Monday, July 2, 2012

UFO Sightings at Presque Isle State Park, July 31, 1966

UFO Sightings at Presque Isle State Park, July 31, 1966

Betty Jean Klem of Jamestown, NY had a very unusual experience at Presque Isle State Park on Sunday, July 31, 1966. Her boyfriend's car became stuck in the sand off of Beach 6 and they were still waiting for help after sunset. "We saw a star move. It got brighter. It would move fast, then dim. You could see it come down. It was metallic, sort of silvery. It landed between two trees. It came straight down. The car vibrated," said Klem in a report published in the Erie Morning News on Aug. 1, 1966.

Douglas Tibbets of Greenhurst, NY witnessed the entire episode from the front seat of his car. He related his account to Peninsula Patrolmen Ralph E. Clark and Robert Loeb, Jr. when they responded to his call for help. Tibbets was Klem's boyfriend. 

Klem also reported seeing a dark, featureless creature and hearing something walking on the roof of the car.

The Erie Daily Times reported on August 1, 1966 that eight others had seen a UFO the night before between 8 p.m. and midnight. They included:
  • Stephanie Lupo
  • Helene Roche
  • Alain Orcel
  • Charoly Mango
  • Sue Karle
  • Linda Henderson
  • Janice Dickey
  • Jane Moran
"Air Force Launches Probe of Erie UFO" ran in the Erie Morning News on Aug. 2, 1966. "Officials would not comment on the investigation except to say that all findings can be released only by the Secretary of the Air Force." The article went on to say "A test for radiation was made of the ground surface in the area of Beach 6 where the craft was said to have landed. But no sign of radiation was found by Erie County Civil Defense workers."

Two girls came forward and stated they had seen a UFO three months ago. "Cheryl Coffi, who lives at the light house at Presque Isle State Park, told of the incident. She said, 'This probably has no connection with what happened last night.'"

The Erie Daily Times reported on August 6, 1966 that "Major William S. Hall, of Youngstown, went to the scene of the occurrences near Beach Six, where strange imprints were found in the sand Monday morning, hours after a Jamestown girl was left hysterical from the strange events of the preceding night. The officer took plaster casts of some of the 'tracks.'"

"Five members of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena Tuesday night joined in the investigation of a reported landing of an unidentified flying object Sunday night on Beach 6 of Presque Isle State Park," reported Dick Ramsey in the Erie Morning News on August 3, 1966. The five members who came to Erie were Richard Hobbs, Joseph McGuire, James Reed, Jeffery Gow and James Sipprell.

Two police officers reported that they watched a UFO for two hours before the sun rose on Aug. 3, 1966. Lawrence Park patrolman William Rutledge spotted the UFO around 4:45 a.m. Wesleyville patrolman Donald Peck also saw the object, as reported in the Erie Daily Times on Aug. 3, 1966. A rash of sightings were reported in the Times the next day.

A headline in the Erie Morning News on Aug. 5, 1966 declared, "Peninsula Ruled Safe After UFO Investigation."

There was a follow-up published in the Erie Morning News on August 12, 1966 which stated, "Monster A Bear? Park Chief Says No." Reporter Dick Ramsey wrote, "The Air Force report was released by the Air Force Office of Information at the Pentagon. Information officers said it is the final report on the alleged Peninsula sighting unless significantly new information concerning the sighting is supplied to the Air Force."

Enjoy more Erie, Pennsylvania trivia at: Old Time Erie


  1. Debbi, my family was at the Wattsburg car races that night in '66 and we saw a glowing ball slowly decend on the horizon. Never told anyone until now. But it's true. I was just 8 years old but this sticks in my mind.

  2. LOL That was the sun setting you idiot.

  3. I used to drive truck for meadowbrook dairy and i something in the sky near corry,pa .i spotted a air craft flying low and slow on the passenger side of the truck and seconds later it was on my drivers side. I watched it for aboutfive minutes and it excellerated at a rapid speed and disappeared

  4. There was also a a UFO reportedly seen right over top of Meadow Brook Dairy in Wesleyville also.

  5. this sighting was on an episode of monsters, myths america. it list two other people in the car that night. a girl named anita and a boy who when to find atow truck can't remember his name. the episode was about bigfoot and a connection to ufos

  6. My then Father in law, a minister.... told us of seeing a UFO. Didn't dare tell anyone else. This would have been near Chautauqua Lake. Rt. 394, almost to Chautauqua.