Published: 5:21 AM 2/20/2014
Kelly Kazek | email@example.com
“FYFFE, Alabama – The prospect of seeing a UFO lured more than 4,000 people to this town of 1,300 in northeast Alabama Friday night, but for all the hoopla no unidentified flying objects were sighted. Visibility was difficult because of clouds and light rain.
Fyffe got on the UFO circuit Feb. 10, when a woman reported seeing a strange light in the sky and the police later reported seeing a large lighted object passing silently over them. Numerous other sightings have been reported since then.” – New York Times, March 6, 1989
Twenty-five years ago last week, the tiny DeKalb County town of Fyffe, Ala., became the center of national attention.
On Friday, Feb. 11, 1989, the first call was made to the Fyffe Police Department. A woman reported seeing a strange object in the sky. By the end of Feb. 12, more than 50 residents had reported seeing the strange objects, including the town’s police chief and his assistant.
The object was described by a witness as hovering “at an angle from 1 o’clock to 7 o'clock with bright lights at the top and bottom. The curvature was outlined in green with "a real bright light in the center.”
Fyffe Police Chief Charles “Junior” Garmany and Assistant Police Chief Fred Works responded to the initial call and soon saw something in the sky.
Garmany and Works were driving along DeKalb County Road 43 but stopped and stepped out of the car when they saw an object in the sky that was “bigger than a jumbo jet” and silent. They described it as metallic and triangular shaped.
According to DeKalbLandmarks.org, Works told a reporter: “The object came on over and got straight overhead. It was big, wide and appeared to be a wide triangular shape. We kept waiting to hear the sound. We kept looking at each other and saying, ‘Where's the sound?’ We never heard anything.”
What I saw the first time was like nothing I ever saw before. It was not a helicopter, it was not a plane. Not a sound.
Garmany added: “What I saw the first time was like nothing I ever saw before. It was not a helicopter, it was not a plane. Not a sound.”
A week later, Works told the Associated Press: “I’m not saying what I saw was a flying saucer but what really got to me was the lack of sound.”
Other law officers who reported seeing something strange in the sky included a Crossville Police officer, the Geraldine Police chief and a state trooper, AP reported.
Over the next few days as many as 4,000 tourists and more than 100 news organizations converged on Fyffe. After a witness described the craft as banana shaped, an entrepreneur began selling T-shirts with a banana-shaped object on the front with the words: “I Survived the Fyffe UFO.”
For a while, residents of Fyffe enjoyed the notoriety but soon the tourists and jokes grew tiresome, as The Tuscaloosa News reported Feb. 17, 1989, under the headline “Fyffe police chief, aide tired of UFO jokes.”
Works said in the article: “I walked into the grill the other day for lunch and there sat a reporter. I never even got to eat. I came on back to the office and there sat reporters from a TV station. Right now, I’m two wreck reports behind.”
After a few years, however, the town realized the lure of its history and began hosting the Fyffe UFO Days Festival each August, featuring hot air balloons, arts and crafts, games, a street dance, live entertainment and more.
Junior Garmany went on to run the Shop and Go store in Fyffe and later ran unsuccessfully for the Town Council. Garmany died Oct. 24, 2013, at the age of 64. The flag at Fyffe Town Hall flew at half-mast in his honor, according to the town’s Facebook page.
Other sightings in Alabama
Fyffe is not the only Alabama town with a history of UFO sightings. Sightings were especially plentiful in the 1970s.
To this day, Alabamians are reporting seeing strange craft in the sky. Alabama ranked 15th in the U.S. in 2013 in the number of sightings, according to the Mutual UFO Network.
In 1973, another police chief in a small north Alabama town took a photo of what he thought was an alien being.
That October, Falkville Police Chief Jeff Greenhaw responded to a call from a woman who was “excited” as she reported seeing something strange. Greenhaw responded and came upon a 6-foot tall metallic creature with an antenna on its head.
“It looked like his head and neck were kind of made together... he was real bright, something like rubbing mercury on nickel, but just as smooth as glass-different angles give different lighting. I don't believe it was aluminum foil… It was running faster than any human I ever saw.”
Greenhaw was ridiculed and lost his job. Many people believed someone had played a prank on the chief. However, the photo he snapped of the creature that night can be seen in books on alien life.
An anonymous witness told The Tuscaloosa News what he saw in October 1976: “The thing dropped out of the sky like a rock/ Just when I thought I was about to be crushed, it pulled up just short... I looked up again and a light as bright as the sun blinded me.”
Hayden Mountain 1977
In 1977, Mr. and Mrs. Terry White were driving toward their Blount County home with their children in the car when they spotted a 65-foot-long craft. Terry told The Tuscaloosa News: “It had something coming out of the bottom of the object. It looked like pads. They were half the width of the object.”
A local teenager, Stewart Lewis, told The Tuscaloosa News: “What I saw then was beyond imagination. It was kind of a triangular shaped It object with the shape of a pool rack. It had a deep yellow glow…it seemed like it was thrown out of an explosion. It was tumbling but it was moving slowly on a line.”