In 1972, the National Enquirer, a weekly magazine published at Lantana, Florida, sponsored an ongoing contest to award various sums of money for the best UFO cases, the ultimate prize being $50,000 for a report that would prove that UFOs are from outer space. A $5,000 prize was awarded to Ronald Johnson, a 16-year-old farm boy who lives near Delphos, Kansas, for his report of a landed object on the family farm on November 2, 1971. A whitish ring of soil which glowed and would not absorb water was the physical evidence that something quite strange had happened in the small clearing on the Johnson farm.
On that date, at 7 P.M., Mr. Johnson and Ronald were in the farm yard. Mrs. Johnson called them to dinner and Mr. Johnson went in while Ronald stayed in the yard. The Johnsons ate a leisurely meal which took about 30 minutes, then Mrs. Johnson called to Ronald again. The Johnsons do not remember whether or not Ronald answered. However, he shortly came to call them out to see a bright light disappearing from view in the southeast sky.
Then Ronald related what had happened during the time that his parents were eating. Unfortunately, Ronald is not completely clear concerning the time involved and cannot account for all of the 30 minutes between the time his mother first called him and when he called his parents out at 7:30. However, Ronald claimed that he heard a rumbling sound, took a couple of steps to the north and around the corner of the barn about 90 to 95 feet from him was a strange craft hovering above the ground. It stayed there for about five minutes, then it ascended over a low shed and headed south.
At this point he called his parents who came out and saw the object leaving. They walked over to the spot where the object was first seen and saw a glowing, phosphorescent, ring-shaped area on the ground and also noted that portions of trees adjacent to the area were also glowing. Mrs. Johnson took a photo of the ground immediately. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson claimed that upon touching the soil in the ring their fingers became numb. This condition persisted with Mrs. Johnson, she said, for about a week. She was employed at a local rest home and said that she could not feel the pulses of her patients during that period of time.
After receiving the preliminary report on this case, APRO asked Mr. Clancy Tull, a lawyer and field investigator from Kansas City, Missouri, to visit the Johnsons and attempt to get answers which had not been covered in the original report.
According to Tull, Ronald saw an object but could not describe the surface. The bottom of the craft was about one foot above ground level, but Ronald could not recall seeing the actual ground level. The base seemed stationary but the upper portion was moving or vibrating from side to side or perhaps wavering up and down. The illumination of the object apparently began some minutes after Ronald first saw it. The sequence of events was: he heard the "rumbling" sound, then he took a step or two to the north, then he observed the object approximately 1 foot above the ground level although he could not see the ground, and the base of the thing was stationary, then the illumination began. He described the illumination as appearing like an arc, such as the electric light between an electric welding rod and metal being welded. This arc flash began at the base of the object and almost instantaneously involved the entire object. The arc flash allegedly caused an apparent flash burn in both of Ronald's eyes. He described blue, red, and orange. There was a partial loss of vision but not "total black" or absense [sic] of light. Mr. Tull assumed that something akin to a flash burn caused total constriction of the pupils and perhaps even temporary damage to the rods and cones in the eyes.
The evidence gathered by Mr. Tull indicated that the sheep were not disturbed until after the observation began and that Ronald was perhaps 90 feet, 235 degrees S.S.E. from the assumed center of the ring when he first observed the object after taking one or two steps to the north. Ronald's eyes watered, burned, and were bloodshot for at least two days. The object in question was estimated to be about 9 feet in diameter, the ring was a foot wide, and the outer diameter of the entire ring was about 8 feet.
The preliminary investigation by Ted Phillips of Sedalia, Missouri, had been carried out 32 days after Ronald Johnson allegedly had the experience and there had been considerable precipitation. The inside of the ring was very muddy as was the terrain outside of it. However, the ring itself was dry down to 1 foot, whereas the soil outside the ring was wet down to 8 inches. A truly interesting set of circumstances and evidence.
When Phillips first saw the ring, it was distinguished by the fact that it was still covered with snow, while in all the surrounding area the snow had melted. His report states: "Although the surrounding area was extremely moist, we found that if the snow was removed from any part of the ring, the soil directly beneath the snow was dry and light brown in color—this was in contrast with the black moist soil in the ring center and around the ring.”
Ted Phillips returned to the site on August 8, 1972, in the company of APRO Research Director Dr. James Harder. They found that the ring seemed to be "widening" and that differences between ring soil and the surrounding soil were becoming less pronounced compared with samples taken by Phillips during his earlier visit.
Writing of the August 8, 1972, visit, Harder says, "In trying to clarify some of the earlier witness testimony, I asked many questions of Mrs. Johnson and Ronny. The following points I thought to be pertinent. During the initial period of the sighting, when Ronny felt himself to be paralyzed, the sheep seemed not to move. I questioned Ronny about his paralysis, asking if he could move his eyeballs (this being inferred if the larger muscles are paralyzed). He seemed not too sure, but said that he could not. Mrs. Johnson still suffers a numbness in her leg just above the knee in front of the right leg, where she rubbed her fingers after first reacting to the numbness, induced when she put her right hand into the glowing soil. She was wearing slacks which may have caught the dirt; she did not change clothes for some time. This may have given a longer or more intense exposure to that spot. Mr. Johnson experienced the numbness in his fingers, too, from handling the dirt.
"I talked to some other non-family witnesses and got some additional provocative information, but nothing that adds to the probative evidence. Besides the family (two sons and the parents) there were at least three others who saw the ring at night within four days—Judy Stout (friend of the older son, I think) and the reporter Thaddia Smith and her husband (both the night of the 3rd, second night from the event). All the witnesses agreed it was very bright. 'About as bright as the floor of a lighted room if you came in from the dark. You could almost read a newspaper by it.’ The older son saw it four or five days later (he was out of town, apparently, at the time of the sighting) and described it to me as ‘about like a fluorescent light bulb.’ He said that a week or two later you could still see it at night, that it had a greenish tint like a tinted fluorescent bulb. Judy Stout told me that it was almost like walking into a room with the light on. She saw it within an hour and said that three days later it was about the same. On another occasion, however, she said that it was about half as bright on the third night. The first night she said, 'You could have read by it.' It could be photographed by its own light with a camera using color daylight film. The Polaroid camera aperture was 'set in the middle.' The camera was a Polaroid model 104, with 108 film. This model does not take time exposures. All of this indicates that the light source was pretty intense—far greater than anything that could be produced by luminescent organisms—especially at very cool evening temperatures. So those that want to invoke luminescent fungus, etc., just don't know what they are talking about. The light output must have been on the order of 50 foot lamberts (50 foot candles at 100 percent reflectance) in order to have exposed the film the way it did.
"The whitish filaments collected on Dec. 4th were fungal in origin, and there is no evidence that this whitish substance was the same as the material that covered the ground earlier and gave rise to the light. However, the fungal mycelium can also give a hydrophobic water-rejecting reaction, so there has been some confusion. However, even the parts of the soil that were not obviously connected with the fungal growth were hydrophobic. Thus it would appear that the hydrophobicity and the fungus were not necessarily connected. A series of soil cultures that I made in Berkeley showed a great deal of scatter in the amounts of bacteria and fungus, but generally there were, by my colleagues' estimates, about ten times the usual ratio of fungus to bacteria in the samples taken in August 1972. One inference is that the UFO produced some differential sterilization that favored fungus over bacteria, or that there was some substrate laid down that favored fungus.
"Stanton T. Friedman has claimed that the glow could have resulted from elemental (white) phosphorus that was produced by micro-wave heating of manure and organic matter deep in the soil and which then condensed at the soil surface. This is nonsense, particularly because one cannot sublime or vaporize phosphorus in the presence of air without its burning. It burns spontaneously in air at temperatures over 37° F. Besides, there was no evidence of steam or other production of heat at the time immediately after the landing when Mrs. Johnson went out and touched the surface. She said it was cool. However, she said that several days later there was something that looked like steam in the photographs she took, but that one could not see this with the eye. This may be significant, but I'm not sure what to make of it. Maybe there was a strong UV emanation? She said it looked like a volcano (on film); I did not see the film, as she did not tell me this until later by telephone.
"There had been quite a bit of rain the previous day (Nov. 1), 1.82 inches at Concordia, nearby. The dryness of the ring was apparent on Nov. 3, the next day, and continued in spite of rains between then and Dec. 4. We can conclude that not only was there an initial drying-out but an induced hydrophobicity. These two data have been confused. Furthermore, there seemed to be no way for the water to have been driven out by heat at the time—and what happened to it? Did it get incorporated into the whitish substance which subsequently decomposed in the process of giving off light? There is not enough chemical energy available to have accounted for the total quantity of light emitted over several weeks from any normally occurring reactions. This suggests that there is a form of matter involved that does not have the chemical nature of normal matter and takes part in different reactions which are much more energetic.
Reference for the above text is: Encounters with UFO Occupants by Coral and Jim Lorenzen, pp. 22-26, © 1976.
UFOCAT PRN - 64623
UFOCAT URN – 090448 APRO Bulletin, November 1971, p. 1
UFOCAT URN – 085394 The Invisible College by Jacques Vallee, p. 35, © 1975
North America – United States, Kansas, Ottawa
Delphos Latitude 39-16-26 N, Longitude 097-46-19 W (D-M-S)
Concordia Latitude 39-34-15 N, Longitude 097-39-45 W
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