50th anniversary of Michigan UFO sightings – WWMT-TV

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Bill Benson, holding groom-and-bride alien hats worn at weddings, calls Long Lake the UFO capital of the world. He operates on the lake’s shore Benson’s Hide-A-Way, full of UFO and extraterrestrial memorabilia. (Photo: Doug Raflik/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

Correction: Herman Bender presented evidence about the UFO sightings at Wednesday’s event but did not reach a conclusion on whether they were actually UFOs. An earlier version of this story misrepresented that aspect.

At the Hide-A-Way, owner Bill Benson stands in the bar, his back to a wall plastered with posters of space aliens and UFOs.

Also in the venue are vodka glasses shaped like an alien’s head, a walking stick with alien eyes and two tin-foiled hats, worn so space creatures don’t mess with the human brain. He brings over a jar marked with a biohazard sticker that’s filled with milky water and something lumpy inside with black-coal eyes.

“People come from all over to see this,” he said Thursday, of what he believes is a man from outer space.

Most people have heard of UFO hot spots in America such as Area 51 along State 375 in Nevada and across the rocky landscape surrounding Roswell, New Mexico. But many Wisconsinites might not know that there is one in their own backyard at Campbellsport’s Long Lake, which Benson calls the UFO capital of the world.

Every summer for 28 years, Campbellsport is host to the UFO Daze, which draws hundreds of people for a day of extraterrestrial events on Long Lake. This year’s event is July 16.

But UFO aficionados aren’t only hitting up Campbellsport. They are sprinkled throughout the state, including in Fond du Lac.

On Wednesday, Herman Bender, an independent researcher with a background in geology, and Rick Whaley, a retired professor at Marian University, hosted a presentation on local UFO sightings as part of their eight-week program held at the Fond du Lac Public Library called “Big Histories of Futures Past.” More than 100 people attended.

Bender presented two unsolved cases, one from 1976 when a UFO and two green men were supposedly spotted by a Malone farmer and his son. Another case from February 1993 in Dodge County involved two sheriff’s deputies chasing a moving object, which suddenly disappeared.

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Bill Benson of the Hide-a-Way in Campbellsport displays at his bar what he claims is a man from outer space. (Photo: Doug Raflik/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

A lot of people in Wisconsin are seeing UFOs, Bender said, but they are afraid to talk about it. There’s a history of ridiculing people who claim to see these objects. But the more people who come forward, the more legitimate the sightings become, he claims.

“Nobody in their right mind is going to make this stuff up and subject themselves to ridicule,” Bender said. “Why would you ever want to to do that?”

At the Hide-A-Way bar, Benson has a book of pictures given to him by patrons, full of black skies and strange lights.

He can explain why every shining light is not a star or an airplane or a planet. To him, they are spaceships from a world far away.

Reach Madeline Zukowski at 920-907-7968 or [email protected]

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