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On the evening of August 25, 1951, three science professors from Texas Tech were enjoying an evening outdoors in Lubbock, when they looked up and saw a semicircle of lights flying above them at a high speed. Over the next few days, dozens of reports flooded in from across town—Texas Tech freshman Carl Hart Jr., even snapped photos of the so-called Lubbock Lights phenomenon, which were published in newspapers across the country and LIFE magazine.

Project Blue Book, which led the Air Force inquiries into UFOs, investigated the events, and its official conclusion was that the lights were birds reflecting the luminescence from Lubbock’s new street lamps. Many people who saw the lights, however, refuse to accept this explanation, arguing that the lights were flying too fast.

 

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