Exeter UFO Festival – Exeter, New Hampshire - Atlas Obscura

Exeter UFO Festival

Exeter, New Hampshire

Annual celebration commemorating the 1965 sighting of strange lights in the town. 


On a September night in 1965, on a dark road just outside of the town of Exeter, a local 18-year-old hitchhiker by the name of Norman Muscarello witnessed some intensely bright, low-lying aerial lights unearthly enough to panic him into going to the police.

Muscarello was able to convince the local authorities to accompany him back to the spot that night. Two officers, David Hunt and Eugene Bertrand, returned to the location on Route 150 between Exeter and Kensington where the cosmic jacklighting occurred and actually witnessed the phenomenon at close range themselves. Meanwhile, other corroborating reports of strange sky sightings came in to the police station.

Nothing ever came of the event, even with the nearby air force base in Portsmouth, but the story won’t go away. In fact, since 2009, the town of Exeter has turned it into a reason to party, hosting an annual festival commemorating the 44-year-old event.

Today, the relevant area of Route 150, also known as Amesbury Road, where Muscarello witnessed the UFO activity is mostly taken up by an equestrian center, the white fences of which nicely delineate the fields that made him famous. Adapted with Permission from: The New England Grimpendium by J.W. Ocker

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