I have long been under the impression that in many UFO EM cases in which car engines stalled, the car spontaneously started when the UFO departed. I then noticed in a couple of cases that it was reported that the car was restarted, which is not the same as it just restarting up on its own. I had suggested that we might want to revisit these cases of EM effects to see what we might learn from them.
Using various sources including my files, Project Blue Book, Dick Hall’s The UFO Evidence, Mark Rodeghier’s UFO Reports Involving Vehicle Interference (because, frankly, I wasn’t all that interested in UFO interference with radio stations, TV sets, and other such manifestations of EM effects) and The Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects (known as the Condon Committee), I was able to learn some interesting things.
The first reported instance of a UFO (described as a globular light) causing any sort of EM effect was on May 19, 1909. A motorcyclist said that his headlight failed as the light passed overhead. When it was gone, the motorcycle light came back on.
The first case in which an engine was stalled was from California in the spring of 1944 or 1945. According to the APRO Bulletin of Jan/Feb 1968, two school teachers were driving in the mountains when their car engine stalled. They spotted a cigar-shaped craft hanging motionless in the air. After watching it for a while, the driver turned the key to start the engine, but it wouldn’t start. When the object left, the driver tried again, but the car still would not start. After several minutes a tow truck driver stopped to help but could find no reason for the engine to quit or why it wouldn’t start when it started by itself.
The first case in which the car had to be started after the UFO disappeared was reported on September 13, 1952 from Frametown, West Virginia, which is part of the Flatwoods Monster case. A couple said they were traveling with their daughter when they saw a bright light and their car stalled. They did see a creature, which is irrelevant to us here. When the UFO took off, apparently after recovering the creature, the car could then be restarted.
From then on, it seemed that the rule was that the car, if stalled, had to be restarted. According to an analysis of the cases, it seems that in only five to six percent of the reports that involved a stalled engine did the car start without an action taken by the driver.
I will note here that there were a number of cases in which it wasn’t clear if the car had to be restarted or if it restarted on its own. In those reports, it was noted only that once the UFO was gone, the “car acted normally.” That could mean almost anything, including that the engine started spontaneously or that the driver started it.
The other thing to be noted is that I found many cases in which the radios filled with static and the headlights dimmed or faded out completely, but the engine didn’t stall. In some of them the engine began to run roughly or sputtered, but never stopped. In these reports once the UFO was gone, the engine smoothed out and the lights and the radio began to operate properly as well.
Rodeghier reported that for a long time that it was only the gasoline engines that stalled but diesel engines seemed to be immune. Rodeghier wrote, “For example, a UFO passed over two tractors in Forli, Italy, on November 14, 1954, one tractor with a diesel engine the other with an internal combustion engine. The engine of the diesel tractor continued to operate, but the other tractor’s engine stopped and could not be started until the UFO had vanished.”
The Condon Committee, without much apparent enthusiasm, attempted to study EM effects. They looked at one case that had happened while their investigation was in progress. They found discrepancies in the witness story, didn’t like that it was single witness, and found no evidence that the car had been subjected to a powerful magnetic field. They concluded that, “Because of the vagueness of the witness’ description of the ‘object,’ the wide inconsistencies in his estimates of its size and distance, the fact that no one else observed the alleged event, and the fact that the car body did not show evidence of exposure to strong magnetic fields, more detailed investigation of this event as a source of evidence related to electro-magnetic effect on automobiles did not seem warranted.”
They eventually concluded the claims of interference with engines were the most puzzling. “The claim is frequently made, sometimes in reports that are impressive because they involve multiple independent witnesses. Witnesses seem certain that the function of their cars was affected by the unidentified object, which sometimes reportedly was not seen until after the malfunction was noted. No satisfactory explanation for such effects, if indeed they occurred, is apparent.”
Or, in other words, this is truly puzzling, but we’re just not sure that such things happen. We investigated one case of a single witness, and we just don’t like it because he was unable to estimate the size and distance to the UFO with any sort of reliability. And while we know about Levelland (as noted in their index with but a single reference to it), we just don’t think these things happen and therefore we reject them.
What I learned here is that very few of the cases in which the car stalled, did the engine seem to restart spontaneously. The number of so low, that I wonder if, as has been suggested by others elsewhere, that those reports are in error. That the driver, without realizing it, did something to cause the car to restart. There seems to be no mechanical, chemical, or electrical reason for the engine to start without an action by the driver. Nearly everyone agrees with this from the scientists of the Condon Committee to mechanics and automobile engineers. Once the circuit is interrupted, the car will not start unless someone does something.