Copyright ©2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ALEX COHEN, host:

And now for a story from out of this world - maybe. Several dozen people in the town of Stephenville, about two hours southwest of Dallas, say they saw a very large low-flying object in their skies. They think it might be a UFO.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn traveled to Stephenville. He's now back in Dallas. He joins us now. Welcome to the program, Wade.

WADE GOODWYN: Thanks so much.

COHEN: So what exactly are these people saying they saw?

GOODWYN: They saw something very big that had flashing strobe lights and moved incredibly quickly. It hovered like a helicopter could hover. It made no sound, and they saw it close-up. People will say it was 500 yards away and maybe 2,000 feet in the air.

I mean there were numerous reports of two fighter jets that eventually pursued this object. And this object was not just there for a few seconds. I mean, you know, it was there for four or five minutes, long enough for people to go back in the house and, you know, get their wife or their eight-year-old son and say come look at this. They would come out and look at this - and there it would be.

You know, the newspaper is the central clearing house for information in Stephenville. And the newspaper thinks that probably 40 people saw whatever it was.

COHEN: That's a lot of people. And what kinds of people are seeing this? Where are these reports coming from?

GOODWYN: I don't know if you know West Texas. But West Texans are kind of like you would imagine a cowboy to be. You know, they are reserved. They don't suffer fools gladly. They don't tend to open their mouths unless there is some good reason to. The people who were talking about this - one is a pilot, another is a police officer.

What they all say is, look, I know how this sounds, but I know what I saw. The pilot estimated that when this thing moved that it moved at a speed in excess of 2,000 miles an hour. And he also saw two fighter jets. And there are several reports the two fighter jets gave pursuit - hopeless pursuit because of how fast this thing moved.

COHEN: And so what's the government saying about this? What's their explanation?

GOODWYN: The local Air Force base says none of their fighter jets chased anything. They suggested that perhaps it was a reflection of sunlight on two commercial airliners. But the people who actually saw this thing say no way.

COHEN: Wade, I've got to be a bit skeptical about this, especially because I have lived in Texas and I have read a fair bit about the so-called Marfa lights, also in West Texas - everyone thought it was some supernatural phenomenon. And there's been very lucid explanations of how car lights on the road could produce such an effect. So how serious can we take this?

GOODWYN: Well, this is not Marfa light-like. This is not lights glowing in the distance far, far away. I mean, the stories that are being told are stories of people saying this thing was very close to me. It was huge. The pilot described it as a half-mile wide and a mile long. He says it was bigger than a Wal-Mart. You know, the descriptions of this are detailed.

COHEN: Any evidence of this? Any photos taken? Any videos?

GOODWYN: No photos, no videos, just you know, numerous eyewitness accounts. But, you know, as any prosecutor will tell you, you have to be careful about eyewitness testimony.

COHEN: Keep looking to those night skies. That's NPR's Wade Goodwyn. Thanks, Wade.

GOODWYN: It was my pleasure.

COHEN: DAY TO DAY is a completely terrestrial production of NPR News with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Alex Cohen.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: