April 22, 1976
Location: Elmwood, Wisconsin, United States
about 11 p.m., George Wheeler, a relief policeman at the
town of Elmwood, WI, encountered a strange glowing object
which he estimated was about 500 feet distant and hovering
about 100 feet off the ground. There were six bluish-white
lights, windows or portholes on the side and he could
see shadows as if someone was moving inside of it. This
case involves apparent electro-mechanical effects, multiple
witnesses, and possible animal reaction.
sketch by witness George Wheeler.
object that George Wheeler saw. (credit: APRO Bulletin)
Wheeler indicating the approximate position of UFO observed
on Thursday evening,
April 22, 1976. Picture taken May 27, 1976. (credit: APRO
APRO Bulletin, Vol. 24 No. 10 (Apr 1976)
report we are about to examine has been exhaustively investigated
by several individuals including Robert Pratt, who did
exceptionally thorough interviews with all individuals
important to the case, and Mr. Jack Bostrak, a Professor
of Biology at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls.
important elements of this case are:
The primary witness reported a UFO in April 1975, thus
making him a "repeater". (Some researchers,
and Dr. J. Allen Hynek in particular, have reservations
concerning the believability of witnesses where they claim
more than one sighting. It is our contention that during
heightened UFO activity in a particular area, an individual
could easily have more than one sighting.) (2) The object,
or the glow from it, was seen by at least two other witnesses.
(3) There apparently were electro-mechanical effects on
an automobile and possibly on television reception, and
(4) possible animal reaction.
about 11 p.m. on April 22, 1976, George Wheeler, a relief
policeman at the town of Elmwood, population 737, located
in west central Wisconsin about 60 miles east of the Mississippi
River, spotted an orange glow at the top of Tuttle Hill.
Mr. Wheeler is a veteran of 30 years police work in New
York state and Wisconsin, and the former one-man police
force in Elmwood where he now performs as reserve officer,
filling in for the present chief when necessary. He was
also a combat pilot in World War II.
that the glow was a large fire, he drove to the top of
Tuttle Hill, but when he arrived there he found a strange
glowing object which he estimated was about 500 feet distant
and hovering about 100 feet off the ground. He said it
was between a limestone quarry and a farmhouse in the
area. Wheeler later said that there were six bluish-white
lights, windows or portholes on the side and he could
see shadows, as if someone was moving inside of it. In
the middle of the side facing him, there appeared to be
some kind of a panel that was open and Wheeler said that
inside, he could see something which was revolving slowly
and had fin-like parts on it similar to a turbine.
Wheeler interpreted to be legs on the craft were partially
extended from the main body of the object and there was
a long, black, hose-like appendage on the bottom. The
main part of the craft was silver in color.
the while he was observing, Mr. Wheeler remembered some
advice given him by Bostrak the preceding April when he
had his first experience: if he should have a similar
experience in the future, he should attempt to observe
as many details as possible.
Wheeler first saw the object as he arrived at the top
of the hill he radioed the sheriff's department headquarters
in Ellsworth and described what he was observing. Suddenly
the object started to rise straight up at extremely high
speed and at this time there was a bluish flash, whereupon
the squad car, the lights, and the radio went dead. Wheeler
claims that he doesn't remember any more until somebody
asked him if he needed any help. He thinks he recalls
saying something of this nature when he radioed the sheriffs
office: "My God, it's another one of these UFOs
or spacecraft." He estimates that he observed
the object for perhaps 45 seconds, and recalls that it
made a "whooshing" sound when it left.
Although the main body of the craft was silvery in color,
the top of it glowed an orangish-white, and so brilliant
that it was difficult for him to look at that part because
it was "like looking into the sun." He
could not discern whether the hose-like appendage was
touching the ground because it extended down to where
it was obscured by trees.
limestone quarry where the object was hovering is an active
quarry; that is, it is still being worked. In the neighborhood,
the nearest farm is that of the O'Bryan family and when
Bostrak interviewed Mr. O'Bryan, he said that he hadn't
seen anything because he was watching television, and
casually noted that he recalled the time because he was
watching the Perry Mason show which comes on at 11 p.m.
and that several minutes after 11, his television set
quit for a short time. When Bostrak visited another farm
with Wheeler, they learned nothing from the adults, but
the 9-year-old boy said something about his sister coming
home from "some doings" in town and when
she came into the yard, the dogs did not act normally.
Always before, the dogs would run up to her and jump up
for attention and petting but on that night they would
not respond to her calls and merely barked for some time.
first person to see George Wheeler after the accident
was David Moots, 36, a dairy farmer at Elmwood. Moots
had taken the babysitter home a few minutes before that
and he had seen Wheeler's squad car parked elsewhere with
lights on, etc., so when he saw the car parked on the
top of the hill with the lights out and blocking that
lane of the road, he decided to stop. Moots said that
Wheeler was trying to get out of the car and there seemed
to be something wrong with him. Knowing that Wheeler had
once had a heart attack, he thought he might be having
another so he stopped and asked what was wrong. Moots
said that Wheeler said that he'd been hit. He responded
with a question: "Hit by a car?" Wheeler
then said, "No, one of those UFOs."
interviewed, Moots said that he'd heard that a iot of
people had seen UFOs in the area before so that was no
particular surprise but the being "hit" by a
UFO took him aback a bit. He said that Wheeler appeared
to be daz.ed, and because although he did not know him
well, he had had sufficient contact with him to know that
he was not acting normally.
second witness to the incident is Mrs. Miles Wergland,
a housewife who lives just outside of Elmwood to the North.
She claimed that at about 11 o'clock she heard the cuckoo
clock strike and got up to go to the kitchen to take some
medicine when she happened to glance out the kitchen window
and spotted a "bright orange moon-shaped" object
on the hill (Tuttle). She said she observed it for a "few
minutes", then went back to bed and did not even
bother to wake her husband because she said she had seen
strange things in the area before and he had merely told
her to go back to bed, she was seeing the moon, without
ever checking for himself.
third witness to the actual object is Paul Fredrickson,
who is administrator of the Heritage of Elmwood Nursing
Home in Elmwood. Mr. Fredrickson was at his home when
the police chief's wife called him and asked him to go
to his front porch and look out the window and see what
he could see. Fredrickson did as he was asked, and saw
what he later described as "an orange glow, like
a half-moon, like a moon cut in half" on Tuttle Hill.
He said he knew it was not a house on fire as there were
no flames leaping up. He went back to the telephone and
by that time his wife had gotten out of bed and the two
of them went back to the window and the thing was gone.
Fredrickson feels that the length of time that he spent
on the telephone might have been from 3 to 5 minutes.
the course of the investigation, Mr. Pratt found that
Mr. Fredrickson had had another experience along with
his son in October, 1975, at which time they were in the
same general vicinity, and driving home from the Nursing
Home where Mr. Fredrickson had worked overtime. His son
suddenly pointed out "something" coming up over
the horizon. At the time, they were on Tuttle Hill and
looking eastward "right over the top of our house".
Fredrickson said his first impression was that it was
the full moon rising but then realized it couldn't be
because the object was'rising very rapidly. He stopped
the car and they got out, the boy getting a better look
because Mr. Fredrickson was busy with braking, turning
off on to the side of the road, etc. Mr. Fredrickson described
it at first as a big orange light coming toward them,
but when it was overhead it looked like the bottom of
a huge, gray plate which he estimated was about 100 feet
across. He thinks perhaps it may have been between 500
and 1,000 feet in altitude and when it was directly overhead
they could hear a roaring sound much like the roar of
a waterfall. The Fredrickson boy said that the object
gave off a blue and green beam from the side of it at
one point, but this was while his father was engaged in
stopping the car. The object faded into the distance rather
quickly, they said; having originally come from the east,
it disappeared into the west. Fredrickson did not make
careful note of the date at the time, but feels it was
around the 20th of October and that the experience took
place between 10 and 10:30 p.m.
next individual to become involved in the Wheeler incident
was Police Chief Gene Helmer of Elmwood. He had been at
home and monitoring the "police scanner" when
he heard Wheeler say that he was watching a UFO. Helmer
said Wheeler had started to describe the object but the
radio went dead. The Sheriffs Department was trying to
contact Wheeler by radio also, and Helmer tried to get
Wheeler back, but to no avail. Helmer decided he had better
go and see what was wrong when Wheeler came back on the
radio momentarily and said, "Get somebody up here
I've been hit."
who lives about a quarter of a mile from Tuttle Hill,
left immediately and when he arrived at the scene, Moots
was trying to soothe Mr. Wheeler. Helmer said that he
had never seen a man as frightened as Wheeler was. He
said further that he had worked with Wheeler under various
trying conditions but had never seen him so upset. Another
interesting aspect of Chief Helmer's interview was his
description of the condition of the patrol car. Although
they had had the car tuned up not long before the incident,
it was necessary to replace all points and plugs in the
car's engine. The starter is beginning to act up also,
whereas they had had no problem with it prior to the incident.
wife arrived on the scene at about the time the Police
Chief got there, as she had been listening to the police
frequency on the Wheeler scanner. Wheeler was taken home
and the family doctor, Frank Springer, was called. Mrs.
Wheeler took her husband to Springer's home where he examined
Wheeler and gave him a shot to calm him and help him sleep.
After they got home, Chief Helmer arrived and questioned
Wheeler for about an hour and a half. At about 1 a.m.
Mrs. Wheeler called Dr. Springer and said that her husband
was still quite upset and Dr. Springer instructed her
to take her husband to the hospital.
was in the hospital for three days where tests were taken
but nothing could be found wrong with him. He stayed for
three days, was released, but went back to the hospital
for a second stay of 11 days because of headaches he was
suffering, as well as nightmares.
Springer, who has been Wheeler's physician for 25 years,
said that it was unusual for Wheeler to suffer headaches
and the headaches he had which prompted him (the Dr.)
to re-hospitalize him were continual and severe. Otherwise,
however, Wheeler was rational and appeared normal.
puzzling aspect of this case is the fact that although
Wheeler recounted the entire experience to Helmer, who
recorded it in writing, he could not recall any of the
details of the experience later.