Levelland UFO Case occurred on November 2-3, 1957
in and around the small town of Levelland, Texas. Levelland, which in 1957 had a population of
about 10,000, is located west of Lubbock on the flat
prairie of the Texas panhandle.
The case is considered to be
one of the most impressive in UFO
mainly because of the large number of witnesses involved over a
relatively short period of time.
The incident began late on the evening of November 2
when two immigrant farm workers, Pedro
Saucedo and Joe Salaz, called the Levelland police department to
report a UFO sighting. Saucedo told police officer A.J. Fowler, who
was working the night desk at the police station, that they had
been driving four miles (6 km) west of Levelland when they saw a
blue flash of light near the road. They claimed their truck's
engine died, and a rocket-shaped object rose up and approached the
truck, which rocked from the object's blast. As it moved away the
truck's engine restarted and worked normally. Believing the story
to be a joke, Fowler ignored it. An hour later, motorist Jim
Wheeler reported an egg-shaped object was sitting in the road, four
miles (6 km) east of Levelland, blocking his path and glowing
bright blue. He claimed his vehicle died and as he got out of his
car the object took off and its lights went out. As it moved away,
Wheeler's car restarted and worked normally.
At 10:55 pm a married couple driving northeast of Levelland
reported that they saw a bright flash of light moving across the
sky and their headlights and radio died for three seconds. Five
minutes later Jose Alvarez met the strange object sitting on the
road north of Levelland, and his vehicle's engine died until the
object departed. At 12:05 am (November
3), a Texas
Tech college student named Newell Wright was surprised
when, driving east of Levelland, his car suddenly died.
he got out to check on the problem, he saw a "100-foot-long"
egg-shaped object sitting in the road. It took off, and his engine
started running again. At 12:15 am Officer Fowler received another
call, this time from a farmer named Frank Williams who claimed the
egg-shaped object's blue glow pulsated, and each time it glowed
brightly, his engine died. Other callers were Ronald Martin at
12:45 am and James Long at 1:15 am.
By this time, several Levelland police officers were actively
investigating the incident. Among them was Sheriff Weir Clem, who
saw a brilliant red object moving across the sky at 1:30 am. At
1:45 am Levelland's Fire Chief, Ray Jones, also saw the object and
his vehicle's lights and engine sputtered. The sightings apparently
ended soon after this incident.
Air Force explanation and controversy
The Levelland sightings received national publicity, and were soon
investigated by Project Blue Book
a research group that had been created by the US Air Force in 1951
to investigate UFO reports. After interviewing three of the
eyewitnesses - Saucedo, Wheeler, and Wright, and after learning
that thunderstorms were present in the area earlier in the day, the
Air Force investigators concluded that a severe electrical storm
was the major cause for the sightings and reported auto failures.
The Air Force did not interview any of the other witnesses, nor
were they mentioned in Project Blue Book's final report on the
incident. However, two prominent UFO researchers - Dr. James E. McDonald,
a physicist at the University of Arizona and Dr. J.
Allen Hynek, an astronomer at Northwestern
University, disputed this explanation.
Both men argued
that there was no electrical storm in the area when the sightings
occurred. In 1999 UFO researcher Antonio Rullan published a
detailed analysis of the Levelland sightings. After examining
various weather records and the competing claims of the Air Force,
Dr. McDonald, and others, he concluded that "there was no severe
thunderstorm in Levelland during the time of the sightings...there
could have been a few clouds with light rain in Levelland despite
no rain being reported at the [nearby] Lubbock weather station".
Rullan also added that "conditions for scattered lightning,
however, cannot be discounted...lightning conditions did