UFO group explores extraterrestrials

By Rob Brannon

ELLENTON  Decades ago, Tom Miller saw his first UFO.
He was at his grandmothers house at Buckeye Lake, Ohio, about 30 miles east of Columbus. Miller, then a young man, relaxed on a chaise lounge out in the yard. Looking up into the sky in the middle of the day, he saw three points of light. He thought at first they were bombers. But the lights werent moving. The three objects hung in formation high in the sky. Then, in the blink of an eye, they were gone.
 I remember it & like it happened yesterday, Miller said.
Years later, Miller would share another sighting with his wife, Jackie. That sighting would come on a beach and be highlighted by a passing airplane. Together, the Millers have an eclectic interest in several aspects of the metaphysical including UFOs. Recently, they created a new UFO group that meets at the Rocky Bluff Library in Ellenton. Members of group, which meets the first Saturday of every month, discuss UFO theories and shares personal experiences.
We say, Why not? Jackie Miller said of UFOs. Thats our theme  Why not? What are you afraid of?

Shared beliefs
Tom Miller, originally from Ohio, was an Eagle Scout and an amateur astronomer. In the 1940s and 1950s, just as UFOlogy was becoming more prevalent, Tom Miller took an interest in some of the early books on the subject. But his interest wasnt as intense as that of his future wife. Tom Miller joined the Army and later became heavily involved in mountaineering. He worked in retail and commercial paint sales before retirement.
Jackie Miller, meanwhile, had a long career as a teacher. Much of her career was spent at Palmetto Elementary. Originally from West Virginia, she has had a longtime interest in the metaphysical. In addition to the UFO group, Jackie Miller is involved in the Manasota Dowsers and meets with a study/discussion group called The Seat of the Soul. Jackie Miller is interested in the work of Nikola Tesla and said she has had psychic experiences. Shes traveled to some of the worlds metaphysical centers, places like Chichen Itza in Mexico.
The pair met 13 years ago when Jackie Miller was volunteering in the hospice where Tom Millers previous wife died. They later discovered they had a lot in common.
Today, the couple lives in their Ridgewood home surrounded by shelves stacked with books. Since meeting, they have attended a number of gatherings on UFOs, including ones held by MUFON. The Millers eventually moved to Tennessee and North Carolina. They visited areas there, and in other parts of the country, known for UFO sightings. They met with one group while living there that included a man who claimed to be an alien/human hybrid.
He didnt have any physical proof other than the fact he was a little strange, Tom Miller said.
Another group in Hendersonville, N.C., included a pilot who claimed to see foo fighters. After 10 years, they returned to Florida only to discover that the Clearwater group had disbanded.

Shared experiences
Tom Miller checked and discovered that there were no UFO groups meeting in the region. The couple decided to start their own, advertising the first meeting through a few phone calls and word of mouth. Fourteen people attended the first meeting, which was held at the Millers residence. For subsequent meetings, they secured the library.
The Millers said the meetings range in topics. On Saturday, the group discussed Eric von Danikens Search for Ancient Astronauts. They also share stories. One man described being chased by a UFO. Another story came from a Myakka resident whose home was bathed in turquoise light before a being about seven feet tall appeared. Another attendee explained that the alien could have been one of a race from a nearby star thats known for its taller stature and whose color is turquoise.
Future meetings may include discussions about crop circles, animal mutilations, implanted chips, missing twin syndrome and other topics. The Millers are looking for military people with stories or anyone who wants to share. Tom Miller said its often difficult for people who have had a UFO experience to come forward.
Its a lot like coming out of the closet, he said.
UFOs, the Millers said, have been around since ancient times. They dont worry too much about people who may be skeptical of their beliefs. The Millers said theyve had several calls about their group. They look forward to the expected increase in UFO sightings.
I am anxious to see what is going to happen, Tom Miller said.
Contact Rob Brannon at rbrannon@yourobserver.com.

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