In the strange and journalistically fast and loose world of websites that “document” UFO encounters, an alleged abduction at a summer camp in Vermont in August 1968 is regarded as an undisputed factual event that happened to two camp counselors.
The gist of the story, which you can find repeated on plenty of websites and in books with titles like UFOs, ETs and Alien Abductions, is that two teenage counselors encountered a series of strange lights hovering over the dock of the camp’s lake, Lake Champlain near Burlington, Vermont, and after seeing a light show were eventually abducted by alien beings. Naturally, the details of the abduction were only recalled years later through hypnosis.
Most of the articles I found seem to all draw from an out of print book published in 1993 by Walter Webb called Encounter at Buff Ledge. The description of the book on Amazon says the encounter is “unprecedented in that neither of the two witnesses spoke with each other for 11 years after the encounter,” a “fact” that “makes it difficult to label it a hoax or subjective fantasy.”
But some photos (one is above) showing a staged alien abduction at the camp published by a blogger back in May draw the conclusion that the story was a hoax, after all. The blogger writes:
“Now, is it not remarkable that a UFO ABDUCTION HOAX was being performed in the exact time frame that a real ABDUCTION was going on? Or maybe the Aliens used the performance as a cover?”
This sort of thing – staging a fake alien abduction – sounds like a typical summer camp activity to me. In my years helping with programming at a summer camp, we’ve done this sort of thing more than once as an evening activity. Flash some lights in the woods, tell the kids a UFO has crashed, dress up some counselors as aliens to abduct them, etc. But could it be that time, misunderstanding and overactive imaginations turned a summer camp activity back in the late ’60s into a legend accepted as fact by the tin foil hat wearing brethren?
It’s hard to say, but what is impossible to dispute is the very real impact the camp has had on the lives of those who attended Buff Ledge and don’t have an abduction story to tell.
The camp, no longer in operation, has an active alumni group on Facebook of 120 former campers and staff who share photos and tell stories about their time at the camp. One poster to the group recently lamented the lack of information unrelated to the UFO encounter available in a Google search. “I am so saddened every time I google camp to only see the UFO stuff. That wasn’t camp – what we all know and remember, is camp.”