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Mysteries

The Unsolved Mystery of the Lubbock Lights UFO Sightings

Hundreds of people, including several university scientists, witnessed the flying blue-green lights in August 1951. One person even took photos.

August 25, 1951 was a quiet summer night in Lubbock, Texas. That evening, a handful of scientists from Texas Technical College were hanging out in the backyard of geology professor Dr. W.I. Robinson, drinking tea and chatting about micrometeorites. It was quite the brain trust: chemical engineering professor Dr. A. G. Oberg, physics professor Dr. George and Dr. W. L. Ducker, head of the petroleum-engineering department.

Which made the story of what they witnessed that night all the more curious.

“If a group had been hand-picked to observe a UFO, we couldn’t have picked a more technically qualified group of people,” wrote U.S. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt later in his definitive 1956 casebook, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects.In the early 1950s Ruppelt served as lead investigator for Project Blue Book, the official Air Force investigations into UFO sightings, after working on its precursor effort, Project Grudge.

The Lubbock Lights, photographed by 19-year old Carl Hart, Jr. on August 30, 1951 in Lubbock, Texas.Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Sightings of the blue-green lights kept growing

Around 9:20 p.m., the university colleagues saw something otherworldly in the expansive Texas sky: a V-shaped formation of 15 to 30 blueish-green lights passing overhead. Stunned, but still using their trained scientific reasoning, they figured the lights would reappear. And they did, about an hour later, in a more haphazard formation. The scientists were all in agreement: They had witnessed something fantastic—but what was it?

The professors weren’t the only credible witnesses to the mysterious blue-green lights that night. At dusk, in Albuquerque, New Mexico (about 350 miles away from Lubbock), an employee of the Atomic Energy Commission’s top-secret Sandia Corporation—a man with a high-level “Q” security clearance—had been sitting outside with his wife. According to Ruppelt:

They were gazing at the night sky, commenting on how beautiful it was when both of them were startled at the sight of a huge airplane flying swiftly and silently over their home… On the aft edge of the wings, there were six to eight pairs of soft, glowing, bluish lights.

Edward Ruppelt oversaw Project Blue Book for the U.S. Air Force, a program that monitored and investigated UFO reports.
Edward Ruppelt oversaw Project Blue Book for the U.S. Air Force, a program that monitored and investigated UFO reports.

An hour or so after, according to a retired rancher from Lubbock, his wife had seen something terrifying in the night sky. Ruppelt described it this way:

Just after dark, his wife had gone outdoors to take some sheets off the clothesline. He was inside the house reading the paper. Suddenly his wife had rushed into the house…“as white as the sheets she was carrying.” The reason his wife was so upset was that she had seen a large object glide swiftly and silently over the house. She said it looked like “an airplane without a body.” On the back edge of the wing were pairs of glowing bluish lights.

By the time Ruppelt flew into Lubbock to investigate the sightings in late September, hundreds of residents had seen the lights over a period of two weeks.

Locals investigate, and even snap some photos

But not everyone had waited for the government to start looking into the matter. After alerting local papers like the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, the Texas Tech professors started their own informal investigation. In the weeks after their initial August 25sighting, they and their friends observed the lights 12 more times. They measured the lights’ angles, roughly calculated their speed and noted that they always traveled from north to south. Armed with walkie-talkies, the scientist-sleuths and their friends formed two teams and attempted to measure the UFO’s altitude, with little success.

As the days went on, more and more Lubbock residents claimed to have seen the lights. And when the professors cross-checked these reports against what they themselves had seen and recorded, many of the facts lined up, Ruppelt wrote. Of course, few if any had recorded the phenomena with the same level of detail as the professors.

But while many observers offered incomplete or poorly expressed recollections, there’s little doubt that whatever people were seeing was something real. UFO sightings are usually one-off events, but these blue-green lights were observed multiple times, by hundreds of people.

Plus, for many, there was physical proof: black-and-white photos taken by a Texas Tech freshman named Carl Hart, Jr. On August 31—the same night an Air Force wife and her daughter claimed to have seen a UFO while driving northwest from Matador, Texas, to Lubbock—Hart was keeping vigil in his bedroom, looking out for the infamous lights. According to Ruppelt:

It was a warm night and his bed was pushed over next to an open window. He was looking out at the clear night sky, and had been in bed about a half hour, when he saw a formation of the lights appear in the north… cross an open patch of sky, and disappear over his house. Knowing that the lights might reappear as they had done in the past, he grabbed his loaded Kodak 35, set the lens and shutter at f 3.5 and one-tenth of a second, and went out into the middle of the backyard. Before long, his vigil was rewarded when the lights made a second pass. He got two pictures. A third formation went over a few minutes later, and he got three more pictures.

These hotly debated images, which show a cluster of dim lights in a V-formation moving through the night sky, are the only visual representation of what hundreds were now claiming they saw.

Captain Edward Ruppelt, standing between the two seated men, with other officers of the U.S. Air Force at a 1952 news conference where they announced the installment of more than 200 cameras in attempts to obtain data on the unidentified flying objects reported from various parts of the nation.

Was it birds? Or planes? The government’s investigator goes coy

As Ruppelt began his formal investigation, he found that the lights had affected all who saw them, including a hardened old man from Lamesa, who had witnessed them with his wife. “He broke off his story of the lights and launched into his background as a native Texan, with range wars, Indians and stagecoaches under his belt,” Ruppelt recalled of their interview session. “What he was trying to point out was that despite the range wars, Indians and stagecoaches, he had been scared. His wife had been scared, too.”

The old Lamesa man had suggested that the lights were actually plover birds, a theory to which Ruppelt would lend some credence. But just like many people Ruppelt interviewed, the old man admitted he and his wife had been looking for the lights after reading about them in the paper. This was a common thread tying together many of the witnesses. “One point of interest was that very few claimed to have seen the lights before reading the professors’ story in the paper,” Ruppelt wrote. “But this could get back to the old question, ‘Do people look up if they have no reason to do so?’”

So, what exactly did all these people witness? In The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Ruppelt—by all accounts an honorable and fair man who oversaw what many describe as the “golden age” of the government’s official UFO investigations—offers a strangely evasive explanation:

I thought that the professors’ lights might have been some kind of birds reflecting the light from mercury-vapor street lights, but I was wrong. They weren’t birds, they weren’t refracted light, but they weren’t spaceships. The lights that the professors saw…have been positively identified as a very commonplace and easily explainable natural phenomenon…I can’t divulge exactly the way the answer was found because it is an interesting story of how a scientist set up complete instrumentation to track down the lights. Telling the story would lead to his identity and, in exchange for his story, I promised the man complete anonymity… With the most important phase of the Lubbock Lights “solved”—the sightings by the professors—the other phases become only good UFO reports.

And so, the mystery of the Lubbock Lights remains unsolved.

“The Lubbock Lights incident persists in the memory of many older citizens, and to this day captivates researchers from across the country,” Dr. Monte L. Monroe, Southwest collection archivist at Texas Tech University told Texas Highways Magazine. “Mention the event, and everyone has an opinion. Some believe the bright, semicircular, so-called ‘string of beads’ crossed the sky at great speed, high in the stratosphere. Few agree with the streetlight-illuminated, migratory duck-bellies theory ventured at the time by skeptics or in the Air Force report.”

According to Monroe, the professors and other witnesses—tired of explaining themselves and what they saw—almost totally ceased giving interviews by the 1970s. In a rare informal interview, more than 40 years after the sightings, Carl Hart, Jr. reportedly told author and UFO researcher Kevin D. Randle he still had no idea what he had photographed that pleasant August night many moons ago. But like hundreds of others witnesses in and around Lubbock that strange Texas summer, he saw something he would never forget.

Source www.history.com

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Mysteries

The strange disappearance of three boys in Murphy’s Cave

In the US state of Missouri, one of the local attractions is a vast network of caves that have thousands of passages, both above and below ground.

Because of these caves, Missouri is often referred to as the “state of the caves,” and it is not surprising that they attract many explorers as well as adventurers.

Most of these caves were well explored in the first half of the twentieth century. But because of the intensive construction of Highway 79 in the 1960s, employees sometimes encounter new gaps that lead to unexplored parts of local caves.

One of these caves is called the Murphy’s Cave. The openings leading to its tunnels were located very close to the houses of the city of Hannibal, one hundred miles northwest of St. Louis.

This city is known as the birthplace of Mark Twain and in particular the Mark Twain Cave where Tom Sawyer films were made. Excursions to this cave are still being made.

In the 1960s, parents strictly forbade their children from even looking at the openings in the ground. They feared crashes and other disasters. But who could stop the curious children?

The three Hannibal boys were particularly curious about the caves. They were 10-year-old Billy Hoag, his brother 13-year-old Joel Hoag and their friend 14-year-old Craig Dowell.

They regularly picked up lanterns and went down into the dark cave tunnels. Their parents forbade them to go there, but in response the boys said they would play in the yard and actually went to the caves.

On May 9, 1967, the three children headed to Murphy’s Cave. They were waiting for the moment when the construction workers at the site would go to rest. The parents found out when they saw the characteristic reddish dirt on their clothes. There was a serious rebuke.

However, on May 10, the three went to the same cave again, using the moment Houg’s parents were in the store to shop.

The boys prepared thoroughly. They took shovels, lanterns and other necessary things. At 3pm, they were spotted by a casual passer-by walking to the entrance of Murphy’s Cave. He noticed that the boys were dragging a makeshift ladder of boards to lower themselves through the opening inside the cave.

This was the last time these children were seen alive. After that, they disappear and even traces of them, much less their bodies, were found.

When the parents of the Hoag brothers returned from the store and saw that their children had disappeared, they became very angry and intended to give them a good lesson. But when the children did not return home during the time that they would usually go back from their games, their parents were worried. They began to pray that nothing bad would happen to the boys.

When it was dark, the Hoags went to their neighbors and someone told them that they had seen the Hoag brothers and young Dole near the Murphy Cave. City officials have been notified of the disappearance of the three children, who may have been lost in the cave.

The next morning, police, national guards and volunteers organized a mass search for the boys. At one point, FBI experts got involved in the process.

Hundreds of people explored the tunnels of all nearby caves, not just Murphy’s Cave. All suspicious passageways, narrow cracks and still unexplored tunnels were carefully checked.

But everything was in vain. They did not even find traces of the children. The tunnels of Murphy’s Cave are very complex and winding. They were all well researched.

Then, searchers began looking around the surrounding forests, abandoned houses and old mines. They even summoned a few psychics who claimed they could “feel” the place where the children had disappeared. But, again without result…

This large-scale search of the missing went on for 10 consecutive days and was among the most popular searches in Missouri’s history. As a result, only one probable trace of the boys was found – a baby sock lying near the entrance to the cave.

The sock wasn’t dirty, so it obviously hadn’t been in that place for a long time. The search crew clung to it as a probable evidence. However, none of the parents of the missing children was able to confirm whether the sock belonged to one of the Hoag brothers or Dowell.

The opening leading to Murphy’s Cave, to which the boys were last seen

There were some false footprints. At one point, near a cave, they found a dried puddle of brown liquid similar to blood, but during the investigation it turned out that the puddle was from a spilled bottle of fertilizer.

Another such clue is that someone apparently saw the boys out of town alive after the search began, but no children or traces of them were found at that location.

There was also a strange message about a man in a black cloak who was not recognized as a city resident, police officer or anyone else. He was spotted in many places where children were being searched. It was as if he was trying to hide and secretly monitor the work of the search groups.

According to one of the first versions, the children were buried alive when one of the cave tunnels collapsed, but as mentioned above, all possible tunnels of the nearest caves were checked by search crew and they did not find any traces of fresh collapses there.

According to another version, the boys may have accidentally entered a completely new tunneling system that other researchers have not noticed. And nowadays, near Hannibal, sometimes new tunnels are found in the local caves, which are caused by expansion, rainfall and other reasons. All new tunnels have been carefully inspected.

Volunteers are still trying to find the remains of the missing boys or at least their belongings. But, so far, they haven’t found anything …

Other theories say that the children fled to another city or were abducted.

The memory of this strange disappearance of these three boys is still commented on in Hannibal. A memorial plaque with the boys’ names and their history is placed next to the ill-fated entrance to Murphy’s Cave, which is now closed.

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Mysteries

Connection between Alpha Draconis and Egyptian Pyramids Revealed

Alpha Draconis, also known as Thuban, is located about 300 light years away in the northern Draco constellation.

Connection between Alpha Draconis and Egyptian Pyramids Revealed
Did eclipse studies help the Egyptians build their pyramids? Credit: Public Domain

Despite its “alpha” designation, it shines as Draco’s fourth-brightest star. Thuban’s fame arises from a historical role it played some 4,700 years ago, back when the earliest pyramids were being built in Egypt.

Could the new astronomical observations shed light on what motivated the builders of the Egyptian pyramids?

Astronomers using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) were surprised when they discovered that the bright star Alpha Draconis and its fainter, previously known companion actually undergo mutual eclipses.

Egyptology students already know that the ancient Egyptians were skilled astronomers who regularly observed the sky and tracked various celestial objects.

Previous research has revealed that the ancient Egyptian papyrus calendar 86637, Cairo, is the oldest preserved historical document from naked eye observations of a variable star, the Eclipsing binary algol – a manifestation of Horus, a god and a king.

It was confirmed that the ancient Egyptians knew about the variability of the ‘Demon Star’ Algol 3,000 years before Western astronomers.

Astronomers suggest that it is now possible that the first eclipse of the ancient North Star played a key role in building the Egyptian pyramids.

About 4,700 years ago, the star Thuban may have served as the Northern Star. It seemed to be the closest to the north pole of the earth’s axis of rotation, the point around which all other stars appear to rotate in their nocturnal motion.

Today this role is played by Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor. The change happened because the earth’s axis of rotation performs a 26,000-year cyclic oscillation, called precession, which slowly changes the position of the sky at the rotational pole.

The North Star or Thuban is actually a pair of stars and the largest star between the pairs is four times larger and warmer than the Sun. The surface temperature of the larger star is about 9,700 degrees Celsius. Its mate, which is five times weaker, is probably half the size of the primary and is 40% warmer than the sun. Previous studies have suggested that Thuban exhibited slight changes in brightness that lasted about an hour, suggesting the possibility that brightest star in the system was pulsing.

Angela Kochoska, postdoctoral researcher at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, said:

The eclipses are brief, lasting only six hours; therefore terrestrial observations can easily lose them. And because the star is so bright, it would quickly saturate detectors at NASA’s Kepler Observatory, which would also conceal eclipses.

The alpha star Draconis (circled), also known as Thuban, is known to be a binary system. NASA’s TESS data now shows that its two stars suffer mutual eclipses. Credit: NASA / MIT / TESS

Many scientists think ancient Egyptians relied on the bright stars Big Dipper and Little Dipper to align their pyramids in a north-south direction with an accuracy of up to 0.05 degrees. However, it’s still debated how the pyramid builders took accurate measures for the alignment. Since the tilt of Earth’s axis has changed over time, so have the positions of the stars.

Using sophisticated astronomical software, scientists were able to turn back the astronomical clock and study the sky at the moment the pyramids were built. These studies showed that the two stars revolved around the opposite pole in the Old Kingdom sky, and an imaginary line joined these stars across the north pole.

This means that when the two stars placed vertically above each other both mark the true north position for the pyramid builders. In this case, if the calculation is correct, construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza began between 2485 and 2475 BC.

This animation illustrates a preliminary model of the Thuban system, now known as an eclipsing binary, thanks to data from NASA’s exoplanet transit research satellite (TESS). The stars orbit every 51.4 days at an average distance slightly greater than the distance of Mercury from the Sun. We see the system about three degrees above the orbital plane of the stars, so that they undergo mutual eclipses, but none of them are completely covered by your partner. Credits: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Chris Smith (USRA)

Kochoska, who presented the findings at the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu on Jan. 6, said she is planning a follow-up study to look into additional eclipses that TESS can see.

Padi Boyd, a TESS project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement:

The discovery of eclipses in a known, bright and historically important star highlights how TESS affects the wider astronomical community. In this case, uninterrupted, high-precision TESS data can be used to help constrain fundamental stellar parameters to a level never before reached.

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Mysteries

Sister of Russia’s great mystery victim manifests

A fascinating new view of the Dyatlov Pass incident presents several enlightening first-hand perspectives on the case, including rare information from the sister of one of the victims, whose name has become synonymous with a mysterious event.

Dyatlov case: Sister victim of one of Russia's greatest mysteries manifests
Photo: Public Domain.

Published by the BBC, the play excellentely revisits the infamous 1959 tragedy, in which nine Russian college students died in the Ural Mountains in unexplained circumstances that continue to bother researchers today.

One of the people interviewed for the article was Tatiana Perminova, who was 12 when her brother, Igor Dyatlov, embarked on the unfortunate walking trip. She recalled that their mother had tried to dissuade him from following the journey, arguing that he should focus on his studies. However, Perminova recalled, Igor managed to convince her after promising that it would be his last trip to the mountains before graduating. “And indeed,” his sister remarked sadly, “it was his last time.”

Coldly, Perminova revealed that she was the one who answered the phone at her house six decades ago, when authorities phoned with the frightening news that Igor had died.

She said:

The next day my parents were summoned to college, and the nightmare began.

As for what may have caused the disappearance of his brother and colleagues, Perminova indicated that families were as confused by the case as the rest of the world, and were insulted by the Russian authorities that “you will never know the truth, so stop to ask questions. ”

She stressed:

Don’t forget, in those days, if they told you to shut up, you would be silent.

However, with six decades since the incident, Perminova no longer harbors these fears. As such, she dismissed popular prosaic theories for what killed the group, such as an avalanche or hurricane, and suggested that something more sinister had occurred.

She asked:

If it was just an ordinary walk that went wrong because of extreme weather conditions, why worried the highest authorities in the country? I think that means something extraordinary has happened.

Although she did not seem to present a specific theory for what killed her brother and friends, Perminova spoke of the tremendous pain that families have suffered in the last sixty years with so many unanswered questions.

The nine victims of that fateful day. Montage Credit: BBC

She said, noting an ongoing effort by independent investigators in Russia to exhume the bodies of the victims of Step Dyatlov for a further examination:

Emotionally, this is very difficult. Imagine digging up their coffins. But if there is no other way to find the answers, ok, let’s see what happens next.

Other firsthand witnesses featured in the play include a man who participated in the search that led to the discovery of the bodies of the victims, as well as a woman who lived in a nearby village at the time of the incident and claims to have seen a “bright and fiery object in the sky” which somehow resembled a missile. This observation seems to give credence to the possibility that Dyatlov and his comrades might have died from a cover-up accident. This was repeated by another local resident who was also 12 at the time of the incident and recalled how “there were rumors throughout the city that these students had participated in some kind of test or experiment.”

All in all, the BBC program is a must watch for those studying the Dyatlov Pass incident, as it includes a wealth of previously unpublished stories of individuals who were closely linked to the case, such as Perminova, or who resided in the area after the intriguing event occurred. It also features conversations with contemporary investigators who are still trying to solve the mystery of what happened to the nine hikers in the Ural Mountains that fateful February night so long ago.

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