Piedmont and Wayne County


To mark the 50th anniversary of alleged unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings in Piedmont, the Missouri General Assembly passed SB139 designating Piedmont and Wayne County as the UFO Capitals of Missouri. The purpose of codifying the designation in state statute was, according to the original bill sponsor Rep. Chris Dinkins, to increase tourism. (Committee) 

Between February and April 1973, residents of Piedmont and the surrounding area witnessed unexplained activity in the sky. Several hundred calls were made to local police, sheriffs and newspapers. The incidents made local headlines and eventually national news outlets began reporting the sightings. There was no official government investigation of the sightings (Project Blue Book was discontinued in 1969); however, Southeast Missouri State University physics professor Dr. Harley Rutledge investigated with his own team. He issued a public paper in 1973, which he later turned into a book called Project Identification: The First Scientific Field Study of UFO Phenomena (1981). 

Today, Unexplained Aerial Phenomena reports, as they are now called, are handled by the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office under the U.S. Secretary of Defense.


Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo)

§10.247. UFO Capitals of Missouri. – This act designates the city of Piedmont and the county of Wayne as the “UFO Capitals of Missouri”. (L. 2023 C.C.S. S.S. S.B. 139)

approved 06 July 2023
effective 28 August 2023

Photo Gallery:

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Additional Resources:

Committee Testimony for HB1261:

“Missouri Mysteries Chapter Two: Unexplained Lights Near Piedmont, Missouri,” by The State Historical Society of Missouri:

Piedmont Area Chamber of Commerce:

Rutledge, Harley D. Project Identification: The First Scientific Field Study of UFO Phenomena. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1981. 

Ziegelmeyer, Debbie and Margie Kay. 50th Anniversary of the SE Missouri Ozarks UFO Flap: Piedmont, Clearwater Lake, Farmington, Wayne County. Independence, MO: Un-X Media, 2023.


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