The problem with chasing footnotes is that I never know when I’ll find something of importance. Well, this isn’t exactly chasing a footnote to find the original source, but it does involve a sighting of a landed object and the occupant seen in conjunction with the sighting. This has been discussed in a couple of places on the Internet in the last few days. This was the Temple, Oklahoma, sighting of March 23, 1966. You can read about it here:
What prompted this was a note from a researcher that suggested he had found a newspaper article that mentioned some sort of design or insignia on the craft. He wrote that he hadn’t read or seen anything like a symbol being addressed by others and he found nothing about it in the Project Blue Book files.
According to the article in the Amarillo Globe-Times, the object had a T over an L and the numbers 168 or 468 on it. But this is not the first time that these markings have been mentioned by others in the past. In fact, I mentioned those letters and numbers in The Government UFO Files as I reviewed the case. Well, I had a slightly different set of numbers, but I did address the issue. And, by looking at the illustration, these numbers can be interpreted as TLA rather than TL4. William Laxson himself was not sure if the second number (or first depending on the interpretation) was a 1 or a 7.
That’s not all. I found lots of other references to them as well. J. Allen Hynek reported the same thing in The Hynek UFO Report, page 200 (1997, Barnes and Noble edition). Hynek attributes the information to the Dallas Times – Herald and the Associated Press of March 27, 1966.
Jerry Clark, in High Strangeness, reported, " [William] Laxson recalled them as looking like the letter "T" over "L", with four-digit numbers (either 4738 or 4138) immediately underneath." He attributes this to Hayden Hewes in the Spring 1976 issue of True Flying Saucers and UFO Quarterly, pages 12 - 17.
And, while the letters and numbers aren’t written about in the Blue Book files, the illustration created by Laxson show the placement and orientation of the numbers on the side of the craft. The “T” is somewhat obscured, but it can be seen. That illustration is in the Blue Book files.
|William Laxson's illustration of the craft. Drawing from the Project Blue Book files.
|The letters and numbers seen
on the drawing.
The question becomes, then, what is the best source for this? Given that Laxson drew the craft and added the letters and numbers, this would seem to be the best source. Those other sources provide most of the data and I’m not exactly sure why we have the variations we do. I mean, the various entries have the same letters and numbers but some of those entries don't have all of them. I suppose we can say that everything lines up fairly the same way and the only real question is if the second number was a 1 or a 7.
The point here was to note that there were multiple sources for the description of the letters and the numbers so that we didn’t have to rely on the single story. We have Laxson’s original statements to the Air Force, multiple newspaper articles about it, and of course, Hayden Hewes report based on his interviews with the witnesses. Our examination of the illustration demonstrates how this confusion came about.
The interesting thing, for me, was that this case is one of three in the Project Blue Book files where a crew member is seen and described that is labeled as “Unidentified,” rather than as some sort of psychological problem of the witness.