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Casey woman recalls UFO encounter in 1976

September 24, 2010|By BOBBIE CURD | bcurd@amnews.com
  • Dr. Leo Sprinkle, left, interviews Mona Stafford in 1976 after she and two other Casey County women had a UFO encounter. (Photo contributed)
Dr. Leo Sprinkle, left, interviews Mona Stafford in 1976 after she and two other Casey County women had a UFO encounter. (Photo contributed)

LIBERTY — A Kentucky UFO-alien abduction case caught the eye of local playwright Liz Orndorff several years ago, but she tucked her idea for a production based on the claims of three Casey County women into the back of her mind to let it simmer.

Although the incident happened more than 30 years ago, Mona Stafford — the only living witness — still hasn’t figured out how to tuck it into the back of hers.

“High Strangeness” premiers tonight at West T. Hill Community Theatre in Danville, and a few folks who attended Thursday night’s dress rehearsal said the play is not only funny but quite moving.

The alien encounter occurred Jan. 6, 1976, on Stafford’s 35th birthday. Stafford was headed to her sister’s house for dinner. She stopped at a local gas station on the way, and it was there she ran into Louise Smith, an acquaintance.

While recalling the events, Stafford, who is 69 now, almost disappears, sinking back into a leather chair in her Liberty home. Her soft-spoken southern drawl is broken by several long pauses the deeper she goes into detail.

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“If this had happened to anyone, even in my family, I wouldn’t have believed them,” she says.

On that night, Smith asked Stafford to stop off at her home to help with a sewing project. An owner of a local arts and crafts store, Stafford was known for her sewing abilities.

“I told her what my intentions were for the evening, but I went on and did it since I knew it would only take a few minutes.”

Another woman, Elaine Thomas, also happened to join them.

“I didn’t know them very well at all. I only knew Elaine because she was a neighbor, never around her very much. But they’d both come into the store every now and then,” says Stafford.

The women connected and had a good time talking. The next thing Stafford knew, it was late.

“I said I’ve got to call my sister, and I felt bad. But it’s getting late, see, and I’d rather not be out on those country roads so late, you know? So I just stayed, sat and talked to them for a while.”

After learning it was Stafford’s birthday, the women took her to the Redwood restaurant between Stanford and Lancaster for dinner, and the three had a nice time.

Unexpected encounter

The scary part, though, started on the return home as they drove on Ky. 78, around the drive-in theater in Stanford, out in front of Joe Bishop’s farm. Stafford recalls the area vividly, describing how there used to be stone fences lining his driveway before they were torn down by vehicles.

Stafford grabs a book from the coffee table: “Situation Red, The UFO Siege!” by Leonard H. Stringfield. The women’s abduction account is featured in the book by Stringfield, who also interviewed the women shortly before the news hit local publications and The National Enquirer.

The book tells of several other claims by residents in the area whom Stringfield interviewed. Some are not identified, such as “Mr. and Mrs. OT,” who lived several hundred yards away from the site of the incident and described an unusual light in the sky about 11:30 the same night. The object was traveling south and shaped like a light bulb with a steady, glowing neon light.

Other witnesses

Stringfield, now deceased, wrote that as he continued to probe into the three-county area (Lincoln, Casey and Garrard), the steady flow of reports led to a continual list of residents claiming abnormal sightings at the same time that evening.

Randall Floyd lived in Morgan Manor near Stanford and was quoted as saying, “The whole neighborhood saw it.”

Other locals seeing the UFO were Mike Fitzpatrick, David Irvin and his parents. They all described seeing an object hovering over a manufacturing plant.

“We seen this light, and we thought it was a plane crashing in the distance,” Stafford says.

She told Smith, who was driving, to go closer. “I thought if we got up there, maybe we could help. That was my first thought.”

The object appeared to be at treetop level. “It was so huge, it was bizarre. You could look around you and that’s all you’d see — this craft. It’s like it took up most of the sky right above us. Two of this house would fit into it. It just stopped and hovered there.”

Stafford doesn’t recall her exact feelings.

“I guess I just — well, it took my breath. That’s all I could think of, was what I was looking at. It had red lights rotating around it, and it looked like the ship wasn’t moving, but the lights were rotating.”

She says the craft-like object went on like it was docking into something and just stopped.

“We were watching. That’s all we could do. It was pretty close, and I don’t recall exactly what happened with our car.”

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