In 1958 I lived in the little town of Roy, Montana.
One night a friend was visiting me, and my father decided it was too late for her to walk the three miles home alone. She lived out in the country. The population of the town couldn’t have been more than 500 at the time. In 2010 the population was 108. So out in the country just meant three miles from where I lived.
My father’s Packard bumped along on a road that was two tracks across a stretch of prairie. We dropped my friend at her house and were returning when things got weird.
It was a warm summer night, and the loud hum of grasshoppers filtered through the open car windows. We both saw what looked like an airplane’s lights, but the lights were blue. The blue glow came at us as if it would land. My dad stopped the car. The light grew larger and solidified into a craft that landed about fifty yards from us. My father asked me to get the spotlight.
You should know I was a champion jackrabbit shiner. The DNR paid a bounty on them because they ate the grass that the cattle and sheep needed. One night a month I held the spotlight while my father shot them. I got a cut of what he earned. Occasionally he bagged a coyote, which was worth more. Sometimes I went with him to collect. I remember dozens of rabbit carcasses in the trunk of the car. Not proud today that I participated in such wanton slaughter.
Dad plugged the light into the cigarette lighter, and I turned it on. The light showed a disk-shaped flying craft perhaps fifty feet across parked on my side of the car. Its sides looked like metal but were not shiny. No markings were visible. There were bright areas that looked like windows, although I saw nothing inside, except lights that blinked and twinkled.
Dad ordered me to roll up my window and lock my door. He got out and came around to my side of the car. I held the light on him as he walked toward the craft.
Suddenly an incredibly bright light blasted from the craft silhouetting my father in stark black against the light that seemed brighter than sunlight.
He ran back and jumped in the car and looked scared as I’d never seen him look. The Packard stalled, and the spotlight went out. Then the beam from the craft went out, leaving us in deep darkness.
We sat in stunned silence for a long moment. With a hum deeper than the sound of grasshoppers, the craft rose perhaps a hundred feet in the air, hovered a moment, then streaked away from us at about a ninety-degree angle.
My father was a pilot during WWII. I heard him counting until whatever it was vanished over the horizon. He could tell how fast an airplane overhead was flying, or a car at a distance was moving with unerring accuracy.
“Twenty-five hundred miles an hour.” His voice was shaky. “Nothing goes that fast.”
He called someone at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls to report what we had seen. Later I overheard him tell my mom that whoever he spoke to said it was nothing, and it would be best not to file an official statement.
Are they aliens? Time travelers? Who knows? I just know that what I saw was unexplainable even now and gave me bad dreams for years.
There were many reports of unidentified flying objects in the Montana skies in the 1950s and ‘60s. If you’re interested, here’s a link to a well-known incident.