Earlier this year the Great Barrington Historical Society and Museum inducted an alleged UFO sighting and alien abduction. This week, a coalition of witnesses to this encounter erected a monument to commemorate the site of the UFO incident.
According to News10 ABC in Albany, New York, “The commemorative monument is dedicated to the official induction of our nation’s first off-world UFO incident.”
They continue, “The monument was installed and funded by a coalition of witnesses present on that fateful night in 1969.”
One of the primary witnesses of the event is Thomas Reed. He says that he and his family experienced a strange encounter at the location of the monument in 1969.
In an article regarding the incident being inducted in the Great Barrington Historical Society and Museum, The Boston Globe reported Reed says this UFO sighting was part of a string of strange encounters he and his family experienced beginning back in 1966. The first encounter took place on their horse farm when Reed was 6 years old. He and his younger brother saw strange lights coming from the forest and strange figures in their hallway. They remember seeing a large disc-shaped craft in a clearing in the forest, and being taken aboard.
They experienced similar incidents over the next few years.
In one instance, while driving with his mother, younger brother, and grandmother, Reed remembers strange lights in the sky. Soon after, they found themselves in a giant room where they met with two large ant-like creatures. Moments later, they were back in their car.
The monument has been erected near the location of this last incident, which Reed says took place on September 1, 1969, right next to the Old Sheffield Covered Bridge in Sheffield, Massachusetts.
Reed told News10, that it was after they drove through the bridge that they first began seeing the strange lights.
“You could see the lights flickering through the trees,” says Reed. “We were all just no longer in the vehicle anymore.”
The same night as that encounter other witnesses called in to WSPS Radio to report seeing the lights.
WSPS was on hand for the official dedication of the monument. WSPS employee Jesse Stewart says recently he heard from an 81-year-old woman who says she had been driving in the area when the event took place back in 1969 and had reported it to the station then.
The monument reads:
This commemorative monument is dedicated to the following: The Official Induction of our Nation’s First Off-World/UFO Incident. Whereas: The incident that occurred at this location, September 1st 1969 has been confirmed historically significant and true by means of factual corroborated evidence through the GT Barrington Historical Society. Whereas: Thomas E. Reed born 02-12-1960 and his families [sic] incident of Sept 1st 1969 has been recorded and formally inducted into the history of the commonwealth of Massachusetts on this day February 6th 2015. Quote: “History is a story about the past that is significant and true. Yours is one of those amazing stories that we seek to share with our community.” GBHS
Although the monument claims to commemorate the first “Off-World/UFO Incident,” it was not the first case in which people claimed to have had such experiences.
In 1961, a couple from New Hampshire claimed to have had a similar strange experience. They reported seeing strange lights and an object that followed them. They then experienced a period of missing time. Researchers used hypnotic regression to discover if they could find out more about what might have happened during the missing time, and the Hills, separately, told similar stories of being examined by strange creatures.
In 2011, after residents circulated a petition and submitted it to the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources Department of Cultural Resources, the state erected an official marker commemorating the event.
Director for the Great Barrington Historical Society and Museum, Debbie Opperman, says the decision to induct the Reed family’s UFO incident was not unanimous among their board. She told The Boston Globe, three of the nine members were “strongly opposed.”
“I know we’re going to get a lot of backlash. We’re going to get hammered,” she continued. “But we have given it an awful lot of thought, and, based on the evidence we’ve been given, we believe this is a significant and true event.”
Opperman says she believes it to be “the first time a ‘mainstream’ historical society or museum in the United States has declared a UFO encounter to be historical fact.”
As for what the monument means to Reed and his family, Reed says: “Our 6 foot commemorative monument, following our formal induction letter, marked the 1st official induction of a UFO case in the United States. That was a triumph in so many ways. We’re honored to have made such a mainstream contribution to this field. As for our family, this monument will serve and stand as a tribute to our late father. Reflecting back, we feel we have accomplished everything we could have hoped for and more. Our widely witnessed incident from 1969 was seen by four neighboring towns. It started as a community encounter and the recent support from that same community has made it clear once again it will remain a well supported community encounter.”