Location: Suffern, New York, United States
year old Suffern lawyer, Warren Berbit, who has two engineering
degrees and experience in aviation, saw silvery metallic
objects, shaped like two enormous upside-down soup bowls,
hovering in the sky just over a dip in the Ramapo mountain
range. Mr. Berbit, along with policemen, businessmen,
school teachers, housewives and others, say they have
seen strange objects recently in the skies over Rockland
and Putnam Counties.
New York Times, Oct. 11, 1976
U.F.O. 'Invasion' Starts Round of Explanations"
to the New York Times
N.Y. Shaped like two enormous upside-down soup
bowls, the objects hovered in the sky just over a dip
in the Ramapo mountain range.
red-orange rays of the setting sun glinted from their
silvery metallic bodies. One remained motionless above
the horizon, while the other slipped gradually and silently
from a vertical position into a horizontal one.
account of a flying-saucer sighting was not the fantasy
of a science fiction writer but the coolly recollected
observations of 33-year-old Suffern lawyer, Warren Berbit.
Berbit, along with policemen, businessmen, school teachers,
housewives and others, say they have seen strange objects
recently in the skies over Rockland and Putnam Counties.
think they have viewed unidentified flying objects sent
to earth from another galaxy to observe the large power
plants in the area.
U.F.O.'s have been reported over Stony Point, just across
the Hudson River from the Indian Point nuclear reactors.
Others have been spotted over plants in Tomkins Cove and
some scientists say that most of the reported sightings
of silvery objects at sunset or flashing colored, lights
in the night sky are probably of airplanes, helicopters,
bright stars or planets.
is possible that some of the sightings were of real U.F.O.'s,
said Dr. William Donn, head of the Atmospheric Science
Program at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory in
Rockland County and a professor of earth sciences at City
College. "But I can only vouch for the things
I checked, and everything I investigated I identified
as a bright star or a planet."
observers who thought they were seeing U.F.O.'s, Dr. Donn
added, are "people who started looking at the
sky and saw stars for the first time in their lives."
Berbit, who has two engineering degrees and experience
in aviation and who characterizes himself as "not
too hysterical and fairly objective," does not
think it was two airplanes that he saw over the horizon
as he was pulling off the Gov. Thomas E. Dewey Thruway
in early September.
definitely looked at them, and I saw that it was not a
natural phenomenon or anything I could explain,"
Cetrone in the neighboring Rockland County community of
Tom-kins Cove, who insists that he is "no kook,"
says the objects "are obviously extraterrestrial
and are preparing for an eventual contact here."
Cetrone, publisher of The Rockland County Almanac, lives
in a white house at the top of Buckberg Mountain Road.
His terrace commands a view of the Hudson, and both he
and his wife, Barbara, say they have observed several
cylindrical flying objects with red, green and white flashing
lights, which hover a while, then turn sharply and disappear.
U.F.O.'s, Mr. Cetrone theorized, are probably drawn to
the area by the nuclear plants. They are part of a cycle
of U.F.O. appearances that peaks every 61 months, he said.
of possible sightings in the county reached a peak of
about 100 during a three-week period around the end of
August. Since the Air Force discontinued collecting information
about U.F.O. sightings in 1969, most residents make their
reports to the local police.
police handle the information with varying degrees of
seriousness. One of the most conscientious U.F.O. investigators
is Officer Bill Patrick, a young man with thick red hair
and a full mustache who is a member of the Stony point
the nine confirmed U.F.O. sightings in Stony Point attested
to by police officers, Mr. Patrick said he had been on
the scene of five. Each object, he said, "first
appeared to be a star, but when I looked through a telescope,
I could see red or green lights rotating." They
were observed by seven other Stony Point police officers,
he added, who "all described exactly the same
have not seen a space ship or a flying saucer,"
Officer Patrick said.
his experience, he went on, most people are afraid to
recognize a UFO. At one sighting, on Aug. 25, he recounted,
"there were 24 people who saw it, but one woman
kept walking around and yelling that she didn't see anything,
but actually she was afraid to look into the sky."
of a Skeptical Attitude'
about the same time that UFOs were reported flourishing
in Rockland, accounts of sightings started coming in from
residents of Mahopac and Carmel, across the river in Putnam
evening in August Police Officer, Ken Stern of the Town
of Carmel received a call from a 12-year-old boy who reported
a U.F.O. over his house. The policeman drove to the scene.
I went up with kind of a skeptical attitude,"
he related. "When I got out of the car, I saw
a round object spinning around. I looked at it through
high-powered field glasses. It had red, green and white
lights and was about 60 to 70 miles away, between the
moon and the horizon."
instant fame brought by his first and only U.F.O. sighting
has been a nuisance, Officer Stern said.
wish I had never seen anything," he lamented.
"People keep calling and asking me about it, and
they came from all over to talk to me about it."
flashing object seen by Officer Stern might have been
the same one that Brian Messier, a fourth-grade teacher
who lives in Carmel, thought he saw one August evening.
that," he said, "everything that twinkled
I would say, 'Oh, maybe.' I wanted to see one. Well, I
did and I didn't. There's that fear of the unknown."