The 2005 Highway 61 Close Encounter

First Published: October 4, 2019 Written by: Marcus Lowth Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes Posted in: UFOs

A close encounter case from the summer of 2005 is actually two encounters on separate evenings while a married couple made their way from Eagle Rock in Missouri to Marion in Ohio one evening, before embarking on the return journey the following night. On each journey, they would witness a strange and glowing craft, with the second sighting on Highway 61 being particularly close up.

And while the witness would make efforts to report the incident several days after it occurred, because it took place while the Gulf Coast of the United States was in the grip of Hurricane Katrina, there (understandably) simply wasn’t the resources to investigate the incident in even a basic way.

What is truly strange and worrying about the occurrence – both for the witness and anyone else unlucky enough to have a similar encounter – was the bizarre and ominous affects to the witness’s health in the weeks following the incident. Affects that would seemingly be far-lasting and persistent.

The Outbound Journey

On 24th August 2005, an anonymous husband and wife (the main witness) would set out from Eagle Rock, Missouri on their way to a quiet resort near Marion in Ohio. However, as their pick-up truck made its way down I-70 several miles outside of Indianapolis, Indiana, the witness – who was driving – noticed a strange commotion of sorts ahead.

A visual cacophony of flashing lights, smoke, and fire lay in the woodland ahead and to her left. At the same time a “putrid odor” similar to “sulfuric acid and burnt tar” hit her nostrils. All the while she continued down the road, trying not to breath in the rank odor and keeping her eyes on the bizarre display in the trees.

Then, the lights began to rise up from the woodland, remaining visible in the sky for the next 90 miles. At that point, the witness would stop near Richmond to refuel at a gas station. Shortly after, still amazed by the bizarre sight they had just witnessed, they pulled their vehicle over to the side of the road so they could rest and sleep for several hours.

They did so, waking near sunrise and then continuing on with the rest of their journey. After spending several hours at the resort in Ohio, they would visit a relative who lived nearby. They would spend the rest of the day with them before setting out on the return journey. Just after midnight on the 25th August, they would witness the strange object once again.

The Highway 61 Encounter

As they made their way down Highway 61, the strange, brightly lit craft announced itself once more to the couple. This time it was moving “very slowly” and its altitude was “very low”. Despite the distinct lowness of the craft, there was no sound whatsoever. Even when she guided the pick-up truck directly underneath the mammoth-like object not a single sound was audible.

The pungent smell, however, was just the same and just as intense as before. Once more, though, she continued on through the assault to her senses and pressed ahead. Eventually, the strange craft disappeared from her sight and in good time, they arrived back home in Eagle Rock, Missouri. There were no known missing time episodes or anything that would suggest an abduction encounter. However, the witness immediately began noticing strange and concerning details.

For example, she noticed her new shoes (picture below) appeared aged and damaged. Almost as if they were years old and worn many times as opposed to her wearing them for the first time on that trip.

However, it was the feelings of illness that steadily overwhelmed the witness over the coming days that were of most concern. She felt an intense “burning” in her lungs. And also had a cough that was more in line with someone suffering intense smoke damage. Furthermore, she noticed a strange “burnt” look to her hair.

A (Speculative) Connection To Hurricane Katrina?

As the ill feelings continued coupled with the truly bizarre sightings of the strange objects on their recent journey, the witness would report the incident to the Ohio Sheriff Department in Morrow County. However, rather dismissively, she was told to simply report the encounter to the FBI.

She would do as requested and would make a report to the FBI office in Indianapolis, the nearest branch to where the sighting occurred. However, rather than assist the witness, she would receive a dressing down of sorts for not reporting the incident sooner. Furthermore, the FBI office would insist that there were no reports of a fire on the night in question.

Quickly running out of options she would make a report to Homeland security. However, with Hurricane Katrina taking hold of the Gulf Coast they replied – perhaps understandably in this instance – that they had no staff or time to spare on the sighting. Consequently, the witness would report the encounter online, where it entered the public domain.

Incidentally, there were several UFO sightings in and around the United States at this time. Particularly on the east coast, Midwest, and the Gulf Coast areas. Such connections to Hurricane Katrina are indeed tentative and speculative. These sightings, however, and what they might mean should remain on the collective backburner of UFO researchers. At least for the foreseeable future.

Symptoms Continue (And Develop) For Several Weeks

The bizarre experiences and effects on the witness’s health would continue for several weeks following the incident. In fact, in many ways, they would get worse. When she would brush her hair, for example, “black flakes” would fall out. Perhaps even more worrying was a distinct rise in her blood pressure.

Furthermore, although he was less willing to speak with investigators, even anonymously, the main witness’s husband would also suffer very similar health problems as his wife during the same period of time.

By October 2005 the witness would visit a physician. What’s more, she would inform them of the UFO encounter of herself and her husband and the ill-health they had experienced since. Perhaps refreshingly, the physician involved would state they were “familiar with possible physical ailments as a result of close encounters with a UFO”. Following the visit, the witness was diagnosed with “chemical pneumonia”. She also had a kidney infection.

There was an initial improvement in the witness’s health. However shortly after she would develop a “neural disorder similar to multiple sclerosis”. The physician – the same who had treated her previously – would state it was certainly possible that the condition could be connected to the UFO sighting. And what’s more, it could be caused by an “exposure to toxic chemicals”.

There are several examples on record of witnesses to UFO sightings suffering ill-effects. Perhaps the case has some discreet similarities to one of the most well-known sightings of all-time, the Cash-Landrum incident from 1980.

Analysis was also completed on the damaged pair of boots that the witness was wearing during the incident. This analysis was performed by the respected organic chemist, Phyllis Budinger. She didn’t find any signs of enhanced radiation but did note excess damage and creosol-like solutions on their surface.

Similar, Albeit Further Away Sightings In Indiana, August 2005

There were several other sightings around the same time as the Highway 61 encounter in the state of Indiana.

For example, several days before, on the evening of the 21st August 2005 in Terre Haute, at around 9:30 pm, came reports of two orange “fire-ball” type objects. They would get decisively brighter until they became a “huge burst of orange”. The report would continue that the object was like a “fire in the sky”.

Then, just as strange, after remaining visible for around a minute, they would simply disappear. The entire episode would play out in complete silence.

Two nights later on the 23rd August in the town of Washington came another report of a strange orange light. At just after 9:30 pm, the witness would let their pet dog outside for several minutes. As they did they noticed a “bright orange ball of light” moving silently across the sky overhead. Due to the complete lack of sound the witness realized it was not a helicopter or an airplane.

Then, the light disappeared temporarily before returning with “an orange spike going straight up into the clouds”. This time, it vanished once more before reappearing again several moments later. The light then split into “two equally bright orange lights” before each disappeared completely.

While each of these sightings were at a much further distance than that of our anonymous witness on Highway 61, it would be amiss to not at least take note of such activity in the same (relatively speaking) location.

Something Lurking Underneath A Very Credible Close Encounter Case?

It would appear, according to the UFO investigator involved with the case, as well as the physician, that the witness is certainly credible and genuine. Furthermore, the physician himself has a long and credible history. Including time spent working in exobiology following the awarding of a NASA grant.

The witness’s husband seeing the entire encounter and suffering very similar ill-health to his wife in the weeks following is interesting. However, his reluctance to talk about it could have stemmed from his time in the military. And his now disabled veteran status. Although they didn’t say as much outright, it would appear he feared somehow losing the rights to such benefits should he speak about such matters.

This is an interesting notion – if indeed that proves to be the case. Might it suggest tentative knowledge on his part that the craft was some kind of military experimental one? Or might his being privy to the internal attitude of the United States military regarding such sightings play a part in his desire to remain quiet on the matter. We should make it clear, though, this is speculation on our part, but it is something at least worth considering.

Especially, perhaps, as we examine just what the chances are of the same couple witnessing the same craft on the same two nights they just happened to be traveling. For example, is the case we have examined an example of a targeted interception suggesting knowledge of the couple’s movements? Or did other sightings simply go unrecorded?

Were More UFO Reports Dismissed During The Last Week Of August 2005?

And what of the ill-effects of the witnesses. It surely can’t be brushed off as a coincidence that such bizarre and potentially serious health issues should start just after the strange sighting. Was this an intentional targeting using some kind of advanced, concentrated airborne weapon? One with connections to the terrible odor that accompanied the sighting?

After all, we should remind ourselves that the case is broken into two separate sightings. This is maybe a little coincidental in itself. What are the chances, for example, of the same craft appearing on the same stretch of road that the witnesses just happened to be traveling down at the same time, and the same nights?

Or were the witnesses simply unlucky to be passing that stretch of road on the two occasions when this strange craft was also hovering overhead and so suffered the unintended ill-effects of being in such close proximity to it? If this is the case, how many other motorists might have seen this object on other nights?

Once more, this begins to sound a little unlikely. Unless, of course, each of those potential witnesses simply didn’t report the incident. Or, like the witness here, they did but their sightings are not recorded. And for similar reasons as those given to the Highway 61 witnesses. That Hurricane Katrina was taking up almost all emergency resources in the country at the time of the incidents.

The Highway 61 encounter is certainly one, itself only less than two decades old, that might prove to be one of many sightings that have yet to be reported. On that matter, only time will tell.

Check out the video below. It looks a little further at other cases of people who have experienced physical ill-effects after witnessing a UFO.


The stories, accounts, and discussion in this article are not always based on proven facts and may go against currently accepted science and common beliefs. The details included in the article are based on the reports and accounts available to us as provided by witnesses and documentation.

By publishing these accounts, UFO Insight does not take responsibility for the integrity of them.  You should read this article with an open mind and come to a conclusion yourself.

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About 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 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.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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