Occurred: 1972-05-08 16:00 Local - Approximate
Reported: 2001-06-21 00:00 Pacific
Duration: 3-4 seconds
No of observers: 2

Location: Livingston, MT, USA

Shape: Fireball

1972 fireball

A friend and I were vacationing, driving across country after graduating from high school. We had crossed the boarder of Wyoming, headed in a westerly direction through Montana. We'd approached some foothills, exited off the I, and had taken a scenic, two lane road, bordered by trees on both sides. It was approaching dusk, still bright, but the sun beginning to recede. I was in the passenger seat with the window down, staring at the scenery. Suddenly, a fireball rose up from behind the tree line on the right side of the road, lolled over the hood of the car, and disappeared behind the tree line on the right, as if to crash. It made a nearly perfect arc over the road and our car hood, directly in front of us. I believe I managed to count to four as the fireball appeared and disappeared, but my friend stated it was closer to three seconds in total sighting. To all remaining details we agree. The fireball was orange, regular flame color on top, but was a striking green on its underside and at the edges toward the front of the object. It looked almost as though the fireball "housed" a hard object; as though something the size of a VW Bug had been enveloped in flame and catapulted across the road. If one dipped a wadded piece of paper in gas, lit it, and swung it on a string in a slow circle, you'd approach the effect. It moved so slowly there was very little if any trail. The track it took would have made a perfect circle if one used the center line of the road as circle's center; the fireball entering our view seeming from directly behind the tree line, and descending directly behind the opposing tree line. It sputtered as well. The effect was similar to grinding a piece of pitted metal on a wheel. Sudden bursts of flame and sparks jettisoned from it. From its appearance and close proximity, we would have expected the fireball to make a noise like an approaching express train, yet the was none. Part of the oddness of the event was the fact there was no sound whatever. We could hear ourselves gasping at the sight. My friend immediately pulled the car to the ditch, and we tensed, waiting for the sound of a crash or explosion. There was complete silence; not even a sound of birds or crickets. It was as eerie a silence as you could imagine. We debated on whether to leave the car parked on the highway and hike into the brush toward the fireball's point of decent, but decided not to. Equally odd, we discussed it for a few minutes, shook our heads, and promptly forgot about the event until five or six years ago. I have since scoured the web and books for pictures of entering meteors that looked similar to what we saw. Nothing even approaches it.


We spoke by telephone with this witness and found him to be quite credible. We suspect the event is accurately portrayed, although the date may be approximate. It was at about this time that a major and celebrated sighting of something occurred, and was photographed with a movie camera, over Montana, the witness reports, as well. PD

Posted 2001-08-05

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