Guest Blogger: John Lasker ‘The UFO invasion of October 1973′
The following excerpt is from “TECHNOIR: 13 Investigations from the Darkside of Technology, the US Military and UFOs” a new book by independent journalist John Lasker.
The UFO invasion of October 1973
UFOs over graveyards...go together like Jack-O- Lanterns and Halloween
“The unusual aerial events happening during the October 1973 time-period remains one of the most fascinating of all UFO happenings, an intense and disturbing siege that no dismissive hypothesis or explanatory venture will easily rob of its strangeness,” stated Kenny Young, a reknowned UFO investigator who passed in 2005 due to complications from luekemia.
Written by John Lasker
It was just days away now. Halloween, 1973.
Hundreds-of-thousands of kids were preparing to hit the streets trick-or-treating on Halloween night, October 31st, 1973. But this year was different. Police and government officials across the American Midwest were on edge. It wasn‘t a serial killer or bag of poisoned candy they were sweating over. It was those strange lights in the night skies. Too many to count. Call after call kept coming in. People scared to death; some even saying they saw “humanoids” out in a field. Heck, a US Army helicopter over Ohio had been zapped in mid-air with a green beam just days ago. Those damn UFOS, some must have been thinking…What did they want?
Indeed, even the Governor of Ohio, John J. Gilligan, had a close call with what he said was an amber-colored “vertical beam of light”. He had no choice but to tell America during an emotional press conference the UFO threat is real. “I saw one (UFO) the other night, so help me. I‘m absolutely serious. I saw this.”
It didn‘t end there. Members of Congress would also raise the alarm.
“The increased sightings nationally could lead to a state of panic and hysteria and we ought to be concerned about it,” said U.S. Rep J. Edward Roush (D-Ind.) at the time.
In the warehouse of history, the year 1973 holds a special place. In America, the Watergate investigation was slowly putting an end to Tricky Dick’s reign at the White House. In the Middle East, another war between Arabs and Jews raged in the Holy Land. America stood with Israel, its long-time ally, and the nation’s oil supply was soon cut off by OPEC; which is to this day, dominated by Arab nations. The embargo resulted in an energy crisis of epic proportions. Making 1973 the year of the endless line at the American gas pump.
In other places of the globe, such as Vietnam, American troops were slowly being sent home, many not in boxes. In sports, four-legged mammoth Secretariat won the Triple Crown, while two-legged murderer-to-be OJ Simpson ran for 2,000 yards in a season, a first for the NFL. In music, current and future acid heads rejoiced when Pink Floyd released The Dark Side of the Moon. And when it came to hair, the afro gave parts of the world a soulful buzz. Most of these events are all major occurrences in human history. Events so compelling, that in the Fall of 1973, they would banish an apparent invasion of the US to the dustbin of historical obscurity. It was an invasion that started in the American heartland and swept through the Deep South. An invasion not by communists or terrorists, mind you, nor hippies or devout Christians. But something that is still one of mankind’s greatest mysteries.
Starting in early October that year, literally thousands of witnesses from Mississippi to Ohio began scratching their heads in disbelief at the riddles in the night sky. But they were adamant about what they had seen: Strange bright lights and strange aircraft. There were reports of weird ships landing in fields not far from the lights of Midwestern cities. And a handful of witnesses encountered midget-like humanoids, seemingly dressed in their own freaky sci-fi costume.
The supporting cast of documented UFO cases for October, and for the entire year, for that matter, is down-right nerving. An Ohio sheriff, on an ink-stained late-October night, comes too close to several pulsating lights that are hovering over a graveyard on the edge of town. In Mississippi, two men are abducted by grey-skinned creatures with crab-like claws for hands, and they weren’t in costume! The abduction becomes a Close Encounter that rivals the Betty and Barney Hill incident. Indeed, acclaimed UFOlogist George D. Fawcett, in a 1974 issue of the iconic magazine Flying Saucers (Mysteries of the Space Age), claimed 80 landings of UFOs was recorded in 24 US states and 11 foreign countries. Not all sightings occurred in Earth’s atmosphere, either. According to the Associated Press, two astronauts aboard the orbiting SkyLab 3 at the end of September watched for ten minutes a mysterious red “satellite” oscillating about 30 to 50 nautical miles out behind them. When SkyLab 3 came back on the succeeding orbit, it was gone. And last but certainly not least, perhaps the most reliable UFO case of all time occurred during October 1973 – “The Coyne Incident”.
This invasion was perfect for the witching season. A classic UFO storm to spread the chills. Just as long as the invaders did not destroy planet.
“A tremendous uptick in landings and flybys in 1973, and mostly in the Midwest,” exclaims William E. Jones, director of Mutual UFO Network’s (MUFON) most active chapters; the chapter belonging to the Buckeyes’ of Ohio. “It was an amazing time for UFOs.”
Aging paper records, mostly from big city police departments based in the American Midwest, show that on some nights, hundreds of calls were made reporting UFOs. Many were daily newspapers, during a time when most cities had two, running article after article about the night ordinary people who saw that…that Thing. The national nightly news would soon sink their teeth into the invasion, as NBC, ABC and CBS, ran UFO stories. Even the God Father of broadcast news, Walter Kronkite, flew to the scene of a small, mid-American town to interview shaken witnesses. And from one tough governor to many humble home-bound moms, the witnesses from 1973 are more than credible.
The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon, the most respected UFOlogist group at the time, called the 1973 UFO wave “a flap”. They said UFO’s “are back in force”, and the lull in sightings that stretched back to the 1950s, over. This flap reportedly was the inspiration behind Steven Speilberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
But this is also a Halloween story, and like many horror stories of today, this story also has a twist. “I met a veteran of the US Army some time back; he proved this by showing me a valid card that said he was a former officer,” said Jones of Ohio MUFON. “He told me he had an incredible story about 1973 to tell me.” The officer, a graduate of West Point, was troubled that “he knew something”, and needed to reveal it, says Jones, who has spent most of his adult life working for Battelle; a US military defense contractor in Ohio believed to have assisted in reverse engineering projects of debris from Roswell.
The soldier’s tale would send a chill down Jones’ spine. “He told me the US Army earlier that year was in negotiations with some Greys. He was very matter-of-fact about this.” The invasion, this UFO swarm, said the former officer, was an orchestrated plan to get the attention of the US government. “He said they weren’t getting anywhere with our Army,” adds Jones. And they wanted to make a point.
Here are some of the trick-or-treat points and displays they made:
While it was a little early for Halloween, this incident shows you never know who or what may come knocking when you’ve already have seen a UFO. It was day time in the small town of Milan, Indiana, and the owner of an auto-parts shop and his friend were going about their business. Unexpectedly, two visitors entered the shop, and their ride didn’t need an oil change. One was very tall; the other squat with a long head. Both were very thin. They sported tan gloves and tan suits that hung loosely on their frames. The owner also said their faces looked like plastic. Their eyes were black and glossy. And when they came into the shop, the owner’s guard dog turned yellow and fled. The owner of the auto parts shop had snapped a couple photos of UFOs six years earlier in 1967; and in a robotic tone, the visitors demanded he hand them over. MIBs or Men-in-Tan? They continued to demand he give them the photographs. He refused, and would be hounded by other strange incidents – and debunkers – years after.
The Deep South was seemingly under invasion, as well. For instance, in Garland, Texas, did the Body Snatchers come to town? A woman in Garland finds a strange yellow “blob” growing and “pulsating” like a beating heart in her backyard. She ripped it open with a garden hoe and it bled a purple sludge. Scientists figured it was a strange fungus. In Athens, Georgia, a silver egg-shaped object lands on a road and two small humanoids come out of the craft. A human driver waves a gun at the creatures and they retreat to their craft making a “whoosh” for it. In Falkville, Alabama, a Police Chief encounters a “man-thing” in a silver suit. In Pascagoula, Mississippi, two men from this planet, Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson, were fishing when a 100-foot oblong-shaped craft descends out of the sky. Three grey-skinned creatures, each about five feet tall, with one leg, and lobster claws for hands, confront Parker and Hickson and levitate the two men into their craft. Eventually they are let go. Later on, the two are left alone during a Sheriff’s interrogation and their conversation is secretly taped. The subterfuge fails as their conversation clearly shows this was no hoax or the two country boys were damn good at pulling one off. Several other local sightings before and after the encounter by credible witnesses support their story. Representing the US Air Force, Dr. J. Allen Hynek of Project Blue Book fame, interviews the men and believes their story. Project Blue Book was the US military’s public and apparently official UFO investigation unit, with Hynek as its lead civilian scientist.
Mid-to-late October 1973:
With just days before tens-of-thousands of kids hit the streets seeking treats, local police describe the city and region surrounding Cincinnati as a “mess” of UFO sightings. Police tell the local media – which is getting many calls of its own – that they took 80 reports of sightings in one night alone. One “hysterical and screaming woman” tells authorities that an oblong craft with blinking lights killed two cows as it landed on her farm. Near the small town of Xenia, Ohio, three creatures with silver skin are spotted on U.S. 35. Police confront them, but discover the “creatures” are actually three teenagers pulling a prank by wrapping themselves in aluminum foil. The city of Reading, Ohio, goes dark as it experiences several power outages; the local utility quickly blames shoddy equipment. Near Cincinnati, Sgt. Hugh Oyer chases a white and yellow craft, saying later, “I never believed in UFOs until tonight.” Sheriff Deputies near the state’s capital, Columbus, were swarmed with UFO reports for four straight nights. On one night, deputies said they logged between 30 and 40 reports of shiny objects zig-zagging through the sky. In another part of Ohio, three counties worth actually, UFOs were described as “grayish discs with red and bluish-green lights”; others appeared as “orange-colored objects” and “blimp-shaped objects”. Some had “red lights around the rims with a blue flame or flare coming out of the bottom”. And in Muskingham County, Ohio, a Sheriff is spooked by three glowing lights – hovering over the local cemetery.
The rest of the chapter and other UFO stories can be read in “TECHNOIR: 13 Investigations from the Darkside of Technology, the US Military and UFOs” a new book by independent journalist John Lasker.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License
This is what Capt Coyne saw out the cockpit window.
A pic of Calvin Parker
What witnesses saw from the ground during Coyne incident.