Merom/Gilham Incident
November 6, 1957

Merom, Indiana

On the evening of November 6, 1957, Rene Gilham, a young ironworker, had a Close Encounter of the Second Kind.  He was employed in Terre Haute, Indiana, and lived with his wife and children on the outskirts of the community of Merom, Indiana, about 25 miles south of Terre Haute.

While Gilham was eating his evening meal, a neighbor's child came in and urged Gilham's youngsters to hurry out and see the funny star in the sky.  The children rushed out, were properly excited by what they saw, and, in turn, urged the parents to come see for themselves.

The Gilham's followed the children out into the street in front of their home.  The family which lived across the street were already there.  They were watching a circular thing which hung motionless in the sky an estimated 200-300' overhead.  Both Gilham and his neighbor guessed that it was not less than thirty or more than forty feet in diameter.  None of the little group of witnesses heard any sound from it, not even the buzzing oftentimes reported.

When brilliant beams of bright blue light began projecting downward from the center of the object, the family across the road decided it was time to retire.  Mrs. Gilham suggested that they, too, should get back inside the house.  Mr. Gilham laughed and told her to "take the kids and go on inside.  I want to see this thing!"

He stood there under the object for a total of about ten minutes, in the recurrent bright beams of blue light, each of which lasted about half a second.  Then, he said, "The thing made a sizzling sound, like a high speed electric motor, and away it went!"

That was on a Wednesday night.  He felt no discomfort on Thursday, but by Friday he had eye inflammation and his face was beginning to swell and to itch.  By Saturday the top of his head and his face were showing such unmistakable swelling and reddening that he went to a doctor.  Dr. Joseph Dukes sent him to a hospital in Sullivan, Indiana, for treatment.  He was treated there and released a few days later after being interrogated by Air Force officers who advised him not to discuss the matter with civilians.  Fortunately, they were too late.

Dr. Joseph Dukes of Dugger, Indiana, told the Field Investigator (FI, Frank Edwards, that the burns Gilham suffered were similar to the burns caused by overexposure to the rays from an electric welding torch.  Gilham contended that he had not been near a welding torch for three weeks nor, for that  matter, anything else that could have caused the burns, except that blinking light on the UFO.

Edwards stated that Mr. Gilham fully recovered from the effects of his unique experience.

Then, later, even I got involved in the case.  In the late 60's my sister married a man who had been a lab technician at Mary Sherman Hospital in Sullivan, Indian.  He told investigators that Mr. Gilham was told to return to the hospital every year for blood tests.

Source: Frank Edwards. Also listed in Regional Encounters: The FC Files, Page 165, by Francis Ridge.

NICAP Home Page