A few days before Halloween, Zenon Jeskie and his son Max were seated in their backyard on East 22nd Street when they saw two strange lights in the sky.
This was between 6 and 7 p.m. on Oct. 25.
He and his son weren’t thinking of the 1939 Halloween radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds” that made Orson Welles famous, or the 2005 film version Stephen Speilberg filmed here, but they did think what they saw looked strange enough for Zenon to hurry inside to get his digital camera.
Zenon hurried out with the camera, even though he knew the batteries were about to expire. He needed to catch the lights before they vanished, and he did, capturing on a herky-jerky video the lights that moved over his yard. Then, to his surprise, the lights came down, settling somewhere behind the fence at the rear of the yard.
“Then I saw faces,” he said through an interpreter during an interview at the Bayonne Community News this week.
He declined to say what the faces looked like, however, claiming someone might disbelieve him if he did. The hasty pictures he took of the rear fence did show the moving lights.
“They went around the fence,” he said.
They made no sound, but seemed to hover behind the heavy vines draping the fence. With a large yard next door, the strange lights had plenty of room, although the resident pit bull usually sleeping there seemed not to respond.
With his hands, Zenon traced two shapes on the wall during the interview to indicate the size of the lights he saw behind the fence – one shape about six inches oval, the other about two feet.
Desperate to get a better picture, he rushed back into the house for fresh batteries. By the time he returned, the lights had returned to the sky.
A construction worker, Zenon has lived in Bayonne for about nine years, and said he’s never seen anything like this before.
“It gave me a headache,” he said, indicating that his son got an upset stomach from fear and could not sleep that night.
For several days afterwards, Zenon searched the skies to see if the lights had returned. But they had not.
A Polish immigrant, Zenon is convinced that the lights and faces he saw were from some place other than Earth, although he can’t explain them really. But he wants to get the word out, to find out if someone else also had strange visitors that night or any night recently, and if they saw the same faces he saw.
UFO sightings are not unusual in Bayonne
Part of the reason Steven Spielberg likely picked Bayonne for shooting a portion of his remake of “War of the Worlds” had to do with the 1939 radio broadcast, which mentioned Bayonne several times.
But according to the National UFO Reporting Center, Bayonne has been the site of UFO activity several times since 2001.
On Jan. 21, 2001, one witness riding the Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan reported seeing a bright light over the sky in New Jersey.
“I went to the rear deck of the boat to get a better look. It appeared to be brighter than any planet I’ve ever seen in the night sky, and too low on the horizon to be a planet of such brightness,” this witness told the center.
The center’s conclusion was that on this occasion, the witness saw a planet or twinkling star.
On July 11, 2001, three fishermen on a dock behind Veterans Stadium in Bayonne said they heard a report of objects near Carteret and looked south to see them, too.
“We saw six to eight round, bright objects that we first assumed were aircraft in a holding pattern around Newark Airport,” this witness told the center. “The whole place lit up like no one ever seen before any place. It was not lighting or anything normal. This was not reported by anyone else. But then again, it only took one second or so.”
Two years later, on July 7, a witness reported seeing three UFOs – two saucer-shaped and one slower moving “flying donut” – flying below a cloud covered sky, traveling at what seemed 300 miles per hour and moving up and down. All were metallic gray in color.
Although not reported until eight months later, apparently several friends were returning home from work in Bayonne on Feb. 11, 2004, and saw what they thought were four planes until the oval objects started performing odd maneuvers.
On May 30, 2005, a Bayonne resident sitting in a backyard saw a round shaped, almost neon green colored object that changed shape from round to oval before disappearing into the clouds.