November 27, 1976
Location: Milbank, South Dakota, United States
radio dispatcher witnesses a large, somewhat egg-shaped
object, blue at its base, but flashing multi-colored lights
(mostly red) higher up and having two protruding legs
or antennae. Object returns again on three separate occasions.
William M. Moore, APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 5 (Nov. 1976)
William M. Moore Field Investigator
spite of the fact that he apparently possesses numerous
valuable talents, not the least of which is a gift for
architectural design, a severe physical problem has forced
twenty-seven year old Mike Foss of rural Milbank, South
Dakota, to forego a promising career in favor of a less
strenuous part-time job as a radio dispatcher for the
local Milbank police department. Following a recent divorce,
Mike has made his home with his parents, Mr. and Mrs.
Norman Foss, who live on a farm several miles south and
a bit west of the city itself. Although the farm house
has apparently been in Mrs. Foss' family for years, the
Fosses themselves have only occupied the dwelling since
June. Norman Foss is a retired nineteen-year veteran of
the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
about 6:30 P.M. (CST) on the evening of November 27, 1976,
Mike Foss left a local auto body shop in Milbank intending
to return home by car. The weather was clear and crisp
temperature near zero. Travelling south on highway
77 out of Milbank, he suddenly noticed a "tremendously
bright, brilliant orange light" - perhaps better
described as "a light without a source" off
to the west (right) of him. Almost immediately ruling
out the moon, he continued to watch the object for a few
moments until turning to proceed westward toward his parents'
farm on a gravelled county road. Now realizing that whatever
was responsible for the light was hanging over a field
alongside the road, Foss stopped for a better look. (Note
that he did not leave the car, nor did he notice any peculiar
effects on the car's electrical system or engine.) At
first thinking that he might be witnessing a helicopter
he was not immediately apprehensive about it: however,
he soon realized that whatever it was he was observing,
was clearly not any sort of helicopter he was familiar
with. Now somewhat frightened, Foss "floored the
foot feed" and headed for home about a mile and a
half away as fast as possible.
he had left the object in the field behind him, he intended
to pick up his parents and return to the spot to show
them what he had seen. Accordingly, he began blowing his
car's horn as soon as he approached the driveway, and,
arriving at the house, jumped out of the car and ran into
the house yelling to his mother and father to "come
quick". They did. Returning back outside with his
father, Mike realized that whatever he had left behind
in that field was now perched a few feet in the air neatly
between the hog house and the barn, about 100 feet from
where they were standing(see diagram, figure A). For the
next twenty to twenty-five minutes, the three Fosses watched
as a large, somewhat egg-shaped object, blue at its base,
but flashing multi-colored lights (mostly red) higher
up and having two protruding legs or antennae, as it first
hovered between the hog house and the barn, and then drifted
(or appeared to drift) slowly straight away from them
and off to the southwest, diminishing in size and intensity
until it finally disappeared in the distance. The changing
colored lights on the body of the object were described
as being somewhat like a color-wheel used to light up
Christmas trees in different colors, except that the colors
did not change rapidly, but seemed to "melt"
into one another. Orange, white, blue, red, and green
were noted. (Mike Foss' concept of the object appears
in his drawing of it, labelled Figure B).
significant facts in this encounter are as follows:
distance between the barn and the hog house on the Foss
farm is about sixty feet. The barn is located almost due
west of the house, and the hoghouse is situated somewhat
to the southwest. All three witnesses agreed that when
the object was at its closest, it took up fully half the
space between these two structures (perhaps 30 feet).
Mike Foss' original estimate was that it was "about
forty feet wide". Its height above the ground was
described as "above the hog house (which is about
15 feet high), but lower than the peak of the barn, which
is maybe 35 to 40 feet high".
before Mike Foss arrived home from this encounter with
the object in the field, Mr. Foss had been watching television
in the living room. According to Mr. Foss, just prior
to Mike's rushing into the house, the television began
to "act up" by rolling vertically. He said that
the set had a tendency to do this when a high wind blew
the antenna wires around on the roof, and he remembers
thinking that a wind must have suddenly come up. (The
channel involved was channel 10.) After the object left
the area, the television was normal again.
Foss also states that, upon first going outside with Mike
to watch the object, he could hear the sound of what he
thought was traffic on the main highway about two miles
east of the farm. He felt that "some heavy trucks
must have been passing by". He also noticed a jet
passing overhead going west, and says that he could clearly
hear the aircraft and could see its wing lights. He noticed
no other sounds.
three witnesses recalled that the yard was lit up very
brightly - much too bright to have been caused by the
moon. Mike and Mr. Foss remembered seeing the moon in
an entirely different part of the sky. (Note that the
moon was approaching first quarter on the night of the
27th, and would have been riding fairly high in the south
at 7:00 P.M.)
with regard to the yard being lit up, Mr. Foss recalls
that his mercury vapor yard light, located near the barn
(see diagram, Figure A.,) was definitely on. (Mike assumed
that it was on, but did not notice. Mrs. Foss did not
recall) In any event, this is interesting in that the
light is operated by a photo-cell which turns it automatically
on or off depending on the light conditions outside.
Foss, who did not venture outside, states that after a
few moments the two men came in to get a pair of opera
glasses (6x 1 5) to observe the object better. While they
were looking for the glasses, she continued to watch the
device from the kitchen window which faces west
and affords a good view of the area in question. She says
that at this point the object began to drift away from
its original position, moving away from the house at 180°
toward the southwest. Then, appearing to have stopped
once again, it began to emit, laterally, one at a time,
what appeared to be "red balls" of some sort.
These seemed to be without substance, were emitted from
the sides of the object (but not at the same time) and
travelled (or floated) about four of the parent object's
diameters from the main body. One ball having reached
this distance from the object, it ther "exploded"
(noiselessly) into nothing; a which point another"ball"
emitted from the opposite side of the device to repi the
performance. By the time the men managed to find the opera
glasses and return (a matter of perhaps two minutes?),
this phenomenon had ceased and the object had begun to
recede again slowly to the southwest.
all witnesses agreed that the object had two protrusions
or "legs" (Mr. Foss referred to them as "struts"),
only Mike Foss noticed white lights on the tips of them.
Mr. Foss clearly remembered the tips of the "struts"
as being dark -- almost "as if the ends didn't quite
ten miles southwest of the Foss house is a low range of
hills averaging about 1 000' higher than the flat plain
on which the area surrounding Milbank is situated. This
range of hills is visible in the distance when looking
south or southwest of the house. It is significant to
note that all three witnesses observed that before the
object's final disappearance in the distance, it was below
this line of hills, and intermingled with some farm lights
which can be seen off in the distance.
Foss related that he was not particularly afraid of the
object after his initial encounter with it, because, he
said, he felt that "anyone who could produce a thing
like that could have harmed (him) easily the first time,
if it had hostile intent". He also stated that since
this first sighting, he had experienced a strange recurrent
dream in which he is alone on a hilltop "on a strange
planet with a purple sky" watching a number of strange
'craft' maneuvering in the distance. "Some are silver
and some are black, and there seems to be a war going
on". In addition, he said he clearly felt that the
object would return (it did three times. See following.)
and that it will return again. He was unable to explain
why he felt that way.
after losing sight of the object, Mike suggested to his
father that they both take a piece of paper and go into
separate rooms to sketch what they had seen while it was
still fresh in their memory. When they got together again
to compare the sketches, they were strikingly similar.
to Mike's prediction, the strange object returned again
on three separate occasions between the initial sighting
on November 27, and its most recent appearance at about
8:00 P.M. Saturday evening, December 11th. On two of these
occasions, it was sighted only at extreme distances as
a bright orange light maneuvering off to the southwest
of the house. Because of this distance factor, no positive
identification could be made.
the third occasion, the sighting was strikingly similar
to the first. Again the object positioned itself between
the barn and the hog house, again the weather was clear
and cold, and as before, it remained in the area twenty
to twenty-five minutes following the same pattern of slowly
receding to the southwest. On this occasion, Mike's automatic
police radio band scanner was on in the living room. At
the appearance of the object, Mike noticed that the scanner
had locked on to frequency seven and was emitting bursts
of static. Frequency seven is a VHF frequency (approx.
140 MHz) used by the Minnesota Highway Patrol.
time, Mike Foss called Milbank police and asked that a
car be dispatched. Police Chief Ben Amsden personally
came out but by the time he arrived, the object was only
a bright light in the distance. (Amsden, however, did
notice an orange glow in the vicinity of the Foss farm
while proceeding toward it in the squad car.) Also reported
to have seen the object, this time in the area of theKMSD
radio tower about two and one half miles from the Foss
house, are Mr. Don Adams, bartender at the local VFW club,
and his wife.
of the fact that all sightings were on a clear evening
and all were in a westerly direction, this investigator
continued throughout the interview with the Fosses (Dec.
22) to nurture the possibility that this case might have
its origins in a highly exaggerated sighting of the planet
Venus, which is quite prominent in the southwest sky at
this time. Having concluded the bulk of the interview,
I suggested we go outside to view the area and to check
for any abnormal radiation with a Geiger counter which
I had brought along. Immediately upon passing through
the door of the Foss home (which faces directly south),
1 sighted Venus hanging prominently in the southwest.
"Look", I said, "Is that the object you
saw!?". "No", replied Mike, "we've
been watching that too, but it's a satellite, or a star,
or something. That's not what we saw." A similar
question to Mr. and Mrs. Foss upon our return indoois
(they had remained inside) produced a similar answer.
Mr. Foss explained he was familiar with Venus from having
seen it so often while on the road with the Highway Patrol.
My check for abnormal radiation produced no exceptional
three other items in this case seem to be worthy of mention.
The first is that on Sunday, December 12, 1976, one day
after the last sighting of the object (and the second
close approach by it), the Foss' seven year old AKC registered
german shepherd became ill. (Mr. Foss had obtained the
animal in May of 1973.) On the 13th, the dog was examined
by a Dr. Dotney, DVM, from Milbank, who diagnosed the
problem as an apparent stroke (the animal's veins had
collapsed and the dog was in shock) and recommended that
the dog be put to sleep. This was done, and the animal
was buried where the old outhouse had stood. (The burial
site was also checked for abnormal radiation, but again
the results were negative.) The Fosses did not consider
that there might be any connection between the appearance
of the object and the death of the dog. It is also significant
to note that the animal had once undergone an operation
for tumors of some sort.
more interesting is the question of the silo. Just as
I was leaving the Foss home, Mr. Foss wondered out loud
if his silo couldn't have had something to do with the
repeated return (and apparent curiousity) of the object.
Upon pursuing this, 1 discovered that completely housed
within the Foss' barn is a twenty-foot diameter, thirty
foot high all steel silo made of heavy pieces of boiler
plate riveted together. He described it as looking like
a "missile silo", and speculated that if the
object they had seen was intelligently controlled (he
thought it was) and possessed any sort of metal detection
devices, it might have been understandably curious about
what sort of structure was housed in that barn. Silos
housed completely within barns are rare. All steel ones
are almost unique!
final item is that upon arriving home and going through
my file, I discovered a copy of an old picture I had once
obtained from NICAP. Shown in the photo (reportedly taken
from aboard the USS Ramsey off the coast of California
in 1957) is an object which is strikingly similar to the
one described by the Foss.