The UFO Theory

“Newdog’s Law” states that “the longer any sufficiently interesting mystery remains unsolved, the probability that someone will suggest aliens as a culprit approaches 100%.” The same is true of the Sagebrush Mountain Incident, and UFO-related theories were in wide circulation as early as mid-1998.

Strange lights in the skies over the area had been reported in late July and early September, with the July incident being featured in a news segment for local broadcaster K6BM in August. Amateur video and trail camera footage collected for the broadcast is inconclusive, with some bright lights visible but no way to rule out thunderstorms or low-flying aircraft.

Sagebrush Mountain was mentioned in the final report for Project Blue Book as well; an incident in 1957 and another in 1967 were both investigated before the project was terminated in 1969. The first incident, dated September 11, 1957, was for “clusters of low-lying lights” over the mountain and the outskirts of Findlay, with four reports over two days from locals. The second, dated September 16 1967, reported “silent flashes” in the sky and “cold fire in the woods” and was noted from a single eyewitness, name and details redacted. Officially, the 1957 incident was classified as a sighting of the experimental U-2 from Dugway, while the 1967 sighting was dismissed as “unreliable.”

Three of the hikers were involved in the Findlay UFO Club, a group ostensibly devoted to researching supposed alien activity in the area: Jose Ramirez Jr., William Reznik, and Carrie Mercer. A fourth hiker, Reznik’s girlfriend Maria Cruz, had attended some meeting as well, though she supposedly called it “stupid” at family dinners afterward.

The working theory behind this approach also takes note of the fact that Reznik and Ramirez were the last two hikers to join, though both were well-known to Patricia Mercer as former students. Since the previous two UFO sightings had taken place in mid-September on Sagebrush Mountain with a ten-year gap, they may have joined in order to see any return for themselves. A variety of rumors continue to abound over 1977 and 1987 sightings, as well. And for the only surviving member of the UFO Club to be ‘abducted’ by shadowy figures only adds to the mystery.

Of course, it is now well-known that flights from Dugway often pass over the area, which may explain the lights in many if not all cases. And while much rumor suggests UFO sightings in 1977/1987, exhaustive archival searches have turned up no evidence. The lone observer from 1967 has never been identified, and 1957 observers had all died by 1997, making their stories impossible to corroborate. And there is no coherent explanation of why aliens might abduct a member of the UFO Club while murdering three others–to say nothing of the fact that surviving club members claimed that it was nothing more than a group that watched science fiction movies.

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