Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Levelland, Texas - November 1957 - audio recordings transcribed

Introduction

Late on the evening of 2 November, 1957 and the early hours of the morning of 3 November, 1957 (local time), a number of individuals reported a series of incidents involving an unusual object, near the location of Levelland, Texas in the United States of America. There is much material available on the net, but I have been looking for primary material relating to the event, i.e. audio recordings of those directly involved; or written statements from those directly involved. This was to give me a better understanding of the core information, without the distortion of being written up in summary form by third parties.

Map of sighting locations by unknown author

Interestingly, I located no audio recordings of interviews with the actual witnesses. You might consider this normal for that era, i.e. rural Texas in 1957. However, I did locate two audio recordings made in 1957 with one of the central figures, Sheriff Weir Clem; plus, a transcript of a third interview with Sheriff Clem.  These are the closest one can get to the witnesses’ testimony, at least in audio format. I will present these three in transcript form. After which, I will present written material gathered from direct interviews between witnesses and the United States Air Force's Project Blue Book. 

Transcript one

Sheriff Clem: ‘Pedro Sauced’, that is a Mexican (words missing)

Interviewer: ‘What did he say he has seen?’

C: He was travelling coming east on highway, state highway 116, and about 5 miles west of Levelland. He said there was something came over his car and came into contact with it. It killed his motor, knocked out his lights, and he said there was a terrific sound like a big blast – a big thunder, or something like that.

I: Well, that was one of the things I wanted to ask you. Did you notice a sound when you saw it?

C: No, sir, I did not.

I: You noticed no sound whatsoever. Did you see a light?

C: Yes, sir, I definitely seen the light, and the light is all I seen. It was seen by several different people. They called in also highway patrols and they had, I guess, fifteen units out hunting that thing last night.

I: Well, some of the eyewitnesses that saw it, what did they describe it as – as in size, etc?

C: James D Long, a colored male from Waco, Texas, working here in the cotton harvest, he drove up on it settlin in the highway, on the farm to marker road, we call the Oklahoma (word missing) Road. Runs north and a little west of Levelland. And he said, just as he drove up to this object, turned his car lights and drove up. It was sitting in the road, (word missing) his car lights shined on it, just as plain as could be, and he had made his stop, and presumably to get out, and this thing lit up, and when it did, to take off, why his lights went out and his motor died.

I: Well, did his lights reflect from it as he drove up on it?

C: Yes, sir. And he said it was egg shaped (words missing) the best he could figure it looked like a big egg.

I: Was it spherical – I mean by that, was it a solid object or did it appear to have windows, or openings in it?

C: That he did not give us at all. He said it just looked like an egg shape, big oval egg-shaped object.

I: Any of the eyewitnesses who came that near to it, did they notice any other effect other than the noise and the lights; in other words, any physical effect from it?

C: No, sir.

I: How close did you get sheriff?

C: Well, the lights that I seen, of course, I never did see the object now; the light that was reflected from the object, one presumes it was, I would say 300 yards.

I: Did you get any reports from homeowners or businesses near the place that there was any effect in their electrical systems?

C: No, sir. Haven’t yet – we sure didn’t. That could have been up in the night, you know- from 12 o’clock to 3 o’clock this morning. All of them was, anyone was in bed at that time.

I: What other eyewitnesses did you have?

C: Mr Frank D Williams, from Kermit, Texas. He said he done him the same way on highway 51, about 9 miles north of Levelland.

I: Did he report a noise also?

C: No, sir he didn’t. He didn’t report the noise. By this time I was out there trying to find it and he called in to the dispatcher and they did not report any noise to me. I am trying to locate Mr Williams on the phone at this time.

I: Well, thank you very much sheriff. And this is the report- another feature of KKDA Live-wire. We return to music at 11 minutes past 3.’

(Source of this transcript is part of a communication from a Calvin Smith of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to James E McDonald in 1967.  The date of this recording is stated to have been 3 November 1957 which is consistent with references to ‘this morning’ in the transcript.)


Transcript two

Paul Parker: When did you first receive word that such an object had been sighted?

Clem: That was at 11.15 on Saturday night, 11.15.

P: Who called you?

C: A Latin American subject on the, called me from 5 miles west of Levelland, Texas, where the object was seen, when it cut his motor and his lights off, on his car.

P: When did you receive the second report?

C: At 12.05.

P: From the same general area?

C: Ah, no, yes, it was from the north west of Levelland. I was making a routine check of it all. I went to the first, when I got my first report at 11.15. I went to the scene where it was supposed to be. Nothing, we did find. We found nothing there.

P: What was the condition of the man’s car?

C: After it was over there was no harm whatever. It started. His lights came back on. He started the car and went on into town.

I: And how many miles was that from the first report?

C: It was about 8 or 9 miles’ cross country.

I: Did the description coincide?

C: Yes.

P: Have there been any Air Force people on the scene?

C: Yes. It is definitely the fact that it has been here. There have been objects reported here. We have talked to four different witnesses. None of them knows each other. Never came into communication with each other.

(The recording was of an interview between Paul Parker, staff member of radio station WIP, Philadelphia, and Sheriff Weir Clem of Levelland, dated 11 November 1957. Courtesy of Roy Craig's collection via Michael Swords.)


Transcript three

Anthony Edwards: Tell me exactly, what does this story add up to, down there in Levelland, Texas. I understand the Air Force is currently investigating that area, and other areas, and would you tell me what transpired late Saturday night, early Sunday morning down there, and what you were told by many witnesses who saw it. Number one, a Mr Wright, who told you a very interesting story. Sheriff, what was his story?

Clem: Mr Wright is a (words missing) Levelland, Texas. While returning from Lubbock, Texas a short time after midnight, when he drove his automobile close to the object. But Mr Wright said he did not know the object was there, until his motor died. His lights went out. He thought he had something else wrong with the car. Checked his battery, checked his wiring systems on his car; found nothing wrong. And he looked out of his car, turned around and seen this big object in the road just ahead of him. That frightened Mr Wright pretty much, so he jumped back in his car. He said he watched this object for about four minutes. He said it had a beautiful glow to it. A bluish, greenish glow. It was an oval shape (words missing) but flat on its bottom. The object was estimated to be 125 to 200 feet in diameter. After Mr Wright had watched the object for about four minutes, the object then takes off, almost straight up at a terrific speed, and about two seconds Mr Wright said it was out of his sight. It did not make any sound at all. Mr Wright said there was no portholes, doors, windows or any sign of life about this object. Nor any signs of motors or propellers, that he could see at all.

E. Well, sheriff Clem, how many other people in Levelland, Texas witnessed a sighting of the phantom object?

C: There was only four that really seen the object. There was two more drove up to the object as (word missing) Mr Wright did, sittin on the highway. That was Mr Williams from Kermit, Texas, who came up with the same story. He did describe the object same as Mr Wright. And also, there was a negro (words missing) from Waco, Texas who drove up on the object in the road, exactly as Mr Wright.

E. I understand you yourself saw the object, not on the ground but in the sky. Is that correct?

C: No, sir it is not. I did not see the object. I seen the lights, I will say the beams from the object.

(The recording was an interview between an Anthony Edwards and Sheriff Clem. It is undated, and was found in the “Faded Discs” collection on the internet.)


Project Blue Book material




The Project Blue Book Levelland file, contains an Air Intelligence Information Report, prepared by Lt. Col. W. P.  Brunson (USAF.) The report is dated 18 November 1957. In it there are details obtained from four witnesses by investigator Staff Sergeant Norman P. Barth. The four witnesses are:

1.       Mr Newel E Wright.
2.       Mr Pedro Saucedo.
3.       Sheriff Weir Clem.
4.       Lee Roy Hargrove.

Details given are as follows.

I SOURCE: Newel Eliphalet Wright, Jr.
Address: 1369 Eight Street, Levelland, Texas.
Age: 19
Occupation: Student at Texas Technological College, Lubbock, Texas.
Education: Second semester, Freshman year, Texas Tech.
Qualifications: None.

II RELIABILITY: SOURCE seemed to the investigator to be very sincere about his sighting. He was appalled at the amount of publicity given him and was anxious to have the sighting resolved. He was unhesitating in his replies; however, during the course of further questioning, he admitted uncertainty in some of his answers. SOURCE can be considered usually reliable.

III SOURCE’S DESCRIPTION OF SIGHTING: SOURCE stated that he was driving home from Lubbock, Texas (FJDD0935) on the night of 3 November 1957 at 0005 CST on Texas highway 116. Approximately four miles west of Smyer, Texas (FJDD2035), the ampmeter on SOURCE’s automobile began cutting out as it were not getting enough gas. After it had quit running the lights and car radio went out. SOURCE then got out of the car and lifted the hood to check for battery malfunction, finding none, closed the hood of the car and turned around to look for help. It was at this time that SOURCE saw the object and returned to the inside of the car.

SOURCE described the object as oval shaped and he thought that the size of the object was that of a baseball at arm’s length. He estimates that he object was seventy-five to one hundred feet at its longest dimension. SOURCE stated that the object was white in colour, with a greenish tinge, possibly caused by the tinted windshield of SOURCE’s car.

SOURCE estimated that he had been observing the object for four to five minutes when it rose virtually straight up and out of his line of vision. SOURCE was unable to estimated the speed with which the object left the area and was unable to estimate the distance he was from the object.
Upon the departure of the object SOURCE stated that the lights and radio of the car came on and the motor started with no difficulty.

SOURCE stated that there were heavy clouds in the area and a light rain falling.

SOURCE had no opinion concerning the possible cause of the sighting.

Statement:

‘I was driving home from Lubbock on state highway 116 at approximately 12.00pm when the ampmeter of my car jumped to complete discharge, then it returned to normal and my motor started cutting out like it was out of gas. After it had quit running my lights went out. I got out of my car and tried in vain to find the trouble. When I found nothing, I closed the hood and looked for a passing motorist to obtain help.

It was at this time that I saw the object. I got back into my car and tried to start it, but to no avail. After that I did nothing but stare at this object until it disappeared about five minutes later.

I then resumed trying to start my car and succeeded with no more trouble than under normal circumstances. I then proceeded home very slowly and told no one of the sighting until my parents returned home from a weekend trip to Hobbs, New Mexico for fear of public ridicule. They did convince me that I should report this and did so to the sheriff around .3pm Sunday November 3rd.’


I SOURCE: Pedro Saucedo.

Address: 219 Avenue H, Levelland, Texas.
Age: 30
Occupation: Barber.
Education: Grade school.
Qualifications: Nil.

II RELIABILITY: SOURCE appeared to be of below average intelligence. He stated his occupation as barber; however, Sheriff Clem of Hockley County, stated that SOURCE was a part-time farm labourer; dishwasher; barber etc. SOURCE had no concept of direction and was conflicting in his answers. SOURCE can be considered not usually reliable.

III SOURCE’S DESCRIPTION OF SIGHTING. At 02/2300 CST November 1967, SOURCE was driving west on Texas highway 116 about four miles from Levelland, Texas (refer to inclusion 1, Part seven) when he saw a large flame in the west. SOURCE thought it was caused by lightning. The object however, moved over his position and his truck engine and lights went out. Because of the heat and speed of the object, SOURCE got out of his truck and laid on the ground. SOURCE described the object as shaped like a torpedo. The color of the object itself was blue. The object had yellow flame coming out the rear and white smoke surrounding the flame.

SOURCE estimate the dimension of the object to be two hundred feet long and six feet wide.

SOURCE stated the object was in sight for two to three minutes and disappeared by burning out.
SOURCE estimated the speed of the object to be eight hundred miles per hour and he estimated the object to be three hundred feet away. Upon disappearance of the object, SOURCE was able to restart the engine and after the engine started, the lights of the truck came on. SOURCE stated he thought the object was an electronically controlled rocket.

Statement:

To whom it may concern, on the date of November 2, 1957 I was travelling north and west on route 116, driving my truck. At about four miles out of Levelland, I saw a bright flame, to my right, front, then I thought it was lightning. But when the object had reach to my position, it was different, because it put my truck motor out and lights. Then I stop, got out, and look, but it was so rapid and quite some hear, that I had to hit the ground, it also had three colors, yellow, white and it look like a torpedo, about 200 feet long, moving at about 600 60 800 miles an hour.’


I. SOURCE: Weir Clem.

Address: Box 1907, Levelland, Texas.
Age: 43.
Occupation: Sheriff of Hockley County.
Qualification: Officer’s school of Texas.

II. RELIABILITY: SOURCE impressed the investigator as being of average intelligence. He was eager to cooperate in resolving the sighting and frequently asked the investigator for advice on releases to the press. He was rather pleased with the sudden importance of the county. SOURCE can be considered fairly reliable.

III SOURCE DESCRIPTION OF THE SIGHTING: At 03/0130 CST November 1957, SOURCE was driving in his car looking for objects that had been reported in the area. SOURCE was travelling south on the Oklahoma Flat Road (refer to inclusion 1, part seven) at twenty miles per hour when he saw “just a streak of light one time.’ This light had  a reddish glow and moved from south to west in two seconds. SOURCE estimated the object to be eight hundred feet at its longest dimension and estimated the object to be four hundred yards from his point of observation. SOURCE had no opinion as to the possible cause of the sighting.’


‘I SOURCE: Lee Roy Hargrove.

Address: 600 W First Street, Littlefield, Texas.
Age: 24.
Occupation: Texas highway Patrolman.
Eduction: High school.
Qualification: Patrol school and jet fighter school.

II RELIABILITY: usually reliable.

Statement:

Was driving south on the unmarked roadway known as the Oklahoma Flats highway and was attempting to search for an unidentified object reported to the Levelland Police Department. When I saw a strange looking flash which looked to be down the roadway approximately a mile to a mile and one half, the flash went from east to west and appeared to be close to the ground. The flash lasted only a fraction of a second and was red to orange red color. This flash occurred approximately 1.15am on the morning of November 3, 1957.’


Notes

I came across a large number of newspaper accounts of the above, and other, accounts of witnesses. However, it is often difficult to tell, which press stories were drawn from direct interviews with the witnesses and which were simply compilations of existing material. So, I will err on the side of caution and simply present the above material, which does give a flavour of the events of that night.

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