Close Encounters of the First Kind: 1950-1980

During the mid-1900s, witnesses claimed to have seen anything from red glowing lights to being involved in a police chase with UFOs. In this article, we will explore how some of the Close Encounters of the First Kind accounts after the mid-20th century made headlines in local newspapers and called attention to the subject of unidentified flying objects and other odd astronomical occurrences.


In 1953, the Ellswoth UFO Case was born. In Bismarck, North Dakota, it was believed that a red glowing light was seen by at least 45 people, who reported the sight over the course of two nights on August 5th and August 6th. The next year, France was flooded with hundreds of reports that dealt with unexplainable sightings in the sky.


During the 1960s, a case that became known as the Exeter Incident took place. Situated in Exeter, New Hampshire, the tale begins with the accounts of a teenager, as well as two officers of the law. A UFO was the sighting in question, which became a significant report because it was supposedly seen at close range, where the object was visible within 500 feet.


Returning to the United States, Portage County became the sight of a wild UFO experience. It isn’t every day that you can admit that you spent your time chasing after a UFO. For a handful of police officers in the Ohio area, this is exactly what they claimed to have done for about 30 minutes. Between 1966 and 1967, Point Pleasant, West Virginia became the site of an assortment of strange sightings that was often thought to hold connections to one another. The incidents were so vivid and interesting that a movie was made from such accounts. “The Mothman Prophecies,” which starred Richard Gere, became an addition to the silver screen, which attempted to explore the experiences of residents in Point Pleasant.


Moving onto the 70s, the world began to offer more elaborate and distinct tales of unidentified flying objects. In Somerset County, a sheriff reported the sighting of a UFO. He declared that he saw the objects “hovering” around 15 feet from his cruiser. This particular experience took place during the night, where he caught a clear view of the UFOs because they had “fixed lights that were spinning.” He also described the objects as “huge” and “oval-shaped.” He did not liken the sighting to known aircraft, such as a jet fighter, but added that they possessed great speed.


In Salt Lake City, Utah, a rare UFO sighting during the daytime is said to have taken place with photographic evidence to boot. Tourists clicked away as they viewed the beautiful Utah city skyline and apparently captured the visions of what looked like bright, round objects that traveled over the city.

In 1978, an Australian pilot sent word to air traffic control that he had caught sight of a UFO , all before he disappeared, never to be seen again. Additional UFO sightings that occurred throughout the 1970s included an incident that took place on the Canary Islands, as well as the strange lights reported in Kaikoura, New Zealand.