One area of the greater UFO phenomenon that doesn't seem to get as much attention as others is that of what are called USOs, which stands for "Unidentified Submersible Objects" or also "Unidentified Submarine Objects." In such cases we have strange craft traveling beneath the waves through the water, and at other times seen to spectacularly enter the water or erupt from beneath, suggesting that these things are just as at home in the sea as they are in the skies above us. Here we will look at a collection of such exceptionally weird cases, pointing at an underseas dimension to the UFO phenomenon that has largely been ignored, but which has been gaining greater attention in recent years.
Our first odd report comes from 1947, off the coast of Malta. In June of that year, a fishing vessel was about 20 miles off the southern coast, engaged in the routine business of pulling in their nets. As the nets came up, one of the crew alerted the others to something strange bobbing about out on the water’s surface, which appeared to be what they described as a “black submarine” floating about in the waves. It was an unsettling enough sight that the crew finished hauling in their nets and went about starting up the engines to get out of there, and at that moment there was a bright flash of light from the anomalous black shape. This light was bright enough to illuminate the object and the surrounding vicinity, showing it to be smooth, black, and metallic, and there were also small figures now visible upon it, which seemed to be wearing some type of apparatus around their waists and were described as “little men.” As the frightened fishermen looked on, these diminutive figures, described as about the size of 10-year-old children, seemed to scramble into the craft, after which it began to glow so brightly that they could barely look directly at it. The object then quickly submerged and disappeared under the waves to not be seen again.
There are several similarly strange cases of UFOs entering or exiting the ocean from the 1970s. One of these comes from a reader submitted report to the site UFO Casebook, and apparently transpired in January of 1971 off the coast of Puerto Rico. The witness claimed that he frequently surfed, and that he and other surfers would often see strange things beneath the waves, glowing objects that would shoot about through the water at high speeds. One particularly interesting account would happen one morning, of which he says:
On one occasion, around 6.30. A.M. that is the best time to surf by the way, several silver-colored objects came out of the water about half a mile from where we were waiting to catch a wave. These objects were round and hovered in one position, then they took off straight up at a speed that I cannot explain, but they disappeared so fast it was incredible. About a half hour later, the objects came back, I think it was around 6 or 7 of them, and went into the ocean. We never reported it to anybody, we just thought it was a military practice or other things that we did not know about. This all happened in the year of 1971, January, I do not remember the exact date. I am only reporting this one event but we had many more sightings of this kind since we surfed in the west coast of Puerto Rico. By the way, this event happened in Rincon in a beach known to surfers as Tres Palmas, and there were about 8 to 10 surfers that day.
In 1973, we have the case of a UFO that seems to have come down to enter Rainbow Lake, in New Hampshire, in the United States. According to The Derry News, on October 4, 1973, several local residents saw multiple bright objects in the sky over the lake, “yellowish in color,” which hovered over the water. The size of the objects was given as several feet in diameter, and then one suddenly came down to crash into the waves while the other one shot straight up into the sky. The East Derry Fire Rescue Squad was notified, and actually sent a boat to search the lake, but nothing could be found. Whatever the objects were, they were apparently seen by numerous witnesses throughout the area, as the police department would receive a deluge of over 40 calls about them, which were persistent enough in insisting that something had come down into the lake that a team of divers was subsequently sent in. A follow-up report would read:
At the request of Chief (redacted), two divers descended into Rainbow Lake Friday afternoon in an attempt to resolve reports of an unidentified flying object that three witnesses claim splashed into the lake on Oct. 2. The divers swept the silty lake water with powerful searchlights, but their vision was impaired by the murky water, and they could not see more than a few inches ahead at any time. Said one of the divers, "The only way they're going to get anything out of that lake is if they drag it. Chief (redacted) said he has no plans to drag the bottom and considers the matter closed.
A very weird series of events would play out in 1977 in the vicinity of Mayaquez, Puerto Rico, the country’s third largest city, where there was much talk of two massive glowing objects that would on many occasions enter and exit the ocean. It happened in September of that year, with a report of the two UFOs passing over the city to head out about a half a mile off shore and drop down into the water in a controlled manner. These two objects would on several occasions exit and then enter the water again, all while an estimated one thousand people looked on in astonishment. Many of them were superstitious, and were overcome by an intense terror that the world was coming to an end. One fisherman named Rafael Lopez and his half-brother, Arturo Rivera, were out in their boat that day and got a good look at the object coming down into the ocean, and he would explain:
It just appeared close to us. We didn't see where it came from. We just all of a sudden noticed it close to us in the water, and when we first saw it, it looked small, and then it seemed to grow very large. In the beginning we weren't afraid. We were glad because we thought there was another boat coming close to us. Then we realized it wasn't a boat and we started to get frightened. We were hearing a sound like a cricket screeching. I had the impression it was a cricket inside the boat. I've had crickets in the boat before and all you have to do is pound on the sides of the boat and they usually shut up. But as much as we pounded, it didn't quiet. It kept on making sounds.
As long as we didn't move, the object stayed steady in the water and seemed to get smaller and then larger. And when it got larger, it got much brighter and then it would change colors. When it would grow brighter, it would get from like yellow to an orange color. Then we got frightened and decided to leave. But the boat had run out of gasoline. We had a little bit of gas in a bottle but we were really nervous by that time. We were trying to get the cap off the motor to put the gasoline in and we couldn’t because we were real nervous. And all this time the object kept getting closer and closer to us and we were getting more and more nervous. We finally got the cap off, and it finally started and we were able to start toward the beach. Once I got to the beach, I wasn't even able to stand up at first because I was trembling. My whole body was trembling. I was pretty shook up. When I got back to my house, which is very close to the beach, I started to watch the object again. This time it was moving around real fast. It would seem to disappear and reappear again at a great distance from where it had disappeared from, darting back and forth. I've been a fisherman for a long time and I've been out on that water for a long time and I've never seen anything like what I saw that night. In my opinion, it was a UFO, a flying saucer.
Other witnesses were reporting the same thing, with one of the mystery objects coming down into the water. One local by the name of Luis Baez would say of what he saw:
I was playing pool and someone said, 'Look!' I came outside with my pool stick and I see this thing. It was something nice to see. It was round looking, like an apple. Nice, round, beautiful. It went toward the beach. I put my pool stick away and went down to the beach and looked. A friend said, ‘That thing that's waiting over there is not a fishing boat.’ I said, ‘Sure it's a boat’ and he said, ‘It’s not!’ So then the one that came by overhead was coming down near the other one. They stayed like that for three or four minutes maybe a thousand yards apart. The bigger one, the one that was waiting, tipped on its side and BLOOM! Into the water! The small one stayed for a while. After half an hour or so I went up to the roof of this garage and laid down and watched. I wanted to make sure if it moved or not. And I could see this thing goes up… down… this way to the right, back again and a few times it went this way into the water. You could see the water flashing. It never went all the way down in the water. It did that a few times, it goes up, comes down, moved toward the beach but not too close and it goes back. At one o'clock in the morning I went home to sleep. I have to be up early in the morning. So I slept, went to work and when I come back I asked a few friends of mine what happened to the one that was up there. Well at three o'clock in the morning it disappeared. There were about a thousand people at the beach where he was.
As all of this was going on, police were making sure that no one else headed out onto the water, prohibiting any vessels from going out to investigate. While they were doing this, there would be sightings made by police officers as well, and one of these was Mayagüez Police Lieutenant Cesar Grácia, who would say of his own sighting:
I saw something in the sky that I didn't know what it was. It was over Highway Two about fifteen hundred feet, a large, lighted ball about six feet in diameter. It was going toward the beach very slowly. I was in the parking lot of the Hilton when they called me from the police department. They told me to go to the beach because a great many people were watching this object. When I got there, the object was already hovering over the water about two or three miles off the beach. There were about five hundred people watching. There are about four public housing areas right there and all the people from the housing areas were there. I saw one light coming down but when I got to the beach I noticed there were two objects in the water, not together but about a mile away from each other. They were hovering over the water, right about at the water level.
Because of the distance I couldn’t tell if it was a few feet over the water or if they were actually touching the water. The first object stayed about an hour but the second one lasted at least four hours. I wasn’t able to stay because I had other obligations, but I was there for quite some time. Later I returned again and it was still going on. And I left once more. When the first one disappeared, I saw it go. When the second one disappeared, I was no longer there. I stopped more than one time that evening for maybe five minutes at a time to watch. I couldn't say exactly that it hadn’t moved but it was more or less in the same area. There were maybe five hundred people in the area where I was watching and all along the whole coast there were other people watching. A group of officers on duty that night also saw it, between five and ten. We called the Coast Guard but the Coast Guard didn't come. The answer they gave us was that the police had to verify it first, that if there was a real emergency then the Coast Guard would be dispatched.
Other police officers would see the UFOs as well, and the whole area was experiencing a bit of a mass hysteria at the time. One Police Sergeant Ramirez would describe what he saw as follows:
I saw people gathering along the beach so I stopped my car. I was very curious, not only because there were people there but also because they were looking up. So I stopped and saw the light, which was very bright. When I got out of the car, I saw the object fall into the water, very bright and it like divided. It was pretty high, like an orange-yellow light. I don't know exactly the size. As it came down it got larger. It was pretty good sized. First one sank into the water. About twenty seconds after, the other one went into the water also. It zigzagged a little before it went down and turned off. That was about nine thirty. I stayed around to keep traffic moving and see what the people were doing in case there was an accident or anything. Word got around and there were over a thousand people watching these things. People came out of their houses to see the view and people came in cars, parked on the side of the street and went to the beach to see what was happening. I stayed until midnight, mostly keeping an eye on the group so there wouldn’t be any problems. The police got many, many phone calls, all night. We called the Coast Guard but they didn’t come. They said it wasn't an emergency.
There were numerous other reports along these lines, yet oddly the Coast Guard did little to act, and it seems like it was all mostly swept under the carpet. What was going on here and why were these objects repeatedly entering and leaving the ocean? We may never know. In 1990 another strange incident occurred in Turkey on the coast of the Aegean Sea. The encounter was reported by a Mr. Erol Erkmen, who was wreck diving with a friend at a site at 57 meters deep in the Saros Bay at approximately 2 PM. At one point they looked ahead to see a greenish glow in the water, which seemed to be emanating from an orb of light that appeared to be circling them and maneuvering around them. They observed it for around 3 minutes, during which time Erkmen took a photo with an underwater Kodak camera, which the object seemed to realize because it then went dark. Shortly after this, low oxygen forced the two divers to head to the surface. Upon examination, Erkmen would say that his photo had managed to capture a greenish glowing disc-shaped object, although what it is he cannot say.
Finally, we have a recent case from 2012, from Panama Beach Florida in a report filed with MUFON. On July 15 of that year, the witness says she was sitting out on the patio of her beachside residence where she was throwing a party, watching the sunset when she observed something very strange out in the water near the horizon. She explains:
I was sitting on my patio watching the sunset. On the horizon I saw this object that looked like it was coming out of the ocean. I made a comment to my customer to look. No one could figure out what it was. By now there are about 30 people outside looking. It came straight up out over the water very slowly, and made no sound. It was round looking and like it had windows with red lights in the middle and one solid white light under the bottom; they did not blink, but they were bright. When it got over the land it continued for another 7 to 10 minutes. It was almost dark. We wanted to get a picture but no one had a camera. One of my workers did take a picture with his cell phone but it just looked like a light and we could not make it out. Then the object took a right turn and flew for another 3 or 4 minutes, then in matter of seconds it was gone.
The phenomenon of these reports of UFOs entering and exiting the water are far rarer than those of the more conventional type, yet they add a layer of mystique to the lore of UFOs that is very intriguing to say the least. It hints at the possibility that these mysterious objects are not only using our skies, but also beneath the surface of our lakes and seas for inscrutable purposes we may never understand, and it all only furthers the mystery of UFOs in general, pushing it out into the far realms of the odd.