The Untold Truth Of The Lubbock Lights UFO Sighting

Sure, Roswell gets all the glory, all the publicity. Back in 1947, says Smithsonian, a New Mexico rancher found mysterious debris — litter, maybe — consisting of "metallic-looking" fabric and other bits of bric-a-brac. He dutifully gathered them up and brought them to the sheriff, who was equally confounded, but sought answers from the nearby Roswell Army Airfield. On July 8, the Roswell Daily Record printed some historical words: "The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment Group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into the possession of a Flying Saucer." There had been sightings earlier that year of things moving through the sky, mysterious things, unidentified things (okay, they were objects; have it your way) and this?

This was the wreckage of a weather balloon, said the same newspaper the next day, citing a statement from the War Department. More specifically, it was part of a high-altitude experimental reconnaissance project, according to Roger Launius, former curator of space history at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Some people believe that explanation. Some people don't.

What was the source of the lights moving through Lubbock's sky?

The main difference between that unidentified (formerly) flying object and what happened in Lubbock, Texas, four years later is that Lubbock doesn't have debris. But it does have witnesses and, depending on who you believe, photographic evidence of — something. Flying. That hasn't been identified (not even as a balloon, so don't even suggest that).

The witnesses are a pretty impressive bunch, scientists and colleagues from Texas Technical College, History tells us. The four — all PhDs — observed a v-formation of multiple lights in the sky, perhaps as many as 30. The lights were moving at a brisk pace and they waited to see if the lights would return — and they did. A woman in another part of town also saw the phenomenon, and a college freshman, Carl Hart Jr., snapped photos, as Texas Monthly reports. (The Air Force ruled the photos "plausible," says Lubbock Online.) Funny thing: the same thing — same shape, "wing-like," with lights — had been spotted near Albuquerque, New Mexico, a few days before, by a member of the Atomic Energy Commission. Dozens of other people from North Texas reported seeing the fly-by of whatever it was.

And what was it? Suggestion 1: Lights reflecting off the white underbellies of migrating birds. Suggestion 2: A blueish haze from Lubbock's new civic lighting system. The Air Force weighed in, too: the phenomenon was "unidentified." So that cleared that up.