Are UFOs, as some Nevadans increasingly claim, patrolling the skies above Fallon, Carson City, Reno and the rest of the state?
Virtually all responsible scientists say “no” ... that UFOs don’t exist ... that those who claim they have seen or ridden in them are delusional, hoaxers or ordinary people who innocently misidentify stars, satellites, aircraft, solar flares, and military drones as UFOs.
Whether or not you believe UFOs are real, you’ll be intrigued to learn that a 2012 National Geographic Channel poll revealed that 36 percent of Americans believe UFOs exist, 17 percent do not and the rest are undecided.
And the UFO Reporting Center (UFORC) in Seattle reports that sightings of UFOs, also called flying saucers, extraterrestrials and alien spacecraft, have increased in the U.S. by 46 percent over the past four years.
Here in Nevada, at least two dozen of the alleged sightings have been registered with the UFORC as having recently occurred over Fallon, Carson City, Reno, Gardnerville, Dayton and Winnemucca.
In one instance, for example, a Fallon man who described himself as “an air traffic controller for more than 24 years” said he and several colleagues saw “a very large chrome, silver or mirrored sphere” travel about 3,600 miles per hour over Naval Air Station Fallon. Another Fallonite reported he and his wife also had seen such spheres ... in fact there were five of them ... fly over town “for several hours.”
A Dayton resident driving to Fallon along Highway 50 said he encountered a flying saucer hover over his car “that had large, wide open windows” through which he could see “a female with white, flowing robes. She smiled at me and I could see her hand had three fingers and a thumb. The men in the saucer had no hair, and they drew the drapes and the saucer flew off,” he told the UFORC.
A Carson City man who said he was “a former pilot with more than 20 years experience in military fighters” reported he and his family witnessed a “mysterious object surrounded by a semi-circle of blue and green lights” streak across Highway 95 north of Carson. Still another Carson City fellow stated he had seen an “egg-shaped object bearing a very bright, white light” hover over the ground near his home and then fly away.
Another Carson man, together with his wife, claimed they saw “three mysterious objects surrounded by star-like blinking lights flying in a triangle near our house. A fourth object then appeared and they all flew away. We heard no engine noises,” they stated.
I’ve never seen a flying saucer, but I have a friend who says he has. His name is Leo R. Sprinkle and he holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Missouri.
I met Dr. Sprinkle in the mid-1970s when I was chairman of the Journalism Department at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and he was a professor of psychology and director of the university’s Division of Counseling and Testing. The Henley and Sprinkle families were neighbors, friends and our children attended the same Laramie schools.
In addition to my administrative and teaching responsibilities, I wrote a weekly, page one Sunday column on any subject I chose for the Cheyenne Tribune-Eagle and the Laramie Daily Boomerang.
Upon learning that Sprinkle had told his students and fellow academicians he had seen flying saucers, I interviewed him and devoted one of my columns to his allegations. It appeared in both newspapers on Sunday, Nov. 2, 1975, under the headline “UW Professor Says All Evidence Points to Fact of Flying Saucers.”
My column also was accompanied by a photo of Sprinkle and an illustration, drawn by my wife, Ludie, that depicted a “space creature” as described by Sprinkle which reportedly had been seen emerging from a flying saucer near the town of Rawlins, Wyo.
During my interview with Sprinkle, he said that “saucer folks” come in all shapes and sizes ... some are green and “they like people and flowers.” Others have “pumpkins heads that resemble helmets.” Some saucer folks have “large eyes that extend around the sides of their heads and kind of flat noses,” he added.
The saucers themselves “come in many sizes ... ranging from 5-foot in diameter to huge pencil-shaped craft 500 yards long,” he told me as I tried to keep a straight face while jotting down his comments.
The saucers usually land in rural or uninhabited areas because their occupants are fearful of humans, said Sprinkle, who also told me that he, himself had seen two saucers: “One was a round, metallic object and the other was bright and glowing.”
Today, 38 years after my interview with Dr. Sprinkle was published, he is 83 years old and retired from teaching. But he writes for professional journals, appears on the lecture circuit and has appeared as a guest on network television programs such as NBC’s “Today” show.
I haven’t seen or spoken with Sprinkle since my family and I left Wyoming in 1977 to purchase the then-weekly Lahontan Valley News. But if I asked him if he believes UFOs are flying over Nevada, I am confident he would answer, “of course.”
David C. Henley is Publisher Emeritus of the LVN.