Volunteer UFO investigators would like to learn more about a strange object a passing motorist reported and photographed in the Acton, Mass., vicinity last July.
Volunteer UFO investigators would like to learn more about a strange object they said a passing motorist reported and photographed in the Acton vicinity last July.
Steve Firmani, director of the New England Mutual UFO Network, confirmed the organization received a report and photograph depicting an object a motorist reported seeing over Route 2 near the Acton and Littleton town lines on July 31 about 2 p.m.
In the report, the unnamed motorist described seeing a “reflective, black tube-shaped object traveling in an easterly direction.” The driver, headed west on Route 2, stopped at the Newtown Road exit to take a picture.
The object is described as about 30 feet long and 6 feet in diameter and was perhaps 200 to 300 feet in the air when first spotted.
At this time, the motorist said the object was now about 1,000 to 1,500 feet high and still traveling east.
The photo attached to the report was taken with a 35-millimeter film camera, the report said.
The report describes the model of camera and speed and type of film used, as well as the zoom of the camera used to take the photo.
The Mutual UFO Network, commonly known as MUFON, is a multi-chapter organization of volunteers that fields reports of unidentified flying objects and other mysterious sightings.
Volunteer investigators interview those who report sightings and may call in expert help to examine evidence that is offered, such as photographs.
Firmani, of Leominster, said his MUFON chapter hopes to assign an investigator to the report soon.
Ruling out possibilities
Firmani said the majority of sightings received by his and other MUFON chapters turn out to be ordinary objects.
“Right now, you could say, this case is ‘up in the air,' pending assigning an investigator and asking some questions,” Firmani said.
“The first thing we do is try and contact the witness and set up a phone interview.”
He said, “Eighty-five to 90 percent of UFO sightings can be explained as manmade or natural phenomena – such as stars, planets, even birds. We have had situations where a sunlight is reflecting off a bird.”
Firmani said satellites are another common source of so-called UFO sightings. In strictest terms, "UFO" simply means "unidentified flying object," with no implications as to its origin.
Firmani said in recent years, a commonly reported sighting is that of triangular lights; a tubular object such as the one described in the report is less common but not unheard of.
In UFO lore, one celebrated case describes a glittering, tubular-shaped object crashing into windmill in Aurora, Texas, in 1897.
Firmani said regional differences in linguistics or descriptions can make it difficult to tell if viewers in different parts of New England or the country have seen the same or a similar object.
Acton police said no one called to report an object like the one the MUFON report describes.
As with most police departments, Acton police receives calls from time to time about unusual or erratic lights or objects, but generally receives these reports at night.
One such report concerned a gleaming light a caller saw early in the morning but that turned out to be light reflecting off a hot-air balloon.
In popular culture, the sightings of UFOs have been linked to a belief in extraterrestrial crafts or visitors.
Firmani said the investigators at MUFON strive to examine such reports objectively and without bias.
“Just because we can’t find an explanation for the sighting, it doesn’t mean it is some kind of alien space craft,” Firmani said.
Contact Margaret Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.