Mysterious object spotted over Amherst

Last modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

AMHERST — It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s ... who knows?

That may be the question on many minds in Amherst, where numerous people reported seeing a UFO flying low over parts of town Tuesday around 6 p.m.

“It was like something out of a movie,” said Kathryn McGill of Amherst, who said she spotted the mysterious object in the area of the old landfill on Belchertown Road. “I just thought, ‘That shouldn’t be there.’ ”

McGill said her friends laughed at her when she told the story later that night, but she’s not alone. Wednesday on Facebook pages and a blog called Head in the Clouds Amherst, locals reported seeing a silent aircraft pass low over Amherst, Pelham and in the area of the Connecticut River.

No crop circles or abductions were reported, and the area’s cows seem to be doing just fine, Amherst police said.

Police said they received one call about “lights in the sky” in South Amherst around that time, but they didn’t investigate. Westover Air Reserve Base officials, who oversee a radar tower in Amherst, said they have nothing in their logs about any aircraft moving through the area at the time.

McGill, 19, said she was driving to a friend’s house on Belchertown Road when she saw something out of the corner of her eye. She looked up to see a “large aircraft” moving steadily across the sky, about 75 to 100 feet above her car.

“There were four or five cars ahead of me and everyone just stopped and looked at it,” she said. “I rolled down my window, but I couldn’t hear anything.”

She said that within 10 seconds, the mystery object had disappeared behind the treeline. “I had an idea that I should take a photo, but by the time I thought of it, it was gone,” she said.

The object was about the size of two or three cars, she estimated, and was roughly diamond-shaped. “But not a perfect diamond,” she said. “In between the points it was kind of rounded.”

It was dark at the time, but she could see the object because it had fairly dim white lights.

“It was unnerving,” she said. “It kept the same perfect pace — it wasn’t spinning or anything.”

McGill said she is “not the kind of person that believes in this sort of thing,” so she thought maybe there was a reasonable explanation for it.

“It was so large and low, I was sure I saw some kind of aircraft that had fallen and was going to crash,” she said. When she got to her friend’s house, she looked on the Internet to see if there was any news about some kind of military craft crashing in Amherst, but there was nothing.

When it disappeared, she immediately called her sister and her friends, telling them what she saw.

Later that night, McGill’s mother took a drive over to the old landfill to see what her daughter was talking about. McGill said her mother, as well as another friend of hers, said they saw planes circling the area over the landfill, as though they were looking for something.

Northampton resident Beth Maciorowski was getting into her sister’s car in downtown Amherst at around 6:30 p.m. when they both stopped to watch what she described as a triangular flying object moving silently across the sky.

“We were in my sister’s car in the parking lot across from La Veracruzana and saw the thing come up over the building,” Maciorowski said Wednesday. At first, she assumed it was a plane. “But it seemed way too bizarre for it to be flying so low. It was moving pretty slowly, too,” she said.

“The strangest thing was how quiet it was,” she said. “If a plane was flying that low, there’s no doubt we would really be able to hear it.”

She said it was triangular, but she couldn’t see many more details. “As it flew over us, I tried to get a quick glimpse and just noticed quite a few lights,” she said. “It flew over the common toward where the Lord Jeff is, in that direction.”

She and her sister were left “dumbfounded” by the experience, Maciorowski said.

At Westover Air Reserve Base, Lt. Col. James Bishop said that the base’s tower in Amherst would have observed any aircraft traveling in the area, but could have missed an object if it was close to the ground.

He said the command post controller reported that there was nothing in the logs around 6 p.m., but the controller added that while driving through Westfield at around that time, she observed “something flying really low.”

“She thought it was maybe a low plane, like a Cessna,” Bishop said.

On Nov. 29, 2012, a few people reported seeing a triangular aircraft with lights flying over the Andover and Tewksbury area, according to the Mutual UFO Network, which logs reported sightings.

According to the National UFO Reporting Center’s database, five UFO sightings have been reported in Amherst in the last 27 years.

McGill said she wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the object she saw in the Amherst sky was otherworldly because it was like nothing she’d ever seen before.

“I’ve been joking that I’m going to have to join a support group for people who’ve seen UFOs, because everyone’s just been laughing at me,” she said. “I know it wasn’t a plane.”

Rebecca Everett can be reached at


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