February 9, 1997
Editor: Joseph Trainor
On Wednesday, February 5, 1997, at 11:30 p.m., motorists driving north on Texas Highway 36 from Brazoria (population 3,025) spotted a formation of five circular red lights in the sky.
One of the motorists was the husband of Nancy Marcum, South Texas regional director of Skywatch, International. Mrs. Marcum has provided a detailed summary of her husband's sighting.
"He said from this distance they looked about tree (top) level as he was coming closer to West Columbia (population 4,109)." The UFOs passed directly over the Marcum vehicle, and he estimated "that they were about a thousand feet up. I told him I didn't know how high a thousand would be, so he said about three radio towers high."
Mrs. Marcum provided a schematic of the UFO formation. This is what it looked like.
0 0 0 0 0
"If you were to number each 0 as a (red) light, the one to the far right, he said, was the tail end of the formation. The red lights all came on (blinking) in random order--no two would be on at the same time. Say, the flashes were a second apart."
Mr. Marcum reported that, heading north out of Brazoria, the formation approached from "the left hand side of the road" (the west) "over to the right hand side of the road" (the east) and on (southward) to Bailey's Prairie or Angelton or maybe the Lake Jackson area. He said the lights were all at the same level, and they were spread apart more than a football-field length would be."
"I asked him if he could make out the shape of the objects," Mrs. Marcum said, "and he said all he could see were the lights. At one point, he described them (the lights) as coming out of a cone-shaped area. He was all wound up because he thinks this UFO stuff is a bunch of hooey. But now he's wondering just what it was he saw. The guy in the car behind him ran off the road. He doesn't know if it was because he slowed down to stare at the objects, or if the guy beside him also saw the objects." (Many thanks to Nancy Marcum for this story.)
On Tuesday, February 4, 1997, at 6:15 p.m., a mysterious "skyquake" or booming sound rocked homes and farms in southern Oregon. The sound was also heard as far north as Port Townsend, Washington, on Puget Sound.
At 6:15 p.m., observers in Cave Junction, Oregon (population 600) spotted "a bright object or meteor" shooting across the sky. The object first appeared south of Pearsoll Peak (elevation 5091 feet) and flew in a northeasterly direction, across the Illinois River toward Kerby Butte (elevation 5555 feet).
The boom and resulting shock wave then rattled homes in Cave Junction, Kerby, Selma and the city of Grants Pass (population 15,000). The Josephine County Sheriff's Department received hundreds of phone calls from area residents immediately after the "explosion." The sheriff's dispatcher phoned the Federal Aviation Administration office in Portland and was reportedly told that the Oregon Air National Guard had "a high-performance aircraft" operating in the area.
Witness John E. Mingo reported, "The sonic boom was before 7 p.m. I have heard sonic booms before but this one rocked everything. The boom shook windows from one end of the city (Grants Pass) to the other. Local radio reported that it was a routine military flight up the coast. They say the boom was felt from southern Oregon all the way to Seattle." That is, a distance of about 500 miles (800 kilometers).
Another witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said he heard "two aircraft go supersonic" right after "the object" passed over Josephine County. "The direction of these aircraft is unknown because they were not showing their running lights. I know the sound of supersonic flight from previous military experience."
Mark S. of Whidbey Island, Washington disputed the news reports that the boom was caused by an SR-71 reconnaissance plane, pointing out that only three are still in service and none are known to be in the Pacific Northwest. Mark said he believes the "supersonics" to be F/A-18 interceptors from Bremerton, Washington. (Unsolicited Email)
(Editor's Note: Grants Pass and adjacent Josephine County towns were the site of a still-unexplained UFO flap on May 27, 1949. It's listed as Case #404 in Project Blue Book.)
On Thursday night, January 30, 1997, at 10:33 p.m., Joseph Michaels was walking a beach on the north shore of Antigua, an island in the West Indies, when he suddenly spotted "a strange streak" in the sky.
"Object came from the northeast as a short streak of white light," Michaels reported. "I thought it was a shooting star. About five to ten seconds later, it entered a very good, very controlled stationary flash which lasted about 0.25 ms (milliseconds) per flash."
Michaels counted six distinct flashes "in random order and with a definite break in between each one." While looking up, expecting to see number seven, instead he saw a second "streak" flying in a west-southwesterly direction. The second UFO was also flashing "at 0.25 ms, and traveling at that speed produced a streak (or contrail) 10 to 12 miles long." He estimated that the flashing objects were at "flight level 600," i.e. 60,000 feet (18,182 meters). (Many thanks to the Lost Tribe for this story.)
(Editor's Comment: Just to satisfy my curiosity, I plotted the flight paths of both the West Columbia and the Antigua UFOs on a map of the Caribbean. The two lines intersected at about latitude 13 North, longitude 81 West, or an island called Isla da Providencia, owned by Colombia. Let's wait and see if there are any more sightings from that area.)
Brazilian ufologists are investigating two crop circles that appeared in 1996, according to the magazine Revista UFO for November 1996.
The first one appeared the night of April 17, 1996, behind a small church in Bairro Guama near Belem. Eyewitnesses told the Policia Civil that they saw a strange light behind the church at first. Then, as they entered the churchyard, "um estranho objeto sobrevoando o ceu da cidade" (a strange object flew over them into the city sky.) According to an eyewitness, Alfredo de Oliveira Montes, 27, of Bairro Guama, the UFO left behind a scorched circle measuring 10 meters (33 feet) in diameter.
Two months later, on June 16, 1996, Senhor Francischini, supervisor of the Fazenda (farm) Areia Branca, located in Ipigua, near the city of Sao Jose do Rio Preto in Sao Paulo state, while planting oranges spotted a bright yellow light above the grove. Upon investigation, Francischini and his farmworkers discovered a crop circle measuring 10 meters (33 feet). The case is now being investigated by CEPEX.
(Many thanks to Ademar J. Gevaerd for sending me that copy of Revista UFO.)
A spokeswoman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado denies that satellite Telstar 401 has been removed from its geostationary orbit over the 97th meridian west.
In an interview with Mike Lindemann, editor of CNI News, on Monday, February 3, 1997, Frankie Webster, assistant to NORAD public information officer Major Steve Boylan, said the Combat Operations Center was still tracking the crippled satellite on radar.
Telstar 401 lost all power on January 11, several hours after a "solar tsunami'" struck the Earth. A report circulating last week claimed that the communications satellite had been "approached by a mysterious object" and had then "vanished."
Ms. Webster reportedly said that no object had been detected near Telstar 401 by NORAD radar. She also told Mike Lindemann that there was no officer named "Major General John Yancy, USAF" at NORAD.
The "missing Telstar 401" email reportedly originated with Stanton T. Friedman, one of the country's most highly respected ufologists and author of CRASH at CORONA and OPERATION MAJIC. However, on Thursday, February 6, Mr. Friedman denied sending the message, claiming, "I did not send a fax about Tel Star to Art Bell."
It appears that the Telstar 401 story was a deliberate hoax by persons unknown.
(Editor's Comment: Put Telstar on the shelf with the Huntsville, Alabama landing and the three non-existent UFOs of Medford, Oregon as classic Internet hoaxes.)
The Solar and Heliostropic Observatory (SOHO), a satellite jointly operated by NASA and the European Space Agency photographed the recent solar tsunami, which erupted from the sun on January 6, 1997.
SOHO is parked in orbit one million kilometers (600,000 miles) in front of the Earth and positioned so that it always has the sun under observation. On January 7, SOHO photographed the giant, magnetically-charged cloud as it raced across space at one million miles per hour. On January 10, the cloud struck Earth's magnetic field, delivering a charge of one million amps.
According to the February 1, 1997 issue of Science News, page 68, "SAMPEX, a satellite 600 kilometers above the Earth, recorded a boost in the intensity of fast electrons--those with energies greater than one million electron-volts--to raise them 10,000 times the typed value in the (Van Allen) radiation belt...The intensity of high-energy electrons near Earth climbed higher yet, and the total amount of energy dissipated in auroras over the North and South Poles reached 1,400 gigawatts, nearly double the electric power generated in the United States."
The SOHO photo shows the solar tsunami as "a white ring" at the bottom of the image. However, the photo also shows a very bright object, lozenge- shaped and much brighter than the stars, directly above the sun at a twelve o'clock position.
The photo was published in the February 3, 1997 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology on page 68.
Also, Halley Bay research station in Antarctica lost radio contact with incoming aircraft on January 10 and January 11 as a result of the magnetic storm.
Or, cleaning up some goofs in recent issues. Derrel Sims is a Texas hypnotherapist and not "an Israeli ufologist," as reported. Also, Jennifer Jarvis is the Southern Ontario Working Group Coordinator for CSETI and is not a "member of MUFON Ontario."
On December 21, 1996, Mrs. Zyona Damti, 34, of Achihod, Israel discovered the remains of a creature 30 centimeters long on her kibbutz dairy farm. Most of the remains were sent to Technion University in Haifa for analysis, which labeled the material "cow manure" and promptly threw it out.
However, Israeli ufologists Debby Segal and Uriya Shai, representing the Damti family, retained a small sample of the "alien." On January 15, they turned their sample over to the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA), which made arrangements to have the material tested at a lab in Manchester, England.
On January 29, lab director Keith Hall announced the results of the analysis. The team used mass spectrometers to determine the carbon and nitrogen "signatures" of the material. The signatures, Hall said, "were well within terrestrial limits" and "very close to those expected from lizards and frogs."
BUFORA has expressed satisfaction with the test results and has identified the Achichod "alien" as most likely an embryonic lizard.
(Editor's Comment: A question still unanswered is why the Technion Institute, whose scientists are presumably as competent in the use of mass spectrometers as Mr. Hall's team, identified the bulk remains of the lizard as "cow manure?")
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