UFO lecture: Kearney grain dealer claims he was welcomed aboard UFO in 1957

KEARNEY — Are Unidentified Flying Objects fact or fiction?

Audience members at the next Brown Bag history lecture can decide for themselves as lecturer Nathan Tye of the UNK History Department recounts suspected alien encounters of Kearney’s past.

Tye’s “UFOs Over the Platte River” presentation will be noon Wednesday, Oct. 11, at the Kearney Public Library, 2020 First Ave. The Brown Bag lectures are a collaboration between the Kearney library and UNK History Department.

UFO lecture: Nathan Tye headshot


Tye will discuss an event in Kearney on Nov. 5, 1957. According to historic accounts, local grain buyer R.O. Schmidt was welcomed aboard a UFO resting near the Platte River.

The sheriff interrogated Schmidt and the Kearney Hub investigated the landing site, and most residents laughed it off. A year later, the UFO picked up Schmidt in Elm Creek. As the global space race took off, Schmidt made a career of “The Kearney Incident,” traveling across the country sharing his story.

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Drawing on Schmidt’s writing and declassified Air Force files, Tye’s lecture will expose this strange and otherworldly tale from Cold War Kearney.

Tye is the assistant professor of Nebraska and American West history at UNK, where he has taught since 2019.

UFO lecture: UFO poster

A flyer promoting two local lectures ib 1957 featuring R.O. Schmidt, a grain dealer who claimed he had two encounters with alien visitors.

Tye received his doctorate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He serves on the boards of several local community museums and cultural organizations. His research is published in Nebraska History, Annals of Iowa and Willa Cather Review.

Tye also appeared on NBC’s celebrity genealogy program “Who Do You Think You Are?”

The talk is free. Attendees are welcome to eat lunch as they listen.

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