BANKSONS LAKE UFO
By Virginia Tilly
Virginia Tilly is a Michigan MUFON field investigator.
At approximately 10:30 p.m. on Friday, August 1, 1986, John Long and Richard Jandura were fishing from a small boat in the middle of Banksons [sic – Bankson] Lake in Van Buren County, Michigan. Suddenly Long noticed what appeared to be the landing light of a large aircraft approaching from the south/southeast at an incredibly low altitude. As this was in the direction of the Kalamazoo County Airport, Long felt that it might be preparing to attempt a landing there. He was concerned, however, that there were no runways there to accommodate so large a craft. Could this unknown object with what seemed to be a landing light be looking for a sparsely populated area to attempt an emergency landing?
The object was perhaps 200-300 feet high and about as long as a football field. In describing the object as we talked in Kalamazoo, Long looked at Wings Stadium and said that it was at least that large. A steady white light was emitted from what appeared to be the front, while 3 red lights blinked steadily on its outer edges.
When it was almost directly in front of them and over the water, the white light suddenly made a brilliant flash and went out. Long's blood pressure shot up when this occurred. (In the past he had been hospitalized for high blood pressure so was familiar with what was happening to him.) He became very upset emotionally during this part of the experience, and after the flash both men were scared and shaky for some time. During our discussion he also pointed out that neither man had been consuming alcohol, using drugs, nor taking any medication.
The sky was clear that night and other conventional aircraft were spotted during the sighting. The surrounding countryside was very still with no noticeable wind so the water was very calm. At this point they realized that there had never been any sound coming from this huge craft. As they watched it passing over the nearby trees and water, the red lights continued to blink and the men noticed what Long described as a "magic carpet effect." This was what appeared to be waves or a wavy effect between the blinking lights.
No scents or temperature changes were ever observed by the witnesses. However, Long speculated that the wavy effect might be heat rays. Likewise, no color nor markings were ever seen although they did feel that it was definitely a solid object. Long was sure that it was not a weather balloon, a helicopter, nor any airplane or jet.
Within 15 minutes it had passed out of view in the northwest. Long reflected that it was going in the general direction of South Haven on Lake Michigan where the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant is located. He also speculated on the possibility that it was "taking pictures or energizing" during the flash. Long feels very strongly that this craft does not belong to the United States — and if it did, it should not have been flying where it was. He also had a feeling that it was looking for something. During the sighting he also recalled having said, "If they are from another intelligence, they are more intelligent and have a cure for cancer."
During this sighting at least 3 other boats were on the lake. But if they were looking in the wrong direction, Long mused, they probably would not have seen anything unusual. There were, however, several people on the shore who saw it as the witnesses heard a lot of animated discussions going on. Long was also concerned about a young boy about 10 years old who kept shouting, "What is it?" So far I have had no luck in locating him.
After the sighting Long went to the airport but found the radar tower had closed at 11 p.m. (The supervisor of the Kalamazoo County Airport radar tower told me that there was nothing unusual sighted that night. He also said that anything that big and so bright as to cause eye damage would certainly have been observed at the tower. He added that after 14 years with the FAA and before that the U.S. Air Force, there was only one true unknown that he was aware of.)
Long also filed a report with the State Police in Paw Paw. In addition he contacted the FAA in Grand Rapids and Bob Gribble of the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle, Washington. Furthermore, he called both the Kalamazoo Gazette and the Detroit News. To this date neither newspaper has published anything about this sighting, although Mike Magner, reporter for the Kalamazoo Gazette, plans to write an article after interviewing Walt Andrus [International Director of MUFON at that time].
On the night of this event, Long and Jandura stayed together and made notes and drawings of what they had seen. The morning after, Long had bloodshot and watery eyes. He felt at first that he had a cold in his eyes. After two days they cleared up on their own.
Since the sighting, Long has felt some stress and is still excited about the unique encounter he had. All of his family and friends have had a positive reaction to him; in fact, he has received no negative reactions and some people even say that they are envious of his experience.
Richard Jandura's eyes were much more seriously affected. Before he sought medical assistance for them, he and Long met with Field Investigator Dee Allan on August 6, so that she could see his eyes. The whites of his eyes were completely pink and burning. They were very mattered and puffy. The left eye was in the worst condition with swelling and discoloration beneath that eye. His doctor has diagnosed the condition as pink eye and is treating it with antibiotics. Because of this and personal problems, Jandura has been off work for some time. As a result of these emotional and family problems, we have not been able to interview him.
Reference for the above text is: MUFON UFO Journal, #222, October 1986, pp. 7 & 11.
UFOCAT PRN – 118758
UFOCAT URN – NONE MUFON UFO Journal, #222, October 1986, pp. 7 & 11
UFOCAT URN – 118758 Uninvited Guests by Richard Hall, p. 319, © 1988
UFOCAT URN – 112217 Computer Catalog of UFO Reports, # 0762 by Paul Ferrughelli, © 1992
UFOCAT URN – 168226 *U* UFO Computer Database by Larry Hatch, # 14411, © 2002
UFOCAT URN – 193044 UNICAT computer database by Willy Smith (820), #659, no © date
North America – United States, Michigan, Van Buren
Bankson Lake Latitude 42-07-24 N, Longitude 085-47-26 W (D-M-S) [lake]
Kalamazoo Latitude 42-17-30 N, Longitude 085-35-14 W [populated place]
Kalamazoo County Airport = Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport
Latitude 42-14-24 N, Longitude 085-33-18 W [airport]
South Haven Latitude 42-24-11 N, Longitude 086-16-25 W [populated place]
Lake Michigan Latitude 44-00-28 N, Longitude 086-45-25 W [lake – Mason County]
Paw Paw Latitude 42-13-04 N, Longitude 085-53-28 W [populated place]
Palisades Nuclear Power Plant: Latitude 42-19-22 N, Longitude 086-18-52 W
Wings Stadium Latitude 42-15-13 N, Longitude 085-32-07 W [arena in Kalamazoo, Michigan]
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