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A Strange Afternoon: The Collinsville, Connecticut UFO 
Incident, December 13th, 1999

Posted by jkrog08, on August 15, 2009 at 14:58 GMT


This is an incredible case that has had extensive research put into by MUFONCT (Connecticut MUFON) and still lacks any reasonable alternate explanation of the very strange phenomena these four credible witnesses ranging in age from 12 to 80 saw. This is also yet another top case that has received little or no attention hardly anywhere in my opinion. There are two noticeable parts to this sighting, one observed from long range, and the other observed from a much closer range, with the totality of the sighting lasting about 40 minutes. There is also a fairly extensive analysis as well. Unfortunately (as in many top cases) there are no actual photographs known to exist, but there is much of everything else important. In the end, as always, it is up to every one of you to make up your own mind on what happened on the strange afternoon of December 13th, 1999 in Collinsville, Connecticut. 

Chapter Summary

  1. Strange Contrails
  2. A UFO Close-Up
  3. The Investigation
  4. Alternate Explanations
  5. Official Conclusions and My Conclusions
All non-specified images courtesy of

1) Strange Contrails

Before we start I want to quickly go over the witnesses (which chose to remain anonymous):

  • Two adult men, 49 (called “Y”) and 51(called “F”)
  • The 12 year old son of “F” called “S”
  • An 80 year old female business associate called “W” 
Google Earth image overlooking Collinsville, Connecticut 

This whole strange event starts at around 3:30 PM EST outside of an antique store in Collinsville, Connecticut on December 13th, 1999. The witness’s (F) son (S, who was twelve) was playing outside of the store when he ran in to tell his father “Dad, dad, something’s falling from the sky.” After being ignored the first time by his father the son came running back inside saying “Dad, you’ve got to come and see.” When his father finally went outside he reported that he witnessed a contrail, similar to that of an aircraft “dropping very slowly”. The direction of the contrail was straight down and the witness reported the width of the trial to be wider than a typical jet.

Map showing position of the sightings

Suddenly there was a “burst” and ”bright balls of light” from the contrail which had the witnesses thinking a plane had just exploded. However, the “contrail” continued its’ same heading before disappearing in a flash behind the near by hill.

Investigator sketch (under witness direction) showing the appearance of the contrails

After the father went inside feeling uneasy that he might have just witnessed a plane crash he asked his business associate(Y) to come take a look. When they went back outside there was another, second contrail. It appeared less wide than the first and was to the left of where the first one appeared but followed the same direction and pattern. It too had a “burst” mid way through its decent before it disappeared behind the hill like the previous one did. Suddenly the three witnesses saw a white dot comparable to a star appear in the sky. It got somewhat bigger then started showing a contrail, the witnesses saw 5 contrails(all displaying the same characteristics apparently) in all. Feeling somewhat scared the witnesses went inside. 

Interview report of the witness “Y”: 

Y, age 49, was one of at least four witnesses to an event that occurred on Monday, December 13, '99' at between 1500 and 1600 hours (EST). The witness was positive of the date since it was St. Lucia day, the beginning of his Christmas, but unsure of the particular day of the week (which was later determined from the calendar). He was certain of the time also, since one of his co-workers, F, drives his son, S from school to the antique shop (where they both work) at the same time each day. Both the co-worker and the son were witnesses, as well as an 81-year-old woman (also an employee of the antique store) named W. 
The event actually takes place in two parts. Initially, F came in through the front door of the shop and alerted Y to the event. Upon exiting the front door onto the sidewalk, Y's attention was directed toward the west whereupon he observed what he described as a "light shower". Trails of light/light flashes were "coming down in slow motion through the sky " from approximately 60 degrees above the horizon. One of the "lights" split into "two balls of light" and continued to fall below the horizon. These light balls were numerous, occurred one at a time with one disappearing below the horizon before the next one began to fall, were bright, and left no "trail". Each one took approximately 60 seconds from appearance in the sky until it fell below the horizon, and they continued to materialize and fall for 20 minutes. During this event the witness was in and out of the store assisting customers. All falling objects originated and fell between 250 degrees and 260 degrees (magnetic). The witness believes that at least one falling object hit something because there was a bright flash just after it fell below the horizon. 

The weather was clear; similar to the day that this interview took place, and we were facing almost directly into the setting sun which was still above the horizon at 1530 hours on the day of the interview. Y reports that on the day of the event the sun had already set behind the steep and tall ridgeline that comprises the western horizon. This interviewer believes that this must have been the case due to the reported time, and the fact that it was nearly impossible to look to the west during the interview because of the brightness of the setting sun. The witness reports that the light conditions were "dusky" during the event, which would have pegged the time at 1600 hours or later. Sunset was at 1612 hours on December 13. 

It should be noted that the mountain range or ridgeline to the west is quite close to the position of the observers (less than 3 kilometers), making the top of the hill, which is the actual western horizon, approximately 20 degrees up from level. In addition, just over the hilltop lies Nepaug Reservoir. 

The following is the site photo with the red dot showing the approximate origination elevation and azimuth of the contrails, all of which terminated at the horizon reportedly(From the antique shop perspective).

2) A UFO Close-Up

The twelve year boy went back outside, only to come back into the shop to tell his father “you have to come outside”. The father went outside and looked south, southeast where he, his son, and his associate saw an “object with a ball next to it”. According to the witnesses the object was approximately bullet shaped and had two fins blended smoothly into the surface of the UFO. The bullet-like UFO’s size was estimated at no less than 12 feet across and no more than 120 feet across, with the sphere significantly smaller.. According to the witness the color was a soft medium blue-grey, with a non-metallic look. Both objects (the “ball” and “bullet”) appeared to be seamless in design(although “Y” believes he saw a longitudinal seam on the bullet-like object). Additionally there were no windows, engines, or exhaust observed on or near any of the objects, as there was also no sound heard at this time. The objects were moving left(north) from the observers’ perspective, this heading was taking the objects towards the witnesses’ canoe shop. The following photo is showing the approximate location of the objects as seen by the witness’ at the antique shop:


Witness’s sketches:

Drawn by “F” 
Drawn by “F” 
Flight path according to “F”
**Important note on above sketch: 
This image shows the views of the object based on their position on the trajectory. It has not yet (12/24/99) been determined if the curvature represents a real trajectory or not. The relative elevations do not (and are probably not intended to) match the site reenactment (also note East is really SE and W is really NW); at disappearance, the elevation was reduced by about 10 or more degrees from appearance, though that may have been a perspective effect.
Drawn by “S” (12 years old)

Excerpt from investigators transcript of recorded notes:

(118) F walked out to the middle of the entrance to the parking lot to the East of the original observation point (this suggests he needed to do so to keep it in sight, which implies a fairly rapid speed, and a pause on the part of the witness to take it all in). The witness noticed no sound, and called to Y to come see. S is with F. 
(123) A flock of birds took off from the area of the mountains. It was a large flock and the type was not identified by the witnesses, who indicated they were common in the area. They may have been starlings.
(120) They step more to the North.
(126) The objects were moving fairly fast, but because they made no notable noise "it didn't seem fast." The object passed the canoe building roof and its course terminated over the garage in the photo (225) at an elevation of about 30 degrees. The time required was less than a minute. The witness estimated the object passed over the canoe shop, in terms of its distance from him.

According to the witness’ it was obvious the ball was not attached to the other object in any observable way. The ball seemed to float above the left side of the bullet object and eventually totally left the object by “moving about 4 times the previous distance and vanishing without any acceleration”. The witness’s also contend that there was no tail on the bullet-like object, just a flat end. “F” also states that the observed “fins” on the UFO were nothing like any on a conventional aircraft. “F” also stated that the strange “non-metallic silver color with no reflections” fascinated him. Another interesting note is the “droning hum” sound “F” heard when the object did pass nearly overhead in the antique shop parking lot: 

As the object passed nearly overhead, a droning hum was heard. The sound was similar in pitch to a sound between 125 Hz and 500 Hz, probably closer to between 250 and 500 Hz (derived by the investigator comparing the pitch of several tones from a Casio CZ101 through a graphic equalizer with the witness attempt to pitch the sound). The witness thought that the sound was felt more than heard, and indicated it seemed to feel like it was affecting the top of his head rather than his ears.

Interview of “Y” transcript

The second portion of the event began when F, again says; "you're not going to believe this one, come out and see this". Y exits through the front door and sees a large object slowly and silently travelling from west to east at about twice the height of the buildings. He describes it as a "zeppelin" looking thing, silver-gray in color (unlike any color he had ever seen) with a dark gray line horizontally around the middle. The object had a round sphere below it. At first it seemed that the sphere was actually attached to the larger object but after a few minutes it dropped away and moved off in another direction. He reports that there was absolutely no sound and noticed birds flying in the opposite direction of the objects' travel. It took between 5 and 10 minutes for this object to travel from its initial position at approximately 270 degrees (magnetic), directly overhead at between 1.5 and 2 stories in altitude, and on to 40 degrees (magnetic) where it disappeared from view over the northeastern horizon. The initial heading seemed to be 90 degrees (magnetic) but changed to 40 degrees (magnetic) after it passed over the buildings. Y used the "escalating hypothesis" technique i.e. "at first I thought it was a weather balloon", and described the object as "bullet shaped" and "never seen anything like it before". The object was approximately 5 inches at arms length and was too large to be covered by his open hand at arms length. The entire distance that the object traveled, given its low altitude, from the initial observation until it passed the northeastern horizon is approximately 3 miles. The entire event, including both portions, lasted approximately 30 minutes. Exact distances in the above discussion can only be determined with the use of topographic maps that were unavailable to this investigator at the time of this report. 

The excited and bewildered demeanor of this witness, and his concurrent observations, i.e. "noticed birds flying the opposite direction" and "saw a bright flash after the object fell behind the horizon", lend credibility to this witness and his account of what was actually observed that day.

The bullet-like craft then disappeared from view over the horizon (past the canoe shop) and was not seen again. It is interesting to not that “F” stated he was surprised that he felt no fear for himself or his son when the object was passing directly overhead them. The witnesses also reported seeing multiple “boxy cargo planes” circling the area shortly after the event, as if they were looking for something in the hills, which is where the contrails seemed to flash out of view at. One of the planes was identified by the witness as a Skyvan aircraft. 

3) The Investigation

The investigation was carried out by the Connecticut MUFON, which dispatched two field investigators to interview the witness, collect data, etc. According to the investigators all attempts at leading the witnesses or any other forms used to discern inconsistencies consistent with hoaxes failed. They also noted other accounts, such as the concurring statements about birds purposefully flying in the opposite direction of the oncoming craft and other consistencies lend further credibility. In the investigators opinion the witnesses were not lying about what they saw. Bases on the witnesses’ sketches a geometry program was used to postulate the exact shape and orientation of the UFOs. The following images are the result of that work:

Perspective View
Front View
Left View
Spatial Arrangements and Angle 
Perspective View
In this arrangementThe two objects are approximately the same diameter.The sphere is slightly above the centerline of the bullet, slightly ahead of the central axis, and very close to the bullet.< If the objects were directly level with the observer, the angle of pitch would be about 30 degrees and roll also close to 30 degrees. Because of the fact that the witness was looking upward at an estimated angle of 25 degrees, both pitch and roll would be greater than thirty degrees.
Another Angle 
Different Sphere/Bullet Orientation 
Another Angle From New Orientation 
Alternate Stub Wing Configuration

Those all represent the likely true appearance of the UFOs based on the available evidence. A lot of pictures I know, but it is truly important we dissect this UFO from all angles so we can get a decent idea of what the witnesses’ saw , so we can try to come to any mundane explanations ourselves, and maybe someone who knows something about objects of this shape will see this detailed analysis and speak up. ;) 

In addition to interviewing the witnesses’ and making the detailed computer graphics shown above, the investigators looked over the area in general to get a good perspective on things. Here is the investigator report:

12/27/99 2:45 PM-4:15 PM (Investigator 1) 
The purposes of the second site visit were 
Perform a tour of the area to become familiar with major features. 

Obtain a detailed map of the downtown Collinsville area. 

Determine the possible source / type of birds mentioned in the account. 

Determine the correctness of the sun analysis by direct observation. 

Perform a search for any debris which might have been resulting from a hoax perpetrated by a third party on the witnesses (i.e. balloons, etc.) 

Determine if a search of Sweetheart Mountain for debris from the contrail source was feasible, in the event it became justified by research results. 

Determine the type and quantity of local air traffic on the same day of the week / time as the observations. 

Informally canvass if the opportunity was presented. 

The following results were obtained: 

Perform a tour of the area to become familiar with major features - I was able to drive around most of the areas in the directions observed. These included: 

The top of the hill to the South East, including a look at the tall conifer (seen from Observation Point 2). That tree is about seventy feet tall. The town hall also has a tall radio antenna with many projecting aerials. A historical society operates a museum in that area, but it is only open on weekends in the winter. 

The canoe shop seen from Observation Point 2. 

Cavalry Cemetery - on a direct line from the canoe shop / Observation Point 2 and the tall conifer. Interestingly, the footings for an old bridge cross the river and point directly toward the garage over which the objects were seen to disappear (see the photo of Observation Point 3). 

Sweetheart Mountain - (the mountain toward which the contrails were directed) I drove South West to Rt 4 and then North on Barnes Hill Rd past the Phelps Dam. The top of the mountain may be accessible to hikers, but there is no road. 

Obtain a detailed map of the downtown Collinsville area - I was unable to find any such map so far. The town engineer and town planner were both unavailable. 

Determine the possible source / type of birds mentioned in the account - Three types of birds were observed in the post 3:30 PM time frame: Starlings, flying South West to North East and vice versa, apparently heading to / from roosting areas South West of the town center; seagulls, flying essentially South to North; geese, flying East to West. Flocking behavior among the starlings was normal within that time frame and may suggest that the behavior of the birds during the sighting was coincidental. Specific starting point and direction of the bird flock should be determined from the witnesses. 

Determine the correctness of the sun analysis by direct observation - The sun was seen to touch the mountain shortly after the 3:30 time frame, slightly later as would be expected to result from the passage of two weeks. Thus, the shadow predicted by the sun analysis is confirmed. 

Perform a search for any debris which might have been resulting from a hoax perpetrated by a third party on the witnesses (i.e. balloons, etc.) - One possible analysis of the second incident might be that the objects seen were balloons (which was suggested by one of the witnesses). If so, it would be possible (though unlikely) that the disappearance of the objects would be from the balloon having burst. I examined the dam on the river, the trees on the far side of the river (starting at the cemetery and working south to the shore), the shore on the far side of the river, and the side of the road from there, south along 179. The only finding of note was a grey plastic sheet found, photographed in situ and removed for examination. This sheet was in an incorrect location (South West of the sighting location), formed no particular shape suggestive of the reported objects, bore a large printed tag, was partly buried in leaves and somewhat frozen to the ground. Nevertheless, the material was removed for further examination, and to allow a sample to be shown to the witnesses, in light of their description of the object color and luster. 

Determine if a search of Sweetheart Mountain for debris from the contrail source was feasible, in the event it became justified by research results - The size and lack of access to Sweetheart Mountain means that a specific and high probability of finding physical evidence would be needed to justify a search. No road seems to lead to the top, so all access would need to be on foot. 

Determine the type and quantity of local air traffic on the same day of the week / time as the observations - The day was partly / mostly cloudy, so opportunities for observing air traffic were limited. Nevertheless, only two distant, high altitude airliners were observed during the visit. 

Informally canvass if the opportunity was presented - Four people were questioned. 1) a woman ice fishing on the far side of the river, who believed the ice had not formed at that time and had not seen anything, 2) a bicyclist on 179 was asked if he biked that road every day about the same time, but he did not, and, in any event, had seen nothing; 3) two employees of the canoe shop, only one of which was working that day - neither had seen anything.

The possible course of the objects can be inferred by the witness testimonies, as can the theoretical speed, altitude, distance, etc. Since two witnesses gave detailed reports of the sighting two angular measurements are available for us to view. The following links will take you to either the angular data, comprehensive weather conditions, or the sun angle data, all are highly detailed and recommended: 

Link to Angular/Trajectory Data
Link to Sun Angle Data
Weather Conditions

4) Alternate Explanations

Orbital Debris

Obviously the first mundane explanation we should consider would be the contrails. Considering their odd angle of descent and the flashes seen one would likely postulate that the witnesses’ might have seen orbital debris falling back to Earth. However, after a closer inspection of the facts surrounding known decayed orbits that day this is not possible and is therefore eliminated.


Still on the contrails, meteors are also a possible explanation for what the witnesses’ saw that day. Considering the data this can not be entirely ruled out, however existing documentation lists very few meteors known to leave any contrail type phenomena, especially not in the length of duration that was seen. 

According to the following chart of this year's Geminids (, compiled by the International Meteor Organization, the peak was actually 12/14/99; on the date in question, at the time of the sighting, the rate was roughly 38 per hour Aircraft

Obviously conventional aircraft are known to regularly cause contrails, so this can not be entirely ruled out. However, considering there are no major air-traffic lanes over Collinsville there is no apparent reason for that number or orientation of contrails to have been observed.. Here are some more issues with this theory:

  • The closest airway is significantly south of the sighting location, there is no way contrails from that airway would be seen at the location.
  • The apparent “burst” and “flash” of the trails seem to defy any known conventional phenomena.
All in all this explanation can not be completely ruled out, however—logic and available facts point to no likely way that any mundane explanations could apply to the observed contrails and their very odd flight characteristics.

Obviously there are few alternate explanations for the actual UFOs. In my opinion balloons is a ridiculous theory, BUT we must consider everything. I know of no known balloons that would remotely fit the description and flight characteristics of the UFOs, as well account for the humming sound. Also the overall look and color of the UFOs do not match any known balloon, let alone the ball that was floating around the bullet-like craft, which then proceeded to go off in its’ own direction in an apparent vanishing act.

5. Official Explanations and My Conclusions

There are no current official explanations given for this event so I will quickly get into my conclusions of this very interesting case. 

As stated above this case is very intriguing for many reasons. First off we have multiple ‘exploding contrails’ that appear to have no rational cause in any mundane extent. The apparent steep direction of the contrails seems to me to suggest a possible decent from space, but that is only a theory and could be wrong. Then we have multiple witnesses’ claiming they saw a truly unusual and obviously non-conventional (well at least by public knowledge) bullet shaped aircraft, with another sphere object apparently hovering around the front of it that just passed over this short stretch of town before the sphere shot off and disappeared in a totally different direction than the main craft. We have one of the witnesses describing a strange humming sound, we have multiple witnesses describing a totally unheard of aircraft configuration, color, reflectivity, and propulsion means. Was it a coincidence there were multiple contrails seen descending shortly before the UFOs were seen? What was this object doing? What were the aircraft looking for after the sighting? 

With all the extensive investigation done by CT MUFON apparently ruling out any probable mundane explanations for both the contrails and UFOs it seems all we are left with is either 

A) A hoax, but why? The witnesses’ had NOTHING to gain from this. They also resisted all common tactics used to uncover hoaxes.
B) A true UFO event, whether it is a secret government project, alien, inter-dimensional, time travel related, or whatever. 
Another question I have is why did not more people witness these contrails and UFOs? Of course there are many reasons for this, but none-the-less it raises some questions in my mind. However, to counter the above statement is a 40 plus hour investigation by professionals who believe this to be a true event, and I must say that personally I feel the same. I see no reason to think this was a hoax, but I can only judge from what I have researched, as I did not personally interview the witnesses. This is a truly unknown case in my humble opinion, although it is unlikely we will ever be able to solve it, it is defiantly worthy of widespread view, if for nothing else, to get this information out to the public, so they can all see that there are indeed strange events going on ALL OVER the planet. Some of these events (like this one) appear to lack any known explanations that mundane science can provide, so hence it comes to ufology or “fringe science”. 

This case, in my personal opinion, must ‘officially’ go into a unknown category(and it will likely stay there). I see no reason to rush to a hoax conclusion and further investigation as appeared to pretty much rule out anything mundane. This does not mean alien, Galactic Federation of Light, Time Travelers, or even a super black government craft. It truly means UNKNOWN, all we can do is make theories based upon other events and evidence. In my personal opinion I am leaning more towards alien in origin, again this is based on multiple amounts of research of events that seem to point more towards that explanation more than any others. But I am still open to anything else as a explanation, if the proper evidence is presented. As always it is up to everyone to make their own conclusions based on the available evidence supplied. I also need to say that the researchers at the Connecticut branch of MUFON did a superb job of investigating this case, which made it possible for me to present such a case here to ATS. Anyways, I hope everyone finds this case as interesting as I did and hope people take a real and legitimate look at this case and many others like it(without photos, videos, etc), as in my opinion, this and others show that something truly is going on in our skies. :cool: :up: 


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