The 701 club: Case 1550: April 30, 1966 Sacramento, CA
Don Berlinner describes this case as follows:
April 30, 1966; Sacramento, California. 3:15 a.m. Witness: Anita Miller. One light moved around the sky for 2.5 hours. No further detail in files.1
While Berlinner states there are no further details in the files, there is actually a few details not mentioned.
The Blue Book file
The file consists of the witness’ report form (completed on 23 May), several letters between her and Blue Book, notes regarding communications with Mather AFB, and a defense intelligence report from nearby McClellan Air Force Base.
The witness, Mrs. Miller, actually had three sightings that she mentioned in her report form2:
Sighting 1 - April 29th. 4:30-6:00 AM PDT. Seen from open garage door. Object displayed multiple lights but did not twinkle like stars. It was a steady light that blinked on and off three times. Witness did not see any stars and stated sky was “overcast”. Weather records for Sacramento show clear skies at 5 AM but “smoke” at 8 AM. Witness reported the sky as hazy after daybreak. Object first seen in the east and then slowly moved towards the southeast as it rose. The object rose from an elevation of 10 degrees and then moved upwards 30 degrees. At that point, the object moved towards the southeast 75 degrees. During observation the light moved erratically (back and forth, up and down) as it increased in elevation. The witness added she did not see if the object disappeared because she was too busy getting the kids ready for school. She also mentioned it to a neighbor and they agreed to look for it the next morning.
Sighting 2 - April 30th. 4:15-6:30 AM PDT. This was seen from a neighbors yard. The witness gave a similar description as the 29th. The one major difference is that she stated the object was first seen in the Southeast and moved towards the East. Her sketches indicated that the object went horizontally from right to left in a erratic pattern and had an elevation change from near the horizon to overhead. The witness described the object “disintegrating” or becoming “translucent” when it disappeared after sunrise. Her description also indicated the object was rising upward with time:
“It was in a completely different course, direction than it had been the morning before. It rose over the backyard fence and continued to rise at a fast moving pace, till it seemed it found its position.”
Sighting 3 - This sighting was in the remarks section of the report form and occurred on May 18th. No time given. A light was seen flying straight up that dropped a red light. About 10 PM, the witness reported a fire had occurred in a field across from their home. When Blue Book sent her a report form for this sighting, she did not fill it out because she felt she gave enough information already.
The report from McClellan AFB indicated that Mrs. Miller had called them at 0754 on the 30th of April.3 They reported the sighting was between 0500 and 0600 and the object was sighted north of her location. The object was obscured by clouds or the rising sun when it disappeared. The witness used a ten power telescope and army binoculars to observe it and reported it had a rough surface and a dark center. The base reported little or no cloud cover at the time of the sighting.
What followed was a sequence of letter exchanges between Blue Book and Mrs. Miller:
On 19 July, Major Quintanilla wrote a letter to Mrs. Miller telling her they explained the April 29th sighting as the planet Venus. It makes no mention of the 30th April sighting.4
On 23 July, Mrs. Miller wrote back and appeared to agree with the explanation for the 29 April sighting. However, she makes mention of the 30th April sighting not being explained and then mentioned the third sighting that had started a fire. However, she gave no date for the fire in this letter.5
On 28 July, Mather AFB reported that fuel testing every morning in March through May at Jack Ass flats Nevada to the east. They could find no records of a fire near the base on 29 or 30 April.6
In a response to her request about the 30 April sighting and fire, Major Quintanilla wrote a letter to Mrs. Miller on August 2. He stated that her 30th April sighting was fuel testing from Jackass flats in Nevada. This was based on a 28 July communication with Mather AFB, who felt that such testing might explain the sighting. He also stated they had no record of a fire on 30 April. 7
On 8 August, Mather AFB called back and stated the fuel testing was an invalid explanation.8
On 11 August, Mrs. Miller wrote a nasty letter to Blue Book where she pointed out the fire was on another date and the Major Quintanilla must not have even read her report. 9
On 22 August, Major Quintanilla wrote another letter. Apparently, after reading the report closely, the Major repeated the con- clusion that Venus was the source of the April 29th sighting but he could not identify the object on the 30th. He did suggest Venus might be a possible source but added that her description ruled this out. 10
On 24 August, Mrs. Miller responded and repeated her acceptance of the Venus explanation for the 29th observation. However, she also felt they had not explained her other sightings. Mr.s Miller also felt that too much time had passed for her to complete any more observation forms. 11
In a final letter to Mrs. Miller on September 2, Major Quintanilla told her the 30th observation was being classified as unidenti- fied. He also apologized for the misunderstandings that had transpired in their previous letters. 12
One has to look at the April 29th observation to help identify the source of the April 30th event. Since the 29th observation was apparently Venus, we have to wonder about the April 30th event. The witness did not see the UFO and Venus, which would also have been visible. So why did the witness see it move in a different direction? The likely reason is that witness got their directions mixed up because they were observing from a different location (their neighbors yard). This was probably compounded by the fact that it was three weeks after the event that she had filled out the report form. Her recollections may not have been accurate and the directions wrong.
The observations of the object through a 10X telescope/binoculars makes me wonder about what kind of instruments they were. The telescope might have been an inexpensive one owned by one of the children and the conditions of the binoculars is unknown. Getting the focus correct and holding them still is never an easy task for those not familiar with them. It is very possible, she could have been observing an out of focus image. Allan Hendry presented a sketch one witness made of an out of focus star viewed through binoculars in his UFO Handbook.13 This sketch is similar to what the witness described.
In my opinion, there is a good possibility that the witness had misidentified Venus and the only reason Blue Book could not identify it was because she confused her directions on the second morning’s observations. I would reclassify this as “probably Venus”.
The third sighting has insufficient information associated with it for analysis. We don’t have a time or direction of observation. Any possible answer would be pure speculation.
Quelle: SUNlite 2/2017