Lyndon B. Johnson
The Great Northeast Blackout of November 9, 1965 began at 5:16 p.m., near the end of an otherwise typical work day.
The event started at the Ontario - New York border, near Niagara Falls.
A single transmission line from the Niagara generating station tripped (opened).
Within 2.5 seconds, five other transmission lines became overloaded and tripped, isolating 1,800 MW of generation at Niagara Station.
After their isolation, the generators became unstable and tripped off-line.
The northeast power system became unstable and separated into isolated power systems (islands) within 4 seconds.
Outages and islanding occurred throughout New York, Ontario, most of New England, and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Most islands went black within 5 minutes, due to imbalances between generation and load (generator overspeed/underspeed tripping).
The massive blackout left 30 million people without electricity for as long as 13 hours.
This was "the big one" and it all started with the operation of a simple overcurrent relay on a transmission line. The design and operation of electric utility systems changed after that, due to the lessons that were learned from this event.
Areas of Separation
5:17 PM - November 9, 1965
Orange: Ontario Hydro System
Yellow: St. Lawrence - Oswego
Blue: Western New York
Red: Eastern New York - New England
Green: Maine and part of New Hampshire
The green area did not lose power during the blackout.
Regional Reliability Councils
The regional reliability councils were formed in the wake of the 1965 Northeast blackout:
Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC) was formed in January, 1966.
Federal Power Commission's blackout report was issued June, 1967.
I have posted several observations from that fateful day...the official reports and the speculations. Though we were not affected in south-central Pennsylvania, the incident did create a major stir worldwide. The U.S. Government was clamoring for answers while, at the same time, people where asking the question...was UFO activity responsible for the greatest electrical blackout in U.S. history?
On November 9, 1965, the northeast power system broke up 4 seconds after the initial disturbance, and 30 million people were without electricity for as long as 13 hours. Later that day, President Lyndon Johnson wrote to the chairman of the Federal Power Commission:
"Today's failure is a dramatic reminder of the importance of the uninterrupted flow of power to the health, safety, and well being of our citizens and the defense of our country.
"This failure should be immediately and carefully investigated in order to prevent a recurrence.
"You are therefore directed to launch a thorough study of the cause of this failure. I am putting at your disposal full resources of the federal government and directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Defense and other agencies to support you in any way possible. You are to call upon the top experts in our nation in conducting the investigation.
"A report is expected at the earliest possible moment as to the causes of the failure and the steps you recommend to be taken to prevent a recurrence."
National Electric Reliability Council, now North American Electric Reliability Council, (NERC) was formed in June, 1968.
NPCC, our regional reliability council, was the first one. Today, there are ten regional reliability councils. (Florida is the newest, creating its own in 1996, after having been in the Southeastern Electric Reliability Council). NERC is an association of the regional reliability councils. Although the organization and workings of each regional reliability council are different, they have a common factor - each one has its own criteria, which establish minimum standards. An important aspect of assuring reliability is sharing information necessary for system analysis, and coordination of system design and operation.
Then and Today
Compared to today's system, the 1965 system was much less networked. Some areas had strong interconnections while others were weak. In fact, the State of Maine survived the 1965 blackout because of its weak ties to the rest of New England, which tripped.
System impedance (electrical "distance") between Bangor, Maine and Portland, Maine is about 8 times less today than it was in 1965. In terms of electrical distance, Bangor is as close to Tennessee or Michigan today, as it was to Portland in 1965. This is approximate, and based on broad estimates. However, it illustrates the interdependency of today's system, compared to 1965. We must be much more careful today if we are to avoid a widespread disturbance, simply because of the close ties we have with other power systems.
Today's Power System
New England now has a well-developed 345 kV network, with 345 kV ties and High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) ties to neighbors.
In northeast North America, we design to what we call "Normal Contingencies", and we use redundant, independent protection systems where required. We test system resiliency with "Extreme Contingencies". We monitor what we call Special Protection Systems (SPSs), which are fast-acting relay, communication, and control systems for generator, line, load, or other cross -tripping. There are more devices with fast controls today.
The North American Interconnected Systems today are four major independent systems, or networks:
Eastern Interconnected Network (east of the Rockies). This system is all but the ERCOT and WSCC reliability councils, and the Quebec portion of the NPCC reliability council.
Quebec. This system is part of the NPCC reliability council.
Texas. This system is the ERCOT reliability council.
Western Interconnected Network (west of the Rockies). This system is the WSCC reliability council.
These four systems are asynchronous, tied together only by DC interconnections. These systems include continental Canada, the contiguous United States, and northern Baja Mexico. Other systems are: Alaska, Mexico, and Labrador. These systems are illustrated in the following NERC map of reliability councils.
The eastern interconnected network is, arguably, the largest machine in the world. The network has thousands of sources, hundreds of millions of miles of lines, and over a billion individual loads. Despite its complexity, this network operates in continuous synchronism as a single system. The power systems are so well connected, a single disturbance can be detected thousands of miles away.
The Great Northeast Blackout
November 9, 1965
by Yurko Bondarchuk
Published by: Methuen Publications, Toronto, 1979
From Chapter 9 - The E.M. Effect and Power Blackouts
(pages 130 - 137)
On November 9, 1965 the Northeastern region of the United States and Canada was abruptly plunged into blackness. The worst blackout on record came to be known as the "Big Blackout".
The facts are well known. At 5:16 pm, at the height of the evening rush hour, electrical power to one-sixth of the continent's population was suddenly cut off, trapping millions of people on expressways, in elevators and in office buildings. Altogether, thirty million people in eight U.S. states and in the province of Ontario were affected by the disruption (1)
In Ontario the blackout was confined to the eastern portion of the province - from Timmins in the north, across to Cornwall in the east and south toward Sarnia. Windsor, Ottawa and Sudbury were the only eastern centres to escape the blackout.(2) Yet within three hours power was restored to most parts of the province.
Mass media coverage naturally focussed on the human aspect of the blackout and to a lesser extent, on the delay in determining the cause of the breakdown.
There was, however, an even more dramatic story.
UFOs had been reported in the vicinity of strategic hydro installations at the time of the blackout. The impressive number of credible sightings led many researchers to consider the possible role these craft may have played in the power collapse.
The researchers included the late Dr. James E. MacDonald,(3) a physicist at the University of Arizona; former NICAP director Major Donald E. Keyhoe; and astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the current director of the Centre for UFO Studies.
Immediately following the breakdown, the U.S. Federal Power Commission and the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission launched a full-scale investigation into the cause. At first, it was reported that the trouble originated with a mechanical breakdown in a high voltage line between Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
According to the Toronto 'Globe & Mail':
The report turned out to be false. Then a sub-station near Syracuse was reported to be the cause of the failure, but repairmen found it in perfect condition. (4)
Finally, six days after the blackout, Ontario Hydro engineers traced the trouble to the mammoth Sir Adam Beck No.2 Generating Station at Queenston, Ontariom north of Niagra Falls.
It seems that just prior to the blackout, power was flowing from Sir Adam Beck No.2. into Ontario, then across the border via Cornwall into New York State. In graphic terms, power was flowing clockwise in a loop around Lake Ontario.
At 5:16pm, a backup relay on one of the six lines linking Sir Adam Beck tothe rest of the province mysteriously tripped the line's circuit breaker, which acts much like a household fuse.
In quick succession the cut-off power jumped to the other five lines, causing an overload that tripped the circuit breakers on these lines as well.
A veritable tidal wave of electricity - 1.1 million kilowatts - flowed in the opposite direction into New York State. (5) Inexplicably, the relays on the New York lines failed to isolate and contain the overload. Within seconds, the entire grid of thirty-one interconnected power utilities of CANUSE (Canada-United States Eastern Grid) had broken down.
Although experts could pinpoint the origin of the blackout, they were baffled by the cause of the relay malfunction and the failure of the protective systems to contain the overload.
In the words of Ontario Hydro's system supervising engineer, Jim Harris: "It's incredible! I would have said this was impossible if I hadn't seen the evidence." (6)
The mystery deepened when it was discovered that the relay had not in fact malfunctioned, but had merely reacted to a sudden surge of power from an unknown source.
As stated in the final report of the U.S. Federal Power Commission: "The precise cause of the backup relay energization is now known." (7) Where did the unexplained surge of power come from? To this day that question has remained unanswered.
Or has it?
Although inconclusive, one answer might lie in the findings of the late Dr. James McDonald who contended that the magnetic fields accompanying UFOs can create sudden power surges in transmission lines as the craft flies overhead.(8) In theory, these power surges could produce blackouts of massive proportions.
Since the 'Big Blackout', McDonald's theory has gained considerable support in the light of strong evidence confirming widespread UFO activity on that fateful evening.
The Syracuse Herald-Journal was inundated with calls reporting more than one hundred sightings in the Syracuse area.
One of the first came from Syracuse Deputy Aviation Commissioner, Robert C. Walsh, who was flying over Syracuse at the time of the blackout.(9) Despite the darkness, he managed to land safely at Hancock Airport.
Standing on the runway, with some airport officials he suddenly noticed an enormous circular ball of light, drifting overhead. "It appeared to be one hundred feet in the air and fifty feet in diameter.(10) It rose for several seconds, then suddenly disappeared. Moments later, a bewildered Walsh and his companions watched an identical device ascending over the airfieldm before mysteriously 'blinking out', as did its predecessor. Unlike the known high-speed plunges of fireballs, these craft moved upward at moderate speed - clearly under some form of intelligent control.
At the same time, the mysterious craft were also being observed overhead. Veteran flight instructor Weldon Ross and his student, James Brooking, were approaching the darkened airport when they spotted a second fiery object below.
The Giant craft, estimated at well over one hundred feet in diameter, appeared to be positioned directly over the Clay sub-station, a strategic installation that channels power from Niagara Falls to New York City.(11)
It was the same sub-station where hydro investigating teams had initially pinpointed the origin of the blackout.
In a relentless pursuit of a possible UFO-blackout relationship, Herald-Journal reporters succeeded in uncovering even more explosive evidence. In a front page story seven days after the blackout, the paper carried photographs of the mysterious red craft taken by Mr. William Stillwell, a sexton at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. He described what he had observed through a 117-power telescope:
The centre was rotating, around and around and around. It came from the direction of DeWitt and shot off at an angle and then went back the way it came. (12)
He had watched the glowing object for as long as two hours before it streaked away.
While investigating teams continued to dig for the mysterious cause of the power failure, press coverage of a possible UFO connection gained momentum.
In a strongly worded editorial, the Indianapolis Star urged:
The answer is fairly obvious - unidentified flying objects! It is one angle the multi-pronged investigation should not overlook.(13)
Support for the UFO possibility intensified as news of other sightings became known. In New York City, twenty minutes into the blackout, witnesses in the Time-Life Building spotted a peculiar glow in the sky over darkened Manhattan. According to Major Donald Keyhoe:
It appeared to come from a round object hovering over the city. This was tewenty minutes after the lights began to go out. Several photographs were taken by a Time Magazine photographer, one of which appeared in the November 19th issue. (14)
Although clearly visible in the photograph reproduced here, Time editors failed to make any reference in their photo-caption to the spindle-shaped craft. Journalistic oversight or deliberate omission? The only hit of any unusual aerial activity came in a facetious reference to a Soviet satellite:
Some New Yorkers, claiming that they had seen a satellite pass over at the moment the lights failed, argued that the Russians had done it again. (15)
But UFO investigator and author, the late Frank Edwards disagrees with both the UFO and the Soviet satellite explanations:
The spindle-shaped thing could have been a UFO--but it certainly wasn't. It was nothing more than an optical ghost, the result of reflections between the elements of an air-spaced lens.(16)
While disputing the validityof the Time photo, Edwards strongly supported the contention the UFOs were somehow involved in activating the blackout. In fact, while conducting his own investigation into the cause of the blackout he discovered that U.S. military authorities had been well aware of the UFO presence, at least forty-five minutes prior to the power failure.(17)
This startling disclosure came from two commercial pilots, Jerry Whitaker and George Croninger, who were flying over Tidioute, Pennsylvania, when they spotted two disc-shaped 'shiny objects' overhead.
Even more surprising was the sight of two military jets chasing the mysterious craft.
Moments later, one of the discs put on a 'burst of speed' and quickly outdistanced its pursuers. While watching the fast-disappearing UFO, the dazed pilots lost sight of the other object, which had presumably departed in the same manner.
The most spectacular UFO revelation, however, came one day prior to the releae of the 'official' explanation when, speaking before a nationwide televison audience, NBC commentator Frank McGee announced that a private pilot had spotted a "round, glowing object near the Niagra Falls power plant".(18)
Associated Press picked up the story and numerous newspapers subsequently carried it. The following morning, a well-documented article appeared in the New York Journal American blaming UFOs for the disastrous power-grid breakdown.
Any further media focus on the UFO connection was brought to an abrupt halt, however, with the release of the 'broken relay' explanation.
Despite mounting evidence, the Federal Power Commission had predictably chosen to side-step the possible UFO connection. This ommission was eventually confirmed by Dr. James E. McDonald who, as a respected scientist, was allowed to interview certain FPC officials.
They admitted they had the Syracuse and Niagara Falls reports, also most of the others on that night. But they wouldn't discuss the UFO possibility....No matter what they believed, I think they were convinced the facts shouldn't be given tothe public, and that's why they agreed to the 'broken relay' story. At any rate, it was obvious they were covering up (19)
Under the circumstances there seems to be a strong possibility that Canadian authorities were also involved in the cover-up. Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission investigators, having become aware of the UFO reports, collaborated with the FPC by exchanging information that eventually led to the 'broken relay' explanation.(20)
Furthermore, this explanation had apparently been pre-arranged and was released simultaneously in both countries.(21)
The Ontario Hydro press statement similarly neglected to include UFOs as the possible cause for the blackout.
One reputable American ufologist went so far as to point an accusing finger at the late Lester B. Pearson, then prime minister. Major Donald Keyhoe contends that:
To shift attention from the UFO explanation, the 'broken relay' story was invented. Since this could be construed as blaming Canada, the Prime Minister must have been convinced it was best for both countries not to disclose the true situation.(22)
It that was the case, then it represents one of the most shocking deceptions ever perpetrated - leaving the heads of thirty-one utility companies and thirty million people to grope around in the dark in more ways than one! - MUFON Ontario
(1) Time Magazine (November 19, 1965) Canadian Edition, p.24.
(2) Ibid. p.23B.
(3) John G. Fuller, 'Aliens in the Skies: The New UFO Battle of the Scientists' (New York: G.P. Putnam and Sons, 1969), p.85.
(4) Toronto Globe and Mail, November 16, 1965.
(6) Ontario Hydro, Hydroscope, Vol. 2. No. 40 (November 19, 1965) p.2.
(7) James M. McCampbell, 'Ufology: New Insights from Science and Common Sense' (Belmont, Ca.: Jaymac Company, 1973), p. 57.
(8) James E. McDonald, Statement prepared for the Hearings before A Committee of the U.S. Federal Power Commission.
(9) Frank Edwards, 'Flying Saucers: Serious Business' (New York: Bantam Books, 1966), p. 147.
(11) Donald E, Keyhoe, 'Aliens From Space' (Toronto: The New American Library of Canada Limited, 1973), p. 172.
(12) Frank Edwards, op. cit., p. 148.
(13) Donald E. Keyhoe, op., cit. p. 176.
(14) Ibid. p. 172.
(15) Time Magazine, op. cit., p. 28A.
(16) Frank Edwards, op. cit., p. 149.
(18) Donald E. Keyhoe, op. cit., p. 177.
(19) Ibid., p. 182.
(20) Toronto Globe and Mail, op. cit.
(22) Donald E. Keyhoe, op. cit., p. 180.
Links to sources describing the incident - Archive - 1965 Blackout
Evidence looking at the possible UFO – New York City blackout connection was even brought in front of congress. Dr. James E. McDonald, a top Ufologist of the day and University of Arizona professor, testified on the possible UFO connection to the northeast blackout in front of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics at July 29, 1968, Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects, Rayburn Bldg., Washington, D.C. Among the congressmen who listened in was the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
The congressmen were impressed enough with the evidence that they questioned Dr. McDonald on his theory of UFO electromagnetic effects being able to black out huge sections of the country. One exchange occurred with Representative William F. Ryan, a Democrat from New York City.
Mr. Ryan: Let me ask a further question: In the course of your investigation and your study of UFO sightings, have you found any cases where contemporaneously with the sighting of UFO's allegedly, there were any other events which took place, which might or might not be related to the UFO's?
Dr. McDonald: Yes. Certainly there are many physical effects. For instance, in Mr. Pettis' district, several people found the fillings in their mouth hurting while this object was nearby, but there are many cases probably on record of car ignition failure. One famous case was at Levelland, Tex., in 1957. Ten vehicles were stopped within a short area, all independently in a 2-hour period, near Levelland, Tex. There was no lightning or thunder storm, and only a trace of rain.
There is another, which I don't know whether to bring to the committee's attention or not. The evidence is not as conclusive as the car stopping phenomenon, but there are too many instances for me to ignore. UFO's have often been seen hovering near power facilities. There are a small number but still a little too many to seem pure fortuitous chance, of system outages, coincident with the UFO sighting. One of the cases was Tamaroa, Ill. Another was a case in Shelbyville, Ky., early last year.
"Then there are scattered instances in which substantial power distribution systems have failed at or very near the time of observation of aerial phenomena similar, broadly speaking, to one or another UFO phenomenon. I have personally checked on several such instances and am satisfied that the coincidence of UFO observation and power outage did at least occur. Whether there is a causal connection here, and in which direction it may run, remains quite uncertain. Even during the large Northeast blackout, November 9, 1965, there were many UFO observations, several of which I have personally checked..."
"I interviewed a woman in Seacliff, N.Y. She saw a disk hovering and going up and down. And then shooting away from New York just after the power failure. I went to the FPC for data, they didn't take them seriously although they had many dozens of sighting reports for that famous evening. There were reports all over New England in the midst of that blackout, and five witnesses near Syracuse, N.Y., saw a glowing object ascending within about a minute of the blackout. First they thought it was a dump burning right at the moment the lights went out. It is rather puzzling that the pulse of current that tripped the relay at the Ontario Hydro Commission plant has never been identified, but initially the tentative suspicion was centered on the Clay Substation of the Niagara Mohawk network right there in the Syracuse area, where unidentified aerial phenomenon has been seen by some of the witnesses."
This extends down to the limit of single houses losing their power when a UFO is near. The hypothesis in the case of car stopping is that there might be high magnetic fields, d.c. fields, which saturate the [ignition system solenoid] core and thus prevent the pulses going through the system to the other side. Just how a UFO could trigger an outage on a large power network is however not yet clear. But this is a disturbing series of coincidences that I think warrant much more attention than they have so far received.
Mr. Ryan: As far as you know, has any agency investigated the New York blackout in relation to UFO?
Dr. McDonald: None at all. when I spoke to the FPC people, I was dissatisfied with the amount of information I could gain. I am saying there is a puzzling and slightly disturbing coincidence here. I'm not going on record as saying, yes, these are clear-cut cause and effect relations. I'm saying it ought to be looked at. There is no one looking at this relation between UFO's and outages.
Although the Pentagon was reporting nothing had been seriously affected, there were facts that showed this was not true. There was secret information that indicated that the situation was much more complex than just a power blackout.
Only a couple days after the blackout a book called "Strike From Space" appeared in the bookstores. Conservative activists Phyllis Schlafly and Rear Admiral Chester Ward (Ret) authored the book. Although it dealt mostly with the growing threat of Soviet space weapons and the Johnson White House’s inability to deal with the problem, the book did describe some serious events that were never really made public.
Schlafly and Ward relied on the counsel of a cast of military advisors for their book. Some of those names that included some names that have become very prominent in the UFO community. One was General Cutis LeMay who told Senator Barry Goldwater that not only could he not see the rumored Blue Room at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, but he should never even ask about it again. The second key advisor to the book was Hoover Institution strategic theorist Dr Stefan Possony, who had been attendee at the 1953 CIA UFO Scientific Advisory Panel meetings.
The book claimed that not only had the lights gone out all over the eastern United States, in an underground command post called High Point, near Berryville, Virginia, Air Force Colonel J Leo Bourassa was picking up nuclear alerts from a national network of nuclear blast detection devices called System 210-A, or "Bomb Alarm.":
"The Bomb Alarm display board at High Point was blazing with yellow lights, indicating that communications links to the BMEWS site in Thule, Greenland, as well as twenty-one other System 210-A sites, had gone down. But worse – much worse – two of the sensors, the ones for Salt Lake City and Charlotte, North Carolina, were showing red. Red for nuclear detonations. Bourassa assumed the worst – that a surgical nuclear attack was under way – and placed Mt Weather on full alert. It was the one and only time that the facility went on alert during the Cold War."
Bourassa called the full alert and called it off a couple days later. It was probably the type of action that he liked, in light of the fact that in November 1954 Bourassa quit his government job "because of not enough work to do."
Exactly one month later he would be busy again. This time it would involve the possible recovery of an object in Kecksburg Pennsylvania. - www.presidentialufo.com
Mysterious Lights Over Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls Reporter - 10/25/2005
In a Nov. 19, 1965, Ontario Hydro Hydroscope article, system supervising engineer Jim Harris was at a loss to explain the incident.
"It's incredible! I would have said this was impossible if I hadn't seen the evidence," he said.
Just two weeks before the blackout, on Sept. 22, 1965, in an article entitled "Many report seeing two UFOs," the Gazette chronicled the activity near the power plants.
"Dozens of persons Tuesday night watched two unidentified flying objects moving and hovering over this area for more than an hour," the article stated. "The objects, bright lights which changed color, were below cloud level and remained at a fairly low level during most of the period they were observed. "Observers said the objects were not helicopters or conventional aircraft. At one point, about 8 p.m., the two objects, which had been widely separated when viewed earlier, approached each other on a collision course until they 'teamed up' and moved off close together toward Buffalo," the article added. The objects were first sighted "on the Canadian side of the river, at a point opposite Lewiston." In other words, over Queenston and the Sir Adam Beck plant.
Among the witnesses named in the article were State Trooper John Riehl, Alden residents Roselle Simon and Leonard Butler, and V.D. Price and Raymond Bright, employees of the American Standard Division in North Tonawanda.
"This was not a satellite. Satellites travel in straight lines and within a few minutes they are gone," Bright told the Gazette. "This hung in the sky for about half an hour. It would move off in one direction and then stop. Then it would change direction and move off again."
The relationship between the blackout and reported UFO activity wasn't lost on the scientific community. In a statement prepared for hearings held on the blackout by the Federal Power Commission, University of Arizona physicist Dr. James McDonald contended that magnetic fields accompanying UFOs could cause sudden power surges and could, theoretically, trigger a blackout.
Writing about the event on April 2, 1968, Gazette reporter Joe Donaldson recalled the reports on the night of the blackout.
"After the big blackout, spokesmen for the power firms denied a strange light was spotted over the Beck Station the night of Nov. 9. Since then, however, they have admitted that sightings were reported by hundreds of people," the veteran newsman wrote.
But gradually, the "broken two-dollar switch" theory as to the cause of the disaster became the accepted version of events. This would not mark the end of credible reports of UFOs in Niagara Falls, however.
On Aug. 4, 1966, the Gazette reported "Bright, high-flying, fast moving objects observed during the night and similarly described by three Niagara Falls residents."
This time the witnesses were Mrs. George Haberle of the Parkway Apartments and 91st Street residents Russell Sorenberger and Bill Nelson. Ironically, attempts by the paper to reach Capt. Harry Meir, chief of operations and training at Niagara Falls Air Base, were unsuccessful because Meir had been in Erie, Pa., investigating another UFO report.
Two Niagara Falls city policemen and a former Air Force radar chief had their own close encounters over a 48-hour period in August 1967.
According to an Aug. 25, 1967, Gazette article, the two officers, Patrolmen Anthony Caraglin and David Greene, saw a pair of UFOs while patrolling at 19th Street and Mackenna Avenue. They filed an official report of the incident.
"We saw two objects in the sky -- one object went in an easterly direction then went northeasterly. As the object went out of sight it appeared to give off different colored lights. While the object was in sight it was a solid white light and appeared to be round.
"Object Two was the same as Object One but went from south to north and went out of sight. Both objects were in view for approximately 15 minutes and appeared to be very high," the report stated. Howard Kay of Youngstown was working at DuPont that night. An eight-year Air Force radar chief, he told the Gazette the object he saw over the Niagara River near Buffalo Avenue looked like "an inverted cereal bowl and was lit up." Perhaps predictably, USAF Information Officer Thomas White said he knew nothing about the UFOs.
"I have checked with the U.S. Air Force Station in Lockport, and the 763rd Radar Squadron there reports no objects logged by their radar screens at these times," he told the Gazette.
Eight months later, on April 2, 1968, no fewer than three NFPD patrolmen reported UFOs from two separate locations.
The pulsating lights hovered for nearly an hour in the vicinity of the Beck Station, the officers said.
Patrolmen Thomas Shumway and William Wells watched the lights from Lewiston Road and Hyde Park Boulevard.
"They were like something I had never seen before," Shumway told the Gazette. "They were in formation and they were pulsating."
Shumway said the red, white and blue lights did not come from an airplane and were motionless until they suddenly shot away to the northwest at a tremendous rate of speed.
At the same time, Patrolman Richard Adkins confirmed the lights were hovering across the Niagara River from the Robert Moses Power Plant and near the Beck Station. He said the lights were about 1,000 feet in the air and that, from time to time, a red streak of light would pass through the formation. While strange lights are still occasionally reported in the Niagara skies, it appears that 1965 to 1968 represented something of a golden age for UFO sightings here.
And in the presence of so much documentation and credible testimony by trained observers, it seems difficult to deny that something was going on. What -- exactly -- the mysterious objects were will likely never be known. It is interesting to note that the Air Force employed a device to disrupt electrical power in the city of Belgrade during the Kosovo war. Could some early testing of a similar device have resulted in the 1965 blackout? - www.niagarafallsreporter.com
There were also a number of reports of anomalous lights, and speculation that the blackout may have been the related to UFO activity in some way - UFO reports on November 9, 1965
The Blackout of 1965 and the Fireball