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Dealing with Extraterrestrial-Related Phenomena and Exopolitics


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July 4, 2010


Wentworth-Courier (Australia)

The UFO Truth Could Be Out There


by Rob Bates

He’s never seen little green men or been beamed into an alien mothership but next week American “Astro Political Activist” Stephen Bassett will speak at Paddington RSL to help end what he calls the “truth embargo” on extraterrestrial contact.

The event is part of Mr Bassett’s 10- city tour of Australia, following his 19-city tour of Europe last year, through which he explains the history of aliens arriving on Earth and the efforts to keep these visits under wraps.

“For 14 years I’ve been engaging the UFO ET issue as part of a growing movement to resolve it with full disclosure,” Mr Bassett said. “The ET presence is quite real; most of the major governments, or components of these governments, know it and this has been kept from the people for too long.”

Mr Bassett said evidence of this was “massive” with “scores of witnesses, photographs, video, radar logs, Freedom of Information documents” and high-profile whistleblowers.

He said these included Apollo 14 astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell, Mercury Seven astronaut Gordon Cooper and former defence minister of Canada Paul Hellyer, to name a few.

According to Mr Bassett the evidence began to manifest itself about 1947 and was quickly hushed to avoid piling more pressure on a planet already buckling under the Cold War.

“We understand the reason for the embargo but we need it to end now,” he said. “It’s no longer appropriate to keep something this profound from your citizens.”

Beside the inherent value in knowing the truth, Mr Bassett said there was much to be gained from his pressure campaign, as technologies found in captured alien craft could change the course of human history. “It’s a bit like asking, ‘What’s the benefit of knowing the Earth revolves around the sun but we’ve got the Gulf of Mexico filling up with oil right now and every year millions of people die from the pollution of carbon-based fuel?’ “

Mr Bassett will speak at Paddington RSL on Saturday, July 10 from 2pm - 6.30pm. Tickets are $30 at the door or by emailing To find out more, visit


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December 12, 2003


Cleveland Plain Dealer

UFO Buffs Sue To Obtain Data On Pa. Fireball 


by Michael Sangiacomo

Elyria - Were the fiery objects that crashed into Elyria 38 years ago Tuesday part of an unidentified flying object that crashed near the western Pennsylvania town of Kecksburg?

Inquiring minds want to know.

A group of UFO enthusiasts, backed by the Sci-Fi Channel, filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking full disclosure of NASA records regarding the crash of a large, fiery object near Kecksburg.

According to a front-page story in The Plain Dealer on Dec. 10, 1965, smaller fireballs also crashed in the Elyria area, setting 10 small grass fires.

Mrs. Ralph Richards of West River Drive in Elyria told the newspaper she saw a "flaming object about the size of a basketball" crash into a field.

Government officials at the time said the main fireball and the smaller pieces came from a meteorite that broke up on entering the Earth's atmosphere.

But the Coalition for Freedom of Information, a group seeking more government information about UFOs, said witnesses reported watching the huge fireball maneuver through the sky before impact, suggesting it was "either a highly advanced space probe" or some other unknown object from outer space.

"Calling it a meteorite does not explain why the U.S. Army cordoned off the area and kept townspeople out of the site," said Larry Landsman of the SciFi Channel headquarters in New York. "The area was practically under martial law. People have reported seeing something hauled away from the scene, but this was always denied by the government."

The suit was filed in Washington, D.C., by Leslie Kean, of San Rafael, Calif., the investigative director of the Coalition for Freedom of Information. She asked that NASA be forced to release all information it has gathered on the Kecksburg crash.

The coalition was formed last year to concentrate on the "government operations relating to the investigation of unidentified flying objects."

According to the lawsuit, Kean filed a Freedom of Information Act request in January for information and was told that no such records exist.

A spokesman for NASA in Washington, D.C., said the agency had heard about the lawsuit but would have no comment.

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December 12, 2003


China Daily

Focus: Ufology in mysticism

UFOs, flying saucers and ET conjure up images from Hollywood films and blurred photos in tabloid newspapers. But a number of true believers in China, many of them highly educated, see merit in exploring unidentified flying objects and alien encounters scientifically.

Meng Zhaoguo, a 35-year-old tree grower from Wuchang City in Heilongjiang Province, can still vividly describe the Steven Spielberg-type scenario he claims to have witnessed nearly 10 years ago: As he sat in a huge white, gleaming spaceship, a tall creature with a large head and eyes like light bulbs and clad in an inflated seamless rubber suit perched on a metal sheet that hovered in the air. In a metallic-tinged voice, this interplanetary visitor communicated with a man via a television-like screen, predicting a collision between a comet and Jupiter.

As sensational as it sounds, Meng insists he was taken aboard the ship a month after being shocked by some sort of waves emitted by a silver-coloured object on a mountain he and some other villagers attempted to approach in June 1994.

Such accounts have served to shroud ufology - the study of UFOs - in a kind of mysticism, a word often used when referring to the subject.

The Chinese public first learned about UFOs in 1978, when leading State newspaper the People's Daily ran an article about the phenomenon. Although many accounts of UFO sightings have appeared in the media in the ensuing two decades, the voices of doubt are as strong as people's curiosity.

But despite the cynicism, more than 40 ufology associations across the country have registered some 5,000 believers, not including academicians interested in UFOs. With no State funding and little private sponsorship, the community feels discriminated against and excluded from mainstream scientific

The sceptics's main demand seems simple enough, but satisfying it is harder: Show me the evidence. A photo or video footage, which can be easily fabricated, is not sufficient. They want to see a real object, a flying saucer, something of a mission impossible for ufologists.

Describing ufologists as Rmantics, Sima Nan, a popular science writer and a leading figure in the country's fight against pseudo-science, says the most important thing in scientific research is to base a study on concrete evidence and avoid subjectivism. Those who alleged to have seen UFOs or had extraterrestrial (ET) encounters, be they an innocent child, sincere woman or down-to-earth farmer or a retired cadre, all lack hard evidence to prove their claims via objective and scientific methods.

"Research work based mostly on imagination is not research at all, "says the writer, adding that the standard telescopes and hand-held video cameras commonly used by ufologists cannot meet the stringent demands of scientific research.

Ufologists, however, believe their research to be as significant as the country's space exploration programme, even if it is not currently being taken seriously. If space exploration includes the search for alien civilizations, they argue, UFO research can serve to supplement it.

Tian Daojun, a professor at the Nanjing University of Aviation and Aeronautics, says that human fantasy is not totally meaningless in scientific research, as some UFO sceptics assume, pointing out that the fanciful notions of human beings did eventually put a man on the moon.

The numerous UFO sightings reported should never be ignored or denied, Tian says. Any information gleaned about the way alien spacecraft function might serve to upgrade scientific research, resulting in breakthroughs in aviation and aeronautics technologies on Earth.

But what upsets UFO researchers most is the suggestion that UFOs are nothing but mythology and ufology is just a new form of pseudo-science.

Ji Jianmin, a UFO enthusiast in Feixiang County in northern China's Hebei Province, dismisses such assertions as too opinionated and unfriendly to UFO researchers and criticizes detractors for their own unscientific approach to the subject.

Ji, a former high school art teacher who currently runs a nameplate design service, became interested in UFOs in the 1980s. He firmly believes in the existence of civilizations on other planets as well as the potential for a kind of psychic connection between residents of Earth and aliens.

A graduate from a local vocational teacher training college, Ji admits that his education falls short of arming him to study UFOs scientifically. But, he adds:" that does not necessarily mean I'mnot qualified to do my part. When it comes to UFO research, everyone is a primary-school pupil, from fans with scant education to established experts in various scientific fields."

The controversy surrounding UFOs is very natural, so long as each side does not force its ideas on the other, according to Wu Jialu, a Shanghai aircraft expert.

Wu also finds it natural for people to become interested in the mysteries of the universe. It's quite nice that people care about things outside their immediate world, as it shows a willingness to expand their vision, and the exploration of the unknown is, after all, both interesting and important. Even within the UFO community, ufologists differ in their approaches to research, although they all consider alien spacecraft and intelligence to be at the very heart of their research.

One school tends to focus on the more practical aspects. Some, like Wu, expect to get inspiration by contemplating the mechanics of alien spacecraft as a means of improving Earth aircraft or even spaceships. Others, including Su Congbo, a seismologist in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province, are interested in finding out whether there is a connection between UFOs and natural phenomena such as earthquakes.

Beijing-based ufologist Zhang Jingping stands for yet another school of thought in his persistent attempts to prove the existence not only of UFOs but also of alien civilizations.

Zhang, the 30-something owner of an advertising firm who considers ufology his real career, has put a great deal of energy into investigating UFO encounters. A graduate of the Beijing University of Aviation and Aeronautics (BUAA), Zhang says he has no doubt that visitors from other planets have had a considerable amount of contact with people on Earth. Not one to shrink from the courage of his convictions, he even named his advertising company Flying Saucer.

In early September, Zhang invited police technicians and psychologists to subject Meng Zhaoguo to a lie detector test and hypnosis experiments in Beijing. The test results, he says, prove that Meng was telling the truth. Zhang also believes the scars Meng bears from the incident, which doctors said could not possibly have been caused by common injuries or surgery, serve as further evidence of his ET encounter.

But Liu Daoye, a retired expert on national defence based in Nanjing, capital of eastern China's Jiangsu Province, contends that a belief cannot be based on something that cannot be explained, such as the scars Meng says were inflicted during his alien adventure. However exciting the reports of UFO witnesses and however sensational the claims of encounters with ETs may be, Liu says, ufologists must base their studies on serious research and concrete evidence to avoid misleading the public.

"I believe in the probability of intelligent life on other planets, but I doubt such beings have ever travelled to Earth," he says. "To date, no one who has claimed to have encountered an ET can produce concrete evidence, so advocating their existence can only lead UFO research towards mysticism." He says that while the reports of experiences similar to Meng's are not necessarily lies, they are more likely the result of some sort of optical illusion.

Zhang does argue, however, that UFO research should not be fettered by the limitations of modern science and technology.  "We need new conceptions in UFO research, as current science and technology theory also need improving." Cao Lixing, a postgraduate student majoring in computer science at BUAA, says proving the existence of UFOs or flying saucers is important to advancing serious study. "As long as the existence of such phenomena remains unproven, UFO research will never escape the bounds of scepticism," he says.

The young man became interested in UFO research after listening to a lecture Zhang and Meng gave in late September. He also accompanied Zhang to Qinhuangdao, a northern coastal city in Hebei, in early October to look for the landing site of a flying saucer in another alleged ET encounter.

Cao says he appreciates Zhang's enthusiasm and devotion, but admits that it is hard for the average person, himself included, to believe any ET story unless they have such an experience themselves.

A farmer with only five years's schooling, Meng Zhaoguo says he had never heard the term "UFO" before researchers visited him after his story was reported.

After his experience, Meng was sought out by some locals hoping he could cure their diseases, as they reckoned his encounter might have given him special powers. Meng says he refused their entreaties. And more business-minded people wanted to advertise Meng as an attraction to encourage tourism to the region.

Acknowledging the overwhelming doubt he sees in people's eyes when he recalls the incident, the farmer, who has participated in more than 100 interviews with the media and researchers, says that UFOs and ufology, which were originally unknown to him, have disrupted his life and made him feel uneasy.

"But ufologists still take great interest in Meng's UFO encounter nine years on. they hope there will be a conclusion to the UFO phenomenon as soon as possible; only then will I feel released," sighs Meng.

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December 10, 2003


Alberta Airdrie Echo

Researcher Reports More Sightings

by Paul Wells
Echo Editor

Airdrie Echo — Two recent Airdrie Echo articles on UFO sightings in and around Airdrie continue to spur on other residents to come forward with their stories of strange lights in the sky.

And although he’s investigated thousands of sighting reports over the years, Canadian UFO researcher Brian Vike says the local response has been somewhat unusual.

"It is really interesting to see what has been coming in from your area," said Vike, director of British Columbia-based HBCC UFO Research. "What is really interesting is that other papers have run articles and I never heard a peep about any sightings coming in, so to me this shows that people are seeing strange things in certain areas, such as yours."

Here are the most recent reports from the Airdrie area that Vike has received.

Date: Sept. 15, 2003
Time: 11:20 p.m.

"The witness’ e-mail is below: I also called the witness in Airdrie to gather more information on this sighting. My report after talking to her is below also," Vike said.

"A week before the first article came out in the Airdrie Echo newspaper about sightings, I came home from work about 11:20 p.m. and I let the dogs outside and I was also watching a few northern lights off my deck," said the witness in her e-mail. "I live on the east side of Airdrie ... so we have a hill behind my place with a walkway that goes towards the highway. I looked over to my left toward the west – and I know what I saw – it was a big circle of lights twirling around and hovering on the walkway and then it just went down, not up. I grabbed my dogs and headed into the house. The next week, I read the article in the paper."

Vike said that during his phone conversation with the witness, more information was gathered.

"The witness said it could not have been children twirling lights as, for one thing, the circle of lights was very large in size, plus she could not see anyone in the area," Vike said. She also compared the size to a 10- or 12-foot round C-Band satellite dish. She explained that it looked to her as if it was a ring-shaped object with a lot of white lights running all around the outside of it. She also said it appeared that there was not just one set of lights, but layers of them.

Date: Early July 2000
Time: Late evening

According to Vike, "A gentleman called to file a report. He first told me he lives in the next town north of Airdrie (Crossfield). Back in the year 2000, he was living in Calgary and they had just purchased a home north of Airdrie. The fellow works evenings, so one night when he finished off his shift at work, he asked a good friend if he wanted to take a drive and have a look at his new home he had purchased. He told me it was a beautiful evening and they decided to take the trip to look at the new home. They headed out, both men discussing the distance they would be travelling from Calgary to the new home. The driver thought they would be travelling some 40 kilometers, but his friend thought it would be a little further than that. The driver hit the button on the odometer, which set it at zero kilometers. This way they would know just how far they were about to travel one way. The two men arrived safely at their destination and had a look around and took some time talking. It was starting to get later into the evening, so they thought it best to get back on the road heading towards home. The passenger in the vehicle mentioned to the driver that he had in-laws living in Airdrie and would it be OK if they swung by to show the driver their home. As they drove along the highway outside of Airdrie, the driver noticed some very bright lights coming up from behind them. The lights were very bright, and as the passenger turned around to look he commented on the brightness and how fast the lights were approaching them. Both men, thinking this was a vehicle, never gave it a lot of thought, other than these lights were almost blinding to the driver.

"Now here is where the story takes a strange twist. All of a sudden the fellows came upon a large sign. It read Country Hills Boulevard, which is the first exit to Calgary. What is puzzling is that from when the strange lights came up from behind them and to the sign which read Country Hills Boulevard, there is a possibility that some time had gone missing. Both men do not recall driving through Airdrie at all. The driver took a look at the odometer and he noticed they may be missing 20 kilometers.  As he mentioned to me, he never gave any of this much thought, but did find it rather strange. The driver also said he has driven this stretch of highway many times and nothing like this has ever taken place. I asked the man if he or his friend had ever had any vivid dreams and he said no. As far as he knows, nothing out of the ordinary has happened to him other than this one strange event. The driver did mention that his friend did lose a little sleep over the experience."

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November 26, 2003


Alberta Airdrie Echo

More UFO sightings Reported
Additional witnesses come forward after recent article

Paul Wells
Echo Editor

A British Columbia-based UFO researcher says a story which appeared in the Echo in September regarding sightings in the Airdrie area has spurred others to come forward with their experiences with strange lights in the sky.

Brian Vike, director of HBCC UFO Research and a regular contributor to TV and radio shows as a UFO expert, said numerous sightings of unidentified objects in the area over the past months has ensured that Airdrie has entered the lexicon of the UFO community.

"I do a weekly radio show (in B.C.) and I mentioned to the host that I have received a number of reports from the (Airdrie) area and we talked about the latest one, which came in on air," Vike said.

"I have been doing many radio shows (in Canada and the U.S.) and I always include information about the sightings in your area."

The original article contained a rundown of three of the most recent sightings in the area which occurred from July through September. That article can be found at under the archive section.

Since that time, Vike has received reports of more sightings which have occurred recently. These include:

o Aug. 18, 2003, 2:30 p.m. According to Vike, a man called HBCC UFO Research s toll-free UFO hotline to report a strange sight he witnessed while driving on Highway 2 from Calgary to Airdrie.

"He watched a small white light cross the highway in the distance ahead of him and the ball of light turned in his direction. The witness said he observed the light getting closer and all of a sudden the object stopped still a ways away from him and changed from a ball of light into a craft of some type. He reported no sound being heard. I asked if he might be able to determine the size of it and he said that when it was in the distance, it could have been approximately the size of his fingernail but when it headed in his direction and got very close, in his words, It was huge. "

The witness said the object came to a complete stop and sat stationary for a period of time before he lost sight of it.

o Sept. 15, 2003, 8:33 p.m. (The following is an e-mail report received by Vike.) "I noticed an article in the Airdrie Echo the other day and wondered if you had an explanation for something my daughter and I saw Friday night (Sept. 26). We were looking west of the Big Dipper and saw what looked like an exceptionally bright star (brighter than anything I have seen before).

"We were trying to figure out if it was a planet or something, and it just dimmed out to nothing in a matter of 10 seconds or less. It didn t move at all, just dimmed to a faint point, then we couldn t see it anymore.

o Oct. 27, 2003, 11 p.m. Vike said a man called him Nov. 3 to make a report after reading the Echo article.

"He was talking to his neighbours and they asked him if he had witnessed anything strange on Oct. 27 at around 11 p.m. He said no and asked what it was these folks saw.

"The couple said they were outside of their home looking west toward the mountains and witnessed five very bright flashes in different parts of the sky. All the flashes that were witnessed were very low in the horizon and at least 100 times brighter than a regular flash one would see from a camera.

"Also, the flashes were very large in size. They also mentioned the lights were at a great distance away from their location."

Having been a UFO researcher for many years, Vike said his routine is to first attempt to offer such rational explanations as weather patterns, satellites or meteors for such sightings.

"I do know that (UFO sightings) is sometimes a very strange topic ... but I honestly do look for rational explanations for such sightings," he said. "Most times, I can offer an explanation of what the folks witnessed, but then I have many cases which also go unsolved."

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November 21, 2003


Diario El Tribuno (Argentina)

UFO Follows Three Mechanics in Salta for Two Hours

"I'd never been so scared," said one of the protagonists of the strange and extraordinary adventure.

A team of three mechanics from Salta, who had ventured out to rescue a minibus belonging to a Canadian scientific expedition on the Chilean side of the Andean region bordering the provinces of Salta and Jujuy, had an unexpected brush with the unusual: an unidentified flying object (UFO) of considerable size, spherical, and having an "impressive white luminosity" followed them for over two hours on a straight road that links the communities of Susques and Punamarca through the international Jama Pass.

"I'd never been so scared. That thing didn't belong to this world. It moved at an impossible speed and at one point came so close to us we thought it would collide," said Raul Eduardo Oviedo Tomas of the "Forani" mechanic shop in Salta. The North American researchers were stranded at San Pedro de Atacama. Headed by Dr. Randall, the scientists were conducting a survey of Cordilleran flora.

"We left Saturday on 4:45 from Salta toward the Cordillera. I asked two friends--Marco Figueroa and Alejandro--to accompany me so I wouldn't have to do either the work or the journey alone. This was the first time I had driven those roads, and I was truly impressed, not just by the landscape and the desolation, but by the hardship. One has to climb a 70 kilometer-long incline to reach Chile, which can destroy the engine of any unit driven by a inexperienced motorist," said Oviedo Tomas, 37, with an athletic build.

He added: "We reached San Pedro de Atacama around 14 hours on the same day, but [upon reaching the site] we realized that it would be impossible to tow the Canadian minibus with my S10 Chevy--it weighed over 5000 kilos and one good look at its structure and equipment sufficed to establish that the only way to get it out of there would be using a "mosquito truck" or something similar. We therefore decided to return home."

Without hesitation, taking deep drags of a cigarette, Oviedo Tomas went on: "The road on the Argentinean side is trully horrible, especially when contrasted with the Chilean side, which is like a paved pool table, with signage and road markings. At that point, shortly before reaching Susques, the stones caused us a blowout, which caused us to continue the trip under stress, since there was no other spare tier. We thought to repair it in the little town [Susques] but the tire repairman was on holiday, so we had to continue regardless. It was still Saturday."

"At around 20:00 we left Susques for Punamarca. We were listening to music and remarking about the impressive darkness and loneliness of this area, which is an upland plateau. Suddenly the lights and radio went out. I braked because I couldn't see anything at all due to the darkened. "Stop fooling around!" Alejandro told me from the back seat."

"Meanwhile, I was moving all of the knobs and to see what had happened. Nothing worked, only the engine. Suddenly, on my right and at an [undetermined] distance, I saw a strange light. It was a small sphere that irradiated an intense white light. 'Did you see that?' asked Marcos. I never got to answer, even though I thought [the light] was what they call 'la luz mala' (the evil light), because it started moving swiftly toward us until it became enormous. It stopped and remained static. 'Don't look at it!' I told my friends, although I don't know why. I accelerated and poured on as much speed as possible, however, that 'thing' started to fly again in a perfect straight line. It didn't make a single sound. Suddenly, it gained speed and in less than a second it vanished toward the bottom of the plain."

"We were quiet and didn't make a single remark, although all of us asked each other many times 'Did you see it? Did you see it?'. We went on in silence, although not for long, because other things happened that were truly unbelievable."

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November 14, 2003


Western Daily Press (UK)

The Boys In Blue & Their Little Green Men

Ello 'ello 'ello, what's goin' on 'ere then? There seem to be rather a lot of spaceships hovering in the West's night skies.  More than 200 police officers have come forward to say they have seen UFOs flying over the British countryside, a detective revealed yesterday.

And according to the bobbies' X-files experiences, for the past 50 years the West has been a buzzing hotspot for extra-terrestrial activity.

One of the first recorded incidents out of the 84 recorded on the Prufos (Police Reporting UFO Sightings) website, comes from 1963 when PC Anthony Penny, on duty and wearing his uniform, saw an orange shape zoom over the sky and disappear into a field.

A few days later, when a large crater was found in the meadow, a bomb disposal team was sent to investigate, and the incident was even mentioned in Parliament.

Det Con Gary Heseltine, who works for the British Transport Police in Leeds and runs the database, feels the sightings are particularly credible because they all come from serving or retired officers.

"To my logical, police-trained mind, the officers provide excellent witness testimony promoting the 'nuts and bolts' evidence that supports the extra-terrestrial hypothesis," he wrote in a special report for this month's UFO Magazine.

And yesterday, the 43-year-old said he believed the sightings were only the tip of the iceberg.

"Many officers are worried about saying anything in case it affects their jobs or careers. That's why many sightings are only reported to me after officers have retired or if there are multiple sightings that several officers have seen," he said.  "The police are trained observers, they are out 24 hours a day."

A firm believer in extra-terrestrial life, Det Con Heseltine has himself had two UFO experiences. But one of the most dramatic brushes with a UFO was reported by two off-duty policemen at dusk on an October day in 1967, in Lytchett Minster, Dorset.

A large cigar-shaped spaceship, that was changing colour and form, was hovering over the village. As they watched, it split in two, disappeared and reappeared, and then shot from view.

And PC Roger Willey was one of two officers in a patrol car who reported giving chase to a cross-shaped spaceship in Okehampton, Devon. Their official report filed after the flying saucer sighting said it hovered over Salisbury in Wiltshire for almost a minute.

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October 27, 2003

Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville)

Kelly green men documentary filmed this weekend in L.A.

by Michele Carlton

A documentary film featuring the 1955 invasion of "little green men" in the Christian County community of Kelly began filming this weekend in the Angeles National Forest just north of Los Angeles.

Barcon Video Productions, based in Glendale, Calif., filmed the dramatization of the local legend to include as part of a documentary entitled "Monsters of the UFO."

A Barcon production crew conducted eyewitness interviews in Hopkinsville last December to include in the film.

"I've wanted to do this film since I was a teenager," said producer/director Barry Conrad in an interview from Los Angeles last week. "I've wanted to try to bring the Kelly green men legend to life."

The local legend took root when the small town residents reported the landing of a space ship near the home of Cecil "Lucky" Sutton on Old Madisonville Road at the edge of Kelly on Aug. 21, 1955. Sutton and other family members said 12 little men landed in a spaceship and

then battled them at the house for hours.

Although the invaders are now known as the "little green men of Kelly," the original stories reported they were silver.

Actor Paul Clemens portrays Elmer "Lucky" Sutton and Mark Irvingsen plays Billy Ray Taylor in the re-enactment, Conrad said. Other character actors portray other true life persons who were present during the actual alien siege at Kelly.

Conrad said much of the film will be based on rare documents found at the Center for UFO Studies in Chicago created by the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who served as the Air Force's official consultant to the media regarding sightings of UFO's. Dr. Hynek later worked with Steven Spielberg on the 1977 blockbuster documentary, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

Bryan Moore, a special effects artist who created many of the monsters used in the old Laurel Entertainment series, "Tales From the Darkside," is designing the aliens to be used in the Kelly story, Conrad said.

The documentary, "Monsters of the UFO," is a one?hour anthology special focusing on three stories involving close encounters with unexplained phenomenon. In addition to the Kelly green men, the film will explore first?hand accounts of the Mothman legend in Point Pleasant, W.Va., and the Flatwoods Monster in Flatwoods, W.Va.

Conrad and co-producer Lisa McIntosh are also planning a special DVD release later next year on the legend of the Kelly green men.

The director said to complete the DVD, Barcon needs additional photographs from Hopkinsville and Kelly circa 1955 and old film footage of the area.

"An Unknown Encounter" and "California's Most Haunted" were recently broadcast by the Sci Fi Network. Sci Fi executive Ray Cannella said these two documentaries garnered the highest ratings in the their history for the Tuesday prime time slots featured on its "Tuesday Declassified" series, a Barcon news release said.

Barcon film crews expect to return to Hopkinsville in December to conduct some final research and interviews, Conrad said.  "Monsters of the UFO" will most likely air on the Sci Fi Channel next year.

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November 2, 2003

Los Angeles Times

Treasure Trove of UFO Data Lands at a Texas University
by Lianne Hart
Times Staff Writer

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- In 1967, as unmanned orbiters landed on the moon and Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the world's first successful heart transplant, a $500,000 federally funded investigation of UFOs was well underway at the University of Colorado.

Led by prominent physicist Edward U. Condon, a team of scientists attempted to determine once and for all if UFOs existed.

Eight boxes of raw data collected during the two-year study were made public by Texas A & M University in September, providing a behind-the-scenes look at what is arguably one of the most curious government investigations ever.

"We had quite an organization set up to look into reports of UFOs. It was all taken pretty seriously," said Roy Craig, the chief field investigator for the project, who donated his records to the university. "I went into the project hoping that I could find some actual, physical evidence that would pass muster."

To Craig's disappointment, he said, most sightings of alien spaceships could be explained by science. Among his file folders stuffed with meticulous, handwritten notes are artifacts such as a silvery material said to be taken from an alien spacecraft. It turned out to be a hunk of magnesium. A rusty muffler that flew off a lawn mower had some believing they'd seen a tiny spaceship with a tail of fire.

"Guys like Roy did what they could to come up with a result they could hang their hat on," said Hal W. Hall, curator of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection at Texas A & M. "Anybody can come in and look at the appointment books, memos and field notes _ real background of what went into the report. They'll see the enormous amount of work that took place as they applied scientific principles to the evidence."

The project results, which came to be known as the Condon Report, were an outgrowth of classified Air Force investigations that came under criticism as UFO sightings increased in the 1960s

"Some of the congressmen got convinced there were flying saucers out there and the government was keeping secrets from their constituents. They wanted to know whether it was anything they should be concerned with for national security," Craig said.

In 1966, more than 30 Condon commission staffers _ including university professors, psychologists and scientists from private laboratories _ began sifting through thousands of UFO reports, then went on field trips to collect evidence and interview witnesses. Experts in radar and meteorology were drafted to help explain mysterious flashing lights. Elaborate laboratory tests were conducted on puzzling materials and photos of elliptical objects in the sky.

In September 1968, Craig wrote himself a note and put it in a file folder: "The existence of either alien flying vehicles or unknown natural phenomena is not indicated by evidence as we have examined. We are left with no artifact of alien cultures, no direct or indirect physical evidence of anything extraordinary, few [if any] pictures that cannot be shown to be fake ... and many examples of impressive reports which lost their strangeness as their claims were investigated."

This view was reflected in the more than 1,000-page Condon Report released in January 1969, which the Air Force used to close its own investigation of UFOs. The report was denounced by UFO believers, who called it a sham meant to calm a jittery public. A former project member criticized Condon, who died in 1974, for taking an anti-UFO stand from the start and wrote a book called "UFOs? YES! Where the Condon Committee Went Wrong."

More than 30 years later, the Condon Report still rankles those who study UFOs.

"It's clear to many of us in the field that the government is trying to get the minds of the American people off the UFO phenomenon. It would not be surprising if the Condon Report was sort of a red herring," said Peter Davenport, director of the Seattle-based National UFO Reporting Center, which has posted 23,000 sightings on its Web site since 1995. "When one looks at the cases that the Condon commission settled on for investigation to the exclusion of other more dramatic cases, a reasonable person would come to the conclusion that these people did not want to get to the bottom of the phenomenon."

Still, Davenport said, he and other UFO authorities _ who call themselves "ufologists" _ can't wait to read the notes and materials donated by Craig. "It's a treasure trove for someone like me," Davenport said. "Going through the pages line by line, comparing it with what we know, it's like gold mining. Every once in awhile you come up with a gold nugget."

Craig, now 79 and raising llamas on a ranch in Colorado, said that he relished his time as a government ufologist. "Dr. Condon was sorry he had any part of it, but I had fun. It's a historic study that will never get outdated. I don't think anything is ever going to happen during most people's lifetimes that will change the conclusions of the study."

Skeptics can think what they may, Craig said, but "we gave it an honest try."

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October 18, 2003

Mansfield News Journal

UFO still puzzles 30 years later

by Russ Kent

MANSFIELD -- Thirty years ago tonight, strange things were happening in the skies over north central Ohio.

A close encounter in Mansfield, that has since become known as "The Coyne Incident," is still raising eyebrows among believers and UFO investigators.

That evening, in a soybean field on the west side of Galion, Rene Boucher and her brother Brad encountered a bright light in the sky that has lured her from Florida for another sojourn into that field.

It was about 11 p.m. on Oct. 18, 1973, when an Army Reserve helicopter came perilously close to colliding with an unidentified flying object.

Arrigo "Rick" Jezzi, 56, who now lives in Cincinnati, was flying the Huey helicopter that night. Three decades later, he is still not sure what happened.

Jezzi was one of four members of an Army Reserve unit based at Hopkins Airport in Cleveland on board. The crew was en route to Cleveland from Columbus.

"Capt. Larry Coyne was the pilot," Jezzi said. "I was in the left seat, actually flying the Huey at the time. We were near Mansfield flying at 2,500 to 3,000 feet."

John Healey and Robert Yanacsek were in the back of the Huey, near a cargo door with a Plexiglas window.

"One of the guys in the back reported a red light. He said it looked like an aircraft light on the right horizon," Jezzi said. "I couldn't see it."

Jezzi was flying from the left seat. On the other side of the Huey there was a 12-foot section of fuselage between the side window and the cargo doors. He figures the red light was in his blind spot.

"Then I heard 'I think its coming toward us'," Jezzi said. "The next thing I knew Larry took control of the throttle. We went into a maneuver, a controlled free fall. We dropped about 2,000 feet."

Jezzi said if Coyne had not made the drastic maneuver there would have been a collision.

"It took just a couple of seconds," Jezzi said. "I remember looking up through the ceiling and I saw a white light moving over top of us. I followed it to the left horizon where it disappeared."

Jezzi isn't sure what he saw. It was like no aircraft he'd ever seen. He guessed it was traveling at least 500 knots, twice the speed of his Huey.

"Red navigational lights aren't located in the front of an aircraft," he said. "That's what was moving toward us. I don't know what it was."

The incident was documented by witnesses on the ground. In UFO lore the "Coyne Incident" is regarded as one of the most reliable UFO sightings of all time.

"It caused a lot of hullabaloo," Jezzi said. "The first thing I thought was those Commie bastards. What are they up to."

The next morning two of the other crew members, while being questioned about the incident, sketched drawings of the cigar-shaped craft they observed.

"They both came up with similar drawings," Jezzi said.

The magnetic compass in the Huey never worked right after the incident and had to be replaced.

Rene Bouchard doesn't know what she saw in Galion about 60 minutes earlier that same evening.

"I was in high school. My brother was in junior high," she said. "There had been a lot of sightings in the days and weeks before that. Even the governor reported seeing something. We thought we'd give it a try."

She and her brother walked out in the field behind their home and started watching the sky.

"We saw a bunch of stuff that looked like it was maybe 30,000 feet in the air," she said. "But it wasn't anything spectacular. Then I think we both put our heads down for some reason. That's when we saw this brilliant white light. It was as bright as the sun. I don't know what it was but it scared us. We ran for two blocks until we got home."

Rene has since moved to Florida. Her brother is in California. She's back in Galion today and plans to go out in that same bean field to spend part of her evening.

"We really saw something that night," she said. "I don't know what it was. But I'll be back there (tonight). I called my brother and asked him to fly here so he could go with me. He said no. I'm not expecting to see anything. But I'm going to be there." <>

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October 16, 2003

Grimsby Telegraph - (UK)

UFO Video Out of This World 


by Rob Burman

The suspected UFO sighting in Grimsby has been the source of speculation across the globe.

Earlier this month we printed the strange account of Steve Mausson and his wife Caron, who spotted a "black shiny disc" above their home in Bodiam Way, Grimsby. Mr Mausson filmed the obscure object with his video camera.

The footage, which lasted for little more than a minute, showed a black object coming in and out of view.

The video was digitally enhanced but identification of the disc remained a mystery.

After printing the original article, the Telegraph was flooded with responses from flying saucer spotters in locations across the globe, including America, India and Milan.

Some gave accounts of their own peculiar encounters, while others drew parallels with UFO sightings in other countries.

One response was from UFO expert Dianne Goodman who published a book called Door to Atlantis.

She has had numerous paranormal encounters and had now added the UFO sighting in Grimsby to her extraterrestrial files.

Bruce Maccabee has been studying a similar account of a UFO encounter in Tennessee, America, back in August.

He, too, gave a description of a black disk in the sky.

The article even caught the attention of a self-proclaimed paranormal investigator.

Chris Augustin, who runs, a site dedicated to the study of aliens and paranormal sightings, contacted the Telegraph to obtain a copy of Mr Mausson's video.

Mr Augustin said: "I have been studying the phenomenon for more than seven years.

"I found the Steven Musson sighting to be very interesting, to say the least."

Another response came from a 16-year-old student from India.

She saw a strange object in the sky while on a school trip to Bangalore.

She said: "It emitted some weird, very bright coloured lights. It was flying pretty slowly for a few minutes and then I do not know where it went." <>


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October 27, 2003


New York Post

Sci Fi: We Got Secret UFO Files

by Don Kaplan

THE SCI FI Channel has cracked open the file cabinet containing the real-life version of "The X-Files."

SCI FI pressured NASA into releasing top secret records about a 1965 UFO incident that took place in Kecksburg, Pa. and won.

Now about 36 pages of classified documents that have been kept under lock and key for almost four decades are being exposed to the public.

The release is part of an ongoing effort by SCI FI - along with a D.C. lobbying firm and former Clinton chief of staff, John Podesta - to pressure government agencies into making public top-secret records of various UFO related incidents that are over 25 years old.

"I think its fair to say that we have truly entered the realm of science fiction in Washington, D.C.," said Podesta.

"When it's fair game to disclose the identity of a clandestine CIA agent but not the records of an unexplained crash in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania that occurred 38 years ago."

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October 14, 2003


Florida Today

UFO Expert Comes To Brevard 


by Billy Cox

George W. Bush raised a few eyebrows during the 2000 presidential campaign when he responded to a question about releasing government files on unidentified flying objects. "It'll be the first thing he (Dick Cheney) will do," Bush said. "He'll get right on it."

Immediately upon assuming office, however, the Bush administration exhibited an impulse for even tighter controls on government information, long before the 9/11 security clampdown. From Bush's immediate suspension of the 1978 Presidential Records Act to Cheney's refusal to comply with a General Accounting Office request for the names of the Vice President's Energy Task Force members, patterns of concealment are consistent. Just last month, Bush signed Executive Order 12958, which gave the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy the unprecedented authority to declare information "Top Secret."

"They didn't explain a rationale for it," says Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' government secrecy project in Washington, D.C. "The only way to know for sure how significant it is, is to come back a year from now and see how many times it's been exercised."

UFO declassification proponents thought they were building momentum for congressional hearings with a forum of witnesses in May 2001 announcing their willingness to testify. Then, the roof fell in. "The Saudi Arabian flying circus came to town, and the U.S. declared an open-ended war against this term, this noun, called terror," recalls lobbyist Stephen Bassett. "All the attention and all the headlines got sucked up by 9/11, and all the political work went into suspended animation."

But UFO reports never stopped. Nor did calls for government accountability. Friday, one of the leading advocates -- Stanton Friedman -- will discuss what he calls the "Cosmic Watergate" at Brevard Community College's Titusville campus.

Author of "Crash at Corona" and "Top Secret/Majic," Friedman was among the first to revisit the 1947 Roswell Incident, in which military authorities initially announced the recovery of a flying saucer, only to reverse themselves amid the ensuing media clamor. But from his home in New Brunswick, Canada, the American-born researcher blames contemporary media passivity for enabling a cover-up.

"The only way we'll make any progress with this issue is when the press gets off its duff and takes a serious look at all the documents that have been in the public domain for years," says Friedman. His background in nuclear physics landed him 14 years' worth of work on nuclear rockets, much of it classified. "I'd like to see them spend just 10 percent of the energy they invested in covering Gary Condit, Elian Gonzales and Monica Lewinsky."

Friedman contends government documents already in the public domain are loaded with smoking guns, not the least of which is the famous Bolender Memo. In 1969, just as the Air Force was terminating its public investigation of UFOs called Project Blue Book based on their negligible impact on national security, Brig. Gen. C.H. Bolender, deputy director of development for the USAF chief of staff, illuminated a backdoor policy: "Reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect national security. . . . are not part of the Blue Book system."

"The media needs a commitment to the truth and to ignore the crap," says Friedman. "There was a conference in Chicago in 1997, on the 50th anniversary of Roswell, and one guy shows up wearing alien antennae on his head. CBS was covering the event and -- wouldn't you know it? -- the guy with the headgear is the one who makes the news that night. This is typical."

Next April, during the presidential primary campaigns, Friedman and a host of investigators will join Bassett, founder of X-PPAC, the Extraterrestrial Phenomenon Political Action Committee, in Washington for yet another effort to forge UFOs into political dialogue. Bassett was on hand in 2001 when an initiative called the Disclosure Project pressed for immunity for whistleblowers whose testimony would violate their security oaths.

Among the most impressive insiders assembled by the Disclosure Project was a retired USAF captain who -- supported by Strategic Air Command documents -- was in a Wyoming ICBM silo in 1967 when a UFO drained the power from launch complexes housing 10 nuclear-tipped warheads. Another was a Federal Aviation Administration accidents division chief who, despite being told by a CIA agent to keep a lid on it, presented a box full of records concerning a harrowing, 30-minute encounter involving a UFO and a Japanese airliner off Alaska in 1986.

Although the Bush presidency apparently has no intention of addressing UFOs, its attitude is part of a bipartisan continuum by chief executives to avoid the issue. Jimmy Carter, for instance, filed a report of his own UFO sighting with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena and promised an open investigation during his 1976 campaign. But as president, Carter never followed through. Bill Clinton, according to the memoirs of former deputy Attorney General Webster Hubbell, directed him to get to the bottom of UFOs.  Hubbell failed.

Repeated efforts by Florida Today to interview both Democrats about UFOs have been unsuccessful.

Last year, former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta announced his partnership with the Coalition for Freedom of Information --funded by the Sci Fi Channel, a client of his PodestaMattoon law firm -- to try to end UFO gridlock. For CFI research advisor Ted Roe, the issue is compelling, but so delicate he refers to the mystery in broader terms: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or UAEs.

Roe is the executive director of the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP) in Vallejo, Calif. In order to improve flight safety, NARCAP, a private outfit, collects data on everything from ball lightning to plasma disturbances, as reported by pilots, radar operators and air traffic controllers. But getting these sources to cooperate is dicey, due to the exotic nature of many UAEs.

"The really strange ones involve cylinders, discs, spheres, red lights and white lights, V-shaped or boomerang-shaped objects. Some of them are huge," says Roe, whose colleague, Dr. Richard Haines, authored a controversial report in 2000 analyzing more than 100 incidents, entitled "Aviation Safety in America."

"Some of them seem to demonstrate an alteration of magnetic fields, which can cause compasses to turn up to 20 degrees off direction. They can have transient or permanent effects on avionics systems, such as shutting off transmitters."

In early September 2001, NARCAP sent survey questionnaires on UAEs to 300 pilots of a major airline carrier. "We couldn't have picked a worse week," says Roe. "Two days later, the (World Trade Center) towers fell." Still, NARCAP got a 24 percent response, with one of every six subjects reporting having seen something so bizarre they couldn't identify it. "But not a one of them reported it to management," Roe adds.

Roe says retirees are more likely to talk than active pilots, which isn't a surprise. "The airline facilitator who was trying to promote our survey wound up getting two psychiatric evaluations," he says. "There are 500,000 people in our target culture, the aviation community, who are very interested in this subject. But these experiences become toxic when they manifest into (pilots') environment."

Only constant media pressure, says Friedman, will force authorities to respond to public curiosity. After all, 72 percent of Americans responding to a Roper Poll conducted last year believes the government isn't telling everything it knows about UFOs.

"I read that with Watergate, the Washington Post had something like 16 people working that story at one time," says Friedman, who'll also be signing copies of his work at Barnes & Noble Booksellers on Merritt Island on 7 p.m. Thursday. "It's going to require that sort of effort. You can have all the seminars and lectures in the world, but if the press doesn't come and follow it up, then you haven't had much of an impact."

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October 12, 2003

Staten Island Advance

A conference on abductions draws 100 believers to a Wagner college classroom
UFOs: The Truth & the Proof Are Out There

by Heidi J. Shrager
Staten Island Advance

About 11 years ago, at 5:30 a.m., a Great Kills man named Andrew woke up to find his entire house shaking.

When his wife looked out the window of their townhouse, she screamed at the sight of a metallic disk with blinking white lights, hovering about 40 feet away. In an instant, the object zoomed away and became a small red light in the distance.

"We're not crazy," said the conservatively dressed 40-year-old who didn't give his full name for fear of being ostracized. "We're both fairly educated; we hold jobs," he added, between bursts of nervous laughter.

The couple was among more than 100 people who showed up at Wagner College yesterday for a conference on UFO abductions.
Even though their home is attached to their neighbors, the couple, afraid of being called insane, chose not to tell them what had happened.

A few times during their close encounter, Andrew, a construction supervisor, and his wife, an administrative assistant, said they felt like several beings were in the bedroom with them.

"It was like friends visiting," he said. "Some of them were real scary."


The event trumpeted the September publication of "Sight Unseen, Science, UFO Invisibility, and Transgenic Beings," a book written by New York science documentary filmmaker Carol Rainey, and Budd Hopkins, director and founder of the Manhattan-based Intruders Foundation, one of the only institutions that specializes in alien abductions.

"The book tries to take the para out of paranormal," explained Hopkins, one of the country's leading UFO researchers and authors, to an audience visibly enamored with the charismatic, gray-haired abstract artist.

Ms. Rainey's presentation, like her contribution to the book, aimed to bridge the gap between mainstream science and the science of UFO abductions. She hopes that the former will one day catch up to the latter.

To open her discussion, she told of a recent scientific discovery in Central America, where a tiny wasp takes complete control of a spider's mind and body, without the spider ever knowing.

At first, it sounds like typical Discovery Channel antics: The wasp stings the spider into paralysis and lays an egg into its abdomen, which soon hatches into larva that feeds off the spider's nutrients.

But just before the spider dies and is eaten by its predator, the wasp takes mysterious control over its behavior. The spider stops spinning its normal web, and instead creates a new web that is the perfect anchor from which the wasp larva will hang its cocoon.

In the analogy, the wasp exerts mind control over the spider, just as aliens do over their human abductees, but scientists
don't know exactly how, she said. The difference is, they receive copious funding to study the wasp-spider phenomenon, and not a penny to study aliens.

"Cutting-edge science might hold some clue to what is going on in abduction phenomena," she said while she showed slides of scientific wonders, like the rabbit recently implanted with the DNA of a jellyfish, traversable wormholes, and a diagram of an optical tweezer which lifts molecules using a beam of laser light, a small-scale version of spaceships beaming up their abductees.

Ms. Rainey and Hopkins, who are married, focused their talks on the book's two main topics, invisibility and transgenics, or the interbreeding of two species, because aliens are in the process of mastering these endeavors, they say.

"Aliens seem to prefer to run a covert operation," said Ms. Rainey to her audience, between slides of the latest U.S. military technology of invisible camouflage suits and scientific explanations of how invisibility works. "It makes good business sense."

Later, Hopkins played an audiotape of three women under hypnosis who described being in a spacecraft and holding strange-looking babies they had given birth to, with scraggly hair, tiny limbs and a big head, that seemed half human, half alien.


After the four-hour conference, dozens of people who had traveled to Wagner from as far away as Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois, lined up to get their books signed by Hopkins and Ms. Rainey.

Dennis Anderson, an astronomy professor at Wagner and the planetarium director, who organized the conference, said he briefly worried it would be canceled when two faculty members sent angry e-mails that the school was hosting a conference on such a fringe topic.

Hopkins publicly thanked Anderson, an Intruders Foundation board member, for risking ridicule and derision from faculty in hosting the event at Wagner, apparently the first New York academic institution to do so. (In the summer of 2001, Wagner hosted a series of three lectures on UFOs.)

It provides "an excellent chance to present the evidence for this phenomenon to a larger audience in an academic setting," said Hopkins.

One researcher speaking at the conference who lends key credibility to the field is Dr. John E. Mack, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Mack has analyzed hundreds of abductees and concluded that the consistency of their stories, injuries and marks on their skin, strongly suggests they are mentally stable people who have had true alien encounters.

Another credible figure on hand was "Ed Reynolds," a former Air Force engineer and now a college physics professor in Chicago, who never reveals his true name when he tells of his own abduction experience, which happened in an Outback Steakhouse restaurant in Illinois.

"It really irks me when I hear scientists say 'Everything's been discovered,'" Reynolds said to a room of people nodding their heads and murmuring in agreement. "Sooner or later, we'll solve all these problems, like the aliens have, and take our place in the universe, or at least the galaxy."

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October 10, 2003


Mississippi Press (Pascagoula)

Observers Question UFO Experience

by Donna Harris

MOSS POINT -- More than a decade before Charles Hickson claimed an intergalactic encounter, Fritz Breland had his own brush with an object of an unidentified sort.

"You could feel the hair rise up on the back of your head," said, Breland, an 80-year-old retired commercial fisherman from Moss Point.

Even though the Moss Point man has his own UFO story, he's not sure if he can believe Hickson's claim. However, he doesn't want to call him a liar either.

"I don't dispute people's word if they have anything to say," he said. "Evidently, I saw something and he did too."

Breland's tale, so far untold, started on Gray Bayou on Three River Lakes in the 1950s. He was casting for bass on the bow of his boat, when he noticed the trees on the right side of the Pascagoula River had lost their leaves. That's when he noticed three objects, like blurry clouds, speeding through the sky.

"I don't know how I saw it because it was moving so fast," he said. "I couldn't swear to it, but it sounded like it made a swooshing sound."

Breland fished with his father as a child, and continues his treks on the water today. Never in all that time has he seen that sight repeated, he said.

"I saw that one thing that I couldn't explain, but I never saw anything else. And I didn't tell anybody about it," he said.

When Hickson's story made the national news, Breland thought about his own sighting.

"To this day I'm not sure what I saw," he said.

Hurley resident Lynn McCoy, a tour guide on the Pascagoula River, never saw a UFO near the water. Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster have been no-shows too, but McCoy said that doesn't mean they don't exist. They could be out there, he said, so he shouldn't doubt their existence, just because he hasn't seen them.

"I never really looked for them either," he said.

McCoy thinks Hickson and his fishing buddy, Calvin Parker, may have seen a UFO that night. "I ain't never seen nothing like
that," he said. "I believe something happened. I don't know what happened though. I heard they were really shook up."

McCoy has spent hundreds of nights on the river without extraterrestrial interference. "I've never seen anything I couldn't explain," he said. "I ain't saying they ain't there, but I've never seen them."

He still looks into the night sky though, wondering if he might catch a glimpse of a hint of another world. "Oh yeah. I guess we all do that sometimes," he said.

When Hickson went public with his story, Regina Hines of Ocean Springs, now a columnist for The Mississippi Press, was the first to land an interview with him. She met the shipyard worker soon after his abduction and wrote about the encounter.

"I don't know what happened, but I really think something did happen to them," she said. "I can't say if it was extraterrestrial or not, though."

She said she doesn't know if she fully believes that Hickson and Parker were abducted by aliens.

"Those were two pretty frightened men," she said. "I can't say it was a UFO, but it was something."

Donna Harris can be reached at 934-1495 or at

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October 5, 2003


Sun Herald (Gulfport, MS)


Pascagoula UFOs

PASCAGOULA - Thirty years ago this week, UFO pandemonium broke out.

Folks feared an invasion from outer space. Others thought there was much ado about nothing. Everybody wanted more information.

From a newsman's view, I have never seen before or since so many people caught up in such a frenzy. It was over a report by Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker that a spacecraft had landed on the banks of the Pascagoula River and taken them onboard briefly.

"Everybody was seeing UFOs," recalled retired Mississippi Press Managing Editor Don Broadus.

A Pascagoula city councilman said he saw a luminous UFO the same night of Hickson's and Parker's report on the way to a church service in Vancleave.

"That's our story and we're stuck with it," E. P. Sigalas said.

Pascagoula Patrolman Bill Gennaro stopped on Beach Boulevard to talk with a group of people and they saw an oblong-shaped, blue-haze object zip to the north.

About 3,000 motorists from Mobile blocked Interstate 10 when they heard of a possible rendezvous with UFOs at the Mississippi line.

A cab driver in Biloxi said a UFO caused his taxi to stall out on U.S. 90.

Ocean Springs aldermen failed to pass a motion to make it illegal for a UFO to land in the city. Mayor Tom Stennis broke a 2-2 tie, saying, "Let's welcome them."

Then-Sheriff Fred Diamond's view: "Those men saw something. They underwent a dreadful experience."

UFO enthusiasts and news crews from all over the world called and many came to Pascagoula to gather more information about the stunning visit by a spacecraft.

"I estimate that we have received more than 2,000 telephone calls from news reporters from around the world wanting information, and from people in the area who wanted to report a sighting," Diamond said.

It was a media frenzy. Networks and national publications showed up. The reports got wild and woolly. It was too much for two shipbuilders who had never been in such demand. They put out a memo: No more personal interviews. Our attorney, Joe Colingo, will arrange a news conference next week.

The space encounter was in the news for weeks. Hickson went on talk shows such as "The Dick Cavett Show." Parker went into seclusion.

I've followed the UFO account for 30 years and am amazed that Hickson and Parker have been so consistent with their account of what happened Oct. 11, 1973. Being a typical newsperson-skeptic, it's still too much to fathom.

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October 4, 2003


Houston Chronicle

Scientist says UFO tales far out
Saucer-buster's research data material finds home at Texas A&M

by Allan Turner

First came the UFO, a massive, saucer-shaped craft hovering low over the Pacific Northwest in the spring of 1967. Then, two days later, came the beeping - a steady, two-beeps-to-the-second sound coming from no discernible source. Locals, some bearing rifles, flocked to the woods to hear, to puzzle, to perhaps solve the mystery.

The night-time beeping continued for weeks. Police even thought they heard it on their radios. When the beeping began, cows and dogs grew agitated, then quiet. Even the loud-mouthed frogs shut up. Civil defense experts prowled the woods to no avail. Bird-call experts analyzed poor-quality tapes of the sound and came up blank. Finally, at wit's end, local authorities turned to their last hope: the crack saucer-busters at the University of Colorado.

Within days, physical scientist Roy Craig, an investigator with the university's Air Force-financed Condon Project - the nation's largest, most systematic investigation of UFOs to date - was dispatched to the scene.

What he found was the stuff of history.

Now, for the first time, scholars and others interested in the data that led Craig and other Condon Project scientists to conclude flying saucers probably don't exist can peruse Craig's field notes at Texas A&M University's Cushing Memorial Library.

Included in nine boxes of files are Craig's investigative jottings, correspondence and photographs as well as popular and scientific articles related to alleged visits by space aliens. Also available for examination are objects - aluminum shavings, globs of metal and a lawn mower muffler - found at the sites of purported UFO landings. Craig's papers join material on ranching, military, poetry and one of the nation's top science-fiction collections at the Cushing. And part of their value lies in the scientific insight they can provide students of  science fiction. "If you say the Condon report is absolute foolishness, that there's nothing behind it, well we have nine boxes behind it," said Hal W. Hall, curator of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection at A&M. Thirty-five years after its release, the Condon Project report, compiled under the supervision of respected University of Colorado physicist Edward U. Condon, continues to generate controversy. In 1969, the year man first set foot on the moon, the Air Force used the report as the basis for its decision to stop monitoring reported UFO sightings.

Despite the study's thumbs down on verifiable visits by space creatures, interest in extraterrestrials, fueled by movies and other media, remains high. An Internet search for UFO-related Web sites last week turned up more than 64,000 entries. An estimated 1.5 million viewers recently tuned in to a television special on the purported 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, N.M.

"UFOs are popular things," Craig said in a telephone interview from his Ignacio, Colo., home. "I think UFOs really have had an impact on our culture. I'm not unhappy about that. I think that's fine."

Craig, 79, who was co-author of the three-volume Condon report, abides the controversy, which labels him an instrument in an egregious government cover-up, with good humor.

Once, Craig was visited by a UFO researcher who was certain the preserved bodies of 16 space creatures removed from a flying saucer said to have crashed at Aztec, N.M. - a short distance from Ignacio - were stored at the scientist's ranch.

All the visitor found were several dozen llamas Craig raises for the pet market. But the visitor was undaunted." 'If it weren't true, why would Roy Craig be here?'" Craig recalled. "I confirmed all of his suspicions. He wrote a 500-page book about it."

Craig is not above having fun with folks from outer space. Shortly after the university report's release, he authored a tongue-in-cheek psuedo-folk song dealing with flying saucers. Above an accompaniment of guitar and beeps and whines, a syrupy-voiced songstress intones the virtues of galactic travelers to

Craig also is author of UFOs: An Insider's View of the Official Quest for Evidence, published by University of North Texas Press.

Craig admits that he entered the Condon Project hoping to find persuasive evidence that space creatures have visited Earth. "I was looking for physical evidence," he said. "I was hoping that it was more than just something in somebody's mind. I would like to have found a vehicle or some strange alien. But it didn't turn out that way."

Although the Condon Project report is more than three decades old, Craig said he doesn't think there's a need for a new, comprehensive probe. "Not unless something different happens. The report's not really outdated. It's pretty firm," he said.

Colm Kelleher, administrator of the Las Vegas-based National Institute for Discovery Science, sharply disagreed. "I do believe the UFO phenomenon is still with us and worth an impartial investigation using scientific methodology," he said.

In some ways, Kelleher's organization is a privately funded version of the Condon Project.

In 1999, the group set up a UFO hot line, receiving more than 5,000 accounts of purported encounters with space vehicles.

"We very quickly discarded 80 to 90 percent of them as not worthy of investigation - Vandenberg Air Force Base launches,  space shuttles, Venus low on the horizon. You name it and people will report it," Kelleher said. But some of the remaining cases proved tantalizing.

"We haven't found any smoking guns," Kelleher said. "But with sufficient resources and sufficient persistence, scientific investigation will eventually yield results. It's a slow process. We think true believers and debunkers are in the same camp. Neither produces anything particularly useful. The true scientific approach is to focus on the data rather than the interpretation. We are drowning in way too much interpretation with very little data."

In his investigations, Craig encountered a wide variety of people. "They were all over the spectrum," he said. "Some were businessmen. Some of them held dependable, responsible jobs and they seemed like normal people. They generally seemed to believe what they were saying."

In the fall of 1967, Craig interviewed a man who claimed his car stopped suddenly, its radio and lights failing, as a flying saucer passed overhead early one morning as he traveled a lonely rural road.

Craig ultimately dismissed the middle-age businessman's claims, though, when scientific tests showed the auto had not been subjected to a strong magnetic field and that its chipping paint and pitted windshield could be logically explained. Craig's conclusion was buttressed by inconsistencies in the man's story.

In the summer of 1967, a 50-year-old general machine handyman and his 11-year-old son told Craig they had snapped two Polaroid photos of a spacecraft after a strange noise attracted their attention.

"They looked in the direction of the noise and saw a UFO about 60 feet in diameter some 500 feet away, moving about 30 to 40
mph at an altitude of 500-600 feet," Craig wrote later. "Mr. A snapped two pictures during the 15-20 seconds before the object departed at a speed estimated to be 2,000 mph."

Craig noted that the spacecraft in the photos strongly resembled a pot lid atop a pie plate.

Careful examination of the photos, measuring the size of the UFO's image and factoring in the degree of focus of other objects in the picture, indicated the spaceship had not been 60 feet in diameter as claimed - but about the size of a pie plate.

Time and again Craig's hopes would rise when he learned of a promising UFO sighting, only to be dashed when he investigated. Was he ever almost convinced of the reality of UFOs?

"I don't think you could say I was ever `almost convinced' in any of these cases," Craig said. "There was always some discrepancy that just didn't add up."

In the case of the mysterious beeps, Craig said, researchers quickly dismissed the reported UFO sightings as insubstantial. But the strange noises were another matter.

Arming themselves with an array of high-tech gadgetry --military infrared sniper scope; tape recorders; directional microphone audio detector; and cameras loaded with infrared, ultraviolet and conventional high-speed film - Craig and his colleagues staked out the woods.

Throughout the night they heard the beeps.

"It lasted not more than 10 seconds and seemed to come from a direction different from its usual location," a clearly perplexed Craig wrote.

The next night, Craig and his team packed their gear to another wooded spot.

Nary a sound was heard.

A morning chat with the sheriff solved the mystery.

Sometime in the night, a local farmer, alarmed at the endless beeping around his house, blasted into the treetops - and brought down an owl. Recorded calls of the elusive saw-whet owl matched perfectly the recorded mystery beeps.

The tiny owl, only 6 inches long, easily was overlooked in dense forest foliage, Craig noted in his report, allowing beep hunters "to conclude that the sound came from a point in space that was not occupied by a physical object."

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October 3, 2003


Portland Tribune

Reach Out And Touch The Extraterrestrial


by Eric Bartels 

The difference between the now-defunct 24 Hour Church of Elvis and the Portland Alien Museum is that nobody at the church really believed Elvis was alive.

Museum Director Lawrence Johns, on the other hand, doesn't just accept the existence of extraterrestrial life. He's preparing for contact.

"We're trying to build up a database," Johns says of the museum's Center for Alien Studies. "It's becoming more mainstream, the whole idea of making contact."

In June, Johns and business partner Stephen Hanns opened the museum in a Craftsman-style home off Northeast Sandy Boulevard in the Hollywood district. "There are over 150,000 people in this country who believe that UFOs are real," Johns says. "There's a tremendous interest in UFO information.

"There are some fascinating stories coming into the museum. It becomes a meeting point for people. A lot of people have experiences, and they've been afraid to talk about it.

"We've had a good number of people from the military come by," Johns adds, refusing to elaborate. "In this field, one has to protect confidences. We're a serious research facility, but it's surrounded by a unique and interesting attraction."

Unique indeed. Several "contact-inspired" artworks with four-and five-figure price tags hang within reach of plastic "E.T." dolls. With bare spots separating eclectic exhibits, the former gallery space manages to look both Spartan and haphazard at the same time.

In other words, precisely the kind of attraction that could become a local institution, like the Church of Elvis.

"Portland has a national reputation for being a little offbeat," says Deborah Wakefield, director of public communications for the Portland Oregon Visitors Bureau. "This may be one of those quirky things that makes Portland fun."

Museum visitors watch themselves shrink in the world's first artificial vortex and enjoy a new display on different types of aliens. The museum's library features a reference section, an impressive collection of vintage sci-fi magazines and comics, and assorted television and movie props, including a phaser weapon that Johns says was used in the original "Star Trek" series.

The 3-D video thrill ride, in the "theater," was an immediate hit, Johns says.

A kitchen was converted into a children's play "wing," replete with two old school desks, a smattering of action figures and a 13-inch television.

There, writer Nick Nelson fiddled with a device designed to produce "Mars water." It consists of a small funnel and tube passing through what looks like a petrified bagel. "There is water on the surface of Mars," Nelson says. "There used to be a civilization. NASA's covering it up."

The author of the 2000 book "The Golden Vortex," Nelson was in town for a speaking engagement at the museum. "About 20 years ago I came up with a theory of natural portals that UFOs may or may not be using," he says. "If there are UFOs out there, they're probably using the planet Earth the way people in Washington use Oregon to get to California."

Inside the front door of the museum, a full-color poster depicts the fleet of saucers that streaked past Mount Rainier in 1950, just off the left wing of pilot Kenneth Arnold's plane. Arnold's book, "Behind the Flying Saucers," rests in a display case.

On another wall is a reproduced front page of the McMinnville Telephone Register from June 8, 1950. A banner headline reads: "At Long Last -- Authentic Photographs of Flying Saucer (?)." Below it are two famous photos taken by Yamhill County farmer Paul Trent that capture a tilting, silvery disc an indeterminate distance from his barn. The Life magazine issue with a one-page story on the incident is nearby.

"This was and is the hotbed for sightings," says Randy Haragan, owner of, the Beaverton-based Internet vendor that consigns items to the museum's gift shop. "With the UFO history in the Northwest, it's a natural thing to open some sort of museum."

Contact Eric Bartels at:

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September 8, 2003

Bournemouth Daily Echo

UFO Disclosure

by David Haith,

The day the massive UFO cover-up cracked open will be re-lived on video in Bournemouth next week. (Sept.15, 2003) At a Washington press conference US military personnel shocked the world relating their experiences and knowledge of extra-terrestrials. Hundreds of thousands watched the record-breaking National Press Club event broadcast over the internet but thousands more couldn't log on because of an overload. Despite subsequent media coverage round the world, there are still millions who never knew it even happened.

So now at 7.30 pm on September 15 a remarkable two hour video of the UFO Disclosure Project event is to be shown at St Peter's School, Holdenhurst Avenue. Bournemouth. The video is being presented by top UK UFO researcher Ananda Sirisena who will also speak and answer questions at the £5 a ticket meeting planned to last almost four hours.

The Disclosure Project press conference was organised by US hospital emergency physician Dr. Steven Greer who persuaded 20 military, government, intelligence and corporate witnesses to present compelling testimony regarding extra-terrestrial UFOs and also the existence of advanced energy and propulsion technologies sequestered in classified government 'black operations' projects. Since that press conference day in 2001 hundreds more official 'whistleblowers' have emerged, many documented in Greer's book Disclosure: Military and Government Witnesses Reveal the Greatest Secrets in Modern History. Pushing for congressional hearings on UFOs, Dr. Greer has also met with and provided briefings for senior members of government, military and intelligence operations in the US and around the world including senior CIA officials, Joint Chiefs of Staff, White House staff, senior members of Congress, senior United Nations leadership and diplomats and senior military officials in the UK and Europe.

Ananda said: "The playing of the tape will get its message across very strongly. I want to urge members of the public to come and hear for themselves, make up their own minds. The Disclosure Project is not about any one individual but about all the witnesses who have come forward already, numbering over 100 and with 300 others waiting in the wings hoping for immunity from prosecution." He added: "As a representative for the Disclosure Project I want more people to be aware of the reality of the UFO phenomenon and its implications for humanity. It impinges on our science, religion and politics and has been ingrained in our history for centuries."

A recent 90 page report by the French military titled 'UFOs and Defense: What Should We Prepare For?' concluded that "numerous manifestations observed by reliable witnesses could be the work of craft of extraterrestrial origin" and that, in fact, the best explanation is "the extraterrestrial hypothesis." Although not categorically proven, "strong presumptions exist in its favour and if it is correct, it is loaded with significant consequences." The French report added that there have been "visits above secret installations and missile bases" and "military aircraft shadowed" in the United States.

Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo 14 astronaut who was the sixth man to walk on the moon, also seeks UFO disclosure. An American newspaper recently reported that Mitchell is convinced "at a confidence level above 90 percent, that there is reality to all of this." He says, "People have been digging through the files and investigating for years now. The files are quite convincing. The only thing that's lacking is the official stamp."

Ananda, who will also show a 'surprise' UFO film at the Bournemouth meeting, added: "Whether 'official' disclosure happens sooner remains to be seen. Do you think any president or prime minister has the courage to say that there is far more powerful force out there, greater than what our defence systems are capable of?"

The local meeting is being organised by Bournemouth's Positive Living Group. Tickets are available from Angie Underwood on Bournemouth 532963.

Are these testimonies proof aliens exist.....?

Mercury & Gemini Astronaut, Colonel Gordon Cooper: "A saucer flew right over [us] and landed out on the dry lakebed. [The cameramen] went out with their cameras towards the UFO. I had a chance to hold [the film] up to the window to look at it. Good close-up shots. There was no doubt in my mind that it was someplace other than on this Earth."

FAA Division Chief of Accidents and Investigations, John Callahan: "The UFO was bouncing around the 747. [It] was a huge ball with lights running around it..Well, I've been involved in a lot of cover-ups with the FAA. When we gave the presentation to the Reagan staff, they had all those people swear that this never happened. But they never had me swear it never happened. I can tell you what I've seen with my own eyes. I've got a videotape. I've got the voice tape. I've got the reports that were filed that will confirm what I've been telling you."

Former Chief of Defense, British Royal Navy, Admiral Lord Hill-Norton: "I have frequently been asked why a person of my background-a former Chief of the Defense Staff, a former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee-why I think there is a cover-up [of] the facts about UFOs. I believe governments fear that if they did disclose those facts, people would panic. I don't believe that at all. There is a serious possibility that we are being visited by people from outer space. It behooves us to find out who they are, where they come from, and what they want."

Former Director of CIA, Admiral R.H. Hillenkoetter: "Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense. To hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel."

Marine Corps, Corporal Jonathan Weygandt: "[The UFO] was buried in the side of a cliff. When I first saw it, I was scared. I think the creatures calmed me..[Later] I was arrested [by an Air Force officer]. He was saying, "Do you like the Constitution?" I'm like, "Yeah." He said, "We don't obey. We just do what we want. And if you tell anybody [about us or the UFO], you will just come up missing."

I Had a Close Encounter That Lasted Four Hours

Plane spotter Ron Lucas (71) is flying high when it comes to aircraft recognition.

And that's why the former RAF senior aircraftsman, who will be at the Bournemouth UFO Disclosure meeting, is 100 per cent certain that UFOs are a reality.

For Ron of Homedene House, Seldown, Poole, has twice seen the mysterious objects, both times in broad daylight and with witnesses.

The sightings happened in the mid fifties when he worked as a mechanic at Wedderburn's weighing machine factory in Shirley Road, Southampton.

The first UFO was seen by Ron and six workmates on a lunchbreak in the factory yard on a sunny day in 1956 - and the encounter lasted four hours!

Explained Ron: "We were all keen on aircraft recognition and it's still a hbby of mine. One of my workmates used to go home at lunchtime and scan the skies with his binoculars. He came back and told us he'd seen this object in the sky so we all took a look. I viewed the thing through binoculars and estimated that it was 25,000 feet up. It was cigar shaped and revolving so it appeared round when viewed end on."

Suddenly Ron and one of the others saw three silver metallic looking discs, with a shadow effect beneath each, shoot away from the larger object.

Said Ron: "They flew in our direction at a speed I estimated to be 400 mph and when overhead banked, and disappeared in the distance. They were roughly the size of a 5p coin held at arm's length.

"The cigar shaped object hung revolving in the sky at exactly the same point for four hours - we know because we kept going outside to check. It couldn't have been a balloon or it wouldn't have stayed in the same position. It was all very exciting."

It was two years later that Ron was again at the factory discussing that same UFO sighting with a sceptical young apprentice.

"He didn't believe it so I said let's go outside now and see if we can spot one" explained Ron.

To their amazement, there low in the midday sky, was an archetypal 'flying saucer'!

"It flew towards us but not in a smooth and controlled fashion, more akin to a 'stop' and 'go' mode" related Ron. "It was spinning, looking very much like and also resembling the action of a child's spinning top. It would stop for a moment, wobble and then continue its almost floating-like descent. It reached a point where we could discern its shape and we noticed it had some kind of appendage, slightly off centre at the top of the craft. (See Ron's sketch of the UFO). The underside seemed very thick and solid looking. The craft was silver grey and appeared metallic - certainly no weather balloon. My best guess is that it was about 35-40 feet in diameter - at its closest it appeared the size of a 10p coin held at arm's length. The sighting lasted around two minutes in all."

He added: We watched it finally come to a stop very low in the sky. It hovered for about 15 seconds and then suddenly shot straight back up and was lost to view in barely ten seconds. It was that fast - yet there was no sound and no vapour trails."

"Even now all these years later I can still picture the craft. My first sighting was quite something but what I saw descend that day to barely a couple of thousand feet above my head, left me in no doubt. My workmate and I know what we saw. There's no doubting it was a UFO, was intelligently controlled and was nothing humans could build at that time. It was an amazing sight that will live with us for ever."

Ron fully backs the campaign for UFO Disclosure.

He said: "These craft may come from different dimensions but what I saw seemed solid 'nuts and bolts' material which behaved like an aircraft. If an an announcement was made by the authorities that these things are real it would mean at last people would accept what I saw. It frustrates me that the same people who accept my word and skills in identifying a conventional aircraft, dismiss what I say when I tell them I've seen UFOs."


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September 2003


Atlantic Monthly (Australia)

Could Earthly Religions Survive the Discovery of Life Elsewhere in the Universe?

by Paul Davies
The recent discovery of abundant water on Mars, albeit in the form of permafrost, has raised hopes for finding traces of life there. The Red Planet has long been a favorite location for those speculating about extraterrestrial life, especially since the 1890s, when H. G. Wells wrote The War of the Worlds and the American astronomer Percival Lowell claimed that he could see artificial canals etched into the planet's parched surface. 
Today, of course, scientists expect to find no more than simple bacteria dwelling deep underground, if even that. Still, the discovery of just a single bacterium somewhere beyond Earth would force us to revise our understanding of who we are and where we fit into the cosmic scheme of things, throwing us into a deep spiritual identity crisis that would be every bit as dramatic as the one Copernicus brought about in the early 1500s, when he asserted that Earth was not at the center of the universe.

Whether or not we are alone is one of the great existential questions that confront us today. Probably because of the high emotional stakes, the search for life beyond Earth is deeply fascinating to the public. Opinion polls and Web-site hits indicate strong support for and interest in space missions that are linked even obliquely to this search. Perceiving the public's interest, NASA has reconfigured its research strategy and founded the NASA Astrobiology Institute, dedicated to the study of life in the cosmos. At the top of the agenda, naturally, is the race to find life elsewhere in the solar system.

Researchers have long focused on Mars in their search for extraterrestrial life because of its relative proximity. But twenty-five years ago, as a result of the 1976 Viking mission, many of them became discouraged. A pair of spacecraft had passed through the planet's extremely thin atmosphere, touched down on the surface, and found it to be a freeze-dried desert drenched with deadly ultraviolet rays. The spacecraft, equipped with robotic arms, scooped up Martian dirt so that it could be examined for signs of biological activity. The results of the analysis were inconclusive but generally negative, and hopes faded for finding even simple microbes on the surface of Mars.

The outlook today is more optimistic. Several probes are scheduled to visit Mars in the coming months, and all will be searching for signs of life. This renewed interest is due in part to the discovery of organisms living in some remarkably hostile environments on Earth (which opens up the possibility of life on Mars in places the Viking probes didn't examine), and in part to better information about the planet's ancient history.  Scientists now believe that Mars once had a much thicker atmosphere, higher temperatures, rivers, floods, and extensive volcanic activity all conditions considered favorable to the emergence of life.

The prospects for finding living organisms on Mars remain slim, of course, but even traces of past life would represent a discovery of unprecedented scientific value. Before any sweeping philosophical or theological conclusions could be drawn, however, it would be necessary to determine whether this life was the product of a second genesis that is, whether its origin was independent of life on Earth. Earth and Mars are known to trade material in the form of rocks blasted from the planets' surfaces by the violent impacts of asteroids and comets.  Microbes could have hitched a ride on this detritus, raising the possibility that life started on Earth and was transferred to Mars, or vice versa. If traces of past life were discovered on Mars but found to be identical to some form of terrestrial life, transportation by ejected rocks would be the most plausible explanation, and we would still lack evidence that life had started from scratch in two separate locations.

The significance of this point is crucial. In his theory of evolution Charles Darwin provided a persuasive account of how life evolved over billions of years, but he pointedly omitted any explanation of how life got started in the first place. "One might as well think of origin of matter," he wrote in a letter to a friend. A century and a half later, scientists still have little understanding of how the first living thing came to be.

Some scientists believe that life on Earth is a freak accident of chemistry, and as such must be unique. Because even the simplest known microbe is breathtakingly complex, they argue, the chances that one formed by blind molecular shuffling are infinitesimal; the probability that the process would occur twice, in separate locations, is virtually negligible. The French biochemist and Nobel laureate Jacques Monod was a firm believer in this view. "Man at last knows he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he has emerged only by chance," he wrote in 1971. He used this bleak assessment as a springboard to argue for atheism and the absurdity and pointlessness of existence. As Monod saw it, we are merely chemical extras in a majestic but impersonal cosmic drama an irrelevant, unintended sideshow.

But suppose that's not what happened. Many scientists believe that life is not a freakish phenomenon (the odds of life's starting by chance, the British cosmologist Fred Hoyle once suggested, are comparable to the odds of a whirlwind's blowing through a junkyard and assembling a functioning Boeing 747) but instead is written into the laws of nature. "The universe must in some sense have known we were coming," the physicist Freeman Dyson famously observed. No one can say precisely in what sense the universe might be pregnant with life, or how the general expectancy Dyson spoke of might translate into specific physical processes at the molecular level. Perhaps matter and energy always get fast-tracked along the road to life by what's often called "self-organization." Or perhaps the power of Darwinian evolution is somehow harnessed at a pre-biotic molecular stage.  Or maybe some efficient and as yet unidentified physical process (quantum mechanics?) sets the gears in motion, with organic life as we know it taking over the essential machinery at a later stage. Under any of these scenarios life becomes a fundamental rather than an incidental product of nature. In 1994, reflecting on this same point, another Nobel laureate, the Belgian biochemist Christian de Duve, wrote, "I view this universe not as a 'cosmic joke,' but as a meaningful entity made in such a way as to generate life and mind, bound to give birth to thinking beings able to discern truth, apprehend beauty, feel love, yearn after goodness, define evil, experience mystery."

Absent from these accounts is any mention of miracles. Ascribing the origin of life to a divine miracle not only is anathema to scientists but also is theologically suspect. The term "God of the gaps" was coined to deride the notion that God can be invoked as an explanation whenever scientists have gaps in their understanding. The trouble with invoking God in this way is that as science advances, the gaps close, and God gets progressively squeezed out of the story of nature. Theologians long ago accepted that they would forever be fighting a rearguard battle if they tried to challenge science on its own ground. Using the formation of life to prove the existence of God is a tactic that risks instant demolition should someone succeed in making life in a test tube. And the idea that God acts in fits and starts, moving atoms around on odd occasions in competition with natural forces, is a decidedly uninspiring image of the Grand Architect.

The theological battle line in relation to the formation of life is not, therefore, between the natural and the miraculous but between sheer chance and lawlike certitude. Atheists tend to take the first side, and theists line up behind the second; but these divisions are general and by no means absolute. It's perfectly possible to be an atheist and believe that life is built ingeniously into the nature of the universe. It's also possible to be a theist and suppose that God engineered just one planet with life, with or without the help of miracles.

Though the discovery of microbes on Mars or elsewhere would ignite a passionate theological debate, the truly difficult issues surround the prospect of advanced alien beings in possession of intelligence and technology. Most scientists don't think that such beings exist, but for forty years a dedicated band of astronomers has been sweeping the skies with radio telescopes in hopes of finding a message from a civilization elsewhere in the galaxy. Their project is known as SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence).

Because our solar system is relatively young compared with the universe overall, any alien civilization the SETI researchers might discover is likely to be much older, and presumably wiser, than ours. Indeed, it might have achieved our level of science and technology millions or even billions of years ago. Just contemplating the possibility of such advanced extraterrestrials appears to raise additional uncomfortable questions for religion.

The world's main faiths were all founded in the pre-scientific era, when Earth was widely believed to be at the center of the universe and humankind at the pinnacle of creation. As scientific discoveries have piled up over the past 500 years, our status has been incrementally diminished. First Earth was shown to be just one planet of several orbiting the Sun. Then the solar system itself was relegated to the outer suburbs of the galaxy, and the Sun classified as an insignificant dwarf star among billions. The theory of evolution proposed that human beings occupied just a small branch on a complex evolutionary tree. This pattern continued into the twentieth century, when the supremacy of our much vaunted intelligence came under threat. Computers began to outsmart us. Now genetic engineering has raised the specter of designer babies with superintellects that leave ours far behind. And we must consider the uncomfortable possibility that in astrobiological terms, God's children may be galactic also-rans.

Theologians are used to putting a brave face on such developments. Over the centuries the Christian church, for example, has time and again been forced to accommodate new scientific facts that challenge existing doctrine. But these accommodations have usually been made reluctantly and very belatedly. Only recently, for example, did the Pope acknowledge that Darwinian evolution is more than just a theory. If SETI succeeds, theologians will not have the luxury of decades of careful deliberation to assess the significance of the discovery. The impact will be instant.

The discovery of alien superbeings might not be so corrosive to religion if human beings could still claim special spiritual status. After all, religion is concerned primarily with people's relationship to God, rather than with their biological or intellectual qualities. It is possible to imagine alien beings who are smarter and wiser than we are but who are spiritually inferior, or just plain evil. However, it is more likely that any civilization that had surpassed us scientifically would have improved on our level of moral development, too. One may even speculate that an advanced alien society would sooner or later find some way to genetically eliminate evil behavior, resulting in a race of saintly beings.

Suppose, then, that E.T. is far ahead of us not only scientifically and technologically but spiritually, too. Where does that leave mankind's presumed special relationship with God? This conundrum poses a particular difficulty for Christians, because of the unique nature of the Incarnation. Of all the world's major religions, Christianity is the most species-specific. Jesus Christ was humanity's savior and redeemer. He did not die for the dolphins or the gorillas, and certainly not for the proverbial little green men. But what of deeply spiritual aliens? Are they not to be saved? Can we contemplate a universe that contains perhaps a trillion worlds of saintly beings, but in which the only beings eligible for salvation inhabit a planet where murder, rape, and other evils remain rife?

Those few Christian theologians who have addressed this thorny issue divide into two camps. Some posit multiple incarnations and even multiple crucifixions God taking on little green flesh to save little green men, as a prominent Anglican minister once told me. But most are appalled by this idea or find it ludicrous. After all, in the Christian view of the world, Jesus was God's only son. Would God have the same person born, killed, and resurrected in endless succession on planet after planet? This scenario was lampooned as long ago as 1794, by Thomas Paine. "The Son of God," he wrote in The Age of Reason, "and sometimes God himself, would have nothing else to do than to travel from world to world, in an endless succession of death, with scarcely a momentary interval of life." Paine went on to argue that Christianity was simply incompatible with the existence of extraterrestrial beings, writing, "He who thinks he believes in both has thought but little of either."

Catholics tend to regard the idea of multiple incarnations as verging on heresy, not because of its somewhat comic aspect but because it would seem to automate an act that is supposed to be God's singular gift. "God chose a very specific way to redeem human beings," writes George Coyne, a Jesuit priest and the director of the Vatican Observatory, whose own research includes astrobiology. "He sent his only son, Jesus, to them, and Jesus gave up his life so that human beings would be saved from their sin. Did God do this for extraterrestrials? ... The theological implications about God are getting ever more serious."

Paul Tillich, one of the few prominent Protestant theologians to give serious consideration to the issue of alien beings, took a more positive view. "Man cannot claim to occupy the only possible place for incarnation," he wrote. The Lutheran theologian Ted Peters, of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, in Berkeley, California, has made a special study of the impact on religious faith of belief in extraterrestrials. In discussing the tradition of debate on this topic, he writes, "Christian theologians have routinely found ways to address the issue of Jesus Christ as God incarnate and to conceive of God's creative power and saving power exerted in other worlds." Peters believes that Christianity is robust enough and flexible enough to accommodate the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence, or ETI. One theologian who is emphatically not afraid of that challenge is Robert Russell, also of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences. "As we await 'first contact,'" he has written, "pursuing these kinds of questions and reflections will be immensely valuable."

Clearly, there is considerable diversity one might even say muddle on this topic in theological circles. Ernan McMullin, a professor emeritus of philosophy at Notre Dame University, affirms that the central difficulty stems from Christianity's roots in a pre-scientific cosmology. "It was easier to accept the idea of God's becoming man," he has written, "when humans and their abode both held a unique place in the universe." He acknowledges that Christians especially face a stark predicament in relation to ETI, but feels that Thomas Paine and his like-minded successors have presented the problem too simplistically.  Pointing out that concepts such as original sin, incarnation, and salvation are open to a variety of interpretations, McMullin concludes that there is also widespread divergence among Christians on the correct response to the ETI challenge. On the matter of multiple incarnations he writes, "Their answers could range ... from 'yes, certainly' to 'certainly not.' My own preference would be a cautious 'maybe.'"

Even for those Christians who dismiss the idea of multiple incarnations there is an interesting fallback position: perhaps the course of evolution has an element of directionality, with humanlike beings the inevitable end product. Even if Homo sapiens as such may not be the unique focus of God's attention, the broader class of all humanlike beings in the universe might be. This is the basic idea espoused by the philosopher Michael Ruse, an ardent Darwinian and an agnostic sympathetic to Christianity. He sees the incremental progress of natural evolution as God's chosen mode of creation, and the history of life as a ladder that leads inexorably from microbes to man.

Most biologists regard a "progressive evolution," with human beings its implied preordained goal, as preposterous. Stephen Jay Gould once described the very notion as "noxious." After all, the essence of Darwinism is that nature is blind. It cannot look ahead. Random chance is the driving force of evolution, and randomness by definition has no directionality. Gould insisted that if the evolutionary tape were replayed, the result would be very different from what we now observe. Probably life would never get beyond microbes next time around.

But some respected biologists disagree sharply with Gould on this point. Christian de Duve does not deny that the fine details of evolutionary history depend on happenstance, but he believes that the broad thrust of evolutionary change is somehow innately predetermined that plants and animals were almost destined to emerge amid a general advance in complexity. Another Darwinian biologist, Simon Conway Morris, of Cambridge University, makes his own case for a "ladder of progress," invoking the phenomenon of convergent evolution the tendency of similar-looking organisms to evolve independently in similar ecological niches. For example, the Tasmanian tiger (now extinct) played the role of the big cat in Australia even though, as a marsupial, it was genetically far removed from placental mammals. Like Ruse, Conway Morris maintains that the "humanlike niche" is likely to be filled on other planets that have advanced life. He even goes so far as to argue that extraterrestrials would have a humanoid form. It is not a great leap from this conclusion to the belief that extraterrestrials would sin, have consciences, struggle with ethical questions, and fear death.

The theological difficulties posed by the possibility of advanced alien beings are less acute for Judaism and Islam.  Muslims, at least, are prepared for ETI: the Koran states explicitly, "And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the living creatures that He has scattered through them." Nevertheless, both religions stress the specialness of human beings and, indeed, of specific, well-defined groups who have been received into the faith. Could an alien become a Jew or a Muslim? Does the concept even make sense? Among the major religious communities, Buddhists and Hindus would seem to be the least threatened by the prospect of advanced aliens, owing to their pluralistic concept of God and their traditionally much grander vision of the cosmos.

Among the world's minority religions, some would positively welcome the discovery of intelligent aliens. The Raëlians, a Canada-based cult recently propelled to fame by its claim to have cloned a human being, believe that the cult's leader, Raël, a French former journalist originally named Claude Vorilhon, received revelations from aliens who briefly transported him inside a flying saucer in 1973. Other fringe religious organizations with an extraterrestrial message include the ill-fated Heaven's Gate cult and many UFO groups. Their adherents share a belief that aliens are located further up not only the evolutionary ladder but also the spiritual ladder, and can therefore help us draw closer to God and salvation. It is easy to dismiss such beliefs as insignificant to serious theological debate, but if evidence for alien beings were suddenly to appear, these cults might achieve overnight prominence while established religions floundered in doctrinal bewilderment.

Ironically, SETI is often accused of being a quasi-religious quest. But Jill Tarter, the director of the SETI Institute's Center for SETI Research, in Mountain View, California, has no truck with religion and is contemptuous of the theological gymnastics with which religious scholars accommodate the possibility of extraterrestrials. "God is our own invention," she has written. "If we're going to survive or turn into a long-lived technological civilization, organized religion needs to be outgrown. If we get a message [from an alien civilization] and it's secular in nature, I think that says that they have no organized religion that they've outgrown it." Tarter's dismissal is rather naive, however. Though many religious movements have come and gone throughout history, some sort of spirituality seems to be part of human nature. Even atheistic scientists profess to experience what Albert Einstein called a "cosmic religious feeling" when contemplating the awesome majesty of the universe.

Would advanced alien beings share this spiritual dimension, even though they might long ago have "outgrown" established religion?  Steven Dick, a science historian at the U.S. Naval Observatory, believes they would. Dick is an expert on the history of speculation about extraterrestrial life, and he suggests that mankind's spirituality would be greatly expanded and enriched by contact with an alien civilization. However, he envisages that our present concept of God would probably require a wholesale transformation. Dick has outlined what he calls a new "cosmotheology," in which human spirituality is placed in a full cosmological and astrobiological context. "As we learn more about our place in the universe," he has written, "and as we physically move away from our home planet, our cosmic consciousness will only increase." Dick proposes abandoning the transcendent God of monotheistic religion in favor of what he calls a "natural God" a superbeing located within the universe and within nature. "With due respect for present religious traditions whose history stretches back nearly four millennia," he suggests, "the natural God of cosmic evolution and the biological universe, not the supernatural God of the ancient Near East, may be the God of the next millennium."

Some form of natural God was also proposed by Fred Hoyle, in a provocative book titled The Intelligent Universe. Hoyle drew on his work in astronomy and quantum physics to sketch the notion of a "superintellect" a being who had, as Hoyle liked to say, "monkeyed with physics," adjusting the properties of the various fundamental particles and forces of nature so that carbon-based organisms could thrive and spread across the galaxy. Hoyle even suggested that this cosmic engineer might communicate with us by manipulating quantum processes in the brain. Most scientists shrug off Hoyle's speculations, but his ideas do show how far beyond traditional religious doctrine some people feel they need to go when they contemplate the possibility of advanced life forms beyond Earth.

Though in some ways the prospect of discovering extraterrestrial life undermines established religions, it is not all bad news for them. Astrobiology has also led to a surprising resurgence of the so-called "design argument" for the existence of God. The original design argument, as articulated by William Paley in the eighteenth century, was that living organisms' intricate adaptation to their environments pointed to the providential hand of a benign Creator. Darwin demolished the argument by showing how evolution driven by random mutation and natural selection could mimic design. Now a revamped design argument has emerged that fully embraces the Darwinian account of evolution and focuses instead on the origin of life. (I must stress that I am not referring here to what has recently become known as the Intelligent Design movement, which relies on an element of the miraculous.) If life is found to be widespread in the universe, the new design argument goes, then it must emerge rather easily from nonliving chemical mixtures, and thus the laws of nature must be cunningly contrived to unleash this remarkable and very special state of matter, which itself is a conduit to an even more remarkable and special state: mind. This sort of exquisite bio-friendliness would represent an extraordinary and unexpected bonus among nature's inventory of principles one that could be interpreted by those of a religious persuasion as evidence of God's ingenuity and foresight. In this version of cosmic design, God acts not by direct intervention but by creating appropriate natural laws that guarantee the emergence of life and mind in cosmic abundance. The universe, in other words, is one in which there are no miracles except the miracle of nature itself.

The E.T. debate has only just begun, but a useful starting point is simply to acknowledge that the discovery of extraterrestrial life would not have to be theologically devastating. The revamped design argument offers a vision of nature distinctly inspiring to the spiritually inclined certainly more so than that of a cosmos sterile everywhere but on a single planet.  History is instructive in this regard. Four hundred years ago Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake by the Church in Rome for, among other things, espousing the notion of a plurality of inhabited worlds. To those whose theological outlook depended on a conception of Earth and its life forms as a singular miracle, the very notion of extraterrestrial life proved deeply threatening. But today the possibility of extraterrestrial life is anything but spiritually threatening. The more one accepts the formation of life as a natural process (that is, the more deeply embedded one believes it is in the overall cosmic scheme), the more ingenious and contrived (dare one say "designed"?) the universe appears to be.

Paul Davies is a professor of natural philosophy at the Australian Center for Astrobiology, at Macquarie University, in Sydney. He is the author of twenty-five books, including Are We Alone? (1995) and The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life (1998). Davies won the 1995 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.

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August 8, 2003


Suffolk Evening Star (UK)


UFO Sighting Excites Alien Hunters 

UFO investigators are targeting Suffolk in their quest to find alien life.

The county has become the focus for alien hunters, in a case worthy of X files agents Mulder and Scully, after a strange sighting of an apparently alien craft in the skies over east Suffolk.

Eagle-eyed residents living along the banks of the River Orwell may have witnessed a close encounter of the third kind if they had glanced up at the starry sky.

A strange yellow D-shaped object was spotted overhead by a man in his garden at Freston.

He watched in wonder as the UFO changed shape before it altered course and flew off at around 11pm on August 5.

But instead of phoning home, like Steven Spielberg's ET, the man called the operator who put him through to Contact – an organisation based in Oxfordshire that records and researches UFO sightings.

They treat all reported sightings in the strictest confidence so were not prepared to identify the witness.

The object could not have been very high as the witness saw an aeroplane flying above it, but he knew it was not the moon as he could see this clearly.

It was not the police helicopter either. According to a police spokeswoman the helicopter was not in the area that night.

Contact spokesman, Michael Sopher, said: "It would interesting to know if anyone else saw the same thing.

"Any sightings over the Ipswich area are of great interest to us due to the historic events at Rendlesham. New evidence recently released from the government admits that this event was a proper UFO landing."

Rendlesham is renowned worldwide for the events in 1980 when American airmen claimed a UFO landed in the forest at their airbase.

The events remain unexplained although recently someone came forward claiming to have hoaxed the strange events.

However Mr Sopher believes no one could have damaged leaves hanging 50ft up in the trees or caused the surge in radioactivity measured in the area.

He added: "In East Anglia reported sightings differ from other areas.  There are lots of reports of strange objects flying inland from the sea and then back again.

"There was a wave of UFO sightings in Birmingham in June. Many people reported seeing lights zig-zagging in the sky near the airport.

"At the time there was a geomagnetic storm which we believe causes people to be more spontaneous and tends to make people who see something more likely to report it."

N Did you see the strange object? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email or visit the forum at


Rendlesham – Britain's most famous UFO encounter.

Happened during three nights over Christmas in 1980 when it is a UFO crash landed in Rendlesham Forest close to the American airbase.

Two airmen went to investigate strange lights in the forest and came across a metallic glowing object which manoeuvred through the trees and disappeared.

Animals on the nearby farm were said to have gone into a frenzy.

Two nights later the object reappeared – base commander Lt Col Halt reported in a memo to the Ministry of Defence that he had seen a red sun like object which divided into five.

On the third night the men taped their panicked conversation as they again started to see lights moving through the trees.

The forest is still an attraction for Ufologists today, some of whom will spend whole nights there.

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August 8, 2003


Voice of America


Roswell, New Mexico is 'UFO Capital of the World' 

by Robin Rupli

Roswell - New Mexico, described as the "Land of Enchantment," might just as well be called the "land of mystery." The town of Roswell, a farming and ranching community in the southeastern part of the state, has come to be associated with unidentified flying objects. This stems from an incident 56 years ago when a strange, flying object crashed from the sky into a rancher's field. Eyewitnesses reported seeing everything from dead aliens to unusual materials and hieroglyphic-type writing. Officials at the nearby military base maintained that the wreckage was fallen weather balloons. But inconsistencies in the story has kept the mystery of Roswell alive for over half a century.

The residents of Roswell clearly have a sense of humor. Along the town's main street, the Crash Down Diner has a replica of a silver spaceship attached to the roof; there's a bookshop that advertises "Just say 'No' to Aliens"; and a furniture store announces its "UFO-Sale" with a line of little cardboard alien creatures waving from the window. But for those with memories of the events of July 1947, Roswell's alleged extraterrestrial experience is serious business.

"See I never told this story until 10 years ago," said Glenn Dennis. "No one knew. Because if I had told this about aliens and all that, they probably would have figured I sniffed too much formaldehyde. So I just kept my mouth shut."

Mr. Dennis is co-founder of the UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, which attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year. In 1947 Mr. Dennis was a young mortuary worker contracted to the military when he got a call from an official at the Roswell Army Airbase asking about childsize caskets and how to preserve tissue exposed to the elements.  More strange things followed, he says, including running into a nurse at the base who was "very upset" and told him she had accidentally walked in on the autopsy of a decomposing alien. He says she made a sketch for him of what she saw.

"When she walked into this supply room, that's where these guys were examining this crash bag," he said. "She was recording it and then she just flew all to pieces. Started screaming and by 3:30 p.m. that afternoon she was gone. And none of us have found her to this day."

What is certain about what happened is this: Around July 4, 56 years ago, a Mac Brazel, a rancher employed on the Foster Ranch outside of Roswell comes up upon a field, about a kilometer long, of unrecognizable debris, that appears to have fallen from the sky. He reports this to the nearby military base and officials go to the ranch to investigate. On July 8 the Roswell Army Air Field's public information office issues a press release across the country.

Headline edition, July 8 1947: The Army Airforce has announced that a flying disc has been found and is now in possession of the Army. Army officers say the missile, found sometime last week, has been inspected at Roswell, New Mexico and sent to Wright Field Ohio, for further inspections.

Within hours of the press release, higher military officials retracted the statement, saying it was a mistake, that the real crash content was a weather balloon. Jesse Marcel, Jr. is the son of Major Jesse Marcel, who was first called out to investigate the debris field. Mr. Marcel, who was 11 at the time, recalls something very different.

"My father was called out one night to the ranch where this thing had landed, picked up some of the debris, loaded it into the back of our 1942 Buick and swung by the house to show my mother and myself what he had out there," he recalled. "He put it on the kitchen floor, woke up my mother and myself and said, 'Come look at this.' I looked at the debris on the floor, there was just a lot of metallic parts, some black plastic material. He wanted us to look for electronic equipment. I found something unusual. You could see some sort of writing, sort of purple, metallic geometric shapes.

"So the story died three days after it happened and didn't start again until 1978," said Dennis Balthaser, a consultant and researcher for the UFO Museum in Roswell. He says it wasn't until the 1970's that several books came out that began to re-examine the Roswell incident. He says many of the eyewitnesses interviewed said they were warned by the government never to speak to anyone about what they saw. Mr. Balthaser says his own relentless research made him too, the target of government surveillance.

"I was told by a retired intelligence man that I'm being monitored," he said. "That's fine. I'm not doing anything to violate national security.  I'm sitting here with you telling you what I know. And if this is violating national security, then tell me what happened. Because it wasn't a weather balloon. Not if I'm violating national security. If Roswell is a hoax, prove it to us. If it's a hoax then I'll go fishing."

In 1997, the 50th anniversary of the Roswell incident, the U.S. Airforce released their final report to address questions about reported bodies found at the Roswell crash site. No longer stating it was "weather balloons," Colonel John Haynes said the bodies were probably "project test dummies carried by Air Force high altitude balloons" related to something called "Project Mogul." The only problem with that explanation, say UFO researchers, is that Project Mogul did not start until 1953, six years after the crash.

Today most of the residents of Roswell, New Mexico embrace their reputation of being known as "UFO Capital of the World." Every July 4 holiday, the town holds its annual UFO Festival. Festival coordinator Carl Lucas puts it this way: "There are always those grumps and those nay-sayers who are embarrassed who say, 'I don't want to be known as the UFO Capital of the World.' Sure, Roswell has a cheese factory where all the mozzarella cheese you can eat anywhere in the United States of America is made right here in Roswell. But we're not the Wisconsin of the desert. We're the UFO Capital of the World, that's what we're known for," he said.

And now, an archeological team with the University of New Mexico has returned to the Roswell crash site to begin new research on soil samples using the latest technologies. The results of the dig will be the subject of a new cable television documentary to be aired on the Sci-Fi Channel later this year, possibly bringing to light the truth about what really was found on the Foster ranch in 1947.


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July 28, 2003


Amite Daily Star ( Louisiana)

Albany Man Searches For UFOs

By Sylvia Schon 

ALBANY - Scott Arnett looks, talks and acts as normal as anybody. He is, in fact, disarmingly down to earth, considering his avocation.

Arnett, 49, is a state section director and field investigator for Mutual UFO Network, Inc., an international organization dedicated to compiling, analyzing and publishing reports of unidentified flying objects.

Is he nuts?

"I'm not going to deny that I'm crazy. Nuts? No. I think I approach this with a pretty logical outlook. Like I said, you have to go down the middle of the road," Arnett said.

Crazy or not, Arnett has lots of company. Average, everyday people, radar technicians, nuclear scientists, physicists, anthropologists, chemists, medical doctors, psychologists, ham radio operators, and many other professionals and non-professionals have joined MUFON or have at least contacted members to report an unusual experience.

Arnett himself is a retired paramedic from the New Orleans area and is working on a two-year degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in occupational safety and health.

His interest in UFO reports actually began as an interest in astronomy while he was in his teens. After reading one of Frank Edwards' books on UFO reports, Arnett's own interest in the topic took hold.

The book was a series of straightforward reports on sightings by witnesses who appeared to be credible.

Straightforward and credible remain the keywords in his work as an investigator.

"Ninety-six to 98 percent of the reports are explainable as normal aircraft, swamp gas or even the planet Venus which can be very bright," Arnett said. "It's that other 2 or 3 percent I wonder about. When you are questioning a witness, you can't be judgmental. You can't let that interfere. You have to keep an open mind that this could be as much bull as fact. What makes an investigation hard is if you've got somebody who is so UFO pro that everything in the sky is a UFO. On the other hand, you have the debunkers that there is no way and everything has to be Venus or swamp gas. They will always find a reason why. So you've got to come to the middle and you've got to use good judgment and have an open mind."

Arnett said he has personally never seen a UFO, but after years of talking to witnesses and reading other accounts, he does have a general point of view.

"I think something's going on, but I couldn't tell you what," Arnett said. "I have talked to some very credible witnesses in the past who have seen things and were very frightened. They were cautious about reporting it, too, but it was just so frightening to them that they had to tell somebody."

One of those occurred in 1976, when he went out on his first case as an investigator.

Hunters had reported an object hovering and at times moving erratically over the swamp about two miles from the Michou facility in New Orleans east.

The hunters described the object as about 40 feet in diameter, that it glowed and changed colors as they watched.

Four days later Arnett was part of a team that accompanied one of the hunters back to the site.

They found a 14-foot wide pattern of reeds twisted and smashed in a circular pattern. The trees above had been scorched. Some of the branches had actually burned and fallen to the ground. The reeds on the ground were not burned, however.

"I noticed right away that our feet were muddy and the ground was very soft. I could see no track of any vehicles," Arnett said.

A geologist with the team took samples of the soil and reeds back to a New Orleans lab for testing. No radiation was found, and there was also no trace of any known fuel.

The hunter who accompanied them was very calm and soft-spoken, Arnett recalled.

"He wanted to be believed and he wanted to help," Arnett said.
That is often the case with people who call in reports to MUFON who might not otherwise report it to local authorities.

"MUFON is where they can vent this incredible thing that has happened to them without worrying about whether their names will wind up all over the newspaper or police blotter of whatever," Arnett said. "We will only publish names with their permission.  It is protected. We guarantee it."

A pair of Pascagoula shipyard workers went public with their own encounter in 1973, causing a great commotion nationwide. The two reported seeing a bluish glowing object moving along the river where they sat fishing on a dock. The object silently appeared behind them, and one of the men claimed he was taken into the "ship" by a pair of the ship's occupants and later released.

Calvin Parker, who was 19 at the time, agreed to a followup interview with Arnett years later. Parker told Arnett of seeing two tall creatures emerge and take his friend before he passed out.

Arnett said after talking to him, he believed Parker's account, which was dramatic but less so than the man who claimed he was abducted.

"He just did not seem the kind of person to seem to be shaken easily," Arnett recalled.

Generally, however, Arnett is not impressed with the vast majority of abduction claims.

"I get off the boat with a lot of people on this subject. I notice that the abduction phenomena with your typical 'gray' with the big black eyes and large head, things like that, have only started after the movie "Close Encounters" came out," Arnett said.

He suspects many of those reports to be someone craving attention, having nightmares or mental problems.

He also questions a Yale researcher's claim that one in four people have been abducted.

"Give me a break," Arnett said. "The largest majority of people that report abductions have to undergo these very invasive probes. On our level, our technology is such that we can scrape a cell off somebody's arm and know everything. So you are telling me these 'people' are so advanced, they can do these amazing things in the sky, come from thousands or billions of light years away and have to stick probes up our wazzoos? Once they got a hold of one of us, they would know everything. They would just need a skin sample, so I just don't see it."

This area was "hot" in the 1970s and 1980s for UFO reports, but it has been quiet in the area for a number of years, Arnett said.

The current "hot" areas are South America and the northeast where there have been "flaps" of reports of triangular-shaped craft.

"They have some very good multiple witnesses on that one," Arnett said.

Multiple witness are the best kinds of reports. About 60 percent of reports occur during night events and about 40 percent during the day, he said.

One of those occurred in Slidell several years ago when someone called the police to report an object hovering over his house.  Deputies arrived and saw the object and also recorded static radio interference every time the object moved, Arnett said.

The most common shapes of crafts are the saucer shape, similar to two bowls put together, the "cigar" shape and an egg or round shape. But there have also been reports of triangular, diamond and other shaped craft.

The "saucer" name came from the news media in the 1940s when a airplane pilot flying around some mountains reported seeing what appeared to be alien craft.

Arnett noted that pilots and radar operators are probably more reluctant than most to report UFO sightings.

W.L. "Barney" Garner, the former Louisiana MUFON director, was a radar operator who became interested in UFOs after an incident where he and the pilot he was monitoring where watching things "that cannot be" from their own particular spots - the pilot in the air and Garner on the ground in front of a radar.

Arnett also noted that Dr. J. Allen Hynek founded the forerunner of MUFON right after the U.S. Air Force ended its famed "Blue Book Project." Hynek, now deceased, was in charge of that project.

"He wanted to let the public know what is really going on with these sightings. He couldn't say there were little green men. He didn't know. But he could say what the witnesses were telling them," Arnett said.

Arnett and his wife, Joann, live in Albany with their children.  He said his wife is tolerant of his interest in the topic.

To find out more visit MUFON's Web site at or call
Arnett at (225) 567-6315.

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July 27, 2003


Brisbane Courier-Mail (Queensland, Australia)

Alien 'Experts' Converge On Perth

Video footage purporting to show the surgical removal of implants from people abducted by aliens will be one of the highlights of an extraterrestrial conference in Perth today.

The Hidden Truths Conference, hosted by the Australian Close Encounter Resource Network, will be attended by people who claim to have had contact with aliens, as well as experts on aliens and extraterrestrial activities.

Network founder and Perth resident Mary Rodwell said people who claimed to have been taken aboard spacecrafts by aliens would give personal accounts of their experiences.

She said there would also be discussions about an allegedly lost civilisation in Australia, explanations about changes in human evolution and how changing earth frequencies affects human behaviour.

However Ms Rodwell said the highlight would be a presentation by American surgeon and author Dr Roger Leir.

"Dr Leir will show authentic footage documenting the surgical removal of implanted objects from individuals who said they had been visited by extraterrestrials," she said.

Ms Rodwell said she has provided counselling to more than 800 Perth people since 1997 who claim to have had contact with aliens.

She is the author of the book Awakenings which is highly regarded by those interested in the phenomenon.

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July 27, 2003


New York Times Magazine

A Bad Trip Down Memory Lane

by Bruce Grierson

It is not considered good judgment to wade into the issue of recovered memories without skin as thick as permafrost and caller ID on the phone. Rare is the academic field in which colleagues on opposite sides of a debate - people with international reputations - dismiss the very foundations of one another's work, sometimes not so privately, with common barnyard epithets; in which two of the most prominent reference books are almost Jesuitically contradictory; in which more than a decade of fairly sound research has done little to settle a debate that has raged ever since Freud popularized the term "repression."

Yet this is just where Susan Clancy found herself eight years ago when she joined the psychology department at Harvard University as a graduate student. At one end of the field of "trauma memory" were people like her new professors and future co-authors, the clinical psychologist Richard McNally and the cognitive psychologist Daniel Schacter, chairman of the Harvard psychology department and one of the world's leading experts on memory function. At the other end were Harvard-affiliated clinicians, including Judith Herman, Bessel van der Kolk and Daniel Brown, whose scholarly writing on the psychological effects of trauma remains highly influential.

What the two sides disagree on is whether painful memories of traumatic events can actually be repressed - completely forgotten - and then "recovered" years later in therapy. Many clinicians say yes: it is how we instinctively protect ourselves from childhood recollections that would otherwise be too dire to bear. Most cognitive psychologists say no: real trauma is almost never forgotten; full-blown, traumatic memories dredged up decades later through hypnosis are almost invariably false.

Clancy, now 33, wasn't fully alive to the schismatic politics back then. She simply saw a puzzling, inviting gap in the data. "You had two groups in opposite camps that were battling each other out" over the validity of recovered memories, Clancy says.  "But nobody was doing research on the group that was at the center of the controversy - the people who were reporting recovered memories. Memory function in that group had never been examined in the laboratory."

So she decided to devote herself to that task, which would end up occupying her pretty much full time for the next seven years. Interview subjects, mostly women but some men, all with recovered memories of child sexual abuse, would come to her office in William James Hall - a 15-floor concrete cracker stack among the brick heritage buildings of Harvard. They would settle in and, shifting their gaze from Clancy's blue eyes to the John Hancock Tower in the distance, tell her their stories as the tape in her recorder unspooled.

The stories were troubling. Often she found herself, somewhat inappropriately, tearing up. Clancy's upbringing - feminist, lapsed Catholic - had prepared her to believe what she was hearing. But as her interviews went on, she came to the conclusion that many of the most elaborate, most terrifying tales she was hearing had an air of confabulation about them. "There was a moment where I said, 'Oh, my God, I'm not sure this really happened,"' she recalls.

Though the term "false memory" is slippery and inadequate, there is now little doubt that the phenomenon exists. A rash of satanic ritual abuse claims in the 1980's and 90's - claims that were never substantiated but destroyed families and ruined reputations - demonstrated fairly conclusively that both adults and children sometimes report things they think happened that didn't.

Still, genuine memories of real sexual abuse are often prosecutors' only tools to combat what remains a significant social problem. To distinguish, in some definitive way, then, true memories from false memories is a trick with enormous personal and political and public-policy implications.

Clancy guessed that there was a category of people who are prone to create false memories and who might demonstrate this tendency when given a standard memory test. Her strategy was to present a list of semantically related words, like "candy," "sour" and "sugar," to those who purported to have recovered memories. Then she would test their recall of those words. On the test, she would throw in words that weren't on the list but were like the words on the list - "sweet," for example. Her hypothesis was that these people would be especially inclined to "remember" seeing the word "sweet" - in effect creating a recollection out of a contextual inference, a fact from a feeling. In the end, the data strongly supported her thesis. She published her findings in 2000 in the scientific journal Psychological Science.

But her work was criticized by some, in large part because it contained a hidden snare: even if Clancy's "false memory" recoverers were prone to fictionalizing memories of abuse, that didn't necessarily mean that their specific memories of abuse were made up; there was no way to know whether these people were actually abused. Clancy had anticipated this cavil while still in the design stage of the study, and so she rounded up a second control group - people who had incontrovertibly been abused and had always remembered that abuse, in contrast to the "recovered memory" group. When people in this group took the word-recall test, they tended to "remember" words that weren't on the list with no greater frequency than the average person, and she was sure she had cracked the nut.

The critics, though, had another objection. What if the traumas that the recovered-memory group had experienced were horrific enough not only to repress the memory but also to cause cognitive impairment that showed up as memory distortion in the lab?

Meanwhile, hate mail started pouring in, in quantities Clancy would eventually measure "by the ton." The reaction was not altogether surprising. The moral dimension of research on child sexual abuse makes it uniquely explosive in psychology, and almost from Day 1 Clancy had, beyond the safe zone of her own department, taken heavy flak for even suggesting that memories of abuse can be faulty. The simple act of conducting research into the matter struck some as an enterprise "designed to cheer on child molesters," as one anonymous letter writer wrote, "and ridicules the suffering sustained by children who are abused as well as therapists who are knowledgeable about the effects of trauma on children's minds and bodies." Clancy was a "bad person," according to another letter writer, to question such reports. Yet another suggested that she was probably an abuser herself.

In 2000, when Clancy was invited to give a lecture at Cambridge Hospital, the chairman of the hospital at the time told her that several members of its psychiatric department had protested her appearance. Her colleagues told her that she had probably ruled herself out of future academic positions in any psychology department, Harvard pedigree or no.

Clancy says she thought she could fix the problem by fixing her word-recall test. She was close, she reckoned, but she needed to find a different, methodologically cleaner, subject group than victims of child sexual abuse - people whose memories virtually everyone could agree were false. But whom? She considered options: people who remembered their own deaths? People who recalled past lives? No, there was just enough doubt in those instances to taint the results. She would have to go further afield.

"Have you been contacted or abducted by space aliens?" read the ad that ran in a number of Boston-area newspapers. "You may be eligible to participate in a Harvard memory research study." Clancy's new plan - and it seemed unimpeachable - was to round up folks who thought they had been beamed aboard spaceships, or who actually recalled the experience, and give them the same memory test she had given the others. If they, too, got high scores, it would establish that there are indeed people who are prone to false memories - which might eventually help scientists better understand how false memories are created. Finally, she figured, she had the makings of a sound study. Out she went into the community to recruit.

For two years, Clancy advertised in bookstores, visited Internet chat rooms and haunted U.F.O. conferences, handing out fliers for her memory study. At one point, in pursuit of appropriate subjects, she spent three days at a meeting of a group of supposed alien abductees at an old seaside Victorian inn in Newport, R.I. She sat in the hot tub with them as they cheerfully told her their stories - an astonishingly consistent set of narratives involving bright light through bedroom windows, inexplicable time blackouts, encounters with bobble-headed small gray people with large black eyes and, often, invasive sexual medical experimentation. Among themselves, the experiencers talked business. There was a consensus about how stupid and misguided scientists were not to believe their accounts. Someone related a skeptic's theory that the explosion of U.F.O. sightings in New Jersey the previous year was caused by migrating birds, and the crowd exploded into guffaws. Clancy smiled through gritted teeth.

Finally, she scraped together 11 willing subjects, ran them and a control group through a battery of tests and collated the data, which demonstrated, in her view, that "individuals who are more prone to develop false memories in the lab are also more likely to develop false memories of experiences that were only suggested or imagined." She submitted her study to the notoriously stringent Journal of Abnormal Psychology. It sped through the review process and, to her great relief, was published. Her problems looked to be solved.

"I thought, Thank God, man," she recalls. "With alien abductees, I'm never going to have to deal with the criticism that it might have actually happened."

In a mustard-colored suit - the only suit he owns - John Mack stands on the stage of the theater inside Boston's Museum of Fine Arts with a light shining on his face, like a museum exhibit of the moon. The documentary film "Touched," by Laurel Chiten, a Boston filmmaker, has just received its world premiere, and Chiten and Mack, her main subject, are up there to field questions. Through interviews, the film conveys what it's like to be coerced into sexual congress with alien beings - and, in at least one case, to become an unwitting participant, apparently, in a kind of intergalactic hybrid breeding program.

Mack, a quiet and erudite man, is a veteran of the Harvard medical faculty whose blue-chip career took something of a William Jamesian turn toward the mystical in the 70's. In 1994, he published the book "Abduction," which immediately piqued interest because Mack seemed to accept the abduction phenomenon as literal fact. The book was a huge best seller. Mack's Harvard imprimatur jacked the credibility of abduction accounts into another orbit. Chris Carter, creator of "The X-Files," used Mack's work to help sell his show to Fox.

Clancy's study was, of course, a clear rebuke of the abductee experience - and it was met with derision at Mack's nonprofit organization, the Center for Psychology and Social Change.  Clancy had drawn a number of her test subjects from the institute's ranks, and they may have felt poleaxed by the disarmingly genial researcher who seemed to listen so nonjudgmentally to their tales. The campaign to discredit Clancy began in earnest.

"Obviously there's a mammoth leap of faith involved in generalizing from a mistake on a word list to the assumption that whole memories for extended, anomalous events can be created more or less arbitrarily," wrote a doctoral student named Catherine Reason on an Internet discussion group. Just who was Susan Clancy, asked another, to challenge the work of people whose theories of memory and trauma were cited by the United Nations when discussing whether recovered memories of torture were admissible as testimony in an international war-crimes tribunal? Some simply viewed Clancy's 11 "abductees" as too small a sample size.

Mack and Clancy seem to have nothing against each other personally, though the gulf in their worldviews appears unbridgeable. Clancy describes Mack as "good-hearted," an "old-school gentleman" who was insufficiently aware of the memory-distorting effects of the hypnosis he used over the years to expand upon abduction memories in many of his more than 200 patients. Mack is sanguine about the Clancy study, but blunt. "I smell a rat," he says in his light-filled Cambridge home a short walk from Harvard Yard. "Not that Susan's the rat, but in that a small word-association test gets to be used, by whomever, to say, 'This is simply memory distortion."'

The abductees, in some ways, posed a more bewildering challenge to Clancy than her previous memory-recoverers. "Very few of them endorsed the repression hypothesis," she says. They don't believe their conscious minds repressed the memories of abduction trauma out of self-protection. Rather, she says, "you'd get extraterrestrial interpretations." The reason they had no memories of those terrifying events until years or decades later, the abductees usually say, is that the aliens, for everybody's protection, erased or otherwise controlled them.

When I met with her in Cambridge, Clancy still seemed genuinely surprised, almost awed, at the breadth of controversy her work has caused. "Every academic talk I give," she told me as we made our way to lunch near Harvard Square, "someone raises their hand and says, 'Who the hell are you to say these stories aren't true?"'

Not long ago, Clancy appeared as a guest on a nationally syndicated radio show that takes a broad-minded view of the paranormal. For nearly 20 minutes, she was called on that very question. The host pressed: "Why do you think that the only life forms are on earth?" Clancy said she could feel her blood pressure rising.

"I don't necessarily believe that we're the only life form out there," she said. "I can entertain the possibility that there are other life forms out there without accepting your story that a spaceship picked you up!"

Many scientists have offered a simple explanation for the phenomenon: abduction experiences, they maintain, are all about the mind pumping for meaning after a bout of sleep paralysis -- a scary but fairly common experience in which the part of the brain that inhibits motor messages during REM sleep fails to disengage as the sleeper wakes up. The sensation is of being pinned to the bed, often accompanied by hallucinations of some spectral entity at the bedside.

Some three million Americans believe they have had some kind of encounter with space aliens. If everyone who experienced sleep paralysis came to that conclusion, the number would be a hundred or so times as high. What you have in an abductee, Clancy suspects, is someone who is predisposed to believe. "Here's someone who reads science fiction. They watch 'The X-Files.' Then one night they have a sleep-paralysis experience. It's weird and it's scary, and it becomes one of a multitude of events that create that wonder."

As the subject tries to remember what happened, "source" errors creep in. "You think you're recovering your own memory, when in fact it's something you pulled out of a movie," Clancy said. "Memory's tendency to be reconstructive, combined with the desire to believe, combined with a culturally available script, leads to a false memory. The content of that memory is dictated by the society you live in." The warnings that experiencers report receiving from aliens, the Australian sociologist Robert Bartholomew has pointed out, have changed over time - from nuclear destruction during the cold war to, more recently, ecological doom. These are simply stories, he says, that give shape to our fears.

Ten years from now, Susan Clancy may remember 2003 as a year of agreeable spadework in the trenches of academic inquiry. But if she does, it will be a false memory. The truth is that Clancy's research, which she hoped might mend fences - at least partly vindicating both sides' positions - has managed to tick off just about everyone: sexual-abuse survivors, therapists, experiencers, even a creationist or two.

Daniel Brown, the trauma therapist, is convinced that there's a "political agenda" to Clancy's abduction study. As he told one reporter, "It's all about spin." Her own brother - a corporate lawyer for a top New York firm - has ripped into her about the abduction study for assuming outright that none of the abductions occurred.

From his vantage point a few dozen feet away in the Harvard psych department, Richard McNally has watched Clancy, his former grad student, face trial after trial. "She's very thick-skinned, certainly for someone at her stage of her career," McNally told me. But inside, it was getting to her.

When we first spoke, about six months ago, Clancy said she believed she could weather the storm. "I don't think so anymore," she said recently. "When I was on the phone with lawyers two weeks ago and had to be concerned that I was going to get brought up on ethics charges, it really caused me to rethink what I'm doing here."

She seemed immensely relieved, therefore, to be getting out. Clancy has accepted a visiting professorship at the Harvard-affiliated Central American Business Administration Institute in Managua, Nicaragua, and will leave later this summer. There she will continue to study how trauma affects people, but the trauma will be verifiable life-threatening events: diseases, hurricanes, land mines.

Oh. And she will do a little cross-cultural research on... abductees. It turns out, just as John Mack has said for years, that this is a truly universal phenomenon. "Supposedly it's extremely common through Central America," Clancy said.

When she returns, she will shop around her resume. She hopes people will still remember her.

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July 12, 2003


Toronto Star

Pop Culture's Encounters Of The Alien Kind

by Vinay Menon

If aliens are among us, chances are they've stopped watching television.

Who wants to travel millions of light years to be portrayed as an insidious annihilator or bumbling imbecile? Who wants to come in peace only to be accused of planetary conquest by a bunch of paranoid homo sapiens?

And who wants to be associated with Alf or the Great Gazoo or, most distressing, John Lithgow?

Intergalactic roamers once knew the worst place to have saucer trouble was over a cornfield on Planet Earth. Because as soon as you touched down, amid a time-halting flash of white light, some hapless farmer would inevitably bolt into the shadows, screaming at the moon while begging you not to probe his bodily orifices.

In this age of irony and celebrity, things have changed.

If a spaceship were to land in Central Park today, the only commotion would be an enthusiastic horde of New Yorkers crowding the glittering craft while demanding autographs and pictures with the startled visitors.

We've come a long, long way since 1938, when Orson Welles aired his famous "War Of The Worlds" radio dramatization and ignited a mass panic. And, in part, this blasé attitude toward the extraterrestrial question is a by-product of popular culture's unrelenting obsession ever since.

Over the last 50 years, alien portrayal, whether as good or evil entities, has been linked to broader commentary on society and culture. As you might expect, aliens are then either vilified or glorified depending on the spirit of the time... The Day The Earth Stood Still, Invaders From Mars, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Alien, E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, Independence Day.

Alienated, a new Canadian comedy that premiered this week on Space, uses the abduction narrative as a launch pad for more terrestrial stories. After being abducted by aliens, the already dysfunctional Blundell family must cope with new impulses that are as bizarre as they are amusing.

Taken, Steven Spielberg's 10-part epic miniseries that's airing on CBC this summer, is a shining example of the Benign Alien. What's most fascinating about Taken is how closely it hews to the actual UFO mythology while presenting a possible explanation for alien visits.

Screenwriter Leslie Bohem anchors the sprawling narrative with several significant ufological names and places... Roswell, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Groom Lake, Betty and Barney Hill.

This ability to fictionalize popular mythology is what made The X-Files such a compelling program in its early years. Chris Carter's show also inspired several imitators, including Roswell and Dark Skies.

The predominant theme of The X-Files was government conspiracy.  The truth was out there. They were keeping it from Us.

Recently, the American Sci Fi Channel... apparently embodied with the spirit of X-Files' Fox Mulder... has started lobbying the U.S. government for more UFO disclosure. It's even considering going to court to have certain top secret documents declassified.

(Somewhere in the Zeta Reticuli, a long distance telepathic call is being placed to Johnnie Cochrane.)

An anecdote, apocryphal or not, that has circulated through UFO circles for years concerns a 1982 screening of E. T. at the White House, where president Ronald Reagan was reported to have told director Steven Spielberg: "There are probably only six people in this room who know how true this is."

In the documentary Area 51: The Real Story, which aired on Discovery Civilization this week, we learn U.S. military officials were asked to consult on Independence Day. They asked that all references to "Area 51" be excised from the script and then declined to participate when their request was rejected.

And people wonder how conspiracies get started.

It's interesting to note how alien portrayal on television and film has swung like a pendulum since World War II when people, for obvious reasons, started gazing into the sky while expecting the worst.

In the '40s and '50s, government conspiracies played only a marginal role in the stories. The emphasis was on the Unknown Alien.

By the '60s, as the counterculture surged to life, aliens were less prevalent, but had become somewhat menacing and treacherous: Dangerous Alien. In general, the '70s ushered in an age of the God Alien... gossamer beings imbued with quasi-religious qualities.

This would hold true in the '80s, only now the government seemed to know everything and maintained a deadly force policy of telling us nothing. There was a new emphasis on abduction, as seen in films like Fire In The Sky. Abduction books such as Intruders and Communion were also creating pop cultural waves.  (Can the abduction phenomenon be traced back to the Flash Gordon comic of the '30s? Just wondering.)

Predictably, the blockbuster, special-effects '90s brought a return of the Evil Alien, hell-bent on obliterating the world. (To get the full pendulum effect, watch Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and Independence Day back to back.)

But, dear aliens, what you should find most offensive is the physical stereotyping that has survived the ages: Those wrap-around insect eyes. The matte gray skin tone. The ridiculously oversized heads. The tiny bodies neatly outfitted in silver jumpsuits.

You should also consider starting a petition against "alien sitcoms"... My Favorite Martian, Mork & Mindy, My Parents Are Aliens, Third Rock From the Sun... a subgenre that created the regrettable Comic Alien.

Because hearing "ShazBot" or "Nanoo Nanoo" one too many times would prompt even the most peaceful alien to wipe out civilization as we know it.

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July 12, 2003


Kentucky New Era

Congress Pressured To Probe UFOs

by Cecil Herndon

Straight & Simple

There are precious few genuine mysteries left in the world, the rest having been explained more or less plausibly by science.

Now the Sci-Fi Channel reportedly is putting the heat on Congress to launch a full-scale investigation of one of the few remaining mysteries, the unidentified flying object phenomenon.

At the very least, UFO believers want the federal government to release all the information they think it long has hidden on space aliens and their flying machines.

Although the government in fact has issued reports of past investigations of UFOs that concluded they don't exist, many Americans continue to believe the government is covering up the truth about airborne visitors from outer space.

Whether the government or its agencies actually are actually withholding pertinent information on the subject is anyone's guess, or at least the guess of anyone in no position to know.

The Sci-Fi Channel recently aired a two-part series on UFOs, for the most part a rehash of old reports on the subject, including the alleged long-ago crash of a UFO near Roswell, N.M., and the recovery of alien bodies.

The details of that long-familiar story need no retelling here. Suffice it to say, the alleged Roswell incident has become the centerpiece of UFO lore. It includes the testimony of several apparently credible witnesses.

While we are intrigued by the UFO mystery, if indeed there is one, we've never heard a logical explanation of why the government would hide any information it might have about them.   But, then, who knows why government agencies do many of the things they do?

One thing seems beyond: If indeed Earth is being visited by intelligent beings from outer space, they and their technology are far advanced over anything known on our own home planet.

This reality prompted the following comment recently by a non-believing TV pundit: "If these alleged beings are so far advanced, why do they make contact only with someone named Bubba?"

But those who claim to have seen UFOs include many besides this world's "Bubbas." Sightings have been reported by commercial and military pilots, astronauts, trained police observers, and even former President Jimmy Carter. Never mind that Carter also once reported being attacked by a rabbit.

We don't anticipate any congressional investigation of UFOs, and we doubt one would change anyone's mind. Perhaps it's just as well, too. People love a government conspiracy theory only slightly less than they love a good mystery. In regard to the UFO phenomenon, they can have it both ways.

Cecil Herndon is a columnist for the Kentucky New Era. His column runs regularly every Wednesday and Saturday, He can be reached at 887-3232 or at

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July 7, 2003


Roswell Daily Record

UFO debris site monument unveiled

Andrew Poertner


As dawn broke on the second day of Roswell’s UFO Festival, a small band of UFO enthusiasts slipped away from the throngs of tourists to attend a monument dedication at the origin of the Roswell Incident.

On a rocky hilltop about 65 miles north of the city, 23 people stepped out of their vehicles Saturday morning and took a mental journey into the past. Attendees of the invitation-only ceremony at the Corona “debris field” found the dusty landscape fertile ground for the imagination.

Among those attending were representatives from the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, UFO investigators, a film crew from the Sci-Fi Channel and descendants of Mack Brazel, the rancher who discovered the debris which the military initially reported to the media as the wreckage of a flying saucer.

“This is where they picked up Mogul Balloon No. 4 ... or the bodies. Depending on what you believe,” said Paul Davids, executive producer of the 1994 movie “Roswell.”

Julie Shuster, UFO Museum director, said the monument is a tribute to the people who came forward to report what they saw in the fields north of the city and in Roswell more than a half century ago.

“The monument is to honor the people involved in the 1947 incident,” she said. “There were a lot of people involved ... it’s affected so many people’s lives. It’s to say that we know what you sacrificed.”

Shuster said those involved in the incident ended up having their reputations damaged, their lives disrupted and spending far more time than they could ever have expected addressing the event.

Don Schmitt, author and UFO investigator, conducted the stone monument’s unveiling. In his brief address, he recognized the Brazel family members present and offered them his sympathy for having to cope with the attacks the family has suffered over the years.

Schmitt said Brazel was merely trying to be a good citizen by reporting what he had found. He said neither Brazel nor his family have ever tried to make money or gain fame from the incident. He challenged anyone to show that the family has ever benefited in any way from the incident.

“They were not trying to capitalize on it,” said Schmitt.

His remarks complete, Schmitt unveiled the monument. The text engraved on it’s surface reads:

“In July of the year 1947 a craft of unknown origin spread debris over this site. Witnesses would report materials of unearthly nature.

“In September of the year 2002 the Sci-Fi Channel brought scientists from the University of New Mexico to search this ground for evidence of that fateful night.

“Be it observed, that whatever the true nature of what has respectfully become known as the Roswell Incident, humankind has been forever drawn to the stars. Dedicated July 5, 2003.”

Capturing the event alongside cameras and camcorders was a video camera from the Sci-Fi Channel, which has been continuing its search for physical evidence at the location.

“We’re just thrilled that we could be part of this,” said Larry Landsman, director of special projects for the Sci-Fi Channel.

Although the ceremony was a predominantly somber event, there were light-hearted moments amidst the formality. Arriving at the site, Davids tossed what appeared to be a homemade silver disc near the monument and shouted, “There it is!”

Many of the attendees used the opportunity to reflect on the Roswell Incident and said visiting the site served to drive home that whether it was a balloon or an alien spacecraft, the debris field is a real place and something did happen. And regardless of what happened, it has sparked the curiosity of countless people to wonder if mankind is alone in the universe.

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July 7, 2003


Detroit Free Press

Conventioneers Share Alien Theories
Dearborn discussion is UFOs, crop circles

by Zlati Meyer

While millions of Americans were enjoying traditional July 4 weekend amusements, a few hundred of them took part in that Earthling pasttime -- discussing alien lifeforms.

They swapped Thomas Jefferson for the Mutual UFO Network's 34th Annual International conference held at the Hyatt Hotel in Dearborn from Friday through Sunday.

Jay Benson traveled from Atlanta to attend. The 40-year-old IT consultant, quoting his favorite lecturer Neil Freer, said the aliens who "jump-started our DNA," the Annunaki, wanted to make humans a slave race to mine gold for Annunaki leaders living on planet Nibiru.

The attendees were believers - and those who wanted to hear the facts about other-worldly visitors. Audience members included an Oakland County psychologist and an aspiring police officer.

"I think it's real; I think things are out there," said Jerry Beekel, 53, a steel-foundry worker from Pittsford, near Hillsdale, who was wearing a UFO-emblazoned T-shirt. "Anyone who believes in God believes He made things other than man. I believe there's a cover-up."

Beekel's comment coincided with a speech entitled, "Cosmic Watergate," by presenter Stanton Friedman.

Friedman suggested that a directive to "get the heck off our planet" made President Richard Nixon nix Apollos 18 and 19. Friedman hypothesized that aliens come to Earth to monitor their "neighbors," whom he described "as idiot Earthlings," who killed thousands of their own in World War II and created destructive atom bombs, V2 rockets and radars.

"They make sure we don't get out there. Would you want us out there? We don't even have someone to speak for the planet. Would aliens want us in an intergalactic agency?" Friedman asked his audience.

Lecturers filled their well-attended talks with pseudo-science theories such as the existence of a magnetic-propulsion system that could move saucer-shaped vehicles, and that the star over Bethlehem the Bible says shone on the night Jesus was born was likely a UFO.

The convention program listed dozens of Ph.Ds as MUFON consultants, but Bruce Maccabee, who has a doctorate in physics from American University, was the only person with an advanced degree presenting.

Crop-formations expert William C. Levengood's bio didn't list any academic credential. In his lecture, Levengood explained, "Energies come down in very precise patterns and penetrate the soil. The soil changes properties - I won't get into that - which, in turn, enhances the seeds."

His multimedia presentation included aerial photographs of the mysterious formations, pictures of flies "not associated with wheat plants" on the same plants, pieces of corn that germinated before their husks open and burned kernels next to untouched ones.

In a makeshift marketplace down the hall, vendors hawked books and remote-viewing training sessions on video for $110.

Other items included an audiotape titled "How the War on Terror Interrupted ET Contact;" 144 pages of newspaper and magazine articles about mind-control for $22; a music CD subtitled "A Soundtrack to My Abduction," and a children's picture book to introduce the concept of extraterrestrials.

And even on this holiday weekened when Americans rejoice in freedom from royal rulership, the King made an appearance. The book "Elvis' Search for God" shared tablespace with a Tennessee accountant's memoir of her abductions.

Tony Sivalelli runs the Weight Station gym in Mt. Clemens.

"I don't think people are ready for the bigger picture, for understanding," he said.

Contact ZLATI MEYER at 734-432-6503 or

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July 6, 2003


New York Times

Word For Word
The C.I.A.'s Cover Has Been Blown?
Just Make Up Something About UFOs

by Stephen Kinzer

The State Department recently issued a collection of previously classified documents that shed new light on the Central Intelligence Agency's role in the June 1954 coup in Guatemala that ousted the president, Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán. Mr. Arbenz had clashed with the United Fruit Company, which for many years exercised decisive influence in Guatemala, and the Eisenhower administration feared that he was leading his country toward Communism. The coup brought Col. Carlos Castillo Armas to power and set off more than three decades of civil conflict and repression in which hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans were killed.

Here are excerpts from documents related to the coup plot, which was code-named PBSUCCESS.  

Telegram from C.I.A. headquarters to a C.I.A. station, whose location remains classified, Jan. 26, 1952:

Hq. desires firm list top flight Communists whom new government would desire to eliminate immediately in event of successful anti-Communist coup.

Memorandum for the record, Sept. 18, 1953:

At 1500, 18 September 1953, a meeting was held at the office of [Allen W. Dulles, the Director of Central Intelligence] to discuss the present status of PBSUCCESS and to consider future plans for this operation. . . . Cabell [Gen. Charles P. Cabell, the agency's deputy director] stated that he concurred in approval of the general plan but felt that the budget estimate should be increased to $3,000,000 to provide more adequately for contingencies. Mr. Dulles agreed.

Memorandum from Col. J. C. King, chief of the Western Hemisphere division, C.I.A. Directorate of Operations, Sept. 25, 1953:

Tasks for Chief of Station, Guatemala

a. Controlled penetration of the Communist Party.

b. Controlled penetrations of the major labor unions.

c. Controlled penetrations in the major anti-Communist organizations.

d. Controlled penetrations in the armed forces, or controlled agents with access to current planning both in senior and junior officer groups.

e. Controlled agents with access to high-level Guatemalan Government political propaganda planning. . . .

The station will prepare a list of the 25 most dangerous Communists and pro-Communists and attempt to gather data re these targets which could be used for character assassination..... More pictures of comparisons of living conditions of the top Commies and the peons will be of special value.

Memorandum for the record, Oct. 29, 1953:

Station Guatemala has been directed to take the following actions:

1. Transmit all rumors re Arbenz officials, the Guatemalan Army, revolutionary activities and Communist activities.

2. Prepare a weekly "psychological barometer" report on local conditions.

3. Make a continuing study of morale factors among students, laborers, army officers, enlisted men, government officials, farm owners, and business and professional men. . . .

Paramilitary Action: An initial shipment of approximately 15
tons of arms and ammunition is now ready for shipment from [DELETED] and subsequent transshipment to [Colonel Castillo Armas in] Nicaragua. . . . This material is intended for use by [Colonel Castillo Armas] in his Nicaraguan training center and to test facilities for clandestine introduction of arms into Guatemala.

Memorandum from C.I.A. headquarters, Nov. 5, 1953:

Station was instructed to mail "mourning cards" for 30 successive days to Arbenz and top Communist leaders. Cards were to mourn the purge or execution of various Communists in the world and to hint forthcoming doom to recipients.

Telegram from PBSUCCESS headquarters in Florida to C.I.A. headquarters, Jan. 30, 1954:

White Paper [issued by the Guatemalan government] has effectively exposed certain aspects of PBSUCCESS . . . If possible, fabricate big human interest story, like flying saucers, birth sextuplets in remote area to take play away.

Memorandum for the record, March 2, 1954, from Colonel King:

At 1910 on 28 February, I picked [Pseudonym] up in my car at the corner of Massachusetts and Wisconsin. We drove for about an hour out River Road and I am certain were not observed. [Pseudonym] expressed his regrets for the compromise of the five paraphrased cables, and in a manner which appeared to be entirely sincere. I asked him how it was possible, with all of the security indoctrination which he had had, plus the great emphasis on secrecy based on all phases of PBSUCCESS, to have done such an unpardonable thing as to leave sensitive papers in a hotel room. He replied that he had no explanation, that it was a stupid, unpardonable thing to do, but that it was an act of thoughtlessness and carelessness. . . . It was agreed that for the next month [Pseudonym] will remain in Chicago. We discussed two general areas where he could bury himself after that date _ Alaska and the Pacific Northwest . . . He has never been in the
Northwest and suggested as a possibility that he get a job until fall as a fire watcher on a mountain top where he would meet very few people.

Memorandum from PBSUCCESS headquarters to C.I.A. station in Guatemala, Apr. 28, 1954:

Consider it highly important to mobilize anti-Communist activities of the Catholic Church dignitaries and of Catholic lay organizations. . . . This could be done, for instance, by describing graphically how the local church would be turned into a meeting hall for the "Fighting Godless," how the reader's children would have to spend their time with the "Red Pioneers," how the pictures of Lenin, Stalin and Malenkov would replace the pictures of the Saints in every home, and the like.

Dispatch from PBSUCCESS headquarters to all PBSUCCESS stations, June 13, 1954:

Rumors, combining fact and fiction, which ought to be circulated, may include the following (not every rumor is applicable to every group of people and to every situation; select from the following suggestions whatever is suitable for given moment and audience):

A group of Soviet commissars, officers and political advisers, led by a member of the Moscow Politbureau, have landed. . . . The government has issued an order devaluating the quetzal at the rate of 1:10. Use your money immediately to buy food and durable goods. . . . In addition to military conscription, the Communists will introduce labor conscription. A decree is already being printed. All boys and girls 16 years old will be called for one year of labor duty in special camps, mainly for political indoctrination and to break the influence of family and church on the young people. . . . Food rationing is about to be introduced. . . . Arbenz has already left the country. His announcements from the National Palace are actually made by a double, provided by Soviet intelligence. . . . An educational reform is being prepared. There will be no longer any religious instruction at state expense, but on the contrary lessons in atheism, Soviet style.

Add rumors of your own, following the day-by-day changes in the situation.

Telegram From C.I.A. headquarters to PBSUCCESS headquarters, June 24, 1954:

We now prepared authorize bombing specific targets in [Guatemala City] area since you and [John E. Puerifoy, the American ambassador to Guatemala] feel this now the most effective move to achieve success. Targets should be selected with a view to having desired effect on army and regime morale with minimum political cost to [the United States].

Telegram from C.I.A. headquarters to PBSUCCESS headquarters, June 30, 1954:

Heartiest congratulations upon outcome developments past forty-eight hours. A great victory has been won.

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July 5, 2003

Manila Bulletin (Philippines)

The UFO Craze

by Nelly F. Villafuerte

The UFO phenomenon has again been generating a lot of curiosity and interest  especially in other countries. Providing good copy to attract media attention, scientific research and even congressional investigations. Unlike in the yesteryears, sophisticated tools of modern science are now being used to unravel the mystery of UFOs. Like remote sensing technologies and modern archaeological forensic science.

UFO (UFOs) is the acronym for unidentified flying objects. Also referred to by many as extraterrestrials, extraterrestrial beings, space visitors, or alien beings. The word ufologist has now been coined to refer to somebody who is a real UFO buff and is very serious in documenting and recording everything about UFO encounters. Believe it or not, there are even UFO organizations today the main agenda of which is to record UFO sightings and everything related to UFOs.

Are UFOs really out there? Where do they come from  from outer space, inner space, or from within the bowels of the earth? Are they lovable or loathsome? Do the UFOs really have the power to walk-in our bodies as some people say? Were there UFOs during the biblical times or even during the pre-historic times?

The most popular theory to explain the UFO phenomenon is the so-called extraterrestrial hypothesis which simply states that UFOs are spacecrafts sent here from the other inhabited worlds. People have long fantasized that intelligent-non-human being live in other planets. But the notion that these beings from other planets are building machines to cross space to visit us is something new. Just listening to UFO enthusiasts, devotees, and dabblers talk about UFOs with much excitement especially about the movies and television shows on UFOs makes one conclude that this UFO mystery has penetrated our lives, whether we like it or not.

The dilemma as to whether there are really aliens who have landed in our biosphere, or to use a more descriptive phrase in our midst has inspired people to use the print and broadcast media including the Internet to arouse the senses of the public to the fact that UFO stories are not a collection of lore and myth but a reality. Other UFO fanatics even go to the extent of saying that the UFOs have the supernatural power to walk-in our bodies as well as in the bodies of other animals.  But what is scary is the theory of many UFO researchers and buffs that UFOs or these aliens from space are so advanced spiritually and technologically that they can clone our genes and they also feed on humans, ala vampire style. This kind of UFO propaganda definitely puts up human beings psychologically off balance. I am referring to our mental and spiritual outlook. Of course, the pervasive influence of our movies and televisions in conditioning our minds to accept UFOs as well as to overwhelm us of their supernatural power cannot be discounted.

Does biblical logic support the thesis that UFOs were created by God?  What the Holy Bible in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament of the Bible says is that God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27). From this biblical verse, it is very clear that life on earth was created by our Omnipotent and Almighty God. Our planet Earth as we know is only a small part of the universe. While we know that the Earth is the only planet where life exist  we cannot deny the fact that ongoing scientific studies and researches are being conducted by different countries to advance the theory that there might be a planet out there where there is also life like in the earth. But be it as is  to date the divine act of creating man and woman is something that has never been duplicated in any place of the universe. The claim of many that UFOs are real, is indeed an attempt to promote the thinking that the divine act of creating human life has been duplicated. If not by God, who then created the UFOs, if they really exist?

Ufologists  people who are real UFO buffs and who are very serious in documenting and recording everything about UFO encounters claim that the fact that hundreds of people have reported sightings of UFOs (like having seen flying saucers land in open fields while others say that they have actually seen strange-looking people from outer-space)  have definitely strengthened the theory that UFOs are real.

It is disturbing to note that stories about UFOs during these end times are spreading wide and far. The curiosity of many, including Bible-believing Christians, about UFOs has distracted many from the biblical truths. What is alarming too is that, there are so many deceptions going around slowly creeping into our human consciousness giving credence to the supernatural validation of UFOs sightings and close encounters.

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July 2, 2003


Exeter Express & Echo (UK)

Are These Crop Circles the Work of Aliens or a Hoax

by John Fletcher

Have aliens made their mark in a Devon field, or could these first crop circles in the area be the work of pranksters?

Whoever or whatever is responsible for the circles, known to experts in the field as agriglyphs - from the Greek for field and carving - they have caused a stir at Colaton Raleigh, near Exmouth.

Locals have been scratching their heads in disbelief since they woke up to three geometrically perfect and artistic circles several days ago.

The elaborate patterns, bordered by two tram lines, have come to light in fields alongside Home Farm, owned by Bicton College.

News of the sightings swept through the East Devon community and people have been driving out to the sleepy village on the Newton Poppleford to Budleigh Salterton road to view the latest attraction.

But just how the shapes got there remains a mystery. They are believed to be the first in East Devon. The phenomenon is more common in counties such as Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset, following the rise of the phenomenon in the 1980s.

Die-hard enthusiasts say the circles are a type of paranormal activity or communication from aliens. Sceptics blame hoaxers.

Robin Boaden, dairy manager at the 470-acre Home Farm, admitted it was puzzling.

He said: "The crop circles suddenly appeared last week and cover about an acre of a field where winter crops are growing.

"No one at the farm has any idea how the circles got there. They are about 100 yards from the main road. They cannot be seen from the road but are clearly visible from the Bicton College building."

Ian Johnson, of the Devon National Farmers' Union Exeter-based regional office, was also mystified.

He said: "We have not had reports of crop circles in this part of Devon before. I believe them to be elaborate hoaxes.''

Brian Finnegan, who runs Colaton Raleigh Service Station, said: "It would surprise me if a student from the college was responsible for this, because they are so well behaved.''

Regulars at the Otter pub in the village admitted it was a mystery.

One local said: "We are going round in circles ourselves trying to figure out where the crop circles came from.

"Everyone is at a loss as to what has happened here, but I doubt whether aliens have been at work. Colaton Raleigh is so quiet.

"We think they are the first crop circles of their kind in East Devon.''

Local artist Alan Cotton admitted he had not heard about the circles until he was contacted by the Echo.

"It's bound to be a talking point now,'' he said.

Farmer's wife Margaret Carter, who runs a village farm with her husband Oliver, said: "We have not heard of anything like this locally before, but it sounds very strange.''

Geoffrey Sworder, of the Devon branch of the Council for the Protection of Rural England, was unimpressed.

He said: "I know a lot of these crop circles are spoofs, and if they are it is sad because actions like this spoil crops."

Truth Is Out There

Crop circles remain an unexplained phenomenon, but it is believed most are man-made rather than the work of space travellers.

The unexplained patterns, scientifically called agriglyphs, have magically appeared all over Britain including fields in Wiltshire, Hampshire, Gloucester, Dorset and Yorkshire.

A mini industry has evolved through enthusiasts visiting popular crop circle venues.

Websites attract millions of hits from keen observers of the phenomenon.

Hollywood has cashed in with the film Signs starring Mel Gibson as a circle hunter.

The earliest known formation in England was in 1647. They were often spotted in the early 1980s, with reports saying strange lights had been seen above the sites, prompting theories that they were created by alien visitors.

A big year was 1990, when a record number of pictograms - long chains of circles, rectangles and other shapes - were reported.

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July 1, 2003


Detroit News

UFO Convention Lands In Dearborn
Network expected to draw 500 believers to 34th annual event

By Joel Kurth

DEARBORN -- The quest for proof of intelligent life in outer space is coming to the land of Coney Island hot dogs and the giant freeway tire.

As many as 500 true believers are expected to attend the Mutual UFO Network's international convention, which runs from Friday to Sunday at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn. Among the subjects of the science-heavy symposium: crop circles, UFO activity in Brazil and alleged alien abductions.

The 34th annual event comes as so-called "UFOlogists" try to gain credibility for what many consider pseudoscience. A 1997 Time/CNN poll claimed 80 percent of Americans think the government conceals evidence of aliens, but organizers complain their studies are still lumped in with efforts to find Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster.

"It's taken seriously, but not as seriously as it should," said Jean Waskiewicz, 55, of Livonia, who operates the Michigan chapter's Web site,

"It still has a stigma. You still have a lot of people who don't want the word 'UFO' attached to anything. I still get my fair share of looks."

Michigan continues to be a hotbed of UFO research.

The National UFO Reporting Center claims it has logged 513 sitings in the state; and last year, enthusiasts investigated four cases of supposed crop circles from Bad Axe to Eaton Rapids. One of the field's top crop circle experts, William Levengood, lives near Jackson.

Membership in the UFO Network's Michigan chapter has increased to about 110 from 70 in the last few years, said Rich McVannel, 59, a building material salesman from Boyne City who says he's been abducted repeatedly and has piloted spaceships.

"People care about UFOs. Behind sex, UFOs get the most hits on any Internet search engine," Waskiewicz said.

A Google query for "UFO" netted 2.1 million files and 199 million for "sex."

The convention is open to the public, but includes fees for listening to speeches. For information, visit the group's Web site:

You can reach Joel Kurth at (313) 222-2610 or

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June 22, 2003


Associated Press


Sci Fi Channel Wants U.S. to Probe UFOs

by David Bauder

NEW YORK (AP) - In an unusual step for a television network, the Sci Fi Channel is campaigning to persuade the government to be more forthcoming and aggressive in investigating UFO sightings.

Sci Fi has hired a Washington lobbyist, received support from former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, sponsored a symposium on interstellar travel and is considering a court effort to declassify documents related to a 1965 incident in Pennsylvania.

The network will premiere a documentary, ``Out of the Blue,'' Tuesday at 9 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific time zones) that methodically lays out an argument that there's something out there.

Most TV networks are reluctant to spend money for anything other than self-interest. The few public interest efforts are hardly controversial: Lifetime promoting breast cancer research, for example, or MTV's Rock the Vote campaign to encourage young people to register.

But by fighting for UFO probes, Sci Fi is wading into an area that invites not only dissent, but also ridicule.

``It's very, very tough for people to take this subject seriously,'' said Ed Rothschild, a lobbyist for the Washington firm PodestaMattoon. ``We thought the only way it was going to be seriously addressed is to have serious people talk about it, scientists.''

Rothschild won't even identify the members of Congress he's talked to about leaning on the government for more openness about UFOs. He's afraid they'll never help if their names come out and they're laughed at.

Even believers are reluctant to talk about the issue.

After hearing that former President Carter once saw a UFO, ``Out of the Blue'' filmmaker James Fox repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, asked Carter's representatives for an interview. Undaunted, Fox essentially ambushed Carter with a camera one day at a book-signing. Carter confirmed the incident but his brevity and forced smile indicated he wasn't happy to be answering.

Given the ``giggle factor'' that surrounds UFOs, Sci Fi is taking a chance
with its reputation, Fox said.

``I don't think there's a risk because the questions need to be asked,'' said Thomas Vitale, Sci Fi's senior vice president of programming. ``Even somebody who is the biggest skeptic in the world ... still wants the questions answered. And who better to do it?''

The mission isn't entirely altruistic, of course. The Sci Fi Channel, which is seen in about three-quarters of the nation's TV households, polled viewers on the topic. Evidence of keen interest is also seen in the ratings.

Last November's documentary on the celebrated, suspected 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, N.M., was the highest-rated special in the network's 11-year history.  It was seen by nearly 2.4 million people, or about 2 1/2 times Sci Fi's usual prime-time audience.

``Our main goal is not to find a UFO,'' Vitale said. ``The goal is finding the truth. We're expanding and exploring the blurry line between what is science fiction and what is science fact.''

Vitale wouldn't say how much Sci Fi is spending on this. The network sponsored an archaeological excavation at Roswell, will debut a public service announcement Tuesday and has two new UFO specials in the works.

It is backing an effort to get U.S. Air Force records released on a 1965 incident in Kecksburg, Pa., where some witnesses believe a UFO crashed. This may end up in court, Rothschild said.

Fox, a San Francisco-based journalist, never thought much about UFOs until a visit nine years ago to Nevada, when he and his friends watched a saucer-shaped object hover silently in the sky then dart away.

``When I got home, I was met with laughter,'' he said. ``No one believed me, even my family. I thought, if my own family doesn't believe me, who does?''

Intrigued, he began looking into other UFO incidents. He sold a 1998 documentary to the Discovery Channel and shopped ``Out of the Blue'' to the same network, but said he was told Discovery no longer buys pro-UFO films. (A Discovery spokeswoman denied this.)

So he went to Sci Fi. Fox considers 95 percent of reported UFO incidents bunk, either hoaxes or easily explained conventional phenomena. And don't count him among people who believe aliens already live among us.

But that still leaves a significant number of mysterious cases. ``Out of the Blue'' outlines several, concentrating on the most reputable of witnesses - former astronauts, military and government officials, topped off by an ex-president.

Fox's storytelling is sober, not sensational. Summing up incidents at the end of the film, Fox gives the official government explanations of what happened, and they're often more ridiculous than the sightings themselves.

``You get to a point where you can no longer dismiss each and every episode,'' he said.

Fox and Rothschild can think of several reasons why the government doesn't want to talk about UFOs:

The military doesn't want to spend time or money on something that isn't perceived as a threat.

Officials may also like the secrecy; it keeps other governments guessing about what kind of new weapon technologies might be in the works.

It could also be embarrassing, since it can expose what they don't know and the limitations of human technology.

And who wants to set off a ``War of the Worlds''-type incident?

Fox envisions the public announcement that could come with such an event: ``We don't know where they come from, we don't know what they're doing. We can't stop them if they become hostile and they can fly rings around all of our aircraft.

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June 8, 2003


Mohave Daily News

Bullhead City Man Says His Home Was Visited By UFOs

By Kay Jenney

BULLHEAD CITY - Approaching the one-year anniversary of an extraordinary UFO sighting over Bullhead City and Laughlin, a local man has decided to come forward with his story.

"It slithered over the roof of my house. It blocked out all the stars and was a glistening dark metallic color. I looked for any sort of propulsion or flames. There were none and there was no noise," Bill Hartinett said. Except for the sound of chalk being scraped on a chalk board. He said there were no signs of air turbulence and no flashing red, or green lights used by conventional aircraft. Hartinett said he did not think it was one of ours.

"I could have thrown a rock and hit it," he said.

The sighting happened about 1 a.m. June 12, 2002 when Hartinett, who says he is an amateur astronomer, was out in his back yard to view the stars with his telescope in the foothills above Bullhead Parkway.

He said there were three UFOs apparently being chased by a military-type helicopter.

"Three white lights came from the east," Hartinett said. The one "slithered" over the roof of his home, straight over his head, while one shot strait across the river over Laughlin and the third maneuvered towards the granite mountains across from Lake Mohave. Hartinett said he recognized the military helicopter as he has had military experience.

As one craft swept over his home, the helicopter, which was making a lot of typical noise, flew down the ravine next to his house as fast as it could fly.

"Somebody must have seen or heard something," Hartinett said. He said he thought he would see something in the paper or on television soon afterwards, but there was nothing. He said he thought he should tell his story now and he will be watching the skies this Thursday, June 12 and Friday, June 13.

The following day after the sighting his wife, June, called a friend in Las Vegas who told her "everything that could fly" was in the air that night. She said it seemed Nelis Air Force base had scrambled aircraft. Also, their real estate agent had told them there was a lot of activity in the skies over Lake Havasu City that night June said.

Hartinett said a neighbor who was staying in apartments further down the hill reported being awakened during the night by her windows rattling.

Hartinett has been a amateur astronomer for 23 years and last Oct, 6, at 1:58 a.m. he caught "something unusual" on a digital camera attached to his telescope. Two streaks of light appeared about 10 minutes apart using time-lapse photography. Hartinett said he had his telescope pointed at Galaxy NGC1055 at the time and his computer gave him the coordinates. He traced the entrance of the streak to one star with no other stars in that trajectory. Likewise, the ending of the streak was in the path of another solitary star with no others. Hartinett said he would like scientist to see his pictures and recalculate the coordinates.

"I thought it was an asteroid at first," he said. Hartinett said his telescope and camera will be aimed at both those stars this October to see if he can capture the object again. He said NASA explained another streak recorded by an amateur astronomer in El Centro, California as space rocket debris in the December 2002 edition of Sky and Telescope magazine.

Hartinett said the SETI website on the internet has recently acquired a large grant to do optical studies of the skies, plus its research to listen for radio waves that may indicate intelligent life.

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June 4, 2003


London Free Press (Ontario)

Searching For UFOs A Life-Long Obsession


by Ian Gillespie

The woman on the phone sounds excited. "I've got some significant evidence of something you'll be very interested in," she says.

An hour later, I'm in a Hamilton Road house, sitting in a tiny room crammed with radios - I count eight of them - plus computers, printers, videotapes, maps and posters. Some of the posters depict big-eyed aliens and the characters Mulder and Scully from the TV show X-Files. There's also a filing cabinet labelled: UFO Files Only - Top Secret.

I'm in the headquarters of the Lansdowne Five UFO Research Committee. And committee member Diane Cryer can hardly contain her excitement.

Cryer says she was sitting on the patio of Williams Coffee Pub on Richmond Street on the afternoon of May 24 when several patrons exclaimed, "What's that?" Cryer says she looked up and saw a large, wingless object fly silently overhead.

Cryer grabbed her camera and started snapping. Later, she developed the film and showed the results to friend and committee president Richard Cote.

Cote has a notebook filled with similar photos sent to him. The photos purportedly show UFOs, but Cote has discounted every one.

This one, he says as he flips the plastic-coated pages, is a sink plug suspended in mid-air. That one, he says, is a lampshade. This one is a flare gun and that one is a helicopter's searchlight.

"This here is two styrofoam cups put together," he says, pointing to another photo. "That's the weirdest one I've got."

Over the years, Cote says he's examined about 80 purported photos of UFOs and he's never seen a legitimate one.

Until now.

"When she showed me this, I was up all night, looking at it with a magnifying glass," says Cote, staring at an enlarged version of Cryer's photo. "I was just amazed."

I ask Cote how much time he devotes to studying paranormal phenomena. He says that, apart from his work as a musician, it's pretty much a full-time obsession.

"I've basically devoted my life to finding out what I saw in1977," he says.

"And I won't stop until I'm satisfied."

What did he see in 1977?

Cote was 17 years old. He says that one clear morning, his mother woke him up and told him to hurry outside. Hovering above the horizon, he says, was a glowing orange shape that splintered into smaller pieces, then re-assembled.

"It listened to my thoughts," says Cote.

"Because I said, 'I wonder how fast that thing can go?' And it just went - fooosh - straight up, so fast. And then I said, 'I hope it comes back.' And it came back."

Cote says he and his mother watched the objects for about 15

"I knew that it was going (away)," he says.

"And I felt so close to it - I don't know why, I can't explain why to you. It was so personal. When I got the sense that it was leaving, I felt like I'd lost my parents. I felt like I lost something I was truly attached to for a long, long time."

As he says this, Cote appears close to tears.

"It left me a thought that I'll never forget," he says.

"I'll die with that message it left in my head."

What was the message?

"I said, 'Will I ever see you again?' " says Cote.

"And it said, 'One day, we're all going to be reunited into one.' That's the thought it left. And then it tilted nicely (away), like a gentle tilt. It was so beautiful.

"Until they tell me what I saw in 1977, I won't stop (searching)," says Cote.

"This is something I'm going to die with."

The next day I call London historian Chris Doty, who says the sighting, which was documented in the Free Press, occurred April 15, 1977.

The newspaper reported 10 red and white objects were seen hovering over London, but added scientists at UWO's Cronyn Observatory argued the UFO was a hoax perpetrated by engineering students. The officials said the lights were likely flares attached to army surplus weather balloons.

I doubt that explanation will satisfy Cote. But I hope he finds something that will.

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May 21, 2003


Baku Today

UFO Over Baku Azerbaijan

Hundreds of Baku residents became the witnesses of the unusual phenomenon - the unidentified flying object buzzed above the city on Monday in the evening.

UFO was observed in various parts of capital approximately from 5 pm to 7pm (Baku time). In the cloudless sky the large light stain similar to an extended drop of milk has appeared.

The object was not similar to a cloud, aboard the plane or the helicopter, as moved on a complex trajectory, Ekho newspaper report says. At 18:35 "drop" suddenly started quickly to leave, was not dissolved yet in the sky. The abnormal object has caused interest not only the people of Baku, but also Azerbaijani

Professor Elchin Khalilov, chief of a commission on the abnormal phenomena at presidium of Academy of Sciences, shot the UFO on amateur. Mr. Khalilov has noted that they had already started to study the video.

"With similar UFO we face for the first time," he told to reporters. "It is already unequivocally clear, that the fixed object is not the plane, helicopter or other flying means. The UFO represents enough, slightly extended form. Thus is abundantly clear, that it is object of a technical origin."

UFO hung at height of 5 kilometers, and then has departed to the Caspian Sea side. I can not tell exactly how far the UFO was, he said. All depends on the size of UFO. On our sight it exceeded 10 m. UFO was rather low above ground and it was large enough, with symmetric elements on each side.

I admit that this object can be any spy, but only theoretically.  We have experts in air navigation, space researches, astrophysics, which will involve for the analysis of this shooting," promised Elchin Khalilov.

Fuad Gasimov, chairman of Cosmic Seismological Department of Azerbaijan National Aero cosmic Agency says, appearance of UFOs in the sky is an alarm signal for people who destroys ecosystem of planet.

As Baku Today reported early this year, an UFO appeared on Baku on January 2. Some scientists claim that UFOs were also observed before and warned about natural disaster. Mr. Gasimov stated that UFOs hinder the prediction of earthquakes and researches carried out in this field.

"They don't want mankind reveal their secret. But there are some facts stating that UFOs keep in touch with the scientists.  Though most approach these unserious, objects keep in touch with selected persons by the means of Morse alphabet or telepathy signals and transmit information related to the future," he told to journalists in January of this year. It seems UFO will become normal guest for Baku inhabitants soon.

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May 20, 2003


Florida Today

Pilot's Book Causes Stir

by Billy Cox

The periscope inside the museum that the blockhouse at Pad 14 has become works like a prop from a submarine movie. But swimming into view during the two-handled, 360-degree swivel comes some unexpected symbolism. The massive firing rooms that once ignited America's earliest space shots hump out of Canaveral Air Force Station's dense scrubby wilderness like cement anthills. A flashback to the spectral pyramids of the Yucatan passes quickly.

On this white-hot Sunday morning, history is re-materializing around a dismantled gateway to the cosmos. Official history, that is. Meaning that certain subjects are simply not talked about. Even if the pioneer initiates the discussion.

Forty years ago, Gordon Cooper strapped himself into a Mercury capsule named Faith 7, then rode a pillar of fire into "Right Stuff" legend aboard an Atlas rocket. Today, the supporting cast has reunited, dozens strong, perhaps for the last time, beneath a tent within a stone's throw of Pad 14. With admiration, Lt. Col. Thomas Eye of the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base revisit's Cooper's claims to immortality:

The Faith 7 mission logged more than 34 hours, more than the five previous Mercury astronauts combined. Two years later, Cooper became the first pilot chosen for a second orbital flight, in the Gemini sequence. The "trailblazer" was on the cutting edge of a communications revolution when, in orbit, he chatted with Mercury colleague Scott Carpenter, 205 feet beneath the California waves in Sealab II. It is an impressive tribute.

Access to Cooper is a traffic jam. They want to shake hands, to chat, to get autographs. But no one submits a copy of his controversial autobiography, published in 2000. In fact, a spot check of half a dozen old-timers fails to find anyone who's read it, although they've heard the buzz. There are chuckles, puzzled brows.

"I don't believe there's anything such as UFOs," offers Cal Fowler, former Atlas launch director and longtime acquaintance of Cooper. "They've never landed, anyway. Maybe they came and left after they didn't find anything here to exploit."

Cooper's memoir, "Leap of Faith: An Astronaut's Journey Into the Unknown," takes a fearless, if not downright exuberant, plunge into the taboo waters of unidentified flying objects. Although "Leap of Faith" scuttles enduring urban legends contending he and other early astronauts observed UFOs in orbit, the retired Air Force colonel is convinced of their existence and calls for official dialogues and government transparency. In 1978, he lobbied unsuccessfully for the United Nations to play a leading role in future studies.

Not only does Cooper elaborate on his 1951 sightings of metallic discs while serving with a jet fighter squadron in West Germany, he details his role in a UFO landing at Edwards Air Force Base in 1957. The latter, he says, was photographed by two military photographers, with stills and 35 mm footage. Before dispatching the images to the Pentagon, from which they never re-emerged, Cooper got a look at the negatives and reports the object was a "classic saucer" extruding tripod landing gear before it took off.

UFO skeptics such as Jim Oberg of Houston have teed off on "Leap of Faith." He can find no Air Force colleagues to verify Cooper's West German encounters. Advocates such as Stanton Friedman of Canada credit Cooper for being "gutsy" but lament his association with one of the UFO contactees, whom Friedman calls "a phony."

Surrounded by impatient co-workers, none of them addressing the autobiographical indelicacies, Cooper manages to find a few moments. He looks frail, but his mind is calculating. He blows off his critics with a shrug.

"UFOs, assuming they're real, are not going to show us what they've got until they're ready to show us," the old astronaut says. "Until then, we're not going to force it."

Liberated by history to speak his mind, the enigma is escorted into the air-conditioned bunker, where they will talk of other things.

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May 11, 2003


Washington Post

UFOs: The Truth Is Out There, But Are the Witnesses, Too?

You know that crazy great-uncle who tells you tales about the UFO that crashed more than 50 years ago in New Mexico? Don't write him off too quickly - he's just the type of person two researchers are currently on a quest to find.

Stanton Friedman and Scott Ramsey are looking for anyone with details about two purported UFO crashes in the late 1940s.  They're certain some people have stories to tell about flying discs that allegedly met their doom near the New Mexico towns of Roswell, in 1947, and Aztec, in 1948.

But because those with firsthand information would be getting on in years, Friedman and Ramsey say their mission gets more urgent each day.

"It's a race with the undertaker at this point," said Friedman, a nuclear physicist who was the first civilian investigator of the Roswell ranch where some believe a UFO crash-landed. Ramsey, who owns a magnet wire company in North Carolina, has been researching the Aztec crash since 1989.

Friedman said he believes the U.S. government has long concealed information related to the crashes, amounting to what he calls a "cosmic Watergate."

"These are crucial events in recent history," Friedman said. "It means that aliens aren't perfect, the government is capable of keeping secrets and people have been laughed at for a long time because of cover-ups."

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May 5, 2003


Raleigh News Observer

UFO researchers looking for witnesses to N.M. crashes

AZTEC, N.M. (AP) - Were you looking into the New Mexico sky in 1947 or 1948? Did you see little green men or the smoldering wreckage of a strange ship? A pair of researchers trying to uncover the secrets of two purported UFO crashes wants to pick your brain.

Stanton Friedman, a ufologist and nuclear physicist, was the first person to investigate a farmer's field in Roswell where many believe an alien spacecraft crash-landed in 1947. He's also gathering facts from a lesser-known purported UFO 1948 crash in Hart Canyon north of Aztec.

Friedman is hunting for people who may have witnessed either craft's flight or wreckage, but he knows time is running out.

"We're dealing with important real, earth-shaking events. These are major events in man's history, in New Mexico's history," Friedman said.

"The kicker here is we're racing the undertaker. There are people who know about these events, but don't know who to talk to."

Friedman is joined in his quest by Scott Ramsey of North Carolina, who was one of the initial researchers of the Aztec crash.

"We really need people to come forward," said Ramsey, who has found declassified military documents about the Aztec crash during more than six years of study.

Ramsey said a former Air Force intelligence officer told him everyone who knew about the military investigation in Aztec was sworn to secrecy for 50 years - a deadline that has now passed.

The men are searching for raw data, any memories or information a person may have about the Roswell or Aztec crashes.

"We all have that old memory stuck in the back of our brains," said Friedman. "It's important to get the data before it's gone."

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April 29, 2003


Omaha World-Herald

Reward grows in mutilation of cattle

By Paul Hammel

VALPARAISO, Neb. - A reward fund rose Monday to $6,000 and investigators enlisted the help of a Las Vegas organization in hopes of solving two mysterious cases of cattle mutilation northwest of Lincoln.

Saunders County Sheriff Chuck Lacey said that, so far, there were few clues about who killed and mutilated two 1,200-pound cows and a bull calf at the Benes Cattle Co. on April 5 and April 7.

Lacey and an official with the Las Vegas-based National Institute for Discovery Science said the Valparaiso cases have an advantage over dozens of other reported cases of cattle mutilation - vehicle tracks and footprints.

"It's unusual in cases that we know of to find tracks of any type," said Dr. Colm Kelleher, administrator of the 7-year-old private science institute that investigates anomalies such as cattle mutilations.

Kelleher said he is unaware that any case of cattle mutilation has been solved since the incidents first made headlines in the 1970s.

"Tracks are a good start," he said. "So is the reward."

The $6,000 reward for information is being offered by Nebraska Crime Stoppers, Saunders County Crime Stoppers, the Saunders County Livestock Association, the Nebraska Cattlemen's Association, and the Benes family. It is twice the initial reward.

Lacey said the reward reflects how seriously the mutilations are being treated by cattle producers.

"There's no brotherhood among burglars and thieves, so I can't believe we don't have a constructive lead yet," he said. "Maybe it's coming."

So far, Lacey said, he has gotten only one small lead.

"Mainly it's people from all parts of the United States telling us it's the government . . . but nothing constructive," the sheriff said. "We know it's people and they drive cars."

Three separate sets of footprints and vehicle tracks were found in the snow on April 7, when a 2-year-old cow was found dead at the Benes farm.

The animal appeared to have died of electrocution, and an attempt had been made to cut off one of its teats.

Two days earlier, a cow and a bull calf were found dead in the same pasture. The testicles, anus and meat from its hindquarters were cut off the calf, which appeared to have had its blood drained.

The cow, which appeared to have been electrocuted, had one teat cut off.

The sheriff said the Las Vegas group may be able to shed more light on how the cows were killed. Particular toxins, Lacey said, have been associated with cattle mutilations.

Kelleher, whose organization investigates scientific anomalies such as cattle mutilations and alleged UFO sightings, said his group will analyze tissue samples from one of the dead cows as well as photographs of the mutilated animals.

He said only minimal tests will be possible because the tissue arrived so long after the incident.

Kelleher, a doctor of biochemistry, said the Valparaiso case is intriguing because of the burns left in the cows' mouths and the discovery of the tracks.

He said there is no proof that such mutilations are linked to UFOs, but there was a rash of UFO sightings during some mutilation cases in Montana in the 1970s.

Although he wouldn't rule out cult activity in the Valparaiso case, Kelleher said previous mutilations have not been linked to occult groups.

He said his group's goal is to investigate scientific anomalies that mainstream organizations ignore in hopes that it will lead to new discoveries.

Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 422-1494.

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April 9, 2003


Gulfport Sun Herald

Author Recounts His Book On UFO

by Gary Holland

GAUTIER - Charles Hickson, who made international news with an account of his encounter with robots and an unidentified flying object, recalled the Oct. 11, 1973, incident at a book signing Tuesday night.

"I have a gut feeling that it won't be many more years until everyone is going to understand there are other worlds out there with life, and I'll be glad when that time comes," he said at the Gautier Library before meeting a roomful of UFO enthusiasts.

Hickson, 72, a Gautier construction contractor, wrote his book, "UFO Contact at Pascagoula," in the 1980s and makes appearances to talk about it.

He doesn't fear the aliens.

"If they come, we shouldn't attack them, thinking they mean harm," he said. "It wouldn't do any good. They could destroy us and this world if they want to."

Hickson's book recalls the afternoon when he and his fishing partner, Calvin Parker Jr., left work at Walker Shipyard and were fishing in the Pascagoula River just south of the U.S. 90 drawbridge. In the account of his encounter, a craft hovered over the bank and three robot-like creatures took them aboard and scanned them with an eye-like instrument, let them go and flew away.

"I don't know anything else to tell you," he said. "That's what happened almost 30 years ago."

He said he had a couple of occasions where he again saw space crafts and through communications, which he doesn't explain, they let him know they would stay in contact.

"I still hear and see things but I don't talk about it. There is no reason to talk," he said.

Hickson thinks the aliens are closer than any distant galaxy. He agrees with psychic Jeane Dixon, who talked with him about his experience, that they came from a small planet just past Jupiter.

"They are a lot further advanced scientifically than we are," he said. "They could come here for a purpose, possibly to help us. I believe they were concerned about a threat of an atomic war between Russia and the United States that could cause a nuclear reaction that would affect them. The Cold War is over, but there is still the Middle East and North Korea."

Hickson said he is a Christian.

"I believe there is a God, not only the creator of this world but the creator of all of those out there."

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April 3, 2003


Dallas Observer

A half century later, witnesses insist little green... or maybe brown-men crashed in New Mexico

by Carlton Stowers

It was a snow-covered December in 1995 when President Bill Clinton, visiting Northern Ireland in support of the country's new and fragile peace process, spoke to a large gathering that had arrived for a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The president opted to dismiss politics and keep the mood of his speech light. At one point, he drew laughter as he referred to a letter he'd recently received from a 13-year-old boy in Belfast.

"Ryan," the president said, "in case you're out there, here is your answer: No. As far as I know, no spaceship crashed at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. And if the Air Force recovered any extraterrestrial bodies, they did not tell me."

Such is the widespread and ongoing fascination attached to a legendary event that many believe actually took place on the late J.B. Foster's sheep ranch more than a half-century ago. What has transpired since that Independence Day weekend when a "flying saucer" was allegedly recovered by military personnel from Roswell Army Air Field has fueled a debate that continues 56 years later. Is it possible that such an unearthly event really occurred? The question has spawned an industry of books--well more than 100 at last count--and documentary films, inspired popular television shows and sci-fi movies, a prospering museum business in Roswell and insistence by many researchers that an ongoing government cover-up of the historic discovery puts Watergate to shame.

Perhaps Clinton should have visited with Midland's Anne Robbins before giving his answer. The widow of a career military man stationed in Roswell at the time, she might have changed his mind. She would probably have shared the description of the saucer that her husband, Technical Sergeant Ernest Robert Robbins, told her he helped recover long ago and the three small "men"--one dead, one near death and another very much alive--found outside the spaceship.

But we're getting ahead of the story.

Was the arid Lincoln County region actually visited by inhabitants of another world? If so, why has the government refused to admit it? And could it be true, as some now claim, that many modern-day technical advancements--from lasers to fiber optics, integrated circuit chips to Velcro--have evolved from scientific examination and reverse engineering studies of a now hidden spacecraft?

As the story goes, William "Mac" Brazel, who leased the Foster Ranch at the time, was on horseback herding sheep when he happened onto a large field of strewn debris unlike anything he'd ever seen. He would later tell neighbors Floyd and Loretta Proctor it was clearly something that had fallen from the sky; perhaps the cause of the too-loud-to-be-thunder boom he'd heard during the previous night's rainstorm.

Brazel allegedly showed the Proctors some of the pieces he'd collected, metallic but thin as tinfoil. They watched in amazement as he wrinkled one, laid it on a table and saw it immediately smooth to its original shape. And there were the pieces of stick-like material, no heavier than balsa wood, bendable but impossible to break or cut with a knife. On some were what he later compared to Indian petroglyphs, series of strange symbols and pastel-colored drawings.

The neighbors, aware of the flying-saucer mania then sweeping the nation, suggested he tell authorities. Thus, two days later, on the morning of July 7, 1947, Brazel made the 60-mile drive to Roswell and told Chaves County Sheriff George Wilcox of his discovery, showing him several pieces of the strange debris he had collected. Wilcox phoned Major Jesse Marcel at the nearby air base and suggested he might want to speak with the 48-year-old rancher.

After examining the material and hearing Brazel's description of the size of the debris field--three-quarters of a mile long and 200 to 300 feet wide, with a lengthy "gouge" in the ground at its north end--Marcel arranged to meet Brazel at the ranch.

Thereafter the story becomes a blur that historians are still attempting to sort out. According to evidence gathered by numerous researchers--both scientists and laymen collectively calling themselves UFOlogists--a small, elite group of military personnel was assigned to guard the area, collect the debris and take it to the base. There, orders had already been received from Brigadier General Roger Ramey, commanding officer of the 8th Air Force, that everything recovered was to be flown immediately to what would later become Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth.

Still, the story might never have created a worldwide frenzy had the base public information officer, Lieutenant Walter Haut, not issued a startling press release that appeared beneath a banner headline in the next day's edition of the Roswell Daily Record: "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region."

Haut's press release, ordered by Colonel William Blanchard, the base commanding officer, made it clear that something more than pieces of scattered debris had been found. "The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today that the field has come into possession of a flying saucer," it read. The release went on to explain that "Major Marcel and a detail from his department went to the ranch and discovered the disc."

Soon, calls were coming to Haut from news agencies throughout the world.

Now 80 and co-founder of the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, Haut says, "After meeting with Colonel Blanchard in his office and getting the information for the press release, I wrote it and went to town around five that afternoon to deliver it to the radio and newspaper people.

"That done, I went on home and was having dinner when people from all over the world started calling. Finally, about midnight, my wife, who was getting a little unhappy with the flood of calls, just took the phone off the hook and told me we were going to bed."

Then, just as quickly as the excitement had developed, it came to a crashing end with a Fort Worth news conference called by General Ramey the following day. Despite claims by Marcel to investigators years later that the amount of debris loaded onto the B-29 that was flown from Roswell to Fort Worth "was enormous," half filling the huge plane, reporters and photographers who gathered in the general's office were shown only tattered remnants of a weather balloon and given a smiling apology for all the unwarranted excitement. In attendance was Major Marcel, admitting he had been mistaken.

The official version of the Roswell incident thus became that a military weather balloon launched to detect wind velocity and direction at high altitudes had come crashing down on Foster Ranch. End of story. The headline in the next day's Roswell paper was as definitive but not nearly as exciting as the one published the day before: "Gen. Ramey Empties Roswell Saucer." In a more innocent and patriotic time, with World War II still fresh in the public's mind and trust in the government blindly indisputable, the explanation was good enough. For most. For a time.

Anne Robbins, who until now has never spoken publicly on the matter, says what her late husband saw 56 years ago was hardly a downed weather balloon.

Seated in a meeting room at the newly opened Odessa Meteor Crater Museum, the 84-year-old Robbins clearly recalls a July night when her husband received a call to report to the base. She would not see or hear from him for 18 hours. And when she did, he told her bits and pieces of a bizarre story that has puzzled her for a lifetime.

"We had been to a dinner party at the NCO [non-commissioned officers] club on the base," she says, "and didn't get home until 10:30 or 11. We'd already gone to bed but weren't yet asleep when everything outside lit up like it was daylight. It was like that for what seemed like several minutes, and we both assumed that it was probably helicopters from the base with searchlights on."

Soon thereafter, the phone call came to their home and her husband told her he had to report to the base.

"I just assumed that there had been a plane crash somewhere nearby," she says. "But I couldn't figure why my husband, a sheet-metal man who repaired planes, was called in."

She was even more puzzled when he returned home the following evening, his uniform wrinkled and damp. "I asked him what had happened to him, why he was so wet, and he told me he'd had to go through the decontamination tank at the base. I asked, 'In your clothes?' and he said, 'They were what I was wearing when I was out there.'"

Still assuming that he'd been called to the site of a plane crash, she quizzed him further. "He told me, 'Well, I guess you might as well know; it's going to be in the papers. A UFO crashed outside of Roswell.'"

Her response? "I told him he was crazy."

"No," Sergeant Robbins replied, "I'm not." Then he showered and went to bed.

"I don't remember him being particularly shocked or very emotional about it," she says. "In fact, he seemed cool as a cucumber. He just made it clear to me that he wasn't going to talk about it."

The following morning she continued to press for details. "I asked him again if it was really true and he said, yes, it was." When she asked what the UFO looked like, he explained that "if you took two saucers and put them together, that's what it looked like." On the top layer, he told her, there were oblong-shaped windows all the way around the craft. And, no, he said, he had not looked inside the crashed ship.

"I asked him if there was anybody on it. He said, 'I can tell you this much: There were three people. One was dead and two were still alive. I can't tell you anything more.'"

It was not until several days later that Sergeant Robbins finally agreed to drive his wife out to the crash site. By then, all debris had been cleared away and neither a spaceship nor signs of military personnel was evident. "He didn't say much of anything until we got to a place where there was this big burned spot, a perfect circle so black that it was shiny. No normal fire could have made something like that." It was, she says, as if the sand had been melted and turned into a sheet of black glass.

"This," Sergeant Robbins said, "is where I was for 18 hours."

"On the drive home," she says, "I asked him what happened to the spaceship, what happened to the people who were on it. Her husband's reply: "I can't tell you that; don't ask me any more."

It was the last time her husband spoke of "the Roswell incident" until long after he'd retired from the service. Until his death of a heart attack two years ago, he never told his wife who was with him that night or what role he had played.

Following his retirement from the Air Force in 1961, they moved to Saginaw, near Fort Worth, and he worked first for General Dynamics, then LTV, as an aircraft repairman.

"It was years later, when our kids were in high school, that our son Ronald was working on some kind of report on unidentified flying objects and asked his father to tell him about what happened back in Roswell. He didn't say much, basically just what he'd told me years earlier," she says.

"But you know how kids are. Ronald kept asking questions, like what the men found at the crash looked like. Finally, Papa [as she referred to her husband throughout their 57-year marriage] got a pencil and drew this pear-shaped head with large black eyes. Their skin, he said, was brown and they had no nose, no mouth.

"When Ronald asked him what their bodies looked like, all he would say was, 'Son, you don't want to know about that.'"

The Robbins' son, now living in Arizona, could not be reached by the Dallas Observer. "He wouldn't talk to you about it, anyway," his mother insists. Neither of her children, in fact, has ever spoken publicly of their father's alleged involvement in the Roswell incident. "Barbara, my daughter, tells me, 'Daddy's dead, don't bring it up.'"

"All I remember," says Barbara Wattlington, "was Dad saying he was stationed in Roswell and that a UFO crashed there."

The last time Anne Robbins remembers any conversation about the matter was a few years before her husband's death in January 2000, when they sat in their Saginaw living room one evening, watching television. A show whose title she can't recall was on, re-creating the Roswell event and posing the question of whether it was an ageless hoax or the well-hidden truth. "I asked him, 'Was it a hoax?' and all he said was, 'It's the truth. It did land.'

"I asked him, 'Well, if it did, where is it?' He again said he couldn't tell me that."

Her husband, she says, was never one to embellish or lie; neither prankster nor teller of tall tales. "He was a good, Christian man. He loved the military and his country and never spoke bad about either." No, she says, he would never have made up such a story. Nor, if ordered not to, would he have ever talked of matters he was told to keep secret. "That's just the way he was," she says. "On the day he died, the last thing he told me was that he wanted me to promise to fly the flag in front of our house until I drew my last breath."

Though she insists she has never researched the numerous theories of the Roswell crash presented in the countless books or documentaries, she does admit that she has lingering questions she hopes will one day be answered. "That UFO they found didn't just fly away," she says. "So where is it? And what happened to the people on it? I still say the Air Force knows what happened. Someday, I hope, we might find out the truth."

Two years ago she did get an answer to one question that had long bothered her. "I could never figure out why an airplane repairman would be called out in the middle of the night to participate in the investigation of a crashed UFO," she says. Only after filing her husband's death certificate with military officials in Washington, D.C., did she learn that he had intelligence clearance during his Roswell tenure.

Still, if Anne Robbins had embarked on a thorough study of the massive collection of research done on the fabled Roswell crash, she would not find her husband's name among any of the "witnesses" who have come forward over the years. Yet the sketchy details he gave her generally mesh with most of the reconstructed stories found in the ever-growing volume of literature devoted to the crash investigation.

It was not until 1978, three decades after the brief flurry of interest in the crashed UFO-turned-weather balloon, that Jesse Marcel, the intelligence officer who had been at the center of the original event, came forward with a story far different from the one told attendees of the Carswell news conference.

The material flown from Roswell to Fort Worth was never actually shown to the media, he confided to nuclear physicist-turned-UFO investigator Stanton Friedman. It was, instead, quietly delivered to a research laboratory at Wright-Patterson Army Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Marcel's revised recollections of the 1947 event, along with those of others who had finally chosen to speak out, ultimately appeared in the 1980 book The Roswell Incident co-authored by William Moore and Charles Berlitz, setting off a renewed appetite for information. Soon it came in a virtual flood of eyewitness reports and recollections of family members who, like Anne Robbins, began revealing secrets they had long been told to keep. The Roswell story exploded into the best-known alleged UFO encounter in history.

According to the story now told by researchers, ranging from the serious to those writing for the supermarket tabloids, things far more bizarre had already occurred before Mac Brazel discovered the debris field. Those who have written about the event in the years since suggest a fascinating sequence of events that occurred in the early days of that July:

For several nights, Roswell residents had reportedly seen a strange flying object in the night sky. Though no one would know about it for 30 years, two Franciscan Catholic nuns, working at the local St. Mary's Hospital, even made notations in their diaries that at some time after 11 p.m. on July 4, 1947, they had seen a large flash in the night sky, assuming that it was a plane in distress.

What Roswell AAF radar operator Frank Kaufmann said he saw was even more remarkable. On that same evening he was tracking the strange movement of a mysterious object flying at an incredible rate of speed. Suddenly it began losing altitude and the blip on the radar screen enlarged into a large starburst pattern that suggested an explosion had occurred. It was estimated that the event had occurred somewhere within a 100-mile range northwest of the base and a search team was immediately dispatched.

Jim Ragsdale would later tell of seeing what occurred at much closer range. He and his girlfriend, on a rock-hunting trip, were parked at a secluded campsite on what was known as Boy Scout Mountain, when they saw a flash, then heard a thundering explosion. Within seconds, Ragsdale would later tell researchers, the UFO skipped along the desert not far away, then came to rest at the base of a nearby bluff. Grabbing flashlights, he and his girlfriend made their way to the crash site where he says a saucer-shaped vehicle had come to rest. Not only did he eventually tell of seeing the crashed UFO but the bodies of several "childlike" passengers. After picking up a few pieces of debris from the wreckage, the young couple decided to return to their pickup and wait until daylight for a better look.

When they did return, Ragsdale later wrote in a sworn affidavit, they saw a military convoy arriving and briefly hid to watch before deciding to leave (taking with them pieces of the debris he says they later showed to numerous people in a nearby bar). Had they remained, the story goes, they would have eventually seen the UFO hoisted by crane onto the bed of a flatbed truck and the bodies placed in another military vehicle that was ordered to quickly return to the Roswell base hospital.

The actual crash site, then, had been swept clear by military personnel hours before Mac Brazel rode up on the debris field several miles away. Later, researchers would assume that the craft had apparently first hit on the Foster Ranch, sliding along fr a distance, then had briefly managed to become airborne again before crashing.

If the material found in such books as The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell, Crash at Corona, Beyond Roswell, and Alien Contact: Top Secret UFO Files Revealed is to be believed, the interplanetary visit was, in many respects, a pretty poorly kept secret from the get-go. The only problem is, it was years before folks would talk about it.

Yet, before their deaths, numerous people or their descendants recounted anecdotes of involvement in and observations made during the strange event.

For instance, long after his father's death in 1986, Dr. Jesse Marcel Jr., 66, still tells of Major Marcel stopping by the house on an early July morning in 1947 to show him and his mother pieces of the crash debris that he had collected. Eleven years old at the time, Dr. Marcel recalled his father bringing pieces of the downed "flying disc" from his car and spreading them on the kitchen floor. He recalled handling the aluminum foil-like material and seeing the unusual symbols on what he said looked like pieces of black plastic.

Now living in Helena, Montana, Dr. Marcel says the most remarkable memory he has of the pieces his father showed him was of the geometric-like symbols on some of them. "I've always referred to them as I-beams," he says, "though I have no idea what they really were.

"My father was very excited about what they had found," Dr. Marcel says, "and since our house was on the way to the base, he just decided to stop by and show it to us. Then he took it on out to the base."

Major Marcel's excitement, however, was quickly muted. "The next day," his son remembers, "he sat down with my mother and me and told us we were never to talk about what he'd shown us. He said, 'Don't think about it. It didn't happen.'"

Today, Dr. Marcel remains convinced that the material his father showed him came from another world.

Then there is the story that the late Sergeant Melvin Brown waited until 1970 to tell his daughters. Retired and living in England, he said that he had been at the crash site in '47 and was assigned to guard the alien bodies as they were being transported back to the base. Though sworn to secrecy, he finally told of being ordered to ride in an "ice-filled truck" that was to take the bodies to a hangar. On the trip, Brown told his daughter Beverly Bean, he had lifted a tarp and seen "two, possibly three bodies."

And there were others who would eventually tell of seeing the alien bodies, including Roswell AAF radar operator Kaufmann, who would later claim to have been among those ordered to the crash site where, he later told researchers Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle, authors of UFO Crash at Roswell, he saw five small aliens, all clearly dead.

Oliver "Pappy" Henderson, a World War II pilot assigned to the Roswell Army Air Field at the time, allegedly told friend Dr. John Kromschroeder during a fishing trip in 1978 that he had flown much of the debris--and the bodies of what he only described as "those little guys"--to Wright-Patterson aboard a C-47. Shortly before his death in 1986, Henderson also told the story to his wife.

In his book, The Day After Roswell, retired Colonel Philip Corso is far more graphic as he writes of a night a sentry urged him to enter an off-limits Wright-Patterson building where more than 30 crates of Henderson's cargo had been stacked against a wall, draped by large tarps. When the sentry pointed to a particular crate he'd already looked in--in clear violation of orders he'd been given --Corso opened it and shined a flashlight on its contents.

"My stomach rolled right up into my throat, and I almost became sick," he writes. "[Inside] was a coffin, but not like any coffin I'd ever seen before. The contents, enclosed in a thick glass container, were submerged in a thick light blue liquid...

"At first I thought it was a dead child they were shipping somewhere. But it was no child. It was a 4-foot human-shaped figure with arms, bizarre-looking four-fingered hands--I didn't see a thumb--thin legs and feet and an oversized incandescent light bulb-shaped head...the eyesockets were oversized and almond-shaped..."

Perhaps the most provocative story came not from a member of the military but, instead, a Roswell mortician named Glenn Dennis. Twenty-two at the time and director of the local Ballard Funeral Home, he told of receiving a telephone call from the base on the afternoon of July 5, 1947, asking if he could provide several "small," hermetically sealed caskets. Thirty minutes later, he would eventually recall to numerous researchers and journalists, he answered a second call, this time with a series of questions about the techniques of embalming and preserving dead bodies and if such processes would alter the chemical contents of blood and tissue. Finally, he reported, he was asked what happened to body tissue after it had been exposed to the elements.

Curious, Dennis says he asked if there was something he could help with and was told the questions were only "for future reference."

Later that day, Dennis recalled, he had driven an injured airman to the base infirmary. While there, he noticed an unusual amount of activity at the base hospital. Encountering a nurse named Naomi Selff in the hallway, she was clearly surprised to see him and warned that "he wasn't supposed to be there and had better leave immediately."

Minutes later, his story went, he was escorted by two military police all the way back to the funeral home.

It was not until the following day that he learned what had been happening. He phoned nurse Selff and they agreed to meet for lunch. Obviously distraught, she told him of seeing three small bodies, two of which were badly mutilated, and of being ordered by attending military doctors to take notes while they conducted their examinations. The stench of the corpses, she allegedly told him, had been almost more than she could stand. Before he returned her to her barrack, Dennis recalled, she drew sketches of the aliens on a prescription pad and gave them to him with a warning that he should "show them to no one."

That, the mortician says, was the last time he ever saw her. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to reach her by phone, he learned several days later that she had suddenly been reassigned to duty in England. Shortly thereafter, he was told that she had died there in a plane crash.

Co-founder of the Roswell museum with Haut, Dennis is currently in poor health and was unable to speak with the Observer about his well-chronicled story.

But for every true believer there are skeptics, researchers who have picked away at the colorful, unimaginable stories in search of their flaws. And they have found many. Among the debunkers is Kal K. Korff, author of The Roswell UFO Crash: What They Don't Want You to Know. He not only questions why so many waited so long to come forward with the stories but points out that many of them are, like that of Anne Robbins, hand-me-down tales allegedly kept secret until the firsthand witnesses were dead.

Korff's questions are valid: Why have some of the reported witness accounts described the downed UFO as "saucer-shaped" while others remember it being "triangular-shaped with small wings?" While most who claimed to have seen the bodies recall there being three, others say they saw as many as five. Some say all were dead, others that one or more was still alive. Descriptions of the color of the small bodies range from gray to brown. How could mortician Haut have "lost" something as important as the drawings he says his nurse friend made and gave to him? And if, in fact, so many civilians collected pieces of the strange-looking debris, why has not a single piece of it ever surfaced?

It was not until 1994 that an Air Force investigation into the aging Roswell affair resulted in an announcement that the material found on the Foster Ranch was, in fact, a crashed high-altitude test balloon that would eventually be able to monitor Soviet nuclear testing. Actually a chain of radar-equipped balloons, it had been launched on July 4, 1947, and was tracked to within 17 miles of the Foster Ranch before disappearing.

When the explanation failed to satisfy many "believers," the Air Force released yet another report in '97, this one titled The Roswell Report--Case Closed, in which it attempted to answer the lingering question of the "bodies" allegedly seen at the crash site. What the so-called witnesses had seen, according to the report, were nothing more than crash-test dummies that were part of a military experiment in parachute and ejector seat designs.

That, too, failed to satisfy those determined that the governmental cover-up continued. Such tests, several military researchers argued, had not even begun until the mid-'50s.

"The reason the interest in the Roswell case remains and, in fact, seems to grow," says Mark Rodeghier, scientific director of the Chicago-based Center for UFO Studies, "is the fact the government has never given a reasonable explanation of what occurred that summer of 1947."

Thus it continues, an unexplained event that has turned into an industry. What happened or didn't happen 56 years ago has lured 1.3 million to the International UFO Museum and Research Center since it opened in 1992. A guided tour of the desolate "crash site" is now available. Then, there was the long-lost film of the "autopsy" of one of the Roswell aliens that was shown on television worldwide before being discounted as fake, and a stream of new books and articles that continues to flow.  Clearly, the public loves the mystery. According to a recent poll, a large percentage of the U.S. population continues to believe something unworldly occurred that July on the Foster Ranch.

Walter Haut, one of the few major figures in the long-ago story still living, is among them. "I'm sure," he says, "that over the years much of the story has been exaggerated. But, yes, I believe that something happened out there in 1947." And he's not speaking of a weather balloon crash.


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 March 23, 2003


Baltimore Sun

Selling Space-Alien Fiction As Truth
Publishers, not to mention authors, who peddle lies for profit deserve to be punished

by Steve Weinberg
Special To The Sun

Authors and their publishers who push books labeled "nonfiction" about UFOs carrying aliens to earth - where the aliens then sometimes implant foreign objects under the earthlings' skin and engage in a form of sexual intercourse - ought to be publicly scolded. Instead, academics who should know better, book reviewers, retail booksellers and readers themselves allow the misleading "nonfiction" labeling to go unpunished. As a result, those publishers who know they are selling lies for profit (or else are employing editors deluded to the point of being psychologically unbalanced) remain in business with no apparent adverse consequences.

Two of the best-known alien abduction authors write for publishers who devote much of their nonfiction lists to responsibly researched and argued volumes - St. Martin's Press and Crown/Random House. Dozens of additional author-publisher combinations are also complicit.

Amid all the trash are a few volumes about UFOs, alien abductions and related phenomena that actually say the emperors have no clothes. In a stack of books accumulating at The Sun over the past few years - books that form the basis of this essay - only one stands out like a diamond in a feedlot overrun with manure. More about this diamond later.

Probably the most visible offender among mainstream book publishers is St. Martin's Press, which profited from Whitley Strieber's Confirmation: The Hard Evidence of Aliens Among Us? (1998, 324 pages, $6.99).

At the time of its publication, I started to read Strieber's book with an open mind. The term "hard evidence" attracted me, and gave me hope that finally an author who said he had experienced an encounter with aliens would finally deliver proof that a skeptic (but not a cynic) like myself could accept.

Strieber failed the hard evidence test miserably. The eyewitness accounts, from himself and others, can easily be explained away based on theories far more likely than alien travel to Earth. As for the tangible objects found in the homes or on the persons of the inexplicably chosen earthlings: Those objects - some shown in photographs - obviously came from somewhere, but Strieber presents no evidence to make me conclude that aliens were the source.

It is one thing to state that other planets, other solar systems, might support what we on Earth call "human life." I have no trouble accepting that possibility. It would be hubris to think otherwise. It is quite another matter to state that those theorized human life forms have conquered unimaginable time, space, navigation and materials-science obstacles to arrive on and depart from Earth at will.

Confirmation is Strieber's 10th solo book (he has also collaborated with James Kunetka), six of them clearly labeled fiction. He and his publisher appear to have trouble finding the normally clear line between fiction and nonfiction.

St. Martin's is not merely a neutral purveyor of a controversial book, able to defend itself on noble First Amendment or other free-speech grounds. The hype written within the St. Martin's workplace for the cover of Confirmation is anything but neutral.

It says "Warning: After You Read This Book, You WILL Believe in Alien Life ... bestselling author and UFOlogist Whitley Strieber boldly explores the vast territory of alien encounters, uncovering the most conclusive evidence of all, PHYSICAL EVIDENCE that aliens may really be here. Marvel as Whitley Strieber tells his own compelling story - and those of countless others - while you discover shocking new close encounters, many involving groups of people; thousands of sightings worldwide, many captured on video; shocking evidence of five mysterious implants surgically removed from human bodies; and much, much more! The most compelling question in the universe has remained unanswered for centuries. Now, finally, there is CONFIRMATION."

Other than Strieber and St. Martin's, the most infuriating author-publisher combination among the books sampled is John E. Mack and Crown. The book is Passport to the Cosmos: Human Transformation and Alien Encounters (1999, 306 pages, $24).

Mack and Crown exploit his advanced degree (an M.D. with a specialty in psychiatry) by noting it in huge letters on the dust jacket. His faculty position at Harvard University Medical School is mentioned, unsurprisingly. One of his major credits is stated in a potentially misleading manner on the cover: "Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author of the Best-Selling Abduction." The book Abduction: Human Encounters With Aliens, which set the stage for Passport to the Cosmos, is indeed by Mack. But it has nothing to do with his Pulitzer Prize.

He won that in 1977 for a biography of T. E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia. The Lawrence biography is in no way connected to Mack's later fascination with alien encounters.  Mack undoubtedly believes he is offering credible evidence in Passport to the Cosmos. To me, his book reads like more science fiction parading as nonfiction. Mack and I certainly have different ideas of what constitutes proof.

Mack feeds off Strieber. In fact, Mack opens Chapter 1 with an extended quotation from an interview he conducted with Strieber:  "The power of the encounters [with aliens] comes from acknowledging your helplessness and keeping the whole matter in question, because the deeper the question goes, the more you attempt to come to some kind of resolution. If you keep asking [the alien beings] questions, they keep reforming the thing in such a way that the questions get more provocative but can't quite be answered. ... If you start saying 'Well, they are aliens and they're from this planet,' you're lost. ... I've often been in situations where the question has been impossible to live with. You can't not answer it, and you can't answer it either. And there you have it. You sit in a situation where you can't bear to be - and you grow."

The opening of any book, and certainly a book like Mack's that calls for suspension of disbelief, ought to be both compelling and clear. For the life of me, I have no idea what Strieber is saying in that passage, nor do I understand why Mack uses it so prominently.

Perhaps Mack should have opened with material he relegates to page 252, in which those who say they have encountered aliens discuss the sexual aspects. Here is Mack, conveying Strieber's thoughts: "The sexual part of my relationship [with the beings] has been very complex and very rich and very difficult at times because I'm a married man. ...The physical dynamic is different in the sense that the sensation of intercourse moves through your whole body, and you become totally devoted to it for longer than I do in normal intercourse."

Mack relates that Streiber and his wife, Ann, have reached an accord concerning the other sexual relationship. But Mack does not say specifically what Ann thinks about Strieber having seen "a hybrid child in the [space] ship whose appearance makes him think that it might be the offspring of his union with the alien mate."

As with the hypesters at St. Martin's Press, the publicists pushing Mack's book for Crown betray not a word of doubt. Mack "asserts that the alien abduction phenomenon ushers in a new era in human consciousness, a time in which we must be willing to embrace the idea that alien visitation is occurring on some level. ... Dr. Mack transforms the ethereal ruminations common in works involving alien abduction into a compelling treatise of global importance."

One writer who provides an intellectual antidote to the "nonfiction" of Strieber, Mack and other authors is Joel Achenbach, a Washington Post reporter when Simon & Schuster published his book Captured by Aliens: The Search for Life and Truth in a Very Large Universe in 1999.

Achenbach gives spokesmen like Strieber and Mack their say. But instead of taking them at face value, he places their beliefs into a variety of contexts, such as the phenomenon of wishful thinking, the quest for spiritual meaning in a semi-secular age, and hard-fact advances in knowledge by astronomers and astronauts, among others.

May a million Achenbach-like books bloom. And may publishers start labeling the works of Strieber, Mack and others of their ilk more appropriately. "Science fiction" might do for starters.

Steve Weinberg, an author in Columbia, Mo., has written six books that he swears are nonfiction, including his 1992 book about the craft of biography, Telling the Untold Story. He spends his life seeking the truth as an investigative journalist.

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March 17, 2003


Seattle Times

Professor Questions Study, Then Others Question Her

by Susan Kelleher

Elizabeth Loftus was suspicious.

Having spent years at the University of Washington twisting people's memories and making them "remember" things that had never happened to them, Loftus was sure that the doctor lecturing nationwide about a traumatic memory recovered by one of his clients was doing some truth twisting of his own.

The University of Cincinnati child psychiatrist, had videotaped his interviews with a girl, first when she was 6 and then when she was 17. Together, the tapes presented a compelling case for the controversial theory that the mind can bury painful memories, then recover them.

But Loftus didn't buy it. She set out to investigate the research. By the time she finished, she had cast a shadow not only on the psychiatrist, but on the integrity of case studies that have shaped the field of psychology for more than a century.

Darkened too, however, was Loftus' relationship with her own university. Colleagues there questioned the methods she had used in her challenge, and recommended she take an ethics class.

Ultimately, Loftus _ the queen of the UW Psychology Department, who last year ranked 58th in a list of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century _ left Seattle in anger to take a post at the University of California, Irvine.

Until now, the controversy surrounding Loftus' departure has been confined mainly to university offices and boardrooms. It is a story not just of one professor's battle against another, but of the treacherous academic territory Loftus tread in challenging someone else's work.

'Diva of Disclosure'

Exploring dangerous ground is nothing new for Elizabeth Loftus.

For more than a decade, she has challenged prevailing views of memory, demonstrating that eyewitness testimony can be unreliable. In experiments, she showed that through suggestion and reinforcement, people can be made to believe they had experienced something that had never actually happened.

Her work helped change methods used by police, social workers and therapists, especially around allegations of abuse.

In 2001, the American Psychological Society gave her its most prestigious award, calling her research "ingenious," and noting that "the quality of basic-memory research and the fairness of the criminal-justice system have advanced substantially" because of her science. A 1996 article in Psychology Today magazine dubbed her "The Diva of Disclosure."

But Loftus' work also created enemies, people who put her in the same league as the accused killers, rapists and child molesters on whose behalf she has testified in court. The Psychology Today article quotes a letter from an incest survivor: "Please consider your work to be on the same level as those who deny the existence of the extermination camps during WWII."

Few hate Loftus more than those involved in the spate of lawsuits and criminal trials that began in the 1980s, when it seemed as if childhood sexual abuse and satanic-ritual abuse were becoming nationwide epidemics.

Parents and child-care providers were hauled into court for sexual abuse, even murder, on the basis of memories recalled decades after the alleged events. The cases grabbed headlines until a 1992 presentation by Loftus cast doubt on some claims.

"While certainly there have been enormous tragedies due to real crimes against women and children," Loftus wrote, "there have also been equally enormous tragedies of false accusations.  Families have been destroyed, miscarriages of justice have occurred, and more than a few innocent people have been sent to prison."

The topic of so-called "repressed memory" remains charged with emotion and controversy, mostly because it is impossible to absolutely prove or disprove scientifically.

Researchers can't ethically torture a group of people and then check back with them 20 years later to see if any of them forget and then remember the abuse. The most they can do is evaluate instances in which such remembering has reportedly occurred.  Those instances are written up as case studies and presented in professional journals.

Loftus was reading such a journal, Child Maltreatment, in May 1997 when she came across the case of reported abuse that roused her suspicions. In psychology circles, the case is widely known as "Corwin's Jane Doe."

Lack of memory

In the article, Dr. David Corwin, a well-regarded child psychiatrist who now teaches at the University of Utah and heads the Child Protection Team at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, described this situation:

A young girl was caught in a child-custody dispute between divorcing parents. Corwin was called in to assess abuse allegations made by 6-year-old "Jane." In his third videotaped interview with Jane, she folded her tiny fingers into a three-fingered Brownie salute and swore she was being truthful when she accused her mother of abusing her in the bathtub and of burning her feet on the stove.  After reviewing reports from police, doctors and social workers who already had examined and talked to Jane, Corwin concluded it was likely that Jane's mother had sexually abused the girl. A judge awarded custody to her father and stepmother, terminating the mother's visitation rights.

Jane's father divorced about three years later, and within seven years became incapacitated by a health problem. Jane was living in foster care when he died.

Before the father's death, Corwin called him to see if it was still OK to show the videotape of his interview with Jane for educational purposes. When the father became ill, Corwin called Jane herself to get permission. She asked him if she could see the taped interview from when was 6.

Jane was 17 when she saw the tape. She told Corwin she remembered accusing her mother of abuse but didn't remember if the abuse actually occurred. As she pondered her lack of memory, she suddenly recalled her mother abusing her once in the bathtub. Corwin was taping Jane at the time, and he asked for and received her permission to show that tape, too, for educational purposes.

When Corwin showed the videotapes at professional conferences, clinicians who routinely dwell in the wreckage of other people's traumas dabbed at their eyes.

But Loftus, clearly predisposed to doubt recovered memories, pounced on this one. She was struck by what she saw as a dearth of evidence cited by Corwin to support his finding that Jane had been abused as a child.

She spoke with a colleague, Melvin Guyer at the University of Michigan, and together they decided to do their own investigation.

"I think people have to be very suspicious of case histories, and be aware that this is half of the story and one person's opinion," Loftus said. "The problem is, as with many aspects of life, the vivid case histories that have a story and a face are always more persuasive than cold, hard statistics."


From the start, the methods used by Loftus and Guyer in re-examining the case were unorthodox.

Instead of going to Corwin for more information or permission to talk with Jane, Loftus and Guyer picked up on clues _ her real first name, locations, the year of her parents' divorce and her father's death _ and figured out Jane's full name and whereabouts.

With the help of a private investigator, they dug up divorce records and interviewed three women who knew Jane: her birth mother, foster mother and stepmother.

The results of their investigation appeared in the Skeptical Inquirer, a mass-circulation magazine devoted to scrutinizing what it calls "pseudoscience." Their article alleged that Corwin had omitted important facts about Jane's family and her case history.

Among the omissions:

ò Failing to note that a county child-protective agency had investigated the allegations when they were first made and had recommended that no action be taken.

ò Not mentioning that a clinical psychologist had reviewed the case and had concluded that, while abuse may have occurred, the nature and source of any abuse was unknown and that Jane may have just been repeating suggestions from her father.

ò Ignoring the contentiousness of the custody battle, which lasted five years. In a taped interview with Loftus, Jane's stepmother said she had worked hard to "get" Jane for her then-husband, and noted that they finally succeeded with the "sexual

The information revealed by Loftus and Guyer didn't disprove the claim of abuse. But it raised doubts about both the original claim and the memory Jane said she later recalled.

The significance of that doubt extended beyond Jane's case: Corwin's finding already was being cited in other court cases as evidence in support of recovered memory.

In a recent interview, Corwin conceded he had selectively edited facts in presenting Jane Doe's case and said it was appropriate to do so. A case study need not be an exhaustive recitation of every fact but rather should include information that supports the author's conclusions, he said.

Besides, he said, "We don't know with absolute certainty what happened (to Jane), and we don't assert that we did."

Corwin said professional ethics prevented him from providing further information about Jane's case, even if it meant not being able to defend himself against Loftus and Guyer's criticisms.

Gray zone

Loftus expected laurels for shining light on this case. Instead, she found the light shined into her own eyes, as Jane herself complained to the administration of the UW that Loftus had violated her privacy.

Once university officials began their 21-month investigation of Loftus' "case study of a case study," they discovered how difficult it is to regulate research that falls outside traditional boundaries, as Loftus' did.

"We're in the grayest of the gray zones I've ever been in my entire life," said David Hodge, dean of UW's College of Arts and Sciences.

University rules for research involving human subjects were written mainly for medical experimentation. But, as Hodge and others found, they are much more tricky to apply outside that area, especially if someone is challenging a case study.

Faculty members conducting research are required to submit proposals to an institutional review board, or IRB. The IRB sets rules to protect research subjects from harm and to ensure they're fully informed before they agree to participate.

Loftus had submitted a proposal to the UW's IRB early on, but then had ignored the board's follow-up questions after her partner, Guyer, received the go-ahead from the University of Michigan's IRB.

Had Loftus gone through the UW board, it's unlikely she would have been allowed to challenge Corwin's work the way she did, according to John Slattery, who was director of the UW's Office of Scholarly Integrity at the time.

Slattery said Loftus would have had to seek the university's permission before contacting people for interviews. She would likely have been required to give the IRB a list of questions she planned to ask and a form explaining the potential risks of being interviewed.

She probably would have been required to contact Corwin for permission to review records and to interview Jane.

Such rules make challenging a psychological case study much harder than presenting one.

Psychological case studies are, by design, shrouded in secrecy. Although studies are reviewed by experts before publication, those experts do not know subjects' names and rarely see documentation.

Still, Loftus feels justified in deliberately penetrating Corwin's efforts to hide Jane's identity. Secrecy rules adopted to protect the privacy of patients or research subjects should not be used to obscure the truth, she said.

Loftus was already well into her investigation when she took a colleague's advice and spoke with Corwin about contacting Jane. He told her he would be happy to connect the two, but then told her Jane wanted to communicate through him. Loftus eventually exchanged an e-mail with Jane to put her in touch with her mother, but she said they never discussed the abuse claims or Corwin's article.

Calling Loftus' methods unethical, Corwin said, "I have no reason to hide anything. She could have asked me, and I would have gone through the steps that would have left Jane Doe feeling less violated."

Jane told UW officials that she objected to Loftus tracking down her mother and stepmother for interviews.

Loftus admits to befriending Jane's biological mother, and confesses that she was motivated in large part by a desire to unite mother and daughter. In an e-mail to Loftus, Jane's mother wrote: "You have helped me heal when I thought it was not possible. I value your caring friendship. I am truly thankful that you are in my life."

Loftus' ongoing friendship with Jane's mother complicated the UW investigation, which was conducted by an ad-hoc committee consisting of three faculty members.

The committee ultimately cleared Loftus of wrongdoing but required her to get permission from the IRB before contacting Jane's mother again. The panel also wanted Loftus to take an ethics class.

Angry, hurt and humiliated by the investigation, Loftus accepted an offer from the University of California, Irvine, which offered her more research money and a "distinguished professor" title. She began teaching there in September.

"I cried for a week before I made the decision and a week after," Loftus said. "I felt so betrayed by my university."

The University of Michigan gave no such scrutiny to Guyer, Loftus' partner in the research.

Meanwhile, Loftus has received letters of support from prominent psychologists and researchers from around the country, including Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, applauding her efforts to make case studies more transparent and expressing anger at how the UW treated her.

Hodge, the UW dean, said the university is looking at a different system for evaluating the kinds of challenges that Loftus' investigation represented.

"We always want to allow challenges to other people's research. It's really about at what point does a relationship become a scientific relationship? That's where it becomes difficult," he said. "It's not clear where the line is between professional scientific research and non-scientific research."

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March 16, 2003


Farmington Daily Times (New Mexico)

Researchers:  Aztec UFO crash is something to look at

By Debra Mayeux/Staff writer

AZTEC Eyewitnesses have never been located. The incident is shrouded in mystery.

Whether a UFO crashed in 1948 near Aztec has received a good deal of interest from both believers and skeptics. Those wanting to discuss the possibility of the event will converge on the small northern New Mexico town for a three-day symposium March 21-23 at the Aztec Civic Center, 101 S. Park Ave.

The symposium, which began six years ago, has grown significantly over the years, so has the list of speakers.

This year there will be a number of noted ufologists, journalists and historians who have studied the UFO phenomenon with the goal of proving or disproving the idea of extraterrestrials visiting our planet.

Rob Swiatek, of the Fund for UFO Research, cannot prove there are extraterrestrial spacecraft, yet he does believe there is something there for scientists to study.

"Something strange has been going on for the last 50 years," Swiatek said in a telephone interview Friday. "It's an enduring mystery. We haven't been able to make the case for the scientific community, but there is a core of evidence there that can not be explained away as mundane."

Journalist Nick Redfern agreed.

He has been studying strange sightings and occurrences in both the United Kingdom and the United States since the late-1990s.

"My goal has been to chase down the paper trail," Redfern said.

He has worked to declassify FBI files and government papers in an effort to discover the facts behind the UFO folklore.

"There was an attempt to discredit people in the media looking into this," he said, adding he takes an unbiased approach to the topic. "I'm putting the information out there that I have obtained with the hopes others will come forward to speak about it peeling away the layers of the onion to get the story."

In his first three books, published by Simon and Schuster, Redfern has been attempting to find out the history behind the crashes and promote what has been hidden from the public.

"I'm interested in mysteries and conspiracies in general," Redfern said.

He has spent his time documenting government documents on all types of cases in order to determine their credibility. Swiatek does the same thing.

"I have a whole bunch of the (Project) Blue Book microfilm," he said adding he has spent countless hours studying this topic.

He became interested in UFOs in the late-1960s, when reports on the subject could be found on the front page of major newspapers across the country.

"I was completely intrigued by what I read," Swiatek said. "I haven't lost my fascination after all of these years."

The UFO researcher believes wholeheartedly in the Farmington Armada flyover of 1950.

"That seemingly did occur and is a fascinating case," he said. "The few people who looked at it seemed to have pretty good documentation that it did happen."

Swiatek is not as convinced about Aztec.

"There may not have been a crash in Aztec, but certainly Farmington has a role to play in the greater UFO phenomenon," Swiatek said.

The concern over the Aztec crash is not so much a denial of the event on the researcher's part. He just hasn't seen many documented reports or interviews with eyewitnesses regarding the
alleged crash.

As far as Aztec is concerned, Redfern has not made up his mind.

"The FBI has quite an extensive file on the case," he said.

The file consists of documents on the men, who first broke the story of a crashed disc in Hart Canyon Silas Newton and Leo GeBauer. The investigation into these two was not because of their UFO crash story, but because they were known con men.

"The file on GeBauer is 400 pages long," Redfern said. "Only 200 pages have been declassified."

The author believes the problem with Aztec is not "that there aren't files on it. It is a lot of the it can be tracked back to Newton and GeBauer," Redfern said.

"Inadvertently, because of who they were destroyed the credibility of the case," he said.

Despite the fact that the story was made public by these two con men, the Aztec story is continuing to grow and receive interest.

Even Redfern believes there could be something to it. Exactly what happened there remains the mystery.

"Some accounts could have been spread to discredit actual cases," Redfern said. "Someone in the Pentagon may have spread rumors."

Why, one might ask. Redfern has an interesting answer. It may have been "psychological warfare," which would have made the Russians believe the U.S. had its hands on advanced extraterrestrial technology.

Historian Rich Dolan believes that is exactly what could have happened. In fact, his theory is the UFOs may have been unmanned spacecraft captained by artificial intelligence.

"Where they are from, and who they are I don't have the answers," Dolan said. "I have come to the conclusion this isn't our technology."

Dolan became interested in UFOs 10 years ago.

"I didn't have anything to do that day," he said in a Friday telephone interview.

Being a historian, he questioned why there were no references to UFOs in the history books.

"I wondered why it was absent from Truman's memoirs," he said. "I began a personal project and hunted down information on it (using the Freedom of Information Act.)

Dolan became an author, writing a 500-page book, "UFOs and the National Security State." He is currently working on another book.

He will speak in Aztec on his theory concerning artificial intelligence and UFOs from 9-10:30 a.m. March 23.

Redfern will speak on a comparison of UFO incidents in England with the Aztec crash at from 8-9:30 a.m. March 22.

Swiatek will speak on the mystery of the UFO phenomenon from 3-4:30 p.m. March 22.

Tickets to the symposium are $50 for both days or $35 for Saturday and $20 for Sunday.

Information: The symposium hotline, (505) 334-9890 or 1-877-823-5810.

Debra Mayeux:


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February 25, 2003


Dundee Evening Telegraph (Scotland)

19 'Close Encounters' In Fife Being Probed

An appeal for witnesses to a string of alleged 'close encounters' in North East Fife has led to a "massive public response" with UFO investigators currently looking into 19 reports in Fife and a string of unexplained sightings across Central Scotland.

Ex-navy submariner Lee Close, who is chief investigator with the Anglo Scottish UFO Research Agency (ASUFORA), revealed today that since the local Press highlighted alleged UFO sightings last year, the number of calls and emails to him continued flooding in.

He remained open minded as to whether many of these reports could be explained by astronomical or aircraft factors. It was also his team's job to sift out any potential hoaxes.


But he was encouraged that people seeking answers were still prepared to come forward and share what they had seen -especially when many individuals often felt embarrassed to do so.

Speaking from West Lothian, Mr. Close said, "The reports keep coming in and some go back many years.

"They include a 'small gold sphere' seen from Dundee about five miles off RAF Leuchars, and a man who said that on two or three occasions he saw several large, cigar-shaped objects hovering and then disappearing in the Ladybank area when he travelled daily between Dundee and Glenrothes between 1989 and 2002.

"We are also looking at an astonishing case from Ballingry in 1958. A lady, now 80, can recollect the event like it happened yesterday.


"She said an orange, long, cigar-shaped object followed a jogger called John Hodge. It was witnessed by several 12 year-olds."

Seven years ago two local women made headlines around the world after claiming they encountered aliens at Drummy Wood, Freuchie.

UFO enthusiasts are now being drawn to the area in renewed numbers following a new "sighting" by a retired US army captain and his family during a visit to the area last summer.

Mr Close said this was still being investigated, but he was also intrigued by the number of other alleged unexplained sightings in the area.

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February 8, 2003


Mohave Daily News

UFO convention speaker says we must become 'galactic citizens'

by Kay Jenney

LAUGHLIN - Shakespeare's conundrum "to be, or not to be?" is still being pondered in various ways. One of the leading researchers in the field of extraordinary experiences announced a new way of perceiving reality Thursday at the 12th Annual International UFO Congress Convention and Film Festival held at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino.

Dr. John Mack began his journey delving into human consciousness as a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and now through his years of research on a number of nontraditional subjects, foresees changes on the horizon for all societies.

"There will be a restructuring of reality. It's arrogant to put it in a box," Mack said.

Mack has investigated Unidentified Flying Object (UFOs) and subsequent reports of alien abductions, near death experiences, spiritual/mystical aberrations, organ transplant memory, magnetic shifts, zero energy power sources, cold fusion, spirit visitation and more. These studies, he said has led him to conclude the extraordinary experiences of individuals will lead to changes in how the world population views reality. Mack called it a "world view shift in consciousness."

Mack said there will be changes across the board in every aspect of society.

"All institutions will be affected," Mack said.

He said the mental health profession will view extraordinary experiences not as pathological conditions, but rather as a starting point for personal growth and learning. Philosophically, people will understand the universe as one teeming with life forms, some seen, some unseen Mack said.

"It's arrogant to believe human beings are the pinnacle of success," Mack said. He said people will understand the oneness of the world while appreciating the differences.

Science, Mack said, will study subjects now considered taboo. He said politics will be changed most of all. Mack said the economy will move away from a war-based economy. He suggested the military should be used to build infrastructure instead of making war.

"We need leadership that thinks beyond borders," Mack said. "Nationalism in its malignant form would become unthinkable." Mack said keeping political power meant keeping an enemy in front of the subjects at all times. If the people question that, they are accused of lack of patriotism.

"Does that sound familiar?" Mack asked.

Mack said people who have experienced alien abductions understand his views, "They get this," Mack said. He said "we must become galactic citizens and so far we have not done very well.

"There must be councils (of extraterrestrial aliens) trying to figure out what to do with us without exterminating us. They've been very tolerant," Mack said.

First-time visitor to a UFO convention, Paul Harrison of North Carolina, said he is a skeptic.

He said he only came to this conference because his son, who he said is a government agent "is into this stuff" and urged him to attend.

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February 5, 2003


Times of London

Salut, Earthlings

by Adam Sage

If the truth really is out there, the French are taking serious steps to find it

ON A cold Monday morning 22 years ago, Jean-Jacques Velasco was sitting in his office when a gendarme rang to tell him about a strange incident. Renato Nicolai, a retired technician, had been working in his garden in Trans-en-Provence, near Nice, when he saw a dark, round object come down from the sky, settle on the ground and take off again, the gendarme said. Over the years, Velasco has heard many such stories, and disproved most of them. But this one was different âÇ" this one was credible, he believes. Something seems to have landed in Trans-en-Provence, he says, and that something has never been identified.

But who is Velasco? Another crackpot determined to find a flying saucer? A follower of Claude Vorilhon, the Frenchman who founded the Raelian sect amid claims that he was the son of an extraterrestrial being? No, he is a scientist working for the state-run National French Centre for Space Studies (CNES), where he heads a department responsible for analysing what are commonly called unidentified flying objects (UFOs) but what are officially known as unidentified aerospace phenomena (UAP).

It is a unique department, the only permanent government-financed scientific project set up by a developed country to unravel fact from fiction in the debate about UFOs.

In an area that draws the deranged and the dreamers, this is a serious research programme. "We have shown that there is a category of events that are not part of the classical physical scheme of things," says Velasco. These may be a light, or an object moving across the sky on "an abnormal trajectory", sometimes noiselessly.

"In some cases, there is a feeling that the phenomenon is adapting its behaviour to the environment. In others, people claim to have seen small material objects very close to them, which may even land. In the most extreme cases, people claim to see objects with beings next to them."

A neatly-dressed, bespectacled man, Velasco talks with the careful precision of an academic who is keen to be understood. He is not saying that he has come across visitors from another planet; he is saying merely that events occur for which science has yet to find an explanation, and which merit further inquiry.

"Two hundred years ago, the French Academy of Science said meteorites did not fall to Earth, that the phenomenon did not exist," he says. "Now we know it does."

Velasco's department was set up in 1977, the year that Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released amid a global UFO fever. Across the world people thought they saw strange figures, flying saucers and bright lights. Sects such as the Raelians claimed to be in contact with extraterrestrial life. And amateur associations pledged to shed light on the burning question: are we alone? But there were few serious attempts to probe the issue. The US authorities had studied it ten years earlier and concluded that it was a waste of taxpayers' money. Most other countries, including Britain, thought likewise. Only France took the matter seriously, partly because it has the centralised state apparatus necessary to do so, and partly, no doubt, because of a vainglorious belief that if a UFO is to be found, France should be the one to find it.

The CNES duly set up the Service for Expert Appraisal of Atmospheric Re- entry Phenomena (Sepra). Based in Toulouse, the department is as pedantic as its title sounds: the staff are state-employed scientists, shaped by a prudent, rigorous and somewhat bureaucratic culture. In France such bureaucracy can often be cumbersome and painfully rigid. Yet in this domain at least, this rigidity offers a guarantee of impartiality that is rare as far as UFOs are concerned.

Last year, when the CNES was told to reduce its 1.3 billion franc(£853 million) budget, the organisation's president, Alain Bensoussan, ordered an audit into Sepra's work. A wide range of French scientists was asked whether it was worth continuing research; almost all said yes.

One reason is because, unlike most other UFO-hunters, Sepra's staff are neither seeking publicity nor peddling an obscure belief in extraterrestrial civilisation. They say they do not know whether extraterrestrial beings exist or not, and look disparaging when you ask them to voice their hunches on the question.

They do not have hunches, only statistics. Yet the statistics that Velasco has made public are eloquent. Since, 1977, Sepra has received some 6,000 reports of alleged UFO sightings. Of these, 110 are from civil or military aircraft crew, and the rest from ordinary French people who have almost invariably contacted their local gendarmerie. In 21.3 per cent of cases there is a clear, indisputable and banal explanation: a firework display, a novel lighting system involving a luminous balloon, a cloud above the Pyrenees that is shaped like a flying saucer. In 24.9 per cent there is a probable explanation, and in 41.3 per cent the information is too vague to be of use. But in 12.5 per cent of cases "about 750 sightings since 1977" the evidence is precise, detailed and inexplicable, and is thus categorised as an unidentified phenomenon.

Before reaching such a conclusion, Velasco conducts an extensive investigation using a method dubbed exemplary by Peter Sturrock, a British academic who founded the Society for Scientific Exploration. It involves inquiring into the psychological and social background of the person claiming to have seen a UFO, checking the initial witness statement against all other available evidence and working with different branches of the French administration. For instance, Sepra has a formal procedure to be followed by every gendarmerie that deals with an alleged sighting. Officers seal off the area, take ground samples and ask pre-established questions to weed out the mad and the drunk.

But most alleged UFOs are spotted by the sober and sensible, says Velasco. "In all our statistics on the personalities of the people who see these phenomena only one in 1,000 is not credible because of alcohol. People go to gendarmerie spontaneously; in 99 per cent of cases it is because they genuinely want to know what they have seen."

Yet a witness's good faith is not enough, and the story must be corroborated. "What interests the scientist is not so much the tale that is told, but to go further and check the tale against objective data, to measure these phenomena," says Velasco. So he has established links with laboratories that analyse samples found at the scene, and an agreement with the civil and military aviation authorities to provide radar details of any unidentified flights.

Consider, for instance, a case reported in 1994, when the crew of an Air France flight from Nice to London saw a dark, 300m (1,000ft)long object over the Paris region. The object disappeared before the aircraft had got near it, and the flight continued without difficulty. A few days later Velasco travelled from his office in Toulouse to the military aviation control centre outside Paris, where he was given a read-out of the radar information from the day in question. It revealed that an unknown object had indeed flown over the French capital.

Consider, too, the Trans-en-Provence case. Velasco went through the usual checks with the gendarme who had rung him. Was the witness, Nicolai, reeking of alcohol or babbling incoherently? The answer was no. Was there any evidence to back up his story? The apparent answer was yes, since there were marks in the grass where the object had supposedly landed.

Velasco drove to Trans-en-Provence and took ground samples. These showed that the area had been heated to between 300C and 600C, that it had been compressed by something weighing up to a tonne and that the plants there had been affected by a strong electromagnetic field. Velasco concluded that Nicolai had indeed witnessed a strange happening.

So should we conclude that little green men were taking a look at Provence from their spaceship? Velasco dismisses such ideas. "We cannot say whether there is a link between the question of extraterrestrial life and that of non-identified aerospace phenomena," he says adding: "But we can show that UFOs exist. The problem is interpreting them, and I hope that scientists, and other people, look at this question more seriously."

A guide to alien French:

Un OVNI (objet volant non identifié): a UFO (unidentified flying object).
Une soucoupe volante: a flying saucer.
Les extraterrestres sont parmi nous: the aliens are among us.
Rencontres Rapproches du Troisieme Type: Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
C'etait un petit bonhomme vert: it was a little green man.
C'est quoi, cette etrange lumiere dans le ciel?: what's that strange light in the sky?
Les extraterrestres essaient de communiquer avec nous: the aliens are trying to communicate with us.
Amenez-moi à votre chef: take me to your leader.

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January 30, 2003

East Anglian Daily Times (Essex & Suffolk UK)

Documentary On Suffolk UFO Sightings

Documentary makers hope to shed new light on the alleged sighting of a UFO near a Suffolk air base nearly 20 years ago.

The programme-makers are reinvestigating the mysterious goings-on at Rendlesham forest around December 27 and 28, 1980, for a BBC documentary which will take a fresh look at "Britain's Closest Encounter".

It aims to explore various explanations for what occurred, and makers have appealed for local witnesses as they try to piece together what happened.

The programme is being made by Mentorn, the company responsible for Question Time and Queen and Country, and is timed to coincide with BBC2's screening of the Spielberg sci-fi series Taken on Saturday night. It is expected to be screened on BBC3 on March 15, and BBC2 the following week, and followed by an on-line discussion.

It will feature witnesses to the events, UFO experts and sceptics, conspiracy theorists and scientists, and newly analysed audiotapes recorded during the sightings.

Steve Carsey, executive producer of the programme, who is also executive producer of BBC2's Robot Wars, said he felt the time was right to revisit the much-debated sightings.

"In recent months, a lot of official papers and memos and MoD documents have been released," he said. "After 20 years of denial, the fact that these papers have been released justifies our desire to revisit the story and reinvestigate the story to see if anything new has come to light in the last 20 years."

The last programme on the subject was made about ten years ago, he said.

"We are getting some new things already, interestingly enough," he said. "We have got some new revelations and some new testimony."

The programme would look at various explanations for what occurred and how the story had developed over the years, he said.

"We are as interested in the story itself and as interested in the birth of a story and how it develops and how it grows," he said. "We are coming at this in a completely journalistic sense."

Mr Carsey, who said he was fascinated by the subject of UFOs, said they were not taking a sensational approach.

"What we can definitively say with the release of these documents is something happened," he said. "We are going to leave the viewers to come to their own conclusions."

They hoped local people who had not come forward previously would feel able to contribute. Mr. Carsey said that as they visited the forest this week it was interesting how much people were aware of the story of the sightings.

"Everyone had an opinion," he said.

The team behind Britain's Closest Encounter is looking for local witnesses in the Rendlesham area, or family members and friends of witnesses, to get the widest possible selection of views on what might have happened.

It is also asking local people to come forward with photographs and video footage. If you are interested in taking part, or claim to have evidence, you can contact Riva Marker on 0207 258 6873.

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January 11, 2003


London Daily Mail

After 50 years of ridicule, denial and cover-up, is the real truth about alien abductions about to be revealed?

by Geoffrey Wansell

On a hot, sticky July afternoon in 1987 Jason Andrews is celebrating his fourth birthday at his family's cottage near Slade Green in Kent when the heavens open.

As the thunder crashes all around, there is a single flash of lightning. Suddenly, a stream of numbers starts pouring out of Jason's mouth: fantastic numbers, complex mathematical equations, even algebra - all from a boy who struggles to count to ten.

Seconds later the windows and doors begin to shake violently and the four-year old announces to his mother, father and elder brother: "They're waiting for me. I have to go.'

Jason's father, Paul, grabs his son and stops him from walking out into the downpour, but the boy struggles violently, and as he does so the house shakes to its very foundations until, finally, he seems to wake from a trance and the shaking stops.

It is the first sign that Jason Andrews is no ordinary little boy and, in the eight years that follow, that is dramatically confirmed.

It wasn't until 1995, when he was almost 12, that Jason told his astonished parents exactly what had been happening to him -aliens had been abducting him from his bed at night.

"It's always the light that comes first", he confessed to his mother, Ann. "Then I see the tall one rise up at the foot of the bed.

Suddenly there's lots of little ones everywhere. They're fuzzy and indistinct, and they move very fast. I can't move or speak, but I'm awake and I can see and hear and feel. I want to scream and run, but the sound doesn't come out and my body doesn't move.

I hate them. I hate them", the boy sobbed. "I have to go with them.

They take me to an operating theatre, like at the hospital. It's all white and shiny Some times it's a circular room with It's always cold.

"They're there. The big one touches me but I don't feel it, like as if I've had an an aesthetic."  Then he added poignantly: "But you don't believe me, you just think I'm making it all up." In fact, Ann did believe him, and went on to explore the phenomena affecting her son's life in a hook, Abducted. This decent, uncomplicated wife and mother came to the conclusion that we may not be alone.

Now, the rest of the world may be about to agree with her After five decades of ridicule, official denials and alleged cover-ups, the possibility that aliens. may have visited Earth is beginning to be taken seriously - and not just by sci-fi fanatics and UFO freaks.

Scientific researchers are increasingly convinced that thin, grey-skinned beings about 4ft tall, with large almond-shaped eyes set in an oval, hairless, head, may not only have landed on earth, but have also abducted human beings for bizarre experiments; while all the time there has been an official conspiracy to keep their visits secret.

Tonight American filmmaker Steven Spielberg, the man who brought the world Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and ET, will bring those convictions - and aliens - to life in his new mini-series, Taken, on BBC2.

A cunning mixture of. fact, conjecture and fiction, based on the latest research, it tells the story of how aliens affected the lives of three American families over the past half century.

A massive hit in the U.S., where it was broadcast on consecutive nights last month, Spielberg's series is the most expensive TV science faction drama ever made - with a budget of more than £25 million - and it's certain to re-ignite public debate on this forever-contentious subject.

But surely all this talk of aliens is far-fetched? As a natural sceptic, I've always believed so, but over the past weeks and months of reviewing the evidence I've come to the conclusion that it does, in fact, warrant the closest investigation.

There certainly seems to have been an official conspiracy to keep the facts secret.

In the past few months, for example, firm evidence about unexplained events connected with Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) and extraterrestrial phenomena has begun to appear for the first time as governments around the world have released previously secret documents.

And, for the first time, politicians have started to admit that evidence on the possibility of extraterrestrial life has been concealed.

In October last year, for example, former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, who worked for President Clinton, called on the U.S. government to de-classify "records that are more than 25 years old" and "to provide scientists with data that will assist them in determining the real nature of this phenomenon."

Only four years ago, former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher hinted to British UFO researcher Georgina Bruni that there was considerable secret information on the subject, adding mysteriously: "You can't tell the people."

Bruni was so struck by the remark that she used it as the title for her 2001 book on alien sightings in Suffolk in 1980. Shortly afterwards, former Tory Secretary of State also confided to her on the subject: "I know a lot, but I tell a little."

After a campaign by Bruni and other researchers, the Government last month released scores of secret files on UFO sightings in this country, all of which suggest that aliens can no longer be dismissed merely as the product of fevered imaginations.

Certainly the majority of the public now seem to believe that aliens do exist. As the editor of the British UFO magazine, Graham Birdsall, points out: "Sixty years ago, 90 per cent of the population thought the idea was "absolute rubbish.

Now every single opinion poll on the subject shows that millions of people firmly believe in UFOs."

Last June, for example, when it was announced that Bonnybridge in Scotland boasted more UFO sightings than any other place in the world, a Sky News poll showed 65 per cent of its viewers believed in UFOs.

Five years earlier - in one of the biggest telephone polls ever conducted on TV - 100,000 viewers phoned ITV to answer the question "Have aliens already visited Earth?" and 92 per cent voted "Yes."

"There's strong evidence to suggest that Earth has been visited by extraterrestrial intelligence", insists Birdsall.

"And after my own research I am prepared to admit that it is no longer possible to dismiss people such as Birdsall as 'cranks'."

Spielberg, whose film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind dramatically raised the issue of alien encounters for a global audience, is certainly convinced they've happened.

Fascinated by the possibility from childhood, he's devoted part of his life to discovering the truth and has become an authority on the subject as a result.

But there is a striking difference between Spielberg's approach in his TV series Taken and the one he took two decades ago in ET.

This time the aliens he is depicting are not trying to phone home they're here to subvert, and ultimately control, the human race.

And the new TV series, his first since the award-winning Band Of Brothers, is not only about the arrival of aliens, it's also about 'alien abductions'.

"I thought I couldn't do justice to this genre in a two-hour movie", Spielberg explains.

"We would need a lot more time to do justice to the history of alien abductions, starting back in 1947, right through to today."

Watching the first episodes, it's clear that Spielberg has done everything in his power to create a fictional series' on the edge of fact. This is no sci-fi comic book, no Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, but a compelling and all-too-plausible - drama.

British UFO expert Mike Soper, of Contact International, is as convinced as Spielberg that alien abductions have happened.

"The telling fact is that there are features common to all the people's stories", he maintains. "They all remember being taken to a craft, and often talk about being 'examined'..... "Many talk about something being 'implanted' in their bodies, and when they return they often have triangular marks on their bodies and aren't wearing exactly the same clothes they were before the abduction."

Ministry of Defence civil servant Nick Pope, 37, agrees.

"Abductions most definitely do occur", he says. "And although the phrase 'alien abductions' is a gift to those people who want to deride it, there are genuine, ordinary people who believe they have been in extraordinary situations."

Pope isn't a man with an anorak and a slightly weird look in his eyes. He is a down-to-earth civil servant who had no interest in aliens at all until 1991, when the MOD asked him to investigate reports of UFOs, alien abductions and other strange phenomena.

"The 100 or so people I interviewed about being abducted by aliens weren't publicity seekers merely after their fifteen minutes of fame", he explains.

"I came to the conclusion that some of these people had to be telling the truth. And if just one of the abductees' reports is true, the implications for the human race would be profound and disturbing."

One person who helped to convince Pope was 37 year old British -born make-up artist Bridget Grant, whom he met seven years ago.

She addressed an audience of 750 people at the British UFO conference in Leeds in 2001, where she talked about her abduction. She explained that in February 1993, when she was living in Los Angeles; she was driving with a friend in the Brentwood area at 5.50pm one bright, sunny day when she drew up at a set of traffic lights.

"I suddenly saw this silver tip out of the corner of my eye", she explained. "Then, I saw that it was a solid silver craft, with a red-orange colour underneath it, about 35 - 45 ft in diameter. It came right above the car and I leaned towards the steering wheel and looked up."

The craft "flew really, really low" over her head, she said, and away to the west, Her friend Jane, sitting in the passenger seat, saw it, too.

Grant was so disturbed by the experience that in September 1998 she went to see the American UFO researcher Budd Hopkins, of the Intruders Foundation in New York, to undergo four sessions of 'regressive hypnosis'.....

She wanted his help to remember the exact details of what happened on that afternoon in 1993 because she thought she had forgotten something. It appeared that she had. For when this pale young 'woman, with shoulder length dark hair; addressed the Leeds audience she told them she'd not just seen the spacecraft but had been abducted by it, even though she thought she was in her car the entire time.

"There is often a time shift element in the stories of abduction, where the individual doesn't realise that time. has passed", explains Nick Pope.

"My hands were gripping the steering wheel", Grant explained to the conference. "But then I felt a pressure, like my body was being sucked. It felt like all the atoms of my body were going through the steering wheel.

Then I saw this being. I was fascinated by its appearance - it was transparent, had white hair and was carrying a baby."

Hard though it may be for some to believe, and Grant is reluctant to discuss the events further, there is no doubt that the artists' impression of the being which she said she saw looks uncannily like many of the other descriptions of aliens that have surfaced in recent years.

However, as sceptics point out there have been so many depictions of 'space creatures' with dome heads and large oval eyes that it is hardly surprising that this has become something of a stereotype.

When Spielberg was researching the aliens for Close Encounters, he held lengthy consultations with the veteran American astronomer Dr J. Allen Hynek - a once-fierce critic of UFOs and alien phenomena who changed his mind completely after he became a consultant on the subject for the United States Air Force.

Hynek assembled the authoritative American dossier on alien encounters, Project Blue Book, and advised Spielberg what aliens looked like.

But the idea that little grey - rather than green - men with elongated fingers, legs and neck, sounds incredibly far-fetched - until you talk to Georgina Bruni. "When I interviewed Lady Thatcher a few years ago,' Bruni explains, "I was describing to her the fact that US military personnel here in Britain had reportedly had contact with, aliens, and an alien spacecraft, in Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk in December 1980. I expected her to tell me that I'd been watching too many episodes of the X Files, But she didn't look shocked at all. She just said, twice: 'You can't tell the people.'"

With Bruni's encouragement, in the wake of this conversation Lord Hill-Norton, a former Chief of the Defence Staff tabled 18 Parliamentary questions in the House of Lords - as a result of which the Government released more than 200 previously secret files concerning UFOs and aliens.

One of the files revealed that then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill wanted the matter investigated in 1952.

He sent a memo to his scientific adviser, Sir Henry Tizard, asking: "What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth?"

After several months, Tizard reported that all the sightings were "explicable by natural events", although shortly afterwards the Government explicitly banned RAF personnel from discussing sightings with anyone not from the military.

The U.S. Government had adopted a similar policy of official secrecy five years earlier, in the wake of a spate of incidents near the US Air Force base at Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1949 - incidents that Spielberg uses as his starting point for his TV series.

And so the modern history of UFOs, aliens and official coverups was born.

British UFO researcher Jenny Randles, who has spent more than 20 years investigating UFO and alien phenomena, maintains that in more recent times alien kidnapping has become much more common, "An ever growing tide of people suspect that they may be alien abductees", she says.

So is it fact or fiction? I'm not certain, but the evidence of witnesses such as Jason Andrews and Bridget Grant is hard to ignore. And it's clear that, as the 2lst century begins, opinions are changing.

The Government announced recently that it was "open-minded' about the "existence or otherwise of extraterrestrial life forms' a markedly different official position from the one taken half a century ago.

Perhaps the politicians are beginning to accept that we are not alone.

Steven Spielberg certainly does.

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January 11, 2003

Diario El Tribuno (Salta, Argentina)

Farmer Claims Having Seen UFO And Occupants

In Cachi, on the Tin Tin road
He traveled with 7 other people on a bus
All of them witnessed the strange and fantastic event

"It was incredible. We could see an object with impressive lights, side by side, spinning in a circle at high speed. Then other lights appeared which came and went over the same spot. It made our jaws drop," were the first words uttered by Julio Espinoza, a farmer and shepherd from La Poma.

It all happened on the Tin Tin road on December 16, 2003 at midnight, some 120 km west of Salta, the gateway to Cachi which crosses the Los Cardones National Park.

This location was not only the site of a new UFO sighing. This time, according to the eyewtiness, the phenomenon was accompanied by the strange manifestation of humanoid creatrues walking stealthily amid the scant vegetation of the Puna.

They Were on the Road to Puna

Eight people traveling in a bus were among the witnesses to the phenomenon, among them a 5 year-old girl. But the main witness to the events, Julio Rafael Espinosa, 39, told his experience to El Tribuno only last Friday.

That Tuesday, the passengers on the bus were Benito Salva and his father, Ricardo, four other men, Espinosa and his young daugher Tamara, age 5. At the entrance to the Tin Tin road, some 400 meters to the right in the direction of Cerro Negro, Benito Salva, the vehicle's driver, said: "Hey guys, look over there" before parking the bus, while the travelers looked through the window toward the indicated spot. Espinosa says that he managed to climb on top of the bus, but curiosity got the better of him and led him jump off and walk toward the luminous phenomenon.

A Stunning Tale

"Upon reaching a bramble, in spite of the darkness, the landscape was very well-defined. I couldn't go on any further; i was moving away from the road and I was getting scared when my eyes started to see something that couldn't be made out clearly at a distance."

"There was a device measuring some 100 meters wide resting over some kind of struts or legs which kept it some 10-12 meters off the ground. Some sort of hoses emerged from its middle, with lights on their tips. Suddenly, the lights on the object went out and these strange beings appeared. They walked slowly in single file, they were thin and their glow was so powerful they blinded me. At that moment I hid behind a bramble and I could see when one of them jumped onto a bramble--don't know how he did it--and began to pull pieces off it, as though taking specimens."

Some twenty minutes had gone by. It was then that Espinosa decided to return to the truck to report what was going on. "When I told them what I'd seen, they told me that they couldn't see the creatures because they were very far away. However, they saw the luminous phenomenon, which was visible from the roadside," he concluded.

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December 30, 2002


Kentucky New Era

Kelly Green Men
Children of witness to alleged alien invasion defend father's 1955 claim

by Michele Carlton

Geraldine Hawkins was only 7 or 8 years old the first time she heard the story of the Kelly Green Men.

Although her father, Elmer "Lucky" Sutton, said he was one of the people who witnessed the alien invasion on Aug. 21, 1955, he didn't talk about it to Hawkins until the late 1960s when two writers contacted him for an interview.

"This was the first I'd ever heard of it," Hawkins said about the Kelly incident during an interview at her home in Princeton on Friday. "I remember it was a man and woman that came to the house. I had never heard anything about it. I remember sitting in the floor with my legs crossed listening to this story. It terrified me."

The sighting occurred at Kelly, a small town on U.S. 41 about eight miles north of Hopkinsville. "Lucky" Sutton, who was living in a small farmhouse on the Old Madisonville Road at Kelly, and several family members said a spaceship landed near the house that evening. It was carrying about a dozen little space creatures, they said.

"Lucky" Sutton and other family members said they had a gun battle with the creatures that lasted for hours.

Most of the Sutton family members who said they fought the aliens off with shotguns are deceased. However, Hawkins and her younger brother, Elmer Sutton Jr., of Trigg County, said their father shared his Kelly experience with them. Hawkins, 41, and Sutton, 35, are the children of "Lucky" Sutton and Glorine Powell, of Trigg County. Their father died on Dec. 5, 1995.

"He talked to me about it because I was one of the last ones to leave home," the younger Sutton said. "I prodded him about it a lot. A lot of times he wouldn't talk about it. If I'd catch him in the right mood, he'd sit down and talk for hours about it. When he did, I'd listen. To be honest with you, he knew some day he'd die. I guess he wanted one of us to know the truth."

According to the family, a visitor to the Sutton house, Billy Ray Taylor of Pennsylvania, had been in the back yard getting water from the well. He noticed a light streak across the sky and descend into the trees along a ravine about a quarter of a mile away.

A while later, "Lucky" Sutton`s mother, Glennie Lankford, saw a creature with long arms and talon-like hands raised in the air approaching the back of the house.

"(Dad) said they appeared to have a human shape, but with some modifications that made them different," Sutton said. "He called them little green men. He called them green, but said they actually weren't green. He said they were silver, but they had a greenish silver glow to them. He said they were about 3-foot tall -- about the size of a 5-year-old. Their arms were double the length of humans' and had pointed ears. He said the eyes were in the same place as humans, but were more of an almond shape. The eyes had a luminous glow. He said they really didn't walk, just skimmed on top of ground, but moved their legs."

"Lucky" Sutton and Taylor each armed themselves and fired several shots at the aliens, they later reported to police. The siege continued through the night, they said. None of the bullets seemed to affect the creatures.

"He told me he didn't know what in the world they had in mind, but he wasn't going to stand around to find out," Sutton said.

"He's just one of the kind of guys to see something like that and naturally think `they're going to do something. I've got to protect my family.' I guess that's what he done. He beared arms and started laying into them. I'd have done the same thing. I'd have been aiming right between the eyes," he said.

"If they had've hurt one they could have retaliated," Hawkins said.

"What else was he supposed to do? Go up and shake one of their hands," Sutton said.

The Suttons, Taylor, Lankford and a few children in the house that night said they piled into two cars and headed for the police station in Hopkinsville. City, county and state police, along with military personnel from then-Camp Campbell flocked to the Kelly homestead and stayed until about 2 a.m. They searched the house, the yard, surrounding fields and a wooded area, but reportedly found nothing.

The family claimed the creatures returned again about 3 a.m. and stayed until morning.

In the past 47 years, numerous media reports have circulated worldwide speculating about what happened in the community of Kelly.

Most recently, the local legend has attracted the attention of an independent production company in Glendale, Calif. A film crew from Barcon Productions came to Hopkinsville over the weekend to research the Kelly incident. Barcon has been filming eyewitness accounts for a film entitled "Monsters of the UFO" to be released next summer.

Contrary to some media reports, Hawkins insists that her father and other family members were not drinking on that night, nor did they fabricate the story. Although investigators at the scene failed to find the spot where the spaceship landed, she said her parents took her to the spot about 20 years later.

"The following weekend after those two (writers) had been there to talk to him, they took us out there to where it happened. I remember a big, round burned out place back there in the field. It was still there," Hawkins said.

Hawkins and Sutton said many of the reports referred to the Suttons as "a low-status group of people" and used their father and Taylor's employment with a carnival to discredit the family's story.

"They sensationalized the story because (Billy Ray and my father) worked at the carnival. That they were able to create this fiasco," Hawkins said. "He wouldn't have done that anyway. He wasn't that type of person. You could look at him and tell that something happened to them that night. They couldn't have made up something like that. They were just country folks. They wouldn't have thought to think up something like that so elaborate. They wouldn't have run to town terrified in the middle of the night."

Despite any speculations from outside sources, the siblings believe what their father told them about the Kelly incident.

"I could always tell when my dad was pulling my leg or not. He wasn't pulling a fast one," Sutton said.

"It was a serious thing to him. It happened to him. He said it happened to him. He said it wasn't funny. It was an experience he said he would never forget. It was fresh in his mind until the day he died. It was fresh in his mind like it happened yesterday. He never cracked a smile when he told the story because it happened to him and there wasn't nothing funny about it. He got pale and you could see it in his eyes. He was scared to death," he said.

Hawkins and Sutton agree that people should have more of an open mind to the unexplained phenomena.

"I think God didn't mean for us to understand everything. He doesn't want us to know everything," Hawkins said. "Man might want to know everything. I think there's some things out there that He doesn't want us to figure out and know what they are."

"We're here. We're breathing and living. Why can't there be something else out there," Sutton said, pointing to the sky.

"Back then I think it was harder," Hawkins added. "Now, in this day and age, people are more apt to believe stuff like that. A lot of people don't believe in this stuff. I do. I always have. I believe in ghosts, angels, UFOs. You name it, I believe it."

Hawkins and Sutton said they admired their father's work ethic and his strength in dealing with the media circus that followed his family's close encounter at Kelly.

"To me, in my mind, he was a hard-working kind of a man trying to raise a family who saw something out of the ordinary --something people wouldn't believe," Sutton said. "He told the story and people called him a liar. I believe that was the hardest thing for him to swallow -- for people to call him a dog-faced liar and not believe it."

"I just want people to realize that they weren't crazy," Hawkins added. "They weren't just seeing things that night. Something really happened to that family."

Michele Carlton can be reached by telephone at 887-3235 or by e-mail at

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December 30, 2002


Globe & Mail (Canada)

E.T., call Canada: one in five thinks there is life out there

by Alanna Mitchell

The stolid, long-suffering Canadian of national myth may exist, but a new poll suggests that hidden under that pedestrian exterior lurks a heart longing for hope, faith and proof of extraterrestrial life.

A national poll published yesterday by Ipsos-Reid found that 22 per cent of Canadians trust that life on another planet will be discovered in their lifetime.

Among those 18 to 34 - the crowd that grew up with Star Trek and The X-Files - that figure rose to 33 per cent. For people 55 and older, it was just 13 per cent.

Regionally, those living in Alberta, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces were most likely to support the scenario of life on another planet. Levels of household income, usually a proxy for levels of education, did not affect the degree of trust in life far, far away.

"Is this hope chasing reality? It's quite possible," said John Wright, senior vice-president of Ipsos-Reid, adding that this was the first time his firm asked this question.

Last year, though, the polling outfit asked Canadians whether they believe that extraterrestrials visit Earth on a regular basis. The answer? Fully 20 per cent said yes. (by comparison, just 3 per cent said they believe Elvis is still alive.)

The poll published yesterday was taken between Sept. 25 and Nov. 7, 2002, long before last week's headlines about Quebec's Raelian group, their belief that humanity came from another planet and their assertion that they have produced the first human-born clone.

The survey results suggest that 1,007 Canadians polled are conscious of the huge leaps made in science and technology, and that many have formed otherworldly expectations of them.

"It's become less science fiction and more of a reality," Mr. Wright said.

But that's not all Canadians told the pollsters they have faith in. A majority - 51 per cent - said they trust that angels exist. That faith was highest in women at 60 per cent, compared with 40 per cent of men. It also showed up stronger in people 55 and older (54 per cent) than in those younger than 35 (47 per cent).

But the biggest angelic surprise was that 71 per cent of those polled in Saskatchewan and Manitoba said they trust that angels exist. The province with the least trust was Alberta where the figure reached only 46 per cent.

Canadians' level of household income appeared to predict their degree of trust in the immortal helpers of God. The lower their income, the more likely they were to trust that angels exist.

A majority also trust that God exists - 61 per cent. But older Canadians were much more likely (71 per cent) to trust in the existence of God than younger ones (52 per cent of those 18 to 34).

In all, the Ipsos-Reid poll captured a serene population. More than half said they had trust that the economy would grow and that they would earn more in 2003.

Roughly three-quarters said they trusted that they would not lose their jobs in the coming year, that they would spend more time with their children, that the coming year would be a good one and even that they would get together with their families for the year-end holidays next Christmas.

The poll's findings are considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20.

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December 30, 2002

Macleans Magazine (Canada)

UFOs: Looking For Little Green Men In Shag Harbour

Becky Harris

Douglas Shand points to the grey sky above the Irish Moss Plant in Shag Harbour, N.S. "That's where they saw it," he says. For the small fishing community, located 250 km southwest of Halifax, the only government-documented UFO sighting in the world is what put the town on the map. On the evening of Oct. 4, 1967, claim some residents, a bowl-shaped object, about 20 m long, fell from the sky. In the investigation reports, both the RCMP and Royal Canadian Air Force call the dark object a "UFO".

Years later, in spring 2001, the town's post office unveiled a unique postmark: a blue-ink image of a UFO hovering over a lighthouse and a boat on the water. Now, says Shand, a 43-year-old automotive refinisher, people are making the trek from as far away as Europe to hunt little green men. Says Shand: "People plan their vacations around coming here." Postmaster Cindy Nickerson flips through the hundreds of letters people from around the world have sent over the last year and a half. They all want their letters, postcards, books and even in some cases, teddy bears, stamped with the alien marking. For some, however, even that's not enough. "Every time we put up a road sign, it disappears," she says. "We've lost five or six already."

There hasn't been another sighting in Shag Harbour. But one witness to the '67 event isn't surprised. David Kendrick, 53, thinks the orange lights he saw hovering in the sky have something to do with the U.S. or Canadian air force. But tourists, don't despair. "If they don't see some aliens," says Kendrick, "they'll see some beautiful countryside."

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December 13, 2002


Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Open UFO Files To Rest Of Us Earthlings

by Leslie Kean
Pacifica Radio

As Steven Spielberg's TV series "Taken" raises public interest in government secrecy about unidentified flying objects, the Washington Post reports that Attorney General John Ashcroft has tightened the lid on the Freedom of Information Act. Ashcroft gave federal officers the green light to bend or perhaps break the information act if they want to withhold records, and he'll even defend them in court.

Two-thirds of the American people believe their government is withholding information about UFOs, and 60 percent of adults want the information declassified if it is not a national security risk, according to a September Roper Poll commissioned by the Sci Fi Channel.

So far, declassified records and scientific investigation clearly show that some UFOs are not science fiction. Unexplained objects have been well documented by trained observers such as pilots and military personnel. Some have landed and left ground traces in England, France and the United States.

"People have been digging through the files and investigating for years now. The files are quite convincing. The only thing that's lacking is the official stamp," says Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell.

As a result, the Sci Fi Channel is publicly calling for the declassification of government documents on UFO activity.

In October, network President Bonnie Hammer joined President Clinton's former chief of staff, John Podesta, to support a new information act initiative requested by me and the Washington law firm of Lobel, Novins and Lamont.

"I think it's time to open the books on questions that have remained in the dark, on the question of government investigations of UFOs," Podesta said at a Washington news conference. "We ought to do it because... the American people quite frankly can handle the truth, and we ought to do it because it's the law."

The request seeks documentation on the crash of an object of unknown origin in Kecksburg, Pa., in 1965. The U.S. government denies anything fell from the sky, despite the signed affidavits of firefighters, radio journalists, dozens of witnesses at the scene and newspaper reports to the contrary.

In 1969, the U.S. Air Force stated that "no UFO reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security" to justify closure of its investigation. The government still takes this position, despite routinely refusing to comply with information act requests about UFO cases on the basis of national security. In fact, some UFO incidents have obvious national security implications, although this would not appear to justify the withholding of information about them.

According to North American Aerospace Defense Command logs, U.S. fighter jets attempted to pursue UFOs in 1975. Defense Department reports state that UFOs were also pursued after hovering over three supersensitive nuclear missile launch sites that same year.

And as recently as last July, two F-16s from Andrews Air Force Base were scrambled in the sky over Washington after radar detected an unknown aircraft. Military officials said they do not know what the jets were chasing, because whatever it was disappeared.

This month, the British Ministry of Defense released files on a famous multiple-witness case at Bentwaters Air Base in 1980. A memo by U.S. Deputy Base Commander Lt. Col. Charles Halt and a tape recording at the scene detail the landing of a glowing triangular craft that left three circular depressions and radiation 10 times higher than normal in a nearby forest.

Echoing the U.S. line, the British government also dismisses the phenomenon by claiming that the event was "of no defense significance." However, Britain's former Chief of the Defense Staff, Adm. Lord Hill-Norton, says that whether this represents the hallucination of men with the responsibility for guarding nuclear weapons or "the entry of a vehicle from outer space," it "cannot fail to be of defense interest."

There is no longer an acceptable justification for the withholding of reports on UFO incidents decades old, whether they are of defense interest or not. Nor is it acceptable for the attorney general unilaterally to refuse to enforce information act. The American people should not have to rely on Spielbergian science fiction for answers.

Leslie Kean, an investigative reporter and producer for Pacifica radio, is research director of the Coalition for Freedom of Information.

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December 11, 2002


Greenville Daily Reflector

Unidentified object spotted over Grifton

by Jana Clancey

Creatures from outer space may have been checking on the affairs of Pitt County residents Friday night.

Several people from Farmville to the southern tip of Pitt County reported an odd light racing across the night sky.

J.K. Butler, a former Grifton volunteer firefighter, was sitting in the old Red and White parking lot about 11 p.m. Friday. He was there with three fire department friends when the sky around them lighted up, coloring everything from the ground to the trees to themselves a strange shade of green and blue.

The light passed over them, he said. And when they looked up, it was so blinding they couldn't identify the object.

"We all just looked at each other like, 'What in the world was that?'" Butler said. "I've seen meteors and space junk and satellites. I ain't never seen anything that color.

"It had some good size to it, too, and it was up in the air pretty good," he said.

His first thought: the light had come from a UFO. His second: another country was firing missiles in the direction of Pitt County.

"Maybe it was government-related. If it was, we'll never know," he said.

Over the fire-rescue scanners mounted in the volunteers' trucks, calls came in from Ayden and the Pitt County Sheriff's Office. Butler heard patrol cars being dispatched to check for something that had fallen from the sky in the area of Jolly and Abbott Farm roads.

Sgt. Marty Burroughs sent three of his deputies to survey for damage, or possibly, a spacecraft between the Ayden Police Department and the two rural roads. They didn't find a thing, not even a small piece of space tin.

"The main thing we checked were houses to make sure nobody had been hit by anything," he said.

Deputies found the houses to be safe and left the area.

Burroughs had a dispatcher contact Lenoir and Greene county sheriff's departments to see if a craft had crashed beyond the county line. But nothing was reported.

A deputy in Ayden and several Greenville officers reported seeing the peculiar light near Pitt Community College at Fire Tower Road and N.C. 11

"They just said it was moving and it appeared to be descending," he said.

Asked if he thought the light was a UFO, Burroughs said, "It could have been. I don't know. I can't explain it.

Sheriff Mac Manning jokingly chalked the sighting up to the work of a shiny red sled and nine flying reindeer.

"I thought it was maybe Santa Claus making an early run, but we ruled that out pretty quick," Manning said.

Apparently, he said, the light was bright enough and big enough to attract quite a bit of attention.

Manning said the sighting of whatever-it-was isn't a big deal. Deputies patrolling remote areas of the county report seeing things in the sky all of the time, he said.

Whatever it was, it scared J.K. Butler - and his buddies. For two hours they watched the night sky, looking for something, anything that could help complete the puzzle to what they had seen; whether that be little green men or a plane with similar lights.

He was asked if he'd recently been watching the Sci-Fi Channel's series on UFOs called 'Taken'. He said he'd never heard of it, and after being informed of the show's angle on alien abductions, he said there's no way he's watching it now.

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December 6, 2002

Kentucky New Era

New documentary to revisit Kelly Green Men legend

By Michele Carlton                    

An independent production company in Glendale, Calif., plans a trip to Hopkinsville this month to research the 1955 invasion of "little green men" in the community of Kelly for a documentary.

Barcon Productions will be filming eyewitness accounts for a film entitled "Monsters of the UFO" to be released next summer.

"We interview witnesses and what they saw and then base our film on their accounts," said documentary producer Lisa McIntosh in a telephone interview from Glendale Thursday afternoon. "We'll try to recreate exactly what they saw."

The local legend took root when residents of the small town reported the landing of a spaceship near the home of Cecil "Lucky" Sutton home on the Old Madisonville Road at the edge of Kelly on Aug. 21, 1955. Sutton and other family members said 12 little men landed in a spaceship and then battled them at the house for hours.

Although the invaders are now known as the "little green men of Kelly," the original stories did not paint them green. Sutton and others actually said the creatures were silver.

Most of the Sutton family members who said they fought the aliens off with shotguns are deceased. However, McIntosh said former State Trooper Russell Ferguson, who investigated the Suttons' reports, has agreed to be interviewed on camera about the event.

"We are still looking for others," McIntosh said.

McIntosh and Barcon Productions owner Barry Conrad plan a trip to Kentucky as soon as they secure more interviews with witnesses to the Kelly event who are willing to speak on camera.

"We were both familiar with the Kelly story. When we decided to do this project, it was one of the stories we were just dying to work on," McIntosh said. "We were completely taken by it. It's truly an amazing story."

The documentary will focus on three stories involving close encounters with unexplained phenomenon. In addition to the Kelly green men, the documentary will explore first­hand accounts of the Mothman legend in Point Pleasant, W.Va., and the Flatwoods Monster in Flatwoods, W.Va. McIntosh said filming in the West Virginia locations is complete.

Barcon Productions specializes in producing documentaries on the paranormal. The company has produced shows featuring psychic talk show host James Van Praagh and "California's Most Haunted," a documentary on haunted houses in the Golden State.

McIntosh said "Monsters of the UFO" may air on cable television next summer. The Sci­Fi and Discovery channels are possible markets for the documentary, she said. Michele Carlton can be reached by telephone at 887­3235 or by e­mail at

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December 6, 2002


Daily Mail (UIK)

he day the aliens landed... in Suffolk
Revealed: the UFO sighting the Government kept quiet for 20 years

by Nick Craven


The young airmen ran through the forest towards the strange glow in the trees fearing it might be a crashed aircraft.

Suddenly the whole area was covered in a brilliant white light from above, where an unearthly triangular craft seemed to float silently above the trees.

Frozen in terror, the servicemen watched as the object hovered for a while, appearing to observe them, then shot off faster than any aircraft they had ever seen.

This was not Hollywood's latest venture into science fiction, but the genuine account of U.S. airmen at a Suffolk RAF base more than 20 years ago.

In December 1980, Rendelsham Forest near RAF Woodbridge was, according to alien watchers, the site of Britain's most celebrated UFO sighting, which the Government has tried to keep quiet ever since.

This week the Ministry of Defence was criticised by the Parliamentary Ombudsman for repeatedly refusing to reveal the contents of the secret 'Rendlesham File' despite much of its contents being released in America under the U.S.. Freedom of Information Act.

Now the Ministry of Defence has finally - and reluctantly - released the Rendlesham files to public view under the British version of the Act, so we can - officially - learn exactly what a group of military witnesses saw in the forest on that chilly night 22 years ago. It makes for astonishing reading. Between Christmas 1980 and New Year, two incidents occurred on successive nights near the US Air Force nuclear base at RAF Woodbridge.

They were reported in a remarkable memo by the Deputy Base Commander Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt, under the innocuous title 'Unexplained Lights'. He told how three military policemen.

saw light in the trees outside the back gate of the airfield and set off, fearing a crash.

Lt Col Halt wrote: "They reported seeing a strange glowing object in the forest...described as being metallic in appearance and triangular in shape, approximately two to three metres across the base and 2m high. It illuminated the entire forest with a white light.

"The object itself has a pulsating red light on top and a bank of blue lights underneath.

"The object was hovering or on legs. As the patrolmen approached it manoeuvred through the trees and disappeared. At this time the animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy".

The next day Lt Col Halt joined a patrol which found three depressions on the forest floor where the object had been sighted. Radiation readings of ten times the normal level were found around the site.

Not all Lt Col Halt's account has the hallmark of military efficiency. He got the date of the incident wrong, recording the initial sighting as December 27 when it was the 26th.

While checking the area, the officer recorded what he found on a Dictaphone, but the tape was to record something far more dramatic when the strange lights returned after nightfall.

The breathless officer can be heard saying: "There's no doubt about it, there's a strange flashing red  light ahead....pieces of it are shooting off...this is weird. It's like the pupil of an eye looking at you, winking."

Later on he observed: "We got two strange objects, half moon shape, dancing with coloured lights on them....Yeah, they're both heading north.  He's coming in towards us now....Now we're observing what appears to be a beam coming down to the ground."

In the background there are excited shouts from members of the four-man patrol and another officer exclaims: "Look at the colours.....s**t!"

"This is unreal" gasps Lt Col Halt.

Over the years, as the memo leaked out, other former officers went public, backing up the story. Most notable was another USAF security patrol-man, Larry Warren. According to his account, there were not just lights, but something far more incredible.  He said the triangular object appeared right in front of him and he felt nauseous as the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.

He claims to have seen three 'aeronaut entities' communicating telepathically with the senior officer. The aliens were 3ft tall and resembled "kids in snowsuits". He said they floated on bluish/gold balls of light out of their craft.

According to Warren, the next morning, he and the other airmen were checked over with a Geiger counter and instructed to sign statements which merely mentioned seeing 'unusual lights'. They were told by senior officers not to discuss the incidents.

Other parts of the his story emerged during subsequent hypnotic regression, it seems - itself a highly controversial technique by which to divine the truth. In this account, following his close encounter, he was abducted by aliens and taken under the base to a network of tunnels. The aliens told him they used the tunnels to get to the North sea.

Warren's account, published in a book in 1997, merely allowed
the sceptics to rubbish the Rendlesham incident as fantasy, obscuring the fact that something inexplicable happened that night, and that the witnesses, far from being anorak star-gazers, were seasoned Air Force personnel.

Ian Ridpath, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy, is not convinced. He believes the men were merely seeing the revolving beam of the Orford Ness lighthouse five miles away.  The depressions in the earth were merely rabbit diggings, he said, and the radiation was of naturally occurring levels.  Additionally he discovered that a very bright meteor has been visible in southern England that night.

"UFO hunters will continue to believe that an alien spaceship landed in Rendlesham Forest" concludes Ridpath, dismissing it as "a marvellous product of human imagination".

Brenda Butler, one of the regular band of 'sky watchers' who spend their nights in Rendlesham Forest, doesn't mind being accused of using her imagination or of being called downright 'nutty' when she tells people how she has been abducted by aliens three times.

The chirpy, 58 year old grandmother from Leiston, near Woodbridge, spends three nights a week in the woods with other devotees, and says she has seen spacecraft on no fewer than five occasions.

"People say that I'm mad, but I just tell them they should keep an open mind until they've seen it for themselves" she said.  "There's a portal between our world and that of the aliens. They come through on interdimensional energy."

The most recent investigation into Rendlesham was led by the unlikely figure of glamorous society internet gossip columnist Georgina Bruni, who interviewed more than 100 witnesses for her book, You Can't Tell The People.

"I started out as a sceptic" said Miss Bruni, 51, who became interested in the case five years ago.

"But after speaking to the people who saw it, I am sure this was an event of biblical proportions and it was not of this world. "I'm less convinced by accounts of abductions by aliens and whatever but something very strange happened here and the Government, by trying to deny it and put the lid on it, have given the conspiracy theorists a field day."

So what really happened at Rendlesham - was it just a case of over-excited Americans indulging in group hallucination? Did trained military personnel really mistake a lighthouse for a moving spaceship? None of the solutions seems to hold much water and we are forced to file the incident under 'unexplained'.  Rendlesham has been described as 'Britain's Roswell' - the alleged incident in which an alien spacecraft was recovered near the town of New Mexico in 1947 after crashing.

The U.S. government says it was a weather balloon but that only fuelled the fascination of Hollywood producers and the UFO-logists still further.

Initially the MoD denied that anything out of the ordinary had been reported at Rendlesham. Years later Georgina Bruni says she tackled Lady Thatcher about UFOs at a charity event and was told: "You must have the facts and you can't tell the people".  That seems to have been the official line on UFOs for years and has helped maintain the sinister X-Files aura about the whole area.

After all, no good mystery is complete without attendant conspiracy theories. The Truth May Be Out There but there's no fun in searching for it unless you have to cut through a blanket of official denials and cover-ups, is there?

One day, even the MoD might learn that lesson.

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December 6, 2002


Evening Telegraph (Dundee, Scotland)

Fife UFO Witnesses Respond To Appeal

UFO investigators have had an "absolutely astonishing response" to an appeal for witnesses to a string of alleged close encounters in north-east Fife, writes Michael Alexander.

Lee Close, chief investigator with the Anglo Scottish UFO Research Agency (ASUFORA), revealed today that since last Thursday the group had received 11 phone calls and four e-mails concerning unexplained sightings over the past few years.

As a result of the newspaper publicity he said ASUFORA had also now been asked to take part in a documentary about UFOs and alien abductions in Scotland.

Meanwhile, a number of independent UFO investigators across Scotland have also come forward wanting to collaborate their efforts and join the team.

Mr Close said, "There has been an astonishing response since last week. We have had at least 10 sightings reported to us from the Fife area.

"These include a sighting in Dundee in 1994, one over RAF Leuchars, Burntisland on November 28, and Ballingry on the June

"There have also been sightings in Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and several other locations including Freuchie."

ASUFORA made its appeal for witnesses last week following a new report of a UFO sighting in the Freuchie area.

Six years ago two local women made headlines around the world after claiming they encountered aliens at Drummy Wood, Freuchie.

Now UFO enthusiasts are being drawn to the area in renewed numbers following a new "sighting" by a retired US army captain and his family during a visit to the area last summer.

Mr Close said it was now his team's job to assess whether the latest reports could be explained by astronomical or aircraft factors, or whether there might be something more supernatural at work.

Sighting-report forms had now been sent out to all the individuals and he was awaiting replies.

Mr Close said he was still keen to hear any other reports, including photographic and video evidence.

And he again offered assurances that anyone who did so would be treated with the strictest confidentiality.

He said ASUFORA was also hoping to expand as a professional group and was looking for equipment and financial support.

He added, "We are currently looking for things like electromagentic field detectors, access to Geiger counters, digital cameras, night vision field glasses and recording equipment."

Anyone with information or who can help can phone the ASUFORA hotline on 07796 095480.

Further information can be found at or by e-mailing Lee Close on

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December 5, 2002

Phoenix New Times

To Spite the Face: Researchers accuse ASU's THEMIS of fraud and cover-up on latest image of 'Face on Mars'

BY Quetta Carpenter

Under the surface of Mars lies an ancient, nuclear-powered city left by Martian citizens. At least, that's what a group of space researchers think. And they're trying to prove it by invoking a little-known remnant of President Clinton's last days called the "Data Quality Act" that went into force in October of this year. The filing, dated October 31, 2002, gives NASA 40 days to address the complaint that there is faulty data on Arizona State University's THEMIS Web site.

THEMIS (Thermal Emission Imaging System) is the crown jewel of ASU's science department that takes and analyzes images from an infrared camera on NASA's Odyssey satellite and releases them to the public.  THEMIS also conducts expansive educational programs for students, scientists and interested observers. But its reputation is now being trashed in almost every Mars or space-related Web site on the Internet with headlines like, "Is NASA Capable of Lying?" and "Odyssey Slaps the Face on Mars."

The heated controversy that has incited the faithful conspiracy congregation - led by a charismatic "preacher" named Richard Hoagland - concerns one image that was released in July of this year, and the software manager at THEMIS, Noel Gorelick.

The image in question is the first high-resolution infrared image of a region called Cydonia - which houses the so-called "Face on Mars." This has been the most hotly contested region of Mars since a 1976 Viking image showed what clearly appeared to be a human face on the planet's surface. But subsequent images from NASA have cast a web of suspicion on the region, the "face," and the other structures surrounding it, inciting almost epic conspiracy theories all over the world.

The reason the infrared, or "IR," images are so important is that they show temperatures, allowing for a more definitive analysis of the origin of structures on Cydonia.

Hoagland claims to have proof that ASU's Gorelick swapped the July 24 Cydonia image for a manipulated one in order to keep people off the scent - or get them on it. And Hoagland's arguments are not falling on deaf ears - starting a five-month feeding frenzy on the Web and on a popular conspiracy radio talk show hosted by Art Bell. The image in question has been viewed 120,000 times from a link on MSNBC mentioning Hoagland's beef with THEMIS.

Given his involvement with unorthodox scientific research, Hoagland is surprisingly difficult to throw into the crackpot category. His lengthy dissertations are reminiscent of the Lone Gunmen from The X-Files, but his résumé doesn't read like a typical conspiracy theorist. He was the recipient of the Angstrom Medal for Excellence in Science in Stockholm, Sweden, a colleague of Carl Sagan, and a former science adviser to CBS News and Walter Cronkite.

His pet project, The Enterprise Mission - where he goes by "The Captain" - monitors all of the data from NASA and does research in excruciating minutia. Its early '90s school education program, The Enterprise Classroom, received a Points of Light Award from Barbara Bush and was featured on NASA's Spacelink --even getting a visit from the space shuttle Atlantis crew. But Hoagland and The Enterprise Mission's research now focuses almost exclusively on SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence).

According to Hoagland, an image of the Cydonia region was released on July 24 via Web download to Keith Laney, a NASA Ames Research Center consultant who works with The Enterprise Mission. Laney claims that he did not alter the image, but when he compared it to the image on the THEMIS Web site, he realized the two were different.

"Science, if you do it right, does not lie," says Hoagland. "But here, the evidence tells a different story than [the people at THEMIS] do."

Enter vast conspiracy theory.

Hoagland and his horde say that there is little surprise when NASA releases misleading or purely false images. Several images have been released of the Cydonia plane since the original Viking expedition - some making the "face" appear completely flat as though nothing is there, and others that present alternate views that look less human. Hoagland thinks these images have been released to kill public interest in the issue.

And Hoagland doesn't think it's just Mars. He also has theories of cover-up conspiracies on Europa (a moon of Jupiter), the dark side of Earth's moon, Mars moon Phobos, and a host of other topics.

As far as Hoagland is concerned, NASA is not trustworthy on anything because of a study produced by the Washington, D.C., think tank The Brookings Institute in 1963, before the Viking expedition. This report, known as The Brookings Report, asserts that the government should hide evidence of life on other planets - if it finds any - to avoid religious and overall societal breakdown. Assuming that this report was made a part of internal NASA policy, Hoagland now dedicates himself to searching for any and all possible manipulations of NASA images and information. "The people of this country pay good money for this research, and they should get what they pay for," says Hoagland. "The pattern of deception would only exist if there was something there."

It is Laney and Hoagland's assertion that ASU's Gorelick "bamf'ed" or redirected Laney to the "real" Cydonia image in order to send up a red flag that THEMIS' information was being purposefully flawed. Hoagland admits it sounds bizarre, but asks, "If we're crazy - or have consciously perpetrated a fraud here - why bother? Who's ultimately going to listen to seriously ill people for long?"

And many people are still listening to Hoagland.

THEMIS officials contradict Hoagland's allegations. "There is no scientific validity to anything Hoagland says about this," claims Dr. Philip Christensen, the principal investigator at THEMIS. "Their image is completely fabricated. It takes about six steps on Photoshop to make our image look like theirs."

Hoagland wants THEMIS to release the image exactly as it comes to them, with no processing. "If they have nothing to hide, why won't they show us the raw data?" Hoagland demands.

Christensen has a simple answer. "The reason we don't release the so-called raw-data' is that you can't read raw data. We give people as close to unaltered as humanly possible, short of saying, Here's a line of ones and zeroes.'"

But Hoagland believes ASU's Gorelick has a motive for the alleged image-swap. "Read between the lines. It's all code," he claims. Hoagland's basis for this belief is anomalous image dates, and a collection of numbers he feels to be significant indicators of a complex code. "The image is 333 pixels across and 1,947 pixels long. Those numbers have meaning - they are very important.

"Forget what's in the image; look at the other things. It's a meta-message."

Realizing how cloak and dagger he sounds, Hoagland remarks, "When you're dealing with Spooksville, you have to be a little James Bond." Hoagland maintains that Gorelick logged more than 1,000 hours on The Enterprise Mission Web site during the controversy over the image. "Why would he do that?" Hoagland wants to know. "It's bizarre unless he is playing a very sophisticated game."

Gorelick himself (who goes by the handle "bamf" on Web chat rooms) says that the accusations are "totally false." Gorelick admits to frequenting both Hoagland's site and other Mars-related sites for personal interest reasons, but is less than happy with being characterized as a fraud and a liar. "I think it shows paranoid delusion," remarks Gorelick when asked whether he was sending secret messages to Hoagland and Laney. "Laney claims I was goading him into [analyzing the image]. But I wasn't even talking to him."

As far as Laney's image, Gorelick says, "My opinion is that Laney invented that image through intentional or unintentional manipulation," and believes Hoagland's crew is using him as a scapegoat in order to legitimize their cause. "Hoagland is getting good results with this sensationalism. He gets money, resources, and he's on the radio all the time."

Christensen echoes Gorelick's sentiment, saying, "Anything we do, that group is going to complain about it. You can't win."

But these protestations are not taken at face value by Hoagland's camp. "Why put this stuff out - unless it's a cry for help? They want to get caught," says Hoagland.

Hoagland says ASU's Gorelick, and others like him, are unhappy with the fact that they cannot release complete data to the public - and this "bamf'ed" image is his way of fighting back. "It only takes one white crow to prove that not all crows are black," Hoagland explains. "That's what I think [Gorelick] is trying to give us - one white crow."

Gorelick laughs in response, "I actually like this part. He gives me more credit than I am probably worthy of - that I could engineer such a thing."

In any case, Gorelick says that THEMIS is not bound by the federal Data Quality Act. "It's not a NASA Web site, it's an ASU Web site. And it's not a NASA image, it's an ASU image.

"Even if it were relevant, we would respond that Laney's data was incorrect and that the Web site has the correct image - or more likely claim it's frivolous."

An answer on the filing is due on December 11. Hoagland is hopeful, saying, "If [Gorelick] sent Laney to a bamf to get another image, he has to admit what he did."

Either way, the response is unlikely to satisfy Hoagland. "If you begin to believe that the government can lie, why would they keep their grubby hands off of this?" Hoagland asks.

But THEMIS and her crew are not alarmed. Says Christensen, "[Hoagland] can go on and on for a long time - but every now and again there's some interesting conjecture. The scientific community needs someone to keep them thinking on their toes."

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December 4, 2002



UFOs In 15th Century Paintings

by Richard Owen

ITALY'S Old Masters were recording flying saucers and UFOs in their paintings as far back as the 15th century, according to a scientist in Rome.

Roberto Volterri argues that artists dating back to 1406 included evidence of "strange objects in the sky" for later generations to see. He says that far from being the product of the paranoid Cold War years, UFOs were documented but overlooked because they were often extraneous to the subject of the painting and could only be explained as "testimonials of something seen or heard about".

Volterri, 56, an archaeologist by training, specialises in the measurement and analysis of metallic objects. He said he had spent his working life in a thoroughly down-to-earth environment of cold and rational calculation and sophisticated and precise instruments, but he was convinced science did not have all the answers.

"I have been fascinated by the inexplicable since I was a boy," he said. "Scientists tend to dismiss what cannot be rationally explained as belonging to the realm of fantasy. But it is the job of science to examine what seems mysterious, not to dismiss it out of hand."

He has published a book, As the Ancient Chronicles Relate, in which he claims to show that past generations have also wondered whether there is life beyond that on earth.

Perhaps the most striking example is The Madonna and St John, attributed to Fra Filippo Lippi (1406-1469) and kept at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. In it a man and a dog are clearly gazing up at a UFO-type object behind the Virgin Mary's shoulder. No less baffling is a painting by Masolino da Panicale (1383-1447), The Miracle of the Snow, painted in 1429 and kept at the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. "The painting shows a real event in Rome in the second half of the fourth century AD," Volterri said. "But what are these strange, dark, elongated clouds in the shape of UFOs?"

Volterri said he had compared these with photographs taken in 1955 in Namur, Belgium, which purport to show cigar-shaped UFOs. by contrast, Glorification of the Eucharist, by Bonaventura Salimbeni (1567-

1613), in the church of San Lorenzo in San Pietro, at Montalcino near Siena, shows "what looks very like a satellite such as the Russian Sputnik".

Volterri said that in La Tebaide, by Paolo Uccello (1397-1475), objects in the sky were identical to photographs taken of supposed UFOs in the US in the 1950s and 6Os.

But Martin Kemp, professor of the History of Art at Oxford University, said the "Renaissance UFOs" had a perfectly rational explanation.

"Many artists used their imaginations to represent celestial or sacred powers," he said. "The objects in Masolino da Panicale's painting were not UFOs at all but merely clouds schematised to fit in with his perspective."

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December 3, 2002


UFO Case 'Blocked' by MOD

Details of one of Britain's most famous UFO scares was among information repeatedly suppressed by government defence chiefs, according to a Westminster watchdog. Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) broke open government rules three times in recent months over cases including the Rendlesham Forest UFO scare.

Complaints about the MoD's refusal to list countries prioritised for arms sales or reveal details of an armed services survey were also up-held.

Former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle said the examples outlined in the report on the Ombudsman's work between May and October were symptomatic of a "culture of secrecy" in the MoD.

"It is one of those departments that have always opposed freedom of information and are not very attuned to what is required in a modern, open and accountable government," he said.

"Other departments and Whitehall as a whole have a problem with openness but the MoD is on of the more incorrigible cases of government by secrecy," he said.

Details of the alleged sighting at a Norfolk RAF base more than 20 years ago were released last week after the Ombudsman ruled the MoD were wrongly suppressing them.

The "Rendlesham File" concerns a sighting of a "glowing" triangular object by US Air Force police in Rendlesham Forest, near RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk.

The documents have only previously been made available to around 20 people who used the American Freedom of Information Act to gain access to them.

In the early hours of 27 December, 1980, a number of US Air Force men witnessed the object hover in the darkness, transmitting blue pulsating lights and sending nearby farm animals into a "frenzy".

While the actual documents had not been released, the details were widely known, the Ombudsman said in her report.

"Given their age and the fact that these documents contained no information not already in the public domain, the Ombudsman saw no reason why they could not be disclosed," the report said.

The Ombudsman also partially upheld complaints against the Cabinet Office, DVLA, Driving Standards Agency and the Department for Work and Pensions, the report revealed.

Restrictions on the MoD's "Rendlesham File" were dropped as part of an opening-up of the inner workings of Whitehall.

Ministers are attempting to lift the official veil of secrecy by repealing or amending a raft of legislation banning access to information.

Government departments will now be required to release information on the internal workings of Whitehall, including minutes of meetings of top civil servants.

Ministers say they will repeal or amend up to 100 items of legislation which are currently prohibited from disclosure.

*** For the full text of the Ombudsman's judgement go to:

click 'What's New' and then 'Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration - Access to Official Information - Investigations Completed May-October 2002.

Ministry of Defence - Case A29/02 - Refusal to release information relating to the Rendlesham Forest UFO incident can be found on pgs 9-11 of the file in pdf format.

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December 3, 2002


Florida Today

UFO Denials Never Die

by Billy Cox

Beneath the fictional guise of "Taken," the 20-hour UFO series under way on cable's Sci-Fi Channel, is a rock-hard initiative no one's been able to pull off in more than 30 years -- a renewed government study of unidentified flying objects.

But a chat with Air Force veteran Bud Evans, 78, provides some insights into the longstanding resistance to official candor. Evans was on the front lines of the Cold War when, confronted with state-of-the-art military hardware, the phenomenon apparently replied with an ostentatious display of arrogance.

Now retired in Indialantic, Evans opens an old scrapbook and turns to some aging newspaper articles with headlines such as "P-51 Blows Up, Killing Hero Over Franklin" and "Chase for Flying Disk Blamed in Crash Death." The only reason he saved them, he says, is because he knew the pilot, Thomas Mantell, when the two served briefly together in the Kentucky Air National Guard.

Mantell's death in 1948 sparked the beginning of a controversial Air Force inquiry into unidentified flying objects that ended with the termination of Project Blue Book in 1969. Although Mantell reported pursuing a metallic-looking object before he presumably lost consciousness at 33,000 feet, the official explanation was that he died chasing planet Venus -- in the middle of the afternoon. When the Navy's high-altitude Skyhook balloon project was declassified several years later, Skyhook was substituted as the guilty culprit.

Either way, Evans never gave UFOs much thought until 1949, when he was a flight commander with the 9th Fighter Squadron in Misawa, Japan. Situated directly across from the Soviet Union, the unit belonged to the 49th Fighter Group, which was replacing its World War II-era P-51 Mustangs with brand-new F-80 jet fighters. That's where Evans got scrambled after something that appeared to be openly mocking American training exercises.

While vectoring toward an aerial gunnery target -- a 30-foot long, 8-foot tall banner with bulls-eye markings, suspended by an 800-foot cable from a P-51 tow ship -- two pilots making separate approaches radioed, "We've got a target, but no tow ship." Ground radar confirmed the unknown bogey and dispatched Evans for a look-see, but the intruder disappeared before he could reach it.

During debriefings, the pilots described the rectangular UFO as three times the size of the gunnery target. Upon flanking this broad, flat object no more than a few inches wide, they also noted it resembled translucent glass, as they could see the silhouettes of each other's planes on opposite sides. The thing bolted forward suddenly, then "went straight up and out of sight," Evans says.

Not long afterward at Misawa, with the band and honor guard assembled in anticipation of the midmorning arrival of the Fifth Air Force brass for a base inspection, a rectangular object dropped in from the east and cruised directly above the runway. "I knew as soon as I saw it that this is what the guys had seen before, and it was right ahead of where the C-54 (ferrying the headquarters team) was going to come," Evans recalls. "It was quite large."

Although his recollections contrast somewhat with Evans, the essential details of what Indian Harbour Beach resident Clyde Good saw on Misawa match up. "It was coming in pretty slow, and at first, we all thought it was a tow target, but we couldn't see what was holding it up," says the 83-year-old, retired lieutenant colonel.

"So I'm looking for its power source, and there were no props, no jet engines, no visible means of propulsion, and it doesn't make a sound. But it was definitely under the control of somebody or something, because then it pulled straight up, like a bat out of hell, and took off. Just disappeared."

Some time afterward, Evans and a wingman were scrambled by ground radar to intercept an intruder flying at erratic speeds over northern Hokkaido. Evans missed it, but his colleague, Lt. James Harvey, reported it was a huge but thin, broad rectangle that allowed him to get close enough for a good look before it vanished in a blink, vertically, through the cloud cover.

What Evans and Good also agree on is the incidents were all classified and eyewitnesses were ordered to shut up. But if their Misawa encounters ever made it into the public domain, neither Evans nor Good are aware of it.

"They all knew about it because they sent three, four people in from FEAF (Far Eastern Air Forces) headquarters to interview people and file their reports," says Good. "I'd sure like to know more about it, because it was extraordinary, it was something you never forget, and I'm not going to live forever.  But nobody ever talks about it. It's like everyone's in denial."

So, like, what's new?

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December 2, 2002


Fresno Bee

UFO Sightings Are No Secret

by Rick Bentley

Manuel Amparano talks about sighting an unidentified flying object at 3:32 a.m. May 13, 1978, as if it happened only days ago. Coming face-to-face with a UFO creates vivid memories.

Amparano's sighting is one of the most detailed of the many accounts of UFO sightings in the Fresno area documented over the years in The Fresno Bee and on Web sites.

The Fresno resident was working as a Kerman police officer.

"It was just a routine patrol," Amparano says of the encounter 24 years ago.

His early morning sweep took him past Kerman High School. At Del Norte and California avenues, Amparano saw "a circular-type thing, similar to a round fireball or a setting sun, about 100 to 150 feet off the ground."

He knew local teens had been setting palm trees on fire, and he thought he had caught some young vandals red-handed.

"Then I realized there were no palm trees in the area. The fire seemed to be inside of an oak or maple tree. This thing started lifting up," Amparano says.

The officer started adjusting the spotlight on his patrol car to get a better look at the object. But just before he turned on the light, there was a bright blue flash. Then the object made a sharp turn and moved away toward the southwest at a rapid speed.

Amparano had not left his car. And the windows were rolled up because it was a cold evening. He did not hear any other noise except for the engine of his car.

The Air National Guard, weather bureau and the Fresno Air Terminal told Amparano nothing unusual showed up on any of their radar screens that night. The encounter might have been dismissed as an optical illusion, if not for the burns Amparano suffered on his face and chest.

"It was like a sunburn when you fall asleep at the pool. There were white blisters on the parts of my body facing that light. I also had trouble with sunlight. It was like right after you have your eyes checked and they are sensitive to light. That lasted about a week," Amparano says.

Doctors at Fresno Community Hospital told Amparano the burns appeared to be caused by microwaves.

An immediate search of the cotton field where the sphere had been sighted revealed no evidence. But for years, nothing would grow in a round area in the field. Today the spot is part of an almond orchard.

Amparano went back to work a few days later. The only after-affect of the close encounter was calls from "a lot of women who wanted to have lunch and dinner with me." He continued to work in local law enforcement until 1992, when he was hurt while breaking up a bar fight.

He's had more than two decades to think about that glowing sphere. Amparano is certain it was a UFO.

"What I am not certain about is whether it was some kind of government project or something from out there," Amparano says.

Other newspaper and Web site accounts of local UFO sightings include:

March 14, 1980: Two residents near the Fig Garden Village shopping center see a bright yellow ball dripping flames. The object is identified as a candle under a helium-filled balloon.

May 20, 1980: Mary Phillips, Caruthers, spots a disc-shaped object with red and green lights floating northwest over Fresno. The Lemoore Naval Air Station receives two calls about the object.

May 29, 1997: At about 10 p.m., a Fresno woman, identified at "Mrs. Liv S," reports that while looking at a clump of stars in the southeast portion of the sky, one of the stars begins to move in an odd fashion.

Sept. 22, 1998: A Fresno couple, identified as Vikki and Joseph R., spot at 9:40 p.m. a triangular-shaped object with lights set at regular intervals. The object appears to be a pyramid shape. It makes no sound.

July 23, 2002: About 9:45 p.m., one member of a family camping at Sequoia National Park points out a huge craft in the form of a V with red lights flying slowly over. They are able to see the object for about two minutes. It makes a humming sound. Numerous campers see the craft.

July 23, 2002: At 10:30 p.m., four Exeter churchgoers see a huge UFO in the shape of a triangle with red lights rimming the edge of it. The ship flies south.

The reporter can be reached at or at 441-6355.

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December 1, 2002


Washington Post


A Tale of UFOs and Alien Abduction

by Alan James Frutkin

First-person accounts of alien abductions are still the stuff of supermarket tabloids. But in the hands of Steven Spielberg, those stories become a major TV event. At least, that's what the folks at cable's Sci Fi Channel are hoping.

Beginning on Monday at 9 p.m., the cable network premieres "Taken," a 20-hour, 10-episode miniseries about UFO sightings, extraterrestrials, and alien abductions. Spielberg is the executive producer.

The miniseries follows three families over the course of 60 years. It begins during World War II, when U.S. bomber pilots flying over France reported what may have been the first contemporary sightings of unidentified flying objects. The action also centers on Roswell, N.M., where, legend has it, a UFO crashed in 1947.

In fact, "Taken's" storyline is based primarily on legends that have emerged regarding the subject of extraterrestrials. "It's a modern mythology," said Leslie Bohem (pronounced Bo-heem), the executive producer who wrote the series. "If you say all of this is true, that's amazing. If it's not true, it's even more incredible."

More incredible, Bohem added, because "for thousands of years, people have been telling similar versions of the same story."

Bohem said he was drawn to the project because of its subject matter and its scale. "Taken" was four years in the making and cost roughly $40 million. At 20 hours, it is the longest miniseries ever to air on TV.

But with the project spanning nearly six decades, and four generations of families, "Taken's" size also proved daunting. Actors who figure prominently in the early episodes soon move offscreen once their characters' descendants come into view. Filmmaker Tobe Hooper ("Poltergeist"), who directed "Taken's" premiere episode, said that during filming, he shot almost 300 screen tests for future roles in the series.

"It was one of those situations where if you had examined it and asked questions before you went into it, you may have found it overwhelming," the director added, chuckling. "So it was better to just put the parachute on and jump. If it opens, it opens."

Size isn't "Taken's" only distinction. The Sci Fi Channel will air the first five installments this week-- one two-hour episode Monday through Friday at 9 p.m.--and five more installments next week, Monday through Friday, as well. It's an unusual scheduling move, but Sci Fi President Bonnie Hammer said it's worth the risk.

"To dilute this as a weekly series over ten weeks would take away some of it specialness," she added. "It's an experiment, but we really believe that high risk equals potentially high rewards."

Clearly, the reward Hammer is looking for is ratings--big enough, once and for all, to put the oft-neglected cable network on the map.

"Unfortunately, many people over the years have believed that the Sci Fi Channel is not necessarily for them," Hammer said. "Even if they enjoy science fiction, they don't equate themselves with being science fiction aficionados."

Sci Fi has tasted success in the past. In 2000, the cable network's first miniseries, "Frank Herbert's Dune," drew its largest audience to date, averaging approximately 4.5 million viewers.

With Spielberg's name attached to "Taken," Hammer said she hopes the miniseries will reach an even larger audience, creating "an awareness that we haven't had before about the bigness and the quality of what we do."

And quality is the word most often tossed around when speaking of "Taken." Hooper said that each installment of the special effects-laden series looks more like a feature film than a typical TV show. He added that the visual style of each episode also reflects the decade in which it takes place. For example, the first show has a sepia-toned look, the second highlights the Technicolor style of the 1950s, and the third has more of a 1960s black-and-white TV look.

Despite all of its technical wizardry, Hooper said the strength of the series still comes from its character-driven storylines. Rather than have his actors mimic the cardboard-cutout style of many sci-fi films, he said, "I wanted these people to be real, and to be responding to the reality of their situations."

In creating realism out of what remains for many a surreal subject, Bohem said he zeroed in on three different aspects of the so-called mythology, represented by the show's three families. First, there are the Keys, a typical American family torn apart after several of its members are abducted. Young Allie Keys, played by Dakota Fanning, is the series' narrator. Then there are the Crawfords, a military family.

But the Clarkes, Bohem said, reflect a traditionally under-represented subject: debunkers. "It's one of my favorite parts of the mythology," he said. "Guys who, for complex reasons, are dedicated to proving it was all a bunch of hooey."

Of course, the subject of alien abductions is nothing new to television. Bohem noted that for nine seasons, Fox's "The X-Files" covered that subject matter admirably. So when it came time to portray the military's purported role in the coverup of alien sightings, Bohem wanted to take a different tack than that of "X-Files" creator Chris Carter.

Whereas Carter depicted a paranoid government afraid to let the public know the truth even as officials cut deals in the back room with aliens, Bohem said his portrayal of the government is a bit more humanistic. "Even if they're vicious, ruthless and dangerous, they're trying as hard as we are to figure out who the aliens are," he said.

Actor Joel Gretsch ("The Emperor's Club," "Minority Report") plays Capt. Owen Crawford, an ambitious military man, and one of the most surprising villains. And even though Crawford is seen only through episode four, Gretsch said his storyline underscores the program's reliance on dramatic storytelling rather than gimmickry.

"There is a Crawford legacy that's passed on to his children," he said of Crawford's villainy. "And it just goes to show you that whatever karma you put out there will come back to bite you in the butt."

Both Bohem and Hooper acknowledged that such intricate storylines are the trademark of a Spielberg, whose feature résumé includes "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and "Back to the Future." Spielberg was unavailable for an interview for this story, but Bohem said the filmmaker was involved with the series every step of the way.

"If I was stuck on something, I always knew I was working with someone who'd come up with something great," he said, adding that the initial idea for the miniseries came from Spielberg himself. "Steven Spielberg doesn't put his name on something if he doesn't believe in it."

Now, Sci Fi hopes viewers believe in it. And while airing the series consecutively for two weeks might be asking a lot of the audience, the network also has devised several back-up plans, among them, weekend marathons. On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8, Sci Fi will air the first five episodes on both days, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The following weekend, it will air the first five shows on Saturday, Dec. 14, and the second five on Sunday, Dec. 15, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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November 28, 2002



Britain to Publish Files on UFO Sightings

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government will publish files on reported UFO sightings as part of a shake-up of its laws on freedom of information. Among the documents to be published is the "Rendlesham File," which deals with one of the country's best known sightings of an unidentified flying object.

Until now, only about 20 members of the public have seen the file, which relates to a sighting in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, eastern England, in 1980.

According to some UFO enthusiasts, eyewitnesses including U.S. officers at a nearby military base saw a brilliantly lit spaceship land in the forest on two consecutive nights.

Skeptics say the witnesses were fooled by the beam from a lighthouse on the nearby coast.

The Rendlesham file has been available to the public for some time but only at the discretion of the Ministry of Defense.

Now, the government says it will publish it on the Internet before the end of this week, along with other files on reported UFO sightings.

"These first steps mark important progress toward changing the culture of government and extending the public's right to know what is being done in their name," Freedom of Information Minister Yvette Cooper said in a statement.

The government says it intends to repeal or amend up to 100 pieces of legislation which currently prohibit disclosure of information. It aims to replace them with provisions

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November 28, 2002


Las Vegas Mercury

Close encounters, part two: Las Vegas businessman sets up shop at Utah ranch to study paranormal activities

by George Knapp

This is the second of two reports about persistent stories of anomalous phenomena in a section of northeastern Utah. The activity, as reported by hundreds of witnesses over several decades, includes UFOs, unusual balls of light, animal mutilations and disappearances, poltergeist events, sightings of Bigfoot-like creatures and other unidentified animals, physical effects on plants, soil, animals and humans, and a vast array of other unexplained incidents.

The activities seem most concentrated on a 480-acre cattle ranch owned by the family of Tom Gorman. (Gorman isn't his real name.) In 1996, the ranch was purchased by Las Vegas businessman Robert Bigelow, who arranged for an intense, ongoing scientific study of events at the ranch. by agreement with Bigelow, and at the request of many of the witnesses, a few names have been changed or omitted to protect those who don't want to be hassled by media outlets or UFO enthusiasts.

It began as a dull white light, appearing out of nowhere in the darkness of the middle homestead of the Gorman ranch. Tom Gorman saw it. So did a researcher named Chad Deetken. It was nearly 2 a.m. on Aug. 28, 1997. Gorman and Deetken were out in the pasture as part of an ongoing effort to document unusual activity on the property.

Both men watched intently as the light grew brighter. It was as if someone had opened a window or doorway. Gorman grabbed his night vision binoculars to get a better look but could hardly believe what he was seeing. The dull light began to resemble a bright portal, and at one end of the portal, a large, black humanoid figure seemed to be struggling to crawl through the tunnel of light.

After a few minutes, the humanoid figure wriggled out of the light and took off into the darkness. As it did, the window of light snapped shut, as if someone had flicked the "off" switch. Deetken had the presence of mind to snap a few photos of the event, but would later learn that his film had recorded little of what the two men had witnessed.

Tom Gorman, his wife, two teenage kids and several extended family members had grown accustomed to weird things happening at the ranch. They had seen numerous UFO-type craft, as well as balls of light that seemed to be intelligently controlled. Their neighbors had seen them too. Residents of this basin have been reporting similar phenomena since the '50s. Native Americans say the sightings extend back even further. But aerial anomalies weren't the strangest occurrences on or near the ranch, not by a longshot.

In his two years on the property, Tom Gorman had lost 14 head of cattle from his hybrid herd. Some animals simply disappeared, as if plucked from the sky. Others were carved up with surgical precision. Family members and neighbors had also seen Bigfoot-like creatures, oversized wolves, animals and birds that no one could identify. Their horses had been attacked, their dogs incinerated, their cats abducted.

The Gormans themselves were bedeviled, almost daily, by odd little household incidents that, separately, wouldn't amount to much, but when considered together, were hard to dismiss. Windows and doors in their home would rip open or slam shut, seemingly on their own. Frequently, when Mrs. Gorman would take a shower, she'd emerge from the tub to find that her towel and personal items had been removed from inside the locked bathroom. On one occasion, she returned from town with a large haul of groceries and other supplies. She carefully put the provisions away in various cabinets, walked into another room for a few minutes, and returned to find all the supplies back out on the kitchen table.

Clothing, tools and appliances seemed to develop lives of their own. But this wasn't the equivalent of socks disappearing in the laundry. For example, Gorman's son worked up a considerable sweat to meticulously stack a one-ton pile of cord wood on the south side of a treeline in the middle homestead. He took a 30-minute water break and returned to find that the ton of wood had been moved 100 yards to the north side of the tree line. Tools often disappeared, then reappeared on the range. In one instance, a heavy post hole digger vanished. It was finally discovered, days later, high up in the branches of a cottonwood tree, as if placed there by a crane. The uneasy feeling grew among family members that they were constantly being watched, but they had no idea who, or what, was doing the watching.

Enter Robert Bigelow and NIDS

Las Vegas businessman Robert Bigelow first heard about the Gorman ranch in the summer of 1996. A small newspaper article about mysterious events at the property prompted Bigelow and his team to fly to Utah. Bigelow bought the ranch and convinced Tom Gorman to stay on as caretaker, against the wishes of his family.

Bigelow is the founder of NIDS, the National Institute for Discovery Science, a Las Vegas research organization dedicated to the study of unexplained phenomena. NIDS staff members include highly trained and educated scientists, engineers and former law enforcement personnel with solid credentials, degrees and experience. Although the organization investigates seemingly bizarre events, it has no preconceived ideas about the true nature of the subject matter and is primarily interested in getting to the truth, wherever that truth leads. (This observation is a personal one, based on more than six years of interaction with the NIDS organization.)

NIDS staffers emphasize that they are constantly drilled by Bigelow and by his Science Advisory Board to rigidly adhere to the scientific method. ("The Science Board really holds our feet to the fire," one staff member confides.) Because the subject matter itself is so controversial in science circles, NIDS realizes that any deviation from the scientific method would mean a loss of credibility. If they were deemed a crackpot organization, their findings, no matter how profound or well-documented, would be dismissed out of hand.

The Gorman ranch presented a unique opportunity to study a rich tapestry of strange stuff. It was as if someone had ordered up the Weirdness Pizza With Everything on It. UFOs and Sasquatch, balls of light and cattle mutilations, poltergeists and crop circles, psychic manifestations and Native American legends--the ranch sounded like a unique place in all the world. NIDS staffers knew they had to be careful but also knew they couldn't merely dismiss the stories told by locals.

"We had no preconceived ideas about what was going on, but we decided to use an 'open-filter' approach to gathering information," says one senior NIDS staffer. "We had a lot of reservations about the legends of skinwalkers, Bigfoot sightings, all the things the family claimed to have seen, but we decided to collect all the data we could get, without dismissing it outright, and figured we could evaluate it all later."

The NIDS team set up shop. They installed a command post, positioned video and other monitoring equipment around the ranch, built new fencing around the perimeter of the property to better control access to the site, constructed observation posts in the pastures and staffed the property with trained observers. The effort constitutes the most intense and thorough surveillance of a UFO hot spot ever undertaken.

UFO researchers were incensed at being excluded from the study. They floated rumors that Bigelow was working for the CIA, that he and NIDS were already in contact with E.T., and that whatever information was gleaned from the ranch probably would be locked away in dark vaults under the Pentagon. The constant criticism prompted the publicity-shy Bigelow to grant a rare interview. He told a Utah newspaper that NIDS was not communicating with either extraterrestrials or lizard people. He appealed, perhaps in vain, for a reasonable amount of time, free from outside interference, so a legitimate study might be undertaken.

"We know so little in terms of what the overall scope of the phenomena are that it's just embarrassing to try and make some conclusions at this point," Bigelow said. He admitted that the activity at the ranch seemed to be "selective in how it exposes itself and to whom," suggesting that a tailgate-party atmosphere where people sit around outside the ranch, barbecueing hot dogs while awaiting flying saucers, would not be conducive to a scientific study. Not surprisingly, this plea for sanity fell on deaf ears among the UFO faithful. They were so busy expressing their outrage over being barred from private property that they failed to grasp the major clue dropped by Bigelow during his interview.

A pre-cognitive intelligence

Contrary to some predictions, the odd phenomena at the ranch didn't evaporate under the glare of scientific scrutiny. Activity continued, but grew even harder to comprehend. NIDS staffers saw the same balls of light, even UFO-type craft that the Gormans had seen. But their attempts to photograph or videotape the sightings were largely futile. Team members, accompanied by Gorman and former lawmen who were hired for the study, often saw anomalous aerial phenomena, with their eyes, their binoculars and with night vision equipment. With few exceptions, though, the images inexplicably could not be recorded on film or video.

A confidential report prepared for NIDS board members and obtained by this reporter documents dozens of encounters involving NIDS staffers, the Gormans and other witnesses. After several months of round-the-clock surveillance, a mind-boggling pattern began to emerge. The phenomena, whatever they represent, seemed capable of anticipating the moves of the scientists. If they placed extra cameras and personnel in the southern field, the activity would pop up in the northern pasture. If they concentrated their observations in the center homestead, the activity might move to the ridge overlooking the ranch.

Skeptics might suggest that such an explanation for a lack of photographic evidence sounds a little too convenient. But something happened on July 19, 1998, that sheds further light on the challenge faced by the research team. Soon after arriving at the ranch, NIDS had installed three telephone poles in one of the pastures. Atop each pole was a sophisticated package of sensoring equipment, including multiple video cameras. The cameras had a full view of that section of the ranch and were connected to video recorders back in the command post. At exactly 8:30 p.m., the three cameras on the westernmost telephone pole were suddenly disabled. When NIDS staffers went to check out the problem, they saw that something had shredded their electronic equipment. Wires had been ripped out of the cameras with considerable force. Plastic brackets were snapped in two. Thick layers of duct tape that had been used to secure the equipment had been ripped away. A foot-long piece of TV cable was missing. Analysis of the remaining cable showed it had been slashed with a knife.

Team members excitedly returned to the command center, knowing that the telephone pole that had been assaulted was in full view of cameras positioned atop the second pole, located about 200 feet away. The assumption was that, whatever had ripped the guts out of the first camera would be clearly visible on video recorded by the second. But when they rolled the tape back, they saw nothing. At the exact moment the first camera package was being vandalized, nothing visible could be seen anywhere near the second telephone pole. This incident set a pattern for what was to follow.

"I came up with a term for it," says Col. John Alexander, a retired Army intelligence officer who still works on classified projects with Los Alamos National Laboratory and remains an adviser to NATO organizations. "I called it a pre-cognitive sentient intelligence. It certainly seemed to be intelligent, and it seemed to know what we were going to do even before we did it."

Alexander is a former adviser to NIDS who made the trip to the ranch to see what was going on. As a scientist and military insider, he is reluctant to jump to any conclusions about the nature of what has happened there. But he suspects, after exploring the property and reading the witness reports, that there is an intelligence behind the assorted phenomena and that it almost seems to be playing a game with those who are trying to observe it.

Another NIDS staffer arrived at a similar conclusion. He has a doctorate in physics, a long list of peer-reviewed papers about cutting-edge scientific concepts, and a lengthy employment history with prominent think tanks and classified military programs. He asked that his name not be used in the belief that he would never again be hired for sensitive scientific work if his involvement with the ranch were made public.

"It's a very messy affair. Nothing is clear cut. It isn't as simple as saying that E.T.s or flying saucers are doing it," the scientist said. "It's some kind of consciousness, but it's always something new and different, something non-repeatable. It's reactive to people and equipment, and we set up the ranch to be a proving ground for the scientific method, but science doesn't seem amenable to the solution of these kinds of problems."

Ice and dinosaurs

As if to punctuate the point, the phenomena at the ranch seemed to constantly evolve. One of the most recent incidents occurred on a cold morning in February. The caretaker for the property was patrolling the grounds early in the morning. As he walked past a watering hole, he noticed an odd circular impression in the thin ice that had formed overnight. Something had carved a perfect circle in the ice. The circle was just under six feet in diameter and seemed oddly reminiscent of the crop formations seen in English wheat fields.

The cuts extended only a quarter-inch into the ice and the ice itself was perhaps another quarter-inch thick. The question arises, how could this have been done? Someone standing on the muddy bank would have left footprints. The only prints were cattle tracks. The ice itself was so thin that it could support almost no weight and certainly would have cracked and broken if someone stood on it. Could someone have suspended themselves above the ice patch and then somehow carved a perfect circle? How, and more importantly, why? NIDS staffers, following the scientific method, collected and analyzed ice shavings from the spot, took readings for magnetic fields and EM radiation, checked for tracks throughout the area but found no clues. There is no natural explanation for such a subtle event, and it has never been reported again.

NIDS employees compiled a confidential report containing information about all the assorted incidents on the ranch. Reading this report will make the hair stand up on your neck. To date, the researchers have recorded seven distinct incidents involving magnetic abnormalities. Simply put, their compasses went nuts while out on the range. The needles of the compasses either spun out of control, or pointed straight down at the ground. No one has a reasonable explanation.

There were several instances involving some sort of invisible force moving through the ranch and through the animals. One witness reported a path of displaced water in the canal, as if a large unseen animal was briskly moving through the water. There were distinct splashing noises, and there was a foul pungent odor that filled the air but nothing could be seen. A neighboring rancher reported the same phenomena two months later. The Gormans say there were several instances where something invisible moved through their cattle, splitting the herd. Their neighbor reported the same thing.

Of all the strange incidents at the ranch, this one may take the prize. It occurred on the night of March 12, 1997. Barking dogs alerted the team to something lurking in a tree near the ranch house. Tom Gorman grabbed a hunting rifle and took off in his truck toward the tree. Two NIDS staffers followed in another vehicle. Up in the tree branches, they could make out a huge set of yellowish, reptilian eyes. The head of this animal had to be three feet wide, they guessed. At the bottom of the tree was something else. Gorman described it as huge and hairy, with massively muscled front legs and a doglike head.

Gorman, who is a crack shot, fired at both figures from a distance of 40 yards. The creature on the ground seemed to vanish. The thing in the tree apparently fell to the ground because Gorman heard it as it landed heavily in the patches of snow below. All three men ran through the pasture and scrub brush, chasing what they thought was a wounded animal, but they never found the animal and saw no blood either. A professional tracker was brought in the next day to scour the area. Nothing.

But there was a physical clue left behind. At the bottom of the tree, they found and photographed a weird footprint, or rather, claw print. The print left in the snow was from something large. It had three digits with what they guessed were sharp claws on the end. Later analysis and comparison of the print led them to find a chilling similarity--the print from the ranch closely resembled that of a velociraptor, an extinct dinosaur made famous in the Jurassic Park films. (For the record, no one at NIDS is saying he shot a velociraptor. They don't know what it was.)

More cattle deaths

Two days before the above incident, another animal was found mutilated on the ranch, and it is the only case from the ranch that NIDS has publicly confirmed before this article. Gorman and his wife spent a bright Sunday morning tagging the ears of newborn calves. They put a tag on the ear of a calf born near the ranch house, then wandered out into the pasture for a period of 45 minutes. In that interim period, with the Gormans only 200 yards away in the pasture, the calf was completely stripped of flesh. The Gormans were alerted by a wail from the mother of the calf. The calf's entrails had been placed, almost ritualistically, on the ground, but all of its flesh was simply gone, leaving only bone and hide behind. There was no blood on the ground or on the animal.

A NIDS team was at the ranch and quickly scoured the area for evidence. The remains were sent to two pathology labs. Both pathologists concluded the calf had been butchered by two distinct instruments, something like a heavy machete and something like sharp scissors. How this was done in broad daylight, in an open pasture and in clear sight of the ranchers remains a mystery. (A second calf disappeared that same morning after being tagged and was never found. In all, 12 cattle have met a similar end since NIDS has been on the ranch. A full report on the calf incident can be found on the NIDS website.)

So, what's going on?

Capt. Keith Wolverton spent more than 20 years as an investigator with the Cascade County Sheriff's Department in Great Falls, Mont. In the mid-'70s, that area experienced a similar wave of UFO sightings and cattle mutilations, as well as Bigfoot sightings, and Wolverton investigated them all.

"I asked my boss back then to give me six weeks to solve the mystery," Wolverton says. "It's 30 years later and I'm still left with a lot of questions but no answers."

Wolverton wrote a book about his Montana experiences. He came to the ranch to share his expertise with NIDS, and while there are similarities between the things that happened near Great Falls and at the Utah ranch, Wolverton says he's never heard of any place with such a concentration of weird activity as the Gorman ranch. Microbiologist Colm Kelleher has reached a similar conclusion.

"I thought that if we threw enough personnel and equipment at this one, pull out all the stops, adhere to the scientific method, that we would probably get answers," Kelleher says. "We have all of these strange cases, close to 100, many of them well-documented, but if you try to call that scientific evidence of anything, you'd be laughed at."

The main reason NIDS has been unwilling to go public with information about the ranch is there isn't much that can be said. For a scientific organization to merely toss out a lot of scary stories would be counterproductive, especially if it resulted in hordes of UFO nuts flooding the property and interfering with whatever goes on there. Make no mistake, the activity at the ranch certainly seems to have an interactive component. It responds to people, events and disturbances. In many instances, it seems capable of anticipating things that were about to happen.

"The only thing that jumps out of the data is how unreproduceable these things are," Kelleher notes. "No two events ever repeated themselves in the same fashion. It's almost as if it's a learning curve and we were being led along. It's the only thing consistent here."

What could possibly explain all that has happened at the ranch? Natural predators, rustlers or pranksters might conceivably be responsible for some of the events, but certainly not all of them. NIDS staffers considered the possibility that Indian shaman or black magic practitioners might have been carrying out some sort of ritualist campaign at the ranch. They note that the Ute people consider the ranch to be an unholy place, a forbidden place, but that explanation falls far short on many levels.

Hardcore UFO believers have proposed an E.T. connection to events at the ranch, but NIDS staffers say there isn't an iota of evidence to prove such a hypothesis. The possibility exists that unknown military units might be capable of producing nearly all of the events that have been reported in the area, perhaps as an experiment in psychological warfare. (Tom Gorman was convinced of this for a long time, but came to realize the theory was more than a stretch. Someone, somewhere would have seen these military men operating in such a rural area.)

That doesn't leave much. There is one possibility that's worth considering. Cutting-edge physicists have proposed the existence of alternate dimensions or parallel universes. Quantum physicists believe that portals may exist between our world and other worlds. The concept of wormholes is no longer considered to be the stuff of science fiction. New York physicist and author Michio Kaku theorizes that there are 11 dimensions in our universe, although humans have only identified four. Might a wormhole resemble the portal of light that was seen on the ranch? And if such portals do exist, could they allow beings on the other side to travel into our world? As wacky as it all sounds, leading scientists believe that wormholes and alternate dimensions are perfectly consistent with known laws of physics. If so, then it isn't much of a leap to suggest that UFOs, aliens, Bigfoot beings or other creatures, even poltergeists or spirits, could come and go and never be detected by puzzled, mystified humans.

"Aliens may be here now," says Kaku, "here in another dimension, a millimeter away from our own world."

Admittedly, it all sounds farfetched. But if anyone has a better explanation, let's hear it.

A final note

For further discussion of the Gorman Ranch mystery, along with a few personal observations, check out the Knappster column elsewhere in this issue. Also, the website of the National Institute for Discovery Science is packed with information and research papers concerning these and other issues. Anyone with information or insight about the ranch, UFOs or mutilations is welcome to contact NIDS through the website. All such contacts will remain confidential.

Another word of warning to UFO diehards: It is probably futile to ask for restraint on the part of the faithful, but here goes anyway. Visitors are not welcome at the Gorman ranch. The ranch is patrolled 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and NIDS emphatically declares that trespassers will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. One of the principal caretakers of the property is a 20-year veteran of Utah law enforcement and will not hesitate to bust people who mess with the property, the animals or the staff. The people who live in the area do not want to be hassled. So leave them alone. Don't be a jerk.

Furthermore, anyone expecting to find the ranch and see UFOs or Bigfoot will be deeply disappointed. Paranormal activity on the property has all but disappeared over the past year, which is a primary reason that access was obtained from NIDS for this article.

The NIDS website is at The NIDS online report form, where people can electronically report UFO sightings, animal mutilations, etc., is at The NIDS UFO hotline number is 702-798-1700.

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November 22, 2002


Santa Fe New Mexican

Roswell Incident Had Victims, Program Says

ALBUQUERQUE - While he told the world that a weather balloon went down in Roswell, an Army general had in his hand a memo telling Pentagon brass of a UFO crash with "victims," according to a new television documentary.

A computer analysis of that memo, held by Brig. Gen. Roger Ramey during a July 1947 press briefing, is the "smoking gun" of the Roswell Incident, researchers say in the documentary being broadcast today on the Sci-Fi Channel.

Using a digital photo scanner to enlarge and enhance words printed on the folded piece of paper Ramey held, and using another computer program to select the most likely words, researcher David Rudiak, who has a Ph.D. in physics from UC Berkeley, found two key phrases: "the victims of the wreck" and "in the 'disc' they will ship."

With the textual study plus University of New Mexico archaeological findings from one of three alleged UFO crash sites, science fiction seeks to close the gap with fact, producers say.

A photograph taken July 8, 1947, in Fort Worth, Texas, by James Bond Johnson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram shows Ramey clutching a communique to Washington, D.C., while he displays a deflated weather balloon just hours after other Army officers in Roswell had reported a UFO crash.

It was one of a series of inconsistent military reports about the incident, which has become part of American mythology.

"Unless national security is at stake, there is absolutely no reason to keep this information from the public," said Thomas Vitale, a Sci-Fi Channel vice president. "Whatever crashed at Roswell, let us know what the truth is."

The Air Force had responded to a 1994 call from the late U.S. Rep. Steve Schiff, R-N.M., by saying it had no information on the Roswell Incident. Schiff, an Air Force reserve judge advocate general's officer, then took his query to the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

In 1997, the Air Force acknowledged the weather balloon had been a false cover story, but a new story also was called into question. In a report written by Lt. William McAndrew, the Air Force suggested reports of alien bodies in the wreckage must have originated because of a crash-test program in which mannequins were dropped from balloons. The mannequins did not come close to matching 1947 descriptions of alien bodies, and the crash-test program was not introduced until 1953, Rudiak said.

Sci-Fi, guided by longtime Roswell UFO researchers Tom Carey and Don Schmitt, commissioned William Doleman, an archaeologist with UNM's Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, to excavate the alleged initial crash contact point on the ranch where the late Mack Brazel worked as foreman.

Doleman said he knows little about the Roswell Incident but agreed to excavate the site using purely scientific methods because it is "culturally significant" and because so much of what is circulated about the Roswell crash landing is based on hearsay. What was needed, Doleman said, was physical evidence.

"So this project is a very bold step by people who claim to know what happened and where it happened," Doleman said. "What makes it bold is they were willing to go out there and look for physical evidence."

Details of the excavation are being kept confidential until after today's premiere. But Doleman said he agrees "that obviously something happened in July 1947 in southeastern New Mexico." After his work there, though, he said, "I'm still uncertain" about UFOs and alien beings.

The documentary will introduce some witnesses who have not been heard from publicly before, attesting to the existence of alien bodies in the wreckage of the "flying disc," Carey said by phone from his home in Pennsylvania.

"This is where we loaded the bodies," he quotes one New Mexico witness, Robert Slusher, as saying. Slusher, among those appearing in the documentary, was part of a B-29 crew that he said loaded bodies up through the plane's bomb bay at the Roswell Army Airfield.

Three victims were supposedly recovered from the final crash site, and a team of archaeologists, coincidentally, were in the area doing research on ancient Indians at the time, Carey said. Among them was Curry Holden, an archaeologist from Texas Tech in Lubbock, whom Carey located in 1992.

"Curry Holden said he saw everything - the craft and the bodies," Carey said. Holden died a few months later.

Carey, an investigator for a private corporation, said he started looking into Roswell 12 years ago "as a hobby."

But it became more than that. And now, he said, he and Schmitt are in a race against time, as witnesses become scarcer.

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November 21, 2002


Las Vegas Mercury

Cover story: 'Path of the Skinwalker'
A small ranch in northern Utah may be the strangest place on Earth

by George Knapp

First of two parts.

I'm sitting on a white plastic chair in what seems like total darkness. Strapped to my chest and shoulders is an array of electronic gear - microphones, a video camera, a box that detects magnetic changes and a Geiger counter. Somewhere in the mix is a flashlight, the only device whose function I understand, and thus, the only device I cannot find.

In front of me, I can almost make out the sinister shapes of some truly spooky trees. Malevolent bugs are buzzing in and out of my eyes and ears, and it occurs to me that there must be a tavern open somewhere nearby, even in this remote corner of Utah. One hundred or more yards away, beyond a barbed-wire fence and a little creek, are my fellow paranormal rangers, equipped with their own video cameras, night-vision glasses and assorted scientific gear. They are supposed to be watching me to see if anything happens.

On this night, I am the bait. Bait for what, I wonder? The unspoken hope is my own inherent weirdness quotient might give me some sort of connection to the undeniably odd energy, or entity, that seems to have concentrated itself on this remote rural community, and, in particular, on this small ranch where I now sit, waiting for something to announce its presence.

Some very strange things have happened at the precise spot where I'm sitting. It is here that a visitor was accosted by a roaring but nearly invisible creature, something akin to the Predator of movie fame. It is here that a Ph.D. physicist reported that his mind was invaded, literally taken over, by some sort of hostile intelligence that warned him that he was not welcome. It is here that an entire team of researchers watched in awe as a bright door or portal opened up in the darkness and a large humanoid creature crawled out before quickly vanishing. And it is here that several animals - cattle and dogs - were mutilated, obliterated or simply disappeared.

For as long as anyone can remember, this part of northeastern Utah has been the site of simply unbelievable paranormal activity. UFOs, Sasquatch, cattle mutilations, psychic manifestations, creatures that aren't found in any zoos or textbooks, poltergeist events. You name it, residents here have seen it.

Retired schoolteacher Junior Hicks is the area's unofficial historian for all things weird. He's catalogued 400 or so incidents, most of them involving UFO sightings, but says there have been thousands of other cases. Hicks estimates at least half of the 50,000 residents of this basin have seen weird things in the sky - flying saucers, cigar-shaped craft, zigzagging balls of light, so many different objects that local police and the Highway Patrol long ago stopped taking reports. (Many of the lawmen have been witnesses themselves.) Hicks and members of his family have witnessed their own UFO events over the years.

"The UFO activity really started getting intense in the early '50s," Hicks says. "There were cases where the whole school and all the teachers saw these things hovering over the town in broad daylight. In the '60s and '70s, we probably had more UFO sightings than any place in the world."

But run-of-the-mill UFO events don't begin to describe the rich array of unusual phenomena in this area. The Ute Indian tribe has been here far longer than white settlers. Tribal leaders are reluctant to speak to outsiders, but their oral history is replete with examples of strange creatures and sightings. Indian lore refers to some of these beings as Skinwalkers. Other cultures call them shape-shifters, werewolves or Bigfoot.

"The Utes take this very seriously," Hicks says. "They think the Skinwalkers are powerful spirits that are here because of a curse that was put on them generations ago by the Navajos. And the center of the whole legend is this ranch. The Utes say the ranch is `the path of the skinwalker.' Tribe members are strictly forbidden from setting foot on the property. It's been that way for a long time."

The ranch in question is a 480-acre spread of rich, well-watered pasture and a few thick patches of tall cottonwoods. It's divided into three sections, each section being a former homestead. Thick brush and a small river are on one side. A rocky, picturesque ridge is on the other side. Skinwalker Ridge is what the Utes call it, according to Hicks. A long dirt road is the only way in or out of the ranch.

When rancher Tom Gorman (not his real name) bought the place in 1994, it had been vacant for seven or eight years. Gorman, his wife and two kids were curious about the impressive array of bolts that covered the doors and windows of the main house. There were deadbolts on both sides of the doors. Even the kitchen cabinets had bolts on them. And at both ends of the house, iron stakes and heavy chains had been installed. Gorman guessed the previous tenants had positioned large guard dogs in the front and back of the home, but he had no idea why.

The bulletproof wolf

On the day the Gormans moved their furnishings onto the property, they had their first foreshadowing of the events that would follow. They spotted an extremely large wolf out in the pasture. The wolf cautiously made its way across the field, and, to the surprise of everyone, sidled up to the family, acting like it was a familiar pet. It had rained that day, and the family remembers the wolf smelled like a wet dog as they were petting it.

After a few minutes, the wolf strolled over to the corral and grabbed a calf by its snout, attempting to pull it through the corral bars. Gorman and his father began beating on the wolf's back with sticks but it wouldn't release the calf. Gorman grabbed a .357 Magnum from his truck and shot the wolf at point-blank range. The slug had no noticeable effect.

Gorman pumped another bullet into the wolf, which then let go of the calf but stood looking at the family as if nothing had happened. Gorman shot it two more times with the powerful handgun. The big animal backed off a bit, but showed no signs of distress, not even any blood.

The mystified rancher retrieved a hunting rifle and shot the wolf again, once more at close range. Gorman is not only an experienced marksman but a big-game hunter of considerable repute. Five slugs should have been enough to bring down an elk, let alone a wolf. The fifth shot caused a chunk of hair and flesh to fly off the wolf, but it still didn't seem fazed. After a sixth shot, the wolf casually trotted across the field into a muddy thicket. Gorman and his father tracked the beast for about a mile, following its pawprints through the mud, but the tracks suddenly ended, as if the wolf had simply vanished into thin air.

Returning to the corral area, Gorman examined the chunk of wolf flesh and says it looked and smelled like rotten meat. He made inquiries among his neighbors, but no one seemed to know anything about any tame, over-sized wolves in the area. A few weeks later, Mrs. Gorman encountered a wolf that was so large, its back was parallel with the top of her window as it stood beside her car. The wolf was accompanied by a dog-like animal that she couldn't identify.

Over the next two years, a menagerie of weird animals was reported by family members and neighbors. While driving into the ranch on a bright afternoon, Gorman and his wife saw something attacking one of their horses. They described it as "low to the ground, heavily muscled, weighing perhaps 200 pounds, with curly red hair and a bushy tail." It somewhat resembled a muscular hyena and seemed to be clawing at their horse, almost playing with it. Gorman got within 40 feet of the animal but says it literally vanished before his eyes. Poof. Gone. They checked the horse and found numerous claw marks on its legs. (A few months later, the wife of a deputy sheriff reported seeing a similar muscular, reddish beast running across the property.)

Another visitor to the ranch had a more ominous encounter in the middle homestead, the same place where I was set out as bait. The visitor, along with Gorman and his son, say they saw a large blurry "something" moving through the trees. The visitor has been meditating when this thing showed up. It swiftly moved from the trees, across the pasture, covering 100 yards in seconds, and when it reached the man, it let out a ferocious roar, something akin to a large bear, a roar loud enough to be heard hundreds of yards away. But this was no bear. It was, according to the Gormans, nearly invisible, resembling the camouflaged being in the movie Predator. The visitor was so scared, he grabbed on to Gorman and wouldn't let go. He left the ranch and has never returned.

Other creatures and beings were also seen, including exotic, multicolored birds that were certainly not native to the region and could not be identified. There were numerous close encounters with dark, nine-foot-tall beasts that resembled a Bigfoot or Sasquatch. (More on those incidents will follow.)

As if those visual experiences weren't enough, the family claims its other senses were also challenged by assorted weird events. They often were overwhelmed by strong musk odors. The pastures would unexplainably light up at night like a football stadium. They claim to have seen shafts of light that seemingly emanated from the ground, They (and others) say they heard what sounded like heavy machinery operating under the earth. And they heard voices. Tom, his son and his nephew remember hearing a loud, disembodied conversation in some unintelligible language. The disembodied male voices spoke in what the witnesses say was a mocking tone and sounded like they were emanating from 20 or more feet above their heads, but they saw nothing. The dogs accompanying the three witnesses growled and barked at the voices, then took off in a panic.

There were physical manifestations that aren't easily explained. While checking on his herd in the third homestead, Gorman noticed that someone had dug up his pasture. Hundreds of pounds of soil had been scooped out of the ground. The edges of the hole resembled perfect, concentric circles, as if someone had dropped a gigantic cookie cutter on the pasture. Several smaller scoop marks were also found.

The Gormans also report phenomena similar to crop circles. One formation found in their pasture consisted of three circles of flattened grass. Each circle was approximately eight feet in diameter, and they were arranged in a triangular pattern, with each circle about 30 feet from the others. Keep in mind, there is only one road leading into the ranch. Anyone coming in or going out would almost certainly be noticed by the Gormans or their neighbors.

UFOs and other aerial oddities

In the spring of 1995, the Gormans started seeing strange things in the sky. While out checking on their cattle, Gorman and his nephew spotted what they thought was a recreational vehicle parked on the property. They approached it, figuring the driver might be having mechanical trouble. As they got closer, the RV moved silently away from them. They moved closer, it moved further away. They climbed a fence to get a better look at it, and that's when they knew this was no Winnebago. The craft rose above the treetops and slowly flew away, making no sound as it departed. It certainly wasn't a helicopter. The witnesses had a clear view and say the object was shaped like a refrigerator, with a single light on its front and a red light on the back.

Before long, everyone in the family was seeing weird aerial objects. Mrs. Gorman says something that resembled a stealth fighter, but ringed with blinking disco lights, silently hovered about 20 feet above her vehicle before zipping off. Each family member had repeated sightings of a cloud that usually hovered just outside the property. The cloud was characterized as having "blinking Christmas tree lights" or "silent, mini-explosions" inside. Among the other aerial craft seen by the Gormans, their neighbors and other witnesses were classic flying-saucer objects, flying sombreros, shafts of light similar to fluorescent light bulbs and a cigar-shaped craft several football fields long.

by far the most common objects they witnessed were floating spheres of different sizes and colors. In 1995 and 1996, the Gormans and others reported 12 separate incidents of seeing large orange circles flying over the trees of the center homestead. Tom Gorman claims that holes occasionally opened up in the orange spheres and other smaller spheres would fly out. (A neighboring rancher told this reporter of his own encounters with what he called a flying orange basketball.)

by early 1996, the sightings of blue spheres at the ranch became almost commonplace. These orbs were said to be about the size of a softball, made of glass and filled with bubbling blue liquids that seemed to rotate inside. Mr. and Mrs. Gorman say that in April 1996, they watched one of the blue orbs repeatedly circle the head of one of their horses, The horse was illuminated by an intense blue light, and there was a sound like static electricity in the air, but this wasn't ball lightning. The orb seemed to be intelligently controlled. When Gorman approached the horse with a flashlight, the orb darted off, maneuvering through tree branches with speed and dexterity.

The Gormans say the blue spheres seemed to generate severe psychological effects on the family. Family members felt waves of fear roll over them, far in excess of what might be normal, whenever the blue orbs appeared. It was the appearance of one blue orb in particular that finally convinced the Gormans to sell the ranch.

One evening in May 1996, Gorman was outside with three of his dogs when he noticed a blue orb darting around in the field near the ranch house. Gorman urged his dogs to go after the ball. The dogs chased and snapped at the orb, but it dodged and maneuvered enough to stay just beyond the reach of their snapping jaws. The ball led the dogs out across the pasture and into the thick brush that borders the field. Gorman says he heard the dogs make three terrible yelps, then they were silent. He called for them, but they didn't respond.

The next morning, Gorman went to look for the dogs. What he found were three round spots of dried and brittle vegetation. In the middle of each circle was a black, greasy lump. Gorman surmised that his dogs had been incinerated by something. One thing for sure, the dogs were never seen again. The disappearance of their dogs prompted the Gormans to think about getting out.

Mutilations and other animal mysteries

Tom Gorman wasn't some country-bumpkin farmer trying to get by. He had college degrees and advanced training in animal husbandry, was considered an expert in artificial insemination and had plans for raising hybrid, high-end stock at the picturesque ranch. His herd, which ranged from 60-80 head, consisted of expensive, top-of-the-line heifers and four 2,000-pound show-class bulls.

>From the day he moved his herd onto the ranch, though, his hopes - and his animals - seemed to be under assault. The balls of light that were seen so often on the property seemed to take special interest in the cattle and were often seen buzzing around the heads of the animals. Sometimes, the cattle would react violently, the herd splitting suddenly as if some invisible force was plowing through their middle. It soon got worse.

Although the Gormans kept close watch on their stock, something began exacting a terrible toll. One cow was found dead in a field. A strange, crisp hole had been cut in one of its eyes. There were no tracks or blood, and Gorman wondered what could do such a thing. He noticed a strong musk odor around the carcass, a smell he would come to know all too well.

Other cattle were carved up, as if with pinking shears. Cattle mutilations have been reported throughout North America for several decades. In typical cases, the ears, eyes, udders and sex organs are removed with surgical precision. Gorman's animals were subjected to all of the above.

As an experienced hunter and rancher, Gorman was more than familiar with the capabilities of natural predators. This wasn't being done by coyotes or mountain lions. The butchery was simply too clean. And no blood was ever left at the scene of the attacks. His other animals also suffered. His favorite horse had its legs slashed, as if by sharp instruments or claws. (The musk odor was still in the air when he discovered the damaged horse.) His dogs seemed to develop paranoia. They stayed inside their doghouses for days at a time, too fearful to emerge for food. Six of the family's cats vanished in one night.

Soon, cattle started disappearing altogether. One of the animals vanished from a snow-covered field. Gorman saw the hoofprints lead into the field, but the tracks simply stopped, as if the animal had been plucked from the sky. A 1,200-pound cow leaves tracks in snow, Gorman told himself, so what happened to this one?

In all, 14 of Gorman's prized animals were either sliced up or vanished. In one instance, a cow was found mutilated just five minutes after Gorman's son had checked on it. Something cut a hole, six inches wide and 18 inches deep, in the animal's rectum. The cored-out section extended into the cow's body cavity, yet there was no blood on the cow or on the snow-covered ground.

The loss of 14 expensive animals from an 80-head herd is extreme by any standards. (There were other losses as well, but from explainable causes.) It meant that Gorman was close to financial collapse. One April afternoon, Gorman and his wife took a quick drive to town for supplies. As they passed the corral that contained their four bulls, they commented to each other that they would really be in trouble if something should happen to one of the bulls.

When they returned to the ranch less than an hour later, all four of the bulls were gone. The Gormans began a frantic search for the missing behemoths but couldn't find a trace. As a last resort, Gorman decided to peek into a metal trailer that is situated inside the corral. He thought it highly unlikely that the bulls would be inside because, from the corral, there is only one door into the trailer and it was secured with thick metal wire, wire that clearly was still in place.

Gorman was shocked to see that all four of his bulls were inside the trailer, squeezed like so many oversized sardines into the tiny enclosure, crammed in against the sides of the trailer and against each other. When he yelled to his wife that he had found them, the bulls seemingly woke up, as if from a dream state, and started kicking the hell out of the trailer and each other.

"There is simply no way that anyone could coax those four bulls into that trailer," says Colm Kelleher, a microbiologist who would come to know the Gormans well. "It would be tough enough to get one of them into the trailer, but all four? Virtually impossible. The only door leading from the corral into the trailer was still securely fastened with wire. And there were cobwebs on the inside of the door, proving that it had not been opened. It's almost as if someone overheard the ranchers' worries about their bulls, then decided to mess with them."

NIDS to the rescue

Kelleher didn't realize it back in 1996, but the Gorman ranch was to soon become his home away from home. Kelleher is the deputy administrator of NIDS, the National Institute for Discovery Science, a Las Vegas-based research organization founded by local businessman Robert Bigelow. Bigelow's long-standing interest in paranormal topics, including UFOs, animal mutilations and human consciousness, prompted him to assemble an impressive team of physicists, engineers, psychologists and other doctorate-level professionals for the purpose of investigating subjects that are largely shunned by mainstream science.

by the middle of 1996, the Gormans were ready to cash in their chips. Those who know Tom Gorman say he blamed himself for the weird string of events that had ruined his ranching operation. He didn't want to give up but felt cursed, and was ready to bail for the sake of his family. In an uncharacteristic moment, he told parts of his story to a news reporter. A respected journalist from Salt Lake City heard about it, came to the ranch and talked to the family. Pictures were taken, and a wire service picked up the story. That's how Bob Bigelow first learned about the ranch.

Bigelow and his team flew to Utah and introduced themselves to the Gormans. NIDS staffers checked out the story, interviewed neighbors and evaluated the Gorman's seemingly incredible tales. Bigelow offered to buy the ranch outright with the idea of transforming it into an interactive paranormal laboratory, an ongoing experiment that might shed some light on questions that have been viewed with scientific skepticism. Amazingly, he talked the Gormans into staying at the ranch as caretakers.

by that point, the family was a wreck. The UFOs, balls of light, cattle mutilations, animal disappearances, Bigfoot sightings and Skinwalker legends were bad enough, but there had also been an ongoing series of more personal events. Things had occurred within their home that had made a normal life impossible. They saw apparitions in the house, blinding lights, dark creatures peering in the windows. Furnishings, tools and everyday items moved around, disappeared or turned up in unusual places.

No one could sleep. When they did manage to grab a few hours, they were plagued by violent nightmares, often discovering later that different family members had experienced identical dreams. The two kids, honor students before arriving at the ranch, saw their grades plummet. Mrs. Gorman lost her job at a local bank because of her repeated absences and disturbing water-cooler tales. Hoping for safety in numbers, the Gormans slept each night on the floor of their front room.

The folks from NIDS offered moral, emotional and financial support to the Gormans. What's more, they had a plan. The ranch presented what appeared to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to legitimately study a full menu of paranormal activities. They endeavored to seal off the ranch, pack it with high-tech monitoring equipment, staff it round-the-clock with trained observers, and see what happens.

Some residents sarcastically wondered what the hucksters from Las Vegas really had in mind. A scam of some sort was one oft-mentioned possibility. UFO buffs whined that Bob Bigelow was a "shadowy" guy who may or may not have CIA connections and that he was out to somehow corner the market on E.T. They demanded that whatever happened at the ranch should be made immediately available for their evaluation. And paranormal debunkers predicted the NIDS team would come up empty-handed because unexplained events inevitably wither under careful scrutiny.

As it turned out, all three groups were wrong. NIDS did seal off the ranch from outside observers but not for any monetary gain. Neither the CIA nor any other government agency had any input or access to the things that have occurred under the NIDS watch. And the phenomena itself did not wither or evaporate.

For the past six years, events at the ranch have been under constant scrutiny. Witnesses, including highly accomplished scientists and law enforcement personnel, have documented a mind-boggling array of unusual activity. But there has been a near-total blackout on the release of any information about the site.

by agreement with Bigelow, this reporter was granted the first outside access to the ranch and to the scientists and ex-lawmen who've been studying it. Interviews were conducted with ranch personnel, as well as with community members who had reported unusual events. And several nights were spent out on the ranch itself, watching for odd lights or other manifestations.

No one who has studied this can say with any certainty what's going on here. The NIDS researchers are not making any claims about E.T.s or ghosts or Skinwalkers. They are merely collecting data and trying to make some sense of it. That is small comfort to me as I sit in the darkness on my little plastic chair, waiting for something to happen. The mind certainly can play tricks in such an environment, but could so many witnesses be completely wrong?

Next week: We'll examine a long litany of bizarre activity that occurred while the NIDS team was stationed at the ranch, including the shooting and tracking of an unknown creature, the destruction of electronic equipment by something unseen, the unexplained creation of "ice circles" and the opening of what some say is a portal to another dimension.

Warning to paranormal enthusiasts: Do not travel to the ranch. You are not welcome there. It is private property and the people who live on or near it don't want to be hassled by curiosity seekers or the media. What's more, the level of unexplained phenomena has taken a steady nosedive over the past several months, so chances are you wouldn't see anything even if you could get on the property.

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November 20, 2002


Houston Chronicle

Alien Affection
Sci Fi Channel has close encounters; does it have answers?

by Ann Hodges

Houston Chronicle TV Critic

Now we know where Bryant Gumbel went after hauling anchor at CBS' This Morning show.

He's in the New Mexico desert, looking for UFO evidence and little alien creatures. On Friday, he'll report what he's found, in a two-hour Sci Fi Channel special, The Roswell Crash: Startling New Evidence.

Gumbel and Sci Fi are dead serious about this, and for a seriously synergetic reason. On Dec. 2, the channel will launch its blockbuster 10- night miniseries, Steven Spielberg Presents 'Taken.'

Spielberg's drama spans from 1945 to today, and weaves together four generations of three families whose members experience abductions by space aliens.

That, of course, also explains the hourlong special that follows Friday's Startling New Evidence.  It is titled, most appropriately, Abduction Diaries, a parade of seemingly sound-minded, intelligent talking heads, telling tales (with dramatic re-creations) of what they say are their own real-life close encounters with alien beings.

On both shows, statistics from Roper Polls 2002 beam up the rationale for viewer interest in this far-out subject: Four of 10 Americans believe a spacecraft crashed near Roswell.

One in five Americans believes in abductions, and one in seven knows or knows of someone who has seen or had a close encounter with aliens.

Seventy-four percent of Americans say they're "psychologically ready" for proof of extraterrestrial life.

Of these two specials, Abduction Diaries is the one most likely to intrigue, by virtue of its personal stories. This makes no attempt to question those stories, of course, and skeptics could certainly point out that the fact that most of these tales are very similar is not surprising at all. The subject of abductions has been thoroughly covered already, over the many years that people have been claiming them.

With these people, alien visitations began when they were children, and dealing with them through the years has made their lives harder. But now that they're older and wiser, most see it as a positive thing.

"I've experienced it for 50 years," says Landi Mellas, who claims she was first visited at age 7. She says they told her they would help save some people when Earth was destroyed. "I love many of these beings. I don't consider them aliens at all," Mellas says. "I'm very grateful. It has made me a better person."

At Roswell, it's the same familiar story -- the crash of July 1947, and years of rumors and claims that the U.S. government covered up the crash of a flying saucer and the discovery of alien beings, including a couple of survivors.

Gumbel's TV promise of "fresh, startling new evidence" relies on three things:

New interviews with aging eyewitnesses or family and friends of eyewitnesses, who say the time has come to tell that it was a spacecraft and the creatures were real.

An archaeological team from the University of New Mexico, digging in the desert to locate the crash site and debris that would prove it was something from outer space.

A San Francisco computer researcher who claims to hold "the smoking gun" to prove "creatures" were at the crash site. What those investigators found is embargoed until after the show; Sci Fi Channel made me promise.

I must say, though, that production-wise, this Roswell show is pretty cheesy, and its spooky music and slippery subliminal re-creations of "creatures" don't help. As for Gumbel's role -- I couldn't help thinking of Geraldo Rivera's empty vaults.

Ah, well. They report; you decide.

The Roswell Crash: Startling New Evidence, 7 p.m. Friday, Sci Fi Channel. Grade: C-.

Abduction Diaries,9 p.m. Friday, Sci Fi Channel. Grade: C+.

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November 20, 2002


Times of London

How UFO Fever Taxed Men from the Ministry

A report of alien sightings prompted floods of letters to the MoD, reports Alan Hamilton. New laws have made these public, explains Frances Gibb.

While British and American defence chiefs were supposed to be keeping a watchful eye on the Soviet threat in Europe during the 1980s, they were spending an undue amount of energy dealing with little green men.

The so-called Rendlesham File, now available for public inspection, is a fat catalogue of increasingly despairing correspondence between the Ministry of Defence and members of the public after the sighting of unexplained lights in Rendlesham Forest, near the RAF base at Woodbridge, Suffolk, in December 1980.

The story was given wing by its detailed disclosure in the News of the World in 1983.

Soon after the alleged incident, reported by the USAF deputy base commander at nearby Bentwaters, the MoD drew up an internal memo: "No evidence was found of any threat to the defence of the United Kingdom, and no further investigations were carried out.

"No further information has come to light which alters our view that the sightings of these lights was of no defence significance."

Nothing was picked up on radar that night, officials added, and they concluded that the airmen had confused the lights with the beam of Orford Ness lighthouse, distorted by trees, or a natural fireball.

But the Ministry and the RAF were bombarded with inquiries from the public.  Officials suggested that besieged officers at Bentwaters should take the line that "there was no question of any contact with alien beings."

They should also dismiss rumours that the UFO story was a cover-up for the crash of an aircraft carrying nuclear material.

Still the letters poured in. Two years later an increasingly short- tempered MoD was writing to one correspondent demanding a full investigation: "There is no organisation in MoD appointed soleyl for the purpose of studying reports of such objects, and no staff are employed on the subject full-time."

It added: "We have to recognise that there are many strange things to be seen in the sky, but we believe there are adequate explanations for them."

Things got worse as forged letters purporting to come from MoD officials began to circulate. One, apparently on Ministry notepaper, claimed that a craft of unknown origin and "crewed by several entities" had landed near Bentwaters.

The entities, it went on, were about one and a half metres tall and wore nylon-coated pressure suits but no helmets. They had claw-like hands with three digits and an opposable thumb. One self-styled researcher into "cosmic conspiracy", having seen the letter, wrote to the MoD requesting further information on the craft which had landed for several hours to carry out repairs, during which time the USAF base commander had conversed with its crew.

An MoD official replied tersely: "I am afraid that it is a forgery... I have no idea where it came from or why it was written and can only conclude that it was intended by someone as a joke."

MPs forwarded letters from worried constituents convinced of a cover-up. One passed on by David Alton, MP, said in part: "There is clear evidence that British airspace and territory were intruded upon by an unidentified vehicle on two occasions in late December 1980, and that no authority was able to prevent this."

Some correspondents continued to harry MoD until officials were driven to reply: "I suggest that there is little point in continuing this correspondence."

The final letter in the fiel is dated July 1992, in which an MoD official writes to the RAF liaison officer at Bentwaters asking if the original USAF report of the sightings was genuine, "as a number of hoaxes have been circulating for years."

Squadron Leader P. Rooney at Bentwaters had the last word: "I have no records on this subject and the file to which you refer has long been destroyed."


A GRAPHIC description of the "unusual lights" that were suspected of being a UFO is described in the Rendlesham file.

The lights were spotted by two USAF security police patrolmen, according to a report dated January 1981 headed "unexplained lights," written by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt, deputy base commander at RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk.

He states: "Thinking an aircraft might have crashed or been forced down, they called for permission to go outside the gates and investigate.

"The individuals reported seeing a strange glowing object in the forest. The object was described as being metallic in appearance and triangular in shape, approximately two to three metres across the base and approximately two metres high. It illuminated the entire forest with a white light.

"The object itself had a pulsing red light on top and a bank of blue lights underneath. The object was hovering or on legs. The object was hovering or on legs. As the patrolmen approached the object, it manoeuvred through the trees and disappeared. At this time, the animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy. The object was briefly sighted approximately an hour later near the back gate."

The report goes on to describe the depressions found in the ground and in a tree the next day. "Later in the night, a red sun-light light was seen through the trees. It moved about and pulsed. At one point it appeared to throw off glowing particles and then broke into five separate white objects and then disappeared.

"Immediately thereafter, three star-like objects were noticed in the sky, two objects to the north and one to the south, all of which were about ten degrees off the horizon."

The MoD made further inquiries. No unidentified flying object had been seen on radar at the times in question nor was there any evidence of anything having intruded into British airspace.

One theory, it concluded, was that what was seen was the beam of Orford Ness lighthouse, with distortions caused by its being seen through trees. But "in the absence of any hard evidence" the MoD remains open-minded about these sightings.


DETAILS about UFO sightings, clinical trials, accident investigations and Whitehall meetings will be released to the public under plans to open up government.

Public access to information from government bodies is to be extended by the scrapping and amending of up to 100 pieces of legislation, the Lord Chancellor's Department announced yesterday.

The changes are being made under the Freedom of Information Act which is being phased in over the next three years.

From Sunday the first tranche of hitherto secret information is released when government departments publish their own schemes of legislation which they plan to release to the public. The material will be made available immediately on departmental websites or through application by post.

The Ministry of Defence archives will include information on UFOs, including the Rendlesham File about a UFO report in Suffolk in 1980. The Lord Chancellor's Department is to publish the guidance given to lawyers applying to be Queen's Counsel or judges.

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November 18, 2002

Great Falls Tribune

Regional cattle mutilation book available online

By Katie Oyan

An out-of-print book by a pair of Montanans about a wave of cattle mutilations in the Great Falls area in the 1970s is available online and free of charge.

About 12,000 copies of Keith Wolverton and Roberta Donovan's "Mystery Stalks the Prairie" were printed in 1976 and have sold out.

A privately funded Nevada institute that pays scientists and retired police officers to investigate bizarre phenomena such as mutilations and UFO sightings has published the book on its Web site.

A single copy of "Mystery Stalks the Prairie" also is available in the Montana Room of the Great Falls Public Library, where it can be read but not checked out.

The library at one time had copies of the book in circulation, but they all landed on its "lost" list.

"It's one of the most stolen books we have," said John Finn, head of the library's information services. "We tried to order more, but it's out of print."

Cattle mutilations were first reported in the Great Falls area three decades ago and started again near Conrad last year.

Investigators still have not determined the source of the mysterious mutilations, which have sparked jokes and rumors about little green men, government conspiracies and cults.

The cows usually appear to be cut with surgical precision and are missing random organs or patches of hide. Predators won't touch them, and other cattle also steer clear.

Conrad-area ranchers reported more than a dozen mutilations between June and December 2001.

According to the Pondera County Sheriff's Office, few cases have been reported this year; the most recent was about a month ago on a ranch outside Dupuyer.

Wolverton investigated the cases as a captain with the Cascade County Sheriff's Office. Donovan is a former reporter for the Lewistown News Argus.

Wolverton has since retired from the sheriff's department and splits his time between Montana and Nevada, working occasionally as a fishing outfitter on the Missouri River.

Reached in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, he said he was not surprised to hear mutilations were being reported again in northcentral Montana last fall.

"I don't know why they start up and stop in one place and then start in another, but they've been going on all over the world," he said.

Wolverton said he investigated the mutilations with the sheriff's office for about three years, "But I've never quit."

"We're still trying to find answers," he said. "We're still actively looking for some answers."

Wolverton said he has no immediate plans to write another book about the mutilations -- "Not until we solve it."

"I get a lot of people asking questions about it," he said.  "They want to know if we've got answers."

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November 18, 2002

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Hunting The Truth: Ontario author says he knows where UFOs come from

By Brenda Gazzar

ONTARIO -- Author C.A. Honey of Ontario calls himself a skeptic. Many others, he says casually, think he's a wacko.

Honey, 74, has spent the last 45 years of his life seeking the truth about UFOs and "space people.' His new book "Flying Saucers: 50 Years Later,' published in yellow paperback by a Canadian company, was released earlier this year.

Honey, a television repairman and a former design engineering supervisor at Hughes Aircraft Co. in Fullerton, wrote the book because he needed the money and wanted to promote his agenda, he said.

"It's exposing about 95 to 97 percent of the phony stuff in the field and setting people straight as to what is going on,' he said. "A lot of people are interested in UFOs and flying saucers, but all they know is all this propaganda that is being put out by so many people.'

Honey became interested in UFO phenomena after he spotted a UFO in the late 50s while he lived in Seattle, he said.

Honey, who served in the U.S. Navy and Air Force and is also a professional hypnotist, makes several claims in the book.

UFOs, he says, originate from another planet still unknown to present day astronomers.

According to Honey, mankind did not originate on Earth through normal evolution but is the result of a special creation performed by the Nefilim who came to this solar system about 450,000 years ago as documented in ancient Sumerian writings.

He said the government has participated in a disinformation campaign, including the use of hypnosis, to confuse the truth and is concealing it from all those who could not accept it at this time.

Contrary to the beliefs of some, space people do not look like insects or reptilians, but in fact look like you and me, he said.

Pat Linse, founder of the Altadena-based Skeptic Society, said Honey's claims are more religious than scientific.

"If they were scientific, people in all these other fields would agree with him more,' she said, citing geneticists, biologists, archaeologists and biblical scholars. "He's just an isolated figure whose come up with some very appealing ideas.'

Honey's knowledge is the the result of logic, years of personal experience and research in the field, circumstantial evidence and research from pundits like Zecharia Sitchin, a Sumerian scholar, Honey said. Honey added that he does not like to talk about his personal encounters since he has no way of proving them.

"I think that what I write is logical, it makes sense and I document very heavily just about everything I do and why I believe the way I do on things,' he said.

Honey, the son of evangelists, said he is on a campaign against "religious wackos' -- which he distinguishes from mainstream religious denominations -- who say that flying saucers come out of hellfire and are piloted by demons.

Honey, who adds that he believes in God, also makes the claim that all religions are man-made. He does not know why the space visitors are visiting Earth, he added.

Honey was a ghostwriter and colleague for the late ufologist George Adamski until Honey dissolved their partnership in 1963.  He did so, he said, because he disagreed with some of the later claims Adamski was making, including that he visited the planet Saturn in a spacecraft.

Honey has published 81 articles in the field, close to 25 of which are reprints of publications from other authors, which he sends to people free of charge over the Internet, he said. His writings have generated questions and comments from people around the world. Honey writes from his office, which is full of books and has a small section dedicated to flying saucers and alien memorabilia.

"I'm sincere in my beliefs and I make a standing statement that if anybody can come up with any documented evidence that I'm wrong about some of these things, I want to know about it, because I want to know the truth,' he said.

Brenda Gazzar can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (909) 483-9355.

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November 15, 2002



Archeologists Look for UFO at Famed Roswell Site

By Zelie Pollon

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Reuters) - In trying to unravel a mystery that may involve the war of the worlds, cable TV's SCI FI Channel has turned to a group of educated men and women with shovels and set them loose on the southern New Mexico desert.

In an effort to verify once and for all whether a UFO crash-landed in New Mexico more than 50 years ago, the cable TV channel sent a team of archeologists to conduct an in-depth study of the legendary crash site.

And just like the alleged government conspiracy by those who say aliens landed near Roswell, New Mexico, the results of the scientific study are top secret. That is until Nov. 22, when SCI FI airs "The Roswell Crash: Startling New Evidence", which will include what network representatives are calling a "smoking gun".

Until then believers and debunkers will just have to wait, said Bill Doleman, the principal investigator with the University of New Mexico archeology team.

Doleman, along with three other archeologists and six volunteers were hired by the SCI FI Channel to conduct the research, which took place over 10 days last September.

"We found things -- some things I still don't know what they are -- but they surprised me," Doleman said, reiterating his confidentiality agreement with SCI FI.

SCI FI representatives say the program promises never- before-seen eyewitness interviews, late-breaking revelations and a "smoking gun bombshell," which does not necessarily coincide with the archeological findings.

"The smoking gun is fascinating and compelling. It's going to raise a lot of questions afterwards," said Thomas Vitale, a senior vice president of programming at the SCI FI Channel.

The supposed crash of an alien ship in Roswell on July 3, 1947 has become legendary. According to some accounts, the ship crashed in an empty field with several aliens on board. Witnesses claim to have seen extraterrestrial beings, which were taken away by military personnel never to be seen again.

Those who believe an alien craft landed are adamant the incident involves a huge government cover-up. The government, in turn, says the incident involved a weather balloon and the accounts of aliens comes from anti-military conspirators.

Doleman says his team was directed to use purely scientific methods, such as geophysical prospecting and archeological testing of anomalies, to find any evidence of a crash.

They primarily investigated what is called the "skip site," the second site of impact where the craft supposedly spewed debris before skipping 17-25 miles away to its final crash site.

"We weren't out there to bunk or debunk. We were just scientists using scientific methods," he said.

Along with evidence found at the scene, the "smoking gun evidence sheds light on government truthfulness about this whole event," Vitale said.

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November 10, 2002


Pueblo Chieftain

True believers gather for UFO Conference

by Jon Michael Pompia
Special to The Chieftain

While the truth may be out there, a large portion of it could be found in the Fortino Ballroom at Pueblo Community College Saturday.

A solid gathering of true believers converged on the ballroom for the first UFO Conference of Pueblo, a day-long event coordinated by local UFO researcher Bill Winkler. The symposium featured four presenters, including Tim Edwards, who says he has documented a host of UFO activities in the Salida region; crop circle specialist Ron Russell; Rev. Larry Resel, who spoke on weird phenomena in the Las Animas area, and commercial pilot Don Daniels, who is involved with both the Center for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CSETI) and the Disclosure Project.

"For the first-ever hosted UFO Conference in Pueblo, I believe it was well attended," Winkler said. "We had attendees from Pueblo and the outlying areas, Buena Vista, Trinidad, Woodland Park and Canon City."

Winkler is hoping to hold conferences as frequently as twice a year. "By staging these conferences, word will spread that the conferences are a place to hear and visit people with similar opinions and views," he said.

First on the agenda was Salida resident Edwards, who presented testimony and videotape footage of an extraordinary daylight sighting from August 1995. The renowned footage has appeared on more than 10 television programs, including "Sightings" and "Extra." Footage of other sightings in Salida also was shown.

Aurora resident Russell, a noted international crop circle researcher, treated attendees to an amazing slide show of what he termed "secret art" and "energy machines." While a few of the circles have been created by skilled artisans, the majority, Russell noted, are of unknown origin and possess energetic, even mystical powers.

While Las Animas may not seem like a hotbed of strange activity, Resel offered a lot of evidence to the contrary. Resel told amazing tales - accompanied by videotape footage - of such things as cattle mutilations, changing landscapes, houses that move, unexplained lights and objects in the day and nighttime sky, chemtrails or contrails left by passing aircraft and much more.

Closing out the day was Evergreen resident Daniels, an associate of Dr. Steven Greer, the force behind CSETI and the Disclosure Project. Daniels shared techniques for contacting and attracting extraterrestrial craft as well as information on the Project, the goal of which is to have Congress hold open hearings on the existence of UFOs, zero-point energy devices and more.

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November 8, 2002


Tacoma News Tribune

'Crop Circles' Director Is True Believer

by Soren Andersen

This past summer, "Signs" spooked moviegoers with a story about an invasion from outer space, scaring up more than $225 million at the box office in the process. Now along comes "Crop Circles: Quest for Truth" to try to set the record straight.

The feature-length documentary is playing a one-week engagement beginning Friday at the eight-screen Yelm Cinema.

"Crop Circles" wasn't conceived with the intention of debunking "Signs," said its maker, William Gazecki. Born in Tacoma but raised in California since the age of 5 (his mother and two brothers live in the Tacoma area today), Gazecki said he'd been fascinated by crop circles since attending a lecture on the subject in 1991. That was long before "Signs" was even a twinkle in the eyes of its star, Mel Gibson, or its director, M. Night Shyamalan.

Gazecki's first documentary, "Waco: The Rules of Engagement," about the disastrous federal siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Texas, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1998. That gave him clout in Hollywood. And with that clout came the money and freedom he needed to delve deeply into the matter of crop circles.

According to Gazecki, what "Signs" gets wrong about crop circles can be summed up in three words: pretty much everything.

"The film contains almost nothing that is matched in the real world," he said. "It's a fantasy."

Gazecki says that movie's biggest departure from reality is portraying crop circles as frightening harbingers of an invading army of extraterrestrials.

"It's not a scary subject," he said firmly. Rather, it's a phenomenon that's a cause for a kind of reverent fascination.

Gazecki said he felt such a sense of fascination himself during a series of trips he made to Britain to film scenes for his documentary.

Britain is considered to be a kind of ground zero for crop circle studies, he said. Although the mysterious patterns have appeared in countries around the world, including, India, Japan, Russia, Canada and the United States, for the past 20 years Britain "has been the only place where they appear in centralized areas where people have easy access to them," Gazecki said.

Because there are so many of them, many Brits have become interested in studying them. A representative sampling of these folks appear in Gazecki's movie.

Gazecki finds crop circles endlessly tantalizing. He particularly remembers standing in a field of English wheat, marveling at the sight of millions of green stalks bent but not broken - with the bends a full foot off the ground.

That alone was enough to convince him that no human hoaxers created the circle. Hoaxers bend stalks with boards and ropes, flattening them to ground level. Also, the stalks were layered and interwoven in sections in ways he believes no crude trampling could achieve.

No hoaxers or skeptics appear in Gazecki's movie. He was more interested in presenting the views of people who have studied the phenomenon and are willing to consider it with an open mind.

These people are amateur researchers for the most part. Serious scientists and most academics treat crop circles with "sneering ridicule," Gazecki said, leaving it up to amateurs to try to figure out what, or who, makes these patterns. In the movie's many talking-heads segments, these people earnestly hold forth on the possible religious significance of the patterns as well as on whether they are the work of space aliens or even beings from other dimensions.

Interspersed among these dry discussions are aerial shots of many formations. These shots show that the term "crop circle" is grossly outdated and inaccurate. Over the years, the patterns have become increasingly complex, with many shaped like pinwheels or insects or esoteric symbols.

Their sheer size - some are as large as two football fields - as well as the mathematical precision with which their shapes are etched and the speed with which they appear - sometimes in a few hours - all are powerful proof that they're not made by men with boards and rope, Gazecki said.

He'll be at the Yelm theater Friday night to introduce the two evening showings of "Crop Circles" and to discuss his findings and his feelings about the phenomenon with members of the audience.

Released Aug. 23, the picture has played in cities throughout the United States, but none in Washington until now. The Yelm theater was picked because it has a reputation for programming documentaries and independent film fare not usually found in multiplexes, said Vicki Elam, the theater's general manager. It's also become known as a good venue for the test marketing of movies.

If it does well during its weeklong Yelm run, it likely will be picked up by theaters in the Tacoma area sometime after the first of the year, Elam said.

Soren Andersen: 253-597-8742, Ext. 6235

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November 4, 2002


Charlotte Observer

UFO group: Truth will land in 2003
N.C. chapter suggests evidence will force government to 'fess up'

by Howie Paul Hartnett

SALISBURY - Even with some prompting, the crowd couldn't sing "Happy Birthday" in unison.

Everyone gathered around the cake mumbled the group's odd name.

Even after 13 years of documenting UFO sightings in North Carolina, many people still don't believe the mission of the Mutual UFO Network or MUFON.

But believers will have their day - and soon, if George Fawcett is correct.

"By the end of the year, you will see something," said the Lincolnton resident and self-described UFO researcher. "Most times we make a prophecy, it never happens. (But) I've never seen so much happen in one year."

Many of the 37 people - almost all older adults - who gathered at a Rowan County recreation center Sunday nodded solemnly.

Every three months, network members from across the state meet to discuss UFO conventions, trade information about the latest government coverups and talk about the day when the rest of the world will have its eyes opened.

"We try to open up to the public to make them aware that it's not a joke," said network State Director George Lund.

Fawcett and about a dozen others founded the N.C. chapter in 1989. The group now has about 70 members.

So why is 2003 going to be the year?

With all the sightings and information available on the Internet, the government won't be able to hide the truth much longer, network members say.

But can the average American middle-class consumer, soccer mom, suburbanite handle the truth?

Those in the so-called military-industrial complex don't think so, say network members. That's why despite more than 50 years of what they cite as evidence -- from the Roswell, N.M., crash of a UFO and the alleged recovery of aliens from it to crop circles -- aliens remain only in the movies.

"It could cause mass hysteria depending on how it's revealed," said Charlie Aites, from Statesville.

Sound a little nutty? You're not seeing the big picture, Lund said.

"If (people) think it's nuts, why does the highest level of clearance in the U.S. government deal with UFOs and aliens?" asked Lund, who served in the Army.

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November 3, 2002


Florida Today

Network Joins Search For 'Truth'
Sci-Fi digs for UFO info, but is it a hoax for ratings?

by Billy Cox

It was a marketing strategy every bit as calculating as the buildup for "The Blair Witch Project." Armed with the latest Roper Poll numbers indicating 72 percent of Americans believe the federal government is withholding information about unidentified flying objects, the Sci-Fi Channel staged a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 22 to declare its designs on learning the truth.  

Former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta, left, wants the government to spill the beans on UFOs. Meanwhile, former Air Force Col. William Coleman, right, who is a documentary filmmaker and Indian Harbour Beach resident, still feels bamboozled by the government.

Sci-Fi announced its partnership with a new group called the Coalition for Freedom of Information, directed by Washington lobbyist Ed Rothschild. Its leading voice was former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, an avowed "X-Files" buff whose call "to open the books about the government's investigation of UFOs" could've come right out of Agent Fox Mulder's mouth.

Meanwhile, over there in the margins, like an asterisk in fine print, was Sci-Fi's centerpiece -- a 20-hour miniseries called "Taken." Set to premiere on Dec. 2, the project concerns alien abductions, and its executive producer is Steven Spielberg.
If it sounded familiar, perhaps that's because, just a year and a half ago, the same National Press Club venue was the site of a similar action by the Disclosure Project. That's when a gallery of former government witnesses called for open hearings on UFOs in Congress, so far to no avail.

But there's an even longer view, stretching for decades along the slippery slopes where show biz and high-level government intrigues have generated little more than additional layers of confusing mythology. Decades after his own byzantine encounters with former Air Force Col. William Coleman, now retired in Indian Harbour Beach, a documentary filmmaker remains bamboozled.

"I still don't know what happened, and I was right in the middle of it," says Robert Emenegger, who now works for a public television station in Fayetteville, Ark. "It was like being in a Kafka play. Bill once joked with me, 'One day I'll take you out on a boat and tell you what it really was, but then afterwards, I'll have to kill you.' "

The controversy began 30 years ago, when Emenegger and producer Alan Sandler were approached by a military officer about the possibility of airing footage of an actual alien spacecraft landing at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Today, Emenegger's story has become the gold standard as evidence of a government disinformation program surrounding UFOs.

"Coleman's a fascinating character, a real player," says San Francisco's Paul Meehan, author of "Saucer Movies" in 1998. "When I watch 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind,' which involved a UFO landing at a remote location, recorded in secrecy by the government, I can't help but wonder if Spielberg was influenced by what was rumored to have happened at Holloman."

Don Berliner, who chairs the Fund for UFO Research in Alexandria, Va., has known Coleman since the latter had a Pentagon office. To him, the USAF's public information chief from 1971 to '74 remains an enigma.

"Certainly Bill was one of the most objective Pentagon spokesmen I ever met," says Berliner. "He had to spout the party line, but I think he tried to be as honest as he could within those constraints. When it comes to (UFOs), I think he's a conflicted man."

For his part, Coleman, who worked the Air Force's official study of UFOs in the 1960s -- called Project Blue Book -- the Emenegger controversy was always much to do about nothing. Today, at 78, the survivor of 155 combat missions says the footage in question never concerned UFOs.

"There was nothing extraordinary on there that I could see," Coleman says. "All I know is, we would not release the film because there were special lenses on the cameras involved, and we didn't want our technological abilities getting into the public domain."

Skeptic at first

According to Emenegger, the journey that would lead him to Coleman began in 1972-73. Emenegger was producing commercial television ads when he hooked up with Sandler, who was interested in doing military documentaries.

While discussing ideas on advanced research projects at Norton Air Force Base outside Bakersfield, Calif., Emenegger says security officer Paul Shartle, chief of the base audio-visual department, asked, "What would we think if there had been a landing of alien craft at Holloman Air Force Base, that they were met by some of the officers, and that TV camera people had filmed this landing?

"Well, I was a skeptic. I thought this UFO stuff was a lot of BS. But Shartle described the film in great detail, descriptions of the aliens, that it happened in May 1971. But it was all handled semi-officially. What was so strange to me was, at the time, he told us this film was unclassified. Shartle said if you want to pursue this, bury it along with things like laser and dog training and holography; otherwise, if you ask just about UFOs, a lot of red flags are going to go up. So that's what we did."

Emenegger says he and Sandler "went through the motions" of filming assorted Air Force projects, with the understanding that they would get exclusive access to the Holloman footage at the end of the line. In 1973, as a precondition for release of the film, they met with Coleman, and others, at the Pentagon, to submit their script (even though they hadn't seen the footage) for technical accuracy.

By that time, Project Blue Book had been terminated for nearly four years, after a University of Colorado committee concluded the phenomenon reflected neither advanced technology nor a threat to national security. Coleman had joined Blue Book in 1962, following a conversation with Air Force Secretary Gen. Eugene Zukert.

"Before I took the job, I knew I needed to explain my own sighting to him," Coleman recalls. "After I told him the story, he said, 'Good, you're just the guy for the job. You've remained objective, and that's what we want on the program -- to tell the truth.' "

Coleman's sighting is now legendary among UFOlogists. In 1955, while piloting a B-25 over Alabama, he and his four-man crew attempted to pursue a silvery disc reflecting mid-day sunlight. The object cast an oval shadow when it dropped to the deck, then eluded the bomber with a series of evasive maneuvers. Although Coleman collected and filed individual eyewitness reports from his men, the account never turned up in the Blue Book archives.

Exactly what happened when Coleman met with Emenegger and Sandler depends on who you talk to.

"I looked at it just as a commercial venture on their part, a couple of guys out to make some bucks," says Coleman. "But in terms of (releasing) the film they were so interested in, I showed it to my people and they said no. Not because of anything on the film, but because of the particular camera lenses. They said they didn't want the Soviets to know our capabilities."

'Bizarre' event

Sandler couldn't be reached for comment, but Emenegger says what happened next was especially "bizarre," given how they had already done location shots on-site at Holloman, and even interviewed eyewitnesses off-camera.

"It wasn't some clandestine adventure. Everyone had been very cooperative, in terms of allowing us access. We made no secret of what we were working on. In fact," Emenegger says, "I talked to the head radar guy there and said, 'I'll bet you were really amazed in '71 when that thing came down,' and he said, 'You mean the flying bathtub?' I said, 'Yeah,' and he said, 'You really don't talk about things like that.'

"So I'm at the Pentagon with Bill, and he's saying how we need to be careful about certain things because of national security, blah blah blah. And then he said, 'Let me set you up with George Weinbrenner,' who was the commander of foreign technology, which was in this half-underground bunker with all these surveillance cameras.

"And I asked Weinbrenner about the landing of an alien ship at Holloman, and instead of saying, 'What the hell are you talking about?' he started talking about how difficult it was to get information about Soviet aircraft, and about how easy it was to get stuff on our planes. Then he starts talking about spying. And he draws a picture of a MiG on the wall, and I'm thinking, god, my question was about an alien landing at Holloman, and Weinbrenner was going on about how the Soviets have developed weather alteration patterns, and that's where the really big problem is.

"I thought I was in the Twilight Zone."

Hold the film

The Air Force never released the film. Emenegger says he got several different explanations from Coleman.

"I love Bill. He can do no wrong in my mind, even though he can stretch things," says Emenegger. "But one time, he told me it was because of the camera lenses. Then he told me it was because the real incident involved the landing of an SR-71, which was supposedly classified at the time. Once, he even told me it was because we didn't have diplomatic relations with the extraterrestrials.

"I'd bet my life that Bill never saw the film. You know how people sometimes play a role, where you're talking about something that they don't know about, but they don't want to let on, so they play along? That's what our conversations were like."

"The film I saw was made at Vandenberg (AFB)," Coleman says. "What I saw, I didn't get excited about. Sometimes when you launch missiles, you'll get a light phenomenon called halations, which can look like UFOs. They can be seen rising with the missiles, they can even be seen going in the opposite direction. This is what we were dealing with. As far as the Holloman stuff, I'm not sure what they were talking about."

TV exposure

Despite the confusion, the Sandler/Emenegger documentary nevertheless made it onto the airwaves in 1974. Called "UFOs: Past, Present and Future," it was narrated by "Twilight Zone" host Rod Serling. Coleman appeared on-camera, and the feature earned a Golden Globe nomination. In 1980, an expanded version called "UFOs: It Has Begun" was released. Supported by stock footage, the Holloman landing -- which does show the descent of a curious glowing orb against a desert backdrop that Emenegger is at a loss to explain -- is presented, according to Serling, as "an incident that might happen in the future, or perhaps could've happened already."

In 1988, Shartle would tell his side of the story on national TV. During a two-hour special called "UFO Coverup: Live," Shartle described the 16mm film as having documented the arrival of "three disc-shaped craft," one of which landed and opened the door to three "human-size beings" with gray complexions, tight jumpsuits, and "thin headdresses that appeared to be communication devices." The ETs were then met by Air Force officials, who escorted them away.

Additional corroboration Shartle might've provided died with him last year in a car wreck.

"It's a good metaphor for the UFO situation in general," says Dr. Colm Kelleher, of the National Institute for Discovery Science, a Las Vegas research organization. "It's very difficult to pin down, and unfortunately, we didn't realize just how important Shartle was until it was too late to interview him."

Coleman says he never met Shartle and doesn't know what to make of his story.

After leaving the Pentagon, Coleman went on to become an advisor to "Project UFO," an NBC prime-time series produced by Jack Webb ("Dragnet") that ran from 1977 to '78. Each episode lifted a page from the Blue Book files and turned it into a dramatization in which some cases were solved, while others remained mysteries.

"From the Air Force point of view, we never got close enough to any technology that would make (further study) worthwhile, to spend money that way," says Coleman, mindful of renewed calls for UFO glasnost on Capitol Hill. "You follow me? It wasn't promising enough. I never saw anything that would get us excited, and I had all kinds of clearances."

Coleman predicts there will be no earth-shattering documents recovered through new Freedom of Information Act initiatives, and that congressional hearings on more recent events will be unproductive because "we haven't had any interesting cases involving high-performance aircraft in years."

At the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle, which has been collecting data since 1974, director Peter Davenport says it fields some 25 calls a day, the best of which get posted on its Web Site daily. The most dramatic recent video footage, linked up at, was taped over Albany, N.Y., in October, and is now reportedly in the possession of the FBI.

"It's a shame," Davenport adds, "that Mr. Coleman wouldn't consider what happened over Waldorf (Maryland) interesting."

In that early-morning July 26 incident, witnesses reported seeing F-16s chasing a glowing UFO for more than half an hour near Washington. But a North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman contradicted the civilian witnesses, and reported the pilots made no visual contact: "Everything was fine, so (the planes) went home."

"Well, that would put them (military spokesmen) in the position of lying, and I don't think that happened," Coleman says. "Our policy was always to find out the correct answer before you speak. Because if you start ad-libbing too soon, you may damn well tell a lie and create something you can't stop."

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October 22, 2002


KABC-TV (Los Angeles)

A Call for Investigation of UFOs

WASHINGTON _ The SciFi Channel is spearheading a drive for a government investigation into unidentified flying objects.

Channel President Bonnie Hammer says scientists conclude that up to ten percent of UFO reports can't be explained by natural or artificial causes. The SciFi Channel is pushing for the declassification of government information through the Freedom of Information Act, as well as research into the phenomenon.

Georgetown University law professor and science fiction fan John Podesta says Americans want to know what information the government has on U-F-O's. The former White House Chief of Staff says the public can handle whatever information is out there.

John Podesta, visiting professor at Georgetown University law school and a White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration, at news conference Podesta says an official investigation is warranted.

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October 20, 2002


Toronto Star

Does ET see Earth as a wildlife reserve?

by Terence Dickinson

According to an Angus Reid Poll, 70 per cent of Canadians responded either "definitely" or "probably" when asked if they think intelligent extraterrestrials inhabit other worlds. Twenty-eight percent disagreed and 2 percent expressed no opinion.

I'm not surprised. I have taken similar polls of my astronomy classes and lecture audiences and the result is always around 85 percent on the side of extraterrestrials. Of course, there is a selection effect at work in astronomy courses and talks that would explain the somewhat higher percentage but I always suspected that my little informal surveys must be a good reflection of opinion at large.

Support for the notion of intelligent life on other worlds comes first and foremost from the colossal number of stars in the known universe.

Images from the Hubble Space Telescope tell the numbers story. They reveal the universe's content out to billions of light-years from Earth. From the numbers of galaxies seen on the Hubble pictures, astronomers estimate that, at minimum, there are 50 billion galaxies in the know universe. Since a typical galaxy contains 100 billion stars, the universe's cargo of stars must be at least 5 billion trillion, give or take a billion trillion or so.

When faced with such staggering numbers, most people think it is more reasonable to assume that we are not alone. As the Greek scholar Metrodorus put it in the fourth century B.C., "To consider Earth the only populated world in infinite space is as absurd as to assert that in an entire field sown with seed, only one grain will grow."

Nobody knows what Metrodorus would have thought about the idea of aliens visiting Earth, but we know from the survey what Canadians think. Fifty-five per cent agree that it is "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that Earth has been visited in the past. And 43 per cent think it is more likely than not that during their lifetimes extraterrestrials will visit Earth.

Although I think it is plausible, perhaps even likely, that during the Earth's 4-billion-year history creatures from planet Xgorf, or wherever, might have given our world an examination, I part company with the nearly half of Canadians expecting visitors from the sky to descend any day. I think there are compelling arguments suggesting that if they aren't here already, they're not coming. And I don't think alien abduction stories about bulbous-eyed little creatures or any other UFO reports offer credible evidence that we are being visited.

I think the high numbers accepting the idea that an alien visitation might be imminent have been swayed by the ubiquitous TV "documentaries" parading story after story of unexplained sightings of UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles and other such events. It can make compelling watching, but there is not a single case that offers serious evidence that ET is here.

We may not be alone but I think if our cosmic cousins are out there, they long ago decided to keep their distance and designated Earth as a wild-life preserve.


Terence Dickinson

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October 17, 2002


Arizona Reporter Gets Interactive with Ambitious 'TAKEN' Site
Ambitious Online Push Behind SCI FI Channel's 'Steven Spielberg Presents TAKEN'

NEW YORK -- This December, SCI FI Channel will premiere the biggest miniseries ever seen on television, Steven Spielberg Presents Taken.

The epic event takes on new dimensions with the ambitious help of SCI FI Channel's award-winning web site, TAKEN is a sweeping drama that weaves together the lives of three families over four generations and their crucial roles in the history of alien abduction and government conspiracy.

In addition to its in-depth look at the 10-night miniseries, will also bring to light the rich personalities, current research and ongoing mythos of the UFO phenomenon in America - all of which inspired the drama of TAKEN. Beginning this month on, fans can visit:

Get a closer look... and get TAKEN! A primer of everything you need to know about the television event of a lifetime. Exclusive first- looks at the latest trailers, background information on the extensive cast, and a special interview with Steven Spielberg are several site highlights. Then bring TAKEN home to your desktop with special features like a downloadable self-updating screensaver, which provides ongoing information, trailers and other goodies.

Meet the cast...and the experts! will also feature a wide array of TAKEN chats that will bridge the gap between entertainment and real-life, offering-up a wide array of UFO phenomenon experts and the actors themselves. Heather Donahue (Blair Witch Project) kicks off the talent questionfests on October 17, and interactive time with Matt Frewer, Julie Benz and Anton Yelchin will follow. For those interested in expanding their abduction knowledge, jump online to chat with Roswell experts Don Schmidt and Tom Carey and famed alien abduction author Budd Hopkins in November.

For a look at the real-life events and research that inspired the stories of TAKEN, fans can access columns by some of today's top experts on UFO phenomena in this special ufology site. Respected author/researcher Budd Hopkins and other insiders provide weekly columns examining difference aspects of the UFO abduction, the Roswell Incident and other intriguing research into this area.

Learn more about how the American public weighs in on the topic - and what they want the government to do about it in the results of a Roper poll recently commissioned by SCI FI Channel.

Visitors can also play Alien Abductor, an interactive game that puts players in the role of a flying saucer sent to Earth to abduct humans. You can use your abductor ray to pick up your fleeing victims after forcing them out of their homes and trailers parks with your disintegrator ray. When the military shows up to take you out, turn the disintegrator ray on them too!

Turn to the UFO Hotspot Map - a complete color-coded map of the United States that will guide you through the territories which have been visited by extraterrestrials.

Send in the stories about your "taken" experiences, or your own photos and evidence of UFOs for examination by the experts. And take a look at the evidence and tales from your fellow Americans!

Ask yourself some probing questions about the possibility of your own extraterrestrial encounter by logging onto's ufology site ( There, you will get "taken" to our special UFO abduction quiz. Are your answers consistent with those reported by abductees? If so, SCI FI could put you in touch with an abduction expert to learn even more.

SCIFI.COM ( is the official site of the SCI FI Channel and the No. 1 science fiction destination on the Internet. In addition to in-depth information on Channel shows, the site covers the broad spectrum of sci-fi, from daily news and reviews to award- winning online series and original stories by today's top authors. SCIFI.COM is a "People's Choice" Webby Award winner and a Flash Forward Award winner. Stories published on SCIFI.COM have also earned two Nebula Awards and a World Fantasy Award. The site was launched in 1995 and is part of the SCI FI Channel, a program service of Universal Television (, a division of Vivendi UNIVERSAL Entertainment (VUE), the U.S.-based film, television and recreation entity of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.

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October 16, 2002

Florida Today

Tragic events sideline UFOs

by Billy Cox

The residents of Montgomery County, Maryland, have a few more things to worry about in this election season than politics, much less exotic politics. Not even Stephen Bassett, campaigning for Maryland's Eighth Congressional District seat, can shake the psychological chill of the serial sniper. Bassett was passing through the Four Corners area on the Virginia/Maryland border Monday evening when the 11th victim fell near Falls Church.

"You hurry between your car and wherever you're going," he says. "I'm expecting at any moment to get hit."

But at some point, inevitably, this latest spasm of terror will pass, and Americans will once again refocus on the chronically dreary state of politics ahead. As an independent, Bassett's complaint is par for the course. He can't get invited to debates involving the two-party monopoly candidates, and voters appear satisfied with the status quo. "There's no outcry, we're all so jaded," he says. "Maybe Americans deserve to lose their 401(k)s."

For the past several years, Bassett has run a one-man show called the Extraterrestrial Phenomenon Political Action Committee, and he's pledging to generate open hearings on Capitol Hill to end the information blackout surrounding unidentified flying objects. Although he considers the investigation of individual sightings "irrelevant" because decades of reports place their impact on national security "beyond any reasonable doubt," the issue got a little more amplified July 26.

That's when, sometime around 1 a.m., the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) alerted Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, D.C., to "suspicious air activity" in the neighborhood. Two F-16s from the 113th Wing of the Air National Guard (ANG) were scrambled to confront the intruder. Civilian witnesses on the ground reported a contest of pursuit and evasion between the jet fighters and the bogey, described variously as a blue and orange light. It ended after nearly an hour, when the UFO split.

"There's nothing unusual about the sighting -- these things happen all the time," Bassett says. "What makes the one over Waldorf (Maryland) interesting is the conjunction of terrorism and the proximity to Washington. I mean, they had to scramble fighters. Can you imagine if they hadn't?"

Back on the ground, ANG flacks contradicted the civilian witnesses by assuring inquiring minds that the pilots "found nothing out of the ordinary" before returning to base. But requests for additional details -- such as which radar systems targeted the bogey, its altitude, flight speed, etc. -- were referred to NORAD.

NORAD spokesman Maj. Barry Venable told UFO researchers that such information can't be released due to "operational security" concerns. "Public discussion of these possibilities or our determination of actual cause does not serve the public interest," Venable said, adding that publicity over "the sensational yet unproven" civilian reports was "unfortunate."

Contrast these zipped lips to what happened a month earlier, when an initially unidentified intruder actually skirted restricted air space over Washington on June 19. Citing Defense Department sources, ABC News -- as well as CNN and The New York Times -- presented a time-specific chronology of how F-16s were dispatched to intercept what turned out to be a light aircraft whose pilot had made some navigational errors. The chronology also said flight controllers in Baltimore alerted their counterparts at Reagan National Airport.

NORAD labeled the chronology "unofficial" and said such disclosure violates its policy.

"This wasn't a big deal until we started getting stonewalled by the feds," says Don Berliner of Alexandria, Va., whose nonprofit outfit, Fund for UFO Research, supports ongoing research. "They'd much rather trumpet their successes than their failures. What's a little strange is, we used to have a better relationship with the (Federal Aviation Administration) on (UFOs). Now, they won't even confirm they knew anything about (the July 26 incident)."

Critics of the UFO explanation argue that an "anomalous propagation" of meteorological conditions may have sent false readings to radar operators. That was the same official explanation for identical events involving fighter intercepts against UFOs over Washington on July 19 and 26 in 1952.

"There's nothing new here, it's part of the same game that's been played for more than half a century now," Bassett says. "But we're on a higher state of alert now. Just don't expect the government to be any more forthcoming today than it was then. There's too much at stake."

Not that anyone really cares.


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October 13, 2002

Naples Daily News

Ben Bova: The existence of UFOs would be nice, but the evidence is lacking

by Ben Bova
Special to the Daily News

Because I write science fiction, many people think I "believe" in UFOs.

I do, in a way. I believe that there are many unidentified objects flying through our skies. I do not believe, however, that there is one scintilla of evidence showing that UFOs are the spacecraft of visiting extraterrestrial creatures.

Most UFO sightings turn out to be perfectly natural objects: jet planes, falling stars, balloons and such. After nearly half a century of following UFO reports and investigations, I think that the UFOs that haven't been explained are most likely natural objects, too.

But the UFO "faithful" believe that we are being visited by aliens, and the government is covering up the fact. Why the government would try to cover up alien visitors is something I don't understand. How a government that leaks like a sieve could possibly cover up such a story for nearly half a century is beyond my comprehension.

Remember Watergate? The federal government, for all its power and the paranoia of the Nixon White House, couldn't keep a third-rate burglary secret for very long.

But the UFO faithful believe there's an ongoing cover-up. And they are right, in at least one case. There was a government cover-up in the most famous UFO report of them all: the crashed "flying saucer" and alien crew members that were found at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. The cover-up lasted nearly 50 years, but when it was at last revealed most UFOlogists were bitterly disappointed.

In July 1947, just outside of Roswell, after a severe thunderstorm the night before, rancher William W. "Mack" Brazel found in the desert wreckage of a crashed aircraft of a type none of the local residents could identify. Even military officers from nearby Roswell Army Air Field seemed stumped.  Soldiers collected the wreckage and within a day or two it was flown to Wright Field, in Dayton, Ohio, a major facility that included several government laboratories.

A few days after the wreckage was picked up by the Army, public relations officer Lt. Walter G. Haut issued a news release that referred to the wreckage as "a disk." Over the following days, the story grew: The "disk" was definitely a flying saucer. Three alien crewmen had been recovered, two of them dead and the third badly injured. They had all been bundled off by the Army in great secrecy.

Shortly after Haut's report of finding a "disk," the Army issued another news release claiming that the wreckage was nothing more than a weather balloon. Cover-up! charged the UFO faithful, and for nearly half a century Roswell has stood as the classic example of the government hiding "the truth" about flying saucers.

Then, in 1994, the government finally admitted that there had indeed been a conspiracy to hide the truth about the Roswell wreckage. It wasn't a weather balloon. But it wasn't an alien spacecraft, either.

In 1947, the Army was testing a series of very-high-altitude balloons that were equipped with electronics and listening devices to "eavesdrop" on possible Russian nuclear bomb tests.  The Roswell wreckage was of one of those balloon sets with its seemingly strange equipment. The Army wanted to keep the program secret, hence the cover story about a weather balloon.

Karl T. Pflock, who describes himself as a "pro-UFOlogist," investigated the Roswell incident over many years, at first as a believer in the alien flying saucer story. But the deeper he probed, he says, the more the story unraveled. There were no alien crew members, alive or dead. Much to his personal disappointment, Pflock came to the conclusion that the Roswell UFO never existed, although a Pentagon cover-up certainly did, for nearly half a century.

When I was the editor of Omni magazine, we worked hard to track down UFO stories. They always somehow vanished into smoke and air. One day a gentleman came into my office bearing a sliver of metal which, he claimed, had been scraped from the hull of a flying saucer. "It's unlike any metal on Earth," he kept repeating.

It struck me, and the rest of the editorial staff, that it might be pretty difficult to scratch off a sliver of such a metal. We suggested that we take it to a reputable metallurgy laboratory for analysis. The visitor was very reluctant to do so. At last, after several hours, we persuaded him to go to Boston with one of our editors and have the sample analyzed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He agreed only after we promised to pay all the expenses for the trip.

MIT reported that the metal was ordinary aluminum, the stuff of cooking pots and skillets. It may have come from the hull of a flying saucer; aluminum is a good structural metal for flying vehicles. But it certainly was not "unlike any metal on Earth."  I believe that life exists beyond Earth. I believe that intelligent life must exist somewhere in the vast universe of stars and galaxies. I recognize that there is, as yet, no evidence to support this belief of mine.

Precisely because I am a "believer," in this sense, I remain guardedly skeptical about claims of UFOs and alien abductions.  It is all too easy to fall for unsupported stories that tell us what we want to believe. I would like to see some scrap of hard, palpable evidence; maybe as much as a person would take to traffic court to prove he wasn't illegally parked when he got a ticket.

During the American Civil War, when reports from the battlefields were often unreliable, many newspapers used a headline that warned their readers that the story they were about to read might not be accurate. The headline was "Good News, If True." That is how I feel about UFO reports. It would be wonderful to know that we are being visited by intelligent aliens. But I doubt that it's true.


Naples resident Ben Bova's futuristic "Grand Tour" novels deal with humans exploring the solar system. He gives commentary over WGCU-FM every Tuesday morning. Dr. Bova's web site address is:

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October 11, 2002


Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Leader

UFO glimpse sparks dark documentary

'I saw a saucer go into a cloud. It popped out and went back in.'

JASON Groves was only 15 when he said he first sighted an unidentified flying object (UFO).

He was riding home on a school bus from Warrnambool to Wangoom when, at 4.15pm, he witnessed an out-of-this-world phenomenon.

"I saw a saucer go into a cloud. It popped out and went back in.

"It was silver, definitely silver and made from some sort of steel substance.

"It was glittering," he said.

Now 24 and living in Gisborne, Mr. Groves has decided to dedicate his life to UFO research.

He heads the UFO research organisation Dark Matters Investigations, which collects information for the Australian UFO Research Network. He is also a writer for UFO magazines.

His latest project is a documentary examining the evidence available on UFO reports in Australia compared to the US.

The objective of the documentary - UFOs: The Australian Connection - is to prove that UFOs are a worldwide phenomena and of alien origin.

Mr Groves said he was seeking information from anyone in the Sunbury and Macedon Ranges region that may have seen a UFO or strange light in the region.

He admitted that the idea of life beyond earth and flying saucers seemed far-fetched to most people, but said that he was convinced the flying object he saw in 1987 was a UFO.

"I had an interest in space (prior to 1987), but didn't really believe in UFOs until I saw one.

"I looked into the subject and started to contact a few groups and went from there.

"I have seen a few strange lights since then, but not recently," he said.

Mr Groves said UFOs could be distinguished from other flying objects because of their distinctive saucer shape.

He said there had also been reports of triangular-shaped UFOs.

The Australian UFO Research Network said it hadn't received any reports of UFOs in Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges but that they had received reports of "strange lights".

"Strange lights are different from other lights in the sky because of the way they move. The cases we received reports on mainly moved in zigzags. They were in one place at one moment and jumped distances to another place the next," Mr. Groves said.

He said only 10% of cases reported would be of interest, but all unexplained phenomena was worth reporting for investigation purposes.

Mr Groves believes space and military organisations have evidence to prove that UFOs exist.

"In 1938 CBS screened Orson Welles' War of the Worlds. It was a mock story and America nearly self-disintegrated. Everyone thought it was for real and started to panic.

"Why would we be the only living intelligent creatures?" he asked.

If you have seen a UFO or strange light contact the Australian UFO Research Network on 1800772288.

Mr Groves hopes to have completed his documentary by March.

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October 10, 2002


Christian Broadcasting Network

The founder of Reasons to Believe presents a rational Christian look at UFOs and extraterrestrials

Scientific Approach

Hugh has been stargazing since he was a young boy, and by the age of 17, he had become director of observations for the Royal Astronomical Society in Canada. As an astronomer, Hugh has logged thousands of observation time and has learned that science can and does address the possibility of life's existence elsewhere in the universe. In the mid-'70s, Hugh was assigned the task of processing UFO reports at CalTech. At the same time, Hugh began an intense study of the Bible. "Secular society is gullible about the possibility that extraterrestrial life exists without having scientific evidence to prove it," says Hugh. "The motivation for this book is the need to communicate clear, satisfying explanations from scientific, theological, philosophical, and political standpoints."

Hugh says that he uses the scientific approach called "the process of elimination" to answer the question Is there a place where extraterrestrials could live in the universe? Over the years, science has made some significant advances. "The number of candidates for life sites within the Milky Way grows smaller each day," says Hugh. At one time, biologists speculated that extraterrestrial life forms might be based on exotic chemistry, not carbon as earthly life is. But today the conclusion is that all conceivable life forms must be carbon-based. And if life forms exist on other planets, they must be planets like Earth, orbiting a star like the sun in a galaxy like the Milky Way. "Ongoing research shows that this seems less possible as each year passes," says Hugh.

Residual UFOs

Most people think UFOs are physical. "But they can't be physical," says Hugh, "because they defy gravity." While Hugh does not say that UFOs aren't real, no physical object can move like UFOs have been reported to move. Respected UFOolgists agree that there must be something real at the bottom of some UFO reports. Residual UFOs (RUFOs) is a terminology that refers to the UFOs that are left over after all the others are explained away. There is quite a bit of evidence that UFOs are real, such as crash sites. There are over 1,000 sites where allegedly the UFOs have crashed. "The ground is depressed, the trees and grass are burnt," says Hugh. "In these scenarios, we are dealing with non-physical reality." What this evidence suggests is that RUFOs are capable of producing physical effects, such as burnt grass, but are not physical themselves.

Hugh says the Bible proclaims the existence of a personal Creator who can act independently outside the cosmos and who is not restricted by the four, large space-time dimensions (length, width, height or time). The Bible also describes the spirit realm (the realm beyond matter, energy and space-time dimensions) and declares the existence of God and two or more distinct creatures: humans and angels. Hugh explains that humans remain physically restricted to the dimensions of the cosmos and cannot account for the unexplained phenomena. Angels, or fallen angels, remain as possible links. Fallen angels, or demons, intent on distorting God's authority and purpose, draw attention away from God and the gospel and are an identifiable source of explanation.

The conclusion that demons are behind the RUFOs phenomenon is testable. According to the Bible, demons attack only those individuals who invite the attacks. "All that is necessary to further prove the conclusion of demonic involvements," says Hugh, "is to continue surveying people to ascertain who has encounters with RUFOs and who does not." Researchers continue to observe a correlation between the degree of invitations in a person's life to demonic attacks (seance, Ouija boards, astrology, witchcraft, palm or psychic reading). One reason why research scientists may be reluctant to say specifically that demons exist behind the RUFOs is because that answer points too directly to a Christian interpretation of the problem.

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October 4, 2002


Calgary Sun

Diamond-Shaped Craft Sighted Over Calgary

by Melissa Ridgen

Area 51, move over - Deer Run may be taking over as destination of choice for visitors from outer space.

A southeast Calgary family saw a strange sight in the sky Tuesday evening, hours before a northern lights display danced overhead.

Tammy Woodward's boyfriend came into their Deer Run home around 7 p.m., to get her to look at an odd object he'd spotted in the sky.

"The sun was just going down and the sky was perfectly clear except for this thing," said Woodward. "We saw what looked like a small piece of really bright-white cloud but it was moving way too fast to be a cloud," said Woodward, whose two children also saw it.

"It was going really fast, west-northwest. It was diamond-shaped and it was gone from sight over other houses in about 10 seconds," the 34-year- old said.

Environment Canada meteorologist Bill McMurtry is at a loss as to what the family saw.

It could have been an aircraft, satellite or meteorite - but he doubts it was, because the latter two aren't visible while it's light out, and most people know a plane when they see one.

On Sept. 6, 1991, three people in the city's Monterey Park reported three amber, diamond-shaped lights moving in the eastern sky.

An unexplained spectacle was also witnessed in Edmonton, according to the Alberta UFO Study Group. On Sept. 13, a person in Edmonton saw 10 yellow-white lights moving "fast like a fighter jet" to the northeast, then disappearing 30 seconds

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October 4, 2002


Evening Standard

Family in 'Major' Sighting of UFO

A cigar-shaped UFO drifted over Ilkeston - and then did an encore.

A family, from Kirk Hallam, say it appeared to head for the village of West Hallam before returning from whence it came at about 7.45pm on Monday.

The mother, father and son, who do not want to be named, have lodged a detailed report with the Derby-based Phenomena Research Association.

They also called Derbyshire police, who did not receive any other reports.

Although looking like a cigar, they say it flew sideways and had a series of lights.

The mother watched the object through binoculars from the family home.

She said: "I have never seen anything like it. There's no aeroplane like that.

"It seemed to float across and there was this hum coming from it."

Her son first saw the UFO while he was looking towards Little Hallam Hill, and alerted his parents.

The object had two rows of white lights near each end. Underneath were two yellow lights - and a red pulsating beam.

The centre of the craft was dark and it was difficult to gauge its size. But the mother held a biro at arm's length and said it appeared as long as that.

The UFO came from the direction of the Stanton Works and later headed back that way.

Omar Fowler, Phenomena Research Association spokesman, said: "The family said that it made a low-pitched droning noise and that is typical of a large UFO craft.

"It is a major sighting and points to an increase in activity in
the Ilkeston area."

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October 2, 2002


Victorville Daily Press

Nuclear Physicist To Speak On UFOs

By Leigh Muzslay

VICTORVILLE, CA — About 50 years ago, a bargain-bin book set Stanton Friedman on a new career path.

As a young nuclear physicist in 1950s, Friedman was ordering books and needed an extra one so he could get free shipping and handling.

He saw one on unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, for a $1 — marked down from $2.95 — and purchased it.

"I thought, 'Gee, if these things are real, maybe they use nuclear power and that can help our program,' " Friedman said.

Three books, more than 80 published papers and hundreds of lectures later, Friedman was honored Sept. 21 with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Leeds International UFO Conference in England. Tonight at Victor Valley Community College, Friedman, 68, will give an illustrated lecture titled, "Flying Saucers are Real!"

After years of study and visits to 19 document archives, Friedman believes that visits by alien spacecraft have been covered by the government in a kind of "cosmic Watergate."

He said that in his audiences, about 10 percent of the crowd says they've seen a UFO.

But, he said that only 10 percent of them ever reported it because they fear not being believed.

Since his first lecture in 1967, Friedman has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV programs, including "Larry King Live," "Entertainment Tonight," "Nightline," "Sightings," "Unsolved Mysteries," "Leeza" and "Art Bell."


Leigh Muzslay can be reached at

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October 1, 2002


Moscow Times

UFOs Are Not Getting Enough Azeri Respect

by Chloe Arnold

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- There's an inordinate number of UFOs roaming the skies above Azerbaijan, and they're trying to tell us something, according to Elchin Khalilov, director of the Permanent Committee for Anomalous Phenomena at the National Academy of Sciences.

I must be looking in the wrong places, because every time I look at the sky above Baku, all I see is a thick blanket of smog and the occasional airplane.

"Come to my office, and I'll show you something I think will greatly surprise you," Khalilov said. And so last Friday I found myself at a building with black windows and marble staircases that calls itself the International Complex for Science and Technology.

The receptionist and two security guards were too busy watching Steven Spielberg's "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" to notice me.
"Is Mr. Khalilov here?" I asked. They waved me into a corner and went back to their film. Suddenly, a giant of a man with a bushy black beard appeared beside me.

"Welcome," he said and showed me into his office. The walls were lined with books on crop circles and the Bermuda Triangle, and his desk overflowed with treatises on flying saucers from Utah to Ukraine.

"I used to be an ordinary scientist specializing in earthquakes," he said. "But on the evening of April 17, 1999, something happened that changed my life." His father telephoned him and said that something strange was hovering in the sky above Baku. When he got there, he saw a ball of light with what looked like a tail at the back.

"I caught it on tape," he said, and he showed me a crackly film of Baku by night with a pale light floating above it that might have been the moon. Ever since then, Khalilov has dedicated his time to strange phenomena in the sky.

"I can't rule out the possibility that these are creatures from another world," he said. And his findings aren't limited to Azerbaijan -- he says he saw similar objects on vacations in Spain and Dubai.

To supplement his scant footage, Khalilov launched a competition to encourage the nation to send in photographs and videos of UFOs. The response was overwhelming -- he received over 40 hours of film and hundreds of photographs.

The best one showed a perfect flying saucer cruising just a few feet above a dacha. The saucer had a domed roof and red and yellow lights around its rim. "We were going to give it first prize, but the photographer admitted he'd rigged up a teapot lid with a piece of thread and taken a picture of its shadow," Khalilov said sadly. "UFOs aren't taken seriously in this country, and it makes me very disheartened."

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September 30, 2002


Calgary Herald

Aliens just being friendly
Bring message of hope, says researcher

(CP) Forget the probes. Don't worry about an invasion.

Aliens are actually quite affable, according to a recent university study.

When extraterrestrials abduct earthlings, they often share with them a message of hope, according to anthropologist Krista Henriksen.

"They tell people they're not alone, that they're special, they're chosen for a purpose," said Henriksen, who studied the personal accounts of 60 men and women who claimed to have had close encounters.

Most of them recounted being told there are profound, terrible problems with the world, but that they had been chosen to do something about it.

"Sometimes they have malevolent messages, manipulative, nasty messages. But that was, by far, the minority," Henriksen said from her home in St. John's.

"Most often extraterrestrials were bringing messages of goodwill."

Henriksen recently earned her master's degree in anthropology from Simon Fraser University with the study, Alien Encounters: A close analysis of personal accounts of extraterrestrial experiences.

Although she is "highly skeptical" that aliens have ever abducted anyone, it's important to study the phenomenon, she said.

It's easy to dismiss fringe groups like those who believe they've been abducted, she said.

But studying them gives us a better understanding of who we are.

The increase in reports of UFO encounters (10 per cent of the Canadian population believes that they have seen one, according to some studies) parallels an increase in new religious movements.

"People are searching for meaning in all sorts of places that generally aren't mainstream religious places, they're more independent places," Henriksen said.

"This could be one of them."

Chris Rutkowski, research coordinator of Ufology Research of Manitoba, said there were 375 reports of UFO sightings in Canada in 2001.

For some, such encounters are a religious experience.

"Whether they're 'real' or not, is another matter entirely," he said in an interview from Winnipeg.

Tens of thousands of such encounters are reported annually in North America.

Most of the stories, which are posted on a Web site for Citizens Against UFO Secrecy, describe the alien abductors -- all human-like with features such as feet, fingers and eyes -- as researchers, according to Henriksen.

They are "interested in us, and not necessarily in taking us over," she said.

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September 29, 2002


Globe and Mail (Canada)

ET's Affable Abductors, Closely Encountered Say

Vancouver — Forget the probes. Don't worry about an invasion.

Aliens are actually quite affable, according to a recent university study.

When extraterrestrials abduct earthlings, they often share with them a message of hope, according to anthropologist Krista Henriksen.

"They tell people they're not alone, that they're special, they're chosen for a purpose," said Ms. Henriksen, who studied the personal accounts of 60 men and women who claimed to have had close encounters.

Most of them recounted being told there are profound, terrible problems with the world but that they had been chosen to do something about it.

"Sometimes they have malevolent messages, manipulative, nasty messages. But that was, by far, the minority," Ms. Henriksen said from her new home in St. John's.

"Most often extraterrestrials were bringing messages of good will."

Ms. Henriksen recently earned her master's degree in anthropology from Simon Fraser University with the study, Alien Encounters: A close analysis of personal accounts of extraterrestrial experiences.

Although she is "highly skeptical" that aliens have ever abducted anyone, it's important to study the phenomenon, she said.

It's easy to dismiss fringe groups like those who believe they've been abducted, she said, but studying them gives us a better understanding of who we are.

The increase in reports of UFO encounters (10 per cent of the Canadian population believes they have seen one, according to some studies) parallels an increase in new religious movements.

"People are searching for meaning in all sorts of places that generally aren't mainstream religious places, they're more independent places," Ms. Henriksen said. "This could be one of them."

Chris Rutkowski, research co-ordinator of Ufology Research of Manitoba, said there were 375 reports of UFO sightings in Canada in 2001.

For some, such encounters are a religious experience.

"Whether they're 'real' or not, is another matter entirely," he said in an interview from Winnipeg.

Tens of thousands of such encounters are reported annually in North America.

Most of the stories, which are posted on a Web site for Citizens Against UFO Secrecy, describe the alien abductors — all human-like with feet, fingers and eyes — as researchers, according to Ms. Henriksen.

They are "interested in us, and not necessarily in taking us over," she said.

Ms. Henriksen, who has studied religion, said that, while not a religion, the belief in extraterrestrial life is certainly a spiritual experience for those who report encounters.

"People are having profound experiences, whatever the experiences are," she said.

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September 29, 2002


Dayton Daily News 

Curious turn out for alien gathering
UFO researchers meet at Kings Island

By Lisa Bernard
Cox News Service

MASON | "Rebirth of Curiosity" was the theme Saturday at the 39th annual National UFO Conference held at Kings Island Resort and Conference Center.

Hundreds attended the all-day event, checking out everything from plaster molds of alien footprints to literature written by alien abductees.

Dave Bachman of northern Kentucky said he came to feed his curiosity.

"This type of thing has always fascinated me," he said. "I don't know if everyone's story is true, but I think there's too much of it out there for it all to be hoaxed."

Laura Bentley of Cincinnati said she attended to see what "strange people came out of the woodwork. I guess it's morbid curiosity."

Curious people like Bachman and Bentley keep alive the study of possible extraterrestrial life, said conference coordinator Kenny Young.

"Often the subject of UFOs is one of tomfoolery, and we know that," Young said. "We don't take ourselves seriously, but we take our research very seriously."

Young said "certainty" — about uniqueness of life on this planet or any set of beliefs — can lead to limiting, deadly consequences. He used last year's attacks by Muslim terrorists as an example.

"They had certainty in their faith and it gave them motivation behind their actions," he said. "Perhaps if they were curious about other cultures and beliefs, things might be different today. Curiosity is perhaps the only mechanism we have against the scourge of certainty."

Among the speakers was Cincinnati-based UFO investigator Donnie Blessing of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), who said Ohio has at least 50 reported UFO sightings each year.

A retired Clermont County librarian, Blessing has been investigating UFO events for two years and is director of MUFON's southern Ohio branch.

"It's hard to tell if people are telling the truth or not when I call them and talk to them about their sighting," she said. "Some of the stories seem too fantastic. But when you get them in person, you can tell pretty quickly."

Blessing added, "People need to have an open mind about this. It's just up to us keep researching."


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September 28, 2002



Round In Circles

by Rodney Chester

If the 'croppies' are right, there is a race of aliens who travel across the universe to communicate with the people of Earth, and the way they choose to leave their message is through crop circles that no one understands.

And if you are a croppie, like Nancy Talbott, this type of scenario could make perfect sense.

What's more, she believes she can prove it.

Well, at least she believes she can prove that there is something about these crop circles that is definitely not man-made.

Talbott is part of the group who believes there is something non-Earthly about these funny shapes in fields around the world and is using the tools of science to prove it.

Her research team believes "it is possible that we are observing the effects of a new or as yet undiscovered energy source".

The strange geometric circles that some believe are a sign from another species have been appearing in English wheat fields since the late 1970s, with up to 10,000 circles reported around the world.

A dedicated group of researchers including Talbott, aided by the hype of the Mel Gibson movie Signs, say there is "evidence" that something is not kosher about the circles.

Talbott's work follows a breakthrough geologist Diane Conrad claims to have made after examining soil samples taken from a crop circle near her Utah home.

The soil was not what you might expect. The preliminary results showed that the soil had a significant increase in its crystallinity, meaning that the crystals within the soil were more ordered.

In short, the researchers say the soil's crystal structure appeared to be similar to crystals normally found in sedimentary rock which has been exposed for hundreds of thousands of years to heat from the Earth's core and the pressure of tonnes of overlying rock.

Not that everyone accepts that evidence as proof, with sceptics, crop circle creators and scientists pointing to the lack of scientific rigour in the work of Conrad and others.

If the science of these croppies is so good, why hasn't it been published in respected peer-related scientific journals, those in the science community typically ask.

Certainly, even the croppies acknowledge that many of the crop circles are man-made.

That is evidence impossible to refute, when you consider that some of the crop circle creators now go public about their work.

England's community of circle makers now have their own website in which they detail the geometrically complex crop circles they have made, give tips on how to make your own circle using a footboard attached to a length of rope, and criticise croppies and those who believe them for accepting what they see as dodgy research techniques as science.

"In their attempts to create a universal acceptance of the crop circles' paranormal origins, leading cerealogists often pretend a relationship with orthodox science," the site's beginner guide to crop-circle making says.

"Such phrases as 'we are working closely with scientists' or, 'we are awaiting the results of analysis' are commonly used in press releases, for instance, or on the lecture circuit.

"As well as the possibility that this might fool gullible, provincial journalists who aren't particularly bothered if they parrot rubbish to their readership, this provides a certain security amongst the rank-and-file researchers, who, when pressed, will cite the need for only one circle to be proved to be 'of unknown origin', thereby justifying their pursuance of the phenomenon."

The site has examples of patterns they have made that some labelled as too intricate to be a hoax until the hoaxers came forward with proof of it being a man-made creation.

Talbott, who describes herself as a music producer with a research background, runs the BLT Research Team, with New York businessman John Burke and Michigan biophysicist Dr William Levengood, which is dedicated to science and the circles.

The group believes that the key to solving the mystery of the circles could be in the soil. The BLT Research Team says its study of the soil taken from the circles has shown that the strange shapes were made by some form of extreme but unknown energy.

Levengood has reported finding tiny holes in the plant stems that he says are caused by microwave energy heating the plants from the inside out, turning the water they contains into steam. Levengood and Burke have patented a way to replicate this phenomena, claiming it could lead to new types of plants that grow faster than their conventional equivalents.

Conventional scientists typically quickly dismiss the BLT claims, but not everyone is as sceptical.

New York philanthropist Laurance S. Rockefeller recently funded the research team to embark on its biggest crop examination yet.

Soil samples were taken from crop circles in the Netherlands and the US, along with hundreds of plant and soil samples from a seven-circle barley formation in Canada, and were examined using a process similar to that adopted by Conrad.

Preliminary results showed crystal growth similar to those achieved in a laboratory when temperatures of more than 600C are used.

Seeking confirmation of the findings from the scientific community, Talbott sent the results to emeritus professor of geology and mineralogy at Dartmouth College, Dr Robert Reynolds, who is considered a world expert in X-ray diffraction analysis of clay minerals.

In a letter to the BLT team, Reynolds wrote that the heat required to have made the observed changes in crystallinity would have incinerated the plants.

"In short, I believe that our present knowledge provides no explanation," Reynolds said.

The BLT Research Team's website says that an academic paper presenting the "remarkable results" of this study is in progress and will be submitted for publication soon.

Whatever the full study finds, it is unlikely to convince Joe Nickell, a senior research fellow of the sceptics group called the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.

Nickell has studied the crop circle phenomenon for decades, and believes all crop circles are the work of hoaxers.

"The escalation in appearances correlated directly with the increase in media coverage," he says. "For years the phenomenon was concentrated in southern England.

"Only after media reports spread internationally did crop circles begin to appear in significant numbers elsewhere."

While the croppies are experiencing increased interest in their work thanks to the release of the movie Signs, the sceptics also are glad the movie has appeared.

"It's about time that crop circles get put in their proper place," Nickell says.

"Crop circles are the stuff of Hollywood fiction, not science."

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September 28, 2002


Miami Herald

Peruvians seek discovery and profit in UFOs

by Lucien O. Chauvin
Special to The Herald

LIMA - Of all the officers in all the armed forces of the world, perhaps none has a more unusual job than Peruvian Air Force Cmdr. Julio Chamorro: to investigate - and perhaps prove - the existence of UFOs.

As head of the Office to Investigate Aerial Phenomena, Chamorro directs a seven-member team in charge of studying what he calls "anomalies that could cause problems with aviation."

Ostensibly, the office investigates planes that veer off course and hang gliders that steer too close to military bases, but that's not the crux of the work. Of the hundreds of calls received each month by the office, Chamorro says at least half are to report UFO sightings.

And Chamorro believes many are credible.

"There are several mysteries that we believe are highly important and which merit our full attention," Chamorro said. "If we can arrive at definitive conclusions, our work will be highly beneficial to Peru and all of humanity. Just think about the technological advances if we can definitely prove the existence of spacecrafts."


Chamorro estimates that 60 percent of Peru's population has seen an unexplainable event in the sky. Most of the calls he receives can be explained, but he says about a dozen each month are credible sightings with no easy explanation.

There is, for example, the video taken in Chulucanas, Piura, at the end of 2001. Chamorro says it shows a huge ship sitting in the sky for nearly two hours. "The ship made no noise and did not move. You can see the shape, which includes even windows," Chamorro said.

Chulucanas has a long history of UFO sightings, he added.

Chamorro's office was officially organized two years ago, but the Peruvian government's interest in UFOs goes back decades, and there is archaeological evidence that ancient cultures were also hooked on other- worldly phenomena.

Miles-long geometric designs in the desert of Nazca, south of Lima, or a winged god in the north are evidence for Chamorro that past cultures not only mastered science and math, but had an inkling that space might hold more than the sun and moon.

In Chilca, 40 miles south of Lima on the Pacific coast, Mayor Numa Rueda is hoping to capitalize on the town's fame as one of the hottest spots for UFO sightings.

"There is big money in sightings," Rueda said. "We can become the next Roswell [N.M.]."

Looking to the heavens may be Chilca's best bet for dealing with the very worldly problems of economic decay and poverty. The town's annual budget is $100,000, and Rueda says most of Chilca's 18,000 residents are impoverished and depend on a three-month beach season to make ends meet.


Chilca's mayor would like Bill Owen, his counterpart in Roswell -- home to the International UFO Museum, New Mexico's most-visited tourist attraction - to come to Peru and set up a sister-city relationship.

"Roswell has a museum, and there's even a TV show," Rueda said wistfully. "If we were to link up, we could develop a UFO tourist circuit."

Like many people in Chilca, Rueda says he has seen unidentified objects in the skies above his town.

In February 1998, Rueda says, he was chatting with his brother one night outside their house when a large, boomerang-shaped object appeared over a ridge that juts into the sea just beyond Chilca.

He says the UFO moved slowly and made no noise. Six similarly shaped smaller objects were nearby.

"The mother ship and the six other vehicles hovered for a few minutes and then headed out to sea," Rueda said. "I had always heard about UFOs, but this was my first sighting. For me it was undeniable proof that there is life outside our planet."

Chilca also has its own tiny piece of ancient UFO history. In the town's one-room museum, Rueda keeps a minuscule swath of Incan textile wrapped in brown paper for safekeeping. The textile depicts an oddly shaped nonhuman figure with antennas.

Rueda says the figure is similar to the extraterrestrial being supposedly found in Roswell in 1947 and which forms the core of UFO attractions that put the town on the map.

"This proves that we are not the first people to sight UFOs here. The ancient Peruvians who inhabited Chilca also had sights and possibly contact," he said.

Chamorro says sightings form part of Peru's culture, and even the government has gotten in the act on and off over the years.


In 1955, Carlos Paz founded Peru's Institute for Inter-Planetary Relations to study UFOs. Paz is a mythical figure in the international UFO community and assumed the role of quasi-diplomat from Peru to civilizations beyond the solar system. Although he died in 1999, his daughter, Rose Marie, continues at the helm.

"We are not like the philosophical groups. We are scientific. We demand hard evidence of UFO sightings," she said.

So far, the visitors have not been considerate enough to leave genuine scientific evidence behind. But that doesn't matter to those who believe.

"The big difference between Peru and the United States is that in the United States, people freak out if they see a UFO. They want to join a cult or commit suicide," Chamorro said.

In Peru, he said, if people see a UFO they kick back and drink a beer. Even better, Chamorro says, they hope the ship lands and pays for the beer.

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September 26, 2002


Hamilton News-Journal


Organizers identify education as goal at 39th UFO Conference

by Jon Gambrell

KINGS MILLS — The 39th Annual National UFO Conference is landing this year near Kings Island.

The goal of the conference — 1 p.m. Saturday at the Kings Island Resort & Conference Center — is to better educate southern Ohio about UFO phenomena, organizers say.

Kenny Young, a member of the Mutual UFO Network and operator of a tri-state UFO hotline, said the conference will address the problem of the societal vacancy of curiosity."

We’re getting together to hear researchers pass along their lifetime of efforts," said Young, a resident of Florence, Ky. We want to educate the public and trigger curiosity."

The conference wasn’t held last year due to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, but Young feels that this year’s event will be successful.

Thus far, 150 people have confirmed their spot at the conference, some of them coming from as far away as Devon, England.

The event will feature discussions, photo exhibits and booths operated by various UFO organizations, like the Chicago-based Center for UFO Studies

The field is really a mixed bag right now," director Mark Rodeghier said.  We are still having sightings, but the crafts have changed from oval to triangular. Also, there isn’t as much physical evidence as before."

Rodeghier said that there are two prevalent attitudes in the field currently: That the space crafts are under intelligent control, or the more agnostic" view that no one knows what is causing the phenomenon.

Over all, the interest is very high in UFOs," he said. Fifty percent of Americans believe in UFOs and we want the subject to get serious scientific attention."

One person who is striving to get attention for the field is Stephen Bassett. Bassett is campaigning on the extraterrestrial issue as an independent candidate for Congress in Maryland’s 8th District.

We’re four months into our campaign," said Bassett, the only registered lobbyist on the issue. We’re doing very well. We are on the ballot."

Bassett is campaigning to raise public awareness and to encourage the federal government to make a formal acknowledgment of the extraterrestrial presence, according to his campaign Web site, Disclosure2003.

Bassett will be delivering a speech at the conference on  The Politics of Disclosure."

Our ultimate goal is to end the government information embargo," he said. The quality of the information released will be a political decision and the public needs to be involved."

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September 25, 2002


Missoula Missoulian

Alien Abductions - Prelude To Full Disclosure?

by Betsy Cohen


It's a hot summer evening. The kind of night only aliens could lure people to a tiny conference room at the Missoula Public Library.

And on this night, extraterrestials did just that.

Despite the close, sticky quarters, dozens of people patiently wait for the first night of the first formal UFO discussion group to begin in the Garden City.

They've come to listen to real-life stories of alien abductions, mysterious space ships and visitations from beings beyond this world.

But as more and more people arrive, those stories must be delayed for a few minutes more while hasty arrangements are made for a larger meeting area.

Everyone moves agreeably, and a quick shuffle of Birkenstocks, sneakers, boat shoes and sandals reassembles into a gathering of 50-plus people.

More bodies appear and stand at the back of the room, creating a collage of faces and ages like any other community gathering. This could be a PTA meeting.

Organizer Judy Mickelson looks poised, and not surprised by the turnout.

"I don't know why it took so long for Missoula to have one of these," she says by way of introduction. "They have them all the time in Colorado."

She shares background information about herself, gives guest speaker Michael Bishop a chance to talk about current advances in UFO investigations, and then Mickelson asks: "Who here has been abducted?"

Several hands go skyward.

When you are experienced with aliens, it doesn't take long for others with similar experiences to contact you.

"That's how it goes," Mickelson said. "People just find you."

And so that's how it went when Mickelson returned to the valley her pioneering forefathers, the Worden family, settled in the last millennium. She was found, and then encouraged to pull together a discussion group for people to learn about and share UFO experiences in a supportive, informative setting.

Now, the retiree is busy contacting guest speakers and competing with the likes of the Humane Society and the League of Women Voters for the library's public meeting space, which must be booked three months ahead because it is so sought-after.

"UFOs have definitely become more mainstream," she said with an easy chuckle.

Her hope is that the monthly discussion groups will launch enough interest so the group can book top names on the UFO lecture circuit to speak in Missoula.

"There's so much new research out there for people to learn about," she said.

As for her own alien education, Mickelson said it began more than a decade ago when she managed a bookstore in Loveland, Colo. It so happened she was in charge of the store's "New Age" section. Her curiosity about the subject matter, and her friendly way, prompted regular customers to tell her about their mysterious encounters. She soon became a regular at the local UFO discussion group.

"At the time, I was just interested in the topic," she said. "I didn't have my own experiences, and it was weird sometimes because I felt like a voyeur."

Within a few years, though, she too would have stories to share.

"It was a September day in 1993 when my husband and I were driving along an area of mostly llama and horse ranches on a highway between Loveland and Fort Collins," she said. "We came around a bend in the road that went around a little hill and we saw a silver disc hovering about 200 feet above it."

The couple didn't say anything to each other for a long time. In fact, they just kept on driving in stunned silence.

A few miles down the road, they saw the silver disc again. Mickelson's husband, Wayne, said only: "I think it's a satellite dish."

But then it turned at a right angle and disappeared.

"This was not of our world," she said. "And this was no satellite dish."

The experience was unnerving, but little did Mickelson know she and Wayne would have closer encounters in the years to come.

While Wayne declines to discuss his abduction, Judy had an encounter so curious it inspired her to seek out Leo Sprinkle, a psychologist and former University of Wyoming professor whose specialty is UFO investigations through hypnotherapy.

This time, her close encounter was in a field near Horse Tooth Reservoir in Colorado - a place known as "a hotbed for abductions," Mickelson said.

It was why she was there.

In her tape-recorded session with Sprinkle, Mickelson was able to unravel her mystery experience.

"I'm outside looking up, and it's back," she calmly says on the recording. "It's hovering over me about 300 to 400 feet and I can see the bottom of it. It's almost like tiles or something like that - it's just weird looking.

"And then I can see an opening, and now I don't know how I did this - all I know is that I'm inside - and I'm looking around, and it's round. And I hear a voice say 'Come here, don't be afraid.'"

Once she got her bearings, Mickelson said she saw a panel of beautiful colored pastel lights and paneling that reminded her of what she thinks the cockpit of an airplane might look like, although she has never seen one.

Through telepathy, she said the voice asked her to look out the window, which wrapped around the ship like a giant pair of Ray Ban sunglasses.

"All I see is the night sky and I feel like I am surrounded by planets - beautiful bright stars glowing everywhere .... It makes you feel like you are outside and you are surrounded. And you can still breathe air and you are alive and you are within the universe - you are one with the universe."

The being, she said, brought her to the ship to prepare her for some future event, which he would not describe. But he said when the time comes, he does not want her to be afraid of beings that are not of Earth.

Then she was taken home.

Another time she was abducted, she remembers being beamed up into a pewter-colored space ship and led into a bright white room. From there, a shower-like thing came over her and another thing like a dryer blew over her, and then she was ushered by little creatures about 4 feet tall with big eyes into a room that was colored in earth tones.

A tall, slender human-shaped being had his back turned to her and told her to sit in something that looked like a dentist chair, which formed around her and perfectly supported her body.

"It was the most comfortable chair you could have ever imagined," she said. "I want that chair."

When the alien turned around, she got a good look at him: He stood about 7 feet tall, had big shoulders, blonde hair and blue eyes.

His clothing, she said, consisted of a one-piece satiny blue suit with a little cape and a belt with some kind of strange emblem.

He told her his name was Sanada, and he told her they were far from Earth - that they were on the dark side of the moon. She asked about him and his life. He told her that he and his race live in underground housing on the moon, where they work as miners.

He told her there had been a lot of interaction between his race and the U.S. government, but people on Earth don't know about it - yet.

Mickelson agrees her story is hard for many people to believe, but it doesn't matter. She's not trying to convince anyone - she doesn't have to.

"I know people think this is kooky," she said, "but it's the truth."

Husband Wayne doesn't comment much on his wife's alien conversations, but said: "I've seen some strange things with her."

Other Montanans have reported seeing strange things, too.

On Aug. 15, 1950, Nicolas Mariana was at the Legion Ball Park in Great Falls, where he worked as the general manager of the Electrics baseball team.

Because of his natural curiosity and his journalism training at the University of Montana, Mariana never went anywhere without a camera loaded with film.

So on this particular day when a bright flash out the office window caught his eye, and Mariana saw two rotating disc-shaped objects in the morning sky hovering over his field, he knew what to do.

First he shouted to his secretary, Virginia Raunig, to come look, then he reached for his 16 mm movie camera.

According to interviews at the time, Mariana said the discs appeared to be rotating as they flew over Great Falls, traveling at a speed he estimated to be somewhere between 200 and 400 miles per hour.

The film he took, which is now in the national archives, shows two circular UFOs as they passed over a building behind a water tower. When the film came back with clear, fairly close up strange images, Mariana shared the sightings with local civic groups.

Soon the U.S. Air Force got wind of the excitement and sent an officer from Malmstrom Air Force Base to interview Mariana and get the film.

The filming made such a national commotion that Mariana was a guest star on the then-popular television show "I've Got a Secret," said Mariana's son, Nick, who lives in Victor and sells solar energy equipment.

At first examination, Air Force experts said the images were caused by two jet interceptors that were in the area at the time, and the bright light was sunlight reflecting off the fuselages. In 1952, when the Air Force's UFO investigations were revitalized, an officer came to collect Mariana's film once again.

However this time, explanations were not as forthcoming and when the film was returned to Mariana, he claimed the first 30-odd frames had been removed.

Gone were detailed images of the UFOs, including clear footage of a rotating band around the flying objects. The Air Force denied removing any of the film.

Although government investigators maintain the images are of regulation aircraft, others who were privy to the film had other notions.

In 1955, Dr. Robert Baker, a engineer with Douglas Aircraft Corporation, analyzed the film and concluded that the images could not be explained by any known natural phenomena. Since then, the University of Colorado's UFO Project and a University of Arizona astronomer have examined the film, and no conclusion of the images could be reached.

In the end, this is how the film is described today by a private research group called the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena:

"The hard data on the film indicates that the aircraft explanation is not possible, but it does not prove that the objects are spacecraft. It leaves the film depicting unidentified flying objects."

Mariana is no longer alive to share his stories, his film all but forgotten, and the only talk of it is when his surviving family members are asked to share their memory.

"It wasn't something dad wore on his collar - it wasn't like him to pull a stunt to be famous," Nick said. "I just wish I could get my hands on the original film. Dad never made a copy, and over the years the clip the Air Force sent back was lost, so we don't have anything left."

All that remains is his mother's dress she wore to Hollywood for "I've Got a Secret." "It's a cool red-hot nightclub dress," Mariana said. "She looked great and dad stumped the panel."

Helena physician Jesse Marcel Jr. doesn't doubt that the Great Falls images caused a stir with the military, or that the flying objects are not of this world.

In 1947, when Marcel was a boy and his father was in charge of aircraft accident investigations at the Roswell, N.M., Army air field, he too witnessed some strange sights.

It was July when a severe thunderstorm boomed around the small town of Corona, a few miles from the military base. The following day, a sheep rancher went to survey the storm's damage and found a flying saucer that had crashed.

The Roswell Daily Recorder reported the incident and stated a flying saucer and alien beings had been captured by the Army Air Force, and thus, the "Roswell Incident" was officially born.

Military spokespersons dismissed the event, and said what they found was only a weather balloon and a tin-foil radar target. Five decades later, the Air Force tried to squash the tireless rumors of Roswell. In a press conference, they explained the "little beings" allegedly seen at the time of the incident were part of the military's secret high-altitude parachute tests that involved the use of mannequins.

Regardless of the stories then and the stories that have developed, Marcel knows for certain something very odd happened.

"I remember one day, my father was called at home by Col. Blanchard, the base commander, and assigned to go to an area at a nearby ranch," Marcel said. "Something crashed there and the Air Force was asked to investigate."

Marcel remembers his father was gone from home all day and into the night, even though their house was between the crash site and the army base. On his way back to the office in the wee hours of the next day, Marcel's father stopped to check in on his family.

"He woke my mom and I up and said: 'We've got something really weird here.'"

Then he spread out some debris on the kitchen table and asked: "I want you to look at this and tell me what this is."

What it was, was unlike anything the would-be doctor of medicine had ever seen in his young life or his life since.

There for just a blink of time in the heart of the Marcel home was odd-looking metal-like foil and strange plastic matter.

"I picked up one little I-beam, which looked like it had some imprinting along the inner surface - something like hieroglyphics," he said. "It was embossed all over, but you really couldn't see it until you held it up to the light. And when you did, it had a purplish hue to it."

Although the mystery of the foot-long, lightweight, unbendable metallic-like object was never explained to him, Marcel said he knew it was something special and his 11-year-old mind raced with the possibilities.

None, however, came close to his the answer his father uttered but once, and very quietly: "Flying saucers."

The threesome looked in awe at the bits and pieces of alien objects, then Jesse Marcel Sr. boxed up the material and continued on to the Army base.

While word was just reaching the media about the incident, Marcel Sr. was assigned the task of delivering the material to high-ranking military leaders based in Fort Worth, Texas.

He was flown there in a B-29 bomber, escorted by military police.

When he returned home to his family, he had a different story.

"He sat us down and told us to treat this like a nonevent, and to play like it never happened," Marcel said. "The story we were then told was that the material was part of a weather balloon."

And the site was literally vacuum cleaned.

Years later, long after Marcel sprouted his own family and his father resigned from the military, the incident would come up now and again.

"We all agreed it was strange," Marcel said. "To this day, I believed the thing that crashed was a flying saucer - whatever that means - it was something from somewhere else."

Although the Roswell incident legend includes the capture of alien creatures, Marcel said his father never mentioned it.

As for Marcel, his childhood experience inspires as much wonderment today as it did then.

"What it has done for me, it has made me extremely interested in astronomy and cosmology - I know we aren't the only beings in this universe," he said.

Marcel said he believes something very real and very extraordinary happened that July day in 1947.

"Why doesn't the government just tell us what happened? Because the reasons for keeping it covered up must be pretty compelling."

The Roswell incident - and other whispers of beings beyond this planet - will not die a quiet death because the government doesn't want it to, said Michael Bishop, a Missoula UFO investigator and hypnotherapist by day, and truck dispatcher by night. The government, he said, is preparing people for the truth.

"They have done such a good job relegating people who have had an experience to the lunatic fringe, but now the government is apparently trying to undo that through a series of carefully placed leaks," he informed the library audience.

For proof, he points to one of the largest UFO investigations, called the "Disclosure Project," which is directed by Dr. Steven Greer, founder of the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Greer has spent the last decade investigating alleged government UFO cover ups and interviewing hundreds of high-ranking military officers, members of the Atomic Energy Commission, and other military personnel who had access to government briefings on UFOs and who have seen firsthand unidentified flying objects.

Two years ago, he released a 120-minute-long videotape of his interview with 100 of these "witnesses," who shared their UFO experiences.

In the tape, people like Lt. Col. Charles Brown, a former U.S. Air Force pilot, talks about helping to track UFOs that appeared on radar and disappeared at the rate of 4,000 to 5,000 miles per hour.

"There is no question I have seen organized flights of unidentified flying objects - flying balls of light, if you will," Brown said in his interview. "They disappeared whenever they wanted."

John Callahan, a former senior officer with the FAA during the Reagan administration, said there were "major sightings" over Alaska in the 1980s when a pilot for a Japanese 747 reported a huge ball of light running alongside the plane.

Callahan said U.S. jet pilots were called to assist and videotaped the image. The tape was taken to Washington, D.C., the next day for military intelligence to view. Everyone agreed it was a UFO, Callahan said in his interview.

And in the tape, Montana, figures prominently.

On March 16, 1967, Air Force Capt. Robert Salas was a launch engineer at Malmstrom Air Force base when he got a call from guards outside the missile silo where he was stationed.

The guards were startled by the sudden appearance of strange lights flying around the silo. The vision was so far out of their experience they called into the control room and told Salas about it, and called seconds later to report that the glowing red object was closing in, and was headed to the front gate.

"I have all the men out there with their weapons drawn asking 'What do we do now?' "

Before Salas could answer, the missiles started shutting down, one by one in rapid succession. Within seconds, eight intercontinental ballistic missiles had been mysteriously deactivated, and when the last one shut down, the phone rang again, and a guard said the mysterious light left at high speed.

Minutes later, the same thing happened at a different missile squadron 50 miles away. All 10 of their missiles were dead.

These testimonies, Bishop said, are not only proof from credible sources that UFOs are real experiences, but proof the government is slowly preparing everyday citizens for full disclosure of life beyond this planet.

"These people have been allowed to come forward without grief or retribution," Bailey said. "They are preparing us."

And so are Mickelson and Bishop.

"It's important for all of us to come forward," Bishop said. "You have to stand up and be counted, even though this is a controversial subject."

Mickelson's abductions still hover over her.

We live in a world that is on the cusp of a major shift in consciousness, and more and more people are starting to share their own alien experiences, Mickelson says at her discussion group.

"There's a reason for it," she says.

As for herself, she doesn't care what others think of her strange voyages. She's in the business of sharing, not persuading.

"We can't be so arrogant to think we are the only ones in the universe," she says.

On this hot, sticky night, a quiet consensus tremors around the room, heads nod in agreement, and all are of one mind.

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September 24, 2002


Oshkosh Northwestern

Much unexplained about 'UFO'shkosh
Conference seeks answers to paranormal signs

By Alex Hummel



Crop circles?

Aside from the Packers' recent on-field performance, the Badger State boasts quite a file of "the unexplained" - as in Bigfoot sightings, eerie farmland apparitions and crop circles.

For the price of a movie and soda, a conference Sunday in Neenah invites the public to witness Wisconsin's weird side, from homegrown UFO phenomena to heavenly angels to evidence of past lives.

"I think people have always had these questions, and now it has become so mainstream that they feel like they can go to a conference and it's not going to be new-agers with crystal balls," said Chad Lewis, a 28 year-old Eau Claire resident and conference speaker on "Strange Wisconsin." "It's regular people going to these conferences."

Lewis dubs himself a paranormal researcher. He recently earned a degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a thesis on college students' beliefs in the paranormal.

He has been touring the state with conferences like the one planned for Neenah's Park Plaza Valley Inn. The forums last about two-and-a-half hours and typically draw between 100 to 200 people, Lewis said.

They ride a recent wave of sci-fi seasoned skepticism. "The X-Files" struck a nerve with the black-helicopter crowd about a decade ago, but most recently the crop-circle flic "Signs" and T.V. guru John Edward, who reunites dead or "crossed over" people with the living have made waves.

Lewis' presentation is billed as a discussion of "his investigations of ghosts, UFO's, alien abductions, crop circles, bigfoot and haunted sites from Wisconsin…" He said he always caters his portion of the conference to the area he is visiting.

Lewis said he'd discuss a 1903 mass sighting of a UFO in the Appleton area and, among other things like the Oshkosh woman who died yawning the same year, a 1910 report of a large alligator in Lake Winnebago south of Oshkosh.

"What a lot of people don't understand is when we have a bigfoot sighting such as we had in Granton in 2000, a lot of these things make national news," he said. "Wisconsin also has the second highest rate of reported UFO sightings after New Mexico."

Lewis will be joined by Judy Meinen, an Eau Claire-area registered nurse and healing touch practitioner who will "demonstrate various techniques to use while encountering an ‘eerie' feeling": i.e., the possibility of the presence of angels. Also on the bill is Bob Salt, a UW-Stout professor of human development and a past life therapist discussing reincarnation.

"I'm not talking about faith," Salt said. "I'm talking about people who actually remember other lifetimes. There are little children who just spontaneously remember previous lifetimes and adults can do it through hypnosis or maybe a repeated dream. What I'm going to do is describe the research done by scholars compiling cases, and there are thousands."

Lewis said, at their core, the conferences always appeal to those folks with the big questions.

"It's the basic questions we humans have always had," he said. "Are we alone in the universe? What happens when we die? They are all these questions people ask when they sit down and talk about stuff… Even if they don't necessarily believe, a lot of people say, ‘I'm a skeptic, but I really like the information. It's given me a lot to think about.' "

Alex Hummel: (920) 426-6669

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September 15, 2002


Times of London (UK)

The Crop Busters


by Julie Cohen and Stuart Conway

For years, crop circles have been taken as seriously as UFOs and fairies. Now, not only have the weird patterns arrived in Hollywood, but scientists are trying to solve the mystery. And the answer may lie in the soil As the helicopter landed on the roof of New York's Rockefeller Plaza, two uniformed security guards ran out, speaking into their microphone headsets, and rushed Nancy Talbott inside. She was ushered into a suite where a sumptuous buffet was laid out. Aides made a respectful retreat as the philanthropist Laurance S Rockefeller arrived. Talbott, the president of BLT Research Team Inc, an organisation formed to investigate physical changes in plants at crop circles, had been invited to lunch to discuss an exciting proposal.

Hollywood has just given British audiences its version of what causes crop circles, in the movie Signs, with Mel Gibson playing a farming preacher who discovers a formation in his field. But Talbott had information on the real phenomenon. Preliminary research suggested the circles were made by an unknown energy.

The puzzle began six years ago for Diane Conrad, a geologist who analysed soil samples from a circle near her home in Logan, Utah. To her surprise, they displayed a characteristic generally found in sedimentary rock, caused by the pressure of tons of rock heated by the Earth's core over considerable time. Yet these samples were surface soil from within the crop circle; outside the circle, the soil showed none of these inexplicable traits. 'I couldn't understand the results,' Conrad explains. 'The soil seems to have been subjected to an intense heat of 500 to 1,500 degrees Celsius, and yet the plants were not incinerated. They were not even singed.' What kind of energy could produce heat of that intensity, yet not burn the plants to a crisp? Conrad was unable to initiate an in-depth evaluation at the time, but she passed the information on to Talbott, who has dedicated the past 10 years to co-ordinating scientific research into the circles. Research of soil samples required expensive techniques, so her mission was to persuade Rockefeller to fund it.

More than 10,000 circles have been reported around the world to date. Formations have appeared in tree tops, ice and sand as well as crops. Nobody knows how many are genuine anomalies and how many are man-made, and scientific investigation has been very limited. But Conrad's work raised questions that Talbott believed mainstream science could not ignore. After a convivial lunch, Talbott handed Rockefeller her proposal. A few weeks later, a cheque for a 'substantial amount' arrived in the post.

Field teams in the Netherlands, the United States and Canada collected soil samples. A seven-circle formation reported in September 1999 in Edmonton, Alberta, was chosen for detailed analysis. A farmer and his wife reported seeing unexplained lights above the field about a week before the circles were discovered.

Nearly 90 soil samples, as well as controls taken from outside the circles, were sent to Dr Sampath Iyengar, a mineralogist in
San Diego, California. Clay minerals in the samples were analysed using a technique called x-ray powder diffraction (XRD). X-rays are beamed into the sample at various angles, and the way they deflect provides information about how the atoms are arranged, and the kind of mineral it is.

Imagine a marble represents an atom in the mineral being examined. If you throw a handful of them on the ground, they will form a random pattern. If instead you line them up in rows, that would indicate an 'increase in crystallinity'; something has made them ordered, an as-yet-unexplained energy. This is what had happened to the surface soil from inside the crop circle.

Nothing like this had ever been seen in surface soil. 'This would normally only be found in geologic sediments exposed to low temperatures and pressures over millions of years,' says Iyengar. 'In the laboratory, temperatures in the range of 600 to 800C are usually required to achieve such crystal growth. There is no way we could explain these results. It's some kind of energy, an unknown force, that's causing this.' Talbott, excited by the results, needed the report peer-reviewed by an authority. She decided to start at the top and went to Hanover, New Hampshire, where she banged on the door of Dr Robert C Reynolds Jr of Dartmouth College. A winner of the Roebling medal for lifelong achievement in mineralogy, Reynolds is an expert in x-ray diffraction. He asked for samples to be sent to his laboratory, and performed his own experiments. The results were the same.

In a letter to Talbott, he said: '... I am convinced that the sample preparation methods and the x-ray analytical procedures used were consistent with sound, standard methods of analysis. But this brings up the question of the meaning of their results.

'Temperatures of 600 to 800 degrees Celsius are required in the laboratory for such growth and these conditions would have incinerated any plant material present. In short, I believe that our present knowledge provides no explanation...' For the crop-circle world, the involvement of such a distinguished expert in the subject is a great victory. It is the first time a scientist of his standing has taken an interest in the phenomenon. Where does the intense heat come from? Some witnesses claim to have seen small balls of light and heard trilling noises in the fields just before a circle has appeared, but whether this is related has yet to be proven. 'It is possible we are observing the effects of a new or as yet unrecognised energy source,' says Talbott in the BLT report.

One of the biggest contributions to the scientific study of crop circles has come from the Michigan biophysicist W C Levengood, who began investigating plants taken from circles in 1990. The most curious anomalies he has studied are pinhead-sized holes in plant nodes, the fibrous 'knuckle-like' protuberances found along the stem. He calls these holes 'expulsion cavities'. Levengood believes moisture inside the stems is heated rapidly and turns to steam, in some places stretching the plant fibre, and in others blowing a hole in the stem. 'It seems to be a powerful microwave energy that is causing this; it heats from the inside out. The interesting thing is, these holes occur in a matter of microseconds.'

The youngest, and most elastic, tissue in the plant stems is at the top, and it is here that he has consistently observed elongated nodes - stretched sometimes to double their normal length. Lower down, where the tissue is more fibrous and less elastic, expulsion cavities are regularly seen. These effects have never been found in control samples. Levengood also found changes to the seeds and germination capability of plants within the circles. When circles occur in mature plants with fully formed seeds, the seeds often grow up to five times faster than control seeds, and the seedlings can tolerate lack of water and light for a considerable time without apparent harm.

While investigating the crop-circle seeds at his Pinelandia Biophysical Laboratory in Grass Lake, Michigan, Levengood discovered a way of using a process he calls molecular impulse response (MIR). 'When I exposed the seeds to the MIR energy, I got the same effect as in the crop formation. We can produce seeds that grow a lot faster.' Along with his colleague John Burke, he patented the formula in 1998. Is the agricultural industry interested? 'Oh yes. We hope the grain will be ready next year. There are several companies doing big field trials at the moment.'

This summer, field researchers found expulsion cavities inside a formation resembling a celtic knot in Avebury Trusloe, Wiltshire. The formation, reported on June 2 in a barley field, was examined by the former government scientist Rodney Ashby, who began investigating crop circles six years ago. 'The stretched nodes and expulsion cavities in this formation are very interesting,' he says. 'This occurred only on the stems that were flattened to create the formation.

I always look for the most logical explanation, but in cases like this there just doesn't seem to be one.'

From the edge of the field in the waist-high barley, it is impossible to see the downed crop. The only extraordinary features seem to be the ancient Adam and Eve stones in the next field. Scholars believe they marked the beginning of an avenue of stones leading to the stone circle around Avebury. A few hundred yards inside the field, the crop suddenly flattens in swirling patterns.

Daniel Lobb, a field researcher, picks up a handful of barley stalks. Sure enough, there are tiny holes and stretched nodes that are double the length of the plants outside the circle.

Next morning at the Silent Circle, a cafe in Cherhill, the hub of crop-circle information, 15 people are watching a video of the latest circle. A map on the wall covered with pins is quickly updated with the position of the most recent formation.  The cafe walls are covered with aerial photographs of the 70 circles reported so far in the UK this year, and posters by the former architect and professor of design Michael Glickman, who draws the geometry of the formations.

'Let's go,' cries Glickman. It's like a call to the hunt, and everyone piles into their cars. In the lead is Glickman, followed by the Croatian documentary maker Nikola Duper, then three Italian women, a Dutch couple who have come to Wiltshire for the past 10 years to see the circles, and us. The convoy snakes along narrow roads past thatched cottages in tiny villages. Everyone is waving and chatting excitedly on their mobiles about what the shape could be. As we pull up by the field, we see people on stepladders holding cameras attached to long poles, trying to get an aerial shot. A helicopter circles overhead and the 'croppies', as they are known, pull out cameras and notebooks.

Next day, when the aerial pictures are put up in the cafe, there is concern that it may be man-made. 'We're under attack,' says Glickman as he sips his coffee dejectedly. 'It's a waste of researchers' time and money to be polluting the fields with these second-rate man-made circles when there's a real phenomenon needing more studies.'

Interest in the circles has intensified this year. Signs opened in the US on August 2 and took more than $60m in its first three days, sending it straight to No 1 at the US box office. The British drama A Place to Stay, set in the crop circles of Wiltshire, also looks set to pique public interest.

Freddy Silva, the British author of the recent book Secrets in the Fields, which sold 10,000 copies in the US in its first week, is looking over a formation at the Gallops, near Beckhampton, an impressive shape with 76 radiating spokes. A deer leaps to the centre and stays for a few moments before running out. 'Whatever Hollywood comes up with about the theories behind the crop circles, it will never be as intriguing and mysterious as the real thing,' says Silva.

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September 5, 2002


Atlantic Monthly

Nick Cook, a respected military journalist, describes his foray into a hidden "black world" where powerful technologies of warfare are born

The Hunt for Zero Point by Nick Cook Broadway Books 256 pages, $26.00



by Frank Bures

To those who spend their time scanning reams of dry defense-spending documents, the black budget is a well-known bit of excitement. It is the discrepancy that's left when all the known weapons procurements, research programs, and technical developments are added up. It's also where groundbreaking technologies, such as stealth, are developed under code names like "Black Light," "Classic Wizard," and "Link Plumeria." These technologies are kept secret during their gestation because to even hint at the ideas behind them would be to reveal too much.  This year, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the U.S. military's black budget will rise to levels not seen since the 1980s, from $16.2 billion last year to $20.3 billion.

There is no way to know exactly what that money is being spent on, but Nick Cook has some ideas. For fifteen years Cook has been a defense and aerospace reporter for Jane's Defence Weekly, which some consider the bible of the international defense community. During his career Cook has often brushed up against the "black world" and has even delved into it, both in reporting for Jane's on advances like the B-2 bomber, and in working on a documentary, Billion Dollar Secret, that probed the U.S. military's classified (or black) weapons programs.

This last project was something of a prelude to Cook's new book, The Hunt for Zero Point: Inside the Classified World of Antigravity Technology, which documents his ten-year search for a mythical technology that all the brightest minds in aerospace were gushing about in the early 1950s. Strangely, just a few years later the aerospace world was suddenly silent on the subject. After about 1956, anyone who mentioned antigravity, or the once-imminent "G-engines," was given a wide berth. It was an odd switch that left Cook with questions: Had there been anything to these rumors and reports? If not, why the hype? If so, what had happened? So he set out to look for answers, and what he found was surprising. Cook traced a long succession of both military and civilian scientists and engineers working to develop a branch of applied physics for which we still have no vocabulary, but which seems to involve manipulating the little-understood quantum-level "zero-point field" to achieve peculiar effects, like shielding objects from gravity. If this were developed and incorporated into flight vehicles, the implications could hardly be understated: antigravity would forever alter the world's economy, make global transport systems obsolete, and, of course, change the face of warfare. Some also felt that the zero- point field could be an enormous source of energy, if only people could learn how to tap it.

Against the advice of his colleagues and friends, and against his own better judgment and career interests, Cook felt he couldn't ignore the leads he uncovered, which drew him through the black labyrinth back to an unexpected place: Nazi territory around the end of World War II. That is where, Cook claims, some of these technologies were first developed and then acquired by American and Russian forces, who raced to pillage the underground facilities around Pilsen in the Czech Republic and around Breslau (now Wroclaw) in Poland. There an SS general named Hans Kammler operated the "wonder weapons" program, which the Nazis were convinced would propel them ahead of the Allies to win the war. At the war's end Kammler disappeared. Though he had been one of the main planners of the death camps, his name was never mentioned at the war-crimes trials in Nuremberg.

One conclusion Cook reaches in The Hunt for Zero Point is that some of the "Foo Fighters" that World War II pilots reported seeing over Axis territories may have been German prototypes of new flying machines that used antigravity technology. He also posits that somewhere in the black world, work has likely continued along these lines, and that much of the wackiness surrounding sightings of "UFOs" has been deliberately spun to ward off investigations of new technologies in development.

Since the book's publication in Britain, Cook has uncovered documents detailing Boeing's antigravity research program at the top-secret Phantom Works, where the company is striving to develop "propellantless propulsion" ahead of its competitors. Writing in Jane's Defence Weekly, Cook quoted the documents as saying that along with Boeing's own program, other "classified activities in gravity modification may exist"—suggesting that antigravity may, in fact, have been more than a 1950's fantasy.

For his work at Jane's, Nick Cook has received the Royal Aeronautical Society's Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award four times, in the Defence, Business, Technology, and Propulsion categories. He also writes for The Financial Times, The London Times and often comments on defense and security for the BBC and CNN. I spoke to him at his home in London.


Interview with Nick Cook

BLACK PROJECTS? Nazi weapons programs? Antigravity? UFOs? A lot of people are going to read the dust jacket of your book and think you've fallen out of your tree. What's the reception been?

The response to the UK edition has been remarkably good. The really pleasing thing has been the reaction of people within the aerospace business. Everything in this book had to pass muster with me, through a set of criteria that I would apply to any Jane's story. I've read a lot of conspiracy-based books—UFO treatises and heaven knows what—none of which satisfied my professional curiosity. I realized that to go that extra mile, I was going to have to be rigorous in my research. And if what I found didn't match my own criteria, I wasn't going to put it down on the page. Consequently, there's reams of stuff I left out because it didn't match up to the professional standards that I, as a Jane's-trained journalist, had come to expect in other stories.

THE SUBJECT HAS been kind of a poison pill in the past, hasn't it?

Yes, I guess so. People were begging me, urging me, not to get involved in this story. But in the end I couldn't ignore the evidence that I was uncovering and that was being presented to me. You can only stare at evidence so long before it starts to pull you in. I was really dragged reluctantly, kicking and screaming, into the story, as you can see from the book.

I found the evidence overwhelming that something—and I stress something—is going on. I don't reach any definitive, Holy Grail conclusions about antigravity beyond the fact that there are people out there who are regularly practicing it. People have asked me, "Well, do you know that the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. military have this squirreled away somewhere and are developing hardware?" No, I don't. And I don't dress up The Hunt for Zero Point in that way. Where I do have evidence I present it. For example, I think the evidence of what the Germans were doing during the Second World War is overwhelming. But I don't make any bold claims for what the U.S. is doing, simply because I don't have the evidence for it. Also, I think my experience in covering aerospace programs has been beneficial, in that I'm able to extrapolate a little. And where I do extrapolate in the book, I make it clear that it is my own extrapolation.

For instance, based on what we know of black program activity in the States, based on what we know the black budget is worth, and based on what I know the U.S. Air Force is capable of in terms of turning vision into reality, I extrapolate that it is not unreasonable to think that they have taken antigravity technology, which has been around for fifty years, and put it to some use.

THROUGHOUT THE book, one of the themes seems to be how your world gradually splits into a white world, where everything is open and aboveboard and accessible—the one you report on for Jane's—and a black one that you can just make out the shape of, and that swallows billions of dollars developing experimental technologies, but that slips away whenever you get close. What can you tell us about this black world?

You're right in that most of my reporting for Jane's is on the white world. That's the visible and accessible side of the U.S. aerospace and defense industry. On the other hand, I have made extensive investigations into the black world as well —that world in which America develops systems it doesn't want anyone else to know about. What really got me into it was one of the most significant aerospace and defense technologies to come out of the black world in living memory—and that's stealth. Stealth is a technology that I was forced to investigate, along with many of my colleagues, because it became the most dominant military aerospace technology of the past two decades. And in investigating stealth I and, I stress, my colleagues became exposed to other black-world technologies, some of which are detailed in the book.

A very small proportion of the reporting was deep throat, cloak-and- dagger activity. Much of it was simply going to people who had worked on stealth programs and were now free to talk about them. Through that kind of exposure, you do get a very good idea of what goes on inside the black world and of its worth. It has a vast and sprawling architecture funded by tens of billions of classified dollars every year. The height of its powers was probably in the Reagan era. But it has not stopped since then.  In fact, under the Bush Administration it is having something of a resurgence. So the black world is real, it's there.

IN THE HUNT FOR Zero Point you wrote that, "Like an unsinkable ship, the black world had been built up around multiple, layered compartments, each securely sealed. Some of these compartments, it is now clear, had been designed never to be opened again. Ever." Why ever?

There are some technologies, I think, that are so significant merely in the ideas behind them that to allow those ideas to percolate into the wider world would give other people those same ideas about developing real hardware. And part of the trick behind really advanced technology is sometimes to not even let your enemies know you've got the idea in the first place. Stealth technology is a primary example of that. But if you go back even further and think about the atomic bomb, that was another one.

During the Second World War, when it became clear that an atomic bomb was feasible, the U.S. scientific community voluntarily purged official documentation of all references to the potential of fission. Sometimes, born of radical science, you can get radical weapons systems that most people haven't even thought of.

IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, just how black are these programs? Don't they have to be reported to certain U.S. Congress members?

Well, the black world has opened up. There are reporting mechanisms designed to keep Congress, or certain very highly cleared members of Congress, aware of what is happening in the black world. However, having said that, there are degrees of black, and at the blackest, there are undoubtedly programs that are not cleared by Congress, again for the very reasons that I have just discussed.

For the TV program Billion Dollar Secret I interviewed a congressman called Dana Rohrabacher, who was the chair of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee and of the House Science Committee. Now, he was convinced that the U.S. military had developed an aircraft like the one referred to in the book as Aurora, which is a hypersonic, very fast spy-plane prototype. But he said that his efforts to get any information on that program, if indeed it exists, were constantly frustrated. And he's an influential member of the science panel in Congress.

YOU WENT FROM thinking the existence of antigravity technology was "sheer fantasy" to saying there is "clear evidence" of it. What changed your mind?

Well, it was a gradual transition. But it was a combination of things, really. The whole black world that we've discussed was the place where those sorts of technologies could come together, for a start. Secondly, the documented progress that was being made on certain physics problems in the antigravity field. In the book I go into the Podkletnov case, this Russian scientist who is able to generate a reduction in the weight of objects that he puts above rapidly rotating superconductors. Now, Podkletnov is undeniably generating a weight reduction. And he's doing it on a shoestring. So that was another nail in the coffin for me. And thirdly, by going back in history to a period where research was unfettered —seeing what the Nazis were doing in the science field when they had absolutely no restraints on them. The SS in particular had a pretty much unrestrained budget. They documented what they did, and uncovering that documentation allowed me to see that this research into antigravity technology was not a recent phenomenon, but had been going on for quite some time.

So it was a combination of those things. The history—the fact that it had been going on a long time ago—mirrored in a real sense by what people are doing on a shoestring today. Couple that with what is potentially achievable in the black world, and you start to see that the potential payoff for this research is enormous. For payoff, you go to people like Hal Puthoff, a very respected scientist in the field, and say, "All right Hal, gaze into your crystal ball and tell me what you think might be achievable." And the guy says, "There's enough energy in your coffee cup to evaporate the world's oceans many times over." Now, I'm a hard-bitten defense reporter, but that gets my attention.

SO THE OTHER SIDE of the antigravity coin seems to be "zero-point energy," this energy that exists in the quantum vacuum—a kind of subatomic froth that may even give electrons their charge. Some scientists say the amount of energy we're talking about here is a lot. Some say it's a little. Where do you come down on that?

I'm not a scientist. I have to defer to people I respect in the field, and one of them is definitely Hal Puthoff, a very sober-minded individual who's conducting rigorous experiments into this field. He postulates that there is almost unlimited potential in the energy contained in the zero- point field. But even he doesn't know, and in all the experiments he's done on pieces of equipment that have been brought to him, he has uncovered nothing yet that outputs more energy than it takes in.

Puthoff's theories lead him to the belief that the zero-point field is not simply a vast sea of untapped energy, but that it is also responsible for some of the underpinnings of physics—things like gravity and inertia, for example. Certainly that seems to be borne out by more and more experimentation—and more and more people are coming round to that point of view.

ANYBODY RECENTLY who's come around to that?

NASA's breakthrough propulsion physics program is interesting, in that here is a mainstream body—you can't get much more mainstream or respectable than NASA—which is funding experiments into breakthrough propulsion physics, one of which is Podkletnov's claim that you can get an object to lose some of its weight by suspending it above rotating superconductors.

GOING BACK TO the weapons that are too dangerous to be let out, do you think that zero-point energy could possibly be one of those technologies? What kind of explosive could result from it? I'm just thinking of the Canadian researcher John Hutchison and the things he was doing.

Hutchison is interesting, He's not a trained scientist. He's not an academic. He's just one of these guys who has an intuitive feel for electricity in particular, and other aspects of physics. He puts bits of machinery together. He tunes them. He adapts them. And from those pieces of machinery he's able to transmute metals —steel into lead, or lead into steel. But he doesn't understand how he's doing it. He feels intuitively that he's pulling these effects from the zero-point field. Now, normally to transmute a metal, you need about the same amount of energy as you get out of a low-yield nuclear weapon. And Hutchison's doing that from his wall socket.

Those transmutations were documented by a Pentagon team. Now, I tend to sit up and listen when Pentagon evaluation experts are themselves paying attention to things like that. If somebody like Hutchison can do transmutations on a shoestring, that clearly is of concern—particularly as he doesn't fully understand how he's producing these very curious results. And I don't think anyone else does either. People are beginning to postulate that from the zero-point field—if we can call it a field—you could eventually get truly awesome weapons. People were saying similar kinds of things about fission in the late 1930s, and look where that got us.

ONE OF THE MOST gripping parts of your book is the description of "Operation Paperclip"—the dismantling and retrieval of all known German technology, science, and related expertise at the end of World War II. You write that this "state within a state had been transported four thousand miles to the west"—to the United States. When learning about today's black world, why is it important to go back and study Operation Paperclip?

Two things. First of all, we know the size and scope of Operation Paperclip, which was huge. And we know that the U.S. operates a very deeply secret defense architecture for secret-weapons programs that we know as the black world. It is a highly compartmentalized system and one of the things that's intrigued me over the years is, How did they develop that? What model did they base it on?

It is remarkably similar to the system that was operated by the Germans— specifically the SS—for their top-secret weapons programs during the Second World War. Now, did someone, Hans Kammler or anyone else, provide that model lock, stock, and barrel to the U.S. government at the end of the war? I don't know the answer to that, but given the massive recruitment that went on under Paperclip, and given what we see in the black world, it might not be unreasonable to ask those questions.

FOR THOSE WHO haven't read the book, can you say briefly who Hans Kammler is?

He was an SS general who, by the end of the Second World War, was in charge of all of the Nazis' secret-weapons programs. He was an extremely powerful man. He was up to his neck in the Holocaust as well, and amongst his earlier responsibilities he had been one of the main architects of the death camps. Now, at the end of the Second World War, he disappeared. And from what little documentary history he left behind, we know that he was thinking of trading his war crimes for technology, which he wanted to give to the Americans in order to buy himself immunity. But his crimes were so heinous that immunity for someone like Kammler wouldn't be enough. He'd actually have to buy disappearance. So Kammler disappeared, and no one knows where he went.

What is remarkable about Kammler is that so few people know his name. And yet at the end of the Second World War, he was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany. He should have been tried in absentia at the Nuremberg war- crimes trials. But his name didn't even surface there, even though others who couldn't be found were tried in absentia.

So it's very strange, but his hold over the high-technology weapons—the wonder weapons, the Germans called them, these weapons that they thought would win them the war right at the last minute—his hold over those weapons at the end of the war was absolute. And in the book, we glimpse some of those weapons. Who knows what else was in his Pandora's box of technologies?

When I started the book I thought all this stuff about the Germans was mythology peddled by cranks and weirdoes and conspiracy nuts. But one of the most satisfying aspects of the research for me was going into modern day Germany, Austria, and the former Czechoslovakia and finding that, contrary to all my expectations, there actually is real, tangible evidence that what the Germans were doing in this field was true. That's not to say it's all true. But in some cases there is real documented evidence, evidence that I was able to look at: diaries I was able to touch and see, plans I was able to look at—original plans—for these devices.


Ones that A) generated an antigravity effect, and that B) were tapping into the zero-point field to produce energy. Even if you don't want to believe that that's what they were doing—generating an antigravity effect or a zero point energy effect—it's clear that the Germans themselves believed this stuff. And that they threw real money at these programs to get them to work.

That was the thing that really made me sit up and take note. The Germans, who aren't known as slouches in the engineering field, truly believed that by throwing money at these programs, they could get them to work. As an old skeptic, what I do is follow the money trail. And I followed the money trail in Nazi Germany just as I followed the money trail in the black world. At the end of that trail, you often come across a real program, a real piece of technology that, when you throw a brick at it, it goes clang. It's real.

THE ARCHIVIST at Modern Military Records in Maryland told you that Hans Kammler had been "redlined." Can you explain what that means?

I made a lot of inquiries through her, and she found it extraordinary, given what I told her about Kammler—I had to tell her about Kammler—that there was absolutely nothing on him in the National Archive, given that just about everything he was doing should have been documented in the files somewhere. The fact that there was nothing on him was therefore highly suspicious, and in her view tended to support the theory that he'd been redlined. In other words, somebody had gone in and cleared out any meaningful documents on him.

YOU ALSO WRITE that the black world in America is a "low-grade reflection" of the system Kammler built to protect Nazi weapons research.

I'm not for a second saying that there is direct linkage there. What I do mean is that if you follow the trail of Nazi scientists and engineers who were recruited by America at the end of the Second World War, the unfortunate corollary is that by taking on the science, you take on—unwittingly—some of the ideology. The science comes over tainted with something else. And that something else you have to be very careful of. It carries unpleasant side effects with it, in that if you're not careful, you lose sight of what it is you're protecting. What you're ultimately trying to protect is U.S. national interest and U.S. security. But not at any cost. I think that's the point that many people make who've brushed up against the black world and found their human rights violated by it. Not many have, but certainly some have. Those people question whether that unswerving loyalty to protecting high technology was worth it. What do you lose along the way? You lose some democracy, perhaps.

ANOTHER THING I found interesting was your point that the Nazis had developed an entirely different approach to science, because they thought Einsteinian physics was "Jewish science." What was different about the Nazi scientific culture?

I think a lot of things, but in simple terms, it was an extraordinary time. Basically, these people came to power in 1933 and by 1945 they were defeated. So there was this small window of time—twelve years—in which things were really turned on their heads in Germany. And during that period, science along with many other things developed in a kind of vacuum. They were certainly aware of things that were going on outside Germany. But inside Germany they often developed very different approaches to things. Certainly the approaches that they were using to develop the bomb were dissimilar to the techniques being used by the Americans. Whereas most of the rest of the world was absorbed by Einstein's views of relativity and a big-picture view of the universe, the Germans were very interested in quantum science, in quantum mechanics, and what was happening on a micro scale—on a subatomic scale. So you had two markedly different scientific cultures developing at the same time.

IN THE BOOK YOU touch a bit on the sticky issue of UFOs. Do you think the UFOs people saw during and after the war are experimental military craft?

I'd hoped at the beginning of the book that I might be able to shed some light on what the UFO phenomenon is all about. But at the end of the book I say, Look, I don't have enough evidence to reach any firm conclusions on that subject. But all I can say is that, given that we know that the Germans—at least I know to my satisfaction, based on what I uncovered—were looking at disc-shaped aircraft during the Second World War and that there were various other programs looking into similar such fields, you can probably say that there are disk-shaped vehicles out there that have been developed in a prototype kind of sense, which may explain some sightings.

If the body of sightings is any kind of yardstick of whether UFOs are real, then some of those sightings, I think, could be explained by experimental military vehicles. But not all of them. At that point the trained skeptic in me says, enough, I'm not going to postulate on that. It's a swamp. It's a bottomless swamp, and I didn't want to get involved in it.

ONE OF YOUR conclusions was that the UFO obsession serves as kind of a cheap security measure to keep serious investigators from looking into black technologies. Is that right?

Yes, I think that's unquestionably true. Whether that's intentional or a neat bit of happenstance for the U.S. military, I don't know. There is certainly evidence that they have manipulated the phenomenon from time to time to obscure their very real developments. The CIA recently admitted that it had given UFO stories a spin from time to time in the fifties and sixties to hide what they were up to in the spy-plane field during that same time period.

NOW, AS A DEFENSE program, how do you think antigravity technology would change the face of warfare?

Well, in a number of basic ways. First of all, you don't need a propellant. It's a reactionless motor, so that would be immensely beneficial simply in terms of fuel consumption. But that's a very menial advantage, in a sense. I think the real potential is that if what you are doing is manipulating the forces of nature, you may get untold effects from that manipulation, effects that we can probably only guess at right now, but which would lead to ultra-fast flight, extraordinary maneuverability, and stealth—the ultimate stealth vehicle, if you like.

All the things that the military is really striving for may be possible through this technology, or though this field. And it is born of pure physics, which the military always loves. Pure physics gave rise to the bomb. Pure physics also gave rise to stealth. If you can crack the physics, a whole new world opens up to you. That is a very powerful and seductive idea. And the military loves those powerful and seductive ideas. But it's afraid of them as well, because if it can get a hold of them, other people can too.

IN THE EPILOGUE you say there's been a change in the climate around issues like antigravity and zero-point energy. What has that change been?

I detect it in a lot of literature—newspapers, that sort of thing. But it's difficult to hang my hat on, really. I guess my experience that's come out of the writing of the book would bear this out as well, which is that at the beginning of this story, I go into it incredibly concerned about my reputation, worried that I, who am interested in solid aerospace and defense programs, should be drawn into this field, much against my will.  But by the end of the story—and now—I can hardly believe I had all those concerns. It seems that in the ten years I've been researching the book, we have become much more willing to accept non- mainstream ideas, or ideas that a few years ago were considered taboo. People are asking the questions. That's the good thing. And as long as they keep asking the questions in this field, which is really what I'm trying to do, I think that's a positive development.

I think what is less than helpful is when people just dismiss these ideas out of hand, and by the same token accept them out of hand. At the moment, I'm trying to stick to a middle ground and ask the questions, because I think they deserve to be asked.

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September 19, 2002


Glascow Daily Record (Scotland)

Magic Circle
Gang admits to field stunt - and every other 'mystery' appearance

by Jill Stark

THE men behind the Richard and Judy crop circle yesterday confirmed what we all knew - it was a publicity stunt.

And paranormal experts will be gutted to learn Rod Dickinson and John Lundberg have confessed to almost every "unexplained" crop circle in Britain.

After the chat show stars' faces appeared in a field near Edinburgh it was obvious aliens were not to blame.

And the Record can reveal the annual crop circle phenomenon is a sham.

Channel 4 gave a team of hoaxers £5000 in a desperate bid to plug the chat show hosts' new teatime programme. Farmer Steven Barr is believed to have pocketed £1000 for the use of his field.

It took just over six hours to create the image of the TV couple in a Balerno field.

Rod Dickinson of Circlemakers, a London-based collective of artists and designers, said they were approached by programme makers.

He believes Mel Gibson's latest blockbuster Signs - a sci-fi thriller about crop circles - has captured the public's imagination.

He said: "People seem to want this sort of thing at the moment, it's the latest strain in advertising.

It could be to do with the movie Signs. It has given what we do a lot of publicity.

It's quite an expensive way to get publicity. We had to fly six people up to Scotland to work on it and the farmer has to be paid as well.

In the past we have done crop circles for companies like Orange and Weetabix.

"This one took us about six hours and we were surprised no one found out locally. There were planes and gliders overhead all day because there's an airfield nearby."

Advertising work allows Dickinson and partner John Lundberg to fund the "covert" side of their business.

Every summer elaborate crop circles mysteriously appear in fields across Britain. The work is always carried out at night usually without the farmers' knowledge.

Sci-fi enthusiasts maintain the strange formations are proof we are not alone in the universe. But Circlemakers admit they make careers out of fooling the public. Dickinson has been sneaking into fields for 11 years and says there is no mystery behind the practice.

He said: "All the big crop circles that have captured people's imagination over the past few years were made by us.

"They are made covertly. We don't tell the farmer. It's all done in complete darkness using no lights.

It's art with mass participation. It's about making something that generates myths and folklore. It's about people who have dedicated a lot of time to working out how to make these complex, beautiful things.

We've been very public for six to seven years about what we have done.

We let cameras film us in the act, but the next year everyone has forgotten.

"There's a willingness on people's part to buy into the myths. People don't want to hear that it's not true."

Team member Matthew Lawrence, 30, said the Edinburgh job had been a great success.

He said: "It takes meticulous planning. They are designed on computer and the dimensions are taken into the field with us.

"The crops are simply flattened with boards. Farmers can pick up everything we flatten so there is no damage at all."

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September 18, 2002



Area 51, truth seekers 0
Bush reissues order keeping Nevada site secret

by Alex Johnson

For more than four decades, an unusual alliance of mainstream lawyers, conspiracy theorists and UFO enthusiasts has tried to find out just what is going on at Groom Lake, Nev. — the top-security Air Force facility better known to fans of "The X-Files" as Area 51. Now they will have to wait at least another year after President Bush reissued an executive order Wednesday barring the disclosure of any information about the site.

In the continuation of a drama played out every Sept. 18 since 1995, Bush signed the order to make sure that lawyers pursuing hazardous-waste claims against the Environmental Protection Agency could not get their hands on classified information about the site, which lies in the middle of a remote stretch of desert 100 miles north of Las Vegas.

The government did not even acknowledge the existence of the site until the mid-1990s, when it had to begin responding to workers' claims of injuries resulting from hazardous waste practices.

Even now, all the Air Force will say is that the area is used "for the testing of technologies and systems training for operations critical to the effectiveness of U.S. military forces and the security of the United States." It insists that "specific activities and operations ... both past and present, remain classified and cannot be discussed."

Although exasperated government lawyers say nothing nefarious is going on at Groom Lake, they have gone to herculean lengths to make sure no one knows what is going on at Groom Lake.

President Dwight Eisenhower began the process all the way back in 1955, when he issued an executive order restricting airspace over the site. Then, in 1995, President Bill Clinton raised the stakes by issuing an order clamping down on discussion or release of any information whatsoever.

That was about the time attorneys for former government workers began taking their rejected medical claims to court. Those lawyers believe the government is trying to keep the site secret to avoid having to admit it mishandled hazardous materials, exposing the workers to toxic fumes when it allegedly dumped poisonous resins into open pits and burned them in the 1970s and '80s.


There is another group, however, that thinks something else entirely is going on at Groom Lake — something spooky, something otherworldly.

To this group, the site is known as Area 51, the nexus of the greatest government cover-up in history. It is, they say, where the government studies alien spaceships, where it keeps captured unidentified flying objects stored in underground bases, and where it conducts autopsies on aliens.

Writers for "The X-Files" were able to dredge up numerous scripts from stories that have built up since May 1989, when a physicist named Bob Lazar told a Las Vegas television station about nine alien flying saucers he said were being held near Groom Lake by a rogue agency of the federal government.

Lazar claimed that the government was studying the propulsion system of the spacecraft, which were flown to Earth from the Zeta Reticuli star system. According to Lazar, the Reticulans have been overseeing human evolution for a hundred centuries, and since they were found out, they have been cooperating with the U.S. government on a direct exchange of technology.

The government, to the extent that it has commented at all, says Lazar's account is utter nonsense.

More prosaically, mainstream scientists suggest, the government simply wishes to limit its liability as it establishes the Nevada Test Site at nearby Yucca Mountain as a storage repository for hazardous nuclear waste. Those alleging an extraterrestrial conspiracy say instead that Yucca Mountain was chosen precisely so federal researchers could have unfettered access to its stored nuclear energy sources via a secret underground tunnel.

In any event, the government has argued that it cannot say anything about Area 51, and it has fought workers' lawyers zealously in court to keep government documents about the site sealed. One of those lawyers, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, described the courtroom jousting with federal lawyers as "otherworldly." And every year since Clinton issued his executive order in 1995, the White House has reaffirmed the cloak of secrecy on Sept. 18.

Presumably, as Agent Mulder would have it, "the truth is out there."

Just don't ask the president.

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September 16, 2002


Providence Journal


Origin of crop circles baffles scientists


by Leslie Kean:

SAN FRANCISCO - SINCE THE RECENT release of the movie Signs, crop circles have been thrust into the limelight. Such major publications as Scientific American and U.S. News and World Report have echoed the common belief that all crop circles are made by stealthy humans flattening plants with boards. This assumption would be fair enough if we had no information suggesting otherwise.

However, intriguing data published in peer-reviewed scientific journals clearly establishes that some of these geometric designs, found in dozens of countries, are not made by "pranks with planks." In fact, a study about to be published by a team of scientists and funded by Laurance Rockefeller concludes "it is possible that we are observing the effects of a new or as yet undiscovered energy source."

In the early 1990s, biophysicist William C. Levengood, of the Pinelandia Biophysical Laboratory, in Michigan, examined plants and soils from 250 crop formations, randomly selected from seven countries. Samples and controls were provided by the Massachusetts-based BLT Research Team, directed by Nancy Talbott.

Levengood, who has published over 50 papers in scientific journals, documented numerous changes in the plants from the formations. Most dramatic were grossly elongated plant nodes (the "knuckles" along the stem) and "expulsion cavities" -- holes literally blown open at the nodes -- caused by the heating of internal moisture from exposure to intense bursts of radiation. The steam inside the stems escaped by either stretching the nodes or, in less elastic tissue, exploding out like a potato bursting open in a microwave oven.

Seeds taken from the plants and germinated in the lab showed significant alterations in growth, as compared with controls. Effects varied from an inability to develop seeds to a massive increase in growth rate -- depending on the species, the age of the plants when the circle was created and the intensity of the energy system involved.

These anomalies were also found in tufts of standing plants inside crop circles -- clearly not a result of mechanical flattening -- and in patches of randomly downed crops found near the geometric designs. These facts suggested some kind of natural, but unknown, force at work.

Published in Physiologia Plantarum (1994), the international journal of the European Societies of Plant Physiology, Levengood's data showed that "plants from crop circles display anatomical alterations which cannot be explained by assuming the formations are hoaxes." He defined a "genuine" formation as one "produced by external energy forces independent of human influence."

A strange brown "glaze" covering plants within a British formation was the subject of Levengood and John A. Burke's 1995 paper in the Journal of Scientific Exploration. The material was a pure iron that had been embedded in the plants while the iron was still molten. Tiny iron spheres were also found in the soil.

In 1999, British investigator Ronald Ashby examined the glaze through optical and scanning electron microscopes. He determined that intense heat had been involved -- iron melts at about 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit -- administered in millisecond bursts. "After exhaustive inquiry, there is no mundane explanation for the glaze" he concluded.

In another paper for Physiologia Plantarum (1999), Levengood and Talbott suggested that the energy causing crop circles could be an atmospheric plasma vortex -- multiple interacting electrified air masses that emit microwaves as they spiral around the earth's magnetic-field lines.

Some formations, however, contain cubes and straight lines.  Astrophysicist Bernard Haisch, of the California Institute for Physics and Astrophysics, says that such "highly organized, intelligent patterns are not something that could be created by a force of nature."

But Haisch points out that since not all formations are tested, it is unknown how many are genuine. Nor is it likely that such complex designs could evolve so quickly in nature. "Natural phenomena make mountain ranges and form continents -- they don't learn geometry in ten years," says Haisch, who is the science editor for the Astrophysical Journal.

In 1999, philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller made possible the most definitive -- and most revealing -- study to date. The BLT Research Team collected hundreds of plant and soil samples from a seven-circle barley formation in Edmonton, Canada. The plants had both elongated nodes and expulsion cavities, and the soils contained the peculiar iron spheres, indicating a genuine formation. The controls showed none of these changes.

Mineralogist Sampath Iyengar, of the Technology of Materials Laboratory, in California, examined specific heat-sensitive clay minerals in these soils, using X-ray diffraction and a scanning electron microscope. He discovered an increase in the degree of crystallinity (the ordering of atoms) in the circle minerals, which statistician Ravi Raghavan determined was statistically significant at the 95 percent level of confidence.

"I was shocked," says Iyengar, a 30-year specialist in clay mineralogy.  "These changes are normally found in sediments buried for thousands and thousands of years under rocks, affected by heat and pressure, and not in surface soils."

Also astounding was the direct correlation between the node-length increases in the plants and the increased crystallization in the soil minerals -- indicating a common energy source for both effects. Yet the scientists could not explain how this would be possible. The temperature required to alter soil crystallinity would be between 1,500 and 1,800 degrees F. This would destroy the plants.

Understanding the possible ramifications of these findings, Talbott sought the expertise of an emeritus professor of geology and mineralogy at Dartmouth College, Robert C. Reynolds Jr., who is former president of the Clay Minerals Society. He is regarded by his colleagues as the "best-known expert in the world" on X-ray diffraction analysis of clay minerals.

Reynolds determined that the BLT Team's data had been "obtained by competent personnel, using current equipment."

The intense heat required for the observed changes in crystallinity "would have incinerated any plant material present," he confirms in a statement for the Rockefeller report. "In short, I believe that our present knowledge provides no explanation."

Meteorologist James W. Deardorff, professor emeritus at the College of
Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, and previously a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, states in a 2001 Physiologia Plantarum commentary that the variety, complexity and artistry of crop circles "represent the work of intelligence," and not a plasma vortex. "That is why the hoax hypothesis has been popularly advocated," he says.

However, he points out, the anomalous properties in plant stems thoroughly documented by Levengood and Talbott could not possibly have been implemented by hoaxers. Deardorff describes one 1986 British formation in which upper and lower layers of crop were intricately swirled and bent perpendicular to each other, in a fashion that "defies any explanation."

"People don't want to face up to this, and scientists have to deal with the ridicule factor," he said in a recent interview.

Adding to the puzzle, professional filmmakers have documented bizarre daytime "balls of light" at crop-circle sites. Light phenomena were observed by multiple witnesses at the site of the Canadian circle so meticulously examined under the Rockefeller grant.

Eltjo Hasselhoff, a Dutch experimental physicist, has taken on the study of what he describes as "bright, fluorescent flying light objects,sized somewhere between an egg and a football."

Scientists face real and serious questions in confronting this mystery.  Could this be secret laser technology beamed down from satellites? Is it a natural phenomenon? Is there a consciousness or intelligence directing an energy form yet unknown to us?

"To look at the evidence and go away unconvinced is one thing," says astrophysicist Haisch. "To not look at the evidence and be convinced against it . . . is another. That is not science." It's not good journalism, either.

Leslie Kean is an investigative reporter and producer with Pacifica Radio based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She can be reached at:

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September 3, 2002


Western Daily Press (UK)

Spellbound By The Signs Of Our Time

On July 12, 1990, the people of a tiny West community awoke to find their lives changed forever. A new book, Secrets In The Fields, sheds light on how Pewsey Vale coped with its sudden fame and how the area is still mesmerised by crop circles.

Barry Leighton reports.

DURING the early hours of July 12, 1990, a loud rumbling like distant thunder shook the normally serene village of Alton Barnes.

Moments later the incessant barking of dogs reverberated throughout the sleepy rural community in Wiltshire's Pewsey Vale.

At 2.30am concerned farm manager Tim Carson decided to check on his animals in the field to see if anything was amiss.

As he patrolled the East field he became aware of an indistinct shape which seemed to have appeared in the wheat .

When daylight broke Mr. Carson was astonished to discover the imprint of a vast and complex pattern in his crop.

Corn circles had previously appeared in and around Wiltshire and in recent times some intriguing designs had materialised, but nothing quite like the incredible 606-footlong Alton Barnes Pictogram had been seen anywhere in the world.

The collection of circles, rings, boxes and tridents were all connected by two straight avenues.

To complicate the matter 12 "grape shot" lay in the middle of the standing crop between the tram lines.

Surely, no group of pranksters armed with planks and ropes could have created such an intricate work within a few hours in the
dead of night.

Author and crop patterns expert Freddy Silva said: "The formation carried an unusual type of energy because a power surge of unknown origin had left the local car batteries dead.

"Significantly, one villager told a local newspaper reporter how he'd tried to walk into the formation at daybreak but had been repelled by an invisible energy field.

"In fact when Tim Carson later escorted a television team into the crop formation, he witnessed first-hand how the crew had to keep their equipment outside the circle.

"Every time they crossed the perimeter electromagnetic interference played havoc with the recording equipment." The event sent shockwaves throughout the media and quickly altered the daily lives of Alton Barnes residents.

Instead of living in a quiet rural backwater their quaint village located between Swindon and Salisbury became the focus for a phenomenon which - 12 years later - still fascinates and intrigues millions of people.

Wiltshire-based Mr. Silva says the event "quickly established the concept of crop circles in the minds of millions around the world".

He said: "At last a crop circle event made the headlines of the international news.

"Articles in major newspapers enabled photos to traverse the globe, beckoning tens of thousands of people from as far away as Japan to descend in a kind of pilgrimage upon rural Wiltshire.

"Public and media confidence in official explanations evaporated as crop circle fever broke out.

"Inside the Alton Barnes Pictogram even traditional British reserve melted as strangers of different classes and backgrounds conversed cheerfully with one another.

"Some even danced in and around the circles. The place turned into an impromptu carnival." Mr. Silva claims "thousands felt as if a burden had been lifted off their shoulders, yet nobody had the slightest idea why".

Bizarrely, a similar pattern appeared in a second field only one mile away on the very same night.

Mr Silva said the farmer who was busy harvesting the ripe crop said he'd had previous encounters with the phenomenon but never on a scale like this.

The farmer said: "It wasn't there when I drove down here last evening but appeared here during the night."

Crop circle mania swept the world as increasingly elaborate patterns sprang up, mostly in Wiltshire and the West country, in the wake of the Alton Barnes Pictogram.

MrSilva said: "One can only wonder what was running through the minds of the authorities as the reserved British public continued to react with zest. Carloads of families swarmed narrow lanes to catch a glimpse of new events." After more than a decade of research, Mr. Silva has published Secrets In The Fields - a lavishly illustrated 320-page tome described by some as the definitive study on crop for mations.

It has received some rave reviews in the United States where crop circle mania is currently at a peak.

Its publication there coincides with the release of Signs, a Hollywood blockbuster starring Mel Gibson, which focuses on the crop circle phenomenon and took 120million dollars - around £80million - during its first three weeks.

Mr Silva has worked as an art director, writer and photographer - primarily in graphic design - and describes himself as a "lifelong student in earth mysteries".

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August 29, 2002


Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Flying saucer tale is serious business in small Texas town

by Josh Shaffer
Knight Ridder Newspapers

AURORA, Texas - In 1897, a flying saucer came sputtering over Aurora's town square and crashed into Judge Proctor's windmill, destroying the good judge's flower garden and killing the hapless alien.

Aurora was astounded.

Townsfolk combed the wreckage and found scribbled hieroglyphics, apparently a record of the space creature's travels. They scratched their heads, declared the dead thing to be a Martian and buried him along with his strange metal craft. They even gave him a tombstone.

At least, that's how the story goes.

Tiny Aurora, northwest of Fort Worth, has swapped tales of little green men, alien technology and government cover- ups ever since. Now, Janet Derting has opened a lime-green haven for alien enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists everywhere.

She named her store Area 114 after the two-lane state highway that bisects the town, and stocked it with Aurora T- shirts, hats, bumper stickers - even a candy called Shiny Mutant Pops.

Aurora will finally get some respect from the UFO community.

"The whole world knows about Roswell and Area 51," she said. "But we were the first one. The first government cover- up."

The idea came to Derting on a recent trip to Las Vegas, which is close to Area 51.

Like much of eastern Wise County, Aurora is swarming with newcomers. The signs on the edge of town still say Pop. 376, but the total is closer to 1,000 now.

Derting and her husband, Steve, Aurora's mayor, don't want the town's legend lost in a crush of subdivisions, and she hopes her store will educate the unwitting.

There are tables covered with alien books, including Time/Life books on space creatures and examinations of the real Lee Harvey Oswald. Alien yo-yos are for sale, along with alien candles, alien-themed gourds and T-shirts painted with crop circles.

"Hey, this is good for the town," said Jim Marrs, a conspiracy theorist in nearby Paradise who wrote "Alien Agenda." "In Roswell, every little storefront has little aliens in the window. That doesn't mean people buy into it, but they're not above capitalizing on it.

"Sprawl is moving out to this area by leaps and bounds," he said. "There's younger people out here with fresher ideas who will believe it, at least as a story."

There are many reasons Roswell, N.M., flourished as an alien capital while Aurora stayed hidden, Marrs said.

For one, the country folk of Wise County wanted it kept quiet.

"They don't want a horde of wild-eyed fanatics coming in and digging up their yards," said Marilyn Maddox, who works at Area 114 on Tuesdays.

Still, Marrs said, the story has persisted. Whenever it resurfaces, he said, interested alien hunters call the Fort Worth Star-Telegram or Rosalie Gregg, chairwoman of the Wise County Historical Commission.

Both parties have long insisted the saucer crash was a hoax dreamed up by the townsfolk.

"We have an interview with a fella who was 11 years old and lived there at the time," Gregg said. "He had all his sensibilities about him when we spoke, and he said that it did not happen."

But the town remains divided.

On the day of Area 114's grand opening, a man came in holding a medallion he insisted had been unearthed at the crash site.

"I'm pretty convinced something happened there," Marrs said. "I'm not going to say it was a spaceship because I don't know."

It was enough to convince the Dallas Morning News in 1897. The only space-related story in the Fort Worth Register - aside from a man in Cisco, bound for Cuba with a cigar-shaped airship full of dynamite - involved "credible witnesses' " accounts of a mysterious aircraft passing over Rhome nearby.

But on April 19, 1897, the Dallas paper carried accounts of statewide alien sightings on its front page, including a story about the Aurora crash.

"The pilot of the ship is supposed to have been the only one on board," wrote reporter S.E. Haydon, "and while his remains are badly disfigured, enough of the original has been picked up to show that he was not an inhabitant of this world.

"Mr. T.J. Weems," the story continues, "the United States signal service officer at this place and an authority on astronomy, gives it as his opinion that he was a native of the planet

Marrs, a former Star-Telegram reporter, visited the Aurora Cemetery in 1973 along with a fellow reporter from the Dallas Times-Herald. They brought a metal detector along and passed it over the ground, laughing that the positive readings were probably some sort of Star Trek paraphernalia.

Marrs said, "The stone had like an inverted `V' on it with three circles. If you duplicate it and put it together with a mirror image, that design makes a little saucer with portholes in it."

Rubberneckers hit Aurora after news stories appeared, and soon after, the headstone vanished. Marrs said when he returned with the other reporter years later, the metal detector no longer showed any readings on the alien's grave.

"There's some strange stuff," he said.

Derting said she just hopes to lure some of the inquisitive folk.

Her store has a Web site - - and soon science- fiction fans will be able to buy accoutrements online.

As for what happened 105 years ago?

"I think it's possible," Derting said. "I'd be really naive to think in this vast huge universe we were the only intelligent beings."

People are naturally curious about space life, Marrs said, and are increasingly open about their suspicions that it exists. As the legend of Aurora grows, fewer people will shut their doors to the idea of extraterrestrials for fear of being hauled away. The uncertainty only makes the idea more attractive.

"Somewhere in all that smoke," Marrs said, "there's fire."

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August 15, 2002


Washington Times

Roswell museum publishes UFO magazine

by Sarah Means

A small New Mexico city that is the scene of America's most famous UFO incident is now the base for a new magazine on extraterrestrials.

Incident, a bimonthly publication, premiered last month at the UFO Festival in Roswell, which is in the southeastern corner of the state.

Incident is a compilation of research on UFOs, stories about the legendary 1947 crash landing of a spaceship a few miles outside town and other unexplained phenomena. As the official magazine of Roswell's International UFO Museum and Research Center, it is available to any visitor who makes a donation.

"[The museum´s] goal is to build up their membership base," said publication director Ralph Damiani, "and expand ground support."

A popular feature is the museum's Kid's Club, where children ages 5 to 14 can submit UFO drawings for publication.

A two-page spread draws interest to the museum itself, and a "Fact or Fiction" page tests readers' abilities to discern accurate UFO photos. The page has fabricated photos sprinkled alongside apparently real ones.

Incident also informs out-of-state readers about the museum and research center. Based on estimates of museum visitors, the magazine is reaching 220,000 readers. Its publishers hope to expand to 100,000 paid subscriptions worldwide.

"We are hoping to put together the most informative magazine on the topic of unexplained phenomena in the United States," said sales manager Carl Lucas. "We just want to provide the information and allow people to make their own conclusions about the phenomena."

The magazine's contributors are specialists in their fields, having written books, delivered lectures or otherwise established themselves with the research center.

Author Stanton Friedman, author of "The Roswell Cover-up" in the premier issue, has written several books, given numerous lectures, worked as a consultant for the Fox TV show "The X-Files," and is regarded as one of the premier UFO researchers in the country.

Another writer, Paul Davids, was the executive producer of Showtime's "Roswell."  "I'm thrilled that they're doing it," he said about Incident's publication. "I think it fills a need we've had for a long time — to have a journalistic voice coming out of Roswell that gives special attention to this famous incident from 1947. I think the magazine will continue to help us get the truth."

Roswell holds special significance for UFO researchers because the incident there on July 8, 1947, is the only time the U.S. military has admitted to having found a flying saucer.

Within 24 hours, however, the statement was retracted. But the retraction only gave rise to more questions and theories. The first issue of Incident focuses two of its three feature stories on events surrounding the Roswell crash.

"The Roswell incident is the jumping-off point for this magazine," Mr. Davids said. "If it happened the way [UFO researchers] said it did, it's the most important story in the last 100 years."

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August 10, 2002


Washington Post

Fertile Imaginations
The Real Story of Those Mysterious Circles Runs Rings Around the Movie

by Peter Carlson

Suddenly, crop circles are hot. They're hip. They're not just for New Age neo-Druid saucer freaks anymore.

"Signs," the new Mel Gibson movie, has caused a stampede of media interest in the mysterious markings that have appeared in farm fields all over the world. But Colin Andrews, the crop circle researcher who served as a consultant to the filmmakers, isn't too thrilled with the flick.

"I was personally just a wee bit disappointed," he says.

"Signs" is entertaining, Andrews admits, but it's not nearly as interesting as the real story of crop circles.

He may be right. The movie has Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix and a couple of cute kids and some aliens. But the real story has hoaxers, hustlers, mystics, scientists, pseudo-scientists, avant- garde artists, Stonehenge, UFOs and mysterious energy balls, as well as the eccentric nonagenarian philanthropist Laurance S. Rockefeller.

It also has Andrews, 56, a British electrical engineer who has written two books on crop circles and whose dogged research methods include using Rockefeller's money to hire private detectives to chase conceptual artists across the British countryside by the light of the silvery moon.

A movie that told the real story of crop circles would be a zany farce. Mel Gibson wouldn't be right for it. He's far too serious.

Mike Myers, call your agent.

It all began in the late 1970s, when strange circles began appearing in fields of grain in the countryside of southern England, not far from Stonehenge.

Inside the circles, crops -- usually wheat or barley or oats --were flattened to the ground by some mysterious force that bent but did not kill the plants. At first, nobody paid much attention. But by the early 1980s, the circles were getting larger -- 20, 50, 100 feet across -- and sometimes clusters of a half-dozen or more would appear in the same field overnight.

The media took notice, and the resulting publicity attracted scads of mystics and scientists. The mystics claimed the circles were caused by UFOs or by cosmic energy or by Gaea, the goddess of Mother Earth. The scientists claimed they were caused by freak weather conditions or, believe it or not, by the mating dance of sex-crazed hedgehogs running in frenzied circles.

Both groups agreed on one thing: The circles couldn't have been created by humans working under cover of darkness during a short British night.

In the late 1980s, Terrence Meaden, a physics professor and amateur meteorologist, advanced a theory that seemed to explain the phenomenon. The circles were caused, Meaden said, by plasma vortexes -- electrified whirlwinds that formed high in the atmosphere, then swooped down to the ground, spinning the grain into flattened circles.

Meaden's theory seemed plausible for a while. But then crop circles changed. The newer ones were far more complex. Farmers arose to find their fields decorated with squares, stars, peace symbols and elaborate designs that looked like keys or IUDs or that weird glyph that rock singer Prince adopted as his new, unpronounceable name.

Meaden insisted that even these ornate "agriglyphs" could have been caused by his plasma whirlwinds. But that seemed so implausible that he found himself viciously mocked by the British media.

"He was so ridiculed," Andrews says. "I did feel a certain sympathy for him as a human being. But his theory was not a credible solution to the mystery."

As the crop circles grew more elaborate, they became tourist attractions. Travelers visiting Stonehenge detoured for helicopter rides over the mysterious glyphs. Farmers began charging admission to the circles, and tourists with a mystical bent would sit cross-legged in them, meditating.

Some people reported that they heard weird "trilling" sounds and saw saucers or balls of light while sitting in the glyphs at night. Other folks reported that proximity to the circles caused their cameras to malfunction and their dogs to panic and vomit.

As the mystery deepened, crop circles were discussed in Parliament and debated on television. They were the subject of dozens of books and countless magazine articles. And they began appearing outside England -- in Holland, Germany, Japan, Canada. A few appeared in the United States, too, but not many, especially when you consider our fabled stretches of amber waves of grain. Even today, more than 90 percent of the 10,000 reported crop circles have appeared within 50 miles of Stonehenge.

Then, in 1991, two elderly chaps told the British newspaper Today that they were responsible for the crop circles. Doug Bower and Dave Chorley claimed they'd started making the circles as a prank one Friday night in 1978 after downing a few pints at a pub in Wiltshire, near Stonehenge. Over 13 years, they'd created more than 1,000 glyphs, they said, and copycats had done the rest.

To prove their point, they created a crop circle while a reporter watched. It was a simple process. They set up a pole with a string attached to the top. They pulled the string taut and walked in a circle. That created the perimeter. Then they flattened the grain inside the circle by pushing wooden planks around.

When they finished, the newspaper summoned Patrick Delgado, a prominent crop circle researcher. Delgado inspected the circle and issued his learned opinion:

"No human being could have done this," he said. "These crops are laid down in these sensational patterns by an energy that remains unexplained and is of a high level of intelligence."

Delgado, like Meaden before him, became a laughingstock. And "Doug and Dave" -- as the pranksters are invariably called --became national folk heroes.

But many people -- including Andrews -- didn't believe the mystery was solved.

"Doug and Dave certainly did make some of them," Andrews says. "But we know they didn't make them all. Many farmers tell you they had circles in the '60s. An elderly man told me he had circles in his field in 1923 and 1924 -- as noted in his diary."

So the circles kept their hold on the public imagination. Mystics and scientists continued to visit them. Artists got into the act. So did Laurance Rockefeller.

Enter the Artists

"Unlike UFOs, crop circles are tactile," says John Lundberg. "You can go stand in them. You can touch them. You can't touch a UFO."

Lundberg, 33, is a London-based conceptual artist who specializes in crop circles. His group, Circlemakers, has made dozens of elaborate agriglyphs in southern England over the last 11 years, he says, most of them created secretly, under cover of darkness.

First, the artists create elaborate patterns on a computer --"like architectural drawings" -- then, working in teams of as many as 10 people, they re-create them on some unsuspecting farmer's field. Their biggest was more than 500 feet long, Lundberg says. He won't say where it was. The Circlemakers refuse to identify any individual crop circle as their creation.

"That," he says, "would drain it of all its mystery."

He prefers that people who see the circle dream up their own stories of how it was made. That way, he says, they are collaborating in the project.

"It's a mass-participation artwork," he explains. "It's not just the pattern-making, it's the whole reaction to it. We collaborate with the media and the public. . . . The circles have become huge Rorschach tests writ large on the fields of England."

Lundberg and the Circlemakers are eager to take crop circles into pop culture. They maintain an elaborate Web site (, and they've created crop circles for use in ads for Weetabix crackers and Mountain Dew. They also sell crop circle postcards, T-shirts and how-to manuals.

This activity is regarded as blasphemy by mystics who see crop circles as religious objects. Consequently, Lundberg says, he has received hundreds of nasty e-mails.

"I'm a heretic," he says. "I'm attacking their belief system."

The mystics aren't the only folks who dislike Lundberg's shtick. Andrews sees the Circlemakers as hoaxers who trivialize crop circles by making people believe that they are all human

"I wish John and his band of merry men would just disappear," Andrews says.

Four years ago, Andrews received a grant from Rockefeller to fund his research on crop circles. The grant was in the "five-figure range," says Rockefeller spokesman Fraser Seitel. Andrews promptly spent a chunk of it to hire private detectives to tail Lundberg's group.

Andrews wanted to find out if the Circlemakers were really making circles. The detectives put the artists under surveillance, followed them into a farmer's field in the dead of night and filmed them as they went about their work.

"These individuals were monitored," Andrews says, "and there is no doubt that they created some extremely complex and beautiful designs."

Back to the Vortex

"Think of a great big plastic beach ball," Nancy Talbott says. "Now picture a bunch of tennis balls inside it."

Talbott is explaining her theory about crop circles. She used to be a country music promoter, but now she's the president of BLT Research Team Inc., a Massachusetts-based group that studies crop circles. BLT has collected plant and soil samples from around the world, she says, and its scientists concluded that the circles were caused by some mysterious heat source --possibly "an energy that's completely unknown to science now."

Talbott, 63, touts a theory that's close to Meaden's much-mocked plasma whirlwind hypothesis. If you ask how whirlwinds can create complex glyph shapes, she talks about the beach ball with the tennis balls inside.

The beach ball is a swirling vortex of electrified air. The tennis balls are smaller swirling vortexes inside the bigger one. As they all spin around atop a field of grain, she postulates, you get those glorious glyphs.

In 1999, BLT received a grant from Rockefeller. BLT's grant --like the one given to Andrews -- was in the "five-figure range," says Seitel, Rockefeller's spokesman. Now 92, Rockefeller declined to discuss the grants, but Seitel explains that they are part of the philanthropist's "eclectic" interests.

"He's interested in spiritual matters like this," Seitel says. "He funded a study of UFOs that was done by a group led by the wife of a former ambassador to England from the Reagan administration -- or maybe it was the Ford administration."

Meanwhile, Talbott says that BLT has studied 300 crop circles and concluded that 92 percent of them were created not by humans but by the mysterious energy force.

That's balderdash, says Joe Nickell, 57, a researcher for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.

"Approximately 100 percent of crop circles are man-made," Nickell says. "Note that I said approximately. I haven't inspected every one, and we have to allow for dogs chasing their tails and other phenomena."

When dueling crop circle theorists start talking numbers, Colin Andrews comes down in the middle. He estimates that about 80 percent of the circles are created by humans.

"Eighty percent are complete nonsense," he says. "But there's still 20 percent, in my estimation, that we haven't been able to determine. Those 20 percent are almost always simple designs, and there are no footprints and no damage to the plants. . . . In some of these, there was a mind involved, a thought process involved."

Does that mean aliens?

"I can't say that it's extraterrestrials," he says. "I don't know who the being is."

When it comes to extraterrestrials, Andrews gets some support from an unexpected source -- his old nemesis, John Lundberg, the Circlemaker artist.

"I'm just as much a believer as the next man," Lundberg writes in an e-mail. "In fact, we did see a classic UFO -- a dark, silent, cigar-shaped craft with tiny strobe lights at each end -- whilst out making circles in Wiltshire a couple of years ago. Four of us witnessed it as it slowly arced across a clear star-lit sky."

So the controversy continues. Now, with "Signs" packing movie theaters across the country, we can expect to find more circles dotting the U.S. landscape.

If you absolutely must make a glyph in your neighbor's grain, Lundberg has some advice: "Don't get too complex. Do something simple. Take your time. Do it right so it's not just a mess."

And one other thing: No drinking. "You have to be stone-cold sober to create a crop circle," he says. "Otherwise you get wonky lines."

Researcher Karl Evanzz contributed to this report.

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August 10, 2002

Toronto Star

Crop Circle Experts Doing The Rounds
Canadian group investigates our own ‘signs’

by Ryan Parton
Special To The Star

The truth is out there. Maybe even in Ontario.

With the release of Signs, the latest summer blockbuster brought to us by the Disney crew, director M. Night Shyamalan shakes the cobwebs off the all-but-forgotten phenomenon of crop circles — patterns of downed crops that mysteriously appear in fields.

At least one Toronto man, however, has had his vigilant eye on the strange formations long before Mel Gibson’s haunting gaze began taunting us with hints of the supernatural from the movie’s suspense-filled trailers.

Drew Gauley, 33, is Ontario’s co-ordinator for the Canadian Crop Circle Research Network, a loose network of amateur cereologists (crop circle researchers) who have been studying the phenomenon in Canada for the past seven years.

The group, founded in 1995 under a different affiliation and operating under its current name since 2001, has roughly 30 volunteers and co-ordinators in seven provinces. Gauley, with the help of the volunteers, is responsible for documenting and investigating all crop circle reports in the province.

"I’m just interested in the whole mystery end of things," says Gauley, who makes his living doing audio-visual work. "It just doesn’t happen too often that very strange things like this go on and that you can actually go and check it out and see for yourself."

Ontario has had 35 crop circle reports including four new began appearing in Canada more than 50 years ago, according to the network’s Web site at:

(currently being reconstructed).

There have been eight crop circles reported in Canada this year, the latest spotted last Saturday in a barley field in Quebec.  The circles usually appear in corn and wheat fields.

Gauley has visited one site per year since he teamed up with the network three years ago. He says two of the circles were likely created by pranksters or wind damage. The other circle, seen in a wheat field in Hagersville, Ont., in July, 1999, left him baffled. He says the crop had been laid down in a complicated, four-way weave, almost as if braided.

"In order for something like that to happen for someone to have to be really meticulous. You’d need numerous people pushing each of the sections down and getting them all to weave in four different directions like that."

Even more puzzling was what he saw when he returned to the same site several months later, in November.

Theories range from pranksters to aliens

"New sprouts had all come up where all the crop had been laid down. That was really cool," he says. "It was as if this area was nutrified or something and everything else was dormant for the winter. The sprouts had come up where the pattern was only... everything else was brown."

Similar boosts in crop performance have been reported in Alberta.

While the physical characteristics of crop circles are captivating in themselves, it’s the allegedly paranormal occurrences centred around the formations that fuels the fire for information about them.

Paul Anderson, the net work’s Vancouver-based founder and director, can run through a laundry list of bizarre experiences he has had, from compasses and electrical equipment malfunctioning in-side formations to dreams in which he sees formations that are reported mere days later.

"I’m actually quite skeptical about a lot of things," says Anderson, who is working on a book about the history of crop circles in Canada.

"But I've (seen) enough my self now that I can’t explain, that there has to be something more to all this than just people crops)..... Almost everyone I know who’s involved in this kind of stuff has had things like that happen."

Gauley says he has never had any such paranormal experiences.  "Not yet," he adds.

There are numerous theories out there about the source of the circles. These range from pranks to covert military operations to beings from another dimension trying to communicate warnings.

Gauley accepts the theory that many crop circles are nothing ‘more than elaborate hoaxes, but says that doesn’t detract from their attraction.

"It certainly has become an aspect of the whole phenomenon nowadays. If it is this worldwide phenomenon of pranksters, at least they’re making really beautiful art work, you know? In a way, it’s a very interesting canvas and level for people to have an outing in afield." As for the remainder, Gauley prefers to simply enjoy the mystery of the formations rather than side with any of the numerous theories.

"There’s a million and one of these things," Gauley says. "I’m sort of neutral... I don’t know, but that’s why I go, because I don’t know, and nobody else seems to know." So, until the truth is revealed, he remains on the lookout, sort of a man in black on standby, ready to spring into action should the need arise in his home province.

As to when that truth will be discovered, the circle aficionado has a quick answer "It’s al ways right around the corner, and it’s been like that for years."


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August 7, 2002


Washington Times

UFO reported in area again, after 50 years

by Stephanie Casler

Many Maryland residents say they were disturbed about 1 a.m. on July 26 by loud aircraft rumblings — and some insisted they saw a UFO.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) scrambled two D.C. Air National Guard F-16 jets out of Andrews Air Force Base to investigate an unknown aircraft picked up by radar.

Phone lines at radio stations lit up as puzzled callers wondered what exactly was going on. Renny Rogers, a Waldorf, Md., resident, said he saw a jet pursue a blue light in and out of the clouds.

NORAD explained the July 26 sighting: "The F-16s investigated, found nothing out of the ordinary, and returned to base. At no point in the mission did the fighters chase or intercept another aircraft," said Army Maj. Barry Venable, spokesman for NORAD. "Those are the facts from our perspective."

The NORAD spokesman didn't hesitate to use the phrase "UF0," but said that it merely refers to an unexplained sighting.

"Any unknown air activity is potentially threatening," said Maj. Venable. "Yes, there was a UFO — an unidentified flying object — momentarily spotted by radar. Does that mean it's an alien spaceship? No."

The July 26 sighting occurred 50 years after a UFO sighting over Washington that made nationwide headlines.

One hot night in July 1952, Washington National Airport radar picked up unidentified blips and there were reports of bright shapes hovering outside control-tower windows.

Air Force radar screens also detected unidentified objects, and two F-94 fighters flashed over Washington in hot pursuit, but found nothing

A week later, on July 26, there was another UFO scare. National's air-controller radar tracked a dozen unexplained objects, as did radar at Andrews Air Force Base.

F-94s were dispatched at 11 p.m. from New Castle Air Force Base in Delaware to scour the sky. When they arrived over Washington, however, the blips had disappeared — but reappeared as soon as the jets returned to base. At 1:30 a.m., the Air Force jets were back above Washington. This time the pilots reported seeing strange lights, but were unable to catch up with the UFOs.

Kevin D. Randle, whose book "Investigation Washington: UFOs Over the Capitol" deals with the 1952 sightings, says it is "an amazing coincidence" that this year's reported UFO sightings occurred on the 50th anniversary of the earlier event. He noted that the two incidents involved radar contacts, jet fighter pursuits and civilian witnesses on the ground.

Mark Rodeghier, scientific director of the Center for UFO Studies, thinks that UFOs are still "an unexplained phenomena that deserves serious attention by both the scientific community and the government."

Mr. Rogers, who said he saw a jet chasing a UFO over Waldorf, believes the government doesn't want to learn more.

"Their policy is that if they don't know something, keep quiet," he said

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August 6, 2002


The Toronto Star

Here's A Brand-New Crop Of Circles
The new movie Signs inspires Web-based agricultural curiosity

by Peter Howell

If space aliens really are behind crop circles, as the new Mel Gibson movie Signs suggests, then they should be suing us for royalties.

We humans have a terrible habit of taking something completely innocent and pure — such as extraterrestrials using our cornfields for art projects — and exploiting the hell out of it.

The wide release this weekend of Signs, the crop-circle thriller from M. Night Shyamalan, sent me scurrying to the Internet to see how other Earthlings have been reacting to these off-world artisans. I was shocked — _shocked_ — to discover that a good many of us are attempting to cash in.

I read on the Swirled News ( ), a Web zine dedicated to printing all the news that's fit to swirl, that a café called the Silent Circle has just opened in Wiltshire, England, offering nourishment for "the circularly inclined."

The eatery is owned and operated by crop-circle researchers Charles and Frances Mallett, who serve up a variety of hot potatoes, filled baguettes, salads and cakes to believers and skeptics alike. The café also operates as a crop circle information centre. With such wide excitement greeting its arrival back in June, an overeager tourist managed to slam his rental car into a pole outside.

I'm sure the Malletts have the aliens' best interests at heart. Should little gray or green men ever come knocking at their door, they will be given preferred seats, a fine plate of hot spuds and a percentage of the tourist trade action, which has been growing like topsy since the circles first began popping up in the 1970s.

Others are less kindly disposed to giving E.T. his due. The makers of the Crop Circle Board Game ( ) are trying to make a crop circus out of the phenomenon, by flogging a sort of scavenger hunt that promises hidden real treasure for players.

But the Disney people who are distributing Signs are really taking the circles for a spin, being obviously more interested in pushing their movie than in keeping the faith with the circularly inclined. The studio is running a Web site competition ( ) called Destination: Unknown, offering all-expenses-paid trips to circle sites this summer. As part of the Signs publicity program, the Mouse House has been distributing a computer-generated photo of Mel Gibson's face cut into a crop circle formation.

The gimmick has true "croppies" (also known as "cereologists") worried that Disney might be trying to take the mickey out of them. Exhibiting the kind of skepticism often directed at them, they wonder how Disney could be offering people trips to crop circles, since no one can predict when and where the circles will pop up. Is it possible that Disney is planning to — gasp! — create its own crop circles?

"Could a widely publicized competition really risk the non-arrival of a promised formation for the winners, or the embarrassing appearance of something rather scrappier than winners may expect?" Swirled News asks.

"The only solution to this would surely be to ensure that a good formation was available for viewing."

Paul Anderson, the director of the Canadian Crop Circle Research Network ( ), is among those who think that Disney is up to no good.

"I personally doubt they would go to those lengths to promote a single movie ... unless there is a larger agenda afoot to further debunk the whole phenomenon," he writes. (His Web site, incidentally, has a photo of a recent crop-circle appearance in Georgetown, Ont. Canadian circles are far more rustic than British ones.)

If it's true that Disney is acting goofy toward the croppies, then the studio has plenty of company. There's all manner of reports on the Web that claim that crop circles are entirely made by the hand of man.

The naysayers of the Committee for the Scientific Investigations of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), who publish Skeptical Inquirer magazine ( ), say there's absolutely no mystery about crop circles, no matter what Signs says.

Joe Nickell, a senior research fellow for CSICOP, says it's a cinch to press down crops to make circles, since the plants are still green and flexible at this time of year. And the tractor lines left by farmers allow hoaxers to make the circles without leaving incriminating footprints behind.

But how does this explain another circle mystery reported by the Swirled News? It seems that sheep in England have started standing around in large circles, and there's photographic evidence to prove it, although it looks like something straight out of Monty Python.

This means the sheep are either: (a) bored; (b) controlled by aliens; or (c) attempting to cash in on the crop circle scam themselves.

I see another movie in this. Mel, get your agent on the phone pronto.

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August 2, 2002


Colorado Springs Gazette

When circles crop up, theories soon follow

by Warren Epstein

Is it a sign of extraterrestrial visitation?

The new M. Night Shyamalan thriller, 'Signs', which opens today, has revived questions about the worldwide crop-circle phenomenon.

Ron Russell, an artist in Aurora, Colo., wouldn't put his money on aliens. But he would bank on the endurance of the crop-circle mystery.

"We have discovered many ways to interact with these special energies (inside crop circles) and you will not be disappointed, no matter what level you are seeking," Russell promises on his nonprofit organization's Web site:

Russell hasn't yet seen 'Signs'. He's heard that it's more about scaring viewers than presenting a well-rounded view of crop circles.

But he's glad the movie will bring more attention to the phenomenon.

"Any publicity for the mystery of crop circles is good publicity," he says.

For most of us, the greatest mystery about the crop circles is their origin. For decades (and some say, centuries) circles and various large geometric designs have been discovered in the middle of fields throughout the world.

Upstate New York is no stranger to crop circles and UFO reports. Crop circles or other flattened areas in hay fields were reported in Schodack in 1994 and, a year earlier, in Herkimer and Oneida counties.

And the 1999 book 'UFO USA: A Traveler's Guide to UFO Sightings, Abduction Sites, Crop Circles, and Other Unexplained Phenomena' (Hyperion, $12.95) ranked Pine Bush, in Orange County, and a stretch of the lower Hudson Valley along Westchester County as No. 3 in the United States among the top 10 hot spots for sightings of UFOs. A surge of Hudson Valley UFO reports began in 1983, and continued through the late-1980s. They were chronicled in a 1987 book, 'Night Siege: The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings' (Ballantine, $6.95). The unidentified flying object became known as the 'Westchester Boomerang'. The object was described repeatedly as a massive, V-shaped craft that hovered above the tree line and featured eerie lights.

Many crop circles have been proven to be hoaxes.

Others remain unexplained.

UFO buffs see evidence of flying saucers. Some scientists have suggested natural weather-related explanations.

Russell isn't as interested in the origins of the crop circles, most of which he believes are man-made, as he is in the unusual properties within them.

"I and thousands of other people have felt some kind of energy, something that's not just your mind making it up," he says. "There's an external field of energy. The hair on your arms stands up."

He says that during previous trips inside crop circles, his batteries have drained, his equipment has lost its power and his compasses have spun around.

"It causes some people to get sick, other people get healed and some people feel this contact with spirit," he says.

Every year, dozens of crop circles are reported throughout the globe, most of them in England.

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August 1, 2002


Boston Globe

'Signs' Brings Bonanza Of Books, Documentaries And TV Shows In Its Wake
Circular logic: Crop formations may be shrouded in mystery, but the media are betting they'll make sense at the cash register

by Vanessa E. Jones

They call themselves cereologists, a term that makes them sound as if they're researching Cap'n Crunch or Froot Loops. But the people in this group study crop circles, those dazzling geometric designs that have been carved into barley, wheat, and oat fields throughout England, Germany, Japan, and the United States.

The summertime phenomenon has been around since the 1970s. And ever since then, people have wondered whether the circles were

the work of aliens, natural phenomena, or pranksters armed with planks and an astute design sense. The circles will reach their largest audience ever on Friday with the release of M. Night Shyamalan's film "Signs." The movie stars Mel Gibson as a former minister who discovers a formation in his Pennsylvania cornfield.

"Signs" is merely the first drop in a cereological storm. The people behind a bonanza of books, films, and television shows on the subject hope to ride the popularity of the movie to profits.

Two documentaries have already been made: William Gazecki's "Crop Circles: Quest for Truth," scheduled for an Aug. 23 release, and Marcus Thompson's "A Place to Stay," which is seeking a distributor. Recently published books include Werner Anderhub and Hans Peter Roth's "Crop Circles: Exploring the Designs & Mysteries" and Eltjo H. Haselhoff's "The Deepening Complexity of Crop Circles: Scientific Research and Urban Legends."

Barbara Walters has considered the subject worthy of "20/20" treatment. Cable channels from Discovery to History to Learning plan to air specials.

The vortex of publicity is dragging into the mainstream the eccentric "croppies" and the circle makers (yes, they're human) who toy with them. It's all a little funny, considering that the crop circles in "Signs" are the jumping-off point for a film that's really a rumination on faith and aliens.

"Shhhh. Don't mention that," jokes Rob Pulleyn, publisher of Lark Books in Asheville, N.C., which ordered a 30,000-copy first printing of Anderhub and Roth's paperback coffee-table book "Crop Circles," a dramatic increase from the usual first printing of 5,000.

Anyway, does it matter when "Signs" brings attention to a cast of cereologists and hoaxers who are colorful enough to inspire a movie? There are believers such as Nancy Talbott, president of BLT Research Team Inc., an organization run out of her Cambridge home that consists of "seven or eight consulting scientists and several hundred field workers around the world," she says. "Our main purpose is to carry out real scientific research, not this pseudo stuff," she adds disdainfully. It sounds convincing until she reveals that before studying crops she promoted country-music festivals.

Like Talbott, Colin Andrews, an electrical engineer from England who now lives in Branford, Conn., once thought the circles were a natural phenomenon. But today, the man Disney tapped to provide information for its "Signs" Web site doesn't mention the A-word. After all, who wants to get pegged as a UFO nut? Instead, he vaguely says, "I don't think we're looking at anything quite in the area of Mother Nature. ... The evidence I'm having to go with is that ... whatever is making the crop circles knows precisely what it's doing."

Hogwash, says Joe Nickell, 57, a senior research fellow at the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal in Amherst, N.Y., who has been investigating unexplained phenomena for 30 years. He easily earns his debunker tag, calling the croppies "cultlike," "pseudoscientists," and "mystery mongers." In case you don't get his point, he adds, "Some of these people are not credible."

But hoaxers such as John Lundberg can't exist without them. Lundberg's brash, London-based three-man collective, Circlemakers, calls what it does conceptual art. He and his crew see their work as a collaborative piece involving the cereologists, the media, the public, and themselves.

"The most interesting part of our work isn't particularly the pattern making," the 33- year-old says earnestly from his London home. "It's all the myths and folklores and stories that build up around the work."

That mythology compelled Pulleyn to choose "Crop Circles" as the single "wacko" book he publishes annually, he says. "There seem to be real questions: How do these things happen overnight? Who did them? I almost don't want an answer," he says, chuckling. "I also don't want it to be extraterrestrials."

Talbott discovered the subject while browsing in the international section at Harvard Square's Out of Town News about 10 years ago. She emerged from the store with a magazine filled with photos of circles. A cereologist was born.

"I went to England right away," she explains in a deep voice. The country is crop- circle ground zero. Andrews estimates that 95 percent of the world's circles appear within a 40-mile radius of Stonehenge. Could this be explained, as Nickell dryly suggests, by "a correlation between England and a lack of video arcades, bowling alleys, and other methods of amusement?"

Talbott doesn't think so. She happily launches into long, scientific-sounding explanations of the circles. She talks about plasma vortexes, energy systems that she believes swoop down and stamp fields with distinctive patterns. She mentions "massive deposits of ... pure iron" that coat plants.

Proudly and often, Talbott states that three of her studies have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals: two in Physiologia Plantarum, a Danish journal of experimental plant biology, and one in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, a publication founded by a Stanford University professor that focuses on scientific research outside the mainstream. Like Andrews, she boasts that she's received funding from Laurence Rockefeller. She doesn't mention that Wired magazine recently described Rockefeller as a "UFOlogist."

Nickell can just as convincingly give reasons that cereologists are deluding themselves. He tells his side slowly and carefully, as if he's explaining common sense to a 2-year-old. Isn't it convenient, he asks, that the number of crop-circle sightings increases in correlation to media coverage? As for the stamps of approval from scientific journals, the research would be more credible if it were tested against a circle that doesn't have the mark of human intervention, Nickell says. "Just going out and finding something when you don't have anything to compare it to is not proof of anything."

Why not ask the Nancy Talbotts of the world, he suggests, how they explain the increasing size and complexity of recent circles? The question flusters Talbott. When prodded, she huffs that she can't explain research that has taken 10 years to compile. This is a 21/2-hour lecture, she complains. To understand it, she says, it's necessary to read BLT's information packet, which contains photographs and scientific papers. The package costs $35.

When the same question is posed to Lundberg, he doesn't need money or 21/2 hours to answer it. He talks about the spiritual fathers of present-day circle makers, Brits Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, who in 1991 admitted to making the early circles. The men were disturbed when Terrence Meaden, an English meteorologist studying crop circles, started explaining them away with the plasma-vortex theory.

"They didn't want people to think it was natural," Lundberg says of Bower and Chorley.

So the teasing began. Crop circles grew from simple circular formations to rectangles, triangles - there's even one with an intricate basket-weave design. Their sizes expanded from several feet to 15 acres. These days, Lundberg says, the goal is to "do stuff so huge, so complex, that people would question that it's man-made. "

And how is it done? His Web site, which has been logging a quarter of a million hits daily, offers a how-to guide suggesting designs and equipment (surveyor's tape, planks, garden rollers, hangers). According to his recommended method, the center is formed via an awkward one-man dance that has the circle maker pivoting on one foot while the other foot flattens the surrounding stalks. Surveyor's tape is then attached to a stick stuck into the center of the newly formed central circle. The circle makers decide on a radius length and then, keeping the tape taut, walk around the stick, leaving a slight trail with their feet. Voila! A perfectly made circle. All that's left is to stomp the formation into shape.

The hoaxers' activities caused Meaden to be "utterly disgraced and humiliated," Nickell says. As for Andrews, who worked with Meaden and coauthored the first book on the phenomenon in 1989, Nickell says, "He now has, to coin a phrase, egg on his face, shirt, jacket, trousers, spattered on his shoes."

Today, Andrews concedes that 80 percent of the English circles are man-made. Why does he remain a believer? "We have patterns as large as three-quarters of a mile across," he says plaintively. "The more impressive the geometries, the more impossible they look to be performed in a short period of time by people."

Spoken like a person who's never made a crop circle, says Lundberg. All it takes to make the huge ones, he maintains, is a team about 10 people strong. And, apparently, steel nerves.

"It's actually really stressful to do it," Lundberg says. "The more people you have in the field, the more of a nightmare it is to coordinate."

With "Signs" on the horizon, observers expect circle sightings to spike. A 25-foot design popped up in an Oregon field last month. "Every man and his dog will be going out to make one," cackles Lundberg.

But don't even think of grabbing a few drinks before hitting a field. "You have to be stone-cold sober if you're going to make them; otherwise you get wonky crop circles," says Lundberg.

Like the one depicted in the book "Crop Circles" that extends in a long, jagged line? He laughs, saying, "Maybe those are the ones that are made by aliens."

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July 30, 2002


Florida Today

Have we lost our curiosity?

by Billy Cox

Just what Thornton Page meant in a September 1966 letter to Fred Durant isn't exactly clear. Durant says he doesn't remember the correspondence, which is understandable after 36 years. Page's note was retrieved from the Smithsonian Institution several years ago, where Durant once served as the assistant director for astronautics.

In 1953, Page, an astrophysicist, and Durant, a Navy test pilot, participated in a CIA-sponsored study of unidentified flying objects that became known as the Robertson Panel. The Robertson Panel was a direct response to an avalanche of public sightings of UFOs -- 500 in July 1952, alone -- that culminated in some spectacular nocturnal encounters above Washington, D.C., on the weekends of July 19 and July 26. Jet fighters were scrambled in a futile game of cat-and-mouse. The incidents generated a 90-minute press conference at the Pentagon, the longest exchange between media and brass since the end of WWII.

The official explanation from the Civil Aeronautics Administration: the objects that provoked visual and radar contacts were byproducts of temperature inversions. Under that scenario, warm air layers trapped above cool air can bend radar waves downward, which then mirror ground objects and trick radar scopes into reading them as airborne anomalies. Airborne mirages, added the CAA, are also byproducts of those conditions.

After reviewing some 50 cases of UFOs prowling American skies during the Cold War and the McCarthy hearings, the Robertson Panel's clear priority was national security. "The continued emphasis on the reporting of (UFOs) does, in these perilous times, result in a threat to the orderly function of the protective organs of the body politic." Recommendation: "National security agencies . . . take immediate steps to strip the UFOs of the special status they have been given."

In 1966, several months after a Walter Cronkite-narrated "CBS Reports" documentary on UFOs reassured American viewers that the phenomenon was largely the product of hoaxes or self-delusion, Page wrote a letter to Durant, who'd been a Robertson Panel secretary. He told Durant how he'd "helped organize the CBS TV show around the Robertson Panel conclusions."

Today, from his home in Raleigh, N.C., the 85-year-old Durant insists he "wouldn't change a word" in the Robertson report. "You have to remember the times," says Durant. "These UFO reports were clogging the phone lines, and we had absolutely no idea of what the Soviet interest in this was. If this phenomenon could be controlled, they could have used it for psychological warfare."

Although a 1969 study by the Air Force Environmental Technical Applications Center refuted the CAA's temperature inversion sightings explanation ("UFOs would need temperatures of several thousand (degrees) Kelvin in order to cause the mirages attributed to them"), Durant contends the mirage scenario is viable because he's seen automobile headlights reflected into the sky at night. As for radar data, "You get enormous speed readings on oscilloscopes when two radar systems are looking at each other," says the former operative for the CIA's Office of Scientific Intelligence. "They're called fast tracks, and they'll produce readings that'll give you false alerts on objects that seem to be reaching speeds of 1,000 miles an hour or more."

So maybe that's what happened again over Washington early Friday morning, nearly to the exact hour of the flap that engaged the CIA 50 years ago. "It was this object, this light blue object, traveling at a phenomenal rate of speed," suburban witness Renny Rogers told the Washington Post. "This Air Force jet was right behind it, chasing it, but the object was just leaving him in the dust."

According to the report, after radar detected an unresponsive bogey entering restricted air space around 1 a.m., the North American Aerospace Defense Command was alerted, and two loaded F-16s screamed out of Andrews Air Force Base to intercept. Only, when the jets got airborne, the object disappeared.

Said NORAD's Maj. Douglas Martin: "Everything was fine in the sky, so they returned home." Added Lt. Col Steve Chase with the Air National Guard 113th Air Wing, "It was a routine launch."

Well, sure. Nothing unusual in this day and age about a low-flying object closing in on the nation's capital, refusing to identify itself, then out-maneuvering an F-16. No media demand for a press conference to hear about temperature inversions, either. Actually, aside from the BBC and a blurb in the Post, no media coverage, period.

"There's just so much crap in this field, all these conspiracy theories," says Durant. "You've got another generation coming up that's increasingly ignorant of the facts. I guess it's fun to fantasize."

Downright contagious, actually.

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July 28, 2002


Hawk Eye (Burlington, IA)

It wasn't anything from Earth

by James Quirk Jr.

The Burlington area was not immune from purported sightings of flying craft from other worlds during the great UFO flap of 1947.

"Flying saucer" sightings climaxed during the summer of 1947, as hundreds of people from across the country reported they witnessed strange, unidentifiable craft in the sky.

It started when 32­year­old Kenneth Arnold, a Boise, Idaho, businessman, pilot, federal marshal and member of the Idaho Search and Rescue Flyers, reported seeing nine objects in the sky that "flew like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water" the afternoon of June 24, 1947.

Arnold was flying over Washington's Mount Rainier searching for a private plane believed to have crashed somewhere in the Cascade Mountains.

Arnold said the objects "emitted very bright blue­white flashes from their surfaces" as they flew almost directly across his flight path and "didn't fly like any aircraft I had seen before."

Arnold calculated the objects to be flying almost 1,700 mph, a speed no known aircraft at the time had yet achieved.

The Associated Press wired Arnold's story about "saucer­like objects" to newspapers across the country, an action that coined the term "flying saucer."

Arnold's sighting set off a glut of flying saucer reports.

The Hawk­Eye Gazette on July 7, 1947, included this front­page headline: "Reports Disk North of City."

According to the article, Mrs. W. R. Eads, formerly of 512 S. 10th St., reported that she had seen a flying saucer a couple weeks before, on June 25, 10 miles north of Burlington on Route 99.

Eads was visiting family and, while seated on the front porch of her daughter's farm home, "said she saw the brilliantly shining object skimming through the sky and headed southwest."

"It sparkled like a sundial," said Eads, who has since died. "It glided along smoothly but I don't know how fast it was going."

Another report in the newspaper the same day indicated many Burlington residents were seen watching the sky.

"All along the streets of Burlington today people were craning their necks skyward in the hope of seeing a flying saucer, because folks down in Keokuk think they saw some one day last week," the newspaper reported.

"However, since Keokuk is a town where they frequently see things, Burlington generally was taking its eerie sky visitors with a grain of salt. But doubt didn't keep people from looking — and they were not disappointed. They actually saw something. It was an airplane engaged in sky­writing. The pilot, with a stream of smoke, was spelling out the name of a well­known beverage. Meanwhile, tonsils were getting sun­burned by the onlookers."

The newspaper's July 9, 1947, edition included two more local reports and an AP dispatch that debunked a July 8 report that the U.S. Army Air Forces had retrieved remnants of a crashed flying saucer in the desert outside Roswell, N.M. Mrs. Clayton Carper, who lived at 2115 Des Moines Ave., reported seeing a flying saucer while picking beans in her garden late in the afternoon of July 7, 1947. Resident Archie Smith said he saw two of the objects sailing through the sky at 5:30 p.m. the same day.

"It was awfully high and it looked just like someone had thrown a silver dollar into the air," Carper said. "It was going fast and disappeared almost immediately."

"I was just talking with my uncle about the disks and we saw a bird flying overhead," Smith said. "I laughingly told him it was one of the disks and seconds later we saw the two shining objects flying high and fast toward the southwest."

The military insisted that Roswell incident was not a space ship with alien but wreckage from a high­altitude weather balloon with an attached radar reflector.

Meanwhile, in southeast Iowa, The Hawk­Eye Gazette reported July 9, 1947, "there'll be no disk jitters in the Burlington area over weather balloon equipment such as was found in (New Mexico)."

C. O. Tucker, who was in charge of the U.S. Weather Bureau in Burlington at the time, said his station did not use the type of balloon found in Roswell for making observations.

Tucker said he learned the fragment found in Roswell was a "piece of metal attached to the balloon to enable observers to make contact with it by radar while it was in free flight."

Resident Paul Bacher, 92, a retired science teacher, was teaching chemistry at the former Burlington Junior College (now Southeastern Community College) during the 1947 flap.

"People imagined a lot of things in those days," Bacher said in a recent interview. "The government probably did a few things on the secret, but everybody was alarmed about something that might have been imagination."

Bacher and his wife, Roma, don't believe in flying saucers.

"We never seen any," he said. "We always thought it was imagination. I don't doubt people saw something, but did they see what they thought they saw?"

Although the 1947 UFO flap would end by late July, reports continued to surface in subsequent years and interest in the subject grew.

In the mid­1950s, Lloyd Maffitt, who reported for The Hawk Eye from 1946 until 1996, said he and the newspaper's former city editor, the late Dan Bied, traveled to Macomb, Ill., to attend a UFO convention at Western Illinois University.

Maffitt said there were hundreds of UFO aficionados attended who talked about their individual experiences.

"They even had a film they showed," he said. "We got a full load of UFOs ... it was something."

Maffitt said he always considered the concept of UFOs "foolish."

In a 1950 article in The Hawk Eye, Bonnie Weaver, a professional golfer, reported seeing a strange object in the sky. He saw the object one morning while at the Burlington Golf Club.

Weaver said the object was thin "and on the order of a boomerang."

"The object was silver and traveling east, fast and high," he reported. According to the report, "he looked away for an instant and looked back to see a flash of white light and a trail of sparks and then the object was lost from view ... he heard no sound from the object."

Perhaps one of the strangest UFO stories that occurred in southeast Iowa is a purported incident that happened 27 years before the 1947 flap.

In 1973, The Hawk Eye ran a series of stories about three strange circles found near Mud Creek recreation area in Henry County that formed a triangular pattern.

Some people believed the pattern found in the area was evidence of an extraterrestrial spacecraft landing.

The story about the Mud Creek "rings" continued through 1973 and spurred other stories to emerge, including a man's fantastic, vivid account of a possible alien visitation 53 years earlier.

On Oct. 28, 1973, The Hawk Eye included a story from Mount Pleasant resident Clark Linch, 75 at the time but has since died, who related a story that took place in 1920.

Linch maintained that at about 10 a.m. on June 3, 1920, he saw what he later came to believe was an extraterrestrial spacecraft land while he was fishing.

Linch said he was working his father's farm 6 miles northeast of town when he took the forenoon off to go fishing.

"I remember the year because I'd gotten married in January of 1920," he said, adding he was able to remember the exact date because it was his birthday.

While fishing, Linch saw an egg­shaped object the size of a cream can land silently about 15­feet from his river bank perch. The object "sat there" for about 15 minutes, "not bothering him ­ nor he bothering it," according to the report.

"I wasn't in any hurry to jump up and run over to it, and I'm glad I didn't. It might have killed me. Just when I thought about going over to take a closer look at it, it took off without any sound and without turning around. The grass where it hit was pressed down."

Linch said the object left no damage or burn marks on the grass where it had landed. The blue and translucent object "would have been camouflaged in the sky ... I didn't know what to believe about it at the time, and I still don't. I've concluded that it wasn't anything from Earth."

Because of the object's small size, Linch had said, "it couldn't have been occupied by intelligent life as we know it."

Linch observed that his sighting differed from other UFO reports because the object he saw moved slowly, "probably about four or five miles per hour," and was small and "apparently lightweight."

It took 35 years, until 1955, for Linch to tell his story to anybody.

"You didn't talk about flying saucers in (1920)," he said.

In 1994, the government's General Accounting Office researched the Roswell incident and reached a slightly different conclusion than the weather­balloon tale.

"Aliens" observed in the New Mexico desert, the GAO concluded, actually were human­like test dummies that were carried aloft by U.S. Air Force high­altitude research balloons.

Reports of military units that always seemed to arrive shortly after the crash of a "flying saucer" to retrieve the saucer and its "crew," were accurate descriptions of Air Force personnel recovering the dummies, the GAO said.

The tests were conducted to learn how to return pilots or astronauts to earth if they had to eject from high altitudes.

But the tests also startled — and amused — many 55 summers ago.

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July 26, 2002


Washington Post

F-16s Pursue Unknown Craft Over Region

by Steve Vogel

For Renny Rogers, it was strange enough that military jets were flying low over his home in Waldorf in the middle of the night. It was what he thinks he saw when he headed outside to look early yesterday that floored him.

"It was this object, this light-blue object, traveling at a phenomenal rate of speed," Rogers said. "This Air Force jet was right behind it, chasing it, but the object was just leaving him in the dust. I told my neighbor, 'I think those jets are chasing a UFO.' "

Military officials confirm that two F-16 jets from Andrews Air Force Base were scrambled early yesterday after radar detected an unknown aircraft in area airspace. But they scoff at the idea that the jets were chasing a strange and speedy, blue unidentified flying object.

"We had a track of interest, so we sent up some aircraft," said Maj. Douglas Martin, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado, which has responsibility for defending U.S. airspace. "Everything was fine in the sky, so they returned home."

At the same time, military officials say they do not know just what the jets were chasing, because whatever it was disappeared. "There are any number of scenarios, but we don't know what it was," said Maj. Barry Venable, another spokesman for NORAD.

Radar detected a low, slow-flying aircraft about 1 a.m. yesterday, according to a military official. Controllers were unable to establish radio communication with the unidentified aircraft, and NORAD was notified. When the F-16s carrying air-to-air missiles were launched from Andrews, the unidentified aircraft's track faded from the radar, the military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Pilots with the D.C. Air National Guard's 113th Air Wing, which flew the F-16s from Andrews, reported nothing out of the ordinary, NORAD officials said.

"It was a routine launch," said Lt. Col. Steve Chase, a senior officer with the wing, which keeps pilots and armed jets on 24-hour alert at Andrews to respond to incidents as part of an air defense system protecting Washington after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Rogers remains convinced that what he saw was not routine. "It looked like a shooting star with no trailing mist," he said. "I've never seen anything like it."

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July 25, 2002


Telegraph (UK)

Last Night on Television


by Gerard O'Donovan

Speaking of paranoia, it's said the internet has more websites devoted UFOs and alien encounters than anything else. Similarly, the extraterrestrial realms of cable and digital television are a haven for such material. Most of it is entirely spurious but an occasional goody appears, such as Britain's Secret UFO Hunters (Discovery) which presented the findings of two historians who'd been investigating rumours that the MoD set up a top-secret UFO- monitoring unit in Whitehall in the 1950s.

For two years Andy Roberts and Dr David Clarke trawled through formerly top-secret files released under the Freedom of Information Act, and found plenty of evidence that a government report had been prepared in 1951 by the 'Flying Saucer Working Party' and that a UFO investigation unit had worked out of the supposedly mysterious Room 801 in the Marlborough Buildings in London. They also unearthed a wonderful memo from Churchill to Lord Cherwell asking: 'What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth?'

Unfortunately there was no sign of a reply. According to the records, the MoD unit discontinued all the sightings they investigated. Unsurprisingly, witnesses interviewed for the programme remained convinced of what they saw. The refreshingly sceptical Roberts and Clarke simply pointed out the correlation between the Cold War and the UFO phenomenon: how the first reported sighting wasn't until 1947, how flying saucer fever gripped Britain and America in the Fifties (some of the more outlandish manifestations shown were truly nutty) and continued to flare up regularly throughout the Sixties and Seventies. One of the more telling revelations was that in the decade since the collapse of Communism, UFO sightings have dropped off dramatically. Coincidence?  Well, maybe. Some of us might put it down to the vast numbers of people bored to death by the X-Files.

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July 23, 2002


El Liberal (Santiago Del Estero, Argentina)

UFOs and Mutilations at Santiago Del Estero
A judge and police officers set off in search of the strange

The police precinct of Garza confirmed yesterday the discovery of a heifer with parts sectioned off. The event occurred under unknown circumstances and the incisions resemble those now seen on a daily basis in the fields of the provinces of La Pampa and Buenos Aires.

The animal was found yesterday in a hilly region of a place known as Quimilioj in the department of San Martin by a local resident, Joaquin Lemos: "The cow apparently died two days ago and it was learned that some of its body parts were missing, apparently its eyes and udders," reported police and judicial sources to EL LIBERAL.

These spokesmen maintained that the event deserves the attention of officialdom since the initial inspections suggest that the animals death has been surrounded by "confusing circumstances".

"There appears to be no putrefaction and while carrion birds presumably approached the animal, they did not touch it," added the sources.

Meanwhile police from Precinct 38 of Garza maintained in its report to authorities in the capital that no tire tracks or footsteps were found near the animal, nor anything that could suggest the presence of cattle rustlers.

At the close of this edition, sources said that "taking these development into consideration, and in order to make the corresponding technical verifications, " Fifth Circuit Criminal Court Justice Dr. Jose Antonio Uñates will head out to the site in question. He will be accompanied by the chief of police, Sheriff Jose Tomas Lescano, and the veterinarian from the K-9 division, Eduardo Betbeder, chemical specialist of the Narcotics Unit, Roberto Adamo and personnel from the Institute of Bromatology of the province. Judge Uñates also requested the attendance of the presdient of the School of Veterinary Medicine of Santiago del Estero and Dr. Andres Miotti, a local UFO researcher.

Residents of the Santa Rosa de Lima neighborhood in the city's northern end contacted EL LIBERAL yesterday to inform that they have been witnessing for the past several nights--in concatenation with the sightings at Fernandez and Ojo de Agua--objects with strange lights in the direction of La Venacha, to the northeast of Santiago. The wave of rumors and UFO sightings are directly related to the appearance of mutilated animals and there are already specialists who point to the presence of "extraterrestrials" as the parties responsible for these acts.

In spite of the proximity of the city's airport , residents of the western sector of the city do not relate the strange lights with planes or helicopters which may be coming in for a landing, because "they remain motionless for several minutes in the air, or go up and down in a straight line before vanishing unexpectedly."

EL LIBERAL combed the neighborhood to collect accounts and although residents did not wish to make their names known, they ratified the presence of these lights "over several evenings." Jose Villalva, the owner of a local supermarket, stated that his customers are remarking on the presence of these lights in the sky while doing their groceries, while stating that he himself has not seen them.

A young man disclosed that a few weeks ago, at night, a group of police officers went into the wilderness behind the neighborhood to capture criminals and that the locals, whose curiosity had driven them to enter the area, saw several lights over the treetops that ascended and descended. They thought at first that the lights came from the policemen's flashlights, but they discarded the possibility immediately upon realizing the officers had gone and they were alone in the area. Since then, many people have returned to the site in the hopes of seeing what they call "UFOs".

A UFO Costs Residents of Fernandez Robles their Sleep

Fernarndez Robles (C)-- EL LIBERAL's exclusive related to the appearance of a UFO in this city between June 11-14 at different nocturnal hours regained strength yesterday due to a new sighting last Thursday around 21:00 hours. Numerous residents of the following neighborhoods: Norte, 12 de Octubre, Juan Domingo Peron, Camping, Roca and 102 Viviendas, among others "the Capital of Agriculture", claim having seen the luminous object.

On said occasion, Marcelo Coronel, a professional mechanic living on Balcarse Street in Barrio Norte, witnessed--along with the light of the moon and stars--something similar to a "headlight surrounded by a red halo which increased and diminished in hue, and moved slowly from north to south without making any sound."

Coronel adds that since he was on his way to the Sportivo Club, he followed [the object] in his car "along old Route 34." Once he reached the stadium, he continued to witness it along with the Gallardo family "for over 20 minutes, until it became lost behind the tree line."

He further added that the event took place after 9:00 pm last Thursday. "On that day--he said--the wind was blowing northward, and for that reason I know the object wasn't a balloon. It moved opposite to the prevailing wind. Very slowly, as round as the size of a car wheel. It was possible to make out its colors clearly: intense white at its core (like a headlight) with a red aura around it, changing shades of red."

Numerous residents of Fernandez claim having seen the phenomenon. A considerable number of rumors link this fact with the wave of unexplained bovine deaths and the emptying of numerous farm water tanks all over the country. "It is noteworthy that these lights should move over areas in which the wells and tanks of the new potable water system are located," adds Coronel.

Neighbors agree, pointing out that when they are seen, TV signals are interrupted or television sets shut themselves off without any interruption to the flow of electricity, or the sets change channels without the remote control having been touched, while dogs bark desperately without any apparent reason.

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July 23, 2002


Baltimore Sun

Eerie X-File of the pampas

By Reed Lindsay

Saliquello, Argentina - Daniel Belot has seen his share of dead cows.

As a veterinarian in the heart of the cow-full pampas, Belot has written off bovine deaths to causes as diverse as foot-and-mouth disease, bloat, lightning, killer bees and cattle thieves who butcher their loot in place, a crime that has become increasingly common as Argentina's economic crisis has extended to the countryside.

Then, in April, he discovered a case that stumped him. A rancher had found a nearly 1,000-pound Aberdeen Angus lying on its belly "like a rabbit," in Belot's words. The left side of its face around the jaw was gone, the hide cut away in two straight lines meeting at a 90-degree angle.

Its tongue, pharynx and larynx were missing. Muscles and ligaments had been removed from the jawbones, leaving them spotless. There was no blood on the animal or nearby; nor were there signs of scavengers or predators.

"I had never seen anything like it before," says Belot, who works for Argentina's animal health agency, Senasa, in the sleepy town of Saliquello. "How were those cuts made? When? Why?"

Three months later, Belot has no answers. Across this country's immense, grassy plains, Argentina's renowned beef cattle are turning up dead, mutilated in ways that have baffled experts and spooked ranchers.

Since Belot detected the first mutilation in April, nearly 200 more have been reported in the area, in addition to a scattering of cases from as far away as Patagonia and Uruguay.

Most cows have the same missing parts as the first one examined by Belot. But all the mutilations share an uncanny similarity: Organs, flesh and skin have been removed in angular or neatly curved cuts that leave no blood and clean, dry bones.

"The type of incisions do not coincide with any infectious or contagious disease that we know," says Alberto Pariani, a veterinarian at the University of La Pampa who has examined 40 mutilated cows. "When animals eat, they rip, they tear. They don't cut.

"Everyone who has experience working on the ranch says the same thing: No animal can do this."

Blame has been pinned on everything from ravenous rodents to satanic cults, but in the farmhouses and small towns that dot the pampas, the paranormal is the No. 1 suspect. Sure enough, the mutilations have been accompanied by a spate of UFO sightings.

The mutilations are not without precedent. Since the 1960s, hundreds of mutilated animals have been found in the United States with nearly identical characteristics - removal of organs in what appear to be surgically precise cuts, no trace of blood, no tracks of humans or animals, often with coinciding testimonies of strange lights.

Mutilation cases have been reported during the past year in Montana and Oregon. The news media have evoked comparisons with the legend of the chupacabras, literally "goat sucker," revived in Puerto Rico several years ago when farm animals there were reportedly found dead and bloodless with abnormal puncture wounds.

But according to an Argentine government-backed investigation, the mutilations have an earthly explanation. A team of university veterinarians working with specialists from Senasa and the National Institute of Agricultural Technology recently announced that they had caught the mysterious cow mutilator.

The culprit's name: Oxymycterus, commonly known as the long-nosed mouse. The theory holds that the cows die from disease or other natural causes, not unusual in winter, and are then set upon by scavengers, including foxes and birds. But it is the hungry long- nosed mouse, with its four potent incisors, that is allegedly responsible for nibbling off flesh and hide in circular and linear cuts.

To prove their hypothesis, veterinarians at the national university in the city of Tandil placed dead cows in areas where some of the mutilations had been discovered. Four or five days later, the cows were left with "lesions exactly the same" as those discovered in the mutilated cows.

The announcement was made at a Buenos Aires news conference, where reporters were shown a video of mice crawling through a carcass and chomping a cow tongue on a laboratory table. National media coverage of the mutilations has effectively ended since the news conference.

But many experts and local veterinarians remain unconvinced by the government-endorsed conclusion. One question the university team has not answered is why the mice, or any scavenger for that matter, would consume the hide around the jaw instead of first devouring the rest of the cow's softer flesh and innards.

Another chink in the theory: Some cows have been found mutilated hours after being seen intact, leaving scant time for the mice to remove the organs.

Nobody, from ranchers to biologists specializing in rodents, has ever seen mice feed on a cow carcass.

The Tandil veterinarians suggest that a demographic explosion combined with an unusually cold winter have driven the mice to change their diet from worms and slugs to cow flesh. But in many cases, witnesses have seen no signs of mice or any other scavengers. Raising even greater doubts, the long-nosed mouse does not inhabit the province of La Pampa, where dozens of mutilations have been found.

The team of university and government specialists limited their study to five counties in the province of Buenos Aires. They did not make available the details of their investigation.

But if the mouse theory has its holes, the possibility of human involvement seems even more unlikely. Police have found no footprints or tire tracks near the animals. Nor are there signs of struggle; cows killed by predators or humans usually leave kick marks as they take their final gasps. In some cases, the cows were discovered behind fences and locked gates or miles from the nearest road.

Nobody has seen anyone or anything out of the ordinary, except weird lights in the sky.

"We are totally disoriented," says Oscar Raul Arce, the chief of the provincial police in northern La Pampa. "What is really striking is that no clues, or prints or blood have been left.

"What's going on here is perhaps beyond our ability to understand."

For most people out on the pampas, where cows outnumber humans in the range of 10-to-1, something strange is responsible for the mutilations, and it's not the long-nosed mouse.

"I'd always heard stories of people who had seen lights and strange things," says rancher Raul Vargas, 39, standing over a mutilated calf found the day before a half-mile from his farmhouse.

"But if I hadn't seen this with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it."

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July 22, 2002


Sheboygan Press

Mysterious lights at UFO Daze

By Mary Ann Holley

DUNDEE - Six glowing amber spheres lit up the night sky Saturday above a forested area on the northern edge of Long Lake, lending credence to the statement, "They're out there."

More than 150 spectators watched as the lights moved methodically across the sky, then hovered in a formation over the northern edge of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

One flashed from a bright yellow to a clear white. Then a second sphere flashed. The unknown lights were a surprise, but not entirely unexpected for those who had gathered there for UFO Daze, an event held each July for the past 12 years.

"If it's a hoax, it's a good one," said Bill Benson, owner of Benson's Holiday Hideaway, a small country tavern on the northern point of Long Lake. "If someone's jerking our chain, they're doing a good job."

Inside the tavern, where Out of this World pizza, Alien Extras and Martian pick-me-ups are on the menu, a 3-inch scrapbook sits on the bar, filled with hundreds of photographs of UFO sightings from the area.

"We call this UFO headquarters because there are so many sightings," Benson said.

In May 1985 after a night of soupy fog blanketed the area, a crop circle was formed in marsh grass just outside the tavern. The event was documented on a national television show, Benson said.

"A neighbor lady lost all the water in her well that night," Benson recalled. "It later came back, but never ran as well as it did before."

In 1989, a neighbor tried to chase the cows out of his barn, but the cows would run back in, Benson said. A UFO was seen hovering east and south of the barn. Another neighbor verified the incident, Benson said. In 1999, four fighter jets were seen chasing a light over the lake. Photos were taken by a local resident.

"I don't know why they pick this place," Benson said. "People say the magnetic energies in the earth here are very high. Maybe that's the reason. One of our town board members saw the same fighter jets."

UFO Daze guests spent the day hearing presentations by those who had encountered UFOs on various occasions and those who claimed to have regular contact with extraterrestrial beings.

Bonnie Meyer of Neenah, a presenter at the event, claimed she has had alien contacts since 1976 when a craft came down over the road as she was driving.

"I was camping in New London over the Fourth of July with my husband, friends and family," Meyer said. "A ladder dropped down and an alien in a silver suit waved me over. At first I wasn't going to go, but I figured I'd never have that chance again."

Since then, Meyer said, there have been steady contacts varying from once a week to once a month. They come down and she goes with them, she said.

She said her neighbors don't notice because the ship puts up a force-field, a device, the aliens explained, that prevents others from seeing them.

"They said they're here because we're not kind to our planet," Meyer said. "I've met about 16 different alien varieties, from those who look like the Pillsbury Doughboy to ones that look like a blue Big Bird. They've always been friendly and kind. They said they'd like us to speak out more."

Heathermarie Podulke of Sheboygan said she saw UFOs during last year's UFO Daze.

"It changed my life and changed my world," Podulke said. "It reminded me more of my soul's intention and purpose, that my soul comes from extraterrestrial origins. It jarred my memories."

Ken Keen of Milwaukee attended UFO Daze for the past two years. He said he blew off work to be there.

"Absolutely, I believe," said Keen. "It seems like common sense to me. The universe is very large. I'm into the Bible. Who knows? What we see might be God. It's a science and spiritual thing for me."

Rich Beringer of Dundee, a regular at the tavern, said he takes the UFO talk in stride.

"I live here. I was here when the marsh grass was packed down," Beringer said. "A couple of girls came in screaming. They were scared crapless. I don't know if I'm into it, but I've seen some weird things around here."

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July 21, 2002


Washington Post

Alien Armada!

by Peter Carlson

50 Years Ago, Unidentified Flying Objects From Way Beyond the Beltway Seized the Capital's Imagination

In the control tower at Washington National Airport, Ed Nugent saw seven pale violet blips on his radar screen. What were they? Not planes - at least not any planes that were supposed to be there.

He summoned his boss, Harry G. Barnes, the head of National's air traffic controllers. "Here's a fleet of flying saucers for you," Nugent said, half-joking.

Upstairs, in the tower's glass-enclosed top floor, controller Joe Zacko saw a strange blip streaking across his radar screen. It wasn't a bird. It wasn't a plane. What was it? He looked out the window and spotted a bright light hovering in the sky. He turned to his partner, Howard Cocklin, who was sitting three feet away.

"Look at that bright light," Zacko said. "If you believe in flying saucers, that could sure be one."

And then the light took off, zooming away at an incredible

"Did you see that?" Cocklin remembers saying. "What the hell was that?"

It was Saturday night, July 19, 1952 - 50 years ago this weekend - one of the most famous dates in the bizarre history of UFOs. Before the night was over, a pilot reported seeing unexplained objects, radar at two local Air Force bases --Andrews and Bolling - picked up the UFOs, and two Air Force F-94 jets streaked over Washington, searching for flying saucers.

Then, a week later, it happened all over again - more UFOs on the radar screen, more jets scrambled over Washington. Across America, the story of jets chasing UFOs over the White House knocked the Korean War and the presidential campaign off the front pages of newspapers.

" 'Saucer' Outran Jet, Pilot Reveals," read the banner headline in The Washington Post.

"JETS CHASE D.C. SKY GHOSTS," screamed the New York Daily News.

"AERIAL WHATZITS BUZZ D.C. AGAIN!" shouted the Washington Daily

As rumors spread, President Truman demanded to know what was flying over his house. Soon the federal government was fighting the UFOs with the most powerful weapons in the Washington arsenal - bureaucracy, obfuscation and gobbledygook.

That seemed to work. The UFOs never returned.

At least, not that we know of. As Big as Life

In a way, this whole strange episode began with Marilyn Monroe.

The actress appeared on the cover of Life magazine's April 7, 1952, issue, looking sultry in a diaphanous, low-cut dress, her eyelids drooping seductively. It was the kind of cover that attracts attention. And just above Monroe's left shoulder was a cover line touting a different story: "There Is a Case for Interplanetary Saucers."

The article was titled "Have We Visitors From Outer Space?" It reviewed 10 recent UFO sightings and concluded that they could not be written off as hallucinations, hoaxes or earthly aircraft. An unnamed Air Force intelligence officer was quoted saying, "The higher you go in the Air Force, the more seriously they take the flying saucers."

The story ended with a series of questions that sound like something Rod Serling might intone at the end of a "Twilight Zone" episode:

"Who, or what, is aboard? Where do they come from? Why are they here? What are the intentions of the beings who control them?"

It wasn't the first media account of UFOs - there had been lots of publicity since several well-known sightings in 1947, including one in Roswell, N.M. - but the Life article marked the first time that a trusted, mainstream magazine had given credence to the theory that UFOs might be alien spacecraft.

The Life story was big news, covered in more than 350 newspapers across America. Soon, the number of UFO sightings reported to the Air Force skyrocketed - from 23 in March, before Life's article appeared, to 82 in April, 79 in May, 148 in June.

Were these increases due to saucers swarming over America? Or did Life's story make Americans more likely to report strange things they saw in the sky?

By mid-July, Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt - the head of Project Blue Book, the Air Force's official UFO study team - was getting 40 reports of UFO sightings a day. Many were bogus but some came from pilots and other respectable citizens, and Ruppelt took them seriously.

Then - a few days before the first sightings at National Airport - Ruppelt interviewed a government scientist who made a startling prediction that Ruppelt recorded in his 1956 memoir, "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects."

"Within the next few days," the unidentified scientist said, banging his hand on his desk for emphasis, "you're going to have the granddaddy of all UFO sightings. The sighting will occur in Washington or New York - probably Washington." 'Falling Stars Without Tails'

The blips first appeared on radar screens at National at 11:40 that Saturday night - seven unidentified targets about 15 miles southeast of the city.

It was a clear, hot, humid night with very little air traffic, and the controllers at National watched the strange blips amble across their screens. They'd cruise at a leisurely rate of about 100 to 130 miles per hour, then abruptly zoom off in an extraordinary burst of speed.

"They acted like a bunch of small kids out playing," Barnes, the head controller, wrote a few days later in a piece for a New York newspaper. "It was helter-skelter, as if directed by some innate curiosity. At times, they moved as a group or cluster, at other times as individuals."

Barnes called his counterparts at Andrews and Bolling to ask if they saw anything unusual on their radar screens. They did. They were getting blips in the same places.

At Andrews, controller William Brady looked out the control tower window and saw what looked like "an orange ball of fire, trailing a tail." It was, he later told Air Force investigators, "unlike anything I had ever seen before."

At National, Cocklin looked out his window and saw what he recalls as a "whitish blue light" that emanated from a solid object that was "round with no distinguishing marks such as wings or a nose or a tail." It looked, he says, "like a saucer."

Sometime after 1 a.m, National's control tower radioed Capital Air Flight 807, from Washington to Detroit, and asked the pilot if he saw any unusual objects. Captain S.C. "Casey" Pierman, a pilot with 17 years of experience, radioed back: "There's one --and there it goes."

For the next 14 minutes, as he flew between Herndon and Martinsburg, W.Va., Pierman saw six bright lights that streaked across the sky at tremendous speed. "They were," he said, "like falling stars without tails."

Watching the radar blips flying over the Capitol and the White House, Barnes called the Air Force to report unidentified aircraft in restricted air space. But it was very late on a Saturday night and the Air Force bureaucracy responded sluggishly. By the time F-94 interceptor jets left New Castle Air Force Base in Delaware - the runways at Andrews were closed for repairs - it was after 3 a.m.

When the F-94s soared over Washington, the strange blips disappeared from the radar screens at National. The F-94 pilots cruised around the area for a while but saw nothing. When they headed back to New Castle, the blips reappeared.

The controllers watched the UFOs flit across their screens until dawn, then disappear. Trying to Clear the Air

Nobody bothered to call Ruppelt about the sightings. When he flew to Washington a couple of days later on unrelated Project Blue Book business, he learned about them by reading newspapers at the airport.

"Radar Spots Air Mystery Objects Here," read the headline on the front page of The Washington Post.

"Air Force 'Saucer' Expert Will Probe Sightings Here," said the Washington Daily News.

Ruppelt asked his colleagues who the expert was. You are, they told him.

At the Pentagon, Ruppelt found the Air Force brass deeply concerned about one particular aspect of the sightings: What should they tell the press?

Nobody had any idea what - if anything - had been in the air over Washington on July 19, but the newspapers were demanding answers. Reporters, Ruppelt wrote, "were now beginning to put on a squeeze by threatening to call congressmen - and nothing chills blood faster in the military."

Ruppelt volunteered to stay overnight to interview the controllers at National and Andrews, then report what he learned to the press. But Ruppelt got entangled in the thicket of military bureaucracy.

He called the Pentagon's transportation section to get a car so he could travel to the various airports. Only colonels and generals can get cars, he was told. He called two generals, but it was after 4 p.m. and they were gone for the day.

He went to the finance office to get permission to rent a car. Take a bus, the woman there told him. It takes a lot of buses to go from the Pentagon to National to Andrews, he replied. Take a cab, she said, and pay for it out of your per diem. But his per diem was $9, he said, and he had to pay for food and lodging.

The woman then informed Ruppelt that his orders were to fly back to Ohio that night, and unless he got those orders amended, he'd technically be AWOL. He asked to talk to her boss. He'd left at 4:30 to avoid traffic, she said, and now it was 5 and she was leaving, too.

Ruppelt gave up. "I decided that if flying saucers were buzzing Pennsylvania Avenue, I couldn't care less," he wrote. "I caught the next airliner to Dayton." A Return Engagement

About 10 o'clock Saturday night, July 26, Ruppelt was at home in Dayton when a reporter called to say that UFOs were back in the sky over Washington.

What, the reporter asked, did the Air Force plan to do about it?

"I have no idea what the Air Force is doing," Ruppelt replied. "In all probability, it's doing nothing."

He hung up, then called the Pentagon and learned that he was right: The Air Force was doing nothing. He made more calls, dispatching two officers - Maj. Dewey Fournet and Lt. John Holcomb, a radar expert - to National's control tower to see what was happening.

Fournet and Holcomb arrived to find National's controllers tracking a dozen unexplained blips. An Air Force B-25 happened to be passing through the area, so the controllers asked it to check out some of the radar targets. The B-25 went to one site and spotted nothing except a tourist boat cruising the Potomac.

Perhaps, the controllers surmised, a temperature inversion - a layer of hot air between two layers of colder air in the sky --had bent the radar beam, causing it to mistake objects on the ground for things in the air. Temperature inversions were common in Washington on hot days, and the controllers were familiar with the phenomenon.

But Fournet and Holcomb were convinced that some of the radar blips were solid metal objects, not inversion-induced mirages. Radar operators at Andrews saw them, too. And civilian planes flying into Washington reported seeing strange glowing objects in places where the radar was getting blips.

The controllers called for interceptors, and about 11 p.m. the Air Force dispatched F-94s to search the sky over Washington. When the first jets arrived, the blips disappeared from National's radar screens and the F-94 pilots saw nothing unusual. But when they returned to New Castle, the blips returned to the radar screens.

About 1:30 a.m., the jets soared back over Washington. This time, pilots saw several strange lights. One pilot gave chase but he couldn't catch the streaking light.

"I tried to make contact with the bogies below 1,000 feet," pilot William Patterson told investigators. "I was at my maximum speed but . . . I ceased chasing them because I saw no chance of overtaking them." Trading on Hot Air

On Monday morning, the story of UFOs outrunning fighter planes was splashed across front pages all over America. In Iowa, the headline in the Cedar Rapids Gazette read like something out of a sci-fi flick: "SAUCERS SWARM OVER CAPITAL."

"We have no evidence they are flying saucers," an unidentified Air Force source told reporters. "Conversely we have no evidence they are not flying saucers. We don't know what they are."

In the absence of hard information, the Washington Daily News printed a roundup of rumors. The "most persistent rumor" was that the saucers were American aircraft secretly produced by Boeing "at some remote site." An "absolutely weird" rumor was that the saucers were alien aircraft that had crashed and then been repaired and flown by the Air Force.

That Monday, the Air Force tried to reassure the nation by promising to keep jet fighters poised to chase the saucers at a moment's notice. But that statement didn't reassure Robert L. Farnsworth, president of the United States Rocket Society, who warned President Truman not to attack the UFOs.

"Should they be extra-terrestrial, such actions might result in the gravest consequences, as well as possibly alienating us from beings of far superior powers," Farnsworth telegraphed Truman. "Friendly contact should be sought as long as possible."

Truman was as baffled as everyone else. He asked his Air Force aide, Brig. Gen. Robert B. Landry, to find out what the UFOs were. On Tuesday morning, Landry called Ruppelt, who'd flown back to the Pentagon. Ruppelt said the sightings might be weather-related mirages but he didn't really know.

Nobody knew, not even Maj. Gen. John Samford, the Air Force's director of intelligence. But Samford called a press conference at the Pentagon at 4 o'clock Tuesday afternoon. It was the largest Pentagon press conference since World War II, Ruppelt wrote, and Samford's performance proved to be a brilliant demonstration of the art of bureaucratic balderdash.

He arrived in Room 3E-869 precisely at 4, accompanied by Ruppelt and several other officials. He opened with a rambling monologue on the history of UFOs, which, he noted, dated "to biblical times." He mentioned UFO sightings in 1846 but never got around to the UFO sightings of 1952.

When reporters asked about the Washington sightings, Samford told a story about radar picking up a flock of ducks in Japan in 1950. When they asked if radar at National and Andrews had seen the same blips simultaneously, he speculated about the definition of the word "simultaneously." When they asked if the UFOs could be material objects, he mused about the definition of the word "material." When they asked if the F-94 pilot who chased the strange light was a qualified observer, he wondered about the meaning of the word "qualified."

Speaking about what that pilot saw, Samford uttered a sentence that ought to have a place in the Bureaucratic Gibberish Hall of Fame: "That very likely is one that sits apart and says insufficient measurement, insufficient association with other things, insufficient association with other probabilities for it to do any more than to join that group of sightings that we still hold in front of us as saying no."

Along the way, Samford mentioned the "temperature inversion" theory - that a layer of hot air in the sky might have caused radar to mistake things on the ground for flying objects. First, he said it was a "possibility." Later, he said it was "about a 50-50 proposition." Then he said it was a "probable" explanation.

He talked until 5:20, then the reporters dashed back to their offices to meet their deadlines. Sifting through notebooks full of gobbledygook, they seized on temperature inversion. It was an irresistible concept for newspapermen. The UFOs, they wrote, were caused by Washington's famous "hot air."

Ruppelt was amazed. Samford hadn't really explained anything, but whatever he had done, it worked.

"Somehow," Ruppelt wrote, "out of this chaotic situation came exactly the result that was intended - the press got off our backs."

When newspapers stopped writing about the UFOs, people stopped reporting UFOs. "Reports dropped from 50 per day to 10 a day within a week," Ruppelt noted.

And the UFOs never returned to the sky over Washington. Perhaps they'd seen enough. The Arguments Still Fly

Sitting at his desk, wearing blue pajamas and a gray bathrobe, Philip J. Klass holds up a government report and smiles mischievously.

"I will let you borrow it," he says, "provided that you provide one testicle as security."

The report is called "A Preliminary Study of Unidentified Targets Observed on Air Traffic Control Radars." Not many people would trade a testicle for it.

The report was issued by the Civil Aeronautics Administration in 1953, shortly after Klass began writing for Aviation Week. He's still writing for that magazine, but not often these days because he is 82 and ailing.

"The gist of the report," he says, "is that the Washington sightings were temperature inversions."

He wrote about the report in Aviation Week in 1953. That began his career as America's most prominent UFO debunker. Over the past 49 years, he's written five books on UFOs and engaged in countless debates with UFO believers. He can cite evidence and quote reports all day long, but he seems to prefer rattling off one-liners.

He says: "If there are UFOs and they want to make themselves known, land! And if they don't want to make their visits known, turn off the lights!"

He says: "If UFOs are abducting people, why do they choose only ugly people? If they abducted Olympic athletes, I could understand."

Bruce Maccabee isn't laughing. "One thing you have to understand: This is serious business," he says. "The skeptics like to make fun of us."

Maccabee, 60, is a civilian physicist for the Navy and a prominent UFO believer. In the '70s, he filed the Freedom of Information Act request that led to the release of the FBI's file on UFOs. The file was called "Security Matter X" - "the real X-Files," he says.

Maccabee believes there were "solid objects" in the air over Washington 50 years ago. "And I think those solid objects were not made by us," he says. "And by us, I mean human beings."

Like Klass, Maccabee buttresses his argument with an official government report. It's called "Quantitative Aspects of Mirages" and it was issued by the Air Force in 1969.

"They proved in their own study that there wasn't enough temperature inversion to cause this effect," he says. "The Washington sightings cannot be explained as a radar mirage."

After 50 years, the debate over the Washington UFOs goes on and on.

"You have dueling experts and dueling reports," says Kevin D. Randle, author of "Invasion Washington: UFOs Over the Capitol," a new book on the 1952 sightings. "One expert says it was temperature inversion. Another says it wasn't. In that situation, you have to refer back to the air traffic controllers and the pilots who actually saw the objects."

Former controller Howard Cocklin is still convinced that he saw an object over National that night. "I saw it on the screen and out the window," he says. "It was a whitish-blue object. Not a light - a solid form. An object. A saucer-shaped object."

Now 83 and retired, Cocklin says he never saw anything like that saucer - not before, not since.

"It just went away," he says, sitting in an armchair in his Fairfax living room. "Where did it go? Why don't people see these things today? Why 50 years ago?"

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July 18, 2002


Shanghai Star

Orange, Red Starmen Over China

by Rosanne Lin

Considering the recent rash of UFO sightings over China, it is worth noting the opinion of Sun Shili, a retired foreign ministry official who is now president of the Beijing UFO Research Society - he believes waixingren (extraterrestrials) are living among us.

Sun's first close encounter occurred in 1971, when he was sent to the remote countryside during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) to perform the grueling task of rice planting. One day while toiling in the field, his attention was diverted to a bright object in the sky, which rose and fell repeatedly. At first, Sun assumed the spectacle was some sort of monitoring device - a reasonable deduction considering the times - however years later, after reading foreign materials on UFO sightings, he knew he had experienced a close encounter.

Today, Sun does not rule out any possibility, including aliens living and working in Chinese society - a position often difficult to refute.

And Sun is not the only expert in the country taking these sightings seriously. According to the highly-accredited Shen Shituan, a real rocket scientist, president of Beijing Aerospace University and honorary director of the China UFO Research Association, every report of an alien encounter is worth investigating.

Shen doesn't dismiss any story as too absurd, including the claims of one worker that aliens entered his Beijing home while his wife and child were present, and whisked him 265 kilometres east and back in only a few hours.

But what do these aliens want? Why visit China? Are they interested in participating in the 2008 Olympics? Maybe they are interested in setting up a venue should Shanghai host the 2010 World Expo? Or perhaps, they harbour more sinister intentions. After all humans beings have been known to eat the flesh of intelligent life forms - whale blubber and dog meat. Need I say more?

Cook books aside, one media pundit has pointed to the interesting parallels between America's close encounters of the 1950s and the spate of recent visitations to China. In the 1950s, with the US set to dominate world affairs, observers from other worlds may have wanted to learn more about the growing superpower. Following this logic, China's extraordinary development could be attracting the attention of alien visitors. They may be looking to open a nightclub on Shanghai's Maoming Lu or an electronics factory in Guangdong. Perhaps, the Beijing worker was spirited away to act as some sort of investment adviser. Such possibilities cannot be ignored - foreign direct investment is growth capital no matter what the country or planet of origin.

Of course, all these speculations assume that aliens do exist and are observing the earth and its species. Yet, there are still those who reject this idea.

Such skeptics need to reflect on the ubiquitous child's ant farm. The minuscule creatures toil endlessly completely unaware that they are being watched and that, with a simple tap on the glass by the giant undetected observer, what would amount to half a life time's work for an ant could be destroyed. So why do we think ourselves so superior?

And if these foreign visitors should show themselves it would add a whole new meaning to the term yangguizi (foreign devil). I guess as science fiction writers often predict, alien overlords would give mankind a reason to abandon racial and cultural prejudices - we would have someone new to hate.

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June 25, 2002


Irish Examiner

Flying Saucers Out In Force On UFO Day

by Mícheál Lehane

SEVERAL strange objects appeared in the skies over Ireland as UFO day was being celebrated by astronomers worldwide yesterday.

Public interest in unidentified flying objects took off big time on June 24, 1947, after American pilot Kenneth Arnold saw giant, so-called "flying saucers" in the sky. Millions of sightings of the strange flying objects followed.

"There has been a big increase in sightings here during the last few days. These pulsing objects that hover over the earth have been seen from Dublin up to Armagh" Jim Flora at the Ufology Centre at Glasslough, Co Monaghan, said.

However, those who study UFOs insist they have been appearing here for hundreds of years before flying saucers were spotted in America.

The UFOs are frequently seen on what astronomers call "ley lines," which are magnetic lines running through the sky. These lines often run over historic sites like Newgrange. The ley lines are found most frequently in areas along the west coast.

"There are several flapping objects in the skies at the moment and we don't really know why this is happening. You have to remember that they're always there, but people don't look up enough," Mr. Flora added.

The president of the UFO Society of Ireland, Betty Meyler, believes the flying objects are a sign of life on other planets. She reckons at least 10 UFOs appear n the sky over Ireland each month.

"They are crafts that come from planets. They come with an offering of peace and love. They are always willing to help us. Governments should stop trying to shoot them out of the air," she said.

Two years ago, Ms Meyler saw seven bright objects travelling through the air above her home in Boyle, Co Roscommon. She later received a message from these craft.

"A psychic friend of mine gave me a message from the UFO. They were coming to ensure everything was in perfect order for the millennium. As a result, there were no problems with computers during the change of the year," she said.

1211: Strange-looking creatures are stranded after their craft hits a church spire in Dublin. Locals try to reach aliens but another craft rescues them.

1940: Bright red lights are spotted over the sky in Cork and Kerry. Those who witness the sightings think it might be a plane, but they insist it's different to anything they've seen before.

1992: A massive, ship-like structure that moves through the sky at great speed is seen over Bantry. Astronomers are still trying to verify the significance of this UFO.

2000: A strange craft filled with bright lights comes out of the ground and soars into the sky in Knockadana, Brosna, in Co Roscommon.

2002: Several bright craft are spotted in the night skies between Dublin and Armagh. Astronomers say these objects come in peace from other planets.


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June 24, 2002


United Press International

Mutilated bovines baffle Argentine Authorities

by Leandro Prada

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (UPI) -- Looks like Argentina has a job for Mulder and Scully.

Theories ranging from UFO's to a mythical beast that's half kangaroo, half bat, are being tossed around Argentina following the discovery of some 200 mutilated cows in recent weeks.

Argentine authorities have dispatched a special investigative unit to the central provinces of La Pampa and Buenos Aires to investigate the bizarre killings that left the 200 head of cattle, one horse and handful of sheep slain with surgical accuracy.

According to witnesses, mostly local farmers, the mutilated cattle were found lying dead in pastures with only some parts missing such as the animals' eyes, nose, larynx, rectum and select internal organs. Some witnesses maintain that the animals were found without a trace of blood around them. Authorities investigating the incidents, however, say they found some blood near the scene of the slayings.

While the country's National Health Service for the Quality of Agrarian Food has yet to come up with an answer, many Argentines have their own theories as to why the animals were slaughtered in such an odd fashion.

A steady stream of images of slaughtered cattle on Argentine television and in both tabloid and mainstream newspapers has led to theories ranging from alien phenomena to a government conspiracy.

Some Argentines believe the animals were slaughtered by extra-terrestrials or those entranced by a passing UFO. Others say the slayings were the handiwork of the "Chupacabras," a mythological beast that's half bat and half kangaroo with razor-like claws capable of dissecting the cows with pinpoint precision.

Still others think the whole bovine mystery is an attempt by the government to distract Argentines from the country's ongoing economic collapse.

"I'll tell you what is going on, they want to keep us busy," said one Buenos Aires resident.

This isn't the first time that the slaughtered cow phenomenon has stumped area authorities.

Reports of cattle mutilations have popped up for decades along the Argentine-Brazilian border and throughout Central America. Similar occurrences have also been reported in the United States.

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May 23, 2002


Seattle Times

Alien coffee club: Paranormal conference descends on area this weekend

by Mark Rahner

Is there a big, mysterious hole in your life where "The X-Files" used to be? The kind of hole that makes dogs dig in their heels to avoid it? The kind of hole that doesn't make a noise when you throw something into it?

Then whisk yourself to the SeaTac Radisson Hotel for the Northwest UFO Paranormal Conference this weekend and get your fill of alien implants, remote viewing, flying saucers and the Ellensburg mystery known as "Mel's Hole."

"We're the real 'X-Files.' This is the real stuff," says organizer Charlette LeFevre of Kent. She heads the Seattle UFO Paranormal Group, formerly the Seattle Chat Club, originally the Seattle Art Bell Chat Club — which sponsors the event.

Formed by devotees of syndicated paranormal radio host Art Bell's late-night forays into the bizarre and the unexplained, LeFevre's group is "a local coffee club" whose members gather monthly to kick around the subjects and listen to guest speakers. (See for details.)

"But I don't want to give people the impression that we're a 'Star Trek' convention. This is a conference," LeFevre says. "We're a very discerning group, and we do take this field very seriously."

Still, LeFevre, a 37-year-old sales graphics worker, nearly bursts with enthusiasm for the subject. She'll interrupt her excited monologues with "Oh, my God, ohmyGod!" if you say you don't know about the "Alien in the Freezer" controversy or alien-abductee investigator James Harder (both will be featured at the conference).

Last year's drew about 250 attendees on Memorial Day weekend and just about broke even. To boost attendance, the club has lowered the fees from $20 to $12 to see individual speakers.

LeFevre has a vision of the UFO Paranormal Conference as a big annual event, as well as visions of a Northwest UFO and paranormal museum some day.

"The Roswell museum gets 83,000 people a year, and they're out in the boonies," she says of the alleged spacecraft crash site in New Mexico.

Among the weekend's other attractions:

- Dr. Janet Elizabeth Colli, a Seattle psychotherapist who helps victims of "alien-contact trauma."

- Red Elk, a local medicine man who will discuss "Mel's Hole," and perhaps be joined by Mel's Nephew. The mysterious and seemingly bottomless hole on land owned by Ellensburg's Mel Waters has been the object of recent search and speculation. "If people want to bring sacred tobacco to recognize him, he takes Pall Mall unfiltered," LeFevre advises.

- Santiago Garza, a Mexican UFOlogist who researched the case of a Washington family that allegedly videotaped a strange object that followed them on a car trip to and from Mexico.

- Making a return visit, 'Intergalactic Diva' Pamela Stonebrooke, the lounge singer who claims to have done the nasty with a reptilian alien. Perhaps she'll hook up with Colli.

- The hotel bar has gotten into the act and concocted new drinks, 'Alien Abduction', 'Martian Mistic' and 'Egyptian Gold'.

- Peter Davenport, who runs the Seattle-based National UFO Reporting Center.

Davenport was featured on Fox's Sunday news broadcast as a follow-up to 'The X-Files' series finale. He'll make a presentation with updates on some of the UFO cases from the last year or so. "And there have been some dramatic ones," he says:

Impossibly fast-moving bright lights over Lake Forest Park in April 2000; a Missouri cop who said he aimed his radar gun at a disc-shaped UFO this January and got no reading; the same month, a border-patrol agent who allegedly saw a dozen flying discs in the California desert.

Davenport is increasingly frazzled because his one-man operation keeps him busy from about 7 a.m. to midnight seven days a week, and astronomers won't give his reports the time of day. "It's impossible," he fumes. "These people have made up their minds."

'Psychic futurist' and frequent Art Bell guest Sean David Morton will also be on hand.

A former TV producer, Morton, 43, claims he's had psychic gifts since he was a kid. His first visions were about astronaut Gus Grissom, a family friend who died in the 1967 Apollo I fire.

"I had horrific visions of Gus' death," Morton says.

He'll discuss seeing — and allegedly getting burned by — a UFO at the infamous Area 51 north of Las Vegas, and researching a New Mexico mesa where he says cattle mutilations occurred and a secret underground complex that is said to be run by an alien/government cabal.

Mulder and Scully would be proud.

Morton, who also practices 'remote viewing', says he's too tired for a demonstration of his skills when reached by phone on the road.

But here's an easy one: How does he predict the conference will go?

"I think it'll go very well," he says.

Verify it yourself.

Mark Rahner can be reached at

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June 19, 2002


Halifax Daily News

Maritime Mulder hits Space channel

by Marla Cranston

Stanton T. Friedman's fascination for outer space — and his habit of questioning authority — began early in life.

As a Grade 3 student in New Jersey, he got in trouble for correcting a teacher who told the class the sun stood still, while planets revolved around it. The next day, Friedman lugged his encyclopedia to class to prove the entire solar system, including the sun, moved around the centre of the galaxy. So he learned early he'd better have facts to back up his arguments. Which comes in handy if you're going to be a UFO expert.

Now living in New Brunswick, the highly-sought lecturer and author is the subject of a documentary produced by Halifax's Redstar Films, airing tonight on Space: The Imagination Station. Stanton T. Friedman IS Real! follows the real-life Fox Mulder to a convention in California, to his chaotic basement office at home in Fredericton, and to the famed UFO crash site Roswell, N.M., which has become a veritable tourist trap of alien lore.

The film interviews Friedman's followers and detractors, also covering his early career as a nuclear physicist for companies such as General Electric and Westinghouse, and on classified nuclear aircraft projects.

"He looked at the evidence and came to a scientific conclusion when he was younger that flying saucers do exist," says the film's director Paul Kimball.

Friedman is uncomfortable with the limitations of a 45-minute TV show summing up his lifelong quest to expose government coverups, but he says Kimball gives viewers a good snapshot. (In December, he enjoyed being a guest on Dan Aykroyd's 65- episode series on the paranormal, but it was canned when the network was sold.) Two weeks from now, Friedman returns to Roswell for the town's annual anniversary "crash bash," and in August, he'll ham it up in Kimball's vampire flick Eternal Kiss, making a cameo as a vampire expert. Despite his healthy sense of humour, Friedman is completely serious about his work, and expects to be vindicated one day when humans make contact with an alien civilization.

"I guess I'm convinced this really is the biggest story of the past millennium " if the major news media — the New York Times, Washington Post, 60 Minutes — would spend one-tenth the effort going after the Cosmic Watergate that they put into such important stories as Monica Lewinsky and Gary Condit and Elian Gonzales, it would take them less than six months.

"I don't expect to convince everybody. That's not my goal. My goal is to educate people if they're willing to listen. I don't care whether you believe. Just give me a fair shake."

Stanton T. Friedman IS Real! premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on Space: The Imagination Station. To learn more about Friedman's research or to share UFO sightings or tips, call his hotline at 1-877-457-0232 or e-mail fsphys

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May 12, 2002


Daily Nation (Kenya)

Letter from London
After half a century, it's RIP for the UFOs

by Gerry Loughran

There is a very popular play here called Peter Pan wherein Tinkerbell from Fairyland announces she is dying because people don't believe in her any more. The children in the audience then clap like mad and call out, "We believe in fairies, we believe in fairies," and Tinkerbell's light grows bright again and she stops dying forthwith.

If the modern version of Tinkerbell from Fairyland is ET the Extraterrestrial, all the clapping and believing in the world will not keep the little fellow alive. It's official: We don't believe in aliens any more.

The Ministry of Defence Directorate of Intelligence has declared that it no longer wishes to be sent any reports of UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) and, perhaps more pertinently, the enthusiasts of the British Flying Saucer Bureau announced they are suspending activities because sightings have dried up. "Perhaps", said a spokesman wanly, "our alien visitors have completed their survey of earth".

UFOs were a national fixation

These terse announcements tucked away inside a few newspapers in no way reflect the obsessional nature of the events they refer to. For half a century, UFOs were a national fixation, provoking near hysteria in the 1950s and prompting top-secret investigations by the government, a fact that was always denied.

Many of the reports, at a time of Cold War tension with the Soviet Union, were convincing and scary. In 1952, Air Commodore Michael Swinney was an instructor at the RAF Central Flying School. During a Meteor flight with a trainee, he said, "We broke through cloud and I saw three circular white discs in front of me, two on a level keel and one slightly canted. We continued climbing until they took on the aspect of a flat plate."

"I felt we were looking at something we should not be seeing and I was told on landing I looked as if I had seen a ghost."

Swinney's student, Lt. Commander David Croft of the Royal Navy, confirmed the story. "An Air Ministry officer told us the objects had been picked up on radar and had a ground speed of 600 mph. Fighter planes were scrambled but saw nothing.

"I don't know what I saw but I saw something. I don't think there's any way they could have been terrestrial but I have no idea if other beings are around."

In August 1950 at RAF Farnborough, Stan Hubbard, an experienced test pilot, was walking across the airfield when he heard a humming, hissing sound. "I turned round and saw a strange object approaching. It looked like an edge-on view of a sports discus. It was pearly grey and appeared to be crackling and sparking and gave the impression there was something moving on it."

A month later, Hubbard and five other officers had a similar weird sighting from the watch-tower at Farnborough.

The Air Ministry was not convinced and concluded that in the first sighting, Hubbard "was either a victim of an optical illusion or observed some normal aircraft and deceived himself as to its shape and speed." As to the second sighting, the Ministry said, "We conclude that the officers saw some quite normal aircraft at extreme range and were led by the previous report to believe it to be something abnormal, an interesting example of one report inducing another."

"Absolute rubbish," said Hubbard last week. "My engineering experience convinced me it was not of this earth. We do not have the technology capable of that sort of performance."

This was a time when the threat of atomic war with the Soviet Union hung over the world. Whitehall did indeed fear an alien invasion but not from space, from Eastern Europe. In an action it has always denied until records were found recently, the Ministry of Defence in August 1950 set up the

Flying Saucer Working Party

Flying Saucer Working Party (many UFOs seemed to look like flaying saucers) to sift through the many claimed sightings.

It is clear now why it was all kept secret. For the government to announce that people were seeing things and it did not know what they were would have resulted in a loss of confidence in the armed forces at the peak of the Cold War. And if the UFOs did turn out to be Soviet weapons, to announce they had been seen would reveal the state of Britain's radar and air defences.

So it was mum all round as thousands of reports, often feeding off each other, were meticulously investigated. The Working Party itself was abandoned after just 12 months but military intelligence continued to take an unacknowledged interest in UFO reports for 50 years.

Many of the early sightings were a product of the primitive radar system of the time, experts have since concluded, while others were optical illusions caused by atmospheric conditions.

Researchers believe that if there was a cover-up it was a cover-up of ignorance. Although some things never were explained, official files turned up no trace of a single alien encounter.

Which is rather a pity because I for one would have liked to know more about the experience of an elderly lady from Kensington who said she was visited by a Martian at night. He was seven feet tall and covered in red hair. He said he had been sent to examine her water

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May 7, 2002

McMinnville News-Register

McMinnville gears up for UFO Festival

by Pat Forgey

The 1950s brought many changes to the country - the birth of rock 'n' roll, big cars with lots of chrome and new fears about communism and the H-bomb.

Oh, and flying saucers. It seemed as if everyone were seeing the things. Across the country, reports of unidentified flying objects took the country by storm.

True, some of the reports came from a certain class of people whose word was easily dismissed. These days, we'd be seeing those people on Jerry Springer.

Not all of the reports were so easily discredited. Some of the sightings were made by police officers or military aviators. One was made by a United Airlines pilot flying between Portland and Boise.

Still, authorities and most citizens felt there was nothing of substance to the reports.

The early reports tended to describe craft which were flat and circular, earning the nickname "flying saucers." That term gave way to the slightly more dignified and academic- sounding "unidentified flying objects," or UFOs for short.

The early sightings were typically dismissed as optical illusions, weather balloons or hoaxes. "A lot of effort has been put into disproving UFO sightings," said Tim Hills, a historian with the McMenamin brothers' brew-pub chain.

After World War II, it was discovered that pilots for both sides had seen various types of flying objects they couldn't identify or explain. Each side, however, thought it had merely stumbled across some sort of still-secret weapon of the other side.

Then, outside McMinnville, farmer Paul Trent not only spotted one of the mysterious disks in the air near his Ballston farm, but managed to snap two pictures of it before it sped away. And for a while, that was hot news.

Following publication by the Telephone-Register, predecessor to the News-Register, the photos went out on the wire services and were published across the country. A big spread in Life magazine, then among the nation's most important media outlets, helped touch off a nationwide surge of interest in UFOs.

Phil Bladine, then Telephone Register editor, was called on to describe the incident repeatedly.

In one nationally broadcast interview, he agreed to send a copy of the paper to anybody who sent in a dime, then the cost of a single copy. He later acknowledged that he hadn't really thought through the consequences of that promise, or understood the depth of interest in flying saucers.

"I said, 'Sure,' figuring we might get a request for three or four papers," he said. Instead, requests for copies flooded in, sometimes even in the form of dimes taped to postcards.

The notes they wrote tipped Bladine to the depth of feeling in the country about UFOs. "People said that they'd seen a flying saucer, but didn't want to tell anyone because they were afraid they'd be thought nuts," he said.

At the height of the frenzy, the Telephone-Register staff built a flying saucer float to enter in an annual parade. Now, a new UFO enthusiast, historian Hills of McMenamins, is trying to recreate the frenzy - complete with a parade of its own.

Hills happened on the UFO story while researching the history of the area for the opening of the Hotel Oregon, the historic building in downtown McMinnville that the brothers renovated and reopened a few years ago.

He presented his research to a team of McMenamins artists, who incorporated it into the hotel's artwork, somewhat fancifully at the time.

Evelyn Trent was feeding rabbits when she first spotted the flying object, and ran for a camera. One of the paintings, however, has a rabbit being beamed aboard a spaceship, a little joke for those in the know.

Elsewhere, savvy visitors have spotted the date May 11, 1950, marked on historic calendars. That's the date of the Trents' sighting.

The photos weren't published until June, though, because the unassuming couple didn't tell anyone about them until later.

Eventually, on a visit to town, they mentioned the two photos to their banker, Ralph Wortman. He mentioned them to Bladine.

Bladine sent Bill Powell, the paper's news editor, out to Ballston to try to obtain the photos.

The Trents couldn't find the pictures at first, but launched a search of the house. "Finally they found them under the davenport," Bladine said.

Bladine and Powell concluded from the way the events unfolded and the Trents' reaction to it all that they were not publicity seekers.

Further, they concluded from examining the photos that they were probably genuine. There was certainly no indication to the contrary.

The photos were published in the June 8, 1950, edition under the headline, "At Long Last - Authentic Photographs of Flying Saucer?"

Powell died recently. But before his death, he told the News-Register that while he thought the photos were genuine, he didn't know what to make of them.

Thus the question mark in the headline. "I was covering my butt a little bit," he said.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the UFO photos, Hills and McMenamins prompted a resurgence of local interest. And they plan to keep it going with annual commemorations.

The company brought Dr. Bruce Maccabee, a prominent UFO researcher, to McMinnville for a seminar on the photos as part of the 50th anniversary celebration. It also assembled others who played a role in the case, including Bladine.

For the last two years, McMenamins has staged a series of similar commemorative events. And many of its fellow downtown merchants are jumping on board in a big way this year, including the historic Mack Theater across the street.

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May 7, 2002


Florida Today

National media sidestep UFOs

by Billy Cox

There was a big subculture buzz in Washington, D.C., a year ago this week when a group called the Disclosure Project launched a bid to end government secrecy surrounding unidentified flying objects. The goal: Open congressional hearings. The hook was to invite 20 witnesses, some bolstered with government documents, with testimony so compelling the media couldn't possibly freeze it out.

No doubt, some of the panelists who showed up at the National Press Club offered detailed glimpses into the national- security ramifications of the phenomenon. Retired Air Force Capt. Bob Salas, for instance, revealed how UFOs had knocked 10 Minuteman nukes off-line at their Strategic Air Command silos in Montana in 1967. Former Federal Aviation Administration chief of Accidents and Investigations John Callahan showcased photocopies of incident reports seized by the CIA concerning a half-hour jetliner/UFO encounter off Alaska in 1986.

The ensuing failure of the national media to respond came as no surprise to a couple of journalists who've spent years monitoring these dynamics. What most Americans fail to understand, contend Terry Hansen and Patrick Huyghe, is that when it comes to national security issues, the facade of big-media outfits as combative public watchdogs has always been fragile. Throw UFOs into the mix and that facade becomes a myth.

From the World War II-era recruitment of Scripps-Howard executive editor John Sorrels and publishing magnate John Knight by the U.S. Office of Censorship to The New York Times' quashing its own field reports about the 1954 CIA coup in Guatemala, Hansen's The Missing Times: News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-up chronicles repeated patterns of sometimes avid collusion with conventional covert operations. That such duplicity should extend to UFOs shouldn't be terribly surprising, and yet, it is.

Take, for instance, a correspondence discovered at the Smithsonian Institution in 1997 between former members of the CIA-sponsored Robertson Panel. Formed in 1953 to marginalize UFOs after a vexing volume of reports began receiving media attention, the panel recommended smearing witnesses as a way to stanch the flow.

In 1966, shortly after a "CBS Reports" investigation on UFOs portrayed witnesses as delusional or unreliable, Robertson panelist Thorton Page wrote former group secretary Fred Durant that he "helped organize the CBS TV show around the Robertson Panel conclusions." The host of that show: Walter Cronkite, aka The Most Trusted Man In America.

From his home in Bainbridge Island, Wash., Hansen says formulaic thinking still permeates the old-guard media. "The (Disclosure Project) was a remarkable story, with men at a high level breaking their security oaths," Hansen says. "Local and regional media around the country treated it as a straightforward item, but the national networks, PBS, they virtually ignored it.

"This story could be covered right now. '60 Minutes' could blow the lid off it by interviewing retired airline pilots who aren't afraid to talk about incidents and near-misses. But the major media is waiting for the green light from the White House or the Pentagon."

However, Patrick Huyghe, author of The Swamp Gas Times: My Two Decades On The UFO Beat, says news-gatherers may eventually have to confront the phenomenon, whether they want to or not. He cites the July 15 UFO reports near Carteret, N.J., as a potential scenario.

Shortly after midnight, FAA radar at nearby Newark International Airport began tracking more than a dozen airborne lights that appeared to fly in shifting formations. Motorists on the New Jersey Turnpike pulled over to watch the air show; more than 100 witnesses were identified. A Freedom of Information Act request by the National Institute for Discovery Science in Las Vegas discovered none of the objects on the radar scopes had transponders.

"Now, imagine if something like that had happened over a major metropolitan area two months later, after 9/11, when we were all on a heightened state of alert," says Huyghe from his home in New York. "At least during the Cold War, the Soviets never struck us on American soil. The terrorists have demonstrated their capacity to do just that. When we have another Carteret-type incident, can the media afford to throw it off and say, 'Oh, it's just UFOs'? I don't think so."

Even in that event, Hansen suspects the security apparatus would remain intractable:

"It may just come down to the fact that they don't know what's going on, that maybe this is happening and they can't do anything about it. But that's an unacceptable public position when you're trying to project an image of being in control. We found out on Sept. 11 they're not."

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May 6, 2002

United Press International

Congressional Alert By The Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee

From the X-files of the X-PPAC -- The Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee has sent a "congressional alert" all over Capitol Hill, altering members of congress to the existence of a new book, "The Missing Times," by Terry Hansen. X-PPAC says the book exposes how an "information gap" has been used to undermine "free and independent journalism" since 1947.

"It is essential that Congress assert its oversight powers and repair the dysfunctional relationship between top-tier American media and the intelligence community" and that X-PPAC "stands ready to assist members of Congress in working toward a disclosure event ending the government imposed truth embargo regarding an extraterrestrial presence."

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April 12, 2002


CNN Europe

To Chinese UFO buffs, it's a serious science

by Kristie Lu Stout

HONG KONG, China (CNN) - UFO research is the stuff of sci-fi buffs and conspiracy freaks, but in China it's treated seriously.

Joseph Wong, a lab manager at Hong Kong's City University, is a man of science. His job is to assess the structural performance of buildings.

But familiar as he is with hard data, Wong is also a fan of the unexplained.

"If something flies over, there's a very good reason for trying to understand why they're here, why they come to us, what is their relationship between us and them," he says.

Wong is the Chairman of Hong Kong's thriving UFO club --exploring "unidentified flying objects" or, to the uninitiated, "flying saucers."

The club meets once a month to explore otherworldly topics like "E.T. Civilization" and "Alien Kung Fu."

Members occasionally meet at a cyber cafe called UFO Station in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui district. The spot is home to Hong Kong's own version of the X- files.

The dark monitor-lit cafe has UFO books, newsletters, and old news clippings of close encounters - material that UFO club members take very seriously.

A masters in Ufology?

"In order to understand UFO phenomena, we need to have a broad understanding of different disciplines," says Albert So, university professor and Hong Kong UFO club member, "including mathematics, physics, history, philosophy, even some sort of paranormal activities and all that."

Hong Kong's UFO enthusiasts, like So, are not dreamy stargazers, but researchers who see their passion as a science.

So much so that they're lobbying for a university degree program in 'Ufology'.

"The graduates of this program will grasp at least all the major knowledge in order to understand UFO phenomena, and also other technologies and any skills related to UFOs," says So.

"After students or friends finish this degree, they may have their own understanding about this universe," Wong adds.

"Maybe they will be able to come up with a new universe model, new way of life, or whatever."

It sounds like a tough sell, but it may not be hard to pitch in mainland China, where there is little taboo about discs that glow in the night or theories on visitors from out there.

Flying boats in China

China's state-run media reports on UFO sightings. Even the government's Ministry of Science and Technology treats the topic with respect.

"It seems that people in the East are more open to discuss issues related to UFOs," So says.

"Perhaps that is something to do with the culture of the races. In particular, Chinese. Chinese is a kind of race who easily believes in something supernatural."

And they may have been believing for a long time. UFO researchers point to an ancient drawing of the 100-year story of an emperor meeting a flying boat ­ a compelling artifact in support of UFO study, but not the only one.

"For me, it's not very important whether there is really a UFO that can fly or not," Wong says.

"It's when we are investigating this, I think it's the process that actually helps us to understand more about ourselves or our planet."

For club chairman Joseph Wong, the truth may be out there, but the payoff is personal ­ studying aliens helps to satiate a very healthy, and very human, curiosity.

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March 18, 2002

Arizona Republic