Tuesday, May 03, 2011

UFO Encounter - Harwinton, Connecticut - 7/15/1995

Computer simulation based on witness sketch - the simulation uses the estimated size, altitude, and distance. (credit: MUFON CT / Mark Cashman)

On July 15, 1995 at 2:45 PM near Harwinton, Connecticut two witnesses (husband and wife) observe a large metallic disk about 500 feet in diameter at an altitude of about 200 feet, from a distance of about a half mile. The object is traveling 65-70 mph. The shadow of the object had previously crossed the road. A group of independent witnesses at another location did not observe the object. The combination of circumstances allow close constraints on the observation so that size, distance, altitude and speed can be estimated even without a triangulation.

The couple were going around 30 mph and saw a "huge thing over the road". It cast a shadow on the ground far ahead. The wife did not think it cast a shadow on a house past the object. She guessed it was a football-field sized object. It was a lens shaped disc, horizontal, silver-grey with a band of darker or black panels across the approximate vertical center of the upper half. She estimated 10-20 panels on the visible side. The object flew across the field of view and disappeared past the trees on the horizon. No problems with the vehicle were noticed. The witness believed that people having a party outside a white house on that road (to the R) past object must have seen it, but they never got up the nerve to check. They saw the people looking up and pointing after the object was gone. Witness seemed sincere, stressed desire for anonymity. Husband owns business and would not want to be publicly connected with a UFO sighting. Was relieved to tell the story. Said her and husband had discussed it with a few people who told them they were crazy or drunk, and finally they stopped talking about it, but it always bothered them. Witness was familiar with some aspects of UFO lore, including "missing time" (didn't have any).

First Interview 3/21/99 - Husband - (Investigator 1)

The witnesses were a young couple in their thirties. The husband was a self-employed carpenter, schooled originally as a game warden (there was a hiring freeze on when he graduated (Ohio Department of Natural Resources?), so he ended up in construction). The wife was an emergency room nurse. Their home was a moderately large dwelling, with a high ceiling. Renovations were in progress, and the husband informed me he was doing them as time permitted. He had put in some large windows the previous year. Other than normal mass media SF (i.e. a Star Trek movie) on video, there was no sign of a library, UFO or otherwise, or any special interest in SF or UFOs. The witnesses were casually dressed and their home was well-kept (except for the obvious renovation in progress).

The sequence of events as reported by the husband (interviewed by the above named investigator), is as follows (including information gleaned from reenactment):

1. The witnesses had been fishing at a quarry which took water from a nearby river. They had left the quarry after fishing for an hour with little luck, and were driving down the road that leads directly from the quarry. The vehicle was an older pickup truck used by the husband in his business. The windows were down waiting for the A/C to start working, and the radio was on. It was a very hot day, sunny, partly cloudy, and the air was still (the husband mentioned early that the mosquitos had been biting and that he thought that would not have happened if there had been wind). Their speed was about 20-30 mph.

2. After some distance (0.35-0.40mi) they had passed beneath a power line that crossed the river and the road, and had entered into an area where the trees were further back from the side of the road, when the husband observed what appeared to be a large shadow crossing the road. He looked up from the shadow and saw a large metallic disk over the trees to the left. Because the small rise of the road ends about 0.1-0.15 mi ahead of this position, followed by a dip where the shadow would have been invisible, the shadow could have been no further ahead. The witness had looked at the vehicle clock shortly before, so the time was close to 2:45 PM.

3. The witness reported that everything felt like slow motion. The object seemed to hover (though this may not be reliable because of the subjective time issue). The radio was not affected nor was the clock. The object passed slowly and smoothly over the road on a course approximately perpendicular to the road. The object's apparent size (closely matched between both witnesses) was about seven inches at a distance of two feet (prior to measurement, the witness estimated about 1 foot). The elevation angle was measured about seven degrees. The time taken to pass from initial appearance to disappearance behind the trees to the right was about 10-15 seconds. During this part of the event, the witness let off the gas and coasted but did not brake. The speed was sufficient to coast over the small rise, and the object was almost directly to the right of the vehicle as it disappeared over the trees. The object initially appeared to be no more than a hundred feet above the trees.

4. The witness stated that he believed that the object was the size of a jumbo jet, and was at very close range. The surface of the object was a non-specular slightly metallic grey ("battleship grey silvery", roughly similar to a silvery spray paint), and was apparently faceted (reminded the witness of stealth fighter geometry), with all facets of roughly the same size as the glass panes. No reflection of the sun, the sky, or the ground was observed. There was no sound, and no flame or smoke. The trees were not affected by its passage. There was no sound, including any roaring or wind, or the sound it might make passing through the air. No gondola or basket was observed. A band of what looked like panes of dark glass (like that on a skyscraper - not mirrored, but dark smoked) crossed the upper portion of the disk roughly halfway between the rim (the widest diameter of the disk) and the top of the dome. These facets were neither recessed nor protruding. The bottom was visible, and the witness saw no areas which might be openings, panels concealing landing gear, etc. The witness had grown up in Ohio and had seen blimps all the time. This object did not resemble a blimp.

5. After the object was gone, the witnesses continued to drive. They turned off the road they were currently on, and on their way back to the highway, passed a house where a gathering was underway (about 15 people in the yard). The witness believed that these people might have seen something because they seemed to be looking up. Also, the witness believed that the object would have had to have passed nearly over the house or within view of the gathering. As we shall see later, this is not necessarily true..

The witness selected Haines Shape Classification T2 on top of T6 with B6 for the bottom. The windows mentioned (D10) are between the T2 and T6. Cashman metal sample A (silvered cardboard) was selected as most closely resembling color and reflectivity.

The witness did not remember the sun location clearly, but believed it was to his left, and perhaps slightly behind him at the time of the sighting.

The witness mentioned that they had not discussed it even among themselves for a year. He stated "when you were kind of scared and you know no one's going to believe you anyway, why tell anyone?.. but we didn't even discuss it among ourselves, and that kind of throws you for a loop... why not?"

The witness seemed uneasy with being forced to come to the conclusion that this was not an observation of anything normal. When he said "it wasn't an airplane, it was some kind of... ship" the "ship" was said with an uncomfortable sort of bark. This also happened when he pointed out that there were no flames "you know, some sort of thruster, or something".

When discussing the description, the witness disclaimed artistic ability - said he had tried to draw it before and failed. However a reasonable sketch was obtained. The band shown was black glasslike in appearance, while the rest of the object was a soft (diffuse reflector) silver color.

He stated he had watched UFO shows since and they had never seen anything like what they had observed, though one night when he was in the shower, she came in and told him she thought she had seen it on a program.

The witness repeatedly marveled at the size of it, and seemed at a loss for words to describe it when attempting to spontaneously account for why it seemed so strange. He was shocked that he could not see anything apparently responsible for making it move or fly "it seemed to defy all law".

The witness was not familiar with the layout of the sighting location on a map, but could find his way there. He and is wife independently confirmed that he had learned of the area (which is definitely obscure) from a friend who had fished there.

During the reenactment, the husband recalled seeing the object pass over the trees to the north above the house to the right.

At the time of the observation, the house with the party (316 Campville Rd) was stated by the witness to be white, but in 1999 it was blue. This may help to confirm the date (Note: a 7/29/99 visit determined that the house had never been white. 20 years ago it had been yellow for a period followed by black with white shutters, followed by the current color (siding)). Also, note that the witness remarked (even though there was no deciduous foliage at the time of the site visit) that the trees had grown noticeably larger in the four years which had passed since the sighting.

The witness stated that he felt like "one in a million" having seen this. He thought, because of its size, that everyone should have seen it. However, he, remarked on how remote the area was, and that maybe even something that large might not be seen.

Assessment Of The Witness

The witness appeared sincere and sincerely puzzled by the event. A natural fascination with the event was coupled with fear of ridicule. The witness was glad to have gotten the event off his chest to someone who took it seriously. Leading questions were not followed unless they matched the original statement. The witness did have some areas of confusion. The largest discrepancy was in the position of the vehicle at the onset of the sighting (about 0.1 mi at most). This was resolved when the two witnesses were brought together for the final measurement portion of the on-site visit.

Sketch by the husband. This profile is considered by the investigators to be the definitive shape of the object. (credit: MUFON CT / Mark Cashman)

First Interview - Wife - (Investigator 2)

I received an e-mail from Investigator 1 during the week of March 8 requesting my assistance in interviewing two witnesses to an event that allegedly occurred in July of 1995. The reason for the delay in reporting the sighting was due to the fear of ridicule and the lack of knowledge as to where and to whom the event could be reported. The couple had recently watched a television interview with Investigator 1 and decided to contact him with their story.

We traveled to the home of the witnesses, a married couple in their mid 30's, in Cheshire CT on Sunday March 21, 1999. We arrived and began our separate interviews of the couple at 1230 hours. What follows is the initial report of my interview with the wife, age 35 who is employed as an emergency room nurse.

After a day of fishing in a pond or quarry past the end of Valley Road in Harwinton, Connecticut, the husband and wife left because they were "all fished out", hiked a fair distance back to their pick-up truck, and began the 30 minute drive home. She remembers it to be approximately 2 PM when they finally reached the truck, and that it was a hot July day in 1995 with a mixture of sun and clouds. They began their trip home driving north on Valley Road from the spot where the vehicle was parked at the intersection of Wildcat Hill Road. The windows were down because it was hot and it took some time for the air conditioning in the truck to begin to function.

After travelling north on Valley Road at approximately 25 miles per hour, for just over one half mile (at a point where the view to the north and north east becomes unobstructed by trees and where a large house on a hill to the right comes into view), both people, while looking through the windshield of the truck, observed an object moving from left to right. The object was moving slowly, made no sound, and was moving just above the trees.

The wife describes it as just clearing the trees at the top of the nearest hill just beyond (north of) the house. She described the size as much larger than the width of the road with either end of it extending over the trees on either side of it (her subsequent drawing indicates that it was twice the width of the road or approximately 60 feet). Wife said she observed the object for 5 to 6 seconds, all the while exclaiming to, and talking back and forth with her husband, until it disappeared over the trees out the right window (to the east) of the truck.

She estimated the size as 16 inches at arm's length [however, the on-site measured value was about 7 inches at 2 feet, Investigator 1], the color as a flat/dull silvery-grey-metalic that neither reflected sunlight nor any clouds (she selected metal sample "A" as the closest to matching the object). She does not remember the object casting a shadow.

The shape was an oval/disk with a rounded bump on top and 7 or 8 shiny, black, mirror-like panels placed horizontally around the middle just at and above the centerline. These panels were curved as if to conform to the curvature of the object, and were separated by darker black lines or narrow areas, which clearly distinguished them from one another. She selected shape [Haines Shape Classification] M-16 (inverted) with rounded edges as the closest to what she actually observed.

After this observation they continued north for another half mile, then turned west onto Campville Road, the connecting road to Route 8. After another half mile driving up the other side of the valley from where they first sighted the object, they passed by a house on their left. There was an outdoor gathering of some sort and several people were looking skyward and pointing to the sky in the area from where the witnesses had just come.

Subjective Questions

After the "official" portion of the interview I asked her several questions.

Q: Are you religious?

A: Yes, a devout, practicing Catholic.

Q: How did you feel when you saw this object, and why did you refrain from talking about it with your husband for more than a year after it occurred?

A: "I was raised as a Catholic and I know it says in Ezekiel… but I just never believed in any of this stuff and it really freaked me out and I didn't want to talk about it. If God wanted us to know about it he'd let us know about it…freaked me out and for a few years and up until a year ago I wished to God that I'd never, ever seen it. I really mean it because it threw me into a tailspin".

Q: Are you sad or disappointed that you saw it now?

A: "I would have preferred that I wish that I had never seen it…there is a certain belief system that I have and I would prefer not to have been one of the ones to have seen something".

Q: Would you like us to keep you appraised if the progress of our investigation and provide you with a copy of the final report?

A: "No. Finally I was able to tell someone about this and now it is off my chest and I can be done with it. It's your problem now and I can forget about it".

[Bruce later mentioned a comment from the wife, where she stated that she had a friend who had told her of a sighting, and her response had been angry - "why are you lying to me?" The wife was apparently quite chagrined to now have such and experience and realize that her friend had been unjustly accused.]

Initial Conclusions

Based on my initial interview with this witness, there is little doubt that she and her husband experienced something on that day in July of 1995. I made several attempts to trip her and gave her ample opportunity to contradict herself and she passed on all counts. I found her testimony consistent and her demeanor credible. Especially telling were her answers to my questions after the "official" interview had been completed. With tape recorder still running, we settled back into an informal conversation that revealed, in no uncertain terms, that she was not only confused by the event, but also wished that it had never happened. - MUFON Connecticut / Mark Cashman

NOTE: a full analysis of this sighting can be found at CT MUFON - Two Witnesses, Name Withheld, Harwinton, CT, July 15, 1995, 2:45 PM

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