The untold truth of the Levelland, Texas UFO sighting

Anybody who's anybody has seen a UFO. John Lennon saw one. Jimmy Carter saw one, per The Straight Dope. Your uncle, who always put your parents on edge when he visits? He saw about a thousand of them, and also had some pretty loud opinions about fluoridation. And in 1957, right around the time that Sputnik II took flight and the Space Race went full swing, just about everyone in the town of Levelland, Texas saw one ... or, at least, the ones who were awake did. It was pretty late.

It was on the evening of November 2nd, according to How Stuff Works, when the sheriff's department got the first call. A pair of laborers driving just west of town had seen a blinding blue flash of light, then been rushed by a 200 foot long rocket. Swerving into a ditch, they leapt from the cab of their truck and watched, stunned, as a thunderously loud aerial vehicle flew over their heads. The truck's lights and engine shut off, then came back on once the rocket had passed. The local law shrugged it off.

Then, sheepishly, they un-shrugged it, when an identical report came in an hour later.

All my extraterrestrials live in Texas

By the end of the evening, a total of fifteen calls were reportedly made, all describing similar instances: bright lights, thundering noise, and sudden electrical disturbances. Sheriff Weir Clem and his deputy were on the scene by 1:30 AM, and they filed corroborating reports. It was all terribly exciting.

The official government response was so by-the-numbers that it practically fashions a tinfoil hat all by itself, as Project Blue Book was assigned to the case. If you're not familiar with that particular label, as History states, they were the designated government employees tasked with showing up to reported UFO landing sites and announcing that there was nothing to see — just a weather balloon, or some swamp gas, and doing the whole "Please, if you don't mind, would you look at this pen light while we put on our sunglasses?" Okay, not the last part, but you get the idea. 

Anyway, Project Blue Book's findings were innocuous. The residents of Levelland, they stated, had merely spotted a harmless formation of ball lightning (a bizarre but real phenomena) brought on by the inclement weather. That there were no storms in Levelland that evening was a detail that they chose to brush aside.