Lesser-Known UFO And Alien Encounters From Early-1980s America

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
August 26, 2023
Estimated Reading Time
27 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

Without a doubt, the 1980s was one of the busiest decades for UFO sightings and claims of alien abduction in the United States alone. However, while many of those cases are well-known, especially in the UFO community, there are many more that are much lesser known, although, we should note, not less intriguing.

Indeed, these encounters range from sightings of strange lights at a considerable distance, to much closer encounters with futuristic craft potentially from another world, as well as to encounters with humanoids and possible incidents of alien abduction. It is certainly safe to say that the opening years of the 1980s were home to some of the most curious and fascinating UFO and alien encounters on record.

We will concentrate here on encounters from the first half of the eighties and will shift our focus to the latter years of the decade in part two of this article. Of course, space and time do not permit us to explore each and every encounter and report (which could take up an entire book, at least). We will, though, explore some of the most intriguing, thought-provoking, and representative of the times. And we will start at the beginning of the decade, in the opening months of 1980.

The Start Of A New Decade

As the eighties got underway, UFO sightings also continued on from the previous decade. [1] For example, at around 1 pm on March 6th in Warren, Arizona, several witnesses observed a disc-shaped object hovering near a mine before moving over the ridge of a nearby mountain. After several minutes it changed direction “on its edge” and disappeared toward the south.

On the same day, several hours later at 8:40 pm in Hudson, New Hampshire, another disc-shaped object was reported by a local resident, who claimed the object was flying relatively slowly and at a low altitude. They also recalled hearing a “steady humming sound” as the object passed overhead.

Two nights later, on March 8th in Wilmington, North Carolina, a motorist was shocked to find a glowing UFO approach his car, making a “jet-like sound” as it did so. The following evening, at around 7 pm in Newcastle, Kentucky, a local woman was brought to her backyard by the sudden urgent barking of her dogs. She was shocked to see a “bright object” hovering close to the ground barely 20 feet from the end of her garden.

A particularly intriguing encounter unfolded at just before 8 pm on April 10th in Alameda, California, when a witness observed a strange object shortly after moving into a new apartment. [2] According to their report, they were on the beach looking out over the ocean when they noticed a bright red light in the sky at an approximate altitude of 30,000 feet. To begin with, they believed the light belonged to a helicopter that he believed was likely heading to San Francisco.

However, to his shock, the light began to head in his direction, although, at this stage, he still believed it was a helicopter. However, by the time it was only around a mile away, he could make out that the light, rather than being attached to a helicopter, was a “round ball of brilliant light”. Then, things turned even stranger.

Without warning, the glowing red light simply plummeted toward the water and seemingly disappeared below the surface. The witness estimated that it appeared to be traveling around 100 miles per hour when it broke the surface of the water.

Although he reported the sighting to several authorities, there was no information on the sighting, or any potential explanations to explain just what it was.

The Glennallen Sighting

According to a report submitted to the National UFO Reporting Center in the early 2000s, at around 11:15 pm on the evening of August 5th, 1980 in Glennallen, Alaska, an intriguing UFO sighting unfolded. [3] According to the report, on the night in question, the witness and his wife were traveling from Glennallen to Anchorage, and found themselves on a lonely road in the “remote wilderness”. It was with great surprise, then, when they noticed a “very bright light” that was seemingly right in the middle of the road a short distance ahead.

After viewing the glowing object for several moments, they found themselves traveling down a hill in the road, and so causing them to lose sight of it. After a turn in the road and then going uphill once more, however, the light suddenly came back into view. As they got closer to it, the witness began to slow the car more and more, such was the “painfully brilliant” glow of the light. In fact, it became so bright the closer they got that the witness struggled to see the road in front of them.

When they were around 200 feet from the glowing object, the witness was forced to bring the vehicle to a complete stop. At this point, the witness began flashing his car headlights in an attempt to get whatever was behind the glowing light to dim them a little. However, he received no response, and the lights continued to glow. They began to “creep forward in small spurts” a further 50 feet before bringing the car to a stop once more.

From here, the pair made the decision to remain where they were for a moment and see how events would unfold.

“Rather Alarmed At The Strangeness Of It!”

They would estimate that they waited for around five minutes, hoping that the light would dim. The witness would recall in their report that they began to get “rather alarmed at the strangeness of it”. It was as they sat there that the witness noticed there was a strangeness to the light, recalling how it appeared to make the trees shine or glow somehow, but that it didn’t appear to reflect from the metallic surface of the car.

The longer they remained sitting in the car in front of the glow, the more the pair began to feel increasingly fearful of the situation unfolding around them. In fact, so disturbed were they that the witness backed the car up around 50 feet, suddenly wanting to put more distance between them and this strange glow.

Then, as much as to see if there was a reaction more than anything else, they approached it again. At this point, however, as they got closer, the car began to jolt and bump, and with the glow remaining intensely bright, they turned the car around and went back the way they had arrived as quickly as possible. In fact, the witness estimated they likely traveled at 90 miles per hour for around five miles before they brought the vehicle to a stop.

A Quick Disappearance

The pair would take a moment to discuss what they had just seen, and contemplate whether to make a report to the Alaska State Troopers. In part because they feared facing ridicule, and in part because they felt a little cowardly in the way they left the area, they decided against making a report. They did, though, make the decision to return to the first hill in order to view the glowing object from a safe distance. And when they arrived, the light was indeed still where it had been a short time earlier.

Although it felt like a considerable amount of time, the witness estimated that they spent only several minutes watching the light, noting that there was absolutely no other traffic on the road. As they watched the light, they noted that if they stared at it for longer than a few seconds, their night vision was “completely destroyed”, elaborating that it was a bright white with a strange blue hue around the edges.

After just short of 30 minutes, they made the decision to return to Glennallen and contemplated further if they should make an official report to state troopers. As they were driving back, they noticed another strange light heading in their direction. However, they soon realized that this was not another strange object, but the headlights of an oncoming truck. Realizing that the tractor was heading in the direction of the glowing object they had just left behind, the witness turned his car around and began to follow it, eager to see what the driver of this other vehicle made of the light they would surely soon see.

They followed the truck for several minutes. However, when they neared where the object had been only moments earlier, there was nothing there. The sighting remains completely unexplained.

The Humanoid Sighting Of Ellen Crystal

Only three days after the sighting in Alaska, at around 9:30 pm on August 8th on the other side of the United States in Pine Bush, New York (which would have several waves of UFO sightings during the 1980s and early nineties), author, Ellen Crystal experienced a sighting of a bizarre object, and account she would recall in her book The Silent Invasion. [4]

According to Crystal, she was in a field in the countryside at the time of the incident, when she noticed a strange “large, lighted object” descend toward some nearby trees. As the object approached the ground, its lights were seemingly switched off. Although curious, Crystal made the decision to remain where she was and watch events unfold from afar.

However, after several hours, somewhere close to midnight, she made the decision to get into her car and head toward the woodland to see if the object was still there. Once there, without leaving her vehicle, she used her flashlight to illuminate in front of her. To her shock, the beam of the flashlight picked out a humanoid figure, approximately four feet tall with a “large head and huge yellow cat-like eyes”. She also recalled that the figure appeared to be wearing a tight, beige one-piece suit.

After several moments of the two staring at each other, a surge of fear suddenly rose up in her, and she quickly put the car in motion and drove away.

Only four nights later, back on the west coast in California, another encounter unfolded – this one, much more disturbing.

Alien Abduction In Nevada City, California?

At around midnight on the evening of August 12th, just outside Nevada City in California, the unnamed witness – then only a teenager – was at Snow Mountain summer camp. [5] On this particular night, due to being unwell, the witness and several other campers who were sick, remained at the camp base while most of the others had gone out to participate in overnight horseback riding. In total, there were only six or seven people – including the witness – left at the camp for the night.

It was as they and the other unwell campers were preparing to go to sleep for the evening when a sudden “white noise” appeared to “envelope” the entire cabin, causing the witness and the other campers to call out as loudly as they could in terror. As this was happening, the witness had sudden “visions of mathematical equations”. Interestingly, the other witnesses also appeared to see similar visions, with one claiming to see musical notes, while another offered that his mind was full of hieroglyphic-like symbols.

The noise continued unrelenting for around 30 seconds before it came to a sudden stop. As soon as the sound ceased, however, a “vile smell” permeated the cabin. After a moment or two, terror gripped all who were in the cabin, causing them to flee outside, and head over a small hill to where the counselors were housed.

Once there, they told them of the bizarre events. And while the counselors were skeptical, at first, they agreed to accompany the group in order to investigate. Despite them finding nothing untoward, the group insisted they were not sleeping in the cabin, instead offering to stay in the girls’ cabin nearby, which the counselors agreed to. Although nothing else occurred that evening, none of the group slept. The following morning, however, things turned even stranger.

While the witness was in the dining hall at breakfast, one of the girls at the camp asked them if they had seen the strange object that had been hovering over their cabin for around 30 minutes. The girl described the object as looking similar to a bowler hat. The witness, as well as several of the other boys who were in the cabin that evening, knew there must be a connection between the strange events and this object. What the witness also found strange, was that the encounter only appeared to be a minute or two, but the girl claimed she watched the object for half an hour.

Could this be an episode of missing time? And if so, were each of the boys somehow taken on board the craft? The encounter remains unexplained, but the main witness remains convinced that “something happened that day”.

The Rush City Encounter

Around three weeks later in Rush City, Minnesota, a similar incident unfolded. [6] At around 4 pm on August 30th, the witness – then 15 years old – was outside their home playing with a basketball when he suddenly had a “weird feeling” that they were being watched. As they looked around their surroundings, they briefly caught sight of a humanoid figure that appeared to be wearing a “silver space suit” hanging off the side of the house.

Within a moment, it went around the corner of the property, before temporarily reappearing a moment later. The witness recalled that he wasn’t sure if there was only one of these humanoid beings or several.

After the figure appeared to have disappeared for good, the witness quickly went inside the house, locking and deadbolting the front door as soon as they entered. They decided not to say anything to the rest of their family, fearful that they wouldn’t be believed. However, certain that he had seen something strange, he walked to the other side of the house and locked the back patio door. Following this, they decided to go and take a shower. As they were doing so, however, the whole house began to shake while a loud noise suddenly filled the air.

They quickly got dressed and raced toward the living room. When he arrived, his father was the only person there, prompting the witness to ask, “Where is everyone?” To his amazement, his father replied that they were “outside, watching a spaceship”.

Upon hearing this, the witness immediately ran outside to find his mother, and his siblings, standing in the front yard watching a bizarre, glowing dot in the sky. They claimed that the object was a huge spacecraft that ascended from the nearby woods before shooting into the sky with great speed, causing a loud booming noise as it did so. At this point, the witness informed his mother of his strange encounter only a short while earlier. And to his surprise, perhaps due to the bizarre events she herself had witnessed, she believed him.

However, the story doesn’t end here. Around a week later, the witness’s parents were home alone when the house once more began to shake amid the same loud, crashing sounds. What’s more, on this occasion, they lost all power to the property. They could, however, see several beams through the window, stretching down from a large, futuristic object overhead. After several minutes, the object disappeared into the distance with great speed. The family experienced no further sightings or encounters, but we might contemplate why they would see the same object in the space of a week, along with the humanoid figure near their home. Might there be more to this account than a mere sighting?

UFO Water Landing In South Carolina

According to a report in the December 1982 edition of the MUFON Journal, at around 10:30 pm on the evening of July 15th, 1981, near Newberry, South Carolina, 14-year-old Carl Moore was fishing with friends when their evening took a drastic turn. [7] The group had been there all day and had only managed to catch several fish. With this in mind, Carl made the decision to move down to the boat ramp and check the trout lines they had set up earlier. However, when he arrived there, now separated from his friends, he witnessed a scene he wasn’t at all expecting.

A short distance ahead of him was a glowing silver-white object moving over the water. It was distinctly cigar-shaped and approximately 30 feet in length. He further recalled that it was moving particularly slowly, especially for its size, somewhere in the region of 20 to 25 miles per hour.

Then, it temporarily hovered before landing on the surface of the water, causing steam to rise from the lake as it did so. Carol continued to watch the object for two or three minutes before it suddenly began to rise from the water. A moment later, it shot upwards with lightning speed and disappeared out of sight in an instant.

By the time he had returned to where he and his friends were camping, the rest of the boys were already asleep. By the next morning, Carl had decided he would refrain from telling anyone of the bizarre events of the previous evening. He would state in his report, that although he remained he was during the encounter, he was “quite disturbed” by the events, and remains uncertain of just what he witnessed that evening.

The TWA Flight 842 Encounter

Just short of a month later, on the evening of July 4th over South Central Lake Michigan in Michigan, 54-year-old Captain Phil Schultz was piloting TWA Flight 842 from San Francisco to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York when his journey became life-changing. [8] At this point in the flight, the plane was on autopilot at an altitude of around 37,000 feet. The sun was still high in the sky and, despite patches of cloud, visibility was very good.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a “large, round, silver, metal object descended into the atmosphere from above” and to the left of the aircraft. Schultz estimated this object dropped to around 40,000 feet and then passed off to the left. Although the object was only visible for around five or six seconds, Schultz was able to make out six black portholes that were spaced out at equal distances around the side of the craft. He further noticed how “smooth” the flight of the object was, certainly suggesting advanced capabilities.

After the object had passed over them, it disappeared and was not seen again. Schultz would later enquire whether there had been any other aircraft in their part of the sky at the time of the incident, however, he was informed that there wasn’t.

Rather than report what he and the crew had seen to TWA (and we might remind ourselves that airlines, generally during this time, did not take kindly to their pilots speaking of such encounters, particularly in an official capacity), Schultz made a report to UFO investigator, Richard Haines.

As part of his investigation, Schultz arranged for Haines to be in the cockpit of a grounded plane so that they could reconstruct the event. They would determine that the object was moving somewhere in the region of 1000 miles per hour when it appeared and then disappeared near the plane. Despite this, Schultz recalled no shock waves or turbulence from the close approach and departure.

Although the incident remains unexplained, Schultz remarked in his report that “we (human beings) have nothing that can do what that object did”.

The San Luis Reservoir Encounter

Only months earlier, at around 2:30 pm on the afternoon of April 8th, 1981, a resident referred to as Mr. Dennis in the report, was flying his Piper Archer II aircraft from Palm Springs to Novato in California. [9] As he was flying over the San Luis Reservoir, a bullet-shaped object emitting an orange glow appeared and positioned itself to the side of his plane. Almost as soon as it did so, the plane’s navigation and communication equipment failed. Then, his transponder failed, meaning that the control tower would have seen him simply disappear from their radar screens.

After several moments, the object zipped into the distance, stopping around 500 yards in front of his plane and then maintaining that distance. As it did so, however, it made several erratic movements, not at all typical of a conventional aircraft. He watched in awe as the object moved back alongside his aircraft, this time at the other side. Slowly but steadily, Dennis began to drop back from the object, as well as ever so slowly descending. As he tailed it, he could clearly see a “whirring bluish ring” being emitted from the back of the strange craft. This blue hue continued to spin, increasingly faster before finally dissipating.

Dennis continued to watch the object, noticing that the front of it was now pulsating somewhat. Furthermore, it was beginning to glow a bright red-orange color. Then, without warning, the object shot off into the distance, traveling at least five miles in a couple of seconds before making an “instantaneous” turn directly upwards and disappearing for good. Dennis estimated this process from being slightly ahead of his plane to having vanished was no longer than four or five seconds. As soon as the object had vanished, all of the communication and navigational equipment came back to life.

The Encounter Of Dennis Kucinich

Without a doubt one of the most intriguing UFO sightings, if only because the witness was a one-time United States Presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich was the witness. [10] Although the encounter occurred in September 1982, it was not widely known about until the late 2000s in the run-up to the 2008 US election.

The incident was recalled in various newspapers and media platforms, as well as in the book, Sage-Ing While Age-Ing by actress, Shirley MacLaine, whose house where the sighting took place. In the book, she writes that Kucinich was at her house in Graham, Washington when “the smell of roses drew him out to the balcony”. Once on the balcony, he could see a “gigantic triangular craft, silent, and observing him”.

She continued that the object “hovered, soundless, for ten minutes or so” before it “sped away with a speed he couldn’t comprehend”. Interestingly, according to MacLaine, Kucinich told her that he “felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind” – something which many other witnesses in close encounter cases also allude to.

Although Kucinich admitted seeing the object, he wasn’t eager to expand on it. There were two other witnesses to the sighting, Paul Constanzo, and his girlfriend. Kucinich was staying at the home of MacLaine (his long-term friend) following his time as Mayor of Cleveland in order to write his memoirs. And while MacLaine herself was away in Canada on the night of the incident, her other houseguests, the previously mentioned Constanzo and his girlfriend were both present.

Not only did Constanzo confirm the events as detailed by MacLaine and confirmed by Kucinich, but he also had similar feelings to him. He would later state that he didn’t feel any fear during the encounter and that he “sensed” he was “in the presence of a greater technology and intelligence”.

A Sense Of “Something Extraordinary” Unfolding

Constanzo’s girlfriend revealed even more details about the incident. In fact, she would recall that the entire day leading up to the sighting was strange. She stated that all three of them could hear a discreet but constant high-pitched sound, and there was “a sense that something extraordinary was happening all day”.

While the trio were eating dinner that evening, she recalled that Kucinich spotted a light in the distance through the window, just to the left of Mount Rainer. Constanzo offered that it must be a helicopter, but Kucinich was not convinced and so excused himself to venture outside to take a closer look through a telescope that was set up on the balcony decking. After a moment or two, he was calling out to others to come outside and join him.

Kucinich had clearly seen something out of the ordinary through the telescope, and Constanzo and his girlfriend each took turns looking at the strange glow. To their amazement, over the course of several minutes, the single glowing light separated itself into three separate lights.

Then, after several more moments, the trio realized the lights were heading in their direction. As they got closer, they realized that as opposed to light, they were actually “three charcoal grey triangular craft” that were “flying in a tight wedge”. She would further recall that each of the crafts also had red and green lights that ran around the edges and red laser-like light at the back.

Neither Constanzo nor his girlfriend could recall seeing any markings, windows, or anything else of significance on the exterior, and estimated they were approximately the size of a large van or a small Cessna.

Eventually, one of the objects approached to within around 500 feet of the house, a strange “throbbing” sound being audible as it hovered overhead. After a minute or so, the object sped away. Each of them promptly drew sketches of what they had seen and made notes of the details they could recall – all of which were retained by Kucinich. All agreed that what they had witnessed was something completely out of the norm.

The following day, however, there was a further twist to the events. Firstly, the strange high-pitched sound that had plagued them the previous day remained. Now, however, in the same area they had witnessed the triangular objects, several military-style helicopters were seen circling the region.

Huge Mothership-Type Object Witnessed Over Bend, Oregon

According to an online account, in the early hours of August 27th, 1983, at around 5:30 am in Bend, Oregon, a local resident was standing near his campsite at the brilliance of the stars in the early morning sky when they saw what appeared to be a fireball moving through the trees a short distance away. The witness continued to watch this aerial anomaly as it began to rise above the trees rapidly before leveling out. Then, the flames suddenly went out, and he could see for the first time that this object was a solid craft.

The object appeared to be a flat obelisk shape, with four distinct corners from which a bright light shone which formed an ablation tail behind it. In fact, this tail became so bright that the sky appeared to turn blue before reverting to the black of the early morning sky. The witness could also see what appeared to be brown smoke “trailing” the object, although it is not clear if this smoke was the result of some kind of damage to the craft or as a result of its propulsion.

The object eventually disappeared into the distance. The witness returned the short distance to the campsite, realizing that his four campmates were still asleep. He made the decision to keep the sighting to himself, and so said nothing of the encounter until years later.

The witness also included in his report some intriguing information regarding his only research as to the size of the object. Using how the International Space Station appears from Earth compared to the approximate eventual altitude of the object, the witness estimated that was between 2500 feet to a mile in length. Furthermore, he estimated, again based on its appearance in the sky, that it was “traveling at near the escape velocity of the Earth, or 25,000 miles per hour”.

The Bear Lake Sighting

At around midnight one evening the previous month in July 1983, four witnesses observed a bizarre object approach their boat on Bear Lake in Forest City, Florida, approximately 15 miles from Orlando. [11] On the night in question, Herman and his (now) wife, Kristen, and his friend and (then) housemate, Larry, along with his girlfriend had decided to take the boat out into the middle of the lake from the lakefront house they rented. It was something they did regularly. This night, however, would be decidedly different from previous journeys on the water.

As he was looking up at the night sky, Herman noticed a “flaming ball” moving overhead, with orange and red flames that were “like tongues of fire vanishing over the ball”. Herman would estimate the object was around 500 feet above them and traveling at a speed of around 50 miles per hour.

They watched it for several minutes before the glowing orb suddenly went out. The four witnesses contemplated what it was they had just seen. Although they initially questioned if the red light belonged to a helicopter, they reasoned that they would have heard the blades of the vehicle, which they clearly didn’t, so they dismissed this possibility. After a few moments of discussion, while they all agreed it was something strange, they decided to forget about the object and continue on with their evening.

A moment or two later, however, the red object “shot up” into the sky once more, this time from the east. And moments after it had done so, it came to a sudden stop directly over their boat. Although Herman wasn’t certain how low down the object was, he recalled that they could “see the flames moving up and around the softball-sized object, as though we could almost reach out and grab it yet it was out of reach”.

At this point, the witness began waving his arms, as if to say hello to the strange glowing craft. Larry followed suit but the two girls urged them to stop.

The object continued to hover overhead, the lake completely lit up from its glow. Herman estimated it remained there for several minutes before it suddenly shot off into the night sky, “leaving a streak of light or trail behind it” before disappearing. The witness would elaborate that the object “went from still to what seemed to be the speed of light without any transition or graduation in speed – just instant acceleration like nothing I have ever seen”.

Around 18 months later, on the other side of America back in California, a very similar sighting of red-ball-like objects is on record.

Bizarre Red Sphere Over Redwood Valley, California

According to an article in the June 20th, 1985 edition of the Ukiah Daily Journal, on the evening of June 18th in Redwood Valley, Ukiah, California, three children – Debbie Crumrine and Shawn White, each 11, and Shawn’s 8-year-old sister, Jessica – were camping in the backyard when a sudden “whoosh” followed by a bright light caught their attention. [12] To begin with, the three children thought the light and noise were normal air traffic, albeit at a much lower altitude, but they soon realized they were seeing something altogether more unusual.

Debbie would later recall that it was as though the object “appeared from thin air”, at first heading toward the north before coming to a stop just below the treetops of their neighbor’s yard. Debbie would further state that it was “like it had a mind of its own” and was a red color on the outside and a blue-green color on the inside, similar to the “color of fire”. Another detail she noted was that when the object hovered near the trees, the middle section was completely still while the outside, red section continued to turn.

After several moments, the object appeared to go on its way. However, a moment later, it returned and proceeded to circle over the top of the yard three times. At this point, the two girls covered themselves with their sleeping bags in an attempt to hide from the object. Shawn, though, continued to watch, stating that after circling them, it began to grow smaller as it headed off into the distance, going from “a big rock, to a softball, to a star far away”.

He also recalled that there was a “muffled sound” while the object was overhead, and Debbie further offered that although it was a chilly night when the object was visible, the air around them seemed warmer.

Despite the children’s account appearing in the newspaper only days after the sighting, no further witnesses came forward, and both Ukiah Airport and Mendocino County Sherrif Department claimed they had received no reports of such an object.

The Encounter Of Irene Lunn

The previous year, at around 9 pm on the evening of August 20th, 1984 in Mahopac Falls, New York, Irene Lunn – who was the wife of a local police officer – was driving home from the store with her daughter, Erica. [13] As Irene guided the vehicle along the road, however, her attention was suddenly drawn toward a “large object” that was hovering over a pond of a nearby farm. Although they were almost home, realizing she was seeing something out of the ordinary, she immediately brought the car to a stop, checking the time as she did so.

She would look at this strange object, recalling that it was “triangle-shaped with an L-shaped tailpiece with one red light, one green light, and eight white lights”. She further recalled that the object was moving toward the south when she first viewed it, but then suddenly turned 90 degrees to the left – ultimately, heading toward them. After watching it for several moments, Irene put the car in motion once more, completing the short distance from the corner of the road to her driveway. However, rather than passing overhead and heading into the distance, as she expected, the object appeared to be following them.

At this point, Irene made the decision to run inside the house to retrieve her binoculars so she could view this strange object close up. By the time she returned outside, the bizarre craft was now hovering directly over the top of her driveway. She immediately brought the binoculars up to her eyes and was amazed at the detail she could make out. She would recall that the object “appeared solid and appeared to be metal”, and this metallic exterior, she offered further, was “a very dark grey to almost black in color”.

The object then began to move, heading toward her neighbor’s house where it appeared to hover over the backyard for several minutes. Then, things turned even stranger.

“…Nothing Else Except For Erica, Me, And These Two Objects!”

As Irene watched the curious craft hovering over her neighbor’s yard, she noticed a second object heading toward them from the west. And like the first, it was heading directly toward her driveway. She recalled that this object traveled particularly slowly and was “rectangular in shape with four white lights in each corner”. When she viewed the object through the binoculars, she could see that it was made of the same metallic material as the first one.

For several seconds, this second object was so close that it blocked Irene’s view of the first one. Then, however, the second object simply vanished leaving the first object still hovering over her neighbor’s yard.

It was at this point that she realized neither of these seemingly otherworldly objects made a noise. In fact, Irene recalled that the scene was so quiet that she could “hear the crickets” all around her, even though, they appeared to be “quieter” as the actual events were unfolding. And not just the crickets. Irene noticed that “everything seemed to be quieter, like there was nothing else except for Erica, me, and these two objects”.

After two or three minutes, the object began moving back toward her driveway. And as it did so, “all (of) its lights went from green to all red”. As the object approached, Irene raised the binoculars up to her eyes once more. To her amazement, she could see a windshield along the front, very similar to one from an airplane, although she was unable to see through it.

Even stranger, as this object approached a second time, Irene became “totally permeated with this feeling that it was letting me know that it knew I was watching it”. This is an interesting detail, as this kind of telepathic communication – sometimes experienced in a feeling such as that described by Irene – features in many other close encounter cases.

Interesting Lingering Effects

The object continued on, heading towards the trees in the direction it first appeared. Suddenly, Erica began to become excitable, clearly just realizing the truly bizarre nature of what she had just seen, running into the house. Irene, however, remained where she was watching the course the object took.

After initially heading back to the west, it suddenly made another 90-degree turn, this time to the right, and then headed toward the south, eventually disappearing from sight. The whole encounter lasted around 20 minutes.

Irene would further state that while the events were unfolding, she felt anxious but also very peaceful. In fact, for the rest of the evening, she had a sense of elation at what she had just experienced. By contrast, however, upon waking the following day, and for several days after, she felt an intense depression, constantly recalling and replaying the surreal events in her mind. This is perhaps an interesting detail to note – after all, how can a person just return to normal life after witnessing something so momentous?

Perhaps also of interest, Irene mentioned that her two-year-old daughter experienced several nights of restless sleep following the incident, something that was unusual. Whether this detail is a consequence or not is something that remains unknown, and to the best knowledge, unexplored.

The Indian Point Nuclear Reactor Sightings

Only two months previously, on the evening of June 14th, also in New York, this time in Buchanan, another sighting occurred. And this time, the witness was an active police officer. [14] On the night in question, at around 10:15 pm, a 35-year-old New York State Power Authority police officer – referred to as Carl in the report – was on patrol duty at the Indian Point Nuclear Reactor Plant when he witnessed a “series of lights” in the distance. What’s more, these lights were heading in his direction.

He described the lights as “white with a yellow hue” and – from when he first spotted them – approximately a quarter of a mile from where he was standing. As they continued their approach, Carl quickly looked over at the adjoining Consolidated-Edison Nuclear Power Complex and could clearly see around a dozen of their workers also watching the strange aerial display.

At this stage, realizing something truly bizarre was unfolding, he radioed other departments around the plant in an effort for more potential witnesses to head toward his location, not least in case he required assistance. Moments later, two other security officers swiftly made their way to Indian Point Number Three, where Carl was stationed that evening.

The three of them watched the curious display for around 20 minutes, with the object coming to a complete standstill in the sky for around 15 minutes. The more they studied it, the more they could see the lights – of which there were at least 10, if not more – were part of a solid object, measuring approximately 300 feet. The lights themselves were arranged into a boomerang arrangement and were “incredibly bright”.

Suddenly the object began to move once more, heading toward Peekskill. However, rather than move at a rapid pace, it did so incredibly slowly at around 10 miles per hour. He would further add that “when the object turned, it rotated, as if it was lying on a wheel”.

Ultimately, the object disappeared into the distance. It wouldn’t, however, be the only encounter near the plant.

“Hey, Here Comes That UFO Again!” – The Subsequent Encounter

A little over a month later, Carol would find himself at the center of another bizarre UFO encounter. On the evening of July 24th, once more at the Indian Point power station, Carl would hear another security over the radio systems stating “here comes that UFO again!” Within moments of the announcement, the other two security guards, as well as two supervisors appeared at his location.

Once more, they could see a set of strange lights in the distance, in the same location as they had witnessed previously. And once more, these lights were heading in their direction. This time, however, “the lights were changing. First they would be all yellow, then white, and then all turned blue”. Carl would continue that they were “in a semicircle, and in the rear, pretty far back, was this red, blinking light”. Once more, though, they could tell that the lights were part of a solid, large craft as it “blocked out the stars” as it moved across the sky.

The object came to around 500 feet from the group, allowing them to make out much more detail. Carl would recall that it “looked like an ice cream cone” and was approximately the “size of three football fields”. And once more, when did move, it did so at a speed of barely 10 miles per hour, certainly much too slow relative to its size.

Of particular concern to the supervisor, was that this particular reactor – where the object was hovering over – was the one that was in operation that evening. At one stage, the craft came to within only 30 feet of it before moving on.

The group watched the object for around 20 minutes, all the while remaining on high alert in case they were instructed to open fire with their shotguns.

Potential Video Footage Captured

As this was all unfolding, another security officer – referred to as Milton – was inside the plant overseeing the security monitors. He received a call from the supervisor to redirect the cameras to where they were standing. He immediately went to work, turning a camera fitted to the top of a 95-foot pole in the direction requested.

He would recall that he immediately saw “eight bright lights in a V shape” that were “very wide almost like a half circle”. As he panned the camera up and down and around, he could clearly see the lights were part of a huge, solid object. So huge, in fact, that he had to pan the camera almost 180 degrees to view all of it. Milton would add that, the object – or at least the intelligence behind it – appeared “very brazen”, as if it “didn’t care who saw it”.

Another officer, who wished to remain nameless, claimed that he made out “two hollow spheres of some sort” that “looked like portals that could open up and rockets or something could fly out”. Of course, if his assessment is correct and these spheres were some kind of weapon, then the presence of this futuristic vehicle should concern all of us.

Despite the number of witnesses, as well as the fact that several local residents near the plant also reported seeing something strange that evening, the unit was told the following day by the security commander that they were to forget the incident and that, officially, nothing happened. Furthermore, several records, including recordings of the radio transmissions, and videotape from the security cameras have seemingly disappeared.

We can only guess what the object might have been. However, whatever it was, it appears there was a desire from somewhere to cover over the incident.

The Keene Route 12 UFO Sighting

Several months later, an encounter directly involving a police officer unfolded in Keene, New Hampshire. [15] On the evening of October 16th, Police Sergeant John Zeller was on patrol when he received a call to investigate a strange object hovering near Route 12. In part because the man who made the call to the police switchboard refused to give his name, and partly because he had experienced similar “prank calls” before, Zeller made his way leisurely to the area, convinced that he wouldn’t find anything unusual waiting for him.

However, as he approached the location, he quickly began to realize that his response to this call was going to unfold drastically differently. A car was heading toward him on the road, which quickly screeched to a halt when they saw his vehicle was a police car. The motorists immediately got out, pointing and motioning to the sky.

Zeller would later recall that he could see “something, mostly lights, hovering 500 to 700 feet off the ground”, elaborating that the lights were “red, green, white, pulsating types”. He would add that “all you could see was the lights”, and that the outline was not visible. Furthermore, whatever the object was, it was “absolutely still, like it was stuck there”. It remained approximately for two minutes, remaining completely silent throughout the sighting.

It was at this point, though, when Zeller raised his powerful spotlight toward the lights. And when he did, he could make out a very specific and solid structure behind the lights. Even stranger, as soon as the beam from the spotlight settled on the object, it began to move toward it. He would estimate it to be around 50 feet long and approximately 10 to 15 feet wide. It appeared to be cream-colored and was ridged along the underside “like an old-fashioned bathtub”.

Zeller continued to watch as the object continued onward toward a nearby carwash. Then, out of nowhere, the object headed off into the distance with great speed. Although he didn’t say he thought the object was of extraterrestrial origin, Zeller did confirm that he had never seen anything at all like it before.

Multiple Alien Species In America (And The World)?

As we can see, then, although we have examined here just a tiny number of the UFO and alien encounters on record from the early years of 1980s America, whether because of increased awareness from the public or because there was a genuine increased aerial presence during this time, sighting of strange objects were rife during this time. And what’s more, these events were witnessed by different people from across the social spectrum.

In fact, the sightings were so varied in terms of different details and different-shaped crafts that we might ponder the notion that more than one alien species had a presence in the United States (and perhaps the world) during this time. Or might at least some of these incidents be the result of top-secret government experiments with a variety of drastically different advanced aerial vehicles? If the latter was true, then what should we make of the humanoid encounters and those that hint of alien abduction?

Like the UFO and alien question, in general, there are many more questions than answers. Next time, in our second part examining UFO and alien encounters from 1980s America, we will look at some of the lesser-known sightings of the later years of the decade, a time when the end of the Cold War began to come into view, and a new stage in human history was almost upon us. During that time, though, some of the most intriguing and mind-blowing close encounters took place.

The short video below examines some of the best and most thought-provoking UFO encounters from the United States.


1 The 1980 UFO Chronology, NICAP http://www.ignaciodarnaude.com/avistamientos_ovnis/Casos%20OVNI%201980,NICAP.htm
2 Lights Over Alameda, National UFO Reporting Center https://nuforc.org/webreports/reports/024/S24090.html
3 Unidentified Bright Light Sitting On A Road, National UFO Reporting Center https://nuforc.org/webreports/reports/025/S25361.html
4 Silent Invasion: Shocking Discoveries of a UFO Researcher, Ellen Crystal https://www.amazon.co.uk/Silent-Invasion-Shocking-Discoveries-Researcher/dp/1557784930
5 Possible Abduction In California, National UFO Reporting Center https://nuforc.org/webreports/reports/124/S124879.html
6 Space suit looking things and object in the woods, National UFO Reporting Center https://nuforc.org/webreports/reports/024/S24470.html
7 Cigar-shaped object seen landing on the water in South Carolina, UFO Evidence http://ufoevidence.org/cases/case776.htm
8 TWA Airline pilot sees round metallic object with portholes, UFO Evidence http://ufoevidence.org/cases/case656.htm
9 Piper Archer II Encounters “Bullet” & EME, NICAP http://www.nicap.org/810408sanluisres_dir.htm
10 US Congressman and Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich sighting of large triangular craft in Washington State, UFO Evidence http://ufoevidence.org/cases/case1177.htm
11 Ball of fire moves over 4 witnesses in boat on Bear Lake, Florida, UFO Evidence http://ufoevidence.org/cases/case932.htm
12 Flying ‘ball of fire’ seen by 3 children in backyard in Redwood Valley, CA, UFO Evidence http://ufoevidence.org/cases/case944.htm
13 UFO follows witnesses home, hovers over driveway, UFO Evidence http://ufoevidence.org/cases/case359.htm
14 Close Encounter at Indian Point Nuclear Reactor, NY, UFO Evidence http://ufoevidence.org/cases/case1080.htm
15 Police officer and others see dirigible-shaped UFO over Keene, NH, UFO Evidence http://ufoevidence.org/cases/case762.htm

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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