Abductees, Alien Abductions, Contactees, Extraterrestrial Contact, Extraterrestrials, UFO, UFO Sightings, UFOlogy


The UFO Craze Of The ’60s and ’70s


First Story: 1973, A Family Sees Three Glowing Objects And Stops To Investigate…

UFOs sightings happen fairly frequently (at least according to UFO sighting witnesses), but in the 1960s and ’70s, alien crafts were spotted almost every week throughout America and the rest of the Western world. The rise of inexpensive photography equipment helped witnesses make a better case for their sightings, and often these photos were able to provide evidence that an eyewitness testimony just can’t offer. But in many cases of UFO encounters witnesses are either too awestruck to take action, or technology just doesn’t work. These are just a few of the most exciting stories of UFO sightings from the 20th century. 

First, a report from January 1973, just outside of Coos Bay, Oregon, a military veteran and his family were driving along the coast when they caught sight of a collection strange objects. In total, the family saw three “yellowish” glowing objects that hovered above the ground. When the family got out of their car to inspect the spot where they saw the crafts they found a large, sparkling gem on the ground. 

Let’s be clear: UFOs are real. A UFO, strictly speaking, is simply an unidentified flying object. If it’s in the air and you don’t know what it is — congratulations, you’ve seen a UFO. But are all the UFOs that have been seen over the years, and particularly in the ’60s and ’70s, actually signs of alien life visiting (or perhaps planning to invade) the Earth? That’s a different question.

There are also the stories of abduction, of medical examination by strange life forms on board space-faring craft. These tales describe phenomena that indicate extra-terrestrial life — but are they true? The stories vary in the details, and contradict rather than confirm each other, and not all narrators are reliable, leaving many skeptics to conclude that it was all just another pop-culture hoax. In the end, we’re all left with a handful of pictures that are somewhat convincing and a whole lot of first-person accounts that cannot be verified. 

What’s believable becomes a very personal question. To paraphrase David Duchovny’s Agent Fox Mulder from The X-Files, some people “want to believe” — and others don’t. But one thing is certain: the UFO phenomenon boomed in the ’60s and ’70s. We were coming out of the postwar era, when technology and military power were a constant source of amazement for Americans — after all, the Manhattan Project seemed to have unlocked the very keys to the universe in splitting the atom. 

Science fiction was reaching its peak as a literary genre, and coming to be a familiar element in popular TV shows and movies. And in fact we had proof that space travel was possible — our own mission to the moon (assuming it indeed happened — but that’s a story for another time). The notion of aliens visiting the earth, descending in saucers or mysterious cigar-shaped crafts, was perhaps not all that far-fetched given all the astonishing gee-whizzery Americans had witnessed in their own lifetimes.

It’s hard to dismiss such a large number of accounts — these people saw something. What it was — whether a spacecraft, Russian spy plane, secret U.S. weaponry, or the ever-popular (and slightly insulting) “weather balloon” — is up for debate. It’s a long-running, entertaining debate, and one which we might never solve in our lifetimes. We’ll kick it off with a standard tale — weird but not outlandish, memorable but not life-altering. This first one came from the Pacific Northwest, but the rest span all over the country. 

What Happened To The UFO — And What Parachuted Out Of It? (1965)

On January 5, 1965, Max Beran claims that he saw a UFO over the skies of Cambridgeshire, England. The “curved object” was visible in the middle of the day, and Beran claims that it fell about a mile or two away from the city center, and that it looked as if something with a parachute exited the craft. Beran called the local authorities, who sent a car out to investigate, but they didn’t find anything in the area. Despite the lack of physical evidence, the Ministry of Defense still filed a report on Beran, which may imply that there must be more to the story than civilians are permitted to know. 

In 1975, A UFO Stole Six Days Of Travis Walton’s Life

The Travis Walton UFO sighting and abduction is a story that’s so intense that it serves as the basis for the film Fire In The Sky — but the real story is even stranger than what Hollywood dreamed up.

On November 5, 1975, 22-year-old Walton and his logging crew were working in the woods of Turkey Springs, Arizona when they saw a bright light moving behind a hill. Upon inspection they saw a large silverly disc hovering above a clearing. While the rest of the crew stayed in their truck, Walton approached the craft and was struck by a beam of light and knocked to the ground. The logging crew fled the scene, and Walton’s whereabouts were unknown for almost a week. He claims that his time away was spent in the disc-like craft and at a hangar, containing other similar craft. Walton said that he was examined and sedated by beings, some of whom were alien in appearance and others who seemed to be humans. After being put under sedation, Walton awoke outside a gas station in Heber, Arizona, thinking the episode had taken just a few hours. Despite persistent accusations that he’d made the whole thing up, Walton’s story has never changed. 

“There’s A Creepy Spaceman Behind My Daughter” (1964)

While this isn’t technically a UFO sighting, it’s still a super weird sighting. In 1964, fireman and amateur photographer Jim Templeton took a series of photos of his five-year-old daughter while they spent the day at Burgh Marsh. 

He claims that there was no one else there with them, but the photos seem to tell a disturbingly different story. A figure wearing a white jumpsuit is clearly visible, standing behind his daughter. Templeton insists that he didn’t notice the entity until he received the photos, and despite various theories to what the creature could be, no one’s ever been able to debunk the Spaceman. 

Was This Couple Abducted By Aliens? Betty & Barney Hill (1961)

The Betty and Barney Hill Abduction is one of the strangest UFO sightings to come out of the 20th century, and it’s the first widely reported abduction case in the United States. It’s believed that this case set off a rash of sightings, which are seen by skeptics as copycat reports. However, UFOlogists believe that the Hills were simply brave enough to be the first to come forward with their story.

On the night of September 19, 1961, the married couple Betty and Barney Hill were driving near Portsmouth, New Hampshire when they encountered a bright light in the sky around 10:30 pm. Initially they believed they were seeing a meteor shower or another form of interstellar phenomena, but when the light changed direction and began moving vertically they realized that this was no shooting star. The Hills moved in for a closer look and, through a pair of binoculars, they saw an actual craft with different-colored lights.

The Hills attempted to drive away but the craft gave chase, and quickly caught up to them before hovering over their car and passing in front of them. The Hills got out of their car for another look, and that’s when Barney saw a group of figures dressed in black watching the couple from the portholes of the ship. The Hills tried to flee the scene, but the ship gave chase. At that point, the couple felt a tingling sensation and blacked out.

The Hills regained consciousness a short time later, almost 40 miles away from where they initially started. Later, they recalled being taken onto the ship and examined by extra-terrestrial creatures. Both Betty and Barney Hill’s story held up under hypnotic regression sessions, making this one of the most groundbreaking and important UFO sightings ever. 

1966: A Mind-Boggling Airshow Over Michigan Lasts An Hour

In 1966, Washtenaw County, Michigan, got its own visit from little green men when local deputies caught sight of a series of objects tearing through the sky in the darkness of the pre-dawn morning. The officers reportedly saw four ships maneuvering through the sky, dipping, turning, and climbing like no plane ever has. The officers maintain that the ships were visible for a little over an hour before going out of view. 

The Mystery Of Stonehenge. Stonehenge… New Jersey (1975)

North Bergen, New Jersey played host to an incredibly strange UFO sighting in 1975 when a series of strange lights were seen coming from the North Hudson County Park, a spot that sits across the street from an apartment building that was nicknamed “Stonehenge” by locals. Onlookers made their way to the park to see what was up, and reported that they saw a craft briefly touch down in the grass before taking off again. At least one observer swears he saw diminutive creatures descend from the craft on a ladder and collect soil samples before scurrying back up. Since then, the park has been the site of numerous strange supernatural occurrences. 

Visitors To Our Planet Left The Future President Spooked ~ Jimmy Carter (1969)

It turns out that even U.S. presidents see UFOs. In 1969, Jimmy Carter was a former Georgia State Senator who was gearing up to run for governor in the 1970 election. Carter was  in Leary, Georgia, about to give a speech at a Lions Club when he saw a strange object in the sky. Carter said that the object was initially bright white, but it quickly began to change color from blue, to red, and then again to white.

Carter claims that about 20 people witnessed the incident, and that the craft was essentially clear, and that it didn’t look to have a specific mass. After the ship disappeared Carter and the rest of the witnesses were at a loss to explain what they had seen. 

The Mysterious Flaming UFO That Vanished – Kecksburg, PA (1965)

On December 9, 1965 Kecksburg, Pennsylvania played host to one of the most intense unidentified flying objects seen in America. That evening, a huge fireball was seen over Kecksburg, and the phenomenon was reported as far as Winsdor, Canada. Witnesses and UFOlogists believed that the fireball was caused by a downed extra terrestrial craft, although the U.S. government claimed otherwise.

Even after decades of research into the incident, it’s still unclear what caused the fireball. NASA has theorized that the fireball came from a Russian satellite, but that’s never actually been proven. 

The Red-Hot Pyramid That Landed In Michigan (1966)

Dexter, Michigan is an out-of-the-way hamlet that keeps to itself, but on March 20, 1966, it hosted some visitors from out of this world. That morning, the sheriff’s office was bombarded with reports of a UFO landing in the woods outside of Dexter Township. One caller reported that the ship was shaped like a pyramid and that it was engulfed in white light. 

Interestingly, the ship seemed to be made of something like coral, but it was impossible to see through because of the “heat waves” coming off of it. The reports were so serious that United States Air Force catalogued the accounts in its long-running UFO investigations, known as “Project Blue Book.” 

In 1973, A UFO Threatened To Abduct The Governor Of Ohio (1973)

In October 1973, Cincinnati, Ohio, came under invasion from a glowing object that no one could explain. That evening, a circular white flying craft emitting a yellow glow was seen flying about the trees near Mount Washington, frightening everyone in the surrounding neighborhoods. During the sighting, police reported large-scale equipment and communication failures, and even Governor John J. Gilligan claims that he was caught in a vertical beam of light; fortunately for everyone involved he wasn’t abducted by whomever (or whatever) was on the ship. 

 Taken: Betty Andreasson Spent Hours Abducted (1967)

The phenomenon of “time loss” occurs when time moves ahead faster than an individual’s perception of it — an extreme literary example would be Rip Van Winkle laying down for a nap and waking up 20 years later — and it’s a frequent and terrifying component of alien abduction stories. Betty Andreasson suffered this fate on the night of January 25, 1967. That evening she was with her family when the lights of their home flickered on and off before a red beam passed through the kitchen window and proceeded to explored the house.

Shortly afterward, five creatures entered the house and put her family into a trance. She was put on their craft and physically examined before being brought home by the aliens. She couldn’t recall being gone for an extended period of time, but her family clocked her missing at around four hours. 

Hard To Dismiss: The UFO Thousands Of People Saw In 1976

On Spain’s Canary Islands, a bright light was observed on the night of June 22, 1976. That evening, thousands of people reportedly watched as a transparent sphere with two tall creatures standing inside floated about the island for close to twenty minutes. It’s been hotly debated whether or not there were entities inside the object — and at this point, we’ll never know — but the large number of witnesses makes the story difficult to dismiss. 

What Were Those Hovering Black Triangles? (1965)

On March 28, 1965 locals of Kew, England witnessed one of the most fascinating phenomenas in UFO lore – the black triangles. According to the Ministry of Defense, a group of witnesses saw nine or ten triangular objects hovering near Richmond, North Yorkshire, England at about 9:30pm. The ships gave off an orange glow and exited a humming sound. One witness reports that when the triangles came in close proximity to his car, the car sputtered and died. Every witness says that the crafts hovered for a few minutes before taking off vertically, unlike any plane they’d ever seen. Many witnesses later manifested strange red marks across their bodies. 

They Thought It Was Venus. Then It Came Closer (1968)

On August 7, 1968 a group of campers at Buff Ledge Camp in Vermont saw what they thought was Venus burning brightly in the sky. However, it was quickly apparent that whatever they saw was a craft moving towards them. The onlookers watched as a light descended from the sky, and three smaller lights separated form the larger one. The lights zoomed around the sky; then one UFO hovered above the onlookers, shot straight up into the sky, and returned only to drop into the lake.

A few minutes later, the craft emerged from the water and once again hovered above the onlookers. Multiple people claim that the next thing they remember is lying with their backs down on the dock, looking up at a completely empty sky. 

The U.S. Air Force Couldn’t Explain This UFO Visit (1961)

In 1961, the U.S. military had a bases in small towns all over the country — this was the height of the Cold War, after all. Vermont’s sleepy Lyndonville Air Force Station, a radar base located atop East Mountain, held 175 men, and had its own recreation facility and bowling alley. One evening, an object hovered in the sky about the base for nearly 20 minutes. Its believed that this object is the same one from the Betty and Barney Hill case, although this claim can’t be verified. The base shut down in 1963. 

Bow Hunter Goes Oliver Queen On Extra-terrestrials

While hunting near Cisco Grove, California Donald Shrum was separated from his friends and ended up lost in the forest in the middle of the night. While trying to find his way home he spotted a white light that looked like it was swerving around the trees. Initially, he believed the light belonged to to a helicopter, but it became apparent that whatever he was watching wasn’t of this world. 

Shrum claims that at this point he hid in a tree and attempted to hide from multiple beings that he believes came from either the ship operating the light, or the light itself. The hunter says that he fought off the creatures with a bow and arrow until the morning when the beings finally left him alone. 

When UFOs Terrorize The Highway (1965)

On a late night patrol on September 3, 1965, a police officer stopped to take a look at a car on the side of Route 101, outside of Exeter, New Hampshire. The woman in the car said she’d just been chased by a craft with flashing red lights. There’s no proof of her claim, but hours after her report a young man stopped into the Exeter police department to report that he witnessed five bright lights floating over near where he was hitchhiking on Route 150. 

One might expect the police to send the kid on his way, but two officers accompanied the hitchhiker to the spot where he saw the lights, and substantiated his claims. No explanation has ever been offered for the case. 

The Silver Disc That Menaced Catalina Island (1966)

Catalina Island is a lovely little spot for a weekend trip, but on April 15, 1966 it became California’s own little Roswell. That morning, a silver disc flew across the sky at around 170 mph. There’s footage of the craft, but it’s unstable and incredibly grainy, two qualities that can leave skeptical viewers of purported UFO video footage unconvinced. 

Two years later, a set of lights were seen in the sky in the exact spot as the 1966 sighting, but this time around there was no grainy or shaky footage — there was simply no footage at all, which is even less convincing. 

The Failed UFO Abduction That Left Its Mark On Robert Taylor (1979)

While walking his dog near the M8 motorway on November 9, 1979, Robert Taylor witnessed a flying dome with an exoskeleton resembling sandpaper cruising about the Dechmont Woods in Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland. Taylor says that the dome tried, unsuccessfully, to drag him aboard a larger ship outfitted with propellers, which left tears in his clothing and scrape marks on his skin. Taylor passed out after the incident, and when he woke up the ships were gone. 

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