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SeacoastNH.com "Incident at Exeter" Exclusive
The UNSEEN UFO Interviews

NORMAN MUSCARELLO

Norman Muscarello / Officer Eugene Bertrand / Officer David Hunt / Officer Timothy Russell / Mrs. Parker Lodgett / Mr & Mrs Linwood Dore / Mrs. Turner / Ruth Williams / Conrad Quimby

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Binoculars In 1965 an 18-year old Norman Muscarello spotted a UFO in a field in Kensington, NH and frantically reported the event to the Exeter, NH Police Department. They and others saw it too. The resulting report led to a book length account, The Incident at Exeter by John G. Fuller. Fifteen years after the event, students at Exeter High School with teacher Dennis Robinson interviewed key people in the book again. This amazingly candid interview with Viet Nam vet Muscarello sheds added light on one of the most famous UFO reports in American history. This interview includes questions from students that appeared in a special 1980 school newspaper.

Read: Tale of an Exeter-Terrestrial

STUDENT:
Could you tell us what happened the night of the "Incident at Exeter?"

MUSCARELLO:
Now don't put me on the line because I'm no professor of science, that's for sure. All I can tell you about is what actually happened to me. And as in the book (Incident at Exeter), on September 3, 1965, on or about 2 am, I was thumbing down Route 50 towards Exeter, in Kensington near Mr. Dining's farm. It was a clear night, no rain. There were plenty of stars in the sky. It was just a clear beautiful night. I'd been up there seeing a friend of mine. I'd missed a ride and I was thumbing back. No cars pick you up at that hour of the morning. I observed planes in the sky earlier. It's pretty easy for me to understand the difference between a plane and what I saw. I'm sure if you experienced it, there wouldn't be any question in mind. I got just past the Dining farm - There's a little field on the right hand side. You can kind of see the glow of Hampton Beach and the lights from the beach, which is distinguishable. What I'm trying to say is that you can see what's going on. It's pretty obvious that that's the beach area.

I observed pulsating lights coming from the north, heading in a southwesterly direction, towards where I was. I assume the speed must have been something terrific because it came up on me all of a sudden, like this! (Snaps his fingers.) Very distant, pulsating erratically I couldn't make out any distinct pattern, circles or anything like that. It was just very bright. Could not make out a silhouette at all. I didn't know what it was. There was absolutely no sound, other than the fact that I heard horses in Dining's field, raising holy hell, kicking the barn. Crickets seemed to just quit.... My attention was fixed on these lights. I didn't know what it was. Passed over, kind of like disappeared. I don't know what direction it went in. I was kind of dazed. My eyes were like, you know, seeing spots you go through when somebody takes your picture with a camera. Got my eyes cleared -- son of a gun -- here it comes again. I don't have to tell you, you get kind of nervous out there. I mean I'm all alone; there's nobody else standing there to refer to. I mean, is this guy smoking something? I just froze up. I didn't know quite what to do. I got scared.

I ran across the street. I didn't actually dive, I fell, because I tripped on something and I fell into the ditch, and I lay there with my head down. And I looked up, and it was like the whole side of this house which was next door, the next house down from Dining's -- I didn't know the people at the time, but I found out that it was Mr. Russell later -- the whole side of the building seemed to turn out like a blood red. And yet the lights weren't completely all red either. It was a white house and these lights were still pulsating in erratic positions. I couldn't make out any design or silhouette at all, and then (he whistles), it took off. I don't even know what direction it took off in because I had my head down after that. I got up out of the ditch and ran to that house, pounding on the door. Later on I discovered that Mr. Russell was awake. Mrs. Russell told me later that they were awake and they heard me pounding, but they're not going to answer the door with this crazy nut pounding at two o'clock in the morning, no car out front or anything like that. So they didn't bother answering, but they did remember me. Well, no response there.

I ran back out in the street and here comes a car. I wasn't going to let it go by. I stood right in the road, waving my arms. This fellow and his --. I assumed was his wife at the time -- come to find out I did know the fella. The reason he never disclosed his name is because it wasn't his wife in the car. This is true. I mean, I'm not even going to disclose his name now. He sat out in front of the station after bringing me down to the station because he was kind of curious. He didn't know if I was cracking up or what. I went into the (Exeter Police) station and told "Scratch" Toland what happened as rapidly as I could. I was a nervous wreck. He wasn't surprised, because I asked him, "Well, what do you mean you're not surprised?" He said, "I just had two reports before you walked in here, one from Raymond and another one from Hampton Beach." Both of these people had made a description darn close to what I had said. One woman being chased in a car, on Route whatever, I think it was 101 (Raymond), anyway, headed in this direction, and another call had come into Hampton Police Department via phone. Exeter got hold of a dispatch on it. A gentleman had called from a phone booth and they asked, "What is the number? Where are you at?" He had described pretty much the same thing I had seen. When the police pulled up to the phone booth, the phone was dangling, and there was nobody around. I assume he probably just. got scared and said, "I don't want anybody to think I'm a nut." And I want you people to know that the only reason I went to that station was because I thought I was cracking up. I was pretty much your age.

STUDENT:
How old were you then?

MUSCARELLO:
Eighteen, I had just graduated from high school.

STUDENT:
If you saw another UFO, would you report it?

MUSCARELLO:
You're darn right.

STUDENT:
Some people, after they have seen one, may be reluctant to report another because their friends will think they're really weird.

MUSCARELLO:
Well, you see, after Scratch had told me of this, he got on the blower (police radio). Here comes a cruiser. Gene Bertrand, some of you people might know him, he just retired, pulled up and said, Come on. I want to see what you're talking about. And the only reason I'm following this up is because we have other reports." Otherwise they would have sent me home.

Gene went up to the same spot where all this had taken place. He and I got out of the cruiser. He had a good-sized seal beam flashlight. We were on our way into the field. He wanted to actually go right down in there and look around. You could see the whole field from the road, but he wanted to do that anyway.

Before we got out to where we had stopped, another cruiser pulled up. It was David Hunt. I think he is working for the North Hampton Police Department now. And he's a character. "I'm from MO; (Missouri) I gotta see it. What you been drinking fellas?" I could hear him up there rattling and the first one to open his mouth, was Dave Hunt. He says, "What the hell is that?" We looked up and -- here she comes again. I don't know what it is. Gene reached for his gun. He had it out of his holster, I'm not. kidding.

STUDENT:
What was he going to do, shoot at it?

MUSCARELLO:
He didn't know. What are you gonna do? Human nature, response, something you don't understand you show fear. Well, I understand that now, but at the time I was more afraid of the gun than that thing because I know what the gun can do. So we boogied back to the cruiser and Gene got on the blower and he says, "Scratch, I see the damn thing myself." After that it was taking me home. And my mother was having a fit because she didn't know where I'd been. She sees the cruiser out there and says, "What did he do now?" Mr. Fuller who wrote this book, was coming down from Maine. He was doing a follow-up on some story up there and decided to check on this. He had an interview with me. On the hood of his car he asked me to sign something. And I never made a penny on this thing and that is the truth. Not one red cent. I'll tell you why I'm glad I didn't: Because I think it makes it more believable. I'm glad I'm not crazy. I'm glad somebody else, who was responsible and credible saw it, not just myself going and thinking for the rest of my life, "Am I a nut?" You know, I've been called a number of things. I would have believed myself that I had something loose up there.

STUDENT:
That is why it is such a famous story, in part because of the credibility of the police officers.

MUSCARELLO:
Once we get into this I can explain something else. Still to this day it is recorded in the archives in Washington, DC. This story cannot be explained scientifically at all. There were a few of your skeptics at the first - swamp gas or somebody had an antenna and it was sparking with the high tension wire. I'm just telling you what I saw.

STUDENT:
You say you feel good; it makes it more credible that you didn't make any money off it?

MUSCARELLO:
It would have been nice to make a few bucks, right?

STUDENT:
I wonder why you haven't said anything. I would assume that Mr. Fuller sold about a million copies and must have made a fair amount off of it.

MUSCARELLO:
I talked to John (Fuller) on the phone about four months ago. It was the first time I'd talked to him in fifteen years. I had lost my original copy and he sent me that one (points to book).

STUDENT:
You don't feel at all ripped off?

MUSCARELLO:
He told me, he made a bundle.

STUDENT:
He didn't offer to send any along?

MUSCARELLO:
No. This story ended up in Look magazine, which is out of print now.

STUDENT:
. . and Reader's Digest and True (Magazine).

MUSCARELLO:
He knew what he was doing. This book (The Incident at Exeter) has been copyrighted twice by two publishing companies.

STUDENT:
What do you do now?

MUSCARELLO:
I work out of Bradford, Massachusetts.

STUDENT:
Did you have any say over what Mr. Fuller put in the book?

MUSCARELLO:
We had, actually, two interviews -- one at the house which was kind of erratic. That first morning at daybreak rolled around, by 7:30 or 8:00 my mother's kitchen was full of all kinds of people she'd never seen before. One being, a Major Kehoe from Pease Air Force Base and his sergeant. And handcuffed to the sergeant's arm was an attaché case, which I thought was a little strange. But come to find out, before it was released to the public, this was the Air Force Blue Book. Major Kehoe raised holy hell with me in the living room, telling me to "Shut up, don't say anything, don't sign anything." He told me, "Have you signed up for the Navy yet?" And I said, "No, I haven't." He said, "Well, if you had, I'd haul you right down to the base right now." You see, then I'd be military property. But I actually didn't get sworn in (to the Navy) until October 4 which was an entire month away - and then I went to Great Lakes.

STUDENT:
Can you trace where you've been for the last 15 years?

MUSCARELLO:
I was in the Navy from October 4, '65 to September 22, '69. I spent 36 months in Viet Nam, was discharged, was married, lived in town here. Got a divorce, went to California where my dad lives. By the way, he teaches high school too.

I went back to the Navy for a year and a half. It changed too much for me; I'd broken service. I just couldn't hack it anymore. I worked for a motor company building recreation vehicles. I got homesick. Got sick and tired of spending Christmas in 80 degree weather. Missed the snow and seeing my friends, so I came back here. That's about it. I don't know what else to tell you.

STUDENT:
Did you experience any mild notoriety when you were in the Service and the book came out?

MUSCARELLO:
You mean from my peers?

STUDENT:
Did someone say, "Hey, there's a book about you! "

MUSCARELLO:
Yup. You see this (UFO incident) happened three weeks before I actually went in. My first command was the USS Boston, out of Boston. My division officer was Lieutenant Larry Bishop, and he and I kind of hit it off. We had hit Singapore, on a liberty in between gun runs to Nam. We stayed at the Singapore Hotel and there is a big open foyer in the middle of the hotel, barbershop here, gift shop over there. Here's Larry in there puttering around, looking at magazines and he picked up a copy of this (taps copy of Incident at Exeter). There was also some cartoon type, caricature thing. They had me running down the street with an attaché case and a three-piece suit. Which is crazy; I dressed pretty much the way I am now. Of course I used to get a lot of hassle in the chow line.

STUDENT:
There weren't people coming in and trying to get your side of the story, assuming that there was more to it?

MUSCARELLO:
The Executive Officer talked to me on the bridge one night. I had a mid-watch. He wanted about a half hour spiel.

STUDENT:
Have you ever seen anything else since 1965 that you could not identify?

MUSCARELLO:
No. There is something, I don't know what page it is on that says I've seen something else. I don't even know why he wrote that. I I asked John about that and he says that I don't understand that he said that he did not write that.

STUDENT:
How did your mother take it when you told her that you had seen a UFO?

MUSCARELLO:
I didn't tell her, Gene did.

STUDENT:
Is that the first time you'd been brought home in a patrol car?

MUSCARELLO:
I've gotten into little trouble before, nothing serious.

STUDENT:
Did you have any contact with the Air Force?

MUSCARELLO:
Yes, at the house... This fella Kehoe was erratic, telling me to shut up, don't say anything -- if you want to make any statements, make them with me. By this time there are cops, photographers, some fella from the Manchester Union, Major Kehoe and his sergeant, John Fuller and his photographer.

STUDENT:
Mr. Fuller was right there on the spot? I was led to believe that he didn't hear about it for a while.

MUSCARELLO:
No, this was the same day. Anyways Kehoe's sergeant had taken this thing off his wrist. He was handcuffed to an attaché case, and set it on the kitchen table. It was unlocked, cocked half open. My mother, she says that she'd better get some more coffee, so she went into the kitchen. She must have gotten curious or something and started flipping through the attaché case. Kehoe spotted her when he came around the corner and he swore at her. I'm not even going to use the language he used. That is when she blew up. She says, "This is my house, that (the attaché case) is sitting on my table and I'll look at it. If you don't like it, then get the hell out of here." And I said, "That's right ma, because if he won't I'll throw him down the stairs. And that's a fact.

STUDENT:
What do you believe it was that you saw in that field near Exeter that night?

MUSCARELLO:
Very good, I wanted to get to that. I'm a very avid fan of Carl Sagan and his series Cosmos. My personal opinion is -- how naive and ignorant do we have to be to stand here and say that we are the only intelligent beings in this entire galaxy, solar system, and cosmos? I don't believe that we are. It is something. I can't say it wasn't. I don't know what it was.

STUDENT:
Thank you Mr. Muscarello for coming in and talking to us.

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This interview may not be reproduced in any form in whole or in part in any medium without expressed permission of this web site. Please do not copy this information onto your web site or book. Researchers using brief quotations from this interview may link directly to this web page for the complete text. Please attribute all references to material on this web page SeacoastNH.com.

Originally published in The Talon
Exeter Area High School, October 1980
J. Dennis Robinson, Faculty Advisor

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