"If it happened again,
I don't think I"d tell anybody about it."
(Joe Simonton to a UPI reporter - May, 1961)
At about 11:00 A.M. on April 18, 1961, a sixty-year-old Wisconsin chicken farmer named Joe Simonton heard a noise outide his home near Eagle River that sounded like "knobby tires on wet pavement."
Stepping outside, he found that a large silvery disc-shaped object about twelve feet high and thirty feet in diameter was hovering just off the ground in his yard. As he watched, a six-feet by thirty-inch hatch opened in the object. Through the opened hatch, which was about five feet off the ground, Simonton could see three men inside the object. He described them as about five feet tall, smooth-shaven, Italian-looking, and wearing turtleneck tops and knit helmets. One of them wore a black two-piece suit.
One of the men held up a silvery jug and made motions that Joe interpreted as a request for water. Joe went inside and filled the jug and brought it back to the strange men. As Joe handed the full jug back, he got a better view of the interior of the craft. He noted that the interior of the craft was black, like wrought iron, and he could see several instrument panels. A low whining noise, similar to the hum of a generator, came from the craft.
Joe saw that one of the occupants was "frying food on a flameless grill", and he motioned toward the food. When he did so, the man handed Joe four "pancakes" about three inches in diameter, with small holes in them.
The man closest to the door attached some sort of belt to a hook in his clothing and closed the hatch. When the hatch was closed, Joe could barely see its outline in the surface of the object.
The craft then rose about twenty feet in the air and flew off to the south, causing a blast of air that bent nearby pine trees. As it flew off, Joe noticed that the object, which was shaped like two inverted bowls, had exhaust pipes along its edge that were about six inches in diameter.
Joe ate one of the still-warm pancakes, which he later said "tasted like cardboard."
Joe reported his encounter to Sheriff Schroeder, but two deputies sent by Schroeder could not find any evidence to support Simonton's story. Sheriff Schroeder, who had known Simonton for fourteen years, stated that Joe obviously believed the truth of what he was saying and talked very sensibly about the incident.
Some corroboration of Joe's story is provided by John Keel, who in Operation Trojan Horse says that:
At about that same time, an insurance agent named Savino Borgo was driving along Highway 70, about a mile from Simonton's farm, when he saw what he later described as a saucer rising diagonally into the air and flying parallel with the highway.
The Air Force became involved, and they sent one of the pancakes to the Food and Drug Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare for analysis.
According to Jacques Vallee in Dimensions, The Air Force reported:
The cake was composed of hydrogenated fat, starch, buckwheat hulls, soya bean hulls, wheat bran. Bacteria and radiation readings were normal for this material. Chemical, infra-red and other dextructive type tests were run on this material. The Food and Drug Laboratory of the U.S Department of Health, Education, and Welfare concluded that the material was an ordinary pancake of terrestrial origin.
Major Robert Friend of Project Bluebook investigated the case along with Dr. J. Allen Hynek. Hynek echoed Sheriff Schroeder in saying that: There is no question that Mr. Simonton felt that his contact had been a real experience.