High Strangeness: Can We Get Back to Talking About UFOs Now?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Can We Get Back to Talking About UFOs Now?

I have to admit to feeling a little discouraged about the state of ufology over the past few days, but something happened yesterday that has renewed my sense of purpose as a UFO investigator.

My MUFON State Director assigned a historical case to me and asked that I contact the witness ASAP, because it involved multiple witnesses and at least the possibility of photographic evidence. I read the report and was intrigued...

I called the witness up yesterday evening and heard quite a story... The event took place in 1980, when the witness was in the Army and based at Ft. McCoy, a sleepy little training base in west central Wisconsin. At that time, Ft. McCoy was designated as a Cuban Resettlement Center, and as such was used to house several thousand Cuban refugees who had fled to the US. The witness was part of a "human fence" ringing the perimeter of the camp to keep the refugees from slipping away at night. He was one of about 40 or 50 men who stood guard together 24/7 on this unusual assignment. One night, after "late chow," when it was his turn to get some shuteye, he unrolled his sleeping bag in the grass about 50 yards from the other men and got in.
Fort McCoy, the sleepiest Army Base in the US. Until the UFO showed up...

It was then that he saw something strange moving in the sky behind the trees to his left. He got up and watched as the object moved out from behind the trees, and was shocked to see it was a brilliantly-lit square or rectangular craft of some kind moving at uniform speed from his left to his right. That's when it got weird.

All of the men in the human fence saw it, and he told me that "You could hear 50 voices all shouting out 'What is that?' all at once." He noticed that some of the men had cameras and were taking pictures, but he didn't look very closely because his attention returned to the strange object. It took about two minutes for it to cross from the tree line on the left to the tree line on the right. but in that time he saw an opening in the side of the object... He told me that he didn't perceive it as a window with a glass pane, exactly, but more like an opening protected by a force shield. Visible in the opening were two beings "looking right at me." He could only see their outlines in the opening, but he sensed they were looking at him by the way their heads appeared to turn as the object moved past from his left to his right. "I knew they weren't human," he told me after some hesitation.

His attention was also drawn to what appeared to be a flaming exhaust trailing the craft, but when he looked at it, it didn't display any physical characteristics of a rocket exhaust... There was no trail of smoke behind the craft, just a stationary "light coming out of the tail."

He said "I freaked out for a spilt-second. A wall came down in front of me and I went blind; that's the best way I can explain it." Then after the object disappeared behind the trees to the right, he got back in his sleeping bag and fell asleep immediately. To him, this was the oddest, most unsettling part of the experience. How could he just fall asleep after such an emotionally-charged experience? He can't make any sense of it and it bothers him intensely, even after 35 years.

He woke up the day after the sighting feeling perfectly normal, and found that no one wanted to talk about the events of the night before. He asked his Lieutenant "what to do" about the sighting and was told "You're on your own." When he asked his Colonel the same thing, the Colonel said "If it comes out in the local paper, then we'll investigate." The witness smelled a rat: "He knew that as long as we were on that guard duty, no one would have a chance to get into town to look at the papers!" So, of course, nothing ever came of it officially.

The witness told me that he has a list of the men on that guard assignment that night. I had a hard time understanding how he had this document, but by this point in the conversation he was pretty shaken and his voice was giving out a lot... He is sending me the list in the hopes that I can track down someone else who saw the same thing and is still living and is willing to talk about it. A tall order, but still...

Now I'm going to be very unscientific here and tell you what I found persuasive about this man's story...
  • He told me that when this happened he knew less than nothing about UFOs. 
  • He told me that he has kept this inside for over 30 years and can't do it anymore. 
  • His voice exhibited signs of strain and fear as he told me his story. 
  • At times he struggled to find words that would convey the true feeling and meaning of the event -- he had particular trouble describing the "wall" that came down in front of him and how it made him "go blind" for an instant.
  • Sometimes he couldn't find the words to describe things and he just gave up -- the appearance of the odd "flame exhaust" was just impossible for him to put into words, no matter how hard he tried.
  • Odd "soda pop factor" items came out; strange little details like the absence of glass in the opening on the side of the ship, which has no bearing on the story but stuck out to him as significant enough to report in detail.
  • He offered to share the duty roster with me, even at the risk that I might contact someone who would contradict his story.
I believe this man had a very real but as-yet unexplainable experience. If I were to fill out the Ballester-Guasp Report Evaluator with just the information I have now, this case would register a whopping 48.85% Certainty Value, the highest I have ever encountered personally (Yes, I have written in the past about my problems with BGE, but it's what we have to work with).

So, yeah, just when I'm about to give up all hope for ufology and MUFON, a case like this falls into my lap. This guy is powerfully convincing when he says "I have kept this to myself for over 30 years and can't do it any more. Remember the other witnesses also. I was not alone."

And here's the great irony: he decided to file this report only after seeing some lame cable TV UFO show, possibly even the much-reviled MUFON show "Hangar 1."

PS: Speaking of "Hangar 1," something else has improved my mood: Jack Brewer's incredible piece of reporting at The UFO Trail today. Go read it now!


Tom said...

Sounds very intriguing. The guy seems sincere. Kept silent about it for 30 years. No money or fame motivation. And other witnesses. If another witness, or more, verifies this sighting, even more intriguing.

Mark, I'm curious, how does A MUFON Investigator approach witnesses like those on the duty roster that night? Serious question. I've never investigated, but I would imagine one would get pretty strong resistance to a MUFON Investigator contacting them. Especially since they were not the one that reported the sighting to MUFON. It has to hit them like a bolt out of the blue. Probably don't know what to think about this guy, who they do not know, contacting them about a 30 year old incident. How do you deal with this inevitable wall, which I assume such people would put up? Or, am I wrong? Are some actually cooperative?

Per Jack's article - yup, it's great! Nice to know that you spurred all that on. You deserve a beer... and a shot... or two. Congrats on your great work! This site has become my go-to blog on this subject.

Nowwww... let's get back to researching the real potential smoking gun - DNA analysis of Don Schmitt's toupee. I say it's an ancient alien artifact, left behind by the Sky Gods to be eventually worn by a Great All-Knowing Postal Worker.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Tom, I have been discussing the contact question with my MUFON state director. Normally in a multi-witness case, I would ask the reporting witness if he/she felt comfortable contacting the other witnesses to see if they would be willing to talk to me. If so, I'll ask the reporting witness to connect me with the secondary witness. Usually that works--I just had a case last week where I had to make that request and the secondary witness wrote me a long, detailed account of the sighting--but sometimes the request is turned down by the secondary witness, and for a variety of interesting reasons.

In the case in question, the reporting witness is a retired vet on a fixed income, and as he told me, he "just discovered the internet." He doesn't have the resources to do any research, and so I'm going to take a look at the information he sends me and make a determination as to whether it's worth pursuing. At this point neither my State Director nor I are sure at all. As you point out, contacting people out of the blue to ask them about something they may not want to talk about could be seen as a serious invasion of privacy. I already know that if we ask the national MUFFIN people they will pressure us to contact everyone on the list, so I'd rather keep the decision at the local level.

An alternative is to research Ft. McCoy archival records and the local papers and police records to look for leads there, but I have not had time to look into that yet. These historical cases can be real buggers.

Of course, we could get H2 to dramatize the case on Hangar 1 and I bet all 50 of those guys would see it and report the event to MUFON! I'm actually not kidding!

I'm traveling for the next few days and will be mostly off the grid. Can't wait to see what's going on in UFO world when I get back on Monday. As always, thanks for your support!

Sunspot Mike said...

That's a great story and right from Fort McCoy! The two beings looking at him sounds terrifying, and the fact that he "just went to sleep" right after? Well, that sounds like anal probe time. I'd think if you get a list of names from him that your best bet is Facebook, our older population is coming to it in droves now to see pics of the grandkids, and if you were on guard duty at Fort McCoy in 1980, chances are you'd at most be 60-65 probably, so it's a safe bet you could get some of these guys to talk. I can't wait to hear more!

Lance said...

Hi Mark

Your approach here does not put me in the mind of scientific inquiry.


purrlgurrl said...

This is a red flag for me . . . the witness was already in his sleeping bag and perhaps already dozing off.

This could well be a half-waking dream triggered by the sight of a military helicopter passing overhead (re-read his description of the craft one more time). If the dream terrified him and he can't separate it from reality, then even 30+ years later there would be real, intense emotion in recalling it.

Also, if everybody seemed uncomfortable or sloughed it off when he wanted to talk about it afterwards, it could be because nobody else saw anything not because of a cover up.

Best to approach potential corroborating witnesses very carefully without assuming they saw something, too.

Tim Printy said...

Did I miss the information or is there a date and time associated with this sighting. If you don't have these basic details, it is not a very good case at all.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Tim, the witness does have a date and time, although after 35 years he admits he may be a little off on the date. In any case, it should be easy enough to date the presence of the Cuban refugees at Fort McCoy to get at least a rough time frame.

Lance, I did say that I was going to be unscientific and offer my gut response to the witness' testimony.

Tim Printy said...

So we have a date that the witness recalls but it may not be the precise date and time. If we don't have a precise date with a reasonably approximate time, it will be difficult to determine if what he saw was extraordinary or something ordinary that he misinterpreted. I doubt that any directions and elevations will be any more accurate. This is just another one of those UFO ghost stories that can't be verified or analyzed in any meaningful way.

Unknown said...

Mark I know a witness from the fort McCoy night he told me funny thing the lieutenant said the same thing to him to

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Hi Daniel, that's very interesting news. Can you put me in tough with your friend?