This article was published in the daily newspaper Hillsdale Daily News, of Hillsdale, Michigan, USA, on March 23, 1966.
Also check other files on the Michigan 1966 swamp gas story.
Reports Indicate 'Objects' Returned
The question of whether there are objects under control of intelligent beings from other planets coming to earth has been a source of conjecture and bewilderment to scientists and laymen for years.
But there are people in the area who are no longer questioning if such objects exist. They are convinced. They say they have seen them.
Mrs. Jason Merrill, 263 Union St., her 12 year old daughter, Susan and Mrs. Jimmie Jones, 276 Union St. are among the believers, and they support their belief with a detailed description of three objects they spotted northeast of Hillsdale between 7:30 and 8 Tuesday night.
The three give essentially the same description of three objects which hovered in a horizontal triangular formation.
Mrs. Merrill said the objects stayed in formation for about 10 minutes. Then two of the objects moved rapidly in a northeasterly direction, fading out of sight into the distance.
The other object remained, hovering with a fluttering motion which Mrs. Merrill described as being similar to the movement of a kite bouncing at the end of its cord.
Mrs. Jones' description on this particular point differed slightly. She said the object appeared to move back and forth with a "smooth, controlled motion."
The women said the object continued this slight, in-place movement for five to 10 minutes. Then it too moved off in a northeasterly direction, disappearing into the distance.
Mrs. Merrill said it gave off a "yellowish light -- a glow from within."
Mrs. Jones said the object twirled, but declined to compare it with anything she is familiar with.
"It was like nothing I've ever seen," she said.
She also said it glowed with a yellow like light but thought it was some sort of surface glow, rather than the emission of light from within.
While the two women were viewing the three objects from near their homes Susan Merrill was in a swamp area east of there, in the vicinity of Simpson Field.
She reports seeing only one object but her description is essentially the same as the women's, although in much more detail, possibly because of an intensive study of how to observe scientifically conducted by her science teacher at Davis Junior High, William Vincent Jr.
Susan diagrammed the object in the shape of a football, or two saucers joined together. Where the two saucers would meet she indicates a band of yellow light which she described as glowing.
In the center of the lower half she reported seeing three lights, grouped together in a horizontal pattern. One was red, one white and one greenish.
She said the object she viewed was hovering at tree-top level. It then moved to the right and stopped; moved up and stopped; moved to the right again and stopped; moved down and stopped and then moved off in an easterly direction, dropping below a line of trees.
Susan described the line of movement as roughly like the outline of an inverted pitcher and said each movement was about 10 feet.
It took the object 15-20 minutes to complete this maneuver, she said.
Other sightings also were reported in the county.
William Van Horn, Civil Defense director for Hillsdale County said he received reports of three separate sightings between 9:30 and 10:00.
The first was reported by a man whom he declined to identify from the Montgomery area. The second was from Reading and the third from Allen.
All reported seeing a brilliant white light, he said.
The Montgomery resident stated the object moved up and down, and sideways as it moved toward Reading.
When over the city it appeared quite low, he said.
State Police of the Jonesville Post received a report from the vicinity of Maple Lawn medical Care Facility but said they discovered a telephone repair truck on Bear Lake Rd. and attributed the report to the trucks flashing lights reflecting from a heavy fog cover which had settled over most of the county by that time.
Local Experts Discuss Sight
In an effort to find out what scientists think about unidentified flying objects (UFO) The Daily News talked with Dr. Chihua Wu Hsiung, head of the physics department of Hillsdale College and Prof. Tyler Pett, professor of physical science.
Dr. Hsiung said she has "no idea" what the objects are.
"I would not say this is impossible," she said, referring to the possibility of vehicles coming to earth from another planet.
Mr. Pett said that although he has been aware of UFO reports for 20 years he has never seen one.
He said he is not entirely satisfied with the information available on the sightings and believes that even though the Air Force has explained a majority of the sightings as natural phenomena there are instances which have not been explained and the information classified.
Dr. Hsiung and Mr. Pett both advanced the speculation that the UFO sightings might be temperature inversions.
This is a night mirage caused by the refraction of light waves from very dense air.
Mr. Pett also speculated that since most Michigan sightings have occurred in areas where swamps abound the light may be the willi-the-wisp (burning marsh gas) or St. Elmo's fire, a light given off by a high concentration of static electricity.
Even though willing to speculate as to a possible explanation for some of the sightings, Mr. Pett did not discount the possibility that objects under control have or could travel to earth from another planet.
Air Force Enters Mystery Of State's Flying Objects
ANN ARBOR (AP) - As reports of unidentified flying objects mounted in southeastern Michigan today the United States Air Force began an investigation of the many sightings.
Dr. J Allen Hynek, a Northwestern University astrophysicist and UFO project consultant, was asked to visit the Ann Arbor area and investigate reports of strange, glowing objects in the night skies.
The Unidentified Flying Objects Office at Wright-Patterson AFB at Dayton, Ohio asked Dr. Hynek to investigate Tuesday. Maj. Hector Quintanilla, project officer, said Dr. Hynek would conduct interviews and assist officials at Selfridge AFB, Mt. Clemens, in gathering information.
Quintanilla emphasized his knowledge of the Michigan sightings "is extremely limited at this time." But he said nothing he has heard indicates proof of "extraterestial objects" any more than numerous other reports the office has checked in the past 18 years.
Sightings were reported three times within a week in the Ann Arbor area and the nearby town of Dexter.
The last sighting Sunday night brought hundreds of persons, many with cameras and binoculars, to the area Monday night. No sightings were reported, but 65 miles southwest of Ann Arbor, at Hillsdale, a group of college coeds watched an object for several hours.
William Van Horn, civil defense director of Hillsdale County, said Tuesday the flying object he observed east of Hillsdale Monday night was "definitely some type of vehicle."
Public Reaction to UFO's Varied Among Downtown Shoppers
By Geneva Gates
What's going on up there?
What with all the excitement about sighting unidentified flying objects (UFO if you're 'with it') this reporter ventured into the known area of Howell St. and environs to question the public as to their personal opinions regarding the phenomena.
The spring rain had washed the city streets clean and a slight haze hung over the area. Just an ordinary, slightly warmer than usual, day in Hillsdale.
The shoppers were strolling and if there was any fear of an invasion from a hostile planet, it wasn't too apparent.
The Rev. Donald Holm, pastor of the Lutheran Trinity Church in Hillsdale was the first person questioned regarding the possibility of "flying saucers" and their origin. He said, "I think there is a good possibility that they are perhaps somebody from outer space looking in on us. I'm not too alarmed about it at this point. They seem quite friendly and if I were to meet one and it communicated, I'd probably say hello."
Don Dempsey of Osseo said he thought the unidentified flying objects were probably balloons or some such thing being used in a research program. He wasn't too concerned.
Mr. and Mrs. Roger Zimmerman and son Scotty were not bothered much by the reports. Mr. Zimmerman is a farmer and he said the reports were nothing new. "People have been seeing the things for years, so I don't expect anything new will come of it."
Mrs. Richard (Lena) Walsh of Hillsdale agrees with that point. She works at Maple Lawn Hospital and said, "They've been around a long time. Flying objects don't bother me much."
Mrs. Fred (Melinda) Bowditch of Bird Lake frankly didn't have any idea what the things could be. "I'm not frightened or anything like that. These reports have been heard of before and nothing happened."
Three teen-age boys, George Burlew, 17, Ken Kope, 16, and Mike Bacon, 18, all of Pittsford, think it was a hoax. They all chorused, "We'll have to see it to believe it."
Mrs. Mildred Rogers of Jonesville conceded they may very well have been seen and could be from another planet, but, "I wonder if it isn't something connected with the government that they're not telling us about."
Dennis Culligan, 19, doesn't believe it. "That is to say, I think they are identifiable, maybe research things from other countries."
Tom Hamilton, of Pittsburgh, Pa. and a student at Hillsdale College is majoring in biology, as well as putting on lady reporters. He said, "I'm sure they are from another planet. Something similar to our space program looking over our planet and sending information back. I saw some once before, although I haven't seen these."
John Bruner of Mosherville and Raymond Morris of Jonesville were a bit skeptical. John thought maybe those who saw the objects had been drinking too much. Raymond said, "If there is such a thing, the government has something to do with it."
Mark Ralph, 7-year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Don Ralph of Hillsdale wasn't too sure. He had heard all the stories about the sightings and concluded, "They could be Martians, ya know."
Howard Cordrey, the sage of the News Room offered a splendid deduction. He said, "They are most probably a freakish result of atmospheric pressures." How about that!
Ron Kline, 17, a senior at Hillsdale High School, thinks maybe the objects are from another planet. "They are probably sent out and brought back like our missiles are and they are gathering information about our planet."
John Cummins, a seventh grader at Davis School and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Cummins, isn't sure what they are, "But I'm not afraid of them."
Mrs. Jim Fiddler of Waldron doesn't know what to think about the things, "But I have four boys, 9 through 16 and they have a lot of ideas as to where they come from."
Me? Oh, now that you ask, "I think they are for real. Here we are running around in space probably interfering with everyone's television reception on other planets and they don't care for it one bit. Next thing you know, they will be sending dogs and monkeys and stuff down here to look us over, and, well you know the rest. Sub-divisions, drive-ins, new kinds of crab grass, the whole works. Oh, I'm a believer, I tell you, and we've been trespassing."
Excuse me while I take my tongue out of my cheek and get serious about this business.