The recent case of mistaken identity that led to claims of a UFO over Chicago piqued our interest at Mysterious Heartland, so we called in John Stephenson, our resident UFO expert, to tell us and our readers about some of the most famous UFO sightings in Illinois. What he came back with was the following list of the top eight close-encounters over the Prairie State! Which one will prove to be the most compelling evidence of alien visitation?
8. The Wayne City Chase
This sighting took place on August 4, 1963 in Wayne City, Illinois. As a young couple was leaving the drive-in movie “The Great Escape” at around 11:30 PM, the boyfriend, Ronnie, glanced out of the window to the south and saw a big white object moving along at treetop level, about 20-degrees above the horizon to the southwest. He described it as fuzzy and about the size of a washtub. Both witnesses watched and casually talked about the light for several minutes.
Then they discovered that the light seemed to be keeping pace with them. Ronnie reported that when he sped the car up, the object seemed to speed up. When he decelerated, the object seemed to slow down. Upon arrival at his girlfriend’s home, the object appeared to move closer, so they went inside, turned out the lights and watched through a window. After 15 minutes had passed, Ronnie decided he had better go home. He made a run for the car, and as soon as he pulled away, the object began to follow. The object now changed from a brilliant white to a duller or dimmer light with an orange tinge and moved in front of the car. Ronnie said he “really poured the coal” to the car and must have been doing 120 mph until he made it home.
7. Amber Lights over Urbana-Champaign
On February 2, 2002, shortly before midnight, various students and residents of these twin college towns observed clusters of amber-hued lights flashing in a line across the sky, from southwest to northeast. The most convincing witness, a police officer, watched objects hover above Memorial Stadium and reported all kinds of chatter about unidentified objects on his scanner that night. One witness said that some buildings had been lit up with spotlights originating from the objects.
6. The Franklin Park Sighting
On May 28, 1979, a Boy Scout leader led 13 boys on a hike up Blueberry Hill. Suddenly, at 3:45 as the group reached the top of the hill, a high-pitched whine was heard coming from above. Startled, the campers looked up. A pulsating, metallic saucer about 20 feet in diameter was hovering 50 to 60 feet above the ground. The UFO had a flat, shiny, reflective bottom, and its half-dome shape was topped by a smaller dome giving off a reddish glow. The entire saucer was surrounded by a purplish mist, and the glowing red dome was revolving. When the high-pitched sound was heard again, the saucer began to move, and then it suddenly took off straight up. The total observation time was about 30 seconds.
5. Attempted Landing in Downers Grove
At about 8:00pm on July 12, 2000, a building security guard saw a bunch of bright lights. He went out to the south parking lot and saw “a huge object that was trying to land in the parking lot.” He said, “It was as long as eight buses, and almost as high.” He described the object as dark silver/blue in color with a goldish stripe across it, and underneath looked concave. He said, “The UFO hovered over the parking lot for almost a minute without making any sound.” At that time, some of the tenants came out because this object was right outside their window. Even the entire cleaning crew saw it as well.
4. The 2006 Chicago O’Hare UFO Sighting
At approximately 4:30pm on Tuesday Nov 7th, 2006, federal authorities at Chicago O’Hare International Airport received a report that a group of twelve airport employees were witnessing a metallic, saucer-shaped craft hovering over gate C-17. They also received a report that approximately a dozen witnesses were observing a small, round disc-shaped object, metallic in appearance, which hovered over Gate C17.
The disc was visible for approximately two minutes and was seen by a dozen or so United Airlines employees, ranging from pilots to supervisors. The UFO was then seen to suddenly accelerate straight up through the overcast skies. Witnesses reported that the object left behind an open hole of clear air in the cloud layer and that the mysterious hole disappeared or closed within a few minutes. So far, no conclusive photographic evidence of the UFO has surfaced.
3. Tinley Park Lights
A triangular formation of reddish lights were seen at low to intermediate altitude by hundreds of witnesses, on three separate occasions in late 2004 and early 2005, producing multiple videos, photos, and mainstream local news coverage over two suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. The object(s) maneuvered slowly within a busy airspace near O’Hare International Airport. The incident was investigated by MUFON, and reported widely in metropolitan media. It was also featured on an episode of UFO Hunters on the Sci-Fi Channel.
2. The Rockford Sightings
Rockford gets our number two spot based on the sheer number of mass sightings alone. There have been yellow lights, red glowing spheres, numerous bright lights, and Orbs. There was even mass sightings of a large triangle, like in the famous “Phoenix Lights.” To this day, strange orb-like objects are seen in the night sky according to hundreds of Rockford-area residents.
In February 2000, there were multiple sightings of clusters of yellow lights over the Rockford-area, and around 9:00 PM on January 11, 2001, WREX Channel 13 Television and other news media reported that they had received some 600 reports of UFOs over the city. Sometimes as many as twelve lights or UFOs were reported conducting maneuvers, and some computer and electrical shutdowns coincided with the reports.
1. The St. Clair Triangle
The “St. Clair Triangle” refers to a mass of sightings occurring around 4:00 am on January 5, 2000 in St. Clair County, Illinois. Since that time, the area has become famous for its huge wave of triangle sightings that still continue to this day. More than eight different police departments witnessed and even pursued the huge triangular craft. At one point, the craft “jumped” over 20 miles in just seconds. It traveled over the towns of Highland, Dupo, Lebanon, Summerfield, Millstadt, and O’Fallon. Five on-duty Illinois police officers in separate locales, along with various other witnesses, reported the massive, silent, triangular aircraft operating at an unusual range of near-hover to incredible high speed at treetop altitudes. The incident was examined in an ABC Special “Seeing is Believing” by Peter Jennings, an hour-long special “UFOs Over Illinois,” produced by Discovery Channel, as well as a Sci Fi Channel special entitled “Proof Positive.”
John Stephenson is a member of MUFON, co-host of Thresholds into Other Realms, and small business professional with a decade worth of experience in IT and high end security surveillance systems. For the last four years, he has moderated the website Bachelors-Grove.com and employed a technical and scientific approach to paranormal research with an emphasis on infra-red digital imagery and photographic analysis. Check out the interview with John that we conducted in September 2010. Please learn how to cite your work.