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Did a damaged flying saucer make an emergency landing in Stoughton in 1968?
At 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21, Shirley Kortte and Mrs. W.W. Knipfer were driving along Interstate 90 near Janesville. In the back seat were their daughters, Judy Kortte and Ida and Stephanie Knipfer.
"We had just come from Janesville," Kortte told me. "The girls were in a dance recital." Now they were asleep, except for one girl who looked out and saw a UFO.
As the witnesses approached the County N interchange near Stoughton, they stopped, "because I was driving and very scared," Shirley Kortte said. The large, round, dark-gray object then appeared to drop sparks and flaming debris - a rare but not unknown UFO behavior. The object was about the size of a hot-air balloon, and was about as far away as "the top of a barn" might be when observed from a barnyard. The UFO came so close that it seemed as if it might even strike the car. "You could almost see the bottom of it," Kortte said. "Then, of course, these sparks came out of it, so you couldn't see real clear. By this time we had some screaming girls.
Knipfer said that the object continued its pursuit even as she pulled into the driveway of her home, near the east shore of Lake Kegonsa. "I didn't quite get in the driveway, I was shaking so."
The object then crossed the Yahara River to the east, and seemed to land north of the Oscar Berge farm. Sheriff's deputy Robert Shaffer was already on hand. With three more witnesses - apparently neighboring youths - he, too, watched the object disappear from view. Shaffer's search for additional witnesses was unsuccessful.
Kortte remembers that someone went to the Berge farm and did see something on the ground there. More than that, no one knows. However, I believe that physical evidence was recovered, as we shall see in a later chapter. (See below for that excerpt - Jim)
Disturbing? Certainly. And add to that the testimony of 30 others, including four Freeport, Ill., police officers and three Stephenson County, Ill., sheriff's deputies who saw a similar UFO on Nov. 9, 1967, just two months earlier. Two men reported that while they drove on Highway 20 very early that day they were followed for 28 miles by a bright object that was flying 500 to 1,000 feet above the ground. The Associated Press reported that Freeport police were alerted, and after the responding officers had driven just three miles, they also saw the highway gremlin. They kept it under observation from 4:15 to 6:30 a.m. The county sheriff's deputies watched, too - from their office. At Freeport Memorial Hospital, 25 patients and staff also observed the object.
In the above account Jay Rath refers to evidence of physical evidence of this incident in a "later chapter" of the book. Here's what he was referring to:
A couple of less pleasant MIBs broke into a Madison hotel room. Sometime in the 1970s freelance journalist Warren Smith came to Madison in regard to a UFO sighting -- a farmer had seen a UFO in his orchard. I believe this is probably the Stoughton 1968 sighting, as that would put the event near Madison, and because that was the sighting where the UFO gave out a shower of sparks. It was also reported to a law enforcement agency, which, as it turns out, is a prerequisite for the sighting's tracing.
Anyway, Smith came to Madison and checked into a Holiday Inn. He made arrangements to visit the farmer and found that the man had recovered a piece of metal, apparently from the UFO. The farmer gave the metal to Smith. Smith came back to Madison. Then the farmer spoke with Smith again, and said that a fertilizer salesman had been out, asking a lot about the UFO and the metal but not working too hard to sell fertilizer. The farmer needed to see Smith again.
No stranger to the paranoia of UFOlogy, Smith took the back off the TV in his hotel room and tied the metal sample to the inside. "I asked the maids and hotel maintenance man to watch my room during my absence," Smith told British UFO researcher Timothy Good, as recounted in Good's book, Above Top Secret.
As soon as Smith left, two men with a room key went in; a maid saw it all and went in a minute later, pretending to check the room. She saw the two going through Smith's suitcase.
Meanwhile, Smith was talking to the farmer, who had since met with some representatives from the government who wanted the metal. The farmer had agreed, he said, based on "national security, a danger to the world, and the government's desire."
Well, Smith went back to Madison, back to the hotel, back to his room, and there encountered his two visitors. One was at the desk, the other was stretched out on the bed. Some small talk was made, and then one of the men said, "You have something we want. A farmer gave you a piece of metal the other day. Our job is to pick it up."
Smith asked to see some identification.
"Name the agency and we'll produce it," the man said. "Would you like Air Force, FBI, or maybe NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command)?"
Smith was growing increasingly uncomfortable, and he had only been loaned the metal in the first place. The farmer wanted it to go to the government. Smith agreed to turn over the fragment if the men would answer a few questions. They agreed, and all adjourned to the hotel coffee shop. There, of course, the men didn't really offer any information, other than that "UFOs involve more than you or any civilian can realize. They're the most important thing and perhaps the greatest hazard that mankind has ever faced."
Smith turned over the metal and saw the men off. Their car had Illinois plates. He immediately called Brad Steiger, the well-known paranormal investigator who resides in Iowa. Some years afterward Steiger recalled that Smith sounded "genuinely frightened" about the event.
Smith said later that he traced the plates to a Chicago man with "CIA links," after which Smith apparently went underground, as he cannot be located today.
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