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Classic Mysteries—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, July 2017

The 1957 Olden Moore Case

by: Rick Hilberg

In the early spring of 2004, I was given documents from the Earl Neff files pertaining to the classic Olden Moore Ohio close encounter from November of 1957 by William E. Jones for an historical overview in the Ohio UFO Notebook. However, more than just citing details from this event that occurred during the great UFO wave from the late fall of 1957, it all too clearly shows how difficult at times historical research can be. As is usually the case when using more than one written or published source, many details regarding basic information on said incident can vary from document to document. Also, the fact that the documents from the Neff files were written some years after 1957 clearly shows that these errors will crop up in any retelling over time.

I found conflicting references as to the time of the incident, what Moore was doing at the time and even his employment status. That is why I decided to supplement the material from the Neff files with documents from my personal collection written by Earl himself, as well as from local researcher C. Wesley Fitch. I was well acquainted with both of these gentlemen when they were alive, and often talked with both of them about the Moore case as well as many others from those times now so long past. All of my sources can be found at the end of this article. I have also decided to use the exact wording as much as possible from the above mentioned sources so as not to unduly “color” the story with my own interpretation of the basic facts regarding Moore's experiences.

On the evening of November 6, 1957 Olden Moore, a Huntsburg, Ohio plasterer by trade also employed as a bank night watchman, was returning home from a visit with his parents in Painesville. (Story II, Neff). At between 11 pm and 11:30 he was passing through the town of Montville, when he noticed what he at first took to be a bright meteor moving rapidly across the sky from right to left directly in front of him. (Fitch, Neff) At that time he was on Ohio Rt. 86 at the intersection of Hart Road. (Neff)

Said Moore: “The object stopped when it got to the center of my side of the windshield, and then it split into two pieces. One part of it went upward. The part that remained then seemed brighter than ever. As I kept watching this 'star,' it kept getting brighter and bigger. I decided to pull my car off the road onto a side road, and I got out to take a look. The thing seemed to be headed straight at the car. As it approached, its color changed from a bright white to a green haze, and then to a blue-green color, as it stopped about 200 feet in the air above a nearby field. I didn't hear any sound from it at all until it started to settle slowly to the ground. Then I noticed a whining sound, something like the electric meter on the side of my house, only a little deeper in tone. I stood by the car watching the thing for some fifteen minutes before I decided to walk toward it. The object was about 500 feet away from me.”

Moore had walked about half the distance between the road and the landed UFO when he stopped and decided that he would go back to his car and return to the spot with witnesses, as no one would believe him otherwise. He could find no one else on the highway at the time, however. He went home to get his wife, and returned to the spot with her, but by that time the object was gone.

Moore said that the UFO was about 50 feet in diameter, disk-shaped, and about 15 feet thick, with a cone on the top, making its over-all height between 20 and 30 feet. It was surrounded by a blue-green haze, like a fog, and the color pulsated slowly, bright and dim. The moon was unusually bright that night, and it was the moonlight that made it possible for him to distinguish the object itself from the haze. The UFO had a surface like mirrored sunglasses, but no windows or portholes of any kind.

County officials were notified of the sighting the following day, and Lake County Civil Defense Director Kenneth Locke rushed to the scene. Said he, as quoted in a local newspaper at the time: “There were prints in the field one and a half inches deep and holes in the ground like those made by spiked shoes.” Locke said that there were six prints in all, “coming from nowhere and going nowhere.” He and Lt. Reineck, assistant to the head of the Ohio 5th Area Civil Defense, returned to headquarters to get a Geiger counter. “When we came back,” said Mr. Locke, “we got a reading of approximately 150 roentgens in the center of the area, tapering off to about 20 to 30 roentgens at the perimeter.” Waiting a few hours, Locke and Reineck took another reading in the same area. This time the meter showed only 20 to 30 roentgens in the center and no reading at all at the perimeter. Locke concluded: “Something must have been here, since this indicated that the reaction on the Geiger counter was not caused by minerals in the ground.” (Fitch)

When Moore returned home from work on the evening of November 7th, he saw many cars parked outside his home. Reporters were milling around, obviously waiting for him.

Not wanting any publicity, Moore said that he drove around the block and waited until the crowd had left.

On Sunday evening, November 10th, Sheriff L. A. Robusky, accompanied by a deputy and an Air Force officer, called at the Moore home.

Robusky said that the Air Force wished to question Moore on the sighting and asked Moore “as a good patriot” to go to Youngstown for an interview.

Moore agreed to the request when it was promised that he would be returned to his home that evening. They drove to the exact spot where the UFO had landed and boarded an Air Force helicopter. The officials were true to their word, as after being questioned about the encounter in Youngstown, Moore was indeed returned to his home later that same evening. (Neff)

On the following Sunday, November 17th, at about 6 p.m., an Air Force car with two officers in it came to Moore's home. This time he was informed by one of the officers that they wanted him to go to Washington for two or three days of questioning, and he was asked to pack a suitcase. They said they would return for him in an hour, and promptly at 7 pm they did return. The car drove to a waiting plane in which the pilot was already at the controls. The plane touched down at Wright-Patterson Field in Dayton, and dropped off one of the officers. It picked up another Air Force officer at the same time, and took off for Washington, arriving there at an unidentified (to Moore) airport later that night. An official car then drove him to the downtown building where he was housed throughout his stay there. Two or three days later Moore was flown back home via Youngstown.

While in Washington, Moore said that one of the military officers stayed with him every minute he was in Washington – even sleeping in the same room with him at night. They never let him out of their sight. They dined with him in a private restaurant in the same building where he was housed. He was well treated and afforded every courtesy, and he had no complaint on that score.

The military officers, after questioning him about his sighting at considerable length on several occasions, showed him some slides projected on a screen. These slides were of various UFO still photographs. They even ran off a UFO movie film, which had apparently been taken from inside a military plane. Moore said he was told that about 30% of the UFOs on which they had information, were of the type with a pointed dome, such as the one he had seen.

After being shown these slides and motion pictures, Moore was asked to sign papers (with witnesses' signatures attached to them) to the effect that he would not reveal the fact that he had been shown this evidence of the existence of UFOs. Moore said that he asked where these objects are from. He was told by the military officials that they are not ours or Russia's, and that they must therefore be from another planet, coming into our atmosphere from outer space. He was also told that the public has not been informed about this because the military themselves do not yet have all the answers. (Fitch)

Also, the facts are that Moore was not the only person to call authorities and report a UFO on November 6th. John Shaffer, 16, and Timothy Sadowski, 15, reported a cigar-shaped object at 7:55 p.m., the same evening of the Olden Moore report.

The youths were on duty at the Grand Valley Observer post at Orwell, a short distance from Montville. They reported the object at high altitude, traveling swiftly towards the northwest.

“The object had light streaming down from what appeared to be two portholes,” Shaffer said. “It was shaped like a cigar, but was not tapered at both ends. One end was larger than the other.”

Also on the night Moore said he saw the UFO, an Ashtabula man reported seeing a low, bright object while he was driving east on Rt. 166. The object appeared to move away, come closer and then vanish.

On Nov. 7, one day after the other sightings, five other persons reported seeing UFOs in Geauga and Ashtabula counties.

One of the sightings was described by a Thompson Ledges man as a “large flattened-pumpkin shape, traveling from north to northwest.” (Neff, “Olden Moore”)

That pretty much sums up the Olden Moore case. However, over the years many have questioned Moore's claims of being taken to Washington to be grilled by Air Force personnel and more importantly, shown slides and movies of actual “UFOs.” However, both Fitch and Neff swore to me that they believed Moore's claims. They both said that the only reason that Moore revealed this part of the story was because his wife told neighbors of his trip to Washington, and that they leaked the information to a local newspaper and television station.

There is no doubt that Moore had a close encounter during the height of the large 1957 UFO wave. Was he actually taken to Washington, however? I'm afraid that is one question that no one is now alive to answer...

Sources for this article:

Fitch, “The Olden Moore Story,” Saucer News, June 1963.
Neff, “The Night a Flying Saucer Landed in Ohio,” Berea, Ohio News, 1/23/64.
Author and date unknown, “Olden Moore.”
Author and date unknown, “Olden Moore Story” (#1)
Author and date unknown, “Olden Moore Story” (#2)
Personal recollections of the author.
Source: The Ohio UFO Notebook #28, 2005 and the Flying Saucer Scrapbook, R. Hilberg, 2005.

Thursday, February 22, 2024