Cleveland March 26, 2019
You Won’t Believe That The Nation’s Most Infamous UFO Encounter Began Near Cleveland
The truth is out there. While this expression may have been popularized by “The X-Files,” Ohioans in 1966 knew this to be true. You see, a small town between Cleveland and Akron was the site of a real-life X-File event in that very year, and people all around the world are still stumped by the case to this day. Grab some popcorn, because this tale is worthy of the big screen.
April 17th, 1966 was a gorgeous day in Northeast Ohio.
The sun was shining, birds were singing, and the temperature rose to 60 degrees just south of Lake Erie. Deputy Sheriff Dale Spaur, however, hardly paid any attention to the weather.
Deputies Dale Spaur and Wilbur "Barney" Neff were on patrol together that morning when they stopped to investigate an abandoned car near Atwater, Ohio.
It was 5 a.m., and the men stopped on an old country road surrounded by trees. Spaur stepped out of his car and heard a humming noise. He turned to see an unusual aircraft rising out of the forest.
The men watched as the unidentified flying object rose above them, bathing the area in warmth, and then began to head east down Route 224... and they began to chase it.
From the ground, the object had the deputies stumped. It looked like the head of a flashlight, the men later said, but it had a tall and narrow body above its base. The aircraft was unlike anything they'd ever seen, and the chase that ensued would stick with them for the rest of their lives.
As they kept their eyes on the sky, the patrol car’s speedometer reached above 100 miles per hour and they zipped toward the border of Pennsylvania.
The sun peeked over the horizon, but the gentlemen kept chasing the aircraft. The race would ultimately stretch on into Conway, Pennsylvania - an astonishing 86-mile journey.
As the men approached stoplights and entered bridges, the aircraft seemed to hover in wait, as if pausing for them to catch up.
However, whenever they neared it, the craft sped up again. The officers were stumped, and when they stopped to service their car in Pennsylvania, they were joined by Conway Patrolman Frank Panzanella. The three men observed the object dart into the distance as it was approached by three fighter jets, and they ended their chase.
Major Hector Quintanilla, director of government-funded Project Blue Book UFO investigations, interviewed the men and discounted their experience.
The men were informed that no fighter jets were ever dispatched, and they were likely chasing stationary objects like Venus and a satellite. Under pressure, the officers eventually backed away from their initial reports, though Dale Spaur never let go. His decision to stand by his encounter cost him his marriage and his reputation.
Following the unusual experience, Spaur moved to West Virginia to work in the mines, though he had an accident while there, ultimately leading him to return to Ohio.
Spaur told stories of the UFO for the last few years of his life, eventually succumbing to pneumonia after fighting off influenza. While the other officers have since distanced themselves from their original claims, their stories have become intertwined with pop culture and local history.
You never know what might be hiding in the rural forests of Northeast Ohio...
Who knew that Northeast Ohio had such a bizarre history? Have you ever seen an unidentified flying object near your hometown? Share your stories in the comments below!
Sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction. You won’t believe that
these 9 things really took place in and around Cleveland.