September 3, 1965
Location: Exeter, New Hampshire, United States
Muscarello, a teenage Navy recruit, was walking down a
quiet country highway at night, when suddenly, a huge
object loomed above him. Thus began the "Incident
at Exeter," a series of sightings officially qualified
as "unidentified." The encounters that night
took special precedence over other UFO sightings because
of the credibility of two Exeter police officers who also
saw the UFO, as well as that of the dispatcher and supervising
officer who first heard Muscarello's account.
conception of the incident at Exeter.
to right: 18 year old Norman Muscarello who first spotted
the UFO, patrolman David
Hunt and Eugene Bertrand and dispatcher "Scratch"
Toland. (Manchester Union Leader)
Muscarello speaks to the Journalism class at Exeter High
School in 1980,
his first public interview since the "Incident at
Exeter" in 1965. (Courtesy Talon)
The Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, NH), Sept. 2, 2005
Sighting Terrified Locals 40 Years Ago"
The Portsmouth Herald
- Engulfed in the blackness of a late summer night, a
teenage Navy recruit walked down the quiet country highway.
Suddenly, a huge object loomed above him. Throwing himself
to the ground to avoid being hit, he huddled against a
stone wall. The blood drained from his face.
time was around 2 a.m. The date was Sept. 3, 1965. Thus
began the "Incident at Exeter," a series of
sightings officially qualified as a legitimate visit from
an unidentified flying object.
September and October 1965, several sightings in New Hampshire
were carefully investigated and documented by local and
encounters that night took special precedence over other
UFO sightings because of the credibility of Exeter police
officers Eugene Bertrand and David Hunt, as well as Reginald
"Scratch" Toland, who was dispatcher and supervising
officer when the shaken teenager, Norman Muscarello, came
to the police station claiming he had encountered a UFO.
similar report substantiated his story. Earlier, Bertrand
had come upon a lone woman parked on the side of Route
101 near an overpass two miles outside Exeter.
said a huge, silent, red and brilliantly glowing airborne
object had chased her from the town of Epping about 12
miles away. It had been only a few feet from her car before
it departed at a tremendous speed and disappeared.
saw nothing but a bright star and sent her home. Toland
also spoke to the woman, who told him she had been chased
by the "low-flying, large, round object with flashing
hour later, Bertrand received a call from Toland to report
back to the station immediately because "a kid had
come in who had seen a UFO." The police officer picked
up Muscarello at the station.
teen led him back to the site where he'd seen the craft.
After sitting in the parked cruiser for several minutes,
Bertrand radioed the dispatcher to say they saw nothing
instructed to check out the field before heading back,
proceeded to do so with Muscarello.
in a nearby barn began to kick and whinny. Dogs in the
neighborhood began to howl.
shouted, "Look out, here it comes!" and they
watched as something luminous rose from behind tall evergreens.
aircraft, about 100 feet away, silently sped so close
to Bertrand that he dropped to the ground and drew his
was this huge, dark object as big as that barn over there
with red flashing lights on it," Bertrand later told
an investigator. "It barely cleared that tree right
there, and it was moving back and forth... It seemed to
tilt and come right at us. Norman told me later that I
was yelling, 'I'll shoot it! I'll shoot it!' I did drop
on one knee and drew my service revolver, but I didn't
dragged Muscarello, frozen with fear, back to the cruiser.
the car, the men saw no tail, no wings and heard no sound.
en route, Hunt arrived within minutes and saw the UFO
as it "floated, wobbled and did things that no plane
could do" before it darted away toward Hampton. They
returned to the station to write their report.
received a call shortly after from a Hampton telephone
operator who said that a distressed motorist attempted
to contact the police from a pay phone. He yelled at the
operator, saying he was being chased by a flying saucer
that came right at him and that it was still out there.
He was then disconnected.
Hampton Police Department's blotter entry for that night
reads: "September 3, 1965: 3 a.m. Exeter Police Department
reports unidentified flying object in that area. Units
2, 4 and Pease Air Force alerted. At 3:17 a.m., received
a call from Exeter operator and Officer Toland. Advised
that a male subject called and asked for police department,
further stating that call was in re: a large unidentified
flying object, but call was cut off. Call received from
a Hampton pay phone, location unknown."
official report to Project Blue Book from the director
of administrative services of the Pease Air Force Base
at Portsmouth concluded with this paragraph by the investigator:
"At this time, have been unable to arrive at a probable
cause of this sighting. The three observers seem to be
stable, reliable persons, especially the two patrolmen.
I viewed the area and found nothing in the area that could
be the probable cause."
Blue Book is a compilation by the U.S. government to repute
the existence of extraterrestrial objects.
Geremia, New Hampshire state director of the Mutual Unidentified
Flying Object Network Inc., noted: "The police officers
involved put their careers on the line. They courageously
came forward and stated what they saw at a time when witnesses
were not allowed any credibility on the subject."
who has appeared on national media programs including
"Unsolved Mysteries," presented chronological
depiction of what happened the night of the Incident at
"decent rendition of what happened" matches
the series of events starting with Muscarello being frightened
by a UFO.
although an Air Force veteran, was never able to put a
name to the UFO.
do you call a UFO? Was it from another planet? We just
couldn't identify it," he noted.
meticulously described it as a "huge, shapeless object
with five sequentially pulsating-from-left-to-right bright
red lights, so bright you couldn't look at it."
Pentagon repeatedly denied the sightings, but the incident
was read into the congressional record in April 1966 by
Raymond Fowler, representative of the National Investigations
Committee on Aerial Phenomena in Washington. It was the
first open congressional hearing on UFOs.
internationally renowned author of 11 books about UFOs,
has studied UFO reports for decades.
a recent interview, he shared his thoughts on the Exeter
incident and the stories that followed.
second-hand speculation stories were varied and perhaps
hypothesized," Fowler said. "Muscarello's mother
purportedly saw confidential drawings of a UFO landing
site pattern that was handcuffed to an Air Force investigator
who visited her house. The neighboring farmer was instructed
by the Air Force to plow under landing marks in his field.
hens in the neighborhood stopped laying eggs. The air-base
intelligence officer was seen buying up all the newspapers
carrying stories about Sept. 3. A base commander was seen
in civilian clothes rather than uniform while investigating,"
there was the irrefutable.
were major similarities with these area sightings that
conform to documented cases. UFOs tend to be seen near
swamps, major power lines or nuclear sources. Muscarello
noticed the object coming from over a line of trees behind
which were major power lines. There was a swamp in the
area. Pease and the Navy yard both had nuclear power entities.
And, when a Pease Air Force base commander attempted to
disprove it was a UFO by simulating the incident by turning
on runway lights, he failed," noted Fowler.
now retired from active investigation, noted in a letter
to the United States Air Force, "The UFO sighted
by Norman Muscarello was identical to the UFO seen later
by Muscarello, Bertrand and Hunt.
is no question in my mind that the same or similar object
was involved in both of these particular sightings.
I did not interview the unnamed woman, I am not certain
of the details... but according to Officer Bertrand, the
object... was very similar to the UFO they sighted later...
another witness, a male motorist, also sighted a similar
of the viability of the testimonies of those involved
on the night of Sept. 3, 1965, and because of Fowler's
testimony into the Congressional Record in April 1966,
the United States Air Force admitted that indeed, the
Incident at Exeter involved an unidentified flying object.