Published: 1:14 PM 5/12/2014
by Jennifer Crompton
80 percent of reports come from Franconia area.
The movies have made aliens and UFOs part of our popular culture. But, sightings of unidentified flying objects are very much a part of our daily lives as well.
Whether alien spaceships, secret government projects or debris caught in the wind, they are actively investigated, even in New Hampshire.
Portsmouth couple Betty and Barney Hill's chilling story of a UFO sighting in the White Mountains and alleged encounter with aliens made headlines in the 1960s.
These days, looking for UFOs is a hobby among some, with purported sightings often posted to YouTube.
It’s not something Erik Poore ever imagined himself doing, until the real estate photographer from Derry had his own experience.
“This was April 11, about 1:40 in the afternoon,” said Poore. "(I) simply was just out with the dog practicing flying this and didn't see anything ‘til I got home.”
Poore was test-flying his new mini-quad copter with its GoPro camera that day and what it saw above the Robert Frost Homestead in Derry has left him mystified.
“It crossed this entire sky in a second. In a little over half a second,” said Poore.
Something zipped from left to right, shot as the copter was still warming up on the ground. It’s barely visible until the video is slowed down.
“And when I went back and looked at it frame by frame, I couldn't explain what that was,” said Poore.
Poore then posted the video to YouTube and contacted the Mutual UFO Network, a science-based organization that tries to identify and educate.
“It’s being investigated by our digital scientists to determine if they can figure out the distances, the velocity and what it might be,” said Mark Podell, a MUFON investigator.
Podell is a retired scientist from Bow and the MUFON investigator assigned to Poore's case.
“My personal feeling is based on my years of experience in looking at multiple UFO videos and UFOs. I believe it is either an experimental aircraft that belongs to the U.S. that is unknown to us or it’s some kind of off-world craft,” said Podell.
Podell calls himself a scientist with an open mind because of a sighting he had when he was 12.
Podell is one of nearly 100 MUFON investigators spread across the country. He's been working specifically in New Hampshire since late 2013, and he said he gets 5-10 new reported cases in New Hampshire every month.
“Eighty percent of the cases or more that I've investigated have been in and around Franconia,” said Podell. “And they're all describing, for the most part, orbs or triangular UFOs with three white orbs underneath them… and that's a very common observed craft… and there's a lot of debate out there as to who it belongs to.”
The Franconia Notch hotspot is near where Betty and Barney Hill had their alleged experience in the 1960’s.
Podell said UFO skeptics tend to ignore the science.
“One was the Exeter incident here in New Hampshire where some military people debunked the incident even though it was observed by three witnesses, two of them were policemen,” said Podell.
Podell said most U.S. reports are out west.
New Hampshire, meanwhile, has an average amount of sightings. Some are pranks, possible secret government projects and eventually identifiable, while we may never know the truth about others.