Message posted by Mikey Rascali on June 05, 2000 at 00:18:52 EST:

A contact of mine has been kind enough to keep me updated of recurring
fly-overs of black unmarked helicopters in Pennsylvania. The mysterious
activities can best be described in the following newspaper article from
the Reading Eagle/Times. The black helicopter story has made the front
page two days in a row.


Helicopter mystery grows in Berks

Witnesses from Reading to Amity Township report seeing the large, black
choppers. Meanwhile, their origin remains up in the air.

By Keith Mayer
Reading Times (Penn)

Low-flying, unmarked and unlit helicopters that shook buildings with the
vibrations from their rotors have been seen by more than a few Reading
residents, but the origin of the choppers remained a mystery Thursday. The
number of witnesses to the aircraft has grown to include residents across
Berks County, according to numerous complaints received at the Reading
Times and Reading Eagle.

Among them is an elected official.

State Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone, a Reading Democrat, witnessed the
Tuesday night flyover at his home on Hill Road.

Two helicopters over the City Park area shook houses, scared residents and
caused police to turn a spotlight on the mysterious night fliers.

"It was very, very loud," Caltagirone said.

Said Caltagirone: "I could hear it. I could feel it. So I came outside.
They were black, and they were large. I thought it sounded like they were
going to crash or land."

Another witness, who claimed to get a good look at the choppers, believes
they were military cargo helicopters called Chinooks.

State and federal investigators Thursday denied their agencies were
responsible for the helicopters, which were reported from Reading to Amity

Caltagirone said he will try to solve the helicopter mystery, but does not
expect answers.

"They (those responsible) are not going to tell anybody," he said. "I'm
sure there's certain people here who know what's going on."

U.S. Rep. Tim Holden, a Schuylkill County Democrat who also represents
Berks County, said he would check with federal agencies.

Paul Richard, in charge of the Allentown office of the federal Drug
Enforcement Administration, denied his agency is responsible.

"We have nothing to do with it," he said.

A spokesman at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County has denied the Army
National Guard had helicopters over the city.

The National Guard often assists state and federal agencies with drug

And Kevin G. Harley, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office,
denied his agency had any part in the flights.

Police sources said drug surveillance typically is done from much higher
altitudes than those at which the helicopters were flying Tuesday night
because such operations are supposed to be secret.

Reading police spotted the helicopters skimming over housetops and
treetops, then one policeman pointed a spotlight at the helicopters and
they turned and flew away. The patrolmen described the helicopters as
black, unmarked and unlit.

Anthony C. Castorani of 1360 Perkiomen Ave. was wakened by the noise
Tuesday night. He said there was enough light to determine the helicopters
were olive or gray-colored Chinook cargo helicopters.

"You could tell it was military and not civilian," he said.

Castorani said the helicopters had no markings, but he believes he saw a

Caltagirone was unsure if the helicopters were military.

"It very well could have been a Chinook," Caltagirone said. "They didn't
appear to be military because they didn't have a green camouflage."

One witness in the 1100 block of Franklin Street said her house shook. The
woman also claimed a similar incident occurred about a week earlier.

"My kids were scared," said the woman, who did not want to be identified.
"Stuff was getting knocked off the dressers."

Another woman, who lives on the upper floors of the Lincoln Plaza and
Conference Center, said the noise was so loud she jumped from her bed and
ran into a bathroom in fear the helicopters were going to crash.

A witness in Exeter Township said the helicopters were so low she feared
they would be entangled in power lines.

A helicopter was seen last week hovering over a house in the Hessian Pines
subdivision in Cumru Township the night before federal, state and drug
agents raided homes and businesses in Reading and homes in Cumru and
Exeter townships.

"We had nothing to do with that one either," Harley said.

In the sighting last week, a man was seen standing on the runners of the
helicopter using a device to look at something, according to neighbors.

The state attorney general's office was in charge of those raids, but no
arrests have been made, and Harley declined further comment.

Reading Police Chief Kirk R. Trate said Thursday he had no new information
about the helicopters, and no new sightings were reported late Wednesday
or early Thursday.


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