Classic Mysteries

Ithaca’s Wild UFO Flap of 1967

By Brent Raynes

“It was shaped like a disk about the size of a boxcar, with a domed top and with square red and green windows,” Mrs. Rita Malley stated. “And it made a humming sound, something like the vibration of a television antenna in the wind.”

It was about 7 p.m., December 12, 1967. Mrs. Malley was driving on Route 34 outside of Ithaca, New York, with her 5-year-old son in the backseat, when the incident occurred. The object was just over the power lines along the side of the road. Suddenly she realized that she no longer had control of her automobile. As she frantically tried to regain control of her car, she noticed her son in the back sat motionless, as though in “some kind of a trance.” The car moved over to the shoulder of the road and over an embankment, stopping in an alfalfa field. There was a “white twirling beam of light” that shined down from the object, the humming sound, and then she began to hear “voices.”

“They didn’t sound like male or female voices, but were weird, the words broken and jerky, like the way a translator sounds when he is repeating a speech at the United Nations. But it was like a weird chorus of several voices.”

“The voices named someone I knew and said that at that moment my friend was involved in a terrible accident miles away. They said my son would not remember any of this. Then the car began to move again, although still not under my control. We came up out of that field and over the ditch as if it were nothing, and then back onto the road.” She then regained control of her car and sped home. The next day she learned that her friend had indeed, just the night before, been involved in a serious auto accident!

A retired man, in his mid-70s, identified simply as “Mr. B” (to protect his identity, as he didn’t desire any publicity), was headed fishing. It was broad daylight and he was walking through what were familiar woods to him, when he unexpectedly was confronted by a strange little man-like figure about three foot tall, dressed in a black “diving suit” looking outfit, with a helmet on his head. On the front of the helmet was a glass visor and inside the man could make out a face “something like a monkey’s,” but with no hair. Standing in front of the man the little figure at first gestured. He could hear something like a voice coming from the helmet, but could not make out anything intelligible. Then the little man-like figure began to make swimming and drinking motions, and so the retiree then guessed that the little fella wanted to find water, so he pointed the way toward the stream. With that the small figure headed off at a fast pace in that direction.

“That spoiled my fishing for the day because I didn’t want to go anywhere near that stream,” he was quoted saying. “I was plumb scared.”

On October 24, 1967, somewhere between 9 and 10 p.m., in Newfield, a suburb of Ithaca, two young boys (considered quite credible) allegedly had an amazing close encounter with entities. Donald Chiszar, 12, and Pat Crosier, 10, were startled when a silent, silver colored disc-shaped object, estimated at having a 30 foot diameter and being 6-8 foot tall, hovered low in the sky nearby. It tilted toward them, displaying like an antenna on top. But that wasn’t all!

“There was a big window in the middle of the thing, which was divided into two parts by a metal bar of some kind,” young Chiszar said. “On each side of the bar behind the windows I could see a funny looking creature. There were two of them altogether. They stood there motionless, like robots. To the left of the funny creature on the side of the window I could also see what looked like a control panel. It was a box about 18 inches square with knobs and dials and also red and green lights.”

“The creatures were smaller than I am (he was 5 ft. 7 in. tall then) and their skin was a chocolate brown in color but it was rocky or lumpy all over.” His friend Crosier got scared and ran inside his house. Chiszar however, stood his ground, and stated that after the UFO hovered for about two minutes the lights along the rim of the disc-shaped object (which had been flashing red, then white, then red again) “got very, very bright” and then was just suddenly gone.

The very next night, around the same time, Chiszar claimed that two of the same type of UFOs returned. Flying very low, they were moving from the east and heading west, heading right for them. They had been playing with walkie-talkies at the time. “I turned on the walkie-talkie and pointed the antenna at it and it started wobbling, like it lost control or something,” Chiszar claimed. “It was hovering over the house at the time. I didn’t know what it was going to do, crash or something. So I got scared and turned off the walkie-talkie.”

“There was a lot of static interference and everything while the walkie-talkie was on. It wasn’t normal. We never had that happen before, not that kind of static, and I’ve used walkie-talkies lots of times.”

John Keel received a phone call from an investigator of a local group that had been involved in investigating the Ithica wave who had a very strange and disturbing near-death experience in the fall of 1967. He had to go to a meeting on this particular evening, and for some reason he got out of his car and went back into the house to perform various “aimless actions such as picking up a book from a table and putting it on the shelf,” Keel wrote. “Finally, I said to myself, ‘Okay, it’s time,’” he told Keel. He remembered next leaving the house and heading for his parked car, but after that he didn’t remember anything until waking up in a hospital bed. He had driven about 4 miles to a railroad crossing just in time to meet an oncoming train! He miraculously escaped with only minor injuries while his car was totally demolished.

Just an accident, or something else?


1. Operation Trojan Horse by John A. Keel. Putnam, 1970. ISBN: 0-9626534-6-2.

2. Science & Mechanics, July and August 1968, Ithaca’s Terrifying Flying Saucer Epidemic! Parts 1 & 2, by Lloyd Mallan.