The original bridge on Loch Raven Drive built in 1906 and the site of the 1953 & 1958 UFO cases. The bridge was removed and replaced with a safer one in 1988.
Just north of Baltimore, the Loch Raven Reservoir is a popular destination for Maryland residents seeking a place to enjoy the outdoors. The area is popular for fishing, kayaking, and trails. Designated as a state park area, Loch Raven Reservoir provides the drinking water for Baltimore City and most of Baltimore County. Unbeknownst to most visitors is that the area has also been a hot bed of UFO activity going back to the 1950’s. The Loch Raven UFO saga begins in 1953 but the most well documented case happens in 1958. There are additional UFO sightings in 1978, 1983, 2000, and my own sighting in the Spring of 1996. At the time of my own experience, I was unaware of any history of UFOs in the area and didn’t find out about it until years later.
I’ll preface the remainder of this article by stating I don’t believe that our planet has been visited by aliens from another world or dimension (at least while humans have lived here). When I use the term, UFO, I mean it in the most literal sense of the acronym: unidentified flying object. I believe that if aliens from another planet find us, they will be so advanced that they’d view us as nothing more than insects; we would become slaves, a food source, or simply wiped out as they assimilate the resources of the earth. I am not the only one who believes this. Since neither of those things have happened to us, it’s a safe bet that our little blue planet has yet to be discovered by any advanced life beyond ourselves.
May of 1953: Loch Raven UFO Sighted at Loch Raven Drive Bridge with a Column of Water Beneath It
A MUFON report dated March 17, 2003 is the primary reference to this particular sighting. The witnesses chose to remain anonymous after being interrogated and allegedly threatened by 4 men who claimed to be from Project Blue Book. They claimed that between 7:30 – 8:00 PM while on their way to meet two women for a date their car died leading up to the bridge on Loch Raven Drive. They then saw an orange glowing object about 300 feet away. The men claimed that the object was approximately 150 to 200 feet across about about 50 to 60 feet tall. The men where shaken and left the vehicle to seek cover in the woods where they observed the object for about 10 minutes. The object appeared to have a conical column of water below it until it rose and disappeared. The car wouldn’t start back up due to a burned out electrical system and eventually the men, now stranded, were picked up by police and taken to Towson where they filed a police report. Read the full MUFON report.
By far the most documented of the Loch Raven UFO sightings, the 1958 case was investigated directly by Project Blue Book and is still under the status of ‘unknown’. 27 year old Philip Small & 24 year old Alvin Cohen were driving home at about 10:30 p.m. on the night of October 26, 1958. As they approached a bridge they saw an egg shaped craft floating just above it. The object floated above the bridge at a height of 100 to 150 feet and emitted a luminescent white light. They slowed their vehicle to get a closer look and when they got about 75 feet from the bridge, their car died completely. Unable the restart the car, the men took cover behind the car and watched the UFO for 30-45 seconds. The object then flashed a white light, causing the two witnesses to feel heat on their faces. The flash was accompanied by a loud sound, like thunder. The object rose straight up becoming brighter as it did so and within 5-10 seconds was gone. The flash was so bright that the men appeared to be sunburned on their faces.
Excerpt from the Project Blue Book Report on the 1958 UFO Sighting
A bright round light was observed to rise from the lake about 500 feet above the dam. The witness was a local fisherman by the name of Mitchell. He stated that it hovered over the water for a few seconds and then dove back into the lake. A similar account was told by several Baltimore City Water dept. workers in 1983.
An administrator for the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) claimed to have witnessed a disk shaped object that ‘looked like green fire’ fly across the reservoir while he drove home from work one evening. He didn’t report the incident until May of that same year. Unlike the sightings in the 1950’s, this Loch Raven UFO occurred at another bridge that crosses the reservoir on Paper Mill Rd. The witness said that there was snow on the ground and this portion of the reservoir was frozen over and also covered with snow which provided excellent lighting conditions to view the object. He stopped his car and got out, noticing a strong sickening sweet odor that made him sick to his stomach. So sick, in fact, that he said he had trouble keeping food in his stomach. He also claimed that the incident left his eyesight so impaired that he was unable to drive for nearly a month. The man also suffered from a mysterious illness that left him with joint and back pain. About a year after the incident, he took his own life.
April of 1996: Oval-Shaped Loch Raven UFO Sighted Over the Loch Raven Large Dam
I was a freshmen in college when I had my own Loch Raven UFO sighting. If you’re not familiar with the area, Loch Raven actually has 2 dams. This sighting occurred at the large dam (the small dam is located a bit further downstream). Watch Drone Footage of Loch Raven Reservoir.
The Loch Raven Reservoir Large Dam – The Terrace Railings Provide a Sense of Scale. This is an Older Image – The Terrace is no Longer There.
I and two college friends (who do not want their identity revealed) were at the dam late on a Friday night. Being stupid 18-year olds, we thought it would be a fun to walk across the top of the dam.
We’d scaled the gate into the service area and made our way to the edge when one of my friends asks, “You guys hear that?” As soon as he spoke, I noticed a subtle humming noise overhead. Immediately my other friend exclaims, “oh shit!” and takes off running back the way we came. I looked up to see a glowing oval-shaped object hovering over the dam and immediately followed suit. The glow was a bluish color similar to the color of a natural gas flame, maybe a little whiter and it was just sitting in the sky above the dam. I didn’t get a good idea of the height, we were running just to get out of there, but it appeared to be at least as long as the entire dam. We scaled the gate back out, looked back, and it was gone. The entire event happened in what was probably just 30-40 seconds.
Our initial thought was that we’d tripped some type of motion activated security light. For days we all were expecting the police to show up at our homes to file trespassing charges, but nothing happened. Every so often we’d talk about it wondering what it really was we saw. Eventually the whole thing faded into memory and over time, I lost contact with both of those friends. I don’t think any of us really believed it was a security light – Loch Raven Dam didn’t have anything like that at the time. We didn’t have any other rational explanation.
Years later, I was on Google looking for information regarding mountain bike trails at the Loch Raven Reservoir when I stumbled onto the 1958 UFO case. This sparked my interest in the Loch Raven UFO phenomena and had me pouring through my own memory trying to remember as many details of my experience as possible. My friends who were with me at the time refuse to discuss it; we were, after all, breaking the law.
So What Are The Loch Raven UFOs?
As I stated at the beginning of this article, I don’t believe that our planet has been visited by aliens in spaceships. I believe that in most cases, the people really did see something they couldn’t explain. Lack of an explanation however, should never be considered a license to create fantastical ideas to fill the knowledge gap. The Loch Raven Reservoir isn’t far from military installations known for their secret work and experimental research such as Aberdeen Proving Ground. We are also finding out over the last few decades that dams actually change the atmospheric composition around them due to decaying vegetation that gets flooded when the dam is built. I’m confident that my Loch Raven UFO experience was either a military test, some type of rare atmospheric phenomena, or something else that doesn’t include spaceships.