On July 26th, 2023, a hearing was held in Washington D.C. on the topic of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. Before the hearing, a 177 page briefing memo was given to the representatives present. This briefing memo consists of a chronological telling of publicly available information pertaining to an apparent cover-up of UAPs and aliens/NHI (Non-Human Intelligence) by the United States Government. There are a few well known people and events mentioned in the briefing memo that are connected to Peekskill: Jackie Gleason, Indian Point, and the Hudson Valley UFO sightings of the 1980’s. So how on Earth does Peekskill fit into the UAP mystery? Let’s start with the Hudson Valley UFO. It is referenced on page 60 of the briefing memo.
The Hudson Valley UFO or, UFOs as it seems there was more than one incident was a series of sightings that began in 1983 and lasted until 1986 according to the book, Night Siege: The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings. We have also obtained testimony over the years from many local residents who saw it themselves as well as reporting by the NY Times which covered the sightings starting in 1983 and continued through the end of the decade.
The Hudson Valley UFO was often described as a massive, silent, boomerang-shaped or V-shaped and the size of a football field. This report dated April 17, 1983 from the NY Times described it as “a series of lights 10 to 15 degrees above the horizon, ”perhaps three times brighter than a first magnitude star,” six of them on an axis, two or three at a 45-degree angle forming ”a checkmark.” It would hover in the sky, sometimes for several minutes, before moving off at great speed.
Many of the sightings took place at night, with the UFO appearing over busy stretches of highway such as Route 202/Crompond Road, Taconic State Parkway, Interstate 684, Route 9 between Croton and Peekskill. Many of the drivers who saw it that night, including police officers and pilots, pulled to the side of the road and exited their cars to get a better look. In one instance, we were told that a mother and son observed the object while driving north on Route 9 from Croton. The mother to this day still refuses to acknowledge what she saw while the son believes it to be otherworldly.
One bystander we interviewed, recounted how he and friends had been casually drinking beers at the Peekskill waterfront during the time of the UFO sighting. Remarkably, he noted that the police that were there seemed to not be bothered by him and his friend partying, their attention wholly consumed by what he described as a silent craft that was as big a football field. This Peekskill riverfront event was viewed by hundreds of people that night. Others have told us that at one point it looked as if the craft took off at “warp speed”, instantaneously, and in a manner not consistent with any known aircraft at that time.
The most well known and mostly rejected explanation reported for the Hudson Valley UFO sightings was featured in the NY Times by a NY State Trooper who claimed that not him, but another Trooper, tracked the object to the Stormville Airport. “The trooper spoke to a couple of the pilots, and they’re getting a big kick out of it.” He refused to give the name of the trooper or of the pilots the trooper spoke to.” This was not a sufficient explanation so it was about time to call in Dr. J. Allen Hynek.
Dr. J Allen Hynek may be familiar to some and best known for his work on USAF Project Blue Book. He began his assignment as a skeptic mostly explaining sightings of UAP as natural events and misidentifications of aircraft. As his investigations continued, he was forced to put out more and more contrived explanations by the USAF that went against what he knew to be true: That some of these sightings had no natural explanation. By the end of his assignment he was absolutely convinced of a cover-up by the Air Force and the United States Government regarding UAPs.
Dr. Hynek called the people he interviewed about the Hudson Valley UFO to be “credible people reporting credible things.” No official explanation was ever given. For the Hudson Valley UFO. To this day we continue to meet people who witnessed the object. “Silent,” “Moved extremely fast,” and “as big as a football field” are the descriptions we hear the most.
Our next local UFO encounter reported in the briefing memo took place at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on July 24, 1984 just a month after the Hudson Valley UFO. While not located in Peekskill, Indian Point is situated on the site of an old amusement park along the Hudson River a half mile across the town line in Buchanan. Indian Point is referenced on page 60 of the briefing memo. It’s just one of the many instances of UAPs showing an interest in nuclear power plants and weapons.
An earlier and mostly unknown report of UFOs at Indian Point and the Hudson Valley comes from the October, 11 1976 edition of the NY Times from an article titled “Rockland U.F.O. ‘Invasion’ Starts Round of Explanations” “Two enormous upside‐down soup bowls” hovering over the Ramapo Mountains and “Several U.F.O.’s have been reported over Stony Point, just across the Hudson River from the Indian Point nuclear reactors.” Further in the report, a now familiar Tic-Tac shaped UAP is reported by a woman named Barbara who “observed several cylindrical flying objects with red, green and white flashing lights, which hover awhile, then turn sharply and disappear.” Sound familiar?
The report continues with an explanation for these sightings having been helicopters or planes reflecting the rays of the sun. Years later, the the briefing memo tells of a much more closer encounter than Stony Point.
We recall a UFO publication from the early 1990s, possibly summer 1994 that had a feature on the Indian Point UFO. At the time of writing this we are unable to locate the magazine or the title of it. Within the magazine it is written that there was a meeting held at Connolly’s Bar, now known as The Birdsall House and the Westchester Diner regarding the Indian Point UFO.
Now we come to the last and arguably most entertaining connection between the UAP hearing and Peekskill. It begins with none other than the legendary Jackie Gleason who is referenced on page 70 of the briefing memo.
Jackie Gleason is best known for his role as Ralph Kramden on “The Honeymooners” and he had a longstanding interest in UFOs. This is another not exactly in Peekskill but just across the town line story, depending on what story you believe. More on that at the end of this.
His interest in UFOs manifested itself in a unique piece of property that Gleason owned which has become known as “The Mothership,” the home is an unusual, round structure designed to resemble a UFO. The house was constructed in the 1950s, around the same time Gleason was starring in “The Honeymooners” and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. The main home is dome-shaped, while the guest house is designed to look like a UFO. The guest house, in particular, features round windows, round walls, and is elevated off the ground, to give it an appearance of a spaceship.
Anthony Acocella – Acocella Photography
It’s worth noting that Gleason’s fascination with UFOs went beyond architecture. He was known for his extensive library on paranormal topics and was even rumored to have had a discussion with then-President Richard Nixon about extraterrestrial life. Now comes the fun part:
In The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost, it is said that Richard Nixon once asked Jackie Gleason if he wanted to see the alien bodies from the UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico. Without hesitation, Gleason said yes.
This would make Peekskill a part of the Twin Peaks universe. Until next time…
If you’re thinking about visiting Peekskill, bring your own friends.
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