launched on 1-6-48, which affects whether Godman or Mantell could even have seen the balloon.  Claims of 100 ft size are belied by the tracking report which states that the dozen or so balloons launched there from late 1947 to early 1949 were 70 ft and 72.8 ft balloons, not 100 ft.  Also unclear and being checked is whether this 70-72.8 ft size applies to the entire package or just the gas bag that is lit up by reflected sunlight.  Photos of the 1-6-48 launch show that about half its length was the essentially invisible cabling to the relatively tiny payloads and half the gas bag, which might mean the envelope was only about 35 ft in size. 

Simple physics and human physiological optics shows that the Minimum Angle of Resolution of about 1 arcminute (for normal 20/20 vision) would limit the maximum distance a 35 ft Skyhook balloon gas bag could be seen is only about 23 MILES!!!  One could not see ANY details, it would be a mere PINPOINT at that maximum possible distance for Skyhook visibility.  That would raise the question of how on earth Mantell could see a Skyhook from 90 miles away in order to chase it 90 miles to his death.
Dan Wilson:
After the fantastic ball made a high speed, six mile circle of the entire airbase, it returned to its original position over the runway where it drifted around awhile and then dipped down touching a grass strip that was a cleared extension of the runway. Pickering was warned not to discuss the UFO incident with anyone. USAF-SIGN8-217 & 218 were represented earlier in THIS chapter, Part 2_11 (and provided as evidence at the end of this chapter/part) in the redacted one-page version of those two docs in document  MAXW-PBB3-704 (*)
------------------------------
Frame 217 is the questionnaire for Incident 30a, Albert R. Pickering. Frame 218 is a more detailed statement presented below. .

Frame 218 transcription:
When first sighted around 1925 Eastern Standard Time, the object appeared to hover in one position for quite some time, moving very little. It disappeared once for about a minute (presumably entering overcast). After emerging below the overcast it circled one place for the duration of three 360° turns, then moved to another position and circled some more. Turns required approximately 30 to 40 seconds each ­ diameter estimated about 2 miles.

In moving from one place to another a tail (approximately the same color ­ amber ­ as the object) appeared which seemed to be about 5 times the length of the object. The shape of the object was either round or oval and appeared about the size of a C-47 plane. Just before disappearing it came very near the ground, stayed about 10”, then climbed back to its original position at a very fast rate of speed, leveled off, and disappeared into the overcast (10,000 ft) heading 120” (120°). Its speed was greater than 500 MPH in level flight. Visible for some 30 minutes. No noise or sound could be heard. The color of the object itself was an amber light but the intensity was not sufficient to obscure the outline of the configuration which was approximately round. During the up and down movement no maneuvering took place. Motions like that of an elevator ­ climbing and descending vertically. The exhaust trail was noticeable only during forward speed. At one time the object appeared to touch the ground.

NOTE:             Appeared approximately 3 to 5 miles away from Lockbourne in immediate vicinity of Commercial Point (Reports from Clinton Cy Airport, Godman Fld & from pilot of plane in vicinity of Columbus indicate the distance to be much greater)

NOTE ON RELIABILITY:            See incidents 30, 30b and 30c ­ corroborating accounts


USAF-SIGN1-263


DETACHMENT 733rd AF BASE UNIT
103rd AACS SQUADRON
LOCKBOURNE ARMY AIR BASE
COLUMBUS 17, OHIO

SUBJECT:       Report of Unusual Circumstance.
TO:                  Commanding Officer
                        332d Fighter Wing
                        Lockbourne Army Air Base
                        Columbus 17, Ohio


On Wednesday January 7, 1948 at about 1925 Eastern time I observed in the sky an object which I could not identify. It appeared to hover in one position for quite some time, moving very little. It disappeared once for about a minute and I assumed it entered the overcast, which was about 10,000 feet. After descending again below the overcast it circled one place for the duration of three 360 degree turns, then moved to another position to circle some more. Turns required approximately 30 to 40 seconds each, diameter estimated about two miles.

In moving from one place to another a tail was visible or approximate five times the length of the object. Not knowing how close or far the object was from me at the time, I could not estimate the size very accurately, but it appeared as large or larger than one of our C 47 planes, and of a different shape. Either round or oval shaped. Just before leaving it came to very near the ground, staying down for about ten seconds, then climbed at a very fast rate back to its original altitude, 10,000 feet, leveling off and disappearing into the overcast heading 120°. Its speed was greater than 500 mph in level flight. It was visible to me for a period of twenty minutes. No noise or sound could be detected. The color was amber light but not sufficiently bright to cover or obscure the outline of the configuration which was approximately round. During up and down movement no maneuvering took place. Motions was same as an elevator, climbing and descending vertically. Exhaust trail was noticeable only during forward speed. It appeared as a thin mist approximately same color (amber) as the object. Length about 5 times length of object.

During descent it appeared to touch the ground or was very close to touching it. It was approximately 3 to 5 miles away from Lockbourne Air Base in immediate vicinity of COMMERCIAL POINT. It positively was not a star, comet or any astronomical body to the best of my knowledge of such things. I also rule out the possibility of it being a balloon, flare, dirigible, military or private aircraft.
         

Ltr, Subj:            Report of Unusual Circumstance, 14 Jan 48 (Cont’d)

I am 26 years old and in good health and have excellent vision. I have been actively engaged in aviation for 6 years. I have a private pilot license and spent 3 years 10 months in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a Sergeant link trainer instructor, instrument flight observer.

The statements made herein are true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and may be used for any official purpose as deemed necessary.

ALBERT R. PICKERING
VHF/DF Operator
CAF

--------------------------------

Brad Sparks:
I can't even digest all of this!!!  Wow wow WOWWWW!!!  Where is the part about how the UFO "dipped down touching a grass strip that was a cleared extension of the runway"???  And Pickering being warned not to talk?  I am on overload and can't find things. Too much data. Three turns of 360 degs each 30-40 secs in a diameter of about 2 miles is 600-700 mph at 7 g's centripetal acceleration!!!!  (Pickering had estimated 500+ mph.)  And almost landed at one point!  If more distant than the 3-5 miles estimated then all these velocity and acceleration figures scale up accordingly.
Fran Ridge:
See Loedding "issued instructions that no report...would be made until further instructions were given." (Our findings May 28, 2006)
Comments: Stated on page 2 Part 2: Mr. Loedding a civilian investigator from Wright Field, arrived at Godman Field on January 9, 1948 and made a thorough investigation. Part 3. After obtaining statements and full information on the matter, he (Loedding) issued instructions that no report on the subject would be made until further instructions were given.


Part 2-12: Pickering Re-Interviewed

June 5, 2006

Dan Wilson:
Pickering re-interviewed by Bill Jones, April 12, 1977. Taken from UFO's: A History 1948 - Loren Gross
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/pickerings_interview_jones.htm.

------------------------------

On April 12, 1977, Ohio UFO researcher William E. Jones, interviewed Pickering about his sighting. The story that emerged was slightly different, and if the details were accurate, then the Air Force explanation of Venus was wholly unsatisfactory. Pickering told Jones:

This night the overcast was 1200 feet. I remember this just as though it was yesterday. I know what the weather was - 1200 feet, heavy overcast, with a 10 mile-per-hour southwest wind. It was dark. Inside the shack, I never turned the lights on because the illumination of all the dials, meters, and everything was sufficient for just sitting in there listening to the radio.

The only time I'd turn the lights on would be when an aircraft would be in trouble and call me for an emergency. Then I'd turn the light on so I could be sure to given him the right reading. So I was laying there on my back just looking out the window. Practically right over my head - it was at a 30 degree angle from vertical - down through the overcast came this great big, round, red object. The instant I glimpsed it - I was looking in that direction - I thought it was an aircraft falling in flames. So I jumped off of the box and started to reach for the mike of the telephone, and I see that it isn't an aircraft. I know by the time 2 seconds has passed that it is no aircraft. The tower called me even before I had a chance to call him and said, "What the hell is that out there over your station?" I told him I don't know. I said it's just a great big round red ball.

I tell him to call airways... He calls the airways operator and him and the captain, the meteorologist that night - they come to the door and they look at it.

It stops just as it comes through the overcast and hovers there in the air. There's no sound that you can hear at all. It don't stand perfectly stationary. It maneuvers around and goes a hundred feet or kinda circles. It just is maneuvering around in the air without any great distance. After it's been there for about five minutes - and all the time I'm trying to contact another aircraft on the radio and so is the tower. We've got different frequencies so we're trying to call an aircraft to take a pass through there and tell us what it is.

Well, it starts from an absolute perfectly stationary position and makes a circle of the entire base. Now, the north/south runway is 1 mile long and there's at least 3/4-mile from the end of the runway to the limits of the base at the north. And there's about a quarter mile of so, maybe, to the south. So this makes this object make a circle of better than 6 miles, since it's 2 miles in diameter, it has to be more than 6 miles.

It does that, and we timed it (I did). It accelerated to a speed of an (sic) excess of a thousand miles an hour. It comes back and stops instantly. It don't slow down... and coast to a stop. It stopped like it run into a wall.

(Q) How many times did it circle the base?     Just once. Just one big circle. When it comes back it's still right over my head. It has drifted to the Southwest.

(Q) So you're at the south end of the runway?     Yeah. I'm on the east side of the runway about - I'll say - two maybe 300 ft. This object has drifted. When it came back, it stopped... It wasn't really drifting. It just had moved southwest. Not that's against the wind, since the wind was from the Southwest. When it got down nearly to the edge of the base, just a little past the end of the runway, it descended to the ground vertically. It just came to the ground and stayed at the ground 10 maybe 15 seconds. [It] rose vertically back up to just under the overcast.

     We had gotten in contact with an airplane, by that time, that was coming from Wright Field. He said he couldn't see anything. He was too far out yet.

     Well, this is an assumption, but I think the object itself detected this airplane approaching Lockbourne because, just before the airplane arrived at Lockbourne, it went back up into the overcast and disappeared.

(Q) You never saw it again?     No!

     It didn't change color. Other than the fact... if it did get dimmer it was wisps of clouds that was going between me and it. I didn't see the thing get dimmer and brighter as some people have described them.

     I eliminate first... you couldn't have seen the full moon had it been out. It can't be the moon or the planet Venus, or some other astronomical objects that they're talking about... It can't be a balloon because a balloon would not drift against the wind. It can't be a light because, if it has been a light when it made the circle of the base, it would have elongated as it got out away from me. It didn't change shape other than the fact I attribute to an optical illusion. It went so fast it looked like - you know your eye retains an image for an instant... it went fast enough that your eye retained a little of that image behind it.

     There was no exhaust.

     My estimate as to the size of it I base on the fact that I know how high it was. I know how far it was away from me - 1200 feet. If I hadn't had the weather report in front of me and it had been a clear night, I couldn't have told you how big it was. But, since I know it was 1200 ft., plus a very little, since it was at a 30-degree angle, it wouldn't be much more than 1200. Then I can tell you reasonably close to how big it was. It was bigger than a one-car garage and it wasn't as big as my two-car garage.

     The object when it came down to the ground was even closer than 1200 ft. I would estimate it was a little less than half that because if you take a 30-degree angle from here to the ceiling is 8 ft. If you drop a string from that 30-degree angle, it's going to hit out here, not quite half 8 ft. So it was a good bit closer to me when it came to the ground than when I first sighted it. But I went out and looked to see if the grass was burned, mashed, or if there was prints where it landed, and there wasn't.

     It is at this point, if this statement as provided to Jones is accurate, that the Venus explanation is eliminated. Pickering gave the impression here that the object had circled all around the field, that it had not only been in the southwestern sky, and that there was a solid overcast that came down to 1200 feet.

     The discrepancy is that Pickering's original statement gives the impression that the UFO had circled an area, to the southwest, and that it had stayed in the southwest. He also suggested that the sky during the day had been overcast, but the overcast had been at 10,000 feet and not 1200.

     If the earlier statement is true, and if the Air Force report that the overcast had begun to break up is true, then Venus, as the culprit, is still viable.
Nobody that I know of - maybe the Army did, or the Air Force - [took] radioactive measurements, but not while I was there...

     They flew us to Wright Field three different times for interviews when this Project Blue Book was on. They wouldn't tell us anything...

(Q) How many witnesses were there, then?     There would be four, total. The Captain [identified from records as Charles E. McGee], which was the meteorologist. And Frank Isley [Eislle], which was in airways that night... the fella that was in the tower [Alex A. Boudreaux]. In fact, I've forgotten the names of nearly all of them... that's been almost 30 years ago.

(Q) Who did you talk to at Wright Field?     I don't remember whether it was Ruppelt or not, now. [In January 1948, it wouldn't have been Ruppelt] In fact, we talked to at least five different individuals, all officers... You'd talk with one awhile and go out. Then you would sit there... and another would come in and talk with you...

     It's rather simple as far as I'm concerned. I saw it. It came down through the overcast. It made those, if you want to call them erratic maneuvers in the air. Didn't seem to be erratic from the standpoint of intelligence. It looked to me like the thing was intelligently controlled... it wasn't a haphazard performance it put on...

(Q) How long did it take to go around the base?     I forget the seconds it took, but the thing you do... you count [like you learn to count as a pilot to time a turn]... We calculated at the time that it wasn't less... than 1000 mph.

(Q) What time did this happen?     It was about 10 after 7 in the evening. Five to 10 after when it first appeared. And it was visible for a little better than twenty minutes.

(Q) was it light at that time or was it dark?     It was dark.

(Q) Completely dark?     Yeah! After 7:00 in the winter time it's dark.

(Q) You say it was exactly the day of the Mantell case. So you know what day it was... You're sure it was the night of the day Mantell had his accident?     Yeah!

(Q) How could you pin that down?     Because we heard Mantell's death. All of it was on our communications.

(Q) That night?     That day, after it happened.

(Q) So you heard it... on the same day?     Yeah!

(Q) So you had that on your mind, I take it?     I didn't have it in mind at the time I seen this. I mean, I wasn't thinking about it. I figured after the event that it [was] possibly the same object that he was chasing...

(Q) Could you describe the object a little more?     Perfectly round. Just as round as a basketball. Perfect sphere.

(Q) It was a sphere and not a disc seen...     If it was a disc, it always kept either the bottom or top side to us, and was sitting on edge. Now, I couldn't say for sure that it wasn't, but it would have to of have been sitting on edge with its flat side facing me at all times. It certainly wouldn't do that with its maneuvering around and its complete circle of the whole base and coming down to the ground...

(Q) [Did it illuminate the ground when it came down?]     I don't know whether it did or not because I was at the same level as it and it being down at that distance, I didn't see any illumination on the ground. Had I been higher... maybe I could have seen some illumination on the ground...

(Q) Did the object... pass behind any other object?     No! It landed between me and a fence. There was a fence at the edge of the base. I couldn't see the fence [between me and the object. So it must have been between me and the fence.]

(Q) Could you describe the motion it made before it went around the base or after it came back?     The motion itself was like it wanted to mozzey [sic] around. [Drift a little in different directions, like it wanted to stay in that general area.]

(Q) No pattern that you could discern?     No pattern at all... this was a slow movement backwards and forwards.

(Q) From the time you first saw it, did it immediately begin these movements?     It stopped there dead... between 1 and 2 minutes. Then it started maneuvering around... they were curved lines... It stayed in an area less than a city block... [Then it went around the base.]

(Q) How long did it make the maneuvers [before going around the base], timewise [sic]?     If it was in sight for 20 minutes, it was visible stationary at the start for say 2 minutes, it made these maneuvers around for awhile. Stopped stationary again for a couple more minutes. So, it took it some time for it to come to the ground. Time to go back up. It was stationary after it went back up. So you would have to just guess. I didn't time it...

(Q) How long did it stay there...     Well, I'd guess 3 or 4 minutes before it came down to the ground. It stopped and stayed stationary and may have moved 20 to 50 ft at that time because it didn't necessarily look like it was screwed into position. When it did come down, it just started descending vertically... just perfectly straight like an elevator. I would definitely say 15 seconds would cover the length of time it was on the ground. And maybe 10 would... then rose vertically the same way.

     When it went up into the overcast, the overcast - bottom side of it - was evidently thin in places because I saw it as it was going up into the overcast for say 3 lengths... I could see it that long. See it disappear gradually into the overcast even though it went up at a rate [pause] it went into the overcast. When it went into the overcast, I could see the overcast between me and it.

(Q) Did it reflect light on the overcast?     No! That was a little bit peculiar because had it been shining a light out from itself, as bright as it looked to me, it looked like that it would be illuminating something around it. All I could do was see it through the overcast...

     It went up and stopped below the overcast and stayed there maybe 2 or 3 minutes and then went up into the overcast. And all this time I'm on the radio, telephone in one hand and microphone in the other... trying all frequencies... trying to contact an aircraft. that the only one we contacted, coming from Wright Field. He said he couldn't see anything because he was too far out...

(Q) Did you turn in a written report on this?     We signed a typewritten report that they made over there. We didn't write it ourselves.

(Q) Was it classified at any time?     It was classified... we was warned not to talk about it...

(Q) Do you remember the contents of the report circulated about Mantell that day?     The reports was that he ran out of oxygen. He exceeded the safe altitude and didn't have oxygen aboard and he was at [15,000 ft]...

     Part of his transmission was - now this I won't say for sure - he either said it's gigantic and it's metallic or it's monstrous and metallic. But I think he said it's gigantic and metallic.

(Q) Was this in the report your read there that day?     I didn't read 'em. I heard part of 'em.

(Q) They were coming over the radio?     Yeah! Coming over the telephone and radio. There was an hour or so of discussion about it was over and when they found the wreckage, they determined 2 or 3 days after this that he had become unconscious and the airplane disintegrated in the air because it dived.

     A P-51 don't disintegrate that easy, I don't think, in the air...

(Q) Was this normal radio transmission you were picking up of the search?     They was relaying it, evidently, from the tower in Kentucky, from the people in contact with him, through our tower at Columbus. How this was accomplished, I don't know. We had direct lines, at the time, everyplace. I could punch a button and call Cincinnati, direct line telephone.

(Q) Was this normal procedure for them to pipe in this sort of information over the...     No, we didn't do it very often, but... it was possible to do it. I think it was such an unusual situation was the reason they did it. We had written reports of the conversation that we got to read. I don't remember now the exact wording of this here conclusion of the board of inquiry when they have an airplane loss... but I know the conclusion was that at 15,000 ft he ran out of oxygen. The last words he said, "I'm closing in on the object. It's gigantic and it's metallic." Now, that's the last words he transmitted that we heard.

(Q) Did you actually hear his transmission?     Yeah!

     ... It [the object] was low when he first observed it. And it started climbing and he started climbing.

(Q) Were you there when this started?     Yeah! This was sometimes [sic] in the afternoon, I think... I was on duty. It must have been in the afternoon.

     ...There was confusion. Couple trying to talk at the same time. Probably excitement in their voices. After it was over, there was still some discussion going on. This direct line to Cincinnati, I talked to 'em down there and they was talking to Kentucky. None of this am I clear on. None of that stuck in my mind [like my own sighting].

(Q) How long after... did you see the object?     It was that night. I just about forgotten all about it [Mantell]. In fact, that wasn't even on my mind. When I was laying there I was just listening to the radio and looking out the window... I kept an AM radio on all the time [but turned down so as not to drown out the official radio].

     ...He [Mantell] had crashed before the conversations terminated, because there were other aircraft flying. He was ordered not - I didn't hear this [but learned through channels later on] - to ease in with it. To break-off [sic] at 10,000 ft.

     He said he was at 15,000 ft and closing. It's gigantic. It's metallic. It was the last words he said.

(Q) You heard that?     Yeah! I don't know whether it was "gigantic" or "monstrous". I'm 99 percent sure it was "gigantic" - the word he used.

(Q) Were you aware at that time [of the skyhook balloon launchings, some of which were reportedly used for aerial photographic reconnaissance of Russia?]     Had he been an idiot, he might not have been able to tell a balloon. But a combat pilot with as many hours as he had... [it doesn't happen.]

(Q) Do you know what the shape of the object was that Mantell reported?     It was supposed to be the same as the one I saw. A perfect sphere. It was - he didn't say it that I heard it - [I learned it later.] They have tapes, I think, of his entire conversation.

------------------------------

Part 2-13:  "Appeared to Touch the Ground"
 
June 5, 2006

Dan Wilson:
Pickering re-interviewed by Bill Jones, April 12, 1977. Taken from UFO's: A History 1948 - Loren Gross. (Text in previous chapter)
The Pickering interview was just presented in full in previous chapter, Part 2-12.

Brad Sparks:
Where is the part about how the UFO "dipped down touching a grass strip that was a cleared extension of the runway"?

Fran Ridge:
The UFOH 1948 is where that came from, but two docs I found say "came very near". Doc USAF-SIGN8-217 is the Pickering questionnaire, followed by the page in question, frame 218, which can be found at the end of this "chapter".
In fact, this is one Wendy Connors found a long time ago

Brad Sparks:
I thought your other postings already answered this, it was a 1977 APRO interview of Pickering. That Jan 14, 1948, doc states it "appeared to touch the ground or was very close to touching it," which confirms the 1977 interview.

Fran Ridge:
I don't know (without looking) about the interview, but FTR we will have to go with the two docs that say "very near the ground". Don't you think?

Brad Sparks:
No. I wasn't challenging it, just wondering.  The Jan 14, 1948, report fully confirms it, that it "appeared to touch the ground" or came very close (an apparent caution about saying too much that would sound too unbelievable). 

Fran Ridge:
Dan, Since earlier documents (two of them) say "very near the ground" it would seem that the 1977 interview might reflect either Pickering's thoughts that year or an error in the interview notes. But as Brad pointed out, Pickering probably was afraid to put into the 1948 report (remember landing cases were rare in 1948) what he really saw, especially when he was warned not to even talk about the incident.

Brad Sparks:
Yes but .... the Jan 14, 1948, report DOES say it "appeared to touch the ground" or come close to it, so the impression was not invented only decades later in 1977 for APRO, it was reported all along just not elaborated on because of understandable sensitivities.

Tom DeMary:
The "Wendy" document is at at the Blue Book site. In the 1977 interview Pickering also claims that the object made a circle around the entire air base, something not claimed in anyone's (including Pickering's) 1948 Blue Book statements. That seems more than "a little off" to me. The 1977 interview is included in K. Randle's Mantell article at UFO updates.

Brad Sparks:
Well I beg to differ.  Pickering's 1948 account specifically places the object maneuvering over Commercial Point 3-5 miles to the WSW of Lockbourne and disappearing into the high overcast at 120 degs (ESE) at the end of 20 minutes of maneuvers which had included a landing or near-landing.  This makes a circling of the base consistent with appearing on both sides of Lockbourne, east and west.  Can't make it out to be in one direction only so as to make it Venus -- which was not in the ESE at 120 degs azimuth. Thanks for locating the BB Archive doc refs as it led me to the unsanitized name of the Lockbourne amateur astronomer Control Tower operator I previously discussed who turns out to be Frank M. Eisele. This is now bringing to memory that maybe McDonald investigated this case and maybe interviewed Eisele and others (it's a vague memory, not sure). 
Fran Ridge:
I won't put this (transcript) on CE and SHG yet. Want you to read it first, then I'll post it. Be ready to respond to

Brad Sparks:
Well in a way it's laughable.  Mantell chased the object for 90 miles from Godman to Franklin.  A 100-foot Skyhook isn't even visible to the naked eye from 90 miles distance.  That's an angular size of 0.7 arcminute and Minimum Angle of Resolution is about 1 arcminute.  Sorry doesn't wash, it's a violation of the laws of physics and physiological optics. Kevin seems to think that Mantell could climb vertically straight up to a Skyhook at 100,000 ft (notice even Moore does not say the Skyhook went that high).  Does he not realize that the F-51D had a maximum climb angle of only 17 degrees?  It couldn't go straight up like some later jets could. Also the 10 minutes at 20,000 ft without oxygen reminds me of a comment that was reported of Mantell's radio conversation in AF files where Mantell said he would fly that way for 10 minutes then break off.  That could mean Mantell knew exactly how long he had and was well aware of what he was doing.  Also the oxygen mask blocking the clear reception of voice reminds me that the last transmission was garbled and could not be understood.

Drew Speier:
I may do a follow-up report on the Mantell case in July.

Kevin Randle:
Read the transcript and I think there are a couple of points that need to be made for the sake of accuracy. Thomas Mantell was not an "ace." He was a transport pilot who received the Distinguished Flying Cross for action during the Normandy Invasion, but he did not shoot down five enemy aircraft (the requirement to be an ace). That is not to say he wasn't brave, as the DFC proves, just that he didn't fly fighters during the war.

Fran Ridge:
Kevin, I wasn't aware of that, so when WFIE did the story I didn't make any comments. I was more concerned about the fact that they wanted to use the story because it was somewhat "local", and I did strongly suggest that we had about 1500 unknowns and that the Mantell case was not listed AS an unknown. It still isn't, but there are far too many problems with the evidence gleaned from BB docs recently to write it off as a Skyhook. I suspect that it will remain a mystery, if nothing else.

Fran Ridge:
There were about 100 launchings of Skyhooks per year, about two a week. Skyhooks were written about (highly publicized) and discussed in unclassified documents. But, there is no launch date and location that even comes close to producing a Skyhook over Godman at that time. There WAS, but that has been changed twice and apparently turns out to be completely wrong. I'm open to new evidence and won't be upset if it indeed turns out to be a balloon explanation, but now is the time to place these events where they properly belong for the record.

Kevin Randle:
Thomas Mantell died in a tragic mistake of misidentification complicated by his violation of regulations. It is a sad tale but it is time to retire this from the UFO lore.

Mary Castner:
Boy did I stir up a mess. Just a FYI we will be posting the Skyhook tracking chart as well as some other data by the weekend I hope. So stay tuned.

Fran Ridge:
Mary, by the time this is all over we will have the case presented where it rightfully belongs, Skyhook or no Skyhook. Too many loose ends and problems as Brad has skillfully pointed out. But not for long. Then on to bigger and better things. I think you are doing all of us a favor. Anxious to see your report.


Part 2 - 14:    The Press Reports
                     Weather Balloon Observed Here
            Source: Edwardsville (IL) Intelligencer January 7, 1948  (page 1)
                  Original Article Image:       http://www.nicap.org/images/1948_1_7_Intellegencer.jpg

Several residents of Edwardsville recalled last year’s news accounts of “flying saucers” early this morning when they observed what proved to be a small balloon flying at an exceedingly high altitude southeast of this city.
It was a tiny balloon released at 4 o’clock this morning at St. Louis-Lambert airfield. The balloon, it was reported this morning, is of a design to remain in the air for about three and a half hours under normal conditions. It was first observed here about 7:20 o’clock, remaining almost stationary, and was still visible at 7:50 o’clock when light clouds passed between it and the earth.
At the low elevations in Edwardsville the wind was blowing almost directly from the south. The course of the balloon indicated that the wind at the altitude at which it was flying was almost directly from the west. Presumably the wind was at a very low speed at the high altitude.
It is possible that the balloon was somewhere in the vicinity of Troy when observed here and the distance of travel in nearly four hours was less than 40 miles. The material from which the balloon is made was painted a silver color, probably aluminum and glittered brightly as the early morning rays of the sun were cast upon it.
Men in the yards of the Illinois Terminal railroad were among the first to observe the balloon. They told B. G. Ebert, relief station agent, and he became interested. Ebert decided in a few minutes that the object was not an astronomical phenomenon and was traveling very slowly.
He took a position where the balloon could be watched between wires along the railroad. Without the use of glasses he was certain the object was moving. The Intelligencer was advised and a few business men were told to see the balloon.
According to reports at the airfield the gas bag is about two and a half feet in diameter. The balloon is designed to reach altitudes of 10,000 to 15,000 feet. Wind checks and other information are obtained through use of the balloons and equipment carried.  
------------------------------

Balloon? Flying Saucer? Celestial Body?

Well It’s Anybody’s Guess

 Source: Clarksville (TN) Leaf-Chronicle           January 8, 1948  (Afternoon Edition)
Clarksville citizens got their first real glimpse of what may have been a “flying saucer,” based on reports that circulated through two states yesterday and today.
Most reports received by the Leaf-Chronicle indicated that an object about 15 inches in diameter appeared in the northern skies and seemed to be moving very slowly in a southern direction. Seen first at about 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon, the object was described by observers as being “silver colored and appeared to be hovering above the city.” It was egg-shaped on some occasions and later was described as appearing to be joined to another object.
Knapp Flying Service told the Leaf-Chronicle today that the object passed over the airport yesterday afternoon and the first impression of personnel there was that it might have been at an altitude of about 4,000 feet. However, it was explained that its exact altitude could not be determined since it was not known just what sized an object it was.
OVER COURTHOUSE
By the time it reached the center of Clarksville, the object seemed hovered above the courthouse for about half an hour, but appeared to be moving south by inches. It was at this time that it appeared to be the largest, and many observers expressed the opinion that it may have been a balloon of some type. Others thought it may have been a kite, although no trace could be made of any that may have been put into the air. At one point, observers said the object seemed to be swaying and that something was attached to it.
The object first appeared in the north about the size of a grapefruit, and as it traveled toward Clarksville, it appeared grew larger. After seemingly hovering about the city for about 1½ hours, it appeared to get smaller and began moving south. As it vanished, observers said it looked to about the size of the north star and had a faint glow, and the last trace of it was at about 4 o’clock, when it was said to have disappeared behind some clouds.
An epitome of various reports from Nashville, Louisville, Madisonville and Bowling Green, from where the object was seen, indicated the object must have been closer to the earth at Clarksville than at any other place.
Byron Likins, co-owner of the Bowling Green Flying Service at Bowling Green, Ky., told the Leaf-Chronicle today that the object appeared over Bowling Green yesterday afternoon about 4 o’clock. He said the object was about the size of a silver dollar and that it was moving south. He stated that no weather balloons would have lingered as long as that object did since they explode soon after reaching a high altitude. Mr. Likins said he was certain it must have been a celestial body of some kind and based his opinion on the theory that if it were not, one would have landed somewhere in the United States. He told the story of how a National Guard flying unit set out to chase the object and how they reported back that the object was “high above them and traveling too fast for them to catch it.” They were flying at 20,000 feet, he said.
Additional Story in same paper:

NASHVILLE, Jan. 8 (UP)
A “flying saucer” which puzzled many Nashvillians yesterday was reported by an astronomer today to be a balloon – but no one could say whose balloon it was.
The round object, seen by numerous persons above the sun on the western horizon, sent astronomers scurrying to their telescopes and brought many calls to the Nashville Tennessean.
Dr. Carl K. Seyfert of Vanderbilt University said observation through a telescope showed a rope dangling from the bright glass-like object. The U.S. weather bureau here agreed with him that it was a balloon but said it was not one of the bureau’s.
At Fort Knox in Kentucky National Guard planes yesterday chased an object in the sky to a height of 20,000 feet but observers said it was still above them.
Several reports of what were thought to be “flying saucers” have been received at various points in western Kentucky and Tennessee during the last 24 hours but in at least one instance the celestial object has been definitely identified as a weather observation balloon.
First report came from Fort Knox, that a disc, similar to those reported in large numbers last summer, had been seen by Col. Guy F. Hix, commander of Godman Field.
An object seen at Nashville was identified by Dr. Carl K. Seyfert of Vanderbilt University as a balloon from which a rope was dangling. The U.S. weather bureau at Nashville agreed it was a balloon but said none had been sent up there.
At Hopkinsville, flyers Jimmy Garret and Bill Crenshaw followed a flying object and reported to the Kentucky New Era newspaper office that they identified it as a weather balloon. At Madisonville, Hugh Clark and Thomas Gant observed what they believed was the same balloon from a plane.
At the Madisonville weather bureau it was reported that Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., had sent up 21 weather observation balloons. It was surmised that those seen in Kentucky and Tennessee might have been some of those sent up by Northwestern. 

------------------------------

Comet Over City Is Just Balloon 

Source: Nashville (TN) Tennessean       January 8, 1948  (page unknown)
Original Article Image:      http://nicap.org/images/1948_1_8_NashvilleT.jpg  
The brilliant object seen late yesterday afternoon in the western sky directly above the sun was a balloon, according to Nashville astronomers and weathermen.

The object, which puzzled local citizens and sent Nashville astronomers hurrying to their telescopes, was termed a balloon catching the sunlight by Dr. Carl K. Seyfert, astronomer at Vanderbilt university, after thorough examination. Weather bureau officials agreed with Seyfert’s diagnosis, but said it was not one of their balloons, while an observer from the WSM radio tower also expressed the opinion it was a balloon.

Telephone calls to The Nashville Tennessean described the phenomenon as a round object which seemed to be made of glass. One man said it looked like a gold star and a woman said she had been watching it all afternoon and thought it was a glass disc.

"Maybe another flying saucer,” she said.

Several of the witnesses were of the opinion that the object, which gave off an extremely bright light, was composed of a glass-like substance. Others believed they had sighted a daylight comet.

Seyfert said he at first believed it to be the planet Venus, which often is bright enough to be seen in daylight, and later also thought it was a comet. Observation through the telescope, however, showed a rope hanging from the object, which was bulbous at the top and narrowed to a fine point, and knots or small objects which might be weather instruments attached to the rope.

Weather bureau officials said they send only a single balloon into the sky each morning about 8:30 or 9 a.m., which rises to a height of 60,000 feet, then bursts and drops the instruments to the ground. Weather balloons are not customarily pear-shaped and do not ordinarily remain at a uniform level, they said.

L. E. Rawls, who saw the object through a telescope from the WSM  tower on Franklin road, said his telescope magnified it 100 times and there was no question as to its being a balloon.

Rawls estimated the height to be about 6000 feet, but Seyfert said he thought it to be about five miles high.

Latimer J. Wilson, local astronomer, expressed himself as undecided as to its true nature. He said it was shaped like an electric light bulb and seemed to be transparent. He said it turned yellow about 4:50 p.m., red at 5:05 p.m. and completely disappeared by 5:12 p.m.

Other observers reported it was moving toward the south and southeast when last sighted, shortly after dark last night.

Old superstitions were aroused, in addition to the revival of last summer’s talk of flying saucers, and many persons preferred to cling to metaphysical and mystical interpretations, rather than accept the “balloon” verdict.

“Strange!” exclaimed some of the older folk, and when no satisfactory explanation for the balloon’s being there could be found, they added: “I thought so!”

------------------------------

Strange Phenomena Seen in Sky Here

Source: Wilmington (OH) News-Journal           January 8, 1948  (page unknown)
Airman Killed Chasing Reported Flying Saucer
Original Article Image:        http://nicap.org/images/1948_1_8_NewsJournal.jpg  
Louisville, Ky., Jan 8 – (AP)
The Kentucky National Guard headquarters revealed here today that Capt. Thomas F. Mantell, Jr., 25, was killed in a plane explosion near Franklin, Ky., yesterday while chasing what was believed to be a “flying saucer.”
Mantell was one of three Kentucky National Guard officers sent yesterday to investigate a reported “flying saucer” in the air near Fort Knox. The object also was reported visible at Hopkinsville, Ky., Nashville, Tenn., and other points in the two states.
Mantell was flying a P-51 National Guard plane which witnesses said apparently exploded in the air and crashed near Franklin.

__________________________________

“SAUCER” ESCAPES
Fort Knox, Ky., Jan 8 – (AP)

A “flying saucer” reportedly was seen here yesterday and Col. Guy F. Hix, commander of Godman Field, sent three airplanes after it, but the “saucer” got away.

Colonel Hix said the saucer became visible here about 2 P.M.

“It was to the south and near the sun, very white and looked like an umbrella,” he elaborated.

Three National Guard planes were circling overheard at the time, so the colonel said he radioed the craft to give chase. But a few minutes later the pilots radioed back the saucer was too high and going too fast for them to catch.

The Army officer said he watched the saucer through binoculars and that from an observation tower it appeared motionless.

I thought it was a celestial body, but I can’t account for the fact it didn’t move. I just don’t know what it was.”

Dr. Walter L. Moore, of the University of Louisville, said the planet Venus was near the sun at the time the saucer was reported seen.

Control Tower Operators at CCAB Watch Maneuvers
 
A sky phenomena, described by observers at the Clinton County Air Base as having the appearance of a flaming red cone trailing a gaseous green mist, appeared in the southwest skies of Wilmington Wednesday night between 7:20 and 7:55 P.M.

S/Sgt. Gale F. Walter and Cpl. James Hudson, control tower operators at the air field, saw this phenomena at 7:20 P.M. and observed its maneuvers in the sky until 7:55 P.M. when it reportedly disappeared over the horizon. The sky phenomena hung suspended in the air at the intervals and then gained and lost altitude at what appeared to be terrific bursts of speed. The intense brightness of the sky phenomena pierced through a heavy layer of clouds passing intermittently over the area and obscuring other celestial phenomena.

M/Sgt. Irvin H. Lewis, S/Sgt. John P. Haag, Sgt. Harold E. Olvis and T/Sgt. Leroy Ziegler, four members of the alert crew, joined the control tower operators in observing the sky phenomena for approximately 35 minutes.

 ------------------------------
 
               Kentucky Flier Killed Chasing ‘Saucer’

                 Source: Nashville (TN) Banner January 8, 1948  (page 1 and 2)

                  Louisville, Ky., Jan 8 ­ (UP)

                  Original Article Image:  http://nicap.org/images/1948_1_8_Banner.jpg   


The Kentucky Air National Guard reported today that Capt. Thomas F. Mantell, Louisville, who died yesterday when his P-51 crashed at Franklin, Ky., was one of three pilots searching for a strange object seen in the sky.

The guard said Captain Mantell and three other pilots left Atlanta, Ga., yesterday at 1:45 p.m. (CST) on a routine flight to Louisville. Their planes were checked prior to flight, and all were in perfect condition. All were flying P-51’s.

When they got near Fort Knox, they were messaged by radio that Col. Guy F. Hix, commanding officer at Godman Field, had seen a strange “thing” in the sky. One pilot landed at Louisville as scheduled, but the other three gave chase.

The guard said two of the pilots went to about 15,000 feet and were unable to get near the object, so they returned and landed. Nothing was heard from Captain Mantell and there were no radio messages before he crashed, the guards said.

The guard said it was “anybody’s guess” what happened after the other two landed.

Mrs. Joe Phillips, on whose farm the plane crashed, said she heard it roar low over her house and went to a window in time to see it fall apart in the air, at about tree-top height. It struck the ground about 300 yards from the house.

Barbara Mayes, 14, who was waiting for a bus at Spring Lake School, near the scene, said she heard the plane explode in the air.

The two pilots who landed said the “thing” was still above them and moving too fast for them when they were at 15,000 feet. Colonel Hix watched it through powerful binoculars until clouds obscured it.

Colonel Hix, who said he was not aware Captain Mantell was one of the pilots searching for the “thing” described it as being about one-half the size of a full moon. “It was absolutely white, except for a streamer of red that appeared to be revolving.

The colonel said the streamer of red appeared first at the top and then at the bottom of the object, which did not seem to be moving.

Colonel Hix and personnel at Godman Field sighted the object at 2:30 p.m., and watched it until it disappeared behind clouds at 4 p.m. (CST).

A University of Kentucky physics professor was to come to Godman Field this afternoon and use high powered equipment to trace the chart of the object, if it reappears, Colonel Hix said.

Colonel Hix said it was his guess that the object either was a celestial object, although it did not appear to be moving, or a large balloon.

Numerous telephone calls were received by Army and State Highway Patrol officials, although descriptions varied widely.

Captain Mantell, 25, flew many missions over Europe in World War II and held the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Glenn Mayes, who witnessed the plane crash said he was in his front yard, about 300 yards from the spot where the plane plunged to the ground, said he first heard the plane and then “saw a vapor trail” before he spotted the aircraft.

Mayes estimated that the plane was up 20,000 feet when it suddenly went into a dive, plunging about half-way to the earth before it began disintegrating.

He said smoke rose from the engine after the crash, but that the wreckage did not burn.

Captain Mantell’s body was at Booker Funeral Home at Franklin this morning, and was expected to be removed to Louisville this afternoon.

Among his survivors are his wife Mrs. Margaret Mantell and two children.

An airborne object at a high altitude which yesterday afternoon caused speculation about comets and “flying saucers” throughout Middle Tennessee and Central Kentucky was definitely a balloon, according to consensus of observers.

There remained a difference of opinion, however, as to the type of balloon and a mystery as to its origin.

The object, which was described as “pear shaped” and like a “suspended light bulb,” was sighted over a wide area on a line extending from Columbia, Tenn., to Louisville, Ky. Its altitude, checked twice by pursuing airplanes, was reported at 11,000 feet at Hopkinsville, Ky., and above 20,000 at Louisville.

Two Hopkinsville aviators, Jimmy Garnett and Bill Crenshaw, investigated the object by plane and identified it as a “free weather balloon” (no instruments attached to it). Telescope observers here and at Franklin, Columbia and Clarksville also identified the object as a balloon.

At Madisonville, Ky., where Hugh Clark and Thomas Gant observed what they believed was the same balloon from a plane, the Weather Bureau surmised that it might have been one of 21 weather observation balloons sent up by Northwestern University at Evanston, Ill.

Latimer J. Wilson, local astronomer, agreed that the object was a balloon but stated that it was unlike any weather balloon he had ever seen and that it appeared to be “made of glass.”

Meanwhile the local Weather Bureau reported no balloons missing.

------------------------------
Chase for Flying Disk Blamed In Crash Death

      
                                                                       Lt. B. A. Hammond                          Lt. A. W. Clements
                                                                   “Woozy” at 22,000 feet                        Only he had oxygen.
                                                                       


                           Mantell Going Straight Into Sun, Buddies In Air Guard Say; Believe He Blacked Out

                  Source: Louisville (Ky) Courier Journal   January 9, 1948  (page 1 and back page of same section)

                                 Original Article Image: http://nicap.org/images/1948_1_9_CourierJournal._2.jpg  

Capt. Thomas F. Mantell, Jr., 25, was “climbing into the sun” after what he thought was a flying disk shortly before he was killed in a plane crash near Franklin, Ky., Wednesday.

So reported two of Mantell’s buddies in the Kentucky Air Guard, who were in the air with him at the time. The Air Guard yesterday said Mantell, World War II hero, who lived at 6301 Third, died because he flew too high while chasing an aerial object.

Capt. R. L. Tyler, Louisville operations officer for the Air Guard at Standiford Field, said investigation convinced him Mantell had “blacked out” from lack of oxygen at 36,000 feet. Tyler theorized the plane went into a dive and began to disintegrate at 15,000 feet.

Quit at 22,500 Feet.

Two other Air Guard officers who were flying in formation with Mantell in P-51 single-seater pursuit ships told of the high altitude disk-chasing mission.

Both said they “peeled off” at 22,500 feet with Mantell “still climbing into the sun.”

National Guard headquarters here said Mantell and his companions were asked by the Fort Knox radio to “look for” an object resembling a “flying saucer” reported sighted southwest of Godman Field.

Only One Had Oxygen Gear.

Only one of the trio, Lt. A. W. Clements, 2123 Ratcliffe, had oxygen equipment. Captain Tyler said oxygen had not been issued generally to the guardsmen because they were training at comparatively low levels.

The three, along with Lt. Robert Hendricks, were returning from a routine flight to Atlanta. Clements said Mantell apparently picked up the Godman Field radio signal as they neared Fort Knox and changed his course. Clements and Lt. B. A. Hammond, 3117 Sonora, followed. Hendricks, however, flew on to Standiford Field.

Mantell and Clements were linked by radio, but Hammond’s communications set was tuned to a different frequency.

It Looked “Like a Star.”

Clements said Mantell informed him they were to look for something “but didn’t seem to know exactly what it was.” Soon, Clements related, Mantell shouted through the loud speaker, “Look, there it is at 12 o’clock.” Clements said this meant it was “right over our nose.”

Clements gazed straight ahead and saw a “bright shining object that looked like a star.” He and Mantell started after it.

Hammond, who had received no word of the flying saucer, was bewildered.

“At first I thought we were lost,” he said. “Then we started climbing and I assumed we were looking for Louisville.” Hammond was depending on Mantell and Clements for navigation and went on up with them to avoid losing his bearings.

“I felt a little shaky at 15,000 feet,” he declared, “because I realized we were supposed to take oxygen at 12,000.

“By the time I hit 22,000 I was seeing double. I pulled alongside Clements and indicated with gestures that I didn’t have an oxygen mask. In fact I circled my finger around my head to show him I was getting woozy. He understood the situation and we turned back.”

Neither saw Mantell crash. His plane ripped down out of the sky some 80 or 90 miles from where they changed course after learning of the disk, Clements estimated.

Tyler blamed Mantell’s head-long dash after the “saucer” on the fact that Mantell’s World War II experience largely was limited to low-altitude flying. From the stories of Hammond and Clements, Tyler surmised Mantell was “climbing at full force at 23,000 feet.” Mantell probably lost consciousness seconds later, Tyler said.

Eyewitnesses had reported seeing Mantell’s plane arc high in the air and Tyler said this indicated Mantell, an expert pilot, was unconscious at the time.

Clements, 25 and Hammond, 23, both World War II veterans, landed at Standiford Field. Clements, who won the Distinguished Flying Cross in North Africa and Italy, refueled and took off in search of the “disk” again but failed to spot it.


Believed Object Was Star.

Recalling the appearance of the object, Clements remarked, “The more I think about it the more I’m convinced it was a star or some other type of celestial body.”

Some reports indicated the object may have been a weather balloon. An object seen near Nashville was identified as a balloon from which a rope was dangling. Two pilots at Hopkinsville, Ky., also said that they followed a flying object and believed it was a balloon. At the Madisonville weather station it was reported that Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., had sent up 21 weather-observation balloons.


-------------------------------


Spyglasses Search Through the Southwest Sky

But Great What-Was-It Keeps Out of Sight
                                        Source: Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal            January 9, 1948  (page unknown)

          One Flier Reports Something Like a Star; Colonel Hix Still Isn’t Sure It Was Venus




                                         Original Article Image:  http://nicap.org/images/1948_1_9_CourierJournal.jpg 


COL. GUY F. HIX, commander of Godman Field, shows Sgt. Quinton A. Blackwell the line along which to focus the Binoculars to find the spot where a mysterious object was seen in the sky Wednesday afternoon.

That gleaming object seen in the southwest sky from Fort Knox Wednesday did not show up at all yesterday as Godman Field officers kept telescopes and powerful binoculars trained skyward from dawn to dusk.

Only report bearing on the celestial phenomenon came from 1st Lt. Ray J. West. He said that while flying yesterday afternoon he saw an object that “looked like a star” about where the mysterious object was seen the previous day. Lieutenant West said he was flying at 7,000 feet over Godman Field and spotted the star-like object just above the horizon.

Captain C. W. Carter, operations officer, said that no planes had been sent up to determine whether the object was still visible yesterday.

Col. Guy F. Hix, commander of Godman Field, was not convinced yesterday afternoon that it was the planet Venus that he watched for 2 hours through 8-power binoculars. “If it were a celestial body,” he reasoned, “surely it would have moved sometime during the afternoon.”

“The object we saw, which was very white and resembled an upside-down open parachute, remained in practically the same spot from 2 p.m., when it was first sighted, to sundown at 5:18 p.m.,” Colonel Hix explained.

Dr. Walter Lee Moore, University of Louisville astronomer, had said that under “very exceptional atmospheric conditions,” the planet (Venus) might now be visible to the naked eye during the day.

Colonel Hix said he received about 35 calls Wednesday afternoon and night from various persons throughout the state who reported seeing the object. The calls came all the way from near Lebanon, in Marion County, to Morganfield, in Union, he said. No calls were received yesterday, he added.

Some persons reported the object just 150 feet above ground while others estimated the distance as high as four miles, Colonel Hix said. Descriptions varied, but most of those calling said the object was cone-shaped, he added.

Sgt. Quinton A. Blackwell, on duty in the Godman Field control tower Wednesday afternoon, was the first to see the shiny object. He described it as a silver disk, about the size of a silver dollar. “It gleamed like the reflection from some shiny, metallic surface,” he said.


Reported From Ohio.

Officers of the Clinton County Army Air base near Wilmington, Ohio, also reported seeing a “flaming red cone trailing a gaseous green mist” there Wednesday night, according to an Associated Press dispatch.

The phenomenon appeared in the southwest skies at 6:20 p.m., about an hour after the strange object was seen last at Godman Field. It was visible for about 35 minutes and then disappeared over the horizon, the report stated.

Colonel Hix will make a report on the phenomenon to the air Defense Command headquarters in New York when all the information is collected.

 --------------------------------

One Touch Of Venus: Pilots Chase ‘Disk’ (Or Planet)

But They Fail To Catch ‘Saucer’ Seen At Knox

                               Source: Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal            January 9, 1948  (page unknown)

                               Original Article Image:  http://nicap.org/images/1948_1_8_CourierJournal.jpg 

A bright and shiny object lured three Kentucky Guard Reserve pilots high in the sky yesterday.

The chase started when a glistening object was sighted in the southwest sky. It was easily visible at Fort Knox. Officers at the post radioed to three planes flying overhead to see if they could catch the object which they thought might be one of the flying disks reported seen last year.

Focused On Venus.

But when Dr. Walter Lee Moore, University of Louisville astronomer, focused his telescope by measurements given him by Godman Field officers it was trained straight on the planet Venus.

Dr. Moore said Venus was near the sun at this time and added that “very exceptional atmospheric conditions” could have made it visible to the naked eye during the day.

“If they chased Venus in airplanes,” said Dr. Moore, “they certainly had a long way to go.”

The disk first was reported visible about 2 p.m. by Col. Guy F. Hix, commander of Godman Field, who said he watched it for about 2 hours from the airport’s observation tower.

Looked ‘Like Umbrella.’

“It was to the south and near the sun,” he said, “very white and looking like an umbrella.”

Colonel Hix said he radioed the three planes, which had come from Louisville and were circling overhead, to go after the object.

“About 20 minutes later they radioed back and were 20,000 feet high and the saucer was still above them. The pilots said the saucer was too high and going too fast for them to catch.”

The colonel added the pilots reported the saucer was traveling west at about 180 miles per hour. But, the colonel said, from the observation tower it appeared motionless.

Says It Didn’t Move.

Colonel Hix said he and his executive officer, Lt. Col. Garrison Wood, and other officers carefully watched the disk through 8-power binoculars, sighting along an upright.

 “I thought it was a celestial body,” he said, “but I can’t account for the fact it didn’t move. I just don’t know what it was.”

Meanwhile Fort Knox authorities were receiving telephone calls from persons in near-by towns who also reported seeing the saucer and asking what it was all about.

And State Highway patrol headquarters at Elizabethtown were receiving reports from cruisers, whose occupants told of seeing the object.

Seen At Madisonville, Too.

Sgt. John T. Worful, Elizabethtown, said a cruiser had radioed from Madisonville that a saucer had been seen there.

 “It was reported to look like an ice-cream cone with a little fire at the bottom,” Worful said. “It appeared to be about 45 feet across the top and 100 feet long through a small telescope,” he said.

“Several officers were watching for it,” said Worful. “We’ve got orders to watch out for those thing and report them to Patterson Field, Ohio, and Godman Field.”

------------------------------

New ‘Flying Saucers’ Excite Kentucky Neighboring States


                                   Source: Lexington (Ky) Herald             January 9, 1948  (page unknown)

                                   By Associated Press

                                   Original Article Image:  http://nicap.org/images/1948_1_9_LexingtonHarald.jpg

Several areas of Kentucky and adjoining states were excited yesterday over reports of a “flying saucer” which led to the death of one National Guard flier and fruitless chases by several other pilots.

The National Guard headquarters at Louisville said Capt. Thomas F. Mantell, Jr., 25, was killed late Wednesday while chasing what was reported as a “flying saucer” near Franklin, Ky.

Two other members of the Kentucky National Guard, also asked to make a flying investigation of reported “flying saucers” in the area near Fort Knox returned to their Louisville base.

Two Hopkinsville pilots, James Garret and William Crenshaw, said they chased a flying object which they believed to be a balloon.

Astronomers at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., reported they saw some object in the sky Wednesday afternoon which they believed to be a balloon but the Nashville Weather Bureau said it knew of no balloons in that vicinity.

In Southern Ohio, meanwhile, observers reported seeing a flaming red cone near the Army Air Base at Wilmington. Army spokesmen said they had no information on the object or its origin.

Col. Guy F. Hix, commanding officer at Godman Field, adjoining Fort Knox, said he observed the “flying saucer” for some time. He said three National Guard planes were contacted by radio and instructed to investigate.

“We lost contact in about 20 minutes,” Col. Hix said. “Two of the planes later called back and reported no success.”

Capt. Mantel, an air hero during the Allied invasion of Normandy, was the third pilot. His mother, Mrs. Thomas F. Mantell, Sr., said in Louisville, she was informed her son flew too high in his pursuit of the object and lost consciousness.

Glen Mayes, who lives near Franklin, said he saw the Mantell plane flying at an extremely high altitude shortly before it apparently exploded in the air.

“The plane circled three times like the pilot didn’t know where he was going,” Mayes said, “and then started into a dive from about 20,000 feet. About halfway down there was a terrific explosion.”

Parts of the plane were scattered over an area two miles wide, Mayes said. None of the craft burned.

Capt. Mantell entered the Army Air Forces shortly after his graduation from high school and participated in the Normandy invasion and many other European operations during the war.

Since leaving active duty a year ago, he has been associated with the Kentucky Air National Guard.

---------------------------------



If You Saw 'em You Were Right
 
They Were Saucers

NEW YORK, (AP) -- A navy official confirmed today that "flying saucers" really existed, but actually were huge plastic balloons used in high altitude cosmic ray studies.

Dr. Urner Liddel, chief of the nuclear physics branch of the Office of Naval Research, made this disclosure in an article in the current magazine.

Liddel, in Washington, discussed the story further when newsmen queried him.

The Navy balloons, Liddel declared, were 100 feet in diameter and sometimes rose to a height of 19 miles. He added that winds might sweep them along at 200 miles an hour.

Sun did it

At dusk, the slanting rays of the sun lighted up the balloons' bottoms, giving them the saucer like appearances, Liddel said.

He added that many of the disks were sighted as the sun set. Liddel said the existence of the big balloons was kept secret because the project was connected with atomic developments.

Liddel, who was in charge of the balloons tests, said they carried instruments to record the results of collisions between cosmic rays and atoms in the earth's atmosphere.

No Longer Secret

He added that secrecy was "no longer necessary."

Liddel said he was convinced that a "saucer" photographed at 77.000 feet altitude over Minnesota was a Skyhook.

The physicist said 2,000 reports of "flying saucers" were checked, and those considered "whimsical" were eliminated. Of the "reliable" reports, he said, "there is not a single observation which is not attributable to the cosmic balloons."

These balloons, called Skyhooks by the Navy, were first used in 1947, about the time the disk were first sighted. Liddell said reports of "flying saucers" increased or decreased in proportion to the number of balloons sent aloft.

--------------------------------

Air Force Reveals Saucer Pursuit Report


                              Source: Lima (OH) News             August 21, 1952  (page 7)

                              Source Image: http://www.nicap.org/images/LimaNews21Aug52.jpg
 WASHINGTON (INS) ­ The Air Force has made public for the first time a P-51 fighter pilot’s graphic description of a “flying object” which he was chasing over Kentucky just before he was killed.

Hitherto secret details of a radio conversation involving Capt. Thomas F. Mantell and four airmen at Godman Air Base, Fort Knox, Ky., were released after an exhaustive inquiry by the Air Force.

On Jan 7, 1948, the 25-year old pilot, a World War II air hero, and three other P-51 pilots, sighted a mysterious object during a routine training flight. Three pilots, including Mantell, gave chase.

Mantell then radioed his description to the Godman control tower. Authorities said that no official transcript was made. However, the testimony of the men in the tower was pieced together. This is their account:

T-Sgt. Quinton A. Blackwell: “About 1445 (2:45 p.m.) the flight leader reported sighting the object ahead and above ­ still climbing. At 15,000 feet he reported the ‘object directly ahead and above and moving about half my speed. It appears metallic and of tremendous size. I’m still climbing. Object is above and ahead moving about my speed or faster. I’m trying to close in for a better look.’
                                                                                                      
“THIS WAS about 1515. Five minutes later the two other aircraft turned back. Flight leader reported ‘it appeared like the reflection of sunlight on an airplane canopy’.”

Lt. Paul I. Orner said Mantell’s closing-in message was his last. Capt. J. F. Dassler (Duessler), Jr., leader of the P-51 group, said Mantell, in answer to a request to describe the object, reported it was “bright and climbing away from me … moving at about 350 miles per hour. One of his planes asked him to level off but no reply was heard.”

Capt. Cary W. Carter, operations officer at Godman Air Force Base, said he heard Mantell say later the “object is going up and forward as fast as I am.” Mantell then declared he was climbing to 20,000 feet and if he failed to close in on the “saucer” he would abandon the chase. That was his last radio message.

A 14-year old school girl who was waiting for a bus at the time, said she heard Mantell’s plane explode in the air. The wife of a farmer said she heard it roar low over her house and went to a window in time to see it fall apart in the air, at about tree-top height.


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