Were the lights over the Hudson River Valley really UFOs?
The quiet beauty of New York’s Hudson River Valley is home to upscale professionals and retirees. They tend to be well-educated and cosmopolitan, hardly the type of people one would expect to be swept up by UFO fever. Yet, that’s exactly what happened to more than 5,000 residents between 1983 and 1986. Ultimately, the entire episode was largely dismissed as a hoax perpetrated by a group of local stunt pilots. However, to this day, many of the eyewitnesses maintain that what they saw could not have been a handful of airplanes.
Dennis Sant, a husband and father of five, had worked in local government for 17 years. He led a perfectly normal life. Then on March 17, 1983, Dennis’s home in Brewster, New York, was the site of an extraordinary event:
But Dennis and his family were not the only ones mesmerized by the extraordinary light formation. A few miles away, traffic screeched to a halt on Interstate 84 as the mysterious object hovered overhead. The Hudson Valley sightings had only just begun.
One week later, Officer Andi Sadoff of the New Castle Police was on routine patrol when he, too, had an encounter:
Then just seconds later, the eerie silence was broken by another eyewitness report. At virtually the same time, Ed Burns, a computer engineer and senior manager for IBM, was driving home on the Taconic Parkway, 10 miles north of Officer Sadoff’s location:
Ed pulled off the highway and joined a group of motorists by the side of the road. According to Ed, they were all staring at the sky, seemingly dumbstruck:
The eyewitness reports indicated the object was slowly moving north over the Hudson River Valley. Officer Sadoff and at least 12 others saw it in New Castle. Ten minutes later, Ed Burns and at least 20 motorists, saw it near Millwood. Ten minutes after that, the phones began ringing off the hook in the police station at Yorktown. Officer William Wolf Jr. was the dispatcher on duty that night:
Officer Kevin Soravilla arrived a few minutes later. He also saw the lights reported by dozens of Yorktown residents:
Although Officers Wolf and Soravilla were standing side by side in front of the Yorktown Police station, their accounts are entirely contradictory. Officer Soravilla was convinced that he saw a large object with a number of small lights:
But Officer Wolf had a completely different impression:
Suddenly, the Hudson Valley sightings had taken a dramatic turn. It appeared that the UFOs were a hoax, nothing more than small aircraft flying in precise patterns. Anthony Capaldi was an air traffic control specialist at the time of the sightings. In the summer of 1983, he made an observation that seemed to settle the UFO controversy once and for all:
But not everyone agreed. Phillip Imbrogno, an author and UFO expert, spoke to several of the eyewitnesses:
A home video showing a light formation above Brewster, New York, was taken on June 10, 1984, by local resident Bob Pozzuoli. Phillip Imbrogno was convinced the footage showed an actual UFO:
So what is the truth about the fantastic light formations in the sky above the Hudson River Valley? Were they aerial stunts performed by sophisticated pranksters? Or did the flying objects come from somewhere beyond the stars?