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1966 Portage County UFO chase by policemen:

These events have been the model for the scene of the UFO chase by the police in the world famous movie "Close Encounters of the third Kind" by Steven Spielberg. Yet, who knows that the scene was inspired by real events?

This case is Project Blue Book Record 10073.

"I've seen Venus many times, but I never saw Venus 50 feet above a road and moving from side to side like this was..."

(Portage County Sheriff Ross Dustman to United Press International.)

In this case file:

Click! The case: events, investigations.
Click! The report by Richard Hall of NICAP.
Click! The witnesses written statements.
Click! Article from the Ravenna, Ohio, RECORD-COURIER newspaper, April 18, 1966 (unreadable).
Click! Article from The Cleveland Plain Dealer Monday, April 18, 1966.
Click! Article from The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sunday, October 9, 1966.
Click! Air Force letter to Project Blue Book, May 17, 1966.
Click! William Weitzel letter to Professor William Powers.
Click! Letter to Spaur and Neff from Wm. T. Powers.
Click! References.

The Portage County sighting in the daily Press:

This article has been published by The Cleveland Plain Dealer on Monday, April 18, 1966, page 14.


by Douglas Bloomfield
Portage County Bureau

RAVENNA - Hundreds of persons in two states reported seeing a "brilliant and shiny" object over eastern Ohio early yesterday. Two Portage County deputies chased it 86 miles.

Portage County Deputy Sheriff Dale Spaur said he and his partner, Deputy Sheriff W.H. Neff played tag with the mysterious object from 5 a.m. near Ravenna to 6:30 a.m. on the outskirts of Pittsburgh.

Police Chief Gerald Buchert of Mantua saw the object and photographed it in front of his home. He showed a print of his picture to the Plain Dealer but said the Air Force told him not to release it or permit photographs to be taken.

BUCHERT DESCRIBED it as "round when I looked straight up at it, but when it moved to the left - I feel like an idiot saying this - it looked like a saucer, like two table saucers put together."

The photograph showed an object with a very dark bottom and a very light top. Each half seemed to resemble a saucer seen from the side. The lighter top "saucer" was upside down.

Spaur described the object as about 40 feet wide and 18 feet high. He said he clocked it at speeds up to 103 mph as they chased it from Randolph Township to Conway, Pa.

A BRILLIANT beam of light from the object lit the area. Spaur said, "It was so bright, even with the sun coming out, it stood out. Its lines were very distinct," he said as he used the bell of a flashlight to describe the object.

"We were close, closer than I ever want to be again," he told the Plain Dealer. "I know nobody's going to believe it but its true." Spaur said all his former doubts about UFOs were removed.

"Somebody had control over it. It wasn't just an object floating around. It can maneuver. The only sound was a steady, faint humming like an electrical transformer when we first spotted it," he said. The sound was inaudible as the deputies chased the object, they added.

AT CONWAY, PA., Spaur said the object began hovering and was "going for altitude, straight up." After watching for about 20 minutes, he and the others went inside the police station to telephone U.S. Air Force officials he said, and when they came back outside the object was gone.

The Federal Aviation Agency's Air Traffic Control Centers at Oberlin and Pittsburgh said they spotted no unknown objects on their radar early yesterday.

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This page was last updated on November 7, 2003.