Not So Ancient UFOs

by Charles Lear

The history of UFO sightings and alien encounters as portrayed in the popular media is, mostly, separated into distinct periods: modern, from the late 1890’s airship flap followed by World War II “foo fighters” into post-1947 after the Kenneth Arnold report, and ancient interaction pieced together using “evidence” from the time of cave dwelling humans up to the time of the builders of cities and megalithic structures.  UFOs depicted in Byzantine paintings (misinterpreted conventional symbols) the 1561 report from Nuremburg, Germany and the 1566 report from Basel, Switzerland are often thrown in during reviews of UFO history but what about the time in between then and the 1890’s?  It turns out that there are quite a few reports from the period in question and they read like modern reports although they were written before the modern context of alien visitation.

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UFOS Over Massachusetts!

by Charles Lear

In last week’s blog a UFO park and marker designating the sight of an encounter in Sheffield, Massachusetts was spotlighted.  Massachusetts holds a special place in UFO history as being the state where this country’s very first recorded encounter occurred.  As of this writing, the state ranks in the top 34% for sightings reported to the National UFO Reporting Center, which is high for a state of its size.  A classic 1952 UFO photo comes from the state and in March of this year an extraordinary close encounter case there was reported to the operators of the website UFO Giant.  Massachusetts is also home to two paranormal hotspots where activity includes strange creatures and UFOs with one of them being just outside of Boston.

Just about every UFO history review starts with the late 1890’s airship flap and then moves on to World War II foo fighters.  What may surprise many UFOlogists is that there was a 1639 encounter that was recorded by John Winthrop who was Governor at the time.  On page 294 of the 1908 Charles Scribner’s Sons edition of “Winthrop’s Journal:  History of New England 1630-1649 Volume I”, there is this entry which reads very much like a modern case report:

In this year one James Everell, a sober, discreet man, and two others, saw a great light in the night at Muddy River. When it stood still, it flamed up, and was about three yards square; when it ran, it was contracted into the figure of a swine: it ran as swift as an arrow towards Charlton, and so up and down about two or three hours. They were come down in their lighter about a mile, and, when it was over, they found themselves carried quite back against the tide to the place they came from. Divers other credible persons saw the same light, after, about the same place. Read more

Designated Historical UFOs

by Charles Lear

   One thing that is irrefutable concerning UFOs is that they are a part of history.  No matter what they are, who reports seeing them, and whether or not the reports are believed, there are cases that are recorded in news media and literature that will be examined and pondered for generations.  There are towns all over America where local UFO history is celebrated, embraced and exploited for its potential to draw tourists.  There are museums and monuments to visit, guided tours to take and UFO kitsch aplenty in the gift shops.  Quite often the effort put into marking a UFO occurrence is solely a private enterprise started by local enthusiasts but sometimes a town will officially recognize an incident and fund a sign, plaque or statue.  The rarest official recognition of a UFO incident is the erection of a roadside historical marker of which, as far as this author knows, there are only four in existence in America.

  When a controversial subject is celebrated publicly it should be expected that there would be some public controversy.  A town in Massachusetts, Sheffield, recently made national news due to fighting over a monument, its relocation and eventual abduction by town officials. The monument in question is a 5000 pound concrete block with a plague that marks an “off-world incident” experienced by Thomas Reed on Sept. 1, 1969 when he was nine years old.  The monument was first located next to a replica of a historic covered bridge in a park created for it called, “UFO Monument Park.”  In 1969, Reed, his brother, mother and grandmother were in a car crossing the bridge when they spotted a “self contained glow” which then enveloped the car.  Reed next remembers being inside a large hanger-like interior and then being in the back seat of the car two hours later with his mother and grandmother having switched seats.  His grandmother contacted the police and later found forty others who witnessed a large, football field sized object in the area around the time of the incident. Some of those witnesses have been supporters of the monument and continue to testify that they saw something unusual that night.  What’s special about the monument is its plaque, which contains a citation from Governor Charlie Barker, which reads in part, “I am pleased to confer upon you this governor’s citation in recognition of the off-world incident on September 1st, 1969.  The monument was initially relocated because of complaints by some that it detracted from the importance of the historical bridge.  It was moved to the private property nearby of a monument supporter but then found to be on a town right of way easement running through the property and, on June 4, 2019, it was removed by town workers and taken to an undisclosed location.  Reed has taken legal action against the town accusing its leaders of theft. Read more

The Zanfretta UFO Case

by Charles Lear

There are UFO cases noteworthy for their extreme weirdness that every UFOlogist is probably familiar with.  There is the 1952 Flatwoods Monster Case, the 1955 “Incident at Kelly”, and this writer’s favorite, the 1966 Point Pleasant, West Virginia case involving the Mothman.  Some might not be aware of a seriously strange case from Genoa, Italy known as “The Zanfretta Case.”  This case is chronicled in a 2014 English translation of a book by Genoese reporter, Rino Di Stefano appropriately titled, “The Zanfretta Case.”  The original 1984 Italian version was titled, “Luci nella Notte-UFO: il caso Zanfretta.”  The translation is a bit clumsy, which gives the book a certain charm, and has a forward written by the late Wendelle Stevens.  Stevens was a prominent UFO researcher and he wrote in his forward that he was excited by the case and invited Di Stefano and the principal witness, Pier Fortunato Zanfretta to his 1991 First World UFO Congress in Tucson, Arizona.

On Friday, December 8, 1978, a six column article titled, “Close Encounters in Torriglia” written by reporter, Enzo Bonifazi, appeared in the Secolo XIX, which was the “most widely read newspaper in the region of Liguria.”  Di Stefano describes conversations about the case taking place in the offices of his own paper, Corriere Mercantile, as being mostly dismissive.  Bonifazi had reported that security guard, Pier Fortunato Zanfretta had not only encountered a landed UFO, but had also come in contact with “a huge being, about three meters tall, with wavy skin as if it were fat or a loose sweatsuit and gray in any case.”  Italian militarized police, the “Carabinieri” had investigated after being alerted by Zanfretta’s security company, “Val Bisagno” and stated in their report that there had been witnesses in the area who had seen a “great light” over Torriglia around the same time that the events involving Zanfretta had taken place.  Di Stefano was intrigued by the case and asked permission from his extremely skeptical editor to investigate the case after hours, which was granted.  Di Stefano, a press photographer and a fellow reporter drove to the site and were impressed by a landing trace that had been described in the Carabinieri report.  On the frozen grounds of the Villa Casa Nostra, owned by dentist, Ettore Righi, was a semicircle approximately 3 meters across denoted by 15 centimeter wide line pressed 3 centimeters into the earth.

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UFOs in China

by Charles Lear

If you have an interest in UFOs you’ve probably come across the 2010 Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport case, which involved a UFO hovering over the airport sighted by a descending flight crew. The airport was shut down for an hour and the case made international news.  China has a relatively open official policy regarding UFOs but according to researcher, Chuck Fei, any spiritual or quasi-religious activities associated with UFOs are strongly discouraged.  Besides discovering some interesting cases, research into Chinese UFOs reveals an interesting relationship involving the subject between China and the Western powers of the United States and Britain.

At the 2016 Citizen Hearing before six former members of the U.S. Congress, UFO researcher and former Chinese diplomat Sun Shili, stated, “After years of research, a large number of Chinese UFO scholars, including myself, are convinced of the authenticity of UFOs and the existence of UFOs and aliens.”  Shili was a chairman of Beijing UFO Research Society and that organization has a policy similar to many Chinese UFO research groups that requires its members to have college degrees.  The group is respected by the government and air force officials have been known to attend meetings.  The focus of most UFO research in China is very scientific and speculation is kept to a minimum.

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CHILEAN UFOs

by Charles Lear

    For UFOlogists, Chile is an exceptional country in that it has a publicly acknowledged government UFO investigation organization.  This organization is called the, “Committee for the Studies of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena” and its Spanish acronym is CEFAA.  CEFAA is within the Department of Civil Aeronautics under the jurisdiction of the Chilean Air Force and has an active website where citizens can report UFO sightings.  With official recognition of the phenomenon it should be no surprise that the Chilean public is very open minded about the UFO subject.  According to researcher, Rodrigo Fuenzalita in the first episode of the short lived series, “Shaun Ryder on UFOs” “There is not a single family in Chile without, at least, one or two members who have experienced a sighting.”  The first two episodes of the Ryder series provide a colorful overview and present some of Chile’s most interesting cases.  Further investigation reveals that Chile has a remarkable crash retrieval story with an entire town full of witnesses that rivals that of Roswell. Read more

Just the UFO Facts

By Charles Lear

On the subject of UFOs, there is no shortage of outlandish claims that an answer has been found as to who or what operates what are seen as flying craft and what their agenda is concerning Earth and its inhabitants.  There are a lot of people out there who are fine with accepting the speculations of “experts” as truth but some of us like to look at the facts and come up with our own answers or even accept that that we may never have actual answers.  For facts, we depend on disciplined and diligent researchers who keep their egos out of the way while writing the story of an event as any good journalist should.  A researcher who was a stand out in this respect was Kenny Young who was the person responsible for releasing the amazing 911 dispatch recordings during the 1994 UFO encounters by police officers in Trumbull County, Ohio.  Unfortunately, Young died in 2005 at the age of 38 after a long bout with leukemia but he left a legacy to be proud of and made a strong impact of the community of UFO researchers.

Kenny Young was very active as a UFO researcher.  From the bio on his website: “Kenny Young, webmaster of ‘UFO RESEARCH: CINCINNATI!’ is a multi-award winning television producer, director and writer and formerly a State Section Director for M.U.F.O.N. and also a former public relations director of Tri-State Advocates for Scientific Knowledge. He is now an independent researcher and has lectured to large audiences about the UFO mystery and served as a host, panelist and debater on several TV programs including ‘UFO Update: LIVE!’ and the award winning documentary ‘UFO REPORT.’”  He taught himself how to use the Freedom of information Act and obtained 911 audiotapes in addition to the Trumbull County tape (that was provided without a FOIA request by members of that dispatch unit) and other UFO related government documents.  He wrote articles that were published in magazines such as UFO Magazine and Fate, organized and hosted the 39th annual National UFO conference, was a guest on radio shows such as “Coast to Coast A.M. With Art Bell” and “The Jeff Rense Show” and appeared as part of The Sci-Fi channel presentations, “Confirmation” and “Sightings.”

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UFO 911, Part II

by Charles Lear

Last week’s blog was about a case involving police officers in Ohio, who sighted and chased a UFO.  They later cooperated with investigators by agreeing to be interviewed and provided a police dispatch center tape that had recordings of transmissions made during the event.  This week’s blog covers a case so similar, that it’s quite possible to confuse it with the Ohio case but, in some ways, it’s even more extraordinary.

Two states over, in Illinois, a series of sightings by police officers in multiple jurisdictions was started off by a trucker, Melvern Noll.  Noll had stopped on the way back from a delivery to check on a business he owned in the city of Highland, which was a miniature golf course with adjoining go-kart track and video arcade.  It was around 4:00 am on January 5, 2000 and Noll was concerned about the possibility of frozen pipes.  As he exited his vehicle, a light he assumed was a star caught his eye because it seemed to be low.  As he returned, he noticed the light was moving towards him and when it got close he saw it was a craft that was “like a two story house with a little penthouse on top” that had six to eight windows.  The windows were evenly lit with a white light and there was a circle of “custard-red lights” on the bottom.  The object passed slowly in front of him, just above some trees, made no noise and Noll noted that the trees were not swaying.  As the object moved away, Noll noted that its rear also had a series of “windows.”  Feeling that what he had seen was highly unusual, Noll decided to report it at the local police station in the hopes that someone else would see the object and corroborate his story.

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911 UFO

by Charles Lear

 When most people think about UFO sightings and their documentation, it is in visual terms and in the form of photograph, film or video.  There are several cases, however, that were documented and archived as audio recordings.  Two famous examples are the1965 recordings from Edwards Air Force Base made during an incursion of 12 UFOs and a recording made by Lt Col. Charles Halt as he investigated the 1980 occurrence in Rendlesham Forest.  Within recent years, the FAA, despite its history of being uncooperative with researchers, has released numerous recordings between control tower operators and pilots.  What’s special about these audio recordings is that they bring you into the event as it unfolds and you get to experience the first hand emotions of the witnesses.

Though all of the above examples are worthy of a thorough, individual recounting, there is an extraordinary tape from 1994 recorded by the Liberty Township 911 dispatch center in Trumbull County, Ohio.  The center covered a vast area and was responsible for fielding emergency calls and dispatching emergency and police personnel.  On duty the night of December 15, was police officer, Roy Anne Rudolph. Just after midnight, Rudolph received a call from a man who reported a strange object in the sky that was descending at an angle with what looked like flame coming from its rear.  Thinking this might be a plane in distress, Rudolph alerted the other officers manning the center that there might be a possible crash emergency.  Then three more calls came in from the same area, around a residential road called Sampson drive, including one from a woman describing a large hovering light over her property. This moved the situation away from being a crash incident and they were now dealing with a UFO.

 In addition to the calls from concerned citizens, a woman from the local news station called saying she had received a call from a woman describing a large blue/green object hovering approximately 50 feet above the ground while making no noise.  Rudolph questions why aliens would want to visit Liberty saying, “there’s no intelligent life in Liberty.” Because there was now media scrutiny hanging over their heads, Rudolph chose to contact a trusted officer and friend, Toby Meloro using her mobile phone and have him check out the reports.  As he was headed out to the area of Sampson drive, Rudolph was hopeful that he’d come back with a mundane explanation.

Meloro drove to the area and was stopped in the street by a man who had also seen a large light in the sky and Meloro assured him that he would check on it.  Meloro then saw a light himself and reported over the radio that he was observing it and was attempting to get closer to it.  As he drove, his car suddenly shut down along with his radio.  While attempting to restart the car a huge, red light shone down on him that lit up the area as “bright as daylight” and it seemed to be coming from a structured object that was silent and “as large as a football field.”  The object then moved away from him heading south and as it did, his car and radio came back on.  He heard his call sign, 998, being called out by Rudolph, who had become concerned after he had failed to respond and he picked up the radio to let her know that he was again operational.  He then told Rudolph that he needed a moment to collect his thoughts and this indicated to her that he had experienced something profound. Read more

Rockin UFOs!

by Charles Lear

  When people in the UFO community refer to To The Stars Academy founder, Tom DeLonge, more often than not, the words, “rock star” precede his name.  This seems to serve the purpose of distinguishing him from “normal” UFOlogists but the truth is that he is but one of many rock musicians who have had or have a serious interest in the subject.  What’s unusual about DeLonge is that he has managed to gather the highly credentialed people he has staffing TTSA and that his group has stormed to the forefront of the field overshadowing other long existing research organizations.  For a “rock star” to manage this he has to overcome the big issue all UFOlogists are concerned with and that is credibility.  If a witness was drunk or on drugs during a sighting, a case will most likely be dismissed by an investigator.  As many rockers throughout history have been notorious for their often, extreme indulgence, well, you get the idea of what DeLonge is up against.

Going back to the beginning of rock and roll, founding father, Elvis Presley was a believer and a witness according to his hairdresser/spiritual advisor, Larry Geller.  Among Geller’s claims is that at Elvis’ nativity, his father saw a strange blue light in the sky and knew something special was happening.  Geller also claimed that Elvis was telepathically contacted by aliens at eight years of age and shown his future as the King of Rock and Roll.  Rockers who were witnesses and spoke for themselves include: John Lennon, who, along with his girlfriend, May Pang, saw a craft with a dazzling display of lights in 1974 over a New York apartment building, Jimi Hendrix, who witnessed a UFO in the State of Washington with his brother, Leon, Lemmy Kilmister who had a sighting of an object that hovered and then suddenly accelerated to an extreme speed in 1966 and Keith Richards who not only claimed sightings but was convinced his estate was a UFO landing spot.

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UFO Festival Fever

by Charles Lear

UFO fairs and festivals are popping up everywhere these days and some might think that this is not such a good thing.  People dressing themselves, their children and pets up as aliens and turning their vehicles into flying saucers, bah, humbug!  These activities trivialize the whole investigation and bias the public towards the extraterrestrial hypothesis.  Some of the fairs center around highly questionable cases and possible hoaxes.  The public needs to be informed that this is serious business and a revelation may be just around the corner that this planet is just one of many in the universe that harbors life and that would be the most profound moment in the history human civilization.

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UFOs in the Hudson River Valley

by Charles Lear

The Phoenix Lights is a classic case among UFOlogists and one of those where you quote the date (March 13, 1997) when mentioning it if you want to impress upon your fellows that you know your subject.  It involves a night of sightings by thousands of Arizona residents, including Governor Fife Symington, of a huge V-shaped craft that was defined by lights on it edges and blocked out stars as it passed.  It made national news and became the subject of the 2009 television movie, “I know What I Saw.”  The case was explained away as being a misidentified military flare drop, which happened two hours after the sightings reports.  The flare drop was localized, while the reported craft was said to travel across the entire state and, despite the incongruity, enough of the public accepted the explanation that the case was able to fade into history.

Similar sightings of huge V-shaped craft by thousands of witnesses along the Hudson River Valley occurred in the early 1980’s.  This was not just over a single night but over a period of years and should have overshadowed the Phoenix Lights in UFOlogical circles, but many don’t even know where the Hudson Valley is let alone that there was a fascinating series of sightings there which are being investigated to this day.  Even now there is still activity in the small area town of Pine Bush that holds a yearly UFO fair.  To give you an idea where the HRV is located, the Hudson River meets the ocean just past New York City.  The valley runs north up to Albany with New York State to the west. Read more