The UFO Phenomena of Pine Bush, NY

Welcome to the 2nd installment of my MYTHS & LEGENDS series. Last month, I explored the strange world of Hollow Earth. This time around, I’m delving into something I personally investigated in the 1990s – The UFOs of Pine Bush.

If you were into UFOs and living in the lower Hudson River Valley in New York in the 80s and 90s, you were in paradise. Strange lights were spotted in the sky on a regular basis, creating one of the largest UFO flaps in history. From boomerangs to strange shaped craft the size of multiple football fields, all of them hovering in the night sky with nary a sound, Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties were a hotbed of the unexplained.

In fact, I had my own experience (along with hundreds of others) with a UFO casually floating over the New York State Thruway back in 1987. It was a life changing event for me, proof that life is truly stranger than fiction. I had a casual interest in UFOs before then, but I became laser focused thereafter. I picked up every book and magazine I could find on the subject, since the Internet was years away from altering our lives.

One of the books that gave me chills was Silent Invasion by the late Ellen Crystall. The book was the result of her years of research investigating an incredible wave of UFO sightings in Pine Bush, NY. The small town is located in Orange County, less than an hour’s drive from New York City. Unexplained lights in the sky were almost a nightly occurrence in Pine Bush from the mid 1980s until the mid to late 1990s.

silent invasion

Circular aircraft, cigar shaped objects, dancing lights, multiple bright orbs in formation, they were all there for the viewing. If you looked up and waited, the impossible would eventually present itself. I visited the town several times in the dead of night. At the time, it was mostly quiet farmland with very little interference from lights on the ground. The canopy of visible stars was jaw dropping.

That is, until some of those twinkling lights in the sky started to move, change color and swoop around the sky with eerie silence. Thankfully, there is plenty of video and photographic evidence to prove that some very strange things were happening.

Pine Bush UFO

I only saw a strange flickering light once. My friend and I were walking through an open field, the chatter of night bugs our constant companion. Suddenly, in the distance, we saw a small light move in a looping pattern. What was most unnerving was how every living creature in the field instantly went silent! The light disappeared, and so did we. Concerns about being shot by a farmer for trespassing were just as prominent as seeing a UFO.

The small town was flooded with visitors parking their cars on the side of the road, gazing at the sky. It got so bad, they passed a town law that forbid it. Sky gazing would cost you if you got caught. I didn’t blame them. They had fools like me walking in places I didn’t belong.

I’m sure some of the craft were from the military. Stewart Airforce Base was close by. But there are hundreds of other sightings that are so bizarre, it’s hard to imagine they were a product of the military machine 30 years ago.

What made Pine Bush so intriguing were the other paranormal events that were occurring. It reminded me of what was going on at Point Pleasant, WV during the year of the Mothman in the 1960s. There’s a cemetery in Pine Bush where people reported seeing ghostly apparitions. Strange hums and vibrations could be seen and felt. There were even sightings of Bigfoot! Kolchak would have been right at home there.

Something very, very strange was going on in Pine Bush for over ten years. Were we being visited by space brothers? Was it some kind of government mind control? Mass hysteria? One of the longest running and complex hoaxes in history? I simply have no idea. There is a website dedicated exclusively to the Pine Bush events. Check it out and decide for yourself. There’s even an annual UFO fair. If you’re in lower New York in May, you should come visit. Maybe we’ll run into each other.

Today, the town’s farms are being replaced by strip malls and the skies are no longer teeming with high strangeness. But no one can deny what went on there. We just can’t say what it really was.


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About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. You’ll also find him every week on the Final Guys podcast, available everywhere. He’s a bestselling author of over 30 books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

11 responses to “The UFO Phenomena of Pine Bush, NY”

  1. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    I had my own experiences there back in the 80’s. One was with nearly 50 other people who all saw the same thing during a ‘company picnic’ that lasted the way only company picnics from that era could…plenty of beer, more clams to be shucked than should have existed, and scantily clad girlfriends in bikinis running everywhere – my dad worked for a Chrysler plant back then. Another was with my father as we drove home late one night. Everyone else in the car was sacked out and I remember him asking very quietly, “Hey – do you see anything?” I answered, “I’ve been seeing something for the last five minutes.” After that, we just watched quietly for nearly 20 minutes while we drove. Then the several somethings zipped off. Very surreal.

    And I love the nod out to Kolchak – many an evening I got myself in trouble staying up to watch a late night run of The Night Stalker!

    • Hunter Shea says :

      Oooo, an ‘experiencer’! At least you can testify that I’m not nuts. It was kinda creepy up there, but exciting, too. I was weaned on Kolchak. He didn’t give me nightmares. Actual criminals prowling the Bronx kept me awake at night.

      • Nina D'Arcangela says :

        I’m not sure I can testify that you’re not nuts, but I can solemnly swear to admit, ‘I saw that!!’ – LOL It is a little creepy up that way, or I should say it was back then. I’ve been so many strange places, and experienced so many strange things in the dead of night by now that I wouldn’t think twice about it. One day we’ll have to discuss my near miss with what could have been Mother Leeds’ baby boy, or in my honest opinion, a hybrid descendant! You’ll like that one. (Every horror author needs to friend an UrbEx’er – we run across the freakiest stuff!)

        Kolchack definitely wasn’t nightmare material for me either; it was nutrient-rich fodder for my young imagination. My father catching me up when I should have been fast asleep… that’s where the trouble came in! Though, if he thought Mom wasn’t gonna catch him, he’d sit and watch for a bit too, but – shhhh! 😀

      • Hunter Shea says :

        Oh, we need to talk some Pine Barrens, since my Jersey Devil book comes out later this year!

  2. Pamela Morris says :

    Although I can’t recall the exact date, near as myself and the other witnesses can figure, it was around 1992 that we all saw one of the V-shaped craft float silently over my parents house in Tioga County, NY. As with other accounts I’ve read after the fact, this thing was HUGE! You could see the black outline of it against a very star-filled sky. All the lights were white with a single light at the point and 3-4 more lights running down each of the arms. It was moving very slowly and heading in a northwesterly direction. The five of us stood there a good ten minutes watching it pass directly over our heads. The lights remained on and steady for most of the time, then as it drifted away they slowly began to blink out and it was gone. I’d always believed in UFOs. It was a subject my dad and I talked about a lot so actually seeing one was really a dream come true for the both of us.

    • Hunter Shea says :

      It’s a total game changer, isn’t it? I mean, there may be a rational explanation for things like that. I just have a hard time thinking that we’ve come so far in aerodynamics without it going public. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. jmh says :

    Hmm…very creepy. I’ve never seen a UFO. There are so many “rational” explanations for them, but yet so many like this case that haven’t been adequately debunked.

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