Although it took place over half a century ago, a UFO encounter in Berkshire County, Massachusetts not only remains unexplained but also as divisive today as it was when it unfolded in the late 1960s, including many residents of the town where these strange events occurred in. What’s more, there was not only a single witness, or even two or three, but around 40 people. Even stranger, several witnesses even claimed that they were taken onboard the curious craft by the apparent alien occupants.
In fact, the more we examine this case, it not only appears to be a sighting, albeit witnessed by multiple people but a seemingly purposely, predetermined targeted mass abduction encounter – with the vast majority of the abductees being children. And what’s more, at least one of those abductees can recall several strange encounters with the apparently otherworldly vehicle. Encounters that would see them transported in an instant from wherever they were at the time, inside a strange room with other children present.
While the case might be controversial still today, it is the only such case in American history that has been officially recognized as a factual historical event and is one that just might prove to be one of the most important and overlooked extraterrestrial encounters in history.
- 1 “Something Bizarre” Happened Over Berkshire County
- 2 The Account Of Thomas Reed
- 3 Many Other Sightings And Claims Of Alien Abduction That Same Evening
- 4 Some Things To Consider
- 5 Recognition And Monument
- 6 A Much Deeper Set Of Events
- 7 A UFO Case That Deserves Much Further Study
“Something Bizarre” Happened Over Berkshire County
On the evening of September 1st, 1969, in the small town of Sheffield, Berkshire County, multiple residents noticed bizarre-looking lights appear overhead.  According to many of the witnesses, however, these lights were not strange nocturnal aerial phenomena, but rather the lights of a solid extraterrestrial craft. Many would describe this craft as disc-shaped, and of being capable of maneuvers, unlike anything they had previously witnessed.
Even stranger, a large portion of those who witnessed the obscure events that evening later reported they had the feeling that they had lost track of time, with some being unable to remember large portions of the evening. In fact, more than just that, a sense of confusion among not only the witnesses but many other residents of the town took over in the days and weeks that followed, with some reports of young school children even drawing strange disc-shaped crafts in the night sky. Radio stations were also regularly called in the days that followed by people wanting to put on record what they had witnessed.
Although some residents were certain they had witnessed visitors from another world, many others, although certain they had seen something strange, were not so eager to assert they had been witness to alien vehicles. Decades later, the general manager of just one of those radio stations, WSBS, David Isy claimed that many of the people who called “didn’t know it was a UFO” but that they realized that “something bizarre had happened”.
Robert Krol, the director of the Great Barrington Historical Society claimed that many “children (were) coming into school, talking about the event”. What’s more, one of these was his own student “whose father was the police chief in town”, adding that these were “reliable people” and not “self-promoters”.
The Account Of Thomas Reed
According to an account given by Thomas Reed years later – who was nine years old at the time of the sighting – he and his family not only witnessed the bizarre craft, but were taken onboard it.  He claimed that he, his brother, grandmother, and mother were traveling home from a restaurant they had visited and were crossing over the Sheffield Bridge.
He would recall that he was handing his brother a piece of fireball candy when his “grandmother turned around to see some lights coming up what looked like from behind the bridge or trees”. He continued that everyone in the car turned to view the lights, which he described as a “kind of self-contained glow” and appeared to follow the dirt road below. As their car came into a slight clearing, the glow from the light “was flooding inside the car”. Remarkably, Reed claimed that this was “the last thing we really remembered from the station wagon”.
He elaborated that the object “came to a stop off the right side of the road” and that “everything got really calm”. He would continue that he recalled the atmosphere was “like being in the middle of a hurricane” and that “there was like a barometric change in pressure…like a dead silence”.
Then, things changed.
Not The First Such Incident
The next thing the family realized “there was an eruption of crickets and frogs and it got really loud and that was it”. The family would discuss how they all had part memories and remembered “bits and pieces of being in like a hangar”. What’s more, there were “other people” there, although they didn’t know who these other people were.
When they regained a sense of their environment, they discovered they were back in the car. However, they soon realized that his mother and his grandmother had seemingly swapped seats in the vehicle. No one could remember them doing so, not least why.
Reed would later recall on his own website that he could vaguely recall “being taken aboard a tarnished circular-looking vessel where an image of a willow tree was displayed”.  What isn’t entirely clear is if this recollection was from the events of September 1st 1969, or a previous encounter that took place around three years earlier.
According to an article in the Boston Globe, at some time in 1966, Reed, then only 6 years old, Reed experienced another encounter while at home in his bedroom at the horse farm that his family owned.  Suddenly, he became aware of strange lights outside the property, and then “strange figures” outside the room in the hall.
The next thing he realized, he was standing in the middle of the woods close to the family home. In front of him was a strange, circular-shaped object, and next to him was his younger brother. Before he could contemplate anymore both the boys were seemingly inside the object and once more he recalled being shown an image of a willow tree.
Yet another incident occurred the following year in 1967, this time at the family home in the town of Sheffield. Much like the previous occasion, Reed suddenly noticed the presence of strange lights, before hearing “doors slamming”. The next thing he realized, he was back inside the same strange object from the previous. Once more, his younger brother was with him also. On this occasion, however, Reed couldn’t recall any further details, other than he woke up on the driveway of his home, with his mother, clearly panicked asking where he had been stating she had been searching for him.
All in all, the family was uncertain of exactly what had happened after the glowing object was above their vehicle, other than that something most certainly did.
Many Other Sightings And Claims Of Alien Abduction That Same Evening
There were, in fact, more people who were willing to talk of their encounter as the years went by, particularly as television channels and Internet platforms began to show an interest in such events as the 2000s progressed. And what’s more, some of these other witnesses also told accounts that suggested they too had been taken onboard this strange craft over the Berkshire County region that evening in September 1969.
The Bizarre Encounter Of Tommy Warner
Just one of these was Tommy Warner, a young boy who on the night in question was at home with friends. The friends were coloring when Tommy suddenly had a strange urge to go to the window. Once there, he heard a voice enter his mind telling him “you need to go home”. At this stage, already quite late in the evening, Tommy informed his babysitter, Debbie, that he had to leave and promptly ventured outside. Tommy was clearly shaken by the voice, later claiming he believed it was the ”voice of God” speaking to him. From there, though, Tommy’s account turns even stranger.
He had run a few steps a short distance from the house when he felt a strange sensation permeate his entire body. Other than that, though, he believed there was nothing more out of the ordinary happening. Debbie, however, who had gone to the door to follow the young boy, claimed that although he was “running”, he was doing so on the same spot.
A moment later, Tommy stopped his running motion and turned around. It was there he witnessed a bizarre object descending out of the sky toward him. It came to a stop almost directly above him. Then, a beam-like light emerged from the underside, shining directly on him. The next thing he knew, his arms were pulled backward by some kind of invisible force, and he felt as though “the air was sucked right out of him”.
Incidentally, Debbie, still standing in the doorway watching these events, would later corroborate what Tommy had said. As she looked on in disbelief, Tommy suddenly vanished into thin air. Several minutes later, Tommy found himself waking up. He was laid on the ground completely on the other side of the property, the light still shining down on him and “holding him to the ground”. Then, a moment later, it too disappeared.
Jane Green Encounters The Mysterious Craft On The Road
The account of Jane Green is equally enthralling as that of young Tommy Warner, if not more so. On the night in question, she and her friend, Jane DeGrace, were driving towards Great Barrington. As they did so, several bright lights suddenly became visible a short distance ahead of them. To begin with, Jane thought the lights were those of a police car. However, they quickly became so bright that she was forced to bring her car to a stop due to being blinded by them. As the car came to a stop, she noticed another driver in front of her had seemingly decided to do the same.
After a moment or two, the two women exited the vehicle in order to get a better view at what these strange lights might be. When they did, they were confronted with the sight of a “huge object” making its way over the road in front of them. Jane would later recall that the object was so large that she couldn’t see the end of either side of it.
Jane further recalled that the object was dark in color, although she couldn’t tell exactly what color it was, and that it was completely silent all the time it was in sight. She also offered that she could see no windows or doorways.
After several moments, the object suddenly moved quickly to the left a little before rising several feet into the air. It repeated this strange climb several seconds later before it shot off into the distance and disappeared over the nearby mountains.
After taking a moment or two to compose themselves, the two women got back in their car and Jane started the engine. They continued on into Great Barrington as planned. Once there, she brought the car to a stop in front of the family store, going inside to tell her husband of their bizarre encounter, who would immediately encourage her to contact the local radio station and inform them of the most intriguing events.
She would contact WSBS Radio and was invited to the studios. Once there, she met with the station’s director, Tom Jay, who, while he took notes of her account, didn’t believe she had seen what she thought she had. However, within hours, the radio station was being flooded with calls from local residents claiming very similar sightings. In fact, the station received so many calls that Jay contacted the local police to enquire if they too had similar reports.
Jay would mention these reports on the air a short time later, which caused further reports to come into the station. As well as sightings from all around the state of Massachusetts, Jay even received a report from the neighboring state, Connecticut.
Melanie Kirchdorfer – Abducted From The Lakeside
Another intriguing account came from Melanie Kirchdorfer, who was a young teenager at the time of the encounter. She claimed to have been at Lake Mansfield with her family on the night in question when a sudden blinding white light appeared in front of them. After readjusting their vision, the family could make out a disc-shaped object emerging from the water eventually moving to a hovering position overhead (we should note later interviews state that Melanie recalled the object coming from over the mountains).
Melanie’s father walked towards the object in curiosity causing both Melanie and her mother to cry out to him to come back. From there, Melanie’s memories of the encounter are slightly hazy and disjointed. She does, though, recall “levitating” in the air, and of being inside a strange room, which she assumed was a room inside the suddenly appearing object.
Intriguingly, she would also recall there being other children there inside the room with her. What’s more, these children would vanish into thin air one by one, as if being transported to another room, or perhaps even back to where they were taken from.
From that point, Melanie suddenly found herself walking in the woods feeling confused and lost. She did, however, manage to negotiate her way back home.
It is interesting that Melanie would recall seeing other children in the ship with her. Especially so when we examine another case of apparent alien abduction that occurred that evening. One in which the abductee would claim to have seen Melanie also. And it is to that account that we will turn our attention to next.
The Little-Known Walpole Sighting
There is also another, little-known UFO sighting that happened several hours later, also in Massachusetts (in Walpole) at around 2:30 am on the evening of 1st September going into the 2nd.  According to the report, the witness – who was a teenager at the time, was in their bedroom with the shades pulled down and their windows slightly open to “meet the bottom of the shades”.
Suddenly, the witness heard a “loud rustling” noise in the trees outside, causing them to open their eyes. When they did so, they could see “blinking red lights” outside of their bedroom window. To begin with, they thought there must be a fire engine outside but soon realized they couldn’t hear any of the sounds associated with such a vehicle, not least its engine or sirens.
They quickly got out of bed and made their way to their second-floor window, expecting to see the street and other houses below. Instead, all they could see was a “row of lights that were slowly blinking red, then changing to white, and red again”. These lights were clearly on the side of a “grey object” that was approximately the same level as their window. The object, which the witness recalled as being distinctly oval-shaped, remained perfectly still, simply hovering where it was without making a sound.
A little uneasy about what might happen next, the witness backed away from their window, all the while keeping their eyes on the bizarre object outside, and returned to bed. After several minutes, the red flashing lights disappeared, and the normal glow from the streetlights entered the bedroom as usual.
The witness recalled that they were unable to fall asleep that evening and that as soon as daylight arrived, they made their way outside to see if there was any evidence to be found of the nightly visitors. However, there was nothing. Furthermore, when they asked their parents and neighbors if they had seen the strange object, all insisted they hadn’t.
Given the description of the craft, as well as the location and date of the sighting, it is perhaps a safe assumption that the sighting was connected to the Berkshire County UFO incident. Of course, whether the witness, in this case, was abducted that evening also and simply can’t recall the incident, is perhaps, tentatively admittedly, open to debate.
Some Things To Consider
It is worth mentioning that many of the apparent radio recordings of reports to the station that were received on-air have either been destroyed or are missing. And while this could be nothing more than standard practice, accidental, or a whole manner of other possibilities, it is at least slightly suspicious.
When Berkshire historian, Gary Leveille, examined this aspect of the case, however, he concluded that the reports didn’t exist because the local newspapers had not taken the claims seriously and so had ignored them. Whether the newspaper stories ever existed or not, at least to some, remains open to debate. What isn’t, though, is that a police unit from Sheffield Police Department was sent to the area to investigate many reports they had received of a UFO.
It is also interesting to note that one of the witnesses, Melanie Kirchdorfer, claimed to have seen the object emerge from the lake as opposed to descending out of the sky. In recent years, many researchers have drawn attention to the world’s oceans, seas, and lakes, asking if these strange objects are coming from under the water instead of outer space, or at the very least, using these water networks to traverse the planet.
Melanie also claimed to have seen other children onboard the object with her, one of whom we might assume was Tommy Warner. It is interesting to note that not only did Warner state that he recalled specifically seeing Melanie with a look of fright and fear on her face, but when the pair eventually met, Melanie believed they shared a strange bond, as if they were siblings.
Thomas Reed, along with the rest of his family, would suffer a sort of isolation from the rest of the community, suddenly finding themselves very much outsiders in their own hometown due to their claims. Tommy Warner would offer that he had also experienced being shunned by his peers, even being bullied at times while growing up. When we bear this in mind it is hard to see what any of the witnesses had to gain from lying, not to mention just how they had managed to orchestrate such a story in the first place having previously never met.
The events were certainly etched into the collective memory of the community, so much so that it is referred to as “the 1969 Berkshire UFO” event, and is still talked about today. In fact, not only is it still discussed, the account has an official historical status, a point we will examine next.
Recognition And Monument
In 2015, as reported in the previously mentioned Boston Globe article, The Great Barrington Historical Society And Museum officially granted the event historical status. This made the incident the first UFO encounter in the United States that has officially been recognized as a historical factual event.
As a result of the officially recognized historical event of the Berkshire UFO case, at least in part, a monument on the location of the encounter was commissioned.  The location of the monument was on the banks of the Housatonic River, close to where Reed claimed to have witnessed the otherworldly object and was taken aboard it in the town of Sheffield.
The plaque for the monument read:
On behalf of the citizens of Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I am pleased to confer upon you this Governor’s citation in recognition of the off-world incident on September 1, 1969, which engaged the Reed family, which has been established. Your dedicated service to this incident was factually upheld, founded, and deemed historically significant and true by means of Massachusetts historians. The records highlighting the historic event are now officially part of the Great Barrington, MA Historical Society’s collection and your recent induction into Massachusetts history.
Several years after the monument was unveiled, however, town officials took the decision to move it around 50 feet onto the land of a friend of Reeds following a long to-and-fro with those for and those against the monument.
While that would appear to have been the end of the revelations to come from the 1969 Berkshire UFO case, recent events have proven otherwise.
A Much Deeper Set Of Events
Further investigation by some researchers into the 1969 Berkshire UFO encounter has seemingly revealed that the events that evening run much deeper than a one-off affair. When the documentary team, Yes Theory, visited with Reed in 2020, they met several of the witnesses to the strange events of 1st September, 1969 for their episode titled 72 Hours With Strangers Who Have Seen Aliens. One of these people was Kevin Titus, who was ultimately responsible for signing the Berkshire UFO event into Massachusetts state history. Perhaps further adding to Titus’ credibility is his history in the military, special services, and the fact that he is a Connecticut state judge.
Titus recalled that he was 11 years old at the time of the incident, and was a friend’s house at his family’s ranch at the time. His father had asked him and a friend – Jimmy – to go and gather several of their cows that had strayed further than they should. However, as he approached where he thought they would be, he was greeted with the sight of one of the cows lying on its side with its stomach either “exploded or imploded”, Titus couldn’t be sure. What he did remember, though, was that there was no blood, only some kind of “pinkish fatty material”.
The two young boys turned and ran from the scene, back down the hill they had walked up. As they did so, Titus looked up and saw an oval-shaped object moving above them which had a “really weird light to it”. The two boys thought it could be some kind of helicopter and continued running until they reached the house where they immediately told Jimmy’s parents what had happened. To begin with, the two adults dismissed the two boys as having made a mistake. However, when they urged Jimmy’s parents to go outside and look for themselves, they did just that. As soon as they stepped outside, they too saw the bizarrely glowing object passing overhead.
According to Titus, rather than merely 40 witnesses, he estimates that around 250 people witnessed the bizarre craft over Massachusetts that evening.
Sightings Still Happening Today
During their investigation, Yes Theory also spoke with a local woman, Windyann Plunkett who witnessed a very similar craft to that described by the witnesses to the 1969 incident. She would tall presenter, Thomas Dajer that on 29th May 2020 she witnessed a “light, like a flash”, adding it was “much quicker than a normal airplane flash”.
Plunkett further added that she had a particular interest in astronomy and was more than familiar with both the positions and appearance of the stars and planets, as well as what aircraft and satellites looked like.
When the documentary team arrived at her home to speak to her further, she elaborated that she and her family were sitting in their yard when they suddenly noticed the strange flash. Plunkett got up from her seat and walked closer to the house, all the while keeping her head upwards, looking to see where the flash had come from. Then, another flash, then another. As she turned toward this last flash she noticed three glowing lights overhead. She continued to watch as they “came together uniformly”, although not touching, before moving apart once more. Then, one of the lights shot off and disappeared into the distance. By the time she turned her attention back to the remaining lights, they had disappeared.
Further Revelations From Melanie Kirchdorfer
The makers behind the episode also visited with the previously mentioned Melanie Kirchdorfer, who would recall further details of her encounter by the lake. She would claim that after calling to her father to come back from attempting to get closer to the bizarre craft, the next thing she knew she was waking up in a strange, “metallic-like-glass” room that had a red glow to it, and was lying on some kind of table.
Although she could recall these surroundings, she couldn’t recall seeing any strange creatures, or if they performed any kind of experiments or procedures on her. Her next memory was of being in a different room, surrounded by many other children. Of course, if her recollections are accurate – and there is no reason to suspect they aren’t – then this would suggest the events of 1st September 1969 over Massachusetts was some kind of mass alien abduction, seemingly of children.
She would further reveal that upon waking she was suffering from “terrible stomach pains” – pains for which she still has no explanation. Even stranger, as we know, Melanie had to make her own way home as her parents had gone. She found them at home waiting for her, although they, or her sister, ever recalled how they arrived back at the house and why they didn’t stay to look for their daughter.
Her parents could, though, recall seeing the strange object right up until Melanie’s father tried to approach it. Despite this, they told their daughters not to talk about the encounter to anyone for fear that people would “think they were nuts”. Melanie was, at first, resistant to this, something that resulted in her parents “locking her in the basement” for several hours to stop her from talking about it.
Melanie went on to state that since that day she often turns off lights just by approaching the light switch, and has even “exploded” several computers – all unintentionally. This is an interesting point as many people who have been a victim of alien abduction, particularly repeat alien abduction, often report such bizarre activity when they are near electrical equipment. Furthermore, generally speaking, Melanie is of the belief that her “health has never been the same”, pointing to several specific ailments such as sinus trouble, eyesight issues, as well as persistent stomach cramps and aches.
When she was asked why she had decided to suddenly talk about the events after all these years, Melanie offered that she had “kept it bottled up” for decades and that talking about it made her realize that she was far from the only person to have undergone such an experience.
A UFO Case That Deserves Much Further Study
As we can see, then, what at first appears, at least to some, to be a questionable and largely obscure UFO event is anything but. In fact, it could be argued that the encounter not only deserves a loftier position in the UFO annals but that it deserves further study and investigation. Just what was the reason for this unidentified object – witnessed by multiple people, remember – suddenly appearing and making its way calmly over the Berkshire County region of Massachusetts?
We know that at least one of the witnesses – Thomas Reed – has previous UFO and potential alien abduction encounters, which, as opposed to coincidence would suggest purposeful targeting. Could the same be said of the other witnesses who claimed to have been taken onboard the cosmic vehicle? Might they have had previous abduction encounters? Or were they simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, with Reed being the intended abductee that evening? It is certainly interesting that other people – children at the time and all from the same (relative) area – reported finding themselves inside this apparent alien craft.
It is worth keeping in mind that while reports of alien abduction, particularly on some of the larger media outlets, rocketed in the seventies and eighties, they were very much taking place in the previous decades, particularly as the 1960s unfolded. Indeed, if those who claim to have been taken onboard this strange aircraft that evening in September 1969, they could very well be some of the first abductees (again, relatively speaking) of a preplanned, organized, and targeted abduction program, as speculative as that might be.
The video below features Tom Reed along with other witnesses to the bizarre incidents of September 1st 1969.
|↑1||Inside The 1969 Berkshire UFO Incident That Shook A Small Massachusetts Town, Natasha Ishak, All That’s Interesting https://allthatsinteresting.com/1969-berkshires-ufo|
|↑2||1969 Berkshire UFO Event Gains Recognition, Jim Levulis, WAMC Northeast Public Radio https://www.wamc.org/new-england-news/2015-09-03/1969-berkshire-ufo-event-gains-recognition|
|↑3||Sheffield town crew hauls away UFO monument; ‘off-world’ witness vows to ‘file charges’, Terry Cowgill, The Berkshire Edge https://theberkshireedge.com/sheffield-town-crew-hauls-away-ufo-monument-reed-vows-to-file-charges/|
|↑4||A UFO story lands in a hall of history, Great Barrington museum accepts family’s 1960s account of aliens, Billy Baker, The Boston Globe https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/02/23/berkshires-museum-says-alien-encounter-true/kTFw5NRfJLzax8pYD49G2N/story.html|
|↑5||Object Hovering Over Walpole, MA, National UFO Reporting Center https://nuforc.org/webreports/reports/034/S34098.html|
|↑6||Sheffield orders new landing spot for UFO monument, Kristin Palpini, The Berkshire Eagle https://www.berkshireeagle.com/archives/sheffield-orders-new-landing-spot-for-ufo-monument/article_2dcb3be4-eb08-50b7-bb0c-cf98c6059e5e.html|
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