Several police officers, 1966

Summary: E of Akron Deputy Sheriff Dale F. Spaur and associate Wilbur Neff saw a 30-45 ft metallic object approach over the treetops from the woods, bathing the witnesses and the whole area in light while making a transformer-like hum, then headed E and they gave chase in the patrol car at speeds up to 105 mph for 85 miles. Officer Wayne Huston about 35 miles to the ESE saw the object he described as ice cream cone-shaped, point downwards, approach from the W and pass overhead at about 800-900 ft height with Spaur and Neff in pursuit to the SE and he joined them near Unity, Ohio, with the object about 1/2 to 3/4 mile ahead of them, reaching the Penna. state line at 5:35. They lost sight of object at Brady Run Park regained it in Bridgeport, Penna.

At about this time officers Lonnie Johnson and Ray Esterly in Salem, Ohio, saw 3 jet fighters attempting to intercept a bright object at about 10,000-20,000 ft about 25° elevation to the E for about 2 mins. In Conway, Penna., at 6 a.m. they met with officer Frank Panzarella who had been watching the object for 10 mins to the E or SE which he described as 25­35 ft half-football-shaped object at about 1,000 ft height (or 1,500-2,000 ft according to the others), when it stopped in the NE towards Harmony, Pennsylvania, then rose. They watched as the object climbed to about 3,500 ft to the left of and level with the quarter moon in the ESE (which was at about azimuth 116° elevation 14° and 11 % illuminated at 6:00 a.m.) and Venus (at 122° azimuth 22° elevation) and it passed near a 707 airliner taking off from Pittsburgh Airport and disappeared shooting up vertically at about 6:10 

Full Report

Ravenna, Ohio, RECORD-COURIER Article, April 18, 1966

One of the most dramatic encounters by police officers with an apparently structured, low-level UFO occurred in the early morning of April 17, 1966. Officers of the Portage County, Ohio, Sheriff’s Department first saw the object rise up from near ground level, bathing them in light, near Ravenna, Ohio, about 5:00 A.M. Ordered by the sergeant to pursue the object, they chased it for eighty-five miles across the border into Pennsylvania, as it seemed to play a cat-and-mouse game with them. Along the route, police officers from other jurisdictions saw the object and joined in the chase.

Deputy Sheriff Dale Spaur and Mounted Deputy Wilbur ‘Barney’ Neff had left their scout car to investigate an apparently abandoned automobile on Route 224. Spaur described the sighting in these words:

“I always look behind me so no one can come up behind me. And when I looked in this wooded area behind us, I saw this thing. At this time it was coming up . . . to about tree top level. I’d say about one hundred feet. it started moving toward us…. As it came over the trees, I looked at Barney and he was still watching the car . . and he didn’t say nothing and the thing kept getting brighter and the area started to get light. .. . I told him to look over his shoulder, and he did.

“He just stood there with his mouth open for a minute, as bright as it was, and he looked down. And I started looking down and I looked at my hands and my clothes weren’t burning or anything, when it stopped right over on top of us. The only thing, the only sound in the whole area was a hum . . . like a transformer being loaded or an overloaded transformer when it changes. . . .

“I was petrified, and, uh, so I moved my right foot, and everything seemed to work all right. And evidently he made the same decision I did, to get something between me and it, or us and it, or whatever you would say. So we both went for the car, we got in the car and we sat there….”

As they watched, the UFO moved toward the east, and then stopped again. Spaur picked up the microphone and reported to the dispatcher. At this time, the object was about 250 feet away, brilliantly lighting up the area (“It was very bright; it’d make your eyes water,” Spaur said.) Sergeant Schoenfelt, off duty at the station, told them to follow it and keep it under observation while they tried to get a photo unit to the scene.

Spear and Neff turned south on Route 183, then back east on Route 224, which placed the object to their right, and out the left window. “At this time,” said Spaur. “it came straight south, just one motion, buddy, just a smooth glide . . .”and began moving east with them pacing it, just to their right at an estimated altitude of 300-500 feet, illuminating the ground beneath it. Once more the UFO darted to the north, now left of the car, and they sped up to over 100 mph to keep pace with it.

As the sky became brighter with predawn light, Spaur and Neff saw the UFO in silhouette, with a vertical projection at its rear. The object began to take on a metallic appearance as the chase continued. Spaur kept up a running conversation with other police cars that were trying to catch up with them. Once when they made a wrong turn at an intersection, the object stopped, then turned and came back to their position.

Police Officer Wayne Huston of East Palestine, Ohio, situated near the Pennsylvania border, had been monitoring the radio broadcasts and was parked at an intersection he knew the Portage County officers would he passing soon. Shortly afterward he saw the UFO pass by with the sheriff’s cruiser in hot pursuit. He swung out and joined the chase. At Conway, Pennsylvania, Spaur spotted another parked police car and stopped to enlist his aid, since their Cruiser was almost out of gas. The Pennsylvania officer called his dispatcher.

According to Spaur, as the four officers stood and watched the UFO, which had stopped and was hovering, there was traffic on the radio about jets being scrambled to chase the UFO, and “. . . we could see these planes coming in…. When they started talking about fighter planes, it was just as if that thing head every word that was said; it went PSSSSSHHEW, straight up; and I mean when it went up, friend, it didn’t play no games; it went straight up” (Transcript of taped interview with Dale Spaur).

The Air Force “identified” the UFO as a satellite, seen part of the time, and confused with the planet Venus. Under pressure from Ohio officials, Major Hector Quintanilla, chief of PROJECT BLUE BOOK, had an acrimonious confrontation with witnesses and refused to change the identification, although it was pointed out to him that they had seen the UFO in addition to Venus and the moon at the conclusion of the observation. Major Quintanilla also denied that any jets had been scrambled.

William B. Weitzel conducted an exhaustive investigation on behalf of the NATIONAL INVESTIGATIONS COMMITTEE ON AERIAL PHENOMENA (NICAP), obtaining taped interviews, signed statements, sketches, and all pertinent data which was assembled into a massive report that was made available to congressional investigators. When the UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO UFO PROJECT was initiated in 1966, a copy of Weitzel’s report was hand-delivered to the director, Dr. Edward U. CONDON, for his consideration. The CONDON REPORT, published two years later, does not mention the case.

— Richard Hall

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UPDATE: He Chased a Flying Saucer, Now His Life is Shattered

Source: Associated Press, John De Groot


RAVENNA (AP)–In his world of loneliness and twisted nightmares, Dale Spaur wonders if the nightmare will ever end.

It began six months ago with “Seven Steps to Hell” and ended with a flying saucer named Floyd.

In the predawn hours of a gentle April morning, Portage County Sheriff’s Deputy Spaur chased a flying saucer 86 miles.

NOW THE STRANGE craft is chasing him. And he is hiding from it, a bearded stranger peering past the limp curtains of a tiny motel room in Solon.

He no longer is a deputy sheriff.

His marriage is shattered.

He has lost 40 pounds.

He lives on one bowl of cereal and a sandwich each day.

He walks three miles to an $80-a-week painters job. His motel room costs $60 a week. The court has ordered him to pay his wife $20 a week for the support of his two children.

That leaves Dale Spaur exactly nothing.

THE FLYING saucer did it.

“If I could change all that I have done in my life,” he said, “I would change just one thing. And that would be the night we
chased that damn thing. That saucer.”

He spit the word out, “Saucer.” An obscenity.

Others might understand.

Four other officers took part in the April 17 [1966] drama.

Police Chief Gerald Buchert of Mantua saw the craft and photographed it. The pictures turned out badly, an odd fuzzy white thing suspended in blackness. Today, Chief Buchert laughs nervously when he speaks of that night.

“I’D RATHER NOT talk about it,” he says. “It’s something that should be forgotten…left alone. I saw something, but I don’t know what it was.”

Special Deputy W.L. Neff rode with Spaur during the chase.

He won’t talk about it.

His wife Jackelyne explains, “I hope I never see him like he was after the chase. He was real white, almost in a state of shock. It was awful.”

“And people made fun of him afterwards. He never talks about it anymore. Once he told me, ‘If that thing landed in my back yard, I wouldn’t tell a soul.’ He’s been through a wringer.”

PATROLMAN Frank Panzenella saw the chase end in Conway, Pa., where he works. He saw the craft.

Now he is silent. Friends say he had his telephone removed because of calls about that April morning.

H. Wayne Huston was a police officer in East Palestine, O. He had worked there seven years. Several months after the saucer passed above him in the night, he resigned…going to Seattle Wash., to drive a bus.

Huston now goes by Harold W. Huston. He tells you,” Sure I quit because of that thing. People laughed at me. And there was pressure… You couldn’t put your finger on it, but the pressure was there.

The city officials didn’t like police officers chasing flying saucers.”

SPAUR AND HUSTON have turned in their badges.

Now Spaur hides in Solon, a fugitive from a flying saucer named Floyd. He cannot escape the strange craft.

Spaur and Neff were checking on a car parked alongside U.S. 224 between Randolph and Atwater. The car was filled with radio equipment and had a strange emblem painted on its side, a triangle with a bolt of lightning inside it. Above the emblem was written, “Seven Steps to Hell.”

Behind them they heard a strange humming noise and turning, said they saw a huge saucer shaped craft rise out of a woods and hover above them, bathing them in a warm white light.

Then it moved off.

LEAVING THE mystery car behind, never to be seen again, the two deputies hopped into their cruiser and chased the object, sometimes at speeds of more than 100 miles an hour. The chase finally ended when the cruiser ran out of gas near Pittsburgh. They said the craft they chased was about 50 feet across and 15 to 20 feet high with a large dome on its top and an antenna jutted out from the rear of the dome.

After the chase, Spaur’s daily routine was washed away in a sea of reporters, television cameramen, Air Force investigators, government officials, strange letters from places like Little Rock, Ark. and Australia that told him what to do if “the little green men” tried to contact him.

“MY ENTIRE LIFE came crashing down around my shoulders,” he said.

“Everything changed. I still don’t really know what happened. But suddenly, it was as though everybody owned me. And I no longer had anything for myself. My wife, my home, my children. They all seemed to fade away.”

Spaur’s wife Daneise now is alone with her two children.

She has filed for divorce and is working as a waitress in a bar at Ravenna.

“Something happened to Dale, but I don’t know what it was,” she says. He came home that day and I never saw him more frightened before. He acted strange, listless. He just sat around. He was very pale.”

“THEN LATER, he got real nervous. And he started to run away. He’d just disappear for days and days. I wouldn’t see him.”

“Our marriage fell apart. All sorts of people came to the house. Investigators. Reporters. They kept him up all night. They kept after him, hounding him. They hounded him right into the ground.”

“And he changed.”

Then one night, Dale came home very late. He isn’t sure what happened. He walked into the living room. There were some other people there. Things were very tense. Very confused.

HE GRABBED his wife and shook her. Hard. He kept shaking her. It left big ugly bruises on her arms. He doesn’t know how or why…

That was the end of July. Daneise filed assault and battery charges. Dale was jailed and turned in his badge.

A newspaper printed a story about the deputy who chased the flying saucer being jailed for beating his wife.

When he got out of jail, Dale ran…left town, turned his back on everything.

BUT THE SAUCER followed him, locked in his dreams.

In Ravenna, Daneise can only say, “Dale is a lost soul.

And everything is finished for us.”

In Solon, Dale said, “I have become a freak. I’m so damn lonely. Look at me…34 years old and what do I have? Nothing.”

“Who knows me? To everyone I’m Dale Spaur, the nut who chased a flying saucer. My father called me several weeks ago.

A long time ago we had a fight. I hadn’t heard from him for years. Then he calls me.”

“DO YOU THINK he called to ask how I was…To say ‘I love you, son… To see if I wanted to go fishing, or something?

Hell, no. He wanted to know if I’d seen any more flying saucers.”

“I tried to go to church for help. I went to church and the minister introduced me to the congregation. ‘We have the man who chased a flying saucer with us today,’ he said.”

Dale Spaur wept as he told what the flying saucer named Floyd had done to him.

He calls it Floyd because he saw it once more while he was still working for the sheriff’s department.

THE RADIO operators knew civilians were monitoring their broadcasts. So they agreed to use a code name if the flying saucer was seen again. They called it Floyd…Dale Spaur’s middle name.

Dale was driving east on Interstate 80-S one night in June [1966]. He looked up. There it was.

“Floyd’s here with me,” he whispered into the radio.

Then he parked the car and sat there, alone. This time Barney Neff was not with him. Dale did not look out the window. He lit a cigarette and stared at the floor of the cruiser. He sat there for nearly 15 minutes…not looking outside, not wanting
to see Floyd.

WHEN HE LOOKED up, Floyd had disappeared.

Yet it still follows him. And it has ruined his life. This he believes.

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