Unsolved Mysteries (2020-…): Season 1, Episode 5 - Berkshires UFO - full transcript

Residents of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, recall their baffling, terrifying experiences with a UFO on the night of September 1, 1969.

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[suspenseful instrumental
music plays]

[insects chirring]

[woman] This is the
house that I lived in.

I came here when
my two youngest sons

were probably ten, 12 years old.

This is where
they were wrestling.

And they looked
up, and they saw it...

and ran in to their grandmother

who was babysitting
for my two younger ones.

And she didn't believe them,

and she said not to tell me...



because she didn't
want to upset me.

And I came home
from that experience

and said, "I'm not gonna tell them
because I don't want to frighten them."

So when you people called
and said you were gonna do this,

I called my son and I said,

"Guess what?
Years ago, I saw this... "

He said, "Mother,
we saw that too."

And I said, "But
you didn't tell me."

He said, "But
you didn't tell us."

So all these years,

we never spoke of it.

[theme music plays]

[dog whining]

[people cheering, chattering]



- [bagpipe music playing, muted]
- [people applauding, cheering]

- [dog barks]
- I'm Jane Green.

I've lived in Great Barrington
since I was 12 years old.

We were a prominent family
because of our store.

We had the, uh, oldest Rexall pharmacy
in the, uh, Northeast.

In this small town, you know,

if somebody changes their diet
from a donut to a roast beef sandwich,

everybody in town knows it.

- [muted cheering]
- [band music plays, muted]

[fire engine wailing]

My name's Tom Warner.

The house I'm in now,
we've been in for six generations,

my son being the
sixth generation.

We've had this same
very house since 1835.

I was the youngest
of seven children.

A lot of things were happening
back in 1969.

[muted laughter]

America was really
changing rapidly.

Ten years old,
you're changing too.

[man] My mother, uh,
was from Hollis, Queens.

So, we had been, uh,
raised in more of a city environment.

When we moved here,
it was more or less to...

assure a nice upbringing
for the family.

You know, this
Norman Rockwell feel.

I had recently acquired
a little restaurant

called The Village Green
in the middle of Sheffield,

which was kind of a place
where a lot of people gathered and met.

I was a single mother
and I was trying very hard to...

give the boys an
idyllic kind of a life.

[Thom] I never felt
like I belonged here.

I always felt that there was...

uh, I was... meant
for something else.

In 1969, I would've
been just under ten.

My name is Melanie Kirchdorfer.

I've lived here since 1957.

I was 12 years old in 1969.

As kids, we would spend a lot of time
on the Main Street.

We were pretty wild.

My sister and I had a friend
that would steal cigarettes from her mom.

So we wanted to go share a cigarette
together that weekend.

We did not want to get in a car
with our parents,

and get ice cream.

It was the last thing
we wanted to do.

[Thom] I still to this day
think about September 1st, 1969.

My whole life
changed right here.

This was a... a moment
that forever changed my life.

Something weird took place here.

We were a part of it.

Fifty years ago, man.

Fifty years ago.

Feels like it was
just yesterday.

[suspenseful instrumental
music plays]

[Jane] It was...

just beyond dusk,
it was getting really dark...

and I, uh, was coming back from, uh,
Stockbridge to Great Barrington.

The only person in the car with me
was Mary DeGrace,

who's passed away now.

She was my...
my girlfriend.

We were just the two of us.

We were driving down
and I saw a lot of lights,

and I said,
"There must have been an accident.

There must be a lot of police
cars up there.

Look at all the lights."

As I got closer,
I couldn't even drive anymore,

because the
lights were so bright.

So I pulled over to the side

and I noticed the car in front of us
pulled off to the side too.

And I got out of the car.

My girlfriend got
out of the car too.

I will never... If I
get Alzheimer's,

the one thing that'll stick in my
mind, what happened.

This huge object
floated right there.

And I couldn't see the end of it
from the right or from the left.

I can't tell you
whether it was bronze,

or whether it was silver,
whether it was gold.

It was immense.

And it was tall, but the...
the bottom part...

[stammers] I
didn't see windows. I didn't see any...

And most of all,
there was no noise.

There was no motor.
There was nothing. It just was there.

And these lights were coming, and I...
and I just looked at it.

And within a
period of seconds...

it lifted up, went this way,

lifted up again,
and went over the mountain.

[Tom] It was Labor
Day. It was hot.

It was a real hot day.

I remember exactly where I was.

I was doing artwork, coloring.

My medium back then was Crayola.

I'd always go next
door to the Shaws',

and Debbie, who was Jane's sister,
would always, you know,

instruct me how to stay in the lines
and all that stuff.

[woman] He always colored with my sister,
who was four years older than Tommy.

"Tommy. Tommy!

Stay in the lines!

Stay in the lines!

I said, 'Stay
in the lines!'"

And that's what she
would do with him.

I've seen Tommy since the day he
was, you know,

brought home from the hospital.

That night that he ran out,
it scared the living heck out of us.

[insects chirring]

[Tom] Before I know it,
it was getting a little later, and...

after I did the coloring,
I walked over to this window.

And this voice told me,

"You need to
go home now."

Uh...

It just scared the
daylights out of me.

I mean, it
was like commanding me to go home.

And I said to Debbie, I said,
"Debbie, I have to go home."

And she goes, "Why?"
I said, "I don't know.

Maybe God's talking to me
from those clouds. I don't know."

And so, I start
bolting out the door.

[muted panting]

I could just feel this energy
that was inside me,

that... that was like fear
from the mental telepathy

that I just experienced.

And my whole desire

just to get from this point here
to my house.

And I was running full speed.

And I remember just feeling
like I was flying at this point.

And he was, like,
running right here...

in place.

Just constantly, for about five minutes,
he was running in place.

[Tom] I was running,
but I wasn't moving.

I just got a... a feeling
that something was wrong.

And I didn't know what it was, but it...
it just gave me chills.

Off to my left, there was a rock,
and there was a path,

and we were right on the path here,
and the rock was just off to my left.

And as I turned
slowly, I turned...

and a UFO dropped right out of the sky,
right in front of me.

And a beam came on me.

And as the light was on me,
my hands jerked back, like this.

And it's like air got
sucked out of me.

[Jane] The light came around him

this way, towards his left.

And the next thing I
know, he disappeared.

And in a blink, in a
flash, I was gone.

"Where did Tommy go?

Can't find him."

[Melanie] We went
to the Dairy Queen

to get our ice cream,

and then we went
up to Lake Mansfield.

My father backed
into the parking lot.

And this brilliant,
bright aura came around.

I get goosebumps
thinking about it.

And he looked up and
he said, "Holy shit!"

And my mother
is like, "Oh, Joey!"

And all of us kids are like,

"What... What is that?"
and start screaming.

He's like, "Oh, we
gotta chase this."

And I'm like, "No, no, no,
please don't, please don't."

And my mother's like, "Oh, it's just
a shooting star. It's just..."

And I'm like,
"It's not just a shooting star.

Dad, please don't chase it.
Please don't chase it."

And he starts chasing it.

My sister and I, we
were, like, shaking.

She said she doesn't remember...

anything after that.

But I remember levitating.

And then I remember being on a...
on a ship.

I remember being...

laid out on it.

[Tom] That's when I saw Melanie.

It was the only face I remember.

[stammers] She
just was crouched to my right.

I don't remember seeing him.

But he said he remembered
seeing my eyes.

And that I was really scared.

The look of "Oh, my God" fear.

I was in a room
with just young people.

There were, like, children.

And then, they would just disappear
one by one, by one.

And then I woke up,

and I was out at
the lake, by myself.

And then I had to walk home.

The next thing I know,

I'm being laid down at the other end
of the property over here.

And, uh, you can describe it as,
if you laid down a baby onto the ground.

Just like that.

And when I looked up,
there was a beam on me.

And with the beam on me,

my brother, was in back of me,
and he said, "Run!"

And I couldn't run.

I said, "I can't.
The beam's holding me on the ground."

[muted panting]

And then, mental telepathy said,
"I'll be done in a minute."

And in a minute, the
light beam went off.

I rolled just
slightly to my right.

I stood up like this.

I looked up, I turned around.

And it was gone.

[Jane] By the time they picked him up,
or whatever they did,

and put him over here,

it was seven minutes.

[Melanie] I did not
know Tom Warner.

I was older than him.
We ran with different crowds.

When I met Tom
for the first time,

I felt an immediate
connection to him.

It was weird. It
was very weird.

'Cause I'd lived here my whole life
and I'd never really met him.

And now I feel like
he's a brother to me.

On, uh, September 1st, 1969,

I was riding in a horse show.

[Nancy] It was a blistering hot day.
I remember that.

It was very hot, even for...
that time of year.

[hooves clopping, muted]

[Thom] The saddle came loose,
I was holding on for dear life,

and a few people came in
to slow down the horse and stop it.

And I had to run out and grab
him. [chuckles]

[Thom] At that point she felt so thankful
that I didn't get trampled or something,

she said, "You know what?
Let's go to dinner."

And so we got to the diner...

and, uh, it was running late,
it was almost 9 o'clock,

and it was almost bedtime.

And so they decided
to take the bridge,

the shortcut home,
through the Sheffield Bridge.

[Nancy] Now, as we started
through the covered bridge,

Thomas was in the backseat with Matthew,
his younger brother.

He loved those little, uh...
what do you call them?

Fireballs. Hot,
brown things.

And he was gonna
give one to Matthew.

And my mother heard that
and she turned around and she said...

"He could choke. Don't give that to
him. He's too young."

And when she turned around,
facing the back of the...

the... the station wagon,

she noticed what
looked like a light,

rising from the banks
of the Housatonic River.

[Nancy] And as we
exited the bridge...

I can remember this
like yesterday. Um...

There was a...

a light ball...

hovering, maybe
about two stories high.

We were amazed. I mean, we'd never seen
anything like it. It was glowing.

[Thom] And then as it rose,

it fired these rods of light.

Everyone was
focused on this thing,

but for some reason,
my brother turned to look to the right.

My brother saw this orange orb,
and it seemed to have this roll to it.

Almost like, uh,
like something...

like an ocean wave
is the way he describes it,

kind of like the inside of this thing
was moving and turning.

[Nancy] As we're rolling along,

the atmosphere got really close.

Everything was dead quiet.

We felt like we were underwater.
We could feel, like, a pressure change.

So my mother, she
pulled off to the side of the road.

Windows were open.
It was like 90 degrees that night.

We all start looking out the...
the side of the car.

Grandma's looking out.
Everyone's looking out, you know.

Where is this white sphere
that we saw moments ago?

And then
sudden... then, bang!

You know, my mother notices this...
this thing first in the sky,

and she's like, "My
God, what is that?"

[Nancy] There was a disc-shaped object
hovering there.

It looked something like,

if you ever took a turtle shell
and turned it sideways and looked at it.

It was like that and then it was...
it was a little shorter under here,

but in the middle,
there was a different ridge to it.

[Thom] The craft itself,

I would say that it had to be at least...
at least a hundred yards long.

And we're staring at this thing
out the window,

and all of a sudden,
the car just lit up...

inside, like there are floodlights
inside our car.

I could see the dashboard.

I could see the
back of my grandmother's hair.

I could see the radio.

I remember this
like it was yesterday.

I could see my mother.

Everything in the car
was just like it was... daylight.

[Nancy] I mean,
usually you hear some summer noises.

And every... everything was deadly
still and silent.

Then all of a sudden, the, uh,
chirping started... loudly.

- It erupted. Crickets, everything.
- [insects chirring]

And that's the last I remember.
That was it.

[Thom] This eruption of crickets,
and katydids, and frogs, and this...

Whatever it was seemed to affect
the entire area, the wildlife.

And then, that's... bang!
That's the last thing I remember,

being in the car.

My fragmented memory of it,

I can account for
maybe 15 minutes,

but it was over a
three-hour period.

[Nancy] I have no
memory of the lost time.

I have none.

And I wish I did, in a way.
Maybe it's just as well I don't.

The next thing I remember is...

coming to in front
of the drugstore.

My mother was
in the driver's seat,

and I was in the
passenger seat,

which was not the way it was
when I turned the car off, obviously,

'cause I had been driving.

[Thom] When we were placed
back in the vehicle, I believe it was...

meant for us not to ever...

think that this happened.

You know, that we just all passed out,
we all fell asleep,

because everything
was supposed to be

exactly the way it was
three hours earlier.

But the mistake was,
my mother and grandmother were reversed

and the ignition was off.

My grandmother never drove.

My thinking is that we were
at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Three hours of time went by.

Whatever happened
to us, I don't know.

Was there something extracted?
Was something exchanged?

Were... Were we drugged up?
I don't really know.

[Jane] Before this happened,

I was a non-believer in...

in any of that stuff.

It just... no way.

Flying saucers and...

I just did not believe it.

I drove all the way
into Great Barrington

and pulled over where our store was,
it's Main Street,

turned the car off
and looked at my girlfriend and said,

"What just happened?"

So I ran in and I
told my husband.

And he said to go up
and report it to the radio station.

And I went in, and Tom Jay,
who was the, uh, director of WSBS,

started to laugh and he said,
"You and Mary must be out drinking again."

He said, "I
think it must have been swamp gas."

I said, "This was no swamp gas, Tom."
And I explained it.

A few hours later, he was inundated
with calls from other people.

[phone ringing, muted]

[Thom] Tom Jay, who was
the radio personality for WSBS Radio,

actually heard the calls coming in
over his ham radio.

And there were so many of them

that he actually had called
the police department

to see if they were
hearing this as well.

Got on the air,

and was asking if anyone saw
this, you know,

"Where was it?
Does anyone know where it is?"

From Pittsfield to Stockbridge

to Lenox to...
to Egremont

to Sheffield to
Canaan, Connecticut,

the... the calls were coming in
from a multitude of towns,

by groups of people

that in many cases
had never met each other before.

[man over radio] Your hometown
station in the Berkshires, 860 AM,

94.1 FM, WSBS streaming
online worldwide

In 1969, I wasn't even thought of
yet. [laughs]

I was, uh... I
was born in 1983.

Legend has it, that strange occurrence
that took place in September of 1969

was, um... a
UFO sighting.

I think it's unlikely that if, you know,
you have all these people in this area,

different states,
different part of the county,

that are seeing it,

I can't imagine
they're making it up or lying about it.

Back then, the technology
was much different than today.

You record a newscast,
and when you're done with that newscast,

you don't really
think about saving it.

The next day, or two days after,

that news story is gone
and erased with the current news story.

I wish I still had access
to those tapes in 1969,

not just for the radio station
and for us having it,

but I just wish I could provide people
with it and say, you know...

just to have a tangible
object for people,

'cause I know
it's such a sought-after item,

and it's unfortunate we don't have it,
but I really wish we did. [chuckles]

[man] Daily public records

of any police activity,

and you know, they're open to the public
and we have to keep them forever.

And, fortunately,
we do have them from 1969.

I did find that day.
There is very little activity on there.

Uh, it's basically one page.

Then the evening shift,
which is 4:00 to midnight,

which I believe
is when this incident happened,

there's a, um, young lady from the day
shift turned up

and was found, which is good.

There's a report
from a, uh, gentleman

reporting trash and beer cans
thrown on his lawn.

He's upset about that
and reported it to the police department.

And actually, that was... that was...
that was it, you know?

When I went looking for this,

I thought maybe there'd be, you know...
things on there.

And I was very surprised
that there isn't.

You know, I
think the jury's out...

as we say in my business,
that the jury's out.

[stammers] At
least in my mind it is,

in terms of exactly what it was
or what happened.

[man] Well, when we
started hearing about

these abductions
that took place years ago,

to complete our archives,

I decided to take a trip up here
to the Berkshire Athenaeum.

I started with The
Berkshire Eagle,

which is the daily paper here,

to see if I could find
any reference to it.

Uh, September 2nd
was the day I started,

'cause that was the day after
the initial abductions,

if you will.

And I ran through for
about a whole month

and didn't find any reference in The
Berkshire Eagle to any sightings.

I've thought a lot about
how come this didn't get reported,

and I suspect that people
just thought that...

it was a joke or a scam.

I also talked to
the former editor

of a weekly paper
in Great Barrington.

And he kind of
laughed, and he says,

"Oh, yeah, I remember that,
but I thought it was a bunch of hooey,

so I didn't put
anything in the paper."

[man] That's my
dad at Anticosti Island,

up off the coast of Canada.

That's probably, like,
about 25 years ago.

Got a deer. And they took
that picture of him right there.

Beautiful picture.

People used to ask me
if that was my father.

Now people ask me if that's me.

I'm getting old
and gray, you know.

- How you doing today?
- Good. How are you?

Good. Getting stuff done?

Uh, just today...

I'm not sure the exact day,
but it was right after it happened,

and people started coming in
reporting it to my father,

who was chief of police at the time
in Sheffield.

They'd say they saw...

a flying object in the sky
that wasn't an airplane.

And it looked totally different
and was lit up

and they were round
and lit up and silver.

And they were going slow
and landing in the fields, out here.

It's all farm fields over here
by the road,

all the way down
into Connecticut.

Cornfields, hayfields.

And they were landing in those fields
and taking off.

And that's what people saw.

I'm like, "Whoa!"

"They weren't
airplanes," they said.

"They were round
and they were silver."

My father, he
thought it was a bunch of baloney.

And me and my friends,

'cause I knew all about it,

we started...

going out too, on our own,
just looking around.

Camping out,
sleeping in the car, watching.

Never got to see anything.

We went right to all the places
which I knew.

Never got to see it myself,

but we kept hearing about it
and hearing about it and hearing about it.

And dad kept investigating it.
So, we knew it happened.

[Tom] A number of people saw it.

We'd talk about it a little,

maybe over a campfire
or something like that,

or close friends
and you'd tell the story

and all of a sudden you'd feel bad
that you told the story

because you'd... people'd kinda
look at you kinda strange,

you know, I mean...

If you keep telling the story,
after a while,

you're not gonna have any friends,
you know. [chuckles]

You know, you
scare the hell out of everybody.

You know, especially as a teenager
and young adult, you know what I mean.

People, they just...

they don't want to hear it.
It's too scary.

You know, through high school...

I didn't date girls. No one wanted...
[chuckles]

You know, it just...

It was like I was the Black Plague
or something.

It was nothing
that was ever said.

But, I knew it.

'Cause people don't have the answers
for something,

they have to blame
it on something.

It's, you know,
your imagination or whatever.

Eventually, I... I
had to paint it.

I just had to paint as close as I
could to that night.

I never intended to
show this painting.

I never intended
to tell my story.

I think it was...

It was kind of therapy
doing that painting for me.

And I suppose I just have that there
to hold fast to that night and remember,

you know...
we're not alone.

And, uh, this is something
I'll never forget.

[Melanie] My sister
always believed me,

so I was lucky
to have my sister.

I had a boyfriend then
that I could talk to about it.

My boyfriend would
believe me then.

So he knew about it.

He's not alive now.

He's... He passed away.

But, they're the only ones
that knew about it.

[Thom] I've always been one to be
very honest and very open and...

there's a part of me
that needed to talk about it,

to need to share
this, to... to, um...

you know, get it off my chest,
if you will.

It wasn't like I
was looking for attention, you know,

certainly not trying
to capitalize on anything.

I was nine or ten years old.

Um, and we were already outsiders
to begin with,

so this wasn't, obviously, going to be
received well by my schoolmates.

[Nancy] When Tom went to school,
he talked about it quite often.

That I think is part of why
the fights started in the school.

Tom did take the brunt of it.
He absolutely did.

I did not talk to a lot of people
about it, personally.

I just didn't,
because I had a feeling that...

it would, uh, go badly, if you
will. [chuckles]

Thomas was the
most vocal of all of us.

It's the only reason
we're having this conversation,

is because he
sticks to his guns about things.

Truth is truth,
and truth will come out every time.

[Thom] We still
had to live here.

We still had to face everybody
during the day.

The difference in dynamics between
my family being from New York City and...

and moving to the country and...

and it just made it tough.

We used to get followed home
down this road by a pickup truck.

[Nancy] They would tailgate me in the car
as I was driving home.

One followed me
all the way up the driveway one time.

I'll never forget that.
I couldn't believe that.

There's one guy jumped up on a table once
and exposed himself and said,

"Well, if you want to see something
out of this world, Nancy,

I'll show you something
out of this world." And...

I mean it was...
It got that foul, you know?

I don't think many
people realize

how much this
devastated my mother.

It was, uh...
very hard on her.

I mean, to the point
where she had to sell the diner...

sell the house, and move.

[Nancy] When you see your children
being picked on constantly

and made fun of...

I closed the door on Sheffield
at that point

because it broke my heart
when we left there. Literally.

It still breaks my heart
when I think about it.

[Thom] My mother
wanted to move here

because this was
her Norman Rockwell.

And this turned it
into a Salvador Dalí.

[eerie instrumental
music playing]

[Jane] I realize the frustration of
people in the past...

that have been saying
that they've seen flying saucers,

they've seen this and seen that,

and people doubt them,
because I was one of them.

I was so relieved...

that other people saw that,

because I just thought,
no one's gonna ever believe me

if I do mention it
and I think that's prob...

part of...
part of the reason I never, uh...

talked about it, because I didn't think
people would believe me.

People in the, uh, military...

have seen this,
and they're, um...

people that are respected.

[Eddie] Yesterday, there was a
New York Times article:

"Training Navy air pilots,
up and down the East Coast,

have seen flying objects
that they could not identify."

[pilot 1] That's not our L&S though,
is it? It's not...

[pilot 2] That is L&S, dude.

- [pilot 1] But if there's...
- [pilot 2] Look at that thing!

[pilot 1] It's rotating.

There was two planes flying,

that were 100 feet
apart, two jets flying.

And something, an object,

flew right between them
at very high speed.

It was in The Berkshire
Eagle yesterday.

And this is the
military reporting this.

Those guys are smart.

They know what's going on.

You know? I mean,
they're not gonna make this up.

I mean, come on!
Something's going on.

Why isn't that coming out?

Why isn't it being
more publicized?

Why... Well,
I guess it is.

Right now it's starting to be.
And it's about darn time.

But if the military is saying it
and seeing it, it's happening.

Hello?

I believe it.

[Melanie] Why
would I make it up?

It wasn't fun. It
wasn't pleasant.

It wasn't glorifying.

And why would anyone
wanna go through it?

I... I wouldn't want
to be abducted.

It's... It's not something
that I would wish on anyone.

So if... if somebody
wants to doubt it,

I don't blame
them for doubting it.

I really don't blame
them for doubting it.

[Tom] Now, because
I've come forward,

Melanie's bravely come forward,

Thom Reed's come forward.

Some of these other people
that were saying, "It's okay."

And now other people
are coming forward.

I have not heard anybody...

No one approaches
me now and says,

"Yeah, that's a
bunch of baloney."

I live here.

This is 182 years
in the same house.

Why would I want to come forward
to tell a story?

What, to embarrass myself,

so I go down in my Main Street
and be ridiculed?

Or my son?

Or my wife...

who works at the
local library here?

[indistinct chatter, laughter]

[Tom] I didn't do
this to hurt people.

I did it for one
reason: to help people.

And I know
there's a lot more people out there

that know things have gone on.

All you gotta do is sit up there
and look at the sky

and sooner or later,
you'll see something...

and not know what it was.

[Jane] I just wish that...

everyone that...
that sees this

really would open their minds,

because I know the people
that are being, uh, interviewed...

are people just like
everyone out there that...

probably, at one
time, didn't believe...

doubted.

And when this happens,
there is no doubt.

I have no reason to, you know,
make anything up.

I'm 85 years old and...

this is...

[chuckles]

...this is not
something that...

I expected to do
or ever talked about, and...

it's real. It's for real.

People have gotta
understand that.

[Thom] Who
the hell are they to question me?

I passed a polygraph test.

My word is my bond.

I don't break it for anybody.

I wear who I am on my sleeve.

You got something
to say, say it.

I don't care how you feel.
I don't care what you think.

I was there.

I was there.

[theme music playing]