The Paranormal Zone

The Palmer Corn Circle

The Palmer Corn Circle
by Scott Browne

Date of the Incident : August 10 - 11 (Fri. & Sat.) 2001
Time: Approx. 2:00 am
Location: Springfield St. Three Rivers, Ma.
Witnesses: Mr. and Mrs. John Sasur, their daughter(lives in the house next door), Mr. Richard M. Atkinson (neighbor), a Palmer Police Lt.
At this time I was an investigator for MUFON and I was the closest to the site so I received an email the day after the event...

At approx. 2: oo am on Sat. August 11th 2001, Mrs. Sasur was awakened by a bright light illuminating her entire backyard which is actually a series of beautiful flower and vegetable gardens (The Sasur's have sold fruits and vegetable from a roadside stand for years. She stepped towards the window and saw that the outside was lit up as if it were daytime.  She says the tops of the trees were clearly visible as if there was stadium lighting.  Thinking maybe the police were looking for something with searchlights, she went to the front of the house, but spotted no cars or people anywhere.  When she returned to the back window all was dark, the light was gone and she set off back to bed. 

At approx. 9:00 the next morning she says she got up and went outside to clip flowers from her garden.  This is when she discovered the area of depressed corn just off of her flower area.  At this point was when she thought the light and the flattened corn maybe connected in some way.  After she informed her husband he returned to the damaged area to try to lift some of the flattened stalks that were overlapping on to the flower garden.  When he tried to stand them or push them in the opposite direction they would snap right back to the original flattened state which prompted him to get shears and cut a majority of the middle area out.

 When the Sasur’s mentioned these strange events to the daughter ( who lives in the house directly to the right of her parents home) she to remembered being awakened at the same time by a light outside, but thought it was strange to have lightning with no thunder or noise at all. 


Mr. Sasur then went to ask his neighbor Mr. Richard M. Atkinson (who lives directly to the left of the Sasur home) if he had noticed anything unusual during the night in question.  Mr. Atkinson stated that he awoke to go to the bathroom at around 2:00 a.m. and as he passed the window he noticed beams of light fanning through the corn stalks in the backyard.  He assumed that Mr. Sasur was out in the corn field checking on his plants so he went back to bed and forgot all about it until it was brought up again. 


Approx. 3 houses down from the Sasur residence lives a Palmer Police Lt. who stated to Mr. Sasur that one the 12th or 13th he had seen what he thought was the moon up above the hill slightly to the east of the cirlcle.  As he studied it more it became more like searchlight beams in the sky panning back and forth. 



The depressed area of corn is approx. 18 ft. in diameter with the stalks on the outer parimeter curved outword.  The circle lies at the end of a flowerbed set back into a large corn crop. (Mr. Sasur and his son demonstrated bending the corn to reproduce this curved appearance, but the stalks either snapped back straight or cracked and  broke.)  These stalks are approx. 10 ft. tall, green, strong, and the curved examples look as a plant would if it was forced to grow around something to get to a light source.  (Mr. Sasur stated that he called a local farmer from down the road to come take a look and see what he thought.  When he arrived he said that in his 40 plus years of farming he has never seen anything like it.)  Mr. Sasur stated that when he first arrived the stalks in the middle were mostly lying south to north.  There was no noise associated with the incidents.
There were no footprints in the exposed soil areas and the stalks were not snapped or broken.


By Matt Gunderson Globe Correspondent / March 2, 2008

The craft was at a very low altitude and moving very slowly in the chilly air above Woburn last November. One witness said she saw the object as she was turning her car onto an exit ramp, and described it as having a triangular shape, three large white lights on the side, and a red light in its center.

Mystified, the woman, whose name was not released for confidentiality reasons, went home and filed an online report with the Massachusetts Mutual UFO Network, a Framingham-based nonprofit organization that investigates sightings of unidentified flying objects across the state.

While such accounts are often explained away or even ridiculed by skeptics, sightings that appear to defy descriptions of conventional aircraft fascinate Greg Berghorn, director of the state chapter of the national Mutual UFO Network, known as MUFON.

The Massachusetts group was established in 1984 and now boasts about 100 volunteer field investigators, and logs approximately 50 UFO reports annually. The vast majority can be explained as hoaxes, misidentified satellites, or even the planet Venus, said Berghorn, but three or four sightings every year are not so easy to discredit.

Strange lights appearing to one person, whose observation skills may be impaired or distorted, is one thing, said Berghorn. But when multiple witnesses report similar unusual sightings independently and from different locations, things get more interesting.

As an example, Berghorn cited an incident in 1997, when a retired machinist in northern Massachusetts filed a report describing a large, low-flying, disc-like object that was moving so slowly it took almost a minute to pass over his house. Another report was filed by a woman a short distance north in New Hampshire, who independently described the same object passing by her house 20 minutes later, he said.

Berghorn drew a trajectory line based on the machinist's account, and the two stories matched up.

"It occurred so that I could actually draw a timeline between their two houses," said Berghorn, an engineer from Tewksbury. "This was a very bizarre object, and it was very unique."

As is the case with most field investigations, Berghorn said, his inquiry into the matter ended there and yielded no more evidence than the two eyewitness accounts.

"What is frustrating about this process is that it's not as cleanly cut as a TV show," he said. "The evidence is very murky. A lot of the information becomes unresolved. People won't talk to you."

The fear of ridicule prevents some would-be witnesses from coming forward, said Berghorn. For this reason, the organization does not disclose the names of witnesses who file reports, unless the witnesses are willing to go public, he said. The national organization estimates that only one in 10 UFO sightings are reported, a number that Berghorn thinks is a little high.

Page 2 of 2 --The reports coming into the local chapter vary in nature, he said, ranging from tiny objects streaking or zigzagging across the sky to people allegedly being taken up into UFOs. The abduction phenomenon is largely explained away by mainstream researchers, although a prominent Harvard University psychiatrist, John Mack, sparked controversy in the early '90s after becoming convinced that the abductions are real and not mere fantasies or delusions.

more stories like this Mark Petty, assistant director for Mass. MUFON, described a reported near-abduction case in 2004 in Billerica that has fascinated UFO buffs worldwide.

He said a couple, who identified themselves publicly only as Robert and Anne, saw a large craft appear over their house one December evening as they were standing on their deck. They reported being engulfed in a bright white light. As they stared up into the light, a blue beam pierced down, settled on Anne and started pulling her off the deck. In terror, Robert grabbed his wife by the waist and "threw her into the kitchen" before following her quickly through the door.

When he looked back outside, the light had disappeared, according to their report. The man said he was so shaken that he couldn't even pick up the phone when it rang a minute later.

Petty and other field investigators from the chapter canvassed the neighborhood and even placed an ad in local newspapers in an attempt to corroborate the story, but the only supporting evidence came from a sister of Robert. She said she was driving in the area at the time, and saw a brilliant white light with a blue trail hovering near the ground in the vicinity of the couple's house.

While such accounts are compelling for some, Berghorn and Petty both said they are not "true believers" in the notion that extraterrestrials are visiting the planet.

Berghorn said his vantage point as an engineer and amateur astronomer restrains him from leaping to conclusions, though he did say that he views at least some of the reports as unexplained phenomena.

"Most of the really odd [sightings] are sufficiently credible enough that you can't just explain it away by saying the person's crazy," said Berghorn. "And that's what keeps us going."

Physical evidence in the field is scarce but does exist, said Berghorn. Corn stalks that had been flattened in a crop-circle formation in Western Massachusetts, for example, had been exposed to microwave radiation, which is hard to square with a hoax scenario, he said.

Often, witnesses of UFO events are distressed at what they have seen and have difficulty coming to terms with their experiences, added Berghorn. About the only thing investigators can offer such "experiencers," as they are called in UFO circles, is empathy and shared knowledge, he said.

"What I've learned is that oftentimes, people don't really want answers to their questions so much as they want to know that other people have experienced the same thing," said Berghorn. "They at least get some comfort out of that, because we can't offer them any answers."

The Massachusetts chapter maintains a 24-hour hotline for UFO sightings, 781-246-0523. Sightings can also be reported on their website,