Written by Keith Rowell
Last Updated: 28 January 2013

UFO Description: Witnesses Gary Ashford and his wife saw an odd, grayish, balloon-like object moving along slowly in the early evening sky south of their home.  Gary took one photograph of the object, but then his camera malfunctioned. Gary called his brother across town. He also saw the object and took one photo, but then his camera malfunctioned, too. The object moved (“drifted”) out of sight.

Witness(es): Three witnesses:  Gary Ashford, his wife, and his brother.

Time and Date: April 24, 2011, at about 4:50 PM and after.

Duration: Probably about four to six minutes total.

Place: In central Medford east of I-5 and west of I-5 at a second location in Medford, Oregon.

Weather: Clear, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds; wind: 17.3 mph, gusting to 25.3 mph out of the west; temperature 60.1° F.

Case Report: Medford "Monkey" Balloon UFO (long download). Investigated by Keith Rowell, OM Assistant State Director.


Brief Narrative

Gary Ashford (pseudonym) and his wife were gardening in their backyard when his wife spotted a somewhat strange object in the sky. At first, Gary thought it might be a vulture. But both saw an "aura" seemingly around it and thought it definitely looked strange as it "drifted" closer. Gary thought of his camera and went into the house and came back out with his Nikon Coolpix P100.

Gary Takes One Photo and Camera Malfunctions

Gary spotted the UFO again and tried to take photos of it. He managed just one photo and luckily it was at the fully zoomed out telephoto end. But then further tries at more photos failed. He thought the camera was malfunctioning. He ended up with just one photo.

Brother Takes One Photo and Camera Malfunctions

The UFO was "drifting" toward his brother's house across town to the east. He called his brother and told him to be ready with his camera if he spotted the UFO. His brother managed to get only one out of focus photo as the UFO continued to drift by and on off to the east. His brother thought that his camera malfunctioned, too.


This case is a good example of the difficulty of deciding whether a UFO is actually an IFO.  The total amount of evidence when evaluated fairly can lead to an IFO conclusion perhaps or a UFO conclusion perhaps.  Which way will it go for you?  Read through the report and decide for yourself what the thing actually was.

"Balloon Mimic" UFOs

While you are going through the report be sure to pay attention to the other "balloon mimic" UFO cases mentioned. (Some are documented here on Oregon MUFON's site for you.)  What does the preponderance of the evidence incline you to believe? UFO or IFO?

UFO Case Proof Standards

The life of a UFO investigator is filled with cases in which there is evidence for an IFO, but just how strong is that evidence when ALL the evidence is taken into account? That's what we try to evaluate. Very few UFO cases are "slam dunks."

Oregon MUFON has developed the idea of UFO case proof borrowed from courts of law:  proof to the standards of (1) "preponderance of the evidence," (2) "clear and convincing evidence," and (3) "evidence beyond a reasonable doubt." Our UFO cases are rarely "beyond a reasonable doubt." But, if they are, remember, in a court of law, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is enough to send somebody to prison for life. We hope the evidence is strong enough for "beyond a reasonable doubt" or "clear and convincing," but will settle for "preponderance of the evidence," which is enough in a court of civil law to win a case.

This case is only at the level of "preponderance of the evidence" in favor of the "genuine UFO" category, this investigator believes, but you may think differently.

 Gary's "Monkey" Balloon UFO Blown Up and Manipulated to Show Detail