I have lived in the Missouri Ozarks for more than 30 years, after growing up in Jackson County. I still have friends and family up there who, when they simply say “the interstate,” are referring to I-70. Down in this neck of the woods, of course, we mean I-44. Traveling eastward, both of them lead to St. Louis.

A couple of months ago I wrote a column called “Mysteries of the I-44 corridor.” A good friend of mine who lives in the KC-area and shares my interest in all things unexplained, made the comment that the number and variety of incidents reported over the years from along I-70 were just as plentiful and would make an equally interesting column. So, without further ado, here it is.

One characteristic that these to relatively narrow bands of Midwestern countryside have in common is a rich history of unexplained events long before the first politician looked at the concept of a national system of freeways and asked himself, “What’s in it for me?” But during the period that these two major Missouri traffic arteries have existed, the quantity and variety of unexplained reports originating in these two bands have been remarkably similar. UFOs and anomalous lights predominate, with lesser numbers of Bigfoot encounters, haunted places and other phenomena rounding out the data.

Back in February, for example, I received an email from a lady who had been traveling westbound on I-70 at about 2 a.m. on Jan. 28, 2015, when she had a brief but close encounter with a UFO, just east of the Highway 54 junction in Callaway County. The next morning, she told a neighbor whom she knew to be interested in such matters. He is a friend of mine and urged her to contact me.

“I was just driving along listening to the radio and enjoying the light traffic at that hour of the morning,” she began. “There was a car about 200 yards ahead of me going the same direction and all of a sudden his brake lights came on, and he stopped right in the highway. I figured it was probably an animal crossing the road and I slowed way down. He was still sitting there in the right-hand lane and I was going to slow down even more. Then I saw what was in his headlights and I stopped, too.

“It was about 10 or 12 feet above the road, and I don’t know what else to call it but a UFO. It was like a stretched out oval shape about 20 feet long but only about 3 or 4 feet thick. It was pure white but not glossy, like what they call a matte finish. If there was anybody in it, they were either laying down or awfully short. It wasn’t moving very fast, maybe about like a man walking, and I didn’t hear any noise coming from it. Of course, that doesn’t mean much, since I had the windows rolled up, the radio on and the car was running. There were no lights on it and, with the dull surface, I lost sight of it rather quickly after it moved off out of the headlights and into the darkness. As soon as it did, the car in front of me drove off, and since the show seemed to be over I did the same thing.

I attempted to follow up on this report by checking with appropriate law enforcement agencies, newspapers and radio stations to see if the other driver or anyone else had reported the strange object, but had no success. I did speak to the witness by phone briefly with a couple of follow-up questions. I learned that there was no indication of interference with her vehicle’s electrical system or engine, and her car’s radio signal remained strong and free of static.

This is just a sample of numerous incidents I have in my files from the Missouri counties along the I-70 corridor, but it is the most recent I have investigated personally and definitely fell into the category of being a close encounter. I consider it to be a valid report and classified it as being unexplained.

If you have had an encounter with any type of paranormal or unexplained phenomenon that occurred in Missouri or an adjoining state, I would like to add it to my ever-growing files. Send me a complete account, with as many details as you can. Include your name and a telephone number or email address I can reach you at if I need more information. Complete anonymity, if requested, will be observed if your experience is used for publication. Send accounts and comments to samuptegrove@gmail.com and I will respond.

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