The Moore UFO Case Of 1957: Flying Saucers, Project Blue Book & Government Secrecy
Updated: Apr 7
Outside Montville, Ohio, in 1957, Olden Moore claimed to witness a UFO up close, his fascinating story involves high-ranking members of the US military and a government coverup.
At 11:30 p.m. on November 6, 1957, in the midst of a UFO sighting wave that had begun four days earlier in Levelland, Texas, 28-year-old plasterer, Olden Moore was driving west of Montville, Ohio, when he saw a lighted object moving from right to left (eastward) through the night sky in front of him. Moore subsequently related:
"It stopped when it got to the center of my side of the windshield, and then it split into two pieces. One part went straight upward. The part that remained seemed brighter than ever and kept getting bigger. When it got to be about the size of a sheet of paper, I pulled the car into a side road and got out. It seemed to be headed straight at the car. I had no idea what it was. The colour changed as it approached, from bright white to a green haze, and then to blue-green as it stopped about 200 feet above the field. I didn't hear any sound until it started to settle slowly to the ground. Then I noticed a whirring sound, something like an electric meter, only a little deeper."
The UFO came down 500 feet from him, and for the next 15 minutes, Moore watched it without attempting to approach it. It was circular and shaped like a covered dish, 50 feet in diameter and 50 feet high. A sharp, steeple-like cone shot up from the top midsection. The UFO was surrounded by a bluish-green haze, like a fog. The colour pulsated slowly, alternating between bright and dim. When the haze was dim, Moore could see the object's surface, which looked as if it were made of the same material as "mirrored sunglasses."
Finally, he decided to walk toward it, but about halfway there decided to get his wife. He drove five miles to his home, but by the time the couple got back, the UFO was gone. The next morning, Mrs Moore notified County Sheriff Louis Robusky, who came to interview Moore. Early in the afternoon, Lake County Civilian Defense Director Kenneth Locke searched the area, finding "footprints" that "came from nowhere and went nowhere... They had a sort of heel print, then some little holes in the ground, like golf shoes would make. But nobody around there has golf shoes." Near the "footprints" were two perfectly formed three-foot deep holes, six inches in diameter. Locke left to retrieve a Geiger counter. "When we returned," he said, "we got a reading of about 150 microroentgens [per hour; a normal reading is 15] in the centre of an area about 50 feet in diameter, tapering to 20 or 30 microroentgens at the perimeter. This indicated that the activity was not caused by minerals in the ground." To a representative of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO), Locke said, "A foreign object landed in that field."
That same morning, the seventh, Mildred Wenzel, who lived half a mile from the landing site, found "strange pockmarks" on the roof and windshield of her car, which had been parked outside all night. She decided to drive to Chardon to talk with Sheriff Robusky about the matter. On her way, she passed the field where the object had come down, and there she spotted the sheriff and Locke. When she stopped to ask them what was going on, Locke ran his Geiger counter over her car and measured 35 to 40 microroentgens. Mrs Wenzel said that late the previous evening "something funny" had happened with her television reception. "I couldn't get any of the TV stations on my set," she said. "They were all blurred." At 6:30 the next morning, a woman from the area, Mrs E. A. Markell, "saw an object or spaceship," which she reported to the sheriff's office:
"It was so bright that it blurred my eyes. It was like sitting on the ledges and then it went right up. It was round in shape, very low, and much larger than an airplane. Odd in shape. Only there a few minutes. It definitely was not the sun, moon, or airplane. There were no vapor trails or noise".
Taken To Washington?
Not long afterward, Moore disappeared for a few days. When he returned, he refused to say where he had been. He told local Civil Defense officials that he had left town to escape ridicule and harassment. Not long afterward, however, his wife told friends that the Air Force had taken him to Washington D.C. When asked about this by a reporter, Moore said only, "I talked to high officials. I was sworn to secrecy. I won't say where I was."
In March 1962, Saucer News editor James W. Moseley interviewed Lt. Colonel Robert Friend of Project Blue Book. In the course of the conversation, Moseley asked him about Olden Moore. As he wrote in a subsequent account:
"Moore began claiming that he was taken to Washington and detained involuntarily for three days of questioning. He made these statements to friends and eventually on tape, and this tape was sent to a larger circle of saucer enthusiasts. According to Colonel Friend, the Air Force went to interview this man and ask him politely about these wild claims. The fellow admitted in private that they were not true. Apparently, he had merely strayed from home for a few days and needed a good story to tell his wife."
Friend's claim prompted a response from ufologist C.W. Fitch. Fitch, who had to come to know Moore after his encounter, characterized him as an honest man deeply involved in church activities and unlikely to fabricate either a UFO sighting or an encounter with officialdom.
Moore claimed that on the evening of November 10, four days after his sighting, Sheriff Robusky, a deputy, and an Air Force officer showed up at his home and asked him if he would go to Youngstown, Ohio, to be interviewed by military representatives. They drove Moore to the field where he had had his UFO encounter - Moore thought this was so strange that he became frightened - and placed him aboard a military helicopter with two Air Force officers. He was flown to Youngstown, interviewed for some time, then flown back to the field at 11 p.m.
Exactly a week later, an Air Force car with two officers came to Moore's house. He was told they were taking him to Washington for extended questioning. They drove him to a waiting airplane, which stopped briefly at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, to pick up one officer and drop one off. In Washington, Moore was housed in a downtown building, which from his description, Fitch later surmised to be the United States Court House. He was kept in the building and was even fed in a private dining room there. Though he was treated courteously, the officers watched him at all times, including when he slept.
Even more remarkable was Moore's assertion that toward the end of his stay (during which he was interrogated by several different groups of people, who asked him essentially the same questions), he was shown slides of, in Fitch's words, "various UFO still photographs. They even ran off a UFO movie film, which had apparently been taken from inside a military plane." The officers told him that since these objects were neither American nor Soviet, they must be from another planet. The military had never admitted this publicly because it did not yet have all the answers. Moore signed a document swearing him to secrecy.
Moore never discussed any of this in a public forum, but in early 1959 he told the story on tape to a local UFO buff. In no time, copies of the tape were in circulation, and not long afterward two men from Wright-Patterson called on the Moores and tried to persuade him that the object he had seen was nothing more than a large fireball. Moore was unconvinced. Cattle Mutilations, UFOs & Alien Contact At A Ranch In The Rocky Mountains, Colorado