Location: Sierra Mountains near Stanislaus River, California,
McCully of Merced said he had gone camping alone and was
up before dawn fishing when he first noticed a bright
pulsating light reflecting off the water. Then he said
there was a sudden brilliant flash and something like
hailstones pelted the area around him. Frightened, he
bent down, he said, to pick up his fishing pole, which
had dropped, and noticed what appeared to be a gold nugget.
Modesto Bee (Modesto, CA), Sept. 13, 1976
man puts 'nugget' from space to the real test"
McCully of Merced does not claim to believe in undentified
flying objects (UFOs), but he has what he thinks could
be a fragment of something from outer space.
object, about the size of a golf ball, was sent by McCully
to the International UFO Registry in Hammond, Ind. which
in turn turned it over to the University of Chicago's
Argonne Laboratory for tests.
said it previously was examined by a gemologist in Merced,
who tested it and said it is not metal.
also has a letter dated July 7 from Robert Lemmon, Merced
Community College geology instructor, who mentioned further
the letter, Lemmon said the sample was checked with a
spoctograph but the melting temperature "is so
high that the carbon arc wouldn't melt it." Lemmon
suggested the use of more sophisticated equipment than
found at the college.
however, noted that the sample does have the appearance
and density of pure silicon, one of the few elements whose
melting temperature is too high to run through the spoctograph.
So I'll guess at that.
I wouldn't hazard a guess as to where it came from and
there are many compounds that contain silicon,"
says he knows where, to some extent, the object came from
and therein lies his story.
to McCully, who owns an appliance store at 1777 Crows
Landing Road, Modesto, he found the object four years
ago while fishing in the high Sierra near the Stanislaus
said he had gone camping alone and was up before dawn,
fishing, when he first noticed a bright pulsating light
reflecting off the water.
said the light seemed to grow bright and then dim and
at first, he thought it was a forest fire although he
neither heard any crackling of flames nor smelled smoke.
Then he said there was a sudden brilliant flash and something
like hailstones pelted the area around him.
he bent down, he said, to pick up his fishing pole, which
had dropped, and noticed what appeared to be a gold nugget.
He picked it up, put it in his shirt pocket and then went
to his sleeping bag and rolled it up in preparation to
leaving the area.
said that as he did so, he noticed that bark of the trees
in the area had what looked like fresh scar marks, similar,
he said, to what would have happened if they had been
grazed with bullets.
back home in Merced, McCully said he told his wife of
the incident. But when he searched his pockets for the
nugget, it was gone. "Since I couldn't prove what
had happened I kept my mouth shut," he said.
And as time went by, he forgot the incident.
is, he said, until early in July when, while preparing
for another camping trip, he got out the sleeping bag.
As he rolled the bag out on the driveway, out rolled the
subsequently showed the object to other people, including
a friend who informed him that a Dr. A. Allen Hynek had
offered, through several magazines, a reward of $50,000
to anyone able to prove through physical evidence the
existence of UFOs. That led him to have the object tested
by the gemologist and the geologist and eventually to
chiseling off a smaller piece of the nugget and sending
the larger piece to the UFO Registry. Now it is a matter
of waiting for the results of the tests. Meanwhile, McCully
is willing to show the fragment he kept to anyone interested
in seeing it. And he says he is negotiating to sell his
story to the National Enquirer.
show space nugget can't exist'"
Bee (Modesto, CA), Sept. 30, 1976
mystery of Tom McCully's space nugget has deepened with
word that laboratory tests show the nugget, which is non-magnetic
and can't be detected by a metal detector, is 99.4 per
who found the nugget four years ago in the high Sierra,
said he received word of the lab tests in a telephone
call yesterday from Dennis Hauck of the UFO Registry,
said Hauck told him the nugget had been tested by scientists
with the University of Chicago's Argonne laboratory and
that the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is the
next step in the testing process.
also is interested in examining the object, according
operator of a Modesto appliance business, said Hauck's
reaction over the telephone to the Argonne tests was one
of amazement. "He told me it's silly, it (the
nugget) can't even exist."
said there is a theory that the nugget seems to have been
manufactured but no one appears to know who made it. He
said Hauck told him NASA is dealing with stuff so secret,
the space agency won't even discuss it.
then a Merced resident, found the object four years ago
while fishing alone along a stretch of the Stanislaus
River. He said it was about dawn and he had just walked
down to the river when he noticed what appeared to be
a pulsating light reflecting off the water. Then he said
the light grew brighter and there was a sudden flash and
something like hailstones pelted the area around him.
said he became frightened, bent down to pick up his fishing
pole, which he had dropped, and it was then he noticed
the nugget. He picked it up, stuffed it in his shirt pocket
and after repacking his gear left the area and returned
said he did not rediscover the nugget until last July
when, while preparing for a camping trip, he found it
in a sleeping bag. He said it apparently had fallen out
of his pocket while he was rolling up the sleeping bag
four years ago.
said he showed it to various people and was urged to send
it to the UFO Registry.
he started out with only one chunk, McCuily said the material,
while extremely hard, also is brittle and he managed to
break it into three nuggets, one of which was sent to
said the other two pieces are in a safe deposit box. He
also said he has been advised by Jauck to safeguard the
two nuggets and not to return at this time to the Sierra
site where the original nugget was found.