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.
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.
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.
Today is the first in a series of mythological/paranormal stories that I want to present each month. They’ll be accessible under the new Myths & Legends tab on the site
The world is a wonderfully strange place. When people ask what inspires me when it comes to my writing, it’s stories like the Hollow Earth that have fueled my imagination since I was a wee lad. I loved the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth, never missing that one chance I had each year to watch it (this is in the days before VCRs).
As I got older, I discovered through rare books and magazines that such a fantastical tale was based on stories of a completely different Earth, hundreds if not thousands of feet below us. They call it THE HOLLOW EARTH.
Now, there are many theories out there, but the gist of all of them is that not only is our planet hollow, with access points to enter from one pole, travel through the center of the Earth and exit out the other pole, but it is inhabited by beings both strange and mundane.
Tunnels leading to this amazing world are natural and man-made. As you can see from the map, there are many other entry points all around the globe. The legends are not at all new. You can find ancient civilizations with subterranean myths all the way from Greece to the Native Americans. Many Christians have even believed that the physical hell resides there, way too close to claim our mortal souls for my taste.
The singular supposed factual account that grabbed me by the cerebellum was that of Admiral Byrd, the legendary naval explorer. The man was a hero, as far from a crackpot as you could get. According to diary entries made public after his death, he was given access to this strange world while on an Arctic expedition. His plane was met by flying machines that guided him to an underground world that had its own sun! Once there, he was greeted by ‘elevated’ beings who treated him and his team quite cordially. They were given warnings to bring back to the people above ground to change their ways, lest there be global calamity. Supposedly, some of the clothes worn by these beings bore swastikas! When you hear about Nazis surviving underground, this is the origin of the wild myth. Iron Sky 2 is an over-the-top interpretation of this myth, with Nazis that have relocated from the moon to an underground world the likes of which we’ve never seen.
When I was young, reading Byrd’s own recollection about this incredible experience literally gave me heart palpitations. I mean, if it was true, why weren’t we doing everything we could to go back there??? More on that to come.
So, who is living under our feet, aside from the Boys from Brazil, South? Multitudes, from the lost tribe of Israel to alien races who have parked their craft right under our noses, er, feet, to my favorite, a race of beings called the Dero. The Dero are the product of writer Richard Sharpe Shaver who, in tales published in Amazing Stories, spoke about a prehistoric race of highly developed people who used ancient technology to bedevil us land dwellers. Sounds nutty? Just think, it’s no crazier than the stories spun by his fellow writer at the time, L. Ron Hubbard, he of Scientology infamy. One birthed a fringe myth, the other a fringe religion. Words do have power.
There have been plenty of documentaries on the Hollow Earth, along with parallels between it and the modern UFO/alien invasion. Are they truly from beyond the stars, or the center of our planet? The actions and motivations and cautions are eerily similar.
Now, I love the idea of people and dinosaurs and aliens living in a series of connected subterranean worlds, with their own sun, oceans and ancient knowledge. Do I think any of it is true? Emmmmm, no. Take in case the Admiral Byrd sighting. I have a gut feeling that if he truly had such an encounter, he would have spent the rest of his life exploring it, no matter what threat may have been given. After all, he did have the power of the Navy at his disposal! Plus, no one can prove the authenticity of the diary. It’s a copy of a copy of a copy, yadda yadda yadda.
But logic doesn’t necessarily have a place when it comes to steadfast belief. And you know what, if you believe in the Hollow Earth, more power to you! I hope you’re right. It would make the world a much more interesting place. I’m sure we’d reduce it to a reality show at one point.
If you’ve never heard of the Hollow Earth before, I hope this is a good springboard for your discovery. Click on the links and lose yourself in one of the most complex and intriguing legends you’ll ever come across. Warning, there will be missing time if you dive too deep. I assure you, it won’t mean you’ve been abducted by aliens.