“Observers Here Spot Mystery Object in Sky” headlined a short item in the Alliance Review. October 23, 1957. The local GOC had spotted a UFO and watched it for nearly 2½ hours Monday night, October 21. I was in Massachusetts at the time and was unable to obtain the details of the sighting until the following summer. On July 30, 1956, I called Helen Severance, Alliance GOC supervisor, who referred me to Kermit B. Ward, 655 Wright Avenue, the observer on duty the night of the sighting.
Ward, who piled up 1,000 hours on the observation post (located in a field east of the Shunk Avenue-Chestnut Street intersection in the Mount Union area), was breaking in two young observers on the tower. Sky was clear, no haze. At 3:10 p.m. (EST) a strange vertical reddish-orange object (streak, cigar) appeared in the southeast sky at around 35-40 degrees elevation. It was a solid object, sides rather sharply outlined but ends fuzzy and indistinct; it was about 6 times longer than its width. Binoculars revealed nothing more except an enlarged view of the UFO. The Canton Filter Center was notified. A “hot line” was established and Ward was instructed to phone in every five minutes. The UFO remained in the southeast for perhaps 45 minutes to an hour and during this time it faded gradually and disappeared; then after a few minutes gradually reappeared in the same stationary position. This peculiar performance was repeated constantly.
Next the object popped up in the southwest where the fading-brightening process recurred for perhaps 15 or 20 minutes.
Finally it appeared in the northeast and performed there, too, until it vanished for good at 10:30 p.m.
The filter center meanwhile had been checking other GOC posts in the area, and East Palestine, 30 miles to the east of Alliance, reported that state troopers there had seen the same phenomenon. The Alliance Review stated that Alliance residents also had seen it. The GOC observation which filled five pages of the log book was passed on to the Brookfield radar station north of Youngstown and thence to Dayton. Said the Review: “...Lieut. Moreno (of the Canton Filter Center) reported that data on sighted objects becomes classified information when passed to the radar station at Brookfield.”
James P. Rodman, Clarke Observatory director at Mount Union College, offered an astronomical explanation for the occurrence. Atmospheric refraction can distort bright planets and stars near the horizon so that they appear to change color and move slightly. However, there were no bright planets or bright stars (except Fomalhaut directly south) present in the southern sky during the sighting period.
Venus, Saturn, and the reddish star Antares set before the sighting began; Jupiter and the reddish planets Mercury and Mars wouldn't be visible till just before sunrise. Even so, it is stretching the refraction explanation to the point of nonsense to even attempt its use in this case - an explanation not based on the known facts of the observation. Planets and stars do not skip from one quadrant of the sky to another. ‘Nuff said!
PROJECT 1947 Comment: Despite the assurance from Lieut. Moreno “...that data on sighted objects becomes classified information when passed to the radar station at Brookfield,” no details of this incident appear in the Project Blue Book files. There appear to be many Ground Observer Corps reports that never made it to PBB.