Exeter Incident

Date: September 3, 1965
Location: Exeter, New Hampshire, USA
Appearance: Large roundish, brilliant
Classification: CE 2
Sources: John Fuller; Blue Book; MUFON; NICAP
Summary: Multiple witness UFO in Exeter

A remarkable sighting from New Hampshire was studied and documented by several UFO investigators, but particularly by John Grant Fuller, a columnist for the American Saturday Review. His book, "Incident at Exeter", became a bestseller in 1966.

In the early morning hours of September 3, 1965, patrolman Eugene Bertrand of Exeter was told by a woman that a huge and silent airborne object had trailed her from the town of Epping 9 miles away. The object had brilliant flashing red lights and kept within a few feet of her car. Developing tremendous speed, it had disappeared among the stars. The patrolman could not believe the story.

When officer Bertrand checked into the police station, Norman Muscarello had just arrived and told his story. Mr. Muscarello was hitchhiking to his parents' home in Exeter along NH 150. He had also seen a large object with brilliantly flashing lights hover above a field through which he had been walking on his way home. Patrolman Bertrand accompanied him back to the scene. Although nothing could be seen at first, horses on a nearby farm and dogs in nearby houses began making a great deal of noise, and then Muscarello screamed: "I see it, I see it!"

Exeter incident
Left to right: Muscarello, Hunt, Bertrand, Toland

Patrolman Bertrand turned and observed the brilliant roundish object moving toward them like a leaf fluttering from a tree. Its red lights along the sides were so brilliant that the entire area was bathed in light. It came within about 100 feet (30 m) of the two witnesses, hovering at 100 feet altitude with a rocking motion, absolutely silent. It was 80 to 90 feet in diameter (30 m). The lights seemed to be pulsating from left to right and then from right to left, taking about 2 seconds for each cycle. The lights were so brilliant that it was difficult to make out the shape of the object itself. It darted, turned rapidly, slowed down, and performed other maneuvers. Bertrand described the UFO as "this huge, dark object as big as a barn over there, with red flashing lights on it".

Patrolman David Hunt had heard the radio conversation between Bertrand and the station in Exeter and drove to the site, witnessing the object for a few minutes before it disappeared. A B-47 flew over shortly after, providing an extreme contrast to the object which they had previously witnessed. All three men drove back to the Exeter police station and immediately filed separate reports on what they had seen.

Fuller was able to find some 60 different people who had witnessed similar objects over a period of several days or weeks in the fall of 1965. Fuller also spoke to police officer Toland at Exeter's police station, who told Fuller of a number of calls he had received from Exeter-area residents regarding UFO sightings.

Muscarello was so impressed by his sighting that he and his mother waited on a mountainside nearly every evening for 3 weeks following the event. On one of these evenings, they again witnessed the object. Other people in the area would park by high tension lines (in the Exeter sightings, the objects were frequently associated with power lines) and watch for the objects, occasionally being rewarded with the sight of one.

This is a valuable sighting because of the detail, the number of witnesses, the reliability of the witnesses and their signed statements, and the depth of the investigations.

Signed eye witness statements

I, Norman J. Muscarello, was hitchhiking on Rt. 150, three miles south of Exeter, New Hampshire, at 0200 hours on the 3rd of September. A group of five bright red lights appeared over a house about a hundred feet from where I was standing. The lights were in a line at about a sixty-degree angle.

They were so bright, they lighted up the area. The lights then moved out over a large field and acted at times like a floating leaf. They would go down behind the trees, behind a house and then reappear. They always moved in the same sixty-degree angle.

Only one light would be on at a time. They were pulsating: one, two, three, four, five, four, three, two, one. They were so bright I could not distinguish a form to the object. I watched these lights for about fifteen minutes and they finally disappeared behind some trees and seemed to go into a field.

At one time while I was watching them, they seemed to come so close I jumped into a ditch to keep from being hit. After the lights went into a field, I caught a ride to the Exeter Police Station and reported what I had seen.

Norman J. Muscarello
I, Eugene F. Bertrand, Jr., was cruising on the morning of the 3rd of September at 0100 on Rt. 108 bypass near Exeter, New Hampshire. I noticed an automobile parked on the side of the road and stopped to investigate.

I found a woman in the car who stated she was too upset to drive. She stated that a light had been following her car and had stopped over her car. I stayed with her about fifteen minutes but was unable to see anything.

I departed and reported back to Exeter Police Station where I found Norman Muscarello. He related his story of seeing some bright red lights in the field. After taking him back to where he stated that he had seen the lights.

When we had gone about fifty feet, a group of five bright red lights came from behind a group of trees near us. They were extremely bright and flashed on one at a time.

The lights started to move around over the field. At one time, they came so close I fell to the ground and started to draw my gun. The lights were so bright, I was unable to make out any form.

There was no sound or vibration but the farm animals were upset in the area and were making a lot of noise. When the lights started coming near us again, Mr. Muscarello and I ran to the car. I radioed Patrolman David Hunt who arrived in a few minutes.

He also observed the lights which were still over the field but not as close as before. The lights moved out across the field at an estimated altitude of one hundred feet, and finally disappeared in the distance at the same altitude.

The lights were always in line at about a sixty-degree angle. When the object moved, the lower lights were always forward of the others.

Eugene F. Bertrand, Patrolman
I, David R. Hunt, at about 0255 on the morning of the 3rd of September, received a call from Patrolman Bertrand to report to an area about three miles southwest of Exeter, New Hampshire. Upon arriving at the scene, I observed a group of bright red lights flashing in sequence.

They appeared to be about one half mile over a field to the southeast. After observing the lights for a short period of time, they moved off in a southeasterly direction and disappeared in the distance.

The lights appeared to remain at the same altitude which I estimate to be about one hundred feet.

David R. Hunt, Patrolman

Funny aftermath: an Air Force officer claimed that the UFO's were merely lights from nearby Pease Air Force Base. To prove it, before a large crowd who were gathered, he ordered personnel to turn the lights on. Everybody looked and waited, but nothing happened. Frustrated, he yelled into the mike to turn on the lights. A voice replied that the lights were on. The very embarrassed officer drove off amongst the laughs and jeers of the crowd.