December 21, 1964
Location: Near Staunton, Virginia, United States
Burns, a gunsmith in Harrisonburg, saw an immense cone-shaped
object cross low over the highway ahead of him. "It
was 125 feet in diameter, at least, and 80 to 90 feet
high," he later reported. Its circular, sloping sides
rose toward the top in six large, concentric convolutions
that decreased in diameter and were surmounted by a dome.
NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon)
approximately 5:00 p.m. on the evening of December 21,
as he drove east along Route 250 between Staunton and
Waynesboro, Virginia, Horace Burns, a gunsmith in Harrisonburg,
saw an immense cone-shaped object cross low over the highway
ahead of him. It was moving in a north to south direction
at a slow speed estimated to be about 15 mph. The point
of the cone was tipped slightly forward in the object's
line of flight. It crossed the highway approximately 200
feet ahead of Burns and settled in a meadow to the right
of the road, landing gently, "like a bubble."
At the moment the object crossed the highway, Burns' car
motor failed. The object settled in the field as he brought
the car to a stop on the shoulder of the highway.
got out of the car to get a better look. "It was
125 feet in diameter, at least, and 80 to 90 feet high,"
he later reported. Its circular, sloping sides rose toward
the top in six large, concentric convolutions that decreased
in diameter and were surmounted by a dome. The object
was so large, Burns said, that when it crossed the road
ahead of him, it had more than filled the entire width
of his windshield. In the gathering darkness, Burns could
not make out with certainty the exact nature of the object's
surface material but it gave the appearance of a dull,
metallic finish. He saw no features such as windows, ports,
doors, or seams on the object; however, extending around
its base at a height of about six feet was a band of bluish-white
light, sharply-edged and about 12 to 18 inches wide. The
light was steady and did not flicker or dim. No landing
gear was evident and the object seemed to rest lightly
on the ground on a somewhat convexly curved undersurface.
watched the object for from 60 to 90 seconds at a distance
no greater than 150 yards when it suddenly rose straight
up to a height of several hundred feet and, emitting a
soft "whoosh" like rushing air, took
off in a northeasterly direction at an exceedingly high
rate of speed, again with its top tilted slightly forward
in the line of motion. It disappeared from view in a matter
its disappearance, Burns drove home and told his wife
about his sighting, swearing he wouldn't tell another
soul because "they'd think I'm crazy."
However, a few days later, a local radio program announced
the formation of a UFO investigations group at Eastern
Mennonite College, under the direction of Dr. Ernest G.
Gehman, a professor of German at the college. At his wife's
urging, Burns got in touch with Gehman by way of the radio
station to report his observation.
December 31, Dr. Gehman traveled alone to the landing
site and made a geiger counter test of the area. An extremely
high reading was obtained, and was verified by the arrival
of two DuPont research engineers who, having heard about
the landing, had driven to the site the same day Dr. Gehman
made his investigation. In fact, Dr. Gehman had been able
to locate the landing spot (later verified by Burns) by
the readings on his Geiger counter.