Pierce County, Wis.
The road from Ellsworth begins its run into Elmwood on
the flat and then dips and turns like a roller coaster until finally Elmwood
is in sight, a little movie-set town with a church spire, set in a
deep-walled valley cut by the Eau Galle River. At night you can go up on the
hills, look down and the lights of Elmwood, Ellsworth and Plum-City — the
so-called Pierce County Triangle — shine like cities seen from an airplane
window. Eerie twinklings.
In the early morning of April 7, as he was finishing his
rounds up near Tuttle Hill in Elmwood, retired police chief George Wheeler
saw a new light the likes of which made him scream and dive Into a ditch for
"I thought for sure a plane was crashing,"
said Wheeler "I thought a plane was going to wipe out the town. It was
something, the size of a football field, about 1,500 feet off the ground. I
hit the ditch and the thing passed over me and I saw a blue flame shoot out
of it. It cut across town at a right angle and moved at a fantastic speed,
I'd say 1,500 to 1,800 miles per hour if I had to guess."
Wheeler said he got back into his car and drove to the
top of Tuttle Hill. From there he studied the object at length and described
it as cigar shaped, 100 yards long, casting a white light on the ground. It
was silent, he said. It sped off towards Ellsworth and Wheeler. He hesitantly
put in a call to the Ellsworth Village Hall. They told him he wasn't crazy,
people had been making similar reports for about two hours.
At 11:25 p.m. April 6 Jane and Donna Koehler reported
three UFOs over their mobile home. Mrs. Koehler said the UFO changed colors,
blinking in red, white and blue. Then came Wheeler's report. At 1:55 a.m.,
Nancy Theis saw a UFO with lights flashing from orange to blue and called the
Police Deputy Carl Ryden, himself a retired chief and
friend of Wheeler’s saw his first night-time UFO in response to the Theis
"I saw this thing hanging up above the trees,"
said Ryden. "It started coming for me, like a big blue and yellow train
light, I thought. It veered away to the north. I couldn't say what it was.
It's hard to explain it even if you see it."
"Until it blows up a building or little green men
start giving me trouble I don't do anything," said Ellsworth Police Chief
Ryden grunted. "But Wheeler," he said.
"If Wheeler saw something, he saw something,"
the chief said.
"I feel like I saw a ghost," said Wheeler a
couple of days after UFO night. "I'm surprised more people didn't see
it, but it was late on a Sunday night and people were either sleeping or in a
On Monday, April 7, the lonely road between Ellsworth and
Elmwood shone with the lights of UFO hunters. One anonymous caller reported a
UFO shaped like a giant felt-tipped pen.
The Pierce County sightings probably are the most famous
sightings since that warm fall night in 1973 when Charlie Hickson and Calvin
Parker said they were visited by claw men from outer space who landed their
craft in Pascagoula, Miss. Hickson wondered then why "they would come
all that way from outer space just to visit some country boy."
Both Ellsworth newspapers reported the sightings in their
weekly editions and concluded that anyone who got a photo of the UFO could
make a fortune. UFO investigator Dr. Jack Bostrack of the University of
Wisconsin-River Falls was called to one sighting but it was too late. Professor
Sherm Schultz of Macalester College said descriptions of the objects have
been poor and of no value to investigators.
The mystery plays hard on Ryden. He's interested now. On Memorial Day1
three years ago [From News Clip date]
he and his buddy Howard Young were fishing Crow Lake2 in Canada when they
"We were trolling along when Howard yelled, 'Carl turn
around!' “Ryden said, "I turned around and we both watched the damndest
thing we ever saw. An
object was coming down low over the water. It was green, spooky. It
headed for an island, broke
through the Surface and was gone. Kicked up six-foot waves. It wasn't
a falling star. It wasn't a pontoon off a plane, we checked; .it wasn't a
missile, we checked. OK, what was it?
"We go back to shore and tell some people what we
saw and the resort owner tells us, 'Shuddup, shuddup, you want to scare the
customers away'—like he knows what; it was we were describing."
I drove out to Young's farm to ask him about Ryden's story.
Young was standing on his front porch looking back out to the two stands of
woods where on the recent UFO night he watched "something the shape of a
silo top" hover over his field for an hour.
"You weren't scared?"
"Naw," said Young, "nothing to be scared
about. Can't hurt ya."
"Ryden told me to ask you about the thing you saw
land in the water up in Canada. Did you see something?"
Young pulled out his handkerchief and wiped his face,
still looking back to the woods.
"I'll say we did," he said. "Left six-foot waves and big
bubbles where it went under."
"Ryden said a friend of his said it might have been
Young laughed. "No moose I know went that
The skies have deleted now In the Pierce County triangle.
Kids are sleeping through the night once more and. the dogs, which took to whining during
UFO night, got up a pretty good bark again.
This reference: News Clip, Minneapolis Tribune dated
Thursday, April 17, 1975, p. 2C. With Thanks to The J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO
Studies (CUFOS): http://www.cufos.org/
make that May of 1972, of which Memorial Day fell on the 29th.
are MANY Crow Lakes in Canada. They are in the Provinces of Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta, but by far the
greatest numbers are in the Province
of Ontario. Since Wisconsin faces Ontario it makes sense that this is
the correct Province, especially
where the witness is Police Deputy Carl Ryden of Pierce County,
Wisconsin. There are a total of 11 Crow lakes in Ontario, but the only one
close to Pierce County’s coordinates is in the Territory of Kenora, near the
town of Nestor Falls. This was the top entry to a Google search for “Crow
Lake, Canada + Fishing: http://www.crawfordsresort.com/
UFOCAT PRN – NONE
North America – United States, Wisconsin,
Pierce County Latitude
44-44-00 N, Longitude 92-26-01 W (D-M-S) [Civil]
North America – Canada, Ontario, Kenora
Lake Latitude 49-10-23 N,
Longitude 93-55-45 W (D-M-S) [Crow
49-06-42 N, Longitude 93-55-48 W