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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2001 > Jan > Jan 29

Kecksburg - Response, Review & Update

From: Stan Gordon <paufo@westol.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2001 09:41:21 -0500
Fwd Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2001 09:03:50 -0500
Subject: Kecksburg - Response, Review & Update

A Response, Review, and Update Concerning the Kecksburg Incident
from Stan Gordon

To Bob Young, Brad Sparks, and all interested parties:

The following information concerns the December 9, 1965, UFO
incident near Kecksburg, PA. I hope this will help clarify some
accounts pertaining to this event, as well as make you aware of
some of the details that my associates and I have learned from
those involved.

At around 4:47 P.M., a brillant fiery object passed over the
Pittsburgh area. The object continued on its path into
Westmoreland County, where it passed over Greensburg and moved
over Route 30, east of the city. The object soon made a turn to
the south, passing over the villages of Margurite and Norvelt,
and continued towards Laurelville. At Laurelville, the object
again turned, and tracked towards the northeast in the direction
of Kecksburg. This object, observed by various witnesses,
dropped into a wooded area outside of Kecksburg. Witnesses
stated the object appeared to fall slowly, as if it were
controlled. Shortly after impact, blue smoke rose from the woods
and dissipated quickly.

Residents were alarmed by the flaming object and the
accompanying loud boom, which had also been reported in some
local areas. Phone lines at law enforcement and news agencies
were jammed. According to eyewitness accounts, the object
appeared to decelerate several miles before falling.

Randy Overly was playing outside that afternoon near the
community of Norvelt. Overly heard an odd hissing noise, and
then looked in the distance to observe an object in the sky
moving slowly in his direction. The object, which was not
moving any faster than a small aircraft, passed roughly 200
feet overhead, and continued moving south towards Laurelville.

Due to it's slow speed, the object was observed in detail,
passing low overhead, and continuing off in the distance. The
object was described as somewhat acorn shaped, brownish-grayish
in color, with a raised area on the back, and a rounded
protuberance on the front. There were flames of fire emitting
from the rear which were multicolored. A distinct vapor
surrounded the object, and a hissing sound was quite apparent as
it passed overhead. Overly said, "It certainly seemed to be a
constructed thing. It had smooth edges and smooth lines."

Bill Bulebush was working on a CB radio in his car at his home
near Mammoth that day. He watched the object move from Norvelt
towards Laurelville. Bulebush ran to the road to get a better
look, and watched as the fiery object moved towards a mountain,
then it seemed to hesitate, made a turn and moved towards
Kecksburg where it descended.

Other witnesses near Laurelville also viewed the object moving
towards the Kecksburg area. Bulebush quickly drove to what was
then Kuhn's Lane (now called Meteor road as a result of this
local event) to the highest point which overlooked the area
surrounding the community. Bulebush observed bright blue flashes
of light emitting from the woods below. He knew these
particular woods well since he hunted there. It was nearly dark,
so he grabbed a flashlight and proceeded down to investigate.

Bulebush was likely the first person to view the large metallic
acorn shaped object which now rested semi-buried in the ground.
Bright blue arching light, akin to a welders torch, emanated
from the object. Strange markings were also seen on the back of
the object. Bulebush noticed trees were bent downwards in the
same direction, apparently caused by the landing of the object.
He left the area and returned home to tell his family about his
experience. Bulebush later returned with his young son to the
area to find the military was now at the scene. His son clearly
remembers the soldiers with their guns that day in 1965.

As the object passed over Westmoreland County, phone lines at
WHJB radio in Greensburg, PA, were jammed with calls from area
residents, many concerned the object was an aircraft on fire.
Mable Mazza, the office manager at the radio station, stayed
over to help handle the calls. During the evening she received
phone calls from military sources, including from the Air Force
and the Pentagon. Mazza stated, "The military was asking
directions to the site, and what I knew from the calls about
it." It was after the 6:30pm news broadcast when a woman
reported to the station that her young son had earlier seen the
object fall into a nearby wooded area near Kecksburg. The late
John Murphy, who was the news director at WHJB radio, took this
report, and contacted Troop A Pennsylvania State Police
headquarters in Greensburg, PA, providing them with this

Murphy drove to the area and remained there for quite a while
before Carl Metz, the State Police fire marshall, and another
investigator arrived with the young boy who saw the object and
his mother, as well as several others. Metz and the other
investigator went down into the woods with a yellow geiger
counter. According to Murphy, they were in the woods about
sixteen minutes. When they came back up the hill, Metz was
approached by Murphy about what might have been found; Murphy
waited until Metz and the other investigator were away from the
crowd. At this time Murphy asked Metz directly, "Did you find
anything down there?" According to Murphy, Metz looked puzzled
and remarked, "I'm not sure." When Murphy pressed Metz again, he
stated, "You better get your information from the Army."

Murphy viewed this statement to be highly unusual and deduced
that there was something in the woods of significant military
value. Metz and the other investigator left the area, but not
before a uniformed trooper was posted at that location. Murphy,
uncertain as to what was to occur next, contacted the state
police barracks in Greensburg and talked with Captain Dussia.
Dussia suggested Murphy might want to come to the barracks as he
understood that members of the 662nd Radar Squadron would be

As Bob Young pointed out, the only official record of military
involvement is from the Air Force Project Blue Book report which
confirms that three Air Force personnel from the 662nd Radar
Squadron were involved with the search. The actual log entry
from that report states, "A further call was made to the Oakdale
radar site in Pennsylvania. A three man team has been
dispatched to Acme (Kecksburg area) to investigate and pick up
an object that started a fire." The report also stated that the
search of the area ended around 2 A.M. and that nothing was

John Murphy, the WHJB news director, with the help of other
radio station personnel, created a radio documentary on this
local event which was broadcast days after the incident and was
called "Object in The Woods." On that broadcast, Murphy
describes what he saw after he left Kecksburg for the first time
to go to the state police barracks. "When I arrived at the
State Police Troop A barracks in Greensburg, not only were there
members of the United States Army there, but I also saw two men
in Air Force uniform."

Here we have a first hand account from a newsman who began
documenting this information as the story was unfolding. His
statement confirms that more than three military personnel were
investigating the Kecksburg event, and that both the Army and
Air Force were involved. Many people, publicly and
confidentially, have described the surprising arrival of
military personnel and vehicles that they saw around the
Kecksburg area that day. Witnesses at various locations around
the community say they saw marked military cars, jeeps, 6x6
trucks, personnel carriers, and one or more flat bed
tractor-trailer trucks. Linda Foschia said she saw a military
convoy moving along the Greensburg-Mount Pleasant road towards
Kecksburg on that evening in 1965.

The late James Mayes was the 1st Assistant Fire Chief of
Kecksburg at the time of the incident. I had the opportunity to
converse with this gentleman many times over the years. Mayes
was one of the first involved in the search effort that day for
what was thought to have been a possible downed aircraft. At
one point, a state trooper drove Mayes and another fireman to
the top of Kuhn's Lane where they looked down into the woods and
saw "flashing blue lights." The trooper would not allow them to
enter further into the woods. The trooper later took the firemen
back to the Kecksburg Fire Station. When they arrived at the
fire station, Mayes stated that the military had shown up.
Mayes stated, "There was quite a few military men at the station
which they used as a command post." He estimated that there was
around 25 personnel that he saw along with military vehicles
that were parked around the back of the two bay truck garage.

Jim Romansky, not from the Kecksburg area, states that he was a
member of another fire company which had been called out to
assist in the search for a possible downed aircraft that day.
The search teams had been combing the woods when a call came in
over a walkie-talkie that another team had found the crash site.
Jim's team hurried over to the location and were puzzled by
what they saw. Jim stood on a bank about five feet from the
partially buried off-gold colored acorn-shaped object. Jim, who
has been a machinist much of his life, said it gave him the
impression that someone had taken liquid metal and poured it
into an acorn shaped mold. There were no rivets, seams, wings,
or fuselage apparent, and the object appeared as one solid piece
of metal, unlike a conventional aircraft.

Jim, can only estimate the size of the object since it wasn't
entirely visible. He said that it was 10 to 12 feet or more in
length, and about 8 to 10 feet in diameter. He believes that a
grown man could have easily stood up inside of the device. On
the rear of the object was a ringed area about 8 to 10 inches
wide, but less in height. It was on this area that strange
markings similar to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were seen.
Jim has stated, "It looked like someone took a welding rod and
just welded a bead for the different designs."

Jim and the other firemen speculated over the object. Two men
dressed in overcoats appeared on the scene and told the
searchers that the area was now under quarantine and they had to
leave. Behind these two men were a group of military personnel.
Jim said they passed within 5 feet of each other. When he and
the others returned to the Kecksburg fire station, Jim says it
was occupied by the military.

One of many witnesses that has described the military response
to Kecksburg has been Robert L. Bitner. Bob Young is correct.
Bitner was not the Kecksburg fire chief in 1965. Bitner had
gotten his service years mixed up. He later realized that he had
gone out as chief in 1964. He was an active Kecksburg volunteer
fireman in 1965. Bitner was truck driver, and after finishing
up his route, drove into Kecksburg after hearing a news report
about the fallen object.

I am sure that we all realize that news reporters are sometimes
limited to space and can't always give a complete account of an
event. Bitner did not arrive in the area until late in the
evening. He located a Kecksburg fire truck parked near an old
farmhouse with several firemen standing around. They told
Bitner that something had fallen from the sky into the ravine
below. Bitner was present later that night (not earlier in the
evening) when a small group of military vehicles came into that
area. Among the vehicles was a personnel carrier and a 6x6
military truck. ( Bitner never viewed the flatbed
tractor-trailer truck which other witnesses said carried the
object away from the area.) The military proceeded down into the
wooded hollow. Bitner and the other firemen were not permitted
to go along. When the military came back up from the woods, the
firemen were told they could leave, and Bitner went directly

Robert Blystone Jr. walked into Kecksburg that evening. He said
there was military everywhere- on the street corners, and on the
roads. At one point he went to an area where he could see down
to the fire station where he saw military vehicles parked there.
He said the military were armed with rifles and sidearms.

Larry Snyder and some teenage friends tried to sneak down into
the woods to see what had reportedly fallen. Snyder said they
went to two different locations that evening. At each location,
there was an armed military man who prevented them from entering
towards the impact site. When Snyder asked what fell, a soldier
answered saying that a meteor had landed.

James Mayes and other Kecksburg firemen drove some military
"brass" on their 1961 four wheel drive pumper towards the impact
site. They drove through the fields toward the woods near a
farmhouse that was being rented by the Hays family. When they
started to descend into a hollow, the military said that this
was as far as the firemen could go. The fire truck was turned
back and the military officers proceeded on foot. Mayes
estimated that there were four or five of the officers that were
holding onto the running boards and tail board of the pumper

Lillian Hays and her son, John, confirm that military personnel
and men in suits frequented their rented farmhouse that night in
1965. The visitors made many phone calls from the house, located
not far from the impact site in the woods. John overhead a
conversation and learned that NASA was also on the way to that
location. Later that evening, he saw a man wearing a NASA
patch. A NASA representative reportedly interviewed some
eyewitnesses of the Kecksburg incident at the time.

During the evening, radio and tv stations began breaking news
that an Unidentified Flying Object had reportedly fallen in the
Kecksburg area and that the military was arriving. Hundreds of
people, after hearing the news, rushed to this quiet rural
community, trying to see what had fallen, as did the news media.
Brad Sparks asked for the names of reporters who were on the
scene at Kecksburg that day. I don't recall ever saying that
reporters saw the object being recovered at the site. The
reporters and the public were prevented from going down into the
woods and approaching the impact site, which had reportedly been
cordoned off.

Most of the crowds of people that evening, including reporters,
were located on the narrow country road (Meteor Road) that
bordered the large wooded area where the object reportedly fell,
and was the best overlook of the area. The object, however,
apparently fell on the opposite side of the woods. From that
road location where most of the people were standing, observers
could not see what was happening on the other side, which was in
the distance and blocked by woods. According to a number of
people who were in the other area, we have learned that military
activity was occurring on a farm lane, in various field
locations, and down near the woods by the impact location.

John Murphy, the WHJB radio news director who was the first
reporter on the scene, confirmed, via radio broadcast, that he
had seen both members of the Army and Air Force at the state
police barracks who would take part in the search for the
object. Murphy took detailed notes during his investigation of
the Kecksburg incident and produced a radio documentary called
"Object In The Woods," that had been scheduled to be broadcast
just days after the event.

Prior to the broadcast, Murphy began to receive calls from
witnesses he had interviewed that no longer wanted their
statements aired. Murphy included the following statement in his
radio report: "We received other calls early tonight from some
other people who had said they had changed their mind now at
the last minute and did not want the statements they had made
over this past weekend used on this radio program tonight. One
person said that they were afraid of the state police, and
another person said they did not want to get in trouble with the
Army. We will present a cut and edited version of the radio
program, "Object In The Woods." We regret that part of this
program had to be censored and other parts of the program had to
be cut out entirely."

Robert Gatty was a reporter for the Greensburg, PA
Tribune-Review. Gatty wanted to go down into the woods that day
but was prevented from doing so by the authorities. The December
10, 1965, headlines of the County edition of the Tribune-Review
read, "Army Ropes Off Area, Unidentified Flying Object Falls
Near Kecksburg." In the story it states, "Tribune Review staff
writer Robert Gatty reported from the scene that ‘no one is
being allowed near the object.' State police officials there, he
said, ordered the area roped off to await the expected arrival
of both U.S. Army Engineers and, possibly, civilian scientists."

Gatty wrote another story on this incident for the City Edition
of the same paper which appeared also on December 10, 1965.
Those headlines read, "Resident Tells of Mysterious Encounter,
Unidentified Flying Object Report Touches Off Probe Near
Kecksburg." On that same page another story also ran about the
UFO incident, which read, "Searchers Fail To Find Object."
Officially nothing was found during the search of the woods. The
speculation was that observers had only seen a bright meteor in
the sky, and nothing had fallen to the ground.

Ernie Hoffman was also a reporter for the Greensburg, PA
Tribune-Review in 1965. He replaced Robert Gatty in Kecksburg
that night, so that Gatty could return to the newspaper office
and work on the story. Hoffman said that he had pulled off on
the shoulder of the narrow country road, and about 100 yards
away saw a military flatbed tractor-trailer truck near a tree
line. He said that there was something on the back of the truck
under a tarpaulin which, at that distance, appeared about the
size of two suitcases. The possibility remains that Hoffman did
not see the object in question and/or the vehicle which was
carrying other equipment. There are accounts of more than one
flatbed tractor-trailer accompanying the other military
equipment which had arrived that day. Hoffman verifies, as so
many other people have, that military vehicles were around
Kecksburg and down in the woods that evening. Another reporter,
Adam Lynch, with WIIC-TV at the time, also confirmed seeing a
military truck.

John Hays has never forgotten the night the military came to
the farmhouse his parents had rented. The military asked to send
the children upstairs. John decided instead to produce
continuous excuses to be able to go up and down the stairs.
While doing so, he saw military men in his home who were
talking and making phone calls. He also watched out the bedroom
window, excited over the presence of the military trucks. At one
point he saw a flatbed tractor trailer going down towards the
hollow in the woods where the object reportedly fell. Later he
noted a truck of the same description exiting the same area
with a large object carried aboard.

John and his brother played in those woods on almost a daily
basis. The next day when they went out, they had to repair their
fence line, which they found cut from the night before to allow
the military trucks to get down to the hollow. When John and his
brother went down through the woods to look around, they saw
trees had been damaged and knocked over. The day before these
trees were in their normal state. The boys also came across a
man with an instrument similar to a metal detector. The man told
the boys that they should leave the woods, that there was the
possibility of radiation. The boys ran home to ask their parents
what radiation meant.

Well known Pittsburgh Jazz musician Jerry Betters has gone
public stating that he was driven to Kecksburg by some friends
that December night in 1965. They were curious after hearing the
news reports of the alleged UFO landing. They didn't know the
area, but apparently found themselves on the farm lane where
others saw military action taking place that night. There,
Betters saw numerous military vehicles, but more interestingly,
a military flatbed tractor-trailer truck was making it's way up
from the field. On the back of the trailer he saw an
acorn-shaped object and the strange hieroglyphic markings were
easily visible. For whatever reason, at that point the object
was not covered. Betters will never forget the tone of voice of
a military officer ordering servicemen to get him and his
friends out of there. Jerry became quite upset when the
soldiers aimed their guns at them.

Bob Koveleskie, a former state trooper, has now gone public
with an important detail. Koveleskie was a trooper who in 1965
was working in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. He had heard
about the Kecksburg incident on the news and was curious about
it. Just a short time after the event occurred, Koveleskie was
back in the Greensburg area where he saw Carl Metz and asked
him about the incident. Metz told him that he was at the scene
the night that it happened. He had been sworn to secrecy by an
Army officer who was on the scene that evening, and could not
discuss it any further.

The late Carl Metz was the State Police fire marshall who had
gone into the Kecksburg woods to investigate in 1965. For many
years after that happening, friends of his asked him about what
he saw in the woods that day but he would generally answer that
he couldn't discuss the matter.

In the early 1980's, Carl Metz did briefly speak concerning his
involvement with the Kecksburg case. Howard Burns, who was a
radio dispatcher for the City of Greensburg police department at
that time, recalls a conversation between several police
officers and Metz one day at Greensburg City Hall. Somehow they
got on the subject of Kecksburg, and Metz confirmed that he was
one of the first troopers on the scene. He had gone down into
the woods, and when he came upon the impact location, his first
impression was that it was an aircraft crash site due to the
trees that were knocked over. As he went over to examine the
partially buried object in the ground, it was unlike anything
he had ever seen. While he was there, several military personnel
arrived, and ordered everyone out of the area, including him.
They also ordered him never to discuss what he saw that night.
Burns indicated that Metz would still not reveal many details
about what he learned that night, including what the object was.
He was still maintaining a degree of secrecy about what he knew.
Another police officer who was at City Hall at that time, has
confidentially confirmed the story to me.

I am convinced that a constructed object did fall from the sky
near Kecksburg, PA. Whether this object was man-made or of
extra-terrestrial origin is undetermined. There are some aspects
of the Kecksburg event of which there are no clear answers. The
information which has been obtained locally indicates that this
was not a meteor. Today, the mockup of the acorn shaped object
which was made for the Unsolved Mysteries episode on the case,
sits upon a new lighted display platform behind the Kecksburg
Fire Station. Many local people support this UFO event since
many had friends, relatives, and neighbors who were directly
involved in 1965.

There is no doubt in my mind that something of military value
did drop from the sky, and caused the government to quickly
respond to rural Pennsylvania. Why were there armed military
personnel reportedly preventing civilians from entering fields
and woods that day in 1965? And what would military trucks be
doing on a farmers private property?

Bob Young is correct there was a camera strobe hoax. There was
a group of teenage boys who later admitted to flashing off a
camera strobe in that area. According to my information,
however, they didn't arrive until later that evening after the
news broke that something had reportedly fallen near Kecksburg.
Bulebush reported seeing the blue flashes soon after the object
fell and long before the event was reported on radio or tv. I
do mention the camera strobe hoax in my Kecksburg video
documentary. Other people had also reported viewing odd blue
lights during the Kecksburg event. Some observations could be
attributed to that teenaged hoax.

The controversy over the Kecksburg incident has created much
tension between the many who support the story and those few who
claim that the story is a hoax. Even today emotional levels run
high around this community. Some who still reside in this area
and were involved with the incident will speak with me about it,
but refuse to be identified publicly. I have talked with many
Kecksburg area residents who have provided detailed accounts
about what they saw and experienced in 1965.

I have also been contacted by former local residents as well as
other folks who came to Kecksburg that night from outside areas
after hearing the news accounts. Some witnesses have gone
public. Others ask to remain anonymous. Many have provided
written or taped testimony about their involvement or knowledge
of the Kecksburg case. Some of these statements can not publicly
be made available, since release of certain details could lead
to the identity of those involved.

Bob Young is surely aware that I have provided his name when I
have been approached by various media who are interested in
doing features on the Kecksburg case, so that they can include
his opinions on this event.

For those of you who may want some additional information on
this event, you can view my article "33 Years Ago Today: The
Kecksburg, PA UFO Crash Incident" (posted on 12-09-98) as well
as other links which can be found at my website at:

In the video documentary, "Kecksburg The Untold Story," which I
produced, witnesses had the opportunity to tell their account in
an expanded format, instead of just a few seconds. Many little
known details, as well as new information on the Kecksburg case
are included in this video. Additional information about this
video documentary is also on my website.

Stan Gordon