The 701 Club: Case 943 July 24, 1951 Portsmouth, NH.
Don Berlinner lists the case as follows:
July 24, 1951; Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 7:10 Witnesses: Hanscom AFB Operations Officer Capt. Cobb, Cpl. Fein. One 100-200’ tubular object, 5 times long as it was wide, with fins at one end, and colored greyish with many black spots. Flew 800-1,000 m.p.h. at 1-2,000’ altitude, leaving a faint swath. 20 seconds.1
The description by Sparks is essentially the same. 2
The Blue Book file
The file consists of a report made by the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). Most of the information in the report is as described by Berlinner/Sparks. However, there are a few items that need to be highlighted that are not mentioned by Berlinner/Sparks. For instance, the closing description of how the object disappeared seemed to be omitted:
The sighted object was in view for approximately 20 seconds, at which point it disappeared very quickly, as though it had gone into a cloud bank. 3
Additionally, the file has the statement made by Cpl. Fein. He estimated the duration to be 5-10 seconds and not the estimated 20 seconds described by Captain Cobb.4 The record card reflects this since it lists two times for duration.
The time of the sighting, was at 7:10 PM EST. The sun set at 7:12 PM EST on July 24th. Therefore, the sighting happened around sunset in a twilight/dusk sky. This leads to the possibility that was seen was a fireball meteor. Is it possible that this was the source of the sighting?
To me, the description of the object as disappearing instantaneously is consistent with a fireball fading out. Such a meteor would have been bright but it may have only been about magnitude -4 to -6. Seeing Venus just before sunset, during greatest brilliancy (-4.4), is difficult but not too hard once you know where to look. The motion would have attracted the attention of two men. Dusk conditions could have made it appear ghostly in shape and the witness perception could have created the impression of dark spots on the “hull” of the meteor.
In my opinion, this case can be reclassified as a “possible meteor” and should be removed from the list of Blue Book unknowns.
Quelle: SUNlite 4/2020