This article was published in the daily newspaper Times Herald-Record, Middletown, New York, by Beth Quinn, on June 16, 2003.
Believers keep eye on Pine Bush sky
During the cleanup at Ground Zero two years ago, a National Guard reservist took some photographs of the site.
When he got them developed, he noticed dozens of round, blue, semi-opaque spots in the pictures. He showed the photos to his pal, Jim Smith.
"My friend figured there was something wrong with the film," said Smith, a 49-year-old sergeant at Woodbourne Correctional Facility. "But I knew what they were right away."
Smith told his friend that the camera had captured images of orbs also called Tesla globes. He explained that the orbs are associated with UFO and alien activity on Earth.
They can't be seen with the naked eye. They show up only on film. [Webmaster's note - this is an explained photographic phenomena.]
And he told his friend that he'd never seen so many orbs in one place before.
"You mean to tell me you've seen these things before?" his friend asked.
"Of course," Smith said. "All the time. After all, I'm from Pine Bush."
For more than two decades, Pine Bush has been considered the UFO capital of the Northeast.
Since the 1980s, local residents and visiting ufologists have reported hundreds of phenomena in the town and surrounding area: photographs of Tesla globes (some of them containing aliens called "grays" sitting in lotus position); sightings of lighted boomerang-shaped spacecraft, called "triangles"; interdimensional gateways; and alien abductions. In 1994, the now-deceased ufologist Ellen Crystall chronicled her own 11-year investigation into alien activity in Pine Bush in her book, "Silent Invasion." Magazine articles, talk shows and TV documentaries followed.
It's been a while, though. The media attention has died down. Some newcomers might not even know they've moved to an area famous for its alien activity.
So what exactly is going on in Pine Bush? Have the aliens pulled up stakes and gone back to their planet? Or is Pine Bush still a UFO hot spot?
"It's just part of our lives," said Sue Wiand, who lives in nearby Walker Valley. "I hear stories of sightings all the time standing in line at the grocery store."
At the moment, she said, nine out of 10 sightings occur in the portion of Pine Bush that lies in the Town of Shawangunk near Oregon Trail, Indian Springs Road and Galeville Road.
In fact, there's a bridge on Galeville Road that just won't stay painted.
"They have to paint it over and over," Wiand said. "That area is known as a UFO landing area, so maybe the heat from the craft peels the paint off."
Whether you're a believer or not, there is no question that something is still going on in Pine Bush.
Just listen to those who've been there when it's happened. They're regular folks with regular lives who happen to be well acquainted with the others who inhabit Pine Bush. These are their stories, in their own words.
I'm out on the road sky-watching a lot. One night I was out on a little country road near the Jewish cemetery (Congregation Beth Hillel Cemetery on Route 52).
It was a little damp with ground fog coming and going. Then the fog enveloped the truck. I started seeing silhouettes of people. At one point, a guy on a bike came right at the truck. He should have hit the windshield, but he didn't. He just disappeared.
I sat there for half an hour watching. It was like the truck was parked in an alley between two tall buildings maybe 6 feet in and facing outward toward a busy street. All kinds of pedestrian traffic was walking past the alley opening through the fog. They were normal human size, but silhouettes. I couldn't see any faces.
But it was a busy, busy street in some other dimension, right there on a back country road in Pine Bush.
Tony "Smoothie" Stevens, 56, Pine Bush, retired lieutenant, Department of Correctional Services.
My husband, John, doesn't like to talk about his encounters. They've been happening since he was 3 years old, and they make him very angry, very scared. He's retired from the Rockland County Sheriff's Department, and he doesn't scare easily. But this scares him.
His most recent encounter happened when he was driving home from work. He got out at midnight, so it was late. His whole car was suddenly enveloped in angel hair stuff that's like white Christmas tree icicles. It's associated with lots of people's encounters.
He knew what was coming, and it made him angry. He grabbed his steering wheel hard, very tight. "Why are you doing this to me again? Why?" he said.
The next thing he recalls was lying on a table with two beings nearby. They were speaking in their own language, but John could understand them.
One said, "He'll be able to do it." The other one said, "No, he's too angry."
And then John was in his car again. The angel hair had dissipated. He could drive again.
Susan Mann, 47, Town of Newburgh.
A lot of people in Pine Bush talk about abduction. That's real common around here.
I was taken when I was 11, but I had been seeing them most of my life.
When I was taken, there were bright lights, a table. They'd get close and I couldn't move away from them. One held up a needle and I could see it glistening. He jabbed it into my head behind my ear. I blacked out. When they returned me, they put me back in bed wrong. My feet were on the pillow. I guess they didn't know the difference.
I've looked for explanations. I don't know what it was, but I know what it wasn't. It wasn't sleep paralysis. It wasn't epilepsy.
There are different kinds, different sizes of beings. The most common are the "grays" they're small, 3- to 4-feet tall. There are also the "Nordics" beings with large blue eyes and fine blond hair.
It's not OK for them to be doing this. No one, no matter who, has the right to do this to us.
John DiTuro, 40, Pine Bush, computer engineer.
I've seen so many of the beings, I know exactly how they move. They're different sizes, different shapes, but when you see them so much, you know they're not of this earth. Not long ago, I saw this figure about 6 foot 6 and dressed all in black standing beneath the traffic light in Pine Bush.
I said to Hilda (my fianc้e), "What's that woman doing?"
Hilda said, "Oh my God, I thought I was the only one who saw the thing."
When she moved, it wasn't like walking. It wasn't in frames, either, like most of them move. In frames, they're someplace and then they're suddenly in another place, like time-lapse photography.
But this one moved horizontally.
In Pine Bush, you see things you don't expect. I've seen a cat with no head walking across the floor. It just had a piece of cardboard where the head should be. A lot of people in Pine Bush tell me they've seen that cat.
But not everyone can see the cat or the beings. You have to be open to things like that.
Jim Smith, 49, Pine Bush, sergeant, Woodbourne Correctional Facility.