Can this UFO sighting really be blamed on “swamp gas?” Was it just “space fever?” Was this 1966 ufo sighting really ever solved?

It is one of Michigan’s great unsolved mysteries. The first sighting in Dexter, Michigan on March 14, 1966. For about a week, Michigan was embroiled in alien fever. The allegations were so serious, the Air Force, Project Blue Book specifically, held an investigation until 1969. Walter Cronkite included it in a report. Even former president Gerald Ford (then a congressman) called for an investigation. So what were the claims exactly?

1966 UFO Sighting

Washtenaw County police officers, as well as a number of citizens, noticed lights flashing in the sky over a swamp in Dexter, Michigan. One report said the lights looked like “child’s top.” Other people said it looked “like a pyramid” and “a brown luminous car­ sized object, with a “scaly” or “waffled” surface, cone-shaped on top, flat on bottom, or football­ shaped…” All reports mentioned flashing lights of all colors. White, yellow, blue-green, brown, and red were the most common.

ufo sighting

Do those flashing lights look like swamp gas to you? Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor News/Michigan Radio.

The reports gained national recognition and the swamp area was investigated by 40 officers to no avail. The next day, over 80 students at Hillsdale College reported seeing lights over the swamp.

Swamp Gas?

The claims eventually died down, but some are not satisfied with the government-sanctioned explanation. Methane is the alleged cause. While the gas does have a tendency to “bubble up” over swamps, can an alien-infested swamp really be blamed on swamp gas? The official report claims so.

“A swamp is a place of rotting vegetation and decomposition. Swamps are not a province of astronomers. ” Because we need to be reminded what a swamp is, right?

It continues, “Yet, the famous Dutch astronomer, Ninnaert, in his book, Light and Colour in the Open Air, describes lights that have been seen In swamps by the astronomer Bessel and other excellent observers.”

Lights that have “been seen.” Seems vague to me. The report continues to explain how the “swamp gas” can appear in all of the colors observed by the citizens and officers of Washtenaw county and how “they can appear for hours at a stretch and sometimes for a whole night.” But what about for a week?

Another View

Harry Willnus, a former teacher in the area, believes that “planet Earth is being observed.” He is not the only one, and when you hear the various reports, you may believe this too.

Is it just an elaborate coverup? Willnus believes so. He reports that Allen Hynek, a government official, came to investigate the situation. While answering a call from Washington D.C., he exhibited a host of suspicious behaviors.

ufo sighting

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor News/Latest News.

“Hynek stepped out of the office, took the call, came back in a few minutes later. Harvey described him as looking a bit shaken,” Willnus said. “He had his head down and he was mumbling ‘Swamp gas, swamp gas, it was swamp gas.’ I don’t think Hynek knew what swamp gas was.”

I don’t know what swamp gas is either, so.

Some are content to believe these “other excellent observers,” that these multitudinous claims were indeed the result of swamp gas. I’m a bit reluctant to affirm these dubious explanations. Could it be that the claims were covered up in an effort to reduce panic and maybe even to cover up other UFO sightings worldwide?

What do you guys think? Do you believe the students, citizens, and officers of Washtenaw County? Or are you more inclined to believe the official government report? Let us know in the comments below!

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