The Columbia, Missouri Mobile Home UFO Incident

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
January 12, 2020
Last Updated
October 5, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
26 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

Not only did a UFO sighting in Columbia, Missouri take place during one of the most active UFO waves in history during the summer of 1973 (including many humanoid occupant encounters), as well as there being multiple witnesses to the strange event, but the incident is one that would offer up “trace evidence” of this otherworldly object’s presence.

Investigated, at least initially, by J Allen Hynek and Ted and Ginger Phillips, the case remains one of the most intriguing on record. Not only in the state of Missouri, or even the entire United States, but around the world.

A picture of a mobile home blended into a picture of a flying saucer

The Missouri Mobile Home incident was just one of many throughout 1973

What’s more, although the sightings came in the middle of one of the busiest years in UFO history, the state of Missouri was undergoing a mini-wave of its own during the summer months of 1973 right when the mobile home incident unfolded.

While there is no direct evidence of humanoid occupants in the following incident that would last around 90 minutes, there was most definitely evidence of intelligent control and purpose. Of course, what that purpose might be, both in relation to the incident we are about to examine, and the UFO and alien question, in general, remains out of our reach.

Before we move on to sample just a small amount of those “other” sightings during the summer of 1973, we will head to Columbia, Missouri, and a small mobile home just on the edge of the city limits.

A Mobile Home At The End Of A Dead End, Surrounded By Scattered Trees

The mobile home of James Richards sat on the absolute outskirts of the city of Columbia [1] in the state of Missouri. Not only that, but the home itself was at the end of dead-end footpath around 1000 feet from the nearest main road. All around this quiet and extremely humble abode were “scattered trees” aside from a small front yard. To say that Richards and his 16-year-old daughter, Vanea, as well as Jamie, her 3-year-old son were cut off from the vast majority of the community was an understatement.

Incidentally, the nearest property to Mr. Richards’ mobile home was a small house, lived in by an elderly lady. She was, however, “asleep at the time of the observation”.

On this particular evening, at a little past midnight on 28th June 1973, Vanea was making her way to the north side of the mobile home, to the fridge so that she could place a baby bottle there. Although there was music filling the home from the record player which was spinning the vinyl disc around and around on its turntable, the open window allowed the sudden noise from outside to be heard easily.

An artist's impression of the dimensions of the UFO

An artist’s impression of the dimensions of the UFO

Vanea would later describe the noise as a “thrashing” sound and it appeared to emanate from the trees around the side of the mobile home. The more she listened, now all but blocking out the record player, she could make out what appeared to be the sound of something “moving a large tree” outside.

She would remain where she was for a few more moments, listening intently to the mysterious and unnerving activity taking place outside. Then, as loudly as she could without alerting whoever, or whatever was outside, she would call out to her father.

Two Bright, Silver-White Beams Appear Out Of Nowhere!

Richards could hear his daughter call from the kitchen area of the mobile home as he sat in the living room with Jamie. Because of the hour and the fact that he himself was feeling sluggish and tired, he was rather slow in getting in out of the living room chair and up to the window where Vanea was calling him from.

By the time he had arrived at where his daughter was, she was moving with great pace from the outside screen door to the front door, locking both of them as quickly as she could. He would make his way to the kitchen window, now with a little more urgency than before. His daughter joined him a moment or two later, now satisfied that the doors were as secure as they could be.

One of the pages of the case files of the sighting

One of the pages of the case files of the sighting

As they both stared out into the darkness of the summer’s night, “two beams of light” suddenly became visible. They appeared to be between the trees and the nearby fence. Richards would guess they were approximately 50 feet from the kitchen window they were viewing them from and had a “tapered” look to them, with the wider section at the top.

He would further estimate the beams were around five feet apart, and remained this distance., suggesting they emanated from the same solid source overhead. Furthermore, they had a “bright, silver-white” color to them. However, try as he did, he could see no solid form “above or behind the beams”.

Then, they just disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared. It was then that both Richards and his daughter could see the “bright oval form” in their place.

The Woodland “Lit Up As Bright As Day!”

The father and daughter remained where they were at the kitchen window, both fascinated and alarmed at the scene and scenario unfolding before them.

They would later estimate that the “glowing form” was around 15 feet across and appeared to be only mere feet from the ground. So bright was the object that the pair had difficulty in keeping their sight on it, with Richards even having to look away at one point. Such was the brightness, that other than the silver glow, no other details of the exterior could be seen. Furthermore, because of this brightness, the area immediately outside the mobile home was “lit up bright as day”.

In this artificial daylight, the pair could see the trees moving as if a sudden strong wind had come out of nowhere unleashing its carnage on the area. However, more than that, it appeared that some trees were being manipulated in different ways than others, with Vanea even witnessing one tree being pulled toward the ground.

A map detailing the incident

A map detailing the incident

All the while, however, the only sound that reached them was that which initially caught Vanea’s attention, the strange thrashing noise. No other sounds or noises whatsoever came from the active scene outside, which must have given the scene an even more surreal feel.

Then, the thrashing sound stopped, although the trees continued to move. A moment later, a loud “cracking” sound rang out quickly followed by the bizarre movement of the trees also stopping. Although they didn’t know it at the time, or at least were not certain of it, investigation of the area the following day would show a large, heavy branch had been snapped off at a height of almost 20 feet.

A “Real Bright” Center With Duller, Fuzzy Edges!

Following this burst of activity, a deafening silence would suddenly envelop the mobile home, even seeming to leak into the building itself making the father and daughter feel more than uneasy. It was during these unsettling moments that Richards realized their dogs – who would normally bark at anything that moved outside the house – were completely still and silent. As he went from window to window of the mobile home surveying the area outside, he noticed them almost hiding away from whatever had been taking place only moments ago.

It was then that he went to his bedroom to retrieve his guns. He quickly returned into the kitchen area, the weapons and ammunition in his arms. He would load the guns and then place them on top of the freezer unit and out of the reach of anyone other than he and his daughter.

The trees outside the mobile home

The trees outside the mobile home

When he returned to the kitchen window where his daughter remained, watching the scene outside, he could see that the glowing craft remained hovering at a distance of around 50 feet from their home, although the brightness lit up a radius of around double that.

Although they could still make out no real detail of the craft other than it was oval-shaped and a “silver-white or aluminum” color, Richards would recall that the middle of it was “real, real bright” while the edges were decidedly duller. Vanea, similarly, would recall that edges of the object were somewhat “fuzzy”.

The pair remained at the kitchen window, nervous about what might happen next but not wishing to take their eyes from the situation for even a moment. After several more moments, however, Richards made the decision it was time to call for help.

Contact “The Police, The FBI” Or Anyone Who Can Help Me!

Whether by coincidence or not, almost in sympathy with his actions the object suddenly moved and changed its position. It would now take up temporary residence in the sky over a nearby field, approximately 200 feet from the mobile home.

Because there was not more distance between the craft and their location, the pair could now make out a lot more detail than they could previously. For example, the craft was a bright silver-white in the middle while at the edge was a “blue band of light”. Furthermore, an “orange glow extended around the outer edge”.

Richards and his daughter watched the craft return to its original position, describing the movement of it as “smooth and slow”. Shortly after this, he would reach for the phone and dial 113 for directory assistance.

The lady who took the call – identified as “Mrs. AB” would claim that Richards was “very excited and seemed to be frightened” although he was clear in describing the event. He would also request that she contact “the police, the FBI, or anyone who could help him!”

One of the damaged branches

One of the damaged branches

She would manage to calm him somewhat and assure him that she would contact an operator who would call him back. Several moments later, a “Mrs. P” called back and spoke with Richards for several minutes. During this exchange, the lights in the mobile home dimmed several times. This, of course, is a detail that often surfaces in close encounter experiences. Usually, however, these types of encounters occur while people are in their vehicles and experience their car’s cutting out without warning.

On Mrs. P’s instructions, he would hang the phone up, return to the window, and await the return call.

An Obviously Frightened But Sincere Witness!

While this was taking place, Mrs. P would contact Mrs. L, who would in turn attempt to call Richards. However, when she did, she would hear nothing other than a “deadline”. She would try the number five times, even calling Mrs. P back in between to check that the number she had was correct.

During this time, Richards himself began to worry that no one had contacted him back. So much so, that he picked up the receiver. Bizarrely, and adding even more to the strangeness of the situation, after the line appeared dead, he suddenly heard Mrs. M.

He would then relay the evening’s happenings to the operator, stating at this stage that he was decidedly frightened for his children.

For her part, Mrs. M would recall that Richards would repeat his story again and again. He would occasionally pause and shout out to his daughter, asking if the strange object was still outside.

Before long, Richards was transferred to Mrs. S at the Flight Service Station at Columbia Regional Airport.

Mrs. S would ultimately assure Richards that she would contact the police and report the sighting for him. She would also inform him that she had knowledge of another sighting on the 24th June – only two weeks earlier – we will examine that incident later.

Shortly after the exchange, the pair would hang up.

A moment or two later, the object began to approach the mobile home once again.

A Last Visual Stand-Off!

Richards and Vanea watched the object approach, watching with a rising sense of fear intoxicating each of them. Richards would later describe a “cold feeling” overtaking him and the feeling of something imminent and dire about to take place. He would state that he “just froze” and had no idea what to do.

Even more, the distinct feeling that he, his daughter, and grandson were on their own in their out-of-the-way mobile home wouldn’t leave him. Nor would the insistence that all three of them would not for any reason step outside.

As each of them remained at the window the object moved again, seemingly negotiating the trees as it did so. It would eventually settle into a position around 50 feet from their location. Both Richards and his daughter all the while remained where they were at the window, watching the strange, hovering, glowing object not daring to take their eyes from it.

Artist's impression of the strange craft

Artist’s impression of the strange craft

This visual stand-off continued for several minutes (although neither witness was completely sure just how long this was for). Then, the craft went into motion yet again. Once more, it went through the trees with a “smooth, slow motion”, although Richards recalls that during this particular burst of movement, the surrounding trees appeared undisturbed.

The craft once more would stop at a distance of around 200 feet from the Richards’ mobile home. As before, from this distance, the blue-orange glow of the outer edges of the vehicle were visible while the solid silver glow of the center section was now more defined. The object then appeared to fade away, although not into the distance (no trees appeared disturbed, for example) but as though it was literally fading from view.

Within several minutes, the object was no longer visible.

A Wealth Of Outlandish Possibilities That Must Be Considered!

This last detail is of interest to UFO researchers as there appears to be many cases where what appears to be a solid craft disappears. However,  not shooting off into the distance at great speed but by seemingly fading away from existence, as if someone turned down a dimmer switch or flicked off a light bulb.

What might this tell us about the nature of UFOs and, perhaps more specifically, how they traverse the universe around us?

Might it be that rather than somehow achieving actual speeds required to make space travel over such vast, vast distances even remotely possible, that these crafts somehow manipulate space itself? Perhaps creating some kind of wormhole or portal that it can then move into and so bringing it instantly into another part of the universe?

A diagram of the scene of the incident

A diagram of the scene of the incident

Or might we be contemplating a technological device not unlike teleportation devices in science-fiction that can dematerialize an object (including organic living beings) from one place and then have it appear in another in an instant?

Or perhaps, we might consider that such encounters have more in line with paranormal incidents such as ghostly appearances and apparitions? Perhaps these strange apparitions simply fade from sight in the same way that many of us would expect or understand a ghostly presence to?

While such questions are outlandish to many, if we accept the Richards’ version of events – and as we shall see, the following investigations would indeed uncover apparent evidence to corroborate their claims – then they are questions that we must ask.

“Just Forget The Whole Thing!”

It was around 1:45 am when police officers arrived at the Richards’ mobile home, around two hours after the incident began, and an undetermined amount of time after the object faded from their sight.

The officer concerned would quickly inspect the immediate area around the mobile home. He would state to Richards that he found nothing of interest, except some tracks that were probably “made by rabbits”. It was at this point that Richards told the officer to “forget the whole thing” and swiftly made his way back inside his home. The officer would follow, however.

Richards would insist that the officer should simply forget the incident if “he thought they were rabbit tracks”. Ultimately, the police would do as Richards requested and ceased any further investigation of the report.

A little short of two weeks later, though, UFO investigators, J Allen Hynek and Ted Phillips would arrive to investigate the scene for themselves, as well as to speak with the witnesses. And as we might expect, their findings were substantially different and more in-depth than those of the local police.

Substantial Evidence Of A Disturbance And A “Complex Series Of Imprints!”

The two UFO investigators, along with Phillips’ wife, Ginger would arrive at Richards’ home on 9th July on their way to a pre-planned meeting in Chicago, Illinois. They would immediately embark on a strategic photographing mission of the entire area around the Richards’ home, as well as taking and recording measurements of the damage to the surrounding trees and vegetation.

These measurements would corroborate the report and rough distances given by Richards of the incident on the night itself. They would also discover the general damage to the trees themselves, in particular, the tree that the pair had seen “tugged” and twisted as if by an invisible force.

The UFO investigators’ findings would again corroborate the initial report of the witnesses, as they discovered evidence of a branch just short of 17 feet from the ground that had been “twisted and pulled toward the ground”. Around the broken branch was substantial and obviously freshly inflicted, if cosmetic damage to the rest of the tree, as well as to several other trees in the immediate vicinity.

UFO investigators meeting the witnesses

UFO investigators meeting the witnesses

Perhaps even stranger was the fact that many of the leaves that had drifted off during the disturbance and lay seemingly directly underneath the spot where the strange oval glow hovered were substantially more aged than the ones outside of this rough circle, with some of them completely withered and dead.

They would also discover substantial signs of “heating” on several of the trees in the nearby area of the one with the broken branch. And what’s more, these signs of rather intense heat were found at levels of between 25 and 35 feet above the ground.

The pair would also discover a “complex series of imprints”, ones they suspected were not the work of rabbits.

A Pressure Equivalent To More Than 300 Pounds Required!

As Phillips would state in his report, it was “difficult to determine a pattern” as to the timeline of the movement of the object as it “moved through the area (at least) four times”.

They would take molds and pictures of the imprints, as well as testing the area for signs of increased radiation (of which there were none).

What’s more, Phillips would speak to Bob Gassaway, a local reporter from the Columbia Tribune who had ventured over to the scene the following day. He had claimed to have also witnessed the strange imprints around the area Richards claimed the incident took place.

A close-up of the trees around the mobile home

A close-up of the trees around the mobile home

He also noticed how specifically deep they were in the ground. When he attempted to replicate this depth with the heel of his shoe, considering he was over 300 pounds, by comparison to the imprints, he could barely break the ground’s surface.

Just to bring back into focus the police officer’s insistence that the imprints were the work of rabbits, this would mean each of the rabbits would have to weigh in excess of 300 pounds – or at the very least be able to assert an equivalent amount of pressure to create such an imprint.

When the UFO investigators returned five days later on their return journey from the Windy City they would discover that the leaves, vegetation, and the trees themselves, were all in significant decline, and drastically worse than they had been only days earlier when they had first inspected the area.

Something Truly Strange, Bizarre, And Unsolved!

Whatever was in the woodland around the mobile home that evening remains a mystery. There are, however, a plethora of possibilities as to what happened that evening in the summer of 1973.

What, for example, was the purpose of such an event? Was the Richards’ presence merely coincidental to the incident? Was the encounter an attempt to lure out Richards or his daughter? And if so, again, for what purpose? Was this, for example, an attempt at alien abduction? As much as a possibility as it is, going from the wealth of other such encounters on record, whether it be a mobile home or stone building, such surroundings are most often of little consequence to those who are seemingly behind such abductions.

And as always, should we consider a military connection to these strange events. As we will examine in a moment, there is seemingly a long history of aerial anomalies in the state of Missouri, with one particular event involving an apparent recovered alien craft in the early 1940s.

Might the events of the later decades of the twentieth century have a connection to these alleged events of decades before? And if so, for what purpose might this potential department of the military performing such missions over the United States?

What’s more, while 1973, as we mentioned in the opening was a year of significantly increased UFO activity, the Show-Me State seemingly played host to a mini-wave of its own during the summer of 1973.

Other Sightings Around Missouri, Summer 1973

We have written previously of the Piedmont UFO incident of February 1973 that saw several members of a high school basketball team, including several of their coaches, witness a strange, glowing, oval object seemingly hover over a field near the road where the school bus was traveling just outside of Piedmont, Missouri.

What is perhaps interesting, and certainly relevant to the incident we have examined over the mobile home of the Richards family in Columbia, is that only several days before the incident on the evening of 24th June, another sighting was reported in Piedmont. And what’s more, the details of the sighting are, at least in part, very similar to those offered by Richards and his daughter.

The incident would unfold at around 10:30 pm [2] when two men witnessed a strange “bright light” over the cabin they were staying at near the Rothwell Ranch. The object would remain visible for around 30 minutes, glowing and moving in “radiated lines of concentric circles like heat waves”.

The two witnesses would watch the strange glow until it finally disappeared from view. They would also notice that just before this occurred, a smaller light appeared and seemed to “join the first object”.

You can see a sketch of the incident produced by the men below.

Witness sketch of the UFO sighting of the Richards family

Witness sketch of the UFO sighting of the Richards family

Similar Details Show In Other Reports!

Less than a week earlier on the evening of 19th June at a little after 7 pm in Cape Girardeau, resident, Harley Rutledge would notice a “dull, gray bullet-shaped” object making its way overhead. What is perhaps interesting here, and certainly worthy of mention, is that Cape Girardeau, at least according to leaked claims, was the scene of a crashed alien craft in April 1941 that featured several recovered extraterrestrial bodies, no less.

Whether those claims are true or not, it is interesting that similar craft were still being seen over three decades later in the early 1970s, and indeed, almost half a century after that in our contemporary era.

Is, for example, Missouri’s location of any consequence to these sightings throughout the decades? We have examined the apparent importance of the 37th Parallel and if it is the cause of not only increased UFO sightings but all manner of paranormal incidents and activity.

The Arch of St. Louis with two superimposed UFOs over the top

Missouri has a wealth of UFO reports

Yet another incident occurred a little over two weeks after the mobile home encounter in the early hours of 3:30 am on the 13th of July in Emden. The witness was alerted to the sounds of their dogs barking, which was out of character for them. When the witness went to see what the matter was, they would see an “oblong or egg-shaped” object hovering in the sky.

The witness would state the object was around the “size of an average car”. Furthermore, the object had a “3-dimensional appearance” to it, continuing that you could “look through it or right into it”. Furthermore, and of interest to us in relation to the mobile home encounter, the outer edge had an orange glow, while the center part of the craft was considerably brighter.

The “Merry-Go-Round” Incident Near RAF Alconbury

There were several other lesser-known incidents on record that would unfold during the same window of time that shared similar details as the ones we have examined above.

For example, in early June 1973, in St. Ives in the United Kingdom, at an American Air Force base at RAF Alconbury, a 5-year-old would witness what they thought was a “merry-go-round” sitting in a field near their military housing. The young child would call out to their mother asking if they could go outside and “ride the merry-go-round”.

When she entered the room, the child would point to the glowing, circular object in the field. However, she would become “visibly frightened” and told the youngster to go to bed. The following day, the incident still in their mind, the witness would head out to the field. They would find a round, compressed area of corn in the area where the “merry-go-round” had been the previous evening. In later years, the witness also learned that several UFO sightings were reported in the region during that same time.

A depiction of a typical flying saucer UFO

Why were there so many UFO sightings in 1973

While it is not certain that what the witness saw that evening was the UFO reported by several others in the area, it is certainly more than a coincidence that they witnessed such a glowing craft. And what’s more, as we will examine briefly in our next incident, might the close proximity to a military base – an American one at that – have more to do with the above incident, and our next one than we might perhaps suspect?

More Suggestions Of A Military Presence!

A similar incident would unfold around a month later on the other side of the Atlantic in Oak Cliff, Texas. The witness, a young boy at the time of the sighting, was in his back yard one July morning at around 8 am, playing on the swing that resided there. As he did so, his attention suddenly zeroed in on a “disc-shaped craft” that was “covered with green moss” heading across the skies overhead.

The strange object would then come to a stop and hover directly over the witness. He would later estimate it was no more than 30 feet above him. The young boy noticed a low, discreet humming sound that seemed to be coming from the craft, while also making out several “rivets” and “portholes” on the underside.

A superimposed UFO on to a picture of the Arch of St. Louis

Might we expect a similar UFO wave in the future?

Then, the incident took an even more bizarre twist when a strange voice suddenly sounded inside his head. Even stranger was the message from this strange voice which would state they were “from the government” and that he was “not to move or tell his parents”. Such statements made the assurance that he “should not be afraid” have less impact.

Then, the object began to move away, slowly at first, but then it vacated the area at a blistering pace leaving a “straight line of white light behind it”.

This is an interesting account, to say the least. Does it again offer evidence that at least some UFO incidents are government aircraft part of a clandestine, and seemingly continuing operation? Might we suggest that such sightings with “low humming sounds” that accompany them are more likely to be these discreet black budget projects?

Or might such incidents be part of disinformation entering the domain? But one coming from an extraterrestrial source?

Incidents Throughout North America In The Summer Of 1973

Another bizarre incident, according to MUFON Indiana, took place in Little York in the Hoosier State in mid-June. At around 9:30 pm on the evening in question, four friends were driving their vehicle near to Weston Lake. Suddenly, a “bright floodlight-type light” appeared out of nowhere behind their car.

Not sure if the glowing object was in pursuit or not, they would pull their vehicle to the side of the road, stepping outside so as to get an unobstructed view of the aerial anomaly. They would later describe the craft as a “flat-bottomed catfish-shaped object”. They would further recall that it was around 100 feet above them and was moving at a pace of around 70 miles per hour. They would also recall hearing an “airflow-like whistle” sound as it made its way through the sky above them.

A UFO superimposed on to a picture of a lake at dawn

It is likely that many UFO sightings from 1973 went unreported

Around the same time, this time across the border to the north in Ontario, Canada, two witnesses were stood in the back yard at one of their homes during the day when they noticed what they at first believed to be an airplane flying overhead and in front of them.

However, they would soon realize that the “plane” was heading in their direction. And what’s more, it wasn’t making a sound. One of the witnesses would run back inside and reach for their camera. They would manage to fire off seven shots of the object.

Hairy Beast-Like Occupants!

Back across the border in the United States, this time in San Benito, once again in Texas, 19-year-old Guadalupe Cantu noticed a “luminous orange object” in the skies at around 2 am on the night in question through the kitchen window of his family home. According to the report by respected UFO researcher, Jerome Clark, the more he watched the object, the more certain he was that the object was a glowing but “transparent disc shape”.

Even stranger, Cantu would recall seeing a “hairy, ape-like being” seemingly controlling the futuristic craft. Before he could make out any further details, however, the craft was out of sight and disappeared. The witness recalled that throughout the sighting, they could not hear a single sound.

An image of a UFO in a cloudy early morning sky

Much like in the US, sightings of UFOs around the world increased in 1973

This is a particularly interesting sighting. Not only were there several sightings of such “hairy beast-like” creatures in various parts of the United States, there are also several others that place these creatures at the controls of these otherworldly crafts. The correlation between UFO waves and hotspots and increased Bigfoot sightings is certainly intriguing in view of such UFO reports.

Back over the Atlantic, this time near Barcelona in Spain, an anonymous 60-year-old rancher was moving his cattle across one of his fields at around 6 am one June morning when he suddenly noticed a “large, silvery bluish done-shaped craft” in front and ahead of him.

Even more bizarre, several “humanoid figures” emerged from the craft and began examining the ground around him. They would then get back in the craft which, in turn, vanished into the early morning sky. This type of incident was certainly more typical of the 1973 humanoid wave.

From Illinois To Wisconsin And Back!

In the early hours of 14th June in the town of Princeton Illinois, at around 3:30 am, three teenage girls were driving along Interstate 80 when they witnessed what they would later report as a “silver, gray, and black flying object emitting a green mellow light”.

They would report the sighting to state troopers who would take details of their report. The girls would state that this mysterious object would perform several strange maneuvers in the sky overhead before being joined by two other objects. All three would then disappear at great speed into the distance.

A report in Volume 27 of Flying Saucer Review by Richard Heiden would tell of an incident that occurred the previous evening on 15th June near West Bend in Wisconsin. An anonymous man and his daughter were driving along the highway when they noticed a “hovering disc-shaped” craft near the road.

An image of a typical UFO in a bright daytime sky

Many witnesses report that UFOs move at incredible speeds

Even more, each could make out “several transparent windows” with “humanoid figures” clearly visible behind what they presumed were glass.

Several weeks later, an oval “flat-football-shaped” object was witnessed over Fairfield, once more in Illinois by several different people. What’s more, the craft would also show white and red glowing lights as it passed overhead.

Humanoid Entities And Slow-Moving Glowing Objects

South of the American border on the morning of 1st June 1973, in the Ciudad Pemex in Mexico, four students and a radio operator would witness a “large luminous object land on the airport runway” in the glorious sunlight of the early morning. What’s more, a humanoid figure would emerge from the strange object a short time later. The entity, which appeared metallic and possibly robotic, would examine its surroundings very briefly, before entering the craft, which then took off and disappeared at high speed.

Only several hours later, in Divernon in Illinois, another sighting of a glowing craft was reported. According to a report in the local Courier newspaper, at around 2:30 am in the early hours of 2nd June, an unnamed witness and their passenger noticed a strange object with a “series of bright running lights” moving overhead.

A picture showing an alleged UFO

Does this picture show a real UFO?

Then, just as he was contemplating whether the object was nothing more than a conventional aircraft, a “large, orange-red light” emanated from the underside of the object bathing the “entire landscape” in its glow. It was at this stage that the witness pulled their vehicle to the side of the road and exited the car in order to see events unfold more clearly.

As he did so, he was acutely aware of how silent the night was. All except for a lone plane that he could see was flying much higher than the strange craft that was all but 500 feet above him. The witnesses remained where they were watching the bizarre object until it disappeared from sight.

The Port Jervis Incident

Another intriguing encounter that is very much worth examining here took place to the east of Missouri in Port Jervis, New York and comes to us from the files of John C Thompson. During the late afternoon of 5th July two friends had been enjoying a day fishing and were driving home. However, they would spot an area that looked appealing and decided to pull their vehicle to the side of the road and spend another half an hour on the water’s edge attempting to make a catch.

It was as they were concentrating on their fishing rods that they witnessed an “oval-shaped craft” heading in their direction only slightly above the surface of the water. As the object approached them, they could see it had a “matte to purple finish” and an otherwise “rusty-brownish” color. They could also see several portholes along the edge of the object, each of which housed a “green fluorescent light”.

Artist's impression of the UFO overhead

Artist’s impression of the UFO overhead

Then, the already bizarre situation took another strange twist when two “purple pinkish beams of light” suddenly emerged from the craft and began to sweep over the ground below. The witnesses would recall how the beams had a “solid substance” to them, even giving the appearance that they were “sucking up water” from the lake below.

What is interesting here is the idea of “solid light” – something which comes up from time to time in such close contact encounters. Furthermore, the idea that the strange craft was using these equally strange beams to extract water is also interesting, given the numerous connections between UFO activity and large bodies of water.

The pair remained where they were watching the craft. Eventually, it was so close to them that they could see a strange figure with a “leathery, wrinkled face” and “large pointed ears” inside.

Glowing Disc-Shaped Craft All Over The Planet?

An incident from Chantereine in France from the evening of 7th June would produce a picture of these apparently glowing, oval craft witnessed across the world in the summer of 1973. Between 9:30 pm and 10 pm on the night in question, 16-year-old, Jean Marc Bisson was stood at the window of his family home when he witnessed several “strange gleams” in the sky.

He would quickly grab a camera and return to the window in time to snap a picture of the glowing objects. The picture is intriguing, at the very least, and appears to show a disc-shaped craft with a definite domed middle section. The fact that they also have a white-silver appearance is another that resonates with the mobile home incident in Missouri several weeks later.

You can view that picture below.

A picture showing two alleged disc-shaped UFOs

Does this picture show two disc shaped UFOs?

Another incident from France, only weeks later in early July in the Roqueseriere, Haute Garonne, a “Mr. B” would hear a sudden “humming sound” followed by strange, bright lights outside his property at around 11 pm on the night in question.

He would immediately go outside to his garden and witnessed a “bell-shaped craft” with a “milky-white” exterior. It was hovering only a meter or so above the ground. Interestingly, and similar to the incident over the mobile home in Missouri, a sudden wind appeared out of nowhere. The witness would later state that he believed this “wind” somehow came from the craft itself.

Even more bizarre, inside the object Mr. B could see “two or three moving shadows resembling humans”. He would remain watching the object, although he would begin to notice an intense ache in his eyes.

A Bizarre (And Similar) Presence From Europe To The Americas

An extremely similar incident occurred around the same time in Suonenjok in Finland. At around 2 am on 1st July, the witness, Jarmo Nykanen was asleep at his lakeside abode when a strange buzzing sound woke him. Furthermore, a strong, blue glow was pushing its way in from outside through the windows of the cabin.

He would venture outside and was confronted by a huge glowing blue light “twice as big as a rowboat”. And what’s more, it was heading in his direction. It would ultimately stop a short distance away and hover over the water of the lake. Even stranger, Nykanen would recall he could see a “strange being” apparently moving around inside the glowing craft.

Perhaps more ominously, on this occasion, the next thing he would recall was waking up on the porch of the cabin. What’s more, the time was now 6 am and he had no memory of laying down or of going to sleep.

A depiction of a UFO with a bright laser beam shinging upward

Why do these strange objects keep visiting our planet?

A little over a week later, near Buenos Aries on the other side of the world in Argentina, at around 6 pm on the evening of 9th July, Mabel Gorchs de Veron would witness a “bright green light” around 100 meters above her. When she focused on the bright glow, she could see it came from a “circular object” which appeared to have a “bluish luminosity” to its exterior upon closer inspection.

However, of more interest, she could clearly make out “some strange figures, looking out” of the craft toward her location. The object would remain where it was, hovering for several moments before it would make its way out toward the sea, eventually disappearing into the distance.

There were also several other corroborating sightings of a similar object throughout the region on the same night.

Whatever it was that was haunting the skies of Missouri during the summer of 1973, that same presence was showing up all over the planet. Our next case, however, takes us back to Show-Me State several years previously.

The Roaring River Encounter, November 1966

An extremely similar incident, and very much back in Missouri, occurred seven years earlier along the Roaring River near Cassville. The account can be found in the files of BJ Booth and was also investigated by the previously mentioned Ted Phillips. It wouldn’t come to light until 1975, possibly following the national attention given to the Travis Walton case. It is, however, one of the most intriguing encounters on record.

What’s more, the evidence left behind by the strange visitation [3] was seemingly a consequence of the use of strange, futuristic laser beams. And even more, surely making the case one of the most credible on record, the witnesses would manage to capture several photographs of the strange craft.

On the day in question, two hunters were looking for deer along the woodlands of the Roaring River just outside of the town of Cassville. It was as they were doing so that one of them would notice smoke rising into the air in the distance. It didn’t take him long to realize that the smoke was rising from the area that housed their camp.

He would quickly make his way to the area to find the burnt-out remains of their tent, as well as various items of their possessions strewn about the immediate vicinity. What he immediately found odd was that the tent was placed directly under two large trees. However, neither of these trees seemingly had suffered any damage whatsoever.

A picture at the scene of the sighting at Roaring River

A picture at the scene of the sighting at Roaring River

The Sudden Appearance Of “An Unusual Object” From Behind The Trees!

This last detail, according to Booth’s notes, was due to a “narrow beam”.

Around this time, the witness noticed a “low humming” sound, as well as noticing several smaller trees that had seemingly not managed to escape the damage inflicted by whatever force was responsible for the destruction of the tent.

As he was taking in the scene, he witnessed “an unusual object” rising above the trees a short distance away from the destroyed campsite. He quickly reached for his camera and managed to snap two quick pictures. You can see one of those pictures below.

An alleged picture of a UFO by BJ Booth

An alleged picture of a UFO by BJ Booth

The object would quickly rise into the sky. As it did so, the humming sound grew louder, seemingly in sympathy with the object’s speed. He would estimate that within 20 seconds the object was no longer visible. As it did move out of sight, though, and again perhaps something that was in sympathy with its speed, the witness would notice a “band of color around the center of the object”.

Once the object was out of sight, the witness would document the carnage left behind at the campsite area. He would later estimate that the object was approximately 25 feet wide and appeared over the trees at an approximate distance of around 300 feet.

UFO Hotspots Or Moments Of Increased Attention?

We have highlighted on several occasions how various parts of the United States, and indeed the world, are hotspots for UFO activity. Both the east and west coasts of America, for example, appear to have increased UFO activity in comparison to many other areas of the country. As do many of the midwestern states, and the southern states as far west and south as Texas.

But chances are, we, like any other UFO researcher, could likely make an argument (and correctly so) that many regions around the planet experience a surge in UFO activity at one point in time or another. Might this suggest, then, as we will touch upon again briefly in a moment, that UFO activity is relatively constant and, in fact, merely a case of what is witnessed and, more specifically, what is reported which then dictates such hotspots?

An image showing a UFO over a lonely highway

Are some locations more prone to UFO sightings than others?

Might it be, for various reasons, that at certain times in history, we become more aware of such bizarre anomalies taking place above and around us? This is an idea that will sit well with those who already suspect that a connection between UFO sightings and paranormal incidents already exists. Might it prove to be the case, for example, that powers and energies currently beyond our understanding come together to create the circumstances needed for humanity to witness these strange crafts and entities? Perhaps unlocking some kind of invisible barrier or gateway to another realm or reality, if only temporarily.

It is certainly an intriguing notion, if highly speculative and with desperate need of fleshing out through studying such admittedly bizarre ideas further.

Another Unsolved incident Rescued From The Sands Of Time

The Columbia mobile home encounter, if we return to our main incident for a moment, is yet another that if it were not for the Internet and the resurgence of interest in such matters it has created, would most likely be confined to a select few in UFO circles, and almost certainly forgotten about in the wider public domain.

This is particularly surprising in light of the physical evidence left behind at the scene. We should also consider the fact that had fear not caused Richards to contact the operator which, in turn, set off a string of events that would result in the police attending his home, the entire encounter may very well have gone unreported.

We have expressed such a concern before, as have many other UFO researchers, that the sheer number of UFO incidents, whether strange lights in the sky from afar or much more close contact encounters that go unreported are very likely much higher than we already suspect. There could be quite literally, hundreds, if not thousands of strange incidents that will never be investigated nor contemplated by the wider collective due to the simple fact that people fear making such reports.

It is a strange and intriguing world in which we exist. But a world that we really don’t have anything more than a basic grasp of its inner workings, history, and place in the wider universe, of which we know even less. It should perhaps not surprise us, then, that our collective existence faces a constant barrage of unsolved incidents that then tumble through the sands of time, like pieces of a jigsaw that unless recovered, will not allow us to see the full picture of our reality.

The video below looks at some of the most intriguing UFO encounters from 1973.


1 Columbia, Missouri UFO, Angel Fire
2 The 1973 UFO Chronology A World-Wide Wave, Nicap
3 UFO Encountered, Photographed, Roaring River, Missouri, 1966, UFO Casebook

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.

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