One warm summer night circa 1985, ten or eleven-year-old Joe Bender saw a UFO hovering over Lake Superior. He wasn’t the only witness. It happened during a family reunion on the Bad River Reservation near Ashland, WI. His whole family, and extended family, saw the craft and got swept up in the ensuing panic. Bender doesn’t remember the exact date, month, or year, but the actual encounter itself remains clear in his mind.
Bender’s mother and his aunts and uncles gathered for an evening of camping on the southeast shoreline of Chequamegon Bay, just east of Ashland. The adults built an enormous bonfire on the shore while the children played. Perhaps the light of the big bonfire attracted some attention. Around 10PM, someone spotted a bell-shaped UFO hovering over the water, illuminated with panels of colored lights. The craft seemed to be hovering about 200 feet over the water somewhere between the campers and the city of Washburn on the opposite shore. A comical panic ensued at the campsite as family members scrambled to take cover behind one another.
Some sort of spotlight beneath the craft snapped on with an audible sound. A six-foot diameter beam seems to have extended from the craft and immediately travelled across the water toward the huddled family. Everyone fell silent as if in a trance as the spotlight approached them. The light travelled in a straight line towards the family on the shore, illuminating the night around them, but when light reached the shoreline, it seemed reluctant to cross onto the land. Instead, the light retreated and advanced in rhythm with the gentle lapping waves some four times. Then the light went dark with another audible sound, and the craft, which had drawn closer, began to make a thrumming sound as if revving up.
As if released from their trance, the family erupted into a panic, grabbing children and racing for their parked vehicles. Tents were quickly collapsed and campsites abandoned as everyone loaded into vehicles in mad flight. Bender says that, as he ran from the beach, he heard an enormous splash behind him like the sound of rushing water. He compared it to the roar of Niagara Falls. Turning back over his shoulder to look out to the lake, he saw the lights had vanished and the craft was gone. He assumed that the craft submerged beneath the water and disappeared beneath the surface of Lake Superior.
You can listen to the full length entertaining audio of Joe Bender telling the story of this incredible multiple-witness sighting to UFOdays.net in the audio player at the top of this article or watch an edited YouTube version below.
The case has some similarities to Mellen-Ashland, WI sighting which occurred in the same vicinity about seven years earlier (1975). Read that story here, particularly the encounter reported by Deputy Peter Drolson which must have taken place within a few miles of the same location. He was parked “at the end of a road overlooking Lake Superior” when a craft came over him and illuminated the night “so bright I could’ve read a newspaper.”
Thanks Joe Bender for sharing his story and giving us permission to post the audio.