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(originally published Aug 2011)

Wanaque Reservoir



The UFO activity reported by dozens of people near a water reservoir in Wanaque, New Jersey in 1966 remains some of the most compelling testimony to extraterrestrial reality in human history.  As reported in my previous article, Witness to Wanaque: The Greatest Mass UFO Sighting Never Told, this “mass UFO sighting” has remained enmeshed in secrecy and strangeness. The time has now come to reveal what really happened at Wanaque.  Forty-five years after the Wanaque event, this author has found, interviewed and named a former Wanaque Police Officer and witness to the event who makes these stunning admissions:


  • He personally took a photograph of the UFO

  • It was confiscated by the US Air Force

  • The Wanaque Police Chief at the time was in on the “clamp down.” He helped to recover a photo of a UFO taken by one of his officers – and then made him hand it over to the Air Force.

  • This very same Police Chief had seen the UFO himself but never told his own men!


This author has also learned:


  • The likely identity of the individual who took other photographs of the event, but which were not confiscated (including the dramatic beam shot) 

  • The object was capable of “morphing.”  The Police Officer I have interviewed explained that the "object" turned from an intense ball of light to more of a "cigar-shape".


Finally, “Wanaque-like” UFOS may well have been filmed in other places and at other times. These astounding videos are shown here collectively for the first time.


Charles Theodora
Reservoir Patrolman Charles Theodora

Charles Theodora was a 20 year old Wanaque Police Officer in 1966. Today, retired and living in Northern NJ not far from the original UFO event, Theodora tells a story that is simply extraordinary.  His account confirms that the object seen at Wanaque that year was photographed by officials. It also reveals that the United States Air Force took possession of some of the images. Records and newspaper accounts from the time confirm that Charles Theodora is exactly who he says he is, a former Wanaque Police Officer at the time of the sightings.  This author has spoken to Theodora and exchanged several emails. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Theodora is truthfully recounting the events as he remembers them.

Theodora explains that he actually observed the UFO on three different occasions over a several month period during that year.  What has become very evident is that the Wanaque “sighting” was by no means a singular one. The same type of UFO was seen by many during the whole of 1966, and

sightings continued sporadically for some time longer. He remains convinced to this day that what he observed was not man-made, nor was it any kind of atmospheric event of any type. Measured in his responses, he does not draw any conclusions about the exact nature of what he saw – but he is very clear about what it was not.

Theodora also noted that the UFO (which appeared very bright) changed colors and also changed shape! He reports a “morphing” aspect to the UFO whereby it appeared as a “white globe” and then changed as it moved to a “cigar shape.” This helps explain why various people at the time described the event in different ways. Some reported that the UFO appeared to be a “globe” or “globular” and others said that it was “fuzzy” while still others reported a more elongated shape. It was a shape-shifting craft. Some saw the “beams” that emanated from the underside of the UFO and reached the water, while others did not. In talking with several of the witnesses today, it is apparent that it depends on just when someone saw the craft and where they were positioned. This accounts for the variances in reported descriptions of the UFO. And we now know that this “event” was a multiple one that occured over several months.


Theodora states that on one of these occasions he was able to take a photograph of the object. He described the image as a very large bright white “unnatural” object floating above a hill in the distance. He is adamant that it was not a celestial body nor a reflection. He saw the object travel into the distance. Theodora said that the Wanaque Police Department had an inventory of Polaroid cameras at the station. Policemen at the time would sometimes have to “check out” a camera from the station, since they were not always at the ready in all cars. This may help to explain why there appears to be precious few alleged photographs of the event taken by officials. But there is another and far more disturbing reason:


The United States Air Force seized the one photograph of the UFO that we know for certain was taken by police!

Theodora states that he and another officer, Sgt. Ben Thompson, were ordered by their Police Chief John Casazza to convene, not at the station, but at a nearby local high school. There they were met by Casazza and a uniformed officer from the United States Air Force. Casazza knew that Theodora had taken the photograph. He ordered Casazza to surrender the photograph to the Air Force officer. Theodora did not feel comfortable doing this.  The Police Chief explained to him that the photograph was “not his to keep.” He said that the photograph was taken with “station equipment” and was therefore “government property”.  Casazza said that it was his decision to deliver the photograph to the federal government – and that is exactly what was done.  Casazza then told Theodora and Thompson to “forget about it” and to discontinue talking about their sightings and to never mention this meeting with the Air Force officer to anyone ever.

Theodora did not speak about this at any length for decades, until now. 


What is even more amazing is this:


The same Police Chief who admonished Theodora to “forget about it”, himself had a remarkable UFO sighting that would rival Theodora’s! Even more astonishingly, Theodora was unaware that his former Chief had this sighting and that it had been kept from him! Theodora only learned of it when, 45 years later, I read aloud verbatim to him a little-known interview of the Chief that was done by amateur astronomer Lloyd Mallan (several months after the initial 1966 sighting). The Chief’s sighting (detailed in the next section) was a remarkable one. Theodora was thoroughly taken aback when he learned for the first time that the very man who tried to minimize the event – and made him surrender his UFO photograph – had himself seen the thing!


Series of five photos claimed to be taken at Wanaque,
published in Dell's Flying Saucers UFO Reports No. 3, 1967

Charles Theodora believes it's possible that his former colleague Sgt. Ben Thompson took photographs of the Wanaque UFO.  This does not surprise him as they were both given a “talk down” by the Chief and the Air Force officer about the event – with Theodora’s UFO photograph as a topic of discussion. Theodora did not offer an opinion on the authenticity of his photo and said that it was “new to me.”  There have been persistent rumors that another NJ police officer took a series of photos of the Wanaque UFO, including the beam shot.  Theodora believes that Thompson was “a straight shooter” who would not have had the inclination nor the ability to “fake” any UFO photographs.  

August Roberts was the researcher who submitted the series of Wanaque photos that appeared in Dell’s October 1967 publication, Flying Saucers UFO Reports No. 3 (mistakenly identified by many sources as issue No. 2, which contained a longer article and other photos about the Wanaque sighting, but not the photos above).  He later stated that he had received them from an anonymous, unnamed Ringwood, NJ police officer. But Theodora explains that Ringwood and Wanaque (as well as other tiny towns at the time) shared resources and that everyone knew everyone, which could explain the mention of Ringwood.  Recent communication from other witnesses received by this author point to Sgt. Ben Thompson of Wanaque as the photographer.  Unfortunately, Thompson passed away at age 63 in 1988. He passed while still residing in the area, with his last addresses in Haskell and Passaic. 


The reason why Thompson was directed by his Chief of Police to convene with Theodora to meet him and an Air Force Officer is this:


Casazza believed that there were other photographs taken by his men. He suspected Thompson, but only knew for sure that Theodora had taken a photo of the UFO. By having them both there, he was silently pressing Thompson to surrender the photos that he had taken too. I also believe that Casazza saw precisely what Thompson photographed. In a little-known, tape recorded interview conducted several months after the events with amateur astronomer Lloyd Mallan, Chief Casazza finally (after great prodding) admits the details of the UFO that he himself had witnessed:


“The strangest part of it was that there was no noise attached to this object. None whatsoever. It was absolutely silent. A silent light."


"What color was this light?", I wanted to know.


"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 as it approached our upper gate house at the Dam."


"In other words," I said, "this wasn't just a flat light? It had a shape."


He nodded. "Just like a funnel."


"Sort of like an upside down funnel?" I asked.


He nodded again, this time with vigor. "That's just exactly what it looked like.”


Thompson himself was also interviewed by Lloyd Mallan.  Thompson states that – just like his colleague Charles Theodora – he also witnessed the UFO three different times in 1966. One of these sightings he described thusly:


“Oh, it lit up the reservoir like you were two feet from the water pointing a very bright spotlight on it.” Mallan relates that Thompson said that “it had a suction effect upon the water over which it passed.”


When one examines the alleged Wanaque “beam shot” photo, it is apparent that Chief Casazza was describing exactly what is depicted in the controversial image:


A bright white inverted light funnel coming down from the UFO and spreading out a very wide beam near the Dam.


Similarly, Thompson describes the very thing seen in the photo:

A very bright spotlight pointed on the reservoir and suctioning up the water.


To my knowledge, these are the only two police officers at the time who described what is depicted so precisely in the beam photo. Others who had given similar descriptions were Reservoir personnel and citizens. There can now be little doubt that the photos were taken by – or with the knowledge of – these two officers and that they were conflicted about wanting to get the story out versus the need to respect the Air Force’s directive to hush. I believe that this is why the photos were released in the manner that they were to August Roberts in 1967 – quietly and without credit for this reason.


It is also now almost certain that the Wanaque photographs are Polaroids. This may reduce the probative value if the originals are found. Polaroids do not have negatives which could be analyzed for tampering. That said, inroads are being made to locate the original photographs believed to be with descendant families.


If we concede that the photos were taken by NJ cops, can we agree that these same cops did not fake them? I believe that we can. The behavior, secrecy and furtiveness of some of the police surrounding the event is obvious. Some of them cooperated with the Air Force (according to Officer Theodora). And they did not have the technical know-how (the station had only recently even received the cameras, according to Theodora). There certainly was no satisfaction gained from the photos. No money was taken for their publication. Tourism in the area did not rise. And the photos themselves were – until recently – nearly lost to history. I believe that August Roberts told the truth: He was given the photos by a NJ police officer, with no money exchanged on any end. Roberts did not even copyright the photos. And no names were ever associated with them, until now.




As incredibly strange as the events at Wanaque in 1966 were, they may not be unique to that area or to that time. Other, very similar UFOs have been filmed in places as far away as Argentina and Switzerland and as recently as this month! These amorphous, bright-light craft have 1) an extreme affinity for bodies of water and can 2) also “beam down” rays of intense light to Earth. Of course I do not vouch for the authenticity of these videos and they may be spurious. But they seem to be representative of something that has been witnessed by many over the years:


Here we see an extraordinary clip taken in Chanf, Switzerland on October 1, 1996. Chanf lies directly on the beautiful Inn River in the Swiss canton of Graubuden.  Note the blue orbs, one of which projects down a beam in front of a beach house:

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Below is a UFO filmed over Germany on August 3, 2011 that shines a spotlight from its underneath. The view is clearly from buildings that are located directly on a river:

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In this video we see a UFO briefly fire a beam over Rosario, Argentina on January 20, 2009. Rosario lies directly on a river as well – the Parana River:


Wanaque may have been a “Window.” It may have represented the rarest of places – a vortex – where things that were “not from here” came to Earth.  Perhaps it was a portal by which those from the unknown world entered the known.  It was a place where things “flew in” to frighten. Or maybe to Enlighten.

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