50th Anniversary of UFO Sightings Celebrated
If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Fifty years ago, over 500 unidentified flying objects were sighted in Wayne County. Last Friday and Saturday, the UFO sighting were celebrated with activities in Piedmont. Activities included a parade, speakers, and a craft show. Various businesses in the community hosted events.
The UFO-themed event is expected to become an annual event, according to area businesspeople and Chamber officials.
MUFON Director Debbie Ziegelmeyer gave the first lecture Saturday morning to a room filled to standing-only capacity. She introduced MUFON and presented the scientific equipment used in their UFO investigations.
Assistant Director Margie Kay lectured on her efforts to archive historic UFO encounters. More than a dozen people came forward after she spoke to be video interviewed for her documentary about UFO experiences.
Chief investigator Mel Van Vickle detailed more than 100 cases investigated by MUFON in 2022 with videos that had everyone’s attention.
Presentation at the
Elm Street Hotel
At 6 p.m. on Friday, April 20th Mark Rutledge presented a summary of his father Dr. Harley Rutledge’s research, regarding the 1973 UFO Flap. The amazing revelation he disclosed to a crowd of approximately 60 people: Piedmont is not only the UFO capital of Missouri, but it is the World UFO Capital. This is due to the extensive number and frequency of sightings in this area, which continues today, though perhaps not to the extent experienced in 1973.
Dr. Rutledge’s research is illustrated in his book: Project Identification, THE FIRST SCIENTIFIC FIELD STUDY OF UFO PHENOMENA. It focused on Piedmont and surrounding areas extending to Farmington and included Cape Girardeau. The various options that could define these mysterious lights and/or crafts are: 1) Natural Phenomena; 2) Man Made; 3) Extraterrestrial; 4) Psychic Phenomena; 5) Interdimensional; 6) Supernatural. The unrevealed consensus was: #3) Extraterrestrial.
In a recent report from the Pentagon there was denial of any viable proof that the observations recently made of anomalous objects or lights, were considered credible. On You Tube there were many responses to this report by individual witnesses of UFO phenomena, rejecting that report illustrating their individual accounts.
So was it real or fake that came out of the lake? There are more eye witnesses refuting the denial that what has traditionally come from government authorities on this subject, than there are those in acceptance. Throughout the events, many shared eye-witness accounts of UFOs they had scene.
Many in attendance had witnessed UFO’s and/or mystery lights or believed their neighbors, friends and relatives that had been observers of these sightings. Many are hesitant however, to come forward revealing their personal observations of the mystery crafts and lights, as there is much criticism and discrimination against those having had the distinct privilege of seeing these marvels, or are the skeptics simply envious?
Dennis Hovis gave presentations Saturday. He spoke at the Clearwater Family Youth Center and then again that evening at the Elm Street Hotel. His presentations included recordings of interviews he conducted during the event, as the local radio personality.
500 sightings were reported to local police, as a “carnival of lights” lit up the skies around the Piedmont area. One observer saw a dome shaped object radiating amber light, with antenna at the top.
At dusk a UFO was observed at approximately 1,000 feet above Brushy Creek, displaying yellow, white, green and red lights. It was soundless. Breaking the sound barrier, flashing red and green lights were seen moving toward Clearwater Lake. There were also sightings at Clearwater dam. Across from the dam Mrs. Coleman observed a red flash and watched as another flash rose higher and higher. Also an object was observed disappearing into the lake. A car stalled and the radio went dead near an orange light. Another observer described a metallic looking saucer leaving vapor trails. Another out-of -this-world flying machine flew over the radio tower disabling reception.
Maude Jeffries photographed a mysterious object that attracted world wide attention from countries like China as well as the Kremlin.
Dr. Rutledge observed the lights playing games, interacting with his technical team as he conducted field research for the most notable flap in the world, right here in the Piedmont area. UFOs were photographed, filmed and measured using specialized equipment to collect data from the sensational objects. Witnesses of this mysterious anomalous phenomena were interviewed, documenting their descriptions and experiences.
According to physics professor and ufologist, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, 80% of UFO sightings were explainable, while 20% were not. Doctors Rutledge and Hynek began researching UFO’s as skeptics, changing their minds following extensive investigations.
The media made fun of the “hicks” here in southeast Missouri who claimed to see mystery lights, while Dr. Rutledge continued a seven year study of the lights and crafts both he and residents observed. The government however, explained away the phenomena, while public figures like Billy Graham interpreted the sightings as a religious intervention. Too there were some skeptics in the news media who questioned the authenticity of the prolific sightings. To this day, area residents continue to observe inexplicable lights and crafts, not as extensively as some did during the early 1970s, however that force is still with us.