Is there something strange going on in Suffolk County?
More UFO sightings have been reported in Suffolk than in any other county in New York State, according to data from a new book.
In “UFO Sightings Desk Reference,” authors Cheryl Costa and Linda Miller Costa — a couple based in Syracuse — compile national data from two volunteer organizations, the Mutual UFO Network and the National UFO Reporting Center. Both organizations collect eyewitness accounts of UFO sightings, Cheryl Costa said.
The 371-page tome is a collection of charts and graphs showing sightings by region, sorting incidents chronologically and categorizing the UFOs by shape, Cheryl Costa said.
From 2001 through 2015, there were 554 compiled reports from Suffolk County. That’s 100 more sightings than were reported in Manhattan over the same time frame and more than twice as many as were reported in Queens, according to Costa, who conducted a county-by-county analysis of reports pulled from the national reporting networks.
UFOs have been seen in every part of the country, according to Costa. The most reports filed nationwide were from Los Angeles County, followed by Maricopa County, Arizona.
So how does one compile data on something that is, by definition, unidentified? Reports of sightings are scrutinized by a network of investigators, according to Roger Marsh, a spokesman for the Mutual UFO Network, which purports to be the oldest and largest UFO investigative group in the country. The National UFO Reporting Center, which has received more than 100,000 reports since it was founded in 1974, also attempts to point out “hoaxes,” director Peter Davenport said. The Costas broke down their reports into more than 25 categories of sightings, including blimp, fireball, Saturn-like and starlike.
Even before Costa began working on the book, she singled out Suffolk County as a “hot spot” for sightings. She noticed the trend while writing a column on flying saucers and other UFOs for the Syracuse New Times, she said.
Costa hasn’t analyzed data from Suffolk County on a community level, but said there are a large number of reports that come from Islip, Oakdale and Great River, which she referred to in a 2014 column as the “Great River Triangle.”
Nassau County ranked third in the state with 276 reports, she said. In both counties, the number of sightings has been increasing, with a spike seen in 2012, Costa said.
Costa, who said she saw her first UFO in Savona, New York, when she was 12, said she is focused on data and does not speculate on why there are so many Long Island sightings.
She’s hoping the book, which makes no mention of little green men, will “detoxify” and lessen the stigma around the subject and get more people — like the government — talking about UFOs.
“We don’t talk about who’s driving these things, but somebody should because there sure are a lot of them,” Costa said.