April 20th, 1997
Editor: Joseph Trainor
Thursday, April 17, proved to be an exciting day for the UFO community.
First came the incredible report that a U.S. satellite, GOES-9, had photographed "a very large anomalous object" over central Alaska at 1500 Zulu or 8 a.m. Pacific time.
Immediately the GOES-9 image was posted on several Websides, and the news spread like wildfire through the Internet.
A second GOES-9 image, recorded at 8:30 a.m., showed that the "anomalous object" had flown south and was now just west of the northern coast of Vancouver Island. The 1530 Zulu (8:30 a.m.) image also showed "an anomalous object of the same size" over the Pacific Ocean approximately 50 miles west of San Francisco.
A third GOES-9 image, taken at 1600 Zulu (9 a.m.), showed the San Francisco object gone and the first object back in Alaska, near Glenallen.
A fourth GOES-9 image, taken at 1800 Zulu (11 a.m.) registered a new object "half the size of the first two" hovering over Colorado.
The first two objects were described as "square or rectangular" and an estimated 25 miles (40 kilometers) long.
At 2 p.m., the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a "heads up" alert, citing "a potential threat" to the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) center at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, 65 miles (104 kilometers) south of Denver.
Maj. Gen. Jeff Grime, CO of Cheyenne Mountain, said there was no threat to the nearby city of Colorado Springs or to any other military facility in the area, adding, "It's totally focused at us here."
Rumors circulated that NORAD had "gone to DEFCON-4 (Defense Condition #4) in response to the presence of the "anomalous objects" found by GOES-9.
Maj. Gen. Grime told the media that extra precautionary security was needed to protect the 1,100 personnel at the base.
Security measures included cancellation of public tours at the center, erection of barricades on the access roads, and a 24-hour-guard on the maintenance portal on the south side of the mountain. The "lockdown" was carried out by 80 troops of the 721st Security Police Squadron.
According to the Reuter story, NORAD spokeswoman Frankie Webster "declined to discuss the nature of the security concerns or say whether they were related to the April 19 anniversaries of the Oklahoma City bombing or the 1993 siege at Waco, Texas. She said the (U.S.) Air Force took the action Tuesday after it learned of possible security concerns, but she provided no details."
Maj. Steve Boylan, U.S. Army, a spokesman for the U.S. Space Command, said the alert "had nothing whatsoever to do" with the A-10 fighter-bomber missing since April 2. (See related story in this issue.)
Meanwhile, Web speculation about the GOES-9 "anomalous objects" reached fever pitch by Friday, April 18. The "objects" were variously described as Borg starships, UFOs containing cult leaders David Koresh and Marshall Herff Applewhite, and landing craft from the "Hale Mary," the UFO alleged to have followed the Hale-Bopp comet last winter.
The GOES-9 images were removed from their main Website Friday morning, which increased the anxiety and speculation.
That afternoon, a scientist explained that the "objects" were glitches in the satellite's software. The images were caused by "data drop," which is clearly shown by the "digital noise on one side of the image."
Peter B. Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle said his group was "satisfied" with this explanation for the "anomalous objects."
On Thursday, April 3, 1997, at 8:15 p.m., a federal employee and two friends spotted "dark, crescent-shaped object" flying over Washington, D.C., heading east.
Eyewitness Mark Bielaski said, "We saw the object, very strange, no lights or sound, but you could see it clearly outlined. We were out staring at the comet, and there it was."
Mark added that he "had a better view of the object because it was really big. I really couldn't tell how big it was because it seemed to be above the clouds. I've watched jets fly in and out of Andrews (air force base) and I know how big they are. And this had to be bigger than any of those. I wouldn't have thought anything of the object except for the fact that it made no noise and had no lights. The shape reminded me of a B-2, but it was too curved--almost like seeing the (crescent) moon but bigger." (Email Interview)
On the afternoon of Tuesday, April 8, Kenneth W. was driving on Interstate-80 in Coralville, Iowa (population 7,687), about 140 miles (224 kilometers) east of Des Moines when "a shiny disc appeared in the sky northwest of me," near Tiffin.
"I watched it through my prescription sunglasses until the sun blinded me," he said. "It first moved slowly, like a floating Mylar balloon, but against the northwest wind. It came to a halt and was still shining and disc-like. It then began moving again, and its skin turned to a frosty gray. But I watched it for about five minutes total. Finally, the gray dot appeared to gain altitude and speed away into the northwest sky. At one point during its hover, I saw a glimpse of red in the middle." (Email Interview)
On Sunday night, April 13, 1997, at 8:30 p.m., Jeff Roberts and another seven eyewitnesses were standing outdoors in Ankeny, Iowa (population 15,429) about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Des Moines when they spied "a V-shaped chartreuse object" in the sky.
Roberts described the UFO as "shaped like a crown on a king," i.e. W-shaped. Witnesses then saw a second UFO "shaped like a cigar" and a third "that was only visible through binoculars" and "moved in a counter-clockwise rotation." Red, blue and yellow lights were reported. The UFOs remained visible until 4:30 a.m. on Monday, April 14.
Investigating this case is Beverly Trout of MUFON Iowa. (Many thanks to Tim Edwards for this story.)
(Editor's Note: For Jeff Roberts, this is his second sighting of 1997. On February 20, while on a visit home, Jeff and his father spotted a UFO near Canon City, Colorado.)
On Friday, April 11, 1997, Ace Smathers was doing some outdoor work when he noticed "a bright white light" overhead near his home in northern Alabama. It was "too low and too bright for a star," he said, "It remained in the same spot for 30 minutes. When looking (at it) through binoculars, it appeared like a diamond in the light--a full array of colors. After a while, it began to fade out and became dimmer as if moving away fast." The UFO completely disappeared after five minutes. Ace wants to know if anyone else north of Birmingham observed a similar UFO. (Email Interview)
Five days later, on Wednesday, April 16, 1997, the newspaper, the Fairhope, Ala. Courier reported UFO visitations in Baldwin County. Fairhope (population 7,286) is on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, about 16 miles (28 kilometers) southeast of Mobile. The town is also 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of the UFO hotspots of Pensacola and Gulf Breeze, Florida.
On April 9, 1997, at 11 p.m., a Fairhope man was driving on County Road 32 with his girlfriend when he saw "a strange object floating just above the trees."
Later that night, at 1 a.m., April 10, when he returned home, he saw the same UFO "hovering over a line of trees behind his house. He grabbed his video camera and shot a couple of minutes of footage of the strange object."
The UFO appeared "to move back and forth like a balloon. An illuminated undercarriage formed a slight crescent shape, with a shadowy, cone-shaped structure that tapered up to another set of lights, to white-green lights, below and on either side of a flashing red light. An artist's rendering of the videotape looks...rather like a pyramid with a rectangular base, with white lights at each point of the base, two light green one near the top, and a large red one at the top."
The UFO appeared again in Fairhope the night of April 11, at about 11 p.m., looking like "a blob of light capped with a single flashing red light," and was videotaped again by the witness. (See the Fairhope Courier for April 16, 1997, page 1, "UFO? No One Knows." Many thanks to Steve Wilson Jr. for sending this news story.)
More UFO sightings were reported in Arizona last week. A UFO was seen in Tucson on April 12, followed by a brief overflight in "orange sphere" UFOs in Phoenix and two of the city's suburbs, Chandler and Coolidge on April 14. Two days later, on April 16, a UFO was spotted hovering above South Mountain, just south of Phoenix.
On April 16, a flight of black helicopters circled the home of UFO investigator Tom King in Phoenix. A month ago, on March 13, Tom recorded on video the six "orange sphere" UFOs seen hovering above the Gila River Indian Reservation. Grabbing his video camera, Tom taped the black helicopters as they flew past his house, just above rooftop level. A clip, posted on several Websites, shows three UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters against a backdrop of blue desert sky. No numbers or insignia are visible on the three aircraft.
On Wednesday, April 16, and Thursday, April 17, several homeowners in Holly, Michigan (population 4,874) sighted a flight of black helicopters above Hickory Ridge Road.
On Friday, April 18, at 2:30 p.m., Sharolyn Stenger, a member of Skywatch International, had a black helicopter encounter.
"I was mowing the backyard," Ms. Stenger reported. "At about 2:35 p.m. I heard, over the noise of the mower, a very loud helicopter. I shaded my eyes and looked up to see a black or gunmetal gray chopper coming from the south" towards her home in Arlington, Texas, midway between Dallas and Fort Worth. "Just as it got over our house, there was a flash, like a camera, and it continued on its merry way to the north. It happened in a split-second, but as I remember it, the flash came from the lower left side of the fuselage, just below the door."
(Editor's Note: Holly, Michigan is about 30 miles northwest of Detroit and just north of River Rouge Park and the Southfield Freeway, site of the most recent UFO encounter in Michigan.)
On Tuesday, April 15, 1997, at 8:15 p.m., just before sunset, Lee Liser and a few friends were walking home "in a heavily-populated section of Liverpool." One of the group noticed a strange aircraft in the sky.
"It was in a spin but staying at the same height (altitude)," Lee recalled. "It kept rotating to left and right, on an angle, and was just on the line. Its tail end seemed to split in two at times, and there was absolutely no noise. We watched it for about 40 seconds." He described the craft as "triangular in shape, makes no noise, and does amazing acrobatic stunts."
The "Black Triangle" (BT) made a sharp looping turn over Merseyside, crossed the river towards Wallasey, turned again and flew away to the northwest, heading into the Irish Sea well away from Point Formby. (Unsolicited Email)
On Saturday, April 12, at 8 p.m., residents of a kibbutz near Karmiel, in northern Galilee spotted a UFO in the sky about 70 degrees above the horizon.
An eyewitness described it as "a big, bright, real yellowish-white light" that "approached from the southeast." As if in response to being seen, the UFO quickly increased its speed, "zipped up and disappeared behind a cloud." When it departed, the UFO was moving in a north-northwesterly direction. and "moving across the sky until it went out of sight behind a cloud."
The following day, Sunday, April 13, the residents were awakened in the early morning by "helicopters... repeatedly circling over our settlement. Lots and lots of helicopters. There was one over my house a few hours ago."
Along the side of the road were parked Israeli military flatbed trucks. Many contained portable radar arrays, computers and other electronic equipment. A spokesman for the Zahal (Israeli Self-Defense Forces) told the residents that the troops were "on maneuvers."
On Tuesday night, April 15, 1997, the local radio station in Punta Arenas, Chile received numerous Phone calls reporting a UFO. Punta Arenas is the southernmost city in Chile, located on the western shore of the Strait of Magellan.
The deejay Phoned members of Agrupacion de Investigaciones Ovniologicas (AION), Chile's most well-known UFO group. The AION team has been in Punta Arenas since March 24 to investigate the many recent UFO sightings.
Arriving at their camera site, the AION members saw "strange lights in the southern sky." As the UFO flew closer, the team leader described it as "una immensa nave llena de luces en su fusalaje" ("an immense craft with plenty of lights in the fuselage.")
Using four video cameras, the AION team kept shooting while "smaller light balls were discharged by the OVNI (Spanish acronym for UFO)."
"For several seconds, the OVNI hovered over the city of Punta Arenas, and then turned (east) towards the sea and flew over a mountain. The sighting lasted three and a half minutes." (Muchas gracias a Mario Briones Vidal y Yechiel A. Mann para esa noticia. See also the newspaper La Tercera of Santiago de Chile for April 15, 1997, page 1 "Espectacular OVNI En Punta Arenas.")
The city of Americana (population 144,000) in Sao Paulo state has become the new focus of UFO activity in southern Brazil.
The city was founded in 1865 by Confederate refugees from the U.S.A., who created a replica of Mother Dixie. Although many residents have English surnames, they speak no other language except Portuguese.
On March 22, 1997, at 6:45 p.m., a cigar-shaped silvery UFO was seen over the Rua Washington Luis by a few dozen residents.
On March 31, 1997, "an OVNI with several colored lights" was seen near the university by two military policement and several students. This case is being investigated by the Centro de Investigacoes Exologicas (CIEX).
The same time, 12:30 a.m. on March 31, a UFO "like two silver dishes," described as 10 meters (30 feet) in diameter, was seen hovering over another section of Americana. This UFO doused all of its lights when a plane approached.
At 3:15 a.m. on March 31, witnesses elsewhere in the city spotted "a rectangular UFO with red, yellow and blue lights...about the size of a large helicopter."
On April 1, 1997, at 1 p.m., several women in midtown reported seeing "a daylight disc with flashing red and blue lights."
Just over eight hours later, at 9:30 p.m. April 1, Francio de Holanda, a photographer for the daily newspaper Toda Dia, shot several still pictures of a "luminous OVNI" over the midtown area.
On April 2, 1997, at 11 p.m., members of Clube de Pesquisas Ufologicas (CPU), a UFO study group, sighted a luminous UFO alternately flying and hovering over the city. During the 3-hour period of observation, they shot videotape footage of the UFO. A second UFO appeared in the sky at 1:30 a.m., and both flew away quickly, the newcomer leaving behind "an orange contrail."
On April 4, 1997, at 8:30 p.m., Eduardo Mondini, director of the Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas Exologicas (CEPEX), saw a luminous UFO flying over the city.
One hour later, at 9:30 p.m., the newsroom staff at Toda Dia photographed the same UFO from their offices. This UFO also dimmed its light whenever a light plane approached. (Muito obrigado a Jefferson Martinho e Wilson Nakashima of Skywatch Brazil para eses casos.)
On Friday, April 18, 1997, at 7 p.m. local time, Raj Gundam and his friends were driving on the Tampines Expressway, just after the Elias Road exit, in the island city-nation of Singapore. Just then, his friend Victor yelled, "Look! There's a mysterious light in the sky."
"It was orange in color and flew in a straight like," Raj said. "It would glow and (then) fade out at intervals." The UFO remained in the sky for 45 minutes. "The light did not move from its spot at all. It looked exactly as if you were shining a bright light in a dark place," i.e. it formed a perfect circle of orange luminosity. He added that the UFO's position in the sky was "near the moon." (Email Interview)
After an intensive search lasting seven days, and the expenditure of just over $1 million, the U.S. Air Force has not yet located the A-10 fighter-bomber that vanished on April 2.
The plane, piloted by Capt. Craig D. Buttons of Massapequa, N.Y., broke formation west of Tucson, Arizona the morning of April 2 and flew all the way to Colorado. The last radar image put the plane near New York Mountain, near Vail, Colorado.
On Monday, April 14, after identifying six possible crash sites, terrain teams went in, covering grids measuring 13 by 17 miles. The Air Force sent in a radar-laden SR-71 Blackbird, and the Army dispatched two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Fort Carson, Colorado.
Clear weather on Wednesday, April 16, was a major help to the Civil Air Patrol planes searching the snow- covered Sawatch Mountains. Two suspected crash sites were visited by ground searchers, but the team found only metal pipes sticking out of the snow.
The Air Force also mentioned Wednesday that the A-10 was carrying 575 rounds of ammunition for its 30mm Gatling gun in addition to the four 500-pound Mark 82 GP bombs.
On Friday, April 18, the Air Force announced that it would scale back its intensified search early next week if no trace of the A-10 is found.
According to USA Today, "Air Force officials confirmed Thursday that that a spy satellite detected an 'infrared event' - possibly a crash fireball or bomb explosion--in the rugged wilderness mountains where the (A-10) Warthog attack jet is thought to have gone down on April 2."
"But that evidence seemed at odds with records from about 40 seismic detectors in the terrain surrounding the New York Mountain crash site."
"Lt. Gen. Frank Campbell, commander of the (Davis-Monthan) Tucson air base where missing Capt. Craig Button was stationed, said Thursday that the instruments recorded 'no seismic indications during the time of this flight.' He said experts say a crash or bomb explosion...likely would have registered 1.9 on the Richter scale for ground- movement readings. Campbell said he wasn't qualified to explain what the lack of data means." (See USA Today, April 18, 1997, page 3A)
Here's the actual news story of the UFO that reportedly landed outside Waterloo, Iowa on April 17, 1897.
"Waterloo, Iowa April 17 - This region is much excited over an airship or a large vessel designed to leave the impression that it is a flying machine."
"It was first observed here at dawn yesterday (April 16, 1897). The stranger in charge says it is a flying machine and he landed here to make some repairs and that he will resume his voyage in the air to-day. He keeps all people at a distance of several hundred yards from the machine and therefore many do not credit his story, but think it is a fake designed to create a sensation."
"Just what object the man has to gain is a mystery, as he has not asked for money from the hundreds who have visited the field to take a look at the thing."
"The structure is about 40 feet long (13 meters), constructed like a giant cigar, with wing-like attachments on the sides and a steering apparatus in the rear."
"The whole is surmounted by a cupola, or lookout cabin, on the roof. The queer craft appears to be built of canvas and to be heavily varnished."
"A pipe leading from the cone constantly emits vapor, as if the motive power were steam. The man in charge is a stranger hereabouts and carries a rifle to keep the people from too closely examining the machine. He secured permission from the farmer upon whose land he is to keep the machine there for a few days."
"The man says he is on a voyage around the world but was forced to alight for repairs and that if the people do not believe he can fly through the air they can wait and he will give them a free exhibition."
(See the Evening Times of Pawtucket, Rhode Island for April 17, 1897, page 6.)
FUN UFO WEBSITES
Anthony Chippendale has just update his site at UFOs Online. There are some great features here, so check it out at http://home.clara.net/chipp/
To keep up with Brazil's continuing UFO flap, why not visit the CEPEX Website? They're at http://empresa.com/vigilia/capa1.htm
For a look at a Swedish newspaper containing UFO news, try Anders Persson's Website at http://www.wufoc.com
Don't forget our parent site, UFOINFO, with up-to-date UFO news and lively features. Check it out at >http://ufoinfo.com/index.html
For back issues of UFO ROUNDUP, try our page at http://ufoinfo.com/roundup/index.shtml
That's all for this week. Here's wishing our readers in Israel a joyous Passover week. See you all next Sunday with more news from "the paper that goes home--UFO ROUNDUP."
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1997 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post any item from UFO ROUNDUP on their Websites or in newsgroups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of the newsletter in which the item appeared.