Sarnia, Ontario

August 1977

Sarnia, Ontario Huge Dull Orange Sphere Shoots Into The Sky Then Stops

UFO Sighting, August 1977

Joe Dietrich & passenger.

It was barely a month past my 30th birthday, early August 1977, I was dining out with friends in a favorite downtown Buffalo NY restaurant. Time was running out for me in Buffalo for in a few weeks I would be heading to Key West Florida to begin a new life. But on this particular summer night I was to make a journey that was destined to become one of my life's most memorable experiences.

I have made this trip several times so it's a fairly predictable route from Buffalo NY to Flint, Michigan, no surprises. This was to be my last visit with my mom and sisters knowing we probably wouldn't see each other for many months. I wanted to get an early evening start out of Buffalo, but dinner with friends went quite late so I didn't hit the road until about 10:pm. I was upset at myself for making such a late departure knowing it would inconvenience my family up in Flint with me arriving in the wee hours of the morning...but I was determined to go that night.

Even considering the late time of night I actually felt rested and alert. I usually preferred driving at night, as I found it to be peaceful with little distraction and this night gave me time to reflect on my upcoming move to Florida. I was all too familiar with this route having taken it often. Because my vintage '52 Ford pickup truck had a top speed of only 55 mph it would take me about 5 hours to drive from Buffalo to Flint.....4-hours for everyone else!

Heading north out of downtown Buffalo towards the Canadian border, passing through customs, and over the Peace bridge, I was on my way. A few hundred yards into Canadian territory I spotted a college kid on the side of the road holding a sign "to Michigan". He was small of stature and appeared harmless, and I figured this passenger would make the trip less lonely and give me some interesting conversation, so I stopped to pick up the hitchhiker.

But to my dismay the young man was very tired and had very little to say, in fact he napped on and off during most of the long drive. So, to keep my mind occupied and me awake, I kept the truck radio on...and the volume low, so it would not wake the sleeper. I was remembering how scenic the Canadian countryside is during daytime with it's rolling farmland and picturesque villages...but at night it is dark and still, the towns are practically invisible, and now it's just me and my passenger in my old truck heading westward down this 2-lane winding highway on a warm August night.

I have been driving for almost 3-hours now through the Ontario countryside passing the towns of St. Catherine's, Hamilton, and London. We are now about a half-hour from the border town of Sarnia, on highway 22 (I believe), it's about 2:am pitch dark outside, the summer night is warm and the truck windows are rolled down. It's a beautiful night on this lonely country highway and my old Ford pickup is the only vehicle on the road. My hitchhiking passenger and myself are engaged in idle conversation when suddenly he is startled by something outside. He is looking out his passenger window, head slightly turned upward and exclaims, "...look over there!...what is that light above the house?" I couldn't see what he was looking at due to the angle of the object and my position in the driver's seat, so while trying to keep the truck on the road, and slowly applying the brakes, I leaned over my passenger's shoulder to get a better look at the object he was so excited about. With one hand on the steering wheel, stretching to get a look out his window, I was amazed at what I saw. Here was a 2-story white farmhouse set back maybe 100 feet from the highway but directly above the house was a large, glowing, dull orange ball or sphere almost floating or hovering in the air nearly touching the peak of the roof. It was an ominous sight, as you could clearly see the outline of the sphere through the few tall trees which surrounded the house.

We were both awestruck. "Oh my God" I said as I was trying to bring the truck to a stop, "I have to get a better look at this". I told my passenger to keep his eyes on the object, as I brought the old truck to a slow stop. Since we were the only vehicle on the road I stopped right in the middle of the highway, there was no time to pull over. Not wanting to waste time, I quickly jumped out of the truck and onto the pavement to get a full view of this magnificent orange glowing sphere hovering very still over the farmhouse. We stood there in absolute silence and gazed at this big, orange ball which was about half the size of the farmhouse.

Unfortunately I was in for a huge disappointment. While standing on the highway and trying to analyze this incredible object I reached over and slammed the truck door closed. Almost at that exact moment, and without making the slightest sound, the sphere shot quickly up into the night sky like a speeding bullet. My eyes fixated on the object as it streaked way up into the sky for a distance of what seemed like a mile, then came to a sudden stop then resumed its flight into space at a constant 45 degree angle until it was completely out of our sight. The "escape" flight from the farmhouse was at an exceptional rate of speed which seemed to take 3-seconds to make it's disappearance into space. We were quite disappointed that our encounter with the object was so brief. I calculated that our total viewing time for this extraordinary event was barely one-minute, if even that.

We were quite stunned at what had just taken place. I said to my passenger, "do you believe what we have just witnessed?" He was speechless and I was in mild shock and now more alert than I had been all night. Since my passenger had the object in his view almost twice as long as I did, I asked him to describe it in detail to me, as I could recall only a large, round sphere which was positioned over the house. The passenger described it as more of an oval shaped object, but also very large. Both of us witnessed the quick exit, heard to total silence, as we looked at each other in absolute amazement. I was cursing the fact that the object did not stay in our view longer for our own selfish investigation. This was the opportunity of a lifetime, here right in front of us, for only one minute, and then gone forever. It was almost as if by stopping the truck on the highway we sort of startled it and it then had to make a quick getaway.

Back in my old truck and on the road again we are high on adrenaline. As we continued westward towards the Michigan-Canadian border at Sarnia, we could not stop talking about what we had just seen. In my mind I had to challenge any other possible explanation for this event. I am basically a skeptic who does not wish to get carried away with blind emotion where a simple or obvious explanation might present itself. Therefore, I began to eliminate some possible causes for this event:

Was it:

1) An aircraft. NO. No engine noise, no noise at all. Completely silent.

2) A Balloon. NO. Could not move that quickly or turn at that angle.

3) The Sun....NO. The right color of the setting sun, but wrong time of day.

Wrong position in sky. Too fast.

4) Lightning...NO. No sound. Stationary. Geometric shape and exit.

5) Other........YES. Most likely extraterrestrial or UFO.

My passenger and I agreed that this object was something from "out there"...but where that is, is unknown. We were obviously not meant to study it or get closer to it than we did. Whatever was taking place in the space directly over the farmhouse or maybe even inside the farmhouse is not known. All the lights in the house were off, the residents were probably sleeping. (since it was 2:AM) Many questions were left unanswered.

As I approached the guard station at the Canadian/American border at Sarnia I decided NOT to tell our sighting story to the officers. I am confident that what I saw with my own eyes was real. I was never threatened by this object, no harm was ever directed my way, so there was no cause for alarm. I leave Canada with an experience that validates my longtime belief that we are indeed not alone in this vast universe.

One month later I moved, as planned, to Key West, Florida. I related this experience to others who would then give me that incredulous gaze that so many eye witnesses get when we bring up the subject of UFO's. But that's ok. I received a little validation a few months later in a Key West restaurant when I was introduced to a couple of tourists from Ontario. I mentioned my sphere sighting to them and they were not at all surprised....they explained that the newspapers reported many sightings in and around Ontario during that particular month. I just smiled.

My deepest thanks to Joe for a wonderful report and for retelling his experience in an audio report. Joe also granted permission to use his full name. Joe and I both would love to hear from anyone from Ontario who may have been in and around this area in August of 1977 who may have witnessed this event. Please contact Brian Vike, Director of HBCC UFO Research at: hbccufo@telus.net

Brian Vike, Director
HBCC UFO Research


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