THE CONDON CASES

For their report Scientific Study Of Unidentified Flying Objects (1969, Bantam, loosely called The Condon Report), the University of Colorado's Condon Committee chose the following 59 cases for in-depth study. Here are details of these cases and the page author's comments about them:

Case 1: Flagstaff AZ 05/20/1950 1220 MST

Synopsis: A meteorologist saw what he thought was a powered craft 3 to 5 feet in diameter flying in front of clouds.

UC Conclusion: The object was probably windblown debris

Comment: This could have been a toy balloon.

Case 2: Bentwaters AFB and Lakenheath AFB England, 08/13-14/1956 Night GMT

Synopsis: Several hours of strange RADAR sightings, first at Bentwaters, then at Lakenheath. Several visual sightings accompany these targets, and several jets were sent to look for the objects.

UC Conclusion: Inconclusive, but there is a probability of at least one genuine unknown.

Comment: Some of the RADAR sets had new equipment the operators were not used to. Some of the targets did not show on other RADARs covering the same area. See my web page on this case.

Case 3: Manhattan Beach CA 02/05/1957 Day PST

Synopsis: A spaceship seen the previous day was said to have dropped some strange material in the form of strips of metal.

UC Conclusion: The material was identified as RADAR chaff made by the Revere Copper Company.

The purpose of RADAR chaff is to confuse enemy RADAR. It was dropped during training exercises.

UC Comment: This is a case of someone seeing a strange object, finding an unknown material, and assuming they were related. But note that the "spaceship" might have really been the plane that dropped the chaff.

Case 4: Ubatuba Brazil 09/12/1957 Day AST

Synopsis: A UFO exploded into pieces that were said by "experts" to be made of magnesium purer than can be made on earth.

UC Conclusion: The magnesium was of a grade that could have been easily made on earth in 1957.

Comment: Could the object have been a wayward incendiary shell?

Case 5 Duncanville TX 07/17/1957 Night CDT

Synopsis: An electronic intelligence aircraft picked up signals moving in the same direction as and passing the plane while over the Gulf of Mexico and in the vicinity of Duncanville. Lights were also seen crossing the path of the plane.

UC Conclusion: Because the report and the recordings made cannot be found, the event cannot be reconstructed.

Comment: A simple relay failure can cause the signals to appear and move on the screen in the wrong direction.

Case 6: Beverly MA 04/22/1966 2100 EDT

Synopsis: A teenager saw a football-shaped object with flashing red lights out a window and told her parents. The parents and several other people saw three red objects circling above a nearby school. They walked onto the school grounds until they were under the object, which approached until it was only 30 feet up. They called the police. Officers came and saw the objects, but they were now like stars.

UC Conclusion: All but the initial sightings fit autokinesis and scintillation of the planet Jupiter and two nearby stars.

Comment: The initial object might have been a fire balloon.

Case 7: Provo UT 07/1966 1100 MDT

Synopsis: The pilot of a DC-3 said that he saw and took pictures of something. The film was not developed until the roll was finished in December. The photos were not consecutively numbered on the film, and were numbered after pictures of a snowstorm, not with pictures taken in July.

UC Conclusion: No analysis was attempted due to the discrepancies.

Comment: The page author once owned a plastic Santa Claus cookie canister with a red lid that looked exactly like the object in the photos.

Case 8: Donnybrook ND 08/19/1966 1700 CDT

Synopsis: A silver disk came down, hovered over a reservoir, and then left. The witness' car radio stopped playing while the object was there. Overturned rocks and depressions in the ground were found.

UC Conclusion: Nothing was found that would confirm the sighting. Animals could have made the depressions and turned over the rocks.

Comments: A single-witness without evidence cannot be proved.

Case 9: Minot AFB ND 08/25/1966 2200 CDT

Synopsis: Two missile site guards reported a saucer shaped glowing object at a 45 degree elevation. They alerted Minot AFB, 50 miles away. RADAR found an unidentified target 95 miles north of the base that kept changing altitude. A fighter was scrambled. If checked at various altitudes at the location of the target, and found nothing.

A strike team was sent to the missile site. One of the guards pointed out the object. The team then saw moving yellow-white dots in the direction of the base airstrip. When they then looked back to the original object, it was gone.

UC Conclusion: The RADAR target was not any of the visual objects, and was probably anomalous propagation. The original object was probably the star Capella, and the yellow-white dots were probably airplanes using the base airstrip.

Comment: This is a classic case of both the UFO Mode and the Told Where to Look effects. People were told where to look, and they found unrelated objects and targets there.

Case 10: Haynesville LA 12/30/1966 2030 CST

Synopsis: A nuclear engineer was driving north when his wife pointed out an orange glow in the west behind some trees. The object pulsated red orange. Then it suddenly brightened to a dazzling white for about 4 seconds before returning to the pulsating red-orange.

UC Conclusion: The investigation revealed nothing in the area that could produce the light. Someone had seen a bright light there 8 days earlier.

Comment: Case 11 gives a clue to the identity of case 10. The object was probably the re-entry of a fragment from the Agena from Gemini 11.

Case 11: Peru to Mexico flight 12/30/1966 0238 CST Bob Millbank

Synopsis: Two bright lights appeared to the west of their DC-8. The lights moved apart. Then the northern light emitted a shower of sparks. The lights seemed to pace the aircraft, then dropped behind and were lost from sight.

UC Conclusion: Fragments from the Agena used by Gemini 11 re-entered causing the sighting.

Comment: See case 10.

Case 12: Methuen MA 01/20/1967 0200 EST

Synopsis: A woman reported a very bright light lighting the ground in front of her car from an object overhead. It stayed over her car for several miles, then receded into the distance. Her car would not accelerate. Afterward, several functions on her car did not work right.

UC Conclusion: Ordinary failures were found for each of the things wrong with the car.

Comment: Three girls in another car reported essentially the same sighting in the same city and time, but their car operated normally. The UC Committee could have investigated an independent witness case, had they known. Possibly another piece of that Agena re-entered, as these are just a few weeks apart. Or possibly a bright fire balloon was involved.

Case 13: Granville MA 01/15/1967 1745

Synopsis: Two women were driving north when they saw a saucer shaped object with lights around the rim hovering in front of them, seen against a mountain in the background. They stopped and watched until the lights went out about 5 minutes later.

They drove on, and saw another such object behind them. They stopped, got out of the car, and watched until the lights went out about 5 minutes later.

They picked up another woman, and returned the way they came. Near the end of their trip, they again saw a similar object, but it had dim red square windows. Again, they got out of the car and watched it until it went out.

UC Conclusion: No conclusion, due to the long time between the event and the investigation.

Comment: Three fire balloons launched one after the other could explain this.

Case 14: Joplin MO Six sightings in winter 1967 CST

Synopsis: All sightings but one were by policemen:

1. A bright object was low on the horizon. It seemed to brighten and dim with the airport beacon. It drifted out of sight.

2. Object on western horizon moved relative to the stars.

3. A bright bluish cloudlike object just before dawn. It disappeared in the brightening sky.

4. Three boys reported a large detailed UFO with fins and lights.

5. Object at 0030 caused car to stall.

6. Object on eastern horizon.

UC Conclusion:

1. Possible balloon.

2. Possibly Jupiter.

3. Definitely Barium cloud experiment.

4. No conclusion, but similar to suspected hoax photo.

5. Definitely Jupiter (investigator saw). Car had low battery.

6. Definitely Arcturus (investigator saw).

Comment: The first two might have been fire balloons.

Case 15: Bellevue CO 02/24/1967 1830 MST

Synopsis: A man reported that a large green object was landing every evening several miles away.

UC Conclusion: Investigators saw the planet Venus setting, and identified the object conclusively.

Comment: Open and shut case. A classic case of a witness thinking a planet can't be that bright, and of a witness reporting the distortions produced by magnifying optics as properties of the object.

Case 16: Alamogordo NM Ruidoso NM 03/02/1967 1025-1131

Synopsis: Two missile bases reported several events the same day:

A man near Ruidoso NM called to report silvery specks overhead. RADAR operators looked and saw several intermittent targets there. Two aircraft sent there found nothing. RADAR operators later noticed several other intermittent targets.

One RADAR set tracked a high speed target on a circular course centered on that RADAR set. It almost completely circled the RADAR station at a distance of about 45 miles, starting near Ruidoso (northeast) and disappearing almost due north.

A technician saw a saucer shaped object moving away from him toward where the high speed target was at the time.

UC Conclusion: The silvery specks might have been milkweed seeds. The intermittent targets were probably RADAR reflections from mountain peaks that were usually there, but were not noticed until a UFO was reported. The circular track was identified as a noise track. Its altitude was often plotted below intervening mountains (impossible to detect). None of the visual objects corresponded with any of the RADAR targets.

Comment: This is another case of both the UFO Mode and the Told Where to Look effects. Radar operators noticed items that were usually there as intermittent targets because UFOs were seen there.

Case 17: Dry Creek Basin CO (Near Redvale CO) 03/1967 (many sightings) MST

Synopsis: In the primary sighting, the witness was driving west from town, and saw a dome shaped UFO. It was blue on top, and blended through cream and orange to red at the bottom. It approached the car. Then the witness reported feeling heat. The car engine sputtered, the ammeter indicated discharge, the lights and radio went out, and the temperature showed hot.

The object followed him all the way home, leaving as he reached home. The car continued to run bad after the sighting.

Other sightings of similar objects were made by others within the next three weeks. In one of those cases, the power went out while the object was present. In another case, something was seen falling from the object.

UC Conclusion: It is impossible to determine whether or not the main sighting was real. The car was found to be in poor tune, with many defects. The other sightings were not evaluated. The power company knew nothing of any failures.

Comment: The original sighting could be a bright star or planet with scintillation effects. The other sightings are strongly correlated with the properties of fire balloons, including a falling candle.

Case 18: Boulder CO 04/01/67 2115 & 2200 MDT

Synopsis: Several sightings of UFOs were made over the University of Colorado campus.

UC Conclusion: These were fire balloons launched by students as a UFO witness experiment. The witnesses gave accurate accounts of the sightings, excepting their reports on size and distance.

Comment: This is the definitive case showing that witness reports of size and distance can be quite erroneous. And the date could have also been a clue that something other than flying saucers was going on.

Case 19: Bonneville UT 04/15/1967 1100 MDT

Synopsis: An investigator attended a psychic-predicted UFO landing.

UC Conclusion: The landing did not occur.

Comment: Using a psychic is investigating the crackpot side of the issue.

Or maybe the UFO occupants saw the brass band that was on hand to welcome them, and thought the instruments were weapons of some unknown type, so they didn't land.

Case 20: Seedro Wooley WA Spring 1967 (several weeks) 2000-0300 PST, 2100-0400 PDT

Synopsis: Reports of invisible beeping UFOs were made in the same area for several weeks. When the change to daylight time was made, the sounds shifted by an hour in clock time, indicated that they stayed on sun time. Frogs suddenly went quiet each time, just before the beeps began. Visible UFOs were reported during the same period.

UC Conclusion: Ornithologists suggested owls. A farmer shot down a beeping saw-whet owl, confirming the suggestion. The owl is only 6 inches long, so was not easily seen. The owl is a frog predator.

Comment: Lots of birds beep at night.

Case 21: Colorado Springs CO 05/13/1967 1640 MDT

Synopsis: An unknown RADAR target followed a Boeing 720 airplane about to land. As the airplane landed, the unknown target pulled 300 ft. to the right and passed the 720 at a 200 ft. altitude. Even though tower people and pilots of a following Viscount 6 miles behind were looking for it, nothing was seen visually. No similar target appeared when the Viscount landed.

UC Conclusion: The investigators concluded that multiple reflections could have caused the unknown target. But they could not find a single location for the reflector that explained the observations, unless the target location reports are inaccurate.

Comment: What about a moving corner reflector, such as a large truck?

Case 22: Falcon Lake MB 05/20/1967 1212 CDT Stephen Michalak

Synopsis: Michalak, who was prospecting near Falcon Lake in Manitoba (Canada), reported seeing two disc-shaped craft hovering nearby. They changed color from red to orange, then to gray. One left the area, the other one landed, changing to an iridescent color.

Michalak approached the object after a door opened and he heard voices inside. He shouted greetings in several languages When he touched the object, it took off, emitting an exhaust blast that burned him and his shirt and undershirt. Michalak suffered burns, a rash, and symptoms similar to radiation sickness.

UC Conclusion: Tests showed the symptoms were not due to any kind of radiation. The same gridlike pattern of burn was on both the front and back of the undershirt, indicating that he was probably not wearing it when it was burned. Michalak could not immediately find the site, but found it a month later. But the location does not match his earlier description. Materials found at the site were radioactive, but Michalak and the burned undershirt originally were not.

Later tests of the site found no radioactivity. Nobody at a nearby golf course had sighted either object. A year later, two pieces of metal dusted with uranium salts were found by Michalak in a crevice at the site. The radiation sweep a year earlier should have found them if they had been there then.

Comment: An elaborate hoax, possibly staged as an attempt to have government pay for injuries sustained in some kind of accident.

Case 23: Scenic SD 05/27/1967 2330 CDT

Synopsis: Three couples who were hunting raccoons saw a lighted object come toward them, shine a powerful light on them, and then leave. The descriptions of the path of the object, the color of the bright light, and the number and color of the small lights varied. The sound of an airplane engine was heard by some of the witnesses.

UC Conclusion: A twin engine Navy airplane was found to have flown over the site. The pilot and crew had decided to cause some UFO sightings with their searchlight. They found their victims by seeing their flashlights.

Comment: More pranksters inserting noise into the UFO problem. But the case was instructive in learning to interpret witness statements when the cause of the sighting is known.

Case 24: New Castle PA 06/28/1967 EDT

Synopsis: A father and son heard a high pitched hum, and saw a UFO. The father took two pictures of it.

UC Conclusion: Discrepancies in focus and camera location, and the fact that the UFO was under the same part of a clothesline in both photos show the UFO was the size of a pie pan. Nobody else, including nearby quarry workers, saw the object. The object was probably hung from the clothesline.

Comment: Why did they waste time on this case? The object is obviously a drawing. This is a case where the witness did not want publication (for the above reason), but others took over the case.

Case 25: Coventry CT 07/05/1967 0410 EDT

Synopsis: A man driving northwest saw flashes of light behind him. He turned around, and near an intersection, he saw a 2.5 ft diameter ball of light above trees. A woman living nearby heard a noise like thunder, and also saw a light. Another man living down the road saw the light and heard a hum like a power relay. His power went off a few times. A depression was found with the grass swirled counterclockwise.

UC Conclusion: The fog and rain caused a power line to short-circuit to a tree. This caused the flashes, the lights, the noise, and the power failures. The grass was not swirled when the investigators arrived. They concluded that the depression was not related to the sighting.

Comment: This is a typical case where unrelated effects were combined into one sighting.

Case 26: Wilmington CA 07/18/1967 0350 PDT

Synopsis: A security guard fired 6 shots at a cigar-shaped UFO. A blue-green glow went out after the second shot. The UFO then sped off, making the sound of an idling auto motor. The witness found four flattened slugs when dawn came.

UC Conclusion: The witness had changed his story by the time investigators came. He now says he fired one shot at a balloon, and apparently missed. The slugs had been fired into the asphalt. Police found a steel drum with bullet holes in it that the guard confessed he had been using for target practice.

Comment: Another fabrication.

Case 27: Harrisburg PA Summer 1967 (several months) EST

Synopsis: The project installed instrumentation in an area where numerous UFO reports were occurring. An all-sky camera took over 9000 frames. An investigator in a car was equipped with a mobile phone, an answering service, still and movie cameras, infrared detectors, and a Geiger counter.

UC Conclusion: Fewer than 12 all-sky frames showed images not immediately identifiable, and only two of those were at times when UFOs were reported. One of these was an airplane, the other was a meteor. Another frame contained stars.

The mobile instruments were never needed. A spent fire balloon was found. Of the over 100 reports received during the period, 50 were natural or man-made phenomena, 17 could be in that category, and 14 needed more investigation, but the witnesses could not be found.

Comment: Even with equipment ready to be used, investigation of reports was impossible.

Case 28: Coarse Gold CA Winter 1966 - Summer 1967 Night PST and PDT

Synopsis: Orange-white UFOs were repeatedly seen following the same paths over several months, and over a range of 80 miles of sighting locations. The sightings continued without letup. Lights moved, hovered, disappeared, reappeared, and sometimes merged. Photos were taken. Castle AFB said they had noting in the air.

UC Conclusion: Investigators observed the UFOS. They determined that the lights were Air Force B-52s doing night air refueling practice, and then landing at Castle AFB. Large spotlights are used during the refueling maneuvers. Hovering objects were moving directly toward the witnesses. Whoever at Castle AFB had said there was nothing in the air either lied or was misinformed. The primary witness did not want to believe the UFOs were airplanes.

Comment: A classic case of a witness not accepting the real explanation.

The person at Castle AFB probably meant there was nothing in the area where the witnesses were.

Case 29: Cape Ann MA 08/02/1967 2130 EDT

Synopsis: A line of six to sixteen lights was seen for about 15 seconds in the northeast. Some witnesses thought the lights were on a large object. There were at least 17 witnesses. Some said the lights were blinking. Some said the lights appeared and disappeared in sequence.

UC Conclusion: A B-52 dropped 16 parachute flares in a training exercise.

Comment: This is a case of the "airship effect" where a group of disconnected lights is perceived as being part of a larger object.

Case 30: Edwards AFB CA 09/01/67 Unknown time

Synopsis: A rumor that 6 UFOs followed the X-15 rocket plane reached the project. Photos were allegedly taken. An employee at the base, while not confirming the X-15 part, said that there had been a sighting by pilots and tower operators. But he was transferred to another location.

UC Conclusion: The air base Public Information Officer evaded telephone calls from investigators. After a request through the Pentagon, the PIO called the project and said there was no UFO event on that date. The employee had been told to "stay out of that." The entire case had been a case of secrecy and evasion by the Air Force.

Comment: This might have been one of those cases where a fantastic UFO story was used as a security check. If the story leaked to the public, there was a security leak to track down.

Case 31: Winchester CT 09/09/1967 1945 EDT

Synopsis: While driving on a rural road, a woman and her children saw a trapezoid of 18 dim red lights over the road. It moved left behind trees and disappeared.

UC Conclusion: The investigator found a microwave tower with red lights on it beyond the trees. But the woman was familiar with it, and said it didn't have enough lights. The tower lights are point sources, while the objects were extended lights. The objects were over the road, but the tower is never in front of the road. Investigators were unable to find another cause.

Comment: These could have been fire balloons launched by pranksters.

Case 32: Alamosa CO 09/07/1967 Unknown time MDT Lewis

Synopsis: Amid several reports of UFOs in the area, a horse was found dead. All of the flesh was missing from its head and neck. Crushed vegetation and holes in the ground were found.

UC Conclusion: There was evidence of a hind leg infection and a knife cut in the neck. Possibly someone put the sick horse out of its misery. Then scavenger birds could have stripped the head and neck. The visual sightings were not detailed enough to investigate.

Comment: Events in other states with other animals after the project ended point to a satanic cult that was draining blood from animals for rituals.

Many of the UFO sightings in this case have the characteristics of fire balloons.

Case 33: Winsted CT 09/15/1967 2100

Synopsis: Two teenaged girls looking out a second story bedroom window saw a glowing object hovering over, but beyond, their barn. They heard a "putt-putt" sound like a power mower that failed to start. Then three child-sized figures ran out of the barn to stand near the mailbox. They then crossed the road and hid in the shadows of some trees. A car came down the road, the object blacked out, and the figures ran across the road, past the barn and disappeared in the shadows.

After the car passed, the object reappeared, but it pulsed between bright white and dim red. It also moved back and forth diagonally. It became dim when the mother of one of the children drove into the driveway. She saw the object, which remained dim, through the window. They all went to bed with the object still there.

A neighbor saw a watermelon-shaped white object during the sighting. Two witnesses less than a mile away reported a clam-shaped red object the same night.

UC Conclusion: Some swamp fires were burning in the direction of the sighting about half a mile from the farm. A man on a motor scooter was tending them, possibly accounting for the sound. The girls thought the figures were children, and did not associate them with the UFO until later.

Comment: The object might have been a smoke cloud illuminated by the fires. The figures might have been children. This is a case where witnesses put several unrelated events into one case.

I am amazed how witnesses will leave or go to bed while the object is still there, rather than investigating further.

Case 34: Shag Harbor NS 10/04/1967 Night AST

Synopsis: Two teenagers reported to RCMP that a group of five in a moving car saw an object with four yellow lights on it, descending toward the channel between the mainland and an island. Their vision was obscured by a small hill. When they had passed the hill, they saw a single white light on the water where the lights had been heading.

Two women on the island also saw yellow lights head toward the water. They disappeared, and then a yellow light appeared on the water. A man two miles away saw three red-orange lights descending with a sound like a falling bomb. They went behind a nearby house, and he did not see them again..

Three RCMP arrived 15 minutes after the report was made, and saw the white light. They said it was not on a boat. It went out about 5 minutes later. They took a rowboat to the site of the light, where they found patches of strange foam. No aircraft were reported missing in the area. Divers did not find anything significant.

The captain of a fishing boat sixteen miles away saw three bright red flashing lights on the water from sundown to 2300. At 2300, one of these lights went up in the air. He thought the objects were ships and a helicopter, until he heard about the other sighting.

UC Conclusion: No additional investigation was made. The red flashing lights were 175 miles from the original location

Comment: The original object has all of the characteristics of a fire balloon. Either sound-producing fireworks were on the fire balloon, or the whistling sound was unrelated to the object. When the fire balloon hit the water, one candle stayed above the water. The rest of the balloon was either destroyed, or floated in the water. Possibly candle wax was responsible for the foam.

This case has been distorted by the addition by UFO "experts" of a hunt for a Soviet submarine in the area. It was there for about 7 days. The "experts" interpreted this as a search for an underwater UFO.

Case 35: Vandenberg AFB CA, Oxnard CA 10/06/1967 2000 PST

Synopsis: A visual sighting from Oxnard of an object over the ocean was called in to the base. Missile RADAR operators were alerted. They found dozens of targets. Other visual objects were seen.

UC Conclusion: The visual objects did not correspond to the RADAR targets. Some RADAR targets had the flight characteristics of birds, but the target density of large airplanes. Others behaved like ships There was a strong temperature inversion, producing both visual and RADAR mirages. The targets were birds and ships, magnified by the bent RADAR beams.

Comment: A typical case where a temperature inversion caused false visual and RADAR objects.

Case 36: Phoenix AZ 10/1967 0905 MST

Synopsis: A yellow and blue-green cylinder was seen by four independent witnesses. One witness reported the event to be an hour later than the others.

UC Conclusion: A fireball meteor.

Comment: The time discrepancy might be because Arizona does not observe daylight-saving time. This might have confused the witness.

Case 37: Milledgeville GA 10/1967 Several days, various times EDT

Synopsis: Several sightings:

1. 10/20 0436 Officers followed a red football shaped object to the east. They lost it, and turned back west toward their town. The object then followed them. They got another officer and headed out again, and saw it again. It changed color from red to orange to white.

When officers in a town east of them were radioed, they saw it to the west, between the two groups of officers. The object receded and looked like star, and was still there when the officers went off duty. Several officers in other towns also saw objects.

2. 10/22 0210 Man called police, said a UFO chased him home. Police saw two objects, one above the other. The lower one looked like tinfoil. Several policemen in another town also saw blue objects.

3. 10/23 0445 Others saw the object first. A pilot and another man went up to chase the object. According to ground observers, the plane passed the object twice, going under it. The pilot had been looking down at a ground light. Then the pilot said he saw the object, and then it receded in the distance as he approached.

RADAR had a target in the area. Again, the object was still in the sky when it faded to invisibility in the dawn.

Photos taken by officers showed dots of light. On 10/22 some boys took a daylight picture of a sombrero-shaped flying saucer. All photos were of low quality.

UC Conclusion: Most of the sightings were caused by Venus and Jupiter, together in the east. The star Capella was also prominent in the west. The apparent motion of the objects was caused by the motion of the observers. Mirage conditions may have also occurred, especially on the first day.

Comment: The first sighting might have been something else, such as a fire balloon. Subsequent sightings the same night were probably of Venus.

This is another case where people can't believe a star or a planet can be that bright. The photo by the boys was an old streetlight.

Case 38: Halburg NY 10/1967 various times EDT

Synopsis: Over 800 sightings occurred in this town. Most were moving lights in the night sky, but a strange track was found on the ground, two boys reported a hovering UFO with occupants, and a clockwise flattened circle of cattails was reported in a swamp. Small circular areas were found in a forest where all of the trees had fallen.

UC Conclusion: Most of the reports were instigated by two men who were investigating UFOS and asked for sightings. The vast majority of the sightings were stars, planets (see case 37), and airplanes. There is a large amount of air traffic in the area, with the new strobe anticollision beacons. Helicopters were looking for power line discharges at night. A woman would not believe that distant airplanes can not be heard.

The track was a bear track. The circle of cattails could not be found. The story of the boys matched a UFO on a TV show. The fallen trees were probably damaged by heavy ice.

Comment: It's amazing how many people are ignorant about what can be found in the night sky.

Case 39: Lake Elsinore CA 11/08/1967 0330

Synopsis: A man's car stopped running, the lights went out, and the radio quit playing. He saw an object through the fog that wobbled, had rotating lights , and was red orange. The object disappeared into the fog. Then the lights and radio came back on, and he started the engine. It sputtered a few seconds, then operated normally. The FM radio stopped working, the paint was coming off, the back window had visible distortion, and the car tapes seemed to have lost fidelity in the low notes. The clock was stopped at 3:46.

UC Conclusion: There was no change in magnetic signature in the car body, so the car was not exposed to a strong magnetic field. Temperatures of over 120 degrees F could have caused some of the car troubles. Others were not investigated. No causes were found for the sighting, the engine stopping, or the lights and radio going dead.

Comment: The object has characteristics of a fire balloon. Condensation from the fog could have affected the ignition wiring, stopping the engine, but that should not affect the lights and radio unless the battery was very low, or there was an intermittent connection in a battery cable. A failure in a low frequency speaker could cause the tapes to seem to lose fidelity. But eight-track cartridges lose fidelity by themselves through frequent play.

Case 40: Alamosa CO 11/1967 0120 MST

Synopsis: Students went looking for UFOs in the area where case 32 occurred. From a high peak, they saw and photographed a light moving in a valley below. The lights followed a rough triangle.

UC Conclusion: The light was the headlights of a surface vehicle following dirt roads and a highway. The photographs confirm the story.

Comment: They wanted to find a UFO, and they ended up with one.

Case 41: Charlestown WV 12/07/1967 0800 EST

Synopsis: A meteorologist making a weather observation, and two other people, saw a bright object for about 12 minutes. It then spilt into three pieces. Two of the pieces disappeared, the third persisted longer.

UC Conclusion: A radiosonde balloon was launched 45 miles west of the site. The object was the balloon, which bust and deployed a parachute.

Comment: Unfamiliarity with a particular kind of flying device can lead to reports of strange behavior.

Case 42: Ashland NE 12/03/1967 0230 CST Herbert Schirmer

Synopsis: A state trooper had earlier noticed cattle in a sale barn kicking at the stalls. He then came upon a saucer-shaped object blocking the road ahead of him. The object left going straight up. The trooper could not account for about 20 minutes of time afterward.

UC Conclusion: No evidence that the object was there could be found. A small piece of metal could not be linked to the object.

Comment: The witness later underwent hypnotic regression, which brought out a story of contact with an occupant. But this could have been caused by the hypnotist asking leading questions. Or the entire sighting might have a psychological cause.

Case 43: Concordia KS 12/05/1967 02230 CST

Synopsis: Some teenagers decided to scare themselves by driving by a cemetery. They saw a light beyond the cemetery that was moving northward, but was also moving up and down and changing color. They then tried to follow it. They lost it, but then came upon a field with several lights in it, including a blue-green light, and a dim structure behind it. They then became scared, and left the area at high speed.

UC Conclusion: The original object was probably an airplane. Many lights were visible in the fields around the area, which were probably interpreted by the teens as lights in the sky. Some yard lights are blue-green. The teens got so turned around that they did not know where they were.

Comment: The original object might have been a fire balloon.

Case 44: St Louis MO 12/25/1967 2200 CST

Synopsis: The witness was driving under an overpass, and saw a dim shape with colored lights above and beyond the overpass. After passing under the overpass, he discovered the object was behind him, on the other side of the overpass. Afterward, he had feelings that "they" wanted him to go with them, and he was unable to concentrate on his medical school studies.

UC Conclusion: The investigators decided the sighting was psychological. No attempt was made to identify the object.

Comment: Two possibilities are a fire balloon, and Christmas decorations on a streetlight on the overpass itself.

Case 45: Castle Rock CO 12/1967 1800 MST

Synopsis: Several people reported a transparent object with lights. One witness said it was 75 feet long, and 25 feet above the ground.

UC Conclusion: The object was a fire balloon launched by a boy. It was 3 ft tall and 1 ft wide.

Comment: More evidence that witnesses seeing an object against the sky cannot correctly find its size, distance, speed, or altitude without knowing what it is (and thus its size).

Case 46: McMinnville OR 05/11/1950 1945 PST Paul Trent

Synopsis: A farm couple saw a disc and took two photographs.

UC Conclusion: Photometry indicates the object was distant and larger than 30 feet in diameter. But the object is centered under the same part of the wire in each photo, indicating a hoax.

Comment: Nobody thought of a mirrored bottom surface. The photometry for this works out to a small object near the camera. Two suggestions: 1. A side view mirror from the pictured truck. 2. The balancing disk of a Dual 1000 record changer.

Case 47: Great Falls MT 08/15/1950 1125 MST Nick Mariana

Synopsis: Two bright silvery objects flew past the witness. He took a movie of them.

UC Conclusion: Two F-94 jets flew past at about that time. But photographic analysis tends to reject that.

Comment: Sun halation in the film was not considered. The objects were the jets.

Case 48: Barra Da Tijuca Brazil 05/07/1952 1630 GMT-2 Ed Keffel

Synopsis: The witness and a companion saw the object. The witness took 5 photos.

UC Conclusion: The investigation concentrated on photo 4, saying that the UFO is lighted from the left, but the scenery is illuminated from the right. The images are probably montages.

Comment: Why go to the bother? Photo 5 has the UFO illuminated from the bottom. That is impossible, so the photos are definitely montages.

Case 49: Tremonton UT 07/02/1952 1110 MST Delbert Newhouse

Synopsis: The witness and his family saw several white objects milling in a group. A movie was taken by the witness.

UC Conclusion: There was no consensus on whether the objects were seagulls, or unusual objects. But one of the investigators saw seagulls with white bodies and gray wings near Tremonton. The wings were almost invisible against the sky.

Comment: The page author has also seen the same thing in Michigan and in Florida. The objects were birds.

The same objects are also visible in the background of the portion of the film showing the family members. Nobody noticed those.

Case 50: Ft Belvoir VA 09/1957 0900 EDT

Synopsis: Other men called the principal witness out to see a black ring approaching the area. The principal witness took 6 photos as the ring was filled with and then engulfed by a white cloud. The exact date of the sighting is not known.

UC Conclusion: The object was a smoke ring from an atom bomb simulation test.

Comment: A case of unfamiliarity with a military device.

Case 51: Vandenberg AFB CA 12/05/1963 1354 PST

Synopsis: Tracking cameras recording a Thor-Agena launch filmed a bright white object passed by the rocket.

UC Conclusion: The object was conclusively identified as the planet Venus.

Comment: This disappointed those who thought these films would be proof of alien spaceships.

Case 52: Santa Ana CA 08/03/1965 1230 PST Rex Heflin

Synopsis: The witness saw an object and took four photos. Three show the object, the fourth shows a smoke ring emitted by the object. Before the sighting, the witness found his two-way radio did not work.

UC Conclusion: There were no sequence numbers on the Polaroid prints. Investigators found inconsistencies in the story and the photos. Someone suggested it was a lens cap.

Comment: Ground Saucer Watch found supporting threads in the images. The author thinks the object was a straw hat made of plastic.

Case 53: Beaver County PA 08/08/1965 2330 EDT James Lucci

Synopsis: Two boys taking a time exposure of the moon saw a UFO and took two pictures.

UC Conclusion: The UFO was a small plate held up by a hand and lit with a flashlight.

Comment: Yet another fake by teenagers.

Case 54: AL to MN flight (Gulfstream Airlines) 03/11/1966 1500 CST

Synopsis: A bright object was seen and photographed by a passenger to the left rear of the airliner, which was flying north.

UC Conclusion: Analysis of its position indicates that it was a sub-sun. This is a reflection of the sun from ice crystals at the top of a cloud which is below the observer. It is only visible from a mountain or an airplane.

Comment: A very rare phenomenon, which most people would not know about.

Case 55: Farmington NM (American Airlines flight) 04/22/1966 Twilight MDT

Synopsis: A bright object was seen by the pilot and passengers to the left of an airliner heading west, while over Farmington. Photographs were taken by a sailor who was a passenger.

UC Conclusion: The object is assumed to be a high altitude flare experiment from White Sands Proving Ground. This could not be verified because records were not kept longer than 6 months. The photographs submitted were pictures of interior lamps where the flashbulb had failed.

Comment: Possibly the real photos were not printed, and the sailor mistook two photos where a flashbulb failed for the UFO photos. This is common where a photo of a distant UFO as a light is taken.

Case 56: Salem OR 03/16/1967 1546 PST

Synopsis: Three witnesses saw and took Polaroid pictures of an object, in a sighting said to last only 45 seconds.

UC Conclusion: Using an astronomical blinker, they compared the two pictures, and discovered through cloud movement that the photos were taken several minutes apart, not just seconds. The photographer moved several feet between the shots.

Comment: The object is probably a trash can lid thrown into the air..

Case 57: Highwood Ranger Station AB ("Calgary case" 07/03/1967 1830 MST Warren Smith

Synopsis: A flying object was seen, and two photos were taken.

UC Conclusion: There was little cloud movement between the shots. The photos are consistent with both a large distant object and a hand thrown model. The blurring of the second shot was due to camera motion.

Comment: The object is consistent with a prospector's pan, a toilet seat, or a bedpan thrown into the air.

Case 58: Sonora CA 11/01/1967 1210 PST, Camarillo CA 12/27/1967 1000 PST

Synopsis: Two movie takes for the movie A Man Called Gannon showed unidentified images drifting across the field of view. People who were looking for aircraft (no airplanes allowed in a western) did not see anything.

UC Conclusion: Both images were consistent with small items, such as drifting milkweed seeds, close enough to the camera to not be noticed by plane spotters.

Comment: One was left in the finished film.

Case 59: Lakeville CT 01/19/1967 2100 EST

Synopsis: Sightings in the area began in late 1966. A teacher and several students had seen UFOs on various nights over the period of 01/12 to 01/23. The teacher saw an elliptical object with two pulsating red lights on 01/19 at 2155. A 12-year old boy took a polaroid photo of a pattern of lights on 01/24, but the project could not obtain either an interview or the photo. One of the teacher's students, 17, also took a photo of an object that pulsated irregularly. The film tore when being rewound in the camera.

UC Conclusion: It was very cold, and the tear fits the characteristics of a tear at low temperature, but not room temperature. The image is consistent with either movement of a pulsating object over a large range with a five-second exposure, or a spectrogram of an emission source.

Comment: One UFO investigation group suggested putting a diffraction grating over the lens when photographing a UFO at night, to obtain its spectrum. The boy might have done this. If this was done, the undiffracted image is missing, but it might have been on the torn-off portion.

Note that most of these cases were chosen for their potential to provide probative evidence, rather than because of the strangeness of the case. Also note that most cases were also chosen for the freshness of the information.

An explanation of the large number of fire balloon cases in the period between 1964 and 1968:

The magazines Science Experimenter and Science Fair Projects contained instructions on making fire balloons for the purpose of making makeshift weather balloons for tracking air currents for a weather project. These articles were repeated several times in the period from 1964 through 1968.

Many high school and college students made fire balloons for the purpose of causing UFO sightings. In a few cases, they did studies on the descriptions and reactions of witnesses. But most of them were used solely for the purpose of causing people to see UFOs.