The Lake Movil UFO Incident

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
October 20, 2018
Last Updated
November 9, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
7 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

An incident at a secluded cabin near the waters of Lake Movil, Minnesota in the summer of 1962 would prove to be only one of several similar sightings in and around the North Star State in the early-to-mid-1960s. And what’s more, many of them would have multiple witnesses, with one even managing to secure a photograph, of which, incidentally, there is no evidence of tampering or manipulation.

A depiction of a UFO over Lake Movil

A depiction of a UFO over Lake Movil

Indeed, as we have touched on before, perhaps the many lakes and rivers of the region, including such ancient and mysterious bodies of water as Lake Superior and the Mississippi River, is what attracts these apparently cosmic visitors. As we will look at shortly, at least one of the sightings we will examine appears to show evidence of some kind of “water retrieval” mission. Much like the case of Charles Brew in Australia which, incidentally or not, also occurred within the same time frame as the cases we are about to look at.

A Glowing Red Object Over The Boat Dock

Marilyn Chenarides and Mildred Anderson were enjoying a family vacation at a secluded cabin on Lake Movil in Minnesota from their native state of North Dakota during August 1962. It was a vacation, however, that would be like no other. [1]

On this particular evening, with several members of the family having left the cabin for a night out, the two women, along with Mildred’s two young children, Marilyn and Roger, were the only ones there. Roger, the younger of the two, was asleep in bed, while Marilyn sat in front of her mother as she brushed her hair. It was as she was doing so, that Mildred suddenly noticed a red glowing object outside of the property.

Placing the brush down, Mildred and the adult Marilyn walked over to the window to see what the strange light was. In front of the cabin, around fifty feet away at the end of the boat dock was a saucer-shaped craft. It had a raised dome on the top and was glowing red, calmly hovering at the water’s edge. Its red glow made the water appear a “greenish-black” while the green dock morphed to a strange brown color under the otherworldly light. They would estimate the object to be around 35-feet wide and around ten-feet at its highest point.

As the two women stared in mild disbelief they could make out three yellow glows on the side of the object. They quickly realized that these were windows. And what’s more, behind two of them, were the silhouettes of three humanoid figures.

Humanoid Figures “Watching Them!”

Both women remained at the window staring at the three figures. They would each state later that they felt strongly that the figures were “watching them”. After several minutes, Mildred would switch off all the lights in the cabin. Perhaps in response, the lights of the objects also went out.

It was then that Mildred, without warning, opened the door and ran in the direction of the dock and the hovering object. Her daughter, immediately hysterical, screamed at her mother to come back. Mildred continued towards the now dark, black object, still hovering over the edge of the lake. However, as she got to within a few feet of it, the craft began to rise into the air before disappearing into the night sky. Given that the object remained hovering for several minutes with its lights extinguished, the two women would later speculate how long it might have actually been there before they first noticed it.

Perhaps as an extra twist to the incident, Marilyn Chenarides, would go on to declare an equally strange event. One that had occurred only three weeks prior to the incident over Lake Movil as they made their way to begin their vacation. They were traveling in their car with her parents, her brothers, and the family dog, Zipper. Suddenly, the dog began to growl anxiously. As the passengers wondered what he might be responding to, Marilyn’s father, Kenneth Anderson, noticed a “large, green luminous object” in the sky, seemingly heading in their direction.

As the object passed, all could see the “yellowish-green” oval-shaped craft, which appeared to have a “haze or fog” around it. All in the car saw it, although all would simply put the encounter out of their minds. Both incidents remain unexplained.

A depiction of a UFO over a Minnesota Boat Dock

A depiction of a UFO over a Minnesota Boat Dock

Two Sightings Of An “Oval-Like” Craft, October 1961

Much like the other forty-nine states of America, Minnesota has its own abundance of strange incidents and UFO reports. On 14th October 1961, for example, at Lake Superior at Two Harbors, Erwin Riley would report that a strange object suddenly appeared from overhead before “skidding on the water” and “bobbing around on the surface”. [2] She would quickly alert her neighbor, Jack Ray, who along with his binoculars, came to Riley’s location. Although he could see the strange object, he couldn’t identify it.

By the time the Lake County sheriff arrived darkness was beginning to take over, and like Ray, he couldn’t make out just what it was on the water’s surface. He would notify the Air Force and Coast Guard, suspecting the mysterious object to be the result of a training exorcize that had been dropped by a participating aircraft. However, according to Riley, when both the sheriff and her neighbor had left, the strange object rose from the water and moved off in a southeasterly direction.

Incidentally, less than twenty-four hours later, in the state of Wisconsin, Mrs. Vanicky, while driving with her sister at around 5:30 pm on the 15th October, would spot an “oval-shaped object” flying above them. They at first thought it was a jet but soon realized not only didn’t it have any wings, but it was moving much too slowly. No lights were visible, and the object was a “sort of brownish color”. Furthermore, at the end of the aerial craft was a stream of flames. This would result in a remaining white streak across the sky. The pair would watch the object for around twenty minutes. Then, it finally disappeared into the increasing darkness of the early evening sky.

The Barnesville Crater Landing Incident

At a little after 8 am on 5th May 1964, farmer, Alfred Ernst was driving his truck towards the grain drill on his farmland in Barnesville, Minnesota. He would begin to load it with the drill in anticipation of the wheat-seeding he had ahead of him that morning. As he was doing so, however, he suddenly noticed a strange, glowing oval object on the ground [3] around 1,500 feet ahead of him.

In his report to UFO investigators, he would estimate the object to be around four feet in height and length. He would describe it as “like the tub of a washing machine (only) round-bottomed”. He would also state how it had an extremely bright glow to it that was “hard to look at”. As he stood watching the bizarre sight, the craft suddenly moved into action. It would rise high above him and disappear into the clouds overhead. Ernst would state, from the UFO resting on the ground to it vanishing took no more than five seconds. For reasons he couldn’t explain, he had a “rather uncomfortable” feeling upon the object vanishing from his sight.

Perhaps because of this uncomfortable feeling, Ernst would drive to his brother, Leo’s farm. He would ask him to return with him to the site of the apparent landing. He did, and the two men arrived back shortly after. Each was amazed upon walking to the location of the strange craft to see a “crater-like-depression”, approximately three feet across. Furthermore, in the middle of the depression was a hole, around four inches in length. Around this middle hole, four smaller holes formed a square. Each man noticed that the ground here was “unusually dry”. As we have examined before, perhaps the landing was a “water retrieval” mission.

An example of the crater left by the UFO

An example of the crater left by the UFO

Ball Lightning Is An “Unreasonable” Explanation!

When a strange white substance on the soil was later examined, it was discovered it contained substantial amounts of alkaline. Obviously, being aware of the chemical make-up of his land, Ernst knew that this should not have been the case. The soil had never previously contained alkaline. It would appear that whatever the purpose was for this strange incident, it had resulted in a drastic change to the composition of his land.

An out of state television state, WDAY-TV from Fargo in North Dakota would send their own investigator to examine and photograph the scene. The conclusions would be, according to the WDAY-TV, that the incident was nothing more than ball lightning. This explanation was rejected by Ernst, as well as by UFO investigator, Dr. James MacDonald, who would call the response “unreasonable”. He would point to the fact of no known recorded incidents in the area going back over a century. Furthermore, the weather conditions simply didn’t fit with such an explanation.

There was also no sound whatsoever. Had ball lightning have been responsible, an “explosion” sound would have been more than audible. And it would have left more of a destructive crater. Certainly not one with precise measures and a square surrounding formation. Furthermore, and perhaps most glaringly, ball lightning does not at all explain for the appearance of, and the “ascent of the luminous mass” – the UFO itself.

The 1965 Sibley UFO Photograph

On the evening of 21st October 1965, at a little after 6 pm, Sibley County Deputy Sheriff Arthur Strauch was driving home from a hunting trip. Four other passengers also shared the car. Strauch’s wife, Katherine, his 16-year-old son, Martin, as well his friend, Donald Grew and his wife, Retha.

As they drove near to St. George, a strange, orange-glowing saucer-shaped craft appeared in the darkened skies above them. [4] All of the passengers, as well as Strauch witnessed the object, now seemingly hovering in front. They continued to watch it for around ten minutes before finally bringing the vehicle to a stop. Reaching for his camera, Strauch exited the car and quickly snapped a picture of the strange craft. As he did so, it began to move before stopping once again for several seconds. You can view that picture below.

As it hovered, the glow would change back-and-forth several times from an orange glow to a bright white light. Following this, it moved once again, this time with a quickening pace. So fast, in fact, that it vanished within seconds. As it did so, however, a “high-pitched whine” was distinctly audible for several seconds.

Strauch would later state, “I have no idea what it was. All I can report is that it was different from anything I have ever seen in the sky”. He would elaborate of his certainty the object “was a machine driven by some inner power”. And furthermore, when he viewed the object through his binoculars, as his photograph would prove, the outline was “that of a flying saucer”.

A picture showing an apparent UFO

Does this picture show a real UFO

“It Just Disappeared Into Space”

Strauch would demonstrate his point further of how advanced and otherworldly the craft was. He would describe that when the object vanished, he didn’t believe the light “went out”. Rather “it had such tremendous speed that it just disappeared into space”.

Strauch would describe the object as having a “metallic silver-gray” dome on the top part. This “reflected the rays of the setting sun”. Because of this, at least in part, the object had the appearance at times of a “large orange ball”. He also viewed four portholes around the upper dome. In each, a “bright yellow light” shined. He further noticed a blue glow below the portholes that he believed was a “reflection of some inner light”. The outer surface of the craft was rotating counterclockwise “causing it to throw off an aurora or halo of light”. This rotation, Strauch believed, is what caused the light to change from orange to yellow as it hovered.

All of the witnesses appear credible and reliable, with no suspicion of elaboration or of outright manufacturing the incident. Nor is there any evidence to suggest any kind of trickery with the photograph Strauch managed to take.

The short video below makes for interesting and nostalgic listening. A UFO report from Minnesota radio in 1965.


1 UFO with three beings hovers over boat dock at Minnesota cabin (Lake Movil), UFO Evidence
2 Older UFO sightings 1, MN MUFON
3 The UFO Investigator, Vol. 11, No. 11, July-August 1964
4 The St. George multiple-witnesses sighting and photograph, USA, 1965 Ufologie

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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