Monday, June 29, 2009

Exeter, An Out of This World Community

This stretch of land in Kensington, near Shaw's Hill, has been a hot spot for UFO sightings and even a "landing zone"
Dan Chartrand, of Water Street Bookstore is a major sponsor of the first ever Exeter UFO Festival, organized by local historian and writer Dean Merchant. The downtown bookstore has a good selection of UFO related books available

Including the book that put Exeter on the map for UFO activity:

Exeter Plans an Out of This World Festival
UFO Festival Touts Town’s Global Role in UFO Sightings
By Lara Bricker
Special to the Union Leader
EXETER__Dean Merchant thinks of Exeter as the “East Coast Roswell.”
The 57-year-old Stratham historian is hoping that the first ever Exeter UFO Festival on Sept. 5 will bring others around to the same conclusion.
“In every aspect, New Hampshire is as important and should get the attention that Roswell gets,” Merchant said.
Merchant is referring to the infamous 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico which many UFO researchers say was the crash of an alien spacecraft, but that the government says was the crash of an experimental high-altitude surveillance balloon belonging to a classified program. Like Roswell, a sleepy desert town before the incident, Exeter has experienced a large number of reported UFO sightings over the years. The most famous sightings in September 1965 led author John Fuller to write the book The Incident at Exeter.
Ironically the sighting on Sept. 3, 1965 wasn’t actually in Exeter, but on Route 150 in Kensington. Exeter teenager Norman Muscarello was hitchhiking back home to Exeter from his girlfriend’s home in Amesbury, Mass., when he saw some flashing red lights in the woods. He returned to the area with two Exeter police officers and all three men reported seeing a hovering object with red lights.
“The Exeter incdents are one of the best regarded UFO incidents for those of us that study the subject seriously that have ever happened in America,” said UFO researcher and author Peter Robbins. “The reports were made by such credible, respectable, decent people that as a rationalist, I was just drawn to it.”
Robbins, author of the book Left as East Gate: A First-Hand Account of the Rendelsham Forest UFO Incident, Its Cover-up and Investigation, said the sightings in Exeter are a significant piece of UFO history.
“They’re true, they’re documented. They either represent a high level of military cover-up of advanced technology we have or something representative of aliens from other planets,” Robbins said. “If it’s true and there are other intelligences, then there are implications for all of us and it is a very though provoking possibility.”
During the Exeter festival, Robbins will speak about why the subject of UFOs and their implications have been ridiculed since the summer of 1947, when the first major modern sighting was reported.
“It was always treated with a tremendous condescention by the media,” Robbins said. “There is this ridicule factor; it’s extraordinary. For politicians it can be a kiss of death to take UFO’s seriously.”
At an event like the festival in Exeter, Robbins said there is a lighthearted tone, but also an “openness in the air” that enables people to discuss their own experiences.
“I think more and more people are more wiling to say they take this seriously and educate themselves on it,” Robbins said. “But it’s one and two at a time; it’s not happening in droves.”

Merchant, who is also a freelance writer, became interested in Exeter’s UFO connection after writing a series of articles on the topic last year. The more interviews he conducted, the more Merchant started to believe that the Exeter area was still a mecca for UFO sightings.
“The stories just started to grow,” Merchant said. “There’s so many stories you can truly say we live in a hub of UFO activity.”
Merchant believes the number of sightings, and timing of those sightings, is no accident, and the result of several factors at play in the Exeter area. First, he pointed out that the elite 509th Bomb Wing, which was stationed in Roswell at the same time of the incident there, later moved to the Pease Air Force Base. It was after the Bomb Wing arrived at Pease that residents in the Exeter area started reporting sightings of UFO’s, Merchant said.
“The UFO’s followed them,” Merchant said. “That’s why I call it the East Coast Roswell.”
Merchant sees Phillips Exeter Academy as another hub of UFO sightings and says that he has interviewed several people who reported seeing “glowing orbs” around the academy grounds. Then there is the presence of a large area of isolated swamps and power lines, especially in the area off Route 150 in the area of the 1965 sighting.
“Some feel that they draw power off of those lines for those crafts,” Merchant said.
Building on existing interest in Exeter’s history with UFO sightings, Merchant contacted a number of national UFO researchers and speakers, who agreed to take part in the festival. In addition to speakers, the festival will include a writing contest for children, a children’s costume parade contest, a bike tour of the area visiting spots where UFO sightings were reported. Dan Chartrand, owner of Water Street Bookstore, is a major sponsor of the event and is hosting an author’s reception for speakers at the festival. The Incident at Exeter book is always a popular seller at the downtown bookstore, Chartrand said.
The evening will end with a costume ball in the Exeter Town Hall with the band, The Morlocks, where guests are invited to attend dressed as either “earthlings” or “ET’s.” The festival, meanwhile, has already received positive feedback from a number of earthlings.
“It’s getting attention worldwide, which is kind of cool,” Merchant said. “There’s a resurgence in interest in this right now and it’s worldwide.”

For more information about the festival, contact the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce at 772-2411 or

Writing Contest:
Entrants from elementary school through high school are encouraged to write essays of 400 words or less about space or UFO’s. There will be three groups including elementary, middle school and high school. Contest entries should be mailed by July 3 to the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce, 24 Front St., Exeter, NH 03833

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Supply of Lumber for an Ark?

After months of renovations and improvements to the old building previously Wentworth Lumber, the Murphy family opened Exeter Lumber for business on Monday. With everyone contemplating building an ark with the never-ending rain, we now have another local supply of wood for the ark. (And they have a cool drive through warehouse to load up)
Check out the mascot dog, Jacoby below

For the whole story, click here or go to

Thank Goodness for Seatbelts

This bad wreck was right up the street from my house Saturday afternoon. At first glance, it looks like someone must have been seriously, seriously injured. The van which rolled over was our town clerk Linda Hartson and her husband Hal Macomber. From what I understand, both were wearing their seatbelts, which likely saved them from much more serious injuries.
Sgt. Jeff Butts was called in to conduct the accident reconstruction. (See the Do Not Enter sign in the background, previously at the end of the exit ramp from Route 101)

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Battle Is Back

I've received big news this week on the annual Independence Festival downtown which despite the name change I will always just call Rev Fest. The battle on Swasey Parkway is back this year! I always loved the battle, albeit a bit loud at times with the cannons, and it's a great event for kids and families to watch. This year's festival is planned for Saturday, July 18.

From the web site for the American Independence Museum:

On July 16, 1776, twenty-two year old John Taylor Gilman read the Declaration of Independence to the townspeople of Exeter. Help us celebrate America's freedom with our popular festival! Join the crowd escorting George Washington down Water Street, listen to the public reading of the Declaration (complete with hecklers!)chat with historic role-players, step to the stirring music of the Lincoln Fife and Drum and delight in the maneuvers and cannon firings of militias. Visit the traditional New Hampshire artisans village, view our original Dunlap Broadside and early drafts of the U.S. Constitution and stroll Water Street to see local arts and crafts. Enjoy plenty of food, music, sidewalk sales and children's activities, then stay for the town's evening fireworks and live band! Sponsored in part by Ocean Bank.