This post was inspired by the news that an internet archivist, John Greenewald, had recently released for download the UFO files he’d been collecting for decades via relentless Freedom of Information Act Requests. After searching the database, we found several North Dakota UFO cases which we’ll be highlighting here, beginning with Project Blue Book file #10872.
Donnybrook, North Dakota
August 19, 1966
It was evening and the sky was murky, with thunderstorms in the area and clouds on the horizon — just a few patches of blue showing through. The witness (his name is redacted) was a resident of Minot, an employee of the United States Border Patrol. He would later be described by US Air Force Major Chester Shaw as “a down to earth and practical individual not inclined to be excitable or the type to relate wild stories.” He was on duty in Ward County, about a mile north of Donnybrook on US Highway 52.
He noticed a brilliant flash in the clouds and turned to see the object for the first time. Here’s a photo of the scene from the witness’ vantage point.
According to the witness, “When first sighted, [the] object was on its edge floating down the side of the hill, wobbling from side to side about 10 feet from the ground.”
The witness described the object as a round disc with a dome top, silvery in color and approximately 30 feet wide and 15 feet tall. When the object tilted on its side, a dark spot measuring about five feet across could be seen in the center, described by the witness as having a “smoked glass” appearance, and it was surrounded by three unevenly spaced smaller dark spots.
Again, in the witness’ own words: “When it reached the valley floor it climbed to about 100 feet, still tilted on its edge and moved across the valley to a small reservoir.” Here’s a photo of the scene, marked by the witness to show the path of the UFO.
The witness continued: “Over the reservoir it flattened out and I noticed the dome on top. It hovered over the water for about 1 minute and then moved to a small field.“
“At this point it settled toward the ground and appeared to be landing. It did not touch the ground but hovered about 10 feet above and about 250 feet from where I stood beside my car. It slowly tilted back on edge and disappeared rapidly into the clouds.“
The witness reported he was in contact with his office by radio when the incident began, and that as the object approached, static interrupted his communications, a fact which was corroborated by Project Blue Book’s investigation.
I believe the men in this photo are border patrol workers who did their own investigation. They are measuring the distance between three spots on the ground where the UFO reportedly landed, which is a bit confusing since the witness reported the object did not land. Below is a photo of one of the reported “leg depressions.”
In a handwritten note on the Project Blue Book report, the witness reported — “first instinct was to pull revolver and empty it into it… but fear unknown.” He also noted that he “would have given anything to have had a camera.”
Above: looking down from the spot where the object was first spotted. The total duration of the sighting was five minutes.
In the end, Project Blue Book turned up several places where “leg depressions” were reported, and also rocks reportedly overturned by the UFO, but labeled the case as “unidentified.”
What do you know or remember about the Donnybrook sighting of 1966? Please leave a comment below.
Read a lot more about Project Blue Book file #10872 at The Black Vault
Troy Larson is a father, author, and photographer originally from Minot, North Dakota, now residing in Fargo.