Last year on Jan. 15, a motorist heading towards Latrobe observed in the sky what looked like two large aircraft side by side. Around the same time, there was a report of a loud boom that shook the area.

Then on Feb. 28 near Blairsville, two people looking at the moon saw a sphere of light surrounded by four smaller lights. They watched this for a few minutes, turned away, and when they looked back it was gone. They checked a phone app to see if any aircraft were flying over the area, but there were none scheduled.

The incidents defied explanations, for instance, of being known aircraft or natural phenomena like planets or stars.

That’s why Stan Gordon of Greensburg listed them in his 2020 report of UFO and Cryptid Encounters in Pennsylvania.

“Year after year, people are reporting these kinds of sightings,” he told the Bulletin. “They are from all walks of life — men, women, children, educators, hunters, police officers. Many of these people never believed in anything like Bigfoot or UFOs before. They didn’t believe that these things existed until having their own encounter. I’ve interviewed people who said they saw these things years ago and they are still having a hard time dealing with it because they saw something that’s not supposed to exist.”

Gordon is an internationally known investigator of anomalies, an author, lecturer, podcast guest and has appeared in numerous documentaries about UFOs and Bigfoot creatures. He’s been interested in the unknown since he was a kid and counts 62 years in research.

Limitations from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic did not result in fewer sightings last year.

“People were out taking walks in the countryside, or walking around in their yards and observing the sky,” he said. “There was a lot of activity in 2018 and 2019, and there continued to be a lot of reports in 2020 in this area, especially along the Derry side of the Chestnut Ridge, towards Youngstown. There have been a lot of very interesting reports coming from that area over the years.”

The ridge that extends from Indiana County, through Westmoreland and into Fayette County has been the site of “some very interesting reports and other activities, going back to at least the 1970s,” he noted.

Years ago, Gordon heard a firsthand report of an alleged Bigfoot sighting in 1931 near the village of Indian Head east of Connellsville. He has uncovered other reports in the Latrobe area from the 1950s and 1960s, and incidents in the 19th Century.

“People reported seeing unusual things going back to the 1800s in Pennsylvania,” he said. “There are even accounts from Native Americans across the state of the ‘wild man in the woods’ and for years and years, there have been reports of large footprints. In the 1890s, there was a wave of incidents in Pennsylvania and across the country of large mysterious airships. People reported seeing human-like figures standing on something like a catwalk on the objects.”

Westmoreland County had numerous alleged Bigfoot sightings in 1973. Many of those incidents were connected to reports of UFOs. Since then, there have been pockets of sightings throughout the area and although they don’t receive widespread coverage, they’re still happening. There are also reports of other cryptids, which are creatures that may or may not exist. That includes sightings of extremely large birds and black panthers, which are not native to North America.

Last year, Gordon received reports from all around southwestern Pennsylvania, north of the region and other parts of the state.

On March 8, people hiking near Rector heard noises that they could not explain, and that seemed to follow them. On that same day, a resident of the Laurel Highlands reported that a small gray sphere about two feet in diameter was floating around inside his house.

A short trail of three-toed footprints, both left and right, was found March 24 in the wet ground in the Derry Township side of Chestnut Ridge. They measured nearly 10 inches long and were three to four inches wide.

“Over the years larger five and three-toed footprints have been found near this area and elsewhere,” Gordon said.

On an afternoon three days later, also in the Laurel Highlands, a man entering an open garage encountered a very large jet-black animal that passed him just 10 feet away and ran into nearby woods.

He was sure that it was a black panther.

Last April, Gordon’s friend Eric Altman, a Bigfoot researcher, received several reports of odd vocalizations heard on the Derry side of the Chestnut Ridge. There were also reports that month of triangular shaped objects and lights in the sky in Cambria and Indiana counties, and a mysterious boom sound in Westmoreland County.

On May 27 near Donegal, a man who was outside watching deer saw some illumination around the field, and then the deer ran away.

Moments later, he saw a dark humanoid figure that appeared to be over six feet tall.

He told Gordon that the arms were bent and did not swing as it moved, and that the figure seemed to be gliding rather than running across the field.

He didn’t think it was human.

On June 10, a motorist near Derry spotted a huge black animal in a field and was certain that it was a black panther. He quickly drove to bring back a friend who also saw the animal, but they said that it took off before they could get a photo. They thought it looked like a black panther.

There are many more incidents in the 2020 report. A black panther in Cambria County. Spheres of light in Washington County. A pulsing red glowing object in Irwin. A Bigfoot-like creature in Jefferson County, and another allegedly seen near the Maryland border.

“Most UFO sightings can be explained,” Gordon said. “There are misidentifications of aircraft, planets, stars or other natural things. But you have that percentage of reports that you can’t easily dismiss. There’s been a lot of speculation of what these anomalies are, whatever has been going on for centuries. We don’t have answers for a lot of things. The more I know about this whole phenomena, the more complex it becomes, and some of these things we just don’t understand.”

Gordon has never seen a UFO, Bigfoot nor any other creature or unexplained sighting. He considers himself an open-minded skeptic.

Nevertheless, he takes seriously the information from witnesses who report creatures and other things that defy explanation.

Gordon speculates that they could be interdimensional, that they have physical and non-physical components, can come and go, and sometimes leave something physical behind.

“The best witnesses are people who won’t believe it until they see it themselves,” he said.

“Many of the witnesses who come forward never believed until they saw something, and then it was a life-changing experience.”

To make a report, contact Gordon at paufo@comcast.net or 724-838-7768.

The 2020 report and other information and links are on his website stangordon.info.

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