- Levelland, Texas is a place where UFO's like to visit,
and so do I. Last year I made a road trip thru several UFO towns on my
way to a meeting in Roswell, New Mexico. I had the time and I thought it
would be fun to check on some of the cases in the area I was to drive through.
- I live in rural western Oklahoma; "Known for absolutely
nothing" is our town's motto, so, as you can imagine, I try to get
away on investigations as often as I can. On our last trip to Roswell,
we managed to stop in Lubbock, and Levelland, Texas known for it's famous
sighting. These towns are only a few miles apart, and yet they both have
a UFO history. I will have a report on what we found in Lubbock in another
- First, a report from the Project Bluebook 701 unknown
files, on Aug. 24, 1952, in Levelland, Texas. 9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m. Witnesses:
Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Sharp. One object, shaped like a spinning top, changing
color from red to yellow to blue, and with a fiery tail, hovered for 20
minutes, Whistling, then flew away. It, or another like it, returned an
- Also the Levelland sightings as reported from the Magonia
files: On Nov. 2, 1957, in Levelland, Texas, a large number of reports
from the Levelland area described a low-flying object, over 60 m long,
equipped with a bright light, and which interfered with car ignition.
- Levelland, TX 10:30 pm. Pedro Siado (or Saucedo) sighting/car
stalling/rush of wind/heat. 10:50 Siado (Saucedo) called dispatcher A.
J. Fowler at police HQ to report his sighting. 11:00 pm Fowler called Reese
AFB who started to monitor police radios for additional reports.
- From the Texas monthly www ranch report at: http://www.texasmonthly.com/travel/virtual/ufo/index.html
- Not far from where the Lubbock Lights were seen six years
earlier, residents of Levelland, Texas, reported ten UFO-related incidents
during the course of several hours on November 2, 1957. The first close
encounter took place around eleven o'clock in the evening when farm workers
Pedro Saucedo and Joe Salaz saw a giant, brilliantly-lit object fly over
their truck. As it passed overhead, the truck's headlights and engine went
dead, resuming to normal only once the craft had disappeared. Saucedo reported
the incident to Levelland police, who received a call an hour later from
Levelland resident Jim Wheeler.
- Eight miles from the original report, Wheeler said that
his engine and headlights had failed as he approached a brightly lit egg-shaped
object in the road. Once the craft had ascended into the sky and disappeared,
Wheeler was able to restart his engine.
- Sheriff Weir Clem and Deputy Pat McColloch drove along
Route 116 searching for the glowing object when finally, at 1:30 a.m.,
they spotted an enormous, egg-shaped craft that looked "like a brilliant
red sunset across the highway," according to Clem. It "lit up
the whole pavement in front of us for about two seconds," he said,
and then it disappeared. Throughout the night, the Levelland police department
continued to receive calls describing a similar bright object that caused
lights to dim and car engines to shut off.
- The Air Force investigated, speculating that the incidents
were examples of ball lightening. However, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the Air
Force's primary UFO investigator at the time, recanted this conclusion
in later writings. "I am not proud today that I hastily concurred
in Captain Gregory's evaluation as 'ball lightning' [as the explanation
for the Levelland sightings] on the basis of information that an electrical
storm had been in progress in the Levelland area at the time. That was
shown not to be the case," wrote Hynek. "Besides, had I given
it any thought whatsoever, I would have soon recognized the absence of
any evidence that ball lightning can stop cars and put out headlights."
The Levelland sightings remain unexplained.
- I mention this report, as it is only the start to a whole
UFO "flap" in the Levelland/Lubbock, Texas area.
- The following article that I wanted to share with you
is by the famous UFO researcher Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who at the time of
this series of sightings was a consultant for the U.S. Air Force's Project
Bluebook, and who later founded the Center for UFO Studies, of which I
am an associate member.
- THE LEVELLAND, TEXAS, SIGHTINGS
- By Dr. J. Allen Hynek
- For the moment, let us look at the probability that motors
are killed and lights and radio stop by coincidence when the driver has
a UFO close sighting. We have all seen cars stopped by the side of the
road, hood up, waiting for tow trucks. It would be highly improbable that
a car would become completely immobilized and then a few moments later
"heal itself," yet it can happen. Perhaps, for example, a wire
that had become loose was jarred back into place in some way. But to combine
this low probability event with the simultaneous appearance of a strange
light coming down from the sky and hovering over the car, the car remaining
disabled only so long as the light was present, is dubious at best.
- It is, of course, much the easier way out to dismiss
the whole matter as "psychological" (whatever that means in this
context) and return to commonplace, understandable matters. However, that
would not be acting true to the high ideals of science, which involve being
curious about all things that occur in man's environment, investigating
and weighing them, and calmly considering the evidence.
- If the probability of a happening in any one case is
extremely low, consider the probability of coincidence in the following
train of events - if they happened as reported. On the evening of November
2, 1957, at about 11:00 P. M., just one hour after the Russians had launched
their second, dog-carrying artificial satellite (that certainly was coincidence)
but before we Americans knew about it, Patrolman A. J. Fowler, officer
on duty at Levelland, Texas (population 10,000), received the first of
several strangely similar phone calls.
- The first was from Pedro Saucedo, who, with companion
Joe Salaz, had been driving four miles west of Levelland when a torpedo-shaped,
brilliantly illuminated object (as Saucedo described it) rapidly approached
the car. Fowler listened to a terrified Saucedo relate the incredible story
of how, as the object passed close over the car, the truck headlights went
out, and the engine died. A certified copy of a statement made by Saucedo
- To whom it may concern: on the date of November 2, 1957,
I was traveling north and west on route 116, driving my truck. At about
four miles out of Levelland, I saw a big flame, to my right front. I thought
it was lightning. But when this object had reach to my position it was
different, because it put my truck motor out and lights. Then I stop, got
out, and took a look, but it was so rapid and quite some heat that I had
to hit the ground. It also had colors - yellow, white - and it looked like
a torpedo, about 200 feet long, moving at about 600 to 800 miles an hour.
- As the UFO moved into the distance, the truck lights
reportedly came on by themselves, and Saucedo found that his truck started
easily. The two men drove on to Whiteface, ten miles west of Levelland,
and it was from a phone booth there that the call was made to Officer Fowler.
Fowler apparently figured the man must have had one too many drinks, and
he dismissed the report from his mind.
- Considered by itself, the testimony of an uneducated,
frightened truck driver, as sincere in his reporting as he might have been,
has little credibility. But one hour later Fowler got another call, this
time from Mr. W. of Whitharral. Fowler was told that he (Mr. W.) was driving
four miles east of Levelland (the direction in which the Saucedo object
had disappeared) when he came upon a brilliantly lit egg-shaped object,
about 200 feet long, sitting in the middle of the road. As Mr. W. approached
it, his car engine failed, and the headlights went out.
- According to the observer, the object was lit up like
a large neon light and cast a bright glare over the entire area. The observer
decided to get out of his car, but when he did so, the UFO rose and, at
an altitude of about 200 feet, the object's light or glare blinked out
entirely. Mr. W. then had no trouble starting his car.
- A short time later Officer Fowler got another call, from
another Whitharral man, who was, at the time of the incident, some 11 miles
north of Levelland. He reported to the police station that he had come
across a glowing object sitting on the road and that as he approached it
- the reader can finish the sentence -his car engine stopped, and his headlights
went out. But when the object left shortly thereafter, all was again well.
- But that was not the end. According to a signed statement
in Project Blue Book files, at 12:05 A.M. that Saturday night in November,
a 19-year-old freshman from Texas Tech, driving roughly 9 miles east of
Levelland, found that his car engine began to sputter, the ammeter on the
dash jumped to discharge then back to normal, and the motor "started
cutting out like it was out of gas." The car rolled to a stop; then
the headlights dimmed and several seconds later went out.
- Baffled at the turn of events, he got out of his car
and looked under the hood but found nothing wrong. Closing the hood, he
turned away and then noticed for the first time, he reported, an oval-shaped
object, flat on the bottom, sitting on the road ahead. He estimated it
to be about 125 feet long, glowing with a bluish-green light. He stated
that the object seemed to be made of an aluminum-like material, but no
markings or other details were apparent. Frightened, he got back into the
car and tried frantically but in vain to restart the car.
- Resigned, he sat and watched the object sitting in front
of him on the road (he did not state how close he thought he was to the
object) for several minutes, hoping that another car would drive by. None
did. The UFO finally rose into the air, "almost straight up,"
and disappeared "in a split instant." Afterward, the car was
again fully operable.
- "I then proceeded home very slowly," his statement
continues, "and told no one of my sighting until my parents returned
home from a weekend trip .. . for fear of public ridicule. They did convince
me that I should report this, and I did so to the sheriff around 1:30 P.M.
Sunday, November 3."
- At 12:15 A.M. Officer Fowler got still another call,
this from a man phoning from a booth near Whitharral. This observer reported
his encounter with the strange object at a point some nine miles north
of Levelland. Once again the glowing object was sitting on a dirt road,
and as his car approached it, its lights went out and its motor stopped.
Soon the object rose vertically, very swiftly, and when it reached an altitude
of about 300 feet, its lights went off and it disappeared from sight. As
the reader expects by now, at this point the car lights came back on and
the car was started with no difficulty.
- By this time Officer Fowler had finally realized that
something odd was going on, and he notified the sheriff and his colleagues
on duty, some of whom took to the roads to investigate. Two of them reported
bright lights, seen for just a few seconds, but they did not have any car-stopping
- At 12:45 A.M. another single witness - I have broken
my rule to use only multiple-witness cases because of the independent witnessing
of essentially the same event or object, with the same physical effects,
from independent nearby points - driving just west of Levelland and thus
close to the spot where two hours earlier Saucedo had had his sighting,
spotted what looked like a big orange ball of fire at a distance of more
than a mile. The ball then came closer and landed softly on the highway
about a quarter of a mile ahead of the observer. It covered the paved portion
of the highway.
- The witness reported that the motor of the truck he was
driving "conked out" and his headlights died. Meanwhile, the
object sat there on the road ahead of him, glowing bright enough to light
up the cab of his truck. In about a minute, the observer reported, it made
a vertical ascent - and, of course, things returned to normal. This encounter
was not phoned in at the time to Officer Fowler but was reported the following
day. One possibly significant clue to some as yet unknown process may lie
in the fact that the reporter stated that when the UFO landed it changed
from its original red-orange color to a bluish green but that when it rose
it changed back to red-orange. And it is perhaps of interest to note at
the object or objects always landed on the pavement, except once, when
it settled on a dirt road.
- But that is not all. At 1:15 A. M. Officer Fowler got
another call, this time from a terrified truck driver from Waco, Texas,
who was at the time just northeast of Levelland, on the "Oklahoma
flat road." The man told Fowler that his engine and headlights suddenly
failed as he approached within 200 feet of a brilliant, glowing egg-shaped
object. He said that it glowed intermittently 'like a neon sign" and
that he estimated it to be about 200 feet long. He reported that as he
got out of the truck, the UFO quickly shot straight up with a roar and
- Officer Fowler stated that the truck driver was extremely
excited when he called and that the witness was most upset by his close
encounter. The truck engine and lights worked perfectly when the object
- By this time patrol cars were out looking for the reported
object. Sheriff Clem and Deputy Pat McCulloch were being kept up to date
by Fowler as they drove around the area. At 1:30 A.M, while driving along
the Oklahoma Flat Road, between four and five miles from Levelland, the
two men spotted an oval-shaped light, "looking like a brilliant red
sunset across the highway," a good 300 or 400 yards south of their
patrol car. "It lit up the whole pavement in front of us for about
two seconds," said Clem.
- Patrolmen Lee Hargrove and Floyd Gavin were following
in their patrol car several miles behind. In his signed state ment llargrove
- Was driving south on the unmarked roadway known as the
Oklahoma Flat Highway and was attempting to search for an unidentified
object reported to the Levelland Police Department. I saw a strange-looking
flash, which looked to be down the roadway approximately a mile to a mile
and a half . . .. The flash went from east to west and appeared to be close
to the ground.
- Constable Lloyd Ballen of Anton, Texas, also reported
seeing the object, although his statement was: "It was traveling so
fast that it appeared only as a flash of light moving from east to west."
- None of these patrolmen's cars was affected, but Levelland
Fire Marshal Ray Jones, who also was looking for the UFO, stated that his
car's headlights dimmed and his engine sputtered but did not die, just
as he spotted a "streak of light" north of the Oklahoma Flat.
- Officer Fowler reported that a total of 15 phone calls
were made to the police station in direct reference to the UFO, and he
added, "Everybody who called was very excited." In terms of probabilities,
that all seven cases of separate car disablement and subsequent rapid,
automatic recovery after the passage of the strange illuminated craft,
occurring within about two hours, could be attributed to coincidence is
out of the statistical universe - if the reports are truly independent
(and they are, according to the tests we've used throughout).
- Suppose we try to attribute the happening to mass hysteria,
although that does not disclose a mechanism for killing engines and extinguishing
lights and stopping radios. The observers were independent unless all of
them, for example, were listening to a local radio station that carried
the news. (No investigator ever checked into the important question of
whether the radio stations were notified and if they broadcast the reports.)
We know that at first Officer Fowler discounted the reports, and it is
unlikely that he would have almost immediately notified the local station.
But let us suppose that he or someone else did and that all car radios
were tuned in to that particular station. We still would need an explanation
for the physical effects reported unless we attribute them to downright
prevarication rather than to hysteria.
- What was needed at the time was swift reaction by Blue
Book and a serious, thorough investigation. Captain Gregory, then head
of Blue Book, did call me by phone, but at that time, as the person directly
responsible for the tracking of the new Russian satellite, I was on a virtual
around-the-clock duty and was unable to give it any attention whatever.
I am not proud today that I hastily concurred in Captain Gregory's evaluation
as "ball lightning" on the basis of information that an electrical
storm had been in progress in the Levelland area at the time. That was
shown not to be the case. Observers reported overcast and mist but no lightning.
Besides, had I given it any thought whatever, I would soon have recognized
the absence of any evidence that ball lightning can stop cars and put out
- I was told that the Blue Book investigation consisted
of the appearance of one man in civilian clothes at the sheriff's office
at about 11:45 A.M. On November 5; he made two auto excursions during the
day and then told Sheriff Clem that he was finished.
- A newspaper reporter subsequently said that he had recognized
the investigator and identified him as an Air Force sergeant.
- In any event, Blue Book came under severe pressure. In
a memo dated December 4, 1957, Captain Gregory complained that as a result
of pressure from both the press and public, Assistant Secretary of Defense
requested that ATIC immediately submit a preliminary analysis to the press,
a most difficult requirement in view of the limited data."
- Interfering with cars on the highways is but one of the
physical effects reported in this category of Close Encounters. There are
also the reported - and photographable - effects on living things, notably
plants and trees. Many witnesses have reported temporary paralysis in their
limbs when their encounters have been quite close.
- More than 300 cases of "scorched, denuded circles"
and related "landing marks" frequently associated with the sighting
of UFOs at close range have been cataloged. These, like UFOs in general,
have been reported from many parts of the world, and a definite pattern
is evident. The prototype is clear from an examination of even a few cases.
- Dr. Hynek closes his report on the Levelland sightings
- I have heard from Jan Aldrich that Nov 2nd of 1957 was
a very busy day. Here is a partial list of the sighting that occurred that
- Youngstown, Ohio, early morning, two waitresses see egg-shaped
object zipping along near cemetery.
- Souther, Dominican Republic, 1:00 am. Strange bodies
in "Y" formation.
- Brenham, TX, 5:50 pm Glowing Saucer Near the North Carolina-Virginia
State line 6:50 pm an object hovered over a car while the driving down
the road for 10 minutes.
- Logansport, LA, 7:00 pm, bright object hovered and disappeared
down below hill.
- Shreveport, LA 7:00 pm Landing of a glowing object.
- Fort Worth, TX, about 8:00 pm boy sees an egg-shaped
object going northeast. Between Seminole & Seagraves, TX, 8:30 pm.
Car Stalling as lights rose up from road and sped away.
- Near Littlefield,TX (30 miles North of Levelland) 1100
pm couple say fireball and small object sighting--moved west then south.
- Amarillo, TX 11:20 pm Two CAA tower operators saw blue
colored object (meteor?)
- Near Amarillo, TX (late evening?) A couple flagged down
a police officer and reported an incident similar to Siado's.
- The Levelland sightings are classified on the Hynek system
as at least a CE-II, for those of you who aren't familiar with the system
I have included a definition of a CE-IIÖ
- CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE SECOND KIND (CE-II):
- A UFO that is seen interacting with the environment and
frequently with the witness as well, is known as a CE II. Such interaction
can be with inanimate matter, as when holes, rings, burn marks, or depressions
are made on the ground, or even tree limbs that appeared to have been broken
off or away by contact with the object. Interaction can be with animate
matter, such as when animals are affected. Animals can become aware of
the UFO before humans. (It would appear that cattle mutilations would fit
into this category of encounter, but perhaps at a higher level, somewhere
between a CE II and CE III. This is, as the other evidence is caused by
the craft, cattle mutilation seems to be performed by those in the craft.
Therefore, we have a closer encounter.)
- People can be affected by a close encounter. There have
been cases reported of burns (including radioactive in nature), temporary
paralysis, nausea, conjunctivitis, memory loss, and other maladies. For
a CE II to have occurred, the UFO must be shown to have been at the same
location where the physical effects are noted. If a burnt ring on the ground
is noted, it must be at the exact place where the UFO was sighted hovering.
If a vehicle's ignition system is interfered with, such interference must
have occurred at the time and place of the UFO sighting.
- Observed physical effects in these cases are usually
called "Physical Trace Cases" and which cannot be explainable
in another obvious way. For example, if landing marks are found, they must
be unique and not like marks found elsewhere in the vicinity.
- Close Encounters of the Second Kind are of particular
interest to some scientists, especially those who are becoming interested
in the field of Ufology. That is due in part to scientific principals that
can be called into play. Samples of burnt grass and of disturbed soil can
be tested in an attempt to determine what caused the burn, what pressures
were necessary to cause imprints on the ground, to find what chemical changes
occurred, and even more.
- Levelland is a remarkable case. On that researchers are
still looking into nearly 50 years later.
- More reports from my road trips coming up in another
article, stay tuned!
- Jim Hickman Director- Aerial Phenomena Research Group
CAUS- Staff/Consultant CUFOS- Associate http://aerial.itlnet.net
- "Only two things are infinite, the universe and
human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein
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