UFO Type: Distinctly red, closely clustered, moving objects 

Sighting Duration: About 10 to 15 minutes, 5 with binoculars

Date: 2/15/09

Time: About 12:30 to 12:45PM

Place: West Linn, Oregon

Witnesses: Keith Rowell, Devlin Runge 

On February 15, a Sunday, Oregon MUFON field investigator Devlin Rugne arrived at my house (Oregon MUFON assistant state director Keith Rowell) to discuss a possible abduction case she was currently working on.  While seated at my kitchen table, she spotted a possible UFO and called my attention to it.

Test your UFO investigator skills by reading through our two stories and see what you think after considering all the evidence presented here.  Be sure to look at Devlin's drawing of the UFO event.

Devlin's Account

I have been thinking about the object that I saw today and since I was so quick to dismiss it as balloons, I've been replaying in my head what I saw in the binoculars.

I have a tendency to look in the distance when someone is talking to visualize what he or she is saying. And while you were talking, I visually saw a significant red elongated object out the large window in your kitchen, which I was facing. 

At first I thought it was a plane. But it was not moving in a path, but drifting or appearing somewhat stationary. A few more seconds and I brought your [Keith's] attention to it by saying, "what is that?" You turned around and then got up and we both moved to the window where you asked where it was.

I tried to point it out and I could still see it. I then asked you if you had binoculars. I stayed at the window observing it and you returned with the binoculars. I located the object with the binoculars and saw what I thought was three or four red "balloons."

We went out onto your deck for a better view. I told you then that I thought they were balloons and I heard you say you saw them now. I then saw them "tumbling" and morphing into a total of at least eight "balloons." At one point I saw a yellow hue below the many red "balloons" that I immediately thought must be yellow balloons, but now realize were not actually the shape of the other objects.

I thought the strange movements of the object(s) were due to the wind that was apparent. The object(s) appeared to be slightly moving west. You then said you wanted to tape them and I stopped looking through the binoculars. Before you went inside, you said for me to continue to look at them.

When I brought the binoculars back up to my eyes, I could not locate them. I searched the blue sky and could not find them. I could not understand why I couldn't find them. You came back out with the camcorder and asked where they were, but I didn't know. I thought maybe they went behind one of the few small random clouds I saw. After a couple of minutes scanning the sky . . . nothing. They vanished!

I had only taken my eyes off of them for about two seconds before you entered the house. When I told you of the movements they made, gesturing with my hands, you said balloons don't do that. I told you that I had associated the red color with balloons.

You said that you had video of an object that had the color red in it. We went to your office to look at the video, where you showed me a "barbell" looking object with the lower portion changing to the color red. I never saw something like that before.

My conclusion is I feel it was bizarre that they just disappeared. If they were truly balloons, wouldn't they just drift away being in plain sight until they did so?

Devlin Rugne

Keith's Account

Oregon MUFON field investigator Devlin Rugne came over to discuss [her possible abduction case today]. We talked in my kitchen with Devlin facing my large window looking northeast.  She spotted a tiny red object moving slowly from the east to the west low in the sky about 20 degrees off the horizon.  I got up and turned around to look, but couldn't make out the red object.  (I have barely 20/20 corrected near-sighted eyes.)

After about 15 to 30 seconds of me trying to locate the object, she asked me if I had some binoculars.  I went immediately to get my six power binoculars from the piano room and gave her the binoculars.  She located the object almost immediately and looked at it through the window for 30 seconds maybe.  She then relocated to my deck about four feet in front of our previous position inside the kitchen looking out the kitchen window.

I went immediate to retrieve my nine power binocs from my car 15 feet away in the garage, and then, joining Devlin on the deck, started looking for the object.  She had continuous viewing of the object with the binoculars while I was getting my binoculars.  I located the object and observed a distinctly red bunch of maybe three or four angular(?) objects.  I looked for only about 10 to 15 seconds while trying to settle down the jerky movement of the binoculars.

She started concluding that the objects were balloons, which I agreed with more or less without getting the same really good, long look that she did—about 45 to 60 seconds I'd estimate.  She then started to lower her binoculars, but I said to keep the objects in sight because I wanted to get some drifting balloons on videotape to compare with UFOs that I knew from many previous investigations and sightings of my own look somewhat similar to drifting balloons.

It was maybe 15 seconds maximum between when she last sighted the object and when she started back again trying to relocate it.  I then went for my Sony camcorder and got it from the family room (about 30 steps there and back) and turned it on as I walked back to where Devlin was on the deck.  She was still in the process of trying to relocate the object, but she was failing.  I started looking in vain also through my 25 power Sony camcorder zoom set to infinity focus.  We spent another vain couple of minutes or so looking for the object. Then gave up.

We then went back into the kitchen and tried to reconstruct the event thinking that it was strange that it took only 10 to 15 seconds for the object to disappear from view when if it were some normal party or other type balloons this would not have happened since judging from their rate of movement and direction, there was still plenty of sky left for us to relocate and view it again.

Devlin only concluded that the objects were probably balloons because they were distinctly bright red with a yellowish color showing up toward the end of her viewing time.  During our reconstruction of the sighting events, trying to figure out if these objects were indeed a bunch of tied together party-type balloons, Devlin said that she got the impression of quite fast internal movements of parts of the object.  I said, observing the activity of her gesturing fingers, that her fingers seemed too fast for internal movement of a cluster of party balloons just drifting along in the sky.

Devlin also had it in her head that since these objects were distinctly bright red that they couldn't be a UFO object.  I said "no," and we went down to my office and I showed her a videotape segment from a Portland witness who caught a somewhat similar, drifting balloon-type UFO that showed a distinct reddish glow at times in its path moving along in a similar blue sky, cumulus cloud type day.  I have seen, photographed, and videotaped similar type objects a number of times in the last ten years.

These types of UFO objects are devilishly hard to distinguish from real party balloons, which I have also seen occasionally in Portland's skies.

Discussion with State Director Tom Bowden

About a week later, I was talking with Tom and mentioned the possible UFO Devlin and I had seen at my house.  He reminded me that St. Valentine's Day was just the day before and that bright red is a particularly favored color on that day and that especially party type balloons are also very popular.

Your Conclusion Is?

Before you possibly jump to conclusions about the party balloons hypothesis, consider these other cases first: the Appaloosa Way case, the Lake Grove Spherical UFOs case, and the West Linn Golden Spheres Display case.

Was it a UFO or an IFO?  You decide.  And now you might begin to appreciate how much expertise UFO investigators must have to separate the UFO wheat from the IFO chaff!