MYSTERY WIRE — Spring 1953, the Atomic Energy Commission unleashed a series of massive explosions at the Nevada Test Site, codenamed “Upshot Knothole.”

In the same time period, across the state line in Arizona, witnesses reported seeing a fleet of eight flying saucer-type craft engaged in what looked like a dogfight. This is an artist’s rendition of the event:

According to historian and former museum curator Harry Drew, three of those unknown craft ended up on the ground near Kingman in May 1953.

“I didn’t go into this with a preconceived notion that I would find the Kingman UFO,” Drew says. “I never expected a second one, and I thought it was all done, and then the information about the third one came to me.”

The site of an alleged 1953 UFO crash near Kingman, Arizona. (KLAS-TV)

Drew spent a decade poring through old records and newspaper accounts, tracking down original witnesses, and eventually stitched together a tale far more complicated than the granddaddy of UFO crash stories — Roswell.

In his public lectures, Drew explains how the Kingman story first surfaced in 1973, years before Roswell became well known. A newspaper ran a story about a retired Nevada Test Site technician named Arthur Stansel, who said that in May 1953 he and other team members were transported from Indian Springs — now Creech Air Force Base — to a remote desert location in Arizona to recover a secret experimental craft that had crashed. Stansel was a real person who believed the downed craft was far beyond any known technology.

In his book, “Seven Days in May,” Drew explains what became of the three craft that fell from the sky. One, he says, was obliterated when it smashed into the mountainside that towers above Kingman, setting off a fire. Another — resembling an artist’s drawing — was found intact in a desert area miles outside Kingman. And a third came down hard, clipped a rocky butte, then crashed adjacent to a small reservoir. Military security camped out around the site until the recovery team arrived and took the unknown craft back to a base in Nevada.

Kingman UFO Matt Adams
Photographer Matt Adams at the site of an alleged 1953 UFO crash near Kingman, Arizona. (KLAS-TV)

Drew says he found proof that military teams camped around the exact crash site — including military-issued food cannisters that dated back to 1953.

UFO writers have speculated that if the Kingman stories were true, then maybe the nuclear tests in Nevada caused the unknown craft to be knocked from the sky near Kingman.

Drew says the real cause was a trio of immensely powerful experimental radar sites set up in and around the town.

“The retrieval team arrived just in time on May 22 when the red light craft was flying down the fly way from north to south ran through a corridor where high output high energy short bolts of microwave radiation was installed and operating. There were complaints locally about birds being killed and all kinds of things that happened.”

The story is hotly debated, even within UFO circles. Drew says he’s been able to document not only the crashes, but how the craft were secretly transported to Nevada. And one of those machines was essentially intact, he says.

“Finding the landing site … that craft didn’t have a scratch on it, okay. None, no damage at all,” Drew says.