It can be a wonderful thing when two fields of paranormal high strangeness overlap, but I was gifted with the opportunity to look into an encounter, once again in Northern Rhode Island this past winter. I have not had a chance to fully flesh out this idea, but the darkened roads and forests surrounding the myriad freshwater ponds, creeks, and reservoirs in this area of the state have been fertile ground for incredible weirdness including UFOs, strange lights in the sky, humanoid entities, and an intense, borderline paranoiac secrecy practiced by the locals young and old alike. I truly think the residents around this wonderfully strange area know something that the rest of us do not.
Our witness, who I will refer to here as C.H., was participating in a paranormal investigation along a winding route in the center of the northernmost slice of Rhode Island. C.H. is a cameraman and was working for a witchy crew of investigators headed for an extremely old burial ground located somewhere among the dirt roads, scrub, and pines near the Scituate Reservoir. It was only 6 O’clock, but the January evening’s sky had already lost whatever light our cruel winter had allowed that day. C.H. was the fourth car in a convoy headed to the site, and he told me that before their departure the group was concerned about radon levels, and how they have been rumored to contaminate paranormal investigation sites. Or is it that radon is the byproduct of a paranormally charged location? These were the thoughts tumbling in C.H.’s mind as he looked over the darkened reservoir and saw an object in the sky that—to him—shouldn’t have been there.
The road was taking their convoy south, and over the black area beyond the trees where the reservoir would be, floated a cylindrical shaped object, flat on the top and bottom, hovering like a misplaced tuna can over the dark woods of Route 116. The object had two distinct windows along the side, lit up from within with a definite interior, although the witness saw no occupants inside. This particular shape and description of craft is notable to New Englanders of a certain persuasion, for it is very similar to a UFO tale of impeccable pedigree in the six decades since the incident at Roswell.
In 1961 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Barney and Betty Hill were purportedly terrorized by a similar shaped object, (in some accounts cigar-shaped,) and were allegedly abducted, physically experimented on and experienced hours of missing time over the course of a life-changing night that for many researchers is the Year One of the alien abduction phenomenon.
Our witness was perplexed. His eyes followed the object as it drifted over the treeline while his brain and body managed to keep his car somehow on the road. The craft was heading in a southeasterly direction in the sky and he saw an opportunity to turn left onto Brandy Brook Road, break off from the convoy and follow the strange object before it could vanish into the darkness. He turned left on the road and followed it for a few hundred winding yards. He was torn between continuing the chase and stopping to somehow retrieve his camera equipment in the back of his car and attempt to get an image. He eventually, inevitably lost the strange craft among the tall black trees near Pine Swamp Reservoir at the southern end of Brandy Brook road.
C.H. gave up the futile hunt and using his GPS found his way to the investigation site. When he arrived, he was astonished to learn that his compatriots had also seen the object and as they broke out their ghost gear they couldn’t stop talking about what they had seen. They were not all in agreement as to the shape, size (or existence) of the object, but they readily agreed that C.H.’s car, being in the rearmost position of their convoy had had the best vantage point of the group. As they worked through what they had just witnessed, someone in the group noticed a few darkened aircraft very high in the sky that did not look to them like commercial aircraft. One of the group pulled out an app on their phone to see what commercial aircraft were overhead at the moment, and not only were there no flights directly overhead—the entire state of Rhode Island was mysteriously devoid of all known aircraft—all commercial flights in nearby Connecticut and Massachusetts were in a holding pattern. Whatever it was that they were now seeing high above them were not the kind of aircraft that allowed themselves to be tracked by an app. Something, they surmised, had been scrambled in a possible response to whatever they had just seen floating over the black Rhode Island woods.
Although our witness has been enthusiastic and forthcoming throughout this investigation, his fellow paranormal crew have been decidedly less so, and have been reluctant to respond to repeated requests for their account of the incident. However, lines of communication remain open and I am hopeful that they will ultimately decide to provide us with a corroborating account and also, ideally, of what they may have discovered at that ancient burial ground.
This story draws on material including witness interviews and illustrations from MUFON case number 98072 in the winter of 2019.