Early Sighting of Boomerang Shaped Object Noted
Walter H. Andrus Jr., Past MUFON International Director
This significant sighting report goes back to April 8, 1969, prior to the founding of the Mutual UFO Network on May 31, 1969, and does not appear in the MUFON file for that year. The author, along with a few other founding MUFON members, was part of the existing Tri-State UFO Study Group, affiliated with the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) of Tucson, AZ.
The three known witnesses were my wife, Genevieve (Jeanne) P. Andrus; my daughter-in-law, Mary Lynn Andrus (Mrs. Donald L.); and my wife's best friend, Mrs. Lawrence (Betty) Smith.
They had just stepped out of the front door of our new home at 40 Christopher Court, Quincy, IL, when the unknown object was sighted. After a full day of shopping in Springfield, my wife and daughter-in-law were preparing to drive Betty Smith to her home at 1620 Vermont Street.
This report is considered significant because it marked one of the first reports of boomerang-shaped objects that were not publicized and reported until 1983 along the Hudson River, in the New York counties of Westchester and Putnam and the Connecticut county of Fairfield. The 1983 sightings were described in the book Night Siege: The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings (Ballentine Books, 1987) by Bob Pratt, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, and Philip J. Imbrogno.
None of the three ladies remembered the exact time of the sighting, but the sun had already set and the western sky was slightly illuminated (dusk). As they stepped out onto the small front porch, facing west, they were immediately attracted to a long boomerang-shaped object with many variously colored lights (red, green, blue, orange, white) lengthwise from tip-to-tip.
There were entirely too many lights to count during the few minutes of the observation. The object when first seen was flying very low west to east over the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Don Strickland, who lived directly across the street from our home. The object may have been one block west over 30th Street, which was parallel to Christopher Court, when first sighted. (The power line poles along 30th Street were 30 feet tall.)
The object was the length of the rooftop of the Strickland residence (60 ft) when it passed slowly over their home. My wife said the craft was flying with an undulating motion up and down, and the colored lights would alternately flash on and off simultaneously as it proceeded across the street.
By the time the ladies had taken the three steps down to our front walk and then down six more steps to the driveway level where our 1969 Ford automobile was parked, the craft had flown from over the Strickland home, crossing the street, to directly over our home. It was so low that it passed out of their sight over our roof line. (Our home was two stories high when viewed from the garage level built under the bedrooms portion of our home.)
The total observation time was approximately three minutes. None of the three witnesses could remember if the length of the boomerang was longer or shorter than the length of our home, since they were so mesmerized by the various colored lights. They heard no sound as the object slowly flew over their heads.
When I returned home from a business trip to Motorola in Franklin Park, IL, a few days later, my wife related their experience to me. Since boomerang-shaped craft were not part of the UFO itinerary in 1969, I was flabbergasted after hearing this report by three adult witnesses. When I tried to analyze the flashing lights from their descriptions to explain why the craft appeared to move in an undulating flight path (slightly up and down), I came to the following conclusion: It probably had two rows of colored lights the length of the craft, which alternately flashed on and off-the top row and then the bottom row-giving the illusion that the flight level was slightly up and down. I can only record the description of the witnesses, since I was not personally privy to this sighting.
No one else in Quincy reported the sighting to me, although we weren't as well known then in the community, even though I had given numerous UFO talks to civic organizations.
The object was flying straight east when it passed over our residence, which would have taken it over the Quincy Municipal Airport (Baldwin Field) if it had continued straight east for an additional ten miles. (It was not reported over the airport by anyone at the F.A.A. office or the weather bureau.)
Philip I. Imbrogno, a featured speaker at the MUFON 1984 UFO Symposium in San Antonio, TX, presented a paper titled "The Boomerang Mystery." When he projected a slide of a color drawing of a boomerang-shaped craft on the screen, my wife "Jeanne," who was sitting next to Dennis Stacy, former editor of the MUFON UFO Journal, said to Dennis, "That's exactly what I saw."
Previously, she had difficulty explaining some of the details when she reported it to me. Not being an artist, Jeanne's drawing was somewhat crude, but roughly boomerang-shaped when viewed from the bottom.