Encounters with the Unknown
The 1973 Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Encounter
By Brent Raynes
At about 9 p.m., on October 25, 1973, near Greensburg, Pennsylvania, over a dozen witnesses watched a hovering bright red ball of light. A young man (age 22) and two boys (ten-year-old fraternal twins) decided to take a closer look. Together they got into a car and began driving toward the field over which the light was hovering. As they approached, the young man noticed that his headlights seemed to be getting dim, and the trio observed that the light was descending. Then walking up to the top of a hill they all saw a bright white “dome shaped” object, approximately a hundred feet across, apparently sitting on the ground below. The object made a “sound like a lawn mower.”
Next they observed two dark figures moving along a nearby fence line. The young man fired a warning shot over their heads with his 30.06 rifle. The creatures were tall, one being about 7 feet tall and the other a little over 8 feet tall. They were covered in long, dark grayish hair, had greenish yellow eyes, and arms that hung down almost to the ground. The creatures also made whining noises, compared to the sound of a baby crying. There was also a strong odor in the air, similar to burning rubber. Realizing that the creatures were beginning to slowly walk towards them, the young man fired a second warning shot over their heads, eventually firing three rounds directly at the tallest figure. At this point, one of the twins ran back toward his house.
The creature that had been struck whined and raised its right hand toward the other creature, almost touching it. The dome-shaped light and mower-like noise ceased, although a glowing area remained on the ground where the UFO had been (reportedly so bright that a newspaper could probably have been read by it). The creatures turned around and began walking off towards the woods. The witnesses eyes began to bother them.
At approx. 9:45 p.m., a state trooper arrived and returned to the field with the young man. The glowing on the ground was still visible. They both got out and walked around, while something large was walking towards them in the woods. Trees could be heard being torn apart, and when they would stop the sound would soon stop. The trooper had been with the young man for about half an hour when the young man spotted a brown figure coming in their direction. He fired his last bullet at it. Then the young man noticed something coming out of the woods. They jumped into the patrol car and drove out of the field.
At about 1:30 a.m., October 26th, members of the Westmoreland County UFO Study Group arrived on the scene. Around 2 a.m., as an investigator was questioning the young man, he suddenly began breathing heavily, growling like an animal, and flailing his farms, knocking his father and the investigator to the ground. As this behavior was occurring, one of the team members complained of feeling light-headed, then another of breathing difficulty. Then the young man, still swinging his arms around and growling like an animal, suddenly collapsed face down in a heavily manured area. Then he came to and warned the others, “Get away from me. It’s here. Get back.”
The father and the investigator who had been knocked to the ground, began to help the young man out of the area. The young man pointed into the darkness, claiming it was nearby, mumbling that he would protect them. He also said something about seeing a man “in a black hat and cloak, carrying a sickle.” The young man claimed that the dark figure gave him a message: “If Man doesn’t straighten up, the end will come soon.”
The young man had never before displayed any dissociative behavior. Psychiatrist Dr. Berthold Eric Schwarz was called in on the case by the Study Group’s director Stan Gordon. A complete account of Dr. Schwarz’s investigation of this dramatic case, Berserk: A UFO-Creature Encounter, appeared in England’s Flying Saucer Review (Vol 20, No. 1, 1974) and in his book UFO Dynamics (1983, Rainbow Books, Moore Haven, FL). Stan Gordon’s book Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook (2010) also recounts this case in detail. In fact, it adds some fascinating new details that I wasn’t familiar with from previous accounts. For example, Dr. Schwarz felt it unwise at the time to hypnotize the young man who had seen the UFO, fired at the Bigfoot, and experienced the strange visionary entrancement of the dark figure. It had certainly been a very traumatic encounter for him. However, “many years later” Stan and a colleague named George Lutz decided to approach both Dr. Schwarz and the young man about allowing one of their “professional consultants” to regress this witness. They were quite surprised when the experiencer looked at them oddly and asked them why they wanted to hypnotize him again! They looked at each other in puzzlement and then asked him what he was talking about. He then proceeded to explain how about two weeks after the UFO/Bigfoot event a man in Air Force blues and another man, tall, dark haired and in a business suit, had approached him and asked him to recount what had happened again. He said he thought that they were members of Stan’s organization, and, in fact, thought the Air Force guy was none other than George Lutz (a former Air Force pilot and officer), but Stan assures the reader that it “definitely was not Lutz or any members” of his group.
After listening to the young man’s account, the mystery visitors assured him he wasn’t crazy. “The Air Force officer removed from his briefcase a series of photos of UFOs,” Stan wrote. “Then even more startling were the pictures of hairy Bigfoot creatures that had been taken nationwide.” One photo, allegedly taken in Georgia, showed a Bigfoot-type creature with a pig under one arm climbing over a fence. “The men wanted the witness to point out to them any of the photos which appeared similar to what he had seen,” Stan added.
After this the Air Force officer expressed their interest in doing hypnosis on him and the witness agreed. After the session they said that they would be in touch and left, but he never heard from them again. “Whoever these men were was never discovered,” Stan wrote. “This leads to the obvious question, does our government have an interest in both UFO and Bigfoot cases?”
At the time of this incident, the Study Group had been investigating an epidemic of UFO and Bigfoot-type reports then raging in western Pennsylvania. Stan’s book provides a fascinating catalogue of these bewildering events.
Readers may wish to check out Stan’s website: www.stangordon.info.