Archive Index Area 51 Mailing List Archive Ufomind

Missile sighting from Rachel & elsewhere, 1/16/97

Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 23:04:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Missile sighting from Rachel & elsewhere, 1/16/97

Rachel, Nevada, 1/16/97, 7pm

I lived full-time in Rachel for 2-1/2 years and can proudly
say I've never seen anything I can't explain.  I've seen
impressive "UFOs" but they turned out to be aircraft lights
or military flares.

Just now, though, I saw something startling in the skies
southwest of Rachel.  It was the most spectacular contrail I
have ever seen: An erratic corkscrew starting at the horizon
and ending about 10 degrees above it.

I happen to be in Rachel today, attending to business at the
Research Center Head Office.  There was a foot of snow on the
ground and it was bitterly cold.  At about 5:50pm, some
visiting tourists burst into my trailer with great
excitement and told me to come look outside.

This was just after sunset, and the rest of the sky was
perfectly clear.  The setting sun had illuminated the
contrail, and it was just like a kid had scribbled on the
blue sky with a white crayon.  This was the trail of some
aircraft doing extreme maneuvers.  I have often seen twisted
contrails, usually of two jets engaged in a dogfight, but
this one was stunning (in part because of the lighting), and
only one aircraft seemed to have been involved.  The contrail
was thinnest at the horizon, and wider as it got higher in
the sky -- suggesting that it started far away and got

It was a stunning display, but it could have been created by
a fighter jet doing extreme maneuvers.  For example, the
Thunderbird aerobatic team practices in the winter at Indian
Spring.  Still this one was unusual.  There was no straight
lines at all in the contrail, just a continuously erratic
corkscrew.  The area of sky it covered was impressive.
(Holding my hand at arms length, fingers parallel to the
horizon, just barely covered it.  This was a lot of area
given its apparent distance.)

The visitors said they saw something else: A bright white
light above the contrail with a wide "tail" behind it.  The 3
visitors, who were passing through while enroute from Las
Vegas to California, had first seen the contrail when they
were driving about a mile east of Rachel.  They also saw what
they described as this "comet" above the contrail.  They
pulled over and the bright white light "blinked out" about 30
seconds later and the cone-shaped "tail" faded out shortly

My neighbor called and said that her friends in Alamo had
seen the same thing.  Since Alamo is 40 miles away, this was
unusual for a plane contrail and indicated that the pattern
of smoke was both very wide and very high.

We watched the contrail as the sun set, and when the rest
of the sky was all dark, the top end of the contrail was
still illuminated, indicating that it was indeed very high,
as though the object was heading into space.

Just now, my neighbor called back.  The 6:30 Channel 8 news
from Las Vegas (KLAS) reported the contrail, too.  Las Vegas
is about 110 miles south of Rachel.

The TV station also reported that the object was a Minuteman
missile fired from Vandenburg Air Force base at about 5:30
pm.  (Vandenburg is consistent with the direction where the
contrail first appeared above the horizon.  A spokesman from
Vandenburg was on the line, but since I didn't see the
newscast, I haven't collected all the details yet.
Apparently the Minuteman failed to complete it's mission.
There was also something about another missile being
involved, one fired from the Marshall Islands.  The
Vandenburg spokesman says he was also getting a lot of calls
locally, suggesting that it was seen over a vast area.

A missile?  At least that's what they WANT you to believe.
It certainly has to be embarrassing to have a missile
wandering around up there.  The contrail looked positively
drunken, and I wonder if it was under intelligent control.

A follow-up might appear in newspapers tomorrow.

Glenn Campbell

[ This Month's Index | Archive Main Index | UFO UpDates Mailing List ]
[ Area 51 | UFO Topics | Ufomind What's New | Top Level ]

Area 51 Mailing List - Standards and General Information

Sponsored by the Area 51 Research Center. Moderated by Glenn Campbell.
Technical contact:

Financial support for this web server is provided by the Research Center Catalog.