Nov. 28, 1981: Longtime Somerset County Deputy Sheriff Bud Hendsbee and his wife, Helen, a Madison selectwoman, leave home in their pickup truck, headed for Farmington, where they plan to have dinner at a new restaurant.

According to an account given later by Bud Hendsbee, as they pass through the tiny town of Starks on Route 43 in the dark, people in a car driving in the opposite direction stop to fetch an escaped dog. When he asks if they need help, one of the people, Kenos Henry, advises that he not go over the hill because a menacing unidentified flying object is on the other side.

The Hendsbees head that way anyway. As they drive, they notice a far-off light sweeping from side to side, but it disappears so they continue to Farmington and enjoy dinner,  Hendsbee says later. On the way back, a hovering light suddenly confronts them in Starks, so bright that Hendsbee is nearly blinded and can’t drive. The object changes position a few times, then hovers about 60 feet in the air directly in front of them in absolute silence, Hendsbee says. The Hendsbees turn around and take a different route home.

The next day, Hendsbee calls the Morning Sentinel to report what happened. A story that appears in the paper spreads to radio and TV news broadcasts and prompts a barrage of phone calls to the Hendsbees, including one from researchers in Florida who say they are ready to fly up to Maine to hypnotize witnesses.

The Hendsbees refuse to take part in additional interviews.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]

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