It has been called the Eastlake Sighting, and a Ohio newspaper article called it the "Space Case - The Night the Coast Guard Got Buzzed".
This is the story; Sheila Baker was pregnant with her 3rd child in 1988. She and her husband Henry were driving home along Ohio 91 into Eastlake. It was when they turned on to Lake Shore Blvd, they saw it. The blink of two red warning lights on the smokestacks that were at the CEI plant. They were different that night, both Sheila and the children noticed it. Like a few of the lights had burned out. It was March 4th, the night was getting colder, and there were snow flurries that day. As they drove closer to the lake though it was dark, she could make out a shape, like a football. The object hung there in midair, silent. She alerted Henry who dismissed it, he jokingly said it was pregnancy hallucination. She thought maybe it was a goodyear blimp. Sheila asked Henry to go down to the beach so she could get a better look, which he did without hesitation. They parked the car at the bottom of ridge and walked the well-worn path down to the beach. This is what she reported:
The moon was bright and full, and the ice on the lake looked eerie. Sheila could hear it cracking. Loud. Like claps of thunder. In between the claps, nothing. A dead calm. Not even a dog barking. Everybody around here had a dog and one of them was always barking.
"That's weird," Sheila thought, reaching the beach, the night sky bursting above her, limitless, going up and up and up, and there it was. The Good- year blimp times 10. But without the cabin underneath it. This thing was slick. A football the size of a football field. Gunmetal gray. Blinding white light poured out of both ends, but the thing itslef made no noise, the ice beneath it grinding and exploding like a string of M-80s.
Sheila figured it was about a quarter-mile above her, just off shore. It rocked back and forth like a teeter-totter. She knew what it was. She read the Weekly Worked News. She saw "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." but she didn't believe it. It couldn't be real, and yet there it was, moving now, one end swinging ponderously toward shore, dipping down, closer and
closer toward her.
Sheila started running and she ran right into Henry, who swore and started running, too. They beat it back to the car like a couple of hicks in a Mar- tian move. Henry hit the gas. Sheila locked the doors and told the kids to get down.
"You don't think they're going to come and get us?" Sheila asked.
Henry was oblivious. "Wow," he said. "This is great. I'm gonna get the binoculars."
Three minutes later, Sheila had hustled the kids out of the car and into the back bedroom. She opened the closet door.
"Get in there," she said and shut the door before they could argue. She pulled down all the window blinds, turned off the lights and locked the bed- room door. Then she walked into the living room.
Henry was standing by the window that faced the lake. The object had moved out over the ice. It seemed to be descending. Red and blue lights were now flashing sequentially along its lower edge. Sheila picked up the phone and called the Eastlake police.
"I want to report a UFO," she told the cop who answered.
The Cop told her to call Lost Nation Airport in Willoughby. Probably an adver- tising plane, a helicopter. Sheila called the airport. The guy in the tower told her they had nothing taking off or landing. She asked if there were any weird blips on his radar screen. He said no. He figured maybe it was the planets, Venus and Jupiter. She should call NASA.
All the time Sheila was watching it. It was about five miles out now, still descending, red and blue lights flashing as if it was going to crash. She called the cops back. They told her unusual activity over the lake was the responsibility of the Coast Guard. Sheila called Fairport Harbor. They suggested Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
"Everybody thinks I'm nuts," she told Henry.
Suddenly a series of bright triangular yellow lights shot out of the center of the object. These triangles, there were five or six of them, it was hard to count they moved so quickly, looked about the size of a single-seat Cessna. They hovered point-up around the object. Then darted north, then east, heading inland toward the Perry nuclear power plant. Sheila had never seen anything move that fast. Zero to warp-speed in less than a nanosecond. Without making a sound. She called the Coast Guard again. This time they said they were sending a crew by the house. Sheila let her kids out of the closet but made them stay in the bedroom with the door locked.
Mobile Unit 2 was a 1984 blue Chevy Suburban and the two guys in it were gung- ho. Seaman James Powers and Petty Officer John Knaub said they could see the lights from Fairport Harbor. They figured they were flares. Fishermen trapped out on the ice, that kind of thing. They were towing a 22-foot Boston Whaler just in case.
Sheila and Henry pointed to the object they now thought of as the mother ship. A co of the triangles were zipping around it. Powers and Knaub didn't say a word. Instead of driving onto the beach, they four-wheeled the Chevy up the ridge. The ice was going nuts, rippling and rumbling and roaring. Sheila and Henry got out. The windows were down and they could hear Knaub and Powers talking to the base.
"Be advised the object appears to be landing on the lake," they said. "Be advised there are other objects moving in around it. Be advised these smaller objects are going at high rates of speed. There are no engine noises and they are very, very low. Be advised these are not planets."
All of a sudden one of the triangles zoomed toward the Chevy, low, just above the ice, a blur of light blistering straight at them. Knaub quickly rolled the van back down the ridge. The triangle veered east, then went straight up and came down beside the mother ship. Sheila told Knaub to turn his lights off.
"Why attract attention" she asked.
Back at the lake, the mother ship was almost on the ice. For an hour, Henry had stood on the ridge and listened as Powers and Knaub communicated with their base. They said things like, "You should be advised that the object is now shining lights all over th lake and it's turning different colors."
The ice thundered. Powers and Knaub had to yell to be heard. Henry thought the big ship was in trouble. So did Sheila. She had gone back to the house. The kids were still locked in the bedroom and she watched from the window. Suddenly the triangles were back. They shot one by one into the side of the mother ship as it seemed to set down on the howling ice.
It flashed a sequence of red, blue and yellow lights. Sheila thought they looked beautiful. Then the white light that poured from the front of the object turned red and the triangles reappeared, hovering over it. The ice boomed, louder and louder, and then suddenly it stopped. The lights disap- peared. So did the triangles. Now there was nothing. Darkness and silence.
Powers and Knaub drove off white-faced. Sheila and Henry stood watch through the night. In the morning all that remained were scattered chunks of broken ice. But that evening, the triangles returned.
Sheila called the Coast Guard. This time they sent three people. But they arrived too late and the triangles were gone. To reassure the Bakers, they called Lost Nation Airport and talked to Elizabeth Mele in the control tower who told them the two bright lights in the sky were Venus and Jupiter, and the flashing lights were gases in the atmosphere.
That was Saturday. On Monday, The Plain Dealer ran a short item headlined "Cozying of Jupiter, Venus light up sky." The Lake County News-Herald ran a similar version with the caption "Sky-gazers mistake planets for UFOs." (1)
There were other reports about the sighting. Cindy Hale was going to walk her dog when she spotted the triangular light hovering above her. Her dog whined and cowered. She took the dog in and came back out to see what exactly she was looking at. The triangle flashed multicolored lights, and she began to flick her Bic lighter, like a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It went on for about 30 minutes and then it was gone.
Tim Keck also saw the craft that night. He was looking through his telescope when the triangle appeared before him. He had a cheap camera he got free from Burger King and snapped some photos of the event. He actually got a picture before the craft disappeared.
The New-Herald newspaper reported on March 7, 1988 the following:
Visitors from another planet have nothing to do with the UFOs which were reported along the lake shore Friday and Saturday nights. But, according to the Coast Guard, the planets Jupiter and Venus are involved. When the US Coast Guard at Fairport Harbor received reports Friday night of UFOs in the sky, It checked with area airports to learn what their radar indicated.
"We thought it might be someone in trouble setting off flares," said Petty Officer John Knaub."So we investigated ourselves." (2)
It was another UFO report, that was explained away, but keep this is mind. Sheila stated “I am a good Jewish mother, I believe in God, and I did see this.” Also, she called the Fairport Harbor a few days later, Powers and Knaub weren’t there. She left a message, but they never called back. She called many times more, but her calls went unanswered. According to Sheila, “The government flat-out denies it happened and I was standing there with two government employees watching it and they saw it and then they disappear." (4)
One Chief Leo Deon said the Coast Guard had no official policy regarding UFOs, and all personnel assigned to Fairport Harbor in 1988 have been rotated out. He couldn’t locate Powers or Knaub through personnel records. Now records are archived in Washington D.C. The case was investigated by Rick Dell’Aquila and Dale Wedge for MUFON in 1988.
- Evans, Christopher, "Space Case - The Night The Coast Guard Got Buzzed," dated July 12, 1988. Cleveland Plains Dealer
- “Sky Gazers Mistake Planets for UFOs,” the News Herald, March 7, 1988
- Eastlake Sighting Reports, http://www.nicap.org/reports/880304eastlake_researchers.htm