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UFO Encounter in Dover, Delaware

A crew working at a paint plant at night and an eerie happening on a railroad track that left them all stunned was how it began. This is the tale that Charles or Chuck, as he’s usually referred to, casually conveyed to me one morning. My work usually takes me into haunted locations. However, anything dealing with the paranormal always piques my interest. And UFO stories have always been rather sparse in our wee state of Delaware. Therefore, I was immediately intrigued. I wanted to get his story on the record.

This particular story is especially rich, as there were no less than four witnesses. As Chuck recalls it, it was February or March of 1991. He recollects that it was after the winter months and closer to the spring; one of those between months. His buddies and he all worked the night shift at PPG- a corporation that produced paint. Thus, it was between 2:30 – 3:30am that they decided that they all needed a break. Chuck recalls that it was before there was a Wawa (gas station with food) so they were headed toward a Marstellars which had food. (spelling may be incorrect as the establishment is no longer in business.) PPG, was located off Route 13 between Cheswold and Smyrna, slightly north of Dover and situated right next to the railroad tracks. The building is now a vinyl corporation.

The group was headed out for coffee and some snacks, as they worked third shift. There were six working the shift. However, only four could fit into Chuck’s new Pontiac Grand Am, so they took the orders for coffees and snacks and off they went. The three passengers with Chuck were all cousins of Chuck, Adam (now deceased) Ben and Chrissy were along for the ride.

As the car approached the railroad tracks, which was very close to the paint plant, Chuck noted that his year-old 1990 Pontiac started acting up. (As you view the aerial map, the tracks ran parallel with Moorton Road.) He recollects that the motor was acting like it would stall out. Then Chuck noticed that the radio started cutting in and out and acting like there was a lot of static on the feed. He had an FM station on, which doesn’t usually have static. As they approached the railroad tracks the radio static just seemed to increase, “It was, “Crazy, static on the radio.” And as the car crossed the tracks the car suddenly just stalled out altogether. No radio, no engine, they found themselves stranded inexplicably across the railroad tracks…in Chuck’s new car.

“At first, I was just worried about the car,” and how the group would have to push it off the tracks and back to the lot.

Certainly, there must have been a few moments of confusion as the group of four found themselves stalled across tracks. Almost immediately, the situation became more bizarre.

Chuck said, “At that immediate moment it was like it was suddenly daylight. The entire area just lit right up.” Around the railroad tracks were flat farm fields to either side. The light was so intense that the fields themselves were illuminated. The group could see to the very distant edges of the fields, and the woods in the distance, as if lit by a very powerful spotlight.

The group, obviously confused, started to look around for whatever was causing the illumination, but could see nothing, meaning that whatever was projecting the light was probably directly over the car and thus not viewable by the group. Chuck admitted, “In that moment in time it was like time just stopped.”

Chuck said he recalled a faint, hissing sound, but that was the only sound he could recall. He said the hissing sound was not like either a helicopter nor a plane and was fainter than both. The hissing sound is rather unique. Usually, experiencers will report a lack of sound altogether.

They were left looking about for a good, thirty seconds, in Chuck’s estimation. Then as suddenly as it had appeared, the light simply went out and they were plunged back into darkness. Chuck compared it to, “Being in a box, and then suddenly someone opens the box.” The light of course would be momentarily blinding. After, it was again like someone simply closed the box, plunging them instantaneously back into black.

As soon as the light extinguished the car started up on its own and the radio came back on, sans static. Chuck swears that he did not restart the car, it started back up on its own. With the car started and the light gone, the group just sat on the tracks for a few moments trying to collect themselves. Chuck admits that the group was still looking about for anything in the sky that might have caused the intense light.

Fascinated, Chuck said that he got out of the car and looked around, despite Ben’s protestations. “I sensed something, and it must have been right above us. But it was quick. It was there and then it was gone.”

“We were nervous, we were just really nervous.” Chuck’s cousin Ben, a former service member, remained in the car and just wanted to leave the area as quickly as possible. Ben kept imploring Chuck, “Let’s just go to the store. Let’s just go.” Chuck, knowing something otherworldly had just occurred kept scanning the sky around him.

With the illumination gone, however, and out in a rural area without streetlights, Chuck admitted that it was extremely dark. In 1991 the area was very remote and pitch black at 3:00am in the morning with the moon descending. “It was just PPG; a handful of houses and farmers’ fields, was all that was there at the time.”

“I remember it just as if it were yesterday,” noted Chuck. Chuck said the group was agitated. Chrissy kept asking, “What was that? What was that?”

Seeing nothing, the group proceeded onto the store, though they were talking agitatedly amongst themselves about the bizarre event. All but Ben that is, Ben didn’t want to talk about what happened, he just preferred to put the whole odd event behind him. Ben, Chuck said, didn’t want to talk about the event afterwards either. In my (relatively limited) research into the UFO phenomena, this is a common reaction. Often experiencers will not desire to talk about their experiences afterwards.

Chuck noted that a small Cheswold airport is close to the location. Chuck’s mother, an amateur UFO enthusiast, contacted the airport to find out if anything had been detected on radar that evening. Chuck was unaware that she got any information or any type of response from the airport staff.

But life went on, and the group began to forget the event, except when someone brought it up again. It remains, for Chuck, an unexplainable episode in his life, which has henceforth never reoccurred. It remains a mystery to Chuck, but one vivid in his memory.

If you’ve had a similar experience in the area, we’d love to hear from you.


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