By Jim Miles
UFO mania next reached high gear in Savannah. On the night of September 5 William and Mary Fisher on Chatham Street saw three brightly-lighted Savannah UFOs. The first was spotted around 11 p.m., then the second arrived and “rendezvoused” with the first. The original object shot straight up like a shooting star in reverse. The Fisher’s third UFO appeared and consorted with the second object before those two moved off together. The silent objects were in sight for an hour.
Around 10 p.m. on September 6 a UFO, witnessed by many, including city officials, crashed into the ocean off Tybee Island. Three witnesses in a parking lot on 16th Street saw the object land a quarter mile off the beach. The UFO “was bigger than a breadbox,” one said, made a “whooshing noise” as it flew overhead, and was bright enough to cast shadows. Acting chief of the Thunderbolt Police Department, Michael K. Deal, was sitting in his patrol car in a parking lot on Tybee Road at 9:40 when he and a passerby saw a UFO with a light which was “greenish with a slight orange tint.” It remained in sight for at least six seconds. “Long enough to get on the radio and back off and still be watching it,” Deal said, before it was lost to sight behind trees to the east. “It made an arc toward Savannah Beach. I’ve seen shooting stars and this didn’t drop. It made a definite pattern toward the beach.” Savannah Beach Mayor Allen Hendrix and various other government workers also witnessed the passage of the object.
At the same time, Savannah Beach Patrolman Mike Kelly and recruit Jim Brown were on U.S. 80 on Tybee Island “when all of a sudden we saw this big light in the sky.” Startled, Kelly brought his prowl car to “a screeching halt” to observe the object which initially had “a reddish tint, but it changed almost immediately to a bright green.” As they watched they heard Deal report the same object on the police radio. Kelly and Brown believed the object crashed into the Atlantic Ocean a mile off 16th Street. “Just before it hit it turned a bright white,” Kelly said.
“I’ve seen falling stars before,” said a Thunderbolt resident who witnessed the incident, “but I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Not only did the Coast Guard station on Tybee Island receive half a dozen UFO reports that night, a spokesperson revealed: “We saw some lights up here ourselves.” However, they took no action, even when one UFO became aquatic.
Late on the night of September 7 sightings were reported by a dozen residents of southern Savannah who saw “bright yellow” UFOs hover over the city for three hours.
UFOs Assault the Military
Night four of UFO action over Savannah escalated spectacularly.
In the early morning darkness of September 8, two military policemen patrolled Hunter Army Airfield, adjacent to the Forest River-Armstrong State College area in Savannah. Specialist 4 Bart J. Burns and Specialist 4 Randy Shade were driving along the perimeter road near Cobra Hall at 2:30 a.m. when they spotted an unidentified object in the sky which had “quickly flashing lights.” It was “traveling at a high rate of speed from east to west about 2,000 feet above ground level,” according to a report they filed immediately after the experience.
The mystified MPs continued their rounds. Ten minutes later they were adjacent to Montgomery Crossroads, near the 702nd Radar Squadron building, an ammunition dump, and the base golf course when the same UFO “came in at treetop level and made a dive,” Burns’ official report stated. It passed just above the blue lights on top of their car. This aggressive move caused the soldiers to duck and forced the patrol car to leave the road and enter a ditch. Meanwhile, in the city, Chatham County police officers saw the same UFO dive over the base.
The MPs required fifteen minutes to extricate their vehicle from the ditch, a harrowing time while the UFO hovered only 200 yards in front of them, blue, white, and amber lights “flashing brilliantly.” After they regained the pavement and headed for headquarters, the object paced them, remaining fifty to 100 feet away until they neared their office, when it flew away.
Because the Pentagon has “no normal channels for a communication of this type,” stated Lieutenant David Anderson, a Hunter-Fort Stewart public information officer, he directed the MPs to report the incident on forms used for reporting accidents.
Half an hour before the sighting, at 1:40 a.m., Marcus Holland, executive sports editor of the Savannah News-Press, was exiting Interstate-16 onto Lynes Parkway when he observed a UFO with red, green, and white lights which raced across the sky. It resembled a baseball and was a bit larger than a star-a very active star.
“I was traveling at 70 miles per hour and it outran my car like it was tied to a post,” Holland reported. The lights blinked off and on and the UFO seemed to circle the city. The newsman turned off the highway to follow the light and saw it fly across Hunter Air Field.
“I called the county police when I got home and they said they had five cars watching it,” he stated.
Mrs. Dick Halliard was one of a dozen residents of Mayfair who observed a UFO, twice the size of the North Star and colored a bright yellow, maneuver over Lake Mayer for two hours. When she first sighted it at 10:30 p.m., she thought she heard a motor. The object had a “tail” which appeared whenever the UFO moved.
In Meldrim, a loud “thud” startled Mrs. Miriam Tolver and her daughter Davey and shook their house for a full minute. They ran outside to investigate and spotted a large UFO hovering 200 feet away from their house. It had a large orange searchlight mounted on top, with smaller blue lights, and even smaller orange lights circling the searchlight. The remainder of the craft was brown colored. During the three-minute observation, the UFO moved west toward Bryan County, then circled back toward Savannah.
Several hours later, Corporal John Kitchell of the Savannah Police Department was dispatched to investigate a UFO report. He spotted a large circular craft with “a large spotlight which changed color from red to green” and had smaller blue flashing lights.
A bureaucratic haze soon engulfed the MP sighting. One MP amended his report and denied that their car had entered a ditch. Then a duty officer deleted the part about the vehicle leaving the pavement at all. Burns, who had been quite cooperative with the press, had promised early Sunday to tell the “whole story” to a reporter. However, he failed to keep a scheduled appointment Sunday afternoon. Contacted early Monday, September 10, Burns revealed that he had been instructed not to discuss the encounter. “I’m afraid we aren’t allowed to say anything,” he said, referring all questions to the duty offer.
A spokesman acknowledged that the “situation has changed,” but was “not at liberty to say” what the change was or why the MPs had been forbidden to speak with the press about the incident. Later that day the MPs were given permission to talk openly with the press, but they could not be reached. Burns and Shade had been given three days leave, and there the matter ended.
The UFOs ignored the controversy and continued to descend on Savannah for the fifth straight night, Sunday, September 9. This night hundreds observed UFOs, even entire neighborhoods. By ten p.m. the Savannah police department had logged over fifty telephoned UFO sightings. Police responded to nineteen, and half a dozen officers radioed in personal observations. The UFOs were generally described as large, bright objects primarily colored red but changing to blue and green. They had tails and traveled at low altitudes.
UFO High Strangness
An incident involving high strangeness emerged when four callers informed authorities that a craft had landed in Laurel Grove Cemetery, doused its lights, and disembarked “ten big, black, hairy dogs,” which then raced through the grounds. This might be dismissed as a hoax, except “big, black, hairy dogs” have a long and storied history in paranormal circles.
In Emanuel County farmer Raymond Williamson of Oak Park watched four UFOs fly over his house at ten p.m., apparently bound for Savannah, but he took it in stride. “They’ve been landing in the pasture near my house for the past six years,” he stated. The ships were “about the size of a camper shell attached to the back of a pickup truck,” Williamson said. Their “bright yellow glow” disappeared after they landed, which occurred every two or three days. When departing, the ships rose to an altitude of 400 feet, then disappeared straight up at a great rate of speed. They seemed to land whenever cattle were in the pasture, although no bovines turned up mutilated or impregnated with alien embryos.
On September 10 two Savannah patrolman and a county police lieutenant first spotted an aerial curiosity over Largo Drive and tracked it down Abercorn Extension and Middleground Road. Many others also observed it.
This was the third consecutive night that Mrs. Dick Halliard and her neighbors had watched a colorful UFO in the sky over Queensbury Street. Chatham County Patrolman Paul C. Lupica was dispatched to the area and spotted two UFOs through binoculars. The bright objects changed colors from blue to red, green, and white.
At Manchester Apartments Paula Mote and a friend observed a rapidly spinning object that changed color from red, to blue, and white.
In Meldrim Lake Acres Carolyn Nobles reported a “bright red, round, very large object about 250 feet above her house.” Blinking red lights were on top and a tail trailed behind. Ms. Nobles watched the phenomena for twenty minutes before it raced away. In the same neighborhood, Mrs. Romie Myers had seen a saucer-shaped object with a tail change color from red to white for the past three weeks.
Guy B. Collier of Wilmington Island apparently saw the same thing. “It has a tail coming off the back,” he said, “and it looks like a fin on top of it.” From an initial high altitude, the UFO descended to within 100 feet of the ground.
In Tatumville, near Hunter Army Air Field, Miss Willie Ann London and other residents had seen the UFO that buzzed the MPs two nights earlier. On this night they and others had seen an object which changed colors while hovering above the trees.
Also in Tatumville, Mrs. Shirley Butler revealed that she and twenty neighbors had observed a UFO that circled the area for ten minutes. It blinked on and off, then dipped down to ground level and ascended again before leaving in the direction of Hunter. Despite cloudy skies and intermittent rain, UFOs returned to Chatham skies on Tuesday, September 11. County police received reports from Halcyon Bluff, Kingsway, Whitfield Avenue, and Queensbury Street.
At 8:50 p.m. Nancy Love of Kingsway Street saw “a red flashing light” north of her house over the Lake Mayer-Mayfair area. It blinked, but not constantly, for five minutes before it disappeared. It returned at 9:35 and climbed into view beyond the tree line and hovered before again disappearing a few minutes later.
Near Waters Avenue Penny Black and neighbors witnessed a red, football sized object hovering in the sky over her house. Their attention had been drawn by a noise “like something brushing across the trees.”
In Williamsburg, Eddie Chapman saw an object “about the size of a very large star” as it moved slowly from east to west near Memorial Stadium at 9:20. Before it disappeared he saw an orange glow and three separate orange spotlights.
Ronald Sumner saw a similar object over Lake Mayer from the Kingsland neighborhood. At nine p.m. near DeRenne and Waters avenues, Robert Epstein spotted what he thought was a red flare which zigzagged and “blinked a couple of times.” At 8:50 near Greenview, Earl Berman and John Sussman saw the same thing for five minutes before it disappeared into the clouds.
On September 24 half a dozen reports of UFOs were received from southern Chatham County, police reported. William H. Whitten, a News-Press reporter, saw an object with blinking red, green, and white lights near Thunderbolt at 10:35 p.m. It hovered above a radio transmitter on Oatland Island and alternately grew brighter, then dimmed. Several people spotted a UFO over Thunderbolt Bluff that was stationary for a time, then ascended and flew off. Other residents of Larchmont Estates and around Savannah Speedway saw a bright red ball of fire. Red objects were also reported from Port Wentworth and Lake Mayer. From Bacon Park came a sighting of two “real bright” orange and white colored objects the size of baseballs.
The UFO Savannah show closed and moved elsewhere for its next feature.
From Weird Georgia, with subsequent additional research.
Jim Miles is the author of two Weird Georgia books, seven books about Georgia ghosts and eight books about the Civil War. To see all of his books go to the Jim Miles Author Page on Amazon. Order autographed books or contact Jim directly at firstname.lastname@example.org