November 3, 1996
Editor: Joseph Trainor
On Tuesday evening, October 23, 1996, a man in Sciotodale, Ohio (population 600) stepped out into his backyard at 10:45 p.m. and saw "a bright yellow-orange sphere with a vaporous trail" in the sky. He described the condition of the sky as partly cloudy with a three-quarters moon. "The object was flying below the cloud cover at a very high speed," he said, "The direction of the object was from east to west." He had his last glimpse of the UFO as it flew into a patch of clouds. He watched the clouds for another 15 minutes, but the UFO did not re-emerge. "One final note--there was a slight zigzag pattern during its flight."
UFOs were also seen that night in the city of Portsmouth, Ohio (population 25,943) and in nearby rural South Webster (population 886). All three communities are located near the Ohio River, about 50 miles east of Aberdeen, where UFOs were seen the previous week. (See Portsmouth, Ohio Herald for October 24, 1996.)
Ohio ufologist Scott Reed visited Sciotodale on Monday, October 28, 1996 and interviewed the eyewitness. At 6:15 p.m., while they were talking, Reed said, "We saw a light which at first resembled a bright star. The 'star' rose dramatically from the east to (the) 10 o'clock (position) and moved faster than I have ever seen anything in the sky move. The object grew significantly brighter, displaying red, white and possible blue lights. Within 30 seconds, the object had 'winked out' just above the treeline."
Less than five minutes later, Reed and his companion spotted another UFO. He said, "At 12 o'clock high, I saw a fireball the size of a quarter held at arm's length. The fireball left a vapor trail behind as it disappeared. It was white fire with an orange shell or outer edge." (Thanks to UFO Info for this story.)
For years the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado, also known as "the Mysterious Valley," has been a UFO hot spot, but things have really been heating up since Columbus Day weekend.
Just after noontime on Thursday, October 10, 1996, rancher Brian Norton of Del Norte, Colorado (population 1,709) looked up and "saw an object that looked like the space shuttle coming in." Norton said the UFO "looked like a white cigar." The object had no tail, no wings, left no contrail and was utterly silent. He ran in the house to get his hunter's spotting scope, but when he returned, it was gone. Mrs. Norton also saw the UFO but declined to offer a description.
Del Norte is in the southern part of the state, on the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, at the junction of Highway 112 and the combined Highways 160 and 285. The town is 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of the New Mexico state line.
The night of October 10, at 10:30 p.m., a class of students from the Crestone Healing Arts Center gathered outdoors in Baca Grande. They observed "a rapidly zigzagging light high in the sky, moving from west to east." The group also saw "many lights," about 10 or 12, hovering at the western horizon. The class watched these lights for ten minutes.
On Sunday, October 20, 1996, at 7:15 p.m., Fabian Suavo and two friends were driving in a pickup truck on Colorado Highway 112 from La Garita to Center. Just then, Suavo saw a light "like a red ball" flying west out of the Great Sand Dunes National Monument. This federal wilderness area is at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo range, 18 miles (29 kilometers) east of Center, Colorado. According to Suavo, the UFO was at an estimated altitude of 1,000 feet (333 meters). The light flew a parallel course with Suavo's pickup truck until they reached the junction of Highways 112 and 285. The UFO was still in view when Suavo reached his home in Center. He said the object "turned (west) toward Del Norte, then it appeared to turn northwest toward La Garita, where we lost sight of it."
About an hour later, at 8:42 p.m., the Rio Grande County Sheriff's Department in Monte Vista (population 3,902) received several calls from town residents, who reported "suspicious lights" north of town near the Rio Grande River. Monte Vista is on Highway 160/285 approximately 14 miles (22 kilometers) east of Del Norte. (See the Valley Courier for October 22, 1996.)
Two days later, on Tuesday, October 22, 1996, a woman at the nearby Baca Grande Chalets resort looked up at 8 p.m. and "saw an 'egg-shaped' sphere that instantly shot over the (Sangre de Cristo) mountains." She felt that the UFO was reacting to her "seeing it."
The same night, at 7:45 p.m., another woman and her brother spotted a UFO just north of Center (population 1,630). Witness Patricia Richmond described the UFO as "a bright orange light... it had a cigar shape and did not appear to be moving." She added that she has seen this same orange light in the area "off and on all summer." Center is on Highway 112 about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of Monte Vista.
Later that night, at the Baca Ranch, three workers at a construction site saw "six jet fighters cookin' down the (San Luis) valley," i.e. travelling from north to south. Three jets broke formation and banked toward Greenie Mountain. The others flew on to Blanca Peak (14,345 feet or 4,377 meters).
Twenty minutes later, the trio saw a USAF C-17 cargo jet flying low over the Sangre de Cristos. The big plane passed between Blanca Peak and Mount Lindsey (14,042 feet or 4,200 meters), heading north toward Mount Zwischen (12,006 feet or 3,636 meters). A little later, the construction workers saw an unmarked plane land northwest of Blanca Peak in an alpine valley between Deadman Creek and Sand Creek.
On Saturday night, October 26, 1996, at 6:30 p.m., two people in Crestone, Colorado (population 50) "saw a bright object, larger than a satellite, flying over the mountains from the east. The object appeared to 'shoot' across to the west at a high rate of speed." The witnesses felt that it was not a "shooting star" because "it went from a slow to an extremely fast speed." Crestone lies at the end of a Saguache County road leading into the Sangre de Cristo range and is about 70 miles (202 kilometers) northeast of Center.
At 7:30 that evening, Christopher O'Brien, veteran UFO investigator and author of THE MYSTERIOUS VALLEY (Bantam Books, 1996), accompanied by reporter Alan Derns and photographer Steve Nickerson of the Rocky Mountain News, did some on-site investigating at the Baca Ranch. While they were staked out on County Road 66T, they saw "a solid, unblinking orange light appear fairly low in the southeast, headed northwest. The object was traveling at approximately 200 miles per hour. The craft did a loop and headed back toward the east, displaying standard FAA (red and green blinking) lights."
"Several minutes later, two crafts came over the Great Sand Dunes," O'Brien said, adding that they then "saw a formation of 7 to 9 lights flying over the La Jara Reservoir area. Then a bright orange light appeared out of the west, headed east. This craft was unblinking. It headed east, then turned and headed south. Then it turned again and started heading north. Then it turned--again--and headed back east. It did these zigzag, box-like maneuvers several times." The UFO finally speeded up and zipped away to the south, heading for Rio Grande County. (Many thanks to Christopher O'Brien for this detailed UFO report.)
Editor's Comment: Most of us simply watch "The X-Files." Chris O'Brien and his brother are living it!)
On Friday, October 18, 1996, UFO buff Michael Malone and his wife were driving on Interstate Highway 65 in Birmingham, Alabama. As they neared the highway exit for UAB/Greenspring/University, Mrs. Malone pointed out a jet approaching the inner marker at Birmingham Municipal Airport off East Lake Boulevard and jokingly told her spouse, "Look, hon, a UFO."
Used to his wife's teasing about his hobby, Mike glanced at the incoming jetliner "but then noticed a huge object 'behind', i.e. to the left and further away from the jet. It would alternate between reflecting sunlight and being pitch black. I pointed it out to my wife, and she suggested I take a picture of it. I was driving, so she took the wheel while I reached into the back seat to get our camera. When I got ready to take the picture, it wasn't there anymore." The incident took place at 4:30 p.m. Mike describes the UFO as "delta-shaped." (Unsolicited Email)
Odem, Texas (population 2,363) reported its second UFO incident of the year. On Monday, October 14, 1996, Odem High School cheerleader Amanda A.saw "a bright light above the O (school) moving very slowly--way too slow to be a comet or a falling star. My dad was taping me and the others and the O. When he looked up, he saw it and told me, and I told everyone else."
Four days later, on Friday, October 18, while the student body was crowing the Homecoming Queen, several members of the band saw "strange lights" in the sky. One eyewitness, Crystal O., said, "It was strange. I have never seen anything like it before. It was freaky."
Other witnesses included Sally M., Michelle P. and Martin R. who said, "It was moving very slowly, and it was gone in a matter of seconds. I was stunned." The witnesses also reported feeling slightly sickish after seeing the UFO. This case is now being investigated by Texas ufologist Aaron Clay, who reports UFO sightings in Austin and Corpus Christi the same day. (Email Interview)
During the week of October 15, "mysterious glowing spheres" were seen repeatedly in Kumslod, a village of the Saena district in Thailand's Ayuthaya province, 47 miles (73 kilometers) north of Bangkok.
District administrator Dumrong Kaewkudun said, "At first I did not believe it when the villagers asked me to investigate these fireballs. I suspected them to be hoaxes played on factory girls by naughty boys. But when I went to the village I saw it was true."
Dumrong saw a fireball "about the size of a volleyball. They came as many as three at one time but usually only one. Usually about 7 or 8 in the evening. If there are many people around, they float very high, about 100 meters (330 feet) above the ground. But if there are only one or two people around, they come down low."
Over 1,000 people gathered in Kumslod the evening of October 17 to witness the phenomenon, but the UFOs didn't show. (Many thanks to Mike Lindemann and CNI News for this story. See CNI News, Vol. 2, #16, part 2, November 1, 1996.)
Israel's wave of UFO sightings during September has been followed by an equally baffling series of "alien" sightings. But the reports sound more like classic cases of the "phantom hitchhiker" phenomenon.
On Monday night, October 14, 1996, Abdul Alhazrad, an Arab living in Jenin on the West Bank, was driving toward the Jewish settlement of Dotan when he spied a hitchhiker standing on the side of the road. The man asked for a lift, and Abdul invited him to ride in the front passenger seat. As he drove away, Abdul glanced at the hitchhiker and "in seconds, to my amazement, his appearance changed." Instead of a normal human, Abdul found himself seated next to a tall humanoid in dark clothing with a head like a dog. The entity had floppy, dangling ears and a single cyclopean eye at the top of its long canine snout.
Panicking, Abdul stepped hard on the brake pedal. His car fishtailed off the road. Fleeing the vehicle, he watched as "Pooch" emerged from the passenger side. Pooch took several steps in Abdul's direction and then vanished.
That same night, Dr. Bashad, a Bedouin Arab educated in Europe, and his friend, Massoud, left the Arab town of Tel Sheva in the Negev Desert. The two were on their way to Beersheba for a night out. As they drove down the darkened desert highway, Dr. Bashad saw a man standing beside the asphalt roadway. Surprised to see someone in that remote area, they figured his car had broken down. Slowing to a stop, Dr. Bashad rolled down his window and asked, "Are you in any trouble?"
Instead of answering, the entity slapped his palm against the car door. The hand, Dr. Bashad reported, "seemed to adhere itself to it." Then Massoud got a good look at the stranger's face and let out a yell. He described the entity's features as "a horribly mutated face." Dr. Bashad saw it, too, and stepped down hard on the gas pedal.
As the car zoomed away, the entity leaped at it, covering an incredible distance--better than 20 feet (7 meters). Massoud said it was "crouched on the side door, clinging to the metal like Spider-Man," even as the doctor's car went speeding down the highway at 75 miles per hour. They went two kilometers (1.2 miles) down the road, and then the entity "dissolved into thin air." (See the newspaper Maariv for October 15, 1996.)
Early Wednesday morning, October 23, 1996, Rachel and Leah Gorovitz were driving their jeep on a side street near Montefiore Street in the Ahuzat Bayit section of Tel Aviv. It was 2 a.m. and the neighborhood was deserted. Then Leah noticed something unusual--a man 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall dressed in a bright red jumpsuit. There appeared to be a bag on his back that looked part of the clothing.
"He had a non-human mechanical way of moving," Leah said, "and a waxy face with a blunt expression on it."
"The Android" took awkward steps in the girls' direction. Rachel put the jeep into reverse and backed up the street at high speed, nosed the vehicle around and drove away.
A short while later, the girls took that street again in order to get home. The Android moved out of a building's shadow, stepping into the street. Rachel hit the brakes and backed away. The entity "came towards us again and then disappeared." (See the newspaper Maariv's weekend section for November 1, 1996.)
Although Pooch, Spidey and the Android sound like creatures out of the Arabian Nights, Dr. Leon Liebknecht's Israeli UFO group did some investigating. They interviewed the witnesses and tested Dr. Bashad's car for its sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation. Interestingly, the car tested at several hundred milligauss higher than a random sample of other cars in Tel Sheva. (Email Interview)
A flurry of recent jet engine failures in South America has led to two catastrophic crashes during the past two weeks.
On Monday, October 21, 1996, the Fuerzas Aereas Brasileira (Brazilian Air Force) was testing its new AMX jet interceptor north of Manaus on the Amazon River when the plane's engine mysteriously failed. The FAB's new jets were built in Italy with funding from the International Monetary Fund for use in drug interdiction missions. The AMX jet mysteriously lost all power while flying over the remote jungle of the Serra Tulu-Tuloi, near Brazil's border with Venezuela and Colombia. According to an FAB spokesman, "The plane totally lost its functionality in all of its instrumentation."
Fortunately, the pilot managed to restart the engine and landed safely at Manaus. A second AMX flight over the Rio Cuieiras in the same area produced the exact same result. The FAB is at a loss to explain these incidents.
The next night, Tuesday, October 22, a Boeing 707-320C cargo jet took off from Manta, Ecuador, a coastal city 290 miles (464 kilometers) from Quito. Bound for Miami, the jet suddenly lost power during its climbout, descended rapidly, clipped a church tower and crashed, setting ablaze the entire neighborhood.
The crash killed 30 people, including the plane's three- person crew and a priest at the church. Eighty burn victims were hospitalized. The fire destroyed over a hundred homes.
"It was a nightmare," Manta resident Vicente Abad said, "The barrio looks as if it had been bombed. Everything is in ruins. It was terrible to have to listen to the screams of the injured. The flames did not let anyone get close enough to help them." (See AP story for October 23, 1996)
(Editor's Note: Manta is 140 kilometers (84 miles) north of Ecuador's air and naval base at Salinas, the site of a UFO flap back in June.)
The morning of October 31, 1996, a Fokker 100 aircraft owned by TAM Regional Airlines took off from Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil. TAM Flight 402 was bound for Rio de Janeiro. Five minutes into the flight, the Fokker's engines quit, and the plane spun out of control. The plane crashed in a Sao Paulo suburb, clipping an apartment house and barely missing a primary school where 200 children had just begun their morning classes. All 90 passengers and the six crew members of Flight 402 were killed.
According to the story in USA Today (November 1), "It sheared off several roofs before slamming into a house. Behind it was a fiery path of destruction as fuel leaking from the plane set streets, cars and homes ablaze." One resident, Jose Cardoso, saw "a river of fuel on fire flowing down the street," destroying dozens of cars and houses.
(Editor's Note: Aircraft engine failures often occur in areas with high UFO activity such as Brazil's Sao Paulo state. Similar cases occurred in Gary, Indiana on April 4, 1970 and in Jackson, Michigan on February 16, 1972.)
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