Aliens in New York State
Was a family in Cold Spring, New York Visited by Aliens in 1976?
Aliens in New York State? In his book Interdimensional Universe (2008: 198–216), Philip J. Imbrogno recounts the terrifying story of an ordinary family’s decade long involvement with extraterrestrial, or extradimensional entities. I was put onto this story by Peter McCue initially, in his book Zones of Strangeness. Mr. McCue has edited the story slightly and condensed facts that make it even more dramatic.
The story is terrifying if it is true. In any case, I find the story intriguing and want to look at it with an open mind.
Mr. Imbrogno has written extensively about UFOs and related phenomena and collaborated with J Allen Hynek one of the researchers for the US Air Force Project Blue Book which investigated alleged UFO sightings. Hynek is very reputable.
Truth and Lies
The first thing to say is that various commentators on the Internet have dug up what they say are examples of Imbrogno lying about his background and exaggerating his credentials.
For example, they say he claimed to have been in the Green Berets in Indo-China and have a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry from MIT, but they say that neither of these is true. It does appear that Mr. Imbrogno was in Indo-China as a medic.
I don’t have the facts to hand about his academic credentials. My point is that this ad hominem argument that says because someone has lied or stretched the truth doesn’t mean he lies or stretches the truth about everything.
There are very few people living who have never exaggerated about anything, and that doesn’t mean that every word that subsequently comes out of their mouth is an untruth. I once lied about my age to get a beer. I have mostly told the truth since then.
My impression from reading the introduction to Philip Imbrogno’s book is that he is avoiding making sensationalist click-bait claims. For example, he is very clear that:
“(I) must make it very clear that I investigate UFO reports and not UFOs themselves.”
He is restricting himself to checkable evidence.
The American (and world) interest in UFOs began in 1947 when flying objects were spotted by military pilots and nick-named Foo Fighters.
The craze was still going strong in the mid-1970s, and books such as The UFO Controversy in America (1975) still sold well.
About this time, after getting a degree in astronomy from the University of Texas, a young Mr. Imbrogno was collaborating with a group of friends and amateur experts to investigate strange phenomena. His team consisted of himself, and:
- Dave, a biologist
- Carl, a corporate executive
- Frank, a commercial aircraft pilot
- Thomas, a police officer, and
- Jake, an engineer
Imbrogno got a call from a woman he called Sandra in early February 1976, Sandra is not her real name, making it difficult to get any corroboration. Sandra said that the family had been in contact with alien entities since her mother was nine years old. Visitations had plagued Sandra herself as a child, but they had lessened, and she hadn’t had direct contact with the entities for many years. Now her daughter, Kathy, had started to get visits.
Imbrogno and his investigators arrived at Sandra’s modest house in Cold Spring, New York on 16th February 1978.
He says it was a mild day for the time of year. With the wonders of Google, we can check the weather for New York City at least for February 1978:
- 17 — This was the only day in February that had an above-average mean temperature (high/low of 40/33, three degrees above average).
- 25 — Although today’s high was only 41° (and three degrees below average), it was the mildest reading of the month.
So far, this checks out. There were blizzards in early February 1978, but the weather got warmer towards the end of the month.
Black Holes and Glowing Spheres
They arrived at Cold Spring and began getting some background. Sandra said that since she had been an adult, she had mainly seen glowing balls of light. They followed her car sometimes, and once a blue light ball came in through her living room window, switching all her lights and TV off.
Around the time she was recounting this story, her daughter Kathy began yelling that there was a light-ball outside. Imbrogno and his investigators piled out of the house and floating at the height of about ten feet above the garden was a glowing sphere. It was about six inches in diameter, and it wobbled as it moved. Imbrogno reports tingling sensations in his body and a feeling of static electricity. He says the sphere stopped mid-air as if observing him then abruptly shot up into the air and vanished.
None of the investigators, except Dave, a biologist had ever seen a UFO, and Dave’s sighting was years previously.
After this, the team went back into the house, and Sandra told them more of her tale. She said the entities had been speaking through Kathy, and that they told her, “We want to come into your world. Work with us, and we will reward you.”
She said the aliens entered through a rotating black hole and had taken Sandra, her daughter Kathy, and also her mother in her childhood, through the hole to their dimension. However, they couldn’t remember what happened on the other side of the black hole.
Sandra gave Imbrogno her mother’s number as her mother, but her mother didn’t want to talk about what had happened to her when she was a kid. She was frightened that if she spoke, the aliens would come back and take her.
Because Sandra said she couldn’t remember much about the visitations she’d had as a child, Imbrogno brought a friend of his a hypnotherapist called Dr. Merger.
They arrived at Cold Spring at 2 pm on 15th March 1976. Dr. Merger placed Sandra in a trance and took her back to her childhood. Under hypnosis, she recalled an incident where she had awoken in the early hours to find three beings with leather-like skin towering over her bed. At this point, her heart rate went up to 130 beats a minute, and she broke out in a sweat. Alarmed at this, Dr. Merger brought Sandra out of her trance.
Sandra’s daughter Kathy was at home, asleep with the flu in another room, but when her mother’s heart rate shot up, she woke up and rushed through, screaming that the man from the black hole had come and warned her that he would take her (Kathy) if the investigators didn’t leave the family alone.
Imbrogno taped the hypnosis sessions, and when he and the team listened to it later, they had weird noises on the tape, pulsing electrical noises. Jake, the engineer, said they sounded like noises from the horror movie The Exorcist. There was also a voice speaking perfect English that said, “Stop playing with my head; they pointed you out to us, and we know where you are and how to get you all.”
Imbrogno sent the tapes for analysis by a friend who was a sound engineer at the State University of New York. This man was used to winding tapes back and forward, and he recognized backward speech in English when he played the tape backward.
This voice claimed to be Ablis the Supreme Commander of the Milennia Council. He said he came from a reality parallel with ours. Ablis claimed that the black holes through which they came were portals and the Bermuda Triangle was another.
The Bermuda Triangle mystery was popularised by Charle Berlitz’s best-seller in 1974.
Later Imbrogno associated this name Ablis, with Iblis, who is a demon from Arabic mythology equated with Satan.
The backward voice went on to say, “If you continue to interfere with our work, we will have no choice but to take action against you.”
The Team Disintegrates
From that time, things began to go wrong in the team. Dave, the biologist, started to hear voices in his head and woke one night to find three dark blue creatures around his bed. They stood about five feet tall and had blazing red eyes. Later Dave killed himself by jumping in front of a train. These incidents date from around 1978, two years after the Cold Spring investigation.
Frank, the airline pilot, had a visit from seemingly human people who claimed to work for the classified National Security Agency and told Frank to stop investigating UFOs or he would lose his pilot’s license.
The corporate executive Carl told Imbrogno that he had a dream of a hooded entity standing with a pulsing heart in its fist, which it started to squeeze. It told Carl, “This could be your heart.” The heart burst asunder in the creature’s hand. Later, Carl died of an undiagnosed heart valve defect.
Thomas, the police officer, and his wife had a series of terrifying sightings (details unknown to me) and they dropped out of UFO investigating.
Jake, the engineer, told Imbrogno in 1979 or 1980 that he was stopping investigating UFOs. He said he was living in fear because of the many weird things that had happened to him. Again, this is some years after Ablis’s threat at Cold Spring.
That leaves Philip J. Imbrogno himself, who did not stop investigating strange phenomena and went on to write many books on the subject apparently without being hounded by alien entities. In his book, Imbrogno is honest and says nothing of this kind happened to him in the years after Cold Spring.
It doesn’t seem the team got much farther with their investigations of Sandra and Kathy and effectively did leave them alone. However, though they did what Ablis and his gang said they wanted them to do (i.e. stop), these terrifying things continued to happen to the team members, scaring them into silence.
The scares, deaths, and disintegration of the team may not, therefore, be directly linked to the Cold Spring investigation.
Did Imbrogno Make It Up?
I read a book called Spy The Lie, which was written by ex-CIA officers who worked on polygraph teams. The book is intended to let you spot when people are lying. The authors talk about “convince” statements. These often take the form of giving detail. We note that Imbrogno does this.
So the weather was fine, the first visit was on 16th February 1976 and the second session began at precisely 2 pm on 15th March 1976. These details could be intended to convince the hearer that the story is so detailed it must be true, or they might just be notes of the actual facts!
It would have been handy if Sandra had been identified or we had any other third-party evidence of this terrifying case. This doesn’t make the story untrue, though.
My initial impression was that this was all too elaborate to be a complete fabrication. You don’t need to invent five collaborators, two or three would do. And if other people are collaborating, you can’t claim they were there when they weren’t or saw things they didn’t, because they’ll call you out on it. So, on reflection, I think the team members probably did believe they’d had these experiences.
If we had more details on Carl who had the heart defect and Dave who killed himself, we could identify them from public records, but my feeling is that these details seem authentic. Additionally, if we knew who Sandra really was, someone else could have interviewed her and got independent reports on the incident.
So I believe there was a group of investigators and it’s possible these investigators stopped investigating for the reasons they claimed. They could have been imagining things, they could have been mentally ill, or maybe Ablis was actually out to get them.
There are some familiar tropes in the story: the leather-skinned aliens with glowing eyes that sound like “The Greys”. There had been reports of Grey Aliens since at least the 1960s, and the next year after this Cold Spring case, they were familiar enough to appear in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
The glowing flying objects that shoot up into the sky and move erratically are staple UFO fare.
Very interesting is the idea that aliens come from some supreme galactic quasi-military organization. This last idea sounds very dated now but resembles the science fiction stories of the 1970s, where we imagined huge alien space fleets with command structures that mirrored our terrestrial armies and air forces. There was even an alien called Ashtar channeled from the 1950s who claimed to be “Commander in Chief of the Ashtar Galactic Command”. All this sounds very Flash Gordon now.
The pop-culture reference arises with the Bermuda Triangle reference. It seems unlikely an alien before the 1974 best-seller was published would have referred to the Bermuda Triangle, and probably aliens don’t talk much about it these days in 2020.
So, there’s a lot of 1970s pop culture in these messages.
And then there’s The Men In Black.
The idea that men from the NSA (we don’t know if they wore black) demanded UFO investigators to cease and desist implies that they are in league with these alien entities. This is regular conspiracy theory stuff and ideas of The Deep State or the New World Order, or even the Illuminati go back decades. This idea that shadowy elites conspire with mysterious and possibly off-world intelligence to betray us all is old.
There is a growing idea now associating UFOs and alien abductions, not with extra-terrestrial beings, but with extra-dimensional beings. In fact, Imbrogno goes on to link a lot of these UFO appearances with Arabic mythology, djinns, and efreets (see Iblis above)
So, there is a growing view amongst UFO groups that our visitors aren’t aliens, they are fairies, and fairies have been abducting humans for centuries.
For a fascinating take on UFOs and folklore, I’d recommend Jaques Vallee’s Passport to Magonia, or Patrick Harpur’s Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld.
Do I Believe There Were Aliens in New York State?
Just because I don’t have any experience of a thing doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I have never seen a black swan, but they do exist in Australia.
I suspect that editing, a degree of exaggeration, a selection and clustering of details has made the story more engaging. And it is engaging because this is a proper horror story!
Imbrogno does not appear to be a hoaxer. In his book, he spends pages examining the evidence and looking for signs that it might be faked. I don’t think he’s a liar. I think he believes in his experiences, so he is either deluded or he is correct.
I also tend to think that Sandra and her family were convinced that these things happened. It’s a big statement to say there were voices on the tapes if there weren’t any. I thin there were voices on the tapes, but I have no idea how they got there. For a comparison see the Electronic Voice Phenomenon of Konstantin Raudive.
As a point of interest, there were other UFO sightings at Cold Spring around 1976 and later, which were not related to Philip Imbrogno’s investigation, and he may not have known about them. In fact, Cold Spring and the Hudson Valley in New York State are long-standing UFO hotspots. This may add credence to Imbrogno’s reports.
On the whole, I think something happened. It may have been outside typical experience too, but after saying that, I’ve had some pretty strange experiences myself.
It’s a weird old world out there.