Located along the Housatonic River, just over the Old Covered Bridge, sits the controversial “Off-World Incident” monument.
The bridge is a replica of an 1837 lattice truss bridge that was destroyed by fire in 1994, replaced in 1996. At the time of its destruction it was the oldest such bridge in Massachusetts. The 100-foot / 30-meter bridge spans the Housatonic River north of the Sheffield village center. The original bridge was restored in 1974 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, and so far has not been removed.
As for the monument, well… Thomas Reed claims his story gets sensationalized by the media who are out to make him look foolish. His website advises against using “silly terms” or else. So, here is a meat-and-potatoes version:
In the late 1960s, a nine-year-old boy claimed he and his family experienced multiple incidents with UFOs. The incident memorialized above involved Thomas, his brother, their mother and grandmother. They were heading back home from a horse show and just as they passed through the bridge they saw strange lights, felt a sudden shift in pressure and experienced a deafening silence… they then found themselves elsewhere – on a craft of some sort. Eventually, they were returned to the vehicle. The End.
Want that sensational version, the one chock full of alleged government cover-up, mysterious deaths, and medical procedures? Google it. I’m not getting involved. If it is true, I don’t need well-dressed men in suits chasing after me.
As for what is “factually upheld, founded, and deemed historically significant and true”? Be it lights or a craft, upwards of 40 other people reported to have witnessed the sighting of something in the sky in the area of the bridge on the night of September 1st 1969. Many of them called the local radio station to report the sightings and the station covered the incident. Historically significant.
Originally the monument was setup 300-yards from where the action happened. Websites claim that the monument cost $5,000 and weighs in at 5,000lbs. The first plaque read as follows:
This Commemorative Monument is dedicated
to the following:
The Official Induction of Our
Nation’s first Off-World/UFO
The incident that occurred at this location, September 1st 1969 has been
confirmed historically significant and true by means of factual and
corroborated evidence through the GT Barrington Historical Society.
Thomas E. Reed born 02-12-1960 and his families incident of Sept 1st
1969 has been recorded and formally inducted into the history of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts on this day February 6th 2015
“History is a story about the past that is significant and true. Yours is one of those
amazing stories that we seek to share with out community” GBHS
The Late Dr. Howard W. Reed
Matthew R. Reed
Nancy A. Reed
The monument was moved back a bit, resurfaced, painted black, adorned with a big sticker and a new plastic plaque. The new plaque is a copy of the citation signed by the Governor. Do you think he actually read it or just used a signature machine?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Thomas E. Reed
On behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
I am pleased to confer upon you this Governor’s Citation in recognition
of the Off-world incident on September 1st, 1969, which engaged the Reed Family, which has been established. Your dedicated service to the incident was factually upheld, founded, and deemed historically significant and true by means of Massachusetts Historians. The records highlighting the historic event are now officially part of the Great Barrington, Ma Historical Society’s Collection and your recent induction into Massachusetts History.
This Third Day of November in the Year 2015.
Signed by Charles D. Baker, Governor and Karyn E. Polito, Lt. Governor
Address: Covered Bridge Lane, Sheffield, MA
Coords: N 42° 7 26, W 73° 21 17
Hours: Always visible
Date visited: 11/11/2016 at 9:55am