Alternate Perceptions Magazine, July 2022
The 1967 Ohio Nuclear Reactor UFO Case
by: Rick Hilberg
On the morning of February 10, 1967 a Perkins, Ohio constable by the name of Gary Butler was on his routine patrol when he had an encounter near the NASA Plum Brook reactor site located just a few miles south of the city of Sandusky which is located on the shores of Lake Erie. Sandusky is famous for its iconic and hugely popular Cedar Point amusement park complex.
The case generated a fair amount of local publicity in the regional news media, and I happened to hear about it on the radio later that afternoon as I was driving home from attending my college classes in the Cleveland area. Being only a short drive away from the area on the Ohio Turnpike, I decided then and there to immediately head over to check it out for my UFO Magazine. On the way home I stopped at the home of veteran Cleveland investigator and personality Earl Neff to see if he was interested in joining me. He was indeed anxious to go along and make a report about the incident for the NICAP group in Washington.
So leaving Earl to get ready, I immediately stopped at my house and picked up my tape recorder and note pad and circled back to pick him up and hit the Turnpike and head for the Erie County Sheriff's Department in Sandusky and see what they could provide us with in our investigation.
When we arrived there, we found them to be friendly and cooperative, but found out that Butler would not go on duty for Perkins Township until eight that night. However, we were allowed to inspect the log books and talk to several officers who had responded to Butler's radio call about the sighting. The summary below is taken from my notes as well as subsequent articles on the incident by the local Sandusky Register newspaper.
The incident began as Constable Butler was on his routine patrol at approximately 3:40 a.m. that morning. He had just finished his dinner break on his 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. regular shift and was driving from South Campbell Street to Little Schenk Road in the Township.
"As I was coming over a bridge, I noticed an object in the sky. At first, I thought it was the Bellevue railroad lights, but when I drove a little further, I got a better view. "The disk was approximately ( he described it as being bluish in color ) two miles from me, I judge it was about twenty feet in diameter and approximately forty feet off the ground. I stopped my car, turned off the motor, but left my police radio turned on - I heard no noise, the object didn't move.
"I sat watching it for a few minutes and truthfully, I was scared. I've never seen anything like it before and I never want to see anything like it again. I waited a few minutes and then called the deputies and the patrol. [ I assume he was referring to the Ohio Highway Patrol station nearby ]
"After I made the call, the object which had hovered for six or seven minutes began to drop out of sight behind an outline of trees. When the other officers arrived, it was gone." One of the Erie County deputies told us, "I saw nothing at all when I got there - just the stars, the moon and some steam clouds coming from (the) NASA reactor site. I retraced the route, but still came up with nothing."
After hearing of the steam cloud theory proposed by several law enforcement officials and carried in the news media, Butler became quite irritated and issued the following statement," I don't want to say I think it was a flying saucer - honestly, I don't know what it was. But it seems hard to believe it could have been steam clouds from a reactor a mile or more away in the opposite direction - besides, the wind was blowing in a southwesterly direction and would have carried the steam over near Huron. I saw the object in the direction of Bellevue." Butler also stated that he was wide awake and alert that morning, and that while he usually has another officer on patrol with him that officer was not with him on that particular shift. He also stated that he heard radio reports to the effect that several Bellevue officers said they also spotted UFOs that night. Those objects were reportedly red in color and disappeared so fast that the officers couldn't get a good look at them.
The Sandusky Register learned of a sighting over the NASA complex by a Reinhardt N. Ausmus, the Erie County Veterans Service Officer and his wife. The couple said they saw the object, described as a brilliant light, while driving home. They left their car to watch the mysterious something for several minutes. Ausmus was a member of the Early Birds, a club for World War I aviators. Butler ended his comments by saying, "I know some people will probably say I'm some kind of nut, but I really did see something. I have better things to do with my time to call in fake UFOs."