Case 15

South Mountain

Winter 1967

Investigator: Wadsworth

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A private observer had reported by telephone that for several months he had repeatedly seen in the west at evening a green light as large as a two-story building. Sometimes it appeared round, sometimes oblong. He reported that the object had been landing five to 20 miles west of his house several times per week, in the period about 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Observing through binoculars, he had seen two rows of windows on a dome-shaped object that seemed to have jets firing from the bottom and that lit up a very large surrounding area.


The investigator visited the site on a winter evening, 1967, arriving at the observer's home about 6:30 p.m. The observer pointed out as the object of his concern a bright planet 10-15 degrees above the western horizon. Wadsworth suggested that the object appeared to be a star or planet. (Both Venus and Saturn were visible about 1.3 degrees apart, Venus being the brighter.) The observer agreed, saying that, had he not seen it on other occasions when it appeared much nearer and larger, he would have the same opinion. Also, he held to his description of the surface features that he claimed to have seen through the binoculars. His wife concurred with this statement, supporting his allusion to windows. It was suggested that some object other than a planet might have been involved, but no other bright light was visible in that area of the sky.

The phenomena of scintillation and color change characteristic of light sources low on the horizon were described to the observer, and he seemed to accept the possibility that what he had seen was only a planet


seen under conditions unusual in his experience. Thus what he had observed, even with the binoculars, apparently had not been sufficiently clear to be conclusive to him. The possibility of a second object seems very unlikely, although at times he may have observed stars or planets other than the one he noted at this time. This possibility would account for the long period during which the sightings had occurred.


The reported "landings" apparently were the nightly settings of the planet. The glow around the "landed" object probably was the bright moonlit snowscape seen through the binoculars. The motion was described as always the same, a very gradual descent to the western horizon, where the object would "land" and shortly thereafter cut off its lights. It is believed that the alleged size, brightness, and surface features were largely imagined.

The observer seemed quite sincere and curious; however, his description of the phenomena could not be considered scientifically reliable. He demonstrated an inadequate grasp of basic scientific information, and seemed unable to distinguish between objective observations and subjective impressions.