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Boston journalist seeks financial help to complete tests on an unidentified object in connection with a 30-year-old New Hampshire mystery.
17 backers pledged $750 to help bring this project to life.
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$750

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Bill McCarthy lives in New Hampshire, at the foot of the White Mountains. In the winter of 1977, something appeared upon, and melted through the ice of, a pond near his house. At the time, National Guard and various state and federal law enforcement agents converged on his house for several days. The story made news from coast to coast, and in several other countries. The theory was that a piece of airborne or orbital debris might have fallen onto his property. A few days later the governor of New Hampshire declared it was all a mistake and local law enforcement threatened to arrest any reporters who remained in town. A few days after that, the owner's dog died suddenly. The necropsy, as I have discovered — and continue to pursue with the original lab from '77 — showed that Bill's dog probably ingested some kind of heavy metal: mercury, arsenic, maybe plutonium. Its insides dissolved, essentially.

In the fall of 2008, McCarthy found two chunks of a strange black glossy material in the woods near his pond. The story of his new find made the local WBZ-TV affiliate and some newspaper reports, but it also resurrected the old story of 1977. While I typically write for The Boston Globe, in Boston, I've attached myself to his story since 2009, working on spec. I'm not sure where this will go, but I've a tentative "yes" from one magazine, in connection with publication.

The upshot of my request is: I'm in possession of a fragment of one of the pieces Bill's recovered in 2008, and have paid for some initial testing to find out what it is. So far, that testing has come back inconclusive. I'd like to go for the next round of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to further identify the fragment, but the cost is $750 for the basic battery, up to $1,500 for the full boat. As I'm working on spec, and I've already dropped a few hundred dollars into the first tests, I need a bit of help to move forward. If you're interested in the outcome — and I think it's adding up to at least a great piece about a little bit of New England legend — maybe Kickstarter is a way to see the story through. Thanks for your consideration. An official quote from the testing lab, for your verification, available by e-mail upon request (james@jamesobrien.cc).

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    A signed copy of the article, upon publication, delivered to your supplied mailing address.

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    A Reporter's Notebook: Notes, photos, interview segments, and document facsimiles from the whole project, some of which will not make the main story — a limited-edition document providing a deeper look into the Bill McCarthy story, from the researcher's point of view.

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Funding period

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