Normally referred to as the "Michigan Swamp Gas Case of 1966," this wave of sightings would be much more than just sighting reports. It would be a landmark case in the history of Ufology. For a period of 6-7 days, UFOs were observed by witnesses, and confirmed by radar
flying at incredible speeds, making unbelievable maneuvers, and at times hovering. This case would show the Air Force's attitude toward average American citizens, and expose a poor attempt at a cover-up.
UFOs Dive, Climb, & Hover:
Regarding the many reports made over Michigan during this time period, Washtenaw County deputies Bushroe and Foster stated:
"This is the strangest thing that [we] have ever witnessed. We would have not believed this story if we hadn't seen it with our own eyes. These objects could move at fantastic speeds, and make very sharp turns, dive and climb, and hover with great maneuverability. We have no idea what these objects were, or where they could have come from."
Four Objects in Straight Line:
Four Objects in Straight Line: One of the most amazing sightings was observed by law enforcement. On a midnight shift, Deputy Bushroe observed four UFOs, flying in a line formation for about an hour. He stated to the press:
"It would swing back and forth like a pendulum, then shoot upward at tremendous speed, hover and then come down just as fast."
Dexter police and Livingston County sheriffs confirmed the sighting, saying they saw the same objects engaging in the same maneuvers.
Two Top-Shaped Objects Seen:
On March 17, in Milan, Sgt. Nuel Schneider and Deputy David Fitzpatrick observed several top-shaped UFOs engaged in incredible aerial acrobatics. The objects would then hover, fall, and then rise again, seemingly defying gravity. Their lights would dim and brighten, relative to the speed of their moves. NICAP, which did extensive investigation into the Michigan flap, reported that often several UFOs would operate, or "play " together.
Object with Quilted Surface:
Not all of the Michigan sightings were of objects flying through the air. On March 20, in Dexter, Frank Mannor, his family, and dozens of other witnesses saw a "domed, oval-shaped object with a 'quilted' surface actually land in a nearby swamp. The object had lights in the center, and on each end. Two deputies, Fitzpatrick and McFadden arrived on the scene, and initiated a search to find the object with Manor.
Mannor, along with his son, followed the UFO into the bog, but as they grew nearer to it, it slowly rose up, moved right above their heads, and quickly disappeared into the night sky. Mannor made this report about the search:
"While in the woods area, a brilliant light was observed from the far edge of the woods, and upon [our] approaching, the light dimmed in brilliance... the brilliant light [then] again appeared, and then disappeared. A continued search of the area was conducted, through swamp and high grass, with negative results."
Object Buzzes Police Car:
The officers were witness to the UFO over the swamp, and they were shocked at the maneuverability of the UFO. One UFO had moved directly over where their flashlights were aimed, then lifted and departed at high speed in a westerly direction. As more officers were moving toward the scene of the landing, Officer Robert Hartwell of the Dexter division saw a UFO buzz his car.
"Swamp Gas" Explanation:
There were numerous sightings during the Michigan wave of 1966. The case itself is very memorable for another important event that occurred. Project Blue Book sent Dr. J. Allen Hynek
to investigate the sighting reports. At first, Hynek agreed that there was something going on in the Michigan skies. But after consulting with the Blue Book headquarters, he changed his mind, and said that the sightings were nothing more than "swamp gas."
Hynek Changes Mind:
Hynek would later change his attitude about UFOs, and ultimately, become one of the foremost and well-known UFO proponents ever. He would be credited with coining the phrase, "close encounters of the third kind," and was a consultant on the movie by the same name. He also had a cameo role in the film. Before his death, he created the CUFOS web site, which is still maintained today.