July 6, 1997
Editor: Joseph Trainor
Cushioned by an array of airbags, the USA's Pathfinder spacecraft made a safe landing on the planet Mars Friday afternoon, July 4, 1997.
The craft began its 390-million-mile voyage on December 4, 1996, when it rocketed away from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It touched down at about 1:05 p.m. Eastern USA time in an ancient floodplain called Ares Vallis.
It was the third soft landing of an American spacecraft on Mars. The first, Viking 1, landed 21 years earlier, on July 4, 1976, while its partner spacecraft, Viking 2, touched down on September 20, 1976.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California began receiving black-and-white camera images of the Martian surface almost immediately afterward. Full-color photos of Ares Vallis were unveiled at the JPL press briefing at 6 p.m. Pacific time Friday night.
The next phase of the mission is to deploy the 23-pound robot exploration vehicle, Sojourner, for a tour of the landing site.
(Editor's Comment: For an outwash floodplain, Ares Vallis is littered with an awful lot of rocks and boulders. In the first color photo, I saw at least one outcrop of bedrock, which means there was some geological uplift after the gargantuan flood that created the valley. The boulders also show surprisingly little windblown erosion, which is strange because Mars is buffeted all the time by colossal dust storms. I'm starting to wonder if Immanuel Velikovsky was right about Mars undergoing some tremendous cataclysm in the not-so-distant past.)
Thousands of UFO enthusiasts converged on Roswell, New Mexico this week for UFO Encounter '97.
Attendees included well-known ufologists such as Michael Lindemann and Stanton G. Friedman, "ancient astronaut" theorist Erich von Daniken, and Paul Davids, producer of the Showtime movie "Roswell."
Participants began arriving before Tuesday, July 1, 1997, and by the week's end, the events were jammed with onlookers. Tour operators ferrying visitors to the alleged crash site on Hub Corn's farm north of town were running over 50 bus trips per day.
On Wednesday, July 2, 1997, one busload of site visitors saw two U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets fly low over the mesa where a silvery UFO shaped like the heel of a man's shoe was said to have crashed fifty years earlier. (See USA Today for July 3-6, 1997; the New York Daily News for July 5, 1997; and the New York Post for July 4, 1997.)
On Saturday, June 29, 1997, at 3:30 a.m., a man stepped out onto his backyard deck in the northern section of Rochester, New York (population 241,741).
"I was looking up at the stars from my deck, which I often do in the summer before I got to bed," he reported. "In the northwest portion of the sky, yet relatively overhead, I saw a light slightly dimmer than the other stars move. It then became slightly brighter than the surrounding stars, and made a movement similar to the bottom half of an S, like a small, round half-a-turn. I was pretty amazed and watched it as it grew dim, until I couldn't see it any more. As I was straining to pick it out, suddenly in the western sky, much lower on the horizon, appeared what I would typically say is a shooting star, flashing across the sky."
"Now that my curiosity was peaked, I stayed out and kept watching the northern sky, which would be over Lake Ontario." He then spied "a very faint light which I could barely pick out...traveling at quite a pace north, faster than any conventional aircraft or satellite would travel. It had the capability of reaching the northern horizon in, say, about a minute or less. It seemed to waggle and not travel straight."
The resident is age 38 and a technician who said he "was pretty amazed at what I saw." (Many thanks to Kenneth Young of T.A.S.K. for this report.)
On Monday, June 23, 1997, the same evening that residents of Las Vegas reported a giant V-shaped UFO north of their city, a weird phenomenon occurred at Colorado's Mesa Verde National Park, 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of Durango.
The phenomenon occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. and was seen by three local residents--a woman descending Mancos Hill and a married couple in the western end of Montezuma County, near Cortez (population 7,095).
The witnesses saw "clouds filled with light, appearing for about 13 seconds." One person said it resembled "a little cloud with the moon shining out from underneath, except that there were no clouds and the moon was not over in that part of the sky."
The phenomenon appeared to be centered over the cliffside adobe ruins built by the Anasazi Indian civilization of 750 A.D.
Other statements described it as "like a cone- shaped light shining out...a spotlight...the color was yellow, almost like a 'bug light.'" (See Cortez, Colo. newspaper for June 26, 1997, page 1. Many thanks to Barbara Milicevic, Colorado state director of Skywatch International, and Tim Edwards for this news story.)
A luminous UFO appeared over Victorville, California (population 14,220) at 11:45 p.m. on Friday, June 20, 1997.
The following night, Saturday, June 21, at around 10 p.m., a second UFO was seen over the city, located about 45 miles (72 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles.
Both sightings were reported on the local TV station on Monday, June 23, 1997.
Previously, Victorville was visited by a glowing reddish-orange sphere the night of March 13, 1997, the same night as the big UFO flap in Arizona.
(Many thanks to Victor M. Sandoval for this news story.)
A mysterious bright light was spotted flying high in the air off the coast of Bahrain, an Arab nation in the Persian Gulf the night of Friday, June 13, 1997. According to reports by the Gulf News Agency (GNA), the anomalous light "was the size of a Boeing 747 and made no sound," and was "17 or 18 nautical miles" offshore.
This was the second UFO seen in the Persian Gulf in recent months. In May, an Arab colonel and several friends spotted one at his farm at Hatta in Dubai.
Local ufologist M.A. Al-Adwani interviewed one eyewitness in Bahrain, who said he "was frozen in terror when he saw that his room was flooded with bright light for a few seconds, and disappeared. He told his oldest brother who called me for clarification." (Many thanks to M.A. Al-Adwani for this report.)
(Editor's Comment: Sounds as if this UFO was trying to run the Allied air blockade and get into southern Iraq.)
The second half of June saw no let-up in the UFO traffic over Australia. The island continent reported another heavy flap between June 25 and June 30, 1997.
On Wednesday, June 18, 1997, at 5:10 p.m., residents of Canberra, Australia's capital, reported seeing "three or four bright yellow lights in the western sky. Two of the illuminations were pencil-shaped."
The following evening, Thursday, June 19, 1997, at 9:15 p.m., people in the Terry Hills suburb of Sydney "reported sighting a dark, oval-shaped object with square windows and read lines coming out of it, heading in a northwesterly direction."
A "line or tube-shaped illumination" was seen in several large Australian cities on Friday, June 20, 1997. The object first appeared over Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) at 5:10 p.m. Five minutes later, it was seen over Melbourne, and then an hour later, at 6:15 p.m., over Adelaide. Finally, at 9 p.m., residents of Sydney caught a glimpse of the UFO.
Following a relatively quite week, the UFOs resumed their overflights in Victoria (Vic.) on Thursday evening, June 26, 1997.
At 5:10 p.m., a resident of Bendigo, Vic. sighted "a long, tube-shaped brown object." Another witness reported, "It had some sparkle things at each end of it."
The following evening, Friday, June 27, 1997, at about 5:15 p.m., another Bendigo resident reported seeing "a darkish line or oblong object heading west."
That same Friday evening, at around 5:30 p.m., people living in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales (N.S.W.) saw "a jet-black twister (wind storm) (or tornado--J.T.) shaped object with a white, teardrop-shaped object underneath corkscrewing to the west. Bearings were taken--10 degrees north of due west (when) first sighted at 45 degrees up (from the horizon--J.T.), and it took four minutes to travel to the horizon."
Twenty-four hours later, between 5:19 and 5:23 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1997. Blue Mountains residents called Australia's National 24-Hour UFO Hotline to report "that they had videoed two vertical pink-red illuminated lines travelling downwards in the western sky for four minutes. They said that as these vertical lines descended and got closer to the horizon, the lines changed to a V-formation. It appeared that there was also something else with these lined formations.
Images are available at this URL: http://www. geocities.com/Area51/Vault/1177/picpg.htm
(Many thanks to Ross Dowe of Australia's National 24-Hour UFO Hotline for allowing UFO ROUNDUP to quote from his report.)
On Sunday, June 29, 1997, between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., luminous UFOs were seen over two large cities in Brazil's state of Sao Paulo. The UFOs appeared simultaneously over Nova Odessa, S.P. and Americana, S.P., plus a handful of smaller communities.
In Nova Odessa, a rancher named Antonio Silva Barbosa grabbed his videocamera and shot footage of "two circular illuminations, which moved about rapidly and emitted a blinding light as they flew over." Silva Barbosa described the UFOs as "balls of fire."
In Americana, Jose Roberto Moreira spotted three glowing UFOs. "They were visible for three minutes in the middle of the sky," he reported, "The smallest was just as brilliant as the others. All three were moving in the same westerly direction."
UFO reports also flooded in that evening from smaller cities of the region, including Cosmopolis, Holambra, Itapira and Paulinia. Residents of these communities claimed to have seen the "fireballs" off and on during the past three weeks. (See the Brazilian newspaper Diario do Povo for July 2, 1997, "Luzes Estranhas Sao Filmadas Nos Ceus da Regiao." Muito obrigado a Pedro Cunha para esas noticias.)
Weird crescent-shaped UFOs and black helicopters have been playing a strange game of cat-and-mouse in the suburbs north of Dallas, Texas during the past month.
On May 21, 1997, residents of a suburb known as The Colony spotted "a black, double-rotor helicopter (Boeing Vertol CH-47 Chinook--J.T.) flying low, making lots of noise and circling the pasture behind our house."
On June 7, 1997, at around 9 p.m., Amy H. went out to her car and saw "a huge, yellow-orange cescent moon." After a brief drive around the block, she returned home and began sorting firewood. Then she "noticed it had started to eclipse and was rapidly shrinking...I went back to sorting my wood and then realized the moon just does NOT eclipse that fast. I looked up again and the 'moon' was back in full crescent. So I stood there and watched it. It started 'eclipsing' again, and that's when I knew something was wrong."
Amy ran indoors to fetch her videocamera, but when she returned, the "crescent moon" was gone.
Days later, Amy spoke on the telephone with a family who had seen a similar UFO in northern Texas. No sooner had she finished speaking to the other witnesses than "a large, charcoal-colored military plane, a smaller plane right behind and a helicopter behind the smaller plane flew over my house at 4:15 p.m."
The planes circled the house "while the helicopter flew to the northwest and circled the exact spot where I'd seen the crescent-shaped object on the (June) 6th... I filmed the helicopter as it flew in low, tight circles...It did this for about 20 minutes, flew off to the northwest, returned 10 minutes later and circled again for 20 minutes, then flew directly overhead and went south (towards Dallas)."
On Friday, June 27, 1997, around 10:45 p.m., Amy and her daughter were in the backyard swimming pool, looking to the north and talking "when we saw a huge bright flash directly north of where we were looking. It lit up the entire area and half the sky. We were amazed by what we had just witnessed and thought it might have been a plane crashing, a meteor, an explosion or something really big blew up."
"Within three to four minutes of this bright flash/ explosion, we saw a helicopter fly in from the northwest," Amy added. "It began circling the area where we saw the flash/explosion and was shining two bright beams of light on the ground as if searching the area. I grabbed my videocamera and filmed it. It circled real low and shined the beams of light all over the area, would land over there for awhile, and then circle some more for about 20 minutes. Finally, it flew off to the northwest but returned about 10 to 15 minutes later and started circling and then landing with the beams of light on."
Reviewing the video, Amy noticed something odd. "At one point, I saw a little blinking light flying around out in the field, and it flew around, looped towards the helicopter light and disappeared. In playing the videotape back in slow motion, we found that the little blinking light goes directly up to the helicopter and seems to 'merge' with it. It really looks strange, so I am hoping to send the footage off for analysis." (Email Interview)
(Here's another actual UP news story from the big UFO Flap of 1947. Enjoy!)
Portsmouth, N.H. (UP) -- Thomas M. Dale, son of Gov. Charles M. Dale of New Hampshire and president of Yankee Airways today (July 8, 1947) was among the saucer-spotters.
The former World War II flier said he saw a "mysterious flying object--a long, thin metal thing going about 700 miles an hour--" as he was making an air trip from Laconia to Wolfeboro early last night (July 7, 1947).
Dale said he saw the object when he looked down over Alton Bay. It was flying east towards Wolfeboro, he said, apparently motorless and pilotless. He said it looked like a gray solid metal material flying at 1,000 feet. His plane was flying at 2,800 feet when he spotted the projectile, he said.
Corroborating his statement was A.B. Skinner of the Lakes Region Flying Service at Wolfeboro, who said he saw the object pass overhead in an easterly direction at about the same time Dale reported seeing the object." (See the Keene, N.H. Sentinel for July 9, 1947, page 1.)
(Today is Double Feature Day, readers, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Roswell incident, so read on...)
The mystery of the "flying saucers" became more and more mystifying to local residents over the weekend as six persons, three of them residents of Mallardville, laid claim to having seen the flashing discs streaking through the sky at noon-time on Sunday (July 6, 1947).
Antoine Beauregard, painter, said he was working on a house during the afternoon and suddenly saw "a shiny aluminum disc" cross the sky "at a height of about 15 miles."
"It was about 300 feet long," said Mr. Beauregard. "My eyesight is very, very good, and I can judge distance and height accurately."
A Columbian reporter who tried to catch up with Mr. Beauregard but he was not at his work. He was seen along Columbia street early this morning but the reporter was unable to find him to get his story of the cavorting crockery.
Mrs. Beauregard said she knew little of what her husband saw.
"My husband said that he saw a shiny, round disc, bigger than most and sort of squared off on one side. (Interesting! See descriptions of the crashed Roswell saucer--J.T.) That's all I really know about it."
Others laying claim to having seen the "saucers" were Mrs. V.M. Bailey, Mrs. Edward Vere and Mrs. Carol Watkins, who were sitting on the steps of the Old Orchard Auto Camp about 4 p.m. Sunday when they saw "a cloud of dust like two small tornadoes on the hill toward New Westminster."
According to their report, three discs then pulled up from behind the trees." (See the newspaper The Columbian for July 8, 1947. Many thanks to Bill Oliver and the gang at UFO*BC for making this old news clipping available at their website.)
More "Flap of '47" newspaper accounts are available at UFO*BC's website. Check them out at http://www.ufobc.org
Don't miss our parent site, UFOINFO, with its new and updated features, at this URL... http://ufoinfo.com/
Back issues of UFO ROUNDUP can be downloaded from our site at http://ufoinfo.com/roundup/
That's it for this week. Some week, eh? The first Mars landing in 21 years and the big celebration in Roswell. For our readers in Venezuela, here's hoping you had a great time on your "Dia de Independencia" yesterday. Join us next week for more saucer news from "the paper that goes home--UFO ROUNDUP."
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1997 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items 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 issue in which the item first appeared.