This article was published in the daily newspaper The Columbus Dispatch, of Columbus, Ohio, USA, on Friday, October 12, 1973.
UFO Reports Precede Boom
Troy, Ohio - UFO sightings were reported in Ohio just prior to a thunderous boom heard in at least six states Thursday night. Scientists speculated that a meteorite entering earth's atmosphere may have caused the mysterious shock wave.
Law enforcement officers in at least three Western Ohio counties were swamped with reports of unidentified flying objects prior to and after a shock wave hit in the area around 9 p.m. Thursday.
Troy Patrolman Early Thomas and about 100 Troy residents said they watched a hovering red, green and white object in the southeastern sky around 8:45 p.m.
Lawmen in Miami, Champaign and Logan counties said they received hundreds of telephone calls around 9 p.m., just after a shock wave hit and again shortly after midnight, after a second boom.
Two other Troy policemen reported seeing a flashing green object with a red flame at 4:45 a.m. Friday. The policemen said the object was flying in a north to south direction and disappeared within 10 seconds.
When various officials and agencies insisted there were no known aircraft that could have caused such a widespread sonic boom, many concluded a minor earthquake had hit the East.
But seismographic instruments came up blank.
"The only other guess is it conceivably could have been a meteorite coming into the area," said Shelton Alexander, Penn State geophysics and seismology expert.
Sonic booms are frequently caused by airplanes breaking the sound barrier, and Alexander said a meteor zipping into the atmosphere at high speed could have caused the same effect.
"It definetely was not an earthquake," he said after making extensive checks of the instruments at Penn State's seismic observatory.
The shock wave rattled windows over a wide area at about 9 p.m. Police stateions, newspapers and radio stations were swamped with calls from worried residents in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and western Indiana.
There were no reports of any damage or injuries.
Air Force officials in Pennsylvania and officers at the Naval Observatory in Washington said they had sighted nothing that could have caused a sonic boom or explosion.
The Goddard Space Flight Center in Beltsville, Md., and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Washington said they knew of nothing that could have caused the shock.
The National Earthquake Information Center in Boulder, Colo., said its instruments would not record a small earthquake in the eastern United States and that they had no knowledge of a large quake anywhere.
Most of the reports described the shock as lasting only a few seconds. Some reports said there was a series of up to three separate tremors.