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Contributed by: Ms. Annmarie J. Christian
Contributed on: September 30, 2004

Which blackout(s) did you experience?
1965 (Great Northeast Blackout)

In your own words, tell the story of your experience in the blackout(s). Try to recall specific events and the people, places, and things involved; also include more general reactions, images adn last impressions?
I was a Senior at Holyoke Catholic Central High School in Holyoke, Massachusetts. On this night my mother had just dropped my sister and I off at Junior Achievemet on Appleton Street in Holyoke where we were taught by local companys how to start a company, elect officers, decide on a product to produce and how to advertize, market and sell our products and sell shares. At the end of the year our company made money and we received a check.

The company that sponsored our company was Lestoil Corporation. The President of the company our group ran was myself, Annmarie J. Bissonnette-Christian. I remember my vice-president was Paul Wodecki. We also had a secretary and treasurer, the names at this time I can't recall.

Because the whole city of Holyoke, Massachusetts was in darkness and we couldn't work on our company projects the Company Heads had us wait inside the building until our parents returned to pick us up at 9:00 pm. We couldn't use a phone to contact our parents at the time as the phones were out too.

My mother came to pick my sister and I up at 9:00pm and told us, as she was driving back home from dropping us off in Holyoke, she was driving down rt. 202 toward Westfield, Massachusetts (we live in Southampton)she had just passed McLean Resovoir and was half way down the hill when all of a sudden she saw this huge glowing object in the sky that scared her. To this day mom swears it was a UFO and I believe her as she had told me about Rozwell and the flying saucer the year before I was born on July 20, 1948.

I think the Government covered up Rozwell and I think the Northeast Blackout of Nov. 9, 1965 also had something to do with UFO's and it was covered up by the Government.

I remember the "Blackout" was a hot topic in school and with friends back then and what made me remember the incident now was because I was filling out a job application and was listing my achievements when I remembered "Junior Achievement" and suddenly remembered the blackout and decided to look up the date so I would know what year I had been in the Junior Achievement after school program.

I remember standing outside the building with my sister and friends, while we waited for our mom to pick us up and seeing the entire city in blackness with only an occasional light from a passing vehicle's headlights.

Even though the entire city of Holyoke was in total blackness I don't really remember feeling scared or upset. I think back then we were more or less in awe of what happened and I even remember the thoughts of UFO's running through my mind.

All we saw that night was a total black sky and I don't even remember of seeing one star among the blackness. I remember a group of about 5-8 of us standing at the door of the building, waiting for our rides home, smoking cigarettes and looking at the sky but not seeing anything and the boys trying to scare the girls with talk of scary and imaginary creatures lurking in the night. I remember not having a feeling of being scared at the time, but more of a feeling of joy but I can't explain why I felt that way and I've never felt that way again since.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
Call me crazy if you want to but I've been reading about the Sphinx, Egyptian Pyramids, Admiral Bryd, Lost Cililizations, the Mayan Callendar and UFO's since I was 14 yrs. old and in my opinion I do believe the blackout was caused by UFO's.

I am a Yuchi/Creek Indian and my mother was born on
reservation land in Sapulpa, Creek County, Oklahoma. I have been doing research on mom's Native American Ancestry for 4 years and Native Americans say our ancestors came from the "Stars," and will return one day. A good example of my Native American History can be found in the book, "North American Sun Kings: Keepers of the Flame" by Professor Joseph B. Mahan who wrote the book compiled from written, oral and tape recorded history given to him by my mother's grandfather, Chief Samuel William Brown, Jr., of Sapulpa, Creek County, Oklahoma; who was a Heriditery and elected Chief of the Yuchi Indians until his death in 1954.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
I believe some blackouts are caused by our Country's large factorys that draw excessive amounts of electricity to run their companys and because we are now in the electronic age with everything run by computers and all the modern electrical appliance we have that need electricity to run.

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Neither was significant

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
I think it was a warning to mankind to stop wasting power and to realize that there is a higher intelligence that could wipe us out in a blink of an eye if they so chose.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
It made me want to delve more into ancient history and learn more about unexplained catastrophies that have happened over the centuries dating back to the pre columbian age.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
It was quite mind boggling at the time and I still think the populus has been left with many still unanswered questions which I suppose the Government will coverup until long after my generation is dead.

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
It was different as everything just went black at the same time as if on a timer and unlike normal blackouts where only parts of a city went out.

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
Actually I never thought about the Consolidated Edison Company at the time as my thoughts were more on the blackout itself in general.

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
I'd have to look up the blackout of 1977 as my reccolections are more about 1965 and where I was at the time of the blackout and who I was with.

Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?
Yes (please explain)

If yes, please explain:
After seeing other blackouts this 1965 one seemed different to me. I remember my thoughts then were more about "What's Really Out There."

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?

How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
No effect / same reliance

This is how the story goes: In November of 1965 the lights went out in New York and crime rates temporarily dropped; there were widespread reports of extraordinary cooperation and trust between strangers caught together in the power failure. In July of 1977, little more than a decade later, the lights went out again in New York. This time, a devastating wave of looting and arson broke out. Does this story ring true to you? Explain why or why not:
I think in 1965 people's thoughts were more worried about an enemy invasion and I'm sure many more people thought about a possible Alien invasion, think "War of the Worlds." I think crime rates dropped because people thought it was the end of the world as we know it and just wanted to be with their families and friends and be together in the end if it really was the end.

By the time of the 1977 blackout I think people figured it was going to be like 1965 and since nothing really bad happened then this blackout would be no different. Also 12 years had passed since the first blackout and the generations from 1965 had grown up and now a different generation was in command of things and the world as we see it with gangs, drugs, looting, etc. seems to grow in severity with each new generation. Generations of the present seem to have no respect for what past generations have done for us to insure our freedoms and our God given rights. All that matters now is rich get richer, poor get poorer, no one cares for their fellow man. It's just a dog eat dog world with no respect for one's elders and no time for one's family and togetherness anymore.

Cite as: Ms. Annmarie J. Christian, Story #323, The Blackout History Project, 30 September 2004, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/323/>.
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