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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Decemystery (2022.3) 10: The 1965 Brooklyn Cylindrical UFO Sighting


When you think of New York, what comes to your mind first? Some may think of how expensive it is, while others may think of New York City. Both are acceptable answers; in my case, I think of one word: home. It’s where I was born and raised and lived for almost all of my life; I moved out of the state last November, and to be honest, I miss it greatly. Sure, life where I reside now is great, for the most part, but I’ll always consider New York to be my home.

There’s one other thing I think about when I think of New York, though, and that’s that it’s home to a surprisingly large number of UFO sightings. Heck, my mother saw one; I, sadly, was not awake to experience it, and I’m still jealous of her. Seriously, my friends and family have experienced a bunch of the things that I write about; why am I never around when the creepy stuff happens!? Bah, one of these days, I will get to see a UFO for myself.

Anyway, given that New York is host to so many UFO reports, I figured that today, I would go over one. So come along, dear reader, it’s time for us to head on over to the City That Never Sleeps. This is the story of The 1965 Brooklyn Cylindrical UFO Sighting!

The Big Apple’s Big Airship

I found this story while browsing through Think About It Docs, a website that catalogs a bunch of UFO sightings. The link on the site for where they found it now leads to a page that advertised slot machines, though the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) had a report on the sighting. According to them, the report was submitted on October 21, 2002, and was posted to the site a week later; the sighting, however, took place on August 20, 1965. So, keep that in mind as we go through the story.

The eyewitness didn’t give a name or alias, so I’ll be referring to them as “Daniel,” because it was the first name that sprang to mind. According to Daniel, who was 10 years old at the time, he and his mom would take their dog for a walk around at night; this night was no different. They were at the Parade Ground (which amounted to baseball and football fields that were fenced) across from Parkside Avenue and Prospect Park. It was 8:30 p.m. (20:30 for my 24-hour time readers), and all appeared to be normal; the dog was off of his leash and running around, being a very good boy.

Knowing that the dog wouldn’t run off and become the latest victim to a New York City cabbie (the worst drivers who aren’t from New Jersey—my sincerest apologies to anyone who has to live in New Jersey), Daniel and his mom decided to do a bit of stargazing. Whether or not they found any constellations, I don’t know.

What I do know is that Daniel eventually looked to his left and saw something he initially thought was a submarine. I’m not sure why he’d think there’d be a flying submarine, but I digress; he soon realized that it was something else entirely and that it was surprisingly close to the ground, being around two stories higher than the six-story-tall buildings beneath it. For context, that would mean that this thing was only 20 or so feet (6 meters) above the buildings it was flying over. I could be a bit off on this, but the point is that whatever this was, it was flying surprisingly close to the ground.

As for additional details, Daniel mentioned that it was “solid” and was moving “slow and steady,” which is not uncommon with some UFO sightings. He also described it as having a round front, with the overall shape being akin to “a very long medicine capsule.” He also said that it was dark grey (or “as grey as can be before you rule it black”) and lacked any shine. It also lacked any windows, fuselage, discernable markings, a gondola, or noticeable lights (aside from the street lamps that were on). As far as Daniel and his mom could see, there was nothing to indicate that this was a blimp.

Upon seeing the slow-moving cylinder, Daniel asked his mom if she was seeing what he was seeing. She responded in the affirmative. To their credit, neither ran off screaming as you’d expect; I’ll get to why in a little while because, trust me, this was no ordinary UFO.

This next bit is weird; the way it’s worded on Think About It Docs is genuinely mystifying. Daniel claimed that he and his mother “sensed” that there was “a light behind the darkness.” What he saw was, apparently, “dark grey,” but his mind knew that it was the vessel emitting light—“dark light.” This is described differently in NUFORC’s report, where Daniel wrote that it was just “stone black.” I find that kind of weird, but it could have been edited by whoever approved the story on the site to make it sound less sensationalistic.

As a quick aside, I have no idea what exactly dark light is in the realm of science, so if someone who’s leagues smarter than me wants to help me out here, please do.

Although the rear of the airship was emitting any visible light (maybe), one thing Daniel could see was an aperture. However, he said he wasn’t able to remember if it was an arch, square, or circular. I’d like to believe that it was a parallelogram.

It’s also here where Daniel makes a note of how he’s “struggling” with his memories—in this case, if “there was a single tiny light, blue or red” on the top of the UFO’s back. This is on the Think About It Docs article, and I want you to remember this for later because it’s a very important piece of information.

Okay, now, let’s circle back to what I said above about this being no ordinary UFO. There have been large reports of large UFOs; in the case of this one, however, it has the honor of being the largest one I know of that was seen so close to the ground, and it was over the largest city in the United States—even back then!

According to Daniel, he believed that this thing was about 300 feet (91 meters) longer than the USS Intrepid, a ship that I’ve seen in person and is absolutely massive. It’s 872 feet long; Daniel estimated that the UFO he and his mother saw was a staggering 1,200 feet (365 meters) long. He got this measurement due to the back portion being over Buckingham Road while the other end was over Stratford Road; Daniel claimed that “street maps” put the distance between the two at 1,200 feet. I checked Google Maps, and according to it, the distance is 0.3 miles (or 1,584 feet, which is 482 meters). So, Daniel was a little bit off.

Despite the unbelievably enormous—neither Daniel nor his mom were at all scared. Rather, they both felt “serene.” The only time Daniel felt any other way was when he looked at the rear of the ship when he felt worried that he may see something he wasn’t supposed to see. Luckily, he didn’t see anything—figuratively and literally.

After this, the two watched as the UFO slowly but surely made its way west until it faded from sight. Daniel never told his father about their encounters with the UFO, nor did Daniel’s mom. The two would talk about it over the years, though, and there was a discrepancy between what they saw, one I only saw mentioned in the NUFORC article. Apparently, whereas Daniel saw “a perfect cylinder,” his mom saw something that was more akin to a cigar-shaped UFO, with this craft having a “bulge in the center.”

All told, this sighting—supposedly—lasted around two minutes. This confuses me because when Daniel said it moved “slow and steady,” I was under the impression it was moving at a snail’s pace, not moving like it was competing in a NASCAR race. Either it progressively got faster, or Daniel’s definition of “slow” was chewed up and regurgitated by a black hole.

Decades later, with the advent of the Internet, Daniel looked up “cylinder UFO” and discovered that he wasn’t the only one who’d seen something like this. However, he and his mother appeared to be the only ones who saw that quarter-mile-long, slow-moving behemoth that fateful night. Indeed, according to Daniel, no newspaper, television news network, or radio show mentioned the strange object over Brooklyn. That wouldn’t be the first time New York City has failed to acknowledge something strange; they still haven’t properly explained why they keep Staten Island around!

Anyway, with that, our story comes to an end. This was, as far as I know, the one and only sighting of this object; no other reports exist from this time. Luckily, it didn’t leave us without any theories, so let’s dig into them!


1. A blimp

I’m going to start with this theory since it’s the one that I think most would think of when they read about this, and it’s not hard to see why at first. If you go based on Daniel’s mother’s description of the ship, it sounds like it could have been a blimp that was descending.

Additionally, blimps aren’t as fast as regular airplanes; most travel at speeds of 85 mph (136 kph). However, others, like the Goodyear Blimp (which is used for advertising purposes), travel at 35 mph (56 kph). So, in that regard, it’s easy to think why this may have been a blimp. However, there are a multitude of massive issues.

The first is the length of this thing. The Hindenburg—which, as far as I know, was the largest airship ever made—was 806 feet (245 meters) long; there is no airship, as far as I know, that comes anywhere close to whatever this thing was. I mean, it was nearly twice the size of the Hindenburg; it was as long as five football fields.

Not only that, but I’m pretty sure all aerial machines require lights on them in some fashion or form; I could be wrong, but I’m almost certain they’re mandatory. Even if they’re not, the lack of lights would eliminate this from having been something like the aforementioned Goodyear Blimp. Even if it didn’t, that blimp is 246 feet (75 meters) long, which is significantly shorter than what Daniel and his mom saw.

The next issue is that this thing didn’t produce any sound. Blimps, while they’re quieter than airplanes, are not silent. While I don’t know how loud they’d be to people on the ground, they’re apparently quite noisy the closer you get. Since this thing was apparently only two stories above the buildings it was flying over, I cannot imagine the residents wouldn’t have heard this thing.

There are a bunch of other things I can harp on the fact no satellites apparently saw this thing, nobody seeing it descend, and so much more. But I don’t want to drag this out for an egregious amount of time. The main point that I’m trying to get across is that this theory, while it makes sense from the outside, has a lot of problems. It’s a rare instance where I’d say that the most rational explanation is arguably the most illogical.

2. An alien ship

I believe in aliens; I sure as hell don’t think we’re alone in the universe. However, I have to wonder what the mindset would be for slowly flying over a major metropolitan area. It sure as heck wouldn’t be a big-brained one, especially for intergalactic space travelers!

Our second theory is that this was an alien spacecraft. There have been reports of large UFOs; large triangular shapes in the sky, for example, are quite common. Cigar-shaped UFOs aren’t novel, either. I’m not sure what the practicality of such a design is, especially for an aerial vehicle, but I’m sure one exists. If anyone wants to educate me, feel free to.

Where this theory falls apart—at least in some capacity—is where it was seen. In a city of millions, where there are numerous people out and about at any given moment, how only two people in total reported this thing is beyond me. New York City is one of the most active locations on Earth—even back in 1965. It’s absolutely unreal that only two eyewitnesses exist for this sighting.

On the other hand, you could argue that Daniel misremembered a lot of the details; that would not be terribly shocking since it had been close to forty years since this happened. Despite that, I still believe that the lack of additional eyewitnesses is still a major hindrance. Even if this thing was only 12 or so feet long, I would still think someone else would have seen it and reported it. This is New York City, not a farming village in Iowa. There are a lot of people in a small amount. Maybe my ignorance of small-town America is showing; let’s move on before I make a bigger clown of myself.

3. A hoax

The third theory is one that I’m sure most of you will know the song and dance to once this month is over. If not, I tend to be cautious about labeling things as hoaxes, at least, not unless I’m not confident in it. The main reason for that stance is that I can’t really draw up a good reason for the hoax. If you’re going to perpetrate one, you’d usually want something to get out of it: money, fame, clout, prove a point, something like that. While I don’t always apply this rule (there are instances where a story is too absurd for me to believe), I try my best to abide by that rule.

This story achieved none of those things for Daniel. As far as I know, anyway. He didn’t become as well-known as someone like Travis Walton, nor did he become a ufology hotshot. His story is featured on a few UFO sites and nothing more.

I’d also like to point out the odd discrepancy between the ship moving “slow and steady,” and the sighting lasting two minutes. This could be purely on me, but the two don’t feel like they add up, especially with how large this thing was. Perhaps I’m thinking a bit too narrow-mindedly, but it sounds like this thing moved at a decent pace.

With that said, if this theory has anything going for it, it’s the sheer craziness of the whole thing. The massive size of the ship makes it hard to miss, even at night, and being in a city that was the most inhabited place in the United States is incredible. It’s hard to look at this case and not roll your eyes at a lot of the details.

Of course, it’s possible that other eyewitnesses were intimidated into being quiet, or maybe there’s some other explanation. I just hope none of those targets were cabbies.

4. Hippies

Those blasted hippies and their 1,200-foot-long flying cylinders. I always knew they were no good!

My Take

My initial reaction to this story was that Daniel saw a blimp; based on his mother having seen a “bulge” near the center, I’m inclined to think that he misremembered some things and thought it was a massive UFO. However, the more I thought about it, the more I thought this was way too crazy, and I ended up writing it off as a work of fiction.

Look, I’ll be among the first to say that I poke fun at how people from New York City are oblivious to anything and everything above them, but I cannot imagine anyone outside of these two people being the only ones to have seen this. Surely, someone else saw this gargantuan ship. If the Phoenix Lights were seen by hundreds of people, there is absolutely no excuse for this thing to have been seen by only two random folks in a park.

I simply cannot see this being anything other than a hoax. While yes, I am open to counterarguments, I cannot see anything—and I mean anything—of this size being missed by not only the residents of New York City but every satellite in space or, hell, just any amateur astronomer. I mean, for God’s sake, it was an astronomer who saw the so-called “Bronx Mothership” in 1879. I imagine that someone would have been outside stargazing and would have seen this thing descending toward the ground!

The one area I’m willing to concede ground on is the lack of a clear motivation from Daniel. While it’s possible he just wanted to troll, I admit that that’s a weak explanation. However, I’m willing to accept it on the grounds of this story’s wild nature. I can’t really see it as anything other than a hoax.

Of course, that’s merely my take; as I said, I’m open to counterarguments. As it stands, though, I don’t think this happened. Unless it was considerably smaller than Daniel believes it to have been, I cannot see this having been real. At some point, things are too big to miss, and this passed that point several football fields ago.


This was a remarkably fun story to cover—even if the conclusion was a bit frustrating. A part of me feels like a dick for dismissing it since I’m relying more on my personal feelings, but I’d feel a million times worse if I ignored them. God, I wish I had more answers to the things I stumble across so I’d have closure. Alas, I am not so lucky; then again, I’m blessed to have what I have, so it all works out in the end. So, until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, and thank you for reading!

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