In the last few months, there has been a disturbing increase in public fear of UFOs. Suddenly confronted with these strage objects, veteran policemen — formerly skeptics — have panicked and fled. In one case Teas police frankly told the AF they had raced away, badly frightened, at over 100 m.p.h. (Copy of report to AF in NICAP files.) In other verified cases, women motorists were found in a state of shock... a truck driver was terrified when a UFO came at him head-on... and other observers, here and abroad, were alarmed by UFO encounters, especially at close range.
We do not wish to add to the fear of UFOs, but the causes mentioned are already known locally. If such cases continue, and are not offset by publicizing the thousands of harmless en- counters, it could seriously add to the problem of educating the public.
A case at Exeter, N.H., Sept. 3, is a typical example of fear caused by a closely approaching" UFO. A round 12:30 a.m., Exeter | police, Investigating a car parked by a highway, found two women in a state of near shock. The driver told Officer Eugene Bertrand they had been chased 12 miles by a flying object with a brilliant I red glow. Not seeing any strange object, Bertrand reassured the women and drove off.
Half an hour later, Norman J. Muscarello, 18-year-old Exeter youth, was walking along Route 150 when a strange, red-lighted object came over some nearby trees. The almost blinding red glow camo from five extremely bright lights, which pulsated in sequence.
Frightened, Muscarello crouched behind a stone wall. The UFO stopped and hovered just above a house owned by Clyde Russell, of Kensington. Muscarello could see it was larger than the house — at least 80-90 feet long. After the UFO silently moved back over the trees, Muscarello ran to the Russell home and pounded on the door.
But the Russells, thinking it was a drunk, refused to open the door. About 1:45, Muscarello reached the Exeter Police Station, two miles from the sighting spot.
"He was white with fear and hardly able to talk," Desk Officer Reginald Toland said later. Muscarello told
Toland and Officer Bertrand the story, and though it seemed incredible, Bertrand drove him back to the scene in his
Muscarello and the officer walked into the field where the UFO had been seen. At first, nothing was visible. Then as
Bertrand pointed his flashlight around Muscarello shouted, and Bertrand swung around in time to see a large dark
object displaying "
a straight row of extraordinarily bright red pulsating lights." The UFO, coming into the
field at tree-top level, changed course and flew toward them, just clearing a 60-70 foot tree.
Bertrand reached for his revolver, then thought better of it. Shouting for Muscarello to take cover in the car, he also jumped into the cruiser, fearing they might be burned by the blinding red lights closing in.
As Bertrand radioed for help, he and Muscarello heard a dog barking furiously and horses in a nearby barn whinnying and kick- ing their stalls.
The sequence in which the five lights pulsated -- 1-2-3-4-5-4- 3-2-1" gave Officer Bertrand the impression that the
UFO was "
an intelligently constructed vehicle." The brilliance of the lights created a halo effect; and at
close range they were so blinding he could not look directly at them.
But even though he could not see clearly behind the lights, their reflection from the UFO's body indicated a
dark, solid object as big as a house.... It seemed compressed as if it were round or egg-shaped, with definitely no
protrusions like wings, rudder or stabilizer."
Officer David R. Hunt arrived from Exeter in time to view the UFO for about six minutes. By then it was moving away
slowly, but he saw red lights pulsating in sequence
"brighter than head- lights at close range."
Moving on a westward course, the UFO disappeared below the tree line.
That night, Exeter police notified Pease AFB, and next day an AF major and a lieutenant interrogated the witnesses. Shortly afterward, NICAP Investigator Raymond Fowler also interviewed the policemen. They told him the AF officers showed special interest in the size and shape of the object. The policemen also said the AF men told them:
- A USAF check revealed no aircraft in the area during the sighting.
- Pease AFB had been receiving other UFO reports in the New Hampshire area almost nightly for the previous week.
- There had been a case in late July where a motorist came upon a UFO hovering over the road directly in front of his car.
Most Interesting of all, the police said the AF officers asked them to keep the story from the press to avoid frightening the public, But the details were already on the police blotter, and It was too late for secrecy.
Besides the witnesses, Investigator Fowler talked with several rr residents, Most of them seemed more curious than frightened — but they had not had close-range encounters.
Later, the influential Saturday Review published details of this case after NICAP discussed it with John G. Fuller, writer of the Review's "Trade Winds" column. After careful check with the Exeter police, Investigator Fowler and Pease AFB, Fuller wrote a serious report, including a new statement by Officer Bertrand:
My brain kept telling me this doesn't happen — but there it was, right in front of my eyes... it hovered
there, about 100 feet away... I don't know what it was. All I can say is that i was there, and three of us saw it
(Mr. Fuller''s report, crediting NICAP, appeared in the Oct 2 issue of the Saturday Review.)
From an examination of recent fear reports, it appears that skeptics are the quickest to panic—people who have accepted official denials of UFOs' existence. One such case involved two Texas lawmen, both graduates of police schools—Chief Depiuty B. E. McCoy and Patrol Deputy Robert Goode, of Angleton.
By coincidence, this incident occurred on Sept. 3, the same night as the Exeter scare. The following details are from the officers' signed report to NICAP and a signed copy of their statement to an AF investigator, Maj. Laurence R. Leach, Jr., 2578 Air Base Squadron, Ellington AFB, Texas.
After midnight, near Damon in Brazoria County, the two sheriffs sighted an enormous flying object from their patrol car. In the bright moonlight, they could see it was about 200 feet long, 40-50 feet thick at the center, tapering at both ends. It had a brilliant purple light at one end, a fainter blue one at the other.
Sheriff Goode turned the patrol car around, drove back three-fourths of a mile and stopped. As they were watching through binoculars, the strange craft came down to 100 feet, heading rapidly toward the lighted police car. In the moonlight, the UFO cast a huge shadow on the ground, and the officers could see it moving swiftly toward the highway.
Fifty Yards Away
As it neared them, the brilliant purple light illuminated the ground and the inside of the car. Sheriff Goode, leaning out the driver''s side, suddenly felt heat from the approaching UFO. He hastily started the engine. By this time the huge flying object was barely 50 yards away.
With understandable panic, the sheriffs fled.
"We were traveling at speeds up to UOmiles an hour," McCoy told the AF.
When they reached Damon, the lawmen calmed down and decided to go back.
"We were both scared," McCoy frankly admits. "
But we wanted to find out what it was."
But when they returned to the area, the UFO''s lights began to shift just as they hadbefore its swift approach. Again, the sheriffs raced away.
"We figured the object would start coming toward us again," McCoy said in his AF statement. In describing the
UFO, he said the body appeared dark gray. There was no sound, nor any trail visible.
"I never saw anything like it before," McCoy concluded.
Both sheriffs admitted they had not believed in UFOs before. "
I''ve always been skeptical about these things,"
said McCoy. "
I''m not a skeptic any more."
Truck drivers, like policemen, are not noted for being easily scared. But Don Tenopir, a Beatrice, Nebraska trucker, had moments of sheer terror on the night of August 4, when a flying disc buzzed him:
"I was en route to Lincoln, Nebraska, about 25 miles from Abilene, Kansas. It was near 1:30 a.m. when all of a sudden the lights on my truck went out. Then they came back on, then off, then on again.
"About then, this thing went over my truck with a sizzling or wind-like blowing sound. It scared hell out of me; it seemed to almost touch the cab.
"It just swooped down over the road and hovered there, not more than 100 feet in front of me. I tell you I was standing on those brakes. It looked like it was going to fall right in the middle of the road. When it stopped there was another car approaching from the opposite direction, and it went into the ditch. Later the other driver told me It looked like a car accident until he got closer.
"I don''t know how long it was there. I was just too damned scared to tell time. The thing looked a round to me. It was orange like the color of a traffic policeman''s jacket, I guess It was about 15 feet in diameter, maybe four to five feet thick. The edge was round and there was a hump or something in the middle. It has a dark spot on it and it might have been a window or something.
"The thing raised up a bit and slowly took off, toward the west, then it headed south.
Wheter witnesses believe in UFOs or not, such experiences bound to be alarming, and they have been reported increasingly in the U.S. and other countries.
During the first week of August, two residents of Nedlands, West Australia jumped from their car, fearing a UFO was about to hit it. It was close to 8 p.m., and Dr. Antonin Kukla, formerly a physician in Europe, and Mrs Audrey Lawrence were driving near Carnaryon when a flying object dived toward their headlights.
Dr. Kukla hurriedly stopped and switched off the lights. As he and Mrs Lawrence ran to the side of the road, the UFO stopped and hovered above the highway.
"It was rocking gently," Dr Kukla said later. "And its orange color as it dived had changed to a fluorescent green
The doctor's bull terrier, usually first our of the car when it stopped, was crouched in the back seat, hackles up. It refused to budge.
Dr. Kukla said the object was shaped like a
It had the fear that whatever it was, it was not man-made," he reporeted, after the UFO had left the scene.
The sighting appeared the object was shaped appeared partly confirmed by resident Ron Butler, owner of nearby Mooka Station. Butler said that his entire camp had been lit up by a greenish glow when "something" passed over it, though he could not be sure of the time.
These are only a few sample case. There are enough more to cause a sober appraisal of the problem.
For years, serious investigators—individuals and groups, including NICAP—have said there is no proof of UFO hostility, that the evidence is strongly against it. We have said this despite a few head-on passed at planes, three or four near collisions with airliners, the loss of three AF officiers in UFO chases, and other incidents. With all the thousands of harmless encounters or sightings, it seemed likely these relatively few accidents were the result of too-close observations or perhaps mechanical failures or mistakes in control.
The recent NICAP poll (still being analyzed) shows that 90% of our members are convinced that UFO landings would not frighten them. But specific incidents, like the cases already described, show that most people will be alarmed by sudden close encounters with UFOs.
Are officials justified, then, in withholding UFO facts, in trying to hide landing incidents, as in the Exeter case?
Most of us will agree that fear of the unknown is far worse than fear of the known—even if it is something frightening. The late Dr. Carl Jung, noted Swiss analyst and NICAP member, wrote the director that withholding information on UFOs from the public would be the most stupid policy one could devise, certain to increase fear rather than lessen it.
The indications are that close approaches and landings will keep on increasing. If a large number of UFOs should land at points around the country, or maneuver at low altitudes over a number of cities, the reaction could be serious. Millions of people, accustomed to thinking of UFOs as jokes, would abruptly realize they had been deceived. Many would probably suspect that something ominous had been hidden even if there was not the slightest sign on any hostility.
It is far better to get the truth out in the open and prepare people, as calmly as possible, for further landings and close observations before some sudden development makes gradual and reasonable preparation impossible.
Members' opinions and suggestions for solving this problem will be very much appreciated.