Place item was collected
Logan, Utah, the Francis Family Home
Melody Marie Whitelock Francis
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
My mother, Melody Marie Whitelock Francis (49), was born in 1968 in Sandy, Utah and lived there until she came to Logan, Utah to complete both a Bachelor of Music in Choral Education and Vocal Performance at Utah State University. She currently resides in Logan, Utah with her four children (a 26-year old son, a 23-year-old daughter, an 18-year-old son, and a 13-year-old daughter), three of whom still live at home with her. Her oldest son, Michael William Dale Francis, is married to Sherese Nielsen Francis. Melody has been married to her husband, William (Will) Francis (also a music educator and musician), for 28 years. She is a 49-year-old white female and an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints where she holds a calling as the ward organist and Primary chorister. She works as a music educator at Mount Logan Middle School and for various non-profit arts organizations within her community. She also holds a private voice studio within her home. Melody descends from Norwegian ancestry on her father’s side and English ancestry on her Mother’s side. Her father, Kenly Wilson Whitelock (1915-1973), passed away when she was four-years-old and she was raised by her mother, Suzanne Mildred Black Whitelock (1942-2003). Her maternal grandparents, Denton Charles Black (1904-1995) and Mildred Louise Stone (1910-1997) were married on June 24, 1935, and spent their married life in Salt Lake City, Utah.
This is an account my great grandmother told my mother long before I was born, possibly initially when my mother was my age (23). She was unable to track down the actual date of the first retelling. My mother did say, however, that the actual event would have happened when my great grandmother, Mildred Louise Stone (1910-1997), was in her late teens to early twenties, placing the date somewhere around 1928-1932 if she was between the ages of 18 and 22. The event happened in Tremonton, Utah. My grandmother was with her sister, Fay Stone (birth date not found), when this event occurred. This was the very first time I had heard this story from my mother. This legend was told by my mother, Melody, as we sat around her kitchen table in her home in Logan on a Tuesday evening. Her daughter (my sister), Claire (13) was also present, as well as our cat Jane and our dogs Lilly and Jack. My dad, Will (51) was in and out of the room running errands. The text is verbatim, transcribed from a digital recording.
Melody: She was with - I think - umm - her sister. Fay. And they were, driving back from the farm -
Katie: Who I’m named after.
Melody: Yeah! You’re named after her. [clicks tongue] Yes. And my grandmother, Mildred Stone, Black.
Melody: Umm, They were driving back from the farm, and, They would work later in the evening when it was a little bit cool - cooler. And, it - um - by the time that they were finished it was, dark. And they had their headlights on and they were driving back across the field. Fields.
Melody: And back then, as you can imagine there just wasn’t a lot of - umm, N-not a lot of people owned cars.
Melody: Well, most of the farmers still used wagons and horses and, whatnot.
Melody: And so it was unusual for them to see, umm, lights, approaching them. But they were approaching them, umm - coming directly at them, at a great, [our dog Lilly whines here, begging for food] speed.
Melody: They could tell that it was-
Melody: -really fast. And, as the lights came closer, they didn’t know what to do, so they tried to pull over as far as they could. Umm - on the side of the road to see if this - if it was a car or -
Melody: - vehicle or
Melody: - something that was coming up - coming up to them, so that it could get past them.
Melody: And then they- they heard kind of a strange. Noise.
Melody: And instead of - umm - finding that it was a vehicle that was going to pull alongside them - umm - they - discovered that it was something that they had never - they couldn’t identify. And they didn’t know what it was because it came straight at them and then it went up in the air and up over the car. And, wen-went behind them. And they could see it because their - they were in a convertible so they just watched it come up [raising her finger in a semi-circular motion over her head] and lift over - over the car and up over them and - when they turned around to see where it was, it was gone. [raises eyebrows] There was just nothing there. And so, they thought that was, extremely, creepy and so they - they high-tailed it out there - out of there.
Katie: Did she describe the sound - at all? [Melody clears her throat] Like what it sounded like? Did it sound like a car or like - -machines- or something.
Melody: Didn’t - Didn’t sound like a car but it was -
Katie: It was just kind of -
Melody: Something -
Melody: It was
Melody: [Nodding] Mmmhmm. Some kind of a whirling or a, whirring sound. Katie: It’s like, Men in Black. Like
Katie: When the car -
Melody: [Smiling] Yeah.
Melody: Yeah. So you know it’s something that, you know, people, [Melody’s expression changes to one of concern and pity] Didn’t - you know - they didn’t really - you know how - would you feel telling a story like that?
Melody: People wouldn’t really believe you especially when you’re two, girls. [Brief pause]
Melody: So, it’s one of those things that- every so often. She’d say well, “Yeah I - I think I saw a UFO. I’m pretty sure - I don’t know what else it could have been.”
(Transcription provided below as PDF)
My mother tells this story to me in the middle of our busy kitchen late at night, around 9:00 pm. She is finishing her dinner as she speaks, and my younger sister Claire is also in the room working on her homework. My Dad passes in and out of the room running errands around the house, and our two dogs and one cat are also in the kitchen. The atmosphere is bustling and animated. My mom seems slightly incredulous of the story, shrugging her shoulders often and raising her eyebrows, but it is clear that she deeply loves my great grandmother and honors her memory. Mom tells the story in a way that leaves it open-ended for me to decide whether or not it was true. She told me the story shortly before this. It came out of regular conversation. Now that I’ve sat her down and asked her to retell it for me, can tell she is aware of the recorder and is editing her speech in a way to facilitate that awareness. She has added more details and ellipsis of personal commentary to her story to make it more interesting. She seems to enjoy the memory of her grandmother and is happy to share this story with me, although before she told it, there was a moment of decision, as if she was deciding if I was old enough to hear this story about my great grandmother and not think she was insane.
Introduction to Folklore, ENGL 2210
Dr. Lynn S. McNeill
Semester and year
G7: Unexplainable Phenomena
Francis, Katie, ""UFO Sighting in Tremonton, Utah"" (2017). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 270.