The mobile home of James Richards sat on the absolute outskirts of the city of Columbia in the state of Missouri. Not only that, but the home itself was at the end of dead-end footpath around 1000 feet from the nearest main road. All around this quiet and extremely humble abode were “scattered trees” aside from a small front yard. To say that Richards and his 16-year-old daughter, Vanea, as well as Jamie, her 3-year-old son were cut off from the vast majority of the community was an understatement.
Incidentally, the nearest property to Mr. Richards’ mobile home was a small house, lived in by an elderly lady. She was, however, “asleep at the time of the observation”.
On this particular evening, at a little past midnight on 28th June 1973, Vanea was making her way to the north side of the mobile home, to the fridge so that she could place a baby bottle there. Although there was music filling the home from the record player which was spinning the vinyl disc around and around on its turntable, the open window allowed the sudden noise from outside to be heard easily.
Vanea would later describe the noise as a “thrashing” sound and it appeared to emanate from the trees around the side of the mobile home. The more she listened, now all but blocking out the record player, she could make out what appeared to be the sound of something “moving a large tree” outside.
She would remain where she was for a few more moments, listening intently to the mysterious and unnerving activity taking place outside. Then, as loudly as she could without alerting whoever, or whatever was outside, she would call out to her father.
Two Bright, Silver-White Beams Appear Out Of Nowhere!
Richards could hear his daughter call from the kitchen area of the mobile home as he sat in the living room with Jamie. Because of the hour and the fact that he himself was feeling sluggish and tired, he was rather slow in getting in out of the living room chair and up to the window where Vanea was calling him from.
By the time he had arrived at where his daughter was, she was moving with great pace from the outside screen door to the front door, locking both of them as quickly as she could. He would make his way to the kitchen window, now with a little more urgency than before. His daughter joined him a moment or two later, now satisfied that the doors were as secure as they could be.
As they both stared out into the darkness of the summer’s night, “two beams of light” suddenly became visible. They appeared to be between the trees and the nearby fence. Richards would guess they were approximately 50 feet from the kitchen window they were viewing them from and had a “tapered” look to them, with the wider section at the top.
He would further estimate the beams were around five feet apart, and remained this distance., suggesting they emanated from the same solid source overhead. Furthermore, they had a “bright, silver-white” color to them. However, try as he did, he could see no solid form “above or behind the beams”.
Then, they just disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared. It was then that both Richards and his daughter could see the “bright oval form” in their place.
The Woodland “Lit Up As Bright As Day!”
The father and daughter remained where they were at the kitchen window, both fascinated and alarmed at the scene and scenario unfolding before them.
They would later estimate that the “glowing form” was around 15 feet across and appeared to be only mere feet from the ground. So bright was the object that the pair had difficulty in keeping their sight on it, with Richards even having to look away at one point. Such was the brightness, that other than the silver glow, no other details of the exterior could be seen. Furthermore, because of this brightness, the area immediately outside the mobile home was “lit up bright as day”.
In this artificial daylight, the pair could see the trees moving as if a sudden strong wind had come out of nowhere unleashing its carnage on the area. However, more than that, it appeared that some trees were being manipulated in different ways than others, with Vanea even witnessing one tree being pulled toward the ground.
All the while, however, the only sound that reached them was that which initially caught Vanea’s attention, the strange thrashing noise. No other sounds or noises whatsoever came from the active scene outside, which must have given the scene an even more surreal feel.
Then, the thrashing sound stopped, although the trees continued to move. A moment later, a loud “cracking” sound rang out quickly followed by the bizarre movement of the trees also stopping. Although they didn’t know it at the time, or at least were not certain of it, investigation of the area the following day would show a large, heavy branch had been snapped off at a height of almost 20 feet.
A “Real Bright” Center With Duller, Fuzzy Edges!
Following this burst of activity, a deafening silence would suddenly envelop the mobile home, even seeming to leak into the building itself making the father and daughter feel more than uneasy. It was during these unsettling moments that Richards realized their dogs – who would normally bark at anything that moved outside the house – were completely still and silent. As he went from window to window of the mobile home surveying the area outside, he noticed them almost hiding away from whatever had been taking place only moments ago.
It was then that he went to his bedroom to retrieve his guns. He quickly returned into the kitchen area, the weapons and ammunition in his arms. He would load the guns and then place them on top of the freezer unit and out of the reach of anyone other than he and his daughter.
When he returned to the kitchen window where his daughter remained, watching the scene outside, he could see that the glowing craft remained hovering at a distance of around 50 feet from their home, although the brightness lit up a radius of around double that.
Although they could still make out no real detail of the craft other than it was oval-shaped and a “silver-white or aluminum” color, Richards would recall that the middle of it was “real, real bright” while the edges were decidedly duller. Vanea, similarly, would recall that edges of the object were somewhat “fuzzy”.
The pair remained at the kitchen window, nervous about what might happen next but not wishing to take their eyes from the situation for even a moment. After several more moments, however, Richards made the decision it was time to call for help.
Contact “The Police, The FBI” Or Anyone Who Can Help Me!
Whether by coincidence or not, almost in sympathy with his actions the object suddenly moved and changed its position. It would now take up temporary residence in the sky over a nearby field, approximately 200 feet from the mobile home.
Because there was not more distance between the craft and their location, the pair could now make out a lot more detail than they could previously. For example, the craft was a bright silver-white in the middle while at the edge was a “blue band of light”. Furthermore, an “orange glow extended around the outer edge”.
Richards and his daughter watched the craft return to its original position, describing the movement of it as “smooth and slow”. Shortly after this, he would reach for the phone and dial 113 for directory assistance.
The lady who took the call – identified as “Mrs. AB” would claim that Richards was “very excited and seemed to be frightened” although he was clear in describing the event. He would also request that she contact “the police, the FBI, or anyone who could help him!”
She would manage to calm him somewhat and assure him that she would contact an operator who would call him back. Several moments later, a “Mrs. P” called back and spoke with Richards for several minutes. During this exchange, the lights in the mobile home dimmed several times. This, of course, is a detail that often surfaces in close encounter experiences. Usually, however, these types of encounters occur while people are in their vehicles and experience their car’s cutting out without warning.
On Mrs. P’s instructions, he would hang the phone up, return to the window, and await the return call.
An Obviously Frightened But Sincere Witness!
While this was taking place, Mrs. P would contact Mrs. L, who would in turn attempt to call Richards. However, when she did, she would hear nothing other than a “deadline”. She would try the number five times, even calling Mrs. P back in between to check that the number she had was correct.
During this time, Richards himself began to worry that no one had contacted him back. So much so, that he picked up the receiver. Bizarrely, and adding even more to the strangeness of the situation, after the line appeared dead, he suddenly heard Mrs. M.
He would then relay the evening’s happenings to the operator, stating at this stage that he was decidedly frightened for his children.
For her part, Mrs. M would recall that Richards would repeat his story again and again. He would occasionally pause and shout out to his daughter, asking if the strange object was still outside.
Before long, Richards was transferred to Mrs. S at the Flight Service Station at Columbia Regional Airport.
Mrs. S would ultimately assure Richards that she would contact the police and report the sighting for him. She would also inform him that she had knowledge of another sighting on the 24th June – only two weeks earlier – we will examine that incident later.
Shortly after the exchange, the pair would hang up.
A moment or two later, the object began to approach the mobile home once again.
A Last Visual Stand-Off!
Richards and Vanea watched the object approach, watching with a rising sense of fear intoxicating each of them. Richards would later describe a “cold feeling” overtaking him and the feeling of something imminent and dire about to take place. He would state that he “just froze” and had no idea what to do.
Even more, the distinct feeling that he, his daughter, and grandson were on their own in their out-of-the-way mobile home wouldn’t leave him. Nor would the insistence that all three of them would not for any reason step outside.
As each of them remained at the window the object moved again, seemingly negotiating the trees as it did so. It would eventually settle into a position around 50 feet from their location. Both Richards and his daughter all the while remained where they were at the window, watching the strange, hovering, glowing object not daring to take their eyes from it.
This visual stand-off continued for several minutes (although neither witness was completely sure just how long this was for). Then, the craft went into motion yet again. Once more, it went through the trees with a “smooth, slow motion”, although Richards recalls that during this particular burst of movement, the surrounding trees appeared undisturbed.
The craft once more would stop at a distance of around 200 feet from the Richards’ mobile home. As before, from this distance, the blue-orange glow of the outer edges of the vehicle were visible while the solid silver glow of the center section was now more defined. The object then appeared to fade away, although not into the distance (no trees appeared disturbed, for example) but as though it was literally fading from view.
Within several minutes, the object was no longer visible.
A Wealth Of Outlandish Possibilities That Must Be Considered!
This last detail is of interest to UFO researchers as there appears to be many cases where what appears to be a solid craft disappears. However, not shooting off into the distance at great speed but by seemingly fading away from existence, as if someone turned down a dimmer switch or flicked off a light bulb. NOTE: The above image is CGI.
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