March 1, 1978
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Pittsburgh construction worker and his girlfriend claimed
they saw a massive disc-shaped object settle about 2,000
feet over Highland Reservoir. He estimated its size as
larger than the reservoir itself. Paul Oles, program director
for Buhl Planetarium, also saw a bright light which he
"can't explain," about one hour earlier.
UFO described by Glenn Ricci and Claire Gallery. Illustration
by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
artist Leo Walker.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), March 4, 1978
HENRY W. PIERCE
30 reports of unidentified flying objects allegedly seen
in the Pittsburgh area Wednesday night were logged yesterday
during an experiment aimed at bringing more objectivity
to UFO reports.
experiment, carried out by a statewide group of UFO investigators
based in Westmoreland County, was prompted by an initial
report from a district construction worker and his girlfriend
who claimed they saw a massive disc-shaped object settle
about 2,000 feet over Highland Reservoir about 10:30 p.m.,
the suggestion of the Pennsylvania Center for UFO Research
formerly the Westmoreland County UFO Study Group
the Post-Gazette withheld details of the sighting
so reports from other, asked by the UFO group to phone
in any sightings, would not be influenced .
investigators are comparing the reports received yesterday
with that of the construction worker and his friend, published
here for the first time.
construction worker Glenn A. Ricci, 22, of 6921
Bishop St., Morningside said he and his girlfriend
first saw the object at 10:15 p.m. in the vicinity of
the O'Hara Township Municipal Building during a drive
in the North Hills area.
said he and Claire Gallery of 1026 Wood-vine St., Stanton
Heights, paused for about two minutes along Fox Chapel
Road to watch the object, which they agreed was "very
bright, much brighter than a star."
second object, which Ricci described as "incredibly
fast, much faster than a plane," flew into view
from the north, then turned abruptly and headed directly
toward the first object.
drew close and then disappeared over a hill in the direction
of Highland Park, he said.
wanted to follow it and find out what it was,"
Ricci said. "So I drove up Delafield Road and
across the Highland Park Bridge to Highland Park, where
I figured I could get a better view."
minute or two later, he said, the object reappeared from
the general direction of Downtown.
object approached from a fairly high altitude, he said,
descended steadily and paused over Highland Park reservoir.
estimated its size as larger than the reservoir itself
and its elevation at about 2,000 feet.
said Claire seemed "in awe of" the object
and was asking, "What will we do if it lands?"
said it carried three triangular lights on the bottom
and two red lights at the end.
the same time, he said, it emitted a low humming sound
"unlike any plane I ever heard."
denied it could have been a weather balloon. Nearby city
lights combined with lights from the object revealed structural
features that resembled paneling, Ricci said. .
hovered briefly over the reservoir, then headed back in
the general direction of Downtown and angled upward, he
Paul Oles, program director for Buhl Planetarium, was
asked whether he had noticed any unusual phenomena that
night, he said he had seen "a peculiar thing I
was on Perrysville Road (on the Northside) about 9 p.m.
and observed a bright light in the sky," he said.
"I initially thought it was a floodlight from
a plane, but after watrhing it for a few seconds I became
uncomfortable with that explanation. For one thing, it
didn't seem to be moving in any direction. and for another,
the light appeared to be scanning. I finally satisfied
myself by saying it must be a floodlight from a lane and
that the angle I was seeing it from made it appear stationary.
Perhaps, I thought, the actual movement of the plane produced
what appeared to me lo be the scanning quality."
appeared to be at least one major discrepancy between
Oles' and Ricci's stories the time. If they both
saw the same object, it would have had to remain in the
area for more than an hour.
suppose other people in the Pittsburgh area had seen a
similar object. A news account might encourage them to
come forward with their own stories but their stories
might be colored by Ricci's description.
were encouraged to notify the UFO investigating group
at 863-3874 and let the Ufologists make their own comparisons.
resulting calls are still being evaluated, but Robert
Cowell, the organization's director, said late yesterday
that it "appears that something very large, low
and bright" did appear in Pittsburgh-area skies
between 10:15 and 11 a.m., that evening.
of the calls, he said, came, not from the North Hills,
but from eastern and southern districts Monroeville,
Penn Hills, Edgewood, and the South Hillso.
closest sighting, he said, was reported by three women
who were standing in a golf house in Schenley Park, who
described a circular object carrying small white lights,
relatively close to the ground. "They insisted
it couldn't have been a plane," he said.
are still studying the reports and, at the moment, have
no firm conclusions to report."
Ricci and Claire, at the request of the Post-Gazette,
cooperated with P-G artis Leo Walker to reproduce their
impression of what they saw.