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The Great Northeast Blackout:

On November 9, 1965, the largest blackout in history occurred. The northeast power system broke up 4 seconds after the initial disturbance, and 30 million people were without electricity for as long as 13 hours. The cause of the event is obviously of some interest.

The events:

The Great Northeast Blackout of November 9, 1965 began at 5:16 p.m., near the end of an otherwise typical workday. The event started at the Ontario - New York border, near Niagara Falls. A single transmission line from the Niagara generating station tripped (opened). Within 2.5 seconds, five other transmission lines became overloaded and tripped, isolating 1,800 MW of generation at Niagara Station. After their isolation, the generators became unstable and tripped off-line. The northeast power system became unstable and separated into isolated power systems (islands) within 4 seconds. Outages and islanding occurred throughout New York, Ontario, most of New England, and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Most islands went black within 5 minutes, due to imbalances between generation and load (generator overspeed/underspeed tripping). The massive blackout left 30 million people without electricity for as long as 13 hours.

What really happened:

Eight states - Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont - lost power in this power failure. Although a faulty automatic relay device at a plant near Niagara Falls is blamed, there is evidence that UFOs can cause power failures in the national electricity grid systems, although this may only be a side effect rather than an intentional act. In December of the same year, the grid systems failed in New Mexico and Texas following UFO sightings in those areas.

McDonald's statement on unidentified flying objects:

As submitted to the House Committee on Science and Astronautics at July 29, 1968, Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects, Rayburn Bldg., Washington, D.C., by James E. McDonald.

"Then there are scattered instances in which substantial power distribution systems have failed at or very near the time of observation of aerial phenomena similar, broadly speaking, to one or another UFO phenomenon. I have personally checked on several such instances and am satisfied that the coincidence of UFO observation and power outage did at least occur. Whether there is a causal connection here, and in which direction it may run, remains quite uncertain. Even during the large Northeast blackout, November 9, 1965, there were many UFO observations, several of which I have personally checked. I have inquired at the Federal Power Commission to secure data that might illuminate the basic question of whether these are merely fortuitous, but the data available are inadequate to permit any definite conclusions. In other parts of the world, there have also been reports of system outages coincident with UFO sightings. Again, the evidence is quite unclear as to causal relations."

The largest wave of UFO sightings occurred in 1965. From coast to coast, strange low flying objects were reported almost nightly by people of all ages and walks of life. These sketches compiled by a NICAP researcher represent a small sample of hundreds of investigated cases in which truly unknown objects were judged to have been involved. As the year progressed the number of reports rose dramatically. On the night of August 2 thousands of people in 4 Midwestern states witnessed spectacular aerial displays by large formations of UFOs. That same night a multicolored disc was photographed in Tulsa Oklahoma while several persons watched it perform low altitude maneuvers. This picture was extensively analyzed, pronounced authentic, and later published by Life magazine and many newspapers.

But the year's most incredible development was yet to come. On the evening of November 9 hundreds of UFO sightings were reported throughout the northeast. In New York State luminous objects were seen hovering over 3 very significant locations.

Within moments of the Syracuse sighting 9 northeastern states and parts of Canada experienced the largest power failure in history. Media accounts including those by NBC news, The Associated Press, and some local papers openly reported the UFO sightings and in a few cases suggested that they be investigated as a possible cause of the blackout. However, before this speculation could gain much momentum the Federal Power Commission announced that the problem had been caused by a broken relay in a Canadian power plant. This answer was accepted by the press and public and the UFO angle was quickly forgotten. But, the official explanation was untrue.

Major Keyhoe reports that a private investigation by the utilities industry later concluded that the relay had NOT broken, but had been tripped by a huge, unexplainable surge of power. The only major paper which attempted to follow up on a possible UFO connection with the outage was the Boston Record America. But the paper's editors told a NICAP investigator that shortly after publishing this account of the Niagara Falls sighting they had been called by an Air Force officer at the Pentagon and severely reprimanded for printing the story. In any event, the public at large remained unaware of the presence of UFOs during the great northeast blackout.


There is a high number of reliable witness reported UFOs. Pilots did. Pictures were taken.

Was there any physical effect caused by a UFO? We have to conclude that to cut 30 million people off from electrical power over 8 states is a sufficient physical evidence.

Reporters, technicians, ufologists and scientists who investigated the black-out understood its true cause. But a massive concerted cover-up to discard the UFO as a cause of this physical evidence of the UFOs.

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This page was last updated on April 21, 2001.