The Stunning UFO Encounter of Julie Ohlson: Minnesota Woman Collected Pieces Dropped by a UFO


I was stunned when I saw that a new book had just come out about the incredible UFO encounter that occurred in the small town of Willernie, Minnesota, in the winter of 1982. This is a case I thought was long forgotten and would remain that way. I remember it vividly because I lived not so far from where it happened.

I have always thought this UFO event deserved a much higher status among the pantheon of top UFO encounters.

But now the primary witness of the Willernie UFO has come forward. Experiencer Julie Ohlson tells the full story in her just-released book, Dark Secrets and Hidden Lies: The 1982 Willernie UFO Case.

And — wow — what a story she has in store for her readers!

The Willernie case is special for several reasons, not the least of which is that the UFO was observed at a close distance and seen to have dropped a number of solid pieces or artifacts into the snow. Those artifacts were recovered by the primary witnesses, Julie Ohlson and her mother. Julie still keeps several of them in a tattered little box in her Minnesota home to this day.


In 1982, I was a college student in the Mississippi River town of Winona, Minnesota. Just 100 miles upriver is the city of Stillwater. Nearby is another Twin Cities suburban community called White Bear Lake.

My college buddy — Rick, a Native American dude from White Bear Lake — returned from a weekend visit home and told me about “a fantastic UFO sighting” near his hometown. It had made the front page of the White Bear Lake newspaper. Knowing I was an addicted UFO buff, he thoughtfully brought me a copy of the paper.

A clip from the article that ran in the White Bear Press in February of 1982.

I read the story with wonder. It was one of the best UFO accounts I had read in a long while. For me, it had the added excitement that it had happened practically “next door” near Stillwater, a town I have visited often.

In addition to leaving behind fragments of material and imprints on the ground, the Willernie UFO case is bolstered further by solid testimony from multiple witnesses. More than a half-dozen local residents saw the object from within their passing cars or their own nearby homes.

What they saw amazed them! It was a gigantic cigar-shaped UFO of brilliant lime-green-colored light. Some reported it as cigar-shaped while others saw a disk (which can look like a cigar when viewed on edge).

More than four people saw that the UFO had dropped a series of “fireballs” after it appeared to wobble. It took off after hovering after coming as close as six feet above the ground.

Those flaming orb-like objects landed in about 2–3 feet of snow just outside the home of Roland and June Hanson. They lived in the tiny inter-suburban bedroom community of Willernie, a population of about 500.

June — who was going through a divorce from Roland at the time — was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom with her then 16-year-old daughter, Julie.

Both June and Julie had seen the dazzling UFO at close range from the upstairs window that looked out over Willernie’s Killarney Road. June was asleep, but young Julie was still awake when the room was suddenly flooded with a brilliant “lime-green light” she describes as a “laser-like brightness.”

Julie poked her mother awake and both were beyond astonished and flabbergasted. Julie’s mother cried out that she believed it was nothing less than “the second coming of the Lord!” as she watched in amazement.

After the UFO streaked away at an 80-degree angle, vanishing in two seconds, June and Julie were eager to go out and investigate what had dropped in the snow. Roland, who had also seen the object from a downstairs window, yelled at his estranged wife and stepdaughter to stop.

“Don’t go out there! It might be radioactive!” he shouted.

The next morning, June and Julie ventured out to search the heavy, 2 to 3-foot-deep snowbanks. They found small cylindrical holes melted into the snow. In each hole were left what looked like charred pieces of metallic debris.

They collected these remains and would later submit samples to CUFOS (the Center for UFO Studies in Illinois founded by J. Allen Hynek) and the University of Minnesota. What happened with these samples is a long story of frustrating snafus, poor handlings and shady “disappearances” typical of UFO physical evidence cases.

I’ll stop there because I don’t want to give too much away to those who want to read the book.


I will now briefly describe another aspect of the story, however.

As is so often the case in UFO cases, the astounding Feb. 10, 1982. sighting was not the first encounter for one member of the Hanson family.

Julie was 16 at the time of the 1982 sighting, but about 10 years earlier she was a little girl in bed on another night when she was struggling to get to sleep. while Her parents were away from home at a local bar that evening.

Julie Ohlson

Little Julie shared a bunk bed with her 7-year-old brother. Suddenly, standing in the open entrance to her bedroom, the two kids saw a bizarre figure. Julie’s brother quickly ducked his head under the covers, but Julie found herself instantly captivated by the unusual eyes of the strange entity.

Julie said that the only possible way to describe the visitor is that it looked like a classic “leprechaun.” It was about four feet tall, had course red hair on and around its face, deeply wrinkled skin, pointy ears — the whole bit.

She provides an excellent sketch of the figure in her book.

Julie got a good look at the creature thanks to light from the bar across the street. It had bright signage that shined light through the bedroom window. For a few seconds, Julie and the leprechaun locked eyes. In an unexplainable way, the “leprechaun” seemed able to pierce deeply into her mind and consciousness.

Julie blinked her eyes tight and reopened them-–and the entity was gone.

Once again, I’ll stop there because I don’t want to give too much away.

I encourage readers to check out the book. There are plenty more fascinating details surrounding the leprechaun encounter.


Now I want to switch gears and present some relevant information that is not found in the book or discussed by the author.

What I am going to explore in this section may point to deeper meanings in the Willernie UFO encounter. What I’m talking about is an uncanny series of “coincidences” I could not help but notice — and they may not be mere “coincidences” at all.

Rather, I would suggest that these are examples of archetypical and mythological synchronicities of the kind first modeled by the great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. The presence of these synchronistic connections bolsters the authenticity of the case in a significant way. It may also point to the existence of a greater underlying reality.

That “greater reality” is what the theoretical physicist David Bohm called “the implicate and explicate order.” Briefly, this refers to the idea that time and space are not the dominant factors for determining the relationships of “dependence or independence of different elements.”

So, here is a short list of key synchronistic elements of the Willernie UFO case that jumped out at me:


Julie Ohlson reports that her family’s first home, and where she passed her early childhood, was barely more than a two-room “shack” on Willernie’s Kindross Road. She reports the color of the home was “lime-green.” She would use the same descriptor — “lime-green” — to describe the color of the UFO encountered in 1982 when they lived in another home on Killarney Road.


It was at the Kindross Road address that Ohlson encountered the leprechaun-like creature in her bedroom.

Kindross is a variation on the spelling of Kinross, which is a small “burgh” in Scotland. Both Kinross and Kindross are derived from the names of Gilleburtus de Kinros and Henry de Kynros, the original charter owners of this tract of land in Scotland.

The important point for us, however, is that Kinross is a location in Scotland that has for centuries been associated with fairy sightings. Kinross is one of the areas, along with Perth, which is considered “a home base” for a race of fairy or elvish beings called the Aos sí (commonly called “the Sith people” or “Sitheans”).

The great poet and folklorist William Butler Yeats (Nobel Prize for Literature, 1923) classified the leprechaun as a type of “solitary fairy.”

Fairy sightings still occur near Scotland’s Kinross today.


The Hanson family later moved from their Kindross Road “shack” to a much nicer home on Killarney Road.

Once again, the name Killarney hearkens back to Celtic lands, this time not Scotland but Ireland. As it turns out, the Killarney National Forest in Ireland’s County Kerry is considered a hotspot for leprechaun sightings.

Killarney National Forest in Ireland’s County Kerry is a hotspot for leprechaun sightings.

The locals today embrace the idea, albeit perhaps as something of a lark. For example, “Leprechaun Crossing” road signs can be seen in some areas. But folklorists say the legend of the leprechaun and accounts of leprechaun encounters are deeply embedded within the culture of the Killarney area dating back to at least 600 B.C.

Thus, to summarize this item:

Julie Hanson just happened to encounter a “classic leprechaun” and she lived on Kindross and Killarney roads, both names deeply associated with fairies and elves (and specifically the leprechaun) in Celtic Europe.



Also in 1982, a 15-year-old boy and his father were camping near O.S.A Lake in Ontario, Canada. Exiting their tent in the night so he could ‘take a wiz’ the young man spotted a bright light deep beneath the surface of O.S.A. Lake.

He called his father out of the tent to come for a look. The two then watched in amazement as a large spherical UFO emerged from the depths of the lake and eventually took off into the sky.

I’ll let my readers make their own judgments as to the possible synchronistic nature of this event after I tell you all that:

O.S.A. Lake is located in KILLARNEY Provincial Park.

One last curious note that goes along with item NO. 4:

I checked the archives of Minnesota MUFON to see if the Willernie case was recorded or reported in 1982. Indeed, there is an entry for Willernie for Feb. 10, 1982, the same night that June and Julie saw their huge lime-green UFO.

But the Minnesota MUFON archive offers just two brief lines:

— —

02–10–1982 Willernie, MN, USA UFOCAT #118780

underwater ufo in Minnesota

— —

That’s it! What does it mean? I don’t know.

I will say that, in her book, Julie Ohlson does mention that her house on Killarney Road was situated next to “the backwaters of Lake Washington.”

Did someone also see a UFO beneath the water of Lake Washington near Killarney Road on the same night the author and her family saw the lime-green UFO outside and above their home?

It’s an intriguing situation, that’s for sure. To me, it somehow seems meaningful.

What I do know is that an under-the-lake UFO was sighted in Killarney Provincial Park in Minnesota’s neighbor to the north, Ontario, in 1982, and that MUFON recorded an under-the-lake UFO in Willernie (near Killarney Road) in that same year.


Finally, while this is ostensibly “a UFO book,” it really is about so much more.

I found Julie Ohlson’s narrative of growing up poor with an abusive alcoholic father and a mother struggling to raise six children on the constant edge of poverty to be a heart-wrenching journey.

With unflinching honesty, the author describes a childhood laced with grim despair and relentless tough times that bore down upon her psychologically and constantly threatened to send her down an even darker path for the rest of her life.

One might be tempted to state that 90% of this book is not about UFOs at all — but a more subtle and nuanced reading of these events shows how a sensational encounter with a genuinely transcendent event — can mirror the details of an otherwise typically grounded story of an American family and an American life.

Julie Ohlson’s grinding accounts of enduring dark adversity — and then finding light and redemption — and also finding out who she truly is — will bring many readers to tears — as it did for me.


NOTE: For more UFO stories, please see: KEN-ON-MEDIUM

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