Shortly before dawn on that day a confusing mess of reports began to pour into the Air Force. Some came from the Washington, D.C., area. People right in NICAP's
backyard told of seeing a "large, round, fiery object" shoot across the sky from southeast to northwest. A few excited observers, all from the country
northwest of Washington, "had seen it land" and even as they telephoned in their reports they could see it glowing behind a neighbor's barn.
Other reports, also of a "huge, round, fiery object," came in from such places as Pittsburgh, Somerset, and Bedford, all in Pennsylvania; and Hagerstown and
Frederick in Maryland. To add to the confusion, people in Pennsylvania reported seeing three objects "flying in formation."
When the dust settled Air Force investigators took the first step in the solution of any UFO report. They plotted the sightings on a map, and collated the directions
of flight, descriptions and times of observation. It was obvious that the object had moved along a line between Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh. It was traveling
about 7000 miles an hour and everyone had obviously seen the same object. By the time it had passed into Pennsylvania it had split into three objects.
But the hooker was the reported landings northeast of Washington. Too many people had reported a glow on the ground to write this factor off even though an
investigator, dispatched to the scene shortly after dawn, had found nothing in the way of evidence.
One possibility was that some unknown object had streaked across the sky, landed and then took off again.
Could be, but it wasn't.
The next night the case broke. The glow from the landing was a bright floodlight on a barn. No one had ever really noticed it before until the object passed nearby.
A few days later the object itself was identified. From the many identical descriptions Project Blue Book's astrophysicist pinned it down as a large meteor. The meteor
had broken up near the end of its flight to produce the illusion of three objects flying in formation.
Of all the 590 UFO reports the Air Force received in 1958, probably the weirdest was solved before it was ever reported.
About four o'clock on the afternoon of October 2, 1958, three men were standing in a group, talking, outside a tungsten mill at Danby, California, right in the heart
of the Mojave Desert The men had been talking for about five minutes when one of them, who happened to be facing the northwest, stopped right in the middle of a
sentence and pointed. The other two men looked and to their