- Initial Report
- Background inquiries made regarding a
UFO sighting reported to Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting
Center resulted in the identification of additional witnesses to a peculiar
oddity happening near the Hidden Acres Campground in Ashland County, Ohio.
- Investigations began shortly after 4:00
p.m. on Sunday, August 30 when Mr. Davenport, NUFORC Director, advised
of a sighting from a resident of West Salem, Ohio (in Wayne County).
- Description of object
- A female resident of West Salem, Ohio
contacted Davenport at 1901 hrs. (Pacific), Saturday evening (29AU98),
and left a detailed message about a peculiar cluster of four lights the
color of a "caution light" that were seen by her to flash very
brightly on several occasions, after which a "flame" poured out
from "behind" them.
- Mr. Daveport contacted the witness at
2130 hrs. (Pacific) and took an 8-minute report from her. She stated that
she was on State Route 42, south of Salem, OH, "near Ashland,"
when at approximately 2130 hrs. (local), she witnessed a bright flash of
"yellow" light. Her attention immediately was drawn to a cluster
of four yellow, circular (??) lights, that appeared to her to be "two
trees high" (above the ground).
- According to the witness, the object
"flashed" several times, perhaps as many as five flashes. After
each flash, a long "tail" of fire -- "like a jet's exhaust"--
was seen to shoot out of the "back" of the object. She said
that the "exhaust" appeared to be physically separated from the
- The object appeared to be four amber
or yellow lights situated in an unwavering position, relative one to another.
- After she had witnessed several bright
flashes, she stopped her car and stepped outside in order to get a better
look at whatever was causing the light. While she was standing on or near
the roadway, the object flashed several more times, after which she witnessed
the "exhaust" again.
- She detected no sound during the entire
incident. The oddity was last sighted as it moved off to the west from
her position. She was not aware of any other vehicles on the road at the
time of her sighting.
- Follow-up interview
- The primary witness was contacted for
a follow-up interview late Sunday evening. She lives within the Hidden
Acres resort, which is a mobile-home park that also has a campground.
- The object was alleged to have been descending
toward the campground, the witness informed, and she said that that it
exhibited definite movement in a 'downward' direction.
- After the sighting, she stood outside
by a dumpster and scanned the sky for a few minutes.
- "The thing reminded me of fire that
emanates from the back end of a fighter jet," she said. "It was
really low, I had to duck my head to a certain point to see beneath the
trees, that's how low it was."
- She said the object could not have been
a jet, however. "I had my window down, I had no music playing. There
was no sound, no nothing. Just flame and flashing."
- From her estimate, the UFO looked like
a series of 4-yellow lights in a tight diamond shape which did not waver
in position. All four lights would go out at same time, then the four would
suddenly flash simultaneously (a real bright flash but not casting shadows),
followed by a big silent flame. The flame was twice the width of the 4-lights
and 4-times as long. She said this action repeated between 5 to 8 times.
- The fire, when first visible, was described
as a blue color, which became orange. There was no shape or object visible
behind the lights, flashes or flames.
- "I thought it was a meteorite at
first. I've never seen anything like it before. It was very pretty, but
also very weird," said the witness.
- Animal reaction noted
- The following morning, she talked with
a neighbor who lives near the location of the sighting. Before telling
her of the UFO sighting, her neighbor explained how her Himalayan Cat went
'absolutely crazy' the previous evening, running to the door and then hiding.
She said this was not 'normal behavior' for the cat. After being told of
the UFO sighting, the neighbor then suggested that the UFO be reported.
- Corroborative testimony
- During the investigative phase of this
case, I placed a phone call to the Hidden Acres Campground, and the employee
in the office informed that she, too, had seen something unusual the previous
- "It was certainly strange,"
said the campground employee. "It looked like a red light with flames
coming out the back."
- "It almost looked like a flame coming
from it, but its hard to say after I think about it. It could have just
been the angle I was at," she said, while informing that her husband
also commented on the oddity.
- "We were doing safety checks at
11:15 or 11:20, just making sure that the campgrounds were quiet and everything
was normal. And while driving around the grounds in the golf cart, we spotted
this red... unusual red light, it looked like it had a tail of fire. I
commented about it to my husband, and we later assumed that it must have
been the new cell-tower that was just put in last week."
- The campground employee rationalizes
that a cellular telephone tower was recently installed in the area, and
that its unfamiliar appearance caused her to have noticed it.
- "The tower is right there in this
same direction, so what I saw was probably that tower," she surmised.
- Strangely, however, she said that several
campers also saw something the same night and reported it to her sister
who resides near the campground.
- "The weird thing about this is that
these teenage campers had came down screaming about it, and they wanted
to report a UFO. We just thought they must have saw the cell-tower too."
- According to the employee, the teenagers
had packed up and left the campground earlier in the afternoon because
they had to go to school on Monday morning. "They described something
that did flash," said the campground employee, who informed that the
teenagers had told her sister of their sighting 'sometime last night.'
- The employee affirmed that there are
no flashing or strobing lights on the cell-tower.
- E-mail correspondence was made with the
primary witness, who was asked to investigate the location of the cellular
tower relative to the position of the UFO. She did so, and advised that
the cell tower is approximately a 3/4 mile distance away from where the
flashing lights and the "flame" was spotted.
- She said the tower shaft can be seen,
even on a cloudy evening. She stressed that she had no trouble discerning
the cell-tower to be a "ground object."
- Additional witnesses
- The witness added that she and her husband
went outside and talked with neighbors, and an 8 or 9 year-old girl told
them about a "fire that was in the sky last night."
- Additionally, the witness reports that
a four-year old boy also said that he saw a UFO which was "like a
ball, and had a tail, then a ball, and another tail."
- Further Investigations:
- The Wayne County Sheriff's Office (330-287-5700)
was contacted. The female dispatcher who was on duty checked around the
office and knew of no UFO reports received from last night.
- The dispatcher knew that Hidden Acres
Campground is in Ashland County, and that a call to the Ashland County
office might be beneficial.
- The Ashland County Sheriff's department
was then contacted (419-289- 3911) and the dispatcher said that he had
been on duty the previous evening at 9:30 p.m. and did not have knowledge
of any UFOs reported. He suggested a call to the Ashland County State Patrol
Office be made.
- The Ashland County OSP was contacted
(419-289-0911) and the dispatcher on duty did not have information regarding
any UFO sightings. He said that he, too, had been on-duty the previous
evening at 9:30 p.m. and their department sometimes handles calls from
- Jet aircraft/military operation
- Peter Davenport stressed several intriguing
similarities this present case has to the Michigantown, Indiana case of
August 26, such as the yellow color, happening on an abandoned road, multiple
lights seen in a formation, and silent operation. He also cautioned that
a similar case from Washington State in August of 1994 and from July of
1995 involved a privately owned Mig-19 that was performing nighttime aerobatics
on the west side of Puget Sound generated many UFO reports. The aircraft
had two "flame generators" mounted under the wings, the purpose
of which was to maximize the pyrotechnic effect of the flight.
- To address the possibility of military
aircraft maneuvers happening in this area or airborne flares resulting
from these operations, an August 15, 1997 FOIA (Freedom of Information
Act) letter from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) identified two
zones of special-use airspace within Ohio that are reserved for military
flight training. These areas are the Buckeye MOA (Military Operations Area)
and the Brush Creek MOA. The August 15, 1997 FOIA response from the FAA
informed that military flights within the closest zone, the Buckeye MOA,
are restricted beyond the 4:00 p.m. time-frame on Saturdays. In addition,
altitude restrictions prohibit flights from dropping beneath 5,000 feet.
Furthermore, both zones are in Southern Ohio, and such military traffic
or flares within this area could not be seen in the Northern Ohio area
of Wayne or Ashland Counties, which is more than 150-miles north of the
- Additional comments:
- When asked if the sighting could have
been caused by a mischevious camper shooting off fireworks, the primary
witness felt it most unlikely. "I highly doubt it, as there was no
smoke, no smell, no sound, as it usually associated with fireworks."
- The remarks made by the employee of the
Hidden Acres Campgrounds may provide soft corroboration of the initial
eyewitness report. The time frame of the campground employee's sighting
was placed at around 11:15 or 11:20, known by the time that she and her
husband were conducting a 'safety check.' This is more than 90-minutes
after the initial report which described four amber or yellow colored lights,
situated in an unwavering position and exhibiting fiery conduct described
as an exhaust-like "flame" pouring out from an object.
- Although claiming that she was drawn
to the 'red light' when first seen, and thinking to have seen 'flames,'
she rationalizes that she had simply observed the light on the cell-tower,
which is in the same direction.
- It is not know the precise time of the
sighting reported by "the teenagers" to the campground employee,
who vaguely recalls that it was reported to her sister "sometime last
night." The only description available from this source is of an object
which flashed. This detail is consistent with that of the initial report,
and not consistent with the visual observation of the cell-tower, which
is not equipped with a flashing or strobing light, according to the campground
- The initial report of four amber, or
yellow lights in an unwavering position and exhibiting fiery conduct described
as an exhaust-like "flame" pouring out from an object (and happening
during repeated episodes) does not seem consistent with the sighting of
a light on top of a cell-tower. The witness comments that the phenomenon
resembled the fiery exhaust seen on a jet-fighter, but noted its low elevation,
silent performance and lengthy 1-minute visibility in the residential area.
- West Salem, Ohio is about 46 miles Southwest
of Cleveland and 81.5 miles west of Youngstown.
- Many thanks to Peter Davenport of The
National UFO Reporting Center for the initial details of this interesting
- Kenny Young 8-30-98
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