At 11:15 p.m., January 29, 1953, Lloyd C. Booth left his general store eight miles north of Conway, South Carolina, and drove to his farm about a mile away. After washing, he put on a pot of coffee and sat down to read the newspaper. Then he began to think of his cow that had died the night before. The animal “hadn’t even been sick at all.”
“Even stranger,” Booth stated, “in the past few weeks about 20 cows in the county had met the same unusual death. Examinations by veterinarians showed that they had all died of poisoning….Also, hogs were dying in amazingly large numbers. One man lost 75. Nobody could explain the deaths.”
As he was contemplating the strange demise of the farm animals, he heard his own farm animals outside.
“A bunch of ducks, the chickens, and two mules began making more noise than usual, and I got up and went out to see what was molesting the animals,” the general store owner stated.
As he went outside, Booth, thinking a prowler might be on the farm, grabbed his Harrison and Richards .22 revolver. As he reached the mule stalls, he saw something about 10 feet over the treetops.
“It looked like an egg, cut end to end,” he stated. “There was a [white] light in the back, but the glass was tinted, smoked, or too thick to see through. The entire body was very streamlined. It was from 24-26’ long, and 12’-14’ broad, and 8’-10’ deep, not to include the (apparently) countersunk round object on the bottom. The bottom appeared to be flat except for the protrusion on the bottom which appeared to be 3’-3 ½ ’ broad extending down about 3 ½ ‘ from the fuselage or main body and extending about one-half the overall length of the object…. There are two glassed-over areas in front, like cockpits, but here weren’t any bubbles as our craft have…. In the back was another cockpit, and light was pouring through what seemed like tinted glass…. Underneath was an opening about three feet wide, and from this protruded a crescent-shaped object that looked like part of a large wheel….”
The witness said his Army training in an anti-aircraft unit that taught him to notice minute details of all types of aircraft: helicopters, blimps, jets, conventional planes, etc.
“I know that the strange craft that hovered over me … was something I had never seen before,” he remarked.
The UFO was “drifting” toward Booth from the east. It was making a “slight humming noise.” He yelled toward the house, hoping to awaken his family, but was unsuccessful.
The strange flying object passed overhead at an approximate altitude of 90 feet, heading west. Clutching his pistol, Booth followed the slow-moving UFO. It flew over the trees and the witness entered a small clearing in the woods. But there was a swamp ahead. He knew he couldn’t go much further.
Shot Hits UFO
Then the object again approached Booth and flew overhead. The frightened part-time farmer aimed the pistol and pulled the trigger. Ping! The bullet had hit something metallic. He fired again but heard nothing because the nocturnal craft increased its noise, “like a stepped up electric motor.”
“As soon as the [first] shot hit the object…,” Booth wrote, “it seemed to tilt upward just a bit and soared into the air at about a 65-degree angle. It continued this upward move at about 600 m.p.h. until it vanished….”
The UFO disappeared at a speed greater than any aircraft, Booth said.
Reentering the house, the witness found that his mother, father and brother were awake. His mother had heard the shots.
Booth pondered as to whether to report the incident. He decided not to, fearing ridicule. A week passed before he informed a friend, Rev. Elwell Jones, pastor of the Horry County Carolina Baptist Church, who broke the story.
“In a few hours I was surround by curiosity seekers and I found debunkers on all sides,” Booth lamented.
A Civil Aviation Agency (CAA) man said the witness had shot at one of a fleet of Navy blimps en route from Georgia to North Carolina. But Booth wasn’t satisfied.
“I have seen many blimps,” he said, “and I’ve been in one. I’d certainly know a blimp when I saw one 80 feet over my head.”
Booth was known as an “honest, Christian man” in his area.
“I have known Lloyd Booth all my life,” Rev. Jones said. “I have known him to be a good Christian man and when he says he saw something, he did.”
“Lloyd Booth is of good character and a truthful man,” a neighbor concurred. “I have never known him to misrepresent anything.”
Even the local newspaper attested to the witness’ honesty.
“Booth is…a member of the Poplar Methodist Church and of exceedingly high character throughout the area in which he is known,” said a story in The Field. “There is no doubt in the minds of those who know him well, including ministers, that he is by nature truthful and of high moral integrity. What he saw was no hoax, and he had ample time to study it in great detail.
Even a writer who did a story on the incident for The Journal of Space Flight was impressed by the witness.
“It is the author’s opinion, based upon Mr. Booth’s personality and the manner in which the story was told and questions answered, that this is not a hoax,” wrote H. B. Ketchum. “It appears that the man did see a strange craft of a design wholly unfamiliar and with an unknown but powerful means of propulsion.”
Finally, Dr. James E. McDonald interviewed the witness.
“Booth’s account was given to me in a seemingly quite straightforward manner, no evident embarrassments or visible dramatization,” Dr. McDonald told NICAP. “He sounded like a person of …entirely honest manner.”(24)(24) Letter to NICAP Board Member, Rev. Albert H. Baller, from Lloyd C. Booth, dated March 8, 1953; letter to NICAP from Dr. James E. McDonald, dated October 9, 1967; “I Shot a Flying Saucer,” by Lloyd C. Booth as told to Glenn D. Kittler, Male, September, 1953; “Report of Interview Concerning the Observation of a Strange Flying Craft,” by H. B. Ketchum, The Journal of Space Flight, September, 1953, pp. 6-8; The (Columbia, S.C.) State, February 7, 8, and 26, 1953; The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, February 15, 1953.