Thom Reed submitted photo
The Reed family has made U.S. history: The off-world incident their family encountered in the year 1969 in Sheffield, Massachusetts, is the first case in the United States to be declared by historians as a true event.
In a letter written Feb. 6, Debbie Oppermann, director of the Great Barrington Historical Society and Museum, wrote that the society “confirms that the Reed off-world incident is historically significant and true and warrants induction into the GBHS collection.”
Great Barrington, a larger town than Sheffield, is approximately six miles north of where the incident occurred.
Thomas “Thom” Reed, a fashion photographer and founder of Miami Models, a modeling agency in Florida, described the support as an honor.
“For it to be the first UFO case in the United States to be officially recognized as a true event, I think, to me, that is better than any book, movie — anything we could have dreamed of accomplishing,” Reed said. “And I want that to stand as a tribute to my father.”
Reed’s father, Howard Reed, a politician, passed away on Oct. 2, 2006, 14 years to the exact date after the family’s case was mentioned at the United Nations.
There were multiple factors that led the historical society to make their decision.
For instance, Reed passed his polygraph test with flying colors in the year 2010. According to UFO Casebook Files, he passed “with a score of over 99.1 percent.”
Also, there is physical evidence that supports the occurrence.
In a letter written by Detective Steven White, the lead investigator of the family off-world encounters, he reported he was able to confirm the “presence of magnetic fields and radioactive readings associated with the Reed incidents.”
For historians or a township to officially induct a historical event and for it to be considered true history, it must have had a life-changing impact on the area in one way or another, whether that impact was positive or negative.
To this day, according to the Historical Society people in Sheffield and Great Barrington, locals “recall and mention the historic encounter” and it is discussed frequently.
The family also had two prior incidents: one in 1966 and again in 1967.
“The first two (incidents) just made life miserable for my family,” Reed said.
The first incidents involved Thom and his younger brother, Matthew. Both times, the boys were talking in their room when there was a bright light. The next thing they knew, they were outside.
Reed recalled how the first two incidents negatively affected the family’s restaurant.
“(My mom) would get a lot of heat from the locals, you know, just kind of foul comments and so-on but it became very hard for her because she was trying to tell people what she saw and people were making fun of her,” said Reed.
The third incident was the one that saved the family’s reputation and is the case that is inducted. The incident included not only Thom and Matthew, but also his mother, Nancy and his grandmother, Marian.
“But in (1969) when… it made a lot of press and people were witnessing it and reported seeing it … it saved my mother’s reputation. So in a way, it helped. If that makes any sense,” Reed said with a laugh. “Because people were coming back in (the restaurant) and saying, ‘Oh, we saw it, too.’ and ‘I’m sorry we didn’t believe you.’”
Dozens of witnesses reported seeing an unknown craft to police officers and sheriffs in Sheffield and Great Barrington. The local radio station was flooded with calls as well.
Thom Reed was 9-years-old at the time of the third incident.
According to an article written by The Berkshire View, the family was driving home when suddenly a bright light emerged near their car.
“They all remember finding themselves inside a structure, and each has different bits and fragments of memory from the experience,” wrote the article.
Thom was led down a hallway by something that shared human characteristics. It looked male, had a weak chin and had no hair. It wore a white jumpsuit and eyewear.
Hours later, they came to in their station wagon.
The Reed case has a display here in Roswell at the International UFO Museum and Research Center.
Reed plans to participate in the UFO Festival this summer. This year is the festival’s 20th anniversary.
He is holding a panel discussion on Friday, July 3, from 4-5:30 p.m. at the UFO Museum titled “Historically Significant UFO Cases.”
“I’m holding my own panel there that will focus on the more significant UFO cases … the ones that have impacted and engraved themselves in U.S. history,” said Reed.
This will be his third time attending the UFO Festival.
To learn more about Thom Reed’s and his family’s story, visit his website at tomreed.info.
Record Intern Katy Ross can be contacted at 575-622-7710, ext. 302, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.