Welcome back! This week we're taking a look at the Air Force investigation into the strange lights seen above Lubbock, Texas.
Missed Parts 1 and 2? Don't worry! Click below to get started.
Project Blue Book
Project Blue Book was a U.S. government program in the 1950s and 60s that investigated claims of UFOs and alien abductions. In late September of 1951, the man in charge of Project Blue Book, Edward J. Ruppelt, learned of the strange lights sighted a few weeks prior in Lubbock, Texas.
Ruppelt went to Lubbock and interviewed the professors, Carl Halt, and other witnesses. He concluded that everyone had seen a bird called a plover. Back in early 1951 the city of Lubbock installed a new kind of street light. Ruppelt asserted that everyone had seen the reflection of the new vapor lights against the underside of plovers flying overhead.
This claim was somewhat supported by a local farmer, who saw these birds flying over a drive-in movie theater and noted the light was reflected off of them. A few days before that, a couple had seen these lights as well at their home.
They said that after the third set of lights passed overhead, they began to fly in a circle around their home. They were able to identify the birds based on sound, and then the plovers were close enough to clearly make out that they were birds.
The Professors' Argument
Two of the professors who had seen the original lights flying overhead on August 25th, said the lights they saw could not have been birds. One stated: "These objects were too large for any bird...I have had enough experience hunting and I don't know of any bird that could go this fast we would not be able to hear...to have gone as fast as this, to be birds, they would have to have been exceedingly low to disappear quite so quickly."
A chief photographer for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal attempted to recreate the pictures taken by Carl Hart Jr. by taking pictures of plovers flying at night. He was unable to recreate the photos.
After Ruppelt's investigation, he said this:
"They were not birds, refracted light, or 'spaceships; [...] [they were] positively identified as a very commonplace and easily explainable natural phenomenon [...] It is very unfortunate that 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 and how he spent several months testing theory after theory until he finally hit upon the answer. Telling the story would lead to his identity and, in exchange for his story, I promised the man complete anonymity. But he fully convinced me that he had the answer, and after having heard hundreds of explanations of UFO's, I don't convince easily."
That's pretty convenient, don't you think?
"We have an answer and all the witnesses are incorrect, but unfortunately I can't give you a single detail of how we came to that answer."