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Lake Erie, USA 1988:

Events near lake Erie, of March 4, 1988 in the USA. This case is a well-known classic among ufologists and generally ignored from the broad public.

In this file:

Click! Large UFO above Lake Erie, summary of the events.
Click! The coast Guards TTY report.
Click! The article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Click! The so-called rational explanation.
Click! References.

Coast Guards encounter with giant ellipse:

This incident involves a football shaped object, "larger than the Goodyear blimp," which released up to a half dozen triangular shaped lights and objects, some of them fyling towards the Perry nuclear power plant and Eastlake coal burning plant. The sighting has multiple independent witnesses, apparent animal reactions, as well as government documents.

Sheila and Henry Baker were driving home with their three children about 08:35 p.m., after going out to dinner. As they neared the waterfront, Sheila noticed something hovering over the lake and they drove down to the beach to investigate and got out of the car. The moon was bright and there was ice on the lake; Sheila could hear it cracking like claps of thunder.

Plainly visible was a huge, gunmetal gray football-shaped object that was rocking back and forth, blinding white light emanating from both ends, but it was silent. Then the object began moving, swinging one end toward the shore and descending. The Bakers became frightened, ran back to their car and fled. When they got home, the object was still visible from a window that faced the lake. The object moved out over the ice and continued to descend, with red and blue lights now flashing in sequence along its lower edge. Sheila then called the Eastlake police to report a UFO, and was finally referred to the Coast Guard.

Suddenly 5 or 6 bright yellow triangular objects shot out of the center of the large object and began darting around independently. Once they stopped and hovered, point up, around the parent object, then sped away to the north, turned east, then inland toward the Perry nuclear power plant.

At this point Sheila called the Coast Guard, which sent a team to their house to investigate. Seaman James Power and Petty Officer John Knaub arrived towing a Boston Whaler, a seaworthy boat. When Sheila pointed to the main craft and some of the triangular objects still zipping around it, the men drove closer to the lake to investigate, accompanied by the Bakers. At the lakefront they could hear the ice rumbling and roaring.

In their incident report later sent by teletype to the Coast Guard headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, the men were quoted as saying that "the ice was cracking and moving abnormal amounts as the object came closer to it."

Power and Knaub gave a running report to their base via the two-way radio in their Chevy Suburban on what they were seeing. The window was down, and the Bakers overheard them saying words to the effect:

"Be advised the object appears to be landing on the lake... There are other objects moving around it. Be advised these smaller objects are going at high rates of speed. There are no engine noises and they are very, very low."

One of the triangles zoomed straight toward the Coast Guard vehicle, a blur of light, then veered east, straight up, and came down beside the parent object. Two witnesses in separate locations also reported seeing the triangles. Suddenly the triangles returned and one by one entered the side of the parent object as it seemed to land on the ice. The ellipse flashed a series of red, blue, and yellow lights, the light emanating from the end of the object turned from white to red, and the triangles re-emerged and hovered above it. The noise from the ice abruptly ceased, and the lights and triangles disappeared.

The Coast Guards summary of the sighting:

This is the brief summary report by the Coast Guards:

COG:

INFO

COPIES

CPCD THE SAME ACTIVITY. THEY
WATCHED THE OBJECTS FOR APPROX. 1 HOUR BEFORE RPTNG THAT THE
LARGE OBJECT WAS ALMOST ON THE ICE. THEY RPTD THAT THE ICE WAS
CRACKING AND MOVING ABNORMAL AMOUNTS AS THE OBJECT CAME CLOSER
TO IT. THE ICE WAS RUMBLING AND THE OBJECT LIT MULTI-COLOR
LIGHTS AT EACH END AS IT APPARENTLY LANDED. THE LIGHTS ON IT
WENT OUT MOMENTARILY AND THEN CAME ON AGAIN. THEY WENT OUT
AGAIN AND THE RUMBLING STOPPED AND THE ICE STOPPED MOVING. THE
SMALLER OBJECTS BEGAN HOVERING IN THE AREA WHERE THE LARGE
OBJECT LANDED AND AFTER A FEW MINUTES THEY BEGAN FLYING AROUND
AGAIN. MOBILE 02 RPTD THAT THEY APPEARED TO BE SCOUTING THE
AREA. MOBILE 02 RPTD THAT 1 OBJECT WAS MOVING TOWARD THEM AT A
HIGH SPEED AND LOW TO THE ICE. MOBILE 02 BACKED DOWN THE HILL
THEY HAD BEEN ON AND WHEN THEY WENT BACK TO THE HILL, THE
OBJECT WAS GONE. THEY RPTD THAT THE OBJECTS COULD NOT BE SEEN
IF THEY TURNED OFF THERE LIGHTS. ONE OF THE SMALL OBJECTS
TURNED ON A SPOTLIGHT WHERE THE LARGE OBJECT HAD BEEN BUT
MOBILE 02 COULD NOT SEE ANYTHING, AND THEN THE OBJECT SEEMED TO
DISAPPEAR. ANOTHER OBJECT APPROACHED MOBILE 02 APPROX. 500 YDS.
OFFSHORE ABOUT 20 FT. ABOVE THE ICE, AND IT BEGAN MOVING CLOSER
AS MOBILE 02 BEGAN FLASHING ITS HEADLIGHTS, THEN IT MOVED OFF
TO THE WEST.

3. THE CREWMEMBERS WERE UNABLE TO IDENTIFY ANY OF THE OBJECTS

The Lake Erie UFO, March 4, 1988:

The article underneath was written by Christopher Evans and has been published in the daily newspaper Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, on July 12, 1992.

Space Case: The Night the Coast Guard Got Buzzed,
Lake Erie, March 4, 1988

Sheila and Henry Baker were driving home with their three children about 8:35 p.m., after going out to dinner. As they neared the waterfront, Sheila noticed something hovering over the lake and they drove down to the beach to investigate and got out of the car. The moon was bright and there was ice on the lake; Sheila could hear it cracking like claps of thunder.

Plainly visible was a huge, gunmetal gray football-shaped object that was rocking back and forth, blinding white light emanating from both ends, but it was silent. Then the object began moving, swinging one end toward the shore and descending. The Bakers became frightened, ran back to their car and fled. When they got home, the object was still visible from a window that faced the lake. The object moved out over the ice and continued to descend, with red and blue lights now flashing in sequence along its lower edge. Sheila then called the Eastlake police to report a UFO, and was finally referred to the Coast Guard.

Suddenly 5 or 6 bright yellow triangular objects shot out of the center of the large object and began darting around independently. Once they stopped and hovered, point up, around the parent object, then sped away to the north, turned east, then inland toward the Perry nuclear power plant.

At this point Sheila called the Coast Guard, which sent a team to their house to investigate. Seaman James Power and Petty Officer John Knaub arrived towing a Boston Whaler, a seaworthy boat. When Sheila pointed to the main craft and some of the triangular objects still zipping around it, the men drove closer to the lake to investigate, accompanied by the Bakers. At the lakefront they could hear the ice rumbling and roaring.

In their incident report later sent by teletype to the Coast Guard headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, the men were quoted as saying that "the ice was cracking and moving abnormal amounts as the object came closer to it."

Power and Knaub gave a running report to their base via the two-way radio in their Chevy Suburban on what they were seeing. The window was down, and the Bakers overheard them saying words to the effect, "Be advised the object appears to be landing on the lake...There are other objects moving around it. Be advised these smaller objects are going at high rates of speed. There are no engine noises and they are very, very low."

One of the triangles zoomed straight toward the Coast Guard vehicle, a blur of light, then veered east, straight up, and came down beside the parent object. Two witnesses in separate locations also reported seeing the triangles. Suddenly the triangles returned and one by one entered the side of the parent object as it seemed to land on the ice. The ellipse flashed a series of red, blue, and yellow lights, the light emanating from the end of the object turned from white to red, and the triangles re-emerged and hovered above it. The noise from the ice abruptly ceased, and the lights and triangles disappeared.

Skeptics' opinion:

Once questioned by a ufologist who informed them of this case, academic scientists who qualify themselves as skeptics but have produced no work in the field of ufology said that this case has a "rational" explanation: The Bakers and the guard-coasts have experienced "a misidenfication of the planets Venus and Jupiter, which appeared close together that night." No argument was presented in favor of this thesis, except that it was said to be "rational," probably as opposed to any notion of visiting extraterrestrial craft, which is probably a concept to categorize as "irrational."

When this ufologist who was aware of the specifics of the case wanted more explanations for the notion that the witnesses had observed Venus, the aforementioned skeptics answered that the witnesses see ordinary phenomena like Venus and mistake them for extraterrestrial spacecraft. When the ufologist asked if the skeptics would be willing to better consider the case, pointing out, among other things, that Venus could not be seen because it was hidden by the mountains which border the location, the skeptics ended the discussion.

References:

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This page was last updated on July 19, 2004.