That was until the strange craft returned just minutes later. It hovered near a group of grade-school children; including Vasya Surin, Julia Sholokhova, Lena Sarokina, Alyosha Nikonov and Vova Startsev – who were engaged in a soccer match. But it wasn’t only children who saw the UFO. It was also spotted by 35 to 40 adults who were waiting at a nearby bus stop on Poutiline St. Both the kids and adults were awed by the spectacle before them and utterly unprepared for what they were about to see next.
According to eyewitness accounts, a hatch on the underside of the still hovering craft opened to reveal an odd, long-armed, neck-less, thick-set, 9-foot tall entity with a small, knob-like head. The creature was clad in a silver jumpsuit with bronze boots and was so large it appeared to fill the hatch opening. As if the creature’s immensity wasn’t disturbing enough, eyewitnesses claimed that there were three luminous eyes wedged into its tiny, dome-like head. The being’s two outer eyes were whitish and the center eye — which was set slightly above the other two — was bright red and “swiveling around like a radar.” They also claimed that the alien had a disk-like object attached to its chest. This bizarre being seemed to methodically scan the terrain below, then sealed the hatch. Then the UFO made its descent. Eyewitnesses stated that the object’s weight was so substantial that it permanently bent to the side a standing poplar tree that was near the craft.
The object then hovered about 5-feet off the ground and extended four leg-like supports and landed softly on the grass. At this point, the alien that was seen through the open hatch now emerged from the ship followed by two equally colossal creatures that shared the same three-eyed visages. These extraordinary entities walked with a “heavy gait” and were followed by what witnesses described as a box-like robot, with push buttons on its front side. An alien adjusted one of the controls on the robot’s chest, enabling it to walk about in a “mechanical” fashion. The entities then began to examine the ground near where their craft had landed and proceeded to take some soil samples. One of the creatures made indecipherable sounds, which some eyewitnesses perceived to be orders. Then a beam of light emerged from the “chief” alien’s chest. The beam delineated a number of luminous triangles and rectangles — about 1-foot by half a foot wide — as if indicating something to its comrades. This frightened one young man so much he apparently cried out in alarm. At the sound the lead alien apparently fixed its gaze on the youngster, freezing him unnaturally in his tracks. This sent panic rippling through the rest of the terrified crowd and — as if this tale could get any weirder — witnesses claim that the aliens and the UFO all simultaneously disappeared. Nevertheless, this encounter was far from over.
Approximately five minutes later, the remaining witnesses, still stunned by what they had witnessed, were once again thrust back into the looking glass as the UFO and its occupants instantaneously reappeared at the same coordinates. One of the creatures was now carrying a “tube” that was about a foot in length. It aimed the tube toward a 16-year-old boy who was nearby and a beam shot out, causing the teen to disappear without a trace. Before a terror filled riot could ensue, the creatures re-entered the UFO. It retracted its landing gear and began its ascent, slowly increasing its speed. Just as the vehicle was disappearing from sight, the vaporized teen miraculously reappeared. Of course, it wasn't long before the press got wind of this harrowing and utterly bizarre tale of UFOs, robots, vanishing “guns” and gargantuan alien invaders. Genrikh Silanov, head of the Voronezh Geophysical Laboratory, first reported the case and — in a reflection of the new era of glasnost — the Soviet news agency TASS published a report about the event. Soon the story spread across the globe like wildfire.
In no time, scores of scientists, Soviet Government agencies and reporters descended upon the city of Voronezh. Those interviewed claimed they had observed this UFO, not just during the incident in question, but also many times between the dates of September 21 and October 2, 1989. An investigation at the scene of the landing indicated that there were depressions in the ground in the shape of a large rhombus that must have been caused by something weighing several tons, but there were conflicting reports as to their cause. Scientists also allegedly found anomalies in the local magnetic field and background radiation, though these findings have also been disputed. Silanov further claimed that unearthly substances were found at the scene: At first glance, they looked like sandstone of a deep-red color. However, mineralogical analysis has shown that the substance cannot be found on Earth. However, additional tests are needed to reach a more definite conclusion.”
Other reputable witnesses included Lieutenant Sergei A. Matveyev who confessed that while he had not actually seen the aliens, he had seen the spaceship, which he described as “a body flying in the sky,” moving silently at a very high speed and very low altitude. Lieutenant Matveyev claimed that even he was a little skeptical when he first saw the object: ”I thought I must be really tired, ‘but I rubbed my eyes and it didn't go away. Then I figured, in this day and age, anything is possible.” Vladimir A. Moiseyev, director of the regional health department, claimed that his primary concern was that of the health of the children who may have been exposed to unknown pathogens or radiation due to their contact with the aliens and their technology.
Journalist E. Efremov, of the Sovietskaya Kultura, spoke of the veracity of the eyewitness accounts: ”Children and eyewitnesses of the abnormal phenomenon have been questioned by police workers and journalists… there are no discrepancies in the description of the sphere itself or the actions of the ‘aliens.’ Moreover, all the children who became witnesses to this event are still afraid, even now.” Following the event, the children — including 6th grader Roma Torshin and Genya Bilinov — were encouraged to draw the beings they had seen, with results that even skeptics had to admit were surprisingly consistent with what had been reported by the children and adults alike. Even today debates rage in ufological circles concerning this odd incident.
While many seem convinced that this account is an obvious hoax, there are others who feel that this may be Russia’s equivalent of the now notorious Roswell UFO Incident. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between, but it would seem that even in 1989 — during a relatively open juncture in the exceedingly clandestine history of the USSR — Soviet secrets were still kept close to the vest. In the years following this largely forgotten incident, there has grown an almost cult affection for the odd creatures that allegedly visited Levoberezhniy’s park that chilly autumn evening, even spawning a line of Japanese toys. Whatever these entities were they’ve never returned, leaving the rest of the world to speculate as to whether or not these creatures were a hoax, explorers from another world, interdimensional travelers or advanced scouts for an alien invasion… perhaps we’ll be luckier if we never know.