By Francis L. Ridge


Figure 1


This event took place near Princeton, Indiana, in August of 1973 and involved three witnesses driving home in a thunderstorm. The primary witness was at the time an electrical engineer with a major electronics firm. At age 38 he had a college education, excellent vision, didn't wear glasses, and had military training in US Navy.

None of the witnesses suffered any ill effects. The primary witness has not observed nor reported any other UFO-type objects. He started to report the incident to the newspapers because he didn't know who else to report to, but decided against it. He tried to find out from the Princeton CLARION who he should contact, but they could not advise in 1973. After reading an article in the Sunday COURIER & PRESS in January of 1976 about a local MUFON unit, he was able to contact us.

The following account is the transcript from the taped interview, with some unnecessary material deleted (Ref. 1):

"We were over at my mother-in-law's in Mt. Carmel (Illinois) and that's about 11 miles from Princeton (Indiana) where I live, and it was evening. And there was a storm coming up and we got upset over there. We had some bad experiences. A tree blew down and we decided to leave. We stopped at a filling station and got some gas and then we proceeded on to Princeton through the (Wabash River) bottoms and ah, course this was the time about when they were building PSI (Public Service Indiana power plant) on the right hand side of the road.

"And we saw, what appeared, now this was dark now, to be a couple of headlights. Well, we assumed they were maybe a temperature inversion, but then we got to thinking that during a thunderstorm or rainstorm you're not going to have a temperature inversion, it's going to be kinda stirred up. But directly in line with this was Owensville Road. We thought maybe they might be headlights bouncing off of low clouds. These (lights) were up in the air. Our angle of perspective changed as we approached it, so we found out it was above the trees. The lightning caught up with us about this time and a pretty-good-sized bolt was behind it and we got it illuminated, all around us, and we saw what appeared to be a saucer (Figure 1). Kinda weird, but the whole family witnessed it and nothing was said until we got home. Duration of the event was 2-5 minutes.

"What surprised me, of course, we thought (at first) it was a car because it was the same spectral response that you'd have from headlights. You know, the infra-red region, heavy in the infra-red. As we got closer to it, before the lightning struck, we saw what looked like clearance lights, one on each side of it. Later on it proved to be four of whatever the lights were, dotted around the 'cupola'. And beneath it was a super-dark 'cone' which apexed below the tree level And this thing didn't appear to be solid, the cone that came down to the ground or whatever it went down to; it was sort of wide at the bottom of the saucer and evidently went to a point which would have been the opposite of a flashlight beam. And ah, we kinda got a shock over it. I'd done a little snooping around during some rainstorms, seeing if we could see it again, my oldest boy and I, back in where we thought it was in the woods.

"As you come outside of Mt. Carmel and are proceeding towards Princeton, you'll find a large woods with a bunch of little spots where they've cut out to plant popcorn, I think, and corn. And IT was over one of these patches, in fact it was the exact location where this Cavanaugh girl was found.

"There is one thing. We've discussed this. The family and my oldest boy, he's 15 now. This is a good topic for us, inter-family. Ah, if these were lights shining on out, I would think they were more outside than in, because if there were anyone inside this thing, they would have been almost blind because the lights, if these were portholes, I'm saying, they would have to be almost blind because the lights were almost the same illumination as car headlights, although we didn't see any beams shooting out from them as you would on a car.

"But the cone beneath seemed to be, well, what I'd seen in laser, except on a much grander scale, in a different light spectrum. Of course in a storm you'll have heavy in ultra-violet, and ah, which could have made a red appear black, or any color would be off-color. Maybe there is something here in a beam, you know, like a laser. I think they (U.S. scientists) are doing experiments with green lasers that actually support objects. Why not?

"Another little injection here. It looked 'archaic', something out of Jules Verne, like a 'pickled metal', you know what I mean? When a piece of metal is heat-treated, pickled, a burnished silver color? It looked like this. Well, you'd almost say you saw the rivets on the damned thing. Of course I didn't see any rivets. It was old-fashioned looking, not streamlined, (but) straight up and down, the cupola, with a little rolled edge on it. And ah, nothing ultra-modern that you would associate with space travel or something like this. I don't really believe the damned thing came from outer space (laughing). I mean, it doesn't ah, seem..........

"Usually there is an explanation, but this damned thing, there wasn't any explanation for me, you know, it was there, solid.

"The damned thing was sitting awful still, you know, to be...it moved in from the west, or let's see, east, and then kinda stopped and started down. And so smooth and determined in its movements. It wasn't being affected by the storm any.

"I'd say about 30' above the tree-level, five, six hundred feet away, I'd imagine. I would estimate it about 30-40' (wide). Of course, I'm not very good on judging distances or sizes of objects. I over- estimated (driving) because I thought it was landing or going down in a field which was just on the other side of the woods. So, I speeded up and went up there, and it had went down into the woods, so I had overshot my estimate there. We slowed down and watched it to almost a stop, I'd say three or four minutes. All the time we had good lighting from the lightning. Of course, I'd say it was ultra-violet, and this does make the colors...screws up the colors. It changes the shades heavy ultra-violet.

"I still kinda contend that it's not extraterrestrial. It just doesn't look like, 'course I don't know what extraterrestrial looks like, let's face it. But, something, you know, you get a hunch like, 'that sure doesn't look like something from outer space.'

"But the thing that really intrigued me was the cone beneath it, the superdark cone, which wasn't solid, it was a beam or ray. I hate to say ray because it sounds like something out of Buck Rogers, a beam of some sort.

"Light, or nothing, passed through it, but the edges of it were fuzzy. So it was a beam of some sort, like the reverse of a flashlight beam.

"Now the bottom, now I actually never got that much of a view of the bottom of it, I couldn't tell you anything other than the outside edge, you know. It was saucer-shaped, inverted saucer, sloped down from the top. But as I started to sweep around and get as much information, visual information, as I could, I rejected everything when I saw the beam. I went right to it and I guess I studied it maybe too long.

"We hardly said anything coming home. You could have heard a pin drop all the way home. So when we got home we all sat down and we all drew a picture of what we saw. Everybody saw the same thing, which was unusual, I thought. Even the roll around the top of the cupola, which fascinated me."

The time of the observation was determined as around 9:00 PM. Duration of sighting was 2-5 minutes. The object was on a SE to NW track, descending. Weather was stormy, sky overcast with thick clouds, light rain, and lightning. Temperature was warm. A strong wind was from the west.

The initial observation was of headlights, low on the horizon, to an object at about 30-degree elevation. The car was heading SE on Hwy 64 at 40 mph, slowed down to 5 mph. The automobile was a 1971 Chevrolet 4-door Impala, "air-conditioning was on, windows closed until I purposely rolled them down to observe. Realizing, at this time it was a UFO, I turned on the radio, but did not hear any interference, nor did the engine stall, as I had read they did. At about 1,000' from the object, it stopped its linear movement and hovered, until we were within 500', then it descended very slowly into the woods."

Additional Witness Check: Exact date unknown, so unable to do this. No other reports filed from that area during that period.

Source Test: Natural Sources immediately eliminated. Man-Made Sources simply do not qualify in this case. There is little chance of misidentification of any kind. The only possibility left would be a hoax, and this has been ruled out for a number of reasons, the primary ones being:

1) The initial  report was a taped telephone interview. The report filed shows absolutely no variation with this verbal account.

2) The witness requested anonymity.

Witness Background Check: I was unable to do this directly because he requested anonymity. However, I was very impressed with the witness and his report. He never sought publicity. He simply wanted his report and the possible significance of the technical data in proper hands. His name and place of occupation are both confidential. He appears to be well-educated and has a more-than-average technical vocabulary and sense of awareness. He reported or dictated the details in a slow and careful manner. The taped interview shows that the written transcript doesn't do him justice.

Besides the fact that apparently three persons, one of which was technically oriented, had a close encounter with a flying saucer, rather than a dark enigmatic object with lights, what else can be gleaned from this event?

1) There was considerable detail observed in this case.
2) Normal aircraft would not have braved this storm. The UFO wasn't affected.
3) The "cone" probably became visible due to the ultraviolet light produced by the intense lightning.
4) The dome was unusual. It was described as "straight up and down cupola with a little rolled edge."
5) The craft looked "old", "archaic". This, again, could have been caused by the u/v light. Or, maybe it WAS an old craft! 

This is an UNKNOWN.


Figure 2 & 3

Figure 2 illustrates the relative geometry of a radiated E-M (Electro-Magnetic) field to an induced gravitational field. Figure 3 shows the interference of idealized radiation patterns. How may this be related to the Princeton case?

The Princeton case occurred in August, prior to the beginning of the major sighting wave of 1973. However, the witness reported the incident to me at the UFO Filter Center by phone in January of 1976. The deposition was recorded. Keep in mind the incident and report preceded the paper by William Hassel(which was about the Sorensen Effect) in 1977. 

In 1977, the MUFON Symposium proceedings contained a paper, entitled: "Future Physics and Anti-Gravity", by William F. Hassel, PhD (Reference 2). On page 65 it stated:

"A method of utilizing beams of microwave radiation to effect a reduction in the local gravitational field has been pursued by Niels T. Sorensen. As illustrated in Figure 2, dual-lobe radiation elements were arranged in circular symmetry so that each beam was oriented toward the APEX of a 90-degree CONE (emphasis mine). A null region then occurs at the APEX of the CONE, which represents a region of apparent gravitational attraction."

The actual paper by Niels T. Sorensen was printed in THESIS / SYNTHESIS / ANTI-THESIS (Reference 3), a Joint Symposium sponsored by the Los Angeles & Orange County Sections of the AIAA and the Los Angeles Chapter of the World Futures Society, Saturday, 27 September, 1975. The title of the paper was "New Technology Related To UFO's And Their Origins".

On page 64 Sorensen states: "The general appearance is that of an inverted saucer. The lower portion will be observed to rotate relative to the upper portion. The GPV (Gravitational Propulsion Vehicle) would wobble in the manner of a spinning top during changes in its state of motion. A high energy E-M field will exist near the vehicle. An idealization of this field is shown in Figure 3. It will be noted that interference of the patterns will occur in areas 0 and E. That portion of D, that will be external to the vehicle and extend below the vehicle, will generally be CONE SHAPED (emphasis mine, again)."

Sorensen was a graduate of UCLA, BSEE, 1962. For several years he has been engaged exclusively in theoretical and experimental research related to the development of a Unified Field Theory at J.G. Enterprises, Riverside. He has held engineering positions at Hughes Aircraft and Northrop Corporation where he was employed in Antenna R & D.

The Sorensen theory may or may not be the technical description of what takes place in or near a flying object described as a flying saucer. It is merely the first theory that this author had found to explain an effect that few witnesses would be lucky enough to notice, an effect produced and made visible by the ultraviolet flashes of powerful lightning bolts.

Others describe propulsion beams that could also produce a cone beneath a UFO. These, too, would be invisible under normal circumstances. In my paper, ENGINEERS PRAISE DISC PERFORMANCE, I get more into the disc shape as an air and/or space vehicle.

Has the inverted cone been observed before? Yes. The most recent in Indiana that I am aware of was October 19, 1988 at 11:15 PM. The location: Bloomington, Indiana. This was a one witness case, a CE-1, an object with lights (OWL). What was most interesting about this one was the object had a vertical tail "like a twister". What brought out the "cone" here? The case was never filed, therefore we'll never know what strange conditions might have "brought out" that protuberance.

Four years earlier, on November 17, 1984, two men reported that they were abducted near Savah, Indiana, in broad daylight! At the beginning of the event the object appeared as a fat, double convex saucer as it came down low over the Wabash River and turned toward the witnesses. The  witnesses had said the craft was visible when overhead, but one of them thought the clear afternoon sky was reflected off a long mirrored surface. His subconscious recall, Figure 4, even describes a cone superstructure or something that appears as a surface, which may have been a force field and not even a solid surface at all, especially since this feature was not present when the object came into view for the first time. He even described the UFO changing shape.

Figure 4

A 1964 photograph (Figure 5) taken in Oberwesel, West Germany even shows a cone beneath the domed disc! (Ref. 4) There is no doubt that the reports of these "cones" are extremely rare, but it is possible that something may be causing the normally invisible cones to become visible.
The photograph was taken at 3:00 PM on March 8th. Herr Harry Hauxler was riding a train through the low countries along the Rhine River and was idly gazing out the window on his right as he rode along. His camera was resting in his lap. All of a sudden, a rapidly rotating disc-form object jumped up into the air along the side of the tracks, and started rising into the sky. He was able to raise his camera and snap one photograph before it passed out of sight beyond the window frame. The developed print showed a circular disc-shaped ship with a raised dome on top and a peculiar deep lower cone of dark swirling exhaust or energy of some kind radiating downward from the center underside of the rotating craft. Proper investigation into this case should have included whether the camera was equipped with a polarizing filter and was it used.

Figure 5

The object drawn and described on page 63 of Hassel's report in the 1975 Proceedings (Figure 6), although fatter, bears a resemblance to the UFO observed in August of 1973 at Princeton, Indiana.

Figure 6

Figure 7

Figure 7 may be a blurred version of a hoaxed photo by Billy Meier. I'm not sure. But the similarity was striking. I am awaiting a better version and information from UFO photo experts around the world regarding this photo.  

Not shown here is a drawing of the object in the photo above by Indiana MUFON's Staff Artist, Robert Taylor. However, the thought came to Staff Artist, and myself included: Is the dome retractable? Wilbert Smith, author of the Top Secret "Smith Memo" (Ref. 5), mentioned this very possibility.

He had stated that UFO's were the "most highly classified subject in the United States Government, rating higher even than the H-bomb". He also mentioned something interesting to Maj. Donald Edward Keyhoe at one time. In Keyhoe's book, "Flying Saucers From Outer Space" (Reference 6), on page 141 Keyhoe states: "During one of our talks Smith had sketched his idea of a flying saucer, showing a rounded, turret-like central cabin. It was possible, he said, that the turret night retract in flight, to reduce resistance."

The McMinnville, Oregon (Figures 8 & 9), and Rouen, France (Figure 10) photos depict objects with possible telescoping dome-like structures. Since most consider the McMinnville case to be genuine, the protuberance at the top of the object must be a reality, also. For high speed flight one would assume that this was retractable. For the record, after this paper was written, the Rouen, France photo was exposed as a doctored copy  of the Trent photo.


Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 10

While researching for this updated version of this paper I recalled an incident that we had recently posted on the NICAP web site. The drawing is right from Project Blue Book Special Report 14. See below:

Fig 11

Project Blue Book Special Report 14 mentions, and gives an illustration, of a flying disc on page 86. Our thanks to Bruce Maccabee, who provided the information that made this case much more significant in his book, "UFO/FBI Connection", and then created the even-more-detailed web page document (See NICAP site for report). Also, our thanks to Brad Sparks, who found the witness' names in the Air Intelligence Report and called Bruce's attention to them.

Figure 11 (ref 7) depicts the object observed in daylight at Rogue River. Note the similarity between the McMinnville object and the Rogue River object. The sightings were less than a year apart, and both in Oregon!!! The distance from McMinnville and the mouth of the Rogue River is only about 110 miles.

Lt. Col. Doyle Rees, in a letter written in May 1950, concentrated on about fifty incidents which occurred in "hot" areas. About a dozen of these were "disk' or variation," indicating flying saucer or flying machine reports. The Nuclear Connection Project (which I am coordinator) notes that the same areas mentioned were atomic bomb assembly areas (specific locations in New Mexico) and storage facilities (Fort Hood, Texas - Killeen Base). The document did not include the Rogue River case, which happened during the same period because it occurred many hundreds of miles away at the mouth of the Rogue River in Oregon. But another good flying disk incident, it was. And the caliber of the witnesses were not that bad either.

The ability of, or the appearance of, a dome that might retract is not as important, but even that has been considered before (Project Sign report). Most domed UFOs, however, are not "straight up & down" configurations. Maybe there is a special use for a "coning tower" dome on some UFOs.

The purpose of this paper is to present a theory based on observational evidence and predicted effects of E-M propulsion by Niels Sorensen. The Princeton case is a very interesting close encounter report by an engineer with a notable electronics firm, of a flying saucer, illuminated by ultraviolet light. The "super-dark cone" may be an important finding.

1.    Princeton Case on file at MUFON & CUFOS.
5.    Smith Memo, dated 11/21/50.
6.    FLYING SAUCERS FROM OUTER SPACE, Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe, 1953.
7.    Rogue River Case, PBBSR #14.

Please address all reports of "superdark cones" and other written correspondence to: Francis Ridge, 618 Davis Drive, Mt. Vernon, IN 47620.

Email: nicap@insightbb.com

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