Fifty years after the famous Kecksburg UFO streaked across the December sky and landed in a wooded hollow, two Westmoreland County researchers have put forth a theory that they say explains it.
The unidentified flying object that came down Dec. 9, 1965, they say, was a General Electric Mark 2 Re-entry Vehicle that had been launched by the Air Force as a spy satellite, but fell out of orbit.
Authorities at the time, however, said it was a meteorite. That official claim has been challenged but never changed.
Researchers consider the Kecksburg UFO one of the great unsolved mysteries, and people in the tiny town of Kecksburg still talk about it. Witnesses who saw it — before members of the military swooped in and took it away — say it was not a meteor but a craft of some kind.
The years have muddled a few recollections, but accounts at the time agree on several points.
It was 4:47 p.m. when it came out of the sky from the northwest, a flaming object from over Canada, Ohio and into Western Pennsylvania. It appeared to be guided, changing its path and making a level descent away from residential areas and into the woods of Kecksburg.
The first people on the scene said it was partly buried in the ground. It was made of metal, between 10 and 12 feet long, and generally shaped like an acorn. There were strange markings on a band near the bottom that resembled hieroglyphics. […]