SOUTHWEST FLORIDA -- Is true life stranger than fiction when it comes to UFO's? Well meet some Florida men who have a story to tell; one that changed the way they see the skies forever.
On The X-Files, agents Scully and Mulder always seem to find the mystery. But these two Floridians say in the late 1960's, the mystery found them.
Bill Schroeder and his cousin Dennis Force were both in the military, stationed in South Florida during the cold war with Russia. "Our primary responsibility was the defense of South Florida from targets. We routinely had Russian bear bombers flying along the coast and our job was to keep an eye on them, and if anything penetrated air space to shoot them down," says Schroeder.
And they both remember the night they say America's sensitive military equipment picked up on something zooming through the skies. "They had several unidentified flying objects. They didn't know what they were, all they knew was they were going in excess of 5,000 mph," says Force.
"It was clear they were flying a grid pattern. The amazing thing about it was they were doing perfect right angle turns at almost supersonic speed, which...that immediately caught my eye because that was something I had never seen before. I've tracked every kind of aircraft and helicopter and everything that had been in the sky that I'd probably seen. I've never seen anything with the capability of doing that," says Schroeder.
They've shared their experience with the online group, the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON for short, which tells Fox 4 by phone that the cousins' story is one of many. "Florida has a plethora of case files. We roughly reach about 40 to 50 cases a month. Typically we are number two in the country for reports."
At least one memorable report came from numerous people in Cape Coral. "They described it as completely silent with the lights on and they saw these large stadium like lights that were pointed down and was traveling along the skyline of Cape Coral."
Another report came man from Fort Myers who said he was injured in a UFO encounter in the Everglades. "This thick beam of light came out and hit him in the forehead, where he was described as a sledgehammer. He was knocked out. In fact he was knocked out for twenty four hours, according to doctors."
The night of their experience, the cousins say the Air Force sent supersonic fighters to intercept what was flying through the sky. But say the jets found nothing, leaving a sense of bewilderment and awe back at the Battle Control Center, or BCC. "I was an 18 year old kid and I stood behind the BCC with a smile on my face, looking up at the sky, knowing that I was in on one of the biggest secrets in history. For the rest of my life I watched the sky at night."
They're not surprised their experience has never been confirmed by the military. "It's one of those great mysteries. I don't think the government will ever disclose, personally," says Schroeder.
And they wonder about the possibility of a return visit from UFO's. "I keep waiting for them to pick me up, because I'd be gone."
Gone, and perhaps finally proving the truth is out there.
If you've got a UFO experience to share, Mufon wants to hear from you. You can contact them at http://www.mufon.com/