Part Two: Cases of Close Encounters 1900-1922

Part Two in a Series

Other papers at this site have reported that even civilian ufo investigators for all the decades of their efforts since the early 1950s have given close encounters cases sparse attention, largely to assure some credibility in the eyes of public sectors they hoped to draw to the study of the ufo mystery.

There are dedicated individuals archiving online and in print a wide variety of types of ufo publications and content. That includes materials related to close encounters of the 3rd and 4th kind.

See part one of this article series (link on home page) for a description of the Humanoid Catalogue (HUMCAT) done for the J. Àllen Hynek Center for UFO Studies in the early 1980s and the decades-long and ongoing compilation work of Albert Rosales.

Yet any type of online search effort based on “close encounters of the third kind” seem to primarily highlight results for the popular movie from the 1970s with that title and not much for case databases.

These series of papers will rely on a wide variety of references. One key reference is the 3rd edition of The UFO Encyclopedia (2018) edited by UFO historian Jerome Clark. Journalists, academics, government policy makers and the interested public can find at the end of the Thomas Bullard article on the “Abduction Phenomenon” (pgs 1-38 in volume one) a large list of guiding references. The same for Jerome Clark’s article in volume one, covering “Close Encounters of the Third Kind (pgs 261-293).

The earliest cases described here are based in a few incidences on newspaper accounts and otherwise came to light when witnesses decades after shared with civilian ufo investigators who first surfaced in the early 1950s (with the group Aerial Phenomena Research Organization or APRO headed by Jim and Coral Lorenzen receptive to hearing these cases, and with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena or NICAP under Donald Keyhoe reluctant to address). In some cases, stories would be shared by surviving children or grandchildren of witnesses who had passed on.

The first commonly recognized first known case (in the 20th century) of a person sighting an unidentified’ landed craft with clearly non human occupants was shared by an elderly man in 1978 to two British ufologists (Jenny Randles and Phil Baarnet). But, I will first relate a story sourced to a page (requiring log in) at a Finnish ufo website (Suomen Ufotutkijat, The story details were added to the massive Albert S Rosales compilation of cases.

The date for this reported incident of high strangeness is imprecisely given as 1900. The location was Kuhmo, Lentira, Finland.

This incident involved 4 children who had gone into a swampy wooded area to collect cloudberry. An adult was nearby keeping an eye on the group, 2 kids around 10 to 12 and the other 2 younger. The adult watching them suddenly becomes aware that the children are no longer visible and in a panic runs into the village. A search begins and lasts for days without success.

Weeks later the children reappeared and are questioned by the village elders. The children remember very little, aside from recalling they “were approached by some friendly ‘persons’ and invited to fly onboard a ‘device’ in the air. According to some of the children, they were able to look down

and see the earth below”. (Quote from Rosales case entry)

The more classic close encounters case reported to 2 British researchers in 1978 by the witness happened in the summer of 1901 in Bournebrook, West Midlands, England. The witness was 10 years old at the time.

The interviewers found him “with still active faculties”. Historian Jerome Clarke summarizes the details given:. “…He was returning home through a path behind his family’s garden when he came upon a box-shaped device with a small centrally placed turret. The only opening was a door, through which two small men in uniforms, each wearing an odd-looking cap, stepped out. While one stayed by the door, the other walked towards the witness and waved him away. Except for their height (less than four feet) they looked completely human and Caucasian. They were dressed in what resembled military uniforms but without insignia. The two beings then reentered their ship. A bright flash lit it up around it, and then it shot off into the air with a loud whooshing sound. Similiar entities would be reported in later decades.” (Clark, pg 261, vol 1, UFO Encyclopedia).

Three people from Glendeane, Kentucky on the evening of April 16 1907 were so distressed by a sighting incident that they wrote to their local paper. On May 8 1907 the following item appeared in The Breckenridge News from Cloverport, Kentucky:

“Will you allow space in The News to tell readers of a mysterious light and describe it, as some people are so apt to magnify or minimize such things. On April 16, a dark, misty night, this light appeared one and a half miles off, a vacant cabin. It moved like a skiff riding waves till it came to Mrs. T.A. Keenan’s and remained close to her home for fifteen minutes, then came two-thirds the distance towards us. We could discern something dark in it resembling a person, then it moved back beyond her house almost out of sight, then back. Flashes of light could be seen to leave. It settled down into the hollow. It was in the shape of a cone as large as a corn stalk. It was first seen at 8pm and watched until 11pm. It grew smaller. Will someone five us more information on this subject? The light was seen by Emily E. Keenan, P.H. P.H. Keenan and J.B. Bates.”

In Vippula, Finland during the summer of 1907 another strange puzzle was brought to the attention of that community. The source for this story is identified as Ilkka Serra and HUMCAT.

When some boys were playing on the shore of a lake, they saw a bright light over the lake on an approach. It landed near them. When a door opened and some humanoids emerged, the boys panicked and ran to the rectory. It took some time for them to settle down enough to relate what happened. When adults checked the site, they found footprints and landing traces.

This next case was reported decades after the incident to two ufologists (seperately), Ted Bloecher and Thomas Deuley. The witness, Lawrence J. Crone, was five years old that spring morning in 1910, playing basketball on a Baltimore-area (Vidotville, Maryland) baseball field.

He spotted a 100 foot long metallic and brown blimp-like object hovering with oscillating movements next to a pine tree 200 feet away. The viewable side of this object was lined with variously colored rectangular-shaped windows, except for one that was clear.

Through the clear window Crone could see 2 or 3 beings at a time taking

turns observing him. (Up to 20 of them doing so.) He could see the upper portions of their body. The entry in the Rosales compilation offers this description: “They had heads and necks ‘like pigeons’, with pointed heads, no nose or ears, and ‘2 spots for eyes’. Their faces were flat with no chin, and covered with a soft looking gray gown, like fur.”. And Jerome Clark in The UFO Encyclopedia:. “….they were conical in shape, with pointed heads; possibly the effect was caused by headgear since the points varied in color from being to being. They were dressed in light colored garments with a fur-like texture. Each of the had small dots for eyes and a straight line for a (presumed) mouth but no other features.”. Crone noted two other boys saw this also but had run away in a panic.

A report of contact that began in 1910 for a nine year old boy from a small Belize village, who was already being trained by his grandfather in plant life, will be described in the part 2 paper systemizing of cases presented by Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke.

Another case apparently related to modern-day ufologists came from near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and reportedly occurred to a then 6 year old boy named Abram Penner in 1912. The source for the publishing of it is J. Allen Hynek, according to the entries in the HUMCAT and later Rosales compilation of cases.

Abram reported that he saw a round-shaped craft with a glass cab land on his father’s farm. He then describes meeting the occupants: “One man felt my body, they admired my hands. They have different hands than we do; they have round feet, short legs, no knees, and no elbows. They operate on mind power. I understood what they said.”. Abram’s father advised him at the time not to tell anyone.

For a 1913 case, I will repost the entry from the Humanoid Catalogue (HUMCAT) done for the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies to show the format used. That format is used also by the Albert S Rosales in his compilations going beyond the HUMCAT recording of cases through 1977. See part one paper in this series for descriptions of these 2 bodies of work:

Historian Jerome Clarke in his encyclopedic article on ce3 cases noted that from the large number of available sample of cases for 1914, that it must have been a peak year for ce3s, something we’d really only know “if there was someone around to record them”. (At this point, it is 38 years later that the first major UFO civilian investigatory group would be formed.).

At twilight on an early evening in March 1914, a farmer from Lajoumard, Haute Vienne, France was returning to his farmhouse when he saw a round and luminous object at the top of a nearby hill. He got within a 100 yards or so and saw several small-sized beings emerge from this object. They briefly walked around the scene and then re-enter the craft. The craft leaves with a zig zagging or spiraling trajectory. The man told his family who would later reveal to researchers after his death.

The next case comes out of Bilda, Algeria on the eve of World War 1. This is an evening event from the summer of 1914 and is sourced from the La Forum De L ‘Ufologie, France.

A man was returning home after he had turned on the irrigation valves in the fields when he saw a large luminous sphere move across the field and land near his location, only yards away. The man became frightened and moved fast to hide behind a hedge. He saw several small beings exit the craft. They wore helmets and “light-colored combination suits”. He saw them spread out and in a rapid fashion collecting samples from the ground. They did this for a few minutes before re-entering the sphere and taking off rapidly. Neighbors the next day reported seeing a glowing sphere moving over the fields the night before.

This next case was published in a German UFO magazine (UFO–Nachrichten) in 1962 based on a submitted report from the children of the witness who died in 1933.

Gustav Herwagen was working at a bakery on the outskirts of Hamburg, Germany in June 1914 when at 4 in the morning he took a break and went outside his door. He saw in a nearby field a cigar shaped object hovering just above the ground. It was illuminated from within, evident from glowing windows lined along the side. A halo of light surrounded it. He saw 4 or 5 beings dressed alike in suits. They were about 3 and a half feet tall. When he started walking towards them, they saw him and quickly returned to their craft. Which then ascended vertically without sound and quickly.

Another case seems to have been passed on to modern ufologists, perhaps by the identified witness who was 18 in the summer (August) of 1914. Jerry Clark in The UFO Encyclopedia cites a 1976 publishing of this by Coral and Jim Lorenzen and the Rosales compilation references J. Allen Hynek as also a publishing source.

The identified person in this story, who was 18 at the time, is William J. Kiehl. He was reportedly camping with 7 others on the shores of Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada. They witnessed “a gray, spherical object with a flattened top and bottom and a metallic band

around the center. It was floating 450 feet off-shore. [The Albert Rosales entry notes it was emitting multi-colored lights.] On a substructure near it’s base stood 2 four-foot beings wearing one-piece suit, greenish purple garments and square headpieces which obscured their features. They were extending a hose-like device into the water. Three similiar beings, these dressed in khaki color, emerged from the top of the vehicle. They were working on pipe-like extensions which after a few minutes were drawn back inside through the open hatch. They re-entered, and the 2 beings on the substructure reloaded the ‘hose’ through the same hatch.” (Clark, p262, vol 1, The UFO Encyclopedia).

That’s not the end of this story. One of the 2 beings working at the lower level was still outside when the craft first rose 12 feet, paused, tilted and angle, and shot off rapidly. This case of water harvesting is something that would be commonly reported over the years.

And, as far as the “oops” described above, there will be other reports noted showing similiar mishaps.

A farm at Alastaro, Finland at noon one day near the end of August 1914 was the scene of a boy and his grandmother experiencing a close ençounter together. The case is described in the Rosales compilation for cases from 1909 to 1919 (quotes in my summary from his entry) and Heikki Virtanen of Finland identified as the source publicizing it.

A 10-year old boy, named Arvo Kuoppala, and his grandmother (Maria Felt) were sitting together in the living room of their farmhouse when they noticed it became suddenly dark with an accompanying sound of a “loud blowing noise”.

Then they noticed a bright wall of light coming from the east, soon becoming apparent as a large and bright globe. It approaches the house and stops outside the window. They witness an oval-shaped window opening up and see 2 beings, one large and the other a midget. The midget is described as uglier and both are noted as having large heads in relation to their bodies. Their heads were “broad and angular” and the “eyes appeared friendly”.

They see the larger being smile and then his lips moving, apparently talking. When Avro mentions this excitadely, the being stops talking and the oval window closes abruptly. A moment later they hear a loud thump and see a bright flash. The globe rises and departs to the west rapidly.

Avro immediately feels fatigued at this noon hour and goes to sleep for a long nap lasting into the evening. The grandmother then shares with Avro her thoughts that “the strangers were not from heaven, but from a distant place”.

This next case dated to September 1914 was reported by one of the experiencers who “when interviewed in 1975, …….was still so disturbed by the experience that he refused to discuss it in detail”. (J. Clark, pg 262, vol 1, UFO Encyclopedia). Albert Rosales identifies the publishing source as Rupert Drew. (Witnesses identified as “Mr. Uden and Mr. Hopkins”.)

Two boys were wandering on a mountainside on their way home from school. They encounter a widespread mist with 2 small and very white humanoid figures visible. The boys noticed them wearing tall hats similar to those worn by chefs and that the beings had piercing eyes. When the beings began to approach them, the boys ran away.

There is one more 1914 case on record in the Rosales compilation, the

publishing source attributed to Lucy Guzman from The experience related reportedly happened to an elderly man named David Mendiola Vilchez, residing in an isolated area close by a cemetery near Cochabamba, Bolivia. The details of this incident were relayed by his grandchildren.

Albert Rosales notes that “if true” this story may be an early example of a classic type abduction.

The detail for date and time of the alleged incident is unusually precise:. December 6, 1914 at 3:47 AM. Mr. Vilchez was awakened to a sound of “an airplane turbine engine” and went outside where he saw “a large gray metallic cigar-shaped craft that appeared to be encircled in ‘electricity’ descending on a nearby field”. As Mr. Vilchez approached, he found himself engulfed in a bright white light and then in an instant inside the craft, surrounded by several tall and thin beings with large eyes. His description (as relayed by his grandchildren) is even more graphic with the skin described as covered in a mucous or cartilage type material and with legs similiar to octopi. He remembered being examined and not much more.

A case from the summer of 1915 brings us another example of short humanoids. (Published by Ole Jonny Braene in “Pre-1947 UFO Type Incidents in Norway.). The unnamed witness in Sunlitjelma, Norway saw a dark and bell-shaped craft descend behind a hill and then shortly 2 short beings coming out from behind the hills. The beings briefly approached and smiled at him, then returned to their craft which was soon seen ascending and departing. These beings were said by the witness to have large heads in proportion to the body and long and wavy dark hair. Their skin was gray and they wore dark brown overalls.

In October 1917, shortly after noon, a 17 year old boy named John Boback saw a disc-shaped craft about the size of a car in a field near the railroad tracks between Youngstown and Mt. Braddock, PA. He was able to observe it briefly before it began departing “with a high pitched sound, rising gradually like a slow plane” (quote from HUMCAT entry). The craft had a dome with long windows and he saw figures. (This case is mentioned by Jacques Vallee in Magnolia and he quoted Cyril Hortle from “A Carbon Experiment”)

This next odd case, dated 1920 and from near Montyron France, came to light when two of the witnesses were interviewed in 1975 (as children, Louise and Marie Grasser, married names Talbot and Roussarue). “A group of young people [on a weekend night between and 11 and midnight] were returning from a dance when they saw in the sky a strange spectacle: a group of beings of small stature moving about in the air, and giving off ‘musical sounds’ “. They saw also a number of luminous balls. They felt no fear. Source is unpublished manuscript by Mesnard and Bigorne, “Les Humanoids of France”.

In 1954 a “Mr. G.B.” had his letter, describing a close encounter from the summer of 1921, published in Paris-Match (No 291, October 23-30 1954). The letter writer was 8 years old when the incident he describes happened one summer afternoon in Marseilles, France:

“In 1921–a very hot year–I was playing one day among the hills of the North Canal. I was right years old and I loved to lose myself in the moon-like landscape made by excavations, and from the First World War.

“Suddenly, two beings, wearing a sort of pliable helmet, literally leaped out from between some acacia trees. Without preliminaries, they dragged me toward what I thought was an oddly shaped tank. They took me up into the machine, without my being able to resist, I should say ‘without my being able to want to resist’. I suddenly began to cry; and I don’t know whether that moved them, but after awhile an opening appeared in the ceiling of the cabin, and in a few seconds found myself on the ground.

“However, I had to walk most of the afternoon until I found myself near the road I had left five minutes before.

“When I got home that night, my parents treated me like a little liar, and no one believed me. I can now hardly add much detail to the machine, or it’s cabin. Doubtless, I was too astounded. I only remember two details: there were square, or at least rectangular portholes. The cabin had a kind of soft couch that I sat on.

“I seem to recall that their helmets appeared metallic. I don’t recall any anatomical details, except that the two beings were very tall and slender.”

Ted Bloecher, the compiler here, notes that without more info on the witness it would be difficult to assess his credibility, but because it fits a subsequent pattern in reports “this case deserves serious consideration”.

This next case, set in a summer night of 1922 in Detroit, was related to ufologist Dr. Ron Westrum in a letter from an elderly witness, Mrs Irma Hinz in March 1978, who also filed a MUFON sighting report sent to ufologist Ted Bloecher in August 1978. Mrs. Hinz’s daughter, Carol Hinz, wrote a letter to Dr. Westrum in April 1978 confirming that her mother shared the story many years before.

Mrs. Hinz back in the summer of 1922 was an unmarried teenager out on a date with a young man (whose name she remembered over 55 years later). They were returning home from a movie when they saw the sky above a vacant lot lit up suddenly by a large disc-shaped craft descending to the height of a large tree. The lot was several blocks from the Detroit River, on Dragoon Ave. They watched for several minutes as the craft hovered and slowly revolved around the perimeter.

Entities could be seen from the shoulders up and we’re starting intently at the couple. They were bald with eyes set closely together. After several minutes, the couple felt fright and left rapidly.

The young woman’s mother felt her daughter experienced a vision. Decades later, the witness did tell the investigators the name of her date.