Tuesday, April 26, 2022

God’s Celestial Ambassador: The Life and Times of Dr. Frank E. Stranges - Part XXXI - (UFO Sighting Reports)

 

God’s Celestial Ambassador: The Life and Times of Dr. Frank E. Stranges - Part XXXI

By Raymond A. Keller, PhD, a.k.a. “Cosmic Ray,” the author of the international awards-winning Venus Rising Series, published by Headline Books and available on Amazon.com, while supplies last.

Venus Rising: A Concise History of the Second Planet

Final Countdown: Rockets to Venus

The Vast Venus Conspiracy

Lady Columba Venus Revelations

Flying Saucers and the Venus Legacy

Basis of Movie Phenomena 7.7

The great box office success of Dr. Frank E. Stranges’ 1964 documentary film, Strange Sightings, impelled him to produce another flying saucer movie, which premiered two years later on 17 June 1966 at the Ebell Theater in the Wilshire neighborhood of central Los Angeles, California.   Ever since the appearance of the famous “Foo Fighters,” mysterious fireballs that followed both Allied and Axis aircraft in the skies over Europe in World War II, the subject of “unidentified flying objects” had been considered one of heated controversy.  With each new sighting turning up at the headquarters of Project Bluebook at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, arguments for and against the existence of UFOs as interplanetary spaceships was reignited.  

In an effort to throw additional light on the UFO controversy, Dr. Frank E. Stranges, a prominent Southern California UFO investigator since mid-1945 and the author of numerous books on these mysterious objects, produced a second movie documentary about the UFO phenomenon, being 70 minutes in length.  In 1965, Dr. Frank reassembled most of the production staff from his first UFO movie, Strange Sightings, and organized them as the nucleus of a new UFO research organization, headquartered under the auspices of his International Evangelism Crusade, Inc., in Van Nuys, California, which he called the National Investigations Committee on Unidentified Flying Objects (NICUFO).  

Some of the blue-ribbon staff that helped produce the second movie were Lt. Col. James MacNamara, United States Army, Retired; scientist and cataclysmic geology expert Chan Thomas; psychic Peter Hurkos; staff writer for the Hearst newspaper chain, George Todt; Columbia Broadcasting System newscasters Fred Anderson and Bill Wolfe, famous astrologer Sydney Omar; United States Air Force, cameraman, Capt. Merle S. Gould, Retired; cinematographer Mario Tosi from Rome and Hollywood director Phil Ford.  

The second movie is an impressive study set in a fast-moving documentary style and entitled Phenomena 7.7.  In the film, narrated principally by Dr. Frank E. Stranges, the evangelist and ufologist attempted to separate fact from fiction when it came to UFO reports.  “7.7” refers to the approximate percentage of sightings that the Air Force received at Project Bluebook that could not be classified as “explainable” in the context of contemporary science.  

In Phenomena 7.7, Dr. Frank takes the viewer to the actual sites of purported flying saucer landings.  The movie goer also sees and hears the UFO eyewitnesses relating their encounters.  Among those interviewed are clergy, government officials, housewives and scientists.  The documentary also included actual films of UFOs in motion that had just been officially cleared for public showing by officers of the United States Air Force, the organization which the reverend thanked for their cooperation provided in the production of the monumental film.   

Dr. Frank was inspired to produce this film after reading an article in the January 1962 issue of Fate magazine (Evanston, Illinois) concerning the great UFO flap in the summer of 1961 over the entire United States.  Titled “The Boys Who ‘Caught’ a Flying Saucer,” and written by Fate publisher and premier paranormal investigator, Curtis Fuller, Dr. Frank believed that the author did not properly account for probable scientific explanations in some of the UFO reports.  If the UFO phenomenon was going to be perceived as credible by the vast majority of Americans, then explanations for sundry reports would have to be accepted if proffered by legitimate authorities and researchers.  

Dr. Frank was taking a second look at the Air Force, viewing their Project Bluebook much more favorably than Keyhoe at NICAP.  “If 7.7 percent of the reports are acknowledged by the Air Force as being truly unidentified flying objects,” noted Dr. Frank, “then perhaps they are being upfront about what they really know, and don’t know about the UFO situation in America.”  In the evangelist’s first movie, Strange Sightings, he emphasized the contactee reports; and perhaps, he mused, most people were not quite ready to receive their messages being delivered at the behest of the space brothers and sisters.  He reasoned that the more objective Phenomena 7.7 would have been the better introductory movie to the subject of UFOs.  

Below I provide a synopsis of the Fate article; and in cases where a suitable explanation to account for a few of the UFO sightings exists, I provide it.  This is likely more in line with what Dr. Frank was thinking. 

Dr. Frank E. Stranges and wife Bernice (Raab) Stranges at premiere of movie, Phenomena 7.7, at theater in the Wilshire district of Los Angeles, California, on 17 June 1966.

UFO Flap in the Summer of 1961

Date:  Friday, 2 June 1961-Sunday, 11 June 1961

Location:  Wayne County, New York

Pre-Dawn Mystery Light

Three staff members of the Rochester, New York, Democrat and Chronical, were invited to a farm owned by John Dingfelder of 805 DeWitt Road in Webster, New York, after Dingfelder made a series of telephone calls over several days in the early morning hours to report the sighting of a UFO by himself and members of his family.  It should be pointed out that while John Dingfelder is the farm’s owner, its primary occupants are his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Priestly.  Dingfelder usually spends the majority of his weekends there in a trailer home set up near the farmhouse.  

At the beginning of June, however, Dingfelder arrived earlier than usual at the farm, on the night of Thursday, 1 June, to help his son-in-law with the farm’s accounting ledger.  They finally got the books straightened out around 11:30 p.m.; and then Dingfelder went to the trailer to get some sleep.  He didn’t get much sleep that night.  At 4:00 a.m. on Friday he woke up when his room was flooded with an intense light.  At first, Dingfelder thought that it must be light from an exceptionally bright moon.  Getting up, he went to the bedroom window and found the moon in its customary position in the western sky; but this brilliant light was shining from the east.  Dingfelder reached for his glasses from the bedstand, cleaned the lenses off with his pajama shirt, and then got a good view of the light source.  It was a bright ball about the size of a larger marble as if held at an arm’s length.

As the object seemed to be far-enough away to not be menacing to him or the farm, Dingfelder decided to not wake up his daughter or son-in-law and just crawl back under the covers.  Nevertheless, on Monday morning, 5 June, around 4:30 a.m., half-an-hour time after the father saw the UFO on Friday morning, his daughter also caught a glimpse of it.  Her father told he about the UFO after she woke up on Friday morning, so in the following days she had woken up early in the mornings in the hope of seeing it for herself.  Fortunately, on Monday, after waiting for half an hour after waking up, she finally did see the UFO.  This object did not hang around quite as long as the one her father witnessed.  After a couple of minutes, it just shot away eastward, trailing a bright blue flame.  After the daughter’s sighting, she was joined by her father for the rest of the week in waking up in time to observe it.  On each night, except for Thursday, 8 June, when it was overcast, the father and daughter did observe the UFO and jointly determined that it was some kind of space craft.

Dingfelder told the reporters during an interview on Sunday morning, 11 June, in their kitchen at the residence out in Webster, “When it was nearest to the farm, it seemed to be hovering over a slight incline of wooded land and to be more oval than round silver-colored rather than yellow-orange.  Three porthole-like apertures seemed to divide the upper and lower halves.  There were also blinking or flashing red lights on the top and bottom.”  The reporters arrived around 3:30 a.m., because Dingfelder had assured them that an interplanetary space ship was probably going to show up.  And sure enough, 25 minutes later, one apparently did.  At 3:55 a.m., the daughter cried out, “Look!  There it is!”

In an article in the previously cited newspaper, “Saucer Sighted?  Nine Have Mixed Views,” dated Monday, 12 June 1961, lead reporter Patricia Costa described the UFO encounter: “Due east, just to the right of where the Sun’s round bulge was to make its climb some 90 minutes later, was the bright, orange-yellow unsymmetrical ball of light.  The only other objects visible were stars high overhead, white and minute in contrast to the yellow ball.”

The spherical object remained stationary for about five minutes and seemed to be about the size of a small button as it would appear if held at arm’s length.  The luminosity of this object was intense.  As Costa picked up some binoculars to view it, it seemed to have a yellowish center in a red background.  There were green or bluish-green rays shooting off of the ball in all directions.  After the first five minutes of viewing the UFO, the object moved straight back and due east.  In less than 30 seconds, it seemed to diminish in size, something on the order of half its diameter than when initially seen.  It then remained in its new position for the next half hour.  

At the end of this second stationary period, the UFO then seemed to move toward the direction of the farm, with flashing red lights blinking on and off around the perimeter of the expanding circumference.  After the ball passed over the farm, it once again began to shrink as it receded from view.  “In its shape and size, it was similar to the stars that had faded a half hour before, but more luminous,” noted Costa, adding that, “At 5:40 a.m., it was a white speck, disappearing completely between 5:45 and 5:50 a.m.”

Dingdelder and his daughter expressed their regrets that the UFO had not approached them as closely as it initially did.  Costa and her two companions from the newspaper admitted they were confused by both the appearance and maneuvers of the object they observed that morning on the farm.  

Comment:  Under certain atmospheric conditions, an optical phenomenon known as a sundog or mock sun, also called a “parhelion” in meteorology, can appear as a bright spot to one or both sides of the Sun. Two sun dogs often flank the Sun within a 22° halo.  For this reason, even in the early morning before dawn, a sundog can be seen in the sky at an angle higher than the Sun even though the Sun has not yet risen above the horizon.  Given no metallic or other artificial appearance to the object, it could have been a sundog.  Shifting clouds create the appearance of a moving object. 

For a better understanding of the sundog phenomenon, see the Science ABC website at https://www.scienceabc.com/nature/sun-dogs-what-are-they-and-how-are-they-formed.html.

Date:  Friday, 9 June 1961

Location:  Winfield, Illinois

“Tear-Shaped” UFO

Barry Stark, 19, and his friend, Tom Glosenger, 17, both of Winfield, Illinois, were walking west on Sunnyside Avenue in the evening when an unknown object streaked through the sky.  Stark called the Wheaton, Illinois, Daily Journal, and the newspaper immediately sent out a reporter to interview him and Glosenger about their UFO sighting.  Stark described the UFO as being “tear-shaped” to the journalist, adding that, “It was about the size of a light airplane flying at 3,500 to 4,000 feet.”  

The object appeared to be moving north to south.  It stopped and moved to the east and then west on three separate occasions, then went in a southeasterly direction before it went out of sight.  Of course, by “tear-shaped,” Stark meant that the UFO displayed a rounded, but blunter end forward.    The object had white, flashing lights.  While it did not glow, Stark noted that, “It was brighter than any star.” 

Comment:  Stark was an employee of the Page County Airport; hence he could be considered a fairly-good judge of the size and distance of observed aircraft.  This is an authentic UFO report.

Date:  Sunday-Monday, 9-10 July 1961

Location:  Waterford Township, Oakland County, Michigan

Young Fishermen Report Multicolored UFO

Two young fishermen, Duane Hart, 16, and Mike Pietrzak, 15, took out Duane’s rowboat onto a small lake off Clintonville Road around 9 p.m.  While they were fishing for about four hours, Duane caught only two smallmouth bass and Mike only one.  Of course, school was out for the summer, so there was no immediate need for them to get home.  Both of the boys, however, were tired and decided to call it quits for the night.  They rowed the boat to shore, mooring it to fallen tree trunk.  Mike took his already lit Coleman lantern from the boat and set it up on a tree stump in the middle of their camp.  Then the boys moved to pack their gear, take down their tent and clear their campsite, stowing everything in the back of a 1959 Chevrolet Nomad station wagon that Duane’s father allowed the boys to drive on fishing and hunting expeditions.   It only took about half an hour for the boys to get everything into the Nomad, when all of a sudden, a massive multicolored, pulsating UFO showed up, hovering over their station wagon.  It was glowing intensely and changing colors.

Duane said that, “At first, it looked like a huge flashlight hovering over the tree tops.  It looked to be about the size of a football (if held at arm’s length).  It moved back and forth, changing colors from white to gold to orange and then back to white.”  Mike reported that as they watched the UFO, “It did appear to move around at right angles, then suddenly took off glowing intensely and then faded out.”  Naturally frightened, the boys remained transfixed throughout the UFO encounter.  They weren’t quite sure how long this incident lasted. After they drove back to Duane’s home at 4265 Clintonville Road, and waking up his parents, Duane called the Waterford Township Police Department, at his parents’ behest, and spoke with on-duty officers David Putnam and Fred St. Souver. Excitedly, Duane described his and Mike’s chance encounter with the flying saucer.  “Relax,” replied officer Putnam, “you’re not crazy.  Many others were calling in, reporting the same UFO.”

Putnam put his associate on the telephone as well, officer St. Souver, who added this reassurance to the boys, “You weren’t alone.  From the calls we have been getting, the UFO seemed to pulsate.  At times it was very bright and large.  At other times, it grew dim and it faded from sight two or three times, appearing to be moving both horizontally and vertically.” 

Comment:  The horizontal and vertical movement of the UFO confirms that it was moving in right angles.  The confirmed multi-witnesses to this encounter lend credence to its authenticity. 

Date:  Monday, 10 July 1961

Location:  Central Michigan

UFO Flap

Other Waterford Township residents awake that night sighting the UFO made calls to the local Sheriff’s Department.  Deputies Richard Hubbell and Robert McFarlane, on duty that night in the early a.m. hours and taking turns in answering the telephone, went outside to see if they could spot the UFO.  Fortunately, they could.  Hubbell, the senior deputy, told callers that, “The object appears to be foreign to a normal sky,” and left it at that.  Certainly, this was a polite way of telling locals watching the UFO that they were looking at something unusual, that they were not “seeing things” or “going crazy.”

The deputies, in turn, called nearby Selfridge Field and the Air Force Detachment there.  Not surprisingly, the base telephone operator informed the deputies that she, too, had been receiving numerous calls about a UFO in the area.  She further added that, “Air Force personnel have been put on alert.”  She refused to make further comments.

Then the deputies, not familiar with the proper handling and investigation of UFO reports, called the Pontiac, Michigan, State Police Post, seeking further guidance in these matters.  Corporal Matiland Landon answered the phone and Hubbell asked him, “Any unusual reports coming in tonight?”  

Landon replied, “What do you mean by ‘unusual reports?’”

Hubbell, somewhat hesitant to go into details, simply said, “You know, UFOs and such.”

Landon assured Hubbell and McFarlane that no UFOs had showed up over Pontiac, at least as far as he knew.  Then Hubbell suggested that Landon look out the window.  Sure enough, the State Police corporal saw a “big and brilliant white object.”  He told Hubbell that, “It appears to be heading our way at a high altitude; and it is no weather balloon, I can assure you.”  Landon was so excited by the UFO sighting that he called a reporter at the Detroit News, who wrote it up in an article that appeared in the next day’s edition.  

After the article appeared in the Detroit News, reports streamed into the newsroom there from all over Central Michigan about UFO sightings on the night in question.  Dozens of official and semi-official agencies also received numerous UFO reports.  Most observers reported a large, round object flying in a northeast direction over the area at approximately 100 feet or so above the ground.  One motorist told Michigan State Police at Mt. Pleasant that, “I was afraid I was going to collide with the UFO as I was driving along U. S. Route 27.  The UFO was giving off such a brilliant blue light that I was nearly blinded.” 

Comment:  The preponderance of witnesses, the intense light source and the close proximity of the object (approximately 100 feet from the observers) validate the presence of a true UFO over Central Michigan that night.  

Date:  Tuesday, 11 July 1961

Location:  Marshall, Texas

Mystery Meteorite

Troy Peterson was standing on his back porch in Marshall, Texas, at night when he spotted some fiery meteors streaking across the sky.  But this was no ordinary meteor display, for one of the so-called “meteors,” in the form of a red ball of fire, came zooming in from the west, where it buried itself four inches into the ground just ten feet from where Peterson was positioned.  

Along with Peterson visiting his home that night was Deputy Sheriff Les Anderson.  After the meteor struck, Peterson called Anderson out of the house to come and take a look at it.  The deputy sheriff, when later interviewed by Curtis Fuller from Fate magazine, said of the object that, “It was too hot to hold.  It resembled a piece of charred, petrified wood; and it sparkled and glimmered.”  Anderson also took the object with him back to the Sheriff’s Department where he weighed it.  The object came in at 16 pounds. 

Comment:  Fuller points out that, “There are a number of queer things about this fall beside the fact that it (the alleged “meteor”) landed only ten feet from Peterson.  One is that a 16-pound object would bury itself only four inches in the ground.  This does not sound like the behavior of a true meteorite to us (the editorial staff of Fate magazine).  

“Furthermore, a true meteorite weighing 16 pounds ought to have hit the ground with an earth-shaking crash; and it ought to have created a shock wave that would have knocked Peterson head over heels.  Nor does the description of the object as looking like a piece of charred wood sound much like a meteorite.  

Fuller, the publisher of Fate, also discovered that another alleged “meteorite” had fallen near the Marshall area back in May, whence it was taken to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., for further study and analysis.  From Fuller’s interviews with locals, it seems that Marshall, Texas, is some kind of magnet for not only meteor strikes, but also the manifestation of many other types of supernatural phenomena, which he promised to elaborate on in future issues.

Date:  Wednesday, 12 July 1961

Location:  Waterford Township, Oakland County, Michigan

Another UFO Shows Up

Another UFO was sighted in the Waterford area.  Around 2 a.m. Roger White called the Waterford Township Police Department with a UFO report.  Locals did not think it was the same one that appeared two days previously, because this one seemed somewhat smaller and was glowing red, orange and white.  In his call to the police, White said that the UFO, that was hovering directly overhead, was “about the size of a marble” (as if held at arm’s length).  After receiving White’s call, Patrolman Ray Wilhelm, who was on duty that night, went outside with binoculars and actually watched the UFO, reporting that it was white at the top and the bottom was flashing red and orange, thus confirming White’s observation.  Both White and Wilhelm continued to watch the UFO as it moved about slowly and then suddenly zoomed off at a high speed in a northerly direction.  Then it did some zig-zag maneuvers, veering to the west and then reversing to the east before it was lost from view.

Once again, Selfridge Air Force Base officials were contacted, this time by Patrolman Wilhelm.  The same operator who answered the previous calls a couple of days ago was on the line again.  She confirmed for Wilhelm that many calls were coming in regarding the UFO, “but it might be a weather balloon reflecting the Sun’s rays at a very high altitude.”   

Comment:  A telephone operator is not a scientific authority on the propagation of light scattered by a balloon in the upper atmosphere, or on the subject of UFOs, generally.  Since she cited no specific experts in these areas, the object must still be considered to be a genuine UFO.

Date:  Wednesday, 12 July 1961

Location:  Central Michigan

Evening UFO Activity

During the evening hours, Ray Martin, Isabella County, Michigan, Civil Defense Director, received more than 25 telephone calls regarding the appearance of a UFO passing over sundry locations throughout Central Michigan.  Most of the reports, and the initial ones, however, were centered over an area about five miles south of Mt. Pleasant.  The later reports were coming in from Beaverton, Clare, Gladwin and Harrison, small towns to the north of Mt. Pleasant.  According to Director Martin, all testimonies received agreed in their description of the UFO.  It was low-flying, colored and trailing sparks.   

Comment:  Curtis Fuller, the author of the cited Fate magazine article, concluded that, “Evidently it was a different object from that sighted in Waterford Township, which is nearly 100 miles to the southeast.”  I might also add that there was an elapse of 16 hours between the occurrence of the two UFO incidents.

Date:  Friday, 4 August 1961

Location:  Kansas

South-Central Kansas UFO “Wave”

Many South-Central Kansans reported sighting a UFO between 7:30-9:00 p.m.  From Cunningham, Kansas, one man reported seeing a bright UFO racing across the sky and then slowing down to a stop directly overhead.  Other observers in the area between Cunningham and Wichita, Kansas, 60 miles to the east, described the UFO’s appearance as “cigar-shaped,” “disc-shaped,” and “funnel-shaped.”  They also reported different colors for the object: “bright blue,” “green-blue,” and “silver blue metal with flames shooting out of one side of it.” 

In Wichita, Mary S. Buck claimed that the UFO she observed seemed to wobble from side-to-side and trace a stop-and-go track across the sky. 

Comment:  The varied descriptions of shapes and color seem to indicate the presence of more than one UFO in the area of South-Central Kansas.  The numerous witnesses attest to the authenticity of the sightings.

Date:  Sunday, 6 August 1961

Location:  outskirts of Smith’s Ferry, Idaho

“Meteorite” Ignites Forest Fire

An object believed to be a “meteorite” plummeted from the skies over Southern Idaho, striking a tree and starting a small forest fire, in the process.  Phillip Davis, a firefighter for the Southern Idaho Timber Protective Association, was in the vicinity, witnessed the meteorite strike, and worked with the crew extinguishing the blaze.  According to Davis, “The object cut the tree off about 30 feet above the ground.  Then, it burned its way inside the two-and-one-half-foot trunk to the ground, leaving the trunk standing like hollow, burned-out chimney.”

Frank Harsin, the Deputy Fire Warden for the Southern Idaho Timber Protective Association, gathered samples of rocklike fragments from the base of the struck tree, sending them to the University of Idaho for chemical analysis.  In Harsin’s estimation, however, he doubted that the fragments were parts of a meteorite.  Harsin, an experienced forester and firefighter, explained: “Chemists believe that when lightning strikes a tree it sometimes causes a chemical reaction that converts parts of it to a rocklike substance which holds fire for a considerable period of time.”

Comment:  Frank Hansen’s theory seems entirely plausible. It would both account for the seeming “meteorite” as well as the small forest fire.

Date:  Monday, 14 August 1961

Location:  south of Topeka, Kansas

Odd Pulsing Light

A family to the south of Topeka witnessed an “odd pulsing light” in the southeast sky around 10:00 p.m.  The father of the family said, “I am familiar with Venus and the light was near Venus; but it faded and then grew brighter than Venus in a pulsing pattern.” 

Comment:  This was probably an airplane seen from a distance with a high-magnitude star in the stellar background.  A check with the Observer’s Handbook 1961 (Toronto, Ontario, Canada:  Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), November 1960), page 32, indicates that on 14 August 1961, Venus was a “morning star dominating the eastern sky for about three hours before sunrise.” The RASC consistently publishes its handbook in November for the position of observable astronomical bodies in the coming calendar year.  Clearly, the father of this family was no expert on the observable position of the planet Venus in our planet’s sky, day or night.

Date:  Thursday, 24 August 1961

Location:  Sunland, California

Red-Hot Metal Fragment Falls from Sky

A fiery, red-hot metal fragment, emitting a ruby glow, with dimensions of some eight by two inches, plunged to the Earth in a vacant lot within the city limits of Sunland, California.  The firemen who answered the call, arriving at the intersection of Sunland Boulevard and Olinda Street at 9:30 p.m., reported that the fallen metal was so hot that it could not be safely handled for some 20 minutes.  The fragment even buried itself in the ground, scorching the surrounding area in a ten-feet radius.   

Comment:  Observers of the falling object told firefighters that they didn’t think it was a meteor.  “It just didn’t have the speed that true meteors ought to have,” said one of the witnesses.  If it was a meteor or meteorite, then Curtis Fuller, who wrote about this incident in Fate magazine, believes that, “Our ideas of what meteors are and how they behave is subject to considerable revision.”  Perhaps some extraterrestrials camouflage their flying saucers by positioning these ships in the center of meteor swarms penetrating the Earth’s atmosphere, thus avoiding detection by our planet’s civilian and military air defense systems.  Perhaps the hot-metal fragment was part of one such saucer that got nicked-off in the process of the extraterrestrial ship slipping into the oncoming meteor storm.

Date:  Wednesday, 30 August 1961

Location:  Cincinnati, Ohio

Huge Round, Red Object

At around 9 p.m., Cincinnati residents watched a flickering red light move slowly across the sky in a southwesterly direction.  In the Cincinnati suburb of Madisonville, Mrs. Walter Mueller of 4910 Glenshade Avenue, noted that, from her perspective, the UFO appeared top be “huge, round and red, dark red in the center and pink around the edges.”  As scores of Cincinnati folk watched the UFO slowly make its way toward crossing the Ohio River, it suddenly exploded, bursting in a white flash.  

Chris Beuerlein of 1732 Dale Road in Cincinnati provided the following description of what he saw: “It went higher and higher, then exploded like a great white light.  Something dropped out, like a parachute.  Then a smaller red light appeared for a second. Then it was dark again.”  Mrs. Leo Trainor, also of Cincinnati, witnessed the event and noted that, “Something like fire came out, then a flicker of red.  Then it disappeared.”   

Comment:  Weather conditions in Cincinnati at 9 p.m. on the night in question were dry with a temperature of 60 degrees F with a moderate wind moving to the southwest.  In all likelihood, the slow-moving, huge red object that exploded over the west side of the city was a weather balloon.  The dropping of a radiosonde package with a parachute from a weather balloon is a common practice, as the reader will note with this extract from the National Weather Service website :

Date:  Sunday, 27 August 1961

Location:  Bel Air, Maryland

Lighted Object

Residents of Bel Air were baffled by the appearance of a lighted object in the northwest quadrant of the sky that moved so slow that it seemingly just hung there each evening beginning on Sunday, 27 August-Thursday, 31 August 1961.  The object, alternating each night between green and red in color, would appear at sunset and slowly move in an easterly direction until it disappeared below the horizon at about 1:00 a.m. on each of the five nights.  Interestingly, both Air Force and Army radar stations in the area were unable to pick up the object.   

Comments:  This object was most likely a weather balloon, possibly lit up externally by a searchlight.  According to the Hot Air Flyer website, “Hot air balloons typically do not show up on flight radars since they are flying under 3,000 feet, but if they have a transponder, some can show up on the radar, especially when flying high up in the sky.”   Apparently, this balloon did not arrive at a sufficient altitude to be detected by line-of-sight radar.

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(Editor’s Note:  Stay tuned to this website for Part XXXII, where Cosmic Ray reveals an article from the Chicago, Illinois, newspapers where Dr. Frank E. Stranges answers questions that arose concerning his intriguing movie, Phenomena 7.7.  - Lon)

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