Each October, when the leaves change and the winds cool and stories are told around roaring fireplaces, creepy tales of horror and dread emerge from the pines of southern New Jersey.
That was at Lines on the Pines, and when the guy looked at my business card, he asked, “What’s ‘JD’ stand for?”
“Jersey Devil,” I said. “I’m incognito. Don’t tell anyone.”
I’m uncertain he knew I was kidding.
This year’s tale is courtesy of Air Force Maj. George Filer, retired, who was an intelligence officer at McGuire Air Force Base (now part of Joint Base Dix-McGuire-Lakehurst) in the 1970s.
In a new book, “Strange Craft, The True Story of An Air Force Intelligence Officer’s Life With UFOs,” Filer claims that an extraterrestrial creature was shot and killed at McGuire in 1978, and the government covered it up.
“It happened, all right,” said Filer, 84, who lives in Medford, New Jersey.
After midnight on Jan. 18, 1978, he said, an Army military police officer at neighboring Fort Dix chased an odd, low flying aircraft through wilderness, when the craft stopped and hovered. The headlights of the officer’s vehicle captured a weird creature.
It was maybe four feet tall, with dull-colored skin, long arms, large head and big black eyes.
“It’s what’s called a ‘gray,'” said Filer.
The sentry, perhaps panicked, fired five rounds from his .45 into the thing.
“It scrambled, and either climbed over or crawled under the fence that separated the two bases,” Filer said.
In the wee hours of that bitterly cold winter morning, the thing was found dead near a hangar by a runway apron on the McGuire side of the fence. Two men found it — an Air Force security guard and a New Jersey state police officer, whom the guard had admitted onto the base after the shots were fired and a search ensued, Filer said.
“My job was to brief the generals every morning,” Filer said. “Briefings were like giving them the morning news, only it’s news that’s classified.”
He arrived on base at 4 a.m., his usual time. Something was amiss. He saw flashing lights of emergency vehicles near a runway. Gate guards, who usually waved him through, stopped him and asked for his identification, he said.
When he got to his office, the base was buzzing with wild rumors. A sergeant took him aside.
“He said, ‘An alien was shot and is dead on the runway.’ I said you mean an alien, like a Mexican alien? He said, ‘No, no, this thing’s from, you know, outer space. They want you to brief Gen. (Thomas) Sadler. I said, ‘It’s a joke, right? Sadler doesn’t have much of a sense of humor.”
Filer said he began making calls inquiring about an “intruder” shot and killed on base.
“I called the wing command post. They verified. I called security police. They verified. They said there is what they think is some sort of alien being, dead, out on the runway,” he said.
A C-141 flew in from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and took the thing away, Filer said. He wrote his report for Gen. Sadler, who was then in charge of the 21st Air Command. But Filer was told to stand down after a senior officer, disheveled and unshaven after a night spent at the runway scene, beat him to it.
“One thing I never forgot was the air traffic controllers saying they had been inundated with UFO sightings that night,” he said.
Rumors leaked. UFO enthusiasts have debated what’s known as the “Space Alien at McGuire Incident.”
Among those enthusiasts is Thomas J. Carey of Huntingdon Valley, a retired investment banker and state section director for Southeastern Pennsylvania Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON.
“We’ve looked at that case and we believe it happened. It’s not one of those ‘lights in the sky’ stories,” said Carey, who has written five books on UFOs, and is an authority on the alleged crash of a flying saucer in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.
“We have no idea why (the space alien) was here,” said Carey. “Maybe it was an ET situation and he was left behind.
“The sentry apparently called for (the extraterrestrial creature) to stop, and he said — well, he probably didn’t say anything, because he probably didn’t speak English,” Carey joked.
A call to the Air Force press office received this response: “We have no records that such an incident described took place on that date at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.”
Maybe the records were abducted. Happy Halloween.
© 2019 Bucks County Courier Times
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.