following article was published by “The Daily Courier – Connellsville”,
Pennsylvania, USA on December 12th, 2005
Was It A UFO or Not
By Rachel R. Basinger
It was 40 years ago this month when Kecksburg became the
center of national attention. Forty years ago, some people
say a UFO landed in the small Westmoreland County community.
Saturday, hundreds gathered at the Kecksburg Fire Hall to
hear of the events which allegedly occurred there and of
any new news which was available after years of study. From
a group of local researchers to UFO enthusiasts, people came
from as far away as Boston. They heard historical accounts
and the current status of information of the event.
Bill Weaver, of Norvelt, was not only at the 40th anniversary
event, he was also an eyewitness to the event when it happened
Dec. 9, 1965, at the tender age of 19.
"I was driving down the road and heard on the radio
that something had happened," Weaver said. "I was
in the area and saw people standing along the road, so I
stopped and asked what was going on."
That's when Weaver was told that something landed in the
patch of woods just beyond the road. After traveling down
a farm lane, Weaver pulled his car behind a line of cars
that formed there.
"From that vantage point I could look down in and see
partially buried that had come in at an angle," Weaver
It was beginning to get dark, Weaver said. He said the object
was emitting a blue light -- almost like the light from a
"In the meantime, a big white furniture moving truck
and people got out in what we would call moon suits," Weaver
said. "They were carrying a box on a stretcher down
to the object."
State police and military personnel showed up and sent the
observers away. "They told
me they would confiscate my car if I didn't move it,"
Those few minutes have led to a lifetime of interest for
Weaver into the event that causes disagreement between locals
and public officials alike as to what really happened.
Some are sure that the acorn-shaped object that appeared
to have some type of Egyptian hyroglyphics written on it
was in fact a UFO, while others take the more explainable
path of the object being a Russian satellite that got off
Bill Steiner, a Mt. Pleasant resident, has done considerable
research on the event. He attended Saturday's anniversary.
He believes the object was a Russian satellite.
"At the time, we were in a big space race with the Russians
I think the best explanation is that it was a Russian satellite
that went off course," Steiner said. "People saw
it change directions when it came down, and if it were a
meteor, it would have come on a straight path with much more
He said the acorn shape described is consistent with the
heat shield which would have been on the bottom of a satellite
at the time, although the one modeled in the Kecksburg incident
is much smaller.
In addition, Steiner said the writing that a lot of people
have mistook for Egyptian hyroglyphics or some alien writing,
could in fact have been a type of alphabet known as Russian
Cyrilic, which looks much like Egyptian hyroglyphics.
He said there also is several explanations as to the secrecy
of government officials and the precautions taken at the
"It's very possible that they might have been concerned
plutonium leak, which is one of the deadliest substances
known to man," Steiner said.
Steiner said if it were a Russian satellite, the military
would want the chance to look inside without the Russians
finding out that they were in possession of the object.
But Weaver is still open to all possibilities.
"I don't know for certain that it wasn't a UFO," Weaver
"All I can surmise is that it could have been a Russian
rocket or satellite."
Saturday was filled with a variety of other speakers who
have researched the event or were a part of the event 40
Stan Gordon, a local researcher, has conducted an investigation
on the incident for the past 40 years. Robert Gatty, a reporter
for the Tribune-Review in 1965, described his assignment
that night and how he was prevented from approaching the
object by numerous Army personnel on the scene.
Larry Landsman, director of special projects for the Sci-Fi
Channel, discussed the channel's UFO Advocacy Initiative
that supported a recent investigation of the Kecksburg case
by the Coalition for Freedom of Information. The cable channel
produced two TV documentaries on Kecksburg that aired in
Leslie Kean, a journalist, spoke on the forensic evidence
recently discovered at the crash site and on her interviews
with Air Force personnel involved in the search of the alleged
UFO. Lee E. Helfrich, an attorney, spoke about the current
the lawsuit filed against NASA in 2003 to gain access information
about the Kecksburg incident.
Former Mt. Pleasant Township supervisor Duane Hutter said
he is hoping that one day, everyone will really know what