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1966: The Michigan Sightings / ‘Swamp Gas’ Case

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THINK ABOUTIT SIGHTING REPORT

Date: March 14, 1966

Sighting Time: 3:50 a.m.

Day/Night: Night

Location: Dexter-Hillsdale, Michigan

Urban or Rural:

Hynek Classification: RV (Radar / Visual) Observation supplemented with radar.

Duration: 2-1/2 hours

No. of Object(s):  objects

Height & Speed:

Size of Object(s):

Distance to Object(s):

Shape of Object(s): Disc

Color of Object(s):

Number of Witnesses: Multiple

Source: FUFOR (Fund for UFO Research)         

Summary/Description: Washtenaw County sheriffs and police in neighboring jurisdictions reported disc-shaped objects moving at fantastic speeds and making sharp turns, diving and climbing, and hovering. At one point, four UFOs in straight-line formation were observed. Selfridge AFB confirmed tracking UFOs over Lake Erie at 4:56 a.m. Their stories were backed up by more than 100 witnesses

Full Report

DexterMIPhotos

Left photo: Air Force UFO expert Dr. J. Allen Hynek, left, and Dexter Police Chief Robert R. Taylor go over a map showing the sites of UFO sightings in the area. – Right photo: Deputy Sheriff Buford Bushroe, who ‘lost it in the Trees.’

Sheriffs Watch High-Performance Discs, Also Tracked on Radar

March 14-20, 1966: Southeastern Michigan

From about 3:50 a.m. on March 14 and for 2-1/2 hours thereafter, Washtenaw County sheriffs and police in neighboring jurisdictions reported disc-shaped objects moving at fantastic speeds and making sharp turns, diving and climbing, and hovering. At one point, four UFOs in straight-line formation were observed. Selfridge AFB confirmed tracking UFOs over Lake Erie at 4:56 a.m. Following is the log of “Complaint No. 00967” signed by Cpl. Broderick and Deputy Patterson of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department:

“3:50 a.m. Received calls from Deputies Bushroe and Foster, car 19, stating that they saw some suspicious objects in the sky, disc, star-like colors, red and green, moving very fast, making sharp turns, having left to right movements, going in a Northwest direction.

4:04 a.m. Livingston County [sheriff’s department] called and stated that they also saw the objects, and were sending car to the location.

4:05 a.m. Ypsilanti Police Dept. also called stated that the object was seen at the location of US-12 and I-94 [intersection of a U.S. and an Interstate highway].

4:10. a.m. Monroe County [sheriff’s department] called and stated that they also saw the objects.

4:20 a.m. Car 19 stated that they just saw four more in the same location moving at a high rate of speed.

4:30 a.m. Colonel Miller [county civil defense director] was called; he stated just to keep an eye on the objects that he did not know what to do, and also check with Willow Run Airport.

4:54 a.m. Car 19 called and stated that two more were spotted coming from the Southeast, over Monroe County. Also that they were side by side.

4:56 a.m. Monroe County [sheriff’s department] stated that they just spotted the object, and also that they are having calls from citizens. Called Selfridge Air Base and they stated that they also had some objects [presumably on radar] over Lake Erie and were unable to get any ID from the objects. The Air Base called Detroit Operations and were to call this Dept. back as to the disposition.

5:30 a.m. Dep. Patterson and I [Cpl. Broderick] looked out of the office and saw a bright light that appeared to be over the Ypsilanti area. It looked like a star but was moving from North to East.

6:15 a.m. As of this time we have had no confirmation from the Air Base.”

Washtenaw County deputies B. Bushroe and J. Foster formally stated: “This is the strangest thing that [we] have ever witnessed. We would have not believed this story if we hadn’t seen it with our own eyes. These objects could move at fantastic speeds, and make very sharp turns, dive and climb, and hover with great maneuverability. We have no idea what these objects were, or where they could have come from. At 4:20 a.m. there were four of these objects flying in a line formation, in a north westerly direction, at 5:30 these objects went out of view, and were not seen again.”

Deputy Bushroe told the press: “It would swing back and forth like a pendulum, then shoot upward at tremendous speed, hover and then come down just as fast.” Dexter police and Livingston County sheriffs, contacted by Bushroe and Foster, “reported that they saw the same objects engaging in the same maneuvers.”

March 17, 1966, Milan, Michigan. 4:25 a.m. Sgt. Nuel Schneider and Deputy David Fitzpatrick saw top-shaped objects making sharp maneuvers. They alternately hovered, rose and fell quickly, darted around at jet-like speed, their light dimming and brightening periodically. In a report to NICAP, the officers stated that two objects were operating together, circling and flying in formation, while a third object hovered at lower altitude.

March 20, 1966, Dexter, Michigan. About 8:30 p.m. Frank Mannor and family, and dozens of other witnesses, reported that a domed oval object with “quilted” or “waffled” surface and lights in the center and on each end had landed in a swampy field. Deputies David Fitzpatrick and Stanley McFadden parked car #34 adjacent to the area and began a search with Frank Mannor.

“While in the woods area,” their report states, “a brilliant light was observed from the far edge of the woods, and upon [our] approaching, the light dimmed in brilliance….The brilliant light [then] again appeared, and then disappeared. A continued search of the area was conducted, through swamp and high grass, with negative results. Upon returning to the patrol vehicle, the undersigned officers were informed that one of the objects had been hovering directly over the area where our flashlight beams had been seen, and then [it] departed in a west direction of flight, at high rate of speed.”

As he and other officers were rushing to the scene, Officer Robert Hartwell of the Dexter Police Department saw a luminous object buzz his car. Robert Taylor, Dexter Police Chief, said he watched an object in the field from Frank Mannor’s home on a knoll overlooking the area. It appeared as a pulsating red, glowing object. Through binoculars he saw “a light on each end of the thing.”  

This information was obtained by Mr.Dale Goudie, Director of Puget Sound Aerial Phenomena Research and Information Director for the UFO Reporting and Information Service in Seattle, Washington.

The broad details of this case have long been known.  This is the case in which Dr. J. Allen Hynek, at the time a consultant to the U.S. Air Force,
issued his quickly condemned opinion that the lights seen could have been swamp gas. New additional information about the famed 1966 Swamp Gas case in Michigan surfaced in 1984 shedding new light on this incident.
 
The material consists of a news release issued at the time by William E. Van Horn, the Civil Defense Director for Hillsdale County, Michigan. It contains a hitherto unknown laboratory report covering the scientific analysis of soil, water and animal life in the area of the reported landing.  For those unfamiliar with the case, here are excepts from a statement made at the time by Mr. Van Horn:
 
On the evening of March 21,1966 at 10:32 p.m., a call was received from the New Woman’s Dormitory at Hillsdale College by the Office Of Civil Defense… from a student reporting that some type of craft had descended from the Northeast, flashed by their dormitory and disappeared to the South.  At this time, the girl described as well as later, the observing of red, green and white pulsating lights.  There were 17 of the college students that made this observation.
 
At approximately 11 p.m., a second call was made by the girl to the Civil
Defense Office informing them that the object had reappeared and had settled
close to the ground approximately one half mile from the dormitory.  Van Horn
at once called for help from the Police Department and three cars plus
himself were sent in a two mile area from the dormitory to the East.  Van
Horn checked the area at the half mile point and after he was unable to
locate anything.  He at once returned to the dormitory.
 
Upon arriving at the dormitory, he was escorted to the second floor and taken to a room facing the east, from where he made the following observation.  He observed that there was an object which was at an approximate distance of 1,500 to 1,700 feet away from them… settled into a hollow and was apparently either near or on the ground.  The two lights upon his first observation were what he would describe as a dim orange on the right and a dirty white on the left.  After observing this for a period of about 10 minutes the lights began to grow in brilliance, the dim orange became red and true in color and the white became a true white.  As the lights became more brilliant, the object or vehicle began to rise.
 
It would rise to a height of approximately 100 to 150 feet, stop momentarily and began to descend.  This occurred several times.  At one time upon descending, a glow from the side opposite them came from somewhere and he was able to see a convexed surface.
 
The vehicle was also observed to move right to left, and left to right, and did so in a very smooth manner.  The ascent and descent were at an estimated rate of 25 to 30 feet per minute.  (This was estimated from Van Horns experience as a commercial pilot.)  At no time were any of the witnesses able  to detect any type of sound or noise.
 
At approximately 4:30 a.m., those still observing the scene noticed the
lights disappear and this was the last that was seen of it. The area that this was observed in was by no means a swamp but rather an area which is cultivated by Hillsdale College as a park. Goudie also states that there will be additional information up coming and
will be released in a short time by the UfO Reporting and Information Service in Seattle.  This new information will even bring us closer to the reality of this case and keep this in mind that this case was investigated very carefully.
 
 —————————————————————————
 
                       Lab Results Of 1966 Swamp Gas Case
 
                                    page 2
 
                               1. SOIL TESTS
 
a. Acid-Base Test                         b. Solubility Test
 
   Acid content of three, which is very      The soil was very soluble in a
   heavy, and Base content of seven or       water solution.
   eight, which is almost neutral.
 
c. Composition Test                       d. Radiological Test
 
   There was no change in soil                The radiation reading on the
   composition except for a slight            soil was thirty one hundredths
   additive of Boron.                         roentgens per hour. (.31 r/hr)
 —————————————————————————
 
 
                               2. PLANT TESTS
 
                             ( Green and Fungi )
 
a. Paper Chromatography Test              b. Tests for Measuring Life
                                             Functions
 
   There were found only green and           The plants were found to be
   yellow pigments in this test; the         healthy.
   blue pigment did not show up in
   this test, so we presume the blue
   pigment was destroyed.
 
 
c. Starch Test                            d. Chlorophyll Test
 
   This was found to be normal.              This was found to be normal.
 
 
e. Radiological Test                      f. Spectrum Test On Plant
                                             Chlorophyll
 
   The reading on the plants was             The blue pigment was gone; it
   three/hundred fifteen thousandths         did not show up in this test,
   roentgens per hour. (.315 r/hr)           presuming again that the blue
                                             pigment was completely
                                             destroyed.
 —————————————————————————
 
                               3. ANIMAL TESTS
 
 
a. Blood Hemoglobin Test                  b. Metabolism Test
 
   Amphibian: The hemoglobin was             Amphibian: had slower that
   slightly reduced.                                   normal metabolish but nowt
   Crustation: The hemoglobin                improving.
   showed no change from normal.             Crustation: Could detect no
                                             metabolic change from normal.
 
c. Reflex Test                            d. Radiological Test
 
   Amphibian: was sluggish when              Amphibian: Three thousand
   first captured but has not                seventy five-ten thousandths.
   improved.                                 (.3075 r/hr)
   Crustation: No change detected.           Crustation: Three thousand one
                                             hundred twenty five-ten
                                             thousandths. (.3125 r/hr)
 —————————————————————————
 
                               4. MINERAL TESTS
 
 
a. Acid-Base Test                         b. Type Of Rock Specimen
 
   All rocks, ingenous, metmorphic           1. Ingenous
   and sedimentary were found to be          2. Metamorphic
   neutral.                                  3. Sedimentary
 
 
c. Check Of Characteristics               d. Radiological Test
 
   All characteristics of the rocks          1. Ingenous ——- .31 r/hr
   found to be normal for each type          2. Metamorphic —- .31 r/hr
   of rock. There were no chemical           3. Sedimentary —- .3125 r/hr
   or structural changes.
 —————————————————————————
 
                               5. WATER TESTS
 
a. Microscopic Analysis                   b. Acid-Base Test
 
   All microscopic animals and plants         The water was neutral of both
   dead; cause unknown.                       acid and base.
 
 
c. Composition Of Materials In The        d. Radiological Test
   Water
                                             The water had a .315 r/hr
   All minerals found in the water           reading.
   normal with the exception of a
   slight trace of Boron.
 —————————————————————————
 
                               6. ENVIRONMENTAL TESTS
 
                                    TAKEN 3/23/66
 
a. Temperature                            b. Pond Life
 
   1. Water 42 degrees F                     1. Crustation:
   2. Air 54 degrees F                       2. Amphibians: There was an
      No unusual heat shown.                unusually large number of them.
 
c. Range and Time of Radiological         d. Changes of Visible Appearance
   Changes                                             Caused by the U.F.O.
 
   The first meter reading the meter         No apparent changes in
   showed thirty three hundredths            environment were visible.
   roentgens (.33 r/hr) and its last
   reading 3 hours later showed twenty
   seven hundredths roentgens (.27 r/hr).
 —————————————————————————
 
                               CONCLUSIONS
 
1. SOIL:
   The soil had above normal radiation and also had abnormal content of   Boron.
 
2. PLANT:
   The plants had above normal radiation.  Blue pigments did not show up in  the tests and were presumed to be destroyed, but this did not seem to effect the life junctions of the plants.
 
3. POND LIFE:
   Crustation and Amphibian radiation was higher than normal but the highest radiation was recorded in the Amphibian.   Also the Amphibian was affected noiceably where the Crustation was not.
 
4. MINERAL:
   Sedimentary rocks were slightly higher in radiation than either ingenous or metamorphic rocks.  There was no other change either chemical or structural.
 
5. WATER:
   All microscopic plants animals were dead.  The water had above normal radiation and abnormally contained Boron.
 
6. ENVIRONMENT:
   The environment had above normal radiation and it contained a small amount of Boron which is foreign to this soil.
 
7. MAIN CONCLUSION:
   The area contained an abnormally high amount of radiation from some unknown source.  The area also strangely contained Boron which was found in both water and soil.  These two facts are the only ones which would substantiate the presence of a U.F.O.  In our opinion, we’re not saying that there was a U.F.O., but we also do not know how to account for these two facts.  However, we believe it could not be swamp gas because of the high winds on the night of the sighting.  With these high winds the gas would not have formed a mass and remained stationary.  We also do not believe it was pranksters because we searched the area thoroughly for any sign of evidence to explain the phenomenon.
 
   NOTE: Radioactive decay took place at 0.6 milliroentgens per hour over a period of three hours.
 
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C U F O N
—————————
Computer UFO Network
Seattle Washington, USA
 
(206) 776-0382 8 Data Bits, No Parity, 1 Stop Bit 300/1200/2400 bps.
 
SYSOP – Jim Klotz  Information Director – Dale Goudie
 
UFO Reporting and Information Service
Voice Line – (206) 721-5035
P.O.Box 832, Mercer Island, WA 98040, USA
 
– Please credit CUFON as the source of this material –
 
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