Case 12

North Eastern

Winter 1967

Investigators: Fred Hooven and David Moyer of Ford Motor Company

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Witness reported that, while she was driving alone at night, a luminous object hovered over her car for several miles, then moved rapidly into the distance, and that several mechanical and electrical functions of her car were found to be impaired afterward. Examination of the car two months later disclosed no faults that were not attributable to ordinary causes, nor any significant magnetic or radioactive anomaly in or on the car body.


The witness reported this and an earlier sighting to a sheriff who referred her to someone at a local university. The latter, in turn, reported the case to the Colorado project staff. Because the report indicated that the case would afford a good opportunity to test the possibility of electromagnetic effects on an automobile by an UFO, Hooven and Moyer were asked to carry out a detailed investigation.


In the spring of 1967 Moyer recorded an interview with the witness and drove her car back to Dearborn, where Ford engineers and laboratory staff under Hooven's direction examined it in detail.

The witness, a professional secretary, reported that, while driving on a rural road near her home about 2 a.m. one morning in the winter of 1967, she first noticed that the scene in front of her was brightly illuminated. Thinking at first that her headlamps were on high beam, she operated her foot switch but this


made no difference, although the indicator light was responding. She then turned the headlamps out, but the illumination was undiminished. She then observed that its source was a luminous body over her car, which she perceived in the rear-view mirror and from the side windows. The object remained directly over her car for ten or fifteen minutes as she drove along the road rather slowly. The car would not accelerate. She depressed the accelerator all the way. Though the car went straight, she felt that she was not steering it, rather it -- or her mind -- was being steered from the mysterious object. She opened one window and could hear no sound. At the top of a rise the object drew away and "made a big check mark in the sky." It disappeared rapidly into the distance, growing redder as it did so. As it moved away, it resembled an inverted mushroom having a short stem on top and a uniform yellowish glow and two bright white lights and several smaller ones underneath.

The witness reported four instrument malfunctions after the incident that she had not noticed before: (1) the radio was weak and full of static; (2) the speedometer read low; (3) the battery did not charge properly and the ammeter did not read as usual; (4) the oil gauge was stuck at the maximum reading.

After his interview with the witness, Moyer drove her car, a 1964 Comet, to Detroit, where Ford engineers and research staff investigated its condition in detail. With respect to the malfunctions reported by the witness, they found that: (1) The radio antenna had been broken off the car, so that only local stations could be heard through the background noise. (2) The fan belt, which operated the generator, was so loose that the generator was not delivering normal charging power to the battery. (3) In the speedometer, a die casting that provided alignment for the bearings had been broken, repaired, and apparently had broken again, causing bearing friction that caused the speedometer to read low. This condition was aggravated by sticky lubricant from the speedometer cable that had worked up. (4) The transmitter element of the oil gauge was malfunctioning because of electrical leakage due to corrosion.


All of the reported malfunctions were found to result from conditions that are commonplace in cars of the age and mileage of the witness' Comet.

The metal-forming operations in the manufacture of a car body produce a characteristic magnetization pattern for each model, which persists for years with little change unless the metal is reworked or subjected to a magnetic field substantially stronger than that of the earth. An examination of the magnetic "signature" of the witness' car body revealed no significant difference from that of three out of four other randomly selected similar cars of the same age. It was therefore concluded that no significant magnetic field had acted on the witness' car.

A Geiger beta-gamma survey counter showed no significant radioactivity from the car body. Scrapings of accumulated dirt and debris from hood and deck lid flanges, drip rail, etc., showed low level radioactive contaminations, the strongest being about 5 gammas per sec. at 120 keV. A similar survey of material from another 1964 Comet showed a similar level of contamination, though with a different spectral distribution. The radioactivity found is not unusual; however, an accurate evaluation of its significance was impossible in the absence of detailed knowledge of the environmental history of the car.


This case is especially interesting because of the specific and detailed information given by the witness, and the "strangeness" of the encounter. Her recorded testimony indicates a competent, practical personality, trained and accustomed to keeping her presence of mind in unexpected situations. By her account, her first intimation of something strange was the abnormally bright headlight field. Her practical response was to try the high-low beam switch, and she distinguished between the dash-signal indication and the lack of change in the illumination. Later she lowered the window to listen for any unusual


sound. Most interesting is her comment that, after she realized something strange was above the car, she remembered stories of alleged mental influence by such apparitions and kept talking to herself to keep her mind actively busy. "I was not about to give it an opening." In short her testimony presents the picture of a woman alone on a deserted road confronted by a strange phenomenon, scared but coping intelligently with the situation.

However, her account is not free of discrepancies. She remembered bright moonlight, but the moon was at last quarter on 3 January, and would not have been very high even on that date. Her description of what she saw of the UFO through the rear-view mirror is open to question. The Ford investigators noted that the internal mirror allows a field of only 3° above the horizontal. The UFO would have had to be about 20 times as wide as its elevation above the car to be seen in the mirror at all. She also reported several earlier UFO sightings by herself and friends and family in the vicinity of her home. These reports suggest the possibility of a preoccupation with the subject. However, she apparently was not seeking publicity. She mentioned the incident early in March to a local deputy sheriff, who reported it to a person at a local university. All of the malfunctions of the car that the witness stated had manifested themselves after the UFO experience were found to be the results of gradual wear and deterioration except the broken radio antenna, which was inconclusive. The case remains interesting but unexplained.