By Lucas Chiang, Summer Times Staff Writer

UFOs have been a mysterious and intriguing topic for many ever since the concept of spacecraft and extraterrestrial life became popular after World War II. Yet sightings of unidentified flying objects have been reported for centuries all around the world. Many have been fascinated with the potential of non-human intelligence, especially after the concept shot up in popularity after its appearances in the media, but while most people classify UFOs and aliens as no more than fiction, there is a scary amount of supposed evidence that suggests that extraterrestrial life may exist outside of the screen. What’s more, the town of Exeter itself has a very special connection to the topic of UFOs and extraterrestrial life.

As there is in every small town, there is more to the charming village of Exeter, New Hampshire, than what lies on the surface. As it is, Exeter was once very well known for a mysterious event that happened over 50 years ago. This occurrence gained publicity across the nation, but it had nothing to do with the people of the town. The strange incident took place a few miles south of Exeter, with multiple local witnesses. This event, known as the Incident at Exeter, was a famous series of UFO sightings.

In 1965, an 18-year-old man named Norman Muscarello was hitchhiking to his parents’ home in Exeter from Massachusetts. However, he was unsuccessful and started to walk back. Along the way, though, Muscarello noticed 5 flashing red lights in a forest, and went to investigate. When the lights started to approach him, Muscarello fearfully retreated and stopped a car to bring him to the Exeter police station.

At the station, Muscarello told the officer what happened, and later returned to the scene with another officer, Eugene Bertrand, who had also gotten a call reporting “a huge object with flashing red lights.” Muscarello and Bertrand were investigating the area when the object reappeared, supposedly the size of a barn. Another policeman, David Hunt, was later called over and saw the exact same thing. When the case was later investigated by journalists, Exeter locals reported similar sightings. However, when the police station reported the sighting to the Air Force, the Air Force merely dismissed it as a temperature inversion making twinkling stars seem like flashing lights.

UFOs differentiate themselves from topics such as ghosts in that there are too many reported appearances for it to be just nothing. Even national militaries acknowledge that there could certainly be extraterrestrial life, possibly serving a threat to our planet. Yet there is no definitive proof of them being real. 

Exeter Summer students had various opinions on this topic.

Ashton Weeks theorizes that while the UFOs themselves are the real deal, extraterrestrial life is a different story. “UFOs don’t necessarily mean aliens,” Ashton said. “They definitely exist, though. I think that people create them.” 

Should this be the case, there is a multitude of reasons that people could be making these, from gathering intelligence to playing pranks. Abdulrahman Almazrou shares this sentiment. “I don’t believe in aliens,” he said. “People are the ones that make the UFOs.” This belief is fairly common around the world and, while it’s a bit disappointing to all the die-hard E.T. fans and the like, the theory is perfectly plausible, significantly more so than any signs of extraterrestrial life.

However, there are people who truly believe that there really is something out there. Some of these theories are absolutely crazy, going as far as to saying that governments are trying to cover it all up, or that aliens made deals with early humans so our civilization could advance. On the other side of things, there are a lot of people who don’t believe in UFOs at all, and they have good enough reason to. Hoaxes have been revealed numerous times, such as in a case where a man who supposedly took photos of UFOs during a period of time was revealed to have a styrofoam UFO model in his attic that matched his pictures perfectly.

Personally, I’m with Ashton and Abdul with the theory that humans are the true creators of UFOs, but the topic of extraterrestrial life mysteriously appearing in unidentified spacecraft is incredibly intriguing to me. All in all, though, it’s interesting to think about these kind of things that have no definitive answer. For all we know, aliens could have been present in our lives since the beginning of humanity. Regardless, it’s certainly food for thought.