On another web page I said I’ve never seen a UFO. That’s true, but I did see something one night that I’ve never forgotten.
In May 1977, I went to McDonald County in southwestern Missouri to look into a UFO flap that had taken place just weeks earlier. Hundreds of people had seen glowing balls of light like fireballs moving about in the woods of the Ozark Mountains. Some people had frightening close encounters.
All this happened between February and April. By the time I arrived in May, the sightings had all but stopped. However, that didn’t keep me from going out nearly every night I was there, hoping to see what so many others had seen.
One of the people I talked to was Van Knabel, a husky, deep-voiced man who lived on a farm near Pineville. To him and others, the balls of orange light in the distance were so bright they lit up the dead limbs of trees and the leaves on the ground.
I spent a week in McDonald County, staying at a Pineville motel. One evening Van offered to go looking for UFOs with me. We hopped in his pickup and a few minutes later parked on one of the higher ridges several miles away.
We sat there for some time. As he was telling me about the “fireballs” he and others had seen, a bright light less than a quarter of an inch in diameter in apparent size suddenly appeared in the sky ahead of us. It was slightly to our right and about forty-five degrees above the horizon. It was as if someone had turned on a light bulb up there.
The light was absolutely stationary, perfectly round and very bright but not the least bit glaring. We were both startled and grabbed out binoculars.
Just a second or two after I got my glasses focused on the light, it dimmed down to about a twentieth of its original brightness but stayed the same size, still a perfect circle, still sharply defined. Three or four seconds later, it simply blinked out. It was gone.
We jumped out of the truck to see if we could hear or see anything. But there was nothing.
It definitely was a light. We agreed on that. Van said it was not like anything he or the others had been seeing. What they had seen was more like a brush fire in the distance.
This was actually our second "sighting" of the night. About an hour earlier we were astonished to spot such a ball of fire. It was less than a mile off to our right and down the ridge below us. But it turned out to be a real fire.
Van sped down the road not quite a mile to what turned out to be a furiously burning farmhouse. We turned up into the driveway, dodged sparking wires and drove past the burning house into the backyard to see if anyone was home. But there were no cars there and we heard no one. Sad to say, we could hear puppies inside crying in terror.
Before we could do anything, cartridges started exploding inside the house, possibly from a box of rifle shells. That scared us and we raced back out into the highway to get away from them. Van alerted the fire department on his CB radio and we went back up to the ridge.
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ABSOLUTELY NOT! SHE SAID
The first time I ever went to Puerto Rico was in November 1977 to look into mass sightings of two UFOs in Mayaguez on the coast about sixty miles southwest of San Juan. I flew from Miami to San Juan and from there was supposed to go to Aguadilla, a small city on the northwestern tip of the island where a local investigator lived.
He was my main contact and I wanted to see him before going to Mayaguez, farther south along the coast. But at the San Juan airport, I got on the wrong plane because I understood very little Spanish at the time. As a result, I flew to Mayaguez instead.
This was on an Air Carib plane that was perhaps the oldest DC-3 still flying in those days. It had to be one of the originals built in the 1930s. The window frames were square and wooden, and fresh air seemed to come in through tubes in the ceiling of the fuselage.
But it was a pleasant flight until we landed in Mayaguez and I discovered I wasn’t in Aguadilla. No problem, the pilots said. They’d just drop me off in Aguadilla, about twenty-five miles to the north, on their way back to San Juan.
But there was a problem... a serious one. The lone flight attendant, a rather pretty but annoyed young woman, immediately vetoed the idea. She had a date back in San Juan and she stated emphatically that she didn’t have time to take a detour.
No problem, said the very accommodating pilots. The airline would pay for a taxi to Aguadilla… and it did.
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MYSTERY CHUNKS AND FEATHERED DIVEBOMBERS
Canada has many UFO sightings (as probably does every country) and I made four or five trips there. One fascinating story involved huge chunks of earth that had been literally ripped out of the ground and moved a few feet away. This was near the town of Madoc in Ontario Province.
chunks were triangular in shape, six to eight feet long and about a foot deep.
They must have weighed hundreds of pounds. They were much to heavy to be moved
by hand and there were no tracks of any kind of machinery or vehicle anywhere
near them that could have been used to move them. The sides of the holes
they left were more or less smooth and showed no signs of digging.
The sides of the holes they left were more or less smooth and showed no signs of digging.
They were found in a field on a farm in the loop of a river. They were about a quarter of a mile from the farmer’s house, and the only way to get to the field was by driving through a fenced yard and right past the house.
No one knows if a UFO was involved. There had been sightings in the area at the time and several small crop circles were discovered on a nearby farm. The corn stalks or crops were flattened and swirled.
The mysterious chunks of earth and the crop circles created a fine mystery that, so far as I know, has never been solved.
The visit to Madoc was particularly memorable because a flock of small birds kept attacking me and other guests at the motel where I was staying. For several days, a trip to or from the car and the motel was hazardous, and you had to keep your head covered and run to avoid getting dive-bombed.