Case 31

North Eastern

Fall 1967

Investigators: Ayer, Wadsworth

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A woman and her children driving on a rural road at night saw a trapezoidal pattern of dim red lights over the road. As the car approached the lights, they moved off the road and disappeared between the trees. The possibility that the lights were on a microwave tower in the vicinity of the sighting is discounted by the witness' familiarity with the road and tower, her accurate account of accessory details, and other factors.


Interviews with the principal witness in the fall of 1967 brought out the following account:

A woman was driving north with her three young sons on a country road about 7:45 p.m., when her oldest boy, aged about ten, called her attention to about 18 extended dim red lights arranged in a trapezoidal pattern. They appeared about as high as the first cross-piece on a telephone pole, and as wide as the road -- that is, about 15 ft., and hovered about 1.5 ft. above the road.

As soon as the woman saw the lights, she accelerated to try to catch them, and chased them up the road about 300 yd. until they vanished between two sugar maples on her left. The lights disappeared as if they had been occulted from right to left. The structure to which the lights were presumably attached was never visible.

After hearing the woman's report, a project investigator drove S on the road about 4:30 p.m. to check the landmarks. In addition to the two maples about 300 yd. north of the house where the lights were first seen, there was a third maple nearer the road and


about 250 yd. further north, and a microwave tower about 500 yd. N of the third maple and somewhat W of the road. Such towers usually are well lighted at night. It appeared that, if the trees cut off the view of the top of the tower, the lower part would resemble the strange lights, provided that the number of lights agreed with those reported. The third maple would be responsible for the occultation.

Accordingly, both investigators returned to the road about 8:30 p.m. The first glimpse of the illuminated tower severely undermined the hypothesis. The tower carried only a red beacon at the top and four red lights halfway down, one on each leg or the rectangular structure.

A subsequent talk with the witness revealed that she had traveled back and forth along the road a great many times. She was quite familiar with the appearance of the tower, and denied emphatically that it was what she had seen, because the lights on the object were dim and extended, while those on the tower were "points with rays." Furthermore, there were too few lights on the tower.


This witnesses impressed both investigators as an accurate and wide-awake observer who was quite capable of relating to known land- marks the behavior of an unexpected and unfamiliar sight with little distortion.

The sighting can be explained by the presence of the microwave tower. A further argument for the tower hypothesis depends on the fact that the road ran upgrade about 40 ft. in elevation between the witness' locations at first sighting and at disappearance. Thus, it appears that the light on top of the tower would have been seen low over this rise ii the road, the lower lights on the tower being obscured.

The tower cannot therefore be regarded as a fully satisfactory explanation. The reported lights were seen just above the roadway; but at no point does the road run directly toward the tower. Further,


by the witness' account, the strangeness of the object was apparent to both her and her son, both of whom were very familiar with the road and the tower.