By Jim Delehanty
Asst. State Director- South
During early March of 1987 many reports of unusual nocturnal lights and even some objects were being seen by citizens in Corydon, Indiana and other areas throughout Harrison County.
An associate, Mike
Baker of New
Albany, and I
including a few in
counties of Floyd
and Clark. In the
year of 1987, there
was a definite "UFO
Wave" taking place
in southern Indiana.
This series outlines
some of the most
curious cases that
Bright Orange Light South of Corydon
March 4, 1987 11:15 PM Mauchport, Indiana
In this small community 13 miles south of Corydon a lady after feeding her dog noticed a bright light with an orange glow. Mauchport is situated on
the Ohio River with the huge Fort Knox military reservation not that far away on the Kentucky side of the river. The witness ruled out some sort of helicopter or fixed winged aircraft because there was no sound or blinking lights.
She stood outside her door and watched for several minutes and was completely perplexed as to what it could possibly be. She stated that it had a hat shaped or dome appearance to this most unusual object and it would hover with a slight jerky movement at times. The witness decided to phone her neighbor so they could have a look at it when she suddenly noticed a movement and ran back to the door. At that time, small lights came on around the object as it shot upward at a terrific rate of speed, leveled off, went north over a hill and was out of sight in seconds. The graphic shows the object which the witness estimated was only 300-500 feet above her at one time.
This lady had a responsible job for many years, retiring as Postmaster in Mauchport. Her credibility as a witness can not be questioned.
Orange Balls of Light (OBOLs) Above Corydon
The period of 9-23 March, 1987 provided several verified sightings of strange nocturnal lights near Corydon. The primary witness was Ms. M. Shawler who lived south east of Corydon. She reported the lights to the Harrison County Sheriff's Department and the investigating officer was Deputy Steve Hamm. As many as twelve different lights were seen just over the tree line the evening of March 9th and were visible off and on for four hours. These orange colored lights were first observed in the north east sky and would appear to go up and down, hover, spin, blink and glow.
The OBOLs continued to appear each night for a week. On March 17th at 11:30 PM, Ms. Shawler notified the Sheriff's Department again and Deputy Hamm was dispatched to the scene. For about two hours Deputy Hamm and Mrs. Shawler followed the lights in the police cruiser. There was no sound detected at any time and no electro-magnetic interference that was out of the ordinary.
MUFON investigators Delehanty and Baker went to the Shawler property on several nights to sky watch. During that time, the investigators noticed several lights, far away in the distance which they believed to be large commercial/UPS jets taking off and on a climb out of Standiford Field in Louisville. On one occasion investigator Baker did see some unexplained OBOLs when out looking on his own.
The many reports of these strange lights started getting a lot of attention from the local media. On March 23 investigators Baker and Delehanty met with Mr. Bill Weronka, a staff writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal. On this particular night, all involved persons including Deputy Hamm and Officer Dale Pullen began a watch vigil hoping to see these lights. At about 10:00 PM their efforts paid off as a large glowing light appeared above the trees some 400-500 yards away from their watch location. No shape was discernible. After a few minutes the glow began moving slowly back and forth along a horizontal plane, then up and down. It began dimming as it moved south and suddenly a companion orange glow appeared. They would both dim and glow in alternate patterns several times until they were gone. There was no sound heard at anytime, only the wind rushing through the trees interrupted the silence.
Investigators recorded that in reference to this sighting, Russel Hailey a supervisor with the Standiford Field Control tower in Louisville reported nothing unusual on radar and that there had been no night-time activity from Fort Knox that would cause such phenomena. Mr. Weronka's account of the strange Corydon lights that night appeared in the Courier-Journal on Sunday, March 28th, 1987.
Close Encounters on a Farm
Paul Hauswald, 14 was driving a tractor in a field on the family farm at about 10:30 PM in late April, 1987. The farm is located two mile east of Corlydon, Indiana on State Road 62. We interviewed this young man and his brother Chris who also witnessed an unusual object that spring night. Paul said he was on the tractor working in a corn and soybean field when he suddenly realized it got very bright and "I could see where I was going with no trouble. I could see the spreader and everything!" He looked up to see lights- blue, white and orange hovering above his tractor. The lights followed him up and down the last few rows, but he never stopped to stare or turn off the tractor. "I just wanted to get done and get out of there. Yeah, I was scared."
He drove the tractor back to the barn, a trip that took less than five minutes and began the job of refilling the spreader. About 20 minutes later, while still in the barn, he saw a saucer shaped object with different colored lights fly over the silo. It was all white on the bottom. It had five sides and looked to be bigger than a house. He estimated the UFO to be less than 200 feet above him.
After he turned the tractor lights on, the object accelerated out of sight. No sound was heard and there was no electro-magnetic effect on the tractor. The UFO returned less than a half an hour later. This huge object was over the silo which stood approximately 80 feet tall. Paul, his brother, said that the object left a trail, changed direction, ascended, appeared solid, had an outline and glowed. After hovering for a few moments over the silo, it disappeared in the manner as before.
Paul and Chris are described by their parents as "conscientious and hard working, do not watch a lot of TV, movies, etc. Most of their time is spent helping out on tasks around the family farm." We spoke with the principal of the high school who vouched for the boy's credibility.
It is interesting to note that previous to this sighting both the boys and their mother had seen orange balls of light in the night sky.
The Central Barren Boomerang
Along with many residents of the Corydon, Indiana area, Deputy S. Hamm has seen his share of the strange nocturnal lights which began appearing in early March 1987. At 2:30 AM in mid-May, 1987 he was driving near Central Barren, Indiana about ten miles north of Corydon when he first noticed an object in front of his truck. "I came over a hill in Central Barren on my way back towards Corydon when the headlights of my truck hit it. I had halogen headlights and when they are on high beam, they are extremely bright. The object was close to the ground, maybe within 100 feet of the roadway." Deputy Hamm estimated the object to be about a half mile in front of him at the time. "It was shaped like a boomerang and it was huge." After his initial sighting the object disappeared, but he saw it again two minutes later. Hamm states "When I first hit it with my headlights, the orange lights were the only ones visible." When it reappeared, it was pretty well straight up from where he had first seen it. But by then it was quite high and the lights turned to blue.
Another Disk Sighting in Corydon
This case was reported to us from the witness Mrs. K. and occurred approximately 11:45 PM August 1987. Mrs. K. was at the sink getting a drink of water when she noticed a bright light out the kitchen window. She went to the door and observed two lights circling around the wooded area to the northeast. Mrs. K. describes seeing a disc with a black dome on top and with orange, red and blue lights on the bottom section. She stated "I watched the lights for a short while, and then from the east this great big black object came into view". This large black disc passed right by the two lights. Then, another light came off the large black object. The disc circled around the woods with the three following it down into the tree line, then broke up into view about three times. The third time the objects made a circle; I did not see the black disc shape object appear.
The black object apparently ejected a light at one point, one of the first reports we have in the Corydon area where an object is seen to discharge what has become suspected of being a type of small probe. There appears to have been quite a few ground-level, predominantly orange, but sometimes white sights of small objects in Harrison County in 1987.
The graphic at left is an artist rendering of the black-dome disk.
Corydon Orange Balls Of Light Video Taped
The accounts and facts of this incident were taken from the book "Regional Encounters: The FC Files", by Francis L. Ridge. The date was August 23, 1987 at 9:30 PM. This event involved 12 to 15 witnesses, five of which were MUFON field investigators. The investigators were a rapid deployment group which had been formed for this wave and which went to Corydon that particular evening.
With previous investigative information from many witnesses over a six months period the group proceeded to the area where the intense nocturnal light activity was being observed and reported. After viewing some routine aircraft, the group observed a brilliant orange object suddenly materialized in the south-southwest. The suddenness and orange flare-like characteristics were very unusual. The elevation of the object was approximately 20-25 degrees at the beginning of the sighting. The object appeared to be an orange headlight either hovering or moving toward the witnesses. At one point there was a rapid descent to the left, all the time the brilliance varied only slightly. Several times the light winked completely out, only to "flare-up again. After 5-8 minutes, the object went into a flat west to east flight mode at a relatively slow rate of speed at an elevation of 10-15 degrees. One field investigator observed a small red light through 16x50 binoculars. Later he reported that the main object appeared as two large balls, indefinable, with very small sharply focused red light slightly above the gap.
At no time did the red light vary its set distance from the parent object. However, during the one and one half minute period where the object was video taped, the red light was in the lead as the object headed west. During the last 30 seconds a small commercial or private aircraft entered the area from the east. The aircraft was traveling at least twice as fast as the unknown object was. The ceiling according to flight services earlier in the day was 4000 feet, broken.
A Classic Close Encounter
On September 24, 1987 at 9:53 PM, the witness was driving home down the Elizabeth-New Middletown Road in Corydon. Jim, a 16 year old middle school student, noticed a bright blue light behind him about 400-500 yards away. Within seconds, an object described as a saucer with top and bottom domes, preceded to streak past him.
The witness was traveling about 35 mph when the UFO overtook his vehicle and zipped past his field of vision. He states "it was the size of a standard size automobile. After it went past me, it tilted left to avoid hitting a barn then tilted right to avoid hitting a house." The object went over some power lines and trees, shot straight up and accelerated out of sight. Duration of sighting was 15 seconds.
We categorized this case as a Close Encounter of the second kind (CE2) with classic electro-magnetic interference involved. When the UFO passed the car there was a slight stall to his engine, headlights/dashboard lights dimmed and the radio went out for a few seconds. "Jim" was a very attentive witness who provided us with a lot of detail. He said the object had windows in the top and bottom domes, glowed greenish-yellow, multi-colored lights around the rim and a large blue light in the center of the bottom dome. In addition, antenna-like devices that he described as "weather-vanes" were on both the tip and bottom domes. The weather was clear that night with a calm wind and temperature about 70 degrees.
"Jim" was described by his parents as an honest, conscientious young man who has never had a history of making false statements. I felt this was probably the most interesting case we investigated during the "wave of 87".
A Huge UFO Over New Albany
This report came to us from two gentlemen who at the time worked with a fellow investigator. On December 17, 1987 at 11:30 PM they were traveling in separate vehicles after leaving work and heading home. Frank Sims noticed the object while driving in his truck. He described the object as being as large as a 747 aircraft, but the wings were swept forward instead of the conventional backward position. He observed a red light on the bottom of the strange object. No sound or smell was noticeable and the speed was described as slow. After a minute or so, he lost sight of the object.
The other witness, Terry Hemb, provided us with further information. He also described the object as a huge type of aircraft with the wings sweep forward and with a red light extended from the bottom. He also stated that the "craft" looked to be white, "It seemed to have this bright flood-like type lighting surrounding it. I can not remember any tail section." He estimated that he watched the object for about 30 seconds before losing sight of it.
As 1987 drew to a close this sighting was the end of the Corydon UFO activity. No other cases were reported. It seemed that the wave of "1987" was over.
If you found this series of interest and are interested in other classic sightings we suggest return to our Classic Page and the reports and web sites listed there.