The 1977 Fostoria Incident – UFO Sighting On The C&O Railroad

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
November 28, 2018
Last Updated
October 6, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
6 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

A sighting of a disc-shaped object near the private rail lines of a distribution warehouse of Fostoria, Ohio in October 1977 featured two rail workers who witnessed the craft at extremely close range, as well as two more employees who would follow the events on the rail line’s radio communications system. What’s more, rather than a mere sighting of a strange object, there was interaction between the main witness and the craft, or more the point, the apparent intelligence inside it.

A depiction of a UFO hovering above a train

A depiction of a UFO hovering above a train

The sighting remains unexplained, and while Ohio, perhaps due to its location near the already mysterious Lake Eire has a plethora of UFO incidents each year, another similar, and also still unexplained sighting would take place the previous year, only a relative stone’s throw away in Broadview Heights. Whether there is a connection or not is open for debate. And given that each of these sightings would remain unreported for close to thirty years, perhaps others in the same area at the same time are still to surface, so allowing for a fuller picture of these mysterious but still persistent UFO encounters.

“We Got A UFO Up Here!”

On the evening of 21st October 1977, “Howard Albert” a C&O railroad engineer was sat in the locomotive cab of the trainload of box cars on the Fostoria Distribution Company warehouse railroad. [1] They were on their twice daily run to pick up processed food for distribution around the Fostoria and larger Columbus area. The warehouse track was around three miles outside of Fostoria, just to the east of the main rail lines and around 200 yards from Route 23. In Howard’s hand was the walkie-talkie that he would use to stay in contact with the conductor, Donald, (who would check the cars) and the breakman (who made would guide the cars into the warehouse itself).

It was around 3:20 am. Suddenly, what looked like a “shooting star” would catch Howard’s attention. It was moving across the sky, coming out of the west. Then, it “curved downward” changing its direction more to the north. Realizing it wasn’t a shooting star, he continued to watch the falling light. It would come down to the ground in a field near Route 23 and close to a nearby church. Then, it began to come towards him, “slowly, at the speed of a walking man”.

He would estimate the glowing object to be around sixteen feet from the ground. It continued towards him until it was just over 200 feet away from where it would stop. It remained hovering above the ground on the other side of the tracks. Howard, still not taking his eyes from the object, raised his radio to his mouth stating, “Donald! Come up to the engine”. Donald, while making his way to Howard’s location asked what the problem was. In response, Howard would state “we got a UFO up here”.

“It’s Not Hurting Anyone! We’re Playing Games With It!”

The strange object began to approach again. This time it would stop just over 100 feet from Howard’s cab. He would later describe it as a disc or even a “birthday cake” shaped object. He would estimate it to be around 90 feet across and nearly 50 feet high. Glowing “banks of vertical tubes” around the object made it shine brightly. The underside had a ceramic feel and was a gray color similar to “a knife sharpening stone”. He couldn’t make out any windows or any other markings on the exterior. He also couldn’t hear any sound coming from the object at all. It had a slight tilt to it as it hovered and “rotated counter-clockwise”.

Howard and Donald would each use their stopwatches to time the rotation speed of the object. Both would agree this was nine revolutions per minute. They would also notice blue “electric-like energy arcs” that would move around the exterior of the disc, lighting up the tubes as it touched them.

Suddenly, the radio operator at the Fostoria control tower, hearing their conversation, would ask for confirmation that a UFO was over the railyard. Howard would confirm this. And then would decline an offer to inform the police. He would state to the control room operator that “they can’t drive up to where we’re at”. He would then add that even if they did “they’ll probably just shoot at it. It isn’t hurting anybody”. Besides, he continued, “we’re playing games with it”.

As he said this, he flicked on the main train headlight, leaving it to glow for two full seconds. The glowing object would respond in a similar fashion, suddenly glowing brightly for two seconds, then dimming again.

A depiction of a UFO hovering over a rail track

A depiction of a UFO hovering over a rail track

An Interest In A “Relatively Uncommon” Train Engine?

Although he didn’t wish to put the train in motion, Howard switched on the engine, intrigued to see if it still worked. Although the object would respond to the lights flashing, it didn’t respond at all to the sound of the engine, even when Howard intentionally increased the output somewhat before switching off the power again.

Howard would also recall how a “knowing” was present in their minds. Aside from his switching on of the engine, he would state that both he and Donald were somehow aware they should not cross the tracks and attempt to get any closer to the object. Just as they were aware if they were to sound the whistle of the train, the object would suddenly leave. Perhaps, then, Howard was also right in his assessment of the police and keeping them away from the situation.

Although he couldn’t explain why, Howard believed there were definite intelligent occupants inside the object. He believed they were interested in the engine of the train, which he claimed was a “relatively uncommon model”. This is an interesting theory. Perhaps suggesting that whoever or whatever is behind these mysterious crafts perhaps have as much interest in our propulsions and mechanics as we do in theirs.

They would watch the object for just over twenty minutes before it began to increase the speed of its rotation. Getting increasingly faster the object then simply took off into the sky. Within seconds it looked like a “yellow-star” in the distance.

By the time the conductor of the train arrived at the cab, who had heard Howard and Donald’s conversation throughout, the object was already heading off upwards and into the night sky. All he would see is a “star-like” craft heading away from them.

The Broadview Heights Apartment Sighting

Around a year earlier, and a little over 100 miles away in Broadview Heights, Ohio, just outside Cleveland, [2] was a sighting of a similar disc-shaped object. The witness, who was only a child at the time, wouldn’t report the sighting until 2006, thirty years after the incident. Because of this, they are not sure of the exact time, only it was just before a major holiday, likely Thanksgiving or Christmas. With that in mind, then, the incident likely took place between late-November and late-December 1976.

It wasn’t uncommon for the witness to wake in the middle of the night, feeling a little scared, and then climb into bed with their parents. That is what had happened this particular evening. It was late, and while his parents remained asleep, he stared out of their bedroom window in the two-story apartment complex in which they lived. As he was looking out of the upstairs window in his parent’s room a “metallic saucer shape” came into view. It made no noise whatsoever and moved slowly and calmly. Much like Howard would describe the object approaching his train cab, the witness would remember that its pace “was that of someone walking”.

He would estimate the object to be around thirty feet across and moving at a distance of around thirty feet from the ground. He would further estimate the object to be around thirty feet from his location. There were other apartment blocks within the complex, each housing ten separate families, one of which was directly opposite the witness. Whether anyone from these other apartments witnessed the craft is unknown.

A depiction of a UFO hovering over apartments

A depiction of a UFO hovering over apartments

Absolute Certainty Of The Incident!

The witness would recall that the exterior of the craft was “a rough polished metal” of a bronze-silver color. While the top of the craft was an oval shape, the underside was completely flat. Except, that is, for the middle section which would invert inwards in a cone-shape.

The witness remained at the window, contemplating waking his parents. However, he didn’t want to take his eyes from the object even for a second. It continued on slowly over the complex, just above the trees, and over the parking area. It would continue in the same direction and simply vanished into the distance. He would remain at the window in case it returned. Or in case another mysterious vehicle arrived. However, nothing else of significance took place.

The witness would keep the incident to himself, aside from telling his cousins on one occasion during a family holiday. They would mock him mercilessly and so he never mentioned it publicly again. He was, though, absolutely certain of what he witnessed. And despite wondering if he might have witnessed a low-flying aircraft or even some bizarre trick of the light, his memory of the streetlamps reflecting so brilliantly off the surface of the craft, allowing him to see the details of it, simply cements the incident as authentic in his mind.

Check out the video below. It features audio from a radio station broadcast in Ohio. On this particular evening, they would receive several reports of a UFO from listeners.


1 Fostoria, Ohio, late  October  1977 Close Encounter From a Train, Francis Ridge, NICAP
2 Low-flying metallic saucer slowly flying over apartment complex, UFO Evidence

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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