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The Hudson Valley UFO flap:

The sightings in the night of March 17, 1983, in Brewster:

During the night of March 17, 1983, in Brewster, a small residential city in the State of New York approximately 40 miles north from Manhattan, where a population essentially of executives, educated people, retired people, the sightings that follow took place and were known later in consequence of the observations in the same State which made the newspapers headline a week later.

08:40 p.m., Linda Nicoletti


At 08:40 p.m., Linda Nicoletti, a family mother in her thirties had looked out a window of her house in Brewster. She saw a large lighted object hovering over Interstate 84 just west of her home, and she first thought it could be a large jet airplane that was going to crash into her house, but realized it was not an airplane: it was moving too slow.

She described it to the investigating ufologists as V-shaped with rows of bright lights along its "wings." She said that there were so many of these lights that it impossible to count them, and that they were of all colors of the rainbow, with one much larger and brighter light in the center underneath.

The object drifted slowly toward her house. She opened the window where she stood watching to check what the object sounded like, but she heard no sound, which confirmed to her that it could not be an airplane.

Then the object then made a right-angle turn and headed toward the home of her neighbor Dennis Sant two doors away. When the object turned, she saw Dennis Sant standing in his garden also watching the object.

The object then moved over Dennis Sant's house, and she saw him running under it as the object went over Sant's backyard.

She saw that Dennis Sant was bathed in the UFO's light, which lit up the whole area. Then the object stopped moving and stayed motionless above Dennis Sant. She ran to her husband who was watching television in the living room and shouted that there is "some type of strange lights over the Sants' house", and her husband ran outside to see this.

Mr. Nicoletti could thus see Dennis Sant and several neighbors watching the object. He then noticed that the traffic had stopped on Interstate 84 and that people were out of their cars looking at the object.

Linda Nicoletti ran back in her house and phoned the Brewster sheriff's office to alert the police about the events. She later told the investigators that the dispatcher said there had been a number of calls about the UFO and that state police officers had also seen it. She asked him what it was, and reported that she was told that it was some type of experimental craft from Stewart Army Base nearby, but when asked about that by the UFO investigators later, the sheriff's office denied they told that.

When she hung up, she could see the UFO lights slowly head north and then she lost sight of it.

08:40 p.m., Dennis Sant and his family:

([ns] [ww] [um])

Dennis Sant was in his thirties, father of 5, married, a local government employee for 17 years, and has his house in Brewster. He was soon the highest ranking deputy clerk in Putnam County and is now in 2006 the County Clerk and County Registrar, in addition to other responsibilities. Sant graduated from Brewster High School in 1966 and was a student at Sullivan Community College from 1966 to 1968. Clerk Sant also served in the United States Air Force, having been honorably discharged in 1971 [pn].

Dennis Sant at the time
of his sighting.

At 08:40 p.m, Dennis Sant was driving home from a church meeting in Brewster, with two of his children, Kris, aged 9, and Dawn, aged 6. He told: [ns]

"As we approached the house I saw a large, triangular object hovering over my yard about fifty feet from my house. It seemed to be not much higher than my roof. We pulled into the driveway, and we all jumped out and ran into the backyard. The object was no longer there. I took the children into the house to get them ready for bed, but I felt a strong urge to go back outside."

He thus leaves the house, and immediately sees the object hovering over the Interstate 84 at just some hundred meters away and some 6 to 8 meters above a truck that was passing underneath it. He ran back in the house and alerted his children and is father, and they all started to watch it.

The object now seemed to be just above a truck that had pulled over to the side of the highway, where the traffic was stopped and people were out of their car looking up at it [ns]:

"You could see people on the bridge pointing at it."

He was amazed by the length of the object, and wished he could get a better look at it. Exactly when he was thinking that, the object made a 360 degrees turn, as if rotating on an axis, stopped, and then started to fly slowly towards him.

As it continued to approach him, Sant stood there transfixed. This lasted some three minutes, and the object then stopped at some 40 feet from him and hovered 20 feet above a telephone pole in front of his house. It was about 40 meters long and V shaped, with its center pointing down toward the ground. He said it was [um]...

"... a very large object, its structure was a very dark gray, metallic."

And [ns]:

"It had numerous lights from end to end-red, green, and white. There seemed to be an amber light coming from it. This was in sequence, from one end of the shaft to the other. I call it a shaft because that's what it resembled."

And [ns]:

"It seemed to be about the width of a football field and was a dark, very gray metal. It was so close you could hit it with a baseball."

At that point all the lights seemed to intensify, but he could not be sure whether additional lights came on or if it was the same lights which became much brighter. He estimated that it became maybe three times as bright, and said it illuminated the whole area.

He was not paying attention to his children at this point, feeling they had gone gone inside, and he watched the object with his father for approximately another two minutes, and then both of them started to walk underneath it. Later, it was actually determined that the children were frightened, ran inside and watched the UFO from a window.

Dennis Sant reported [um]:

"The object seemed to be very silent. The lights were iridescent, bright, it stood in the sky, in its three dimension, it looked just like a city that would hang in the sky, with broad brilliant colors."

One contradiction only appeared in all his statements - or, the investigators did not get something correctly. In a recorded statement [um] he said:

"At that time, the girls became very frightened and they run inside the house. Then my son and I were just drawn underneath it."

But the investigators noted earlier that he walked under the UFO with his father. What seems obvious is that he was entirely focused on the UFO and did not watch too much what was going on with the rest of the family. He did state to the investigators [ns]:

"I wasn't really paying attention to my children. They seemed to have gone inside, and I watched it alone with my dad for approximately another two minutes, when we started to walk underneath it."

So, either with his son or his father, he was almost under the object, and followed it [um]:

"We followed the object around in the backyard, and at that point a feeling of fright came upon me. Thoughts started to flow my mind. Thought of the craft touching the ground, thoughts of encounter with an alien being, thoughts of being abducted, all types of fearful thoughts started to enter my mind. And it seemed to be only seconds before the object started to move again. But the feelings were overwhelming."

The object moves away slowly. They see its structure, which is in the shape of boomerang, its points in the direction of its displacement, and it was carrying red, white, yellow lights.

At that point, the object started to back to the left, made a circular sweep above a row of weeping willow trees, seemingly very close to the trees possibly at some 3 to 10 meters above the branches.

Sant started to run to it, and felt he had been almost directly underneath it or a few meters behind it. From this close, he started to hear for the first time a low engine sound, which had not been audible at all until it was so close.

The object seemed to float into his backyard and become stationary again at almost at the exact same spot where he was first hovering. Sant remained there for another minute, and then he became alarmed that it might land.

Just as he had this alarming thought, the UFO started to float away at about the speed of a blimp. It floated over his pond and down past a swampy area adjacent to Interstate 84.

He watched it for another two or three minutes, and then the object went out of sight.

Although Sant had become scared, he felt sorry that the object left.

"From the beginning to the end, the 19 to 20 minutes that I had viewed that craft, was also a time of self-examination of myself and who I was."

The experience was all but ordinary to him, and he was very conscious to have witnessed a very outstanding event. He stated [um]:

"In a man's life particular things unfold that make an impression for the rest of their life. This was one of those moments in my time that made a very dramatic impression on me."

Dennis Sant tells of
his sighting on
"Unsolved Mysteries."

He was of course told thereafter that on other occasions in Hudson valley, planes flying in V formation were observed. He was very clear about this proposal for a commonplace explanation [um]:

"What I saw was not airplanes in formation."

Dennis Sant was first very reluctant to talk to the UFO investigators days after the sightings were known to them. As deputy clerk for Putnam County, in an election year, he was not sure of the reaction to expect from his supervisors if he started to publicly claim he had seen a UFO.

However, he agreed to talk once he was promised his name would not be released. And, as weeks went by and a large number of other people publicly reported the UFO, he finally agreed that is name gets published.

More witnesses


The UFO investigators team that gathered after the sightings of the next week of course tried to locate as many witnesses as possible to the events of that night, and they found several other neighbors that gave similar descriptions of the object.

A few weeks after the events, they found some of the witnesses who had been on the Interstate 84 bridge near the Sant and Nicoletti homes, and they told them that the boomerang-shaped object had disrupted traffic on Interstate 84.

William Durkin:


One more witness was located much later in early 1984. He gave one of the best reports and notably, he was a pilot, who would have readily recognized planes if this UFO could have been planes.

This witness was William Durkin, a truck driver and private pilot in his forties. He was one of the motorists who had been on the Interstate 84 that night, and did not want to report anything at first for fear of ridicule. Like most of the other witnesses, when he discovered that many were talking freely, he contacted the investigators.

He has seen the UFO as he was driving his car on Interstate 84 not far from Sant's house. It appeared to him first as a series of bright lights approaching from the south, almost behind him, and he had to angle his rearview mirror to get a look at them.

He then noticed that several motorists were driving erratically, as if they were also watching the lights. The traffic in the opposite lanes was coming to a halt as the lights approached and people were getting out of their cars.

He told [ns]:

"At first, I thought it was a large jetliner flying very low, perhaps in trouble. Then I realized it was coming too slow to be any type of conventional aircraft, and at this time I could see it was boomerang in shape."

William Durkin slowed and finally stopped, got out of his car, and just at this time the UFO passed almost directly over his head, emitting no sound.

He could see that there was some type of dark, pipe-like structure connecting the lights.

He called at several other people who had pulled over to ask what they thought it was, and one man yelled back at him: "My God! It's a UFO!"

The object continued to hover overhead for several minutes more, and then began to make small, tight, circular movements over that section of the highway.

The object stopped, hovered a second time, now just over a truck parked a short distance from Durkin's car. The UFO then emitted a brilliant beam of white light that came down and engulfed the truck. The light stayed on for several seconds and then went off. The driver, who was still in the truck, quickly put the truck in gear and sped off.

Now, Durkin was watching the object as it started to drift toward Dennis Sant's home. He got back in his car and sped to the nearest exit in hopes of following the object, and saw it again as he neared the top of a hill. The UFO was going to the northeast, as if going to the Danbury - New Fairfield area in Connecticut six miles away, a direction confirmed by other witnesses.

Durkin looked at his watch at the end of the sighting and noted that it was 08:55 p.m.

He insisted to the investigators: he is a pilot, familiar with all types of prop-driven aircraft, and he was sure this was not any type of aircraft he is familiar with.

09:00 p.m., the Odenkirks:


Among the witnesses the investigating team located, several people were of the area were the object came over after 09:00 p.m. going towards the Connecticut a few miles east from Brewster.

The witnesses all described the UFO as boomerang shaped with many lights along its "wings."

Among them were Don and Louise Odenkirk, from Danbury. Don, aged 44, was an electrical engineer. They were driving home on Route 39 from a church meeting at about 09:10 p.m..

Louise saw first a number of lights approaching from the west and pointed them out to her husband who thought they might be small planes flying in formation. However he became intrigued, because [ns]:

"But I thought it was strange for them to be flying so low and in such a tight formation. I see formation flights all the time in this area, but there was something different about this. It was really puzzling because when the lights began to turn, they all turned at once."

The Odenkirks watched these lights but soon lost them behind some trees. They decided to drive to the top of a hill to get a better look, and from there, they succeeded to see the lights again, arriving from the west.

The lights came closer, and they then realized in amazement that they did not hear any sound as they would expect from such a large flight of planes, or such a large object.

As they watched, the UFO turned once again, and once again all the lights turned at once. At this point in time, Odenkirk became certain that he was watching one large and solid object.

The lights then passed right to them, headed north across the series of small hills between Danbury and New Fairfield. It finally was hidden below the crest of a hill.


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This page was last updated on April 3, 2006.