Some UFO witnesses have traditionally been seen as more reliable than others. While you have those no-name nobody people out in the middle of the nowhere who come forward with reports on encounters with the otherwordly, they rarely resonate the way that sightings by some others do. Sightings by pilots, politicians, and so on really seem to be the ones we latch onto, and another category of these traditionally reliable witnesses are police officers out there running into things their training has not prepared them for. Here we will look at a selection of cases of odd UFO encounters between the otherwrordly and law enforcement officers.
Our earliest report here comes from 1958, when patrolmen LeRoy A. Arboreen and B. Talada were on night patrol in December of that year in the area of Dunellen, New Jersey. As they drove along, they noticed something very strange in the night sky, and although they at first thought it to be merely a meteor, it would turn out to be much stranger. Arborreen, an ex-Navy man and graduate of the New Jersey State Police Academy would say of it:
This object came at us from the west. At first it looked like a red hot piece of coal about the size of a quarter held at arm’s length. In a matter of seconds it was as large as a ruler held at arm’s length. That is when it came to a complete stop. “The shape of the object was distinct. The body of the object was solid bright red and it gave off a pulsating red glow completely around the object. The object hovered a few seconds, then made a left turn and again hovered for a few seconds, then went straight up like a shot. We watched it until it completely faded beyond the stars.
In 1965 there is the report of Deputy Sheriff Bob Goode, 50, who on September 3, 1965 was driving his patrol car south out of Damon, toward West Columbia, Texas, on Highway 36 along with a Chief Deputy Billy McCoy. At around 11 p.m. they noticed a bright purple light on the horizon to the southwest, which proceeded to apparently discharge a smaller, blue light. The two objects then hovered there for a time and Goode got out his binoculars to try and get a closer look. The two of them could not get a good view from their vantage point, and began driving closer along some rural back roads off the main highway, and this was when the larger of the two lights would supposedly coming swooping in towards them, covering them in as bright purple light. McCoy would say:
The bulk of the object was plainly visible at this time and appeared to be triangular shaped with a bright purple light on the left end and the smaller, less bright, blue light on the right end. The bulk of the object appeared to be dark gray in color with no other distinguishing features. It appeared to be about 200 feet wide and 40-50 feet thick in the middle, tapering off toward both ends. There was no noise or any trail. The bright purple light illuminated the ground directly underneath it and the area in front of it, including the highway and the interior of our patrol car. The tall grass under the object did not appear to be disturbed. There was a bright moon out and it cast a shadow of the object on the ground immediately below it in the grass.
They could both feel an intense heat coming off of the object, and decided to speed out of there as fast as they could go. The UFO then hovered there for a moment and then shot straight up into the night. The deputies reported the sighting to Ellington Air Force Base, and after an investigation by a Major Laurence Leach, Jr. he would come to the conclusion that:
There is no doubt in my mind that they definitely saw some unusual object or phenomenon….Both officers appeared to be intelligent, mature, level-headed persons capable of sound judgment and reasoning.
From the following year we have the case of Sheriff A.D. “Toby” Mathews, of Richmond, Virginia, who in August of 1966 saw a large unidentified flying object hovering silently near his Varina farm, on Charles City Road in the county’s Glendale area. At about 10:30 on that evening, Mathews said, his German shepherd, which he had only had for a few weeks, was tied to a chain out back and began barking loudly, so he went outside to investigate. When he went out there, he says he saw a UFO hovering above, of which he says:
If I live to be 100, I’ll never forget it. I happened to look up and there was that UFO right above the cornfield, it was just hovering right up above the power lines, about 200 feet in the air. It was just like the ones you see on TV. It was a bright moon that night.
He ran inside to go get a flashlight, but when he shone it upon the craft it shot off into the night with a “burst of light.” The next morning his dog was acting strangely and he let it run off on its own, but it didn’t come back as usual. He looked around for the dog but couldn’t find it, but it would later turn up on his driveway dead. He would say of it all:
He didn’t have a mark on him — no blood, no singe [marks], no nothing. It looked like he almost was sleeping. And whatever killed him, they had taken his chain collar off and dropped it on the shoulder of the road. I couldn’t believe how it got off him like it did. I didn’t see any cars come through at the time. The dog let me know that they were there.
Matthews would become convinced that what he had seen in the sky was responsible for the death of his dog and it is an odd case, indeed. Even stranger than this is the experience of police officer Herbert Schirmer, who on December 3, 1967 was on patrol in the area of Ashland, Nebraska when he noticed some red lights on the road ahead. He at first thought this to be the taillights of a stopped vehicle, but when he approached he could see that it was ”a disc-shaped object with a shiny, polished aluminum looking surface, and a catwalk that went around it.” This object was hovering around 8 feet off of the road, and after a few moments of this it began to ascend while “making a siren kind of noise, and issuing a flame-like display from the underside.” The UFO then cruised right over his head and silently shot off into the night. When he got over his initial shock and went to write a report, he noticed that quite a lot of time had gone by, despite that fact that he estimated the whole incident had taken less than 10 minutes. He nevertheless called it in, and then was plagued by headaches, a buzzing sound in his head, and he also noticed a strange crescent-shaped welt on his neck.
Not long after this, a Chief Bill Wlaskin arrived on the scene to allegedly find a metallic artifact of some kind, and Schirmer would opt to undergo hypnosis to find out where his missing time had gone. Under hypnosis, he would relate that he had encountered humanoid beings, between 4 1/2 to 5 feet tall, and with slightly slanted “catlike” eyes, gray-white skin, long and thin heads, with flat noses and slitlike mouths, all of them wearing silver-gray uniforms, gloves, and helmets that had a small antenna on the left side around their ears. These strange beings escorted him from his car and into the ship, where they supposedly showed him around and telepathically told him that they would visit him again to show him the secrets of the universe and tell him of the evils that were facing humankind. He could not remember anything past this and would wake up in his patrol car. UFO researcher Leo Sprinkle would take part in the investigation and say of it:
Either it’s a case of extreme identification or some sign of hypnotic contact that we seem to uncover as we probe deeper and deeper into the unconscious. I believe that each person is ‘monitored’ by spiritual guides, but in regard to the UFO contactee, the monitoring process seems to be unusually intense. Perhaps someday, we will learn if the prophecies about “good” vs “evil” and predictions of earth changes….are related to this monitoring process.
What was going on here? Who knows? Moving up into the 1970s, we have a rather strange case from 1976 with a 30-year veteran policeman by the name of George Wheeler, in Elmwood, Wisconsin. On April 22, 1976, Wheeler was on patrol when he spotted an orange glow at the top of a nearby hill. He at first thought it was a fire and drove up to investigate, but when he reached the top of the hill he saw that it was a strange glowing object which he estimated was about 500 feet distant and hovering about 100 feet off the ground, with six bluish-white lights, windows, or portholes along the side, and he could see shadows as if someone was moving inside of it through a portal on the side, and there was a long, black, hose-like appendage on the bottom. As he looked on the object emitted a bright flash and rose into the air as his car, the radio, the lights, everything went dead. He says the object glowed so brightly at this point that he could barely look upon it, and that he then lost consciousness, only waking when he was woken by a dairy farmer by the name of David Moots, who had stumbled across Wheeler’s car just sitting out there. Moots would say that Wheeler had been in a daze talking about how he had been “hit by a UFO.”
It would turn out there there were numerous people in the area at the time who had seen a UFO at around the same time, and Police Chief Gene Helmer would explain that Wheeler had called in to begin to describe his experience but that his radio had then gone dead. When the radio had sparked back to life, Wheeler had apparently said “Get somebody up here — I’ve been hit.” And then the radio had gone dead again. Wheeler would be described as being absolutely terrified when he was found, and he was in the hospital for three days where tests were taken but nothing could be found wrong with him. He stayed for three days, was released, but went back to the hospital for a second stay of 11 days because of persistent headaches he was suffering, as well as potent nightmares. What was going on here and what did he see out there?
In 1977 there is the case of patrolman Troy Todd and his partner Jerry Jeter, who were members of the police department’s Tactical Squad in Memphis, Tennessee. The two officers would report seeing a mysterious object hovering over a municipal golf course in the southern part of Memphis about three thirty in the morning of May 17, 1977, when they saw a strange triangular craft “as long as a football field and fifty to seventy-five yards wide” hovering above them. Jeter apparently took aim at it with a rifle, and as soon as he did it shot away into the night. They would see the see the same object again not long after, and Todd would say:
I was driving and as we approached the Norris Road exit I observed to my left, which would have been to the east, a triangular-shaped series of lights over some high tension towers. I really didn’t know what I had seen. It was a long, triangular-shaped series of lights approximately thirty five to fifty feet above those towers and it tapered down to a narrow point. I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was so we went underneath Alcy Road and turned around on the median and went back up to the same location,” said Todd, then an eight-year veteran. Both Jeter and I looked over those high-tension wires and we couldn’t see anything at all. So we proceeded northbound on the expressway to South Parkway, turned around and came south and this time we both observed it approximately five hundred feet above the Pine Hill Golf Course, which would have been to the west off the expressway.
This was approximately in the same line where I had a seen it before but it was at a greater height and it was on the other side of the expressway. So I drove the van up onto the Norris Road exit, we stopped and got out and watched it for two or three minutes It was a triangular-shaped object with white, red and green lights on it with a white glow about the silhouette itself. When we both saw it he said, ‘There it is again!’ and I said, ‘Well, it’s not a helicopter.’ It was elongated and looked like a triangular type shape. This object made its way over to the golf course and turned and was just hovering or standing still over the golf course. We pulled up this incline and got out and we're looking at this object. In my estimation it was three hundred to five hundred meters high and we were at a slight angle from it, not directly under it but a real slight angle and we could see the whole belly of the craft.
It had red and green lights flashing alternately on it and it looked like what were either portholes or real dim lights along the side of the craft. I really couldn’t tell because they were so dim but it lit up the craft so you could see it, and to me it looked like a metallic craft. We had a telescopic rifle sight in the van and I was going to get it out and look at it. By the time I got it out of the case and everything and got it up to my shoulder, this craft turned slightly, two red lights came on on the rear and it just shot out over the horizon. This thing moved at such a speed it was unbelievable. It shot out of sight. It then began to move off in a northerly direction at a reasonably slow speed. There was no sound made from the object. The white and green lights went off. They were no longer visible to us but the glow was still visible around the silhouette. Then two red lights came on on the rear of it. Whether they were lights or not I’m not sure but when those two red lights came on it sped out at a tremendous rate of speed and disappeared over the horizon in just a second to a second and a half. We were barely able to keep it in our eyesight. That night the weather conditions were extremely clear. Visibility was fifteen to twenty miles, I would say, because we were at the top of the expressway looking north.
They went to great lengths to emphasize just how enormous the thing was, with Jeter saying:
It was huge. I would say a hundred meters in length. Tremendous. We went back and looked at those towers after it was over and those towers are seventy-five meters apart. This thing was overlapping them. My first sighting of it was a side view. It was more of a delta-wing shape. It had a flat bottom with a taper from the top of a flat back which I would say was thirty five to fifty feet high and it tapered down to a small point. When we observed it the second time, when we both observed it, we were looking at it from the bottom and it was triangular shaped. It was a silvery, gunmetal color. We were kind of bamboozled but in my opinion it was definitely a flying aircraft from someplace. It was something I had never seen before and it was of tremendous size. Something of that size that could hover the way it was would have to make some type of noise. I don’t know if the United States has an aircraft that can hover without making noise but I don’t believe so. When I made the initial sighting it was more of confusion and wonder at what I had actually seen. And then on my second sighting and seeing it cross the horizon like it did, I knew what it was. In my opinion I believe what I saw was an unidentified flying object and I believe it was some aircraft not of this earth.
There were myriad other sightings of this object in the area at the time and we are left to wonder what was going on here. From the same year is a report from a Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth Creel and Constable James Luke, of Flora, Mississippi, who on February 10, 1977 were out on a routine patrol when they spotted a strange lighted object flying low over the road. Creel would say:
“I know I’m not crazy .. I’ve always said I didn’t believe in this stuff. I don’t know what I saw, but I know I saw something . . It’s just hard to describe what happened. It looked like an evening star or something,” said Creel, “but it kept getting brighter and bigger. Then, when the shape of the object began to form, Creel said he contacted the Mississippi Highway Patrol with his car radio equipment. I kind of thought it was an airplane flying low, or like it could have been. But when the strange object came within about 200 yards our car—out across the field. I stopped and cut my engine and my lights to listen. I heard a whirring noise—like a blender . . Like it was straining, when you first put ice in it—and then the UFO started coming closer. The thing came right over the car. It came right to us, like it was being piloted. The thing just hovered over us, about 20 or 30 feet up, for more than a minute. I didn’t get out, I wouldn’t. The thing came right over the car. The thing just hovered over us, about 20 or 30 feet up, for more than a minute.”
It then shot off into the dark, and although he would make a report no one took it seriously. From 1978 there is the report from police officer Manuel Amparano in the area of San Francisco, California. On May 13, 1978, an officer Manuel Amparano was in the Fresno area of the SanFrancisco Bay Area at around 3:30 a.m. when he noticed something very bizarre, of which he would say:
It was just a routine patrol and I saw a circular-type thing, similar to a round fireball or a setting sun, about 100 to 150 feet off the ground.Then I realized there were no palm trees in the area. The fire seemed to be inside of an oak or maple tree. This thing started lifting up.
He tried to follow it, but then there was a bright blue flash and the thing sped off in an instant. Throughout the whole incident he did not hear any other noise except for the engine of his car. He would claim that after the encounter he developed burns on his face and chest, “like a sunburn when you fall asleep at the pool,” with white blisters, and his eyes had also become sensitive to light that lasted for about a week. What was going on here? From 1984 there is also the case of a Sgt. John C. Zeller, of the police department in Keene, New Hampshire. On October 16, 1984, he was out on patrol when he answered a call for a UFO report and caught sight of something in the sky and shined his cruiser’s spotlight on a white, dirigible-shaped object that turned out to be more bizarre than anything he could have suspected. He would explain of it:
There was something, mostly lights, hovering five to 700 feet off the ground, red, green, white pulsating types. All you could see was the lights, you couldn’t see any outline. The strange thing was, this was absolutely still, like it was stuck there. There was no sound. I stood there probably two minutes. You could see the light beam “the spotlight) through the dark. The minute the light beam was put on it, it came toward it, at an angle, lowering at the same time. It was so clearly unconventional. The thing kept coming about 100 feet from the cruiser, traveling as fast as you’d ride a bicycle. It gave out a two-tone hum. It went over to a car wash and it did something which I assume was turning around, then it went — boom — over toward the Ramada Inn.
He says it did not behave like any known aircraft, it defied physics, and it was huge. In more recent years there is a report from 2001, from Waynesville, Ohio. On the night of April 25 of that year, a Waynesville police officer was dispatched to the location of a UFO sighting made by a husband and wife reporting a “a circular lighted object” near their home. When the officer himself saw it he called it in, and there would be a rather odd exchange:
LOCAL: WHAT IS IT!
Unit #2W30: I have NO IDEA, and you wouldn’t believe it if you came out and saw it! There’s two of them, just sitting stationary and blinking, I mean about five different colors, right here on Wilkerson, just off of South Main Street…
FEMALE OFFICER: This is 480-16
Unit #2W30: I’m not kidding! Go ahead.
FEMALE OFFICER: Okay, we’re on the backside of that, here in the lot because I couldn’t stand it no more. Where is it at, is it in the air?
Unit #2W30: In the air! Okay? He’s got the owner of the house has some binoculars and we’re looking at these things and uh, it’s just I don’t know what they are! They’re high up, they look like uh, they’re up there but with our binoculars though, the ones he’s got here, you can see them pretty clearly. There’s probably five different colors, there’s two of them and they’ve stayed in the exact same spot the whole time. They’re not stars, I can tell you that.
More officers would arrive to see it all as well, and in the meantime nearby airports claimed that they had no aircraft in the vicinity that could account for it. More objects would appear until there were a total of three unidentified objects being observed, which would all assume a formation and head off into the night. The following evening, UFOs were reported in the area yet again, including a “a triangular object with super bright lights that pursued her automobile.” Police were scrambled to check it out and more officers would witness the phenomenon. Very strange, indeed.
On February 27, 1993, two air unit police officers in Jefferson County, Kentucky would swear they had a “dogfight with a UFO.” An officer Kenny Downs was with pilot Kenny Graham on patrol in their helicopter when they encountered a “glowing pear-shaped object about the size of a basketball,” that flew circles around them even as they were were moving at speeds approaching 100 mph. Graham was afraid at one point it would actually ram them. They tried to follow it and keep up with it, but it seemed to be playing with them, moving close and then moving away, and things got intense when The UFO apparently “shot three baseball-size fireballs out of its middle” at them before disappearing. Very weird, indeed.
From the year 2003 there is a report from Huntington, Indiana. Where in December of that year there was an account from an off duty Huntington officer was warming up his car when he saw it first, a strange object moving through the night sky. He would say:
It came from a long ways off. First it looked like a parachute that you can steer, black and curved, but there was nobody in it. It started rolling, a slow roll, and turned upside down. Then it looked like a giant set of bird wings. It did more rolls, and turned into an oblong circle that was orange. It wasn’t any kind of flying machine that I can think of, and it’s not like a ’50s flying saucer. It was that big, but it didn’t have a hump in the middle.
When he put the call in more officers arrived on the scene and saw the anomaly too, and descriptions were running the gamut from “the size of a hot air balloon or a backyard trampoline” to “a tire in the sky,” and it was described as morphing and changing shapes frequently. One officer would say:
It was so big, within no time at all I spotted it. When I first saw it, it was going in a flat plane, hovering, moving slowly right toward the church. It would glide, rotate the wide way around, and stay at one level, then it stopped, began moving in a circular motion, and turned bright orange. It went flat again, and hovered over the steeple. I can’t imagine how it could possibly be anything I could relate to. The object would stop and then spin slowly, a maneuver no known aircraft can accomplish. I was never really afraid, just in total amazement.
What are we to make of such reports from such traditionally reliable witnesses? Is the fact that these were police officers a sign to take them more seriously than others, or are the police just as susceptible to misidentification as anyone else? What did these officers of the law encounter out there? We may never know for sure.