He served as North Dakota Attorney General and as a Justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court…and in August of 1952 he saw a UFO. This is the shocking true story told by successful attorney and politician Peter Olai Sathre.

A note from Jack and Kitty…
Today on our travel blog we continue our “Weird Wednesdays” series called “Mystery in the North Dakota Skies”. In this weekly episodic blog series we explore UFO sightings, aliens and unusual extraterrestrial encounters in the Peace Garden State…and highlight the people and places where these strange events occurred. Visit us every Wednesday for a new chapter…to find out just what the heck is going on in the skies above North Dakota. Today we’re focusing on a UFO sighting in Finley and Cooperstown, North Dakota.

Peter Olai Sathre, or “P. O.” as he was referred to by his closest friends, was a successful man. He was an attorney and politician who served as North Dakota Attorney General and as a Justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court. Born in Adams Township in Mower County, Minnesota on February 7, 1876, young Peter moved to what was Dakota Territory with his parents in 1884. By 1910 the brilliant young man had received his law degree from the University of North Dakota. 

Sathre first started to practice law in Finley, North Dakota, running his Steele County practice from 1910 until 1932. In 1932, he was appointed Assistant United States Attorney. A year later, in 1933, he accepted an appointment to be the Assistant Attorney General for North Dakota. His star continued to rise as the following year he was appointed Attorney General and was elected as North Dakota Attorney General in both 1934 and 1936. He resigned from that position in 1937 to accept his appointment to the North Dakota Supreme Court.

In short, Mr. Sathre was a brilliant lawyer and politician. A true success. A pillar of his community, well known and beloved throughout the Peace Garden State. And in the hot summer of 1952, he spotted a flying saucer.

UFO sighting in Finley and Cooperstown, North Dakota

Headlines at the time declared boldly: “Flying Saucer Seen Locally on Saturday!”. Newspapers would go on to report that Justice Sathre spotted the saucer just after leaving Cooperstown, North Dakota while driving towards Finley in his car. The Justice calmly explained that the saucer, “appeared to be about six or seven feet across, and was silver in color.”

Mr. Sathre felt that this disc was flying about two thousand feet off the ground. “Although,” he added, “it was difficult to tell.”

As soon as he spotted the flying saucer, Justice Sathre stopped his vehicle on the side of the road. Thankfully his young grandson was in the backseat with a pair of binoculars. The Supreme Court Justice left his vehicle and tracked the saucer clearly “for about ten seconds” before “it flew east at a terrific rate of speed until it got to about the Sheyenne River, where it turned and flew south.”

With such a clear sighting, and with his background as an attorney, Justice Sathre was able to give a good report on what he saw: “it was shaped just about like a sauce dish, that is wider than it was thick.”

A true mystery in the North Dakota skies…and if you want a credible witness to unidentified flying objects, you couldn’t get a better one than Supreme Court Justice P. O. Sathre!

What did you think about this report of a UFO sighting in Finley and Cooperstown, North Dakota? Let us know in the comments!

This article is an excerpt from the forthcoming book “Mystery in the North Dakota Skies: UFO Sightings, Aliens and Unusual Extraterrestrial Encounters in the Peace Garden State” by Jack Norton. This blog is reader supported. If you’d like to help us out, please consider becoming a Patreon or visit the “Support” section on our Contact page if you’d like to send a one-time gift. This article and all supporting images (unless otherwise noted) are copyright © 2023 by Jack Norton and Kitty Norton.

About the Authors
Jack and Kitty Norton are Emmy Award winning travel experts. They have spent a lifetime on the road: as traveling musicians, documentary filmmakers and television producers. They now focus on writing for their travel blog (JackAndKitty.com) and making fun videos for their YouTube channel. Jack and Kitty offer travelers fun and quirky things to do in Minnesota, the Midwest and beyond. High school sweethearts turned married soulmates, the couple lives in the small college town of Winona, Minnesota and would love to have you over for some hotdish.

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