The Betz Sphere – Alien Artifact Or Ancient Doomsday Device?

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
May 7, 2018
Last Updated
September 27, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
8 min read
Posted in
Conspiracy Theory Analysis, Technology

There are many finds of strange and bizarre objects made all over the planet. Perhaps none, however, matched the intense interest of a shiny, metallic orb in northern Florida in the spring of 1974.

Terry Betz with the strange silver sphere in 1974

Terry Betz 1974

The discovery of the “Betz Sphere”, as it became known, fascinated multiple fields of interest. From ufologists, ancient astronaut enthusiasts, archaeologists, scientists, and even the United States’ military, each wished to investigate the mysterious object in relation to their areas of research or concern. When the national, and ultimately international media ran with the story, the Betz family and their enigmatic find became the focus of multiple “representatives” from these various organizations, and would ultimately find themselves in the middle of a storm of interest from all directions.

Discovery of A Strange Sphere

As they were inspecting damage from a brush fire on their recently purchased 887-acre woodland in Fort George Island near Jacksonville, Florida, on 26th March 1974, the Betz family would make a discovery that what alter their lives. 21-year-old Terry Betz, his mother, Gerri, and his father, Antoine would eventually stumble onto a brilliantly polished metallic sphere. It was around the same size as a bowling ball and of considerable weight (it was revealed to weight just over one-and-a-half stone). Terry was a pre-med student, and his father a marine engineer. Needless to say, they were both instantly fascinated with their find. [1]

All three of the Betz family members in attendance examined the object meticulously. There was not one seam or join anywhere on it. The only mark was a triangle shape that seemed as though it was “stamped on” purposely. Their first thought was that it was a satellite that had fallen to Earth. They would all note how similar it was to some of the early Soviet designs, for example. They would even suspect initially that they had found the cause of the brush fire. However, a quick examination of the surrounding area revealed no crater or any sign of intense heat to suggest the sphere was responsible for the blaze.

Unsure what it was, but now suspecting it to be a superbly preserved relic from the past, Terry would carry the sphere back to the family’s car and take it back to their property. Once there, he would attempt to discover just what it was, and what its purpose might be.

Further Examination

As it happened, though, Terry would largely forget about the strange sphere over the next couple of weeks, and it would sit next to the window of his bedroom unstudied. That was until a friend of the young medical student, Theresa Fraser, spent the evening with him. As he began playing his guitar for Theresa both noticed the sphere “vibrate like a tuning fork!” It would also send out a palpable humming sound that felt like it “throbbed” in the air.

With his interest in the object now restored, Terry and the rest of the Betz family would pay close attention to the shiny metal globe. And as they did, they would take note of any further strange behavior, of which there was ample.

For example, they would notice that it was more “active” when the weather was bright as opposed to overcast or cloudy. They would, at the same time, notice that a change in the temperature was of no consequence to the sphere. This would lead them to believe it was the sun or solar influence that it would respond to. They also noticed, for reasons they couldn’t figure out, the sphere would vibrate slightly. Terry would describe it as though it “had a small motor running inside!” Furthermore, purely by accident, they discovered one small area of the sphere to be “intensely magnetic!”

There was also the suggestion of some type of intelligence within the sphere. When the family would push it along the floor, it would take control of its own movements. After turning on its own axis, it would ultimately “travel” back to its original spot.

The Betz Family with the sphere on a table in front of them

The Betz Sphere

More “Scientific” Study

Perhaps the strangest discoveries of the mysterious sphere, however, would come when Terry began to study it with a more scientific approach. He would conduct and record basic measurements and notes of the response of “tapping” on it with various instruments. One evening, he placed the shiny orb on the glass coffee table in the family living room. Almost as soon as he had done so, the sphere came to life somewhat. It would roll itself to the edge of the table, before halting its momentum and retreating across the surface to the other side. It would repeat this procedure several times.

To Terry, it was obvious that the sphere was under its own intelligence, most probably with some kind of highly advanced “guiding system”. Its rolling from one side to the other was it attempting to find a way back to the ground. As soon as Terry placed it back on the floor, it remained still again. On one occasion, with the sphere placed on the glass table, the piece of furniture was tilted slightly forward. The sphere sprang into action again, beginning to spin quickly. This, it would seem, created its own momentum, which propelled it forward and to the upper part of the table. It was stopping itself from falling to the floor.

Perhaps even bizarre was the reaction of the metallic orb when someone would shake it. After doing so, upon placing it back on the ground, the sphere would act in such a way that it was “trying to get away from you!”

Partly concerned with just how “intelligent” this strange sphere was, and partly due to an obvious need for more “expert” opinion, the Betz’ made the decision to report their find.

Onslaught Of Interest

After an initial story appeared in the Jacksonville Journal, national, and then international newspapers would show an interest. Suddenly, the Betz family were in the absolute thick of the media storm which saw journalists from as far as Europe and Japan descend to the small north Florida suburb. [2]

When people representing such lofty departments as NASA, the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (ARPO), and even the US Marine Corps arrived on the doorstep of the Betz family, they realized, if they didn’t already, that the find was truly one of a kind. Perhaps even out of this world.

One thing the family, and the media write-ups would note about all of the visitors to this otherwise sleepy part of Florida was the fact that most were skeptical of the claims (sometimes openly so) upon arriving. However, almost all would leave convinced of the sphere’s strange behavior. Perhaps as a testament to this, a representative for the US Marines, who are normally extremely conservative in their assessment of such things would state on television with a touch of defeat he was “unable to explain its origin!” He would also offer that it was not an American-made object.

It was around this time when the Betz family, in particularly, Gerri, began to feel the strain of the constant media glare and interest from far and wide. With a touch of irony, she would offer to the media that her family had chosen this location so they could “enjoy the serene atmosphere”. Now, however, that serenity was gone, at least temporarily. The phone would ring almost non-stop, with those on the west coast of country dominating one of half of each day, and those in the east taking up the other.

Betz Sphere Newspaper April 1974

Newspaper clipping of the find (April 1974)

Sudden Paranormal Events

For the next few weeks, the sphere remained firmly in the Betz’ possession, despite several requests to “examine” it from various scientists and universities. The Betz family, according to information that would enter the public domain years later, received warnings from several independent UFO and strange phenomena researchers that they should not part with the device, much less send it on a plane. It was their experience that such objects often “get lost” or even secretly replaced with replicas upon their return.

However, events that would follow would force them to rethink their decision.

Out of nowhere, the Betz family would begin to hear strange “organ-like” music in the dead of night. There was, however, no definite source to the music. And no matter where they were, it was as clear in one room as it was in any other. When doors began to slam at various times of day, however, the family began to wonder just what was behind these sudden paranormal events. And more importantly, were they connected to the sphere’s presence?

Realizing they had to discover just what this device that was sharing their home was, they would contact the United States Navy, via Antoine’s connections. They would agree to submit it and their account for thorough investigation. After an initial X-ray failed to penetrate the outer shell, the navy would utilize a much more powerful machine. They would eventually discover two “round objects” inside the sphere. They would also discover a “halo” that was made out of an unknown material but was “unusually dense”. Furthermore, there was two negative and two positive magnetic poles within the device.

There was nothing else of consequence discovered, however, not least who, or what, made the object in the first place.

A Grave Warning!

Terry Betz would take the mystery sphere for examination by the “Blue Ribbon Club” in New Orleans in April 1974. This club was made up of scientists and researchers with an interest in the UFO phenomenon. They had also made the public declaration of a monetarily “reward” to anyone who could offer proof of an alien object. Ultimately, while none of the panel could determine just what the object was, they couldn’t be sure to any significant degree that it had a cosmic connection.

However, one of the members of the panel, Dr. James Harder, had read much about the strange sphere in the previous weeks. And furthermore, he had his own theories as to what it might be. Now, he had a chance to look at it close-up. He was particularly intrigued with the findings of the Navy regarding the two spheres inside the object. And more to the point, the fact that they were of a denser material than any substance to human knowledge. Just to stress his point of how dense this material was, he would state that the heaviest naturally occurring element on Earth was uranium, with an atomic number of 92. Artificial man-made heavy elements have reached an atomic number of 105. According to his research, the materials inside the sphere had an atomic number in excess of 140.

It was his belief, that should the sphere be compromised in any way, it was likely “the mass would go critical and explode like an atom bomb!” Perhaps it was even on a bizarre (and unknown) timing device or was conducting surveillance by its presumed alien creators. In short, it could very well be a cosmic “doomsday device”, and study should be cautious.

Artist's impression of an atomic bomb

Artist’s impression of an atomic bomb

Where Is It Now?

Perhaps what is most interesting about the Betz Sphere is following the warning from Dr. Hardy, media interest in the device stopped almost overnight. Considering the revelations Hardy was making, this is a little bizarre. Especially given the intense and consistent interest in the object since it first became known to the wider public.

Furthermore, there is very little by way of updates from the Betz family, with the location of the sphere unknown. [3] Even whether it is still in the Betz’ possession is unclear. Was it “claimed” by authorities working in the background following the public warning by Hardy? Did the Betz family decide to pass the device to someone else following his doomsday-laden words?

Although there are similar discoveries on record, none are as mysterious as the Betz Sphere. Aside from the apparent “intelligence” within its structure, was the bizarre connection to paranormal events experienced by the Betz’. What caused these incidents, and whether they still occur also remains a mystery. Might the device have somehow managed to manifest such paranormal energy, or maybe open a portal to another realm? Was it a peek into the technology of an alien race, or a glimpse into the “mythical” technology of antiquity?

Ultimately, at least for now, the origins and purpose (if any) of the Betz Sphere remains unknown. As does its definite whereabouts. The video below looks at the Betz Sphere in a little more detail.


1 Just A Ball: Navy, Not so: Its Finders, St. Petersburg Times, April 12th, 1974, page 26
2 The Mysterious Betz Sphere of Fort George Island, Bill Delaney, The Jaxson Mag, June 22nd, 2021
3 This Is The Mystery Of The Betz Sphere That Has Puzzled Scientists For Decades, Ali Vaqar, Wonderful Engineering, November 13th, 2017

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

Fact Checking/Disclaimer

Fact Checking

The stories, accounts, and discussions in this article may go against currently accepted science and common beliefs. The details included in the article are based on the reports, accounts and documentation available as provided by witnesses and publications - sources/references are published above.

We do not aim to prove nor disprove any of the theories, cases, or reports.  You should read this article with an open mind and come to a conclusion yourself.  Our motto always is, "you make up your own mind".  Read more about how we fact-check content here.

Copyright & Republishing Policy

The entire article and the contents within are published by, wholly-owned and copyright of UFO Insight.  The author does not own the rights to this content. 

You may republish short quotes from this article with a reference back to the original UFO Insight article here as the source. You may not republish the article in its entirety.

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter and join our subscribers. Receive the latest articles directly in your inbox weekly.

If you don't like what you read, you can unsubscribe at any time.


UFO Insight does not take responsibility for the content of the comments below.  We take care of filtering profanity as much as we can.  The opinions and discussion in the comments below are not the views of UFO Insight, they are the views of the individual posting the comment.

Newest comments appear first, oldest at the bottom. Post a new comment!

  • Fango says:

    Problem I have with claims of special properties in sound, travel, and response are, WHERE ARE THE VIDEOS proving all this?

    I shot astonishing films in Kodachrome Super-8 with stereo sound on relative inexpensive hand held Bolex Cameras in early 1970s, as part of high school program. (Better than anything but the latest 13 and 14 pro max iPhones)

    Ball was long in their possession.

    Folks, when you see there are great claims but No Effort at providing proof – Run. You are in presence of showman and scam.

  • Dennis says:

    odd article, I found it when researching the BETZ spherical electric motor, of which there is a complete teardown and rebuilding of in a youtube video! Even Odder is that it is labeled with a brass plate with the name BETZ Motor Company on the plate!
    I think I smell rat pellets here somewhere, because this is no mistery machine it’s an electric motor inside a sphere, nothing more and nothing less.

    • Fango says:

      Dennis – you are on very thin ice, if you are comparing the Sphere in article to this video on Betz Motor:

      Buddy, you are disrespecting Marcus’s fine research with your trolling post here.

  • R.D. Schlegel says:

    The fact that no one or agency could define what it was or how it worked the way it did clearly shows it was not made on this earth. Where it is now is a really interesting and valid question that should be answered.

  • Yoram says:

    You are ignoring the fact that the sphere possesed special qualities regarding it’s behavior.
    No ordinary persons, artists included, posses exotic elements having 140 in it’s atomic number.

  • AARON R. says:

    There are 2 theories not mentioned here. One, that an artist who had made a modern art sculpture consisiting of various sized stainless steel spheres had been traveling through the area close to the time with said sculpture andost a part of it from the back of his truck. The othere, that it was some kind of sonde used by deep sea drilling rigs, of which there are many off the gulf coast. Both of these theories have been discussed in other articles. The artist one is the most plausible, as he had even been interviewed back then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *