CohenUFO answers to both Martin Kottmeyer's (part 1) questions,
and his theory concerning the 1965 Exeter, New Hampshire, USA sightings.

NB: My answers are next to my initials in bold print.


The Exeter File

Part 1

by Martin Kottmeyer

In the early morning of September 3, 1965, a teenage hitchhiker named Norman Muscarello encountered a UFO with brilliant red lights. It was barely a hundred feet up, and at one point he jumped into a ditch to keep from being hit. He caught a ride to the Exeter police station and reported the encounter to Patrolman Eugene F. Bertrand. Together they returned to the scene of the encounter, and Bertrand was soon witnessing the same object. It came so close he started to draw his gun but then decided that might not be wise. He radioed Patrolman David Hunt, who arrived a few minutes later in time to see the object a half mile away and moving off to the southeast, still at an altitude of about one hundred feet.

The case is a classic. John Fuller wrote a book centered on the case titled Incident at Exeter. It was a best-seller and continues to be reprinted. Ron Story ranked it among the top ten UFO cases of all time based in part on a survey of ufologists. Raymond Fowler prides himself on remarking as soon as it happened, "This one will go down in UFO history." That is most assuredly did. It 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. Other ufologists would agree, including Hilary Evans in an early work.

That there might be problems with such an interpretation seems to have troubled none of the proponents of this solution. I offer here several:

1. Why Exeter? Can anybody think of a good reason for aliens to visit such an out of the way spot as New Hampshire? There is no obvious strategic interest, economic resource, geological or geographic attractions, or biogenetic import to the place.

jc: Yes, I've driven up there. From the cases I read, in the mid-sixties the UFOs reported appeared to be interested in taking a fairly close look at people. It is quite mountainous in certain areas of New Hampshire and easy to fly a short distance to drop out of sight while still remaining in the area, especially if perchance while observing someone, another party happens to notice you.

Incidentally, if an out-of-the-way place wasn't selected, there would be an increased risk of being attacked by the military, if someone noticed what was occurring and reported it.

2. Muscarello, in his statement, observed, "The lights then moved out over a large field and acted at times like a floating leaf." Fuller's book expanded the description. A brilliant red roundish object rose slowly from behind two pines. It moved toward Muscarello and Bertrand "like a leaf fluttering from a tree, wobbling and yawing as it moved." The entire area was bathed in a brilliant red light. It was 100 feet above them and a football field's distance away. It was rocking back and forth on its axis, "still absolutely silent." It hovered for several minutes then slowly moved away. Its movement was erratic, defying all aerodynamic patterns. "It darted…it could turn on a dime, then it would slow down." Hunt added, "I could see that fluttering movement. It was going left to right between the tops of the two trees." It had a "creepy type of look. Airplanes don't do this."

Indeed no, but nobody stops to ask if extraterrestrial craft ought to be doing this either. If it possesses any sort of mass at all, inertia alone would damp out any sort of fluttering behavior.

jc: . . . and what if the device you are using to fly happens to negate the majority of your mass?

If it is a result of mechanical vibration, why is the object so silent? Note other UFO reports exist from which noises like hums are heard. If UFOs are some sort of reconnaissance vehicle as Fuller and many others used to argue, such fluttering would surely impede the usefulness of the craft. What does it say for the erstwhile technological superiority of these interstellar visitors that they cannot stabilize their crafts?

jc: It depends upon how one interprets the word "fluttering." From my own experience, when the craft I saw came to a stop and hovered, it also did so with a sort of "falling leaf" motion, i.e. it didn't stay perfectly still but moved around in what some people have described as a "fluttering" motion (i.e. like a butterfly). Perhaps bobbing would be a better word to describe it. Example of usage:'s #1 definition of fluttering - "to wave, flap, or toss about: Banners fluttered in the breeze."

It could be that if you are using some sort of computer device to balance on gravity waves or the like, that is just the nature of how it works. With this type drive, it may be impossible for them to further stabilize that specifically engineered craft _on the outside_ (with its unique propulsion system) while hovering. However, the interior of the craft may possibly be stabilized by computer, countering the necessary exterior movement.

3. Witnesses agree there were five lights, but they flashed one at a time and in the pattern of 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1. They were "extremely bright." Bertrand had been in the Air Force for four years, knew military aircraft, participated in refueling operations, and insists this wasn't like anything he had seen before. Okay, but shouldn't ufologists be saying the same thing? Where are there any prior reports of UFOs exhibiting and identical pattern of flashing lights? Even subsequent to Exeter, I know of only one other case which refers to this 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 flashing pattern and that is the Bill Herrmann abduction case. Curiously it involves lights inside the craft and causes feelings of relaxation, something rather opposite of the fear seen in the Exeter case. (UFO Contact from Reticulum, Wendelle Stevens, 1981, pp. 148, 226, 319.)

Can anyone think of a practical use for such a pattern of flashing lights and having them shine with extreme brilliance? My initial assumption would be that it is meant to attract attention. Yet aliens purportedly want to do things furtively and in secret.

jc: The fact that "aliens purportedly want to do things furtively and in secret" is an assumption on Martin's part. It may not be so in all cases as it is next to impossible for us to know the reported aliens' agenda. 9/4/2008; For example, this case. (but come back to finish reading this.)

How does Martin know they don't want to attract attention? Is it possible they may want to slowly let us know they are here? Remember, when people see them and report them, other people don't believe them anyhow. (or we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.) This factor prevents the majority from realizing they are here. Some researchers have been considering the fact that some of their actions could be part of a long-term plan to _slowly_ let us know for certain they are here, so we are not jarred into panic.

If they do want to attract attention, why are they doing this in a rural area in the early morning hours? It's a paradox.

jc: For one, our own police cars have brightly rotating/flashing lights to make people aware they are there so we don't crash into them inadvertently when it is dark. The lights also warn people away from the area so they don't become involved with the action going on.

Another possibility: The flashing lights on a craft might also be, in some cases, an indicator of the craft's various stages of propulsion, moving slowly at low speeds, increasing speed as the craft speeds up. This has been noted in a number of cases.

4. "The lights were in a line at about a sixty degree angle… They always moved in the same sixty degree angle," said Muscarello in his report to the Air Force (The Hynek UFO Report, Dell, 1977, p. 158). Bertrand said the same in his report to the Air Force: "The lights were always in line at about a sixty-degree angle. When the object moved, the lower lights were always forward of the others." For those UFO buffs who are wondering if their memories are on the fritz, you probably aren't suffering from amnesia. Fuller omitted this detail in his book and, as all later accounts based themselves on Fuller, you won't find it anywhere else in the literature but the Blue Book file copied by Hynek. Why are the lights as a group canted at this high angle?

jc: Could the angle of the lights have something to do with the balance of the specific craft? . . . and could the tilting of the craft be involved with (or somehow give it) the momentum to move forward?

The real question however; "Is Kottmeyer's point concerning the angle of the lights, actually that significant to the case as a whole?"

11/4/2012: For a close look at this specific aspect of the Exeter Case, one is invited to read the final result of the 2011 Nickell/McGaha hypothesis concerning same. The two esteemed gentlemen focused on this point from a slightly different angle. Unfortunately, other competent researchers found their loudly trumpeted supposed solution to be a less-than-scientific, untested thesis which when tested, totally failed to fit with the actual facts of the case.

This is a definite violation of standard behavior. UFOs are usually drawn with the lights running horizontal and parallel to the horizon.

jc: Standard behavior of UFOs? I guess Martin has performed a study on this he can show us. It certainly would be interesting to see. However, I would hope it includes a section which examines craft which have been reported operating extremely close to the ground for various periods of time. For all we know, the 60 degrees he is focusing on may have something to do with the craft moving without smacking itself into the ground accidentally, due to the tremendous power at the craft flyer's disposal and inherent problems of balancing.

Additionally, what if the craft are not all made by the same manufacturer?

They may tilt temporarily; they way wobble a bit off-plumb. If there are any other cases where a UFO or its lights move continually canted like this for periods of minutes, I haven't found it. Does this mean it isn't a real UFO? Presumably the only way to interpret this in terms of the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) is, "Hey, aliens are weird and will do whatever they darn well want to do." It doesn't really make sense.

jc: The only way? Who says you have to be weird to design one craft with lights and/or functioning different from another? By Martin's definition I guess all our car and plane manufacturers are "weird" because they don't design their vehicles exactly the same. Couldn't a more logical explanation be, as we said before, it might have something to do with the balance of the vehicle at lower speeds and being close to the ground where stabilization becomes a critical issue? We have planes that are designed to take-off with a running start. We have others that are verticle take-off vehicles that adjust themselves to normal flying once they are in the air, and we have helicopters that do tilt a little when they move forward from a fairly still hovering position. It has to do with balancing, inertia, and the amount of push when moving from spot to spot.

5. At no point in the case does the object travel very far from the ground. When it moves away, it simply disappears into the distance. It doesn't thrust itself skyward.

jc: From the above statement, it would appear Martin does not have a complete overview of the entire Exeter case; click HERE to see why. (Located in my rebuttal to another author.) There were upwards of _60_ people who reported various sightings, many in separate incidents, not just the Muscarello case. The examination of them individually, and as a whole, gives us a more complete picture.

It doesn't show any great speed even in the horizontal direction. True, it darts and turns on a dime, but hummingbirds and dragonflies manage to do this without being extraterrestrial.

jc: How about simple curiosity? Wouldn't you want to do this if you were examining things without actually landing? One might also note that Dragonflies and hummingbirds don't have lights flashing on them in a symmetrical pattern either. However, as should be obvious to all reading this and to eliminate any possible confusion, the Exeter sightings certainly don't sound like Dragonflies and hummingbirds.

6. "When it seemed as if it was going to hit him, he dove down on the shallow shoulder of the road. Then the object appeared to back off slowly… Finally it backed off far enough for Muscarello to make a run for the house. He pounded on the door, screaming." Officer Bertrand apparently also got the impression the object was behaving aggressively. He wrote in his police report, "I got out of the cruiser and went out into the field and all of a sudden this thing came at me at about 100 feet off the ground with red lights going back and forth. He drew his gun, but reholstered it after a moment's thought.

Aliens travel the vast distance to Earth and have nothing better to do than hang about and toy around with humans? This gives the appearance of nothing more profound than mischief-making.

jc: . . . or curiosity in examining _them_ at that moment. When it backed off, perhaps the occupants of the craft didn't want to scare him to death, or wanted to take a picture of or scan him from a slightly greater distance. Do Martin's thoughts on this definitively prove something is _very_ wrong with this case? . . . not to this researcher.

These six points ought to be sufficient to make proponents of the ETH worry that something is very wrong with this case.

jc: Actually, readers can decide for themselves whether or not Martin's logic is written in stone and whether or not the items he has pointed out definitively prove that something is wrong with this case. This researcher believes his points fail to accomplish this because there are other totally logical, legitimate scenarios possible which can also answer the various points he mentions.

As it happens, they are also clues to an alternate solution. Anybody care to guess what the answer to this puzzler is? Look for my guess in part two.

jc: As to Martin's part 2 alternate solution, please click HERE to see his kite proposal and why it doesn't truly fit a number of the specific Exeter case situations.

[All quotes from Incident at Exeter except where indicated otherwise.]

The Editorial Board encourages readers to try to figure out the answer to this puzzler. Please send your solutions to us at the REALL P.O. Box (they may be printed). Anybody who figures out where Martin is going with this, or who comes up with at least as good a solution, will have a free newsletter issue added to his/her subscription.