Arts + Entertainment

Where to Hunt for UFOs in Massachusetts

Hoping to catch a glimpse of alien life for yourself? These Massachusetts hot spots are good places to start.


Fall day Wachusett Mountain clouds distant hills

Wachusett Mountain photo via Getty/danlogan

The truth is out there. In fact, it may be right in your backyard.

For many years now, aliens and UFOs have had a prominent place in the American psyche, with a dedicated community of researchers, historians, everyday hobbyists, and even government employees watching the skies for signs of life from outer space. But now, as videos of unexplained aerial phenomena have been verified by the U.S. military, given serious consideration in venues like the New York Times and 60 Minutes, and a Congressional hearing on the matter set for June, the previously skeptical masses are giving the concept of alien visitors a second look.

So where might a curious ufologist in training get started around here if they were eager to spot an unidentified object in the skies for themselves? As it turns out, there may be ample opportunities in New England, as the region is crawling with alleged sightings of alien life. Just ask the Mutual UFO Network, which calls itself the “world’s oldest and largest civilian UFO investigation & research organization,” and which has added scores of Massachusetts-based incidents to its UFO Stalker tool, complete with descriptions, and sometimes purported photo and video evidence.

MUFON’s work has showed that reports of mysterious encounters can spring up just about anywhere, at any time, but seasoned experts have identified several hot spots.

Before you set off on a UFO hunt of your own, some tips: For one, says Susan McNeill Spuhler, organizer of the Greater New England UFO Conference, the same principles apply to UFO-spotting as stargazing. You’ll want to find a public area where light pollution is low, in order to have unobstructed views of the night sky. Low cloud cover is a plus, as is a new moon. Even if you don’t get a first-hand view of a UFO, you’ll at least enjoy a truly star-filled evening, an experience that’s all too hard to come by these days in light-polluted Greater Boston.

Additionally, she says, do not bring laser pointers on your journey in an effort to attract the attention of alien life, as doing so could put airline pilots in danger.

With that in mind, here are some areas of interest to get you started:

Hanscom Air Force Base

Considering the aliens’ apparent fascination with the American armed forces, Hanscom is as good a place as any to get started. In fact, if you turn your eyes skyward near the base and see something unusual, you wouldn’t be the first person to conclude you’d encountered otherworldly visitors. MUFON’s database includes multiple accounts of sightings in that area. One Boston reader wrote in a few years back to report “a glowing orb moving up and down in the sky.”

Monsterland

For many years, a chunk of the Leominster State Forest has been the stuff of legend, earning the nickname Monsterland for the high concentration of eerie incidents reported there. Strange encounters believed to have taken place in the roughly five-mile-wide expanse, many of them documented by local author and occasional TV star Ronny Le Blanc, run the gamut, from brushes with Bigfoot to, once again, orbs that glow. UFOs have always been included in that mysterious mix, particularly back in the late 1960s, when, as Le Blanc recently told the Telegram & Gazette, the region was hit with a “a huge UFO wave,” and that all throughout Central Massachusetts, “[p]eople were seeing UFOs over ponds and lakes and there was a lady in Fitchburg saying there are UFOs coming out of the reservoir.” If you do spot anything out there, be sure to let Le Blanc know, and you might just end up in his next book.

The Bridgewater Triangle

The other best-publicized hotspot for the paranormal in the state is a 200-square-mile expanse in southeastern Massachusetts that similarly lays claim to all sorts of spooky happenings. There are many attractions to draw in the open-minded (which is why this magazine has sent you there before), and it should come as no surprise that the region is also replete with UFO lore, with sightings of strange objects in the sky dating back to the 1700s. Markings in an undiscovered language, perhaps alien, have been found on Dighton Rock, a fascinating specimen viewable at a museum in Taunton. Among the most famous encounters came in 1979, when two WHDH newsmen were reportedly “shocked to see a ‘baseball diamond shaped’ UFO right over their heads” while driving on an off-ramp to Route 106. All this activity in the area has caught the attention of Hollywood: A Bridgewater Triangle FX series is said to be in the works.

Wachusett Mountain

A tip about a lesser-known area of interest comes to us from Spuhler herself, who says she has seen mysterious flying objects from the peak of Mount Wachusett. “I worked there as a ski instructor for 12 years, and at night we would see some strange stuff,” she says. She and her fellow instructors used to hike to the top of the mountain after the lifts had closed, and she says that from their perch they could spy “lights zipping across the sky.” You may not get to experience this view for yourself, given the mountain is not open to hikers after dark.

The (former) Sheffield UFO Monument

Covered Bridge Ln., where Thom Reed and his family experienced their encounter. Photo via Wikimedia Commons / Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to the controversy surrounding this particular monument, you may have heard this tale before. Thomas Reed and his family claim that in Sheffield back in 1969 they had an encounter with a glowing, flying object they believe had otherworldly origins. A large stone plaque commemorating the incident was installed at the site in 2015, but a dispute over its placement sadly resulted in it being confiscated in 2019. Still, giant monument or no giant monument, Massachusetts UFO history went down here. It may be worth the trip regardless, as it’s also home to a delightful covered bridge.

Exeter, NH

Just over the border in New Hampshire, you’ll find the site of one of the most bedeviling purported alien encounters in history, a series of brushes with unidentified flying objects in 1965 that has come to be known simply as the “Incident at Exeter.” Police at the time said multiple witnesses came forward to say they’d seen, or been chased by, something unusual in the sky. Several police officers themselves claim to have seen it, and an official report authored by the Air Force indicates the government has never been able to offer an explanation for the events. As a result, the Incident has captivated true believers and skeptics alike for more than half a century. So maybe the aliens will visit these now-famous grounds once again. Or maybe they’ll make an appearance for the crowds gathered at the rescheduled Exeter UFO Festival, which had been set to mark the event’s 55th anniversary last year.