Ann Arbor vs. the Flying Saucers
The Great Michigan UFO Chase!
On March 14th of 1966, the lives of hundreds of people in Southeast Michigan collided with the paranormal, when seven eyewitnesses reported an unidentified flying object maneuvering over Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Ordinarily, these reports might have been dismissed by officials as the work of cranks. But this time, the seven witnesses WERE officials — police officers from the two counties.
These stories were backed up by more than 100 additional witnesses, including a civil defense director, and dozens of students who watched the football-shaped object for four hours as it maneuvered near the University of Michigan campus, a nearby airport and a local swamp. In the following week or so there were numerous additional sightings, many reported by equally credible witnesses.
At the time, the U.S. Air Force actively investigated UFO reports in a program called “Project Blue Book”. On March 23rd the Project’s chief scientific consultant, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, was dispatched to Michigan to seek an explanation for the strange phenomena, and hopefully quiet the situation which had reached a state of near panic. Following a whirlwind probe, on March 25th, Hynek offered an explanation for some of the sightings as nothing more than “Swamp Gas.” A concept which was widely ridiculed by the national press.
The “Swamp Gas” UFO sightings and their aftermath ignited a worldwide sensation, and played a pivotal role in how unidentified flying objects would in future be investigated and discussed. Yet most accounts of these events are inaccurate, and much of what happened 50 years ago is not understood.
Using little-known materials from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, and recent work of other investigators, our guest speaker Bill Murphy will discuss the wider spate of UFO sightings of March 1966, examine then-House Minority Leader Gerald Ford’s role in the Swamp Gas aftermath, and probe the larger issues of government suppression of UFO knowledge and the importance of the fact that UFOs, whatever they actually are, do exist.
Bill Murphy is a Board Member of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, and was co-State Director of the Michigan Mutual UFO Network. He has an MA in History from Michigan State University, studied Ancient History at the University of Michigan, and taught at the college level concurrently with a 35-year career in the automotive industry. He holds four certifications from the American Society for Quality.
Join us on Saturday, October 15th for an excursion into the unknown and controversial. Doors open at 7pm. The program begins at 8pm.
WHEN: Saturday, September 17, 2016
6:00 pm: The ExComm business meeting begins. All members are welcome to attend.
7:00 pm: Mingling begins.
8:00 pm: Program starts.
ADMISSION (Exact change appreciated)
Adult members: $4, Adult guests: $5; Children 13 and under: $3
Members receive free admission in the month of their birthday
LOCATION: Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church