A man and a woman who chose to remain anonymous said they saw eight balls of light hovering in the West Side skies on the night of January 27, 1963. They even provided footage, and they must have felt kinda deflated when, in the middle of the report, reporter Sam Knef slapped on a tinfoil hat and started waving around a toy spaceship.
Early August, 1963
According to newspaper reports, a young man driving down a gravel road in Wayne County, Illinois, reported seeing a strange light knifing through the low clouds. As he watched it, transfixed, his car died.
Three days later, the young man got some company.
Scores of residents all across the Tri-State, but mostly from Fairfield, reported seeing a kite-shaped and bright orange object hanging in the night sky.
Col. Robert Friend, of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, was called in to investigate.
Weíll get to his explanation for the first event later. But as for the mass sighting, he said it was the result of an Air Force jet refueling in mid-air. A KC-135 tanker conjoined with a B-52, creating a strange, hovering craft.
Others reached different conclusions. An unnamed amateur astronomer who was interviewed said the lights could be the result of the Perseid meteor showers, which happen every year and often peak around August. 13. That same astronomer also blamed the incident on Jupiter, which he said sometimes looks orange and can appear to jump thanks to heat waves.
A former navy pilot saw a UFO and he says this video proves it. Sam Berman has the details.
It seems weird that the Air Force would drool all over itself to comment on some random lights in the rural Midwest. But in the 1950s and í60s, when nervous Americans searched the skies for nefarious Russian aircraft, that was the order of the day.
It started, publicly at least, in 1952, when Air Force officials spoke to Life Magazine. The article was titled:
Have We Visitors From Space?
Apparently Queen Elizabeth II was writing the headlines back then.
To prove the existence of an advanced species, Life put Marilyn Monroe on the cover.
In the article, the Air Force invited the public to send in their stories for an initiative they called Project Saucer. That was eventually swallowed into the infamous Project Blue Book.
So if you read the literature churned out by UFO organizations such as National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena, the Air Force comes up a lot. The general consensus? They had no idea what they were talking about. Air Force explanations came off the top of their heads, the theory goes. Anything to cool tensions.
Frank Edwards, a director for NICAP, mentioned in September of 1963 that Friendís refueling explanation was leg-pulling.
If you believe Francis Ridge, Friendís explanation about the earlier sighting doesnít hold up, either.
Ridge identifies the young man as Ronnie Austin. He and his girlfriend had just caught a movie at a drive-in and were driving Ronnieís 1956 Ford Victoria up Highway 15 when they saw a white ball of light tailing them through the trees.
It sped up when they sped up. Slowed down when they slowed down. At one point, it dove toward the windshield and whirled around to the other side of the car. When they got to the girlfriendís home, they sprinted inside and killed the lights, watching the light dance outside the window.
Austin had to go home, so he sprinted for his car. Stomping on the gas pedal, he told Ridge and other investigators that he must have been doing 120 m.p.h., he zoomed up the gravel roads, but the light stayed right with him.
Meanwhile, the engine began to slip as the light darkened from white to orange. It dove at the car once more and hovered near Austinís face.
He sped into his driveway and sprinted inside.
His arrival had awakened his parents, and they thought he had gone crazy, Ridge wrote.
Panicked and worried about his son, Austinís father watched the light through the window and thought about grabbing his shotgun. They wanted to call the police, but their phone stopped working for several minutes. Eventually, they contacted a doctor to tend to their hyperventilating son.
Friend and other investigators took statements from the family. Noted that electromagnetics from some unknown source may have tampered with the car and phone. Eventually, Friend concluded that Ronnie had seen nothing more than the moonlight peering through the fog.