A businessman reported that his automobile had been stopped by an UFO he observed while driving alone in a rural area. The case was checked as a possible source of information regarding electromagnetic effects of UFOs. Comparison of the magnetic pattern of the automobile body with that of another car of similar make and model showed the businessman's car had not been exposed to a strong magnetic field. The case, therefore, apparently did not offer probative information regarding UFOs.
Background (as received from members of a NICAP affiliate) :
In Fall of 1967, a business executive was driving alone in a 1964 Chrysler convertible in a remote region of the South Pacific area, when at 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. his car stopped, the lights went out, and the radio went dead. He reported feeling strong pressure exerted from above, pressing down on his head and shoulders. He then saw, through a break in the fog in which he had been driving, an unidentified object that moved over his car and hovered over the highway ahead. It now lit up the roadway and area about him. The object was about 30 ft. in diameter, saucer-shaped, red-orange in color, and hazy in outline. Its altitude was estimated at 160 ft. The object had rotating lights, and wobbled as it moved and hovered. The witness viewed the object for about 90 sec. before it took off into the fog ahead. His headlights and radio then came back on, and he was able to re-start the car. It ran unevenly for a few seconds, sounding as if one or two cylinders were not firing. It then operated normally.
The witness was extremely frightened by the experience. He drove immediate1y to the nearest town, even though it was a short distance
off his route home. He said he had an urgent desire to be where there were other people. He met a milkman, and told him of the experience. No cafe was open, and the milkman directed him to another town, on the witness' original route, where he could get a cup of coffee. He stopped at the cafe and related his experience to a waitress there, who knew him.
He afterward decided, for business reasons, it should not become known that he had reported seeing an UFO, and he told his story to NICAP and project investigators only after firm assurances that he would not be identified.
Investigation by NICAP:
NICAP investigators checked the witness' car for evidence of unusual residual effects. They found the clock had stopped at 3:46 a.m., and was still stopped (the witness said the clock had been running O.K.). They found the paint loose and easy to rub off a spot on the hood, and a strange pitting in both paint and glass. A radiation check on the car showed beta-gamma readings of .01 to .02 mr/hr, which seemed slightly higher to them than readings similarly taken on another car owned by the witness. They felt also that stereotapes which were in the witness' car at the time of stoppage by the UFO had lost fidelity, particularly in the low notes. They also noted areas of unusual optical distortion in the back window as if it had been damaged by its exposure to UFO effects.
Investigation by Colorado Project:
The witness' description of his UFO experience was tape-recorded, and his car examined. The witness then drove the project investigator to the UFO site in the Chrysler and he re-enacted his experience of five days earlier.
The witness was an apparently successful businessman in his forties, seemingly proud of his achievements and particularly proud of his family. His story was basically as told earlier, except for
distance to the object and estimated size of the object. He now estimated the object as probably 55 ft. in diameter, and passing 50 or 75 ft. over his automobile. He still described it as a flowing orange-red object, with noticeable fluttering and rotation.
The automobile was a metallic-silver 1964 Chrysler convertible. The witness bought it as a used car in 1965.
Several areas were noted where the paint was extremely thin, particularly along body ridges and on an area about six by 12 in. on the left side of the hood. Pitting of the paint was evident in this and other areas of the hood. The pitting of the paint was fairly extensive; it appeared to the investigator to be the result of long-term corrosion. On the whole, the paint condition was not unusual for a four-year-old car. As for the thinness of paint, an automobile dealer has pointed out that it is not unusual to receive a car from the factory with a spot almost entirely missed in the painting operation.
The back window, which was said to have been only three months old, did exhibit areas of sharp distortion. Its appearance was almost identical with that of the back window in another 1964 Chrysler convertible that was examined later on a used car lot. Perhaps the witness' window was newer than the one with which it was compared; but it had been subjected to summer use in an area where temperatures of 120° or more are common.
No radioactivity above normal background was found on or in the car.
The clock was stopped at 3:46. The witness had not noticed the stopped clock until the NICAP representatives mentioned the significant agreement with the time of his UFO sighting. He was not certain the clock had been running the day before the UFO experience, but though it probably was. He was sure it "used to run." Since the automobile clock is spring driven, and only wound by electric current (it continues to run if the line to the battery is disconnected), electromagnetic effects which might conceivably stop cars and car radios would perhaps not be expected to stop such a clock.
The AM radio operated normally. The FM was not operative five days later, hut hummed loudly across the entire tuning range. The witness said he normally had good reception from several FM stations in this area. According to his story, he had tired of listening to recorded tapes and had switched on his radio (probably FM) shortly before the UFO sighting.
The project investigator was particularly concerned to determine whether the magnetic signature (characteristic magnetic pattern) of the Chrysler body had been altered as by subjection to a strong magnetic field. A Brunton pocket transit was used for a crude test for magnetic signature change. Readings were recorded for selected spot samplings of points on the hood, left fender, and trunk deck. These readings later were compared with readings at corresponding points on a 1964 Chrysler convertible in Boulder, Colo. The readings were as follows, for points indicated on the sketch (top views shown):
||||C|||||J||hood and left fender|||||||
|||||||N||<--chrome strips separating hood from fender-->|||||||
|front edge of trunk deck|
|Position||Car X||Car B||Position||Car X||Car B|
* When two numbers are shown, a very small variation in front-to-back distance gives markedly different compass readings.
** A visible dent was present in this area on car B. Magnet readings were sporadic around the dented area.
Note: The numbers given are raw transit readings taken with the car, in each case, headed at a magnetic bearing of 160°. The readings were taken by pointing the main transit sight to magnetic north, and reading the compass while holding it next to the car body at the designated point. Since the transit is designed to read the bearing of a sighted object, and the sight is aimed north in these measurements, the readings shown are the 360° complements of compass-needle bearings. Because comparative readings for two cars made the same year at the same factory were all that were of interest, the data were compared without correction.
Some points of sharp change in magnetic orientation may have displayed that change because of structure beneath the hood. However, the comparison car did show readings very similar to those of the witness' car throughout, including corresponding points of sharp change. Even with this crude check, it appears reasonably certain that his Chrysler had experienced no reorientation of its magnetic signature, as one might expect if the car had been subjected to a strong magnetic field.
NCAS Editors' Note: The "points of sharp change" referred to in the preceding paragraph were indicated in the original text by tiny arrow symbols inserted between row entries. These sharp changes are seen between points Q/R, Y/Z, and 10/11.
The milkman told the NICAP people that the witness had told him about the UFO about 3:30 or 3:45 a.m., on the date of the reported sighting. Both he and the cafe waitress said the witness was scared, but not intoxicated when they talked with him.
The witness claimed that his experience had made him both religious and a UFO believer. He was afraid to return to the site of his experience, and said he would avoid this area in the future. In attempting to re-enact his experience at the site, he experienced moments of apparent illness or dizziness, for which he apologized, and waited briefly to regain his composure. Three NICAP people and the Colorado investigator were with him when he returned to the site. When they suggested that they leave in the opposite direction for their return to the city, while he would return in his Chrysler to his home, he asked them to accompany him to the highway intersection 2.6 mi. away, as he did not want to be in the area alone
There are serious discrepancies in the witness' story. The most serious involves the distance and location of the object.
NICAP people previously had asked him to show how big the object appeared by indicating how much of a ruler held 24 in. away would have matched the diameter of the object. His response was 9.5 to 10 in. When describing the event to the CU investigator in his house, the witness said the object filled his whole windshield, and was 50 or 75 ft. away. During the reenactment at the site, he decided the object had not come directly overhead, but had come in from the right side, hovering over the road at a point he indicated by the positions of approaching cars and trucks. This point was measured to be 0.2 mi. away. He said the object was as wide as the road (33 ft.). At the indicated distance, such an object would subtend less than an inch on the ruler held 24 in. away. He was then asked to sketch on his windshield with a wax pencil the outline of the object as he had seen it. (His car was parked where he said it had been stopped.) He sketched a football shape four inches long. his eyes were 18 to 20 in. from the windshield while he sketched.
His description of the object was extremely vague.
The highway ahead at the point of reenactment was bearing about 110°. When he arrived with the investigators at the site, however, he was not sure which straight section of highway he had been on when he saw the UFO. He decided the 110° section must be it. Had he chosen the section on the other side of a curve just passed, the highway bearing would have been almost directly east.
Because of the vagueness of the witness' description of the "object," the wide inconsistencies in his estimates of its size and distance, the fact that no one else observed the alleged event, and the fact that the car body did not show evidence of exposure to strong magnetic fields, more detailed investigation of this event as a source of evidence related to the electromagnetic effect on automobiles did not seem warranted.