Strange New England

A Compendium of History, Folklore, and Evidence of the Unexplained

On October 27 and 28, 1975, events occurred in the northern part of the State of Maine that remain as inexplicable today as they did at the time. The media at the time reported that a black helicopter from over the Canadian border had been busy buzzing Loring Air Force base, possibly as an attempt to harass the military. It appeared out of nowhere, created havoc for the short time, and then disappeared as quickly and quietly as it had appeared. Consider that at the time, Loring Air Force Base was one of the largest nuclear weapons storage facilities in the continental United States. Loring Air Force Base was one of the world’s largest Strategic Air Command bases. Perhaps one of its greatest strengths was its great isolation at the northern tip of the country also giving it the closest approach directly over the pole to our enemy at the time, the Soviet Union. The base hosted the 42nd Bombardment Wing with a capacity of nearly 100 B-52 intercontinental bombers capable of flying very great distances to deliver their payloads. This was not a place one might approach lightly, with a single helicopter, in the middle of the night.

A year before the events described below occurred, President Richard Nixon stopped at Loring on Air Force One on July 3rd, 1974. He had just returned from Moscow from his meeting with Leonid Breshnev where they both signed the Threshold Test Ban Treaty. In front of 5000 people and the huge cantilever hanger that could house 5 parked B-52 bombers, Nixon was greeted by Vice-President and Mrs. Ford, and his own daughter, Julie Nixon Eisenhower. President Nixon addressed the crowd and the nation about the importance of the nuclear weapon test-ban treaty and the future of our two nations. Five weeks later, Nixon resigned as President of the United States.

Fifteen months later, someone or something was so interested in the nuclear weapons stored at Loring Air Force Base that for two days in October, high strangeness ensued. I grew up in Caribou, Maine and my family was heavily involved with the United States Air Force. My father had spent ten years in the service as a flight engineer on a B-29 and worked in Florida, England and finally, back in his home state of Maine, first at the Presque Isle Air Base and then ultimately finishing his stint at the newly opened Loring Air Force Base. My brother had just enlisted in the Air Force and we had many friends in the military, spending time on the base on a regular basis. The events of that October still bring with them a sense of wonder and confusion, even though decades have passed.The events are fairly well-documented on several websites, especially those dedicated to uncovering some kind of alien presence on earth. Whatever visited Loring Air Force base on those chilly October nights so long ago, its arrival set the United States military on high alert.

The Bangor Daily News, the biggest newspaper in the northern part of the state, had a bureau in Presque Isle run by veteran Bangor Daily News journalist,  Dean Rhodes. His reporting informs us of the events of that autumn as reported by the military. It begins on October 27, shortly before 8 PM. It was a fairly clear, cold night when an air policeman patrolling  the nuclear weapons storage site first saw an unidentified aircraft approaching the edge of the base at a very low level, no more than three hundred feet. It had a red light and white strobe light. At nearly the same moment, the tower made radar contact with an unknown aircraft north of the base. This was one of the the United States largest military bases. Any unannounced, unknown aircraft would be considered a threat and the entire base was put on alert, initiating a ground sweep. For the next forty minutes, the aircraft ‘explored’ the base, moving in ways that were ‘helicopter-like’ according to the news reports. Try as they might, the military personnel in pursuit could never get a fix on the aircraft before it moved quickly away. Then, after about forty minutes, it quickly departed toward Grand Falls, New Brunswick, a distance of about twelve miles. Somehow, a craft of unknown origin had successfully buzzed one of the world’s most heavily-guarded nuclear weapons storage areas and escaped without any real explanation. The Air Force would later call the craft a ‘Canadian helicopter.’ It was also referred to as a ‘black helicopter’, a motif made popular in the 1970s by conspiracy theorists. It was one of the first mentions of a black helicopter in the press to be mentioned on the east coast of the U.S.

That was the end of the first visit. What happened next has only recently come to light and deserves to be added to the few sources of information to surface from these events. Captain Michael Wallace was a pilot and Aircraft Commander of a KC-135 assigned to the 407 Refueling Squadron assigned to Loring AFB. In a video that he posted on Youtube in the interest of disclosure, he outlines his memories of what happened at the base on the night of the second visitation.

On the day after the events of the first night, he and all other flight crew members were summoned to a briefing. By his estimates, between 200 and 250 people attended and each one of them had a security clearance of secret. He had never attended such a large briefing before. The topic, he relates, was that a UFO had been sighted at the base around the nuclear weapons storage facility. The uniformed staff officer from the Wing Staff in charge of the briefing referred to the object as a UFO and described to the assembled flight crews the flight characteristics that had been observed the prior evening. Whatever it was, it could hover silently, move erratically and fast and make an almost instantaneous jump from place to place at the base. The Wing Staff was concerned that already things were getting out of hand. More support in the form of fighters had been requested from another base to come to Loring, Ground forces were also being ‘beefed up.’

The staff officer explained that he was concerned that the local media was already asking questions and he was concerned that this be kept quiet. He explained that the Wing Staff would engage in answering any queries with the misinformation of a black helicopter coming into the Loring airspace from the direction of the Canadian border. At this point in the briefing, the officer ordered the group not to talk to anyone about the meeting or the information shared. Obviously after forty years of silence, Captain Wallace has decided to break his silence.

Later that day Captain Wallace flew on a routine mission south of New York with two other tankers in a formation known as a cell flight, which meant that three tankers flew with each other . It was not an especially important or interesting mission until evening fell and they turned back towards Loring and northern Maine. Command Post contacted the lead plane’s Captain and asked him to transfer to another radio frequency and stand by for a message. Captain Wallace surreptitiously tuned one of his extra radios the specified frequency and listened in on the conversation. He reports that the Command Post ordered the captain of the lead place to transfer command of the flight to Captain Wallace in the second plane. The lead plane’s commander was then told to depart the formation, maintain radio silence and to fly with his lights out. He was to make his way directly to the base and was given discretion as to his altitude, airspeed and direction. His mission now was to get as close as possible and observe the UFO that was gain visiting the base. The captain of the lead plane contacted Wallace and transferred command of the formation to him. Then, in the moonlit night, Captain Wallace watched as the lead plane turned off his lights and descended into the darkness.

Captain Wallace brought the two tankers to their normal approach over the south end of the Runway 36 at Loring. As he approached the base, Captain Wallace heard more than the usual amount of communications on the tower frequency and the command post frequency. The communication all referred to the UFO. The chatter related to the position of the UFO. “How did it get down there that fast?” one voice asked. Runway 36 is two miles long and is probably three miles away from the nuclear storage facility at the time at the end of another runway. This craft could travel almost instantaneously from end of the runway to the other. The radio chatter did not last for long. Captain Wallace recalls there was one last statement on the air.  “It’s gone.”
The two KC-135s landed normally and received normal orders. Everything was as it should have been and there was no mention at all to the crews concerning the events of only moments before that seemed to have the base in such high alert.  After each mission, pilots report to the squadron for debriefings. He noticed that the pilot of the lead place was not among them.
A day or two later near the Base Exchange, Captain Wallace saw his friend, the captain of the lead place, walking on the sidewalk. He pulled over and asked him, “What in the hell happened with the UFO the other night?”
The answer was terse and to the point. “I can’t talk about it, Mike.” Then, he changed his aspect and looked Captain Wallace straight in the eyes and said, “And you wouldn’t believe me if I could. ”  At the time, airmen reported that the craft they saw was orange and red and was shaped like a cigar or elongated football. About the length of four cars, it was silent, solid, windowless and doorless. It had no visible means of propulsion. In years to come, UFO investigators  Larry Fawcett and Barry Greenwood in their book UFO Cover-Up: What the Government Won’t Say, included interviews with witnesses including CWO Bernard Poulin. He was a helicopter crew member from Bangor that had been send north to Loring help track the object. He said that “radar was not painting the object that was being reported” by the ground troops who directed his helicopter to the areas they were seeing the UFO. He claims that he was never able to spot the UFO at all.
Until more information becomes available, the Loring UFO Incident remains unexplained. Many people with no good reason to fabricate stories have reported on the events of that night. Take Captain Michael Wallace. At the time of the events in question, he had been a qualified military pilot for years with almost 71 hours of combat mission experience in southeast Asia and almost 2000 hours of total flight time. The other people mentioned in his recollection were also at least as experienced as he was. He has nothing to gain and his credibility is put at risk by telling his version of the events. Something flew out of the darkness on those two nights in October at the height of the Cold War  and left the United States Air Force scrambling for a way to deal with it.
Ward, Kent, “The Loring UFO Episode Revisited,” Bangor Daily News, Oct. 02, 2009



Tom Burby

Thomas Burby is the owner of and the author of THE LAST BOY ON EARTH and THE SEVEN O'CLOCK MAN, both available on Mr. Burby has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maine and an MSEd in the Science of Education from the University of New England. He loves a good scary story...

Posted in UFO


To Step Off the Map

If you live in New England, sooner or later you’ll have this experience: you’ll find yourself driving down a road you’ve driven a hundred times before and you’ll notice something…

The Red-Headed Spectre of Route 44

No one knows his name. No one knows his motives. All that is known is where he lingers, what he looks like, how he haunts the living and the circumstances…


  1. As a child of a flight line security police staff Sargent he was deployed in 12hour shifts the helicopter story was given as well as one with an ultralight but the movement was reported that something moving at a 45degree change of direction that was reported as the way it eluded tracking it….. It was as if it had vertical movement as well as hoizontal at the same time. It came on while reports of ufo s at other nuclear facilities around the country.

    1. I have heard stories from my father In law and husband. They were at a camp at squa pan lake and saw the object at 2 in the morning. Many of the facts about movement of the aircraft are similar to this story.

  2. In Oct. 1975, my oldest son Gordon age 12 was in his room at sunset, looking westward toward the mountains. He seen four orange balls in the sky and he watched as these objects moved rapidly to the north. This event scared him and he realized this was highly unusual. Later we heard of the UFOs sighted at Loring. This same year several unidentified objects were reported at a tier of northern bases in Maine, Michigan ,Montana, and a Canadian base in Ontario. Since all of these bases contained Atomic weapons there was speculation that these weapons attracted the UFOs. Years later “Unsolved Mysteries” had a program on TV detailing these incidents at Loring Air Force base on Oct.28, and 29th, 1975. I mention Loring in 1 chapter of my book Events, available on Amazon.

    1. I was thirteen at the time of the Loring event and I remember searching the skies intently. We saw some strange lights that autumn. My father, a military man who had been the flight engineer of a B-29 in Korea, claimed that he saw something that frightened him. He was on his way home to our house at the Back Presque Isle Road whe he looked up at a very bright, fast moving light low in the sky. He was certain that it was a nuclear missile and he know about missiles – he had been part of the decommissioning of many Nike missiles. He spoke quietly about it after contacted his friend at the base: whatever it was, they weren’t talking about it. A mysterious object traveling across the sky could have been a meteor, but in the 70s, such a sight brought our imaginations to the point of thinking it was the end of the world. Thanks – I will look for your book.

  3. It was about that time that UFO’s and a strange beeping sound lasted a few days in Boothbay Harbor, there’s a couple of Register articles about it.

  4. I would like to contact Michael Wallace mentioned in “UFOs Over Northern Maine – The 1975 Loring UFO Incident.” Do you have any contact information for him or might you know where he currently resides?

  5. I was there during the incident working as a Missile Systems Analist. My job was to handle all Target Data, Missile Configuration and Payload yield, also ground or air burst. As you may think I had a security clearance. I also have a bit to add to the story. The incident was reported as a Bent Spear by SAC command. This is a serious incident as the craft did hover over our Missile War Head storage facility. Fighter Command launched all available intercepters. the Fighters acknowledged visual contact and went to pursuit. Not a snowballs chance in hell of catching it when it decided to move. Their words not mine. It hovered over the site until it was damn well ready to leave, it did not seem to give a rats butt about the fighters. The Airmen in the facility all saw the craft as it was only a few hundred feet above them. Helicopter my Ass

  6. I live 20 min from presque isle me. Right at bottom of mars hill mountain. Weird shit goes on here 4 sure.

  7. In the early 80’s I worked at Loring AFB. In the far East side of the weapons storage area there was an old “bunker” that had been cemented closed. I always wondered what was in that bunker and also still wonder what happened to it after the base was closed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.