October 6, 1996
Editor: Joseph Trainor
Shortly before 9 p.m., on Thursday, October 3, 1996, a mysterious yellowish-green flash lit up the skies from New Mexico to southern California, startling hundreds of onlookers.
NORAD in Colorado Springs, Colorado said the object "was most likely a meteor or other natural phenomenon."
Ignacio Tantajos, an employee of Griffith Park in Los Angeles, said, "We thought it was a skyrocket. It lit up and came down, and that was it."
Patricia Dobbins, another eyewitness in Griffith Park, said the mystery object "just blossomed out...something like a flare. It seemed to have little sparkles coming from it."
In Belen, New Mexico (population 5,617), a town on Interstate Highway 25 about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Albuquerque, a woman named Christine Church saw a UFO. Interviewed by CNN, Ms. Church "described the object as having a row of five or six lights laid up horizontally. At first she thought it was an airplane about to crash, but when she went outside she found nothing. 'There was no noise, no crash, and the lights were gone,' Church said."
Another witness was Col. Steve Wilson (USAF Ret.), of the group Skywatch International. A trained aerial observer, Col. Wilson reported, "When the sky lit up, I turned and saw a blue- green object streaking across the sky from the southeast to slightly northwest."
The lack of any sound associated with the phenomenon was noticed by observers in California, as well. Rick Sedona of the group UFO Experiencers received a phone call Thursday night from a woman in Westminster, California, a suburb of Los Angeles 27 miles (43 kilometers) southeast of L.A. City Hall and 8 miles (13 kilometers) east of Long Beach.
The woman, her parents and a small group of friends watched the object pass over Westminster just before 9 o'clock. She told Rick Sedona that the UFO "was close enough to judge with her eyesight to be 'retro fire' from a very large, mothership-looking vessel. The retro-fire was so intense and so bright that the group claimed to have felt the actual heat." The UFO then "shot at a horizontal or straight-line direction south towards San Diego and Mexico at a rate of speed that made it disappear within seconds."
A woman living in the Astoria section of Queens, N.Y. phoned radio station WBAI (99.5 FM) Thursday to report seeing a UFO hovering near the Triborough Bridge. The bridge spans the East River and connects Manhattan Island and the borough of Queens on Long Island with the Bronx on the mainland.
She first noticed the UFO on Tuesday night, October 1, as she looked out a window on the west side of her Astoria home. "The object was merely hovering" over Roosevelt Island in the East River, she reported. On Wednesday night, October 2, the UFO returned, moving "low in the sky," she said, "It moved towards the Triborough Bridge. It seemed like it was about to land on the bridge. Then it moved away." She described the UFO as "a sphere with a ring around it, sort of like Saturn." It zoomed away to the northwest, heading for Willis Avenue and Yankee Stadium.
On Saturday, September 7, 1996, Mr. and Mrs. Robert K. checked into their vacation suite at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their high-rise suite offered a view of McCarran Airport. At 5:45 p.m., while her husband was downstairs, Mrs. K stepped onto the balcony and shot two color photographs.
Later, "when I came back to the room," Bob said, "she was getting dressed in the other room, and I was watching the air traffic from the window. I noticed a plane cross over controlled airspace on an outbound heading. Then I noticed above it at at least double the altitude aircraft coming from the east on a due westerly heading. The closer they got, I realized that they were flying echelon formation just a little too precise. When the lead craft decelerated, the others kept an exact distance between them. They eventually came to a complete stop and, to my amazement, hovered."
Calling for his wife to come and see this, Bob estimated that the UFOs "hovered at an altitude of 8,000 to 10,000 feet. She handed me the camera, and I set the lens on zoom. You could clearly see the ridges on the craft. The craft was ascending slowly and getting smaller through the viewfinder. I did take a picture, and I could see the whole right side of the UFO with the sun glaring off of it."
Bob had the pictures developed and proudly showed the UFO photo to his brother. Then his brother pointed out that the silvery objects also appeared in the two photos Mrs. K. had taken.
Bob wants to have all three of the photos evaluated by Jim Delittoso of Tempe, Arizona. (Email Interview)
Two weeks ago, UFO ROUNDUP ran a story on the alleged shootdown of a giant saucer at Cerro del Crestone in the city of Metan, Salta province, Argentina, in August 1995. Now a prominent Argentine UFO research group has challenged the original story by Guillermo Aldunati.
The Fundacion Argentina Ovniologia (Argentine Foundation of Ufology), mentioned with Operation Right To Know as one of the groups investigating the Metan case, declared unequivocally that it has no knowledge of any such happening.
FAO spokesman Carlos Lurchuk stated, "In the bulletin was mentioned the case of a UFO in the city of Metan in August of 1995 and the subsequent capture of its occupants. The Foundation declares that it has no information of any such case having occurred. And none of its members made the comments attributed to them in the original bulletin."
FAO disavowal has cast into doubt the story of a saucer 100 meters in diameter crashing at Cerro del Crestone and the retrieval of its occupants by the armed forces of Argentina.
On Sunday, September 15, 1996, a young man we'll call Ricardo Machado Oliveira was hiking on Cabeca da Penha mountain in the Serra da Guardunha, in the remote Beira Alta region of eastern Portugal. The mountain is about 12 kilometers (7 miles) south of Fundao, a town 210 kilometers (126 miles) northeast of Lisbon and 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of the border with Spain.
Ricardo decided to explore a mountain cave with an interesting history. In the 14th Century, a little girl from Fundao vanished for three days. When she was finally found, she told the search party that she had been cared for by "a white lady" who had "offered her water to drink from a bell." Some have attributed this to a visitation by the Blessed Virgin Mary.
While in the cave, Ricardo blacked out. When he came to, he found himself in a vast underground hangar surrounded by "three distinct species of aliens." Nearby were several ovoid silvery UFOs.
The aliens told Ricardo that they were part of an alliance of interstellar worlds engaged in observing Earth. Their base under the Serra da Guardunha was one of four such UFO bases. The others were in Warminster, England, near Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge; the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA; and an undisclosed location in Peru. Immediately after hearing this, Ricardo blacked out again. When he opened his eyes again, he was lying on the ground right outside the cave, and it was about 8 o'clock at night. (Thanks, and a tip of the saucer, to Margaret Barnes for this report.)
(Editor's Note: Extremely sketchy details, I know! Ricardo's story sounds like a word-for-word repeat of the William Herrman abduction case in Charleston, South Carolina back in 1978. On the other hand, Warminster is a notorious UFO hot spot. Beginning with Gordon Faulkner's photograph of a daylight disc there in 1965, the area around Cley Hill in Warminster had a UFO flap that lasted until 1981.)
This seems to be our week for UFOs and solitary hikers! This report comes from the Buenos Aires newspaper, Cronica, of September 28, 1996.
While hiking in the rugged Cordillera de Tajsara in southern Bolivia, Roberto Suarez Molina, 28, became lost. When he didn't report in on Thursday, September 26, the air rescue units for Region Militar 3, the Grupo Aereo de Busqueda y Rescate 52 (Search and Rescue Group 52) took to the air in their Cessna A-152 planes.
GABR-52 planes reported strange glows around the snow- covered peak of Nevado Chorolque (5,630 meters or 18,579 feet high), at the western end of the Tajsara range. This mountainous country north of the Rio Pilaya is on the borders of Bolivia's departments (states) of Tarija and Chuquisaca, about 530 kilometers (331 miles) southeast of La Paz.
At 7 p.m. on Friday, September 27, Roberto "saw a light with a weird appearance. Not a plane light, not a falling star. The light crossed the sky, stopped for a moment in mid- air, and then became a red light before disappearing."
An hour later, a bright light lit up Roberto's campsite. Looking up, he saw "a tube of light. The light was so strong it allowed me to see the time (8 p.m.) on my wristwatch."
The "tube of light" turned from the horizontal to the vertical, then slowly descended, landing on the mountain trail near his campfire. Stunned, Roberto found himself face-to-face with "a luminous form who told me things."
The entity predicted that Roberto would be rescued by the Bolivian air force around noontime on Saturday. He was right. At 11:45 a.m., a GABR-52 Cessna spotted Roberto from the air, marked the site with a smoke flare and radioed for a helicopter to pick him up. (Thanks, and a tip of the saucer, to Luis Pacheco of UFOZONE.)
(Editor's Note: Bolivia's Tajsara range is approximately 710 kilometers (445 miles) north of Santiago del Estero, Argentina, site of last week's UFO flap.)
According to the Sao Paulo newspaper, Folha da Tarde, for Monday, September 30, 1996 (see page A-10 "Farmer Sees Mysterious Light in Bauru"), a UFO appeared near the city of Bauru (population 260,380) at 8 p.m. and remained hovering in the sky for just over four hours.
On Sunday evening, September 29, a farmer named Mario Sergio Martins saw "a strange light" above his pasture, first growing and then dimming in intensity. Martins called the Policia Militar and then Globo-TV in Bauru. Arriving at the scene, Globo cameraman Reinaldo Silva shot two hours of videotape of the mysterious light. From 10 p.m. until midnight, the UFO from time to time split into two parts and then came back together. At 12:20 a.m., the light abruptly winked out.
Following the encounter, Silva made copies of his videotape and gave one to local astronomer Syndey Pinto for evaluation.
(Editor's Note: Located 345 kilometers (207 miles) west of Sao Paulo, the city of Bauru is the site of one of Brazil's earliest UFO encounters. On July 23, 1947, a grayish-white saucer 46 meters (150 feet) wide landed near a group of workmen. All but Jose Higgins fled. Higgins watched in horror as a group of aliens 213 centimeters (7 feet) tall emerged from the saucer. They invited him to enter the craft, but Higgins made a break for it. Concealing himself behind tropical foliage, he watched as the tall aliens gathered flowers, plants, stones and soil samples. He described the saucer as "the shape of Saturn," i.e. with a ring around the middle.)
At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18, 1996, a large UFO appeared over the Blackwell Golf Course, near Barnt Green, Worcestershire, England, U.K. The Birmingham Post of September 19th described the UFO as "a blue, silvery object, about the length of two double-decker (London) buses. It hovered over the course for several minutes before speeding away."
Clive Timson, aged 23, of Barnt Green said he saw the UFO "drifting" in the sky over the course while walking his dog. A spokesman for the Blackwell Golf Course said none of their members had reported anything unusual. (Many thanks to United Kingdom UFO Network #63 for the article.)
At 9:30 p.m. on Monday, September 9, 1996, a council clerk driving his daughter and her friends to an event near Tromello, Pavia province, spotted "a giant myriad of lights, like a flying merry-go-round, hovering 150 meters (500 feet) above the ground." The UFO was moving silently toward the Italian Air Force radar station at Remondo. (Provincia Pavese newspaper, Sept. 10)
A week earlier, at 5:15 a.m. on Monday, September 2, 1996, a motorist driving from Azzida to Purgessimo in Undine province spotted five gray spheres in the sky. The UFOs "sped away in just a few seconds." (Messaggero Veneto newspaper, Sept. 4)
In other UFO-related business, the Centro Italiano de Studi Ufologici (CISU) exposed two recent Italian UFO sightings as bogus.
CISU learned that the red UFO seen and videotaped at Baia Domizia in Caserta province August 19 was a military balloon that had crashed in the sea.
CISU also debunked the August 22 sighting at Marina di
Massa. The "ball of fire" that frightened campers was merely a
small box balloon set afire and launched by group of foreign
tourists. The beach resort owner at Marina di Massa told CISU
investigators that he had seen the balloon launched.
(Thanks to CISU Flash #4 for these stories.)
NEW UFO WEBSITE! Spanish ufologist Javier Garcia Blanco now has his own website. Javier promises all the latest UFO news from Spain, Portugal, Morocco and the Canary Islands. Check it out at http://www.ctv.es/USERS/lacip.
COMING SOON! Erik Beckjord's UFO, Bigfoot and Loch Ness Monster Museum will be opening on Halloween, October 31, in the North Beach district of San Francisco, California. The museum is at 709 Union Street, right off Washington Square. For info on the opening-day party, phone (415) 974-4339.
Stay tuned next week for more UFO news from "the paper that goes home--UFO ROUNDUP!" Take care!