The 1971 UFO Chronology

Sept. 4, 1971; Lago de Cote, Costa Rica
Aerial survey plane photo showing disc on edge

Map of sightings for 1971, courtesy of Larry Hatch's "U" Database (Pending)

Produced for released: March  15, 2012
This is an 8-page chronology of UFO incidents and events for 1971
. Our thanks for these chronologies must go to our documentation team: Richard Hall (the original 1970 chronology from UFOE II), William Wise (Project Blue Book Archive), Dan Wilson (archive researcher), Brad Sparks (Comprehensive Catalog of Project Blue Book Unknowns), and Jean Waskiewicz (online NICAP DBase (NSID)).

An apparent lull in sighting reports may be the result of the closing of Project Blue Book and the media coverage of this for several years, and may not reflect the actual situation. But this was the calm before the storm of 1973. We wish to caution readers/researchers as to the quality of some of the submittals for this chrono. After consulting the usual sources (NICAP files in particular) we ran a search on the internet to see if we had missed anything important, and in the process located some cases which we have listed as "unevaluated" cases or sources. These are flagged as "unevaluated" and, if anyone has any information that would upgrade these incidents to officially investigated or documented in some way, please let us know.  
Francis Ridge
NICAP Site Coordinator

The 1971 UFO Chronology

Sometime in 1971; Bermuda Triangle
8:30 p.m. US Aircraft Carrier shut down by a UFO. (, Unevaluated)

Sometime in 1971; Salisbury Plain, English
An RAF expert claims that the Ministry of Defence in Britain asked him to keep quiet after he tracked a whole fleet of spaceships on military radar in 1971. Sixty Wing Commander Alan Turner, 64, who was a chief operator of the RAFs radar system for 29 years, said that all his colleagues were surprised to see 35 super-fast vessels appear on their screens. He said that the craft were equally spaced and shot from 3,000 ft to 60,000 ft at almost 300 mph. He revealed that every UFO would suddenly vanish from radar after a few seconds, and be replaced by an identical vessel moments later. According to him, six military radars and operators at Heathrow spotted the UFOs east of Salisbury Plain, and filed reports on the unexplained phenomenon in 1971.The RAF chief even drew a map charting their flight in between key sites like RAF Lyneham, Wilts, and the aircraft navigation transmitter at Brookmans Park, Herts.

Jan. 7, 1971; Dennis, MA
A strange metallic object that shone with an orange glow as it moved through the sky may now be resting at the bottom of a lake. The object was observed independently by two school boys on the morning of the 7th on Cape Cod. It traveled horizontally, then on an oblique path toward the ground, and disappeared behind some trees in the direction of a small body of water called Scargo Lake. One of the boys, unaware anyone else had seen the object, ran to a dock at the lake's edge and discovered a large hole in the ice covering the lake. Steam was rising from the hole, and the exposed water appeared agitated. Except for the hole, the lake and shore were normal, and the object was not in sight. A 13-year-old girl, who lived in a house near the dock, saw the boy running through her yard and went after him when he yelled to her. She too saw the hole but was too frightened to notice the condition of the water. Minutes later, another boy arrived on the scene, having also observed the first boy running to the lake. He saw the steam also, which by then was diminishing. The other witness to the object, a 13-year-old boy, was a little less than a mile from the lake when he first saw the object but made no attempt to follow it after it went down. (The UFO Investigator, Feb.1971, p.1)

Jan. 22, 1971; Peabody, KS
Pre-dawn. Stewart and Lyle Leppke, doing their early morning farm chores, observed a lighted object in a cattle lot. When they flashed their light on it, they saw a diminutive figure, less than 2-feet tall, moving about near the object, which had small windows on it. They immediately went to the house to notify their mother, who called the sheriff; the object had departed by the time he arrived. The boys said the object hovered a few feet off the ground, and when it departed, tipped to one side, and then sped rapidly away. (Humcat 1971-3; Source: Humcat, quoting newspaper source).

Feb. 5, 1971; Kangaskyla Kinnula Finland
3:00 p.m. Two young men, P. Aliranta and E J Sneck, were working in the woods when Aliranta noticed a 15 foot metallic object, shaped like two saucers put together, and with four thin legs, descending in a clearing 50 feet away. As it landed, a little entity just under 3-foot tall glided to the ground from an opening in the underside; dressed in green one-piece "diver's suit," it wore a helmet with a circular faceplate. It approached the young men, walking on top of the deep snow, and Aliranta moved toward it with his motor saw in hand. Through 3 windows on the upper part of the object, 3 more entities could be seen. The humanoid retreated before Aliranta and was rising into the air under the object when the young man grabbed it by the heel of its boot with its bare hand; he found it burned like a hot iron, and he had to let go at once. As soon as the being was back in the object, it ascended with a slight buzzing sound or hum. Both men felt stiff all over and had difficulty in moving. Four landing leg marks and small footprints were left in the snow. (Humcat 1971-6, Tapani Kuningas, FSR Vol. 17 # 5)

April 13, 1971; Nr. Hermissio Sonora, Mexico
9:30 p.m. Witness reported an incredible UFO sighting in Mexico while on vacation in Sonora. One night a brilliant electric blue UFO flew right by the window of the motel where they were staying. "This particular UFO had the classic disk shape, although it was more like two saucers put together. It was radiating an incredible beautiful electric blue neon glow over the entire craft. It just appeared 'otherworldly' and so high tech. I was just spellbound by the erie looks of the craft." 35-sec. (,Unevaluated)

April 14, 1971; Gallery, PA
Close-range sighting of disc with windows, two humanoid figures visible inside, light beam upward from top (UFOE II, Section VI).

April 18, 1971; outskirts of Pittsburgh, PA
Dusk. A man and a woman while driving on a rural road north of Pittsburgh, observed a football-shaped object resting on the ground or deployed just a few feet above the ground. The observation was made at a distance of approximately 80 yards. The couple described the object as roughly football-shaped with a rim along its horizontal axis The upper half had a concave top and a series of vertically oriented "windows" along its side. Emanating from the top was a shaft of white light. The lower half, was somewhat flattened on the bottom, and also had window-like openings, circular in shape. Through the windows a reddish glow was visible. The object was seen in a small field adjacent to a little used airstrip. The two witnesses watched the object for more than twenty minutes before leaving the area. Just prior to the sighting, the witnesses had observed a bright white light that appeared to be traveling parallel to their car. After moving steadily for a few moments the light abruptly crossed in front of the car (right to left), stopped for a split second, crossed back over the road, and moved off in the general direction where the UFO was seen minutes later.  (UFO Investigator / May 1971, page 3)   

April 25, 1971; near Pottstown, PA
About 9:00 p.m. A woman spotted a luminous object over a farmer's field while driving on a rural road. It was a very bright, pulsating light. It would move and stop, move and stop, in a jerking manner. The woman first thought the object was something conventional like an aircraft light, but its strange motion seemed to belie that explanation. The woman stopped the car next to the field and just studied the object. The object was about as high as the light on the radio tower. She rolled her window down to see if there was any engine noise but there was none.
( UFO Investigator, May 1971, page 3)
April 30, 1971; Carlyle, IL
11:50 p.m. Herb Williams was filling a truck with diesel fuel at the Ready-Mix Plant at 2090 Washington, on the west side of Carlyle, when he saw the object approximately 100 feet above the ground. The night was clear, and the bright object was easily seen. there was no sound. It moved in a westerly direction at about 10 miles per hour and Williams said he could have kept up with it by running, but decided to get into his car and follow it. (MUFON)

May 15, 1971; Passapatanzy, WV
10:00 p.m. Michael D, 15, was on his way home after camping out with two other boys; while crossing a grassy field, alone, he saw a bright object slowly approaching at low altitude, passing over some high-tension wires that crossed the field. He crouched down in some tall grass as the object landed, with a "bounce", 100 feet away. The silvery object was "higher than it was wide" and had a "walkway" that ran around its circumference, and red and white revolving lights on the top, it also emitted a humming noise. A door "came down" out of which emerged a "huge" figure, who was hunched over, had long arms, and wore shiny, light reflecting clothing. In one hand it held a glowing box. Walking in a "stiff legged, bouncing" motion, the humanoid giant approached the grass where Michael was hiding; frightened, the boy sic'd his dog on the figure, who turned and re-entered the object. A few minutes later it took off. His companions returned a short time later and found Michael, still in the grass, moaning and very frightened. At the site the next day were found 7 holes in the ground, 2.5" wide at the top and a foot dep. Two days later, Michael and several other members of his family saw a bright disc-shaped object, which had chased his sisters in a car as they drove up the long driveway of their house. (Humcat 1971-17; John Carlson, Bruce Maccabee for NICAP)

May 16, 1971; Chesterton, IN
9:30 p.m. Four witnesses observed an object after power failed in their house. Saturn type UFO, high frequency sound, 20 mins. House size silver ball illuminated brilliant red, green, blue and white lights around it on rim. Moved at tractor speed, hovered over hog farmyard setting off pandemonium in dogs, chickens, pigs, and a parrot. Witnesses suffered vibration, numbness, and fear. Fled back to house which had been rendered powerless. Tree died at site. (Ted Phillips)

May 21, 1971; Nr. West Leisenring, PA
1:10 a.m. A man was returning home when as he was rounding a bend in a rural road he noticed an unusual object hovering about 20 feet above the ground. The craft was saucer shaped with a dome on top and an antenna like protrusion. It had a door like opening to the left of its center; the opening emitted an orange red glow from inside. It also emitted a faint humming sound. After two minutes the witness saw a figure walk back and forth in the opening of the object. The figure was dressed in a gray white metallic suit with a hood and was about six-foot tall. The craft itself was dull gray in color and appeared to have burnt areas along the bottom. The witness who was inside his vehicle all the time suddenly turned his head and saw a similar gray garbed figure about three feet way, he then heard a click and after two seconds a blast threw him against the vehicle's console, he also heard a loud explosion, the car moved forward and the witness sped away form the area. He then drove to a local emergency room hospital where he was treated with what appeared to be pellet wounds. (Stan Gordon, Mufon Journal # 189).

May 24, 1971; Mendoza, Argentina
Saturn-shaped object darted around, rocked back and forth while hovering, rapid acceleration upward at angle (UFOE II, Section VI).

May 25, 1971; Belchar's Bar, Leicester, England
10:50 p.m. While driving home on a wet, rainy night, Mrs. Eunice Rose, 36, saw a large glowing object ahead. Her portable transistor radio faded and died away. Then her headlights dimmed and her car (a 1956 Austin A30) lost power as the glowing object was visible to the left of the road. The car engine sputtered but continued running roughly. As she stopped, the object moved overhead, brightly illuminating the car and the surrounding area. The hair on the back of her neck bristled. The object was seen to be a flat circular disc, glowing like moonlight. When the object moved away over a field to the right of the road, the headlights and radio resumed functioning and the engine gradually responded. The object disappeared in the distance to the southwest.  (Flying Saucer Review Case Histories, Supp. No. 11, August 1972. Investigator: Geoffrey Coxon.)

May 29, 1971; near Oxford, MA
4:00 a.m. EDT. A shiny black "discus" that hovered, gyrated, and flipped over on its side was reported to have been observed at a recreational area near Oxford. There were four witnesses, a man and three teen-age boys who were fishing at the edge of a reservoir. The object approached the four men and jerked from side to side "like a pendulum," and up and down like a ball. At the nearest point the object was approximately some 250 feet from the observers. At approximately at that point the object flipped over on edge. In that attitude the object was circular in shape, "like a pancake" with seven or eight glowing ports evenly spaced around the bottom. The object then stopped and moved back in the direction it came. This time it moved rapidly and was soon lost from sight. (UFO Investigator / July 1971, page 3)

May 31, 1971; Newmarket, NH
Two witnesses sighted a grayish white upright egg-shaped object with dark ports around its perimeter. It hovered a few feet above the ground in plain view in front of trees before ascending straight up and out of sight. (Raymond Fowler, UFOs: Interplanetary Visitors, pages 175-180, 340.)

June, 1971; Sharpsville, IN
Humanoid report. No details except witness' name, which was King. (EGBA, 680)

June 13, 1971, Dr. James E. McDonald Dies
Dr. James E. McDonald, took his own life at Tuscon, Arizona. His studies of the UFO problem had earned him international recognition as an authority on the subject. (UFO Investigator/ June 1971, page 4)

Summer of 1971;  Karnes City, TX
Night shift. UFO encounter over open pit uranium mine, near Conoco Oil Co. (, Unevaluated)

July 8, 1971; Chesterfield, IN
Evening. Saturn type UFO with high frequency whine. (Missing time, abduction) Same type UFO returns to farm (See May 16).Witness loses consciousness while watching it from upstairs bedroom. (Don Worley: Prior to the May and July episodes with the craft this witness was present in 1965 when a same type craft blocked state road N31 south of Indianapolis when it landed in front of his car. Several other cars were rendered immobile including that of a preacher who got in the back seat of his car and prayed to God after it was all over. A melted tar place was left on the road and Frank Edwards the TV commentator Ufologist, came down and checked and took photos of it.) (Worley files)

July 18-24, 1971; Quebec, Canada Blackouts
A succession of power failures occurred, coinciding with many observations of UFOs in the same localities, some of them even occurring over and near electric power stations of Hydro-Quebec....The city of Montreal and its surroundings were particularly stricken  by the blackouts which occurred twice in the same week. (Claude MacDuff, "Canadian Power Failures and UFO Sightings"; Flying Saucer Review Case Histories, Supp. No. 17. December 1973.)

July 27, 1971; Valcourt, Quebec, Canada
8:30 p.m.
The witness was at home watching television when he was distracted by the sounds of his cows bellowing on a nearby field. The witness and his wife stepped out and saw the cows running away from the field. They also saw a dark spherical object hovering above the field, a reddish light shone out of what appeared to be an open door on the object. Three small men who glowed a pale green color were moving around the object. They seem to glide just above the ground in rapid darting movements. At times the beings seemed to pick something from the ground. The beings went back inside the object closing the door behind them. The object then rose up slowly and disappeared over some nearby trees. The next day a circular spiral ground trace was found, plus a silvery lump of material that was later tested at Laval University. (HC addition # 1011, Source: Francois Bourbeau, Spectra, Quebec Canada, Type: B)

July 28, 1971; Sackville; New Brunswick
Two men photographing the stars observed a triangular object with colored lights moving rapidly at high altitude. Turning their telescope on it, the men said it suddenly reversed direction and changed both the pattern and color of its lights. "There is no craft  that can possibly change direction that fast," they reported. (UFO Investigator / Aug. 1971, page 3)

Aug. 1, 1971; Westminster, MD
10:30 p.m. Report of an egg-shaped UFO with two rows of colored lights on its underside was received by state police. Charles P. Kenyon, 39, of New Windsor, Md., had driven his wife and their four children to a location outside Westminster to observe a violent Thunder and lighting storm then in progress. Kenyon and his wife observed the object for a total of 20 minutes as it maneuvered about the rural countryside. The outline of the object, including a pulsating amber light on top a bubble-like protrusion at one end, was seen clearly, according to Kenyon, thanks to lightning flashes every few seconds. At one point, the UFO passed within 3,000 feet of Kenyon's vehicle at an altitude of 200-300 feet. The object emitted for a few seconds a high whine, similar to an air conditioning unit, during one of its passes. Just before disappearing, the UFO was observed to turn on what appeared to be a white landing beacon to search the ground below. (Investigated by NICAP's Capital Area Subcommittee, chaired by astronomer John Carlson).

Aug. 8, 1971; Kadina, S. AU
Glowing orange disc illuminated area, buzzing sound. (section VI, [E])

Aug. 9, 1971; Minas Gerais region (near Uberaba), Brazil
Airline flight paced for 20 minutes by glowing orange disc, startles veteran Brazilian ("like two round basins, one on top of the other") (UFOE II, Section III).

Aug. 16, 1971; Aldrich, Staffordshire, England
2:30 a.m. The constabulary (police) station received a phone call at 2:30 a.m. that an unidentified object was hovering over a garage. Constable Leslie G. Leek and Constable Ian Barnes responded, arriving in time to see the object. They took 12 photographs of the object (bright luminous, shape undefined) as it slowly ascended. When the object leveled off and began moving away toward the east, they and other police officers followed it but gave up the chase as it moved off in the distance, later turning toward the southwest. The official police report includes attached statements from eight eyewitnesses, some of which contradict the possibility of an astronomical explanation. Constables were able to drive directly underneath and beyond the object at times, and the original witness saw the object move from one side of the road to the other. Otherwise some of the reports could easily be interpreted as confusion about astronomical objects. (Staffordshire County and Stoke-on-Trent Constabulary Report, Aug. 19, 1971, filed by Constable Leslie G. Leek.)

Sept. 4, 1971; Lago de Cote, Costa Rica
Aerial survey plane photo showing disc on edge (UFOE II, Section VII)

Sept. 20, 1971; Northern Sweden
10:45 p.m. Engineer Sten Ceder was driving home when his car was suddenly brightly illuminated by multiple beams of light and he saw a square black object race past. He felt a force on the car from behind and applying the brakes had no effect. He was then surrounded by a perceived dense black "cloud" that seemed to extinguish all light. When he was once again able to distinguish light, he immediately noticed a shapeless "black mass" that rose from the ground and moved away ahead of him. It then appeared as a kite-shaped object silhouetted against the sky, gradually moving away from him. (Flying Saucer Review Case Histories, Supp. No. 10, June 1972.)

Sept. 24, 1971; Caleta Buena, Chile
Luminous oval with dome approached car. (APRO Bulletin, Mar.- Apr.1972 [E,R] police car).

Oct., 1971; Florence, NC
6:00 p.m. Triangular Shape - black colored lights on the bottom- no other lights observed approximately 300 ft across completely silent moved slowly app. 30- 40 mph. No. of Witnesses: 1; Duration: 10 min. (, Unevaluated).

Oct. 5, 1971; Springfield, IL
Evening. Seven reports from Illinois State Troopers over 2 hour period. (UFOI, 71)

Oct. 12, 1971; Mattawan, MI
A teenager, four friends, and at least one adult reported observing "a bright white cloud flying in circles but traveling in a west to easterly direction" over Mattawan. Witnesses estimated the object was several hundred feet wide. At one point the object seemed to direct a thin beam of light into the sky above. After being in sight for a short time, the object appeared to land in a heavily wooded area. Three additional UFOs were later observed in the same vicinity where the first one appeared to go down. (UFO Investigator/ Nov. 1971, page 3)

Nov.  2, 1971; Delphos, KS.
Brilliantly lighted, mushroom-shaped object hovered just off ground, sheep reacted, light beam, landing traces, physiological effects (UFOE II, Section I). Confirming witness (#494).

Nov. 5, 1971; Coarsegold, CA
About midnight a rancher and his wife observed a brilliant orange triangular-shaped object with a blinking red light on top. Two more identical objects then appeared alongside the first. A thin orange light beam them emanated from one of the objects and played around on the rocky terrain. No sound was heard, and after 20-30 minutes the lights blinked out. The unidentified objects were hovering directly above two old gold mines. (Los Angeles NICAP Subcommittee report filed by Mrs. Idabel Epperson, who interviewed the witnesses by telephone.)

Nov. 6, 1971; Pickaway County, OH
A UFO resembling a plate turned upside down on another plate that glowed with a white light, reportedly followed the president of a local school board and his wife as they were driving on a rural road just south of Lockbourne Air Force Base. The object flying at an altitude of approximately 500 - 1000 feet, was observed for more than one hour, and appeared to to follow the couple to their farm and orbited the area for about 45 minutes. The object then began a spiral upward vanishing from sight, according to the witness. (UFO Investigator/ Dec. 1971, page 3)

Nov. 7, 1971; Norris City, IL
Evening. Former Navy weather observer and wife observed for 9 minutes a bright, slowly-moving "white-orange" light approaching from the East. Object appeared to be about 1500-2000', changed course and disappeared. (UFOI, 71, page 3)

Dec. 14, 1971; Cavetown, MD
11:45 p.m. Several residents (near Hagerstown), including a Maryland State Trooper and a college professor, reported seeing a bright light circling over Holiday Acres, a local subdivision. The object has been reported by local residents on several occasions, and is usually seen around 11 p.m. The object appears to circle the area, changing speeds and sometimes hovering in one place. No satisfactory explanation for the sighting has been found, despite interviews by NICAP investigators. (UFO Investigator / Jan 1972, page 3)

Dec. 29, 1971; San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
B-727 crew.

1. UFOE II: Volume II, The UFO Evidence, A Thirty-Year Report - Richard Hall, 2000
2. CUFOS report, Rodeghier
3. NUFORC, Reports gleaned from National UFO Reporting Center, Seattle, WA, Peter Davenport
4. AR Cases, Animal Reaction, Joan Woodward, AR Specialist
5. EGBA, Eberhardt Geobibliography of Anomalies.


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