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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 1/12/1988 03:30 (Entered as : 1/12/88 03:30)
Reported: 10/3/2008 2:54:03 PM 14:54
Posted: 10/31/2008
Location: Cambridge, MA
Shape: Oval
Duration:15 seconds
8 gliding craft in formation with a 9th "quantum jump" scout craft

This is documented for the public. The full description is posted here:

I am contributing this because I would like to know if anyone in that area observed similar phenomena or craft. The fact that people can determine my identity is of no concern.

Note that 8 of 9 of observed craft were "ordinary UFOs" but the 9th one was not.

== Contact with an investigator: that is up to you. I'll be glad to talk to someone, primarily as I said my reason for posting this information is to find if anyone in that area in that general time frame (or later, I suppose) had seen similar things.

It is easiest to reach me by email.


My UFO story

Before I myself saw UFOs, I had no strong opinion whether they existed - I assumed they could exist, but then we’re used to hard and incontrovertible evidence, and the lack of that - as experience available to other people, people who hadn’t already seen such evidence - makes it “hard to swallow” in many cases. So, if some group of people in some metropolitan area reported the same phenomenon and the “reason for the illusion” was not convincing, those people have seen UFOs, but that’s about as far as it goes. There’s nothing to do with the information but spread it to people willing to believe it. You wish you, the original observer, could replay the event for an audience and then they would agree.

I don’t remember any specific events I’ve seen on TV, but I remember the number of them and their variation. It struck me that what seemed likely was that we do have ET visitors, and not just a few. What rules they follow to stay so relatively unobserved, I have no idea. Perhaps they have a Visitor’s Association, some compact as to how to deal with Terra of Sol. Ground rules. I’m sorry, I’m teasing. But maybe they do have a Prime Directive of non-interference. Perhaps our over-steroided secret military is playing gags on us and having fun inventing variations on the “craft” theme for chuckles. In what I observed, I don’t think the human race, in any secret laboratory, has yet produced any technology that could make an object move as I observed a particular UFO move. I only saw actual UFOs once (a total of nine craft), but may have had an earlier sighting at Crane Beach, which I’ll describe.

I tell you flatly that what I saw was no illusion and no trick of nature. It was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at roughly 3:30 AM, 12 January 1988*. I lived at the end of Dudley Street at the time, near the Arlington border and an eight-block hike from the end of the Red Line. It was the dead of night in Winter, absolutely, perfectly still and silent, with a thick covering of snow over everything. The sky was clear and dark as it could be being near Boston, the streetlights did little to interfere. The stars were out.

I was unemployed at the time so being up at 3:30 AM was usual. Even by January 12th I had not shut the storm windows and didn’t want the extra cold draft anymore, so I opened the inner window - I have to guess and am probably wrong but I think the window faced away from Boston, so a map should show the direction of my view. I couldn’t get the storm window to close from the inside, so I leaned out of the (third floor) window so that I could rotate to face the window to start closing it from the outside. I managed to face the window, but not at the angle I wanted to so I tried to “unrotate” and try again, and in that moment something caught my attention, and I turned my head to see what it was.

I saw “phosphorescent orange” things for a moment but had some impression of sparks to one side of my view, so I quickly looked for them to my left (remember I am looking upward at about a 45-degree angle - looking left was looking up at about 60-degrees.) By the time my gaze had shifted, the sky there was black, so I looked back for the orange impression and now I saw eight craft. It took me about 150 milliseconds to quit worrying that I was seeing UFOs and just look at them, because of course I had never seen them before and I wanted to see everything I could.

The eight craft were in a perfect formation, a sort of octagonal oval. Imagine a square, the four points of the square are four craft, and then at equal distances fore and aft the lead and tail pairs of craft are inset somewhat, making an “oval”. They were, I’m guessing, roughly 150 feet off the ground and at first sight about one or two city blocks away. They were gliding absolutely smoothly and noiselessly - no sound reached me. I would estimate their air speed as about 20 mph - not fast. At first sight I was able to see them in some relief (their sides as well as their bottoms.) I’m sorry to disappoint you, but they in fact looked like a classical Hollywood flying saucer**, more or less. I recall a dome shape atop; I don’t recall whether there were or weren’t seams between the dome portion and the rest. Dome-to-side came down curving, and it seemed there was the classical “skirt” flange along the bottom edge of the craft, that “foil” at the bottom edge familiar from movies. The craft themselves (their undersides) were of a similar oval shape (the phrase “horseshoe crab” wishes I would use it.) They appeared to have flat bottoms with a particular lighting; the spectacular thing about these craft was their color and light; they ‘glowed’ softly, as if luminescent/phosphorescent, a particular color which I describe as “salmon orange”. The light came from every part of the craft, but there was no apparent “reason” they should seem bathed in the light that I could see. The bottom sides of the craft had a thick annulus of a darker orange color meeting the outer edge, and spaced at intervals within the annulus all around were dark squares. For some reason I assumed those had to do with levitation and propulsion. In the center of the bottom, enclosed by the annulus, the color was again as bright as on the outside.

In the time it took to observe these details, the craft had closed the distance to my house by half and I could only observe the undersides of the craft. Then something again caught my attention “out of the corner of my eye” to my left, and I turned quickly to see what it was. This time it took a moment to see what was happening, and my jaw dropped. An object - smaller than the other craft, more spherically symmetrical, almost cubic but impossible to tell, lit more strongly than the others with the same color light, was making short excursions in free space that appeared to violate the laws of conservation of momentum. It zipped. I could follow its movements but it was exceedingly fast. It appeared to be even closer to me at one point, perhaps 80 feet above, but it zipped off - always in straight lines - at crazy and acute angles from its previous direction - instantaneously. And it did this at a rate of two to three times per second. I’ll estimate that the straight-line paths were 50 to 100 feet in length. This thing moved as if it were a bullet ricocheting inside a steel-walled chamber, but it was doing this in free space, in three dimensions. I had the chance to observe about 7-10 such cycles before it passed out of view over my house, and still astonished I wheeled back to catch the others but they passed overhead and out of view in a few more seconds. I wasted several seconds fussing with the window to get it closed, and then I raced to the front of the house to the veranda but there was no sign of them on what I thought might be their path. Chickenshit that I was (how many people get to see UFOs?), and living on the third floor with no shoes or socks on in the dead of Winter, I regret that I did not just run downstairs and outdoors, snow be damned and look for them. I think I rationalized at the time that I had seen them in any case, so not seeing more of them was not going to erase that I had now seen them.

I think the “sparks” I first thought I saw was this ninth craft, that when I tried to see the “sparks” the craft had simply been blocked from view by the house. I remember the sense of confusion in my visual cortex as to what to look at, and I think this craft was what actually drew my attention to begin with, even though it initially passed out of view almost immediately. I got the impression that this ninth craft was some sort of scout for the other craft, a lookout. I wondered that they came at all, coming when they did means everyone’s asleep - and not a soul was stirring that night (in that neighborhood) but me. I wondered if they detected my presence or observation - if it mattered to them, whether they had taken notice and made any changes to escape observation. It seemed to me they deviated their course because they did not emerge on the other side of the house where I thought they should (see Figure 1.) They would have to have changed course 15 or more degrees, based on where I didn’t see them.

Oh well, that one time. Except for Crane Beach. A few weeks before this sighting, in my Noir mood being depressed and unemployed, I went to Crane Beach - I’d gone once before. I always took binoculars, I had a spectacular 7×50 that I could see the moons of Jupiter with (try that! It’ll rock your world.) Again it was the dead, dead of night (probably in the same time frame, between 0315 and 0400), nobody around, nice and spooky, at the water’s edge, the Atlantic. I was there for a while looking at stars. The sky was very clear. Finally I got a little restless to get going, watched a few jets, and then saw another “jet” - but this one was interesting. It was brighter than the other planes but it was colored, whereas the other jets all used white lights, this one was - slightly reddish orange. The same color as the later UFOs. I thought that was curious and I followed it, and then another thing struck me: this thing appeared to be miles and miles out to sea, yet it was traveling really fast across the horizon proceeding South, which meant that its objective speed had to be even faster. It was much faster than the lazy jets nearing Boston. There is a spit of land (Rockport) ’south’ of Crane Beach (Figure 2.) Against the 2D backdrop of the coastline with the spit in the “upper right” (Figure 3), the object seemed to near the spit and then made a change of path - which astonished me because it was almost exactly orthogonal to its original path. It didn’t bat an eyelash or change its speed in any way but it executed a 90-degree turn instantaneously (like the cars hitting corners in “Tron”) and proceeded in a direction that now took it away from the spit and out to sea. I remember thinking about it at the time, if I had really seen that object do what it had seemed to do. I gave up, and chalked it to memory. That memory was awakened shortly after the direct UFO sighting; if these UFOs could do it, so could that thing, whatever it was. Whatever it was at Crane Beach was much larger than what I saw in Cambridge.

I would like to see them again.

* I made certain to memorize the date. The time may be off a bit.

** There are “two kinds” of hollywood flying saucer. One has a hemispherical dome atop in the center of a wide circular disk, whose surface is mostly parallel to the ground - a plate. This is probably the more “modern” idea once designers got into it. The other kind has more superstructure or “cabin” above, whose sides are more upright. My kind was the second kind. I am reminded of the CSS Virginia (aka the Merrimack), with the beveled sides.

Figure 1: location of direct sighting. I walked home from Alewife station. The red line shows their path, however once they crossed the black dot representing my house, I lost sight of them. You can see why I thought I should be able to see them from the front side of the house. The number “one” or what looks like an exclamation point on the red line is where the craft were when I first saw them.

Figure 2. Crane Beach, the location of the first sighting.

Figure 3. My attempt to depict the view from Crane Beach as seen by an observer on the shore. Bad job, but you see the “spit” at the “upper right”. The orange line shows the path of the craft, including the 90-degree turn, but I’m too poor with The Gimp to give a correct impression how far out to sea the “orange path” is or how much distance on the horizon the craft covered.