; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easley / Anderson, South Carolina UFO Encounters

The Easley Progress in Easley, SC printed the following article on Sept. 17, 1980:

There was something ' strange, and beautiful, and incredibly big floating just above the tree tops in front of Larry Joe Garrett's house on Fruit Mountain Road last Thursday morning.

It was unlike anything Garrett has ever seen before. It left him almost transfixed, in a state of awe and exhilaration. The euphoria lasted 24 hours before Garrett said he felt normal again.

Garrett saw the strange flying object at 5 a.m.

About three hours earlier Jerry McAlister of Pamell Road in Anderson had seen something similar. McAlister also described a feeling of excitement and exhilaration after the sighting.

The object has not been identified.

But that does not make it any less real to Joe Garrett. He related his experience to The Progress.

"I had gone out in the yard to work on my wife's car," he said. "She works on the second shift and was still asleep. I heard a buzzing sound, sort of like a big swarm of bees. Or like a Honda, way off In the distance. I looked down the driveway to see if a car was turning around, but I didn't see anything. As I turned back, toward my wife's car I got a glimpse of something over the top of the trees."

"That's the Goodyear blimp!" was my first thought. Then I realized it wasn't a blimp. It was something a lot bigger. I couldn't see it very good, so I walked around to the front of the house. And there it was, out in the clear, right up over me. It was big. Real big. "How big?" he was asked. "Oh, it was as big as Belk's store. But a whole lot taller," he said.

He staunchly stands by his estimate of the size of the object. He says when he looked at it, the object reminded him of a large battleship he had seen once in the Norfolk, Va. harbor.

He described the windows as being very long, and totally black, except for one window that shone with a blinding, glaring light. Garrett said this could have been the sun reflecting off the window, but he couldn't tell for sure. The glare was too bright.

He was specific about the color. He said it appeared to be a metallic, purplish-gray. He was sure the bottom side of the object was metal, of an exceptional smoothness. He saw no seams, although he said there was what appeared to be a metal pipe protruding from the underside.

Garrett could not see the entire shape of the object. He said It appeared to be tilted backward, so that what he saw, primarily, was the bottom of the "saucer." However, he saw enough of the upper part to be sure that it was dome shaped.

"It was shaped sort of like the big water tank up town," he said, "Except a whole lot bigger."

The description given by McAlister in Anderson matched Garrett's in most respects except for the lights. Garrett, who saw the object in full daylight, said there were no lights on it. McAlister saw the object before daylight, and said it carried blinding lights all around its perimeter.

Both men described the object to artist Mickey Tate of the Pickens County Sheriffs Department. Neither man conferred with the other, but the sketches Tate drew from their description were very similar except for the protruding lights reported by McAlister.

The sheriff's deputy theorte-ed that the lights could have been retractable, to be pulled into the fuselage of the craft when not in use.

Although several people were reported to have seen the "flying saucer" in Anderson, no one else, apparently, saw the big object in Easley. Garrett said his next door neighbor was not at home at the time, and the neighbor across the street was probably busy with her children inside the house.

After he had watched the strange object for a minute Garrett said he ran into the house to call his wife. But when he got inside he stopped, thinking to himself that his wife would say he was crazy if he told her what he had seen. He hesitated a moment in the kitchen, then ran back outside to reassure himself that the object was still up there above the trees. When he got outside it was gone.

Later in the morning Garrett's wife convinced him that he should report the sighting to someone. He called the Pickens County Sheriff's Department, and it was then that he heard for the first time that a UFO had been sighted in Anderson, also.

Many theories nave been advanced as to the origin and the identity of the strange object. The Easley Progress called the Greenvllle-Spartanburg Airport's control tower to ask if an unidentified craft had been picked up on radar.

The individual contacted at the tower said the object did not show up on radar. He expressed considerable skepticism that there actually had been an unidentified flying object in the area.

Some persons believe the flying object might have something to do with a Government project of some sort, possibly a weather balloon. Others wonder If it was something sent over from Russia or some other unfriendly country. And then there are those who fear that it was an interplanetary space craft.

Whatever it was, it was not a figment of Joe Garrett's imagination. He saw something very big and beautiful in his front yard last Thursday. He convinces you, when you talk to him about it - Easley Progress (South Carolina), Sept. 17, 1980

NOTE: On the same day, Sept. 11, 1980, a similar craft was observed in Anderson, SC at 4:20 AM...approx. 4 hrs. prior to the Easley sighting. The sightings were 15 miles apart. Two friends saw a rounded, seamless disc-shaped UFO that made a whining noise. It hovered over trees in a yard 100 feet away from his bedroom window. It rotated and wobbled. Physiological effects included red burning eyes, swollen glands in neck, headache. - MUFON UFO Journal, April 1981


UFO still hovers in Anderson man's memory

Jerry McAlister still believes the object that hovered over his house on Broadway Lake more than 20 years ago was a UFO.

“I can still remember everything that happened. That thing was huge,” Mr. McAlister said. “It was solid steel. You could even see the rivets in it. We thought, ‘It ain’t going to land here is it?’ But it just hovered and slid off.”

Sitting in the living room of his Boston Street home in Anderson recently, Mr. McAlister, who is now 67, recounted his close encounter with an unexplained, large flying object on Sept. 11, 1980. He woke to the sound of a strange noise, like the whirring of a helicopter, at 4:20 a.m. Then he lived in a ranch-style house on Parnell Road, near Broadway Lake.

When he went to the window, he saw a “large flying saucer hovering over the lawn,” he said.

Even now, Mr. McAlister can remember watching some of the young pine trees in his yard wilting under the flying object as it hovered, he said. When he saw it, he called the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, and deputies responded.

No one knew then what the object was.

But it didn’t take long for news of the UFO sighting to spread through the community and across the nation. Today, Mr. McAlister has a scrapbook of letters, drawings and articles from local and national publications that told his story.

Several of those stories appeared in the Anderson Independent-Mail. Headlines after the sighting was reported read: “Several Anderson residents convinced strange object was UFO” and “Town buzzes with excitement after possible UFO sighting.”

In one photo, a local restaurant owner was pictured next to a sign that read “Welcome little green men.”

A small clip of the news item even made it into a newspaper in Paraguay in South America. That clip was mailed to Mr. McAlister. He still has it, along with the note that came with it and the stamp that was on it, tucked away in that scrapbook.

Stories also appeared in two national tabloids in 1980, the Globe in November and the National Enquirer in December.

Mr. McAlister also appeared on the television show “That’s Incredible!” that aired on the ABC at the time.

“It was a hot thing for a month or two,” he said. “Right after it happened, people were calling from all over the place wanting to set up (recreational vehicles) in our yard. They thought it might be coming back.”

When asked if anyone ever doubted him about the story, Mr. McAlister said, “No. Nobody said I was crazy, because a lot of people saw it. It was something.”

In fact, six days after Mr. McAlister’s sighting, a story appeared in The Easley Progress newspaper about a man spotting a UFO there. And on Sept. 16, the Independent-Mail reported that two more people saw “whirling lights” in the sky above Broadway Lake.

Not long after the sighting, Mr. McAlister and his then-wife Faye moved. For a while Mr. McAlister worked for the Iva Rescue Squad. For the last seven years, he has lived alone in a small single-wide trailer on Boston Street. That scrapbook has been stored away in his bedroom.

“Since I’ve been here, people have asked me about it,” Mr. McAlister said. “But I guess over the last four or five years, I haven’t said much about it. It was something back then. I ain’t never forgot it.” - Independent Mail - Anderson, SC

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Forgotten Tales of South Carolina

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