Kankakee County’s Most Credible UFO Encounter in Bourbonnais Remains a Mystery 35 Years Later


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Bourbonnais, IL – As the weather warms and more people head outdoors, the likelihood of encountering the unknown increases. 

On January 20, 1989, a significant UFO sighting was reported in Bourbonnais, Kankakee County, IL, near a Kmart shopping center. This event, which remains unexplained to this day, involved a large craft hovering 2000 feet above ground and was witnessed by three individuals, including a private pilot.

According to records from the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC), the incident occurred around 6 p.m. while the witnesses were traveling southbound on Route 45. As they made a right turn onto Latham Drive, the driver and two passengers noticed a large object in the sky. The driver, also a private pilot, estimated the object was at an altitude of 1500 to 2000 feet. Initially perceived as a “something” above the Kmart, the object appeared as large as a building and was suspended in mid-air without visible support.

The witnesses reported that the object was not aerodynamically designed, resembling a cluster of buildings. To rule out reflections, the driver electronically rolled down his window and confirmed the object was solid. The craft then allegedly changed shape from a cluster of buildings to a vertical cigar shape, moving rapidly towards them, causing one passenger to scream.

After this rapid movement, the object reverted to its original shape and hovered directly above them. As dusk fell, the witnesses observed several smaller ships, about six or seven, flying around the larger craft. The driver emphasized the size of the main craft, comparing it to the Sears Tower in downtown Chicago. They also noted three large circular lights or burners igniting with a bright white light.

The craft then moved slowly to the northwest, becoming increasingly transparent until it disappeared. This disappearance was peculiar as the craft did not diminish in size but simply became less visible. The sighting, scored at 50 on NUFORC’s Enigma scale, is one of the most credible UFO sightings ever reported in Kankakee County.

As we reflect on this event in 2024, it remains a compelling mystery in the annals of UFO sightings. Despite advancements in technology and increased interest in unidentified aerial phenomena, the 1989 Bourbonnais sighting continues to intrigue researchers and the public alike. So as you head outdoors this summer and see something you can’t explain, keep in mind the area is no stranger to the unknown. 


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