In 1965, in the city of Exeter, New Hampshire, a series of UFO sightings took place which gained vast media attention, and became the subject of a book on the subject titled, "Incident at Exeter," by John G. Fuller. The sensational happenings were also featured in a two-part article in "Look" magazine. The remarkable chain of events in New Hampshire began with a man named Norman Muscarello, who was hitchhiking back to his house in Exeter on Route 150. At the time, Exeter was a small New England town of about 7,000 people. It was the wee hours of the night, on a cold, autumn, September 3, 1965, that eighteen-year-old Muscarello made his trek. It was about 2:00 A.M. that this lonely hitchhiker first noticed an unusual light in the dark skies. The light became an object, which suddenly came from the sky towards the young man. The object was described as approximately 90 feet in diameter, with bright, beaming lights that appeared around it's rim.
Silently, the object began to wobble, and float toward the frightened man. His fear of actually being hit caused him to fall to the ground by the side of the road. At the last moment, the object floated away from him. Muscarello took this opportunity to jump up and run to a nearby house, pounding on the front door. This house was the home of Carl Dining. No one answered his frantic pleas for help. Meanwhile, at the Exeter Police Station, Officer Eugene Bertrand receives a call from a frightened woman, who states that a large, silent object with flashing lights had followed her car for twelve miles from the city of Epping to a spot on the road where she pulled off in fear. After she stopped her automobile, the strange object had disappeared into the night. Bertrand did not make an official report on the woman's call, believing it to be untrue.
Muscarello, not finding anyone at the farmhouse, has ran back into the road, and flagged down a passing car. A middle-aged couple has come to his aid. They drive the weary traveler to the Exeter Police Station. Muscarello, full of excitement, begins to recount the events of the last hour on Route 150. The desk Officer, Reginald "Scratch" Toland, is convinced that something has happened, and radios to Officer Bertrand, who is now on patrol. At about 3:00 A.M. Bertrand arrives at the station, and after hearing Muscarello's story, thinks he may have discounted the earlier call from the woman too quickly. Convinced that Muscarello's story is real, Officer Bertrand takes Muscarello back to the spot on Route 150 where the incident began. At this point, Bertrand has no idea as what lays ahead for him on this night.
Arriving at the scene, the two men scan the area, and at first see nothing out of the ordinary. By the road, there is a large open field, the house that Muscarello had visited, and a horse corral. They begin to walk out into the open field in the direction of the horse corral.
The horses seem to be a little edgy, and suddenly dogs begin to bark. From behind two pine trees, an object begins to rise, lighting the whole area with a reddish hue. Muscarello screams, "I see it! I see it!," the next moment, Bertrand says, "My God, I see the damn thing myself!" It is important to note that Bertrand had been in the Air Force for four years, and knew military aircraft. He would later insist "this wasn't like anything I had seen before." Like a leaf floating, the object slowly moves toward the two men. They scurry back to the police car. The object is now hovering about one hundred feet above the ground, some fifty yards from the police car.
The object's light is so intense, that it is difficult to make out it's shape. The lights emanating from the craft dim and then brighten, from left to right, and then right to left. The object now begins to slowly move away from the men, in the direction of the city of Hampton. At this very moment, another Policeman, David Hunt, arrives at the scene to witness the craft in the sky, as it fades out of sight. In a matter of minutes, the craft is sighted in Hampton, and a report made to Pease Air Force Base. Mrs. Virginia Hale, a reporter for the Haverhill Gazette, also sees the unknown craft from her kitchen window, as it hovers over a neighbor's house for about 4 minutes. There were many other reported sightings of a similarly described craft over the next several weeks, but it is uncertain if they were all legitimate or not.
After repeated attempts to get a response from the Air Force on this matter, finally the following letter was received:
Gentlemen: Based on additional information submitted to our UFO Investigation Officer, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, we have been unable to identify the object that you observed on September 3, 1965. In nineteen years of investigating over ten thousand reports of unidentified flying objects, the evidence has proved almost conclusively that reported aerial phenomena have been either objects created or set aloft by men, generated by atmospheric conditions, or caused by celestial bodies or the residue of meteoric activity.
Thank you for reporting your observation to the Air Force, and for your subsequent co-operation concerning the report. I regret any inconvenience you may have suffered as a result.
Sincerely, John P. Spaulding, Lt. Col, USAF
The events at Exeter, New Hampshire were so compelling, that the case was featured in the April 5, 1966, Congressional hearing that led to the Condon investigation. The involvement of two police officers gave it an official character that made it a bit harder than usual to dismiss. Attempts to explain it by invoking twinkling stars and planets, ad planes, or military operations were difficult to jive with descriptions given. Fuller insisted this constituted "convincing evidence" that UFOs were real and extraterrestrial.