Levelland UFO Incident: UFOs, Failing Vehicles, Multiple Witnesses & Project Blue Book
The Levelland UFO incident took place in November 1957 when local police were swamped with reports of sightings and vehicle failures all around the town. This case is believed by many to be one of the most impressive in UFO history.
In early November 1957, a UFO wave erupted in the United States, and for a few days the nation's newspapers were full of reports of spectacular sightings, many alleged to have occurred at close range. The first widely publicized cases are among the most impressive and today are considered classics. Authorities were alerted to the presence of something out of the ordinary when a badly frightened farm worker, Pedro Saucedo, called the sheriff's office in the west Texas town of Levelland on the evening of November 2, 1957. Saucedo told an officer, A J Fowler, that as he and Joe Salaz were driving on Route 116 four miles west of town, they spotted a flash of light in a nearby field. The light then rose and headed toward their truck with ever-increasing speed. Suddenly the truck's lights and engine died.
Saucedo leaped out of the cab and lay flat on the ground as the UFO streaked directly over the vehicle "with a great sound and a rush of wind," he reported. "It sounded like thunder and my truck rocked from the blast. I felt a lot of heat." Once it had passed, Saucedo stood up and watched it disappear in the east. It was rocket-shaped and 200 feet long. Soon his vehicle began working as normal again.
Though Fowler did not take his claims seriously, he was forced to reconsider his initial skepticism about an hour later when someone called and told him what had happened to him on Route 116 four miles east of Levelland.
A man by the name of Jim Wheeler said he had seen a 200-foot-long, egg-shaped, brightly lit object on the road, and when he got close to it, his engine and lights stopped working. Wheeler was getting out of his vehicle when the UFO ascended. He claimed that as the lights on the UFO went out, the lights and engine on his vehicle started working again.
Although the report did not come in until later, at 10:55pm two married couples in a car near Shallowater, Texas, saw a flash of light in the south-western sky, in the direction of Levelland. For three seconds the headlights went off and their radio stopped working.
Five minutes later, according to the telephone account he gave to authorities, Jose Alvarez, 11 miles north of Levelland on Route 51, encountered a large, glowing object sitting on the road and experienced the by-now-familiar electric difficulties with his car.
At 12:05am Newell Wright (who reported his experience the next day) was puzzled when his car abruptly died near Smyer, about 10 miles east of Levelland, and as he got out and lifted the bonnet to see what the problem was, he was startled to see an oval-shaped object on the road. He described the object as more than 100 feet long and glowing a bluish-green colour. Wright hurriedly got back into his vehicle and attempted, without success to start it. A few moments later, the UFO shot straight up into the sky, headed north, and then vanished. Once it had gone his vehicle started again.
At 12:15 another call came into the sheriff's office, this one from Frank Williams, who claimed to have seen a landed UFO around Whitharral, where Alvarez had been. This time there was a twist: the UFO pulsated steadily, and each time it glowed bright, the car's power went out. The object left with a thunderous sound. Other reports came from Ronald Martin on Route 116 at 12:45am, James long just north of Levelland at 1:15, and Sheriff Weir Clem on the same road at 1;30.
Sheriff Clem and a deputy, who were looking for the UFO, saw an oval "like a brilliant red sunset" pass over the road some 300 yards ahead of the car. Fifteen minutes earlier and a bit farther north, Levelland fire marshal Ray Jones encountered an object and experienced brief light and engine difficulty.
In the early morning hours of November 3, that evening, and the next day, many miles to the southwest, there were reports of similar objects in the White Sands area of New Mexico and at least one instance of vehicle interference.
The official Project Blue Book explanation for the Levelland sightings is that ball lightning and St Elmo's fire were responsible. Though the objects neither looked nor behaved remotely like these natural phenomena, Air Force investigators based their hypothesis on the belief that an electric storm had been in progress during the sightings. In fact, the sky was overcast, and there was some mist, but there was no lightning. In any case, as Blue Book's onetime scientific consultant, astronomer J Allen Hynek, dryly observed some years later, there is an "absence of evidence that ball lightning can stop cars and put out headlights." Lakenheath-Bentwaters UFO Incident: RAF & USAF Witnesses, Project Blue Book & The Condon Committee