Marc Catone's writings

Subtitle

Spooky in Bethel

During the late Sixties, my father had a house painting business.  It was a small enterprise.  He had one employee, a friend of his named Ken.  I was in college.  During the summer, he would ask me to work on some of their bigger projects.  In the summer of 1969, Dad and Ken were working on an old house in Bethel CT, somewhere in the Milwaukee Avenue section of town.  I don’t recall how old the house was...most likely it was built in the 19th century.   The woman who owned the home came from a wealthy family in New York City.  She had a live-in maid.  Both of them stayed at an apartment in the big city while Dad painted the exterior and interior of the house.

One day on the job, it was raining like crazy, so Dad found some busy work for me.  A couple of days earlier, we had removed all the shutters from the house and stacked them in the basement.  My work station for that rainy day was down in the cellar as I painted a whole lot of shutters.  Dad worked on wall-paper on the first floor while Ken worked in a carriage house separate from the old house.

There was a central staircase in the middle of the house from the basement to the maid’s room in the attic.  I was painting the shutters, working close to the stairs, for a couple of hours.  The stairs were old and creaky.  They made a lot of noise when anyone stepped upon them.  Several times, I heard my father walking up and down the stairs.  I heard him walking up to the second floor, and then back down to the first floor, and repeating the process again and again.  I couldn’t figure out why he was doing that.   When the work day was over, I said, “Dad, why were you going up and down the stairs so much?”  He gave me an answer that seemed reasonable.  I didn’t think anything about it again.

A day or so later, we were done with the house, outside and inside.  I was alone in the house and decided to take a look at the maid’s room in the attic.  I walked to the top of the stairs and it led to a landing.  A few more stairs up and I was in her room.  All the walls were slanted up to the pinnacle of the roof.  In the center of the room was a four-poster bed with an elegant white bedspread arranged neatly over the top of the mattress.  There was a large pillow and on top of it sat a doll.  All of a sudden, an intense electric-like tingle and sound enveloped the entire room.  The room became still, as if I were looking at an oil painting, and it felt like someone was watching me.  I wanted to flee, but for a few moments I couldn’t move.  Something wanted to keep me there.  Soon, I was running down the stairs to the first floor as fast as I could.

I never told anyone about it.  Over the next few days, I became convinced that the incident in the maid’s room was a product of my imagination.  About ten years later, I was visiting my father and we started talking about the large painting jobs I did with him during the summer months between college semesters.  Then, I told him about what happened in the maid’s room.  To my surprise, Dad didn’t laugh or scoff.  Instead, he listened intently, and said,

“Do you remember when you were in the basement painting all those shutters?  You asked me why I was making so much noise by walking up and down the stairs so often.  Well, I didn’t want to tell you this then, but during the entire time you were in the basement, I was helping Ken in the carriage house.  I wasn’t inside the main house at all.”

Boo!

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If you liked the above story, I know you will like my new book, a generational memoir of the 50s and 60s.  Go to this link:

https://www.amazon.com/Until-Birds-Chirp-Reflections-Sixties/dp/1532939035

UFO Over Danbury

As someone who takes pride in having a good chronological memory, I can’t remember which year this happened.  I was around 11 or 12 years old, and my sister, Sara, was about 9 or 10.  So it had to be either in 1961 or 1962.

 

I know it was definitely during the summer, a time when I rode my red Columbia bicycle every day.  My parents let me travel by bike from our house on Putnam Drive to Rogers Park, less than a mile away. I spent a lot of days in Danbury’s largest city park.  Sara didn’t have the same bicycle privilege that I had.  Mom and Dad said she was too young to ride her bike there without big brother by her side. 

 

So, on a late afternoon that summer, my sister and I went for a ride to Rogers Park.  Bicycles in motion, we looked forward to the big obstacle at the end of our return trip home...the steep hill on Overlook Road.  It was a small street that connected the park road near the pond to Coalpit Hill Road.  It started off level, but there was an immediate hill culminating in a high point that seemed to defy gravity.  Most of the time, a rider would have to jump off and walk their bike over the top.   However, if one started to pump as fast as possible at the bottom of Overlook and used all their leg muscles to the max, the bike would make it over and onto the flat surface of Coalpit Hill.   It was quite an exhilarating accomplishment, but on that day it was what happened afterward that we will never forget.

 

We reached the summit of Overlook Rd. I hopped off my bike to wait for Sara, who was right behind me.  I walked my bike a few feet down Coalpit Hill, and so did she.  There was no traffic.  For reasons we don’t understand to this day, we turned our heads around in the opposite direction and looked into the northwest sky, which was blue with a few wispy clouds.  And there it was... shiny and metallic, high in the sky.  I recall it being cylindrical...shaped like a cigar.  Sara remembers it as more of a disk.  The sun reflected off the metal a bit and it moved slowly, wobbling somewhat.  No propellers, no contrail, no noise.  Then suddenly from an almost stationary position, it flew off faster than our eyes could follow. 

 

As if sighting a UFO isn’t strange enough, what followed is more confusing to me in retrospect.  Nothing happened.  We didn’t say a word about it.  In fact, the short distance home was uneventful, like it happened every day.  There wasn’t even a “Did you see that?” exchanged between us.  Our demeanor after witnessing something like that should have resulted in excitable behavior, but it didn’t.  When we got home, we didn’t tell our parents about the UFO.  We revealed nothing about what we had seen.  And still, in 2016, I don’t understand why.

 

In fact, we didn’t talk about it again until our late teens.  We compared memories of how it happened and what we saw.  Our remembrances matched for the most part.  During our adult lives, Sara and I have discussed it many times.  Sometimes seriously, other times humorously. We know that we saw what we saw and we’re satisfied that our observation was real.  However, I remain perplexed by our absence of emotion after we saw the silver colored craft in the sky over Coalpit Hill. 

 

Over the years, I’ve developed a couple of theories.  Admittedly, one of the explanations came to me decades after reading  many modern day witness accounts.  Perhaps, we did hear a noise.  Why else would we turn our heads around in the opposite direction from where we were headed with our bikes?  Maybe our reaction, or should I say “non-reaction”, was a result of witnessing it...some impulse or transmission from the craft that rendered us into emotional numbness.

 

However, I am partial to another theory.  It was the early 1960s.  Both of us were old enough to know that people who said they had seen UFOs were often subject to ridicule in those days.  They were scoffed at by friends, neighbors and the media.  Perhaps, both of us thought no one would believe us, or worse...that people we knew, and others, would think we were crazy.

 

We knew of a man, from the neighboring town of Bethel, who made the headlines of the local newspaper, the Danbury News-Times, by claiming he had seen a UFO.   He was laughed at.  Many people thought he was nuts.  His name was Dante Vaghi.  My father, Camp Catone, knew him on a casual basis.  I remember being with my father one time, a couple of years after Sara and I saw the UFO, buying farm fresh brown eggs from Dante.  He was a very nice guy, a smart man, who talked to us about free-range chickens.

 

By the late 60s and early 70s, the social stigma of admitting to a UFO sighting was becoming less and less.  People like Dante Vaghi became acceptable, even respected. However, when my sister and I observed a craft capable of floating, standing still and then zooming off at a speed we could not comprehend,  public acceptance wasn’t the norm.

 

Was it fear of ridicule, or some kind of hypnotic suggestion from the UFO itself, that resulted in the Catone children shutting down after seeing something other worldly?  We will never know the answer.  But, there are three things I do know.  It’s been 55 years since that sighting, we would love to see a UFO again, and today we couldn’t ride a bike up to the top Overlook Road without falling off.

 

 

copyright: Marc Catone, 2016

 

Modern day photo of the sky where it happened, click below:

http://marccatone.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=200925273

 

If you liked the above story, I know you will like my new book, a generational memoir of the 50s and 60s.  Go to this link:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Until-Birds-Chirp-Reflections-Sixties/dp/1532939035/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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