THE WONDER AT WANAQUE:
IS A 50 YEAR OLD UFO PHOTO FROM NEW JERSEY
ONE OF THE BEST EVER TAKEN?
Beam Photo (click to enlarge)
A mass sighting of a UFO in December of 1966 over the Wanaque, NJ Reservoir yielded credible testimony and apparently genuine photographs of the object, including a stunning “beam shot” photo.
- The person who took these photos is now identified
- One of the original photos is shown for the very first time
- Analysis shows image features not seen before now
Two earlier Wanaque articles appear in the article archive section of UFO Explorations, which provide background to these extraordinary sightings and interviews with key witnesses:
“The strangest part is that there was no noise attached to this object. None whatsoever. It was absolutely silent. It was a bright white light. It was funnel-shaped. It seemed to come out of some object, like a funnel. In other words, it spread out as if it were focused through a telescope. It was narrow at one end in the sky and spread out into a very wide beam at it approached our upper gate house at the Dam.”
– Wanaque Reservoir Police Chief John Casazza, December 1966, describing the UFO that he viewed while it was photographed by a nearby resident.
John’s namesake son, interviewed by this author, indicates his father was “reticent” to discuss the matter in later years, but his father did tell him that during the episode, he also saw what looked like “an overturned boat” on the far side of the shore, with “figures” milling about, though it was the dead of winter, a time when no one ever pleasure rides the frozen water.
Reservoir officer Fred Steines reported of the sighting, “A bolt of light shot down from it as if it were attracted to the water, like a beam emitted from a portal.”
In this extraordinary version of the photo (above; click photo to enlarge), we can clearly see that the beam abruptly stops before hitting the water, and a darkened cube-like area under it appears to be interacting with the water’ surface.
Strange light forms and structured craft were documented to have been seen by community leaders, the Mayor, a Mother Superior, the Wanaque Chief of Police, the Reservoir Police Chief, other officers of both forces, wives, children and other residents. The UFO wave at Wanaque lasted for several months during late 1966 in the Wanaque area of Passaic County, NJ. Some reports were made even earlier and later, but the “crescendo” appearance was on a cold winter night in late December 1966 when pictures were taken of the amazing UFO phenomena over the massive reservoir that provides drinking water to large areas of New Jersey. Unfortunately, little information was known about the pictures, until now:
Reservoir Police Chief John Casazza
After over a half-century of public anonymity, the person who took the Wanaque UFO photos has been discovered. For the first time ever he is identified. His name and background are given and a picture of him is revealed.
Claude Coutant was the name of the individual who took at least five photos of the Wanaque Reservoir craft in late December 1966, including the “beam” shot. At the time he was a 46 year old factory worker for a rubber mill in Butler, NJ.
The photos were first thought to have been taken by law enforcement (as speculated in prior Wanaque articles archived on this site). Later investigation shows that though this was not so, some officers did take other photos of UFOs at the reservoir (see testimony of Charles Theodora in prior Wanaque articles). And Coutant apparently knew of Reservoir Police Chief Casazza, who so precisely recounts his own sighting as the object in Coutant’s beam shot.
And also for the first time, Coutant's original “beam” photograph is shown publicly (as well as its reverse side, where he dates the event in his handwriting):
Two prints of the Original Beam Photo
Another Print of the Original Photo by Claude Coutant
Reverse of Photo with Coutant’s Date Notation
These photos, and the identity of the man who took them, were provided to this author by a New Jersey woman who lives in the Wanaque area. She was formerly affiliated professionally with the Star Ledger newspaper. Preferring to remain anonymous, she was given the photos some time ago by a woman formerly engaged to Claude Coutant. Countant died in 1986.
The photograph shows no apparent signs of tampering. And a unique colorization process applied to the photo may show previously hidden details. French consultant Christian Toussay has applied a photographic analysis technique to the beam shot. It assigns colors to the shades of gray found in the black and white photo to bring out previously hidden details. He was struck by the fact that there appears to be three-dimensional forms of some type “floating” within the shaft of light.
Toussay does not believe that the figures are photographic “artifacts” resulting from the application of his grey-scale software enhancement.
The photo’s authenticity is further supported by a series of other photos that were taken prior to the beam shot by the same photographer. These photos show the UFO “morphing” its shape over the Wanaque Reservoir before it shot a shaft of engineered light towards the water (from Dell Publishing's Flying Saucers UFO Reports No. 3, October 1967):
Five Other Pictures in the Series by Claude Coutant
(click to view larger)
The “light cone” seems to “angle off” or “square off”, creating four distinct “sides”. This effect would be difficult to hoax today, let alone over a half-century ago by a factory worker in a world before Photoshop and digital manipulation.
The strange-shaped light beam then impossibly “stops” in the air a few feet above the water’s surface, darkening the square area of water underneath it. This seems to be a physics-defying maneuver.
But then, everything about the amazing mass UFO sighting at Wanaque defies all things normal.