Thursday, September 01, 2005

UFO Incident at Exeter - 40 Year Anniversary

Exeter Muscarello Hunt Bertrand Toland
Close encounter revisited

N.H. teen's 1965 sighting became blueprint for UFOs

By Joel Brown
The Boston Globe

     Forty years ago this Saturday, New Hampshire teenager Norman Muscarello walked down a dark country road into weird history. In the wee hours of Sept. 3, 1965, the 18-year-old Muscarello set out to hitchhike home from Amesbury to Exeter. At about 2 a.m., he was walking on a deserted stretch of Route 150 in Kensington, about a half-mile short of the Exeter line. ''Near an open field between two houses, the Thing, as he called it, came out of the sky directly toward him," John G. Fuller later wrote in his best seller, ''Incident at Exeter." ''It was as big as or bigger than a house. It appeared to be 80 to 90 feet in diameter, with brilliant, pulsating red lights around an apparent rim. It wobbled, yawed, and floated toward him. It made no noise whatever."

     Muscarello told Fuller that as the unidentified flying object floated toward him, he dived onto the shallow shoulder of the road. It hovered over the Clyde Russell farmhouse, lighting everything blood red, then floated away. Muscarello ran to the house and banged on the door, but no one answered. A car came from the south, and Muscarello flagged it down, begging a ride to the Exeter police station. There he blurted out his story to desk officer Reginald ''Scratch" Toland, who sent patrolman Eugene Bertrand, an Air Force veteran, out to the scene with him. A few minutes later, Fuller wrote, ''Scratch Toland was nearly blasted out of his chair by Bertrand's radio call. 'My God. I see the damn thing myself!' " As the brilliant red lights emerged over the woods behind the Carl Dining farm, Bertrand drew his service revolver, then thought better of it. He put the gun away and pulled Muscarello back to his cruiser. Officer David Hunt drove up in time to see the hovering UFO before it darted away to the east.

     Like all Seacoast residents, the trio were accustomed to seeing planes from Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth flying overhead. ''There was no comparison," Hunt told Fuller.

     Bertrand and Hunt took Muscarello home to his worried mother at their Front Street apartment. Meanwhile a motorcycle-riding Manchester Union Leader reporter dropped by the Exeter station. At a later panel discussion, Toland said that when he looked up and saw the man walking up in his helmet and goggles, ''I got under the desk. I thought he was one of them."

     No one, though, had actually seen any space aliens. The news spread quickly. Others reported strange lights in the sky that night, and the two officers added credibility to Muscarello's fantastic tale. In true ''X-Files" fashion, a couple of Air Force officers from Pease dropped by the Muscarello apartment within hours, one with a metal briefcase handcuffed to his wrist, according to Muscarello's younger brother, Thomas Muscarello. ''That was real shady," Thomas said recently. ''They told Norman to be quiet, keep his mouth shut, don't say nothing, don't talk about this." But it was too late. The officers argued with Norman Muscarello and his mother, and Norman told them to get out.

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