The Lubbock Lights, Unabridged
When four college professors, a geologist, a chemist, a physicist, and a petroleum engineer, report seeing the same UFO's on fourteen different occasions, the event can be classified as, at least, unusual. Add the facts that hundreds of other people saw these UFO's and that they were photographed, and the story gets even better. Add a few more facts--that these UFO's were picked up on radar and that a few people got a close look at one of them, and the story begins to convince even the most ardent skeptics.
This was the situation the day the reports of the Lubbock Lights arrived at ATIC. Actually the Lubbock Lights, as Project Blue Book calls them, involved many widespread reports. Some of these incidents are known to the public, but the ones that added the emphasis and intrigue to the case and caused hundreds of hours of time to be spent analyzing the reports have not been told before. We collected all of these reports under the one title because there appeared to be a tie- in between them.
The first word of the sightings reached ATIC late in September 1951, when the mail girl dropped letters into my "in" basket. One of the letters was from Albuquerque, New Mexico, one was from a small town in Washington State, where I knew an Air Defense Command radar station was located, and the other from Reese AFB at Lubbock, Texas.
I opened the Albuquerque letter first. It was a report from 34th Air Defense at Kirtland AFB. The report said that on the evening of August 25, 1951, an employee of the Atomic Energy Commission's supersecret Sandia Corporation and his wife had seen a UFO. About dusk they were sitting in the back yard of their home on the outskirts of Albuquerque. They were gazing at the night sky, commenting on how beautiful it was, when both of them were startled at the sight of a huge airplane flying swiftly and silently over their home. The airplane had been in sight only a few seconds but they had gotten a good look at it because it was so low. They estimated 800 to 1,000 feet. It was the shape of a "flying wing" and one and a half times the size of a B-36. The wing was sharply swept back, almost like a V. Both the husband and wife had seen B-36's over their home many times. They couldn't see the color of the UFO but they did notice that there were dark bands running across the wing from front to back.
On the aft edge of the wings there were six to eight pairs of soft, glowing, bluish lights. The aircraft had passed over their house from north to south.
The report went on to say that an investigation had been made immediately. Since the object might have been a conventional airplane, air traffic was checked. A commercial airlines Constellation was 50 miles west of Albuquerque and an Air Force B-25 was south of the city, but there had been nothing over Albuquerque that evening. The man's background was checked. He had a "Q" security clearance. This summed up his character, oddballs don't get "Q" clearances. No one else had reported the UFO, but this could be explained by the fact the AEC employee and his wife lived in such a location that anything passing over their home from north to south wouldn't pass over or near very many other houses. A sketch of the UFO was enclosed in the report.
On the night of August 25, 1951, about 9:20P.M., just twenty minutes after the Albuquerque sighting, four college professors from Texas Technological College at Lubbock had observed a formation of soft, glowing, bluish-green lights pass over their home. Several hours later they saw a similar group of lights and in the next two weeks they saw at least ten more. On August 31 an amateur photographer had taken five photos of the lights. Also on the thirty-first two ladies had seen a large " aluminum-colored," "pear-shaped" object hovering near a road north of Lubbock. The report went into the details of these sightings and enclosed a set of the photos that had been taken.
This report, in itself, was a good UFO report, but the similarity to the Albuquerque sighting, both in the description of the object and the time that it was seen, was truly amazing.
I almost overlooked the report from the radar station because it was fairly short. It said that early on the morning of August 26, only a few hours after the Lubbock sighting, two different radars had shown a target traveling 900 miles per hour at 13,000 feet on a northwesterly heading. The target had been observed for six minutes and an F-86 jet interceptor had been scrambled but by the time the F- 86 had climbed into the air the target was gone. The last paragraph in the report was rather curt and to the point. It was apparently in anticipation of the comments the report would draw. It said that the target was not caused by weather. The officer in charge of the radar station and several members of his crew had been operating radar for seven years and they could recognize a weather target. This target was real.
I quickly took out a map of the United States and drew in a course line between Lubbock and the radar station. A UFO flying between these two points would be on a northwesterly heading and the times it was seen at the two places