However, eyewitnesses in the small village of Kecksburg, about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, claimed something crashed in the woods. A boy said he saw the object land; his mother saw a wisp of blue smoke arising from the woods and alerted authorities. Another reported feeling a vibration and "a thump" about the time the object reportedly landed. Others from Kecksburg, including local volunteer fire department members, reported finding an object in the shape of an acorn and about as large as a Volkswagen Beetle. Writing resembling Egyptian hieroglyphics was also said to be in a band around the base of the object. Witnesses further reported that intense military presence, most notably the United States Army, secured the area, ordered civilians out, and then removed the object on a flatbed truck. At the time, however, the military claimed they searched the woods and found "absolutely nothing".
A reporter and news director for the local radio station WHJB, John Murphy, arrived on the scene of the event before authorities had arrived, in response to several calls to the station from alarmed citizens. He took several photographs and conducted interviews with witnesses. His former wife Bonnie Milslagle later reported that all but one roll of the film were confiscated by military personnel. WHJB office manager Mabel Mazza described one of the pictures: "It was very dark and it was with a lot of trees around and everything. And I don't know how far away from the site he was. But I did see a picture of a sort of a cone-like thing. It's the only time I ever saw it."
In the following weeks, Murphy became enveloped with the incident and wrote a radio documentary called Object in the Woods, featuring his experiences and interviews he had conducted that night. Shortly before the documentary would have aired, he received an unexpected visit at the station from two men in black suits identifying themselves as government officials. They requested to speak with him in a back room behind closed doors. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes. A WHJB employee, Linda Foschia, recalled the men confiscated some of Murphy's audio tapes from that night, and that no one knows what happened to the remaining photographs. A week after the visit, an agitated Murphy aired a censored version of the documentary, which he claimed in its introduction had to be edited due to some interviewees requesting their statements be removed from the broadcast in fear of getting in trouble with the police and Army. The new version contained nothing revealing, and did not mention an object at all. Mazza, and also Murphy's wife, remember the aired documentary was entirely different from what Murphy had originally written. (See pp. 4–5 of CFI's report in External links for details of the aired documentary.)
After the airing, Murphy became uncharacteristically despondent and completely stopped all investigation on the case and refused to talk to anyone about it again, and never gave clear reasons why. In February 1969, Murphy was struck and killed by an unidentified car in an apparent hit-and-run while crossing a road. The hit-and-run occurred near Ventura, California while Murphy was on vacation.