Encounter at Balsam Lake

 BALSAM LAKE, WI, SEPT 3, 1979

Forty years ago in UFO History, on September 3, 1979, a UFO descended on a rural highway in Polk County, somewhere near Balsam Lake. This encounter occurred a few days after Officer Val Johnson’s patrol car had been struck in Northwest Minnesota by a similar encounter with a nocturnal light that left the car damaged and the officer unconscious. Moreover, a remarkably similar incident occurred near Vermillion, SD only a few days earlier.

In this case, two middle-age couples from Minneapolis were on their way to a cabin in the Balsam Lake area. They were riding together in a car when they encountered “a large intensely red, glowing disc” over the road ahead of them. It was 9:30 PM, well past dark at that time of year. As soon as they saw the object, the car’s electrical systems abruptly failed. The headlights and dash lights went out, leaving no illumination except the mysterious glowing object in the road ahead.

The driver of the car hit the brakes and skidded the vehicle to a stop in the middle of the highway. The red glowing light seemed to react by shooting off to the southwest. As it did, the cars electrical systems returned to normal. The entire encounter took only a few moments.

This encounter was just one of a series of similar incidents investigated by CUFOS investigator Badley Ayers in the fall of 1979. Read the whole story here.


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Officer Val Johnson not only vehicle to collide with UFO August 1979

Forty years ago, a Minnesota police officer’s vehicle was struck by a UFO. Officer Val Johnson wasn’t the only one to encounter a strange light in the middle of the night in late August 1979. Just two days after the Minnesota deputy sheriff’s car was hit by a UFO, an almost identical encounter occurred near Vermillion, South Dakota.

Val JohnsonThe Val Johnson story is well-known. Around 1:40 AM, Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson of Warren, MN was patrolling near Stephen, MN when he saw a bright light approaching from the distance. Assuming it to be a plane making an emergency landing, he sped toward the light. “The light sat there a moment,” Johnson told the CUFOS investigators, “And then—boom!—it was right on my car. I heard glass breaking, an extremely bright light lit up the inside of the car, and that’s all I remember.” Read More

CIA Operative UFO Investigator

Bradley Ayers and the MN/WI UFO Flap of 1979

Imagine an ex-CIA operative at work as a UFO investigator in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin during the height of the 1970s UFO flaps. Sound like a good premise for a movie or a History Channel series? Forty years ago this fall, Dr. J. Allan Hynek’s Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), dispatched Bradley Ayers, a local field investigator, to follow up on a rash of UFO reports in Western Wisconsin and Minnesota. Before there was an Agent Cooper of Twin Peaks or Scully and Mulder of X-Files, CUFOS investigator Ayers was on the local scene doing quality investigations of some high-profile local cases.

The Stillwater native, passed away at his cabin home on Somers Lake in February 2017 at the age of 81. His obituary hints at a lifetime of adventure. At the age of 79, two years before his death, Bradley Earl Ayers (1935-2017), made his 301st parachute jump. Ayers served as a captain in the Airborne Rangers and became an insurgency trainer, hired by the CIA to create anti-Castro Cuban commandos and assassins. He took work as an undercover operative with the DEA’s South Florida Task Force. He flew as a commercial pilot and flight instructor. He found acclaim as a published author, and he worked as a real estate broker, a journalist, and a private investigator licensed with the State of Minnesota to investigate aircraft accidents. But his obituary doesn’t mention that Ayer’s also had a stint as a UFO investigator, nor does it mention his significant contributions to the field of ufology. Read More

UFO Days in Nevada: Storm Area 51

Imagine a UFO Days celebration In Elmwood if two million people showed up. Even if only a fraction of the number attends the “Storm Area 51” Facebook event scheduled for September 20, 2019, the little community of Rachel, Nevada will be totally overrun.

The “Storm Area 51” event started as an online joke, but the Air Force isn’t laughing. Matty Roberts, the original author of the Facebook post that created all the trouble, has had a visit from the FBI and has publicly disavowed any real intention to storm the secret military test site. But he, and others, are taking advantage of the viral success behind the post. The anticipated crowds of eager alien-seekers have inspired the creation of two separate UFO-Days style festivals in the Rachel, Nevada area. Read More

Another UFO DAY: Warren, MN

Mayor Mara Hanel of Warren, MN has proclaimed August 27 to be “UFO Day.” The northwest Minnesota town of Warren joins Elmwood, WI and Bellville, WI in hosting small-town UFO Day celebrations. Like the celebrations in Elmwood and Bellville, the new event in Warren commemorates a high-profile encounter between local law enforcement and an unidentified object.

The incident in Warren, MN happened forty years ago on August 27, 1979, when a nocturnal light apparently collided with Marshall County Sheriff’s deputy Val Johnson’s patrol car. The story was widely reported and nationally circulated. It has become the most-famous of all Minnesota UFO encounters

Around 1:40 AM that day, Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson of Warren, MN was patrolling near Stephen, MN when he saw a bright light approaching from the distance. Assuming it to be a plane making an emergency landing, he sped toward the light. “The light sat there a moment,” Johnson told CUFOS investigators, “And then—boom!—it was right on my car. I heard glass breaking, an extremely bright light lit up the inside of the car, and that’s all I remember.” When the officer came to, he found his squad car sitting sideways in the road with a broken windshield, a broken headlamp, and two bent radio antennas. The deputy’s wristwatch and electric dashboard clock had stopped Read More

New Video from To The Stars Academy

To the Stars Academy of Arts & Science has released a new video in which they more-or-less take credit for the current resurgence of UFO media attention.  Despite being a well-produced commercial for the Academy, it’s a great video and worth watching.

The self-congratulatory video features members of the Academy,  former employee of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Luis Elizondo and former Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Christopher Mellon, discussing recent developments since the Navy’s acknowledgements of  pilot encounters with UFOs. Elizondo tantalizes viewers with the claim that the US government has in its possession materials from UFOs, but he doesn’t offer any further explanation for the claim.

The video doubles as a fundraiser for To The Stars Academy and as a commercial for the new History Channel show, “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation” which was produced in cooperation with To the Stars and its founder, former rock star Tom Delonge.

Setting aside the hype, To The Stars can claim responsibility for three primary disclosures: Read More

The Other UFO Days-Belleville, WI

Did you know that Elmwood is not the only small town in Wisconsin to have had a high-profile UFO incident with a police officer that inspired an annual UFO Days festival?

Police officer, Glen Kazmar spotted a clump of red, white, and blue lights hovering over the town of Belleville, WI on January 15, 1987. Later that same night, he spotted the lights again from a high point on “Quarry Road” (which sounds a lot like the place where George Wheeler had his encounter) three or four miles west of Belleville. Local FAA was contacted, and radar contact with a slow-moving object was confirmed from Chicago and Aurora, Ill. Deputies in Dane and Green counties also saw the lights. By 3:00 AM that night, four police cars were observing the object from the top of Quarry Road. As the lights started to move west, Kazmar followed the object as far as Monticello.

That sighting, confirmed by several police officers from a variety of vantage points, became the first in a series of local UFO events that lasted until March. The highest concentration seems to have been around New Glarus, WI. The short UFO flap around Belleville inspired the local town to make their own bid for the title “UFO Capital of the World” and start their own UFO Day celebration. That’s how we ended up with two competing Wisconsin towns both claiming the spurious title of “UFO Capital of the World” and both capitalizing off their own local high-profile sightings with an annual festival.

Here’s a Chicago Tribune story from 1987 which retells the story of the original sightings from earlier that year and also reveals the growing local enthusiasm which eventually became Belleville’s version of UFO Days.

There are some strong similarities between the stories. Both involve police officers. Both involved an ongoing flurry of UFO appearances. Both had serious follow-up investigations. Both resulted in an annual small-town celebration of the extra-terrestrial.

It’s difficult to say if Belleville intentionally patterned its event after Elmwood’s earlier-established tradition, but Belleville’s Johnny-come-lately festival probably didn’t win much affection or appreciation from the residents of Elmwood or the organizers behind that small town’s UFO Days event. By the time the Belleville encounters occurred, 12 years had already elapsed since George Wheeler first saw a UFO at Elmwood, and Elmwood’s annual UFO Days had already been going for a decade and achieved national acclaim. But we’re not going to get involved in the rivalry. There’s plenty of UFO Days and plenty of beer to go around for everyone because it’s just getting started: “It’s happening.”

Belleville’s UFO Day is the last Saturday in October.

Valley of the UFOS (Ridgeland, WI)

By Frank Joseph

Fate Magazine, Feb 2004 vol. 7, No. 2, Issue 646: 34-39. Subscribe to Fate.

For most of my life, I never saw a so-called unidentified flying object—I didn’t know if such a thing actually existed, nor did I much care. My father was amateur astronomer, whose handmade telescopes afforded our family summertime observations of the night sky during my boyhood, but no unworldly craft ever hove into view.

Throughout the rest of my life, I knew men and women who claimed to have seen strange phenomena in the heavens suggesting visitations from another planet. But I was not personally privy to the extraterrestrial encounters of any kind until my early 50s when I rented an old log house in a remote area of northwestern Wisconsin. The thickly forested area was sparsely populated, mostly spread over disconnected farmland, much of it destitute, in a valley running east to west for about 30 miles.

Alone in Rural Wisconsin

The small village of Ridgeland was some five miles to the north, although Menomonie Read More

Gun Camera Videos Solved?

The most famous UFO video in recent years may actually just be the flare of a a jet when viewed with an infrared camera. Mick West, a self-proclaimed “debunker” and “skeptic” with a Youtube following has offered a strong argument making that case:

The Gimbal video is infrared gun-camera footage apparently declassified by the Pentagon before being  publicized and disseminated by To The Stars Academy in conjunction with the 2017 New York Times story. On closer examination, it appears that the mysterious footage may just be the result of viewing another jet in infrared mode.

This explanation is probably disappointing for those of us excited by the release of the video along with the New York Times story on the Pentagon’s secret program to study the phenomenon, but without context and more information, it’s safest to assume that the video only appears to depict something unconventional. This would explain why the defense establishment, which is notoriously tightfisted with actually UFO evidence, felt no need to keep these videos classified.

Even the seemingly inexplicable in-flight rotation of the object has a conventional explanation:

Hopefully, improved infrared sensors, soon to be deployed on Navy aircraft, will provide better and mores solid evidence in the future.

Mick West’s work on these videos is similar to the case with the infrared gun-camera  footage released by the Chilean Navy in early 2017. That video, which went viral on the internet overnight, depicted infrared footage of an unidentified object venting some substance. (Chem-trails? Aliens seeding earth’s atmosphere?) Closer investigation of the strange video by Robert Powell of MUFON’s Scientific Review Board revealed it to be merely the heat flare of a commercial aircraft. It would be great to hear Robert Powell’s assessment of these videos, but, unfortunately, he bailed out of MUFON in 2017 for various reasons that allegedly included their choice of sensationalist speakers at a 2017 conference–part of MUFON’s ongoing recent problems with credibility.

It get’s worse. Mick West has also analyzed the so-called “Go Fast” video which was also released by To the Stars and also featured on the History Channel’s new UFO series. He presents an extremely compelling case for identifying the unidentified object as a balloon moving in the wind. Sounds unlikely? Watch the video:

And what about the celebrated “Tic-Tac” video shot by the Nimitz crew? Well, that looks pretty much just like a regular commercial jet too:

In each of these videos, we are dealing with flight crews still learning how to use the latest in infrared sensor technology. That means that the pilots are still learning  how to interpret the data and might easily be mistaking conventional targets for something extraordinary. It also explains why the Pentagon did not hesitate to declassify these videos.

Don’t expect the UFO community to relinquish extraterrestrial claims about these now iconic videos–ever. History has proven that, no matter how plausible the explanation, how verifiable the data, or how blatant the fraud, UFO enthusiasts resist conventional explanations. But real scientific analysis of the phenomenon has no room for religious dogmatism or blind belligerence, and Mick West’s explanations are far more economical in terms of commonsense credibility than the expensive UFO interpretations.

Just because “I want to believe” doesn’t justify  ignoring contrary evidence.

You can rely on us at UFOdays.net to give you the real story, without the hype. When plausible explanations are presented for the phenomenon, we won’t hesitate to offer them. We are  committed to the facts because the facts speak for themselves: It’s happening.

 

Wisconsin UFOs: Watch the Sky

Paranormal investigator Chad Lewis will present the program “Wisconsin UFOs: Watch The Sky” at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Chippewa Falls Public Library.

Alright, we don’t know who Chad Lewis is, but at UFOday.net, you just need to put the words “Wisconson” and “UFOs” into the same headline and we are there. A quick google search on Lewis reveals that he is a paranormal jack-of-all-trades. But hey, what else are you going to do on a Thursday night?