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Jan-05-2011 00:50printcomments

Unexplained UFO Mystery: Salem's Flying Triangle

The craft quietly defied all rational explanations...

Triangular UFO photographed in Belgium
Jim Adams says this triangular UFO photographed in Belgium is very similar to what he and his wife witnessed in Salem, Oregon.

(SALEM, Ore.) - Our UFO sighting was in 1988, here in Salem, Oregon. In pursuit of an explanation for it, I formed the theory that having an open mind is the first prerequisite.

Kenneth Arnold's written report to
Army Air Forces (AAF) intelligence,
July 12, 1947, with drawing of objects

Thousands of people have witnessed Unidentified Flying Objects and other so-called paranormal phenomenon, but the tendency is to rationalize these observations because it disrupts a simple concept of the world.

It's frequently proposed that we have senses that can't be explained by conventional wisdom, but these abilities appear to fade with continued exposure to cynical viewpoints.

Indeed, my wife and I didn't want to believe what we had witnessed. Being practical Oregonians, our minds reeled at the possibilities that were unleashed by the occurrence.

The public at large became aware of UFOs with a 1947 sighting by pilot Kenneth Arnold near Mt. Rainier. But even during WWII pilots reported aerial anomalies which came to be called 'foo fighters'.

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Cold War politics are likely responsible for a percentage of UFO sightings during that era. The CIA desired to have extremely fast, high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, leading to the development of the Lockheed A-12 and later the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

These were capable of speeds over three times the speed of sound, and were the first attempts at stealth technology.

Not only could the radar-reflecting profile of these aircraft be mistaken for a flying saucer, but they were capable of a radical maneuver known as a 'dipsy-doodle' which consisted of a climb to over 30,000 feet, followed by a nose-over, a steep dive, and then a climb upward at Mach 2.

When viewed head-on, the maneuver would appear as the rapid descent, hovering, and ascent at incredible speed that has been attributed to many UFOs.

However, if one were to dismiss the Roswell incident and all the false alarms caused by experimental aircraft, you would still have to explain thousands of sightings. The most frequently seen UFO is the triangular-shaped craft.

Roswell Daily Record, July 8, 1947,
announcing the "capture" of a "flying saucer."

Reports of these UFOs increased during the 1980-1990 time period, and have been seen all over the world, often near highways. Our sighting was typical in that regard, as you shall see.

Our encounter was on a crisp fall night like any other, with errands to be completed. The sky was clear and full of stars. My wife and I were returning from the grocery store, driving northward along Fischer Road in Salem.

It is a residential thoroughfare that parallels Interstate 5. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something hovering over the freeway.

The unnatural stillness and lack of visible support for the object had caught my eye. At first I thought it was a traffic helicopter, which by itself would have been unusual in this area.

As I looked closer at the object, the uniqueness of it compelled me to pull the car over to the side of the road and stop. I got out and listened hard for the sound of rotor noise, but there was none. The fact that it was only about 200 feet away made this highly unusual.

The craft had lights about its perimeter, but the exact outline of the body was strangely indistinct, like it had a low profile when viewed from the side.

Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier's vertical flight is very loud

In an attempt to explain the phenomenon, I initially dismissed it as one of those Harrier jets that can vent the exhaust downward for landing. However, the quietness of the craft and the fact it was over the freeway made this impossible.

As human beings symbolic logic is our forte. It is one of the things that distinguishes us from lower primates and other animals.

But there was nothing in my experience with which I could represent the UFO in my mind, so I came up with the best that I could, a rather poor representation of what I was actually seeing.

My wife was also observing the strange craft. Exchanging glances with her, I got back in the car and we drove on to Silverton Road, turning left and passing under the freeway and several blocks westward to our apartment.

As we turned into the parking lot, we both viewed a sight that is still fixed in my mind like a photograph. There was the hovering craft directly over the parking lot. It had followed us over from the freeway. I had to drive toward it as I pulled into our parking spot.

We watched in amazement for a few moments and then decided to get out.

There were no bright lights shining downward, and nobody else was outside at the apartment complex at this hour to view it besides my wife and I.

There was just it and the two of us, as if we had been selected out of a nighttime crowd that was too busy to look upward.

One of my impressions at the time was how unusually easy it was for something so remarkable to be otherwise unobserved in the dark sky.

Obviously whoever was piloting the UFO had seen us watching them, and they were now looking at us out of curiosity or to see if we represented some kind of threat.

At this point the craft was about 70 feet overhead.

I could see clearly it was perhaps 30 feet across, with a triangular shape that was outlined with small round lights.

There was no significant sound coming from it, only a faint humming that was barely noticeable. The way it hovered absolutely motionless made it all the more fantastic.

The craft quietly defied all rational attempts to explain it. It was real, a dark gray triangle floating in a sea of stars.

We stared at it for what seemed like thirty seconds, with tension slowly building.

We hastened inside our apartment and walked directly across to the patio door to look out. The craft was slowly moving southward, building speed with deliberate precision.

Its ponderous mass floated like it was a feather, disappearing into the night sky. Since we had said little during the event, I asked what my wife had seen as verification, and she mirrored my observations.

Looking at the clock, we were relieved to see no time was missing.

I feel privileged to have viewed such an amazing phenomenon. We shall never forget it.

Was it a secret military prototype, the implementation of Nikola Tesla’s later theories of gravity repulsion, spawned from his confiscated notes?

Perhaps. But at this late date nothing resembling it has surfaced in the news.

Or was it something from beyond our solar system, cloaked in darkness and the ignorance of our more primitive world?

J. D. Adams was born in Salem, Oregon, a descendant of Oregon Trail pioneer William Lysander Adams. As a wilderness explorer, photographer, and writer, he sustains a kinship with the spirit of the Oregon country. JD inhabits Oregon's Silicon Forest as an electronics professional with degrees in Electronics Engineering Technology and Microelectronics.

He maintains a Web presence with a signature presentation in genres including travel, history, and technology.

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Tirzah October 1, 2013 8:50 pm (Pacific time)

WE SAW THIS TONIGHT! my fiancé & I were driving north on 12th street going under the overpass & we had to stop & pull into the train station for a better look. I heard NO sound & it was hovering directly above us about 200 feet, I pulled out my phone to take a picture & its very indistinct but its there, after watching it for a little over a minute it took off pretty quickly in the opposite direction.

 EDITOR: Did you happen to get any shots w/your camera/phone?  We would be happy to see what you've got!  

Daniel January 6, 2011 12:16 pm (Pacific time)

I wonder in this digital camera age how long will it be before we see a clear ufo image that is truly definitive . If a 30' wide craft was only 70' overhead the images would be astounding . I remain sceptic not about ufo's but about sightings . We live in an age where there is 10 surveillance camera on a city block and everyone has a phone camera , when will we finally see real clear images from many views ?

Anonymous January 6, 2011 11:31 am (Pacific time)

I was driving south on Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford CT around 10 PM on 1/7/2004 and I saw two very bright lights in the sky, hovering and moving slowly about 300 feet above the ground. As an avid sky watcher, I am familiar with all of the planets and constellations and I know I did not mistake these objects for Venus or anything. The moon was full, high in the sky and the sky was crystal clear. I thought at first that they might be helicopters, but they were moving in a way that I have never seen a helicopter move...hovering slowly in a sort of circular motion One of the objects started moving away and I lost sight of it, so I focused on the other. I had to turn my car around and follow it and it turned from one bright object into a triangular shaped form with three white lights on each corner of the triangle and a few blinking red lights on it. I pulled my car over to the side of the road, as did a bunch of other people to try to get a better look. I rolled my window down to see if I could hear anything, but it was completely silent. If it was a plane or helicopter, it was close enough where I would have definitely heard something. At this point it was much lower, probably 75-100 feet off the ground. It hovered and moved slowly and I continued to watch it for another couple minutes until it disappeared behind the tree line and I lost sight of it. Because of the lighting on the ground, I had a bit of a difficult time trying to decipher the dimensions, but I would have to guess that it was about 200 to 300 feet in length and about 20 feet in height. It looked like it was black, but being dark, Im not completely sure. Most of the time it was hovering over a very small national guard facility. They have one building and a parking lot with about 50-75 vehicles in it.

Editor: Thanks for sharing an interesting story.

JDA January 6, 2011 11:12 am (Pacific time)

Here's a link provided by the inspirational speaker Geoff Faulkner. It happened last over Chile:
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Editor: Thanks!  The article is drawing a crowd; supplementing with more video is a great idea.

Eric January 5, 2011 10:21 pm (Pacific time)

One must first approach the subject of ET visitation with a Suspension of Judgment. Once you do that you quickly realize there is a preponderance of evidence supporting the theory, including multiple eyewitness testimony, radar reports, military reports, video, photos, etc.

JDA January 5, 2011 6:39 pm (Pacific time)

I would like to share a snippet from an email I just received: "We both looked straight up, could see the edge of our roof and at that very moment, a HUGE black triangular UFO came into view heading WNW, I would estimated it at around 15,000 ft, it was so smooth, so graceful and so HUGE. I would estimated it at football fields in size, I know of nothing man made of that size that could stay up, never mind go from overhead to the horizon in 6 seconds. It made No sound, No lights, No sonic boom." Truly, we are not alone.

Phil January 5, 2011 6:23 pm (Pacific time)

Really thought provoking and thorough...thank you for sharing this witnessed account.

Anonymous January 5, 2011 6:22 pm (Pacific time)

Really thought provoking...thank you for sharing this account and photo.

Simon January 5, 2011 1:27 pm (Pacific time)

I live on the North Wales coast in the UK. About 5 years ago (before my digital camera) I happened to look out of the bedroom window caught sight of what seemed to be one corner of an equilateral triangle sporting a circular light underneath. Because of cloud that's all I could make out. It was just like the photo' in question, also very slow or still at an estimated elevation of 70 degress.

Jim January 5, 2011 10:08 am (Pacific time)

Even though I am a UFO sceptic, I try to keep an open mind and have read a lot on the phenomenon. This was a very interesting and well-written artice. Thanks.

Henry. January 5, 2011 9:50 am (Pacific time)

Nicely written.

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