Classic Mysteries—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2022
Teenager’s picture of UFOs over Abductee’s parent’s trailer?
by: Brent Raynes
Here’s a drawing by Wayne Meserve of how he said the objects looked to him as he snapped their picture.
Here’s how they came out when he developed their Polaroid image.
Here’s a newspaper write-up about the UFO incident.
On Tuesday evening, March 22, 1977, I knocked on the door of Barbara Meserve’s home in Oxford, Maine. The Lewiston Daily Sun’s March 7th edition had just carried a rather remarkable looking Polaroid photograph of what were alleged to be four bright UFOs, taken by her teenaged son Wayne Meserve. A number of people in the area had recently described seeing strange lights in the skies over this small community and I was busily trying to gather all the evidence that I could.
What made this particular UFO report with photo especially interesting to me was that the photographer snapped a picture of the flying objects passing either directly over the trailer home of David Stephens’ parents, a home I first visited on the evening of October 28, 1975, to interview David, then 21, and his friend Glenn Gray, then 19, who both, very emotional at the time, described that they had had a series of very bizarre UFO-related experiences on the early morning of October 27th. A little after 3 a.m. they decided to take a ride down Route 26 from the trailer they shared in nearby Norway when the car seemingly began driving itself for a spell, taking them down a different road than they intended. Then they said they came to a field where two very bright white lights hit them. They at first thought truck, then it began rising into the air, and they thought helicopter, but they rolled the windows down and shut the engine off. There was no sound, and David told me it was only about 20 feet away. Looked like windows on the front, with a very long, black cylindrical body. Before rising into the air it had green, blue, and yellow lights too, but when it rose they were extinguished. They drove off, with it over the treetops following them. “Everything was different then,” David said, and that was putting it mildly. They seemed to drift in and out of some kind of entrancement, had gaps in their memories, and saw things that were of a subjective visionary nature. For example, they came upon a body of water known as Tripp Pond, appropriately enough I suppose. In the sky they claimed they again saw the cylindrical UFO hovering and while the pond was about half a mile from them, it looked to be only 20 to maybe 50 feet away. In addition, part of it looked like vast ocean waters, and eventually two smaller disc-shaped objects, with green, red, and blue lights appeared and flew down to the pond together in a falling leaf motion, skimming across the water, and then climbing skyward again but at right angles, somewhat like they were climbing invisible stairs, except they would also reverse direction in the process. One of the discs, that were like a quarter of the size of the cylinder, flew over an island. Problem is, in this reality anyway, there is no island visible from that vantage point on Tripp Pond, and it’s no ocean either. There are hills behind the pond.
However, George Yeaton, Jr., Civil Defense director for Farmington, Maine, later reported seeing a cylindrical object with green, red, and orange lights hovering low over an island in Rangely Lake about 4:30 a.m., November 5, 1975. He said it projected a “bright light” on the island that fully illuminated it for about 15 seconds, during which time his car radio went dead. He was less than a mile from the island. Not long after the beam was extinguished, the mysterious object “zipped off at an unbelievable speed.” The two bodies of water would be well over 80 miles apart. For a much more comprehensive review of the David Stevens and Glenn Gray case check out the Encounters with the Unknown containing a PDF of my initial article, as well as Shirley Fickett’s and Dr. Berthold Eric Schwarz’s summary following his own visit and interview with David Stephens and his parents, at Shirley’s home in Portland, for which I was also in attendance for. [These articles all appeared in England’s Flying Saucer Review magazine, Volume 22, No. 2, 1976.]
Meanwhile, getting back to the first story I mentioned, Wayne Meserve had just turned 16 on the day of my visit. He was a freshman at Oxford Hills High. He described to me how on March 1st, at about 6:10 p.m., he had just stepped out the backdoor of his trailer with the purpose of taking a picture of the moon with his Keystone camera. Instead, he ended up taking another kind of picture. Suddenly, there were four bright white diamond shaped objects, with what looked like a rounded dome on top of each, off to the west. They flew silently and were moving from north to south over the Stephens trailer. He thought that they might have flown directly over the trailer, but there was no way to be certain. He estimated that he watched them for approximately 10-12 seconds. His camera was loaded with 107 black and white Polaroid film. The camera appeared to be in excellent condition. He told me he’d had it for about two years and that he had always wanted to see a UFO. He rushed back inside and told his 17-year-old sister Sharon what just transpired. The mother wasn’t home at the time and Wayne and his sister called her to tell her what had happened. The young photographer struck me as a sincere and honest young man and described the same details to the newspaper and to fellow investigator Shirley Fickett of Portland.
His older sister, Clara, who was married, shared how back around the summer of 1968 she and her husband were driving nearby when they observed a “white disc-like” object in the sky. It shook them up and, as they had lost track of it, they pulled into the husband’s grandparents’ driveway and shut off the car engine. Then a UFO reappeared. “It looked just tremendous big and just scared us to death. He started the car and we went back up around the block.” They ended up seeing a total of four UFOs. “Something like that picture that Wayne got,” she said. “It frightened me a lot and I tried to put it in the back of my mind and not think about it.”
Fellow investigator Shirley Fickett spoke with Deputy Sheriff Tom Ryan of the Oxford County Police Department who told her: “I feel, Mr. Meserve called here stating that he had seen something and felt he had a fairly decent picture of a UFO and I asked him to come in. He came with his mother, and we looked at the picture and we were all very impressed. It, in my mind was very authentic. I reproduced several of his and everyone that sees them is quite convinced that what he saw and took a picture of was real and not drummed up.”
“I would say, with a quick look at it that there were four. The more I studied it, it looked like there were five. It looked like one was partially obscuring another one.” In February, Ryan said that eight officers in the area had seen UFOs for themselves. “Most officers came up with the same descriptions of them being flying objects. I happened to be working the radio that night. We have a car-to-car frequency and I monitored this and was able to listen to the officers describe the different objects that they did see. The most they saw at a time were four. Colors were red, white, and occasionally green, from different directions. …This was all in the newspaper.” (February 24, 1977, Advertiser-Democrat, Oxford area)
Then, lo and behold, I paid a follow up visit to the Meserve home on April 7th, my birthday. Young Wayne claimed a second UFO encounter. Again about 6:10 p.m., on Friday, March 25th. He was walking over to visit his grandfather who had just turned 75 that day. “It was oval shaped with like a little bump on the bottom of it,” he told me. “It was yellow color – the whole thing.” It appeared to be hovering low above the Reid Service Station on Route 26. He detected no sound.
“It was just sitting there and right after I snapped the picture of it went that way (west) real fast. I could never have gotten another picture of it. …It was a bright yellow. On the picture it looks pinkish. Right after I took the picture I ran up here and I couldn’t even get up the stairs. I was yelling and screaming. They came out but they didn’t see anything.” “They” being his mother and sister Sharon. He guessed that the total duration of that sighting was perhaps 30 seconds. “I couldn’t imagine,” Mrs. Meserve told me. “I thought that maybe he fell down the stairs, because he had just gone out the door.”
In mid-April 1977, Ryan told Shirley: “About three months now we started getting so many UFO reports we could no longer disregard any of the reports. It got to the point where we had to start following some of them up. Some we could pass off as just ordinary lights or hoaxes, but there were a large number of them, about three-fourths that did remain unexplained. The people who see them are quite sincere. Most are people that I know, have lived around here all my life and knew.
Shirley Fickett obtained a copy of the original of this second photo and explained to me that it wasn’t that clear of a picture and evidential for our purposes. Another Oxford resident, one Randy Gagner, a carpenter, licensed plane pilot, and an amateur photographer claimed he sighted a UFO around 8:20 p.m., on March 2. He and a friend and the friend’s girlfriend were returning home from a basketball game when the friend chuckled, “Look at the UFO.” It even seemed to hover at one point and seemed to execute some maneuvers, like a 90-degree turn. The light could also be seen below the clouds.
Randy had a Yashica camera (35mm, 1.7 f stop, ASA 25), for which he took color and black-and-white. Only one of the b&w pictures came out of the light, which he allowed me to have developed myself, and as he had opened the shutter for about four seconds and the camera was handheld, the light was distorted some.
Elaine Smith of the Oxford Pines Trailer Park described her sighting to me that happened on the following night, March 3rd, at about 8 p.m. Out her living room window she spotted a bright, pulsating white light just above the trees, off to the northwest. It appeared to be flying toward a place called Allen Hill, off toward the southwest. She convinced her sister-in-law and a woman next door to ride with her over there. However, they failed to see the object and returned to the trailer park. By that time, Elaine’s two oldest children, Rhonda , 13, and Karen, 17, had arrived home from shopping. Soon the light reappeared again in the northwest, in a clearing, Elaine said it looked like it was lower in the sky and appeared to have an oval shape with two flickering red lights and two green lights. As they watched it took off towards Allen Hill again. The sky was very clear but there were a few scattered clouds, and Elaine felt that it probably disappeared into a cloud.
Elaine admitted that she had been “real scared” following the sighting. When I asked if she had seen anything else, she replied, “I haven’t dared to look.” For two nights afterwards, Elaine and her daughter Karen had dreams about a UFO landing and “aliens.” It turned out that Elaine was familiar with David Stephens’ UFO story too, which probably many in the small community of Oxford are.