UFO over Martinsdale, Montana

tl;dr: My girlfriend saw an object fly at a rapid pace and stop “on a dime” directly overhead near Martinsdale, Montana. The blueish object moved from the southeast at a rate several times faster than a satellite, and after stopping overhead emitted a pulsing light. She photographed the object several times.

My name is Jake Wilund. I am 30 years old and work in technology, primarily dealing with Content Management Systems (CMS). I’m identifying myself because I want to be as transparent as possible in telling this story. If you have questions or would like to know more about this experience, please feel free to contact me at jake.wilund@gmail.com.

My girlfriend (who has asked to not be named, and who I will refer to as GF going forward) and I live in Boston, MA and met my family in Martinsdale, MT as a part of a trip for my father’s 62nd birthday / family vacation. On the night of August 6th, GF decided to go outside to look at the stars since we don’t often get to see them so clearly as one can out there in Montana. I was inside the lodge that we were all staying at, preparing for bed.

At around 10:35pm, she came into the bedroom and calmly reported to me that she believed she had just seen a UFO. She has a particular way of delivering her sarcasm, and I knew by how subdued she had said it that something was up. I asked, “Is it still out there? Will you show it to me?”. She said it was still out there when she had left to come inside and that she had taken some photos of it. I threw my clothes back on and insisted we go back out to take a look together.

As we stepped out, it was a noticeably calm night (it can get quite windy where we were in Montana, basically open agricultural fields). GF told me to look straight up, and that the object was still there. She described it as a blue pulsing object, and that to her eyes it was the brightest and largest thing in the sky at that moment.

This confused me. I was looking to the direction she was pointing, and aside from an entire sky full of stars, I couldn’t see anything that stood out or was noticeable. I shifted my focus to look for more subtle differences in the stars above me. I called out a certain star that to my eyes looked slightly brighter than the rest. I couldn’t see any pulsing, nor did it look blue to me, but I asked if that was what she was looking at.

As we sat there looking up at the sky, GF described to me how she had been sitting on a nearby picnic table just admiring the sky when she saw this object move at an incredibly rapid pace from the southeast. I later asked her to compare the speed at which the object moved to both that of a shooting star and a satellite (both of which we observed when we went back out the next night). She described the object as moving “much faster” than a satellite, but not as fast as a shooting star. She also said that it didn’t have a tail/streak of light behind it like a shooting star does.

What was particularly haunting though, and ultimately what scared her off the picnic table and caused her to run back towards the lodge was the fact that this object stopped immediately and directly above our location. She told me that when she saw that, she got scared and ran to the deck attached to the lodge, which has an awning over it and hid the object from her sight. She peaked back out from under the awning to see if it was still there and it was. It continued to pulse and remain in its position for at least several minutes, because when she returned outside with me shortly after her initial sighting, it was still there.

As we sat outside together, GF kept repeating, “It’s right there! Directly above us.” I kept asking her to try to see the star I was looking at, but she couldn’t see the star I was trying to call out. I proceeded to ask her a rapid number of questions. One of the questions I recall asking was, “Is it as big or bright as that star over there” as I pointed at what I believed to be a star that was much lower in the horizon (compared to the object she said was looking at directly above us). She looked down and said that what she was looking at directly above her was “much bigger and brighter. And it’s pulsing”.

(I’ll note that the next night I learned that this bright object I pointed out to her as reference was in fact Jupiter, which I could see along with a few of its moons when I looked at it through my father’s spotting scope (he runs a hunting business and has a high powered spotting scope with him when he’s out there). I believe he said it was 60x power, so when I got Jupiter centered in the eyepiece it was quite large/clear compared to looking at it by eye.)

I was pretty dumbfounded that I still could not see the object. She pulled out her phone and pointed it upward, and I immediately saw the phone focus on something. GF took pictures using an iPhone 11 in the night mode setting. I was confused because I saw the phone focus on this thing after she tapped the screen but yet I hadn’t seen anything with my own naked eyes. My focus left the screen to quickly look back up at the sky, but I still could not see anything that matched her description.

At this point I was completely perplexed and had her take another photo, but this time I had her keep pointing the camera at it so I could look at the screen closer. You’ll notice that in IMG_0661 (which is the last photo of the object that we have) that the object is much larger. This is because it was the first photo she had taken where she zoomed in further than the default 1x, which she did in order to make it more visible to me as I looked at the screen.

After that, I asked her for her phone and I pointed it up at the stars that I had been looking at, and took a couple pictures. She was starting to get tired and understandably a little frustrated because she had now been looking straight up for several minutes and I wasn’t seeing this thing that was so obvious to her. She headed inside and I followed shortly after, trying to mentally log what just happened.

I came inside and had her Airdrop all the pictures she took that night to me. There were a few that were just of the sky/stars (see reference photo below). But I could tell that several of the photos were focused on something much different from the stars in the other photos. Here is what I spent the next two days analyzing.

10:31 PM (GF alone)
10:31 PM (GF alone)
10:40 PM (GF & Me)
10:43 PM (GF & Me)
Reference Photo of sky/stars 10:10 PM (GF alone)

I spent most of the next two days reviewing the photos and I’ve come to the conclusion that what GF witnessed and photographed was not a star. Her description of the object to me was accurately reflected in the photos she took. One of the things she described to me that night as we laid in bed trying to process what had happened was, “It looked like a Mercedes logo in the sky.” As I zoomed in on object in the photos, I noticed what did seem to be a similar pattern. Here is IMG_0658 zoomed in, with the contrast increased:

As I continued to study the photos, I started to take note of things that seemed particularly odd to me:

  • When zoomed up, the stars in the photos GF took shortly before this object appeared look very different from this object.
Zoomed in on Reference Photo from above
  • Stars in her photos appear to be quite blurry and oblong when compared to the object.
  • Stars seem to be bright in the middle and get soft/blurry towards the outer edge.
  • The object GF photographed is extremely circular and has distinct edges. It also appears to have a “rim” around it, along with a dark inner circle.
  • The Mercedes-like pattern is noticeable in a few of the pictures. This description from GF is something she said to me before she or I ever looked at these photos. I think this is important, as she was able to observe this pattern with her naked eye.
  • You’ll notice that in the pictures of the object, there are stars in the frame. However, they’re extremely blurry. I thought about this for a while and then it hit me: this object may have been much closer to us than the stars, causing the focus of the camera to blur out the stars behind the object. I tested this theory by taking a photo of a small speck on a window the next morning, with the mountains far off in the distance behind. The effect was the same.
Example of iPhone depth of field blurring

The night after this occurred, GF and I returned to the spot she witnessed the object. We set up the spotting scope around 9:30pm and enjoyed looking at Jupiter and its moons while we waited for 10:30 to roll around. The object never reappeared, but I was able to gather some more information from her in regards to what she witnessed.

  • The object moved from the southeast to the northwest in a very slight but noticeable arc.
  • The object did not have any noticeable light streak as it moved.
  • The object stopped instantaneously. She observed no deceleration as it come to a stop.
  • The object pulsed with a blue light that originated from the outer edge/rim of the object.
  • As the pulses dimmed was when the Mercedes logo-like pattern became visible to her. Again, the object was big enough for her to observe all of this with her naked eye.

As we wrapped up our trip the following day, I started to reach out to some friends and tell them about what had happened. One of the most unexplainable elements of this experience (to me at least) was the fact that GF could see the object so clearly that she could describe it in detail and even photograph it accurately at night (not easy to do), but yet I could not see it. When I asked her to compare the object she saw to Jupiter in the night sky the following evening, she said the object was “much larger and much brighter” than Jupiter was to the naked eye. That blew my mind, because Jupiter was so clearly noticeable both nights, and stuck out like a sore thumb. How I could miss something just as big in the sky as Jupiter remains a mystery to me.

I believe that what my GF witnessed falls squarely within the category of an unidentified flying object, or unidentified aerial phenomenon (whichever you prefer). I have no explanation for several elements of what she observed and photographed and am sharing this story in hopes that someone will be able to tell us what it is she may have seen.

In the name of transparency, I think it’s important to call out a few things about myself, and in particular, something that happened upon returning home from our trip:

  • I have had a keen interest in UFOs recently (something like the past 6 months or so). I’ve watched a number of shows and documentaries, mostly in the evening when GF and I are relaxing before bed. Like many, I view it as mostly entertainment and find some of the content compelling or interesting. It does seem like there is a growing body of evidence for the validity of this phenomenon, but it’s difficult for me to tell how much is exaggerated as a result of the tendency for TV content to be somewhat over-dramatized.
  • One of the shows I watch regularly is “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation” on the History Channel. When GF and I returned back home to Boston on Sunday the 9th, we sat down and watched the most recent episode which had aired the night before (Saturday August 8th). We had not seen it yet due to being in Montana on vacation.
  • As we watched the episode entitled “Airline Encounters”, we sat almost paralyzed as we listened to several commercial pilots describe pulsing lights (along with real footage/photos) that exactly matched GF’s description of the object she had just seen days before.
  • In particular, the pulsing effect was shown in one or two of the shots in the episode, and she said that was what she had seen. We were extremely taken back by this.
  • I quickly realized that us having watched this episode, while great validation for us individually, would likely cause great skepticism in her story by others who might hear it and also watched this episode. Thankfully, I believe between the metadata of the photos (which can be easily viewed in the Google Photos link below) along with the text messages I sent to friends the following day are hopefully strong enough proof that we did not in fact see this television content until after we returned home.

I have no idea what exactly it is that my GF saw and photographed, but it holds many many similarities to what others have described seeing. I find it somewhat plausible that this may have been some kind of drone or military craft. Where we were staying is about 80 miles south/southeast of Malmstrom Air Force base, and the object happened to be moving from the southeast to the northwest in almost the exact direction of Malmstrom.

At this point, we’re just looking to share what we experienced and seek answers. Below I’ve linked the full resolution photos (Google Drive) along with links to a shared album in Google Photos (not full resolution but does include an easy way to view the photo metadata). I encourage anyone interested to download them and examine the photos themselves.

I’ve done my best to restate exactly what happened, with accurate times, and with as little story/narrative as possible. With that said, this was an extremely profound experience for both of us and I felt that it deserved thorough documentation.

Full resolution (Google Drive):
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1kOCEUJ-zdO26h4YLpICZcTt6aB96JNz3?usp=sharing

Shared Album with Metadata (Google Photos):
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y4qLpmCdpKeNjQmP6

Jake Wilund

Jake Wilund

The love you withhold is the pain that you carry.

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