UFO Town: Celebrate World UFO Day with these unexplained sightings in Naperville

Do you want to believe? If you do, Naperville might be the perfect place to explore the outer limits.

In celebration of World UFO Day, July 2, we take a look at some of the weird, unexplainable, possibly alien events in Naperville history.

The National UFO Reporting Center has recorded 30 UFO sightings in Naperville between 1997 and 2013. Evidence of the sightings ranges from firsthand accounts of mystical red lights floating in the night sky to daylight videos of mysterious, triangle-shaped objects.

This event, catalogued by the National UFO Reporting Center, occurred on September 12, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. in Naperville, Illinois.  The sighting report states:

sighting report 1

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The most notable Naperville UFO sighting occurred on March 26, 1962 and remains one of the 701 unexplained cases in Project Blue Book, a study of Unidentified Flying Objects by the U.S. Air Force that began in 1952.

Diane Ladley, a local ufologist, tour guide and author of “Naperville’s Haunted Memories” investigated the 1962 sighting. Ladley sat down to talk with us about famous Naperville sightings, her own close encounter and what still shocks her about UFOs.

Q. What’s the story behind the March 26, 1962 UFO sighting in Naperville?

A. We have a very prestigious place in ufology. What happened, and it’s a very succinct paragraph in Project Blue Book, is this: It took place on March 26, 1962 at 11:40 p.m. Two Naperville women, a Mrs. D. Wheeler and Claudine Milligan, saw six to eight flying red balls of light precisely arranged in a rectangle and the suddenly melded together into two brightly lit objects. The sighting lasted about 15 minutes.

That was the full report, but I did a little more research myself. I found that they were neighbors and had a farm close to the Naperville Nike silo missile site and that wasn’t reported anywhere. But it was often noted that UFO sightings were always around missile bases and nuclear factories. So sure enough, they saw something back in 1962 when the Nike silo base was there.

Project Blue Book March 1962 sightings  |  Screen shot

Project Blue Book March 1962 sightings | Screen shot

Q. Are there any other notable UFO sightings that you’ve researched?

A. There was one person who I actually spoke with and she was a 911 emergency dispatcher in Naperville. She said she was out on a break. It was very breezy out, this is right near the Naperville Police station. All of a sudden she looked up between two trees and saw this cone-sphere and it was absolutely motionless in the sky, which was very unusual because the wind was a good 30 mph and there was this object just hovering there. There’s an airport nearby and she saw a Cessna 172 series aircraft fly by, but she said it was absolutely not an aircraft because  planes move in the sky. She knew it had to be some kind of UFO.

Q. When you’re investigating UFO sightings, how do you differentiate between ones that seem dubious or suspicious and ones that seem plausible? What convinces you?

A. I go by what they used to do with Project Blue Book. They had three criteria that had to be satisfied. In their study they actually found a surprisingly small number of sightings that were genuine pranks, somewhere around 10-15 percent.

1. The report has to come from someone who is reliable, refutable and preferably from multiple sources. The 1962 Naperville sighting had two women. Both were interviewed and could not be shaken in their story whatsoever.

2. The object must not resemble rockets, satellites, planes or electrical phenomena known to be in the sky or space at the time of the sighting.

3. All four analysts, which is the number that were sent into the field to investigate, must independently and unanimously agree that the witnesses were reputable and the object did not resemble a known aircraft.

Q. In your experience reporting on UFOs, is there anything that has particularly shocked you?

A. What shocked me is that there were so many UFO sightings reported in Naperville and the surrounding area. It makes you wonder what could possibly be going on.

[This sighting was recorded on Christmas Eve, 2013. That timing really makes you wonder what's going on.]

Q. Have you personally ever experience a close encounter with a UFO?

A. I once saw something strange in the sky that I could not explain. I didn’t get a close look at it, so I can’t say definitively if it was a UFO. Four years ago, I was driving out by Fox Valley Mall on New York Street. I was parked at a light and I happened to glance over to my left and I saw this dark triangle very low in the sky and it was moving against the wind, which was quite stiff that night. It was moving very slowly. I had my window open and I could not hear any engine or motor, but of course it was difficult to tell with all the cars. I had never seen anything like that before. It was a black wedge, remarkably low, just a few hundred feet above the treetops.

Q. What was the affect that possible sighting had on you?

A. It fascinated me and it frustrated me because I wanted to solve the mystery. Do I think it was a UFO? Only in that I couldn’t identify it and it was flying in the air. Was it an alien craft? I’m not going to say that. But I sure would love to know.

Q. Over your years researching UFOs, have you come to any conclusions about what you think they might be?

A. I think a lot of them are governmental aircraft. It’s interesting that for a long, long time a lot of the UFO sightings were disc-shaped or cigar-shaped. Then all of a sudden they changed to triangular. After that came the Stealth Bomber, which is triangular in shape. Maybe these people saw this Stealth Bomber being taken around for the test drive. But then again, is there an aircraft facility in this area? Not that I know of, so why would we be seeing it up in Naperville.

Q. Do you think we are alone in the universe? 

A. I do believe that in all likelihood there is life on other planets and that there’s a high probability of intelligent life. Life is the all-pervading force. It’s everywhere it can possibly be. I firmly believe we are not alone.

Learn more about Naperville’s mysterious past in “Naperville’s Haunted Memories” by Diane Ladley.

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2 Comments

  • Marala Copeland

    Having experienced UFO phenomena myself, I am deeply respectful of the Naperville attitude about them. Would that the government had the honesty, the smarts, and the courage that your community has. I live in California, near Mount Shasta. I ordered your paper, because your point of view is so refreshing. UFOs, (in my experience with the "visitors") always treated me with love, truth, and respect. Their motive was-- AND IS-- to prevent a global annihilation carried out by the men who "govern" this planet. Thank you. Marala

    2014-07-05 13:45:58 | Reply
  • Marala Copeland

    I lked this article very much. If our military had this attitude, I think the aliens would make contact, but obviously, they are not heret to destry us. They could and they don't.

    2014-07-03 15:51:03 | Reply


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