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Revisiting the Strangest UFO Crash of the 1960s: The Kecksburg Incident

On December 9, 1965, the Kecksburg UFO incident may have taken place over Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, but it was witnessed by people all around North America. That night, a fireball in the sky was so bright that it could be seen in Windsor, Canada, as well as in six other states.

The fireball that witnesses saw may have been anything from a Russian satellite to different stellar body fragments coming back to Earth, according to authorities. At the time of the incident, experts said that the fireball was simply a meteor burning up in the atmosphere.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Too Many Witnesses

When the fireball went through Kecksburg, there were sonic booms in Pittsburgh. Locals in Kecksburg reported seeing wisps of blue smoke, tremors, and a “thump,” while debris-related fires broke out in fields in Ohio and Michigan. The military arrived without delay. It was obvious that this wasn’t merely an asteroid.

The Greensburg Tribune Review reported on December 10, 1965: “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 ordered the area be roped off to await the expected arrival of both U.S. Army engineers.

The military and their researchers thoroughly searched the area but came up empty-handed. Whatever had fallen appeared to have vanished into thin air.

Locals Were At The Crash Site

Locals who traveled to the crash site discovered a bronze, bell-shaped object the size of a car that was missing its propulsion system. The object had carvings on the outside that resembled hieroglyphics, which added to the strangeness. It is understandable why folks who showed up thought the vessel was from somewhere else entirely.

There has been speculation that “Die Glocke” or “The Bell,” a German military time machine, was the object that crashed into the forest outside of Kecksburg.

Although the schematics for The Bell resemble the acorn-shaped vehicle, it is highly improbable that The Bell even exists.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Was It A Meteor?

While some scientists suggested that it might have been a spacecraft, researchers quickly concluded that it was most likely a meteor.

Officials at the time supported the meteor theory because it explained why there was nothing in the woods. But when have sonic booms and shockwaves like those experienced in Kecksburg ever been caused by a meteor? Did the Earth come dangerously close to experiencing an extinction-level phenomenon, or were scientists merely attempting to make sense of a truly bizarre night?


The Cover Up

John Murphy, a reporter for radio station WHJB, claims to have been among the first on the scene. When Murphy first got there, he, according to Murphy, took pictures of an object in the woods that resembled a big acorn and was roughly the size of a VW Beetle. It was covered in markings that resembled Egyptian hieroglyphics. He claims that during a visit to his residence, the military took the pictures.

Murphy produced a radio documentary titled Object in the Woods, in which he described the evening in detail, and shared his attempts to investigate what really happened. Before the piece aired, the U.S. military allegedly arrived and drastically redacted the program. Murphy was never able to tell his story in full. Four years after the incident, he was killed in a hit-and-run accident while on vacation in California.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Lost Records

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said in December 2005 that scientists had examined metallic bits from the region and found they were from a Russian satellite that had broken up upon re-entering the atmosphere. They were unable to prove their research, though. According to NASA, some of their records were lost in the 1990s.

Researchers now think that what crashed into Kecksburg was either a sophisticated man-made object with failed re-entry capability or a probe that was somehow pushed out of the sky. We’ll never know what really transpired above Kecksburg that December night in 1965. That will likely remain a mystery.