The Lawton UFO: Lost in Time or Lost in Space?

While chatting with a fellow Vicks/Gales/Blog editor last week our conversation briefly settled on UFOs. We were both familiar with eyewitnesses of the same UFO sighting; and as it turns out this wasn’t just ANY old UFO sighting either, this is one of the earliest sightings of the “Black triangle” variant (space?)craft.

This area is no stranger to UFO sightings. Over 100 years ago, the following happened in our very own Galesburg: “Two men reported seeing a quickly-moving cigar-shaped object that was illuminated at both ends. There was a dull explosion in the sky, and the object vanished.” This was in April of 1897. Calling Dr. Freud!
On the very next day, a dozen people (including the editor of the Kalamazoo Gazette circa 1897) watched a mysterious bright light fly over the center of Kalamazoo at an estimated speed of 45 to 60 miles per hour. The UFO was described as “a reddish-green light of great intensity that was six times larger than any star in the sky. It was about a half mile (2,600 feet) high and was moving in a northerly direction.” That week of April of 1897 there were at least 8 other “mystery airship” sightings reported in Southwest Michigan.

Fast forward with me 89 years to 1986 …

John Long and Richard Jandura saw something strange over Lawton’s Bankson Lake on the evening of August 1. What the two fisherman claimed to have seen around 10:30 that clear night was a giant spacecraft “about the size of Wings Stadium” Long said, the object “had a bright light in front and three red lights blinking on each side.” The craft moved slowly and silently from the southeast toward the northwest about 200 to 300 ft over the lake, the white light in front suddenly flashed brilliantly and went out. Jandura heard a young boy on the shore yelling “What is it?!” repeatedly as the UFO traveled across the lake for about 15 minutes. Their eyes burned and watered for several days after the event; John assumed that it was due to the bright flash of light. Michigan’s chapter of MUFON called it “A very credible sighting.” Having heard it firsthand, I would have to agree.

I knew John quite well back then and saw him within 48 hours or so of the sighting; not only were his eyes a mess, but his skin was an odd shade of red (and no, I don’t mean standard issue sunburn either) and it was clear that he was quite stirred (shaken?) by the incident.

John, if you’re out there (and I’m pretty sure you still are because I spotted you not terribly long ago but was in traffic and couldn’t stop) feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you or any others who may have witnessed this close encounter.

8 comments to The Lawton UFO: Lost in Time or Lost in Space?

  • Dingus Fingey

    There was also the mass sighting along the Lake Michigan shoreline back in the 90’s. TONS of people saw crazy huge lights, and there are transcripts of various radar stations trying to figure it out.

    My aunt and uncle actually saw a UFO in their back yard in the late 60’s, just outside of Vicksburg. They are both stone sober people and have only spoken of it once in my presence. They said it was a sort of swirling amber color with lights on it. They both just sort of “came to” in the middle of the nights as if they’d been sleepwalking, and they were both staring out their back sliding door at the thing in their yard and they remember asking each other “Is this a dream? Do you see that, too?” Hmmmmmm.

    I saw some VERY strange lights one night over Lake Michigan. I’ve tried to spot them ever since, and haven’t been able to replicate the experience. I’ve watched airplanes and stuff create visual illusions over the water until they get close, but these were something different. Bright, bright pinpoints of light that would move slowly slowly slowly, stop for a while, then suddenly fly across the sky, often to join up with another bright light. The flight paths that we watched didn’t make sense compared to anything else I’ve seen on the lake…..Airplanes don’t usually change paths that quickly or drop like anchors and then zoom sideways.

  • In August 1986 I was sleeping outdoors as part of an extended summer-long camping experiment. This was in Pavillion Township, near Galesburg. One night, I didn’t see anything. Didn’t see anything the whole summer. Sorry to lead you on like that.

    I have read of the Great Airship of 1897. I’d recommend that you check the indexes of the more reputable books on UFOlogy in your local library.

  • J.C. Baldwin

    Hey to whom ever posted this about john long i know how to get ahold of him. Hes my uncle give me an email at [address removed] and ill help you find him.

  • u1oo

    email given. thanks in advance 🙂

  • Don’t knoiw if itsa too late but I definitely saw this thing up close. I was in NYC and just got off the bus that night on my way from work. I always deep in a deep breath of fresh summer air when I arrive home but was shocked to see a huge black triangle ship above. It had red and green lights that filled out the border to identify the shape and it was extremely low but made absolutely zero sound. It was slow slow I was able to walk under it as it passed by.

    To make sure I wasn;t hallucinating I looked at others and a crowd had formed and were silently pointing upwards. There was zero sound on the ground as well from the mere shock of seeiung this thing.

    One more test. I looked at the stars directly in front of it. If it passed under the stars and the stars disappeared that means the ship or shape was solid. The stars did disappear, confirming the shape was solid.

    I sprinted inside my home and immediately tried to locate the camera but after 1-2 minutes I decided to chase it back down. I ran into my sister walking our dog…the dog was barking wildly at the ship as it pased.

    By the time I saw the ship again, it was considerably farther and lower. I thought it was goiung to land in a large park several streete down so I srinted forward. By this time it was glowing and was surrounded by some type of white gas cloud and it had towers or skyscraper like structures on top of it. If I had to describe it, it wqas shaped like the star destroyer from star wars but the towers made it look like a floating city from a rear view.

    I ran after it, looked down as I raced across the street to catch my footing and when I looked up it was completely gone. Like it was never there.

    I have been living with this for many years so hopefully I can get a response.

    PS: I also saw a UFO sighting in 1979 when I was a kid and saw what looked like some peolle or heads looking through a window before it suddenly shot up into space like a shooting star, leaving me speechless and stunned.

  • u1oo

    DARPA’s Walrus Hybrid Ultra Large Aircraft (HULA) is designed to carry 500–1,000 tons of cargo up to 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km) in less than seven days -and- looks an awful lot like Wings Stadium.

  • deeb

    john long drank me under the tailgate july 84

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