On Thursday, December 9, 1965, at about 4:45 pm EST (16:45 hrs.), a bright fiery object streaked across the sky above the Great Lakes, leaving behind a smoky trail. The unknown fireball was seen and detected by aircraft pilots, entering the atmosphere at a calculated speed of 1,600 km/h. Eyewitnesses described the unknown object to be under some type of intelligent control, as it veered somewhat over Ohio toward several other states as well Ontario, Canada.
The object was said to have dropped molten debris over Michigan and Northern Ohio, which reportedly started several grass fires. Sonic Booms were also heard in western Pennsylvania and by pilots who reported being rocked by shock waves. It was also noted that the smoke trail from the object lasted for around 20 minutes (giving onlookers ample time to take several photographs) until it finally came to ground at Kecksburg, Pennsylvania (USA), about forty miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Phone lines at the Pennsylvania State Police Headquarters at Kecksburg were jammed with calls from witnesses reporting an object crashing into the woods.
The object crashes at Kecksburg:
Most witnesses thought they were observing a plane going down in flames. But in Kecksburg, where the object suddenly made its spectacular landing, the earliest reported eyewitness, was a seven year old boy who was playing outside with his sister. He declared that it looked like “a star on fire.”
The children’s mother, Ms. Frances Kalp, stated that she and her children approached the site within a half-mile and observed a column of blue smoke rising through the trees, and another “brilliant object,” hanging above the tree line to the left of the smoke column. She described an odd shaped object on the ground resembling a “four-pointed star." She phoned in her experience to radio station WHJB in Greensburg at 6:30 pm. (18:30 hrs.)
John Murphy, reporter and news director of the radio station, immediately phoned in the report to the Pennsylvania State Police Department. The Police phoned Ms. Kalp and arranged to meet her in Kecksburg. Murphy also raced to the alleged crash site and interviewed Ms. Kalp and her children for his radio report, while the State Police and members from the local volunteer fire companies were combing the woods, searching for what was still assumed to be a downed airplane.
As radio and TV news reports of the mysterious object no longer assumed it to be a crashed airplane, crowds of curious onlookers were drawn to the site for a glimpse of whatever it was before the military gained control of the area. A state police fire marshal, accompanied by an unidentified man carrying a Geiger counter descended into the woods.
The U.S. military arrives in force:
Upon their return a few minutes later, the state police fire marshal ordered the area sealed off and the curious civilians that had made the trip into the woods were immediately ordered off the area. John Murphy knew the fire marshal well, but when he attempted to get information from him as to what he had seen in the woods, received the reply, “I’m not sure. You better get your information from the army.” An extremely intense day of military activity followed as the village of Kecksburg, with a population of just 250, appeared to be invaded by the United States military arriving in force.
Upon arriving at the Penn State Police Headquarters, where he also noticed that the military was also there in force, Murphy was startled when he received the “official” statement; “The Pennsylvania State Police has made a thorough search of the woods. We are convinced that there is nothing whatsoever in the woods.”
By this time, Murphy was convinced that some kind of cover-up was beginning to develop. If there was nothing in the woods, why would there be a large military presence at the crash site and at the police headquarters? After turning in his press report to the radio station, Murphy overheard one of the policemen involved in the search describing a “pulsating blue light” in the forest.
To Murphy’s surprise he was given permission to join the second search. Murphy’s excitement soon turned to disappointment when after accompanying the party to the outskirts of the woods, he was kept from going any further. Murphy was an eyewitness to the military sealing off the area, and banning all civilians from the scene and its immediate surroundings.
Civilian witnesses discuss their encounter:
The civilians dispersed from the area, after returning from the crash site informed Murphy that they had seen a copper-bronze colored, “saucer-shaped” object crashed in the woods. This craft was anywhere from 9-12 feet in length, and bore a gold band around its bottom. Some of the witnesses described writing on the craft which resembled Egyptian hieroglyphics. Later that night, witnesses claimed that they observed a flatbed truck toting something resembling an upside down acorn, a mushroom, or a bullet, the size of a Volkswagen beetle, covered by a tarpaulin.
The military vehicles then left and subsequently came the explanation: “Nothing whatsoever crashed into the woods, and that apparently wasn’t hauled away under wraps at high speed, either.”
John Murphy did manage to take several photographs. The office manager of the radio station, Mabel Mazza, described one of the pictures: “It was very dark and it was with a lot of trees around and everything. And I don’t know how far away from the site he was. But I did see a picture of a sort of a cone-like thing. It’s the only time I ever saw it."
Men in black arrive:
In the following weeks, Murphy became enveloped with the incident and wrote a radio documentary called “Object in the Woods,” featuring his experiences and interviews he had conducted that night. But shortly before the documentary would have aired, he received an unexpected visit at the station from two men in black suits identifying themselves as government officials.
They requested to speak with him in a back room behind closed doors. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes. An employee of the radio station, Linda Foschia, recalled the men confiscating some of Murphy’s audio tapes from that night, and that no one knows what happened to the remaining photographs. A week after the visit, an agitated Murphy aired a censored version of the documentary, which he claimed in its introduction that it had to be edited due to some interviewees requesting their statements be removed from the broadcast in fear of getting in trouble with the police and the army.
The new version contained nothing revealing, and did not mention an object at all. Mabel Mazza, and Bonnie Milslagle (Murphy’s wife), remember the aired documentary was entirely different from what Murphy had originally written.
The death of John Murphy:
After the airing, Murphy became uncharacteristically despondent and completely stopped all investigation on the case and refused to talk to anyone about it again, and never gave clear reasons why. In February 1969, Murphy was struck and killed by an unidentified car in an apparent hit-and-run while crossing a road. The hit-and-run occurred near Ventura, California while Murphy was on vacation.
One interesting footnote of this haunting tale came from the widow of John Murphy, who shortly after his death, publicly stated that her husband had been one of the first on the scene, and had actually photographed the strange craft. Supposedly, these valuable snapshots were confiscated by military officers, and Murphy was threatened not to discuss what he knew unless he wanted to suffer severe consequences.
After the television show, “Unsolved Mysteries” was aired, two witnesses came forward. One was a USAF officer at the Lockbourne Air Force Base (near Columbus, Ohio) who stated that in the early hours of December 10, 1965, a truck arrived by the little used gate of the base and he was ordered to patrol it. It was a flat-bed truck with a large tarpaulin on the surface covering a conical object. He was ordered to shoot anyone who tried to get too close.
The other witness was a building contractor who was asked two days later to take a load of 6,500 special bricks to the hanger inside Wright Patterson Air Base. When he sneaked a look inside the hangar, he saw a bell-shaped devise, some 12 feet high sitting there. Several men wearing white anti-radiation style suits were inspecting the object.
Was it a Soviet satellite?:
There had been some speculation that the object in the Kecksburg Incident may have been debris from Cosmos 96, a Soviet satellite. Cosmos 96 had a bell- or acorn-like shape similar to the object reported by eyewitnesses (though much smaller than what witnesses reported).
However, in a 1991 report, US Space Command concluded that Cosmos 96 crashed in Canada at 3:18am on December 9, 1965, about 13 hours before the fireball thought to be the Kecksburg object undergoing re-entry was recorded at 4:45pm.
In addition, in a 2003 interview Chief Scientist for Orbital Debris at the NASA Johnson Space Center Nicholas L. Johnson stated: “I can tell you categorically, that there is no way that any debris from Cosmos 96 could have landed in Pennsylvania anywhere around 4:45 p.m. That’s an absolute. Orbital mechanics is very strict.“
|Genesis spacecraft crash-landed in 2004|
after its parachute failed to open
Furthermore, a satellite going at the speed of 1,600 km/h, causing shock-waves and sonic booms and crashing at full force on the ground should not remain in one piece (please examine the photo to the left of the Genesis spacecraft smashed). These debunking theories cannot compete with the large number of eyewitnesses who similarly described the object as being in one piece and not blowing up in pieces upon impact. No one observed a parachute opening up to slow its descent. As usual, it is up for you all to decide for yourselves what really crashed that night in Kecksburg. Is it something truly extraterrestrial or something truly mundane?