Great UFO Wave of 1973:
By Robert B. Klinn and David Branch
Grand Tower, Illinois - The Chief engineer of the power company here Thursday night observed a UFO hover over the plant's 69,000 volt transformer yard. He then watched military jets giving chase. His report is corroborated by the turbine operator.
Chief engineer Oscar Wills, 57, talked with us Sunday. "The plant for the Central Illinois Public Service Company is right on the Mississippi River," he began. "I was working the three-to-eleven p.m. shift. It was about 9:15 p.m., and the turbine operator for the company, Willis Hughes, called on the telephone from his home, which is about one and a half miles from the plant. He was watching it from his picture window. 'It think you should take a look at something a little north over the power station,' he told me.
"I walked out the north door of the power station. It was sitting over the 69,000 volt transformer yard. It was at about 1500 feet. I was really amazed!
"It was saucer-like and round with a lot of pulsating lights around the edges, and it changed color - from bright red to white and sometimes to amber.
"Its diameter was about 25 to 30 feet across. And there were perhaps 30 lights all around the rim with the exception of six or eight feet.
"I decided to walke closer, and I walked 50 yards closer, and I was getting shaky. Then I ventured a total of 150 to 200 yards. I was 100 yards from it.
"It was still about 1500 feet high. Since I was by myself, I decided to turn back to get others, and as I began walking I looked back over my shoulder and saw it move rapidly with no noise - right over the Mississippi River behind our plant.
"I was on the north side of the plant. It went over the west side of the plant and stopped again. I walked around the plant to the sea wall and it was sitting right over the sea wall. Then the plant switchboard operator announced she had a call for me inside.
"It was Willis Hughes again, wanting to know if I had seen it. He had still been watching it from his home. He said it went toward the Missouri Hills. I went back outside again, and it was gone. I had watched it for seven or eight minutes, all told, but Willis Hughes had seen it for 45 minutes. For 20 minutes before his first call he had watched it moving up toward the plant, zigzagging.
"After the phone call, I stayed outside another 30 minutes, thinking it might reappear. And four jet aircraft, which I presume were military because of their high speed, made many passes over the plant and the Mississippi River, back and forth perhaps eight to ten times, as if searching for something. This lasted about eight minutes."
Having started in 1940, Oscar Wills has worked for the same power company for 30 years.
We have asked him whether what he saw was a hard object or instead simply a body of glowing gases.
"Oh, this was a very sophisticated machine," he said. "This was probably from someplace else - not from this earth. It moved so fast and with no sound: our military is not that far advanced."
Saturday, United Press International reported that hundreds of Missouri residents have observed UFOs "hovering over the Ozarks countryside or following cars down the highway."
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USAF Denies Chase By Jets
SANTA ANA- A query to the Air Force by The Register regarding the four jet aircraft reportedly observed by engineer Oscar Wills Thursday night, following his UFO sighting, drew a statement disclaiming Air Force involvement.
An Air Force spokesman stated Monday that Headquarters North American Air Defense Command said no planes had been scrambled in the area where the UFO reportedly was seen, nor had any report of unidentified flying objects been received by the Air Force.
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