Alien Abduction in the Berkshires? (Pt 1) The 1966 Reed Family Encounter

Unsolved-Mysteries-On-Netflix-Is-Already-Getting-Credible-TipsThe Berkshires have gotten a lot of buzz with the July 1 release of the new Unsolved Mysteries series, an episode of which focuses on a 1969 occurrence that in recent years has gone from being one of the county’s most obscure UFO sightings to its most publicized.  Many locals who read the news have become familiarized with this tale over the past five years, thanks to the tireless efforts of Thom Reed to raise its profile; first by attaining recognition from the Great Barrington Historical Society, then through a controversial monument (now removed) in the nearby town of Sheffield, where the Reeds formerly resided in the 1960s.

Thom Reed

In its focus on this particular Sep 1, 1969 sighting -and the three witnesses who seem to corroborate the Reed family’s (ever-changing) account of an unidentified flying object in the sky over southern Berkshire county that night- the episode omits entirely that this was far from the first encounter the Reeds have claimed with extra-terrestrials.  It is one in a series of alleged UFO abductions spanning from at least 1954 to 2009 that Thom Reed and other members of his family have described since going (very) public with their story a decade ago.

Taking a step back to look at the larger narrative, it’s valuable to examine earlier encounters in Sheffield, said to have taken place sometime in September 1966.  It began with floating “orbs” entering the bedroom shared by Thomas and Matthew Reed in their Sheffield home.  Steven White, a MUFON researcher that worked extensively with Thom to collect information on the case, recounts:

“The orbs seemed solid like glass, but without density, the balls were not luminous but resembled a shiny hole in the air that you could not see through with a bluish outer ring. The orbs had direction, one of the orbs moved slowly to the left of the window then along the south wall of the room just below the ceiling. Thomas felt as if they could see, and were watching him, he closed his eyes hoping when he opened them, they would be gone, he did this several times.” (1)


Former Reed Home, Sheffield, 1969

Days later, a more intense encounter unfolded.  The boys found themselves standing at the top of their staircase with “several 4.5 to 5-foot- tall ghostly looking figures.”(2)  A few seconds later, they found themselves outside by the edge of the property, where they saw additional beings and a tarnished-looking craft described as having a turtle-shell shape.The beings themselves were substantially similar to the stereotypical “Greys” so common in modern UFO literature, but also noticeably different, “as if they were half human and half grey.”

They soon found themselves aboard the craft, which appeared spacious within, with smooth white hallways and no chairs.

Screenshot (486)

Separated from his brother,  6 year old Thom found himself in a room he judged roughly 40 feet in diameter, where he was shown images on a large screen, including a drawing of a willow tree, and what appeared to be galaxies.  One being communicated with Thom that he was there for “important biological research.”

Screenshot (487)

“There were five beings on the craft,” according to another collected account, “the main Gray who seemed to have befriended Thomas, made him feel important; the interest was in Thomas’ biological make up, Thomas was important.”(3)

In various testimony and interviews, Thom has referred to this as the beginning of his “indoctrination”… “Something we were supposed to remember… a way to lead us into what was going to take place.”

At the conclusion of this experience, the boys awoke back in their bedrooms, according to Thom’s account of that night.

This would be the first of three experiences of missing time and abduction for members of the Reed family while living in Sheffield, Massachusetts; an aspect omitted from Unsolved Mysteries recent presentation, as were Thom and Matthew’s detailed (and sometimes changing) accounts of being examined by an insect-like being on a giant craft during the Sep 1, 1969 night featured on the episode.  It was this final incident, they say, which led to the family deciding to sell its restaurant, the Village on the Green, and depart Berkshire County.

None of this was mentioned at the time in connection with the elusive south county UFO sighting in 1969, which aside from some mention on WSBS radio, remained one of the least publicized of Berkshire County’s smattering of UFO incidents.   It was not until nearly 40 years later that the Reed family first began to go public with a narrative of potent abduction experiences spanning 4 generations over more than half a century…



1.  White, Steven.  Thomas E. Reed Abduction, (MUFON) Case #22994. Filed 4-27-10
Summary for Sept 18 – Knoxville, TN, Presentation at MUFON Conference
2.  Marden, Kathleen; Stoner, Denise.  Making contact : alien abduction case studies. New York : Rosen Publishing, 2015.
3.Filer’s Files #50Dec 7, 2011.  National UFO Center.
4. Reed Family Abductions– Audio Interview with Thom Reed, 2011



Author: Joe Durwin

Berkshire-based writer Joe Durwin's "These Mysterious Hills" has run on a semi-regular basis for over than a decade, first in the former Advocate Weekly (2004-2009) and (2010-2015), along with his local history column Sagas of the Shire. His work on lore and mysteries of the region has also been featured in Fate Magazine, Haunted Times, the North Adams Transcript, as well as William Shatner’s “Weird or What” on the SyFy Channel, Jeff Belanger's "New England Legends," MSG Films’ “Bennington Triangle,” and numerous other programs for public television and radio.

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