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Close Encounters in the Catskills

 

For thousands of years, mankind has looked skyward, wondering if we are alone in the universe. Archaeological evidence has unearthed mysterious clues in the form of cave paintings, strange artifacts and puzzling structures scattered around the globe that perplex scholars and cause heated debates to this day. In his 1968 controversial book, Chariots of the Gods (Berkley Publishing Group) author Erich von Däniken hypothesized that the technologies and religions of many ancient civilizations were given to them by ancient astronauts who were welcomed as gods. The book, which has sold more than seven million copies worldwide, is considered by many to be a “bible” of sorts for flying saucer enthusiasts.

While still on the fringes of mainstream science, the subject of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) has captured the modern world’s imagination since June 24, 1947, when salesman and pilot Kenneth Arnold reported seeing “nine objects flying in a “V” formation” over Mount Rainier, Washington. Arnold told a reporter that the UFOs “flew erratically, fluttering and tipping their wings, like a saucer if you skip it across water” – and a worldwide subculture was born. (www.wired.com)

On the heels of Arnold’s startling claims, Hollywood jumped on board and the steady progression of films and novels based on the premise that “we are not alone” has captivated audiences ever since. What was once considered mere science fiction has now entered the mainstream, and although still considered by many as a subject relegated to kooks, weirdos and overactive imaginations, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is underway reaching every corner of the world, even here at home in the Catskills.

The web site ufoevidence.org informs that just around the corner, the Hudson River Valley came under scrutiny when “thousands of witnesses reported strange lights and boomerang-shaped crafts moving silently through the sky over New York” between 1982 and 1995 and the ongoing study of the infamous “Hudson Valley Sightings” was born. Speaking to Green Door Magazine, scientist, researcher and UFO hunter Dr. Ron Milione had a great deal to say on the subject. “During the Hudson Valley Sightings, the very first reports of silent black triangles began to emerge” he shared “but when questioned, The Stewart National Guard denied any connection or having the ability to demonstrate same.”

When asked about sightings in Sullivan County, Milione first launched into a meeting he recently had with a gentleman in Montgomery, in Orange County NY. “On my way to interview someone in Mongaup Valley, I stopped to chat with a guy who had contacted me days before,” he shared. “He didn’t want to give me his real name, but once I met him in person, it was clear that he was in earnest about his experience. The witness claimed that he observed a triangle shaped UFO that was able to make multiple 90 degree angled turns 300 feet above him before shooting away at very high speed.” Milione, who has worked extensively with government projects over the years, paused for a moment before continuing. “Even UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) still can’t do that.”

As for Sullivan County, Milione said that he has spoken with “dozens of witnesses” who have shared similar stories. “While working on UFO Hunters with the History Channel I heard about ‘Ley Lines’ discovered in Upstate NY that researchers believe connect the entire planet, so I planned a trip to the Catskills to investigate.” Ley Lines, which Wikipedia defines as “alleged alignments of a number of places of geographical and historical interest, such as ancient monuments and megaliths” is a phrase first coined in 1921 by the amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins, in his books Early British Trackways and The Old Straight Track. Milione, who studies the mathematical equations of the lines, believes that there is “definitely something to it” and he continues to seek answers to the questions that emerge from his ongoing research into the UFO phenomenon. “Something beyond our technology is out there,” he said in closing. “These things are here by design, not by chance, and for some reason, The Catskills gets a lot of action in the night skies.”

A call to UFO researcher Preston Dennett revealed even more about this area of the country and the plethora of ongoing reports flooding the region. Dennett has written several books on the subject, including UFOs Over New York (www.schifferbooks.com) and believes that the state, and in particular- the Catskills, is “a hotbed of activity.” When asked to elucidate, Dennett shared that his extensive research revealed that the entire Upper Delaware River Valley has “more reported sightings, per capita, than any other area in the United States.”

Referring to an excerpt from his book on the New York connection, Dennett continued. “The ‘Hudson Valley Sightings’ was one of the most intense UFO waves in world history, lasting at least four years and involving hundreds of objects and thousands of witnesses. Around the same time, a small town known as Pine Bush began to attract attention as a hotbed of continuing UFO activity.” The Pine Bush incident that Dennett referred to has been described as “America’s most uncelebrated UFO hotspot, which first came into the public perception in 1987, when it was mentioned in passing in Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Philip Imbrogno’s, Night Siege: The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings.” (www.ufoevidence.org) The internet source goes on to say that “though Pine Bush played only a minor role in the Hudson Valley UFO flap of the mid-1980s, it was just outside of Westchester and Putnam counties, where the bulk of the sightings were taking place.”

Dennett suggested that Green Door Magazine simply “start asking around” and we did just that, bringing the subject up with neighbors when the opportunity arose. Not surprisingly, many were hesitant to be identified, but once assured anonymity, folks from all walks of life opened up. A young man in Hortonville, NY shared an experience that he believes constituted an actual “alien abduction” that “haunts him to this day.” A grandmother from Narrowsburg, NY revealed a story that she claimed she had “never told a living soul” of “bizarre lights hovering over Route 52” that she and her husband observed a few years ago and that neither of them “could identify or ever forget.” A local artist who resides in Jeffersonville, NY became agitated and excited while recalling her “weird experience” near The Villa Roma Resort as she and a friend parked their car overlooking Callicoon, NY, observing a “saucer-like craft, silently hovering over the Beechwoods” before it “zoomed off and out of sight, in a split-second.”

It would appear that the UFO phenomenon is alive and well in the Catskills, and that although the subject is still widely discussed behind closed doors, the increasing popularity of television shows based on the subject coupled with social media and internet sources devoted to the topic has grown exponentially, with no visible end in sight. Dr. Milione’s belief that “we’re definitely being visited and studied” includes his theory that mountainous regions like the Catskills are a “perfect location to observe unidentified flying objects, and for them to observe us.

I think Shakespeare was right” he mused, quoting Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”



 
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Published In:
Summer 2013 - Vol 3 No 2
Written By:
Jonathan Fox
 
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