For reasons that will become clear later, meaning in the future and not in this post, I have been reviewing some of the Mantell case. I won’t bother telling you that it involved Thomas Mantell who died while chasing an unidentified object. What I want to mention are two things, both relevant to understanding the case, but that have gotten buried in the minutia of the sighting.
Donald Keyhoe, when he was writing about the case in his book, The Flying Saucers Are Real, thought the balloon explanation was wrong. He wrote, “To fly the 90 miles from Madisonville to Fort Knox in 30 minutes, a balloon would have required a wind of 180 m.p.h. After traveling at this hurricane speed, it would have to come to a dead stop above Godman Field.”
Keyhoe, who didn’t have access to the official file on the case as I do now, made two assumptions that were incorrect. The first was that the object would have had to travel 90 miles in 30 minutes. That was assuming that the object wasn’t seen to the northeast of Madisonville and to the southwest of Godman. This is actually the case. The time calculation is flawed based on his assumptions.
The other problem is that the object was never over Godman Field. Looking at the case file, those at Godman who reported the object were looking to the southwest. Since the object was never over the field, his calculation of the distances are equally flawed.
The record shows that none of those with Mantell saw the object when first asked to intercept it. They had to be directed toward it by those in the Godman Tower until Mantell spotted it in front of him and at a higher altitude.
The point here, which is sort of about chasing footnotes, is that many have used Keyhoe as a primary source. The flaw there is that Keyhoe’s information came, not from the documentation and the investigation, but from his sources inside the Pentagon. While he did get many facts correct about UFOs and the investigation of them, he did not have access to the documents in the Mantell case. Had he had those, he would have known the truth about the distances. This is why I chase footnotes and try to get to the original source. There will be a part two on this, because it is clear that the official file is in error as well.