The UFO phenomenon has a habit of appearing all over the place, affecting the lives of countless people from all walks of life. Although the common image is that these things only happen to bumpkins living out in the sticks, this can’t be further from the truth. All manner of people have claimed to have seen UFOs, including those in high up positions. It is these stories from people from upstanding circumstances that really make people sit up and take notice, and one of these must surely be the time a doctor, former assistant attorney general, and member of the Board of Medical Practice of the U.S. state of Vermont came forward with a series of very strange UFO encounters that are hard to really write off.
As far as credentials go, those of Terry Lovelace are impeccable. He was assistant attorney general of the US Territory of American Samoa, general counsel for the LBJ Tropical Medical Center there, president of the American Samoa Bar Association, a member of the Board of Medical Practice of the U.S. state of Vermont, and Assistant Attorney General for Vermont up to his retirement. As far as reliable witnesses go, you can’t really ask for much better, and Lovelace has quite the bizarre tale to tell. The story begins back in 1973, when Lovelace joined the U.S. Air Force right after graduating high school and trained as a medic/EMT. His post was at Whiteman Air Force Base, in the state of Missouri, previously known as Sedalia Air Force Base, and serving variously as a B-2 bomber base and a missile base, home of the 351st Strategic Missile Wing and holding numerous Minuteman II nuclear-armed ICBM silos spread out all over the rural area. Here he was assigned as a base medic driving an ambulance, and at the time of his experience he worked the graveyard shift from 11 PM to 8 AM, along with a partner he calls “Toby.” In January of 1975 they were out on their usual shift, and it started like any other night, with the two of them sitting outside the ambulance looking at the stars and waiting for a call while Toby, an amateur astronomer, excitedly explained the constellations and planets. Their shifts were typically uneventful, with whole evenings going by without anything happening, but this night would turn out to be very eventful indeed, and would change their lives forever.
At 2 AM they were roused out of their wistful daydreaming by a call that a missile technician had fallen into one of the missile silos, about 18 miles away across rows of endless soybean fields. They tore off in response to the call, and were surprised to arrive to find the place crawling with armed security police, who told them to go no further. As Lovelace looked over the scene wondering what all of the commotion was about he said that his attention was drawn to a “matt-black diamond shaped object” about the size of a van hovering over the missile silo. The strange object hung there for an estimated 15 minutes before it “just shot off to the east from a dead stop to the speed of a bullet without accelerating.” He claims that after that both he and Toby were debriefed and told in no uncertain terms that they were not to talk about or disclose anything of what they had just witnessed, and the explanation they were given was that it was a type of experimental helicopter. And that was that. Both of them knew that what they had seen was no helicopter, but there was no further information and they tried to put it out of their minds.
Fast forward 2 years and Lovelace and Toby were still working the same shift at Whiteman AFB, and one day they decided to use some of their vacation leave to go camping, something neither one of them had ever actually done before and wanted to try. Since Lovelace was an amateur photographer, Toby suggested that they take their trip to a place called “Devil’s Den,” which had a high plateau perfect for stargazing, as well as plentiful nature and wildlife to photograph. They drove out there and decided to go deep into an off limits nature preserve area away from the main camping area, where they would have more peace and quiet and better scenery. Lovelace was upset that he had forgotten his camera, but it was such a nice area that he soon didn’t mind too much, and they set up their tent planning to stay for two nights. That night, they would have the first of a series of odd encounters. Lovelace would say:
On our first night we were exhausted from a hike we took when we first arrived, a long drive and setting-up a campsite. About 9:00 PM Toby noticed three stars on the horizon. They made a perfect triangle. They were small at first and moved in perfect unison. It became obvious this was one solid object and not three independent lights orchestrated to move in perfect formation. We watched it ascend and grow closer and much larger until it was directly over top of our campsite. We noticed that as it passed through a star field, it blotted them until it had moved past. Then they would blink back on. So, it was one solid object. It was odd that at first this thing in the sky made us anxious but that soon dissipated. We noticed the whole forest was now dead silent when an hour earlier it had been alive with crickets and tree frogs. While this thing was over our heads we became abruptly disinterested. We were also suddenly drowsy. Not tired but almost sedated. At midnight we just decided to get in the tent and go to sleep. The apathy puzzles me to this day.
The weirdness would continue at 3 AM that same evening, when Lovelace claims to have woken to brilliant multicolor lights that lit up the entire tent and made night seem like day. Since they were out in the middle of nowhere, well away from other campers, the only source of the light they could think of was the strange object they had seen earlier. As the brilliant lights flickered and danced around them, the only thing protecting them the tent’s thin sheet of fabric, Lovelace says that he overcame his building sense of unease in order to take a peek outside. He says of what he saw:
I pushed Toby aside, so we could both look outside toward the meadow. There was an enormous UFO as large as a five-story office building. It was a triangle with each leg being about a city block in length. It was fifty feet tall and sat stationary, thirty feet over the meadow floor. There was a noise too. It was a low bass hum or drone. Not so much loud as it was powerful. It was like standing nest to a running diesel train engine or a large industrial machine.
We saw what I first took to be children walking around the meadow underneath the triangle. There was a column of white light, about thirty feet in diameter shining down from the center of the triangle. We watched as these little people walked into the light and just dissolved, one by one until they were gone. The hum stopped and the corner lights all returned to brilliant white. The white cylinder from the middle stopped and the thing rose about like a hot air balloon. It made a one-third (clockwise?) rotation and continued its ascent, picking up speed until it was high in the sky and then gone. While we were apathetic earlier, now were scared out of our wits. We abandoned our campsite and ran to the car and drove back to base.
Lovelace claims that the incident had left red, raw skin like a bad sunburn all over their bodies, including even the soles of their feet, and that they were hospitalized at the base for two days with severe dehydration. During their time there, Lovelace claims that they were separately interrogated on several occasions by men identifying themselves as being from the “Office of Special Investigations,” and that his home and car were searched for the camera they were certain he had been carrying, despite his insistence that he had forgotten it. He was also ordered to have no further contact with his partner Toby, who was reassigned to another base, and the whole incident would give him intense nightmares and have profound psychological effects on him for years. He explains of some of this:
Ever since 1977, I am uncomfortable being outside in open spaces especially after dark. I sleep with a light or the television on. I keep a loaded .380 by my bedside table and a high intensity flashlight. I am uncomfortable around elderly Asian women for some odd reason. I feel anxious at the mall when we walk past a window display with naked mannequins in the window. Something bad happened to us at Devils Den.
He also claims that he had physical effects as well, such as a spot on his leg that would often go numb and was found to have a metal object embedded within it, despite no scarring present. He has written a whole terrifying account of it in his book Incident at Devils Den, a true story by Terry Lovelace, and one is left to wonder what to think of all of this. Looking at his credentials and standing it is hard to argue with what he claims he saw, but was there perhaps some misunderstanding or even an effort at creating a mystery? If so, why would he do such a thing? Whatever the case may be, he has continued to maintain that it is all true, and considering his standing as a highly reliable witness it leaves us to wonder.