Historical UFO Sightings in the Upper Valley

By Luke McCann, The Dartmouth Staff | 10/9/14 4:00am

In 2002, it was reported that Samuel Sherman, president of Independent-International Pictures Corps, purchased what many consider to be the oldest known photo of a UFO. The identity of the photographers were later revealed to be Amos Clough and Howard Kimball, and it was taken during an expedition in the White Mountains in New Hampshire during the winter of 1871. Many UFO enthusiasts, however, question its authenticity. In a book written about the expedition, there is no mention of the UFO being noticed by either of the explorers, and the distance of the photograph makes it difficult to discern much about the object pictured in the mountains. Regardless of its authenticity as a photographed UFO, the incident still maintains an important place in the history of UFO sightings in the United States.

On the night of September 19, 1961, just south of Lancaster, New Hampshire, Betty and Barney Hill experienced one of the most prolific and unnerving extraterrestrial encounters in history. They noticed a light in the sky, originally believing it to be a falling star, before noticing that it was moving unusually and growing in size. After noticing its oval shape and flashing lights, the couple quickly drove away, but the aircraft continued to follow them as they drove through the mountains. The object eventually descended toward the vehicle, and Barney reported seeing several humanoid figures standing in the window of the craft.

He later said the beings communicated with him to stand still and continue looking. Barney returned to his vehicle as the UFO hovered above them, and the couple reports losing full consciousness shortly thereafter. They awoke later, nearly 35 miles from where they last remembered. The next morning, the couple noticed several odd occurrences around the house.

Barney’s shoes were scuffed, Betty’s dress was torn, their watches no longer ran and shiny circles appeared on the hood of the car that disrupted any campus put near it. The couple went through several interviews with a hypnotist and U.S. Air Force officials, and Betty reported having dreams of the events afterward. The state of New Hampshire officially recognized the UFO sighting, and this case marks the first reports of alien abduction in the United States. The White Mountains have since become a major hotspot of UFO sightings.

During the early morning hours of September 3, 1965, a recent high school graduate was walking along the highway in Kensington, New Hampshire, a small community a few miles from Exeter. He reported noticing several flashing red lights in the sky, which moved toward him before flying away. After reporting his sighting to the police, one officer mentioned stopping a woman on the highway who reported seeing a similar object in the sky with flashing red lights. When two officers went to investigate the incident, they reported animals in the area making loud noises before a large object rose from the ground, again with flashing red lights. A journalist for the Saturday Review magazine later interviewed several other people who admitted to seeing a similar object as well. The incident sparked national interest, and the U.S. Air Force released conflicting explanations for the sighting, at first claiming it was simply the stars and later claiming it to be one of their aircrafts. The incident has since become one of the most notorious UFO sightings in the country, producing a best selling book and its own Wikipedia page that titles it “The Exeter Incident.”

Only a few years after The Exeter Incident, a UFO sighting was reported in Claremont, New Hampshire at 1:12 a.m., July 30, 1968. It was first reported by a plant worker who noticed the UFO as he was working in the garden, describing it as a bright, round object that was flying at a low altitude. Another report came soon after from a couple that lived nearby. At approximately 2 a.m., they reported seeing a similar dome-shaped object only about 10 feet from the ground. They also reported strange behavior from their children and dog, and claimed to have seen a beam of light shine onto the ground. The couple reported that the object remained hovering in the sky until approximately 4:30 a.m. before flying away. This report represents one of the first claims of a possible sighting of extraterrestrials descending from a UFO. While not as terrifying as the experience sounds, an observer sketched a picture of the flying object they observed.

While these alleged UFO encounters took place several decades ago, New Hampshire and Vermont remain as one of the most popular regions for UFO sightings in the country. Based on data from the Mutual UFO Network, both stand in the top five of per-capita UFO sightings per state. While many of these incidents don’t have documented proof of their validity, the region remains cloaked in centuries of extraterrestrial fascination. The National UFO Reporting Center publishes all reports of UFO sightings, and several have been reported in New Hampshire in the last month alone.

You can watch like live updates of the reporting of UFO sightings here

Luke McCann, The Dartmouth Staff