By Paul Cerny
Western Regional Director
At 4 AM on September 30, 1974, a somewhat unusual close encounter took place on the Kent Plott dairy ranch about four miles southeast of Orland, California, a small farming community 32 miles south of Red Bluff. The Sacramento River ambles along north to south about three miles farther east in relatively flat farming land.
It was a starry clear night with a last quarter moon still in the sky. Hubert Brown, a 22-year-old dairy milker, was in the outer field fairly close to the gate, attempting to bring in the last string of cows to be milked.
The dairy barn itself, an open shed with a roof, was already about three quarters filled with cows waiting to be milked. There was space at the input end of the retaining shed for the animals coming in with Hubert. The whole structure was about 130 feet long by about 50 feet wide.
A cement block building attached at the other end of the shed housed the milking stalls and equipment, with a small side door facing the ranch house for easy entry.
As Brown was preparing to open the outer field gate, his eyes caught a bright red glowing object descending rapidly toward him at approximately a 35-degree angle out of the northeast. The cattle around him began to bolt and scatter to the far ends of the field in every direction.
The UFO came down almost to the ground not too far from Brown. He took off like a rocket, clearing the five-foot gate in one big leap, running as fast as he could for the side door of the milking shed.
Screaming for his co-worker as he ran, Brown bolted through the open doorway, slipped on the wet concrete floor and went sprawling onto the surface. Scrambling to his feet again, he grabbed at his superior, 37-year-old Tyron Philips, who had been busy milking.
Pointing frantically and wide-eyed at the unknown intruder out the far end of the open barn, he gasped but was unable to utter any intelligent words.
As they both watched in startled amazement, about 50 cows that had just been milked were wildly stampeding in a large holding pen outside the end of the barn closest to the UFO. Dust was flying everywhere.
About 120 cows already in the barn, waiting to be milked, were now packed tightly together pushing each other up against the inside divider barrier. Every cow's head was intently riveted in the direction of the UFO, ears pointed upward and seemingly frozen as if paralyzed.
The UFO, estimated to be 60 to 70 feet in diameter, hovered and wobbled a few feet off the ground about 200 yards away from Brown and Phillips. It was emitting a moderate humming sound. A bright red light on top was illuminating the whole craft and a considerable area of ground around it.
It was a typical domed-disc craft and sharply outlined to the two human witnesses. It appeared to have windows, but this was difficult to perceive due to the bright red glow. After about 30 to 40 seconds, the object suddenly took off at about a 45 degree angle into the sky and disappeared to the west.
It was almost nine months before we received word of the encounter. "It scared the hell out of me," Brown admitted. When I asked Philips about Brown's frantic reaction, he said, "I thought he had gone bananas!"
Philips said the cows were packed so close together, backed up in the barn, that he couldn't get his hand between any of them and they stayed that way for some time.
This is an exceptional example of close observation of animal reaction to a UFO.
Kent Plott, the ranch owner, who is a private pilot, was asleep in the ranch house nearby, as was the rest of the family, so they were totally unaware of the event at that time of the morning. He was highly interested, however, as there were numerous sightings going on in the general area and he talked at length with Philips and Brown.
Since it was nine months before we got to the site, and with rain and weather acting on the spot, we did not bother taking Geiger counter readings, especially since the UFO apparently had not touched down. I did ask Plott if he noticed any burned or discolored grass in the field, but he said there was none.
He did comment that the next day the milk yield was considerably less than average from these Holstein cattle. The animals still showed signs of being somewhat nervous for the next day or two.
Following weekend visits to the site were made for follow-up and pictures. I was accompanied by Tom Gates, MUFON astronomy consultant, and Jim Corning, State Section Director at Red Bluff, California.
MUFON UFO Journal, Nov '83, V189, p. 14-15
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