1978 Elsberry UFO Flap

On July 27, 1978 at approximately 12:30 AM, Mrs. Clora Winscher was returning to her home in Arnold, Mo., south of St. Louis, after a visit with her brother in Beaufort, Mo., about fifty miles west of Arnold, when her car, a 1974 Mercury Comet was struck from behind and lifted off the ground.


By 11:30PM  the violent thunderstorms which had battered Missouri from the Lake of the Ozarks to Hannibal were finally quieting down and moving through to Illinois. It was shortly after midnight when she said her good byes and started home over Highway 50, a route she traveled often. She had just passed through downtown Union when, suddenly, out of the darkness, she saw what she thought to be a semi-tractor trailer barreling toward her, she braced for impact, but instead her car was engulfed in a blinding white light. At that moment she felt the rear end of the car rise from the pavement throwing her forward. She found herself looking down at the illuminated pavement through the windshield. The inside of the car heated up slightly fogging the windows. The vehicle shook violently, vibrated and swayed from side to side as she desperately tried to control it. The car was quickly approaching the Bourbeuse River Bridge; she struggled to keep the car from going into the water. She pressed hard on the accelerator pedal the engine revved but had no traction. All she could do was aim the car for the center of the two lane road and pray she didn’t hit the steel truss bridge spanning the river. Seconds before reaching the bridge the light disappeared and the car was released giving her control once again. She guided the car across and pulled to the shoulder. Taking out a flashlight from the glove box she went around to the back of the car expecting to find it severely damaged. She saw nothing unusual. (An examination of the car in daylight showed two indentations on the trunk lid; paint in and around the indentations was unbroken.) Not wanting to return to Union, she drove to Arnold and reported the incident to the local police. Around 4:00 AM, she and her husband Ken returned to Union to file a formal report with the Union police. By the next morning the Union Police would have three more reports to file.


On Wednesday evening, July 26, around 8:00 PM, Jeannie Carter, of Union, and two friends were on Highway 50 East, just outside the Union city limit, when they noticed a “big orange ball, very bright in color in the sky. It was bigger than the moon, but much lower, and flames appeared to be coming off the left side of the ball." The three followed it out Highway 50 for approximately ten minutes until it turned down a road and disappeared.


On the same night in Union, between 9:30 and 10:00 PM, Mrs. Ruth Stieffermann and her two children, aged 15 and 25, reported seeing an unusually bright light, white in color, in the sky. All three family members watched for about a minute as the light crossed the sky in a westward direction. It was not blinking as an airplane would nor could any sound be heard as it passed at treetop level.


At approximately 11:00 PM, two witnesses, who wished to remain anonymous, reported seeing something which looked like a “brightly lit Ferris Wheel type object” near Hartman’s bridge on North Bend Road one mile south of the Bourbeuse River Bridge on Highway 50. The object was “hanging sideways” and appeared to be a grayish color underneath” with ”bright colored lights ringing the outside”. No sound was heard by the witnesses.


Around 12:15 A.M on Thursday morning, July 27, six miles west of Highway 50 and the Bourbeuse River Bridge, another sighting occurred. Mrs. Velma Clines went to her kitchen to get a glass of water. Looking out her window she noticed an “orange-red ball” which “glittered” around the edges, come from the east over the treetops toward her house, then veer suddenly south toward Highway 50.” The soundless object headed south and she went out on her porch to watch it. Returning to the kitchen she then saw a second orange-red ball follow the first toward Highway 50. She watched until it disappeared behind some trees. Both were orange in color, soundless, and were traveling at treetop level. It was around this time that Clora Winscher was driving east over Highway 50 to her home in Arnold.


 Clora Winscher has not been as lucky as the other witnesses. She has been plagued with physical problems since that night in July 1978. The next day and for weeks after her body ached and she had recurring headaches. One week after the incident she awoke to find blood on her pillow coming from her nose and ear. Dental filings on her right side of her mouth were loose, three teeth abscessed, one was pulled and the other cleared up but she still has problems. She noticed that her fingernails were loose on her left hand, ring and little fingers, making it difficult to type. The nail problem is still present today and affects the entire hand. Her hair began thinning only on the right side.  When I asked her how it was that her hair and teeth were damaged on the right side and her nails were loose on the left, she responded that she had put her left hand over her face with the fingertips close to the right side hairline. She also mentioned that she found her wedding ring, which normally would be difficult to get off, lying on the passenger side seat. She had no idea when or why it came off.


Map of sightings

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