MY PERSONAL U.F.O. EXPERIENCES
August 1967 - 31 December 2000
have had in my life, four sightings of U.F.O.s, and one case of hearing
a U.F.O. I will relate these events, as I remember each one, in chronological
order. We will start with my earliest experience.
My first U.F.O. experience was in August 1967. My family were visiting our relations in Grand Ledge, Michigan. I was, and am an avid amateur astronomer. There were about nine of us in my Uncle's badk yard (back garden), in early evening. I was setting up my Tasco 4.5 inch reflector telescope for the purpose of exhibiting the wonders of the summer night sky to my relatives.
As I was aiming the telescope, using the finder, I heard a very odd sound pass rapidly overhead. At the same moment, my cousin shouted out....."Did you see THAT?!" By the time I could raise my head to peer upward, there was no longer anything to be seen. My parents, and the other adults present, were unwilling to accept my cousin's description of a "glowing banana, flying sideways". They found this too wild, and wrote it off as a "kids' story".
Due to the strange sound I heard for myself, and my then two years reading on the U.F.O. subject, I believed my cousin saw something strange that night. My cousin was 17 years old at the time (three years older than me), and not a little kid. I do not believe he would lie to his own family about such a thing. As an aside, the topic of U.F.O.s had not come up amongst the group until AFTER the sighting.
As I halted for the stop sign at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Grant Avenue, I noticed motion to the south out of the corner of my eye. On closer inspection, I could see that there was an object moving at tremendous speed from east to west across the southern sky. It was absolutely round, and absolutely shiny, as if it were a flying ball bearing. This object was traveling horizontally, and about 30 degrees above the sourthern horizon. It was also at some distance, as I could see that there was some atmospheric hazing between myself and the object. This thing was moving so fast that it was lost in the rays of the westering sun in a matter of no more than ten seconds. The wind that day was from the west, off the ocean, so the object could NOT have been a balloon, since such could never have made headway against the wind. I am unaware of any other metallic appearing Earth based phenomenon with the aspect of this object. In my opinion, this was genuine U.F.O.
I heard a plane passing above, and being a lifelong aviation enthusiast, I just had to look up out of sheer habit. I never miss an opportunity to see an airplane. This plane was a Boeing 747, which had just taken off from SFO (San Francisco International Airport) just across the bay from where we were in Hayward. The jet was not very high up, and straining to gain altitude. I would estimate it's altitude at no more than 5000 feet, and 70 to 75 degrees above the northern horizon. The plane was heading east in the direction of the Oakland Hills. What made this plane unusual, was that there was a small white cigar shaped object following it. This object had a strange appearance in that one couldn't fucus sharply on it, while the jet liner was crystal clear. The thing had no visible windows, wings, or means of propulsion. It was about 1/3 the length of the Boeing, and about the same distance off the tail of the jet. I naturally asked the salesman if he was seeing this, and he said "yes, what IS that??" As we watched this apparition together, we began to speculate as to the nature of this thing. We had come to the reasonable conclusion that it must be something entangled with the tail of the airplane, such as a tarp or windsock, and was dragging along behind the 747.
At this precise moment, the little white cigar zipped UNDER the belly of the plane in less than a second, taking station about 75 feet, or so, off the nose of the aircraft. We were both quite dumbfounded at this development! We literally couldn't believe our eyes! We both asked each other..."Did you see that??"...at the same time!
At this point, there is no chance that the flight deck crew of the liner could have missed the object smack dab in front of their windscreen. There was no further talk of a tarp caught on the tail of the jet, we both KNEW we were observing a real U.F.O.! After about ten seconds of pacing the airliner off it's nose, the object departed to the east in a blur. It was as if it accelerated to the speed of a bullet in a fraction of a second. We never saw this object again.
A further part of the story is that two of my co-workers at the margarine factory had seen the same incident while having a bar-be-que in their back yard (back garden). I found out about this second pair of eyewitnesses two days after the event, when I returned to work after the New Year Holiday. My two friends were talking about what they had seen, in the locker room on the morning of 2 January 1975. So I know that the incident was seen by at least four people simultaneously.
I scoured the news papers, and TV news broadcasts, for several days after the event. However, there was never one word about it in the media. I have to wonder what the flight crew must have seen that day. I'd love to hear their description of the occurence.
My friend and I were just chatting, when we noticed a VERY bright light to our east, at about 45 degrees above the horizon. It was lazily moving just above the top of a large cloud formation. It was so bright that it hurt our eyes to start at it. Just as it would be painful to stare at car headlamps when on the "Bright" setting from very close up. We watched this light move slowly from north to south for about five or six minutes. The wind was out of the south that day, so a balloon seems highly unlikely.
Then, the object entered a towering fat cumulus cloud, and.....reversed itself, coming back out exactly where it had first entered!! The object repeated this maneuver four or five times!! This was so unexpected, and happened so fast, that I didn't conciously think to count the cycles. Finally, the object entered the cloud one last time, and failed to return.
I felt sure it would reappear on the other side of the cloud toward the south. I rushed home to fetch my binoculars for a better look. My friend kept watch on the cloud until I came back with my field glasses, but the light never came back. I don't know what this light was, but have never seen ything like it in 45 years of skywatching.
must add that some months after this incident, I saw some video footage
from Mexico. In this footage, a U.F.O. performed the same antics (moving
back and forth into a cloud) that my friend and I witnessed in
the spring of 1998.
On this night, however, I saw more than I expected. I watched a jet airliner climb out of Sacramento International Airport, which is located about 8 miles to my northwest. The sky was dark, and clear. As the jet disappeared into the distance, motion to my north caught my eye. Whan I looked in that direction, I saw three pinpoints of light, moving at great speed in a loose triangle formation from west to east about 20 degrees above the northern horizon. These objects were bobbing up and down, independent of each other, as they proceeded. They were not airplanes, nor meteors. There was no wind, so balloons moving at hundreds of miles per hour is out of the question. Besides, the sun was long gone, so balloons would not have been visible. This entire event took no more than five seconds total. These things were fast!! They were gone long before I could summon my wife and children to witness the incident with me.
I swear by almighty God that the above described events are the truth.
© 2000 JEFF CHALLENDER
Jeff Challender's subsequent U.F.O. sightings can be seen here:
Jeff has now had a total of 8 personal U.F.O. encounters as of 31 August 2004.