It was five
degrees above zero and blizzarding in the remote New Hampshire town of
Wakefield (pop. 1400) at noon on January 10, 1977. Horse farmer William
McCarthy was looking out his window at the falling snow when he was surprised
to see a hole in his pond. The pond, 105 by 75 feet, had been frozen solid
just the day before, when McCarthy's horses had played over the surface. He
put on his coat and went outside for a closer look.
The hole was perfectly round and
cut smoothly through 14 inches of ice. Eight inches of slush
surrounded the hole, suggesting that something had melted through. Peering
into the hole and through the clear water underneath, McCarthy saw something
that looked like a one-foot-square box. He stared at it long enough to remove
any doubt in his mind that he was seeing what he thought he was seeing. He
raced back to the house and brought family members over for a look. Then he
went to the barn to pick up a rake, a hoe, and a pole, hoping to use them to
haul the mysterious device to the surface.
Back at the
pond McCarthy saw that the box seemed to have sunk three feet into the muck
at the bottom. Frustrated in his attempt to retrieve the object, he called a
friend, Bob Palmer, who arrived around 2:30 P.M. Concerned that they might be
dealing with radioactive satellite or aircraft debris, Palmer notified the
police who soon arrived in the company of a local Civil Defense (CD)
representative. The Geiger counter indicated a reading alarmingly above
normal (three roentgens per hour versus normal background radiation of .001
roentgen). The McCarthys were warned to stay away from the water, and the CD
man and the police left to inform their superiors. Half an hour later the
police phoned with the news that State Deputy CD Director Weslie Williams
would be coming to the farm to do further testing.
By 4 P.M.
the circle of slush had expanded to 10 feet. No one showed up, however, and
finally the family went to sleep. At 2 A.M., alerted by the barking of his
dog, McCarthy woke up to see three men at the pond, whose entire surface had
now turned to slush. The investigators, who included Williams, had two Geiger
counters with them. One malfunctioned; the other read two to three roentgens
per hour for the area around the water. The CD men left to notify their
superior and through him Gov. Meldrim Thomson, Jr.
McCarthy observed the pond a few hours later, he discovered a second hole,
this one about 50 feet from the original. Not long afterwards someone from
the attorney general's office warned McCarthy not to let his animals drink
from the pond; he reappeared later in the day to express concern about
possible water seepage. He also directed McCarthy and his family not to
discuss the affair with anyone else until the official investigation was
day the pond was frozen over again. Disregarding warnings, McCarthy walked
out on it and looked down through the clear ice where the hole had been and
to the pool bottom. A fresh six-inch wide trench stretched from beneath the
first hole all the way to the second. To all appearances, the object that had
entered via the former had left via the latter.
morning, in spite of official efforts to keep the story quiet, reporters and
curiosity-seekers were descending on the McCarthy property as rumors ran
rampant. State police escorted all but the officially connected off the farm.
Investigators tried unsuccessfully to drain the pond, then saw a
six-by-three-foot opening where the original hole had been. Distant observers
thought they saw the searchers retrieve a black object and place it inside a
van, which quickly left the area.
authorities acted quickly to deflate the story. By the end of the day, a
statement from the governor's office declared that more sophisticated
equipment had found no abnormal radioactivity in the pond and the surrounding
area. The black object witnesses had seen, the authorities contended, was a
container filled with soil and stone samples collected for analysis.
accounts treated the incident as a UFO case, even though no one reported any
anomalous aerial phenomenon which might arguably be related to it. The
reality of whatever may have happened was quickly buried underneath piles of
rumor, speculation, and sensationalistic reporting. On the other side,
attempts were made to explain the pond's curious melting as the effect of
"water currents from springs." No springs, however, flowed into the
pond, which McCarthy had created and which was filled by runoff water from
rain and snow.
its cause, UFO-related or otherwise, the mystery of the hole in McCarthy's
pond remains unsolved.
This reference: The UFO Encyclopedia by Jerome Clark
Vol. 3 pp. 544-545 © 1996
Clark’s sources in descending date order:
William B., and Peter Anderson. "Shallow N.H. Pond Still
Unfathomable." Boston Evening Globe (January 14, 1977).
Robert. "NH Natives 'Saw' Mystery Object, State Officials Say They
Didn't." Boston Herald American (January 14, 1977).
Curt. "Wakefield Wrap-up." UFO Newsfront (January 31, 1977): 1.
Wakefield Incident: Telling a UFO from a Hole in the Ground."
International UFO Reporter 2,2 (February 1977): 8.
Curt. "The Inside Story of the New Hampshire UFO Crash." UFO Report
4,3 (July 1977): 22-23,60-61,63-64.
Allan. The UFO Handbook: A Guide to Investigating Evaluating and Reporting
UFO Sightings. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1979.
Raymond E. Casebook of a UFO Investigator: A Personal Memoir. Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1981·
UFOCAT PRN – 108913
UFOCAT URN – 108913 UFO Investigator (NICAP) January
1977, p. 2
UFOCAT PRN –92471
UFOCAT URN – NONE
International UFO Reporter Vol.2, No. 2, Feb. 1977, pp. 8-9
UFOCAT URN – 093701 J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO
Studies, June 16, 1977. On site
Investigation, by Raymond E. Fowler
UFOCAT URN – NONE
INFO Journal, Vo. 5 No. 6, March 1977 by P.J. Willis
UFOCAT URN – NONE
INFO Journal, Vo. 6 No. 6, March/April 1978 by Steve Hicks
North America – United States, New Hampshire, Carroll
43-34-05 N, Longitude 71-01-50 W (D-M-S)
UFO Location (UFOCAT) - Latitude 43.57 N, Longitude
71.02 W (D.%)