Occurred: 1984-03-27 20:00 Local - Approximate
Reported: 2006-01-27 13:52 Pacific
Duration: 20 minutes
No of observers: 5

Location: Mettacahonts, NY, USA

Shape: Formation
Characteristics: Lights on object

Slow moving football-field sized object caused traffic jams on rural Rt. 209 from Ellenville to Marbletown NY.

Date of this event is approximate, but there were probably several hundred to a few thousand witnesses (I know of 5 witnesses myself) and there were reports in the Kingston (NY) Daily Freeman and also on the local television news WTZA 62. I was 16 years old at the time, at home with my brother, 14 and mom, 43. My dad, 53 had driven his mom, 75 to Napanoch and also Ellenville to shop for groceries.

About 8 P.M. my mom got a phone call from my dad who was calling from a pay-phone at was then the Great American supermarket (next to what was then the Channel Master factory). He told my mom that there was a very large object in the sky travelling very slowly and that many people were watching it in the parking lot and also cars were pulling off on the shoulder of Rt. 209 and getting out of their cars to look at it. He said he first noticed it as it traveled northerly and appeared to be at a height of about 2000 feet as it cleared the Shawangunk mountains between Ellenville and Napanoch and appeared to be about 300 feet wide.

My dad called on the phone because our home in Mettacahonts was about 12 miles north and the object was headed towards us. He said to go outside and see if we could see it, so my brother and I went out on the back patio facing southwest towards Ellenville and we could see it, so we yelled out to my mom who was still on the phone and she told my dad we could see it (and he was still watching it from 12 miles away). My mom quickly came outside and saw it too, but there were some trees blocking the view, so we ran to a large field behind our property to get a better view.

Mettacahonts is elevated about 200 feet on the edge of the Catskill mountains with a view of about 50 miles of the Shawangunk ridge from south of Ellenville to north of Rosendale, and Rt. 209 runs parallel to the ridge following the Rondout creek. We could see that the object was very large and had several white lights all around it. There was no headlight like a plane or helicopter, and there was no red or blue light like some aircraft, and no flashing lights. More importantly, there was absolutely no sound. It was a dark night and calm, but with good visibility. At that time there was only one light visible at night, from the Granite hotel in Kerhonkson, about 6 miles away. The object seemed very low in the sky (below the top of the Shawangunk ridge) so it had to be lower than 1000 feet. It also moved very, very slow. It passed approximately over the Granite hotel and then took several minutes before it passed north of Mettacahonts road, so it's approximate speed was about 100 to 150 miles per hour. We then watched as it went out of view somewhere towards Rosendale about 5 minutes later.

We felt calm and it didn't seem scared at any time during the event. Few words were said, partially because we were straining our ears to try to hear the object. Normally, it was possible to hear cars travelling on Rt. 209 about 2 miles away. But this night, there was no sound at all, so we definitely would have heard airplanes or helicopters if they came within 2 or 3 miles of our house as this object did. Some news reports at the time indicated that it was only small aircraft flying in formation but there was no sound and the object maintained a steady speed and altitude over about a 10 or 15 minute time frame, so it could not be explained as several small aircraft gliding in formation.

About 45 minutes or an hour later my dad returned home (normally a 20 minute drive). His mom did not want to talk about the event, but he told us that at one point she got very scared and asked him to get them out of the area as they followed the giant object towards a large field near the Eastern Correctional Facility in Napanoch. At that point the object passed directly overhead and he said he could hear a faint "wooshing" sound. Then, as he tried to follow the object north on Rt. 209, he lost sight because the road had become completely clogged with cars. Normally there was very little traffic at night on this rural road, but hundreds of cars had pulled onto the shoulder so they could get out and look. But, after a while, the shoulders got full of cars and people began stopping their cars right in the highway. It took nearly a half hour for the traffic to clear out after the object went out of sight. Apparently the traffic jam was part of the reason it was so quiet that night.

The newspaper ran a few small stories both proving and disproving the theory of light aircraft flying in tight formation. The television news had the story that same night. Sightings were reported to the station from towns all along the Rondout valley and Rt. 209 all the way to Kingston, 20 miles to the north of our home. An episode of the television show Unsolved Mysteries had a similar story out of Poughkeepsie, NY that occurred around the same time, so it may be possible that this was the same object we saw (Poughkeepsie is about 40 miles south of our home).

Nobody in my family was drinking or using any drugs at the time of the sighting. My dad was a manager in a factory, my mom was a secretary, my grandmother was an active 75 year old with a sharp mind who lived by herself until she was 92, my brother was a popular kid in school who liked sports, and I was a high-honor roll student in high school. There were also many sheriffs and state troopers who had to see the object as they tried to clear the traffic jam.


Witness indicates that the date of the incident is approximate. PD

Posted 2006-02-14

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