The problem with the case is that it seems clear that there were multiple things going on -- which is why it was and still is so confusing. Two professional astronomers were involved with the case. One of them was said to have pointed his telescope at the object indicated by Hix -- and saw Venus. The second one, in Nashville, saw a balloon shortly thereafter. So clearly we had Venus AND a balloon AND one or more UFOs during the course of the day. To just blow off Venus as a contributing factor is to leave out important information. Likewise the balloon.
"Heavens Above" gives the attached diagram for Bowling Green at 3PM on 7 Jan 48 (obviously flipped left to right to match directions as seen from above, and color-inverted for contrast). A line from the town to the crash site is aimed almost at Venus. I am not saying MANTELL was chasing Venus, but certainly some of the numerous GROUND OBSERVERS in the region were looking at it at various points in time, in addition to the "ice cream cone" shaped balloon (a complete dead giveaway to its identity). A disc-shaped UFO is not shaped like an ice cream cone. Neither is Venus. But underinflated plastic balloons are.