Aug 18, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Mysteries of NASA: Strange, Conspiratorial and Reported Cosmic Crashes

Today's article is on the issue of some of NASA's most mysterious and intriguing cases of the unearthly kind. And, we'll get right into it. We will kick-off with an event  that occurred on February 7, 1978. On that particular day, a UFO reportedly crashed in Potrerillos, Chile. According to Bob Pratt , the primary investigator (who very generously shared his data with me), “I learned about it in March 1979 when I was in Santiago, Chile, from José Manuel Garcia, a reporter for Las Ultimas Notícias, a Santiago newspaper. According to Garcia, between two and three o’clock one morning in 1978 (he couldn’t remember the exact date), a tremendous explosion woke up virtually all three thousand people then living in Potrerillos. All the houses shook and everyone thought a blast furnace had blown up. However, a quick inspection showed that everything was intact. The next day, several underground shafts were found to have caved in, while on the surface a section of a road going up the side of a ravine had collapsed. Engineers determined that whatever the explosion was, it had occurred in the air and the force of the blast had been exerted downwards. Garcia felt the blast himself. He was working in Potrerillos at the time as a public relations representative for CODELCO, the government-owned mining company.”

The strange and amazing story continued and Pratt continued to chase the whatever-it-was. Pratt said of the mysterious affair: “Two days after the explosion, he said, six NASA technicians showed up with radiation-detection devices and other equipment. One of them arrived in a two-man Chilean Air Force helicopter and the others arrived a little later in a panel truck with NASA emblems on it. Garcia said there was no doubt that the men were Americans, or ‘gringos’ as he called them.” The story got even more intriguing, as Pratt’s notes show: “All six wore coveralls with NASA emblems on them. They all spoke Spanish but only one man, apparently the leader, asked questions. People throughout Potrerillos were questioned about the characteristics of the noise and where the sound had come from.” With the questions completed, the NASA team vanished as mysteriously as they have first arrived – and amid local rumors that a craft from another world had slammed into the ground, somewhere locally. Now, onto another intriguing situation.

February 19, 1984, a UFO in Puerto Rico: Numerous witnesses reported that on 19 February 1984, an unidentified aerial object crashed deep in the heart of Puerto Rico’s mountainous El Yunque rain forest. The object was described by most of the eye-witnesses as being circular in shape, white in color, and flying erratically before crashing deep into the heart of the rain forest. In the wake of the event, according to researcher Jorge Martin, a “diversionary tactic” was put in place to the effect that the object had been nothing stranger than a meteorite. However, sources on the island interviewed by Martin reported seeing a large presence of military personnel in the area, evidence of NASA operatives on the scene, and even “pieces of metal” retrieved from the forest and loaded into wooden crates by unknown individuals and dispatched to an unspecified location. The matter - not surprisngly - was never resolved.Not in the slightest.

(Nick Redfern) NASA, 1984, an alleged crashed UFO and Puerto Rico

May 6, 1978: UFO down! On May 15, 1978, the U.S. Department of State hastily circulated – from the American Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia – a fascinating document that concerned an event which occurred three days earlier. It reached the U.S. Secretary of State, the CIA, the National Security Agency, and NASA. Titled Report of Fallen Space Object, the document outlined the extraordinary facts: “The Bolivian newspapers carried this morning an article concerning an unidentified object that apparently recently fell from the sky.  The object was discovered near the Bolivian city of Bermejo and was described as egg-shaped, metal and about four meters in diameter. The Bolivian Air Force plans to investigate to determine what the object might be and from where it came. I have expressed our interest and willingness to help. They will advise.” The data continued to surface.

“Request the department check with appropriate agencies to see if they can shed some light on what this object might be. The general region has had more than its share of reports of UFOs the past week. Request a reply ASAP.” The CIA was soon on top of things, as the following memo, also of May 15 shows: “Many people in this part of the country claim they saw an object which resembled a soccer ball falling behind the mountains on the Argentine-Bolivian border, causing an explosion that shook the earth. This took place on May 6. Around that time some people in San Luis and Mendoza provinces reported seeing a flying saucer squadron flying in formation.” Officially, nothing was found: no wreckage, no bodies, and no craft. Unless, that is, the CIA secretly knows better. Now, onto something very different, but still with NASA.

May 25, 2015, a Challenger mystery: The day began for me as it always does.: I checked my emails and Facebook messages, and then got to work. Just a few days later - I was due to speak at the annual Contact in the Desert gig at Joshua Tree, California. The subject of my lecture: the UFO Contactee phenomenon. One of the things I planned to speak on (and did speak on) was the matter of a certain Contactee who had an intriguing but very controversial story. Back in 1986, she was interviewed by the FBI, as part of the Bureau’s investigation into the January 1986 explosion of NASA’s Challenger. Declassified under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, the files record that the woman (whose name is deleted from the available documentation – although it is known to me) said the Shuttle was sabotaged.

According to the heavily-redacted documentation that the FBI has been willing to release into the public domain, a source of some standing, one that was apparently very well known to Bureau agents, had come into contact with a woman – whose name the FBI has been extremely careful to completely delete from the available papers – who “claims to be in contact with certain psychic forces that provide her with higher information on selected subjects. She refers to these forces as ‘Source’ and when providing information from Source she often speaks in the collective ‘we.’ [The woman] claimed that she had come to Washington, D.C. to provide information concerning the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion on 1/28/86.” Well, I decided to reference all of this in my lecture at Joshua Tree. So, I surfed the Net for a good picture of the ill-fated Challenger that I could insert into my PowerPoint presentation. A couple of hours later, I had to make a call to my agent, Lisa Hagan – on the matter of none other than my then-forthcoming MIB book.

During the course of the conversation, Lisa said that something very strange had happened to her earlier that same day. I asked what it was and she told me how she received a phone call – number not available – from someone who spoke just two words: “Challenger exploded.” Lisa is one-hour ahead of me, and when we checked it turned out that she got the call right around the time I was searching for the photo. It scarcely needs to be said that Lisa was amazed - and a bit unsettled, too - when I told her I was looking into the Challenger issue the very morning she got the call. I had a deep suspicion – one that has not gone away – that my every online move was being monitored; probably Lisa’s, too.

Now, onto a completely different issue: December 9, 1965 and a crashed UFO. NASA says “No!” In the late afternoon of December 9, 1965, some form of object crashed to earth near the small town of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, after having initially been observed in the sky as a fireball that hurtled across several US states and parts of Canada. At the scene officials some onlookers that a meteor had fallen; however, the next day both local authorities and the US Government declared strongly that nothing had fallen that night and that, as a result, nothing of any substance was found. Nevertheless, independent witnesses have provided intriguing testimony, strongly suggesting that the official explanation is far from being the correct one, and that a device of unknown origin (at least, unknown to the public and the media) was located within the woods at Kecksburg by the military, who promptly removed the mysterious device from the area. Firefighters, newspaper reporters and a radio news director at WHJB Radio described seeing a military presence at the scene. One particular area was cordoned off. Some also reported having witnessed the recovery of an acorn-shaped object at the crash site that was loaded aboard a military transporter.

Project Blue Book, the official US Air Force investigation into UFOs that was terminated in 1969, asserted that no space debris entered American airspace on the day in question. Data provided by the US Space Command and the Russian Space Agency indicated that whatever came down, it was not a Russian satellite or space probe, as skeptics had suggested - despite the fact that, according to NASA, a failed Russian Venus probe called Cosmos 96 did re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere over Canada at about 3:18 a.m. on December 9, far from Pennsylvania. Moreover, Blue Book records assert that nothing more substantial than a three-person team was dispatched to the area by the Air Force in a vain attempt to locate whatever it was that had reportedly crashed at Kecksburg. This is very much at odds with the testimony of numerous locals who reported a heavy military presence in the vicinity of Kecksburg.

(Nick Redfern) A life-sized, mock-up of the 1965 Kecksburg UFO that had NASA so intrigued

The following story was given to me while I was on my second trek on Puerto Rico - and looking for Chupacabras. It turned out, however, that the story ended with the Men in Black and NASA. And it all went down in the hot summer of 2005. As the days progressed, so did our investigations. I said, in the previous chapter, that my encounter with the man with the file was the highlight of the week. It was. A close second, however, was an interview with a farmer who lived in a small, isolated village, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Late one night, approximately five years earlier, he jumped out of bed to the screams of his pigs – he was a breeder and seller of the animals. And, given that this was his only source of income, he raced to the back-door, grabbed a handy machete and a flashlight, flung the door open, and charged out into the muggy darkness. The scene was one of carnage.

The bodies of a number of dead, blood-splattered rabbits – which the farmer also kept - were strewn about the yard, many torn to pieces. And one of his prize-pigs was dead, too, lying on the ground. All of them, the pig and the rabbits, were killed in the same fashion: via three, huge puncture wounds to the neck. As the man, pretty much in a state of shock, prowled around the tree-shrouded yard, he heard movement in the undergrowth. Wasting no time at all, he threw the machete in what he thought was the right direction. His instinct was right: the machete slammed into something solid. The sound was akin to metal hitting metal. Whatever it was, it didn’t hang around. In seconds, it was gone, having leapt into the safety of the all-encompassing, nearby woods. There were even weirder developments to come – in the form of none other than the dreaded Men in Black. Or, to be completely accurate: a man and a woman in black. And, they were sporting nothing less than NASA identities. What a way to end!

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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