A few months ago, I blogged about the alleged UFO that fell into Bantam Lake in Litchfield, Connecticut. I also mentioned how I usually camp on bantam lake every summer. Now The Litchfield County Times is reporting that there is still no evidence that anything crashed into the lake, and if something did, it was probably a meteorite. The article also mentions the other paranormal phenomena that have been reported in Litchfield throughout the years. As I said in my previous entry, “I always pay attention to place names (thanks to Loren Coleman’s “name game” discussion in his books), as they are usually interesting when it comes to the history of a town. A “litch” usually refers to a type of undead creature, from the German and Dutch words for “corpse.” So it’s always been interesting for me knowing that Litchfield is a hotspot of paranormal activity.
LITCHFIELD—No, there wasn’t another sighting of a UFO or meteorite on Bantam Lake. Rather, Jon Nowinski, director of Smoking Gun Research Agency (SGRA) in Orange, said in an e-mail last Tuesday that the most likely scenario remains that it was a meteor that fell into the lake in April.
“Unfortunately, even if that were the case, recovering anything is probably impossible—though if we begin to get reports of mysterious lake creatures being spotted in Bantam over the summer we may have to consider other options,” quipped Mr. Nowinski.
In April, the buzz was that a glowing green object fell into Bantam Lake around 2 a.m. An unidentified motorist who was near Bantam Lake called State Police at the Troop L barracks in Litchfield to report seeing a green, whale-sized object fall into the lake.
Such a report doesn’t necessarily suggest credibility—given that the motorist didn’t stick around and apparently didn’t call back—but an on-duty State Police trooper some 10 miles away in Warren also called the barracks to report seeing a large object fall from the sky over Bantam and Morris.
Morris firefighters were dispatched, along with firefighters from Bantam, and made several passes up and down the lake in a boat, but didn’t find anything. Morris Fire Chief Joel Skilton said he was inclined to believe it was a meteorite, given that the National Weather Service had documented a meteor shower in the area that night.
Mr. Nowinski said last Tuesday they discovered, through extended research, that in the days surrounding the Bantam event there were several incidents throughout the U.S. of streaking objects crashing to Earth.
“In one particular case in California, they were actually able to recover the meteor fragments out in the desert. It seems that these were all linked to the same meteor shower,” said Mr. Nowinski.
He said the most frequent question they’ve received about the Bantam incident is, “What could be done if this object were larger?”
“Truth be told, there is no defense against an impact from a large meteor, so I suppose, in a way, people can count themselves lucky up there,” said Mr. Nowinski.
According to The Smoking Gun Web site, www.sgra.org, the group studies the paranormal, metaphysical and the unexplained.
In the wake of the reports about the incident, the Bantam Lake Protective Association’s former president, Robert LaBonne, sent an e-mail to State Sen. Andrew Roraback (R-Goshen), who is running in the Fifth Congressional District, and State Rep. Craig Miner (R-Litchfield), telling the legislators he had received e-mails from as a far away as Florida.
Mr. LaBonne said in April that with modern technology and the 911 service, he would have thought the State Police could trace the 911 call back to the cell phone owner, since the citizen who claimed to see the object fall into the lake did not remain at the scene.
Mr. Nowinski has been invited to teach a class on investigating the unexplained as part of the Litchfield and Thomaston Adult Education program at the Foothills Adult & Continuing Education Program in Thomaston and Litchfield in the fall, and he will be using the Bantam Lake incident in some discussions about how investigations are carried out.
“There’s many other mysteries from the Litchfield area to include as well, so that will make for good tie-ins to the class lessons, and with summer on us, the season for Litchfield Bigfoots has arrived,” said Mr. Nowinski. “So maybe I’ll have some good close encounters of other kinds to report to you in the future.”
Mr. Nowinski said last Wednesday in an e-mail that this isn’t the first incident to happen around Bantam Lake that drew the group’s attention.
“We’ve actually looked into several UFO reports in the area directly around Bantam Lake,” Mr. Nowinski said, “and [we] have made trips out there many times over the past few years to do some on-site investigating, which is why we are so familiar with the area.”
He said UFO sightings in Litchfield County are actually pretty common, and they tend to receive three or four a month between Torrington, Litchfield and New Milford.
“Especially the area along the Route 8 corridor from about Plymouth on up to Colebrook and all around Route 202, which, of course, runs right by Bantam and Candlewood Lake, which have always been ‘hotspots’ for reports” Mr. Nowinski said.
According to Mr. Nowinski, there are even Native American stories of “Sky People” coming down and interacting with some tribes in the Litchfield area, specifically around Mohawk Mountain.
Mr. Nowinski said in his e-mail, aside from UFO sightings, there are also ghost stories from all over Kent, Cornwall and the Washington area.
“Of course there’s the old legend of Dudleytown, which despite the rumors is not quite the ‘cursed town’ its reputation suggests,” said Mr. Nowinski. “But there are many other more interesting local stories,”
Stories range from a haunted Cornwall covered bridge to stories of people hearing and seeing ghost trains running along the old railroad tracks in the Kent area.
“There are a lot of old inns and homesteads in the area that are filled with stories, and we’ve had the chance to conduct a few investigations up that way,” Mr. Nowinski said. “I’m always on a look-out for places with interesting histories whose owners are willing to let us come up and see what we get.”
Mr. Nowinski also mentioned the Litchfield Bigfoot, for which sightings have been reported since the 1950s in Canaan, Goshen, Warren, Litchfield and Cornwall.
“In 2007 we received a call from someone who was hiking around Mohawk Mountain with four other people and they claimed to have seen a Bigfoot-like creature walk across the road inside the state park from about 50 yards away,” said Mr. Nowinski.
There are other similar stories from hikers, hunters and even people just driving by on the roads who claim to have seen such a creature just off in the woods or walking across the fields., he reported.
“This actually has some tie back to Native American stories as well, as we’ve spoken with people who relayed stories passed down from generations about ‘wild men’ who lived in the woods,” said Mr. Nowinski. “Though, there has never been any concrete evidence, photographs or videos as there have been of other Bigfoot sightings.”
I am in agreement with Mr. Nowinski in his assessment. As I said, I go camping up on Bantam Lake every summer, and I don’t think a year has gone by where we haven’t seen dozens of shooting stars. It wouldn’t surprise me if a small meteorite did fall into the lake. That being said, I’ve also seen a very strange object in the sky, as well as a few other odd things in and around the lake. But those are stories for another time…