UFOs over Colorado
Chapter One: Early Encounters
Chapter Two: Sightings 1960-1969
Chapter Three: Sightings 1970-1979
Chapter Four: Sightings 1980-1989
Chapter Five: Sightings 1990-1999
Chapter Six: Sightings 2000-2009
Chapter Seven: Landings and Humanoids
Chapter Eight: Onboard UFO Experiences
Chapter Nine: UFO Crashes
Chapter Ten: The Mutilations
Chapter Eleven: Current Encounters
Chapter Twelve: Take a Picture
Index of Place Names
“We have stacks of reports about Flying Saucers. We take them very seriously when you consider we have lost many men and planes trying to intercept them.”
--General Benjamin Chidlaw
(Ent AFB, Colorado, 1953)
“The mutilations are one of the greatest outrages in the history of the western cattle industry. It is important that we solve this mystery as soon as possible. The cattle industry is already hard hit from an economic point of view. From a human point of view, we cannot allow these mutilations to continue.”
--Colorado Governor Richard Lamm
“I am hopeful that, with the cooperation of local law enforcement officials, the CBI [Colorado Bureau of Investigation] will be able to learn who or what is behind the mutilations and put an end to the fears of rural Coloradans.”
--Colorado Senator Floyd Haskell
Humans have lived in the Colorado area for at least 13,000 years. Human artifacts dated 8710 BCE found in Larimer County show evidence of Native American settlements. The area that would eventually become the state of Colorado was inhabited initially by the ancient Pueblo people. Various other tribes also occupied the area, including Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Shoshone and Ute, some of who moved there in the 1800s to escape the growing European invasion on the eastern coast of newly forming United States.
In 1803, some of the Colorado area was bought with the Louisiana Purchase. The remaining area was purchased from Mexico in 1848. In 1876, exactly one hundred years after the United States was formed, Colorado achieved statehood.
With just over 104,000 square miles, Colorado is the eighth largest state. Due to the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau, it has the highest average elevation, with about 75% of the nation’s land over 10,000 feet. Its lowest point is about 3100 feet.
In 1860, the population was about 34,000. Thirty years later, in 1890, the population boomed to about 413,000. Population grew steadily since then, reaching over two million by 1970, three million by 1990, and in 2016, just over five million people. The state has a diversified economy, is rich in minerals with a large mineral belt stretching from Cortez to Boulder, and is a leader in tourism.
Colorado’s UFO history stretches back more than a hundred years and involves a dazzling variety of encounters. The entire gamut of the phenomenon is represented including sightings, landings, face-to-face encounters, onboard experiences, UFO crashes and more, including mysterious animal mutilations.
The Centennial state has produced several high-profile cases that have influenced the evolution of the UFO field.
In the Fall of 1949, a young college student by the name of Leo Sprinkle saw a UFO over the University of Colorado in Boulder, prompting an interest in the subject which would lead him to become one of the first academics to investigate UFOs, and the first researcher to use regressive hypnosis to investigate cases involving missing time.
In 1966, the Air Force contracted the University of Colorado to study the current UFO situation, leading to one of the biggest fiascos and widely criticized official government investigations in UFO history.
September 8, 1967, the shocking mutilation of “Snippy” the horse at an Alamosa ranch sent shockwaves across Colorado and the world. It was the first animal mutilation to gain widespread attention and connect the mutilations to the UFO phenomenon. The case was a foreboding sign of future events that would make Colorado one of the states hit hardest by the mutilations, with a wave involving hundreds of animal deaths in the mid-1970s, and continuing waves to the present day.
December 31, 1992, San Luis Valley-based researcher, Christopher O’Brien launched an official investigation into the San Luis Valley UFO, revealing the area to be the most active UFO area in the state, and one of the most active in the world.
January 12, 1994, a call from NORAD to the local police regarding an unexplained heat signature on Greenie Mountain which had been detected by satellite, revealed itself be to a complex UFO event involving multiple UFO reports, a possible crashed object, and an investigation that raised more questions than answers.
August 27, 1995, videotape footage taken by café-owner, Tim Edwards of a UFO over Salida made international news and became some of the best verified UFO footage on record.
September 21, 2001, retail manager Stan Romanek was abducted from his Denver home by gray-type extraterrestrials, beginning a series of intense encounters that would result in one of the best-documented alien encounter cases on record, including multiple eye-witness testimonies, photographs of UFOs and aliens, videotape, landing traces, medical evidence (including injuries and healings), implant evidence, government harassment and more.
These are just a few of the cases, representing the tip of the iceberg of UFO activity in Colorado. Like most states, the vast majority of UFO incidents have received little or no publicity.
Collected here for the first time is a comprehensive compilation of Colorado UFO encounters, both little known and well known, and some published here for the first time. The cases have been organized both topically and chronologically, starting with sightings then moving on to more extensive encounters such as face-to-face encounters with humanoids, UFO landings, onboard UFO experiences, UFO crashes and more.
The aliens have arrived! And the evidence is in the pages that follow.
Chapter One: Early Encounters
<text>It is difficult to pinpoint the first actual extraterrestrial encounter in the state of Colorado. Some of the earliest evidence of alien activity comes from the Native American population before Colorado had achieved statehood. Native American legends speak of “the ant people” or “sky people” who traveled in “flying baskets” or “flying seed pods,” moving to other star systems, or carrying people to safe caverns beneath in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The San Luis Valley was considered a sacred area for this reason, and warring tribes refused to fight there.
What Is it?
One of Colorado’s earliest recorded encounters occurred more than a hundred years ago, on September 7, 1917. According to the Salida Record, throughout the first week of September, numerous upstanding residents of Salida observed strange “vehicles of the air” on a nightly basis. The objects were seen very high in the sky, repeatedly appearing and disappearing, or hovering over Tenderfoot Mountain, over Mount Shavano and again in the northern sky.
Reverend and Mrs. Oakley used a telescope to observe the object, and saw what appeared to be a wheel with colored lights around it. Mr. and Mrs. F.C. Woody and their family, also observed the objects, as did C.F. Bode and his family, among other residents.
The article discounted the possibility that the object might have been an “aeroplane” as the description didn’t match. The article concluded: “is it then some genius who has discovered some new principle of flight, and is trying out his invention? It’s your guess. What is it?”
At this time, the idea of extraterrestrials had not fully entered the public consciousness. The residents of Salida apparently had no explanation for what they had seen.
A Disk-Shaped Object
Another early encounter occurred in April 1929. Hetty Pline was six years old when her father, Edward, came home and announced that something very strange had happened to him at the sawmill in Ward. Hetty’s father had been there to photograph the sawmill, he explained. Says Hetty, “As he was taking the photo, he described a ‘terrible thunderous bellow,’ and a large round thing as big as a very large boulder moved through the air above them. You can see it in the picture. None of the sawmill workers saw the thing in the photo, but they all heard the sound and felt the ground shudder.”
Hetty’s father showed his family the photo, which clearly showed a strange disk-shaped object in the air. Edward died a few years later. Hetty tried to research the incident but was unable to find any of the sawmill workers.
UFO activity over Colorado didn’t begin in earnest until the dawn of the Modern Age of UFOs in mid-1947. At that time, a massive super-wave swept across the United States and the world. From that year on, UFO activity remained very active.
May 19, 1947, a silver-colored UFO appeared over the Colorado desert in Manitou, hovered and performed a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including climbs and dives, reversing its course, circling the area, and then taking off against the wind over the horizon. Says Vallee, “These acrobatics are typical behavior…”
The witnesses watched the object for twenty minutes, during which its metallic surface repeatedly reflected the afternoon sunlight. They estimated the object was about 1000 feet high. The witnesses were interviewed by Air Force officers who concluded that the men had seen birds!
One month later, June 13, 1947, Kenneth Arnold would sight twelve disks over Mount Rainier in Washington State, causing a media firestorm and ushering in the Modern Age of UFOs.
Two Huge Silver Disks
As reported in the LA Times, May 21, 1950, rancher Felix Zanon (age 60), who owns a ranch five miles east of Montrose, told reporters that he sighted “a huge silver disk” hovering over the city during the early morning hours. Almost immediately, an identical disk joined it. The two of them flew to the east, through a cut in the Rocky Mountains at Cerro Summit, and moved out of view.
Circular and Metallic
April 27, 1950, seven witnesses across the town of Rangely, located in an oil basin, reported seeing an unusual object in the sky. A.W. Jay (the Continental Oil Company Superintendent), and his wife and daughter observed a glowing object “flash” across the sky.
At the same time, Ronnie Risdale and Carley Cook (both oil field workers) saw “a strange glow which seemed to hang in the sky.”
A third account of the event comes from Glen Holden and his wife who sighted the object from a distance of less than seventy-five feet. They said it was circular and appeared to be covered with “phosphorescent metallic paint.”
A Skyhook Balloon?
June 29, 1950, a high-altitude Marine pilot became puzzled by the strange object he was seeing over the skies of Denver. He knew that sky-hook balloons were used in stratospheric research, however, that was far away, in Little Falls, Minnesota. Was it possible that one of their balloons had drifted from there all the way to Denver, a distance of more than 900 miles? Also the object wasn’t moving, and remained stationary in the sky. Furthermore, the pilot was not the only witness. Civilian control tower operators at Stapleton Air Field also observed the object. They estimated that it was at an altitude of 45,000 feet, and confirmed that it hung motionless in the sky, despite an eastward wind of sixty MPH. Marine Colonel, T.V. Murto believed that the object was not a balloon as it could not have drifted that far.
The Arrival of Blue Book
The U.S. military had just begun their struggle to deal with the new high levels of UFO activity. One result was Project Blue Book, one of the Air Force’s early UFO study projects. The first Colorado case to be declared unexplained by Project Blue Book occurred September 20, 1950 in Kit Carson. At 10:49 a.m., a “reliable source” observed two large glowing objects which hovered in the sky for about one minute. Then three smaller objects were disgorged by one of the larger objects, at which point, all five objects sped upward and were gone. Investigators were baffled and declared it unidentified: case 807.
The second unexplained case from Blue Book occurred to Air Force pilot, Major C.K. Griffin over Colorado Springs. July 9, 1952 at 12:45 p.m., Griffin observed a glowing white object shaped like an airfoil. For the next twelve minutes it moved slowly and erratically, then finally disappeared. Blue Book officers investigated and, unable to find an answer, declared it unidentified, case 1405.
Nine days later, at around 2:45 a.m. on July 18, 1952, American Airlines pilot, Captain Paul L. Carpenter was approaching Denver at 17,000 feet, when he noticed a yellow light to the south. Earlier Captain James Smay had radioed and reported odd lights. The airfield in Denver warned Carpenter of the lights and told him that they had captured them on radar. Captain Carpenter observed what were apparently the same lights as they began to dart across the sky, covering large distances in second. No sooner had he seen the first light when he saw two more anomalous lights, followed by two more.
The lights appeared to dart sharply back and forth in an arc measuring thirty degrees. Carpenter estimated that the objects were over Colorado Springs, which meant they were moving at a speed of 3000 MPH. If they were further away, Carpenter pointed out, they would have been moving even faster.
Just over a month later, on the evening of August 29, 1952, pilot C.A. Magruder was flying over Colorado Springs when he saw three objects, each fifty feet in diameter and ten feet high, flying ahead of him. Each was moving at about 1500 mph and emitting a red-yellow trail of exhaust. Magruder watched them for four or five seconds. Blue Book officers were unable to identify the objects and declared it unidentified--case 2013.
The 1952 wave wasn’t over yet. One month later, on the afternoon of September 29, 1952, Air Force Sergeant B.R. Hughes sighted fix or six, bright, white objects which trailed each other, circling over the Aurora-Denver area. Blue Book officers were called in to investigate and declared it unidentified: case 2138.
An Unnerving Experience
While the military was busy investigating cases involving their own personnel, civilians were dealing with their own influx of cases. In 1953, a young college student spent the entire night studying with his friend and their teacher at a home in Colorado Springs. Just before sunrise, they ended their study session and exited the house. Looking up, they saw a giant blimp-like object hovering in complete silence about forty feet directly above the house. It was so large that it blocked out a large portion of the sky. They stared in shock for several seconds until it disappeared. The college student later told his daughter about the encounter, who said, “He could not give an explanation how this huge UFO disappeared, but said it was the most unnerving experience he ever had. He later speculated that the UFO either cloaked itself or maybe shifted into another dimension as he did not see it move before it disappeared.”
Ranch Family Encounter
In 1953, a ranch family from Estes Park were retiring for their evening in their home when the son (age fourteen) began to scream in his bedroom for everyone to come. His family ran into his room to see “an extremely bright white light coming through his bedroom window from an aircraft floating above the tall pine trees.”
The sister, age nine, remembers the event vividly. “It came from a ship, for want of a better word, that looked like the fuselage of large airplane, but there were no wings.”
The family stared at the object, which remained still and silent, until suddenly darting quickly upwards. It began to glow, and then moved toward Twin Sisters Mountain and the Boulder/Denver area.
The brother remembers the incident and learned later that the object was viewed by others. Employees at the Twin Sisters fire lookout station saw it. The Rocky Mountain News reported that the object moved over Denver, and the Air Force sent planes after it.
The mother called the police who told her, “Don’t tell anyone what you saw.”
The family later discovered that their neighbor had also seen the same object while driving her daughter home from a school dance.
State Senator Sees UFO
There is a long list of highly-placed government officials who have seen UFOs. November 25, 1955, Colorado State Senator S.T. Taylor observed a dirigible-shaped object over La Veta. The object glowed blue-green, and a had a jelly-like appearance. He estimated it was moving about half-the speed of a shooting star, and appeared to be at about 15,000 feet elevation. It dived overhead at a forty-five-degree angle, leveled off and moved upward at a thirty-degree angle and off over Mount Mestas. Senator Taylor estimates it was in view for about five seconds. It made no sound and had no exhaust. Senator Taylor reported his case to the FBI and to Blue Book, who was unable to identify it and declared it unexplained: case 3869.
Ground Observer Corps Sees UFOs
In early May 1956, members of the Pueblo Ground Observer Corps stationed at the local courthouse observed what they believe were UFOs. The objects where spherical, glowed white with flashing lights on them and moved at very rapid speeds. The objects first appeared May 1, 1956, and continued for six successive nights. As the reports piled in, Sergeant Gilbert Nelson, a member of the intelligence squadron, was sent to Pueblo to investigate.
Nelson himself became a witness, and reported his observation of six objects. “They were dull, more or less fluorescent glows, faint but bright enough to see,” he said. “Most of them were triangular in shape, but one was round and brighter than the rest.” Each object moved so quickly across the sky, that they remained in view for only about six seconds.
Despite Nelson’s confirmation of the reports from the Ground Observer Corps (trained observers), Colonel John M. White, commanding officer of the 4602 Air Intelligence Service Squadron at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs issued the following statement regarding the witnesses: “They saw nothing other than ordinary celestial activity.”
“I Was Delighted”
June 1956, a gentleman from Denver stopped at a stop sign, looked up and saw “a huge egg-shaped-like cloud-thing” zooming upward across the sky at about 1000 feet elevation. The object was silent and about 500 feet wide. The witness caught the attention of the people in the car next to him, who also observed the object. In a few seconds, it had traversed the sky. Shortly later, two jets appeared in apparent pursuit of the object. Says the witness: “I thought it was a UFO…I didn’t feel threatened by it. I was delighted that I had observed this strange phenomenon.”
Paperboys See UFO
Early one morning in the fall of 1956, John DeHerrera (age sixteen) and his brother were delivering the Valley Courier newspaper to local residents along Highway 160 in Alamosa when it happened: an egg-shaped object came into view, flying below treetop level. It was moving in a straight line toward the west.
The teenagers pulled their pickup truck off the road and stopped to observe. Right when they stopped, the object changed directions, veered toward them and moved directly overhead. “There were no windows on it, no airfoils, no nothing,” said DeHerrera.
Other than the object itself, the only other detail was a flaming tail. “It was amazing,” explained DeHerrera. “It was almost like an electrical flame.”
The object then zipped off at an incredible speed. The witnesses were shocked and impressed. They later discovered that many residents saw the same object over Highway 160, stretching from Alamosa up to Walsenburg.
Years later, DeHerrera still felt the repercussions of his sighting. In an effort to discover what he might have seen, he joined MUFON and became a field investigator.
Air Force Navigator Sighting
“I have a Bachelor of Science degree in general engineering and numerous post grad courses. I have been an Air Force navigator, private pilot and engineer among other things. I would prefer that my name be kept out of this…”
In July 1957, “Kenneth” (not his real name) was at Lowry Air Force Base training to be an Air Force navigator. One evening while training with a “bubble sextant” that mimics an airplane cockpit, he observed what he first thought was a star. To his shock, the “star” began to move. Says Kenneth, “I took my eye from the eyepiece and watched the ‘star’ moving to the right and slightly downward in relation to the other stars.”
He pointed it out to other cadets, but they were busy with their own training. Says Kenneth: “I watched the ‘star’ continuing to move for a distance of about ten degrees across the sky--perhaps it was less--and then it stopped and just stayed in place with the other stars once more.”
Many other similar cases have been reported of UFOs mimicking stars.
Blue Book Returns
July 27, 1957, J.L. Siverly observed a very strange-looking object hovering over a hilltop in Longmont. The disk was “ice blue” with a thick center. The top was honeycombed with interconnecting hexagons. The middle section had a scalloped appearance, and the bottom of the craft had four kidney-shaped forms. Siverly watched the object for ten minutes as it hovered and rocked at hilltop level. Blue Book officers were called in to investigate but could not identify the object, and declared it unidentified, case 4841.
Five months later, another case caught the attention of Project Blue Book. Early in the evening of December 17, 1957, seventeen-year-old F.G. Hickman observed a round object over his home in Fruita, near Grand Junction. He watched the object for forty-five minutes as it flashed yellow, white, green and red. It had a tail twice the size of its body. At one point, it stopped its movement, then reversed its course. Blue Book officers declared it unidentified, case 5559.
November 18, 1957, a cement-worker from New Mexico was driving near Fort Carson when he saw a bright object rising from the horizon. He first thought it was the moon until it began to ascend quickly. Realizing he was seeing something unusual, the cement-worker stopped his truck and stepped outside on his running board. “In about a minute,” he says, “it was passing overhead, and never made a sound. But I could tell it was moving along…I don’t know how high it was, but it was big.”
The object arced overhead and descended on the other side of the horizon. It moved so quickly, the witness braced for an explosion, but none came. “Whatever this thing was,” says the witness, “it made the hair stand up on the back of my neck like I never felt before or since.”
Only nine cases in Colorado were designated unexplained by Project Blue Book, including the following. At 10:46 a.m., on June 14, 1958, airport weather observer and meteorologist for the US Weather Bureau, Orville R. Foster was on duty at the MST Memorial Airport in Pueblo, was on duty observing a weather balloon through a theodolite. A theodolite is a telescope equipped with a device to measure the angles, allowing the observer to triangulate the observed object, and measure its speed.
As Foster tracked the balloon, a strange object entered the field of the lens. It was silver-white, Saturn-shaped, and tilted forward. He estimated that it was at least thirty feet in diameter moving about 500 mph. He watched it through the theodolite for five to ten minutes as it went from horizon to horizon. Foster says its shape was sharply defined and it was definitely not a balloon.
So closes the 1950s. During this time, numerous cases of landings, face-to-face encounters and onboard experiences were just beginning to occur. Again, these cases are covered in later chapters. Meanwhile, the following decades would bring new levels of activity