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Silvery, disc-shaped UFOs seen over Ramapo mountain range

Date: October 1976
Location: Suffern, New York, United States

Thirty-three year old Suffern lawyer, Warren Berbit, who has two engineering degrees and experience in aviation, saw silvery metallic objects, shaped like two enormous upside-down soup bowls, hovering in the sky just over a dip in the Ramapo mountain range. Mr. Berbit, along with policemen, businessmen, school teachers, housewives and others, say they have seen strange objects recently in the skies over Rockland and Putnam Counties.

Source: New York Times, Oct. 11, 1976

"Rockland U.F.O. 'Invasion' Starts Round of Explanations"

Special to the New York Times

SUFFERN, N.Y. — Shaped like two enormous upside-down soup bowls, the objects hovered in the sky just over a dip in the Ramapo mountain range.

The red-orange rays of the setting sun glinted from their silvery metallic bodies. One remained motionless above the horizon, while the other slipped gradually and silently from a vertical position into a horizontal one.

This account of a flying-saucer sighting was not the fantasy of a science fiction writer but the coolly recollected observations of 33-year-old Suffern lawyer, Warren Berbit.

Mr. Berbit, along with policemen, businessmen, school teachers, housewives and others, say they have seen strange objects recently in the skies over Rockland and Putnam Counties.

Some think they have viewed unidentified flying objects sent to earth from another galaxy to observe the large power plants in the area.

Explanations Are Given

Several U.F.O.'s have been reported over Stony Point, just across the Hudson River from the Indian Point nuclear reactors. Others have been spotted over plants in Tomkins Cove and Haverstraw.

But some scientists say that most of the reported sightings of silvery objects at sunset or flashing colored, lights in the night sky are probably of airplanes, helicopters, bright stars or planets.

It is possible that some of the sightings were of real U.F.O.'s, said Dr. William Donn, head of the Atmospheric Science Program at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory in Rockland County and a professor of earth sciences at City College. "But I can only vouch for the things I checked, and everything I investigated I identified as a bright star or a planet."

Many observers who thought they were seeing U.F.O.'s, Dr. Donn added, are "people who started looking at the sky and saw stars for the first time in their lives."

Mr. Berbit, who has two engineering degrees and experience in aviation and who characterizes himself as "not too hysterical and fairly objective," does not think it was two airplanes that he saw over the horizon as he was pulling off the Gov. Thomas E. Dewey Thruway in early September.

"I definitely looked at them, and I saw that it was not a natural phenomenon or anything I could explain," he said.

'Obviously Extraterrestrial'

Dan Cetrone in the neighboring Rockland County community of Tom-kins Cove, who insists that he is "no kook," says the objects "are obviously extraterrestrial and are preparing for an eventual contact here."

Mr. Cetrone, publisher of The Rockland County Almanac, lives in a white house at the top of Buckberg Mountain Road. His terrace commands a view of the Hudson, and both he and his wife, Barbara, say they have observed several cylindrical flying objects with red, green and white flashing lights, which hover a while, then turn sharply and disappear.

The U.F.O.'s, Mr. Cetrone theorized, are probably drawn to the area by the nuclear plants. They are part of a cycle of U.F.O. appearances that peaks every 61 months, he said.

Reports of possible sightings in the county reached a peak of about 100 during a three-week period around the end of August. Since the Air Force discontinued collecting information about U.F.O. sightings in 1969, most residents make their reports to the local police.

The police handle the information with varying degrees of seriousness. One of the most conscientious U.F.O. investigators is Officer Bill Patrick, a young man with thick red hair and a full mustache who is a member of the Stony point Police Department.

Of the nine confirmed U.F.O. sightings in Stony Point attested to by police officers, Mr. Patrick said he had been on the scene of five. Each object, he said, "first appeared to be a star, but when I looked through a telescope, I could see red or green lights rotating." They were observed by seven other Stony Point police officers, he added, who "all described exactly the same things."

"I have not seen a space ship or a flying saucer," Officer Patrick said.

In his experience, he went on, most people are afraid to recognize a UFO. At one sighting, on Aug. 25, he recounted, "there were 24 people who saw it, but one woman kept walking around and yelling that she didn't see anything, but actually she was afraid to look into the sky."

'Kind of a Skeptical Attitude'

At about the same time that UFOs were reported flourishing in Rockland, accounts of sightings started coming in from residents of Mahopac and Carmel, across the river in Putnam County.

One evening in August Police Officer, Ken Stern of the Town of Carmel received a call from a 12-year-old boy who reported a U.F.O. over his house. The policeman drove to the scene.

"But I went up with kind of a skeptical attitude," he related. "When I got out of the car, I saw a round object spinning around. I looked at it through high-powered field glasses. It had red, green and white lights and was about 60 to 70 miles away, between the moon and the horizon."

The instant fame brought by his first and only U.F.O. sighting has been a nuisance, Officer Stern said.

"I wish I had never seen anything," he lamented. "People keep calling and asking me about it, and they came from all over to talk to me about it."

That flashing object seen by Officer Stern might have been the same one that Brian Messier, a fourth-grade teacher who lives in Carmel, thought he saw one August evening.

"After that," he said, "everything that twinkled I would say, 'Oh, maybe.' I wanted to see one. Well, I did and I didn't. There's that fear of the unknown."


Source: http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case461.htm
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