If you’ve ever seen something unexpected, unusual and unexplainable in the skies over southeast Missouri, you aren’t alone.
Author and UFO investigator David Marler, who now lives in Albuquerque, N.M., says this part of the state has long been known as a hotbed for sightings of unidentified objects in the sky.
He should know. Marler was only 5 years old and living in southern Illinois, just east of St. Louis, when he first learned about UFOs. It was a sighting in Piedmont.
“On Feb. 21, 1973, a Piedmont basketball coach, along with five members of his team, were coming home after losing a game earlier that evening in another town,” Marler recalls. “As their vehicle was winding across the hilly roads, their attention was drawn to an unusual ‘rotation of lights’ in the sky. Despite being intrigued, they continued on their journey down Route 60 while periodically seeing the lights both above and through the densely wooded terrain.”
When they reached a portion of the highway outside of Piedmont where one side opened into a large open field, Marler said they saw what appeared to be the same series of lights. This time, however, they noticed the lights appeared to be attached to some type of object hovering in one spot above the field.
“This piqued their curiosity enough to pull over to the shoulder to get a better look,” Marler continued. “As they watched, they could make out rotating red, green, amber and white lights. The witnesses believed them to be less than 200 yards away and approximately 50 feet off the ground. After about 10 minutes, the lights rose at an angle and disappeared over a ridge. It was the incident that started the wave of UFO sightings in Piedmont that would follow in 1973.”
So, how does this incident relate to Marler’s interest in UFOs?
“Well, the basketball coach’s name was Reggie Bone and he was one of my father’s best friends when they were young,” he explained. “My father was born and raised in the neighboring town of Mill Spring before moving to the greater St. Louis metropolitan area.”
While Marler said his father was always open to the idea of UFOs, when one of his childhood friends sighted one, his interest intensified and he began making trips down to the area.
“He knew Reggie,” Marler said. “He grew up with him. He knew he wouldn’t lie or embellish a story. He took him at his word. He’d seen something. The question was what?”
Marler recently published his first book focusing on a specific type of unidentified objects in the sky. It’s title says it all: “Triangular UFOs: An Estimate of the Situation.”
Triangular UFOs have certain common features. They are usually reported as large, silent, black triangular objects hovering or slowly cruising at low altitudes over cities and highways. Sightings usually take place at night and the objects are often described as having pulsing colored lights that appear at each corner of the triangle.
Marler’s interest in triangular UFOs began after reading a 1990 article titled “The Great Belgium UFO Flap” by veteran UFO researcher and journalist Bob Pratt. In it, the author described a series of UFO sightings that swept the nation of Belgium beginning in October of 1989.
“The only thing that dwarfed the number of witnesses — now numbering in the thousands — was the seemingly immense size of the objects in question,” Marler said. “Pratt quoted witnesses as stating the objects were ‘as big as a football field’ or ‘as big as or bigger than an aircraft carrier.’ Up to that time, I was unaware of the complexity of UFO reports. Like most people, I assumed most UFOs reported were shaped like flying saucers.”
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While some contend triangular UFOs are nothing more than classified experimental aircraft under the control of the U.S. government, others say this is not the case.
“While the government does develop advanced aircraft in secret, they do not conduct test flights of well-illuminated prototypes near major metropolitan areas; yet this is where many of the large triangular UFOs have been observed,” explained retired U.S. Army Col. John B. Alexander, Ph.D.
“The proponents of such theories also fail to understand how military aircraft are either developed or employed,” he continued. “Other than aerostats, the most likely application of a large aircraft is for logistical purposes, that is to move huge quantities of materials to a combat area. Yet these large triangular craft have not been seen in either Iraq or Afghanistan where they could be quite useful to our military.
“Third, triangular UFOs have been reportedly observed as early as 1882 — over two decades before the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight at Kitty Hawk.”
While there are more than a few charlatans in the field of UFO research, Marler has maintained a sterling reputation. While he previously served decades as a field investigator, state section director and Illinois state director for the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), Marler is now an independent UFO researcher with a day job. He is a Registered Polysomnographic Technician (RPSGT) who works for an international medical company. He’s also no pushover.
“I would best characterize myself as one who is open-minded, yet skeptical,” Marler admitted. “When people would ask me in the course of interviews or lectures if I ‘believe’ in UFOs, I would usually respond by saying, ‘I believe the subject needs to be examined more thoroughly.’ A more accurate statement would be, ‘I accept the possible existence of UFOs as a tangible reality based on the available information.’”
Marler shared the sighting of a triangular UFO that hits really close to home for Parkland residents. It took place May 24, 1973, in Farmington.
The witness was Dr. Harley Rutledge, Southeast Missouri State University physics department head. He and members of his team had set up observational equipment that night near the runway of Farmington Municipal Airport. The team had just finished observing an unusual amber light in the sky around 9:20 p.m. After losing sight of the light, Rutledge and three other team members gathered in the middle of the runway to discuss what they had just seen.
Tilting his head upwards, Rutledge saw a configuration of four lights that had just flown over the heads of the team. They were, he said, “attached or molded to the back of a huge wing.” Rutledge also noted the size of the formation “was amazing” in addition to the way in which it flew — “low, swift and silent.”
In his book, “Project Identification – The First Scientific Field Study of UFO Phenomenon,” Rutledge estimated the subject was between 368 feet to half-a-mile across based on its relative altitude. He added, “The object may have been a flying wing, but one of extraordinary size and one that flew without a sound.”
Marler has amassed a lot of similar stories that have occurred over the course of many years and throughout the world, yet he admits having drawn no concrete conclusions.
Using the field of archaeology as an analogy, he said, “The age of humankind on this planet continues to be dated earlier into antiquity as we discover new fossil evidence. The field of UFOlogy is no different. As new information comes to the surface, we will need to examine it with a critical eye and determine its validity.
“In addition, such information may force us to re-examine previously held ideas and beliefs concerning the subject matter. Until hard UFO evidence is presented for the general public’s consumption — such as an actual UFO or parts thereof — this mystery will continue. However, the thirst for understanding is there and will continue to fuel the investigations and research until the day when a better understanding is made of this most intriguing phenomenon. Perhaps one day we’ll have definitive answers.”
Marler’s book, “Triangular UFOs – An Estimate of the Situation,” is available through Amazon.com and other retail booksellers.