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Joyce Dehner's West Virginia UFO Sighting (1978)

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 Happy World UFO Day!

Since today is World UFO Day, I thought I’d bring you yet another unexplained sighting from deep within the files of West Virginia’s UFO history! Although this story was written up in the local newspapers at the time, the information for today’s blog comes from issue Number 133 of the MUFON UFO Journal, January/February 1979 edition. The article, West Virginia Flap—Part 2, was written by the then-WV State MUFON Director, Ted Spickler.  (This edition is available in PDF format at THIS LINK)

Photo from MUFON

It was a fairly regular Tuesday morning. On October 24, 1978, 20 year old Joyce Dehner was traveling north on Interstate 79. It was about 7:15am and she was headed to class at Fairmont State College. It was still pretty dark at this time, and a series of red, green, and white lights coming over a low hill to her left caught her eye. She assumed it was a low-flying plane…maybe flying TOO low, as the craft approached the interstate, and dipped down within a few feet of an interstate bridge that Joyce was approaching.

Here, she was able to get a better look at the oddly shaped craft. She noted a hump or dome that was topped by red lights. Protruding out in front of the dome was a long, torpedo shaped area, which had a white light at its tip. The underside of the craft contained green lights. Joyce claimed that the object made no sound, and was about the size of a private plane.
A car ahead of Joyce must have seen the craft as well, because she noticed that it temporarily slowed down, then sped off. Joyce followed suit and stomped the gas, as the terror of knowing that this was NOT a normal sight began to set in. She said she witnessed the object ‘float like a feather’ across the bridge. It then shot up to the right side of the road, hovered a moment over some trees, then disappeared out of sight. 
The article states that Joyce was interviewed at least twice by MUFON regarding this sighting, but no explanation for the strange craft was ever uncovered. Interestingly, on November 2, 1978, a young man in Orange, California reported seeing a very similarly shaped UFO. And then, ten days after Ms. Dehner’s sighting, quite a few people in West Virginia’s northern panhandle caught their own glimpse of an unidentified flying object.  Even before Joyce’s sighting, however, newspaper articles covering the incident had claimed that this was the fifth day in a row that a West Virginia resident had reported a UFO in the Mountain State. The MUFON article does address this, and it is believed that the other reports were misidentified star reports…but that Joyce’s encounter might actually be worth something looking into!  
Keep your eyes to the skies and let me know what YOU think Joyce spotted over the highway outside of Fairmont, West Virginia! 
Logansport (Indiana) Pharos-Tribune
27 October 1978


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