Y, age 49, was one of at least four witnesses to an event that occurred on Monday, December 13, '99' at between 1500 and 1600 hours (EST). The witness was positive of the date since it was St. Lucia day, the beginning of his Christmas, but unsure of the particular day of the week (which was later determined from the calendar). He was certain of the time also, since one of his co-workers, F, drives his son, S from school to the antique shop (where they both work) at the same time each day. Both the co-worker and the son were witnesses, as well as an 81-year-old woman (also an employee of the antique store) named W.
The event actually takes place in two parts. Initially, F came in through the front door of the shop and alerted Y to the event. Upon exiting the front door onto the sidewalk, Y's attention was directed toward the west whereupon he observed what he described as a "light shower". Trails of light/light flashes were "coming down in slow motion through the sky " from approximately 60 degrees above the horizon. One of the "lights" split into "two balls of light" and continued to fall below the horizon. These light balls were numerous, occurred one at a time with one disappearing below the horizon before the next one began to fall, were bright, and left no "trail". Each one took approximately 60 seconds from appearance in the sky until it fell below the horizon, and they continued to materialize and fall for 20 minutes. During this event the witness was in and out of the store assisting customers. All falling objects originated and fell between 250 degrees and 260 degrees (magnetic). The witness believes that at least one falling object hit something because there was a bright flash just after it fell below the horizon.
The weather was clear; similar to the day that this interview took place, and we were facing almost directly into the setting sun which was still above the horizon at 1530 hours on the day of the interview. Y reports that on the day of the event the sun had already set behind the steep and tall ridgeline that comprises the western horizon. This interviewer believes that this must have been the case due to the reported time, and the fact that it was nearly impossible to look to the west during the interview because of the brightness of the setting sun. The witness reports that the light conditions were "dusky" during the event, which would have pegged the time at 1600 hours or later. Sunset was at 1612 hours on December 13.
It should be noted that the mountain range or ridgeline to the west is quite close to the position of the observers (less than 3 kilometers), making the top of the hill, which is the actual western horizon, approximately 20 degrees up from level. In addition, just over the hilltop lies Nepaug Reservoir.
This image shows the views of the object based on their position on the trajectory. It has not yet (12/24/99) been determined if the curvature represents a real trajectory or not. The relative elevations do not (and are probably not intended to) match the site reenactment (also note East is really SE and W is really NW); at disappearance, the elevation was reduced by about 10 or more degrees from appearance, though that may have been a perspective effect.
(118) F walked out to the middle of the entrance to the parking lot to the East of the original observation point (this suggests he needed to do so to keep it in sight, which implies a fairly rapid speed, and a pause on the part of the witness to take it all in). The witness noticed no sound, and called to Y to come see. S is with F.
(123) A flock of birds took off from the area of the mountains. It was a large flock and the type was not identified by the witnesses, who indicated they were common in the area. They may have been starlings.
(120) They step more to the North.
(126) The objects were moving fairly fast, but because they made no notable noise "it didn't seem fast." The object passed the canoe building roof and its course terminated over the garage in the photo (225) at an elevation of about 30 degrees. The time required was less than a minute. The witness estimated the object passed over the canoe shop, in terms of its distance from him.
As the object passed nearly overhead, a droning hum was heard. The sound was similar in pitch to a sound between 125 Hz and 500 Hz, probably closer to between 250 and 500 Hz (derived by the investigator comparing the pitch of several tones from a Casio CZ101 through a graphic equalizer with the witness attempt to pitch the sound). The witness thought that the sound was felt more than heard, and indicated it seemed to feel like it was affecting the top of his head rather than his ears.
The second portion of the event began when F, again says; "you're not going to believe this one, come out and see this". Y exits through the front door and sees a large object slowly and silently travelling from west to east at about twice the height of the buildings. He describes it as a "zeppelin" looking thing, silver-gray in color (unlike any color he had ever seen) with a dark gray line horizontally around the middle. The object had a round sphere below it. At first it seemed that the sphere was actually attached to the larger object but after a few minutes it dropped away and moved off in another direction. He reports that there was absolutely no sound and noticed birds flying in the opposite direction of the objects' travel. It took between 5 and 10 minutes for this object to travel from its initial position at approximately 270 degrees (magnetic), directly overhead at between 1.5 and 2 stories in altitude, and on to 40 degrees (magnetic) where it disappeared from view over the northeastern horizon. The initial heading seemed to be 90 degrees (magnetic) but changed to 40 degrees (magnetic) after it passed over the buildings. Y used the "escalating hypothesis" technique i.e. "at first I thought it was a weather balloon", and described the object as "bullet shaped" and "never seen anything like it before". The object was approximately 5 inches at arms length and was too large to be covered by his open hand at arms length. The entire distance that the object traveled, given its low altitude, from the initial observation until it passed the northeastern horizon is approximately 3 miles. The entire event, including both portions, lasted approximately 30 minutes. Exact distances in the above discussion can only be determined with the use of topographic maps that were unavailable to this investigator at the time of this report.
The excited and bewildered demeanor of this witness, and his concurrent observations, i.e. "noticed birds flying the opposite direction" and "saw a bright flash after the object fell behind the horizon", lend credibility to this witness and his account of what was actually observed that day.
In this arrangement
The two objects are approximately the same diameter.
The sphere is slightly above the centerline of the bullet, slightly ahead of the central axis, and very close to the bullet.
If the objects were directly level with the observer, the angle of pitch would be about 30 degrees and roll also close to 30 degrees. Because of the fact that the witness was looking upward at an estimated angle of 25 degrees, both pitch and roll would be greater than thirty degrees.
12/27/99 2:45 PM-4:15 PM (Investigator 1)
The purposes of the second site visit were
Perform a tour of the area to become familiar with major features.
Obtain a detailed map of the downtown Collinsville area.
Determine the possible source / type of birds mentioned in the account.
Determine the correctness of the sun analysis by direct observation.
Perform a search for any debris which might have been resulting from a hoax perpetrated by a third party on the witnesses (i.e. balloons, etc.)
Determine if a search of Sweetheart Mountain for debris from the contrail source was feasible, in the event it became justified by research results.
Determine the type and quantity of local air traffic on the same day of the week / time as the observations.
Informally canvass if the opportunity was presented.
The following results were obtained:
Perform a tour of the area to become familiar with major features - I was able to drive around most of the areas in the directions observed. These included:
The top of the hill to the South East, including a look at the tall conifer (seen from Observation Point 2). That tree is about seventy feet tall. The town hall also has a tall radio antenna with many projecting aerials. A historical society operates a museum in that area, but it is only open on weekends in the winter.
The canoe shop seen from Observation Point 2.
Cavalry Cemetery - on a direct line from the canoe shop / Observation Point 2 and the tall conifer. Interestingly, the footings for an old bridge cross the river and point directly toward the garage over which the objects were seen to disappear (see the photo of Observation Point 3).
Sweetheart Mountain - (the mountain toward which the contrails were directed) I drove South West to Rt 4 and then North on Barnes Hill Rd past the Phelps Dam. The top of the mountain may be accessible to hikers, but there is no road.
Obtain a detailed map of the downtown Collinsville area - I was unable to find any such map so far. The town engineer and town planner were both unavailable.
Determine the possible source / type of birds mentioned in the account - Three types of birds were observed in the post 3:30 PM time frame: Starlings, flying South West to North East and vice versa, apparently heading to / from roosting areas South West of the town center; seagulls, flying essentially South to North; geese, flying East to West. Flocking behavior among the starlings was normal within that time frame and may suggest that the behavior of the birds during the sighting was coincidental. Specific starting point and direction of the bird flock should be determined from the witnesses.
Determine the correctness of the sun analysis by direct observation - The sun was seen to touch the mountain shortly after the 3:30 time frame, slightly later as would be expected to result from the passage of two weeks. Thus, the shadow predicted by the sun analysis is confirmed.
Perform a search for any debris which might have been resulting from a hoax perpetrated by a third party on the witnesses (i.e. balloons, etc.) - One possible analysis of the second incident might be that the objects seen were balloons (which was suggested by one of the witnesses). If so, it would be possible (though unlikely) that the disappearance of the objects would be from the balloon having burst. I examined the dam on the river, the trees on the far side of the river (starting at the cemetery and working south to the shore), the shore on the far side of the river, and the side of the road from there, south along 179. The only finding of note was a grey plastic sheet found, photographed in situ and removed for examination. This sheet was in an incorrect location (South West of the sighting location), formed no particular shape suggestive of the reported objects, bore a large printed tag, was partly buried in leaves and somewhat frozen to the ground. Nevertheless, the material was removed for further examination, and to allow a sample to be shown to the witnesses, in light of their description of the object color and luster.
Determine if a search of Sweetheart Mountain for debris from the contrail source was feasible, in the event it became justified by research results - The size and lack of access to Sweetheart Mountain means that a specific and high probability of finding physical evidence would be needed to justify a search. No road seems to lead to the top, so all access would need to be on foot.
Determine the type and quantity of local air traffic on the same day of the week / time as the observations - The day was partly / mostly cloudy, so opportunities for observing air traffic were limited. Nevertheless, only two distant, high altitude airliners were observed during the visit.
Informally canvass if the opportunity was presented - Four people were questioned. 1) a woman ice fishing on the far side of the river, who believed the ice had not formed at that time and had not seen anything, 2) a bicyclist on 179 was asked if he biked that road every day about the same time, but he did not, and, in any event, had seen nothing; 3) two employees of the canoe shop, only one of which was working that day - neither had seen anything.
According to the following chart of this year's Geminids (www.imo.net...), compiled by the International Meteor Organization, the peak was actually 12/14/99; on the date in question, at the time of the sighting, the rate was roughly 38 per hour
Columbia Missouri A Silver Bullet Shaped UFO (Police Involved)
Date: 1981 (?)
Time: 2:00 a.m.
Location of Sighting: Looking North from Rock Bridge Elementary School over the city of Columbia.
Number of witnesses: Two plus numerous police.
Number of objects: 1
Shape of objects: Silver bullet shaped.
Full Description of event/sighting: Well, I've not written of this sighting for 25 years but I guess I'm not afraid to speak out anymore. My husband and I saw the article on AOL and decided to lend our support to those, like us, who have had the daylights scared out of them in this situation. When we were first married we would get our jollies out of listening to the police scanner and racing to fires, multi-vehicle wrecks, and any other interesting incident. We were listening late one night to some police obviously excited in their transmissions, telling dispatch they were chasing some bright objects in the night sky but were unable to get very close to them. I grabbed my camera and we ran out and jumped into the car and raced to the location, near Rock Bridge State Park where they had last reported seeing the lights. We parked, facing North, in the parking lot of the Elementary School.
We got out and hadn't walked very far when we looked up just above the tree tops over Columbia and saw an object, who's size was difficult to distinguish due to the distance, but it seemed very large. The bullet shaped object had lights around the outside that seemed to be moving towards the back all the time and had several lights shining down onto the field across the road and they moved like the spotlights move that they use for grand opening events, like on a swivel on the object. When I saw this thing, whatever it was I was instantly terrified. I mean really terrified! I've traveled all over the world now doing all sorts of very dangerous things, from climbing without protection in the Alps and whitewater Kayaking. I've come close to death more than few times in my life, but I've never been this afraid before or since. I was shaking but put the camera to my eye and started snapping. We both started backing quietly into the blackness and towards the car.
I felt ready to bolt at any minute. (My husband told me later he had the identical feeling before I had even told him and he's a great big tough guy!) I knew, as did he, they or it, or whatever somehow knew we were there watching. What a creepy feeling it was. Anyway, as we backed up, the bullet shaped object suddenly shot off to the west and disappeared, not just faded by literally disappeared! Now my Dad was a college professor and he taught his children to be clear-thinking, honest and critical of all things not explainable by science. I'm sure there's a logical explanation for all this, even if it's not something we really know about yet. The newspaper wanted to talk to my husband and I separately about the "sighting" and we agreed and came up with the identical "story". I gave the newspaper my roll of film but they said the pictures were too underexposed and they were mostly black when I got them back. I just wish I had thought about having the film exposed at a specialty studio or somewhere that could have underexposed the film a little. Who knows? I read a story earlier about some people who mysteriously "forgot" the incident. If it hadn't been for the newspaper article and having to write things down, I'm sure we would have forgotten also. We have to talk about it now and then to keep it from fading from our memory also. I'll look through the Columbia Daily Tribune archive and see if I can come up with the article.
Thank you to the eyewitness for an amazing sighting report.
Brian Vike, Director HBCC UFO Research.
I can speculate there may have been more witnesses who decided not to report such an object. People are still ridiculed for reporting unknown phenomena. The four witnesses had nothing to gain and have asked to remain anonymous, which means they are not in it for attention.
Thank you for this case.