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Date: January 14, 2002
Source: Manitowoc-Herald Times

UFOs, Manitowoc Go Way Back

by: Rob Bignell

The next time producers of the "X-Files" are looking for a place to film an episode, they ought to visit Manitowoc.

The city has a long tradition of UFO sightings, dating to the 1897 "airship" flap and most recently this Christmas when two separate encounters were reported. The Internet site for UFOWisconsin documents, county-by-county, reports of flying saucers in the Badger state, and have included the items.

On Dec. 26, a cylindrical object was reported spotted above the wayside off Interstate 43 just north of Newton at 6:26 a.m. Consisting of three white lights, it remained stationary and silent, according to "Chris B.," who filed the report with UFOWisconsin. Interestingly, the same individual spotted another UFO only three days before. While returning home from a Christmas party around 5:20 p.m., he saw a small white object appear over the top of his car just north of the Dew Stop Inn gas station on South 30th Street in the city limits.

"This is the second time I have sighted an object flying over the old rail yard south of Chermake Sausage Company," Chris B. said in his report filed with UFOWisconsin. "The rail yard is a lining up point for airplanes landing at the Manitowoc Airport, so I'm not ruling out that these were planes."

Chris B. isn't the only area resident to report UFOs, however. UFO Wisconsinlists 14 sightings in the county since 1973. Six of them were reported just during 1999.

Indeed, Manitowoc is a point on what is internationally known as the "Lake Michigan Triangle."

"Among the mysterious events listed in this port were the disappearance of an airliner in June 1950 and the disappearance of the steamship Alpena in 1880," according to the website www.labyrinthina.com.

The first UFO sightings in the reputed triangle occurred during a week in April 1897. It began in Benton Harbor, Mich., when residents there watched "a huge fire ball" in the sky for about 15 minutes. A smaller object was spotted that night in Galesburg, Mich., and Watervliet, Mich.

The next night in Niles, Mich., residents reported a "bright electric light" flying over the town, followed by two colored lights, one red and the other green. Others saw cylindrical objects.

Through the next few days, similar sightings were made in Manitowoc and Kalamazoo, Mich.

That UFOs are interested in Manitowoc should come as no surprise to those who've taken the car ferry. Ludington, Mich., is considered the "nexus" of the Lake Michigan Triangle.

In fact, during 1994 a "flap" of sightings occurred over the lake. According to the labarinthina website, radar at Loring AFB tracked a group of 24 objects approaching Lake Michigan's west coast. Another group of 14 objects approached from the southeast and third group of 24 came from the north. The three packs then converged at a point 52,000 feet above the lake's northcentral section.

Just in case you think only a few wackos are filing these reports, consider that of the 50 states, Wisconsin has the second highest number of UFO sightings. New Mexico, home of Roswell and the alleged 1947 government cover-up of a flying saucer crash, ranks first.

Besides that, nearby Appleton has two UFO organizations: The Fox Valley UFO Discussion and Support Group, and a study group named The Lightside.

Rob Bignell is copy desk chief at the Herald Times Reporter. He can be reached at rbignell@smgpo.gannett.com.

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