Capt. Mantell's Fateful Journey.
Fort Knox, Kentucky
7 January 1948
1:15 p.m. CST
Several hundred people observed an unusual aircraft or object over Kentucky that was circular and 250 to 300 feet in diameter. The State Police reported it to The Fort Knox Military Police. The MPs, in turn, reported the object to nearby Godman Air Force Base. The object was then sighted over Irvington and then Owensboro, Kentucky, as it slowly moved south.
1:45 p.m. CST
T/Sgt. Quinton A. Blackwell, chief operator at the Godman AFB control tower, saw the object and pointed it out to PFC Stanley Oliver. Oliver said:
...to me it had the resemblance of an ice cream cone topped with red.
2:07 p.m. CST
Tower personnel call the operations officer, Captain Gary W. Carter, who wrote later:
Lt. Orner pointed out the object to the southwest, which was easily discernable with the naked eye. The object appeared round and white and could be seen through cirrus clouds.
Carter watched the object for a few minutes through field glasses.
2:20 p.m. CST
Captain Carter called commanding officer Colonel Guy F. Hix, who came to the control tower.
2:40 p.m. CST
Four F-51D aircraft belonging to the 165th Fighter Squadron of the Kentucky Air National Guard and en route from Marietta AFB at Marietta, Georgia to Standiford AFB, Kentucky, approached from the south. The leader of the low-altitude navigational training flight was Captain Thomas F. Mantell, a pilot with 2867 hours of flight time. Godman tower asked Captain Mantell if he would investigate the object. Mantell said he would, and began a spiraling climb to 15,000 feet. He was joined by Lt. Clements and Lt. Hammond. The fourth pilot, Lt. Hendricks, continued on to Standiford AFB.
2:45 p.m. CST
At about 14,000 feet, Mantell radioed that he had the object in sight.
At 15,000 feet, Mantell reported:
The object is directly ahead of me and above me now, moving at about half my speed.
3:15 p.m. CST
It appears to be a metallic object or possible reflections of sun from a metallic object, and it is of tremendous size. I'm still climbing, the object is above and ahead of me moving at my speed or faster. I'm trying to close in for a better look.
As the three planes reached 22,000 feet, Clements and Hammond broke off pursuit due to lack of oxygen. The planes had not been serviced with oxygen at Marietta AFB. Mantell kept going, saying he would continue to 25,000 feet for 10 minutes. Subsequent transmissions were garbled and Mantell failed to respond to attempts to contact him. Colonel Hix sent two other pursuit planes after him, but they did not locate him.
The two other pilots, Clements and Hammond, had gone on to Standiford AFB, refueled and gotten their oxygen tanks filled, and taken off again. As they neared Godman AFB, Lieutenant Clements said the object:
...appears like the reflection of sunlight on an airplane canopy.
3:50 p.m. CST
Godman Tower lost sight of the object and reports began coming in from southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee.
4:00 p.m. CST
The object was seen at Madisonville, Elizabethtown, and Lexington, Kentucky.
4:30 p.m. CST
An astronomer at Vanderbilt University watched an object in the sky south-southeast of Nashville.
5:00 p.m. CST
The debris of Mantell's plane was found on a farm near Franklin. The seatbelt that held his shattered body was shredded. His watch had stopped at 3:18 p.m. The positions of the controls indicated that he had probably passed out from lack of oxygen at about 25,000 feet, the plane had continued to climb to 30,000 feet, then leveled out before going into a high-speed dive. The throttle position indicated that Mantell had regained consciousness when the plane reached a lower altitude and had unsuccessfully tried to slow the plane down and pull out of the dive.
Several hours later, around sunset, a flaming object was seen just above the southwest horizon by towers at a dozen airfields in the midwest.
The press picked up on the story immediately, and wild stories began circulating: Mantell had been shot down by Russians;the plane had been riddled with bullet holes;Mantell had been shot down by a spacecraft;the cockpit had been empty when the plane was found;the wreckage was highly radioactive. None of these were true.
The Air Force came out with several theories in succession. they first said Mantell had been chasing the planet Venus. However, although Venus was in the right part of the sky for some of the sightings, it was not at maximum brightness, and, at most, would have been a tiny pinpoint of light, certainly not "huge" or "tremendous", as the object was described.
The next explanation proffered by the Air Force was the old standby of weather balloon. The apparent size of the object, and the fact that it was seen simultaneously by people in towns hundreds of miles apart makes this explanation quite impossible.
The next explanation offered was that of "sundog" or "parhelion", by Professor Donald Menzel, a noted skeptic. A sundog is a phenomena whereby light is reflected off ice crystals high in the atmosphere to create an illusion of a large, bright object. The problem with this explanation is that, to see a sundog, you must be in a precise position, much like seeing a rainbow. Since the viewer and the ice crystals and the sun must be in the correct relationship to each other, it would be impossible for people in three different towns, miles apart, to see a sundog simultaneously, when viewing it from different directions relative to the sun.
The final attempt at an explanation was that it was a Navy Skyhook balloon released from Clinton AFB, Ohio. These balloons were very large, and very high-altitude balloons used for measuring cosmic rays. They were top-secret in 1948. This explanation was never proven. though. No one could find any documentation that a balloon of any kind had been launched at the proper time and/or place for it to have traveled the path that the object had traveled.
Disclamer:I dont propose this phenomenon as real.I found this interesting so posted it here.I have no intentions of using this for commercial purposes or any other reasons except educational and informative.The
article has been taken from
I am not aware of the copyrights if any held by the author,so i am responsible in any way of using this.If the concerned author feels strongly about this post,he could mail me and i would remove it from here.
Truth Beyond Logic
I've been looking for the Project Skyhook files, but so far they do not seem to have been declassified.