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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 10/20/1973 23:30 (Entered as : 10201973 23:30)
Reported: 1/18/2008 1:46:54 PM 13:46
Posted: 1/21/2008
Location: Carthage, IN
Shape: Fireball
Duration:20 minutes
Fireball above tree line

The date given is approximate because it was over 30 years ago. Back in that day they didn’t have computers, the Internet, or any other way that we were aware of to report such things as this. In order to understand the event it is necessary for me to describe the circumstances. At this time in that area jobs were difficult to come by and those that were available barley paid enough to live on. We lived on a farm and grew our own vegetables and hunted and fished in order to survive. My friends and myself would sometimes supplement our meat supply by hunting rabbits on the roads outside of town at night. It’s not as dangerous as it sounds because as this was mostly large farms at the time the houses were two to three miles apart in places so there was little if any chance of hitting anyone or anything with a small 22 cal. rifle. I had become an expert marksman and it was not uncommon for me to make shots of 150 to 200 yards. Hunger makes you a good shot I guess. I can approximate the year because I was 16 at the time, The month, November, coincides with the beginning of rabbit season, about the 15th. Obviously we weren’t all that concerned about the law as it was illegal to hunt from a car but if you took rabbits outside of season for consumption you ran the risk of contracting what we called rabbit fever. I estimated the time to be around 2300 hrs. because we didn’t go out any earlier to lower the risk of running across the police, and we had just started. OK, all of that being said, here is the story.

On the night in question myself, and two friends, were cruising around in my car with the top down. It’s cold in November but the top of the windshield made a perfect shooter’s ledge to steady the rifle. The older of the two, a fellow about 25 years old and a Viet Nam vet, was driving. He was a large individual and was pretty much scared of nothing. My other friend, the same age as me, was in the back seat, and I was in the front passenger seat. We had driven a mile or two East of town and had just turned South onto a long straight road. I don’t remember the name but could probably locate it on a map. After traveling about a block or two I saw a rabbit about 200 yards in front of us. I told the driver and he slowly proceeded to with about 150 yards and shut off the engine so the vibration would not throw off my shot. I took my position, acquired the animal in my scope, accounted for bullet drop and windage, held my breath, and squeezed the trigger. The rabbit dropped immediately. A perfect shot. As I put the rifle back between the seats the driver got out of the car, to relieve himself I think. My friend in the back wanted out too so I had to get out being it was a two door.

We were facing South and to our right was a field approximately 400 to 500 yards wide and I would guess about ¼ of a mile long. At the West edge of that was a line of trees ranging from about 75 feet high to 50 feet high that ran the entire length of the field. I was facing East and my friend from the back was facing West. I heard him say “look” and as I turned around I saw this orange ball floating just above the tree line. I would estimate it to have been approximately 75 to 100 feet in diameter. At this point I’m not scared, just interested. I came around to the driver’s side and just leaned on the trunk and watched. The ball was moving very slowly from South to North just above the tree line. I followed the tree line exactly, up and down as it continued. The object made no sound of any kind. It was completely silent. At this time my younger friend and myself didn’t know what a UFO even was. The object continued to glide along the tree tops until it was straight across from us at which point I got my rifle from the front seat and pointed it towards the object. I wasn’t going to shoot at it I just wanted to look through the scope to see if I could see any better. At that point the object began to change from orange to a bright yellow. The light it gave off was almost like the sun as best as I can describe it. My friend that was driving grabbed the rifle out of my hands, threw it in the car, got in and tried to start it but for whatever reason it wouldn’t start. I doubt it had anything to do with the UFO, it was just junk. Within a few seconds the object seemed to shrink and disappear towards the Northwest. Looking back I doubt that it shrank but more probably just moved away so quickly it appeared that way. I estimate that this whole event occurred over a period of about 20 minutes or so.

My friend was still trying to get the car started and I noticed that he seemed to be terrified. Not scared, terrified. He was visibly shaking and I think he might have been crying. It was a long tome age. I found this strange as he had seen combat in Viet Nam and would fight anybody at the drop of a hat. When the car finally did start, he put it in reverse and I had to jump over the door to get in because he wasn’t waiting. He wouldn’t even pull up so I could get my rabbit. We headed back to town at well in excess of 80 mils per hour and I was more afraid of his driving than I was of the UFO. I finally got him to pull over and let me drive. I put up the top, turned on the heater, and headed back to town. After he calmed down he began to explain to us about UFOs and having seen them before. I got the feeling that there was more that he wasn’t telling but he didn’t seem to want to talk about it.

We went and found my step-father, who was town marshal at the time, and started to relay to him what we had seen. At first he thought we had been drinking (we hadn’t) or we were joking. After talking to us for awhile he decided we were serious and sober so he checked with the airport in Indianapolis to see if there any planes, helicopters, ect., in the area and was told that there were not and that nothing had shown up on the radar. He also relayed our report to the Rush County Sheriff’s Dept. Of course nothing ever came of any of it.

Let me end by answering the skeptics. I spent a great deal of my time as a youth outdoors in the woods at night, coon hunting, trapping, ect. I have seen ball lightening, it wasn’t that. There are no swamps anywhere near that area. There were no power lines overhead. You cannot see the airport search lights from there. I never saw anything like that before that time or since. Later in life I move to Ohio and became a police officer where I served for 20 years and worked a lot of midnight shifts. I spent a lot of time looking but never saw anything like that again. To this day I don’t know what to make of it but there it is.


((NUFORC Note: Witness indicates that the date of the incident is approximate. PD))