UFO sightings appear and disappear in the Erie County region
What better way to celebrate World UFO Day than with memories of a few UFOs and wannabes in and around Erie County.
We’ll start with the big one. I’m one of the many Baby Boomers who remembers a “saucer” sighting at Presque Isle State Park on July 31, 1966. Fifty years later in 2016, Sarah Grabski wrote a story for GoErie.com that reiterated the ‘Saucer’ sighting probed at Presque Isle story that appeared in the Erie Daily Times on Aug. 1, 1966. It detailed that more than a dozen people swear they saw an object land on the beach. Additional reports included sightings of an animal, a very large animal, that scratched a vehicle.
Here’s a snippet from the article: “Peninsula police this morning found numerous imprints in the sand in the Beach Six area, only 10 hours after a Jamestown, N.Y., girl was left hysterical after seeing something settle to earth 300 yards from the car in which she was sitting.”
The girl was identified in the 2016 article as Betty Jean Klem who said the craft also had a beam of light that lit up the area. Grabski’s article noted that “police found impressions in the sand about 18 inches wide and six to eight inches deep that were around 300 to 400 yards from where the car was parked.”
The following day’s headline was “Air Force Launches Probe of Erie UFO” in the Erie Morning News on Aug. 2, 1966. Erie’s History and Memorabilia Facebook page includes a video that summarizes the event.
Flying saucer wannabes
Fascination with flying saucers has some regional roots in wannabes, as well. If you traveled Route 20 near Ashtabula for decades prior to 1999, you might remember a flying saucer service station that was built in 1966. It was a landmark and the idea man behind it, Ray Keyes, was an inventor and a builder. He had hoped it would become a museum item once he closed the station, but an article in the Ashtabula Star Beacon in 2006 says the landmark didn’t make it to museum status with the headline “’Flying Saucer’ crashes.” There’s a YouTube video that gives you a glimpse of it here.
Closer to home, if you’re searching for a flying saucer wannabe, look no further than the new Harborcreek Sewer Authority pumping station. As you can see from this photo taken by Jane Galbreath Cowell, it looks like a spaceship landed in the area.