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.|
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.