Kecksburg, Pennsylvania - A fire in the sky, an acorn-shaped object partially buried in the ground, odd hieroglyphic markings, the military restricting access to the site, a possible government cover-up -- all in Westmoreland County and it's all a part of what's known as the UFO incident in Kecksburg.

Friday will mark the 40th anniversary of that incident, when numerous people witnessed a fireball streak across the skies in the late afternoon.

While the fireball reportedly was seen in four states, it landed in a wooded area near the village of Kecksburg, near Mt. Pleasant.

All the witnesses interviewed said that the object in question was large, metallic, acorn-shaped, with hieroglyphic markings, and partially buried in the ground.

Soon after the object fell, the military was on the scene and cordoned off the area, forbidding access to everyone.

Even after a military flat-bed trailer truck was seen rushing out of the area carrying a tarpaulin-covered object, to this day the official story from the government was that nothing was found, that what crashed was a meteorite.

Stan Gordon, of Greensburg, remembers that night and the rest of the story well.

Gordon was 16 years old at the time and was glued to both the radio and the television all night long, since he was already interested in supernatural phenomenon at an early age.

"It became more intriguing as the evening went on," Gordon said. "I stayed up as late as I could, and then I read about it in the Tribune-Review the next day on the front page."

Since then, Gordon's interest only grew. He started investigating the UFO incident over the years, making contact and interviewing numerous eye witnesses and consulting experts to post to his UFO/Bigfoot research Web site,

Gordon is the organizer of a special event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Kecksburg incident, to bring more witnesses together and even attract new witnesses who may be now willing to tell the group what they saw.

"Some still wish to remain anonymous," he said.

Gordon said it took months to put together the program, which will feature speakers from as far as New York City and Washington, D.C.

The program will include the following speakers:
* Gordon, who will hold an illustrated talk about the incident based on the information he gathered from 40 years of research.

* Robert Gatty, a reporter for the Tribune-Review in 1965. He will describe his assignment that night and how he was prevented from approaching the object by numerous Army personnel on the scene.

* Larry Landsman, the director of special projects for the Sci-Fi Channel. He will discuss the channel's UFO Advocacy Initiative that supported a recent investigation of the Kecksburg case by the Coalition for Freedom of Information. The cable channel also produced two TV documentaries on Kecksburg that aired in 2003.

* Leslie Kean, a journalist. She will speak on the forensic evidence recently discovered at the crash site and on her interviews with Air Force personnel involved in the search of the UFO.

* Lee E. Helfrich, an attorney. He will speak about the current status of the lawsuit filed against NASA in 2003 to gain access information about the Kecksburg incident.
There will also be a restored Kecksburg UFO monument on display behind the fire station, put together by the Kecksburg Volunteer Fire Department UFO and Festival Committee.

One Connellsville resident excited about the upcoming event is Jerry Betters, who was an eye witness of the incident.

It was on that Dec. 9 that Betters heard about the siting on the radio and decided to head out to the area with a few people.

The military was already on the scene, blocking the main roads, but Betters knew the community well and took the back roads, he said. He saw steam emerging from the woods like there was a fire. He also saw a lot of soldiers, what could have been top military brass, people in lab coats and something he'll never forget: an object on a flat-bed truck with hieroglyphic writings on it that was leaving the woods.

"That was no meteorite," Betters said. "It was something I'll never see again, but I'm glad I saw it."

Although what Betters saw was unique and armed military personnel yelled at them to leave the scene, he wasn't scared.

"I was very excited; it was a really good feeling," he said. "My heart was beating really fast."