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Updated: Jun 4, 2023



This spot is where Thom Reed, his mother (Nancy), grandmother (Marian) and brother (Matthew), had their off-world incident, which was about 300 feet from the Upper Sheffield Covered Bridge. Located on the Western edge of Massachusetts, this small, peaceful park on the banks of the Housatonic River is now a monument to where the first UFO incident that has been officially recognized, and inducted into the U.S. as historically true.

The incident happened on September 1, 1969. It was a Summers evening and the family members left their family run diner around 8:30 P.M. to start their journey home. Nancy decided to take a short cut across the bridge and it was here, as she turned around to speak to the children, she noticed a bright light rising from the river banks of the river. As they exited the bridge they all saw a white sphere of light hovering at about 20 feet high to their left. It was larger than the car, and as it rose, Thom saw it fire rods of light. Matthew then looked to the right of the car and saw a second sphere, this one was orange and stayed closer to the water. This orb seemed to have a roll to it, almost like an ocean wave as he described it, as if the inside of it was moving and turning.

“We all looked at it because it was kind of a self-contained glow. It rose up a little bit. It looked like it followed the dirt road, which I’m sure it probably didn’t, but it appeared that way because we could see it through the trees. The light started to bleed through once we broke into a little bit of a clearing. We could see inside the car so the light was flooding inside the car.” - Thomas Reed

The white sphere disappeared and that's when Nancy noticed a disc-shaped object hovering in the sky. Thom described that it resembled a turtle shell and estimated it to be about 100 yards long. It had a large center and gave off a sheen of light that omitted an amber or reddish light. As they sat there in awe of this sight there was a change of pressure, as if they were underwater. A tapping sound was heard, as if small rocks were hitting were hitting the fender from under the vehicle. Then suddenly there was a bright light that lit up the car as if it were daylight and a vacuum of silence enveloped them. As quick as the silence fell, it returned in an instant, the noises of crickets and nature. This is the last that they remember from being inside the car.

Thom's next memory was waking up inside a massive indoor space, it was like what can only be described as an aircraft hanger. He was seated on some sort of bench that was low to the ground and it felt like there were other people around him. There were strange swirl marks on the floor and everything else was white.

"Now, we do remember being in what looked like an airplane hanger," Reed said. "We didn't stay in the car. We were removed from the vehicle, that's true. Where we were, I don't know."

“We encountered something. "It was definitely not of this world. We had a black and white television at the time and the imagery that we saw on this thing was unbelievable. There were lights that looked like fluorescent tubing inside this hangar.” - Thomas Reed

Confused and disorientated, it was hard for him to focus and he was not sure if he had been taken inside the UFO or somewhere completely different. As he sat there trying to fathom his surroundings he was grabbed by the arm from behind as was pushed up and forward. As he was pushed along he heard distant voices, one of which sounded like his mother calling for him.

After being led though hallways he was then led into a room with a rounded glass wall, there was nothing high tech here, just a few carts and a table. He was ushered to a table and sat there nervously waiting, after a short while he decided to run from the room, only to be grabbed and taken back almost immediately.

“This hallway we had seen was circular with a Y-configuration almost to control the flow of traffic. This one room had a bowed-in wall that was rounded. This was not something that you would have seen in 1969 anywhere else. I have no idea where I was, but I know that what I saw was very different than anything I’ve even seen today 50 years later.” - Thomas Reed

Whilst he was kept in this area he saw two bizarre creatures that were about 4 and a half to five feet and which were insect/ant like in appearance. Their eyes were round like marbles and the head a shade of orange. Their bodies were shaped like a teardrop and they had stick like arms and legs which looked like bamboo, all of which were mushroom in color.

Thom's brother, Matthew, also described having the same experience, and they both theorized that it could have been the same room, but at different points in time. Due to having a club foot Matthew wore a brace on his right foot to help him walk and whilst he was on the table he felt a strange vibration and pressure being put onto it.

Nancy and Marian have no recollection of being in a similar space or on the UFO.

Roughly two hours later, the Reed family found themselves back inside their car. To them, it had felt as if only fifteen minutes had passed since the beginning of their experience, their memory fragmented and muddied due to the lost time. The car ignition was now off and Nancy and her mother Marion were now in opposite seats.

Around 40 other people in the Sheffield area reported seeing strange lights that same night, and according to witness accounts, the UFO in question was a disk-shaped craft that performed acrobatic maneuvers. The local radio station, WSBS, as well as the police took calls from concerned locals.

“We had listeners call the radio station that evening. At the time they didn’t know it was a UFO, they just, you know, called the station to say something bizarre has happened.” - David Isy, general manager of local radio station WSBS

The Great Barrington Historical Society, after a vote of 6/3, formally inducted the story in February 2015, describing it as significant and true after reviewing the contemporaneous news coverage, witness statements and Thomas Reed's polygraph results (which were 99.1% truthful). It was the first time a UFO encounter has had this kind of recognition.

On August 26, 2015, Thomas Reed and a group of supporters gathered for a ceremony at the covered bridge to unveil a 5,000-pound granite monument, with a plaque commemorating our nation’s first off-world/UFO incident. This privately funded project also saw some solar lampposts and benches that were donated by various people and organizations in the UFO field join the site.

It seems not everyone in town was happy about the monument or to be associated with such a thing. In September, just weeks after the monument's dedication, a vandal took a can of spray paint to the monument. Whether this was malicious intent or just graffiti tagging, who knows? The culprit was never found.

Then, in June, 2019 the granite monument was removed by the town of Sheffield after legal arguments between Reed and the town's select board over the legality of it. But, thankfully in July, 2021 the granite monument was replaced with a sign from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, signed in by Governor Charlie Baker.

This park is well worth a visit if you are in the area. You can see why this remote, peaceful, serene location certainly makes it worthy of a UFO encounter.

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