EXETER — A crowd of believers, skeptics and the curious but undecided gathered at Town Hall in Exeter Saturday for a close encounter of the Granite State kind.
The fourth annual UFO festival, which offered family-friendly alien games and crafts and showcased research by UFO enthusiasts, was started by the Exeter Kiwanis Club in recognition of a story told in 1965 by a young man who said he saw a UFO. The story made national headlines and gained a spot in the schedule of a Congressional hearing on UFOs.
“That was one of the big ones,” said Kiwanis member Pam Gjettam referring to the story told by Norman Muscarello, 18, on Sept. 3, 1965.
He said he was hitchhiking on Highway 150 when five flashing red lights suddenly lighted up the sky and the surrounding woods and fields.
The next morning, according to the story, two Exeter patrolmen reported seeing a barn-sized object with pulsating red lights rocking back and forth about 100 feet in the air.
“It’s a story that’s unique to Exeter,” said Gjettam, who was at the entrance of Town Hall selling UFO T-shirts.
Retired meteorologist Jan Aldrich, who has invested decades in UFO research, said he hasn’t come to any conclusions about UFOs other than they are not weather balloons.
“It’s interesting when people see things, but you have to have objective evidence,” said Aldrich.
Aldrich said he and others have raised questions, but have received few convincing answers, particularly from government sources, who many UFO historians believe know more than they are willing to say.