Form: 97 Initial Report
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 07:28:29 -0500; updated 1 Apr 2017
From: Fran Ridge <> 
Subject:  Close Encounter by MUFON Team; Oct. 4, 1974
Cat: 2
Distribution: CE,SHG,NCP

Fran Ridge:
In July of 1985, after almost 11 years of silence, I filed a report, for-the-record, with MUFON regarding a close encounter with something, that had happened not only to myself, but to two of my rapid deployment team members on the night of October 4th, 1974.. 

That week there had been several reports of an object with lights around it filed at our UFO Filter Center. One caller made it possible for us to see the object from the front porch of the Center as it moved into the East at an estimated range of 3-5 miles.  The control tower (ARTC) at Dress-Regional was contacted and they advised that a new FAA see-and-be-seen lighting system was being used by a jet airliner, Delta 556, as it came in on Jet Airway 29 from Memphis, Tennessee to Evansville, Indiana. It would come in with what looked like one headlight (far away) that split in two (now closer) and then as it dropped down to 4,000 and headed for the airport it kicked on the new lights. Pretty awesome to see and no sound that we could discern at that range.  We had made up our minds to go to OP-1 the next few nights and observe this IFO (Identified Flying Object) that people were seeing.

The UFO Filter Center HQ was in the basement of my home at Mt. Vernon, Indiana. The MADAR (Multiple Anomaly Detection and Recording) equipment included (besides the sensor and recording devices) a large reel-to-reel recorder for radio communications. This unit was turned on either when the MADAR detection unit was activated or manually when we wanted to tape transmissions between our team's CB radios for some reason. At that time there were three of us and three mobile units, respectively. When there was a local UFO sighting in-progress or had happened recently, we would deploy and begin a routine skywatch at a point one mile north of town at  a location we designated as OP-1, which was the best observation site we had available. It was dark there and away from city lights, and on a hill. It was a cemetery.  Previously, we had been alerted about UFO sightings and had gone there before many times, but nothing like this had ever happened. Besides the radios and binoculars, compasses, and a strobe light, we also had powerful flashlights. 

The year before (1973) the local police chief and another officer had chased a drunk driver who had gone into a ditch so they were able to divert their attention to a UFO they were observing. When they put a flashlight on it, it reacted by dimming. When they put the cruiser's spotlight on it, it took off. 

On October 4, 1974, the weather was nice and the skies were dark and clear at 8:45 p.m. We had had a report the night before about a cylindrical object in the sky but also had planned a routine skywatch and we had already set up at OP-1, out of our cars. Delta 556 had flown in at 20-minutes after 8:00 p.m. and later we began to refer to it as "the 820". We had been there a while and saw flashing red lights on what appeared to be a police, sheriff or fire department vehicle approaching from the west toward observers over an apparent hill and then turning south on Hwy 69 and heading into Mt. Vernon. No siren was heard. The distance was less than a half-mile and closing up to turn and the object appeared to be moving at the same speed of an emergency vehicle negotiating this terrain. Keep in mind that up to this point (and for those nights before and after, there was no UFO operating in the area. The source of the reports coming in were all Delta 556.

At no time did we suspect anything unusual was going on. A slight mystery began to emerge later when a CB'r reported a CD fire vehicle returned from the North between 8:15 and 8:30, observers split up in their three vehicles and one person placed a land-line to MVPD. Officer Kermit Steele, the dispatcher, reported there had been a fire but no pursuits. This happens every day. Case was closed.      

The following day, the "gut feeling" we all had lured us back to the area of the reported vehicle with the aid of daylight. Upon reaching the area along the stretch of RR tracks (with the aid of a compass) it was determined that the "vehicle" had to pass over a corn field and could not have been (by any stretch of the imagination) a land vehicle.

The next evening (Oct. 5) we were at OP-1 again and observed Delta 556 which had to have been what the observer of the Oct. 3rd "UFO" had seen and I had observed from the porch while on the phone with them.

But what my team saw on the 4th was real, was at one point less than a quarter of a mile away, was a lighted object flying extremely low, and turned as if to avoid passing over us. The only thing between us and the object was a cornfield and the cemetery.  It would appear that the UFO was there because WE were there. But we were reluctant to file a report on it.  Later, when I was copying reports of re-re-evaluated incidents to Dan Wright, MUFON's Deputy Director of Investigations, this report was included.