Who Is Thomas Reed, the Man Who Kept 1969's Berkshires UFO Sighting Alive?

He's a key character in Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries.

thom reed ufo netflix unsolved mysteries
(Image credit: Netflix)

One of the most intriguing episode of Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries 2020 season is "Berkshires UFO," which chronicles the 1969 UFO sightings in Massachusetts. One of the most vocal voices in the episode is that of Thom (Thomas) Reed, who's worked diligently and publicly to speak about what he, his family, and neighbors experienced. He's also tried to ensure the story hasn't been sensationalized—he never uses the word "abducted," for example—and has urged others to speak out. Now, he's finally getting the chance to tell his stories with other eyewitnesses on "Berkshires UFO."

What does Reed say happened on Sept. 1, 1969?

Reed and his family moved to Sheffield from New York City and always felt like outsiders, he says in the episode, even though it seemed like a quiet and idyllic town. As Reed tells it in the episode, the incident happened on a hot evening in 1969. He and his family was crossing a bridge in the car when they saw a round ball with lights firing out of the bottom of it, and a disc-shaped object hovering in the air. They say they were pulled into the craft, though they remember very little about what occurred.

Reed notes that he does remember encountering two creatures that looked like enormous ants—this wasn't covered in the episode, but he's spoken about it elsewhere—and then his family was placed back in the car. As Reed explains it, his grandmother and mother had swapped places—and his grandmother, who never drove, was sitting in the driver's seat. Which implied they had been placed there by an outside source, according to Reed. This, it should be noted, was just one of dozens of sightings and witness experiences in the surrounding area.

What else does Reed say happened to him?

According to Boston Globe interview from 2015, that was apparently one of three incidents that happened to Reed—two happened before the one in 1969.

"It’s 1966, and 6-year-old Thomas Reed is in his bedroom on his family’s horse farm in the Berkshires when the encounters begin.

Since the sightings happened, Reed said that he's been laughed at and ridiculed for telling these stories (at the time, even getting into fights about it at school), and the family eventually moved. But he doesn't care. “It hasn’t helped us in any way to talk about,” he said. “We’re not making any money. This has tarnished our life. This has smeared our family’s name. It can only hurt you when someone Googles your name. But when you have something extraordinary like this happen to you, how do you keep a lid on it?”

How has Reed fought to keep the incident in the public consciousness?

Reed is a retired entrepreneur and the founder of International Model & Artist Group, but he's also worked diligently to keep the story alive. He's also appeared on Ancient Aliens on the History Channel:

According to the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, NM, which has a display devoted to the story, Reed has also appeared on Good Morning CanadaInner SpaceParanormal PaparazziUncovering AliensFuse TV, and New England Legends.

The Great Barrington Historical Society & Museum inducted the UFO story in 2015 and recognized it as an official historical event. The induction included a new statue commemorating the event, which was subsequently defaced with graffiti and ultimately removed. Reed's nonprofit, UFO Monument Park Inc., said they planned to fight the decision.

Katherine J. Igoe

Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.