NUFORC Sighting 180379

Occurred: 2023-08-01 16:00 Local
Reported: 2024-02-12 12:53 Pacific
Duration: 5 minutes
No of observers: 2

Location: , ID, USA

Shape: Disk
Color: Rotating multi-color
Viewed From: Land
Angle of Elevation: 45
Characteristics: Lights on object, Changed Color, Landed

An extraordinary close encounter with a UFO in central Idaho in 1974.

I am a professional writer and the following short story is from an autobiographical memoir I am writing. I hope someone in your organization will enjoy reading it.


The Detroit-Superior Bridge is a huge industrial marvel serving as a portal to downtown Cleveland from the affluent bedroom community of Bay Village on Lake Erie where he and his best friend since childhood grew up.

It was the night before high school graduation in the Spring of 1974 when he and Steve made their way across the bridge and down to the “Flats,” a dark and dank place on the infamous Cuyahoga River (so polluted from chemical waste at the time it had the ignominious distinction of the “River that caught on fire.”)

The Flats had a sordid past. In the 60s it was where sailors and steel workers would go to drink hard, find women and frequently fight outside the old bars, few and far between the warehouses and old buildings found there. The Flats had a reputation as a very dangerous place, especially at night and the early hours of the morning.

In the 70s the Flats transitioned into something of an entertainment district; some of the bars and warehouses were converted into music venues. The punk rock movement emerged from here and so did Cleveland’s reputation as the country’s home of rock n’ roll.

What transpired that night set the tone for the next year in the boys’ lives.

He had a vivid memory of drinking at the Pirate’s Cove and old Harbor Inn, the latter dating back to the late 1800s. He had an even more vivid memory of walking over to the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and the edifice known as the Iron Curtain Bridge, a heavily used railroad lift bridge spanning the width of the river. The bridge raised and lowered horizontally to allow the huge freighters transporting iron ore to access the steel mills up river. The bridge lowers in order to accommodate the dozens of trains that traverse the area on a daily basis.

The bridge raises to a height of 97 feet - almost the height of a ten story building- by a system of cables and counterweights. The boys had the brilliant idea to climb the elevated bridge in pitch black darkness to watch the sun rise and enjoy the views of the city.

Steve led the way and he followed, but stopped at the train rails, next to a giant counterweight, while Steve traversed the tracks to the middle of the bridge. All was well until suddenly there was a loud noise and the great Iron Curtain Bridge began to lower.

He was petrified, having no idea how the mechanics of the bridge worked, worrying he might be crushed at any second. Steve reappeared out of the darkness and with one of the greatest understatements in the history of mankind said, I think we better get down. Steve led the way like a monkey on fire followed by his tremulous friend.

Many years later, recounting their adventure, Steve laughingly said, I think if we did that today we would get arrested.

And so it began.

The next day he graduated from high school and the two made final preparations for leaving Bay Village. Steve had purchased an old green 1961 Dodge half- ton pickup truck, which they naturally nicknamed “Old Paint.”

They worked to make it road-worthy and even went to a salvage yard where they found an old station wagon with a roof rack they modified to fit on top of Old Paint’s cab. The idea was to have a way to get onto the roof to sit and enjoy the scenery as they made their way through beautiful canyons, blankets of pine forests and rolling rivers. They packed up their worldly possessions- their mothers loaded the truck with groceries convinced the two were going to starve to death - and they embarked on a long-planned trip out west to the mountains of Idaho where they planned to work at his uncle’s Grizzly Bear Pizza parlor in Boise.

Their route took them through Minneapolis and then across the never-ending plains until they entered Montana. It was dark out when they decided to pull off the road and set up their small two-man pup tent and get some sleep.

When they woke up the next morning he was surprised to learn they were not alone. Below them in a little valley was what appeared to be a little community of Amish-looking homesteaders, the women covered in white head scarves and long black dresses. From what he could tell they were living without the benefit of electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing. He couldn’t help but notice the furtive glances of the young women going about their chores appraising these “outsiders,” barely clothed, camped up the hill.

It was then it really hit him he was entering a different world. The comfort and privilege of his youth was now far behind them as they began the long and beautiful drive down through Big Sky country to Idaho. Manicured lawns and the rust belt were replaced by endless miles of pine forests and the rugged peaks of the Bitteroot Mountains to the west and the clear, clean and fast running waters of the Upper Salmon River to the east.

When they reached Idaho they stopped in a classic Old West general store where a young cowboy came through the door with a very large gun prominently strapped to a well worn leather belt around his muscular waist. Under a large cowboy hat was a handsome tanned face and a curious expression as he eyed the two skinny, long-haired boys who were obvious “flat landers” from somewhere east. Dorothy, he thought to himself, we ain’t in Kansas no more.

Once they reached Idaho 21, which ended in the sparsely populated town of Stanley, with the spectacular Sawtooth mountains as a backdrop, they headed west on the winding two-lane paved highway toward Boise, running along the Upper Fork of the Payette River, past Kirkham Hot Springs, the rustic log general store and bar in Lowman. Behind Lowman, with its few cabins, was a dirt, two-track logging road that unbeknownst to them rose up to Bear Valley, which would soon play a big role in their lives.

In 1989, tragically, Lowman, at an elevation of only 3,801 feet, was devastated by a wildfire that destroyed 75 square miles of pristine pine forests. From Lowman, Idaho 21 rises through a series of steep switchbacks to cross over Beaver Creek summit at 6,041 ft. and then drops through the Ponderosa Pine National Forest for ten miles before they ascended the steep 7,000 ft. Mores summit.

After descending the summit, the two-lane highway followed a serpentine route through the most beautiful and vast wilderness in the world. Eventually, they broke through the towering pine forests to the sagebrush strewn terrain that greets travelers entering the old mining town of Idaho City.

Once a boom town built during the Gold Rush of the 1800s, with a population of 5,000, Idaho City was now a ghost town with only a few remaining bars and small cafes, and a permanent population of only a couple hundred. They pullled off the road to a sad excuse for a gas station, with just a couple old Texaco pumps, in front of a cinder block building that advertised itself as The Beer Garden. They went inside and surveyed the clientele, mostly forest workers, occasional miners and truckers who stopped in to enjoy the cheap beer and camaraderie of their friends. After a few beers and friendly conversation with the locals he couldn’t help but notice a gregarious and boisterous older man holding court at the end of the bar. In well-worn jeans and cowboy boots he sported a very large six-shooter hanging heavily from his belt. His curiosity got the best of him and he walked over and introduced himself to the man known to everyone as Wild Bill Allen. To most in the bar this larger-than life character (spelled with a capital “C”), was known by his curious moniker, “Ferd Berfle.”

Can I ask you a question?, he asked Ferd hesitantly. Do you need a permit to carry that gun?

Ferd laughed, obviously several beers and whiskeys into the day. His friends laughed along with him, Yeah, I got a permit, he said, in fact I got six of them. With that he pulled his hand cannon out of its holster and deftly flipped open the chamber from the gun and one-by-one released the bullets and offered them for inspection in the palm of a weathered and leathery hand.

This is all the permit I goddamn need, he laughed, in a voice that challenged anyone to disagree with him.

He would soon come to understand they had traded the oppressive police presence of their former life in Bay Village for an unfamiliar life of Old West lawlessness. In fact, in the ensuing years when he lived in the mountains he could’t ever remember seeing a law enforcement officer.

Over a few more beers the boys explained their journey and destination. Ferd asked them if, instead of making pizzas in the city, if they would rather work in the outback making some real money. He had a firewood cutting operation in the hills, he told them, north of Idaho City.

Reminiscing, many years later, neither could remember the exact terms, but they were told they would be paid by the cord they cut. If they had their own chainsaws they would be paid even more.

They didn’t need to be asked twice. Flipping pizzas in Boise was always just a means to an end, which was working and living in the mountains. They signed on immediately, got directions to the camp, and headed down to Floyd’s A1 Saw Shop in Boise, still a little city, to spend their life savings.

Floyd was a kindly old man who owned a small one-man shop servicing and selling nothing but chainsaws. He was a card-carrying Mormon who was extremely helpful outfitting the boys with everything they would need for their new job. When they went to pay, a bill in the hundreds of dollars, Floyd stunned them when he wouldn’t take their money.

When you two start making money, he told them, come back down and pay me. He didn’t ask them to sign anything, leave anything for collateral, nothing. They just walked out the door with their new saws and Good Luck wishes from a man he would always remember as one of the nicest human beings he ever met.

They headed back up Highway 21 to Idaho City and headed north on a dirt road, past the old saloons with their wooden boardwalks, past Boot Hill Cemetery (today a tourist attraction) and then deep back into the woods, where the only sign of life was an occasional homesteader’s cabin. Coming down one hill they were amazed to see off to the side of the road a very old woman working a plot of land alone with a horse-drawn single-wedge plow. Were they really living in the late 20th Century?

When they finally arrived at the camp they were greeted by a group of backwoods miscreants loaded with beer and long guns. Steve remembers driving into the camp as akin to walking into a real-life set from the movie “Deliverance.” Even the camp cook kept a 12-gauge shotgun next to her at all times. What they didn’t know is this crew was all related and actively feuding with a rival gang of cousins who stole a cow, or goat, or chickens; something stupid.

They did hard work for a couple weeks, paid off their saws, and on weekend nights went into Idaho City when they had time and money. On these much anticipated nights the few bars in Idaho City were filled with ranchers, loggers and miners who drove fancy trucks and wore nice clean clothes: they obviously made money and were ordering fancy drinks for themselves and the mostly attractive women with them, who were wearing pretty skirts and dresses and sported feminine, thin-soled shoes, unlike the boots worn by their camp cook or the old woman plowing her field.

At the Miner’s Exchange, their favorite saloon of all time, they were greeted by a sign that read “Check All Guns and Knives at the Bar.” Hello again Dorothy!

It didn’t take them long to figure out that loggers made a lot more money than cutting firewood (Ferd neglected to tell them that in addition to cutting the firewood they also had to split and load the pitch-pine onto his truck, which he then hauled to sell in Boise and Sun Valley), It was backbreaking and exhausting work.

After awhile they learned who to talk to in the logging business and they met Greg Harp, foreman of a gyppo operation, a small contract logging operation- often associated with renegades and misfits - owned by the MacGregor Triangle Ranch.

After a deck of logs rolled onto a 19-year-old, a position opened up and they soon found themselves moving to Bear Valley.

They would work sun up to sun down, usually six days a week. On their day off they would drive down to Boise to provision themselves for the next week.

It was on one of these drives that it happened, an extraordinary experience they would tell (and be asked to retell) the rest of their lives.

It was a beautiful summer day when they were a few miles past Idaho City. Steve was driving when, about a mile from the road, high up in the tree line, he noticed a large and extremely bright light. He pointed it out to Steve.

What is that? he asked. Steve slowed down. They knew nobody lived up there. It couldn’t be a forest fire. There was no smoke or flames. It was stationary, multi-colored and glowing.

In less than a second, in literally a blink of the eye, the light was next to them, hovering just off to the side of the road and slightly below them over a culvert of sage brush. At least ten times the size of Old Paint, it made no noise, created no wind; it was an otherworldly object of spinning lights. It was obvious to them it was extraterrestrial.

Stop! You have to stop! We can go meet them! We’ll go on the Johnny Carson show!, he shouted!

But when he looked back at Steve, he could tell by the look on Steve’s face he had no intention of stopping.

Are you crazy, Steve shouted back at him, as he was climbing out the window to get on top of the truck for a better look. They’ll suck out our brains and put us in a zoo on Mars! he said (and he was serious).

He stared at the object for as long as he could before a curve in the road took them out of its sight. Once he was certain it wasn’t following them he climbed back into the cab.

What the fuck was that? he asked, breathlessly.

I have no idea, Steve answered, wide-eyed and in disbelief at what they just experienced. But let’s get outta here!

Steve’s memory almost 50 years later:

They drove on for about another ten miles before they came up on a bar in a dilapidated building, maybe an old converted double-wide trailer.

They parked out front and rushed inside, eager to tell their story. They were greeted by a bar full of rough necks not in the least bit interested in their gibberish; they were doing a shit poor job of communicating what they had just experienced.

One stand out moment came from a dangerous looking, unkempt woodsmen who appraised them skeptically and said only: Your hairs grown so long it’s pulled your brains out. In a moment of lucidity they decided it was best if they took their leave of this fine establishment.

They said they wanted to make a police report- the nearest station being in Boise - and they were directed to a pay phone outside an adjacent building. Once they were in the dusty parking lot Steve was followed by a fortunately friendly man.

Listen, he said, every guy in that bar has seen some weird shit up here, they just weren’t going to talk about it. He quizzed Steve about the shape and size of what they saw. Was it a dirigible shape? Spherical? He had no doubt what the boys saw was real and an extraordinary extraterrestrial encounter.

Steve made the call to the station and reported to the dispatcher what they experienced. Instead of being ignored or ridiculed they were surprised to be treated respectfully and were asked to come into the station to file a report.

They drove the 90 miles down to Boise and walked into the station, not a comfortable environment for two boys who had spent their adolescence trying to avoid the law.

They were led into a large room with a boardroom table and told they would be joined shortly by officers who wanted to hear their story. What they didn’t know is every cop working that night had been notified that these two young loggers were coming in to tell an incredible story. One by one the room filled with uniforms until it was standing room only. You could have heard a pin drop.

They listened to their story without saying a word. When they were done they filed out of the room without so much as a word between them, his memory being they were considering what they had just heard. Who were these two long-hairs? Why would they drive all the way into Boise to make a police report if they weren’t convinced of what they experienced?

A couple of the younger cops hung back and Steve remembered one saying, I believe them, my Uncle says he saw something just like what they saw.

The boys walked out of the station and into the quiet, warm summer night. Decades later, through images captured by the extraordinarily powerful telescopes probing deep space, we are learning vast new information about our universe.

He remembered an interview with an astrophysicist: What is the one fact about the universe that blows your mind the most? the physicist was asked. “Not only just the size and scale of it; in the piece of the universe we can see, there are something like roughly two trillion galaxies…we haven’t counted them all but that’s an estimate based on surveys of the local universe. Two trillion, two thousand billion galaxies. And each galaxy is, let’s say, around the size of the Milky Way - some are bigger and some are smaller - but the Milky Way has 400 billion stars in it. It takes light over 100 thousand years to cross the galaxy. And there are two trillion of them in the piece of the universe we can see. And we are very sure that the piece we can see is a small bit of what may be an infinite universe beyond. We don’t know, actually. Don’t get worried about that because nobody can picture it. It is impossible to visualize the scale of the universe.”

He knew what he saw was not from earth, so did Steve. They also knew they were among the very few humans ever to be feet away from an extraterrestrial object. A UFO.

Posted 2024-02-15

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