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30th June, 2023

“There's UFOs over New York” – John Lennon’s 1974 UFO Sighting

Was John Lennon visited by a traveller from ‘Across The Universe’? On the 23rd August 1974, John claimed to have seen a UFO moving slowly over his New York City apartment by the East River. The claim, which came in the middle of John’s famous 18-month long ‘Lost Weekend’ period, was backed by his girlfriend May Pang, and by other residents of the city.

Speaking to The Beatles Story, May explained that John was lying in bed and decided to go out onto the balcony for a cigarette on a summer’s evening.  As he was smoking, he noticed odd lights flashing and as he turned, he saw this silent circular object, dark in colour and adorned with white pulsating lights around the rim with one red light on top.

Standing on the balcony, naked and in shock, John shouted for May to come and confirm the sighting. She later wrote that "the large, circular object was overhead with no noise. I started yelling it’s a UFO.”


She described that it was two or three stories above them, and just cleared the rooftop of the next building. The saucer “crawled” past at a slow pace, before turning sideways and floating down the river. Then it hovered above a building before heading toward Brooklyn. After stopping short over a bridge it flew upwards into the sky.


The sighting came just after John had finished work on the album ‘Walls and Bridges,’ and he added a note to the inner sleeve that read “On 23rd Aug. 1974 at 9 o’clock I saw a U.F.O.” The event was referenced, too, in the lyrics “There’s UFOs over New York and I ain’t too surprised” in John’s song ‘Nobody Told Me’, which was released posthumously in 1984. 

This ‘Lost Weekend’ period of John’s life according to May Pang was, at times, a bit chaotic. But by the time the couple returned to New York, John jokingly insisted he "wasn't crazy." There is, of course, also May’s account of the same story to consider. Interestingly, when the couple called the police and the newspapers to detail their encounter, they were told that similar reports had been given about the UFO.


Have you ever seen anything unexplainable in our skies?

*Banner image for illustrative purposes only.

Mason Griffiths

Mason is the Marketing and PR Executive at The Beatles Story.

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