April 28, 1996
Editor: Joseph Trainor
We've got some late-breaking news from the California desert this week, so let's go to press...
Friday evening, April 26, 1996, at 9:17 p.m. PDT, seven people were relaxing on a back patio in Victorville, California, in the desert not far from Edwards Air Force Base, when they spotted what they thought was a meteor hurtling into Earth's atmosphere.
According to the homeowner, a certified pilot instructor, the event was witnessed by his wife, himself and five other guests. He said, "I noticed what looked like a shooting star except brighter and without a tail streak." The UFO was speeding "across the southern sky in a northward direction." He described the UFO as "bright white in the center and a blue haze along the outer portion giving it a metallic look."
All at once, the object "came to a dead stop" and hovered in the sky north of their house. It remained motionless for two seconds and then resumed its flight, "going in the same direction (north) at its original speed."
Promptly at 5:10 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, 1996, Mr. I.G. of Queens, NY was walking back to the office after having some postcards printed when he spotted an unusual object in the clear spring sky. I.G. saw the UFO "just over the Queens District Court House building. I have a habit of looking up into the sky whenever I'm outside. That day was a clear, cloudless blue sky. The view was totally unobstructed. I noticed a cylindrical object, wingless...it was very high up, maybe ten or more miles, and was still traveling upward. It looked like a rocket but there was no visible exhaust, and it just seemed to fly higher and higher until it disappeared. It literally left our atmosphere!"
I.G. said he "watched it for about five minutes and in all that time the cigar-shaped, pencil-like white object never moved more than five percent (degrees) from the ship's total parameter. It looked miles higher than any skywriting plane I've ever seen...It couldn't have been a satellite because they travel the entire vault of the sky. This thing just kept gaining tremendous altitude to the point where it was gone...The object just seemed to move so slow, as if it wasn't being affected by gravity or inertia. It kept its oblong shape throughout."
Note: The "slowness" I.G. refers to is the Doppler effect. Seen from the ground, at an oblique angle, the UFO appeared to move slowly but in reality it was traveling at escape velocity, rising hundreds of miles into, and finally out of, the atmosphere. It's the same as standing by a railroad track and seeing a train on the horizon. The train doesn't appear to move at all...until it's right on top of you!
According to the Reading Evening Post of April 17, 1996, a UFO appeared before three boys on their way home from a youth club. The incident took place in Lower Earley, Reading. Matthew Maitland, 12, was walking home with two friends, Jonathan Sangha, 13, and Stuart Lambourn, 12, when "they spotted a strange glowing object in the sky."
According to Matthew Maitland, "We were walking along Rushley Way when Stuart shouted, 'UFO!' We all looked into the sky and saw what looked like a star coming closer. It turned into a big burning fireball, dropped something and flew away. Later, we saw a peculiar object with red and green running lights hovering in the sky. Later again, as we were walking down Ilfracombe Way, we saw a big red flashing light in the sky. What we saw was not a star, comet, meteorite or aeroplane. I can only be described as a UFO."
Stuart's mother, Mrs. Valerie Lambourn, says she also saw the UFO but declined to be interviewed by the Evening Post.
Video buff DHMartens has digitized the second image taken from his tape of the last Columbia space shuttle flight. The picture shows two saucers against the black backdrop of outer space. Both are a dull gold color. One saucer is in the center of the screen; the other is at a four o'clock position in relation to the first. The "four o'clock saucer" appears to be in motion and banking to the left, showing its upper hemisphere, complete with what looks like a solid-metal dome. No running lights are visible on either saucer.
If you'd like to download this image, send a request by email to DHMartens@aol.com. Great photo, DH!
In other shuttle news, the March 4, 1996 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology (page 27) reveals mysterious interference with experiments aboard the Columbia during its last flight. Here's the quote: "Also, shortly before the break (of the Corlandt cable) the TSS-IR's experiments recorded a spike in the energy field of the electrons in and around the system. The spike in the Research Orbital Plasma Electrodynamics (ROPE) knocked another payload, the Research on Electrodynamic Tether Effects (RETE) offline."
The cause of the electron surge is unknown.
More UFO news next week from "the paper that goes home."