The Hudson Valley sightings were a flap of UAP sightings reported by hundreds of people in upstate New York and Connecticut between 1983 and 1986. Nicknamed the "Westchester Boomerang,” the UAP was described by most witnesses as a huge, hovering V-shaped series of flashing lights connected by a dark craft.
The mystery of the Hudson Valley remains unsolved.
The event was documented in the book “Night Siege: The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings”, authored by UAP expert Dr. J.Allen Hynek and Philip J. Imbrogno, with the help of Bob Pratt. Hynek was an astronomer best known for his UAP research - most notably for his role as a scientific advisor to UAP investigations by the U.S. Air Force under projects Project Sign (1947–1949), Project Grudge (1949–1951), and Project Blue Book (1952–1969), and later as the founder of the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).
On March 24, 1983, a retired police officer observed a group of strange red, green, and white lights forming a V-shape off to the south, which at first he thought was an aircraft in trouble. The UAP moved slowly and a humming sound could be heard in the distance.
Ed Burns, a computer engineer at IBM, was driving home on the Taconic Parkway and had a similar sighting..
“I’m not into astronomy… but what I had witnessed that night was not from this planet,” Burns said.
Dennis Sant, a former local government employee, had his sighting in Brewster, New York on March 17, 1983.
“It was a very large object. The structure of it was very dark gray, metallic, almost girder-type looking… The object seemed to be very silent. The lights were iridescent, bright, they stood out in the sky and three-dimension. It looked like a city of lights. It just hung in the sky, all brilliant colors… We followed the object around to the backyard. And at that point, a feeling of fright came upon me. Thoughts started to flood my mind, thoughts of the craft touching ground, thoughts of an encounter with an alien being. Thoughts of being abducted. All types of fearful thoughts started to enter into my mind.”
These eyewitness testimonials were part of a group of sightings which allegedly continued in the Hudson Valley area for years after.
On March 26, 1983, a front-page story in the Westchester-Rockland Daily Item ran the headline: HUNDREDS CLAIM TO HAVE SEEN UFO. The article got the attention of a group of UAP researchers in the area associated with Hynek. The group started a hotline and received over 300 calls from people that had seen the UAP on the night of March 24. One witness cited in the book “Night Siege” said “If there is such a thing as a flying city, this was a flying city." The object was seen in nearby Yorktown that evening where the police switchboard became jammed with reports all night long.
The research group estimated that over 5,000 people had seen the object from 1982 through 1986 from the Hudson Valley, and as far north as Brookfield, Connecticut. Some accounts noted the UAP moving at fast speeds and being able to disappear, and others speculated there could have been multiple crafts.
One of the reports Hynek’s group received was a UAP the size of multiple football fields hovering over Indian Point Nuclear Plant. A guard at the power plant described it as being the length of three football fields. Another sighting took place at the Croton Falls Reservoir where allegedly the UAP used a red beam to scan the surface.
Hynek’s group found evidence that could explain some of the sightings of a “V” shape. They found it could have been a group of small planes flying out of the Stormville Airport in a V-formation. Skeptics point to this as proof of a hoax perpetrated by the pilots.
Air traffic control specialist Anthony Capaldi made the observation that the lights could have been misidentified as pilots flying in the formation.
“The first time I observed the formation, it looked a little peculiar, and from our vantage point in the tower, they just appeared to be just one big light because they were flying in tight formation,” he said. “ I don’t think if this formation flew over an individual’s head at a thousand feet that there’s any way you could mistake it for anything but the formation flying, due to the sound of the aircraft engines. And I imagine that at a thousand feet, you could really determine that it's an aircraft.”
“Night Siege” co-author Imbrogno dismissed the possibility of hoaxing pilots as the answer to every sighting that was reported in the Hudson Valley flap.
“The UFO was surely seen before these hoaxster pilots began their night flights,”Imbrogno said.” After these hoaxsters began their night flights, people would call me up who had seen the UFO on previous dates and said ‘well I saw something strange in the sky but it wasn’t the same thing that I saw a week before.’”
“Unsolved Mysteries” covered the Hudson Valley incident in a 1992 episode. This led to a group of pilots attempting to claim responsibility, but the pilots went off radar when it came time to recreate the V-formation.
The case has appeared on shows like HISTORY Channel’s long-running “Ancient Aliens,” and recently on discovery+’s streaming platform “Shock Docs' ' series. The Shock Doc episode, titled “Alien Invasion: Hudson Valley,'' opened with the disclaimer:
“Now that the U.S. government can no longer deny the existence of UFOs, eyewitnesses feel emboldened to share their stories.” The residents of Pine Bush, in the heart of Hudson Valley, New York, can no longer take the undeniable. They are fed up with it. Aliens are a nuisance, let’s face it, especially when you’ve got ‘an alien highway’ in your basement.”
In 2021, the Pine Bush UFO & Paranormal Museum opened in upstate New York .