UFO Brooklyn: Otherworldly Lore Fascinates Borough
UFO Brooklyn: Otherworldly Lore Fascinates Borough
by Harold Egeln
The Brooklyn Eagle

BROOKLYN — When the word “UFO” is mentioned, people’s reactions go the full range, from snickers to the serious. In Brooklyn, which even has a “Weird Brooklyn” blog site, there is a cosmic culture history of UFO lore and reports that spans the borough through time, space and song.

In 1950 Woody Guthrie, while living on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, wrote a song “My Flying Saucer,” wishing for a friendly otherworldly visitor in his lyrics, set to music by Billy Braggs years later. The song, released on the Mermaid Avenue, Vol. II album, was first publicized in a New York Times article in 1998.

In the late 1990s, gothic horror writer Whitley Strieber briefly lived in Brooklyn Heights. He is author of three books made into movies, including The Wolfen and The Hunger, but is better known for his series of alien encounter books, starting with his 1988 number one bestseller Communion.

In early 2007, a fictional movie about UFO abductions, From Other Worlds, was released. Producer and director Barry Strugatz of Park Slope told the story of a befuddled Brooklyn housewife who has strange experiences and finds the fictional Kings County UFO Support Group, which appeared to meet in the Downtown Brooklyn YMCA.

There, she meets an Ivory Coast immigrant who lives also in Brooklyn. After the meeting they go to the former City Lights Diner across from the Y, where they begin to be haunted by a mysterious “man in black.”

That leads them on a search for the origins of the aliens, with a scene filmed in the Brooklyn Museum. Three years ago Powerhouse Books in DUMBO published the art photo book U.F.O., complied by the Williamsburg-based Combustion Motor Corp. The group took photos of the graffiti artist U.F.O., who scrawled images of a flying saucer with an alien peeking out on top all over the city.

The group wondered why he would do this, and in their research found a whole history of alien-looking images stretching throughout human history. They sent their book with letters to people such as Norman Mailer, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Pynchon and Steven Spielberg asking for feedback.

Abduction Project

In 2001 the Collision Theater performance group based in Fort Greene produced and staged a play, The Abduction Project, using movement, music and dramatic scenes to portray the “UFO experience.” To create their play, they interviewed alleged UFO abductees.

Want a bagel on your saucer? Since February 2000, Brooklyn has been home to the Flying Saucer Café at 494 Atlantic Ave. Original owners Julie Ipcar and husband John Brien designed the café with flying saucer history and culture in mind, using 1950s comic books depicting famous UFO incidents from that era, such as “UFO fleets” over Washington, D.C. in July 1952.

There have been many UFOs reported over the decades in Brooklyn. The borough also is home to UFO witness advocates such as Joseph Capp who organized an online UFO Meet-Up Group blog that holds regular meetings in a diner. An editor of the defunct Brooklyn Bridge Magazine once filed a Brooklyn UFO sighting report.

East New York resident Posey Gilbert has related his experiences and of others on his web site and TV, and has filmed apparent UFOs in the sky and a “crop circle” in a Brooklyn park. Researcher Alex Cavallari, who was New York State director of Skywatch International, taped and photographed alleged UFOs over his Sheepshead Bay home.

In the mid-1990s, a book by Chelsea artist and world-famous UFO abduction investigator Budd Hopkins, Witnessed: The True Story of the Brooklyn Bridge Abductions, told of an alleged abduction by aliens of a woman in an apartment complex at the Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge. A reported witness included a woman driving over the bridge from Brooklyn.

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