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Spring 1981 - Mobile, Alabama - Glowing White Sphere UFO Sighting

Updated: Aug 25, 2019

Birmingham UFO Group Case Report

Author: Dave Hodrien

Last Updated: 06/05/2010


Linda Richardson is 62 years old and lives near Pascagoula MS. Back in 1981, she and her son Anthony lived out in the county of Mobile, Alabama. Their house was about 2 miles along Dick Ship Road (later renamed to John Shinn Road), a dirt track leading off Georgetown – Chunchula Road, which in turn ran off State Highway 45. The family owned about 5 acres of land around the house. In early spring of that year, they and Anthony’s friend Tony had an astounding encounter with a strange aerial object.

Map showing location of John Shinn Road in relation to State Highway 45:

Aerial map of John Shinn Road, showing the amount of woodland in the area:

Sighting Details

It was about 8pm in the evening, and Linda was cleaning her kitchen. The family owned a horse named Timmy and a small calf named Charley. Both the animals started to make noises like they were distressed at something. Anthony and Tony decided to head outside and see what was causing the animals to be upset, expecting to see a wild animal of some kind. They headed through the kitchen and went outside, leaving the back door open. A few minutes later Linda heard her son call her, saying “Mama come here, look at this!”

Linda went outside to see what was going on. It was a calm clear night, and there were no clouds. The stars were fully visible. The boys were staring up into the sky at something. She looked up, and almost fainted at what she saw. Almost right overhead hanging in the sky was a large glowing white sphere. It was about 500-600 feet above them and completely motionless. Her first thought was “Gosh, there’s something wrong with the moon, it’s too close to Earth!” She noted that it had no different shades on it, it was bright white all over. It was totally silent as it hovered above them. Linda’s emotions were a mix of fear and awe. She felt defenseless, and that she had no way of protecting her son from whatever it was.

Drawing of UFO based on witness description:

After several minutes, without warning, the object began to move. It was only now that Linda realised it couldn’t possibly be the moon but was a hovering object of some kind. It started slowly then began to build up in speed, moving off to the South and slowly gaining in altitude. The object moved over the roof of the house and was lost from sight. Linda and the boys ran through to the front porch to continue watching it. A number of dull red coloured lights were now visible low down on the rear of the object. Linda cannot remember how many there were or what configuration they were in. Her initial fear was now replaced with a desire to protect her son. She grabbed a broom from inside the front door. She put her hand on Anthony’s shoulder and said to him and Tony that whatever the object was is was not going to get them.

Suddenly the object dramatically increased in acceleration and shot away to the South. It did this in complete silence and was lost from sight in a split second. Linda compares the speed to that of a bullet being fired from a gun. It was truly breath-taking to watch. The witnesses were left there on the front porch, astounded at what they had just seen. They discussed the object for a long time, wondering what it could have been.

Modern photograph of John Shinn Road:

After a while, Linda decided to phone her next door neighbour Betty. It turned out that she too had witnessed the object. She had seen the light from it coming into her house, and wondering where it was coming from had gone out to her porch to take a look. She was very scared by the presence of the object.

Later Linda decided to contact the Air Force to see if they were aware of the UFO (She first called the local Coast Guard to get the number). When she rang she was not aware of which Air Force base she was in touch with. She spoke with a man who identified himself as an officer. Linda does not remember if he gave his name or not. She started to relate to him about what had taken place. The man said that the object they had seen was probably a weather balloon. Linda said that her uncle was a meteorologist and that she was well versed in what weather balloons look like and are capable of. She did not buy his explanation at all. The man seemed uninterested, as if she was wasting his time. He reluctantly listened for several minutes but provided no satisfactory explanation. She was not aware whether the call was recorded or written down.

In the morning, the mailman George called at their house. George was on friendly terms with many of the residents in the area. When Linda informed him about what she had seen, George said that he too had seen the object, as had other people in the neighbourhood. Despite the multiple witnesses to the incident, there was no newspaper article written about the UFO, Linda feels that they may have been told not to because of the fear it would have caused. Or perhaps nobody decided to inform the local paper so they were unaware that it had taken place.