UFOlogists often go on and on about incidents such as Roswell because they seem to support theories of extraterrestrial life. However, it is likely that MOST UFO cases are not, in fact, of extraterrestrial origin. They are simply unknown aerial craft. To wit, cases like Kecksburg - with its ties to Nazi Germany's "Die Glocke" and the United States' "Operation Paperclip" - are far more compelling mysteries. Just how many UFO's were actually German, Japanese, and even Russian spy craft? And did they, as some claim, gain their inspirations from otherworldly vessels?
"Die Glocke" or "The Bell" was reportedly born from the minds of Nazi scientists during World War II when the tide was turning against the once-almighty German forces who became desperate for a final solution. Much energy and money was expended on more and more outlandish (some would say crazy) research and expeditions, often involving the Third Reich's strange obsession with occultism and paranormal phenomena.
Deep within an underground compound in Poland known as "Der Riese" (The Giant), the Nazis reportedly crafted a metallic, bell-shaped instrument that stood nearly 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide with odd markings along the lower rim. Within was a strange substance known as "Xerum 525" that glowed strangely violet when excited and gave off strong levels of radiation. Many of the scientists working on the project died either from radiation sickness or at the hands of SS officers bent of maintaining the projects secrecy.
The Bell's purpose remains unclear. Some believe, the intense radiation was capable of manipulating time-space for the purposes of time/space travel or to produce anti-gravitational fields.
Sadly the reason so much speculation surrounds the device - if authentic - is because its story is only known because of one man: Polish writer Igor Witkowski wrote about the device in Prawda O Wunderwaffe, his little-known book published in 2000. He claimed to have seen secret documents compiled from the interrogation of SS General Jakob Sporrenberg. The story was picked up in the English-speaking realm by British author and journalist Nick Cook who wrote about it in his 2003 book The Hunt for Zero Point. But, sadly, much of the facts are uncorroborated and outlandish claims of a design process using clairvoyants makes it hard to swallow - even factoring in Nazi eccentricities.
Other factors, such as the purported test facility known as "The Henge" (proved to be the foundation of a cooling tower), were debunked in short order.
However, that's not to say there are not still some strange facets to the tale. While the veracity of The Bell's existence may not be anything to bet one's life on, it is well-known that in the aftermath of World War II that German scientists were recruited by both the US and Soviet Union. One of these individuals, the Nazi scientist responsible for Germany's ground-breaking early rocket efforts (such as the V2), later worked his way high into the ranks of the US space program in the 1960's.
Then on December 9, 1965 a fiery object was reported to have crashed to earth in the woods near Kecksburgh, PA. When local authorities arrived on scene, they were struck to find an acorn (or bell) shaped object about the size of a small car, circumscribed with strange markings at its base.
Witnesses later testified that the army arrived, loaded the object onto a truck, ordered the civilians to clear the area, and then later disavowed any knowledge of the incident. Speculation abounded: UFO, Soviet satellite, meteor...
While it is hard to say what actually happened (some astronomers dispute that the object seen over several states could have crashed in Pennsylvania), it is curious to note two things. First, the strong resemblance to The Bell (albeit such knowledge only arose in the year 2000, prior to Kecksburg). Secondly, the fact that a former Nazi scientist with ties to the Die Glocke era was heading up components of the US space program at the time. It might be possible that these early Nazi experiments had continued on into the space age as the US continued to seek the edge throughout the cold war.
While in my gut I think "The Bell" is a total ex post facto construct, conveniently using the Kecksburg template to work backward to a secret Nazi invention, it could still be that this mystery has a better chance at resolution than Roswell ever will. If fabricated, it would only take the destruction of Witkowski's claims. After all, if he saw these transcripts then they must exist and could be tracked down. For him to claim only he saw them and they will never be seen again, is a sure sign that another work of UFO fiction has been penned for the eager to lap up thirstily.
However, there remains the outside chance that, while still mired in more crap than a pig farmer, there exists some truth to this Nazi super weapon. Even if it turned out to be nothing more than a failed attempt at a satellite weapon, rocket, or flying bomb, it would have further proven that UFO's can often be explained by far more terrestrial means.