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.