Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Chasing Footnotes - Kelly Hopkinsville, Part Two


This latest started as a “Chasing Footnotes” segment in which a paper about critical thinking included a short note on the Kelly-Hopkinsville alien encounter. The footnote suggested that the witnesses had been drinking and linked to a book by Isabel Davis and Ted Bloecher. That book actually said the opposite. I wrote to one of the paper’s authors and he responded by saying the mistake had been corrected. You can, of course, read all that here:

However, in the comments section, there were those who didn’t believe the story and thought it nonsense. I have to admit that the thought had crossed my mind as well. It is an incredible story that seemed to make little sense. John Steiger wrote that the case had been carried as “unidentified” by the Air Force. That didn’t seem right to me and in fact, the Air Force didn’t even carry it as a real case. It was one of their ‘info only” with no real evaluation.

John wrote back, saying, “I'm sorry if the information from Mr. Clark's UFO Encyclopedia is inaccurate, but this is what the latest edition reports. In any event, Kelly-Hopkinsville remains as an intriguing encounter yet to be fully and adequately explained.”

Jerome Clark (Jerry) wrote in his UFO Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition, “Yet even the Air Force, not known to lend a sympathetic ear to reports of UFO landings and humanoids, lists the case in its “Unidentified” file.”

Well, now there is a problem. As noted, the Air Force doesn’t provide much commentary on the case, other than to make a big deal about how they didn’t investigate it. This is a fine hair to split because there was an investigation but it wasn’t made by a member of Blue Book. It was carried out by a reserve officer on temporary duty at Campbell Air Force Base, Kentucky. He heard about it while driving into work and contacted his superiors who told him to look into it. Not an official investigation for Blue Book, but an investigation by an Air Force officer, nonetheless.

The Hopkinsville Folder in Project Blue Book.

Brad Sparks had compiled a long list of Blue Book Unidentified cases, using lists originally created by me, by Don Berliner, and other sources. The Kelly-Hopkinsville sighting is on the list. However, Brad had expanded the list by adding cases the Air Force had labeled as something else but that didn’t seem to be explained by the Air Force investigation. Brad’s is not an official list of Air Force Unidentified case but is a valuable resource.

Allen Hynek, in his book, The UFO Experience, wrote, "Still, the case is carried in Blue Book files as 'Unidentified'." This is probably where Jerry got the idea that the case was listed as “Unidentified.”

Here’s where we are on this aspect of the case. The Air Force, technically, did not investigate. They dispatched a reserve officer who had called in after hearing a news broadcast about the sighting. His statement, which appears in the Blue Book file is dated 1957, or two years after the event. You can find the Air Force documents on the case here:

The inspiration for contacting Major Albert and getting a written statement, was the Kelly-Hopkinsville sighting was about to blast into the public mindset. Isabel Davis and Ted Bloecher were preparing a long report on the case. This new activity, or interest in the sighting was, by coincidence, just a few weeks before the Levelland events took place.

What we can say is this. The Air Force did, technically, investigate the landing and did unofficially check it out in 1955. In fact, those at Blue Book went out of their way to deny an official investigation. However, they do have a file on it, but it is not part of the main index of cases. It does show up as “Additional reported sightings not cases".

The page from the Blue Book Index that shows this was not a case.

The argument, I guess, degenerates to this. Was it labeled as “unidentified” by the Air Force and the answer is, “No.” Did the Air Force label is as a “Hoax”? Again, the answer is, “No.” Did Allen Hynek write that the case was “Unidentified”? “Yes.” That wasn’t the official explanation by the Air Force, however.

And that’s where we are. The Blue Book ignored the case until they were forced to investigate… but it wasn’t an official Blue Book investigation, though that is really just a matter of semantics, and more of a lie than anything else.

I will not offer an opinion on the case other than to say that it was one of the strangest to be reported and there currently is no good terrestrial explanation for it.

A special thanks to Brad Sparks for helping me sort all this out.


John Steiger said...

Now I know why my last blog entry in Part One didn't show up! Thank you.

P.S. And keep "Chasing Footnotes" - it's interesting ...

Paul Young said...

This is another one of those cases where the sceptical explanation is more bizarre than an ETH.
"A visitor to the farm the next day did notice “a few beer cans in a rubbish basket (Davis and Bloecher, 1978, 35).”....

I don't know why a few beers would make two adult men become so intoxicated, to the point of neurotic, that they would shoot their own house up (with women and children inside).
If they were charged up with home brew rum, maybe....but beer? Really!
And after their dash into town, could these guys really have sobered up so quickly, to the point that the police didn't believe they had been drinking at all?

As for country boys not recognising an owl at a few yards distance...especially after spotting these things on numerous occasions over a period of hours. On initially seeing an "owl" then, JUST MAYBE, the guys might have been startled...but they had literally hours to gather themselves and reassess if it were a bird, or not.

As for the "owls" themselves, what was their major malfunction on that particular night? Where was their usual place of abode..their usual hangout?
Why did they become anti-social on that particular night...grabbing peoples hair and generally taking the piss.
They hadn't seemed to have mithered anyone on any other night before or any night after!
And what makes an owl become bullet proof?

These good ole boys were probably shooting things with pappy's shotgun as soon as they could's inconceivable that they couldn't take out a bird, at almost point blank range. (Incidently, what self respecting owl would stick around after being shot at half a dozen times?)
In any case, didn't the men doing the shooting confirm they had definitely hit the target, that the "hit" sounded like they had shot into a metal pale but that the bullets/shot had little or no affect on the "owls".

What were they shooting that was made of metal?
Why, in the cold light of day, did they not identify a pale , or tin bath, or anything that could make that metalic noise?

God only knows what they were shooting at that night, but it was no owl. And if they were that drunk they couldn't hit a target with a shotgun at point blank range, then they should still have been falling about when they got to the police station.

RWE said...

Well, this piece led to recall something. When I arrived at my first active duty USAF assignment in the middle of 1974 I was told that a previous young officers assigned to the same position - and engineer working on aircraft pneumatics - had as an extra duty the position of Tinker Air Force Base UFO Officer. I was not sure whether to be happy or disappointed that extra duty no longer existed; I assumed it went away when Blue Book did. The extra duties that I was assigned to perform proved to a lot dumber than chasing flying saucers.

In any case, I can only assume that such an extra duty was common in the USAF when Blue Book was still operating. So investigations by "non-Blue Book personnel" must have been fairly numerous. I wonder if these cases are contained within Blue Book files or the documentation went somewhere else.