Close Encounters in Washtenaw County

In the early morning hours of March 14, 1966, Washtenaw County sheriff's deputies reported sighting "four strange flying objects" in Lima Township. Soon police agencies from Livingston County, Monroe County and Sylvania, Ohio were also reporting "red-green objects . . . moving at fantastic speeds." By the end of the day the Civil Defense and U.S. Air Force were called in to an investigation that has never really ended for many of those involved.

AADL has assembled all the articles that dominated the Ann Arbor News for weeks in 1966 and continues to resurface through sightings, interviews and research into UFOs and extraterrestrial life. Two facets of the UFO story make it especially compelling. Washtenaw County Sheriff Douglas J. Harvey did not immediately dismiss the sightings. In fact, he demanded a top-level investigation and challenged the U.S. Air Force's conclusions. Equally persistent was Bill Treml, the legendary and intrepid police beat reporter for the Ann Arbor News. His stories dominated the local pages of the paper with in-depth interviews with witnesses, seemingly 24-hour coverage of police operations in tracking the UFO sightings, and a dogged pursuit of U.S. government officials investigating the sightings.

The UFO story provides an interesting look at the way news events affect the lives of the participants and their communities. The Dexter family that reported the UFOs near their farm was overwhelmed by the coverage, became victims of vandalism and eventually distanced themselves from the story. The UFO sightings proliferated and swept Washtenaw area communities into a worldwide news event. Read the articles and decide for yourselves whether Washtenaw County's history includes close encounters of the first, second or third kind.

AADL Talks To Former Washtenaw County Sheriff Doug Harvey about the 1966 UFO Sightings

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AADL Talks to Doug Harvey about the 1966 UFO Sightings 4.53 MB