When it comes to travel, not all of the places we visit appear in guide books or on travel bucket lists. And to be honest, we like it that way. Popular tourist sites like the Las Vegas strip, Seattle’s Space Needle, Dracula’s Castle, and Machu Picchu are wonderful, and there is a reason they attract millions of visitors every year. However, lesser-known places can often be just as fun and interesting to visit—especially when they contain the element of mystery. That’s why we decided to visit the small town of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania. Some have called Kecksburg the “Roswell of Pennsylvania,” a nod to the world-famous town in southeast New Mexico that reportedly saw the crash landing of a UFO in 1947 and grew to become one of the most well-known alien and UFO stories in the United States. 1,600 miles and 20 years apart, Kecksburg found itself on the same supernatural map as Roswell when an unidentified flying object crashed its way into town.
I’m a big fan of most things alien related, and I’m fascinated by how many historical spots around the world claim to have connections to otherworldly origins. Our trips to see Bolivia’s Puma Punku, Indonesia’s Borobudur, New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon, and Peru’s Paracas skulls were inspired by what I’ve discovered on shows like History Channel’s Ancient Aliens and Science Channel’s Mysteries of the Abandoned. Stephanie is a bit more of a skeptic but always up for an adventure, and since Kecksburg, Pennsylvania is only about a three-and-a-half hour drive from our home near Washington, DC, we packed up the car with some road trip snacks and headed off to see the “Space Acorn” monument and learn more about the Kecksburg UFO crash ourselves.
If you’re interested in alien stories or fascinated by UFOs, you might want to visit to the small town of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania. We hope these tips will help you make the most of your experience to a great, off-the-beaten path destination!
Kecksburg UFO Crash: What Happened?
The evening of December 9th, 1965 left an unusual imprint on the memories of many residents of southwestern Pennsylvania. A little before 5:00 PM ET, a raging fireball was reportedly seen falling from the sky before finally crash landing in the woods near the small town of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, about a forty-five minute drive from Pittsburgh. Eyewitnesses said they felt vibrations and a loud thump around the time of the crash, and the fireball was seen by people across six states and even as far away as Canada. But what exactly was this unusual “unknown flying object” that crashed in Kecksburg?
When locals visited the crash site, they discovered an unusual bell-shaped craft without wings or any recognizable propulsion system. The bronze-colored structure resembled an acorn, and it was estimated to be around 15 feet long, or about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Adding to the bizarre occurrence, the Kecksburg UFO featured a design reminiscent of Egyptian-like hieroglyphs engraved along the outside of the craft.
Within hours, military personnel arrived at the UFO crash site to confiscate the wreckage. Local newspapers reported that the area around the crash was immediately sealed off by order of the U.S. Army and Pennsylvania State Police. In fact, according to a story in the Tribune-Review, police officials “ordered the area roped off to await the expected arrival of both U.S. Army engineers and, possibly, civilian scientists.” It didn’t take long for the Military officials to load the bell-shaped craft onto their trucks, cover everything with tarps, and haul away the last remnants of the crash.
There were concerns at the time that whatever it was that came crashing to earth could be radioactive, but ultimately the only aspect of the story that was confirmed was how baffling it was for residents in the area: they didn’t know what it was, what it was made from, or where it came from, but they all shared in the confusion it brought with it!
Aftermath and Theories of the Kecksburg UFO Crash
In the days after the crash, many eyewitnesses have said they were forcibly turned away by military personnel, and some have even claimed to have been visited after the fact by “Men in Black” style officials who reminded them to avoid discussing what they saw that night. These stories quickly fed into the additional rumors and conflicting theories that began to emerge, all contributing to the growing legend of the Kecksburg UFO incident.
Reports eventually began to trickle in, with some saying the fireball could have been a high altitude test rocket or perhaps Soviet satellite debris falling from orbit. The Pentagon indicated the Kecksburg UFO could be a meteor, and of course, there are those who believed the craft to be of extraterrestrial or alien origin.Interestingly, the TV show Ancient Aliens posed a different theory. During the segment where they discuss the crash, the hosts theorized that it could have even been a top secret Nazi craft known as The Bell or “Die Glocke” which “Ancient Astronaut Theorists” suggested could have been a time machine. The project was conducted in a secret location in Poland during World War II, and the show used blueprints to compare the similarities in the design to what was described to be found in the Pennsylvania UFO crash. It was a fascinating comparison, and the objects did look strikingly similar, but without physical proof of either the Kecksburg UFO or the supposed “Nazi Bell” it’s impossible to say whether there was an actual connection.
Still, it’s the stories of aliens and space crafts that continue to attract most of the theories.
The Kecksburg UFO incident has become one of the most prominent alien crash cases in the United States and, possibly, even the most well-known east of Roswell, New Mexico. One of the earliest main-stream reports of the Kecksburg UFO story came from the popular TV show Unsolved Mysteries. An episode of Unsolved Mysteries from 1990 featured interviews with local residents and brought the story to life through reenactments to share the UFO legend with the world. The show built a life-sized replica of the Kecksburg UFO for the episode and gifted it to the town after filming was complete. The prop, known to locals as the Space Acorn, was put on display in a small park in the middle of Kecksburg with the hopes of attracting alien enthusiasts and mystery hunters.
The episode of Unsolved Mysteries is available on YouTube, and you can watch it below if you’d like to learn more about the Kecksburg UFO crash.
Today, visitors come from all over the United States to see the Space Acorn and learn about the UFO incident. Across from the defacto monument to this unusual UFO crash, visitors will find the local Volunteer Fire Department, which is also home to the Kecksburg UFO Store. We followed the signs to the UFO Store and found a fun selection of Kecksburg UFO gifts and trinkets—everything from pint glasses and hats to alien toys and keychains. Be sure to visit the Kecksburg VFD website to check their hours of availability if you’re planning your own trip to see the Space Acorn.
More Information: Kecksburgvfd.com/ufo-store
Kecksburg UFO Crash EventsDuring our visit, we learned that the Kecksburg UFO story has grown to be so famous that it even spawned an annual UFO celebration known as the Kecksburg Old Fashioned Days & UFO Festival. Usually held over a weekend each summer, the festival has showcased not only alien-related activities and entertainment but also displays and exhibits on additional mysterious creatures like Bigfoot.
The event has many similarities to your usual state fair atmosphere but with the added theme of aliens and cryptids to give it a unique style all its own. Local vendors, parade floats, races, carnival snacks, and family fun of all kinds are part of the event. Be sure to visit the Kecksburg VFD website to learn more about schedules and plans for future events if you are interested in incorporating it into a future vacation.
Hotels Near the Pennsylvania UFO Crash Site
Because we live just a few hours away, we drove to Kecksburg and visited in a single day. If you find a hotel stay is needed for your trip, we recommend using Booking.com to find some great lodging deals. If the Kecksburg area doesn’t have the selection you need, Pittsburgh isn’t very far away, and you may find a much greater variety of hotels and hotel amenities if you stay in a more urban location. Other Pennsylvania locations, including the Flight 93 National Memorial, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, and Fort Necessity National Battlefield are within a short drive of Kecksburg and Pittsburgh, so if you plan to visit multiple places in the area you may find Pittsburgh is a great place to stay.
Visit the Kecksburg UFO Crash Site!
We’ve visited many interesting places around the world, and plenty of those sites have come with mystery and unknown stories. The Kecksburg UFO story and the “Space Acorn” monument were a fun part of Pennsylvania’s history to learn about during our day trip. If you’re a UFO enthusiast (or if you enjoy watching history shows like Ancient Aliens like I do), make sure to visit Kecksburg and discover more about this corner of the world. You never know what interesting histories live within a small town’s borders—or when a mysterious space craft might crash into local history!
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