The stories of Captain E D Morrison pilot of a London bound Boeing Clipper jet en route from New York and Captain R A Botthos, a DC-8 pilot whom both on the 19th March 1964 witnessed something entering the Earth's Atmosphere. Morrisson had stated that " It woke up the sky in a great white flash" Whilst Botthos himself stated "I saw the object, which was travelling on a North to South trajectory, explode in a big flash and trailing columns of smoke on re-entering the Atmosphere.I was flying at 29,000 feet. It was a spectacular sight."
Ironically fourteen years later the Cosmos 954 satellite would make a remarkably similar final journey entering the Earth's Atmosphere over the Canadian continent from its 150 mile high orbit on a North to South trajectory impacting in the Northwest Territories of Canada, although quite alarmingly had the satellite managed to achieve another orbit before plunging into the Atmosphere its impact area would have been very different, falling instead just outside of New York City.
Oddly enough the one thing you can't keep is a secret...or is it?
Given the nature of the problem and the size of the Northwest Territories, combined with the fact that the fallout was scattered over a 124'000 square mile area. Its not surprising that a considerable search effort was required by both American and Canadian aircraft to facilitate the the location and recovery of the fallen satellite's scattered debris or more appropiately its power source (110lbs of enriched uranium), followed by a clean up operation which continued until October of the same year.
In stark contrast to the Northwest Territories. Cannock Chase quite literally pales into insignificance, although it as to be said here that a significant debris field such as that produced by the Cosmos 954 would have had dire if not fatal consequences for the towns surrounding the Chase and therefore there could be little dispute that such an incident could not be kept out of the public domain. Even a well placed contingency plan and cover story would have been unavoidably publicised within the local and national press and later retained for posterity within the archives, hence leaving a footprint in the pages of history.
However, in order to preserve the conspiracy theory surrounding the Penkridge Incident we have to stray a little to another event which took place a year later and in many ways is more closer to it than the Cosmos affair. On the 9th December 1965 an alleged Unidentified Object crashed within the vicinity of the small town of Kecksburg,Pennsylvania.
Although unlike Penkridge the event was quite remarkable in that not only were there an abundance of eye witness testimony but also media coverage from a local Radio station all bearing witness to an alleged retrieval operation by the military of a downed object.
Still there are some pretty remarkable similarities here, a witness testimony placed a flat bed truck at the scene of the impact being used by the Military to remove the mysterious object (whilst the Military themselves claimed they found nothing in their search of the area) further testimony is presented by another witness who (arrived prior to the Military) actually took photographs but later had his film confiscated.
Whilst finally the crashed object itself, being positively described as very similar to an acorn shape had (more importantly) allegedly remained virtually intact with no discernible debris field other than the point of impact.
Despite this body of testimony and far from being lost in the passage of time (as appears to be the case with the Penkridge Incident) the Kecksburg UFO Incident pertains that something out of the ordinary did actually occur back in December of that year. Yet we unfortunately still continue to find no such tell tale signs of something unusual happening at Penkridge, which dare I say it should be there. While on the other hand one of the theories put forward to explain the Kecksburg UFO is the question of Space debris, which interestingly enough continues to raise its head. This time in the form of another Soviet satellite Cosmos 96 (Although ruled out in some quarters because of a timing difference when compared with other observations) nevertheless this still presents an underlying theme of orbital space debris on a North to South trajectory that might have inspired if not laid the basic foundations for Leonard Stringfield's story.
So where does all this leave us? Both the Cosmos 954 satellite affair and the Kecksburg UFO Incident present two opposite sides of the secrecy coin in the sense that Debris scattered over a large area is indeed bad news for the Men in Black. Whilst a relatively intact falling object might possibly escape unwanted attention (however this would have to be more luck than by design) or at the other end of the scale, present the Men in Black with a feasible damage limitation exercise in concealment....