Recently declassified government “Project Blue Book” documents detail a UFO sighting on Sept. 19,1950 by several Malden, New Madrid and Poplar Bluff, Missouri residents that was followed across Southeast Missouri by two military F-51 fighter planes. This was followed by what was called a meteor explosion and a military F2H Banshee jet crashing into a hillside near Piedmont, MO all within 24 hours of the initial UFO sightings.
Poplar Bluff’s Flying Saucer
Police stations and newspapers in Butler and surrounding counties were barraged with reports on the afternoon of Sept. 19, 1950. Newspapers dubbed the object Poplar Bluff’s flying saucer and reported the UFO was seen hovering in the sky above the city “like a silver marble”. Many residents of Poplar Bluff described the UFO as a “translucent washtub” or “translucent silver sphere”, others described it as having a bright gold center with lavender edges.
An F-51 flown by Lt. Claude Haverty was dispatched from Memphis and reached Poplar Bluff where Haverty spotted an object he described as looking like “a big silver marble”. Lt. Haverty pursued the UFO as it moved over Malden, Missouri but his fuel began to run low and he headed back without being able to reach the UFO that was now over the New Madrid, Missouri area and estimated to be travelling at an altitude around 60,000-80,000 feet.
Another F-51 from Memphis flown by Lt. Donald Soefker also spotted the UFO and climbed to 40,000 feet to get a closer look. Soefker was unable to get close enough to the UFO to identify it, but described it as a silvery object with a spherical and elliptical shape. The UFO disappeared from sight but Soefker remained in the area above New Madrid, Missouri. Soon after, Soefker reported in to his commanders that he had suddenly seen white and green lights above him moving at a very high rate of speed. Soefker described the lights being in a configuration similar to a U.S. military aircraft and appeared to move in bursts of extremely high speed northward. UFOs imitating known aircraft light configurations is a fairly commonplace phenomena described by John Keel, Harvey Rutledge and many other UFO researchers as well as being something I have witnessed myself.
Neither the lights or the silvery object were ever identified. However after the incident both pilots stuck with the military’s official story and told newspapers they had only seen a weather balloon.
The now declassified intelligence report details both the lights and the silvery spherical object as being one and the same, although the pilot acknowledges that it is possible they were not. It’s behavior was reported as hovering stationary to moving at a terrific rate of speed after it turned it’s lights on. The object also made no sound and left no exhaust trail.
The Giant Fireball AMS 2326
At 1:35 am Sept. 20, 1950 only hours after the UFO over Poplar Bluff and Malden had left, reports of a meteor called AMS 2326 blasting through the sky west of Poplar Bluff and exploding in the air near a
swamp between Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee began to surface saying it rocked a two state area. Many people in Poplar Bluff reported seeing the “meteor” that morning. Reports of sightings also came in from many nearby states. One report of the “meteor” came from an American Airlines Captain Garman who saw AMS 2326 on his way to Memphis from Washington D.C., Garman described the incident saying
“I was flying at 18,000 feet, and it looked as though it just came across our nose.”
“I tell you I never saw such a brilliant flash of light before. No, it wasn’t a clear light. It seemed to be burning with an orange, yellow and blue flame. I tell you, it lit up the whole sky”
Tennessee Highway Patrol reported that they believed the object made impact in the Hatchie Bottoms, a swampy area north of Memphis. Was this really a low-flying meteor that had exploded? Or could it have been something else that fell into that swamp between Memphis and a nearby military base?
According to the recently declassified documents the date of Sept. 20, 1950 also marks the beginning of a rash of other fireball type UFOs in places such as Colorado. Many described as orange fireballs or spheres that sound like the typical orange orbs so often seen today. Others seen at close range were described as looking like they were made of glowing and dripping molten metal. Many of these were seen hovering and performing upward flight maneuvers and changing direction at thousands of miles an hour. Perhaps AMS 2326 was no meteor at all, but one of these fireball UFOs being confronted by the military who had obviously been observing and pursuing them in the Southeast Missouri area around that time.
Fighter Jet Downed Outside Piedmont, MO
A military F2H twin engine jet fighter crashed into a hillside near Piedmont Missouri at 10:19 am on Sept. 20, 1950. The pilot Logan MacMillan ejected from the jet before it crashed and walked to the Piedmont post office where he telephoned someone with the crash location. According to AP, no information was available on the crash and MacMillan was quoted as saying he was not permitted to give out any information on anything what so ever. The wreckage was quickly recovered and whisked away, nothing of it heard since. Could this have been a result of confrontations between the UFOs that seemed to have been swarming the area at the time and the U.S. military? It certainly seems to be beyond mere coincidence.
U.S. Military VS UFOs?
So did the military in fact battle with UFOs over Southeastern Missouri in September of 1950? Due to the secretive and deceptive nature of our governments policy regarding information on this type of subject, there really is no way of knowing for sure.
When you consider the history of the activity around the New Madrid fault zone and how far UFO sightings date back and how consistently the descriptions have matched up even over time spans of hundreds of years, then some sort of run in seems inevitable. There are other stories like the supposed UFO crash outside of Sikeston, Missouri in 1945 that seem to lend to the idea that the military was pursuing and possibly confronting UFOs in the area around the same time period. But right now all we have are strange stories and speculation. Hopefully with more declassification will come more clarification on the subject. Until then I can’t help but wonder.
You can view the declassified documents at Project Blue Book Archive here. The document PID is MAXW-PBB8-400 and following pages.