Sure, we had Vietnam, Civil Rights, and Gemini, The Cold War and "Unsafe at Any Speed" by Ralph Nader. We had The Sound of Music and Dr. Zhivago. President Johnson won the election. The Beatles were BIG.
And we had an obsession with UFOs and Bigfoot sightings.
The August 19, 1965, Royal Oak, MI Daily Tribune opinion page remarked, "This is flying saucer season, and the reports--along with those of a local "monster"--are coming in loud and clear." The writer believed that the Perseid meteor shower, aligned with the planet Jupiter, and compounded by atmospheric effects, were behind the sightings.
"Reports of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have been coming in from Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas, which is par for the course. But this saucer season is something special. Further sightings have been reported in Nebraska, Minnesota, and Brazil." The latest report was from Hershey, PA; a man photographed the object but was afraid to show it for fear of being called "a nut." The writer reported that Carl Sagan dismissed such tales, but urged that myths and tales be reexamined for indications of visits from the past.
One news article reported that a man working at the Northville Ford generator plant decided to have some fun with a hoax photograph that earned a three column article. When he told his neighbor of his hoax, the neighbor "grew wildly indignant," crying, "I saw those saucers myself, plain as day!"
Stories came from around the world, A New Mexico policeman claimed to see a brilliant white object, marked with a red V with three lines through it, that had two figures in white overalls inside. The authorities found scorched grass and indentations where the policeman claimed to have seen it. Brits saw "the thing" several times, an orange cloud with a rising object, accompanied by a boom that broke windows. Four weeks of sightings were reported in Oklahoma. Meteors were sighted in Upstate Michigan.
And in Metro Detroit, a saucer landed near John R and Eleven Mile Road, near the Madison Heights' City Hall. "Apparently in search of our leaders, the glowing lights" disappeared just after midnight.
Flying Saucers were exciting! I loved the movie The Day the Earth Stood Stilll and was sure space aliens only brought good will.
Klaatu barada nikto
Dowagiac, Michigan reported the Monster of Sister Lake was on the prowl, a nine-foot tall, 500-pound creature covered in hair, with a leathery face and "banjo eyes like Eddie Cantor." Except these eyes shined.
Eddie Cantor eyes! I was scared silly. Who was Eddie Cantor? What were "banjo eyes"? I had no idea. I still don't know. (Time to Goggle Eddie...)
|Eddie Cantor "Banjo Eyes"|
They said the Monster whimpered, and when it walked, the earth trembled. The first reports were from several pre-teen girls, walking near a wooded road in Silver Lake Township, Cass County. The girls ran to a nearby house and the police were called. An armed search party went out but found nothing.
A later article reported, "Get Your Monster Kit $7.95."
It was thought the girls had seen a bear attracted to the fruit farms in the area.
Then came the Monroe Monster. It wore pants. "I knew it was a person with something like a fur coat drawn up over his head," the man reported. Then he said the monster "threw him around like a rag doll." A Monroe mother and her daughter also reported a monster attacked them in their car; they underwent a lie detector test.
Oakland County, MI then "built a better monster" by reporting an amphibious monster on Voorheis Lake, Orion Township. It looked like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
An article reported that the Monroe Monster was "on the move," showing up in Gary Indiana, perhaps by hitchhiking on the Tri-State Highway. "Those truck drivers on I-94 are too friendly," one policeman said. "They'll give a ride to anybody--or anything." The police said the monster appeared in swampy areas where high weeds could "provide cover for any number of gorillas."
Monroe persisted that the monster had not left them. Coarse, dark hair was found on a car it had attacked. The car owner claimed to have been attacked by the monster when he and eight friends were in the car. "We all want to prove, once and for all, that there is no monster," stated the police. Another lie detector test was scheduled.
Apparently Michigan has a long history of Bigfoot sightings.
I eventually grew out of being afraid to look out the front door window at night, worried I would see "banjo eyes" looking in at me. I am still waiting for that space ship to come and save Earth from itself.