Alternate Perceptions Magazine, February 2018
Mysterious UFOs, Bigfoot and Cryptid Encounters Reported Across Pennsylvania in 2017
by: Stan Gordon
Every year mysterious incidents occur in Pennsylvania. 2017 was a very active year for strange phenomena of various kinds. Observations of mysterious objects in the sky were reported in daylight as well as at night. People reported very close range encounters with mini-UFOs. There were numerous reports of strange creatures being seen as well. From sightings of Bigfoot, to giant birds with huge wingspans, and black panthers, many people encountered creatures they couldn’t explain. There were various other oddities reported such as strange howls, to odd footprints, to mystery booms.
This year will mark 59 years of my research into the UFO phenomena and other strange encounters that continue to be reported yearly from across the Keystone State. I established a Hotline for the public to report UFO sightings in 1969, and I continue to receive such calls on a regular basis along with email reports. In 1970, I founded and directed the first of three volunteer research groups that investigated these incidents across the state. For many years, I was joined in the field by scientists, engineers, and a variety of research specialists that took a serious look into numerous unusual cases.
When I began my in the field investigations in 1965, it became apparent that many UFO sightings and in fact various other oddities reported could be satisfactorily explained with proper investigation. Many UFO sightings were misidentifications such as that of bright stars and planets, lights on aircraft, bright meteors, and weather related events. In more recent years, Chinese lanterns, the International Space Station, and drones have created such reports. Some Bigfoot sightings were determined to be large shaggy dogs, bear, and hunters in ghillie suits.
During my many years of investigations of UFO sightings and cryptid encounters, I still have not had my own unexplained encounter. I have, however, interviewed thousands of witnesses from all walks of life including professionals such as police officers, military and commercial pilots, air traffic controllers, engineers, and educators. The vast majority of witnesses I have interviewed were not seeking any publicity. Many of these people were skeptical of these accounts until they had their own personal strange experience.
When I started my UFO Hotline in 1969, there were very few resources for the public to report UFO sightings. In more recent years, many other researchers and research groups have surfaced to take reports on phenomena in Pennsylvania as well. Some of these sources include the Keystone Bigfoot Project, The Center for Cryptozoology Studies, Jim Brown of Jim’s Destinations, Lon Strickler of “Phantoms & Monsters,” the National UFO Reporting Center, and the PA Chapter of MUFON. I continue to maintain contact with many active researchers from across the state and the nation.
The following is a synopsis of some of the interesting reports that came to my attention during 2017. For many years residents along the Chestnut Ridge area of Westmoreland County who are familiar with the sounds of the local wildlife have been reporting loud howls and screams that they couldn’t identify. In January, very long high pitched siren-like screams were again reported. Two days later from the other end of the state in Schuykill County, very similar sounds were also heard. The witness involved was a wildlife biologist who heard the sounds on three different occasions within 2 days and tried to record the vocalizations. The scientist who was trained to identify animal sounds was unable to do so.
In early February in a rural area near Latrobe, witnesses driving through the area during the early morning hours watched a strange animal run across a road into a field. The animal was described as dark brown and four legged, stood about 4 feet tall, was thin and graceful, and had a long pointy snout with no tail.
Also during February, three daylight sightings of spherical objects were reported within a week from widespread locations. In Forest County, a silent black object hovered low in the sky while a number of small round objects maneuvered near it. Some of the spheres appeared solid while others were transparent. The larger object and the spheres accelerated into the sky and were lost from sight.
A few days later a resident near Kittanning in Armstrong County was observing what appeared to be a military aircraft with a contrail. As the witness watched the jet move across the sky into the distance, he noticed what appeared to be a solid silver sphere hovering higher in the sky near where he had first spotted the jet. As the witness watched, the silver sphere streaked across the sky towards the northeast and was gone in seconds.
Four days later, another observer near Suttersville in Westmoreland County watched an aircraft enter a cloud and exit it that afternoon as it continued on its journey. Suddenly, the man saw a bright silver sphere appear in the sky at a lower altitude. The sphere followed slowly along path toward a cloud that it entered. The witness watched for several minutes but the object never exited the cloud. During the year there were observations of formations of lights as well as triangular and rectangular objects.
In April in a wooded area of Luzerne County, a witness was riding a bike that afternoon when she noticed movement along a tree line. She thought it was a bear and cubs but was startled when it stood up and looked like a 7-8 feet tall gorilla with long dark hair. The creature had very long arms and placed its hands on its face as it took long strides and walked off into the woods. The witness had the impression that creature may have been injured. Bigfoot sighting are reported yearly in Pennsylvania. Additional Bigfoot sightings were reported from various locations in 2017 including Westmoreland, Fayette, Butler, and Cambria Counties.
In late April of 2017 a witness in a rural area of Crawford County, Pennsylvania observed a strange animal near her pond. The animal had a furry body that looked “as black as black could be.” At that distance, the animal appeared to have a body about three feet long, and the tail length was about the same. The tail hung straight back and curved up at the end. The witness felt that what she saw was a panther. There have been many reports for years of what witnesses describe as black panthers, being reported from many areas of the state.
In May at a location near the Chestnut Ridge not far from Ligonier a couple reported seeing some strange huge dark birds unlike anything they had seen before. In one instance, a group of the huge flying creatures landed in their backyard. They were familiar with the local birds and they thought what they were looking at were similar to condors. They estimated that some of these creatures stood between 4-6 feet tall with wingspans from 10-12 feet wide. They were able to obtain a few pictures that shows one of the creatures with a large head and neck extended straight up. There has been a long history of sightings of huge birds in Pennsylvania and elsewhere that are commonly referred to as “thunderbirds.” Numerous such sightings have been reported over the years around this same area.
Fayette County and some general locations along the Chestnut Ridge have had a long history of Bigfoot encounters. In May of 2016, two men reported that a Bigfoot ran out in front of their car on Mud Pike Road and actually touched the front of their vehicle before walking down the road into the woods. In July of 2017, in the same area, odd lights that resembled fireflies were reported. One witness reported that the lights seemed larger than standard fireflies and emitted a bright white neon light that seemed to illuminate the surrounding woods. In more recent years strange globes of light have been reported in areas where Bigfoot had been seen.
Also in early July near the Allegheny National Forest in Forest County, two people noticed something strange on a vertical post near the deck of their house. What they saw looked like a huge oversized moth about 11 inches long, and about 5 ½ inches wide. They estimated the wingspan would have been about 15 inches when open. What appeared to be two antennas or pointed ears at the top near the head looked to be about an inch long. At one point, one person touched the creature but it never moved. They attempted to take pictures with a digital camera but the camera malfunctioned. When they left their home they noticed a second similar flying creature on the outside wall of their home. When they returned home later both creatures were gone. This area has had a lot of history of strange creature encounters such as Bigfoot and thunderbirds.
Two people riding in a car in July in Jefferson County reported seeing a huge bird swoop down from the sky about 10 feet away in the headlight beams. The bird was either dark brown or black and they estimated that it easily had a 10-12 feet wingspan. They could see the feathers on the wings as it swooped down to 2-3 feet above the road near where a deer was standing.
A very strange incident occurred in late August at a rural location in southwest Pennsylvania. The witness was a police officer who while on patrol encountered something unlike anything he had ever seen before. He noticed what appeared to be a dull glowing ball of light resting ahead on the side of the road. Suddenly, that light rose up or stood up and now he could tell that the ball was actually the head of a creature that stood about 6 feet tall or larger. The dull glow from the head that was about 8-10 inches in diameter illuminated the shoulders, the top of the chest, and a section of the arms.
The skin tone of the being was dull grayish-blue. The chest area appeared to be about 18 inches across. The waist was small, but the arms seemed unusually long. The long limbs looked skeletal with no muscle mass. The creature turned and moved off into the dark at a speed that the officer said could only be described as abnormal. The officer searched the area for any evidence but nothing was observed on the ground.
In mid-September only miles away from where the police officer had his encounter, another witness encountered a similar creature. The second observer described the being that was seen as about 6 feet tall, an ivory color and sickly looking. The body was very thin, but wider around the shoulders about 20 inches across. The creature had exited out of a wooded area and began to approach the witness who became alarmed and ran to the house.
I have been investigating reports of small generally spherical objects since the late 1960s. For lack of a better term I have called them, “mini-UFOs.” These objects are sometimes metallic and other times illuminated in various colors. They generally range in size from a few inches to a foot in diameter. In many cases they have been very low to the ground and have approached witnesses to within just inches away. These small flying objects generally exit through an open window or even pass through walls. These incidents continue to be reported in more recent years including during 2017. In September near the Chestnut Ridge and not far from Ligonier, a person was awakened during the early hours and noticed a light shining outside of her bedroom window. She got up to look and saw an egg shaped silver dollar sized luminous object hovering 6-7 feet from the window and about 8-9 feet above the ground. The object was yellowish and pale green in color. It made no sound while under observation.
An even stranger mini-UFO encounter took place in late October near Fayette City, PA in Fayette County. Early that morning, a man went outside to warm up his wife’s car. As he walked down the steps he looked toward her car and saw something only about 10-12 feet away by the right bumper. The lights were on and the area around the car was well illuminated. The witness said he saw an object that was about two feet tall, and shaped like a haystack. The object was translucent, and shiny, and a milky-white color. There were vertical ribs that seemed to be the superstructure that looked like chrome straws that could be seen through the translucent structure. The object which was silent was gliding 1-2 inches off the ground, was motionless when he first saw it.
Whatever the object was, after several seconds it must have realized that the witness had approached until he was about 6 feet from it. It suddenly zoomed extremely fast across the driveway to the left side of the car, then made a perfect right angle turn along the driver’s side of the car into the dark and was not seen again. The entire incident lasted only seconds. The witness wished he had his cell phone with him so he could have taken a picture. The witness has no idea what he saw but feels that it may have been some type of a probe.
What you have read are examples of some of the strange incidents that are reported annually. The majority of witnesses are not seeking any publicity. Many witnesses are individuals who didn’t believe that there was any truth to these strange reports until after they had their own personal encounter. For some individuals, it was a life changing experience.