EXETER – There was something odd in the sky last week, something that caused a Navy veteran with 10,000 hours of flight experience to have his own close encounter.
The former flight engineer, who wished to be identified only as “David,” said of the experience, “this was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”
What the retired Navy chief petty officer said he saw last Wednesday could only be classified as a UFO, an unidentified flying object.
It was a bright and sunny afternoon, about 3:15 p.m., and David was outside preparing his lawnmower. He had filled the mower with gas, checked the oil, and took a sip from a glass of water he had poured. When he tilted his head back to get the final sip, through the bottom of the glass he saw a large cigar-shaped object hovering in the sky.
David said windows were equally spaced around the object, however he didn’t see anyone or anything inside. The size of the object was enormous. By comparison, he said, consider what an ultralight plane would look like next to a Boeing 747. He said it was about the size of two USS Nimitz aircraft carriers.
At first glance, through his empty glass of water he thought it could have been the Hood blimp. “But, the instant I put my glass down, I said, ‘that’s not a blimp.’”
The object moved from west to east, very slowly for something that size, he said. His initial instinct was that the object was moving at about 100 knots, but something that big shouldn’t be able to stay in the air if it’s going that slow, he said.
The object began changing colors from a bright silver to an orange-ish red. A strange cloud of red and orange flames began surrounding the object, and before he knew it the object stretched out like a rubber band. It grew to about twice its original size, and then it was gone.
The entire incident lasted about 10 minutes, he recalled Monday morning, but he is unaware of the specific time because, “it felt like time stopped.”
He went into his house and first thought to call the police. He decided not to because he didn’t think they’d take him seriously. So he went on the Internet and searched for “report UFO,” and found the Web site for the Seattle-based National UFO Reporting Center.
Peter Davenport, director of the UFO reporting center, said David’s report was astonishing because of his history with flight. “I have no question on his reliability.”
He said he gets several accounts each year, but this one stood out. The report was well written and scientific, Davenport said.
“In my view, that’s one of the cardinal rules of an account,” he said.
The center was founded in 1974 by UFO investigator Robert Gribble. The center’s Web site, www.nuforc.org, has a large list of UFO sightings. According to the site, the center’s primary function is to receive, record, and to the greatest degree possible, corroborate and document reports from individuals who have witnessed possible UFOs. David’s report, which will soon be on the Web site, will be among dozens of documented sightings to be formally reported to the center.
Not the first time
The Exeter area is no stranger to UFO sightings. In 1965, two Exeter police officers and hitchhiker Norman Muscarello, who was with them, gained national attention after seeing a UFO hovering over Route 101 in Kensington. The sighting was documented in a book called “The Incident at Exeter.”
And then there was the incident involving Barney and Betty Hill, a husband and wife from Portsmouth who claimed to have been abducted by aliens. The couple was driving from a vacation in Canada in 1961 when they saw a UFO.
The object moved directly over their car, and before they knew it they grew drowsy. They later claimed to have been abducted by aliens and gave identical accounts while they were hypnotized.
But for this recent sighting, David said he believes that there is life beyond Earth. He said the galaxy is so enormous, it’s hard to believe humans are the only intelligent life.
“To the point of not being obnoxious, it’d be egocentric to think there is no other life out there.”