Case File: Berkshire UFO
Location: Berkshire County, Massachusetts
Date: September 1, 1969
Description: Berkshire County is a county on the western edge of Massachusetts.
Case[edit | edit source]
Details: On the evening of September 1, 1969, an unexplained phenomenon occurred in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Multiple witnesses reported seeing strange lights and experiencing other strange occurrences. Some witnesses reported being abducted and taken aboard a strange craft before being released. Others reported experiencing a phenomenon known as "Missing Time". To this day, their experiences remain unexplained.
The witnesses included:
- Jane Green - she has lived in Great Barrington since she was twelve. Her family was prominent because they owned the oldest Rexall pharmacy in the Northeast.
- Tom Warner - his family has lived in the same house in Great Barrington for six generations. He was the youngest of seven children. He was ten-years-old in 1969.
- Thom Reed - he was born in Queens but later moved with his family to Berkshire County. In 1969, his mother Nancy acquired a restaurant, The Village Green, located in the middle of Sheffield. It was a place where many locals gathered. At the time, she was a single mother trying to give her sons a good life. Thom, however, never felt he belonged there.
- Melanie Kirchdorfer - she had lived in Berkshire County since 1957. She was twelve in 1969.
At around dusk on September 1, 1969, Jane was driving with her friend Mary DeGrace (now deceased) from Stockbridge to Great Barrington. While driving down the road, they saw several bright lights ahead of them. At first, Jane thought there had been an accident and that the lights were from police cars. As she got closer, she realized that she could not drive anymore because the lights were so bright. She decided to pull to the side of the road. The car in front of them did the same.
Jane and Mary got out of the car to get a better look. They saw a huge object floating over the road in front of them. It was so large that Jane could not see the end of it from the right or the left. She could not tell what color it was, but she recalled that it was tall and immense. She did not see any windows on it and did not hear any noise coming from it. Within a few seconds, the object lifted up, went to the left, lifted up again, and then went over the mountains.
At around the same time, Tom was at his neighbor Jane Shaw's house coloring. As it got dark out, he went over and looked out a window. He heard a voice say: "You need to go home now". Fearful, he immediately ran out of the house and across the front yard. Jane came outside and watched him run in place for about five minutes. When he realized that he was not moving, he knew that something was wrong. He then turned to his left and saw a UFO drop out the sky. A beam from the craft came onto him. As the light shone on him, his hands jerked back behind him. Jane saw the light around him and then realized that he disappeared.
That same night, Melanie and her family went to the local Dairy Queen to get ice cream. They then went to Lake Mansfield, which was two miles from Tom and Jane Shaw's homes. As her father backed into the parking lot, a brilliant bright aura came around their car. Everyone in the car began to panic. Her father decided to chase the light, despite Melanie begging him not to. She and her sister began to shake in fear. Her sister did not remember anything after that. However, she remembered levitating and then being on a ship. She then remembered being laid out while in it.
Tom remembered seeing Melanie to the right of him on the ship. He recalled seeing total fear on her face. However, she did not remember seeing him. She recalled being in a room with several other children. Suddenly, the other children began to disappear, one by one. After that, she woke up at the lake by herself. She then had to walk home.
Meanwhile, Tom remembered at the same time being laid down on his back at the other end of the Shaw family property. A beam was still surrounding him. His brother was behind him and yelled for him to run. However, he told him that he could not run because the beam was holding him down. The voice came back to him and said: "I'll be done in a minute". Within a minute, the light beam went off and he was able to get up. He turned around and watched the light disappear. Jane Shaw recalled that seven minutes had passed between the time that he was picked up and returned. Melanie and Tom did not know each other beforehand. When they met for the first time, she felt an immediate connection to him.
Earlier that afternoon, Thom Reed was riding in a horse show. After being almost injured in a riding accident, Nancy decided that they were done for the day. They went to get dinner at her restaurant, The Village Green. They left at around 9PM and decided to take the shortcut home through the Sheffield Bridge. The location is six miles south of Great Barrington. In the car with Nancy and Thom were her mother and his younger brother Matthew. When her mother turned around to speak to the children, she noticed a bright light rising from the banks of the Housatonic River.
As they exited the bridge, Nancy saw a light ball hovering in front of them about two stories high. As it rose, Thom saw it fire rods of light. Matthew looked to the right and saw an orange orb coming towards them. As they slowly drove along, they noticed that everything was very quiet. They felt a pressure change, as if they were underwater. The white sphere quickly disappeared. Then, Nancy noticed a disc-shaped object hovering in the sky. It looked similar to a turtle shell. Thom said that it looked about 100 yards long. Suddenly, the inside of the car lit up. It appeared as if it was daylight inside there. After being silent for several minutes, the outside noises returned. This was the last thing that they remembered.
Three hours later, the Reeds all awoke and found themselves still in the car. To them, it had felt as if only fifteen minutes had passed from the beginning of their experience. They had no memory of the lost time. The next thing Nancy remembered was waking up in front of the drugstore. Her mother was in the driver's seat and she was in the passenger's seat. However, when she had turned the car off earlier, she was in the driver's seat and her mother was in the passenger's seat. Thom believed that they were placed back in the vehicle and not meant to remember anything that happened.
Jane Green said that she was a non-believer of UFOs and flying saucers until that night. She recalled that after seeing the craft, she drove into Great Barrington and pulled over in front of the family store on main street. She and Mary were in disbelief as to what had happened. She went inside the store and told her husband about their experience. He told her to report it to the radio station. She went there and met with Tom Jay, the director of WSBS Radio. However, he did not believe her. A few hours later, he became inundated with calls from other people with similar sightings.
Tom Jay heard the calls coming in over his ham radio. He heard so many calls that he actually called the police department to see if they were hearing about it as well. He then got on the air and asked for listeners to call him and report where they had seen the UFOs. He received reports in Pittsfield, Stockbridge, Lenox, Egremont, and Sheffield, Massachusetts. He also received reports from nearby Canaan, Connecticut. The calls were coming in from groups of people that, in many cases, had never met each other before. It is believed that these radio reports have since been erased. Strangely, the police department did not have any records of these reports on that date.
Sheffield resident Eddie Gulotta recalled that shortly after the sightings, people told his father (the chief of police) about the flying object they had seen. The witnesses said that the objects were landing and taking off in fields near Sheffield. His father did not believe the sightings were genuine. However, Eddie and his friends began going out at night, hoping to see the objects. They never saw anything.
Tom Warner recalled discussing his experience with his friends. However, after awhile, he decided to stop telling people about it because everyone thought he was crazy. People often avoided him in high school because of what happened. Eventually, he decided to paint his experience as a form of therapy. Melanie recalled that her sister always believed her. She also told her boyfriend at the time about it and he always believed her as well. At the time, they were the only ones that knew about it.
When Thom Reed went to school, he would talk about his experience often. However, this led to fights with other students about it. Nancy, on the other hand, did not tell that many people about it. Thom remembered that many people in town treated them differently due to their experience. Nancy remembered that people tailgated her as she drove home. One driver actually followed her up the driveway. Disturbingly, one man jumped up on a table and exposed himself to Thom and Nancy, saying: "Well, if you want to see something out of this world, Nancy, I'll show you something out of this world". Overall, the experience was very hard on her. Eventually, she decided to sell the diner and the house and move away.
Jane Green was relieved to learn that others had seen the UFOs because she was certain that no one would believe her. Recent stories about US Navy pilots seeing UFOs has led her and others to feel more comfortable about telling their stories. Melanie noted that she had no reason to make up her story because it was not a fun or positive experience. Tom stated that he feels better now that more people are coming forward with their experiences. Jane hopes that people will be more open-minded about UFOs and their experiences.
Investigation: Berkshire historian Gary Leveile looked into the case, but could not find any reports of any UFO sightings in the local newspaper for the month of September 1969. He believes that it was not reported because people thought that it was a joke or a scam. In fact, he talked to a local editor who said that he had heard about the sightings, but thought they were fake so he did not put anything about them in the paper.
Extra Notes: This case was first released on July 1, 2020 as a part of the first volume of the Netflix reboot of Unsolved Mysteries.
Interestingly, when Jane Green was contacted by the show about the sightings, she learned from her sons that they had experienced similar sightings at the same time. However, neither she nor them had mentioned it to each other until then.
- The Berkshire UFO on unsolved.com
- Great Barrington museum accepts family’s 1960s account of aliens
- Thomas Reed, man at center of 1969 Berkshires UFO report, says his story has been sensationalized
- Sheffield town crew hauls away UFO monument; ‘off-world’ witness vows to ‘file charges’
- Berkshire UFO sighting now an 'Unsolved Mysteries' episode
- Berkshires UFO sightings: Have tourists from 'way out of town' flown over for the summer?
- The Real Story Of The Massachusetts UFO Case Featured On 'Unsolved Mysteries'
- A Knox County man's historically documented 1969 UFO encounter stars on 'Unsolved Mysteries'
- The Berkshire County UFO on Skeptoid