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The Levelland UFO Case occurred on November 2-3, 1957 in and around the small town of Levelland, Texasmarker. Levelland, which in 1957 had a population of about 10,000, is located west of Lubbockmarker on the flat prairie of the Texas panhandle. The case is considered to be one of the most impressive in UFO history, mainly because of the large number of witnesses involved over a relatively short period of time.

The incident

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 Techmarker college student named Newell Wright was surprised when, driving east of Levelland, his car suddenly died. When 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 Arizonamarker and Dr. J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer at Northwestern Universitymarker, 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 exist."

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