Form: 97 BB
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2006 07:44:16 -0500
From: Francis Ridge <>
Subject: Three UFO Sightings in Kentucky BEFORE and Ohio AFTER the Mantell Incident, Jan 7, 1948
Cat:  1, 11

Distribution: CE, SHG

Just before Captain Mantell's flight crossed the Kentucky/ Tennessee State line, a UFO alert had electrified the Blue Grass State. The Indianapolis News described the commotion thusly:

"Dozens of persons on the ground in the area of Madisonville, Ky., had been telephoning police to report seeing a circular object hovering overhead and giving off a brilliant red glow." (8)  Civilians had notified the Kentucky State Police at 1:00 CST to report something odd soaring over Elizabethtown, Ky. Some ten minutes later phone calls from more excited witnesses came in from places like Lexington which suggested a high altitude for the UFO due to the widely scattered points reporting sightings at approximately the same time.

State police contacted military police at Fort Knox to tell them an "unusual aircraft or object, circular in appearance and over 250 feet in diameter," was speeding through the air on a westward course at a "pretty good clip" just south of the military installation. The MPs dialed the orderly room of Godman Field, Fort Knox's airstrip, to inform the commanding officer there, Colonel Hix. The clock on the wall showed 1:20 p.m. when the phone rang in Godman Tower. Chief Control Tower operator T/Sgt. Blackwell answered. A Sgt. Cook of Colonel Hix's office was on the line and he told Sgt. Blackwell about the UFO and requested a check with Flight Test Operations at Wright Field, Ohio, to determine if there was anything experimental in the air that might correlate with the reported aerial object. When contacted, a Captain Hooper at Flight Test Operations replied in the negative, saying that the only thing in the region they had was a conventional aircraft on photo missions, however Flight Service did provide Sgt. Blackwell with more UFO reports from cities west of Fort Knox, Irvington and Owensboro, that matched the previously mentioned, sightings in regards to size and appearance.

About 15 minutes to two o'clock, Sgt. Blackwell caught sight of something in the Southern heavens and turned to the other man on in the tower, PFC S. Oliver, to ask for confirmation. Private Oliver saw it, whatever it was, but could not believe his eyes. Sgt. Blackwell urged a closer look. The Private did and became convinced he wasn't imagining things. The two enlisted men then summoned their Detachment Commander, 1st. Lt. Orner, who was working in a ground level office. Lt. Orner was just finishing discussing the UFO in question with Kentucky State Police when Sgt. Blackwell called, so the Lieutenant didn't have to be asked twice to go and take a peek at the sky enigma. Lt. Orner went quickly to the tower and peered to the southwest where there was a "small white object" apparently stationary in the sky. Using field glasses, Lt. Orner was still unable to tell if the object was generating its own light or reflecting it. Of the image, he said: " partially appeared as a parachute does with the bright sun shining on the top of the silk, but there also seemed to be red light around the lower portion of it." (9)

Downstairs at the traffic desk was the Operations Officer, a Captain Carter, who heard Lt. Orner excitedly announce over the teletalk box at 2:07 p.m. that more observers were needed in the tower. Captain Carter rushed upstairs and took his turn with the field glasses. The commotion also attracted a Mr. Duesler and a Lt. Col. E. G. Wood. The two joined the others already in the tower. This was at about 2:20 p.m.

Captain Carter said of the object: " appeared round and whiter than the clouds that passed in front of it and it could be seen thru circus clouds." PFC Oliver remembered that there was speculation over what the sky object could be. To him the thing appeared like: " ice cream cone topped with red." (10)

Since no one could come up with an adequate explanation, it was finally decided that the Commanding Officer of the Air Base should be summoned. The CO, Colonel Hix, quickly arrived and took a look for himself. He would say:

"It was very white and looked like an umbrella. I thought it was a celestial body. I can't account for the fact it didn't move. I just don't know what it was. It appeared about ¼ the size of the full moon and white in color. Thru the binoculars it appeared to have a red border at the bottom at times, a red border at the top at times. It remained stationary, seemingly for 1 ½ hours." (11)

At this time those in the tower heard Captain Mantell's four plane flight roar pass Godman Field on its way to nearby Standiford.

Ref: Loren Gross UFOs A History 1948
9, 10, 11 - Air Force Blue Book files: "Events of January 7, #30-48D."

The following are actual BB text and Docs of incidents reported AFTER the Mantell incident:

Engineering Division
Memorandum Report No. MCREXD-694-15D
Incidents 30, 30b, 30c, and 40, 40a, 40b, 40c, 40d
During the same space of time (about half an hour) on the night of 7 January 1948 observers at Lockbourn Air Force Base, observers at Clinton County AFB and the pilot of an aircraft flying from Dayton to Washington reported an unidentified object in the sky. All reports agreed as to the color and general appearance of the object, and as to the fact that its light at times was visible through a light overcast. All agreed also that it was seen to the southwest. However, persons at all three locations judged the object to be only a few miles away. To all of then It looked motionless at times, then appeared to gain and lose elevation. A very similar object was seen by nunerous persons at Fort Knox and other towns in Kentucky a few hours earlier. All saw it in the southwest and many thought it was only a few miles away. The Commanding Officer at Godman Field observed it for 1 l/2 hours, (beginning at 1445). During this time it seemingly remained stationary. It was "chased" by four National Guard pilots, one of whom crashed after having been up to 20,000 feet. It was also reported by persons in Lexington, Madisonville, and Elizabethtown.

The significant fact that emerges from these reports again is the inability to estimate distance. It appears possible that persons over parts of Kentucky and Ohio may have been seeing the same astronomical phenomena which was a great many miles away. Nevertheless, each believed it to be relatively near his own location. (See  documents below)

 Page ID (PID)  NARA-PBB85-429
Collection  National Archives (NARA)
Roll Description  NARA Blue Book Roll 85
Document Code  T1206-85





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