A college student named Terry Betz, along with his mother Gerri and his father Antoine, were strolling around on their eighty-eight acre property on Fort George Island, east of Jacksonville. They were surveying damage recently caused by a brush fire when they discovered a smooth metal sphere slightly larger than a bowling ball. No markings except for a tiny triangle stamped into its surface.
Intrigued by the curious object, Terry took it home and placed it in his bedroom. It wasn't until a couple of weeks later he found something was strange about the orb; while playing guitar he realized it was "vibrating like a tuning fork" in response to the music and quietly making humming, pulsing sounds. And even when not responding to the musical notes, the sphere disturbed the family dog greatly. It covered its ears and whimpered as if hearing some sort of unpleasant sound out of the range of human hearing.
The Betz family then claimed to have observed that when you rolled the sphere across the floor, it would stop and then change direction by itself - sometimes multiple times - then return to the spot where it started. And when placed on a glass coffee table it would roam around on it as if seeking a way to get off of it. So convinced were the Betzes that the ball was moving on its own volition and could actually try to escape the house, they began keeping it trapped in a bag at night while they slept.
They went to the media with the sphere, and soon found themselves swamped in calls and visits from reporters and UFO obsessives, showing up in the yard and ringing the phone around the clock, even during all hours of the night. Even J. Allen Hynek himself examined the object, as did the U.S. Navy.
Supposedly, as the anecdotes relate, the Navy's X-ray analysis revealed that the mystery ball contained two round objects surrounded by a “halo” made of some sort of unknown magnetic material with an impossibly heavy density. The two internal spheres were seemingly made of elements heavier than anything ever known. The heaviest artificially-produced element has an atomic number of 105, and the heaviest naturally-occuring one on Earth is uranium, with an atomic number of 92. Allegedly it was determined - exactly by who I'm not certain - that the substance inside the Betz ball has an atomic number higher than 140.
Various theories about the ball have been proposed, however, that suggest it may have been of a more mundane nature.
Some say it was a deep-sea marker, while others say it was a ball valve for paper mill machinery - and there are an awful lot of paper mills in Florida. The ball's strange behavior, they insist, simply must have been everybody's minds playing tricks on them.
Whatever it was, it's probably impossible to know now because after the initial flurry of media coverage, the Betz family took their ball and dropped off the grid. I haven't made much effort to track them down, but many who fixate on the mystery say they have, and say they've been unable to locate them today. Perhaps the ball is, as we speak, sitting on a pillow in some flea market somewhere in Florida, just waiting for the right person to wrap it up and take it home.