Rex Heflin's striking UFO photo from Santa Anna, CA in 1965

Perhaps many of you are well acquainted with USO’s (Unidentified Submarine Objects). These sightings have been widely made by aviators, naval personnel, and civilians alike in many regions of the globe from the Pacific Northwest, to the Pacific Ocean, from the Redondo Trench off the Coast of California to the Atlantic ocean shores of the eastern seaboard of the US and Canada, but Oklahoma?

The early flying saucer frenzy

From 1947 through the 1957 a series of UFO flaps led police officers, Air Force pilots, and citizens on a wild chase that often culminated in the dismissive press conferences of Project Blue Book Astrophysics Consultant, Doctor Allen J. Hynek, whose job it was to debunk major UFO scares whenever large numbers of witnesses were involved. His standard explanations were such objects as weather balloons, the planet Venus, and marsh gasses. Even though Doctor Hynek privately fought for more funding to support more serious research for Project Blue Book in 1953 under the review of the Robertson Panel, he was the point man. The Air Force used J. Allen Hynek’s expertise as an astrophysicist to discredit the reported sightings of witnesses though he was beginning to see the absurdity of his position.

Calm before the storm

After the year of 1957 a relative calm had been experienced over the skies of the US. The public had not gone into a panic over so many UFO flaps occurring over many segments of the American topography as in previous years. Project Blue Book by than had been reduced to nothing more than a public relations branch of the Air Force with more serious sightings going up the ladder to Wright Patterson AFB for thorough technical analysis. This fact frustrated Doctor Hynek as well, who remained in his role as official debunker for the US Air Force.

A nationwide UFO flap unfolds

However, in 1965 the floodgates broke open and the UFO phenomena burst upon the scene with a vengeance.  A bright orange aerial object, huge in proportion to the night sky, stunned witnesses in Exeter, New Hampshire. Kecksburg, Pennsylvania was the site of a fiery nocturnal object landing in dense woods that was subject to a rapid recovery effort by the US Army and mysterious death of a local radio reporter. The infamous New York City blackout left thousands trapped in elevators, looting, traffic gridlocked, skyscrapers darkened, and sightings of UFO’s trailing power lines silenced by the authorities. The two man crew of astronauts of the Gemini 2 reported being paced by an unknown object while in orbit to mission control. At Edwards Air Force Base near Palmdale, California 12 UFO’s breached the forbidden air space of the installation. Armed jet interceptors were vectored to aerial targets that proved too elusive to catch up to. Yes, 1965 was a banner year for the ubiquitous UFO, and it didn’t stop there.

The UFO invasion begins

The UFO flap did not ignore the State of Oklahoma either as sightings stretched from across the Sooner State as police and air bases alike responded to reports made by witnesses. The year of 1965 was definitely not a dull year for the Sooner State. According to Donald Farris, author of “More Mysterious Oklahoma” on August 1, 1965 at 1:05 AM Officer Lewis Sikes of the Wynnewood PD made an official police report. According to Officer Sikes the object had a bluish green color with a rotating white light at its center. The UFO moved northeast in the sky of his position in Wynnewood. The object rapidly rose into the sky and then lost altitude again. A Murray County Sheriff’s Deputy confirmed the sighting as well. Meanwhile, Tinker Air Force Base was tracking an object at an estimated `8,000 feet until it was no longer observable. 200 Miles south in Ft. Worth, Texas Carswell AFB was registering unidentified air traffic that apparently had moved on a course north to south into their surveillance corridor.

SO where do all these spontaneous sightings of the surreal lead us to as the skies of Oklahoma are literally inundated with unidentified aerial activity? You might recall that the late Ivan T. Sanderson, well known biologist and TV host to an educational show also served as a World War II intelligence officer. His travels and investigations led him on the trail of USO’s which he never quit looking into until his death in the mid 1970’s. Yet, we must ask ourselves how could a USO manifest itself in Oklahoma of all places? Aren’t most of these USO’s relegated to the ocean bottoms where they are picked up by naval sonar? No sir!  

A USO seen in the heart of Oklahoma!

It seems that one fisherman who was boating at lake Hefner in Oklahoma City had a chance encounter that changed his perspective forever and blows the top off the theory that USO’s only dwell in the waters of the ocean. As the man sat in his boat fishing he watched as what he described as a dome shaped flying saucer with a flat bottom emerge from the lake waters as he sat there aghast at something he never would have expected to see. The witness told authorities that he had himself checked into a local area hospital for shock afterward. This fantastic report came in the evening of July 31, 1965.

More UFO’s join the fray

Some 20 additional reports that evening came in from Oklahoma State troopers as various motorists and residents began calling in their sightings. No, that would not be the end to a most colorful Sunday evening that was not about to go quietly into the night as the Sooner State experienced a UFO flap that would not subside for 5 long days in the summer of 1965 the year that the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show August 14th of that same year. How the extremes of fame and fortune crossed paths with the unknown on that fateful year.

USO sightings have been documented off the coast of Canada’s Shag harbor, off the coast of Redondo Beach in California, and in the fjords of Sweden, but for such an object to rise out of a lake in Oklahoma is quite an eye opener. Sometimes reality is stranger than the very most wicked of fictional pages especially in the Sooner State!

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