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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 1/11/1980 23:00 (Entered as : 01/11/1980 23:00)
Reported: 2/26/2005 2:52:22 AM 02:52
Posted: 5/11/2005
Location: Wichita, KS
Shape: Cigar
Duration:3 to 6 minutes
Cigar-shaped, city-block long, silent, super-slow forward moving and descending, three red lights, blotted out the stars w/black.

A profound event happened to me on Friday, January 11, 1980.

At 11 p.m., CST, I returned to my then home at ---- N. Emporia, Wichita, KS, parked my car so it was facing east beside my house, turned off my headlights, and in the dark was left with a vision of an object in front of me in the sky like none I had ever seen before or since.

It was huge, cigar-shaped object located about 300 feet in the air above me, about 30 feet east in front of me so that I was not looking straight up, but rather at about an 75 degree angle. It was about a block long and blocked my view of the stars on an otherwise clear night. It had three flashing lights in a forward-direction-pointing pattern located at its right trailing edge. It emitted absolutely no sound whatsoever that I could hear, and I have exceptionally good hearing.

How could something that big hover and descend in a fixed direction on a windless, clear night without making any sound? This huge object was moving ever so slowly forward north and descending ever so slowly (just a few feet per minute) towards the massive complex of over 100 Cargill grain elevators on 13th street.

I sat in my car for what seemed like at least three minutes scanning my memory for any identifiable object to match what I was seeing and I could find none. I then got out of my car and moved closer on the ground to watch it. I stood there for a time as well, but I seemed to lose track of time, maybe another three minutes. However long it was, I still could not come up with any sort of answer as to what I was looking at. There was nothing in my associative memory to compare it to. I felt profoundly awed by what I saw and I felt nauseatingly dumbfounded that I could not figure out what it was.

Finally, when I could handle my unknowing no longer, I knew I had to take action. The only traction in terms of evidence and logic my brain had to go on at the time was that there was a very large object moving downwards and in the a northerly direction toward on a path that would soon put it on a direct collision course with one of the world’s largest wheat grain elevator complexes run by Cargill, just one block away on 13th street. I was concerned that it this huge object hit one or more of those 100 plus grain elevators, there could be a massive grain dust explosion causing extensive death and destruction.

Once this horrific thought crossed my mind, I knew I had to call the police and warn them of this imminent danger. I managed to pull myself out of my awestruck paralysis and go inside to make the call. The Wichita Police were grateful for my call. They said they had been getting reports of such an object from all over town and asked me if they could send an officer out to interview me, to which I of course agreed. The police said they even had one of their helicopters aloft trying to locate and identify this mystery object. They also said the local McConnell Air Force Base people claimed it was not one of their activities and they may even have sent out some planes to locate and identify it, though nothing I know of was ever reported by them.

After I got off the phone with the police, I raced back outside to see what progress this object had made. To my complete surprise, the object was altogether gone. I got in my car and drove around the area to the north and east and back the other way in hopes of seeing some sign of it. I never saw it again.

The police came out and took my detailed report, which the Wichita police records clerk says was filed January 12, 1980 under the heading, "Three Flashing Lights".

Shortly thereafter a reporter from the Wichita Eagle Beacon came out and interviewed me. I was still in shock and awe from what I had seen, and afraid I would be considered some kind of a nut case. Therefore, I tried to conceal my fear and defend myself from scorn by trying to appear calm and rational, even to the point of trying to normalize or even minimalize and dismiss what I had seen. I told the reporter words to the effect that it was either a very large blimp, a weather balloon, or a very elaborate little hoax. I was pretty sure it was none of those things, but I had nothing else to reference it to and to speculate any further was quite frightening.

Before he left, the reporter gave me the name of the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle and the phone number should I want to make a formal report. I am sorry to say that I did not call that night as I was too shaken up and afraid to do so. Big things were happening to me, it seemed, and I was already way over my head. Therefore, lest I go crazy, it seemed best to lie low and see if the rest of the world, or some part of it, had seen what I had seen.

It is only now, 25 years later, that I am able to file this report, thanks mainly to the Peter Jennings ABC program aired here Thursday, 2/24/05, and viewed by me tonight, Friday, 2/25/05, via digital video recorder. It was a great program and confirmed many of the details of what I saw and the psychological reactions people had to this experience. Thanks to all who brought this information forward and presented it so well.

I am very excited and have much more to say, but I know I don’t have the space to do that here. Suffice it to say that two days later, on 1/13/1980, the Wichita Eagle/Beacon Newspaper printed the story of what I and apparently two dozen other Wichitans saw on Friday, 1/11/1980. The article is titled "It’s a Balloon, It’s a UFO, It’s a Mystery," and it appears on page 2E of the Sunday, January 13, 1980 edition of the Wichita Eagle/Beacon newspaper.

Since it does not seem possible to attach a scanned PDF copy of the actual newspaper article to this description, and since I realize you may not have the time or desire to look up the article from the paper’s microfiche, I will copy it, (deleting names and contact information to preserve anonymity even though all interviewees openly gave their names and addresses for publication), for you here:

((BEGIN TEXT OF ARTICLE))

Headline: "It’s a Balloon, It’s a UFO, It’s a Mystery." Reporter: Susan Edgerley, Staff Writer Body

Copy: "Midnight Friday, Pharmacist (fist and last name #1) and a friend have been square dancing. Not ready to call the evening quits, they drive to the Kansas Coliseum to ice skate.

But it’s no go. ‘The free skate held in connection with the U.S. Olympic ice hockey team clinic ended at 11 P.M.’ (Last name #1) and his square dancing partner climb into (Last name #1)’s car and drive off the Coliseum grounds.

That’s when they spot them. The three flashing red lights had at least two dozen Wichitans either chasing across the county, calling the police or scratching their heads early Saturday morning.

(Last name #1) of (street address in Wichita), said the lights were attached to something ‘the size of three football fields.’ (First and last name #2), of (street address in Wichita), said whatever they were attached to gave off the muffled roar of a single-engine airplane. (First and last name #3), of (street address in Wichita), said they moved slowly, as if they were hooked to a hot-air or weather balloon.

The Wichita Police Department helicopter went up after the lights but didn’t find them. (Last name #1) chased them toward Butler County. (Last name #2) followed them for an hour.

Inquiries went in to Mid-Continent Airport, McConnell Air Force Base, the National Weather Service, newspaper, radio and television offices and the national UFO Reporting Center in Seattle.

Everyone had the same question: ‘What was it?’ No one had the answer.

(Last name #3) guessed that it was some kind of balloon or ‘a reasonably elaborate little hoax.’ "(Last name #2) said he thought it was something from outer space.

And (Last name #1)? ‘No comment.!' #"

((END ARTICLE TEXT))