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Toppenish WA UFO Report (Part 2)

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Things to beware of in 1997:

Contamination of water and food supplies by an unknown micro organism
which will make the 'flesh eating' bacteria look benevolent.




          Originally Submitted April 8, 1974
                  to Dr. J. Allen Hynek
                  David W. Akers, P.E.
                     P.O. Box 11517
               Seattle, WA 98110-5517 USA

          Revised December 5, 1995 for Distribution on
                      Electronic Networks.

                  Copyright 1995, David W. Akers
                       All Rights Reserved.

Reproduction or commercial use of this document or any of its
photographs or illustrations without permission of the author is
expressly prohibited.  This document may however be redistributed
over electronic networks and to researchers as long as it is
forwarded in its whole, without modifications and without charge.


     The following report is intended to update this
investigator's first paper, Report on the Investigation of
Nocturnal Light Phenomena at Toppenish, Washington: August, 1972.
It contains a compilation and breakdown of reports of UFO
sightings from the area during the calendar year of 1973.

     Investigation of the unusual activity in the vicinity of the
Yakima Indian Reservation began in April of 1972 and continues to
the present time. The goal of the study is to discover the source
or sources of the sightings and accumulate a data base suitable
for scientific appraisal of the problem.

     The section which follows summarizes sighting reports
received for 1973. The reports compiled here appear to describe
activity which, based on this investigator's experience with UFO
phenomena in the Toppenish area and elsewhere, is not readily
explained by known causes. They have been coarsely "filtered~
from other reports which either do not contain sufficient
information to classify them as unknown or those which contain
strong suggestions of a known cause. The practice of omitting
names of reporters, followed in the previous report, has been
continued in this paper. The report concludes with analysis and
comment on the 1973 reports and a discussion of the on-going


1.  Date: February 19, 1973 -- 1900 PST
    Activity Location: Hembre Mountain, near Toppenish Ridge
    Observer Location: Campbell Rd., north of Yost Rd.

    Bright white lights, on or above Hembre Mountain, near
    Toppenish Ridge which later turned bright red and flashed.
    Position of the lights did not change, but moved in a pattern
    which a circling airplane might make. (Note: It is unlikely that an
    airplane was the stimulus for this report, because of the darkness and
    rough terrain involved in the sighting area.)

2.  Date: February 20, 1973 -- 1820 PST
    Activity Location: Lower third of slope of Toppenish Ridge, south
                      of the intersection of Yost and Shaker Church Roads.
    Observer Location: Branch Rd., between Brownstone and Harrah.

    Observer reported three or four flashing, bright red
    lights in the above location. He assumed they were emitted by
    fire vehicles operating in the area. A thorough check however
    indicated that no vehicles from any of the fire control agencies
    in the valley were in service at the time. A further check
    confirmed that no law enforcement emergency existed in the
    vicinity of the sighting.

    The lights moved back and forth in straight lines, as if
    traversing back and forth on a winding road. There is only one
    meandering dirt road in the area. At approximately 1845, an
    lndian Police mobile unit was dispatched to the sighting location
    and no activity of any kind was found. The lights were also no
    longer visible to the original observer.

    The lights observed the previous night (see Report 1.) were
    approximately 14 miles to the east of the above observation.

3.  Date: March 13, 1973 -- 0711 PST
    Activity Location: Above Satus Fire lookout
    Observer Location: One mile east of White Swan on US 220

    The observer was proceeding east in a car along US 220
    from the town of White Swan. As she neared tho Tribal Community
    Center and White Swan Ranger Station, she noticed an object
    hovering over tho Satus fire lookout. (From the observer's
    position, Satus lookout was eight miles away and just a few
    degrees west of south.) There were no clouds in tho sky,
    visibility was excellent and the lookout was clearly visible in
    its position at Satus Peak on Toppenish Ridge.

    The observer stopped the car and continued to watch the
    object. Her first impression was that the object was a
    reflection from the microwave relay antenna dish near the
    lookout building, but soon determined that it was not. The object
    hovered quite low over the lookout for an estimated five to ten
    minutes. It then began to move slowly northward in jerks, much as
    an automobile will move when the clutch is released too quickly.
    The series of jerking movements lasted approximately 15 to 20
    seconds and the object then accelerated into a very high speed
    departure to due north, passing just west Or the observer and
    moving out of sight just west of the city of Yakima.

    The object was described as being almost identical to an old
    dinner bell with the handle on the top (See Slide #1.). The
    object was oriented as shown in tho sketch, with the "handle" at
    the top. The observer estimated the object to be larger than a
    small aircraft (such as a Piper Cub), but smaller than an
    airliner. The object was a metallic grey color, except for the
    bottom, or what could be called the mouth of the bell. The latter
    portion of the object gave-off a strange, florescent orange glow.
    The colors did not change as the object departed.

    The observer reported the sighting to Bill Vogel on March 16 --
    three days after the sighting.  Mr. Vogel took a detailed report
    at this time. This investigator verified details given in Mr.
    Vogel's report with the observer several weeks later. This
    investigator and Mr. Vogel know the observer personally and know
    her to be reliable. She is familiar with many of the
    manifestations of UFO activity on tho Yakima Reservation and is
    also aware of mundane conditions prevailing in the area. In
    short, she qualifies as a "trained observer" for the purposes of
    this study project.

    Satus Fire Lookout, as well as the whole of the north side of
    Toppenish Ridge, has been a focal point of reports of UFO
    activity for some time (See the 1972 report). This is, however,
    the most detailed daylight observation reported in the vicinity
    of the lookout.

4.  Date: April 2, 1973 -- 2043 PST
    Activity Location: Toppenish, Wash.
    Observer Location: Same

    While lying in his room in bed, the observer, a ten year
    old boy, reported that he saw a yellow ball of light, about the
    size of a soccer ball or basketball, descend noiselessly from a
    NNW direction in front of his bedroom window and then shoot
    straight up into the air and disappear from view. The object was
    very bright and hurt his eyes. He was also frightened, but noted
    time of the incident (2043) from the electric clock next to his
    bed. The observation was estimated to last about ten seconds.
    The boy reported the incident to his father tho following day and
    also drew the picture reproduced in Slide #2.- The window through
    which the object was observed is on the northwest
    corner of the house, facing north.

    This investigator followed-up on the report about a week after
    the incident and determined that the boy appeared to be objective
    about details of tho report and was not inclined to embellish his

5.  Date: April 3, 1973 -- 2345 PST
    Activity Location: In sky, south of Toppenish, Washington
    Observer Locations: Toppenish (two independent observers)

    A tan colored, luminous object at an estimated altitude
    of 4000 to 6000 ft. was observed moving from west to east,
    parallel to and slightly north of Toppenish Ridge. First
    impression of one observer was that the object was an aircraft.
    However, the tan color, absence of flashing running lights and
    lack of any sound appeared to rule-out the possibility of a
    conventional aircraft. Speed of the object was estimated to be
    under 200 mph.

6.  Date: April 4, 1973 -- 0115 PST
    Activity Location: East of US 97, on LaRue Rd.
    Observer Location: Same

    The observer was in bed when he heard a high-pitched,
    whining sound. He looked out of the window and observed an object
    about 80 ft. long and 30 to 40 ft. wide passing directly over the
    house. The object was florescent or a slightly glowing,
    whitish-blue color, with darker blue-colored spots scattered over
    the surface. Altitude was estimated at 150 ft. The
    object moved from east to west and was observed until it
    disappeared over White Swan.

    Flight path of the object reported in (5.) above was only
    slightly north of the above location. This investigator was
    unsuccessful in contacting the witness directly for further
    details of the sighting.

7.  Date: Week prior to April 4, 1973 -- evening hours
    Activity Location: Vicinity of White Swan, Wash.
    Observer Location: Unknown

    During a series of night time brush fires in the area,
    small white balls of light, about the size of tennis balls, or
    larger had been observed coming out of the dark, circling the
    fires several times and then moving back into the darkness.

8.  Date: Jun 22, 1973 -- late afternoon
    Activity Location: Over Logy Creek
    Observer Location: Satus Fire Lookout

    Slide nos. 3 and 4 are full frame and magnified copies
    of one slide taken by an observer located at Satus Fire Lookout.
    Exact time of the exposure was not logged and the time was given
    only as "late afternoon". The witness reported that it was cloudy
    with complete coverage at the time of the sighting. A
    thunderstorm had been in the area earlier.

    Quoting from the observer: "I was looking out the window in
    the door, when I saw this "thing" come from behind a cloud.
    The bright red color was what caught my eye. My first thought was
    "what on earth is that?" At almost the same instant, I
    ran, got my camera, opened the door and quick-like took a
    picture. As I took the camera away from my eye, it, the object
    was heading behind another cloud. It was headed from SW to NE. It
    was kind of this (elliptical) shape as I remember, with this
    extra bright red glow or light or whatever. I can't exactly say,
    except it was brilliant red and large. Maybe I should have
    looked better, rather than thinking "I must get a picture". It
    was moving quite rapidly."

    Additional questioning revealed that the object was positioned
    SSE of the lookout, over Logy Creek at the time of the
    photograph. The distance from the camera would then have been
    approximately 9 1/2 miles. The lookout structure has two doors,
    co-located at the SE corner of the south side of the building.
    The inside door opens inward and is covered with glass panes. The
    outside door is a standard screen door which opens outward. The
    line in the upper right-hand quadrant of the picture is a guy
    wire used to hold the lookout on its foundations during high
    winds. The photograph was taken through the screen door.

    The camera used by the observer was a Kodak 35. This is a
    simple range-finder camera with an adjustable f3.5, 50mm lens.
    At the time of the exposure, the lens was set at f3.5 and the
    shutter speed was 1/25 second.  High-speed Ektachrome, daylight
    film was used and development was for the standard ASA rating of

    The photographer was an experienced fire lookout who has had a
    number of UFO sightings. The need for "hard" photographic data
    had been impressed upon her and other lookouts in the Reservation
    network during the field study made by this investigator in the
    summer of 1972. She therefore had the camera ready for the
    occasion of the above observation. It is probable that, If such
    preparations had not been made, the photograph would never have
    been taken. It is to her credit that she had the presence of mind
    to take the picture in the very short period of time in which the
    object was visible.

9.  Date: July 20, 1973 -- evening hours
    Activity Location: between Sopelia and Satus Fire Lookouts
    Observer Locations: Sopelia and Satus Fire Lookouts

    Both fire lookouts observed a very fast moving light,
    travelling from southeast to northwest. The sighting was of very
    short duration. Lightning had been observed to the north of Satus
    Lookout earlier in the evening.

10. Date: July 22-23 -- 2245 to 0100 PST
    Activity Location: Horse Heaven Hills
    Observer Location: Satus Fire Lookout (two observers)

    Three orange lights below the ridges of Horse Heaven
    Hills were observed at intervals during a two hour period. The
    lights would disappear at about the same time and re-appear 15 or
    20 minutes later at nearly the same time. While visible, they
    would flicker and move slightly. With the naked eye, the
    lights were separated by about 5ψ of azimuth.  No roads are
    in the area of the sighting.

    Distance from the observers was 18 miles. Given a 5ψ separation
    angle, the objects would have to have been about a mile apart. It
    would be difficult to attribute the nearly synchronous "on" and
    "off" characteristics of the lights to automobiles or
    motorcycles operating at such distances apart.

11. Date: July 24, 1973 -- 2245 to 2400 PST
    Activity Location: Below and between Satus Fire Lookout and Mill
                       Creek Rd.
    Observer Location: Satus Fire Lookout

    A bright red object was seen moving in an area where
    there are no roads, below the lookout and between the lookout and
    Mill Creek Canyon. Photographs were attempted, but nothing was
    found on the film after development. It is possible that the
    object was too far away to photograph.

12. Date: July 27, 1973 -- 0300 PST
    Activity Location: Granger, Washington
    Observer Location: 4 miles east of Granger

    Two observers were outside feeding cows at the Dolson
    Dairy (locally called the "Cow Palace"), located at the
    intersection Or East Zillah and North Liberty Roads, 4 miles east
    of Zillah, Washington. At approximately 0300, both observers
    spotted an object in the sky to the west, in front of the hills
    which lie behind the town of Granger. The object generally
    followed the line of hills, moving SE slowly and silently towards
    the town of Mabton.

    After watching the object for 15 to 20 minutes, one observer went
    inside to report the sighting. He dialed the telephone company
    operator and was referred to the Toppenish Police dispatcher.
    After describing the circumstances of the sighting to the police
    dispatcher, he again joined the other observer and continued to
    watch the object. Time was 0320 (verified by the police

    The Toppenish dispatcher called the Yakima County Sheriff's
    dispatcher. The sheriff's dispatcher said that the Yakima
    Firing Center had two helicopters somewhere on maneuvers at that
    time and that these craft might account for the sighting. The
    Toppenish dispatcher received a second report at 0338 (See 13.
    below). The dispatcher noted information concerning the second
    report and called the first observer back to ask if the object he
    was seeing was still visible. It was. The observer again went
    outside just in time to see the object disappear over the highest
    point, Snipes Mountain, SE of Granger. Co-workers at the dairy
    were not called until the object had disappeared from view.
    Estimated total observation time was 1/2 hour.

    Physical characteristics of the object were such that they could
    not have been those of a conventional aircraft: Movement was very
    slow and steady -- approximately 3-4 mph. No noise was heard and
    any kind of powered aircraft would have clearly audible at that
    distance and time of morning.

    The object appeared as a pair of lights moving in a definite,
    periodic pattern. The color of the light emitted by the object
    was reddish-orange. Because of the repetitive nature of the light
    pattern and the fixed relationship of the lights to one another,
    the observers felt that the lights must have been attached to a
    body or fuselage of some sort and spinning around this body. The
    structure would have been about the size of an F-27 airliner,
    according to the estimate of one observer.  Figure 1. shows
    schematically the pattern traced by the lights. The object was at
    an elevation of about 0ψ relative to the
    observers, since the observation point is on a hill overlooking
    Granger. The lights of Granger were also clearly visible under
    the object.

13. Date: July 27, 1973 -- 0338 PST
    Activity Location: Zillah Cemetery, Zillah, Washington
    Observer Location: Same

    A deputy marshal was driving 1/4 mile east of the Zillah
    cemetery on the Zillah-Toppenish Road when he observed two side-
    by-side orange balls of light straight ahead of his
    patrol car, to the west. The lights were above and behind
    trees located in the cemetery, over the Yakima River which runs
    behind the cemetery. His attention was diverted momentarily from
    the lights while he shined the spotlight of his patrol car into
    the yard of a house on his right. He again looked back to the
    cemetery and saw that the lights were moving in his general

    The marshal drove to the entrance of the Zillah cemetery,
    opened the gate and drove into the cemetery grounds. The
    entrance road heads in a SW direction and the observer
    watched the lights through the trees as he drove approximately
    600 ft. to a point where the drive is closest to the river. He
    stopped the car and called the Toppenish police dispatcher on the
    radio, telling her that he was observing a UFO. She informed him
    that the Yakima Firing Center had helicopters on maneuvers
    somewhere in the area.

    The deputy next turned-off the car engine and walked
    approximately 100 ft. to a point where the cemetery ends in a
    bluff overlooking the Yakima River. The lights continued
    very slowly, appearing to move directly towards him.

    The lights, estimated at about 2 ft. in diameter, moved
    smoothly and maintained a very rigid spacing, as if attached to
    each other, throughout the sighting. They remained oriented
    side-by-side and had sharp, well defined outlines.

    At a distance of about 1/4 mile from the deputy, the lights
    turned, still maintaining their rigid spacing, and headed south.
    After travelling approximately another 1/4 mile, the lights
    executed another turn and headed southeast. At this time,
    the deputy returned to his patrol car and called the Toppenish
    dispatcher again, saying in no uncertain terms that what he was
    observing was not a helicopter. The car engine had been off and
    he had heard absolutely no noise.

    During the entire observation, the lights seemed to generally
   follow the path of the river bed. Altitude was just over the
   trees along the river and nearly the same as the observer. The
   lights were observed until they disappeared from view
   behind hills southeast of the cemetery, towards the town of

   As in (12.) above, the deputy had the impression that some mass
   was in between the two lights, because of their rigid spacing. It
   was to dark to see anything other the lights, however.

14. Date: August 25, 1973 -- 1930 and 1945 PST
    Activity Location: Mt. Adams Lake, west of Signal Peak
    Observer Location: Same

    Several members of a camping party observed a rapidly
    moving, fairly large white ball of light coming from the
    northwest and passing overhead at 1930. No sound was heard and
    altitude was estimated at 30,000 to 40,000 ft. At 1945, two
    smaller lights were seen coming over the top of Mt. Adams and
    moving to the northeast. The lights were staggered in position,
    with the front one an orange color and the rear one white.
    Altitude was estimated to be the same as for the light seen at
    1930. No noise was heard. Observers were familiar with the
    appearance of meteors and insisted that the lights were not

     Before proceeding further, some general comments should be
made regarding apparent relationships between several of the
above reports.  Report Nos. 1. and 2. are typical of one type of
nocturnal light report which has been common since the study
began in 1972. In this class, steady or flashing lights; usually
red, orange or white in color, are observed to be present on or
near the ground in areas where there is normally no vehicular
traffic. Observations frequently last a 1/2 hour or more, but
when police or fire units are dispatched to the area (assuming
the area can be reached), nothing unusual is found. This type of
incident has occurred too frequently to be coincidental. Over the
last two years, nocturnal lights of the type described above have
been seen repeatedly in areas along the north slope of Toppenish
Ridge, between the towns of Toppenish and White Swan. This
portion of Toppenish Ridge is easily observed from many points in
the valley and one might conclude that this visual accessibility
accounts for some of the concentration of sighting reports in
this area. Report No. 3., the "dinner bell", also came from this

     Report Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7, dated between April 1 and 4,
appear to reflect a peak of activity which was followed by a
complete absence of reports until the fire lookout's photograph
of June 22 (Report No. 8.). Activity appeared to hold at a
steady, though low level until the end of July. Except for the
report of August 25 (No. 14), no other observations were reported
in 1973. Report No. 14 appears to be a maverick, because it
occurred after the July peak and at a very remote point on the
Reservation. It is not, however, unlike other nocturnal light
reports of the type where large, high altitude lights; in tan,
orange or white colors, with unusual flight patterns that have
been seen in the area.

     Finally, Report Nos. 12 and 13 appear to have been separate,
but coincident observations. This conclusion is based on the time
sequence supported by the Toppenish Police dispatcher's log and
witness testimony. Despite the similarities between both reports,
it appears unlikely that the same object was involved in both


     A total of fourteen credible reports were received during
the calendar year 1973. Eight of these reports were followed-up
for additional information by this investigator. The observations
ranged from distant nocturnal lights and night time close
encounters of the type I (i.e. no interaction between the
observer and object) to a couple of daylight sightings, one
supported by a photograph. Tho following table summarizes the
reports by type:

Type of             No. of         Report
Report               Type          Numbers
Nocturnal lights      9            1,2,5,7,9,10,11,12,14
Close Encounters I    3            4,6,13
Daylight Objects      2            3,8

     All of the reports, except No. 7, were encoded for computer
analysis using the recently developed APDF format. Under the APDF
encoding rules, Report Nos. 3,8 and 13 were given Strangeness
Indexes of 5, the highest value assignable. Of these four, Report
Nos. 3, 8 and 13 were given average or above average credibility
Indexes. The number of sighting reports from the Yakima
Reservation area is still too small to pursue an in-depth
statistical analysis, but an initial attempt has been made to
identify some of the more gross behavior patterns of the UFO
activity in the area.

     A bar graph representation of the number of reports versus
the week of incidence in the year has been plotted for the
fourteen reports. The result is shown in Figure 1. Notice the
tendency for the reports to "clump" into groups. (For reference,
it should be noted that activity, as indicated by sighting
reports, following the 1972 field study, continued on a
diminished level through the end of 1972.)

     A majority of the reports from the area have resulted from
observations made after dark. The sample is still too small to
quantify the trends, but data collected over the last two years
suggests that most observations tend to occur between the hours
of 1800 and 0100 local time.

     Concise weather data (Table I.) was available for the
sighting area after June 1 of 1973. There was no particular
correlation discernable between weather conditions and the
occurrence of UFO activity. Past experience in the area also
tends to discount such a connection. What previously appeared to
be a peaking of activity during the summer months is possibly the
result of the fact that more observers are present during the
summer months to report the phenomena. This contention is
supported by the fact that winter sightings have been more common
since active report collection efforts have been made.

     The reports were analyzed in order to find some pattern in
line of direction. A linear grid 40X70 miles, centered over the
Yakima Indian Reservation, was constructed and observation
locations were plotted. Arrows representing direction of travel
(where available from reports, were next drawn on the plot. The
resulting graph is shown in Figure 2. No consistent pattern
appeared which related to direction of travel. However, there was
a marked grouping of sighting locations over the grid. Sightings
for 1973 tend to line up into two north-south corridors on the
grid. The grouping to the right of the plot is centered near the
towns of Toppenish, Zillah and Granger. The cluster near the
center of the plot is on a rough line with Satus fire lookout and
the town of White Swan. Figure 2 does not appear to reveal any
relationship between the chronology of the reports and their


     As mentioned earlier, data concerning long term trends for
the UFO activity in the Yakima Reservation area has not been
accumulated in sufficient quantity or depth to permit a thorough
analysis. However, several consistent patterns of behavior, valid
at least for the short term, have begun to emerge These patterns

     1. A tendency for activity to occur in groups or "waves".

     2. Type of activity that is not limited to nocturnal lights,
        but includes other type of UFO phenomena.

     3. Activity that is characterized by an evasiveness which
        exceeds normal expectations of chance.

     Two lines of endeavor are being pursued in the continuing
study. The first involves increased reliance on competent
residents of the study area as sources of sighting reports.
Trained local observers, familiar with the area appear to be a
viable source of data and efforts will continue to be directed
towards developing this resource.

     The second part of the approach to acquisition of data
continues to be firsthand field work of the type done in 1972. In
order to accomplish results with the limited time and resources
available, emphasis has been placed on rapid communication of
activity reports from observers in the study area and
identification of periods of peak activity.

     One frustrating aspect of working with the study to date has
been the lack of first-hand reports involving close encounters
with UFO. There have been consistent rumors of such cases, but
actual witnesses have not yet materialized. The reason is most
likely a fear of ridicule on the part of such observers and steps
have been taken to alleviate these fears. Close encounter
observations; especially those involving physical interaction of
the object with the observer.  Physical residue or photographs
are frequently the ones which yield the most information.
Accordingly, they are given the greatest attention in
investigation of UFO phenomena.

     This investigator is very much indebted to the many people
who have given their cooperation in this project. These people
          Mr. Bill Vogel and Branch of Forestry personnel
          The Yakima Nation Tribal Council
          The Bureau of Indian Affairs
          Toppenish Area Law Enforcement Agencies

Many thanks to them for their support and valuable assistance.



Date    Dry  Wet   Dew  Rel. Wind from/ Visibility Cumulus   Cloud
        Bulb Bulb Point hum.   at MPH      Miles    Index    Cover
6/22/73 87ψ   65   53ψ   31    N/4         14       Fair WX  Overcast
7/20/73 77    61   51    41    NE/3        14       Towering Broken
7/22/73 65    53   44    46    SW/11       18       Fair WX  Scattered
7/24/73 75    58   46    36    NE/3        16       None     Broken
7/27/73 91    68   57    33    SW/7        16       Fair WX  Scattered
8/25/73 68    54   43    53    E/5         17       Fair WX  Scattered

1. All weather readings were taken at an elevation of 3019 ft. (Mill Creek
   Guard Station) at 1300 PST.

2. "Overcast" means greater than 9/10 of sky covered.
   "Broken" means 6/10 to 9/10 of sky covered.
   "Scattered" means 1/10 to 5/10 of sky covered.

3. A Cumulus Index of "None" means only that no cumulus cloud formations
   were present.
   "Towering" means great vertical development with dark horizontal base
   and rounded, cauliflower form top. "Fair WX" means little vertical



                                   C U F O N
                             Computer UFO Network
                           Seattle Washington,  USA

               (206) 776-0382 8 Data Bits, No Parity, 1 Stop Bit
                         v.32bis, v.42.bis, MNP4, MNP5

             SYSOP - Jim Klotz  Information Director - Dale Goudie

                     UFO Reporting and Information Service
                          Voice Line - (206) 721-5035
                   P.O.Box 832, Mercer Island, WA 98040, USA

            - Please credit CUFON as the source of this material -


Next: Toppenish WA UFO Report (Part 3)