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Four notable UFO sightings in Wisconsin to learn about

Amazing fantastic background - extraterrestrial aliens spaceship fly above small town, ufo with blue spotlights in dark stormy sky. Elements of this image furnished by NASA
Igor Zhuravlov
Stock Adobe
Extraterrestrial aliens spaceship fly above small town, UFO with blue spotlights in dark stormy sky. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

Whether you want to believe, or not, Wisconsin has a history of UFO sightings and odd occurrences. In fact, we rank 21st in the country for most reported UFO sightings.

While we do get a lot of reports, it could be because so many investigators are collecting them, or perhaps because Wisconsinites are more comfortable reporting sightings according to paranormal researcher and author Chad Lewis.

Lewis was featured in an article about UFOs and paranormal hot spots in Wisconsin for this month’s Milwaukee Magazine. He shared four major sightings in Wisconsin you probably didn't know about:

  • Sightings across the Midwest, late 1900s

According to Lewis, people of downtown Milwaukee reported seeing large, quick moving, unknown objects in 1896 and 1897. People could then follow the airships city to city by reading newspapers that covered it from Milwaukee to Chicago.

Paranormal researcher Chad Lewis
Photo by Aliza Baran
Milwaukee Magazine
Paranormal researcher Chad Lewis

"In 1896 and 1897 the U.S. had the largest UFO flap in America’s history," says Lewis. "Thousands of people in hundreds of Midwestern cities saw these giant airships, as they were called, and the people of Milwaukee were no different. "

"It wasn't as though somebody was flying a kite, or a misidentification of a star or a planet, or an embellishment or a hoax," Lewis says. "There was something there, but what it was, nobody could agree upon it."

  • 1947 Mount Rainier Sighting

While the sighting of nine saucer-shaped objects took place in Washington state, Lewis says this event influenced modern concepts of UFOs for people in Wisconsin and around the country.

"The Kenneth Arnold sighting really set the UFO field on fire. One, we got the term 'flying saucer' from it, but also here was this credible, trained observer, a pilot talking about what he saw in technical terms, scientific terms of speed, distance, and estimates," Lewis says. "And I think it gave the general public a wide belief that maybe there's something to this."

  • Lake Superior Sightings, 1960s & 70s

Multiple sightings of UFOs near Lake Superior prompted the U.S Government to send jets from a nearby airbase to chase after objects spotted over the lake.

"It makes sense that if these things truly are unidentified flying objects or unidentified aerial phenomena, you would think that the [Department of] Defense would like to know what they are — whether they're hoaxes or competing countries with their technology, or something not of this world," says Lewis. However, he thinks that investigating a sighting doesn't necessarily give it credibility. "In fact, most people would say you should be looking into it to decide what's real and what's not," says Lewis.

  • 1961 Eagle River Sighting

This interaction between an aircraft full of aliens and Joe Simonton, part-time plumber and chicken farmer, may be one of the weirdest encounters you'll ever hear about.
According to Lewis, Simonton was having a late breakfast when he saw a craft descend into his yard and decided to investigate.

"And when he got there, an opening appeared on the craft and one of the inhabitants — the pilot, the alien, the man, whatever it was — came to the front and Simonton could see a couple of identical looking creatures or people inside," Lewis explains.

Simonton described the aliens as being very small — dark haired, dark-eyed, dark skin. One had a jug, and Simonton realized through non-verbal communication that they needed water. He filled up their water jug, and they in turn traded "saucer cakes" that they had cooked. "Apparently, the saucer cakes were the worst tasting pancake he'd ever had," says Lewis.

The craft closed up and flew off, but once Simonton reported the incident, thousands of people descended on his farm to have a look at the property and the pancakes, and it even caught the attention of Project Blue Book for further investigation.

UFOs are not all that uncommon for Wisconsin. In fact, Lewis says the sheer weirdness of Wisconsin reports range from sightings of vampires, to Bigfoot and sea serpents.

"We have everything here in Wisconsin," Lewis says. "It really is very strange that we have such an assortment of oddities in our state."

Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Kobe Brown was WUWM's fifth Eric Von fellow.
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