April 13, 2004
UFO sightings may prompt investigation

Group weighs closer look after wave of reports from
Rochester area, elsewhere

By ANITA MUNSON
Tribune Staff Writer (South Bend, Indiana)

ROCHESTER -- Reports of a UFO in ruralRochester last week are intriguing enough that an investigation could belaunched by the Mutual UFO Network.

Roger Sudgen, MUFON assistant directorfor the northern part of Indiana, said Monday he'll be calling severalresidents who saw a disc-shaped object in the sky last Thursday night around10 p.m.

Bev Carpenter, who lives on County Road450 North, in rural Rochester, said she and her 13-year-old granddaughter,Shannay Carpenter of Valparaiso, Ind., had just pulled into the drivewayof her home that night when the experience began.

"I'm a line-dance instructor," Carpenterbegan, "and I'd just picked up my granddaughter, we'd gone out to supper,and I'd taught the class, so we were pulling into the drive around 10 p.m.,the normal time.

"Shannay said, 'Grandma, what's that?'I'd been getting my stuff out, and I turned around, and said, 'Oh, my God!That's a UFO.'"

The unidentified flying object, Carpentersaid, was ahead of them on the northwest side of her home.

"There were lights sort of aiming downward,"Carpenter said, further saying the lights were not focused toward the ground,nor straight out from whatever it was holding them in the air.

"You could just barely see the outlineof the craft," she said. "There was no color, no sound, and it just hoveredright above the tops of the trees."

Carpenter said the lights -- three ina row, side by side, and another three in a row, side by side, separatedby nothing Carpenter could see -- stayed bright for about 20 seconds beforethey went out. A few seconds later, they came on again.

"Then the craft started slowly, andI mean slowly, moving in a northeast direction," she said. The house wasthen blocking both their views, and they ran across the north side of thehouse to see where the object went when it moved northeastward.

"It was gone. We couldn't see anything,or the lights were out. We couldn't tell," Carpenter said, adding thatthe lights never came back on.

She said the entire event took placein less than a minute, but when the pair could no longer see what had beenup there, "we bee-lined it into the house, locked the doors, and calledthe sheriff."

Sgt. Ed Beaird of the Fulton CountySheriff's Department was dispatched to Carpenter's home, where a writtenreport was completed. A spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department said onMonday that several calls were received by dispatchers Thursday night,but no number was available. Beaird was not available Monday for comment,but the spokeswoman said the Carpenter residence was the only locationto which an officer was dispatched concerning the UFO.

Carpenter, a 22-year worker with Hart,Schaffner & Marx and union steward before the plant closed, said she'snever experienced anything even remotely close to a UFO sighting before,but she knew enough from seeing various television shows that she shouldcontact the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle.

She spoke with Peter Davenport, directorof NUFORC, who took down her information, but when she tried to e-mailthe information to him, her computer showed the message: "Difficulties-- try at a later time." Carpenter said the lights dimmed four times duringthat period, as well. She waited until Friday morning to send the information.

"Until we have a butterfly net and canactually snag one of these, they'll remain UFOs," Davenport said in a phoneinterview Monday.

Davenport said he'd had "about a dozencalls" about the sighting, but was trying to "unbury myself" from a mountainof data he's analyzing from more than 250 reports from around the world.His office averages 20 reports a day, he said.

Carpenter also called Rochester's WROIradio station to report the sighting. Baron Imhoof, news director at thestation, said he received up to 10 calls when Carpenter went on air liveFriday morning to share her experience. Others, too, had seen the strangelights in the sky.

Gene Winters and his wife, who livehalf-way between Mexico and Denver in Miami County, had no idea what neighborsto the north were experiencing when he saw a large craft hover over thepond behind his house around 10 p.m. Thursday night. He knew it was thattime, he said, because a television show had just ended, and it was timeto take the dog outside.

That task was delayed as the Winterscouple saw, first from the patio door on the right side of the living roomin their home, "what looked like two rows of lights, like two planes flyingtogether," Winters said his wife described it.

Then they saw the object out of thepatio door to the left side of the room, indicating it was closer and lowerto the horizon, he said.

"We were both looking out, and therewere six to eight lights in a row on this very, very large object," Winterssaid. "Living north of Grissom Air Force Base, I thought it was one ofthose big jets. ... But there were two things wrong with the picture. Itwas very low in the sky, and it wasn't moving. And it was hovering overthe top of our pond."

Winters said the lights did not lightany other object in his viewing area, and the object appeared to be about35 to 50 feet in the air above the pond surface.

He said as he walked back to the otherpatio door to see it from another angle, it disappeared, "just like thelights were turned off."

Winters called Carpenter after readingher story in a local newspaper.

Carpenter said she's been receivingcalls from residents in Winamac and Kewanna about Thursday's baffling sightin the sky. She's preparing a map for investigators, she said.

Mutual UFO Network's Sudgen said hewill complete interviews with Carpenter, Winters and others before a decisionis made to physically make a trip to the area.

End of article
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