It was an unusual day for the Food and Drug Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, when the Air Force requested analysis of a piece of wheat cake that had been cooked ... aboard a flying saucer! The human being who had obtained the cake was Joe Simonton, a sixty-year old chicken farmer who lived alone in
a small house in the vicinity of Eagle River, Wisconsin. He was given three cakes, ate one of them, and thought it "tasted like cardboard." The Air Force put it more scientifically:
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 destructive type tests were run on the 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.
Where did it come from? The reader will have to decide for himself what he chooses to believe after reading this ... incident, ... a firsthand account, given by a man of absolute integrity. Speaking for the U.S. Air Force, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who investigated the case along with Major Robert Friend and an officer from Sawyer Air Force Base, stated: "There is no question that Mr. Simonton felt that his contact had been a real experience."
The time was approximately 11:00 A.M. on April 18, 1961, when Joe Simonton was attracted outside by a peculiar noise similar to "knobby tires on a wet pavement." Stepping into his yard, he faced a silvery saucer-shaped object "brighter than chrome," which appeared to be hovering close to the ground without actually touching it. The object
was about twelve feet high and thirty feet in diameter. A hatch opened about five feet from the ground, and Simonton saw three men inside the machine. One of them was dressed in a black two-piece suit. The occupants were about five feet in height. Smooth shaven, they appeared to "resemble Italians." They had dark hair and skin and wore outfits with turtleneck tops and knit helmets.
One of the men held up a jug apparently made of the same material as the saucer. His motions to Joe Simonton seemed to indicate that he needed water. Simonton took the jug, went inside the house, and filled it. As he returned, he saw that one of the men inside the saucer was "frying food on a flameless grill of some sort." The interior of the ship was black, "the color of wrought iron." Simonton, who could see several instrument panels, heard a slow whining sound, similar to the hum of a generator. When he made a motion indicating he was interested in the food that was being prepared, one of the men, who was also dressed in black but with a narrow red trim along the trousers, handed him three cookies, about three inches in diameter and perforated with small holes.
The whole affair had lasted about five minutes. Finally, the man closest to the witness attached a kind of belt to a hook in his clothing and closed the hatch in such a way that Simonton could scarcely detect its outline. Then the object rose about twenty feet from the ground before taking off straight south, causing a blast of air that bowed some nearby pine trees.
Along the edge of the saucer, the witness recalls, were exhaust pipes six or seven inches in diameter. The hatch was about six feet high and thirty inches wide, and although the object has always been described as a saucer, its shape was that of two inverted bowls.
When two deputies sent by Sheriff Schroeder, who had known Simonton for fourteen years, arrived on the scene, they could not find any corroborative evidence. The sheriff affirmed that the witness obviously believed the truth of that he was saying and talked very sensibly about the incident.
The Eagle River case has never been solved. The Air Force believes that Joe Simonton, who lived alone, had a sudden dream while he was awake and inserted his dream into the continuum of events around him of which he was conscious. I understand several psychologists in Dayton, Ohio, are quite satisfied with this explanation, and so are most serious amateur ufologists.
[Editor's Note: Vallee further in his account variously refers to the food items given to Simonton as "cookies" or "cakes" or "pancakes." Most U.S. researchers simply refer to the food items as pancakes.]
... Two weeks after the sighting, Joe Simonton told a United Press International reporter that "if it happened again, I don't think I"d tell anybody about it." And indeed, if flying saucers are devices used by a super-scientific civilization from space, we would expect them to be packed inside with electronic gadgetry, super-radars, and a big computerized spying apparatus. But visitors in human shape, who breathe our air and zip around in flying kitchenettes, that is too much, Mr. Simonton!
Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds, Chicago, IL: H. Regnery Co., 1969;
reprinted, Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books, Inc., 1993. This same material also appears verbatim in Vallee's
Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact, most recently, New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1997.