An odd "thrashing sound" brought James Richard, 41, and his 16-year-old daughter, Vanea, to the north window of their Columbia, Missouri, mobile home at 12:30 A.M. on June 28, 1973. Some 50 feet away and five feet apart, two brilliant silvery white beams of nocturnal light shone. When these lights suddenly faded away, an oval-shaped object, about 15 feet in diameter, became visible near the ground. It was so bright that Richard had to look away. The entire area was "lit up as bright as day," he reported.
The trees in the UFO's vicinity swayed as if caught in a powerful wind. One almost touched the ground, and a limb snapped off. All the while, Richard's dogs lay quietly inside the house; their behavior seemed oddly out of character. Unnerved, Richard went for a gun, which he kept close as the UFO continued to hover by the trees. Richard then called the trailer park switch-board and asked that the police be notified. As he spoke, the lights in his house dimmed twice.
The UFO headed off toward the north, its color dimming slightly and revealing a silvery surface with blue and orange bands of light. At one point it moved toward Richard's residence, then retreated and after a few minutes was gone altogether.
Investigators subsequently found broken tree limbs, crushed foliage, and on some trees burned leaves as high as 35 feet above the ground. In the days ahead more leaves wilted and died. The UFO left imprints two feet deep in the hard ground.