During the evening......there was a “light in the sky” sighting by two witnesses who were at widely separated locations. The first to see it was Mr. William Fry, the Assistant Chief of Security for Project NEPA. He was at a drive-in theater with his family at about 6:45 PM waiting for the movie to begin when he saw the lighted object in the southwest while casually looking around the sky. He reported to the CIC investigator,
“...I observed what I at first thought to be an unusually bright star. The exceptional brilliance caused me to continue to observe it when it suddenly seemed to change color rapidly from a reddish hue to a bright orange and again to a brilliant light blue. (His wife and son also saw it.) ...A few moments later I heard a plane directly overhead making passes over the Oak Ridge area, which was later identified as one of the F-82 fighter planes from the Air Force unit stationed at McGhee-Tyson Airport..
(At this point Mr. Fry went to a phone and called someone to look, but the person could not see it because of the hills and trees.) While returning to my car I met a friend...who stated he had been observing the object. I continued to observe the object with my wife but it seemed to be in a more northerly position which caused me to select a fixed point to determine whether or not the object was changing in either direction or altitude. There seemed to be a deviation from north to south for approximately five to ten degrees. The changing colors were still very evident but the object seemed to be continually getting smaller and smaller as though it was becoming more distant. At approximately 7:18 by my watch it disappeared from view entirely. During these observations my wife continued to report to me the identical things that I was observing. During the entire time the F-82 airplane continued to make passes over the area until approximately 7:15. The weather conditions were excellent; the air was calm; and the sky was cloudless with the exception of a very slight haze over the distant horizon.
The following morning, upon reporting to work I confided my story to...(name censored)...stationed at Oak Ridge with the NEPA project, but I hesitated to go on record as having observed such an unidentified object.”
Mr. Fry did go on record because he learned that he was not the only witness. Air Force Major Lawrence Ballweg also saw the light. He reported as follows:
“On the evening of 24 October 1950 at approximately 1855 (6:55 PM) I heard a plane fly over my home in the Woodland area. Being a curious individual I went outdoors to watch it with my binoculars. While looking for the plane I saw an object in the western sky which appeared at first to be a star but upon closer observation I noticed that it was rapidly changing colors from red to blue to white. When first seen it appeared to be moving very slowly in a northwest direction. It was moving relative to the other stars. The object was too small to be able to see any details even with the glasses. It disappeared from sight about 1920 (7:20 PM). During this period of time my wife also observed the object.”
Mr. Fry then learned that the radar unit had also detected something. He was told that an unidentified object appeared at 6:30 PM at an altitude of approximately 5,000 feet in the same general vicinity as the object he saw. The radar target disappeared at 7:20 PM. The complete radar report to the CIC investigator says that targets appeared at 6:23 PM moving over the restricted flight zone and at 6:26 a fighter was scrambled to the area of the targets but failed to see anything.
Considering that the atmosphere can make a star or planet which is within a few degrees of the horizon appear to change color and move very slightly or twinkle, one might be tempted to identify the light as the bright planet Venus or a very bright star seen in the west an hour after sunset, which was at about 6 PM local dayight savings time. However, two elements of the description reject that sort of explanation. First, the light was described by Major Ballweg as moving relative to the stars. Since Major Ballweg used binoculars to view the light it is likely that his description of motion is accurate. Furthermore, it must have been quite large because Mr. Fry, not using binoculars, also detected motion. Second, Major Ballweg said that the light appeared over a telephone pole that was about 100 yards away. That would make the angular elevation greater than 5 degrees. According to the CIC investigator, Mr. Fry indicated that the elevation from his location was 30 to 40 degrees above horizontal. Hence it was so high in angular elevation that atmospheric effects would not make it appear to change color and there would be no noticeable effects other than the normal twinkling which affects stars at any angular elevation. The final reason for rejecting Venus or a bright star is that Venus was below the horizon at the time and there were no excessively bright stars in that sector of the sky at the time. The disappearance of the radar target at the same time as the light suggests that the UFO was a some kind of metallic unknown object hovering in the vicinity of Oak Ridge. This is another Oak Ridge sighting that is not in the Blue Book file, nor are the following October events.
About six hours later, between 2 AM and 3 AM, October 25, the radar unit reported several slowly moving objects such as had been seen previously. On October 26 at 5 AM Col. Edwin Thompson heard an intermittent noise like the blast of a jet, similar to what had been reported on the 15th and 16th. He saw no aircraft associated with the noise. Three days later seven people waiting at the Knoxville Airport “saw an object traveling to the Southwest at a great rate of speed. (name censored), who has considerable flying experience, was extremely excited and stated that this object was not an aircraft. He described it as a circular object, leaving a trail of smoke.”