With UFO Searches Up, We’re Reminded of 1966 Wave of Sightings
There is no doubt about it, the interest in the "unidentified flying objects", that have been seen cruising over the United States, has triggered online search engines. Google Trends indicates a dramatic jump in the search term “UFO”, beginning February 12th-18th of 2023. On a scale of 0-100, the trend measured “100”.
Digging deeper into the stats, The search term measured “53” for the Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek area.
The recent trend in sightings brings to mind the wave of Michigan UFO sightings that brought the small town of Dexter into the limelight.
It was March 20th,1966 when Frank Manor was spending a quiet evening, with his wife and son, at their farm home Northwest of Dexter, Michigan. At around 8:30 PM, they began to see strange lights.
What at first seemed like a reddish falling star, the object came down at a 45-degree angle and paused above the tree tops. Then a blue and a white light came on.
It was at this time that Manor decided to call law enforcement. And law enforcement wasn’t surprised at the report. They had been observing the same object. In fact, various officers reported seeing objects throughout the area.
In Hillsdale, 64 miles Southwest of Dexter, college students reported objects near Hillsdale College.
As a 13-year-old kid back in 1966, with my face stuck in a Hardy Boy’s mystery book during most of my spare time, this report of strange objects in the heavens spurred my sleuthing instincts. The Hardy Boy’s Detective Manual didn’t cover U.F.O. sightings so I would have to delve into other reference materials, such as Fate Magazine.
It seemed apparent that Step #1 was to dish out a few bucks from my weekly allowance and join the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO), to become a valid UFO investigator (in my mind).
The weekends of ‘66 were spent camping out in the backyard of my buddy Jerry Knetsch, along with Mike Chapin and “Gopher” Pelton, two other chums who had chosen to help organize our own UFO club. Not one UFO was spotted during our hours gazing into the vast universe over Galesburg, Michigan.
During this time, I constructed a UFO Detector from a kit I purchased through the mail. It was highly recommended by many of the UFO magazines that began to fill the racks in the local newsstands.
The detector was probably less than $10 and included a 2ft. wooden dowel, a wooden base, a length of thin copper wire, a pendulum, a copper ring, and a 2ft cardboard tube. The all-important C-Cell battery-operated alarm was also included.
It was widely accepted that many UFOs often produce a magnetic effect when hovering nearby. By mounting the dowel to the wooden base, suspending the pendulum from the top of the dowel, then placing the cardboard tube over the contraption, any nearby UFO would surely trigger the alarm.
The magnetic waves would cause the pendulum to sway into the electrically charged copper ring that was wired to the alarm. The piercing tone of the alarm would alert unaware earthlings that the space brothers were in the vicinity.
My mother swore that the alarm did wake her on one of the weekends that I was on patrol in Jerry’s backyard. She failed to see any object, and I was bummed that I was at Jerry’s that weekend.
Unfortunately, a household disaster took toll on my vintage UFO Detector. A flood, due to a faulty sump pump in my parent’s basement, ravaged the fragile device. Hopefully the metal plate, placed in my forehead due to a Little League injury, will begin to vibrate in the event of a potential UFO encounter.