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Recounting Lebanon County PA’s Brief UFO Frenzy of the 1960s

Article by Joshua Groh                         April 28, 2020                         ( lebtown.com)

• Several dozen UFO sightings have been reported through the years in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. But 1965 seemed to be an especially eventful year.

• After the Lebanon Daily News ran a story on reported UFO sightings over the county on July 12, 1965, jets from Olmsted Air Force Base were dispatched to intercept the same UFO the next day. It was described as a “mainly circular” object miles up in the sky. But the USAF said it was a half-inflated balloon. Lebanon resident R. L. Clauser wrote a letter to the editor asking: “How stupid does the Air Force think the people of Lebanon are?”

• More news reports of UFOs were coming from states including Oklahoma, Texas, and Nebraska.

• On July 9, 1965 at 10pm, 16 year old Connie Wolferd saw a clam-shaped craft 10-feet in diameter with red lights around the rim, and a “lavender flame” blazing from its underside “that hovered above the trees.” Wolferd said that it “beeped, whirred, and made sounds like loud radio static when it flew away.” Wolferd’s family also spoke of electrical disturbances in their home that night. Several other Bunker Hill neighborhood residents claimed to have seen “something more than a celestial or atmospheric disturbance” but were afraid to speak up. Wolferd’s account seemed to spark a small local wave of reports from other county residents over the next several months.

• On August 23, 1965, teenage brothers Frederick and Robert were sleeping in a car at their house in North Lebanon at 2 am when they saw a red “oval ball of flame” overhead, “as large as a passenger aircraft.” As they watched it travel north toward Jonestown, they called Civil Defense headquarters. Later, they compared experiences with Connie Wolferd.

• On the evening of September 19, 1965, Giles Brown of Jonestown, PA and his family saw a low-flying “grey hulk” with a bluish ring of lights at the back of their trailer home. It caused their television to roar with distortion. Brown said he later found strange imprints on a new pile of sand.

• The Young family reported a sighting on that same evening, but described it as larger and differently colored. The sighting was blamed on a blimp that had passed over Lebanon County on that particular evening, but there was a dependency about the locations of the UFO sightings and the blimp’s course.

• A week later that September 1965, a trucker reported seeing a red glow on the infield of the Fredericksburg Speedway. The speedway’s operators Elmer and Dale Richard found a strange, “perfect circle” patch of ‘burnt’ land seven feet in diameter that had appeared on the infield overnight. Other reports from the Annville-Cleona area apparently coincided with the time of the event.

• Finally, on December 9, 1965, the citizens of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania to the west toward Pittsburgh, saw an acorn-like object crash into the woods. Witnesses reported that the object was covered with some kind of “hieroglyphs”. The Air Force investigated and, according to witnesses, carting away the object. This incident has become famous and regarded as “Pennsylvania’s Roswell”.

• In the years following 1965, Lebanon County residents reported several more sightings, including some over nearby Mt. Gretna and Cornwall. In 1967, a high school student caught a series of unknown flashes of light on film while he was photographing Jupiter. The student, Michael Kohl, stated that the lights were not from aircraft.

• According to the National UFO Reporting Center, the latest UFO sighting in Lebanon happened on October 5, 2019, when a resident observed “two round bright white objects” floating over their house during the afternoon for 45 minutes.

 

If you lived in Lebanon County back in the mid-1960s, you might have been among a group of residents who claimed witness to a number of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. Several dozen sightings of UFOs were reported through the years, though 1965 seemed to be an especially eventful year.

The modern idea of the UFO and its connection to aliens is usually traced back to a famous 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico, involving what some declared to be a government coverup. From that point on, UFOs and rumors of extraterrestrials became embedded in the American consciousness, and in the summer of 1965, Lebanon County joined in on the frenzy.

On July 13, the Daily News reported the sighting of a “mainly circular” object miles up in the sky over Lebanon seen a day earlier. A jet from Olmsted Air Force Base approached the object and identified it as an unoccupied plastic balloon in the process of inflation, but some Lebanon residents doubted this report. Days later, the Daily News printed a letter to the editor written by one R. L. Clauser that took issue with the Air Force’s explanation.

 model of the Kecksburg “acorn” UFO

“How stupid does the Air Force think the people of Lebanon are?” Clauser wrote. “I have read all the books on UFOs that I could get my hands on and have also have heard and have seen numerous radio and television reports on them[…] Did Lebanon have an interplanetary visitor on [the 12th]? From all evidence available it did.”

That week in early July was evidently a busy one for extraterrestrials. In August, a Bunker Hill resident named Connie Wolferd spoke with the Daily News about an sighting she claimed to experience on July 9.

The 16-year-old Wolferd described a “huge hulk that hovered above the trees” that “beeped, whirred, and made sounds like loud radio static when it flew away.” It was around 10 feet in diameter, with red lights ringing the rim of the clam-like shape, and was propelled by a “lavender flame” that blazed out from its underside. She estimated the event to have taken place at 10 p.m. on July 9, and Wolferd’s family spoke of electrical disturbances in their home that accompanied it (evidently, only incandescent lights were affected).

The Daily News reported that other Bunker Hill residents had seen it but feared to speak up, and opined that “it is obvious, however, that Connie and the others saw something more than a celestial or atmospheric disturbance.”

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

23 Years Later, the Phoenix Lights Are Still Unexplained

 

Article by MJ Banias                         March 13, 2020                                (vice.com)

• On March 13th, 1997, hundreds of Arizonans called their local law enforcement to report a series of strange lights moving over their cities and towns. Today, ‘The Phoenix Lights’ case remains one of the largest UFO sightings in history, and a fixture of contemporary UFO discourse. (see video of the Phoenix Lights below) Filmmaker Seth Breedlove takes an in depth look into the “Phoenix Lights” event in a new documentary series: On the Trail of UFOs.

• At about 7:00 pm, people in northwestern Arizona began reporting a large craft passing overhead. At 8:16 pm, a retired police officer in Paulden, Arizona, two hours north of Phoenix, called the National UFO Reporting Center to report seeing a series of reddish lights arranged in a V-formation in the night sky. Calls continued to pour in over the next couple of days to report the pair of sightings – both a boomerang-shaped object in the sky and odd moving lights with tails and “fireballs.”

• Ron Regehr is a veteran UFO researcher with the Mutual UFO Network and a former engineer with Boeing and Northrop Grumman. He was part of the team that helped develop the Defense Support Program Satellites (DSP), a series of infrared sensing tactical satellites that detect the launch of missiles, space launches, and nuclear detonations. On this evening, Regehr received a phone call from a colleague at the DSP that they had picked up an object over Las Vegas, Nevada traveling southeast toward Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

• Regehr said that the Phoenix Lights event was significant not only because so many people witnessed it, but because of the great extent that government and military authorities went to denounce the incident. People became so polarized that it took on a ‘cult like’ life of its own.

• Arizona’s governor (Fife Symington) held a press conference where he brought in his chief of staff dressed in an alien costume, poking fun and telling the press that they were “too serious” about the UFO stuff. Ultimately, the military took responsibility, claiming that the two events were: 1) jets flying in close formation, and 2) some military flares.

• In the documentary series, Breedlove doesn’t try to prove or disprove whether the lights were alien UFOs or military exercises. Instead, Breedlove follows podcaster and author Shannon LeGro who explores the UFO community itself and the cultural ramifications for the people who claim to have anomalous encounters. On the Trail of UFOs also explores several other cases where Breedlove focuses on the individuals caught up in the event, and how it altered their lives.

• “As an event, the Phoenix Lights is important simply because it gained so much media attention, was witnessed by so many people,” says Breedlove. “Every year, more witnesses come forward; from airline pilots to military personnel to ordinary people living from places as far removed as downtown Phoenix to Las Vegas.”

• “I’m not sure today that the response to the Phoenix Lights would be as over-the-top as it was in 1997,” says Breedlove. “Things have changed drastically in 23 years, and the Phoenix Lights helps illustrate that fact.” “[I]t’s a culturally important event because it illustrates how at-risk witnesses were of being ridiculed if they came forward.”

 

23 years ago today, the people of Arizona witnessed one of the most infamous UFO incidents in history.

A new documentary series by filmmaker Seth Breedlove takes an in depth look into the so-called “Phoenix Lights.” On the Trail of UFOs doesn’t try to prove that the incident was aliens or flares, but instead expertly explores the cultural ramifications of the event on the UFO community.

   Symington’s press conference

“As an event, the Phoenix Lights is important simply because it gained so much media attention, was witnessed by so many people, and today, can still not be precisely explained away,” Breedlove told Motherboard. “Every year more witnesses come forward; from airline pilots to military personnel to ordinary people living from places as far removed as downtown Phoenix to Las Vegas.”

On March 13th, 1997, hundreds of Arizonans called their local law enforcement and a popular UFO reporting hotline to report a series of strange lights moving over their cities and towns. The Phoenix Lights case remains one of the largest UFO sightings in history, and continues to be an established fixture of contemporary UFO discourse.

At roughly 7:00 pm, people in northwestern Arizona began reporting a large craft passing overhead. According to the National UFO Reporting Center, the first call they received came in at 8:16pm from a retired police officer in Paulden, Arizona, a town about two hours north of Phoenix. He reported seeing a series of reddish lights arranged in a V-formation.

Over the next couple days, calls continued to pour in regarding the sighting of multiple lights in the sky, some arranged in the shape of a boomerang, and others as odd moving lights with tails and “fireballs.” Ron Regehr, a veteran UFO researcher with the Mutual UFO Network and a former engineer with Boeing and Northrop Grumman, told Motherboard in an interview that he was part of the team that helped in developing the Defense Support Program Satellites (DSP), a series of infrared sensing tactical satellites that detect the launch of missiles, space launches, and nuclear detonations.

4:02 minute video of Phoenix lights footage (YouTube)

 

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

A Taos Close Encounter of the Hunters and Aliens Kind

Listen to “E102 9-20-19 A Taos Close Encounter of the Hunters and Aliens Kind” on Spreaker.
Article by Staci Matlock                        September 9, 2019                          (taosnews.com)

• Bow hunter Josh Brinkley (41) of Santa Fe, New Mexico (pictured above left with his friend Daniel Lucero) often hunted for elk at Cerro de la Olla, also called “Pot Mountain”, near Ute Mountain in the Taos Plateau Volcanic Field in northern New Mexico. Brinkley has hunted the area for fifteen years. Brinkley’s friend and co-worker Daniel Lucero (26) had never been up to Pot Mountain. So they both went to scout the area a couple of days before the September 1st start of elk bow-hunting season.

• On September 1st, 2019, the two men set up along the tree line on different sides of a field and waited. By 9:30 am Brinkley got restless and began walking through the woods looking for elk. He walked up the mountain to the crater-caldera at the top of the collapsed volcano and stood at the southwestern side of the crater’s edge. Brinkley then noticed two tall figures standing side by side about 35 yards away, staring at him. Brinkley walked around a bush, looked again, and they were gone.

• Brinkley described the figures: “The shape that would be like their heads, it looked like they had huge hoods on. It looked like two ribbons coming off either side to a point at the top and bottom (like a banana). The right side was black, left side was white and a little shiny. Torsos were kind of black, I couldn’t see many details. It definitely looked like clothes. In middle of the oval was just gray.”

• Brinkley went back to where Lucero was still waiting. Brinkley told Lucero that he’d seen a couple of hunters who probably scared off the elk. He didn’t mention the men’s strange appearance. Said Brinkley, “I was a little weirded out.” Once they reached their campsite, Brinkley finally told Lucero what he saw. “I told him what I saw was weird. They were too tall, their heads were too big to be hunters,” said Brinkley. “Anyone who knows me knows I don’t tell these weird stories.”

• On September 2nd, they again set out in the morning looking for elk. But they couldn’t figure out why there weren’t any in the area. At 2:30 in the afternoon, they drove their Jeep to the other side of the mountain but saw no signs of wildlife or anyone who might scare the animals away. Suddenly they saw what they thought was a movie production base camp. They are both employed as builders for movie sets. Brinkley described what they saw: “It’s this big tent structure, like a circus tent, 50-60 feet tall. Coming off the left of it was this long building, almost like what you would build for an archery lane for target practice. It was a third the height, but really long, maybe a couple hundred feet.”

• They were about a quarter mile away and couldn’t see the bottom of the structure. They watched it for about a minute as they drove. Driving around trees, they lost sight of the structure for five seconds, Brinkley said. “When we topped the hill, it was gone. Just gone.” Lucero said, “There was no dust, there was nothing.” The men drove around the area searching until dark, but found nothing.

• When they reached a place with a cell phone signal, they contacted Peter Davenport, the longtime executive director of the National UFO Reporting Center in Washington state. Davenport called the incident “profoundly unsettling.” Davenport said that of the thousands of calls he gets every year about alien sightings, they rarely describe seeing aliens on the ground. Brinkley and Lucero said they weren’t drinking and weren’t on drugs. After listening to some 350,000 phone calls over 25 years, Davenport thinks he can tell those that are credible. This was one of them.

• Brinkley said he didn’t believe in UFOs, but “I sure do now.” “People probably think we are insane.” Lucero said he doesn’t know about aliens. “I just know I’ve never seen anything that big just disappear.”

 

Bow hunters Josh Brinkley and Daniel Lucero, dressed in camouflage gear, looked a little uncomfortable sitting in chairs at a local newspaper.

The Santa Fe County residents had just come into Taos after several days in rugged terrain near Cerro de la Olla, also called Pot Mountain, northwest of town near Ute Mountain.

           Tao County, New Mexico

They had a strange tale to tell and they weren’t sure of their reception.

“We’re a couple of guys that don’t believe in much, but we believe now,” Brinkley said.
They went hunting for elk.

They encountered aliens or something else so strange they don’t know what to call it.

Sketch made by Josh Brinkley of the strange beings

Brinkley, 41, said he’s been going to the Pot Mountain area hunting for 15 years. He had never seen anything particularly odd.

He said he works construction and on movie sets. He’s a family guy who doesn’t want anyone to think he’s crazy.

He and Lucero have worked together for eight years.

They say they aren’t prone to seeing things and didn’t particularly believe in aliens.

Odd figures

Opening morning of bow hunting season was Sunday (Sept. 1). The two men had gone a couple of days early to scout the area for elk. Lucero, 26, had never been there.

      Taos Plateau Volcanic Field

They set up along the tree line on different sides of a field and waited. After three hours and no elk, Brinkley became restless. It was about 9:30 a.m.

“I take off walking, creeping around through the woods, looking for elk,” Brinkley said.

He reached the top of the mountain where there’s a caldera, a kind of wide bowl left behind by a collapsed volcano. He went to the edge on the southwest side. As he walked to the edge he noticed two figures on his side of the caldera. He thought at first they were hunters. But, they were “very tall shapes of these beings, standing side by side, staring right at me,” he said.

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

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