The Lubbock Lights
The incident that became known as “The Lights of Lubbock” is considered one of the first major UFO cases to occur in the United States and was investigated by the United States Air Force’s Project Blue Book in 1951. The first sighting of the mysterious lights occurred in the city of Lubbock, Texas, around 9 pm on August 25, 1951, when Dr. Robinson, Professor of Geology at Texas University of Technology, was in his backyard talking with two colleagues, Dr. Oberg, Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Professor Ducker, Head of the Department of Petroleum Engineering. The three men spotted several lights grouped in a “V formation”, as bright as stars but much larger in size, silently crossing the sky within seconds. The teachers immediately ruled out meteors as a possible cause for the sightings, and as they debated what they had seen, a second group of lights with the same formation streaked across the sky.
The sighting was reported to the local newspaper, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, and a check with the Air Force showed that no planes had flown over the area that night. After the newspaper article was published, many other witnesses reported seeing the same objects, including an Atomic Energy Commission official who reported seeing a similar formation of blue-green lights at dusk that day in the city of Albuquerque, in New Mexico, about 600 km away from Lubbock. On the night of August 30, the spectacle was repeated and, this time, it was observed by Carl Hart Jr., who took photographic records of the light formation and, again on September 5, it was the turn of two other professors from the University of Texas report another sighting. The Air Force examined the photos in detail and could neither prove nor disprove their authenticity, and the case came under the supervision of Lieutenant Edward J. Ruppelt, the Air Force officer who became the first director of Project Blue Book. The Investigation of the Lubbock Lights
When Lieutenant Ruppelt began his investigation of Lubbock in late September 1951, hundreds of residents had already seen the lights over a two-week period. Ruppelt interviewed University of Texas professors Carl Hart and others who claimed to have witnessed the lights. “If a group had been handpicked to observe a UFO, we could not have chosen a group of people more technically qualified than that one,” Ruppelt wrote of the teachers’ testimony. Ruppelt’s conclusion at the time was that the teachers had seen a type of bird called the Plover. The city of Lubbock had installed new steam lights on its streets in 1951, and Ruppelt believed that the plovers, flying over Lubbock on their annual migration, reflected the new street lights at night.
However, not everyone agreed with this explanation. William Hams, the chief photographer for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, took several nighttime photos of these birds flying over Lubbock’s street lights and these did not match what was shown in Hart’s photos. The Doctor. Cross, head of the Department of Biology at the University of Texas, said: “It was definitely not caused by birds.” Rule out the possibility that birds could have caused the sightings, due to their slow flight speed and tendency to fly in groups much smaller than the objects reported by witnesses. Lubbock rangers agreed that the phenomenon could not have been caused by the quail-sized Plover birds, as these birds never fly in flocks larger than three, and the formations seen ranged from 20 to 30 objects. . The Doctor. Grayson Mead, who also observed the lights, vehemently disputed the Plover’s explanation: “These objects were blue-green, faintly fluorescent, and too large for any bird. I have a lot of experience and I don’t know any bird that could go that fast.” The doubt remained even after the publication of the Official Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, produced by Lieutenant Ruppelt. The document provides the following elusive explanation: “I thought the teachers’ lights might have been some kind of bird reflecting off street lights, but I was wrong. They weren’t birds, they weren’t refracted light, but they weren’t spaceships either. The lights that the teachers saw were positively identified as a very common and easily explained natural phenomenon. I can’t divulge exactly how the answer was found, because it’s an interesting story of how a scientist put together complete instrumentation to track the lights. Telling the story would carry his identity, and in exchange for his story, I promised the man complete anonymity. With the confirmation, the most important phase of the Lubbock Lights has been ‘resolved’”. And so, the mystery of the Lubbock Lights remains unsolved, and to this day, there are those who claim that Lubbock was visited by UFOs, while others say it was just a natural phenomenon.