Fragments, Ashes, et traces

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Cas 19 - 21 juin, près de Titusville (Pennsylvanie)

Donald Bunce, ouvrier à un moulin, de Troy Center, roulait pour se rendre à son travail à son installation de Titusville à une heure non spécifiée de la journée lorsque, rapporta-t-il par la suite, il vit un objet fonçant à travers le ciel. Il dit qu'il heurta le sol dans un champ voisin et qu'il se précipita vers le point où il avait touché terre. L'objet, luisant une lumière blanche et chaud, était à demi-enseveli dans le sol. Utilisant une pelle qui se trouvait dans sa voiture, Bunce dégagea l'objet, le rapporta à son travail et le montra à ses collègues au moulin. Il le ramena chez lui après le travail et n'y pensa plus, jusqu'à ce que des signalements d'objets volants ravivent son intérêt pour identifier l'objet.

L'objet fut décrit comme faisant 5 pouces de long environ, de forme ovale, léger et ressemblant à un morceau de corail. Le 8 juillet, Bunce l'apporta au la Faculté d'Allegheny, à Meadville. A Allegheny, le professeur de chimie H. R. Rhinesmith admit qu'il n'avait jamais rien vu de tel, bien qu'aucun test du fragment ne semble avoir été fait. L'objet fut alors emporté à la Faculté de Gannon, à Erie, où R. H. Mitchell, professeur de géologie, l'examinai. Il exclut d'abord la possibilité qu'il s'agisse d'une météorite sur la base du fait que le fragment n'avait aucun contenu métallique. Il la décrit alors comme une scorie (un type de débris volcanique). Mais quant à savoir ce qu'elle faisait volant à travers les airs près de Titusville, en Pennsylvanie, à quelques 4000 miles du volcan actif le plus proche, le professeur Mitchell, ou qui que ce soit d'autre à ce propos, était incapable de l'expliquer.

Cas 211 - 4 juillet, Hillsboro (Texas)

An object about the size and shape of an ordinary saucer, that had not been seen in flight, was found in the garden of Bob Scott, a farmer living two and a half miles east of Hillsboro. Scott said that when he found it, "it was bright as a blow-torch, but it didn't burn me when I picked it up. I got to thinking about all these new inventions now-days, and it scared me. So I put it down. It sure didn't belong in my garden," he added.

He didn't mention the discovery until he met a friend, W. O. Kissick, and when the two of them went to investigate the object they found that it was disintegrating. Another friend, Joe Gerrick, of Hillsboro, also examined it and said that one of the remaining pieces "looked like tin­foil," but when they picked it up "it appeared to be celluloid." Whatever it was, most of it seemed to "have melted," subliming into a gelatinous residue. The men contacted Hillsboro newsman Dan Shults, who also viewed the remains. "It was a dusty, silvery substance," he reported. "I picked up some of the pieces and it wasn't like anything I'd ever seen before." Unfortunately, it seems that none of the material was given to appropriate authorities for analysis.

Cas 685 - 7 juillet, Omaha (Nebraska)

Fred R. Reibold, of 2315 Himebaugh Avenue, and his mother­in-law, Mrs. Gertrude Sniffen, reported that at 10:30 p.m. CST they had seen "a flaming object" drop into the street in front of their home. The object was round, disc-shaped, and about the size of a silver dollar, and it lay in the street "burning with extreme heat." Newspapers were called and newsmen sent out to investigate. Before they arrived, however, an intrepid neighborhood boy kicked at the fragment, after the fire had subsided, and it "fell to pieces." When the reporters arrived, they scooped up the remaining ashes and took them away for analysis. The pavement was scorched where the object had lain.

The Omaha World-Herald reported the next day that chemical analysis, under Dr. C. L. Kenny, head of the Chemistry Department of the College of Dentistry, Creighton University, and carried out by two unidentified students, revealed traces of sodium, potassium, iron, aluminum, carbonate, sulphate, and unburnt carbon. According to Dr. Kenny, it was nothing more than "ordinary pipe tobacco." The report is included among those in the Air Force files. Interestingly, it is probably the only UFO on record that has been explained as "tobacco ashes."

Cas 768 - 8 juillet, Boise (Idaho)

Oliver Gregorson, Box 212, Boise, and Vesta Mitchell, of Route 5, Boise, reported to the Idaho Daily Statesman that they were about a mile and a half out of the city, on Route 20, at about sunset when they saw a number of silvery discs "twirling in the sky, large and very high." (The sun set at 8:28 p.m. MST on July 8.) They said that two of the objects appeared much larger than the others. They were shiny and reflected the rays of the setting sun, and as the two witnesses watched them, the two larger objects appeared to descend closer to the earth. Then, they said, the objects "turned red and vanished."

A moment or so following the disappearance of the objects, Gregorson and Miss Mitchell both saw "fragments of ash" floating toward the ground from the direction in which they had last seen the objects. They caught several samples of the ash as it came down, before it touched the ground. It was pearl-grey in color, and one fragment was of "a shell-like material with bits of ash plastered all over it." One of the fragments was about the size of "a rose leaf."

According to the news account, the witnesses gave the ashes to the paper, which in turn gave them to "the state chemist" for analysis. On the following day, the Statesman reported that results of the analysis indicated the fragments were nothing but ashes, probably from paper. Chemists said definitely that they were "not of a metallic residue."

Cas 802 - 9 juillet, Midland (Michigan)

Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Edward Lane were picking berries shortly after 5:00 p.m. EST when they heard a kind of "puff" noise nearby. Looking up, they saw a ball of white, sparkling fire, like a Fourth of July sparkler, about the size of a bushel basket, no more than a hundred feet away. It was hovering several feet above a stretch of sand. After about ten or fifteen seconds, the fiery object "went out," and the object vanished. The only thing remaining was a peculiar dark substance on the sand, and some metallic fragments. The report, from the Air Force files, is explained as a "Possible hoax."           

The results of the analysis of the fragments and sand samples were provided by the Air Force. Analysis does not, as such, constitute any proof of a hoax. On the contrary, it seems to confirm that something of an unusual nature did occur, although it does not seem on the face of it to be necessarily connected with UFOs.

The analysts apparently were given one sample of the metal -- an "irregular somewhat rounded pellet" which they state is principally silver. Impurities of one-tenth percent silicon are believed to be from sand picked up from the ground "before the metal solidified." The presence of molten silver in a berry patch is certainly odd, and rules out any simple "hoax." A sample of the dark residue in the sand was also analyzed and its chief constituents were iron, aluminum and titanium in amounts of one-tenth percent each. Some of the fine powder in the sand at the site proved to be chiefly thorite, a rare mineral.

According to a letter from Lt. Colonel Barnett B. Young, dated August 18, 1967, the incident, while classified as a hoax, "was not initiated by the observer."

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