A wave of UFO sightings fascinate a small town in Virginia.

Two men outside of their car looking at a UFO hover over the horizon

What did they see?

Two yellow lights to a black backdrop

There was a photo of the UFO


Large group of people looking up at yellow lights in the night sky

There were multiple sightings

Wytheville, Virginia, is a small town nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Country music station WYVE calls itself the voice of Wytheville. On most days, life there is usually quiet and uneventful. But that was not the case on the morning of October 7, 1987. Radio reporter Danny Gordon checked in, as usual, with the county sheriff and heard an unbelievable tale. According to Danny, three Wythe County sheriff’s deputies all claimed to have seen a UFO:

“It was a filler piece that came on at the end of the news which I usually relegate to something that’s may be unusual, like we had one police officer who killed five chickens at once with two shots, and that was a story that ran as kind of a ‘ha ha’ piece, and this was another ‘ha ha’ piece and being a very skeptical newsman, it was definitely not in my lead part of my news.”

However, Danny’s “ha ha” piece sparked some unbelievable listener responses. Reports of UFO sightings poured into WYVE. With the switchboard jammed, Danny set up a special call-in program for the following week:

“Being a brass tacks journalist, I always believe there is a plausible, logical explanation. And I felt at that time that it was military of some nature and that we would find the reason in a short period of time.”

4 yellow lights in a pattern in the night sky

He took another photo

Danny thought the UFOs were most likely experimental aircraft being tested out of Virginia’s Langley Air Force Base. But he was repeatedly told by the military that there was no testing going on. As more and more residents came forward with their stories of UFOs, the military finally came up with one explanation. They said the cause for the UFO sightings was not experimental aircraft but rather planes refueling. But according to Danny Gordon, that explanation was impossible:

“I called the Pentagon and talked to the Air Force General there, who told me if they’re refueling under 13,000 feet, then somebody’s butt’s in a sling. And to this day, we don’t know if they were refueling at 5,000 feet. But at the same time, I have asked, if it is military, then I’ll back off the story and leave it alone if you tell me because I’m a patriot. And each time I’m told it’s not us, we’re not doing it, and we haven’t been doing it.”

On October 21st, just two weeks after the first sighting, Danny and his friend, Roger Hall, drove to the area where most of the sightings had occurred. According to Danny, they brought along a 35-millimeter still camera, as well as a video camera:

A news article with a photo of the press conference about the UFO

A press conference was called

“We were headed home, after two hours of fruitless searching… And I just happened to look to my left and saw a very unusual object coming across the horizon. I pulled off to the side of the road in a hurry, jumped out, he got out of the right side, and as he got out I noticed the craft coming at me was very large, it had a dome shape to the top of it, and no wings, and had what appeared to be a strobe putting out multi-colored lights on the right side of the craft. As I watched the sky, from the left came the red ball. As the big mothership went into a small skiff of clouds, the red ball docked with the craft… We looked at each other and realized, no pictures. The camera was not in my hand, the camera was not in his hand, and we both knew we blew it.”

The next night, Gordon and Hall went out again. This time they did take photographs. With the film still undeveloped, Danny called a press conference for the following day, October 23, 1987:

“The night before the press conference, I received a phone call from somebody who refused to identify himself, and he said that I need to be aware that the CIA and the federal government were very much interested in the Wythe County UFOs. I started to wonder what I’d stepped into. And my wife was urging me to back off, to leave it alone, and I was receiving some anonymous phone calls saying… it’s not for your place to be messing in defense matters.”

A mysterious person in a suite touching a door frame

He says someone broke into his house

After the press conference, Danny discovered that his house had been broken into. Although nothing was stolen, Danny was convinced that someone was looking for his photographs. When developed, the pictures revealed only vague streaks of light in the sky. But six weeks later, Danny had another opportunity to photograph the UFOs. He was out shopping with his wife and daughter when they encountered some unexpected visitors:

“We looked very quickly and saw, what I thought was one large object, which later appeared to be four flying disc shapes. As soon as the objects were photographed they disappeared from view. When the pictures came out… they showed four definite shapes of objects in the sky, but the most impressive point in the four photographs, the objects appeared to change shape or life formations within one click of the camera. They go from a teardrop shape, to a round ball shape, then they go to a flying saucer-like disc shape, and then they go to a egg shape as they go out of sight.”

The people of Wytheville knew that something extraordinary was happening in their small town. Within a three-month period, there had been more than fifteen hundred sightings. One of the first occurred near Interstate 81, a mile from downtown Wytheville. Eyewitnesses said the craft resembled a brightly lit, spinning carousel. Immediately, other sightings were reported. One local resident, Patricia Aker, experienced a total of ten UFO sightings:

“I’m not mistaken about what we saw. Absolutely not. Because we’d never seen this before. The best way I can describe them is that they sort of looked like a cross between a helicopter and an airplane, with no noise.”

Then there was Mary Jane Williamson’s sighting, which happened directly above her house in the center of Wytheville:

“It had all the white lights, in the front, just a big semi-circle of white light, and it was just huge, I mean, it was just absolutely huge. You just had this feeling of something really, really big, just moving, just drifting over your head and no sounds or anything.”

Three months after the initial wave of sightings, Danny was packing for a broadcasters’ conference in Virginia Beach. It was there that he was to speak about his UFO coverage:

“I received a phone call at home from a retired military intelligence officer, and first he told me to make sure that I taped the conversation so he could put the date, and everyone to be aware, and I said, why do you want to tape this? And he said, I want your friends to know, that if something happens to you, that I forewarned you. He told me that because of his investigations into the UFO field that they had hit his son and caused his son to die with some kind of virus connected to leukemia. He said that he had information that the federal government was not very happy with my UFO investigations… he said, they want to quiet you…”

Less than one month after the disturbing phone call, Danny had two surprise visitors at his home. The two suited men said they were newspaper reporters and stayed for approximately forty-five minutes. According to Danny, one of the men interviewed him while the other roamed through the house snapping photographs:

“They told me when they left they would send me a copy of the article so I could peruse it, and when I didn’t get one I called the newspaper and they said, well, these two guys are not on our payroll. They don’t work for us. So who they were I don’t know, but they were in my house, saw my pictures, saw my negatives, talked to my family, took pictures and then left but they were not with the newspaper.”

A few weeks later, Danny sat down to organize and catalogue his UFO photographs:

“When I got to the canister which had the UFO negatives, I quickly opened it up and found some UFO negatives, but the one negative with the shots from the shopping mall was missing. Now I felt like maybe there was something in those photographs that I was not seeing, so I took the photographs to some other people to look at. We used magnifying glasses and we measured angles trying to find out why these photographs were so important. And we’ve yet to discover why anyone would want to steal that… set of four in a series of photographs of the UFOs.”

Two months later, the stress of the late night phone calls, the home break in, the strange visitors and now the missing negatives finally took its toll on Danny and he had a heart attack. Doctors later determined that the attack was brought on by severe exhaustion. Danny was warned that continued involvement with the UFO controversy could kill him:

“If I had my choice, I’d not report the UFO story again. It’s just been too hard on my life and created too many problems. Don’t look up. Because once you look up and you tell somebody what you saw, your life is changed forever.

Danny Gordon says that today, Wytheville has moved on from its days as a UFO town and is now enjoying its booming arts and business communities. But if history is any indicator, sometime soon, in another small town, someone else will look up and his or her life will never be the same.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season four with Robert Stack and in season five with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.



  1. Tami

    My friend and I were at Myrtle Beach SC I think it was in 2001 maybe ( or 02) and saw a triangular UFO hovering out into the ocean with multicolored lights on it. It was HUGE and with no sound at all. I ran back inside to get my camera ( which at the time was just a disposable ) and took pictures but they turned out REALLY bad. You couldn’t tell what you were really looking at.
    It was at night time and you couldn’t miss this thing floating in the sky. People started gathering around and taking pics of this strange thing. Finally,after a while, it just disappeared into the air!!!? No sound, no nothing! GONE!!! Was hoping someone else that was there at the same time may have seen this or have some pics too…


  2. Davis Valley Resident

    I saw what seemed to be a round object with blinding white lights all around it in the field behind my grandparents remote home. Our driveway was about 3/4 of a mile off of the road. It was blinding, we all saw it, and my grandfather loaded our weapons. It was a very scary event! It was nothing like we had ever seen before or since. Our whole community had witnessed the event, but no one could find any answers. One thing that remains clear to me today, is the fact that I now know with certainty that we are not alone in the vast expanses of space and time. This is not the only time I have seen these things. I lived in Ohio for many years and in Medina County an entire neighborhood witnessed a sighting during the evening hours in summertime. People were stunned and really did not know how to address what the collective had just seen. The Medina object had a triangular shape. The Davis Valley Virginia object looked circular, but it was a very dark night and the lights were so bright from at least 2 to 3 hundred yards away you couldn’t see the shape of the object. It maneuvered like nothing I have ever encountered. It would rotate in place, hover, and move so fast that it was like a light trail to the next spot where it would troll across the field, and when it left it was like it just vanished.


  3. Anonymous

    I lived close to the area, I was 13 at the time and one night I woke up to bright lights shining all around our house. I stuck my head out of one of the windows and looked up and the light was so bright shining in my face my first thought was it was a helicopter and I looked across the field and the grass wasn’t moving and there was no sound. I then ran to the living room and look out of the other windows and the lights were shining in every window in the house. All I can think of was is this like a drug raid which is crazy. It was the only one awake in the house. The next morning I told everybody about it and nobody seem to even care. I never even heard about this until I seen the unsolved mysteries episode it was around the same time. I don’t remember much after I seen the lights I just remember waking up the next morning.


  4. Edward L Martin

    A week or so before the Wytheville UFO sightings hit the news, I was driving into Lambsburg, which is down the mountain from Wytheville, at night and saw a translucent, pink sphere which looked to be about 20 feet tall moving slowly over the road in front of me. When I heard the story about the UFO’s in Wytheville, with a mother ship and smaller lit spheres docking with it, it sounded like what I had seen.


  5. ChristianityisTrue

    These are demonic entities that are invading because people practice occult or are involved in the occult which is why they’re seeing them. You need to revoke that stuff in Christ name. Let it be gone from your life because it is destructive.


  6. Patrick

    I saw a red glowing ball of light come down from the sky and hover over lake Michigan in the dead of night. Wish I could go back and get a better look, take photos, etc.


  7. Bill Blaski

    I once went to a truck driving school in wytheville VA during this time. It was big news and we saw some interesting things in the night sky.


    • Toymachine78

      I lived in Martinsville at the time, and my brother and I had a sighting in 88 that matched these. We didn’t here about the Wytheville sightings until this episode of UM aired. It was chilling.


  8. Jason

    This isn’t SOLVED yet? 😉
    I heard the commentary on UM DVDs where John Cosgrove mentioned that Robert Stack had a hard time doing these UFO episodes. He’d be like: “Gimme a break, John.” I guess he wasn’t a believer.


    • Patrick

      Yeah, he didn’t like the ufo cases..lol. These stories though got me interested in the ufo subject cause I didn’t believe, but now I’m open minded to it.


  9. Anonymous

    Why did the CIA delete this episode? You can’t watch it any more. Coincidence? I think not.


  10. Bobby

    I saw him and Elvis at the Flaming Taco Barn and both were drinking heavily. Elvis was wearing a UFO’s are for real shirt.


  11. Me

    I’ve always found segment of Unsolved Mysteries fascinating. The “reporters” who visited Danny & threats he got remind me of the Men Black. I’ve heard of similar stories of people seeing UFOs then being threatened not to speak of it.


  12. Hi my name is eric ortiz

    I’ve been experiencing weird things at night ever since I saw UFO I seen beautiful the next two times I have at least three pictures they’re kind of blurry but they’re almost cleae what should I do with the pictures and how can I get help how can I reach Danny. I need more answers of why I keep on waking up at night you’re strange things when I go outside I’m just trying to get some answers nothing else so we can please help me just to contact danny that would be awesome thank you for your time


    • Steve

      He just retired from wyve radio station in my town. Contact them through the radio station and they can forward your message to him


  13. norfplaz

    I had a grandmother who lived in Wytheville all her adult life. She passed away in spring 1988. I gone to Wytheville on/off for months leading up to her passing, beginning in the later half of 1987. Dang! I was in the area about the time of all this and never really heard much about it. Otherwise I would have bought/rigged a spectrometer and photometer, and the usual cameras/camcorders and stayed there in W-ville all those months. Be a “night owl”, sleep mostly in the day and stay up all night, outside, on as high ground as could be found/used. Just wait night after night to see what shows up. Try to have a STOL airplane that could takeoff/land on football length grass strips. Use it to fly up/out there to see what that craft is.

    What a once-in-a-life-time opportunity. And I just barely missed it.


  14. I saw it

    I saw this thing with other witnesses present and this was not man made. It was too big. I can’t imagine the military making something so big to hover in the sky and put on a light show with no sound.


  15. IV

    If the military and government are involved then there not doing a very good job trying to keep this from being unseen of known by the millions of people in US and elsewhere. By giving it attention, doing such things to Danny, it ended up as an episode on Unsolved Mysteries for anyone to see.


  16. Anonymous

    There are things as citizens that we are not supposed to know. Unfortunately for Danny things didn’t end well. Our government is very secretive for whatever reason or reasons. Its best to to look the other way when dealing with these kinds of sensitive subjects. What ever was on that negative/film we where never meant to see. Rest in peace Danny


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