The night John Lennon and his girlfriend allegedly saw a UFO

In 1974, John Lennon was naked, lying on a bed in a New York hotel, when he saw a series of mysterious lights in the sky. He called the woman he was in a relationship with at the time, May Pang (whom Yoko Ono knew and agreed with, all fine), to observe the same thing he did: some kind of craft with blinking lights flying over a nearby building.

I know what you’re thinking: John Lennon and other rock icons were known, in addition to their talent for songwriting and charismatic performance, for their substance use. In the 1970s, it would be easy to think that what the former Beatle saw was part of a hallucination. However, he claims that at that specific time, he was completely sober. So was May Pang, who also witnessed the alleged UFO sighting.

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She tells the story herself in an autobiographical book entitled Loving John: The Untold Story, in which she recounts the episode she shared with John Lennon on the night of August 23, 1974:

“I had just gotten out of the shower on a Friday night in late August when I heard John call out to me. ‘Fung Yee, come here!’, ‘What’s the matter?’, ‘Look over there,’ and he was pointing to the sky. ‘Tell me what you see.’ When I looked up, I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was convinced it was a UFO.”

In the 1970s there was no such thing as a drone that could fly over a building in the Big Apple. Nor was there any way to quickly capture the sighting, so all we have of that ufological episode is the testimony of May Pang and John Lennon himself, who spoke about it in a historic interview:

“Over here, up there, I saw a UFO,” Lennon says while pointing to the roof of a building. “It went down the river, turned right at the United Nations, turned left, and then down the river. It wasn’t a helicopter, it wasn’t a balloon, and it was so near. It was silent and it looked dark like black or gray in the middle and had white little lights that looked like light bulbs, went on and off at the bottom, and at the top, it had a red light.”

Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva