Classic Mysteries—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, October 2021
The Night Arthur Godfrey’s Plane Nearly Collided With a UFO?
by: Brent Raynes
In Saga magazine’s now defunct UFO Report (Summer 1974, Vol. 1, No. 6), author Timothy Green Beckley, in his then Celebrities and UFOs column, described how famed radio and TV personality Arthur Godfrey had reportedly had a near collision with a UFO over Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The incident had occurred at night, about ten years earlier. Godfrey was flying his own private airplane when quite unexpectedly a blinding light, twice the size of a conventional airplane, appeared out of no where and began to fly around him. Then it appeared to be on a collision course, at which point Godfrey executed a quick turn in order to avoid disaster. Godfrey radioed Philadelphia’s air control tower and asked if there was any other air traffic in his vicinity. He was informed that nothing was supposed to be in his immediate area, at which time Godfrey reportedly replied: “Well, there sure is something flying near me.”
Meanwhile, the UFO continued to fly alongside Godfrey’s plane for several more miles. Despite his efforts to shake it, the UFO remained in hot pursuit. Eventually though it suddenly took off, reportedly like a bolt of lightning, and then was no longer visible.
Beckley wrote that Godfrey considered UFOs “serious business” and was concerned at how UFOs openly violate our air space and air safety, as happened to him in his own frightening encounter.
In Flying SaucersSerious Business (1966), author Frank Edwards also described the Godfrey incident. He added that the encounter was also witnessed by Godfrey’s co-pilot Frank Munciello. At the time they were on a night flight in Godfrey’s plane from New York to Washington. Godfrey lived in Virginia. In this account, we read how a brightly lit object suddenly appeared off the right wing of the twin-engined Convair they were flying. This story agrees that the encounter happened “near” Philadelphia and that Godfrey, at the controls, rolled the plane sharply to the left in an attempt to avoid a possible collision, and then notified the FAA tower at Philadelphia, where again we read that he was told that there was no air traffic in his immediate vicinity. Next the UFO circled them and came up seconds later on their left wing. Again Godfrey tried to bank sharply away from the object. During his coast-to-coast program on June 25, 1965, while talking with his guest comedian Orson Bean the subject of UFOs came up and Godfrey told his audience: “It stayed right there off my left wing no matter what I did!” He stated that he and Munciello, both of them veteran pilots with thousands of hours of flying time, were scared by the incident. Eventually the UFO flew upward and disappeared into the night.
Major Donald E. Keyhoe (USMC Retired) also recounted the Arthur Godfrey sighting in his book Aliens From Space (1973). He recalled how when Godfrey shared his experience with his national audience the debunkers were really jarred. He pointed out that Godfrey had impeccable qualifications. He was a colonel in the Air Force Reserve, and he had flown Navy, Air Force, and commercial planes, as well as jets, and was rated an expert pilot.
In addition, Major Keyhoe recalled how the Air Force got a lot of calls and letters from the public (as well as some members of Congress) following Godfrey’s public disclosure of his UFO encounter, and remembers how a newsman at the Pentagon sarcastically asked, “Going to give him the usual? Incompetent observer or practical joker? Or was he having a delusion?”
In an interview I did with noted mentalist The Amazing Kreskin (Alternate Perceptions, No. 39, 1997), Kreskin recalled once meeting and talking with Godfrey about this chilling encounter. “People will ask me about UFO sightings and so forth, and I find much credibility to many UFO sightings,” Kreskin told me. “Ever since the day that Arthur Godfrey, who was one of the heroes of my childhood, and an avid pilot...and he said, ‘Hell Kreskin, if there’s no UFO then I don’t know what that thing was that was tracking me for so long next to my plane.’ And he was a man who was extraordinarily observant, and I’ve spoken to many, many pilots, commercial pilots who can’t even talk about it publicly because they were fearful of losing their jobs.”