New York Skies (Cheryl Costa)

UFOs in the Finger Lakes Region

Columnist Cheryl Costa takes a look at the Finger Lakes region’s history of UFO encounters.

Skaneateles Lake. Michael Davis photo

For years around campfires and over holiday meals, I’ve heard tales of UFOs in New York’s Finger Lakes.

I’ve heard stories of bright objects descending from the skies and entering the waters of one lake or another. I’ve also heard accounts of bright objects exiting the waters of a lake and flying off into the wild blue yonder. I’ve even read a few tales attributed to Native American lore of bright objects leaving our lovely Finger Lakes for the heavens.

Unfortunately too many of the accounts are secondhand or so are old they qualify as legend. This makes investigation and research very difficult. Using statistics from my U.S. UFO magnitude study, I’ve compiled a chart of the counties that surround the core of New York’s Finger Lakes region. The idea was to see how the Finger Lakes region compared to the well-known Erie Lake region in terms of UFO sighting reports.

The Finger Lakes counties total 14 and are as follows: Cayuga, Cortland, Monroe, Ontario, Tioga, Wayne, Chemung, Livingston, Onondaga, Steuben, Schuyler, and Yates.


Using data from my study, I compiled the chart above. The UFO sightings were reported in a period from 2001 through 2015. During the sample window, New York state logged 5,141 UFO sighting reports. The 14 counties that make up the Finger Lakes region logged 684 UFO sighting reports. As shown on the chart, the sightings tend to follow a seasonal reporting pattern.

Erie and Niagara counties, which log the lion’s share of the Erie Lake effect sighting cluster, only logged 447 UFO sighting reports for the same sample period.

At first glance, most of the Finger Lakes region counties have relatively low sighting reports. The exception is Monroe County, which reports 236 sighting reports for the sample period.

As a UFO researcher, I was rather surprised by the magnitude of the Finger Lakes numbers. Taken as a whole, New York’s Finger Lakes region hosts 13 percent of the states total UFO sightings. That is the largest concentration in the state, second only to Long Island.

Let’s look at some recent UFO sightings in New York skies:

Dec. 3, 2016: At 3:12 p.m., a resident of New York City observed a pink orb hovering over the steps of a downtown building.

Dec. 5, 2016: At 11:34 a.m., a resident of Brooklyn reported seeing bright lights in a circular shape, consisting of five outer lights, with one in the middle of the circle.

Dec. 7, 2016: At 6:25 p.m., a Fishkill couple reported seeing bright lights hovering in the sky in a boomerang pattern.

Dec. 7, 2016: At 7:30 p.m., a resident of Suffolk County on Long Island reported several waves of UFO sightings over the course of the evening.

If you are interested in joining a monthly UFO discussion group in the Onondaga County area, drop Cheryl an email [email protected]. If you have a UFO sighting to report, you can use either one of the two national database services: or Both services respect confidentiality.

Cheryl Costa would love to hear the when, where and what of your New York sighting. Email it to [email protected]. The names of witnesses will be omitted to protect their privacy.

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