Date of sighting: Thursday, November 7, 1957
The Amarillo Globe-Times, Friday, November 8, 1957, page 1
IN WIDESPREAD WHATNIK SEARCH
Mystery Objects Sighted at Pantex
White light, blinding bright, in Texas skies Thursday night left watchers in awe and fright.
From one tip of the Lone Star State to the other came reports of sightings of a bright light on the western horizon. Some viewers said it was a "bright, white light." Others said it was red, blue and green at times. The light spotted in Texas Thursday night appeared in areas generally to the west of Brownsville, San Antonio, Wasc, Brownwood, Paris--and Amarillo.
Bright, flashing objects hovered for half an hour over the Pantex Atomic Energy Commission ordnance plant, 15 miles east of Amarillo, Thursday night, according to plant guards.
The brilliant objects were reported to the State Highway Patrol office by plant guards at 7:46 p.m. A patrolman dispatched to the plant arrived at 8:15 p.m. and reported that he, too saw "a strange light."
* * *
The patrolman said guards were "all shook up." Guards said three objects had been floating over the plant 50 feet above the ground "for some time."
"When I got there." the patrolman said, " the guards said one of the objects had landed on Farin Road 2373, three miles north of Highway 60. We drove to the area but nothing was there. But I'm convinced that the guards saw something land."
The patrolman said guards told him they had tried to slip up on the objects by turning off their lights "but the things would just slip away from them when they got near."
Three strange, unidentified lights attracted the attention to two Amarillo Daily News reporters en route to Pantex at 8:30 p.m. First light was sighted in the city limits and at 8:34 p.m. Another light, with a soft red glow, was seen in an almost northerly direction. Minutes later the reporters saw a third light, green in color, low in the northern horizon and, like the first two soon disappearing in the clouds. The unidentified objects were larger than airplanes in the area and were much higher and father away the reporteres said.
The strange lights were sighted in Amarillo by several people, including a press photographer who successfully shot the object as it hovered.
The camerman said, "It looked like a big round star, except that it was orange. It would be bright, then dim, then bright again. I used a telephoto lens and a time exposure, keeping my camera on it for about a minute before it dropped below treetop level."
Clay Angelo, Hereford fire marshal and supervisor of the Ground Observer Corps, said he kept high-powered binoculars trained on an object in the sky from about 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. when it disappeared on the western horizon.
Angelo described the light as "brighter that any star I've ever seen-it gave off color similar to an arc weld and seemed to dwarf the other stars."
At Dimmitt, Sheriff Jack Cartwright said many people watched the lights from about 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dimmitt residents described the light as bluish green in color when it was first sighted and said it turned to a deep red glow as the object sank toward the western horizon.
An Amarillo accountant volunteered that the solution to the whatniks in the sky may be "St. Elmo's fire."
The accountant, Lewis Gilbert, 1906 Crockett, said characteristics of St. Elmo's fire match those of the strange objects seen by people in Texas and elsewhere.
"I remember when I was about 15 years old living with my family near Buffalo, Okla. One night we saw a blob of St. Elmo's fire sitting right in the corner of the yard. First it was blue, but it turned flame-colored or reddish before it disappeared," he said.
Encyclopaedia Britannica defines St. Elmo's fire as "the glow accompanying the brush-like discharge of atmospheric electricity commonly accompanied by a crackling of fizzing noise." And it is "the nature of a brush discharge of electricity, reddish when positive, bluish when negative," according to Webster's New International Dictionary.
This is just a natural phenomenon, but when people see it, their imagination starts working and St. Elmo's fire turns into a "flying saucer," Gilbert said.
Raymond Villandry, 1328 Dalhia, sighted a bright pink object at 11 p.m., moving southwest to northeast over his home and about 11:30 p.m. it was making a third trip back to the west, he said.
Using 7-power binoculars, Villandry estimated the object to be about three feet in diameter. It would travel a distance, lights would would go out, and would then come on again about a half-mile away, he said.
Nelson Burrow, 4406 Ong, a driver for New Mexico Transportation Company, said he saw the strange light about 8:30 p.m., a few minutes after he pulled into Hereford on his run from the west. He described the object as cigar-shaped with bright lights beaming from both ends, moving fairly slowly in a straight line.
"It was not a star in any shape , form or fashion," Burrow said.
A "whatnik" apparently paid a return visit to the South Plains Thursday night at about the same time residents of at least five other Panhandle communities reported seeing "strange lights: in the sky.
The phenomenon, near Levelland, was desrribed as looking like "two eggs connected by an arrow-like device."
Some observers said the light seen to the southwest of Hereford, Dimmitt and Hart may have been the planet Venus.
Another phantom light seen on the highway near Dreamland Cemetery south of Canyon failed to match the description of any of the other phenomena sighted by sky watchers.
Several calls were received at the Globe-Times this morning telling od a fireball in the east, Investigation revealed it was sunshine reflecting on a high-flying jet and its vapor trail.
Robert Hastings <email@example.com> wrote:
Hatch Data Base: AMARILLO, TX:SVRL MIL+COPS:ODD OBJS W/LITES ALLO PANTEX NUCL PLANT:1 LANDS? Ref# 141 GROSS,L:UFOs a HISTORY-1957/10 books Book # 8 Page 28 MIL. BASE
Dan, Do you have the exact date of this sighting at the Pantex plant in 1957? Also, you and I both have noted the NUFORC report (below) alleging 100 sightings near Pantex over a ten-year period. Do you have any data about any of those, from the Amarillo paper, or elsewhere?
----- Original Message -----
From: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>daniel wilson
To: <mailto:email@example.com>Robert Hastings
Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 11:00 AM
Subject: Pantex UFOs
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National UFO Reporting Center
Occurred : 2/22/1961 20:00 (Entered as : 02/22/1961 20:00)
Reported: 9/14/2003 5:03:55 PM 17:03
Location: Panhandle, TX
Texas Panhandle Nuke site
From the late 1950's to the mid 1960's UFO's were seen over Pantex Ordnance Plant near Amarillo TX . I lived three miles away to the east at the time. During this period there were about 100 sightings, but those of us that remember don't talk about it much.
The Airbase was still open and they would scramble Fighters to intercept. But it was always the same. When the jets closed to 2 miles the object would go up at high speed. The jets would circle a while then land. Then sometimes it would come back down to its spot.
This was repeated on many nights.
Always the same type of object, that changed colors.
((NUFORC Note: Date is approximate. We will invite the witness to have other employees who may remember the events submit reports, as well. PD))