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August 10, 2015

Noblesville and UFO’s

Noblesville and UFO’s

By: David Heighway, Hamilton County Historian

UFOsHamilton County has always been known for being visitor-friendly.  From the Delaware Indians helping the first settlers, to the Underground Railroad, to modem tourists, residents have always done what they can to help newcomers.  But what about extraterrestrial visitors?  Generally, these have just been inanimate objects.  In July of 1902, a meteor crashed in a field just south of Cicero.  The Ledger said, “It appeared to be about eighteen inches or two feet in diameter and was a flaming mass of fire.  It struck the earth in the center of a large field and broke into thousands of pieces, sparks of fire flying many feet in all directions.  It is said to have been a beautiful spectacle to many witnesses.”

The best known supposed ”meteorite” in Noblesville was the large unusually-shaped rock which used to stand at the comer of 10” and Division Streets near Seminary Park. Since meteors are largely made of iron, and there was no iron in the rock, outer space origins seem unlikely.  A local attorney did some research on the rock in the 1940’s and theorized that it was simply a glacial leftover.  It was stolen in 2007, possibly because of the mistaken identification.

There have been hoaxes and satires.  Local history buff Brad Cook found a newspaper report from May of 1897 about a flying machine cruising over Courthouse Square.  Judging from the tone of the report, the reactions from prominent citizens, and the fact that there were no further stories on the event, one gets the sense that this was all tongue-in-cheek.  This was much like “sea serpent” spotted in White River a few years earlier, which was described in the newspaper as being 3 feet in diameter.  It was reported in August when the river is usually low, often only 2 feet deep in places.

In August of 1909, the Noblesville Enterprise reported on a huge glowing object hanging in the sky over the west side of Noblesville. As it was apparently positioned over the area known as ”Johnstown” (which was the neighborhood of most of the city’s brothels), there were murmurs of Sodom and Gomorrah and divine retribution. However, an Indianapolis astronomer soon asserted that it was the planet Mars, which happened to be in a close conjunction with Earth.

There have been one or two meteor strikes since then in which pieces have been found and explained away – for the most part.  However, there is still no explanation for what happened on the evening of July 25, 1948.  Sheriff Carey Davis, his wife, Deputy Roland Guilkey, and several other Hamilton County residents observed what looked like a ball of flame passing in the sky on the northwest side of town.  According to an article in the Ledger, it appeared to be about the size of a softball and was moving slowly from south to north.  It was in sight for several minutes and cast a dull glow of light but gave no sound. Sheriff Davis thought that it was some kind of trailblazer for other aircraft.  The last paragraph of the news story mentioned two airline pilots who had seen the same sort of object near Atlanta, Ga. the day before.  Interestingly, there was no mention of a now well-known incident that had occurred at Roswell, New Mexico in July of 1947. The truth is out there. . .