Beyond Project Blue Book: Is the Betz Sphere Really a UFO?
It was either late March or early April of 1974 when Terry Matthew Betz (pictured) went on a life-changing walk on his family’s property in the Fort George Island area of Jacksonville, Florida. He and his parents, Antoine and Gerri Betz, strayed from their 88-acre expanse of coastal marshlands, inspecting the damage a recent brushfire had caused. In the woods, amid the tropical shrubs and moss-laden trees, Terry discovered something unexpected: A seamless, metallic sphere, roughly the size of a bowling ball, gleamed on the ground.
Intrigued, Terry brought the sphere back to his parents’ house, where the family speculated that, given the area’s history, it might be an old cannonball — something interesting, but unremarkable. The heavy sphere measured under eight inches in diameter. Despite having no seams or other blemishes, the surface of the ball was stamped with a triangular shape.
Gerri recalled that, several days after Terry brought the ball inside, the sphere began vibrating. Reportedly, the sphere’s vibration initially happened while Terry played guitar — so, okay, it could be written off as some kind of strange sound-related resonance. When Gerri shook it, she could hear a kind of ringing inside. Odd Ball, a 2019 podcast out of WJCT News, is dedicated to solving the mystery of the Betz Sphere once and for all. The host, Lindsey Kilbride, notes in episode one that the ringing sound Gerri described echoed that of a shaken "defunct light bulb."
Even the family’s dog wasn’t a huge fan of the sphere: "There must be some high-frequency waves [coming] from it," Gerri told the Palm Beach Post. "When we put our poodle beside the ball, she whimpers and puts her paws over her ears." But the oddities didn’t stop there.
An Out-of-This-World Explanation?
The Betz family placed the sphere on their table and watched, dumbfounded, as it circled the edges of the table without rolling off — and then rested right in the table’s center. To further test the ball’s properties, the Betzes rolled it to one another, noticing that the sphere veered off its path, or, in the strangest instances, rolled back toward the person who pushed it. And then — it vibrated. Soon after, the Betz family went public with their story in the hopes of finding answers.
Call in the Navy
Unfortunately, Navy-grade X-ray machines weren’t able to penetrate the orb, leading scientists to turn to "a more powerful machine and…spectograph tests." After some serious testing, researchers determined that the orb’s outer shell was about a half-inch thick and able to withstand 120,000 pounds per square inch of pressure. They also found the Betz Sphere was made of stainless steel — specifically, a magnetic alloy meant to withstand heat and corrosion — and that there were at least two objects within it.