By Tim Binnall
An enormous monument dedicated to an alleged UFO event that took place in a small Massachusetts town nearly 50 years ago has finally been removed by local officials after a lengthy battle over its location. The 5,000-pound concrete block commemorates a 1969 "off-world incident" in which forty residents in the community of Sheffield reported spotting an unidentified flying object. Since being installed back in 2015, the monument has been a constant source of controversy in the town as, shortly after it first appeared, local officials demanded that it be moved because it was on public land.
The relocation of the monument seemed to settle matters until last April when, once again, the town argued that it was on public property and, as such, ordered it to be moved for a second time. This decree sparked considerable resistance from Thomas Reed, who was one of the original witnesses to the UFO incident, spearheaded the creation of the marker in the first place, and insisted that the land did not belong to the community. The odd nature of the dispute briefly spawned national headlines, but the ultimate fate of the monument became bogged down in bureaucratic red tape until this week when the situation finally came to a head.
On Tuesday morning, workers reportedly removed the monument as well as a bench that had been placed next to it in order to reclaim what Sheffield officials assert is right-of-way property belonging to the community. One local politician claimed that taking away the marker came "at considerable expense to the town" and "the party responsible was not responsive." Were that the case before, it certainly isn't now as Reed reacted to the news that the marker was gone by declaring that "today the gloves come off" and announced plans to press charges against town officials for stealing the sizeable slab of concrete which he says cost $3,000.
While some members of the community saw the monument as an eyesore and supported the town's decision to take it away, the marker was not without its supporters. One area resident called the removal of the piece "a conspiracy by a few" involving "illegal seizure of property" and mused "even if it was town property, what's the beef? This is a tourist opportunity for Sheffield." With the whereabouts of the monument a mystery at this time, it's safe to say that the battle over the marker may have only just begun as Reed will undoubtedly attempt to reclaim the piece and once again have it placed in a prominent spot in the town, likely starting yet another round of legal wrangling.