The 701 Club: Case 3222 September 21, 1954 Barstow, CA.
Don Berlinner lists the case as follows:
Sept. 21, 1954; Barstow, California. 1 a.m. Witnesses: two local policemen, four U.S. Marine Corps police, one highway patrolman. One red-orange ball giving off sparks, and a smaller light, made a zigzag descent and then hovered. Total of 20 minutes.1
The description by Sparks is essentially the same. 2
The Blue Book file
The file contains a faded copy of the message report and nothing else.3 It is interesting to note the record card was a version from 1963 and not the 1952 version of the card. This means that the card was either lost or replaced.
The time of the sighting was 0900Z, which everyone has assumed was 1AM PST. However, California was on DST in 1954 and the time should be 0200 AM PDT.
However, I have to question the time of 0900Z. The time only appears once on the faded document we do have. The time shows the 9 being very close to the 0 like the message had some sort of error when it was printed out. Was it supposed to be a 9 or could it have been something else?
There is reason to question the time because at 0700Z, the bright planet Mars (magnitude -0.7) was setting in the southwest. By my computations it set around 0726Z. What is significant about Mars on this night was that it was only 0.25 degrees away from the second magnitude star Nunki. This conjunction fits the description of a red-orange ball and smaller light descending in the SW for twenty minutes.
The message states that they received all of this information from a Daggett radio station teletype. This indicates this was information that was second hand with the potential for the time being incorrectly reported. I attempted to locate news media accounts, hoping for additional information, but I was unable to locate any. All UFO sources documenting this sighting trace their information back to this single message. Without any additional information we can only speculate that there might have been an error in recording the time.
In my opinion, it is possible that the Mars/Nunki conjunction was the source of this sighting and that the time listed was incorrect. That does not give me a firm solution to the case but I think it is enough to reclassify this as “possibly Mars and Nunki”.
Quelle: SUNlite 5/2020