Thursday, October 8, 2020

The 1957 UFO Crash at Knoxville, Tennessee

In late 1956 into early 1957 there were a series of UFO reports near the atomic energy installation in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The sightings came to an abrupt end when a flying saucer was seen to crash in flames. Although local authorities searched for the wreckage, they found nothing. News reporters had better luck.

Here's the story as reported in The Knoxville Journal, February 2, 1957.


The flying saucer turned out to be man-made, an experiment by seven high school students: Gene Bradburn, Ben Baker, Dewaine Speaks, D.C. Hunley, J.D. Seat, Boots Dew, and Johnny Henry. The newspaper coverage gives no indication the boys were perpetrating a hoax, but their balloon did cause a stir, at least on it's final flight. The saucer likely would have remained a mystery and become another UFO legend if the boys had not been persuaded to tell their story to the press.

As with so many of the most interesting UFO cases featured here at The Saucers That Time Forgot, Project Blue Book had no file on this incident.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting case of kids with too much free time on their hands. One wouldn't expect this sort of thing to be 'encouraged behavior' but you'd be surprised the sorts of things that go on.. I was just checking out a post that Keith Basterfield made on the Douglas Aircraft Documents in September and he made mention of something called 'Project Skylite' that I had vague recollections of seeing some documentation on but wasn't sure of. So I checked through the documents that I didn't bother releasing back in 2004 and it turns out that that program was similar to what these kids were doing.

    In May/June of 1970 this Paul Wilson guy was trying to simulate a UFO incident using weather balloons that he would get from Edmund Scientific and attach lights and other things on them to make them look like UFOs. There's also a mention I believe of filling them with hydrogen rather than just helium so that they could be made to burn up real quick when they needed to disappear.

    The interesting thing that caught my attention was a quote from the October 2008 MUFON Journal article on the subject which mentioned the "..interest expressed by one of the intelligence agencies" which would in all probability be the CIA since they were the ones who cooked up the idea of trying to remove Castro by having a submarine surface off the coast of Cuba and fire star shells in the air to try and simulate Christ's Second Coming or something like that. From the newspaper descriptions you provided it sounds like the CIA could've just hired these kids instead it sounds like.


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