January 26, 1997
Editor: Joseph Trainor
The recent "green fireball" sighting over Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport was just the kickoff for a UFO flap that has swept Italy, Sandinia and Corsica during the past two weeks.
Eight major sightings are now being investigated by the Centro Italiano di Studi Ufologici (CISU), according to their newsletter, the CISU Flash for January 25, 1997.
On December 11, 1996, at about 8 a.m., people in the village of Ascoli Piceno in the Sibillini mountain range saw "a flaming object with a (visible) trail" flying high in the sky. Following the sighting, a Fire Brigade helicopter spotted a mysterious pond of melted snow near the peak of Mount Vettore. (See the Italian newspaper Corriere Adriatico for December 12, 1996. CISU investigator: Carlo Cruciani)
On January 5, 1997, at 7:10 a.m., a man and woman in Abbadia di Fiastra, Macerata province, spotted "a soundless, strange green light moving high in the sky." The couple had it in view for a few minutes before it flew away. (See the newspaper Il Resto del Carlino for January 9, 1997. CISU investigator: Simone Grandicelli)
On the afternoon of January 7, 1997, a family of four at Arlena di Castro in Viterbo province sighted "a white ball passing through the sky." (See the newspapers Corriere di Viterbo and Il Messaggero for January 9, 1997. CISU investigator: Angelo Ferlicca)
A few hours later on January 7, "a bright pulsing light in the sky" was seen at La Spezia. (See the newspaper La Nazione for January 9, 1997. CISU investigator: Monica Bottino)
On January 12, a UFO made an appearance over the island of Sardinia. At 11 p.m., an engaged couple having a quite cuddle at Villamassargia were suddenly interrupted by "a large circle of beam-emitting light circling in the sky." The UFO hovered for about 20 minutes before taking off. (See the newspaper L'Unione Sarda for January 13, 1997. The case was investigated by Antonio Cuccu of CISU)
The following day, January 13, a bowl-shaped UFO appeared over mainland Italy. At 8:20 p.m., three men at Albacina watched "a half-moon object hover above a hill" for about three minutes. (See the newspapers Corriere Adriatico, Il Messaggero and Il Centro for January 15, 1997. CISU Investigators: Simone Grandicelli and Renzo Cabassi)
On January 14, 1997, at 8 p.m., two tourists in the town of Prignano, near Salerno, gaped in amazement as "a luminous cone-shaped object with rotating lights" rose above the rooftops. The UFO failed to keep its equilibrium and turned turtle several times while it was airborne. (CISU investigator: Giorgio Russolillo)
On January 15, 1997, at 5 p.m., people in the city of Piacenza called police to report "a gray oval-shaped flying object" passing over their homes.
Three hours later, at 8:15 p.m., "two white rotating lights" were spotted in Fiumicino, a suburb of Rome. The UFOs were videotaped by onlookers and vanished after 20 minutes. (See the newspaper Corriere della Sera for January 16, 1997. CISU investigators: Marco Bianchini and Giancarlo D'Alessandra)
(Editor's Comment: I think we can write off the Prignano UFO as a prankster's hoax. The Mount Vettore case is interesting, though. Whoever heard of unfrozen water on an Italian mountaintop in the middle of winter?)
Queensland and Western Australia were rocked by a four-day UFO flap just prior to Christmas.
Sightings began the night of December 18, 1996 on the Queensland "Gold Coast" between Brisbane and Gladstone. A man living in the Auburn range northwest of Gayndah, 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the coast reported "seeing a group of spinning, rotating lights about 40 meters (130 feet) away." The lights hovered for five minutes and then zipped away toward the coast in the direction of Burleigh Head.
That same night, December 18, people living in Burleigh Waters phoned police to report a UFO. They all described the same object, which "appeared to be a revolving cigar-shaped object with bright white lights." Witnesses said they observed the lights coming from "several square windows along the side" of the UFO.
A few hours later, December 19, the theatre of UFO action switched to sparsely-populated Western Australia. At 2 a.m., residents of the seaport city and state capital of Perth sighted "twelve spinning lights behind and above cloud cover," moving west towards the Indian Ocean.
At 2:30 a.m. on December 19, residents of the port town of Coolangatta, on Australia's east coast south of Brisbane, saw "twelve circles of spinning lights 3 to 4 kilometers (2 to 3 miles) out to sea."
The following night, December 20, people living in the port of Townsville in northern Queensland, 860 kilometers (650 miles) north of Brisbane, reported an overflight of UFOs.
On December 21, 1996, at 1:30 a.m., residents of Toowoomba, a Queensland city 128 kilometers (80 miles) west of Brisbane, saw 50 luminous UFOs flying in formation over the city. Their estimated altitude was 400 feet (120 meters) off the ground. (Many thanks to Ross Dowe and Australia's National UFO Hotline for this report.)
On Monday, January 20, 1997, two men in the town of Covilha, in the mountainous Beira Baixa region of Portugal, spotted a large UFO flying over the Serra da Estrela range after dark.
Carlos Arruda and Sergio Mendes were standing on the street when they noticed "one big light in the sky" near Pico da Estrela mountain "moving from east to west and heading for the Atlantic."
"The light was big and round and always changing in color," Arruda said. "First it was strong white, very strong, and it seemed to be behind the clouds. Its second color was red, and its last (final) color was light blue."
As the UFO flew over Covilha, Arruda added, they could make out "Three colors in a circle in the sky. The thing moved quickly to the west." The men lost sight of the UFO once it passed behind the Serra da Estrela ridgeline, heading for Lourosa. (Unsolicited Email)
(Editor's Note: Portugal's Serra da Estrela range is a notorious hotspot. In late September, a backpacker was reportedly abducted near Fundao. Three weeks later, there was a case of sheep mutilation in Idanha-a-Nova.)
On Saturday, January 18, 1997, Canadians living on the north shore of Lake Ontario were startled by the sight of a UFO squadron. The seven UFOs, described as "similar to lights in a show on TV," apparently first appeared over the smaller Rice Lake, passed over Harwood and Cold Springs, and crossed the Lake Ontario shoreline near Port Hope, Ontario (population 9,788). Witnesses in Port Hope reported seeing the UFOs flying high and zigzagging across the sky over the big lake at about 7 a.m.
(Many thanks to Errol Bruce-Knapp and Jennifer Jarvis of MUFON Ontario for this report.)
Last week, UFO ROUNDUP reported the strange case of the "crop circle" etched in cement in the backyard patio of a retired couple living in Hemitt, California. Now some startling new information has been offered in this case.
According to retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Steve Wilson, there was a similar incident in Hemitt nearly 35 years ago, back in the summer of 1962.
Col. Wilson writes, "In July 1962, I investigated exactly the same kind of circle that was found by Mr. Peffly of Hemitt, Cal., who worked for the (California) Division of Forestry based in Hemitt. This circle appeared at the forestry camp at Puerta La Cruz, where Mr. Peffly worked. (USAF) Tests were done on the substance and it was found (to be) only slightly radioactive. It had also changed the composition of the cement."
According to Col. Wilson, the 1962 incident was hushed up by Delta Force, which reportedly threatened Mr. Heffly and his family. (Email Interview)
(Editor's Note: The July 1962 incident sounds like a typical "evidence retrieval" by what was then called Operation Moon Dust.)
This coming week marks the 100th Anniversary of one of the earliest UFO sightings in the United States. The flap took place during the last days of January 1897 in the town of Hastings, Nebraska, 160 miles (256 kilometers) southwest of Omaha.
According to the Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital of March 31, 1897, the UFO was seen the morning of Sunday, January 24, 1897. People thought a mysterious inventor was experimenting with an "airship" about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of the small city. The UFO circled for a few minutes and then zoomed away to the north.
Here's the story as it appeared in the Omaha, Nebraska Bee for February 2, 1897: "Several Hastings people report that an air ship, or something of the kind, has been sailing around in the air west of this city. It was first noticed sometime last fall when it was seen floating in the air about 500 feet (175 meters) above the ground, and after standing still for about 30 minutes, it began to to circle about and took a northerly direction for about two miles, after which it returned to its starting place and sank into oblivion."
"Since that time it has not been seen until last Sunday evening, when it was observed standing nearly still, a few miles west of Hastings and seemingly about 800 feet in the air."
"At first sight it had the appearance of an immense star, but after closer observation the powerful light shows by its color to be artificial. It certainly must be illuminated by powerful electric dynamos for the light sent forth by it is wonderful."
"At 9:30 last Monday night (January 25, 1897) the large glaring light was seen to circle around for a few minutes and then descended for about 200 feet, circling as it traveled at a remarkable speed for about two miles and then slowing up it circled for fully 15 minutes, when it began to lower and disappear as mysteriously as it had made its appearance...A close watch is being kept for its reappearance."
On February 5, 1897, the Omaha Bee reported that the UFO had been sighted again, this time at Invale, a tiny farm town 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Hastings, near the Kansas state line. The UFO was seen by people returning from a prayer meeting.
"It (the UFO) seemed to be conical-shaped and perhaps 30 to 40 feet in length, with a bright headlight and six smaller lights, three on a side, and seemed to have two sets of wings on a side, with a large fan-shaped rudder," the Bee reported. The Invale witnesses claimed to have heard rumbling engine noises and the voices of the "airship's" occupants. (See the Omaha, Nebraska Bee for February 2 and February 5, 1897, plus the Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital of Topeka, Kansas for March 31, 1897 "Strange Light in the Sky.")
FUN UFO WEBSITES
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That's it for this week. American readers, check the clock. It's six hours to Superbowl XXXI. (Go Pats!) Back next week with more news from "the paper that covers the saucers--UFO ROUNDUP."
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1997 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post any stories from UFO ROUNDUP on their websites provided that they credit the newsletter and the editor by name and cite the date of the newsletter in which the story appeared.