Beatle John Lennon's close encounter with a UFO

By Ted Bonnitt on March 29th, 2014
Beatle John Lennon's close encounter with a UFO
John Lennon's sketch of the UFO he encountered at close range over New York City in 1974.
John Lennon's sketch of the UFO he encountered at close range over New York City in 1974.

In many ways, John Lennon was an ideal UFO witness.

At the time of his 1974 sighting the ex-Beatle was world famous, adored as a singer/songwriter and respected as an uncompromising artist.

He had nothing to gain but more crazy fans by claiming to have a close encounter with a UFO, especially at a time when he was in hot water with U.S. authorities and threatened with deportation.

His account was supported by his companion at the time, May Pang, who witnessed the UFO with him.  Pang has also spoken in detail about what they saw on the evening of August 23, 1974. To cap it off,  they watched the UFO at close range over New York City, where other witnesses also reported observing it.

Lennon often spoke about what he saw and later sang about it in two songs that he recorded.  The first was "Out of the Blue", from the album "Mind Games":  "Like a UFO you came to me, and blew away life's misery..."  

The second song, "Nobody Told Me," from the album, "Milk and Honey" included the lyrics, "There's UFOs over New York, and I ain't too surprised."

When the sighting occurred, Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono were separated. Lennon was living in a penthouse apartment on New York's upper east side, overlooking the East River.  He was spending a quiet evening at home with his then assistant and lover, May Pang.  


Lennon's view from his penthouse where he saw UFO.

According to Pang, they had just ordered in some pizzas, and in the summer heat were lounging around with no clothes on. Lennon stepped out to their private terrace to catch a cool breeze at dusk on a clear evening, while Pang began to get dressed in the bedroom. Suddenly, she heard Lennon shout for her to come out to the terrace. Pang told him that she'd be right out, but Lennon insisted that she come immediately.

As she stepped outside, she saw a "large, circular object" flying toward them. Pang described the UFO as, "shaped like a flattened cone and on top was a large, brilliant red light, not pulsating as on any of the aircraft we'd see heading for a landing." 


John Lennon and May Pang

Lennon later told an interviewer that the object was floating by at about a distance of 100 yards and felt that he could have hit it with a stone had he had thrown one at it.  He did not see colors due to the fading daylight, but Lennon noted that around the bottom rim of the craft were, "ordinary looking electric light bulbs, blinking off and on alternatively, like on a billboard or something. And on the top of it was a red light."

Pang said, "there were so many of these lights that it was dazzling to the mind." She estimated the craft to be, "about the size of a Lear jet."

Lennon also noticed that the craft was silent and ruled out a helicopter. Lennon thought it might be a balloon, but it was too close to the building's rooftop. "It could not be a balloon," he added, "it maneuvered too well to be a balloon."

Lennon said they watched the object for about 5-10 minutes until it drifted "down the east river" and out of sight.

Pang said that after their sighting that evening, "John kept saying, 'I can't believe it... I can't believe it... I've seen a flying saucer!"

Lennon later told interviewers that he was completely sober at the time.

The next day, Lennon had a friend make inquiries to both the police and media. A local newspaper told them that at least seven other people had called about seeing it and the police said three eye-witnesses had called with reports.

Lennon included a sketch of the object in the artwork for his "Walls and Bridges" album. 

Lennon's original artwork about his UFO sighting for his 1974 "Bridges and Walls" album sold for $16,600.00 at a London auction on March 21, 2014.

Pang said that John Lennon had a long time interest in UFO's and was a subscriber to a British UFO magazine and the New York based, seminal UFO publication, "Flying Saucer Review."

Beatle John Lennon describes his 1974 UFO encounter during a radio interview.

Another interview with Beatle John Lennon at the place where he had his 1974 UFO encounter.

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