Kecksburg UFO incident

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The Kecksburg UFO incident occurred on December 9, 1965, at Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, United States. A large, brilliant fireball was seen by thousands in at least six U.S. states and Ontario, Canada. It streaked over the Detroit, Michigan – Windsor, Canada area, reportedly dropped hot metal debris over Michigan and northern Ohio, starting some grass fires, and caused sonic booms in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. It was generally assumed and reported by the press to be a meteor after authorities discounted other proposed explanations such as a plane crash, errant missile test, or reentering satellite debris. However, eyewitnesses in the small village of Kecksburg, about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, claimed something crashed in the woods. A boy said he saw the object land; his mother saw a wisp of blue smoke arising from the woods and alerted authorities. Another reported feeling a vibration and “a thump” about the time the object reportedly landed. Others from Kecksburg, including local volunteer fire department members, reported finding an object in the shape of an acorn and about as large as a Volkswagen Beetle. Writing resembling Egyptian hieroglyphs was also said to be in a band around the base of the object. Witnesses further reported that intense military presence, most notably the United States Army, secured the area, ordered civilians out, and then removed an object on a flatbed truck. The military claimed they searched the woods and found “absolutely nothing.”

The Tribune-Review from nearby Greensburg which had a reporter at the scene ran an article the next morning, “Unidentified Flying Object Falls near Kecksburg—Army Ropes off Area”. The article continued, “The area where the object landed was immediately sealed off on the order of U.S. Army and State Police officials, reportedly in anticipation of a ‘close inspection’ of whatever may have fallen … State Police officials there ordered the area roped off to await the expected arrival of both U.S. Army engineers and possibly, civilian scientists.” However, a later edition of the newspaper stated that nothing had been found after authorities searched the area.

The official explanation of the widely seen fireball was that it was a mid-sized meteor. However speculation as to the identity of the Kecksburg object (if there was one—reports vary) range from alien craft to debris from Kosmos 96, a Soviet space probe intended for Venus but which failed and never left the Earth’s atmosphere.

Similarities have been drawn between the Kecksburg incident and the Roswell UFO incident, leading to the former being referred to as “Pennsylvania’s Roswell.”