Superstition holds that Friday the 13th is supposed to be unlucky, but for two Essex county residents traveling on U.S. Interstate 95 north of Boston, June 13, 2008 was a day to have an otherworldly experience.
At about 10 a.m. that morning, Robert Mace, 36, of Amesbury, MA, was driving his 19-year-old nephew James to a local high school in nearby Newbury to pick up some paperwork. They looked up into the sky and were startled to see what the elder Mace described as a “silver, illuminated saucer flying through the air,” according to an interview that he gave to the Gloucester Times.
The sighting occurred near Exit 55-Byfield, slightly more than 30 miles north of Boston. Robert Mace said the object was “brightly illuminated in the clear blue sky.”
As the pair watched, the saucer changed shape into a cylinder, leaving a trail of smoke, which Robert Mace said that “it snuffed out like a candle.” The incident lasted about 30 seconds, he told the newspaper.
Hours after the incident, Mace’s voice was still trembly as he recounted the UFO encounter, the newspaper reported. “I never saw anything like this in my life, and I probably never will again," he said.
James Mace said in an interview with the Times that at first, he thought his mind was playing tricks on him—until he realized that his uncle was watching the UFO as well.
"I just watched it disappear like a cloud or something," the younger Mace said. "I don't know how to explain it. It was pretty crazy.”
His uncle agreed. “We just looked at each other, and we both knew what we saw,” he explained.
According to the Times, Massachusetts state police said they had not received any other reports from motorists who saw the same UFO, and a Federal Aviation Administration official told the newspaper that the agency didn’t have the time or resources to investigate such incidents.
But a search of databases maintained by two UFO research organizations yielded two reports of similar sightings in the Boston area within a day or so of the Maces’ sighting.
On June 12, the day before the Maces’ sighting, a witness who filed a report with the Mutual UFO Network reported seeing “a silver disk-like object” along Atlantic Road in Gloucester. The object appeared to have either a tail or smoke trailing behind it.
According to the National UFO Reporting Center database, for example, a witness driving north in I-98/Route 128 in Canton, MA, about 60 miles to the south, saw a “flashing disc” that same day at 9 a.m. about an hour before the Maces’ sighting.
“ I saw a bright flash of light and looked up to see a dull silvery metallic object in the sky about 10-15 miles away between 40-70 feet across in width and 10 -20 feet in height,” the witness, who chose to remain anonymous, reported. The object appeared to be somewhere over the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in the area.
“It was not anything that I have ever seen before,” the anonymous witness recounted. “ I looked at the object in the sky for approximately six to eight seconds before it flashed again, only brighter and longer, it seemed. “ The glow seemed to come from the area around the object, rather than its surface.
When the object’s aura subsided after two to three seconds, it sat motionless for another six to eight seconds before giving off another burst of light and fading from sight, the witness said. “It was like someone was spray-painting the sky behind it onto what you were seeing. It disappeared in sections, bit by bit.”
A Google search yielded numerous other reports of shape-shifting UFOs on UFO enthusiasts’ websites. A February 2009 article in the Coventry Telegraph, a British newspaper, reported that five residents watched a helicopter chase a set of 10 shape-shifting lights through the sky. Some UFO researchers have speculated that alien spacecraft may not actually change shape, but instead use some sort of cloaking device that projects the illusion that they are.