By Angelia Joiner Staff Writer
Mysterious lights in the sky and what some believe was an increased military air traffic in the past week has prompted the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) to schedule a meeting for 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at Erath County Dairy Sales & Livestock Commission located on U.S. Highway 377/67 South.
MUFON Texas Senior Field Investigator and Assistant State Director Steve Hudgeons said field investigators from Waco, Fort Worth, and Dallas will be on hand to interview witnesses and complete sighting reports. He said MUFON is interested in Steve Allen’s first hand account of intensely bright lights and military jets over the Selden community last Tuesday night as well as other accounts.
“I have read the papers and have been sent several e-mails from people that have heard of this sighting and it looks as if there are a good many people that have either seen this or have heard about it,” Hudgeons said. “I will bring down a team of investigators and we will do a mass interview and then do a later follow-up with a selected group.”
Hudgeons said it is the unusually high number of people that claim to have witnessed the event as well as the credibility of those involved that has prompted his organization to become involved.
Founded in 1969, the Mutual UFO Network, Inc., is a nonprofit corporation dedicated, through its volunteers, to resolving the scientific enigma known collectively as unidentified flying objects (UFOs), according to its Web site, www.mufon.com.
The world wide organization headquartered in Denver, Colorado has two publications; the monthly MUFON UFO Journal addresses all aspects of the subject, and The International UFO Symposium Proceedings offers a yearly in-depth analysis of the UFO subject by world-renowned researchers, according to their Web site. Each is available to MUFON members and the public.
Allen said he has received a barrage of phone calls from others witnessing the Tuesday night event as well as reports of military air traffic but also received calls from individuals describing similar accounts. The accounts include a woman that said she saw the same thing in 1967 and worked to solve the mystery with former Sheriff David Hale. But, she said no conclusions were ever drawn.
Allen said he has been speaking with a Hillsboro resident who wishes to remain anonymous but is offering a substantial reward for authentic local pictures or videos to assist with validation of the claim. Allen is the owner of L & S Enterprises and Texas Freight in Glen Rose and can be reached at 254-898-1117.
Hudgeons said he encourages anyone with photos or film footage to wait until he can view the material at the meeting before turning it over to anyone else.
“Even if someone says they are from MUFON, don’t turn it over,” Hudgeons said. “I feel that someone from a government entity will pose as MUFON and try to take them.”
Major Karl Lewis of Naval Air Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth (Carswell Field) reported Friday that no military aircraft from his establishment were in the area Tuesday night. When questioned about military air traffic in the Stephenville area he said there could be a number of reasons for that and most likely it’s because of training missions related to the Brady area.
“There were no F16s from this unit operating and no other pilots from our unit reported a UFO,” Lewis said.
He also said the jets could have been in the area but from a different base or they could have been F18s, which are similar in appearance.
Lewis said after reading newspaper accounts of what area residents saw he has a plausible explanation — something that he has witnessed himself in his 32 years as a pilot.
“I think it was a consortium of lights. It sounds like sun reflection of an aircraft traveling at high altitude,” Lewis said. “That can cause an intensely bright light like that. Sometimes you can’t look at it because it is so bright. As the angle of the sun changes, the color dulls because the sun is setting on the horizon and it’s hitting the aircraft at a different angle.”
Lewis said intense orange, red or white lights as well as other colors may be seen when this occurs. He also said it could have been natural light phenomenon or a visual illusion caused by natural atmospheric conditions.
Hypothetically, Lewis said, an object of the reported size traveling through the atmosphere would leave a catastrophic “sound signature or footprint.”
“An aircraft traveling that fast and at that low altitude would leave an approximate path of four miles wide of damage,” Lewis said. “Low and fast like what was described, would leave a path similar to that of a tornado - it’s a pressure differentiation.”
Another point, he said, was something that fast and low to the ground would create thermal heat, which would create a vapor trail and none was reported.
Lewis said he knows of a plane traveling at mach one speed at an altitude of 5,000 feet, which caused a cinderblock house to collapse, so he doesn’t believe what witnesses spotted was actually a craft of any kind.
source and references:
The Stephenville Empire-Tribune - Texas, USA
Archived UFO Articles and News Items, 2007
UFO Casebook Home Page