Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @

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The Strange Death of Capt. Thomas Mantell

I'm sure everyone's heard of the alleged crash of a UFO in Roswell New Mexico during the summer of 1947. What some of us may not know is that an equally puzzling mystery occurred right around here in January 1948 and involved a UFO as well.

Captain Thomas Mantell was an Air Force pilot born in Simpson County, Kentucky, June 30, 1922. On a routine flight from Georgia to an air base in Kentucky, he was asked to change course and check out reports of a strange object in the skies, sighted by people across Kentucky. What he encountered was described by Mantell in a radio message to base as, "a metallic object or possible reflections of sun from a metallic object, and it is of tremendous size." Several people from Maysville, Kentucky, reported seeing the "strange craft." Twenty minutes later, people from Irvington and Owensboro reported a "circular craft about 250 to 300 feet in diameter" and "moving westward at a pretty good clip." It's about 190 miles from Maysville to Owensboro: 190 miles in twenty minutes is 570 miles per hour.

Captain Mantell pursued the object and later lost radio contact. After a period of both visual and audio silence, a search was conducted for the missing pilot. Tragically, Mantell was found crashed in... oddly enough, Simpson County, the place he was born. Although lack of oxygen or a possible collision with a weather balloon were offered as possibilities for the crash, no sensible explanation was ever given.

Captain Mantell was an experienced wartime pilot, with over three thousand hours in the air.

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