'Unsolved Mysteries': Berkshire UFO & 4 Other Stranger-Than-Fiction Sightings

The fifth episode of the Netflix docuseries Unsolved Mysteries explores the 1969 UFO sighting in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. On September 1 that year, several residents in Berkshire County were traumatized by reported sightings of a UFO.

Thomas (Thom) Reed, his brother Matt Reed, Tom Warner, Nancy Reed, Jane Green, and Melanie Kirchdorfer were incredibly candid when recounting their experience. Many of these witnesses have never come forward to recount the life-changing experiences before now, 50 years after the incident.

These unidentified flying objects (most commonly known as UFOs) were blindingly bright. Some claimed that beams of light lifted them into a spaceship filled with other abducted children, and even transported by the beams of light. Nothing extraordinary existed in Berkshire County police records, and all radio news tapes were erased from that day.

UFO sightings were reported in Berkshire County regularly since the 1969 incident, according to Decider. In 2015, the Great Barrington Historical Society even recognized the Berkshires UFO sightings as an official historical event. A monument was also erected, but later taken down.

As it's World UFO day, let's revisit several there stranger-than-fiction UFO sightings and encounters people have had.

Unsolved Mysteries Netflix Poster
The poster for Netflix's docuseries "Unsolved Mysteries." Netflix

Roswell, New Mexico - 1947

Perhaps the most famous UFO sighting in the United States happened in New Mexico over 70 years ago. In early July 1947, a shiny object crashed into New Mexico, and a rancher located the debris. The remnants were a group of metal sticks that seemed to be held together with tape, chunks of plastic and foil reflectors, plus scraps of a heavy, glossy, paper-like material. He contacted the sheriff, who called in the Roswell Army Air Force Base.

According a press release from the RAAF base shared days later, stating that they found the remnants of a flying disk. "The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff's office of Chaves County," the press release read.

"The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week," the press release continued. "Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher's home. It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters." Days later, the Air Force backtracked and claimed that the debris found was from a weather balloon (which looked nothing like the discovered remnants). However, many still believe that the objects found were from outer space.

Washington, D.C. - 1952

On July 19, 1952, air traffic controllers at Ronald Reagan National Airport detected several unidentified flying objects on their radar between 11:40 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. the following day, as per the Washington Post. No planes were expected to land at the time, and the objects were not following any scheduled flight paths. The controllers on duty saw "a bright light hovering in the sky...[it] took off, zooming away at incredible speed," and were completely baffled.

The Andrews Air Force Base, located ten miles from the airport, were notified of the strange occurrences, Airman William Brady, who was in the base's control tower, claimed he saw "object which appeared to be like an orange ball of fire, trailing a tail." He said it was unlike anything he ever saw before.

The following weekend, from July 26 to 27, similar occurrences were tracked at the same airport and Air Force base, sparking further media interest. Ultimately, these UFOs were ruled by the Air Force as temperature inversions and were picked up as false images. Many were skeptical with this conclusion, and still are. Decades later, controller Howard Cocklin told the Washington Post that he maintains that he saw a "saucer-shaped object" in the sky.

The Rendlesham Forest Incident - 1980

The incident spanned over three days in the large pine forest in Suffolk, England in December 1980. Several witness alleged they saw UFOs in the form of strange lights and large metallic objects.

United States Air Force patrolmen on duty claimed that "the object was described as being metallic in appearance and triangular in shape, approximately two to three meters across the base," according to a memo from Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt shared in the 2008 book Unsolved UFO Mysteries: The World's Most Compelling Cases of Alien Encounter by William J. Birnes and Harold Burt. "It illuminated the entire forest with a white light, and had a pulsing red light on top and a bank(s) of blue lights underneath," the memo continued.

Although there were no alien life forms spotted or communication with them, such a sighting on a tightly-secured NATO base was deemed stunning and extraordinary.

Belgian UFO Wave - 1989

Thousands of people claimed to see large, triangular flying objects hovering low in the sky with lights underneath in Belgium from November 1989 until the following April. One of the first sitings came from two policemen, who were on patrol and stumbled upon the alleged UFO.

"Suddenly, they told me they were seeing a strange object in the sky," Belgian police dispatcher Albert Creutz said of the report he got from the officers, in a 1992 Unsolved Mysteries episode. "It made no noise. We joked about it and said it might be Santa Claus trying to land." However, by the end of the night, dozens other reports of a flying object were made, and thousands of people claimed to have similar experiences in the coming months.

Belgium's Air Force was never able to account for what exactly everyone saw, even though they tried to explain it. Then-Chief of Operations of the Air Staff, General Wilfried De Brouwer believed that the United States was trying out a new aircraft over Belgium. However, he concluded in Leslie Kean's 2010 book UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record, "that the observations during what is now known as the Belgian wave were not caused by mass hysteria."

"The witnesses interviewed by investigators were sincere and honest," he added. They did not previously know each other. Many were surprised by what they saw and today ... they are still prepared to confirm their unusual experience." 30 years later, what the 13,500 people saw in the sky is still unknown.

The first six episodes of Unsolved Mysteries is available to stream on Netflix.