by Adam Reilly May 31, 2018 (wgbh.org)
• In 2015, the Great Barrington Historical Society erected a “Governor’s Citation” monument, the plaque reading in part, “… in recognition of the off-world incident on September 1, 1969… which has been established… factually upheld, founded, and deemed historically significant and true by means of Massachusetts Historians.” It is signed by Massachusetts Governor Charles D. Baker.
• Great Barrington, Mass resident Tom Warner says emphatically, “I saw that UFO.” Warner recalls seeing a saucer -shaped UFO “twenty feet or more in height, probably about 30 to 40 feet around.” “The lights were colors I’d never seen in my life.”
• General Manager of Great Barrington-based WSBS radio, David Isy, says that “Back in 1969, we had listeners call the radio station that evening [to say] ‘Something bizarre is happening’.”
• Thomas E. Reed, whose name appears on the monument’s plaque, has said that he saw an [extraterrestrial] creature resembling “an ant, with some human features. It had a head that looked almost like a football shape.” Reed says that he and his family saw a light that “ rose up maybe two, three stories —and it went, actually, further away from our vehicle.” Reed has since reported additional encounters with UFOs.
• Recently, the Great Barrington Historical Society’s Executive Director, Robert Krol stated that, in retrospect, it was a mistake to focus so much attention on witness Thom Reed, instead of everyone else who witnessed something inexplicable that night. “Children coming into school, talking about the event… An old student of mine. One [witness] is a local shop owner whose father was the… police chief in town. So these are reliable people. These are not self-promoters.” said Krol.
• But the backlash of institutional ridicule has begun. A spokesperson for Governor Charlie Baker told the Boston Globe that the citation was issued in error. The town of Sheffield now claims that the monument might be on public property, which could lead to its removal.
Some of us have trouble remembering what we were doing a week ago, or even last night. But Tom Warner, of Great Barrington, Mass., can say exactly where he was on the evening of September 1, 1969.
“I was laying right where we’re standing right here,” Warner said recently, standing in a yard with a stunning view of the Berkshires. “I was laying on the ground, like this, and there was a beam on me.”
As Warner tells it, that beam was emanating from an object that resembled nothing he’d ever seen.
“Twenty feet or more in height, probably about 30 to 40 feet around, and it had — as I’m looking now, I can see it — it had lights,” Warner recalled. “The lights were colors I’d never seen in my life.”
To skeptics, this tale of a close encounter half a century ago might sound implausible. But Warner isn’t the only one convinced he witnessed something remarkable that night.
“Back in 1969, we had listeners call the radio station that evening,” says David Isy, the general manager of Great Barrington-based WSBS. “They didn’t know it was a UFO at the time. They just called the station and said, ‘Something bizarre is happening.’
“We talked about it on the air just last week, and one of our listeners, Jane Brown, who’s now 84, she called in to the radio station and told us she was one of the first people to report it.”
These distant memories are back in the news thanks to a monument near a covered bridge in the neighboring town of Sheffield, where a man named Thom Reed says he and his family had their own close encounter that evening.
“This light, it rose up maybe two, three stories —and it went, actually, further away from our vehicle, over what’s now a large cornfield,” Reed told WGBH.
The monument in question didn’t arrive until much later, in 2015, after the Great Barrington Historical Society took the unusual step of calling Reed’s account “historically significant and true.” But now, its future is in jeopardy.
WGBH Greater Boston Television 4:48 minute news story
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