Still Searching For the Truth Out There

Picking up where I left off last week . . .

By the end of the 1950s, UFO sightings were beginning to wind down all over the country, but they never stopped completely.

In fact, the U. S. Air Force’s investigation of UFOs, Project Blue Book, wasn’t terminated until 1969.

Between 1947 and 1969, Project Blue Book managed to come up with explanations for 11,917 of 12,618 reported sightings (bright stars, balloons, satellites, comets, fireballs, aircraft, moving clouds, vapor trails, missiles, reflections, mirages, searchlights, birds, kites, “spurious radar indications,” fireworks, flares or marsh gas.)

That still leaves 701 unidentified cases.

You can actually examine Project Blue Book documents yourself now. They’ve been declassified and are in the National Archives where they can be viewed by the public.

(Nancy Massey pointed out that Project Blue Book is available through Ancestry’s Fold3 database. I’m not sure about other county libraries, but if you have a Hamilton East library card, you can access Fold3 for free.)

Getting back to Hamilton County . . . 

In 1973, a Home Place woman reported a UFO near 108th Street and Park Avenue. No description was given in the October 18 Noblesville Daily Ledger article, but it was noted that a similar object had been reported near Nora a short time earlier.

Late summer of 1981 saw another burst of UFO activity.

During August and September the phone lines of various law enforcement agencies from Grissom Air Force Base in Bunker Hill to Indianapolis lit up with reports of mysterious objects in the sky. (One night the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office received 93 calls!)

In most cases people described something with flashing or revolving red, green and white lights that either hovered overhead or moved very slowly, then disappeared. (“ . . . and we haven’t been drinking” one woman assured the Ledger.)

Two Carmel paramedics who wanted to remain anonymous reported seeing a cigar-shaped object the size of two city blocks around 1 a.m. one night.

That was similar to a Frankfort resident’s description of something resembling a building with flashing red, white and bluish-green lights.

These sightings were explained away by a local UFO consultant as either the star Capella or a hot air balloon. It’s worth noting, however, that only a couple of balloons in the country were registered for night flight at that time and neither was in Indiana.

In January, 1985, an elderly Noblesville woman reported a bright, round object with changing colors around its edge hovering over Lakeview Drive. Police wrote it off as an “evening star.”

The woman had a hard time swallowing that. “ . . . I’ve seen a lot of stars in my time, but none ever that large.”

I saw a UFO once, myself. I can’t remember exactly when, but it would have been during the last half of the 1960s.

My mother and I were riding bicycles after dark behind the high school (Ivy Tech now) when we spotted an odd, bright light low in the eastern sky.

It caught our attention because it was a steady white light rather than the flashing colored lights of an airplane. Like one of the UFOs I mentioned last week, it traveled a straight horizontal line for about 30 seconds, then abruptly disappeared.

There were no obstructions around to explain its disappearance. The sky was completely clear and full of stars (before we acquired all this light pollution, I could see the Milky Way from my backyard!,) and the only objects on the ground were State Road 37, the ABC Drive-In and a LOT of farmland.

Since the experience was more “Hmm, that’s interesting” than “Holy E. T., Batman!” we didn’t bother reporting it.

I wonder how many other sightings go unreported.

(Cue the X-Files theme.)

Thanks to Nancy Massey for additional research.

Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at