New Hampshire has always had a strange infatuation with UFOs, so much so that one Gilford native went on to create a successful SyFy Series based on an undercover alien, while a monument marks the spot of the state’s most controversial encounter.

So it should come as no surprise that locals continue to spin Martian yarn about the Exeter Incident, which was seemingly debunked over a decade ago.

For those unfamiliar, the Incident allegedly took place on September 3, 1965.

The number one song on the charts during that time was The Beatles’ “Help!” Bill Russell and the Celtics were gearing up for their ninth title in 10 seasons. And “The Twilight Zone” had left the airwaves more than a year prior.

Like something out of Rod Serling’s masterful sci-fi anthology, witnesses in Kensington and Epping appeared startled enough by flashing red lights in the sky that the craft was investigated by two Exeter police officers. There were horses kicking, trees swaying, and enough corroborations to give the story legs (and tentacles).

Just one question: did everyone miss when it was debunked in 2011?

That’s when former Air Force pilot James McGaha came forward and used the object’s light patterns to identify it as a refueling plane, much like the one he had once used in Exeter while operating out of Pease Air Force Base, according to NH Magazine.

And historians remembered that witnesses that night in 1965 had heard, you guessed it, military aircraft flying overhead. And yet, the story persists, with the Seacoast holding events in the years to come to “commemorate” the “Incident.”

Sorry, but this is no Barney and Betty Hill.

So why is it, when we can barely handle the thought of locusts and Murder Hornets, that we insist on believing some Martians may have stopped off to see a show at the Ioka?

I guess I may have answered my own question. Now More Than Ever, it’s fun to take refuge in the unknown, even when it’s quite likely explained away. For as Vermont has Champ, Exeter has its Incident.

After all, what kind of human name is "James McGaha" anyway?

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