U.S. Air Force releases details about UFO sightings in north Alabama

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Drawing of a UFO sighted in Gaylesville in 1966 (Photo: Project Blue Book files)

NORTH ALABAMA – Reports have been released by the United States Air Force that detail UFO sightings across the United States. Some of the sightings happened right here in north Alabama.

John Greenewald, a UFO enthusiast, spent nearly 20 years filing Freedom of Information Act requests for the federal government’s files on UFOs, USA Today reported. Thousands of reports from a project called “Project Blue Book” were recently released to Greenewald, according to USA Today.

“Project Blue Book was based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. Between 1947 and 1969, the Air Force recorded 12,618 sightings of strange phenomena — 701 of which remain ‘unidentified,” USA Today reported.

The reports give an inside look to the scientific process Project Blue Book used to attempt to explain reported unidentified flying objects in the 1950s and 1960s. They also give us a unique historical perspective of north Alabama.

Huntsville, Jan. 2, 1958

On the evening of Jan. 2, 1958, two Huntsville men saw a very bright ball streak across the sky. The two residents, both civilians, reported the ball was white at the beginning and turned green at the end.

The Rocket City Astronomical Association gave the information about these sightings to the U.S. Army, who forwarded them to the Air Force’s Project Blue Book.

The Air Force turned to J. Allen Hynek with the Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory, who stated definitively that it was a meteor.

15 miles west of Russellville, Dec. 2, 1957

The owner of some property 15 miles west of Russellville reported that he heard an explosion on Dec. 2. Six days later, he found an unidentified object that had made a hole in the ground of his property 40 feet long, three feet wide, with burned, melted metal around the area.

He and the local sheriff contacted the Huntsville Army duty officer to investigate further. The Army did reconnaissance on the scene, but was unable to determine what fell from the sky.

The information and evidence were eventually turned over to the UFO Project Officer at Project Blue Book, who determined that the object that hit the ground and exploded was a “tip tank,” a tank on the end of an aircraft’s wing used to store fuel.

Ardmore, Ala. Nov. 7, 1967

A tenth grade student out hunting in Ardmore, Ala. reported “a flat plain tilted at an angle toward me to [sic] object appeared to be metallic reflecting sunlight.” He described the object as having “black tips” and a “red middle.”

He said at first, he thought the object was a hawk, but soon realized that it was too large and moving very slowly. He ran to get a better look at it, but it moved out of sight.

The Air Force reached out to the city of Huntsville to see about any other reports of a strange object in the sky. Huntsville Police Chief W.F. Dyar wrote a letter to the investigating Air Force Major stating there had been no other reports of UFOs.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Huntsville Airport Traffic Control Tower Chief, John S. Harrison, wrote to the Air Force Major investigating the claim, saying, “Ardmore is located approximately 25 miles, 345 degrees from the new Huntsville-Madison County Airport, which opened October 29, 1967.”

Harrison said that a direct route between Huntsville and Nashville passed approximately five miles ease of Ardmore, and a dog-leg route between Shelbyville, Tenn. and Huntsville existed in the same area.

Gaylesville, Aug. 26, 1966

On Aug. 26, 1966, a Marshall Space Flight Center employee, his wife, and three children  began a trip to Atlanta from Huntsville.

In his detailed report, the man claimed he had a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech and had worked from 1958 until 1962 as a propulsion evaluation engineer on the Pershing missile system.

The family encountered the UFO in Gaylesville, near the intersection of US 35 and Hwy 68, just before 9 p.m.

He said, “I saw four circular, orange-yellow, glowing, objects moving from East to West… The objects passed directly overhead normal to the highway and off into the distance.”

The man said three of the glowing objects formed a triangle that contained the fourth object. The UFO maneuvered smoothly and made no detectable sound, according to the witness.

His wife looked at him and said, “It’s coming down; I think it’s going to land”

He replied, “…commercial airplanes just do not land in the middle of God’s Country.”

In his report, the man said he was convinced that it was not an airplane or balloon.

The UFO investigator found that there was a low altitude, high-speed military training flight route in that area, but it was only in use during the day. No aircraft were found to be in the area at the time.

This was the only report of a UFO at that location on that day.

The sighting was placed in the unidentified category, as the Air Force was unable to find a scientific explanation for the strange objects.

For more information on Project Blue Book, and to look up another location or more information, click here.