With all the alien encounter allegations that originate from Long Island, some say the region is as much an antenna for activity as the infamous New Mexico town, Roswell.
Among the assertions made: two UFO crashes, numerous reports of abductions, and countless UFO sightings over the years—Bay Shore being at the top of the list for recent reports, according to one researcher. Then there is the plethora of alien-related conspiracy theories derived from the Montauk Project (its Camp Hero is said to be home to government experiments in time travel).
Other explanations of what motives otherworldly visitors may have are put forth by a loose-knit organization of local extraterrestrial enthusiasts, a local chapter of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), which holds meetings on the third Thursday of each month at the Smithtown Library Commack branch. The prevailing hypothesis is that aliens—and those watching for them—are harmless upon making contact (despite some abduction side effects). To explore these questions, about two dozen believers and skeptics gathered at the Levittown Public Library on Sept. 24 to hear West Islip anthropologist George Dixon discuss Ufology, the study of UFOs, following a short film about UFO sightings caught on amateur video cameras. Although open-mindedness was a prerequisite for this gathering—some shared their own stories of observations that sparked their interest—when Dixon spoke of mankind being derived from crossbreeding with aliens, he lost some in the crowd.
“Martians do exist,” Dixon insisted. “They live on Mars and they also live on remote bases on Earth.” He shared voluminous theories of various alien races that visit our planet—to use us mostly as a resource, he noted. While some doubters snickered at times, most agreed. So do 72 percent of Americans, according to a Sci-Fi Channel poll: That percentage believes that whatever the federal government knows about alien presence on Earth, it is keeping to itself. They say to look to Brazil, Great Britain, Mexico, Russia or most recently, France, all countries that have released reports on UFO sightings.
“If only the government would allow the cover-up of aliens living amongst us to end, we’d be on a different Earth,” said Ufologist Marvin Kantor, the event’s organizer, idealizing a world of open alien-human coexistence. Positioning himself among those calling for an end to the “truth embargo” they say the government enacted 60 years ago following the Roswell incident, Kantor retold his firsthand experience.
He recalled that a V-shaped red glowing object lit up the sky over his North Shore home one night. “Of all the people to get this sighting, me, is astounding,” he said, noting his unsuccessful attempt to catch the event on film. Another man in the audience spoke of how he once saw “a group of lights that was not an airplane” while on vacation in Indianapolis. One man described seeing, while driving, a silent craft the size of a football field.
However, not all local sightings escaped the radar. The national chapter of MUFON says that more than 1,400 sightings have been reported in the country this year; 176 sightings were for September alone, and 14 of them in New York. Other allegations are more complex.
Details still circulate of an alien spaceship crash at Southaven Park in Shirley on Nov. 24, 1992, but details became muddled after John Ford, founding chairman of LUFON (the Long Island UFO Network, a separate group from MUFON), was arrested. Ford was later involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward, after a judge ruled him unfit for trial on charges of an alleged plot using radium poisoning to murder three Suffolk politicians he claimed helped cover up the crash.
“I went with them looking at the Southaven crash site,” says Sal Giammusso, director of MUFON’s Suffolk chapter. He saw nothing except for some trees bent over at odd angles.
Reports surfaced in the Southaven neighborhood of phones ringing while off the hook with no one on the other end, videotapes being erased, digital clocks going haywire and a fire in the forest that night, handled by nearby Brookhaven National Laboratory’s own fire department, according to LUFON. Southaven Park was also closed for several days following the incident, according to press reports around the time. Strange lights in the sky that night were reported as well.
But this wasn’t the first incident in which aliens were said to have touched down on LI.
A lesser-known case involves the downing of a “fast walker” (as opposed to “slow walker,” the code for satellite) on Sept. 28, 1989, on Fire Island, which Dixon, an independent researcher, says he investigated firsthand.
“We took pictures and magnetic readings from the area. They were really crazy and I didn’t stay long because I got a headache,” Dixon said of the 60-foot-long spot of discolored shrubbery and sand on the bay side of the beach, east of Smith Point.
Dixon told of sightings of a 1,000-foot-long craft starting in the Catskills, continuing through Connecticut and ending at the beach, with a second, smaller craft and several military helicopters in the area. Although he never had confirmation himself, Dixon says, “There was some kind of confrontation, but whatever happened after that I don’t know,” he says. “I was told [by his sources] that there were casualties involved—18 people, 15 captured and three killed.”
Scary as that may sound, spookier still are the details Dee, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of ridicule, shares when describing at least four alien abductions that took her from her South Shore home. The 62-year-old retired school teacher says that at first she was reluctant to share her story, but now feels lucky to have been chosen for abduction—even though aliens probed her ears, knees, nose and right eye, and removed some ova.
She says that following the first early-morning abduction, in which she awoke with the taste of metal in her mouth, her second experience was more revealing. An alien told her she has two mothers, she says: “One who bore me on Earth and another, a celestial mother.” She recalls that although the experience of being paralyzed and taken from her bed frightened her at the time, Dee was elated at the thought that “I may have hybrid children out there someplace.”
She says that she’s uncertain if she has any implant in her body, and, since the abductions, has developed sinus problems and a fear of large escalators (the sensation reminds her of how she felt when she was beamed up). But she says there are positive side effects of abduction, like a heightened psychic ability.
“I feel special, but not better than anyone else, because of this,” she says in her soft-spoken voice, with a smile.
She is not alone among MUFON members who say they’ve survived abductions, but Dee is among the few not afraid to speak out about her experiences. More well-known is Janet Russell, who claims to be a local abductee, doesn’t keep it a secret and is now is a notable psychic. But among the foremost authorities on the topic is Nassau Community College Professor Theodore Benitt, who says he has been teaching a course he designed, Metascience—the study of enigmatic phenomena—at the school since 1974, despite confronting the occasional skeptic’s mockery.
For Benitt, a lack of UFO reports is perturbing. “Strangely enough, in the last two or three years, very few students have told me about UFO experiences,” Benitt says, while recalling the stories of several students who told him similar accounts about losing up to four hours on their way home at night. “From all the telltale signs, it sounds like an abduction event,” he says from his office. He also reports being told of a large craft being seen over Lakeville Road near Port Washington about five years ago, with police in pursuit, although there were no media reports of that incident.
He doesn’t take people on their word alone. The class depends on scientific theories of fact-finding, which has come a long way in examining physical, chemical and biological evidence since he began teaching the class.
“Technology now can very nicely document that there is something real,” he says, recalling how a researcher in Pennsylvania sent him a soil sample of a site where a UFO was reportedly seen landing. Benitt, who also teaches astronomy and geology, reported that a colleague in the chemistry department analyzed that soil, and found that its clay molecules had been fused by an intense heat.
Many still prefer to believe only what they see, however, and since only about 5 percent of the population will ever see a UFO in their lifetime, that leaves a lot of doubters free to contest the findings of the few. What more can they do but keep watching the skies?
MUFON urges those who’ve experienced sightings locally to call the UFO hotline at 631-462-0246.