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New York revealed as UFO Mecca

The Hudson Valley in upstate New York became internationally famous for UFO sightings in 1982. The Hudson Valley flap is detailed in the book Night Siege: The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings which featured the final published investigations of the respected astronomer and UFO researcher, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, along with a team of seasoned field researchers and writers.

This is the most famous picture of a controversial series allegedly taken by highway traffic engineer Heflin off the Santa Ana freeway.
This is the most famous picture of a controversial series allegedly taken by highway traffic engineer Heflin off the Santa Ana freeway.
attributed to Rex Heflin, 1965/courtesy UFO Casebook
This picture was actually taken in 1957 by an unknown French pilot using his gun sight camera.
Public Domain/courtesy ufocasebook

Famous as this UFO flap was, the publication of Night Siege was not the final word on the matter of UFOs in New York. Just in the last year, four books have been published revealing the history, diversity and continuity of UFO sightings across the state. Taken together a reader does get the distinct impression that seeing strange and interesting things in the sky is really not that unusual in the Empire State, and further, it's been that way for quite awhile.

Two of the books have been self published by local ghost hunter and novelist recently turned UFO investigator, Linda Zimmerman. Zimmerman lives in the Hudson Valley and for several years has been investigating hauntings and mysterious ruins in Putnam Co. People started showing up at her public presentations with their UFO stories and eventually she decided to look into them. An interview with Zimmerman can be found here.

Her two books In the Night Sky and Hudson Valley UFOs take a broad look at UFO reports, some dating back to the early 20th century, and in the main she publishes first hand accounts that she has personally investigated, excepting those that were only preserved in historical archives. She categorizes the sightings both chronologically and by type of encounter, i.e. the kind of UFO witnessed. Possible contactee/abductee cases are treated separately.

Zimmerman's documentary In the Night Sky: I Recall a UFO (2012) was released as a tie-in to the book. It has received some lively attention in the larger UFO community after winning the People's Choice Award at the 2013 EBE Film Festival at the International UFO Congress.

The two other books have both been published by Schiffer Books, a small, but vigorous, family owned publishing house in Atglen, PA. UFOs Over New York, by Preston Dennett, provides a detailed look at the cyclical patterns of New York UFO encounters over the years, and particularly focuses on the important role that New York contactee/abduction experiences have had in forming the national narrative surrounding these reported events.

The reader is reminded that Whitley Strieber's formative 'visitor' events, which he later wrote about in Communion, Transformation and Breakthrough, all occurred at his remote cabin in the Catskills near Woodstock, NY. Similarly, famed paranormal investigator, Ellen Crystall virtually turned Pine Bush, NY into the Roswell of the Northeast through her highly publicized investigations into contactee/abductee experiences in her book, Silent Invasion.

Although Gerard J. Medvac's book, Mid-Atlantic UFOs: High Traffic Area, details UFO sightings and encounters from all the Mid-Atlantic states, a good deal of ink is spilled on little known UFO accounts in New York that have not seen print elsewhere, with some of them occurring quite recently. His collection includes a fascinating report on nine individuals in Rochester, NY who have apparently been meeting together for a little over five years now, and manage, through a collective meditation technique, to consistently, "produce" UFO experiences, some of which are witnessed by people outside the group.

All the books pay homage in some manner to the aforementioned hamlet of Pine Bush, NY. Pine Bush had many sightings during the flap of the early 80's, and has continued to be a center of reported unusual paranormal manifestations, so much so, that the town has decided to capitalize on the notoriety. Pine Bush organizes its own annual UFO Fest (often complete with a Chili Cookoff and Car Show). Along the main drag, patrons can visit shops and vendors selling their "out of this world" wares and stop for a bite at the Cup and Saucers Diner (ouch).

A valuable aspect of all these books, when taken together, is that many of the accounts have been independently collected by the investigators. Medvec, who was featured in an extended interview on Church of Mabus Radio which can be accessed here, went out of his way to find individuals who had not reported their sightings or encounters elsewhere. Zimmerman did much of the same. As a result, these accounts have not appeared in any of the several national databases (MUFON and NUFORC for example) which collect and report UFO experiences.

In his introduction to UFOs Over New York, Dennett indicates that, in his investigative experience, many more people have had UFO experiences than report them. In his interview, Medvec agreed, indicating that his records contain literally hundreds of sightings that were most specifically not reported to anyone because of a basic lack of trust in the process of online reporting itself.

There is something about the UFO experience which demands, for some, a face to face disclosure, at least in the beginning with the first telling, as it's a very personal thing. These collections, taken together, indicate that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, more sightings and experiences than "official" statistics would indicate, particularly since there is very little overlap between the accounts in the books.

Hudson Valley UFOs, In the Night Sky, Mid-Atlantic UFOs and UFOs Over New York, provide the reader with much food for thought and a compelling argument that while high visibility flaps may come and go, seeing unusual things in the skies over New York is really pretty common.

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