JANUARY 7, 1948 ………

Near Wilmington, Ohio, is the Clinton County Air Base. At 7:35 p.m., on January 7th, the same day as the Mantell UFO chase, S/Sgt. J. P. Haag was walking near the Clinton Control Tower when he became aware of an unfamiliar point of light in the southwest. He checked the weather and noted a low velocity southwest wind was blowing. The sky to the southwest was overcast, but right overhead it was clear of clouds. He guessed the overcast height at 5,000 feet and the cloud layer some 1,000 feet thick. Seen with the naked eye the puzzling light appeared to be about five miles away and between 15,000 to 20,000 feet high. It looked to be stationary and appeared to be casting off a crimson glow that resembled a plane on fire. This possibility sent him scurrying to the control tower. Upon reaching the control room, atop the tower, he used field glasses to take a better look at the red light. A careful observation convinced him the phenomenon was not a comet or a meteor; furthermore, the light was now “dancing,” an odd straight up and down motion that occurred some three to four times. A color change from red to green, when the thing moved, was also discernible. After it stopped “bouncing” the light sped to the southwest on a course of 210 degrees. It was screened momentarily by clouds but the phenomenon could still be discerned since the rays of light it threw off were strong enough to penetrate the overcast. It paused a few moments on its way to the southwest and then it fled quickly over the horizon at 7:55 p.m. No sound was heard.

A Cpl. J. H. Hudson, on duty in the control tower, also watched with binoculars and in a signed affidavit detailed his own version of the UFO’s appearance and motion. He estimated, for example, the UFO’s nearest approach at four miles and stated that the UFO was white in color when first sighted, but soon changed to a red hue. No shape was discernible until the UFO suddenly dropped down, at which time it assumed a cone-shape with the point-end down. The dimensions of the object appeared to be some 40 X 100 feet. When it ascended, the UFO reversed its position to a point-end up, or “pyramid” configuration. The shifts of position left a green mist trailing behind. The whole UFO seemed to have a glowing aura of burning light. There was no argument among the witnesses as to the fast elevator-type motion of the UFO. One witness compared the sight to a flare being violently tossed about by a thermal air current. When compared to the stars, there was a decided difference, the object brighter and of a distant hue. T/Sgt. Le Roy Ziegler on duty in the tower basically agreed with the other, witnesses calling the UFO a “circular thing, bright and star-like, only bigger than a star.” Not sure of its exact size, he still felt it to be very large. He said he noticed red and yellow colors. Surprised at the motion he said that it: “… seemed to go up and down and side to side at what seemed to be very great speed.” He also saw a faint exhaust trail which was visible only when the UFO was moving.  Since 4:35 p.m. news of the Mantell crash had flashed over the communications network in the Kentucky/Ohio region. Control tower personnel all over were eavesdropping on official exchanges of information about the disaster. At 7:45 p.m. Patterson Operations was on the air to Olmstead Flight Service discussing the Mantell case when two air traffic observers at Lockborune Tower at Columbus, Ohio, to the southwest of Clinton, interrupted to say that something strange had appeared near their airbase and had just left the area. Godman Tower, wide-awake after the events of the afternoon, heard that remark and intervened itself over the interphone to announce they now had visual contact with something too.

And that was the “official” report however….

Sgt. Quinton Blackwell updated testimony

quintonblackwellStg. Quinton Blackwell

Over 40 years has passed since the tragic Mantell incident in 1948 Around the ’90 the old retired St. Blackwell made a video interview with the family of Mantell in a show called “Sightings” in order to bring closure to Mantell’s family in regards the circumstance of mantell’s death. This time he had a very different version of the accounts that officially were presented on the Airforce report.

Blackwell never talk with no one about the accident but is still troubled by his memories of the incident. It was his son Jackie who convinced Blackwell to talk to Mantell’s family and break the gag order imposed by the Airforce in 1948 of what really happened that day. Based on what the official Airforce report said Tommy’s(Thomas) blackout for the lack of oxygen while mistakenly on pursuit of an experimental balloon. But in the home of Blackwell the family heard a more interesting story of this key eye witness.  Blackwell recalled that when he got to the observation tower to his amusement he could see clearly with the field glasses a flying saucer, He quickly called the base operation officer to inform about what is going on. The base officer replied to Blackwell after seeing the craft “Boy you got me in trouble now, I have to call to the base commander”. Soon after, some of the generals come up to the tower for a closer look. Among other relevant information Blackwell revealed on that interview the real reason why Lt. Clements and Lt. Hammond break off pursuit of the UFO to return to base. He said that they return to base to load their weapons with live ammunition on Mantell’s orders. This command can only be given by a wingman commander when he can see a verifiable threat and permission from his superiors has to be granted.

Blackwell stated that Mantell described the object as a 200 feet across by 70-75 feet thick metallic object with observation windows on the top portion of it. And the last thing Blackwell heard from Mantell radio transmission was when Tommy said ” I will move closer to get a better look”. The Airforce said that Mantell was hallucinating due to the lack of oxygen at the time of the sighting but Blackwell stated firmly that based on his opinion Mantell was fully in control of his aircraft. Blackwell had previous experience in dealing with pilots with anoxia and Mantell did not showed any know signs at that moment of anoxia.  Blackwell revealed also the identity of three other Colonels present at the time of the event on the tower. He mentioned that once they got notice that the airplane was down they quickly vanish from the tower as they knew that an investigation will be done and they did not want to write a report on this and this kind of saucer business is not precisely “career enhancement”.

Reconstruction of what Blackweel witnessed when looking through the binoculars in the observation tower.