History of UFO Sightings – Montana

This is a “condensed” listing of significant historical UFO sightings that have occurred in Montana. UFO cases are listed in ascending order by date.  A list of resources is included with each case.

Alleged UFO Crash
August 14, 1870
Near Bannock, Montana

If this report is true, it could be the oldest “documented” UFO crash. Through local contacts I was put in touch with a gentleman (referred to as Mr. H.) who is a retired pilot and “treasure hunter” and resides in Dillon, MT. He knew the curator (Everett Johnson) of a museum in Dillon, MT. The curator is now deceased. Mr. H. obtained a diary of a gentleman named Tom Melton who managed the “Knotts Stage Station” south of Dillon in 1870. The diary was obtained to ascertain leads to potential locations of precious metals. An entry was made to the diary on August 14, 1870 where Mr. Melton said that a space craft crashed in a mountain valley south of Dillon. Apparently metallic debris can still be found at the alleged crash site.


Detailed Report and site survey available at the following link from UFOS Northwest Blog:

Report on UFO Crash Near Bannock, MT – Aug 14, 1870

Udo Wartena Contact Case
May, 1940
Diamond City, Montana
(Diamond City is about 30 miles east of the capital city of Helena, MT.)

This case was not “brought to light” until 1997 when it was presented at the annual MUFON (Mutual UFO Symposium) by Australian UFO researcher Warren Aston. Later that year a copy of Aston’s report landed on the desk of Townsend, MT Mayor Mary Alice Tupton. Townsend is the  nearest community to the location of Udo’s encounter.  On December 24, 1997, the local weekly newspaper featured a lengthy front-page article about Udo Wartena and that article was reprinted in Helena’s Independent Record in early January.

A brief summary of Udo’s encounter: Udo was working for Northwest Mining Co. He was prospecting and had some large boulders to move. He heard a noise like a high flying plane. As the noise continued, he thought that a car had driven up so he got up on higher ground. He saw where he had the dam in the main ditch a large object. (He called it a ship.) It looked like a blimp, only more pointed on each end and not as thick through the middle. It was about 35 feet thick and 100 feet long. As he stood there a stairway came down. He saw a man coming down the stairway and he came closer to me. He stopped about about 10 to 12 feet from Udo. The man was nice looking, looked to be about 35 years old. He wore a light gray pair of coveralls, a tam on his head and he had slippers on his feet. He spoke English, was intelligent and appeared to be pleasant.

He asked Udo if he wanted to see his ship. The ship was round like two dinner plates one inverted over the other. The ship appeared to have a diameter of well over 100 feet.  The ship was metallic and looked like stainless steel. As he entered the ship he noticed an older man with white hair. He also discovered that the younger man also had white hair. Udo heard a humming sound outside and a slight sound when he was in the ship. The ship had nice indirect lighting near the ceiling and had nice upholstered benches around the sides. The ship was gathering water and began hovering. The beings asked Udo what he was interested in. He asked how the ship functioned. The beings said that the ship ran on the energy from stars and also used the gravity of stars to propel it through space. The outside rim of the ship had two fly wheels one turning in the opposite direction. This provided the ship with it’s own gravitation. Udo asked why the beings were here. They said that came to mingle with us, gather information and help where needed.

Udo saw a light come on. That was a signal that the ship was finished gathering water so Udo thought it was time to leave. Udo exited through the retractable stairway. The ship then rose straight up and in short time was invisible. Udo noticed some portholes that opened up when the ship ascended.


Bird, Joan, Montana UFOs And Extraterrestrials, Riverbend Publishing, 2013.

MUFON Symposium, 1997, An Analysis of the 1949 Udo Watena Case, Discovering the Alien Agenda, Warren P. Aston.

Nicolas “Nick” Mariana UFO Film
August 5 (or 15th), 1950
Great Falls, Montana

Nick Mariana was a manager of a local baseball team (Great Falls Electrics) was inspecting a local baseball field prior to a game. He saw 2 odd bright lights. The time of the sighting was approximately 11:30 AM Mountain Time. He retrieved his 16 mm movie camera and began to film the objects which were now moving. He captured them moving behind a water tower which offered a frame of reference for measuring distance, size, altitude, azimuth and approximate speed.

Investigation revealed that the baseball team had no local games between August 9 and 18 so the date of August 5, 1950 is the likely date of the sighting. Later in the year Mariana gave the film to an Air Force officer for analysis. The officer said that the film was likely of jet interceptors in the area at the time of sighting. Mariana and his secretary (also witnessed sighted) disagreed saying that they saw jets in another area of the sky at the time of the sighting.

In 1952 the Air Force at Wright-Patterson Field in Dayton, OH again reviewed the film. The Navy also apparently reviewed the film.  Mariana claimed that the Air Force removed the 35 best frames when the film was returned to him.

All studies of the film agree that the film was not faked and that the objects appeared to be disc shaped. The Edward Condon committee that investigated significant Air Force Project Blue Book UFO cases eliminated the objects being birds, balloons, mirages, or meteors and considered it unlikely, although not impossible that the objects were jets.


Bird, Joan, Montana UFOs And Extraterrestrials, Riverbend Publishing, 2013.

Dolan, Richard, M., UFO’s And The National Security State, An Unclassified History, Volume One, 1941 – 1973, Keyhole Publishing Company, 2000.

Condon, Edward. U, Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, Bantam Publishing, 1969.

Secret at Redgate
Deer Lodge Valley, Montana

An account of strange encounters in the Deer Lodge Valley was revealed through a video documentary produced by the late Jim Marrs and Lynda Croonquist/Cowen. Lynda and her brother Steve recalled through hypnosis accounts of contact with strange gray beings when they were youngsters.

Later, after painful surgery Lynda started having memory flashes of strange childhood events and she got interested in remote viewing (kind of a psychic way of seeing things distant in space-time, like clairvoyance in a way). And she found out from family that they had some weird alien and UFO experiences in the Deer Lodge valley; there are lots of stories apparently.

Cowen said, “My brother consciously remembers having a lot of encounters with aliens as a child — playing with them as a child…We didn’t know anything about them growing up.” Her brother Steve “not only confirmed the contact, but was actually shocked that Lynda didn’t fully remember the incident. ‘You were there,’ he said. ‘You talked with our little grey friends. I don’t understand why you didn’t remember this.’ ” At the time, Steve was 7 and Lynda was 5. As adults, they went through hypnosis to recover associated memories. “Lynda vividly described multiple trips aboard UFOs and her interaction with a variety of alien beings, including a kind and compassionate one that looked like a preying mantis. As there were no preying mantis’s in Montana, Lynda named this entity the “Grasshopper Lady”. Steve described his visit to another world, one filled with canals under a dim sun.”

I saw this documentary when it first aired at the film festival in 2004 at the International UFO Congress. It won the People’s Choice film award at the film festival. Both Lynda Cowen and Jim Marrs discussed production of the video at the festival. It is a well produced documentary and contains many one on one interviews with residents in Deer Lodge who have had accounts of UFO sightings over the years. Both Lynda and Steve Cowen were hypnotized by Dr. Leo Sprinkle (retired psychologist from the University of Wyoming). They revealed details of their strange encounters while under hypnosis. I recommend this video to anyone interested in the UFO enigma and possible alien contacts.


The Secret of Redgate, Video Documentary, Produced by Lynda Cowen & Directed by Jim Marrs, 2004

Man Encounters Space Ship and Alien Beings
October 21, 1963 – 8:15 PM Mountain Time
Between Ennis, Montana and Sappington Junction

Leo Dworshak had encounters with alien beings dating back to 1932.  His earlier experiences were in North Dakota. Years later in Montana he began to have the same experiences. He was driving between Ennis, Montana and Sappington Junction in 1962 with his family and saw the same space ship that he had seen in the 1930’s in North Dakota. He did not stop to investigate. A year later he was driving through the same area and felt “compelled” to hike up to the area where he thought that the ship had landed in 1962.  After a hike of 3 miles he saw the ship. The same beings that he encountered over 30 years before came out of the ship. Mr. Dworshak and the beings touched each other on the shoulder. The beings were quite ordinary looking and had skin that looked “well tanned.” The beings had been keeping track of him over the years and knew everything about him. They even knew about his brother who was killed in the Korean War in 1950. After a short visit Mr. Dworshak left to hike back to his vehicle. It was dark and the aliens shed light on him for the three mile hike back to his vehicle. He said that they also warmed the area around him as it was cold outside. They told Mr. Dworshak that they were returning back to their galaxy and that he wouldn’t see them again.


Dworshak, Leo, UFOs Are With Us – Take My Word, Dorrance Publishing, 2003.

Bird, Joan, Montana UFOs And Extraterrestrials, Riverbend Publishing, 2013.

The Canyon Ferry Landing
April 29, 1964
Canyon Ferry Reservoir (Near Helena, Montana)

Headlines in the Helena Independent Record newspaper on April 30, 1964 read: Spaceship (?) Lands Near Helena. The article heading was titled: Children Report Sighting of Strange Craft. About 9:30 PM on April 29, 1964 eleven year old Linda said that she saw a glow on her bedroom curtains and ran outside where her brother and some friends had been playing. The witnesses all reported seeing a glowing oval or egg shaped craft about the size of an automobile land and take off when four of the youngsters approached it.

Note: This sighting was determined to be a hoax. It is listed here because it resulted in a local newspaper headline (Helena Independent Record) and was investigated by specialists from Air Force Project Blue Book. Blue book also concluded that the sighting was a hoax. It was thought to be a copycat hoax of a UFO landing that occurred in Socorro, New Mexico reported by a police officer earlier in the year. The New Mexico case has never been explained.

Air Force Project Blue Book sent investigators to the area. According to the Blue Book archives they classified the sighting as a hoax. A few photos were included in the Blue Book archives, but they are of poor quality.

Bird, Joan, Montana UFOs And Extraterrestrials, Riverbend Publishing, 2013.

Project Blue Book Archives

UFO’s and The Minuteman Missiles
March 16 and March 24, 1967
Several Minuteman Silos in Montana
Oscar and Echo Minuteman Launch Facilities (MLF)

On March 16, 1967 Minuteman I Missile shutdowns were reported at the Echo Launch Facility (LCF) .  UFO activity was reported in the area.  Over a week later missile shutdowns were reported at the Oscar LCF near Roy, Montana. The missile LCF’s were under the command of Malmstrom Air Force Base (AFB) in Great Falls, Montana. Two guards above the Oscar facility reported an orange-red ball like object hovering over the launch pad. All missiles (10) under the control of the launch facility became inoperable right after the UFO was reported.  Each of the these missiles were mounted with a 10 megaton warhead. A subsequent investigation by Boeing Aerospace did not show any abnormalities and there never was loss of power. Similar shutdowns had been reported in 1966 over Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.  Also several civilian witnesses had reported UFO activity in Montana near the time of the incidents. The Condon Committee was hired by the Air Force in 1966 to conduct an independent investigation of Air Force Project Blue Book cases. Project Blue Book ran from 1947 to 1969.  The committee did not even investigate the Montana missile shutdown incidents.

Allegedly there were reports of similar missile shutdowns at LCF’s under the command of Malmstrom AFB in 1966. Also there were several reports of UFO activity that triggered alarms at minuteman LCF’s at Ellsworth AFB near Rapid City, SD in 1966.


Bird, Joan, Montana UFOs And Extraterrestrials, Riverbend Publishing, 2013.

Salas, Robert and Klotz, James, Faded Giant, Privately Published, 2004

Dolan, Richard, UFOs and the National Security State, An Unclassified History Volume One: 1941 – 1973, Keyhole Publishing, 2000

Condon, Edward. U, Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, Bantam Publishing, 1969.

UFOs Northwest Case Report: Two Veterans Talk About Ellsworth AFB UFO Invasion of Missile Silos – June, 1966

Cattle Mutilations & Crop Circles
Location(s): Throughout Montana

Joan Bird talks about crop circles reported in Montana in her chapter: Cereal Mystery: Crop Circles in Montana. Although crop circles are not UFO’s, they are a related phenomenon. These incidents will not be described further. Those interested are urged to read the chapter in Joan Bird’s book. (See references below.) A few crop circles have been reported in the past few years in Montana. These reports are described on this blog and can be viewed by selecting crop circles from the top menu.

Cattle mutilations are also common in Montana. Again they are not UFO’s, but UFO activity has frequently been reported in areas mutilations have occurred.  Ex Cascade County Sheriff Keith Wolverton wrote a book on cattle mutilations titled: Mystery Stalks the Prairie. (See references below). Also a few more recent cattle mutilations are discussed on this blog. Readers can access cattle mutilations by selection of cattle mutilations from the top menu.


Bird, Joan, Montana UFOs And Extraterrestrials, Riverbend Publishing, 2013.

Donovan, Roberta & Wolverton, Keith, Mystery Stalks The Prairie, T.H.A.R. Institute, 1976

Encounters With Star People, Untold Stories of American Indians
Locations: Throughout U.S. (Some in Montana)

In 2012 retired Montana State University Professor Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke published a book with the above title. She offered up a collection of intimate narratives of encounters between contemporary American Indians and the Star People. The first person accounts, described as conscious experiences and recalled without the aid of hypnosis, reveal a worldview that unquestionably accepts the reality of the Star People. The stories also reveal cultures that almost universally regard Star People as ancestors which allows for interactions that take place without fear and helps explain the uniqueness of the encounters and experiences.

A few of the stories are about events that occurred before the 1947 Roswell incident, however, the majority of the events took place between 1990 and 2010.


Clarke, Ardy Sixkiller, Encounters With Star People, Untold Stories of American Indians, Anomalist Books, 2012