UFO sighting in Killingly?

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Wed., Jul. 13, 2011
This strange light, hovering over the woods on July 11 around 11:30 p.m. caught Killingly resident Sherrie Racine's attention, and she photographed it. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Sherri Racine doesn't appear to be a crazy woman. She lives with her 11-year-old son in an in-law apartment in her parents' home in Danielson.

The 36-year-old school bus driver for Killingly was watching television late on Monday, July 11, when she saw a light hovering above the trees behind the large ranch where she lives. She thought it was odd, since she lives about 400 feet down a driveway off Ledge Road on a 34-acre piece of property. Ledge Road is part dirt, part pavement, and cuts from Bailey Hill to Shippee School House Road in a very rural portion of the town. There are almost 2 miles of undeveloped land between the backyard and Brickhouse Road to the south. Slightly more than 3 miles lie between Ledge Road and Bear Hill Road to the north. The trees are dense around the house, dense all along the road - oaks, pines, birch, typical broad-leaf mix common to this part of Connecticut. There are neighbors on the road, but none are close, and no lights - save the ones issuing from the house - illuminate the area.

Racine isn't used to seeing lights late at night in the backyard behind the house. But this object, she said, hovered in the air, and its lights twinkled red, blue and white. It seemed more like two bands to her, with the colored lights glowing from the corners, and the white lights blinking along the middle, top and bottom of the object.

She took her Sony a350 digital camera and fastened a zoom lens onto it. She went outside and took a few pictures. It was 11:40 p.m.

The house Racine lives in belongs to her parents, George and Starlet Lenth. Her in-law apartment has a walk-out exit into the back yard. A short lawn separates her sliding door from dense woods only 50 feet away. From there, the woods slope down to what George Lenth estimates to be 7 to 9 acres of swampy area. The space of woods between the lawn and the swamp is about 400 yards, Lenth estimates.

It was over this swampy area that Racine said she saw the hovering lights. They were just below the tree line level at the edge of the swamp. Mature white oaks and white pines reach between 80 and 100 feet high. She and her father estimate the lights were about 60 to 70 feet above the swampy area.

July 11 was a cloudy night, Racine said. There were no stars. There was no moon. “I know it wasn't the moon,” the young woman said, with a laugh.

She watched the lights for about half an hour, she said.

The lighted thing stayed mostly in one area, moving slowly when it did. “It lit up the woods, almost like a spotlight,” she said. But it wasn't a spotlight. The light was diffuse.

She walked to the above-ground pool at the edge of the lawn. She took several photographs. The height of the object and the leaves, needles and branches between her and the thing made clear shots difficult.

She said she could clearly see the colors: red, white and blue.

After almost 30 minutes, the lighted thing moved closer to the house. It lit up the woods closer to the house with that diffuse light. That's when she got a little scared.

“I didn't want to see any little green men walking towards me,” she said, laughing again.

It was after midnight when she went upstairs to see if her parents were awake. They were not. George Lenth was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago. Seven years ago a doctor told him that he had two months to live. He has continued living, but he gets tired easily these days. When Racine saw that her parents were asleep, she did not wake them. Racine also lives with her 11-year-old son, Shain. She did not want to wake him either.

The next morning Shain and Racine's nephew, Corey Valliere, went out to explore the area behind the house. They found a patch of tall grass that had been flattened. Imagine long weeds in a stream flowing in one direction with the water. That is what the grass looked like on the hillside leading down towards the swampy area. The area was about 8 feet by 10 feet, according to Racine's father.

Lenth claims to have spent much of his life out in nature. He has two stuffed black bears, the mounted head of another and the skin and head of yet another. A boar’s head is mounted on the wall from a hunt in New Brunswick. Of the 6-foot bear standing upright in his rec room, he said, “I tracked him for five days.” When Lenth saw the flattened patch of grass, he thought: deer don't make these kinds of beds. Deer make circular beds, he said. They fold themselves up.

Lenth owned a camper that was parked in a small clearing. The camper had been broken apart years ago, and he planned to burn the debris. This lay close to the flattened grass area. There seemed to be no evidence of anything that could have been taken from the pile to create the flat mark in the grass.

Lenth pointed out some saplings that were bent over. Racine clipped a leaf from the sapling and rubbed it between her fingers. “It's birch,” she said, “smell it.” The thin bark along the length of their trunks were scraped. Lenth couldn't think of any animal that would do that. Deer might, he offered, in rutting season, but rutting season is in the fall, not July. When deer are sick or hurt, they let out a distress call, Lenth said. They don't mess with trees. “I've been out in the woods all my life,” he said. He couldn't explain what had made the marks or bent the trees.

Racine's son rides a Kawasaki 80 through the trails in the woods. “A four-wheeler pushes down the grass but they leave tire tracks,” Racine said. The patch of grass was uniformly flattened.

There was one other odd thing Racine noticed when she was outside watching the lighted thing. It was quiet outside. With the swamp so close, it's usually like an orchestra out there at night, she said. That night ,there was no noise. “No frogs, no crickets, nothing. It was dead silence,” she said.

When asked, she claimed that she had not taken drugs or alcohol that evening. “I had a clear mind,” she said.

Racine did not call the police. She did not wake her parents or son. She went to bed. “It sounds kind of stupid,” she said. “I was nervous. My eyes were open for a while.” She eventually fell asleep.

The former Air Force security policewoman has heard stories about UFOs, but doesn't know anyone personally who has seen one. “I'm not crazy,” she said.

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