The event led to an interesting exchange of letters between Maj. Hector Quintanilla of Project Blue Book
and the two patrol officers. (source: J. Allen Hynek: The Incident at Exeter)
"Our investigations and evaluation of the sighting indicates a possible association with the Air Force
operation "Big Blast." In addition to aircraft from this operation, there were five (5) B-47 aircraft flying
in the area during this period. Before final evaluation of your sighting can be made, it is essential for us
to know if either of you witnessed any aircraft in the area during this time period, either independently
or in connection with the observed object. Since there were many aircraft in the area, at he time, and
there were no reports of unidentified objects from personnel engaged in this air operation, we might
then assume that the objects observed between midnight and two A.M. might be associated with this
military air operation. If, however, these aircraft were noted by either of you, this would tend to
eliminate this air operation as a possible explanation for the objects observed.”
Signed, Hector Quintanilla, Jr. Major, USAF, Chief, Project Blue Book
This elicited a response from Officers Bertrand and Hunt on December 2, 1965:
We were very glad to get your letter during the third week in November, because as you might
imagine, we have been the subject of considerable ridicule since the Pentagon released its "final
evaluation" of our sighting of September 3, 1965. In other words, both Patrolman Hunt and myself saw
this object at close range, checked it out with each other, confirmed and reconfirmed the fact that this
was not any kind of conventional aircraft, that it was at an altitude of not more than a couple of
hundred feet and went to considerable trouble to confirm that the weather was clear, there was no
wind, no chance of weather inversion, and that what we were seeing was in no way a military or civilian
craft. We entered this in a complete official police report as a supplement to the blotter of the morning
of September 3rd (not September 2 as your letter indicates).
Since our job depends on accuracy and the ability to tell the difference between fact and fiction,
we were naturally disturbed by the Pentagon report issued which attributed the sighting to "multiple
high-altitude objects in area" and "weather inversion." What is a little difficult to understand is the fact
that your letter arrived considerably after the Pentagon release. Since your letter says that you are still
in the process of making a final evaluation, it seems that there is an inconsistency here. Ordinarily, this
would not be too important except for the fact that in a situation like this, we are naturally very
reluctant to be considered irresponsible in our official report to the police station. One of us (Patrolman
Bertrand) was in the Air Force for four years, engaged in refueling operations, with all kinds of military
aircraft; it was impossible to mistake what we saw for any kind of military operation, regardless of
altitude. It was also definitely not a helicopter or balloon. Immediately after the object disappeared, we
did see what probably was a B-47 at high altitudes, but it bore no relation to the object that we saw.
Another fact is that the time of our observation was nearly an hour after two A.M. which would
eliminate the Air Force Operation Big Blast since as you say, this took place between midnight and 2
A.M. Norman Muscarello, who first reported this object before we went to the site, saw it somewhere in
the vicinity of 2 A.M. but nearly an hour had passed before he got to the police station and we went out
to the location with him.
We would both appreciate it very much if you would help us eliminate the possible conclusion that
some people have made in that we might have: (a) made up the story, (b) were incompetent observers.
Anything that you could do along this line would be very much appreciated, and I am sure that you can
understand the position we are in.
We appreciate the problem that the Air Force must have with the number of irresponsible reports
on this subject, and don't want to cause you unnecessary trouble. One the other hand, we think that
you probably understand our position. Thanks very much for your interest.”
Sincerely, Patrolman Eugene Bertrand and Patrolman David Hunt
After not hearing back from the Air Force, they wrote again on December 29, 1965 reiterating
their stance that this was not any known aircraft and asking for some confirmation of that fact from the
military. Finally over a month later, they received this letter from the Office of the Secretary of the Air
Based on additional information submitted to our UFO Investigation Officer, Wright-Patterson AFB,
Ohio, we have been unable to identify the object that you observed on September 3, 1965. In nineteen
years of investigating over ten thousand reports of unidentified flying objects, the evidence has proved
almost conclusively that reported aerial phenomena have been either objects created or set aloft by
men, generated by atmospheric conditions, or caused by celestial bodies or the residue of meteoric
Thank you for reporting your observation to the Air Force, and for your subsequent co-operation
concerning the report. I regret any inconvenience you may have suffered as a result.”
Sincerely, John P. Spaulding Lt. Col, USAF
Muscarello died suddenly in 2003. He entered the Navy within three weeks of the sighting and did
three tours of duty in Vietnam. Officer Eugene Bertrand has also since passed away. Officer David Hunt
now works as a bailiff in the Rockingham County courthouse in nearby Brentwood. He rarely speaks of
the case and says "It really doesn't matter anymore." A book by author John Fuller would be written in
1966 entitled Incident at Exeter, and would make The New York Times bestseller list. It remains one of
the best-selling UFO books in history.
5. THE TRAVIS WALTON CASE
Travis Walton was an 18-year-old working on a logging crew in the Apache-Sitgreaves National
Forest in Arizona on Wednesday night, November 5, 1975. What would occur that night ranks as perhaps
the most credible abduction story in UFO annals. What's more...it is one of the very few abduction cases
that had corroborating witnesses to the event.
Walton was hired by his future brother-in-law, Mike Rogers who was a logging contractor for the
United State Forestry Service. There were five others on the crew - Ken Peterson, John Goulette, Steve
Pierce, Allen Dallis and Dwayne Smith. All were residents of the same town, Snowflake, Arizona. On this
night they were clearing brush near Turkey Springs. The crew was working late hours to complete the
It was around 6 p.m. that night when, having completed the day's work, they climbed into Rogers'
truck and made their way back home. On the drive, they spotted a bright light behind a hill. As they got
closer they made out what appeared to be an 8'x20' silver disc hovering over a clearing. As Rogers
stopped the truck, Walton inexplicably and over the protestations of the others, jumped out and ran
toward the object. As he stood directly below the object, it began to make a loud whining sound and
started to tilt from side to side.
As Walton walked away from the disc, a beam of light came out from the object and engulfed him.
His crewmates reported that Walton then rose off the ground, suspended, and then was thrown
backwards at least 10'. Upon landing, he did not move.
Panicking and fearing his partner was dead, Rogers drove the truck at breakneck speed down a
dirt road. Eventually the truck skidded off the road and Rogers pulled it to a stop. The rest of the crew
insisted they go back to rescue Walton and agreeing, Rogers drove back to where Walton was last seen.
He was nowhere to be found.
At 7:30 p.m., Ken Peterson called the Heber, Arizona Police Department and reported one of the
crew was missing, making no mention of what they had seen. Deputy Sheriff Chuck Ellison drove to a
nearby shopping center to meet the men. At that point, the men told a skeptical Sheriff Ellison what they
had actually witnessed. Ellison conceded that while he did not believe them, they all seemed
Ellison then called Sheriff Marlin Gillespie who arrived shortly afterwards with Officer Ken Coplan.
Rogers now was insistent on returning to continue the search for Walton. Goulette, Smith and Pierce
chose to go home while police along with Rogers, Peterson and Dallis went back to the scene. They found
no evidence to corroborate their story, but were concerned that Walton might freeze to death if he could
not find his way back. At some point Rogers and Officer Coplan went to Walton's home to break the news
to his mother.
The following day saw a full search in effect with law enforcement and local volunteers scouring the
woods for some trace of Travis Walton. Helicopters were brought in. It was here that police began to
suspect that foul play might be involved and the story a mere cover-up for something more sinister.
By the weekend news broke of Walton's disappearance and reporters from all over swarmed to
Snowflake, along with UFO researchers and curious onlookers. It was then that Travis' brother Duane,
who had driven to Snowflake when he had received news of his brother's circumstance made statements
that added to the suspicion that the story had been concocted. He told UFO investigator Fred Sylvanus
that he and Travis had a keen interest in UFOs, that he had seen one before and among other things that
the brothers had agreed they would get as close as they could to any UFO they might encounter.
This fueled the speculation that the story was nothing more than a prank dreamed up by the
Walton brothers. While this was happening, police were constantly trying to break Travis mother Mary
Kellett down by trying to coerce her into telling them what she was hiding, causing great duress to her.
On Monday, November 10th, the other members of Walton's crew agreed to take polygraph tests.
They were administered by Mr. Cy Gilson. Among the questions asked were:
Did you cause Travis Walton any serious physical injury last Wednesday afternoon?
Do you know if Travis Walton was physically injured by some other member of your crew last
Do you know if Travis Walton's body is buried or hidden somewhere in that Turkey Springs area??
Did you tell the truth about actually seeing a UFO last Wednesday when Travis Walton
From Gilford's official report: " These polygraph examinations prove that these five men did see
some object they believed to be a UFO, and that Travis Walton was not injured or murdered by any of
these men on that Wednesday." It was also Gilson's opinion that the men (not counting Dallis, who did
not complete his polygraph and admitted later he did so to hide a criminal record) had no prior
knowledge of any hoax. Sheriff Gillespie admitted at this point he also believed the men were telling the
Then shortly before midnight on November 10th, Walton's brother-in-law Grant Neff received a
phone call. On the other end a familiar voice said, "This is Travis. I'm at a phone booth at the Heber gas
station, and I need help. Come and get me." Atfirst Neff thought this was a horrible prank but in a more
panicked voice he heard, "It's me, Grant. I'm hurt, and I need help badly. You come and get me." He
immediately drove to the station with Travis' brother Duane. There they found Walton collapsed in a
phone booth, disheveled and wearing the clothing he had on that day.
Travis began to speak incoherently about beings with large eyes and worse, thought he had been
missing for only a few hours. His brother informed him he was gone for almost a week. Back at his
mother's house, Walton washed up and tried to get some food down, but could not do so. Duane had
remembered something a UFO investigator from Saucer Sky Watch, William Spaulding had told him while
he was investigating there. He then asked Travis for a sample of his urine. Later a test of the urine
revealed the following: Urinalysis - volume 560 cc; normal, with good concentration; however, there was
no acetone present, which is unusual, considering that nay person who is without adequate nutrition for
twenty-four to forth-eight hours will break down his own gbody-fat stores, which should result in ketones
(acetones) being excreted into the urine. They absence of ketones in his urine, considering a 10 pound
weight loss, is difficult to explain.
From his book, Fire in the Sky (on which a 1993 film was based), Walton states, "I regained
consciousness lying on my stomach, my head on my right forearm. Cold air brought me instantly
awake. I looked up in time to see a light turn off on the bottom of a curved, gleaming hull... Then I saw
the mirrored outline of a silvery disc hovering four feet above the paved surface of the road. It must
have been about forty feet in diameter because it extended several feet off the left side of the road...
For an instant it floated silently above the road, a dozen yards away. I could see the night sky, the
surrounding trees, and the highway center line reflected in the curving mirror of its hull. I noticed a faint
warmth radiating onto my face. Then, abruptly, it shot vertically into the sky, creating a strong breeze
that stirred the nearby pine boughs and rustled the dry oak leaves that lay in the dry grass beside the
road. It gave off no light, and it was almost instantly lost from sight. The most striking thing about its
departure was its quietness..."
From that point more polygraph tests were administered, inconsistencies in Walton's story were
found by debunkers with those claims naturally being shot down by supporters of the story. In truth,
Walton and his brother hurt their own case by making some terrible decisions in regards to presenting
Travis' case such as allowing exclusive rights to the story to be awarded to, of all media outlets, The
National Enquirer for $5,000.00. Philip Klass, well-known UFO debunker was their harshest critic, calling
the Walton brothers "UFO freaks". A 1993 polygraph administered again by Cy Gilson once again
displayed that Walton was indeed, telling the truth. Spaulding, on the other hand -wanting to be more of
a factor in the story - turned on the Waltons when they cut him out. Mainly for falsely presenting himself
as a "doctor".
What really happened to Travis Walton that night? Despite the wealth of evidence both supportive
and to the contrary, it remains a mystery and ultimately unexplainable.
4. THE BETTY AND BARNEY HILL STORY
The Hill case presents probably the most important study in the phenomena of alien abduction.
While many of these cases remain dubious in nature and can be explained by normal occurrences such
as sleep paralysis to cite but one example, the Hill case defies such mundane explanations.
On a clear night on September 19, 1961, Barney Hill, a 39-year-old postal worker and his wife
Betty, a 41-year old child welfare director who held a Master's degree were traveling on Rte. 3 South
back to their home in Portsmouth, N.H. after a visit to Niagara Falls and Montreal. Around 10:15 that
night Barney noticed what he first thought to be a bright celestial object like a planet or star moving
around in the night sky. Quickly dismissing that notion, he pointed out what he was seeing to Betty and
together they watched the object for a period of time.
The Hills believed at first they were watching a plane or another form of aircraft as they drove
down the highway. Betty was the first to speculate that this might be something beyond that, something
much stranger. As the couple neared The Flumes, a popular tourist attraction just north of the town of
North Woodstock, the object began to move much more erratically. When they reached Indian Head,
Barney stopped their car and pulled out a pair of binoculars to take a closer look at what they had been
tracking. What he witnessed struck fear into him. What had been thought to be a light, he could now
make out to be a structured craft with multi-colored lights and a row of windows. Much more terrifying -
he could see figures through those windows. The object closed to about 100 feet of him and, panic-
stricken, he ran back to the car, got inside with Betty and sped off away from the craft.
Missing time (Wikipedia): a controversial phenomenon reported by some people in connection with
close encounters with UFOs and abduction phenomena. The term "missing time" refers to a gap in
conscious memory relating to a specific period in time, from several minutes to several days in length.
The memory of what happened during the missing time reported is often recovered through hypnosis or
The Hills eventually noticed as they drove away from the spot where they had witnessed the craft
that it was no longer following them or in sight anywhere. What they did notice was a strange beeping
sound once...and then again. It was at this point that they realized they were now in Ashla, N.H. which
was approximately 35 miles further down the road than they had started. What was more puzzling was
that only a minute or two had passed since Barney climbed back into the car and drove away from the
UFO. Nonetheless, they finally arrived at their home in Portsmouth and, exhausted, went to bed - not
waking until the following afternoon.
Upon awakening, Betty called her sister Janet and told her about their encounter the previous
night. Janet suggested she call nearby Pease Air Force Base and report what they had witnessed. Against
Barney's protestations (he feared ridicule) Betty in fact did call the base and spoke to Major Paul W.
Henderson who astonishingly told her that they had tracked the UFO the Hills had seen.
Betty soon after began to have very vivid dreams of her and Barney being taken aboard a craft of
some sort against their will. During this time, she wrote a letter to Maj. Donald Kehoe of NICAP (National
Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena), who passed on her letter to Walter Webb of the Hayden
Planetarium. Webb was also on the staff of NICAP.
It was a few weeks later that some reporters showed up at the Hill's home to interview them
about the events of Sept. 19. Apparently they had heard something strange had happened to them and
wanted the story. In meticulously piecing together the details of that night, they created a timeline which
showed that two hours were missing from the Hills' story. They took into account every bathroom stop
made for them as well as their dog, who had accompanied them. The "writers" (who remain unidentified)
were accompanied at the interview by Maj. James McDonald, a former Air Force intelligence officer.
It was Maj. McDonald who suggested that the Hills undergo regressive hypnosis in an attempt to
determine what happened during that two-hour gap in time. (It should be noted that Barney merely
wanted to forget the whole incident, while Betty was determined to seek answers for what had happened
that night.) In the Spring of 1962, the Hills contacted a psychiatrist about scheduling a session, but put
it off for a while. During that time an ulcer that had been affecting Barney got progressively worse and
he had also developed hypertension. Betty however, was still plagued by her dreams of an abduction.
During this time, after researching various psychiatrists, they chose Dr. Benjamin Simon, a well-
known Boston psychiatrist and neurologist. Dr. Simon's preliminary diagnosis was "anxiety syndrome.
The next challenge was to find the cause.
Over a 6-month period, Dr. Simon conducted regressive hypnosis on the couple. First Barney, then Betty.
It was his opinion upon completing the process that the Hills had been abducted and taken aboard an
alien space craft on the night of September 19, 1961. The details as related by the Hills under hypnosis
were both stunning and disturbing.
The Hills related that their car had stalled and the craft had set down in the middle of the road,
blocking the vehicle. The Hills were taken inside the craft by ". . . bald-headed alien beings, about five
foot tall, with grayish skin, pear-shaped heads and slanting, cat-like eyes." (It should be noted that this
was the first reference to the "grays" in alien lore.)
The Hills were then subjected to various physical and psychological exams. The Hills said they
were told under hypnosis by the beings not to relate any details of this event to anyone. These are some
of the details as related to Dr. Simon:
a. Some tests consisted of extraction of skin, hair and nail samples.
b. Betty had a needle inserted into her navel and was told it was a pregnancy test.
c. Barney, with reluctance, said he had given a semen sample.
d. Betty said she was given a "book" as a token gift, but it had been taken back.
e. The aliens had no concept of time or of colors
f. They were surprised that Barney's dentures could be removed.
g. When asked by Betty where they came from, they produced a "star map"
The Hills then said they were escorted back to their car and remembered an orange glow in the
night sky and nothing more. Dr. Simon's statement as relating to these events is as follows: "The
experience actually happened, or, some perceptive and illusory misinterpretations occurred in
relationship to some real event." The case was investigated later by two giants in UFO research, Dr. J.
Allen Hynek and Dr. Stanton Friedman.
Both came to the same conclusion: the Hills were both reputable, credible people who independently
stated accurate details of the event which had occurred to them. Other prominent scientists coming into
contact with the Hills arrived at the same conclusion.
In 1969, after Barney's death, a schoolteacher and amateur astronomer named Marjorie Fish
became intrigued with the "star map" Betty had drawn under hypnosis in 1963. She set out to see if
there was any validity to it and did this by being granted an interview with Betty Hill. This is the map
Betty drew. It is three-dimensional and represents how the stars would look like from out a window:
Three stars in this cluster were unknown until 1969 and no astronomer knew of their position in
1963, yet Betty had drawn them in 1963. Later on, astronomers at Ohio State University had a computer
put them in their proper location out beyond Zeta Riticuli 1 and Zeta Reticuli 2 - which are some 220
trillion miles, 37 light years from Earth.
The computer duplicated exactly what Betty Hill had drawn years before.
3. THE PHOENIX LIGHTS
To the serious UFO researcher, nothing is quite as compelling as photographic or video evidence of
a sighting. Except for one thing: multiple photos and videos by various people of the the same object
taken from different locations.
Such a rare event took place beginning on March 13, 1997 in the skies over Phoenix, Arizona.
Although this particular sighting is commonly known as "The Phoenix Lights", it is important to note that
the phenomena was witnessed in five different cities that we are aware of, with Phoenix being the first
city in Arizona to actually report the sighting.
The lights were first seen over the Superstition Mountains which are located east of the city at
about 7:30 pm. Initially it was reported that six points of light had been seen floating above the
mountains, which growing to eight lights and then nine when another joined it. The lights were
reportedly grouped in a very distinct "V-formation", while other witnesses described it as "crescent-
shaped". These reports seemed to vary based solely on the viewing angle of the witnesses. One
intriguing item of note is that some photographs and videos seem to show a circular object whose lights
were shaped in the configurations that people reported.
Just before 10:00 pm that night, the lights were seen again over the Gila River. It was shortly after
this sighting that the lights moved over the city of Phoenix. By now literally thousands of people were
witnessing the scene with many snapping still photographs and others capturing the event on video
cameras. The lights continued on to Rainbow Valley where the final sightings were reported at around
2:00 am the following morning.
The size and speed of the object is another subject of great interest. The lights reportedly sped
over the Henderson/Las Vegas, Nevada area at an estimated speed of Mach 2 and slowed to a mere 10-
15 mph upon entering Arizona. Over Sky Harbor, the object seemed to hover for several minutes. The
reported shape and formation of the lights did not vary from state to state, but over Arizona, some
reports claimed the object changed speeds, shape and colors. Because it flew rather low to the ground,
and mountains were visible in photos and videos taken, it was easy for experts to judge to scale the
altitude, distance from the camera and relative size of the object. As a result, the object was determined
to be one mile in length.
Witness reports (from an article in the Arizona Republic):
Bradley Evans, 47, is a clinical psychiatrist from Tucson. He and his wife, Kris, were driving north
on Interstate 10 to a swimming meet in Tempe. They watched the lights for 20 minutes or so move
slowly south in a diamond formation and pass over them at an estimated 1,500 feet. Even then, with the
car's moon roof open, they heard not a sound from the sky. He was "awed" by the experience and has
no idea what he saw. Kris said she couldn't explain it either and guesses it was "something military."
Trig Johnston, 50, is a retired commercial airline pilot who lives in north Scottsdale. His 22-year-
old son was looking for Comet Hale-Bopp that night when he noticed the lights and told his dad. "I
looked up and remember saying out loud, "I'm going to chalk this up to an illusion.' It was the size of 25
airliners, moving at about 100 knots at maybe 5,000 feet, and it didn't make a sound. I've flown 747s
across oceans and not seen anything like I saw that night," Johnston said. "I don't expect anybody to
take my word for it," he added. "This was something you had to see for yourself to believe."
Max Saracen, 34, is a real estate consultant who lives in north Phoenix. He and his wife, Shahla,
were driving west on Deer Valley Road when they saw a huge triangular craft. They pulled off the road,
got out and watched it pass overhead. "It was very spooky -- this gigantic ship blocking out the stars
and silently creeping across the sky. I don't know of any aircraft with silent engines."
Dr. Lynn Kitei is a physician who lives near Squaw Peak in Phoenix. Her home has an elevated,
panoramic view of the Valley, and she has some of the best known videotape and photographs of the
lights. Though she had no prior interest in UFOs, the episode prompted her to begin her own
investigation. "I think what happened is mind-boggling," she said. "I'm trying to be as scientific as I can,
and a number of things just don't compute."
However, the most credible report would come from two former pilots, one retired from an airline
(Mr. Johnson) and the other a Vietnam veteran and now a U.S. Marshall. The men witnessed the object
at different times and from different places, but both reported it to be enormous, a mile in length. The
U.S. Marshall noted the lights of Phoenix reflected off the bottom of the craft and it "blocked out the
stars." One of the pilots reported he took video of the event, but had it confiscated by some mysterious
government operatives (MIBs?) It was also reported that an America West airline pilot flying overhead
radioed the control tower at Sky Harbor Airport to ask what those nine lights were below him.
Another report of note took place two weeks prior to the event when witnesses said a disc-shaped
object of enormous size which was "larger than Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University" hovered
above the tree tops at Sky Harbor runway between 2 and 3 am.
In a bizarre twist, a truck driver reported as he was driving down I-17 from Camp Verde, he
witnessed two amber-colored UFOs moving south ahead of him for two straight hours. He was making a
pick up at a materials plant located near Luke Air Force Base. While being loaded there, he could clearly
see the UFOs hovering near the runway at Luke. Suddenly two F-16 jets took off from Luke and soon
were joined by a third and all flew directly toward the location of the UFO.
As the first two jets flew toward the object, the driver reported it shot directly up into the sky and
disappear in an instant. The jets then actually flew directly through the same spot where the UFO had
previous been. A ground crew member would later confirm to the National UFO Reporting Center
(NUFORC) what the driver had witnessed and went so far as to say that one pilot was helped from his
aircraft and was visibly shaken by the event.
NUFORC also would go on to report the following which should be taken at face value. They say a
young airman at Luke called them them at 3:20 am after the event and reported
that two F-15c fighters had been scrambled from Luke AFB and intercepted the object. According to
NUFORC, the details provided by the airman were accurate based on their investigation of the events of
March 13. Two days after that call, the airman phoned NUFORC again to report he had been transferred
Some controversy surrounds the Phoenix Light phenomena, much of it based around what is called
"The Flare Theory". In May, 1997, officials at Luke AFB said that after an investigation of the event they
had determined what happened that night. They claim that flares dropped from an A-10 Warthog were
the cause of the sighting and it was not a UFO at all. This seems dubious at best as flares cannot move
up and down and certainly not hold a position over a period of miles. This coupled with reports of
sightings before the time given that the flares were dropped brings up many questions about that
"As a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man
made object I'd ever seen. And it was certainly not high-altitude flares because flares don't fly in
—Fife Symington, Governor of Arizona