May 29, 1998
Editor: Joseph Trainor
Early Sunday morning, March 8, 1998, an Italian farmer spotted a UFO hovering above his field. The incident took place in Lombardia, just outside the small city of Rho, 30 kilometers (18 miles) northwest of Milano (Milan).
The farmer described the UFO as "a white object in the form of an upside-down pear" that "hovered over a field of grain."
Since he was within shouting distance of his farmhouse, he called for his wife. She joined him at once, and the couple observed the UFO "for nearly a half hour."
Midway through the sighting, the couple reported, a hatch slid open, and an occupant emerged. The witnesses described "the alien" as "a being about 60 to 80 centimeters (30 to 40 inches) high, with two huge black eyes."
The occupant "floated" in the air close to the object for about ten minutes. The occupant then reentered the UFO, and the object "suddenly rose vertically as it illuminated itself."
The case is being investigated by Italian ufologist Giancarlo D'Alessandro of Centro Italiano di Studi Ufologici (CISU). (See the Italian newspaper La Padania for March 15, 1998.)
The previous night, Saturday, March 7, 1998, Carabineri (Italian police--J.T.), port authorities and local police watched a UFO "plunge headlong" through the sky in Termoli, a port on the Adriatic Sea.
The alert sounded at 6:30 p.m. Police described the UFO as "a luminous object that plunged headlong into the sea with a smoky luminous trail."
Termoli is in Campobasso province approximately 232 kilometers (145 miles) east of Rome. (See the newspaper Il Resto del Carlino for March 9, 1998. Grazie a Eduardo Russo, Renzo Cabassi, Gian Paulo Grassino, Goffredo Pierpaoli, Marcelo Pupilli e Giancarlo D'Alessandro di CISU per questo rapporto.)
(Editor's Note: Sibenik, Croatia, just across the Adriatic Sea from Termoli, was the site of a UFO landing earlier this year.)
Florida's UFO flap entered its third week with more sightings reports flooding in from the Orlando and Pensacola areas.
James J. of Cocoa Beach, Fla. (population 12,123), a city 7 miles (11 kilometers) south of Cape Canaveral, says he witnessed the flyover of two UFOs on Saturday, March 7, 1998, followed by the launch of two D-25 Trident missiles from a U.S. Navy submarine.
"I saw those UFOs as well around 6:45 that evening," James reported. "I thought they were UFOs because I've had three sightings in the past six months."
"It was dusk. I saw two white glowing lights as if they were (enveloped) in a cloud. As I traveled south on (Highway) A1A in Cocoa Beach, the objects hovered and fled. Then I noticed something. Contrails coming up from the ocean. I have a friend at the Kennedy Space Center, and she said there were no launches scheduled for that day."
"We saw the contrails (again) a couple of days later," he reported, adding that "no scheduled launches" were set for that day, either. "Florida Today claimed that the Navy was conducting missile tests over the area."
Bermuda's Royal Gazette of March 10, 1998 stated that the missiles had been launched from the Trident submarine USS West Virginia.
On Wednesday, March 18, 1998, between 10 and 10:30 p.m., Josh Harris was standing on his front lawn in Sebring, Fla. (population 8,900), a town on Highway 17 90 miles (144 kilometers) southeast of Tampa, when he spotted a UFO.
"At first I saw six bright orange lights in the northeast sky that disappeared," he reported. "Four lights in a line appeared in the eastern sky, then also disappeared. Back at the original location, eight new lights appeared. There were four lights, with another four lights in a row beneath them."
On Friday evening, March 20, 1998, Don and Cindy Rash saw a UFO in their hometown of Gulf Breeze, Fla. (population 5,530), located in the Florida panhandle 7 miles (11 kilometers) south of Pensacola. They described the object as "a disc with lights all around it" hovering "over the big bridge" connecting Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach. This was Don Rash's second UFO sighting of the month.
That morning, Friday, March 20, 1998, John S., his wife and his son were "driving west on (Interstate Highway) I-4 approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers) outside of Orlando at 7:45 a.m. when I witnessed something in the sky overhead."
Orlando (population 164,693) is located 229 miles (366 kilometers) north of Miami.
"It was a grayish vapor trail that moved to the right, left, right, then left again, all in what appeared like quarter-mile (0.6 kilometer) increments," he reported. "This was right over the interstate. It looked like some drivers noticed it because I saw some looking up as we passed them. I couldn't see a shape or anything flying at the end of the trail (contrail). Also, it didn't seem like it was turning but more like changing directions back on itself."
The following day, Saturday, March 21, 1998, Jeff Ritzmann, a Maryland man vacationing in Florida, spotted a UFO while standing outside Chan's Cafe, located in the Best Western Hotel near Gulf Breeze, Fla.
According to columnist Carole Baker of the Pensacola Beach Islander, Ritzmann grabbed his camcorder and "shot an approximate 13-second video of a UFO flying from west to east between Pensacola Beach and Gulf Breeze...The video shows a bright white/silver object traveling quite fast across the sky. Toward the end of the video, the object seems to tilt, or turn, showing a bright flash as it catches the sun's rays. After that, it appears to fade, probably turning away, it pursues and erratic course until it is out of sight. This object does not appear to be an airplane approaching Pensacola airport, since its speed and altitude are too high and fast" for a conventional aircraft.
On Monday, March 23, 1998, Florida authorities closed Highway 192 in Holipaw, about five miles (8 kilometers) north of Narcoossee, the site of the March 17 flyover of a V-shaped UFO.
The highway was closed following a head-on collision between a pickup truck and a semi-tractor trailer hauling a load of chemicals. The crash took place near the intersection of Highways 192 and 441. The semi spilled an unspecified quantity of the chemical Dithan. As a result, the authorities began hazardous material (HAZMAT) clean-up procedures.
Highway 192 in Holipaw was supposed to remain closed "for a day." However, on Wednesday, March 25, authorities said the road would remain closed "until sometime tomorrow."
Ufologist Daniel Cox pointed out that Holipaw, Fla. is in a "rural, wooded and swampy" area, adding, "Closing of Highway 192 in this vicinity, near the intersection of Highways 192 and 441, effectively eliminates all civilian traffic in the region, at least as far as primary roads are concerned."
This has led some UFO buffs to wonder if a saucer landed early last week in Holipaw.
On Wednesday evening, March 25, a newspaper reporter from Sebring, Fla. spotted mysterious lights in the sky over Highway 60 as he was driving to Lake Wales (population 9,670), a city 53 miles (85 kilometers) east of Tampa.
Each night from Monday, March 23, to Friday, March 27, "a crew of five to ten people harvesting palms at night have been seeing lights in the sky an estimated 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers)" north of Lake Okeechobee, according to Jean Brown of Tampa Bay MUFON.
On Friday, March 27, 1998, the operations manager at the U.S. Air Force's Avon Park Bombing Range informed Ms. Brown that "for the past two weeks, the Air Force has been dropping flares attached to parachutes, two at a time, for A-10s at high altitude testing night vision goggles. He said testing was supposed to end last night (Thursday, March 26), and that they have received many calls as these flares have been seen from Lake Wales south."
(Many thanks to Jean Brown, Carole Baker, Danny Cox, Josh Harris, Courtland Lewis, Steve Wilson Sr. and others for these Florida reports.)
On Sunday evening, February 15, 1998, three people--Ferdinand D., Simone B. and Beatrice S.-- were driving on Autoroute RN13 between Evreux and Saint Andre de l'Eure when they spied "four luminous objects in the sky."
A UFO was first seen near the perimeter of the Armee de l'Air (French Air Force--J.T.) Base 105 Evreux/Fauville.
"It had a spherical form and remained stationary in front of us," Ferdinand reported. "As we drove into 'old Evreux,' the object was on our right."
They dropped off Beatrice at her home in the Val David section of Evreux and then drove down Chaussee (local road) D67, heading back to Saint Andre de l'Eure.
"We then saw three other spheres in a stationary group," Simone reported. "The first one came and made a jerky motion. Then the UFOs dispersed in all directions."
Stopping the car, Ferdinand and Simone stepped outside to get a better look. They watched the first UFO return. "The intensity of the light varied, seeming to give an impression of shrinkage and expansion. It disappeared after ten minutes."
Evreux is a city in the department of Eure about 140 kilometers (84 miles) west of Paris. (Merci beaucoup a Thierry Garnier pour ces nouvelles.)
On Monday, March 23, 1998, at 9:45 p.m., witnesses in Bindoon, Western Australia (W.A.), 84 kilometers (51 miles) north of Perth, saw "a large, multicoloured light moving around high up in the eastern sky."
For fifteen minutes, the witnesses watched what they described as "a light yellow/gold object" with "red/green lights move around in a weird fashion never seen before...The illumination appeared too large for a star or planet."
Earlier in the week, two UFO sightings were reported in New South Wales, Australia.
On Thursday, March 19, 1998, at 9:15 p.m., people living 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Mussellbrook, N.S.W. reported seeing "a large, low-flying aerial craft with lots of odd surging noises, no lights." The UFO "passed overhead on a bearing of southeast to northwest." No Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) activity was reported in that vicinity at the time of the sighting.
On Sunday, March 22, 1998, sometime after midnight, people in Taylor Lakes, N.S.W. reported seeing a UFO with "multicoloured flashing lights and some windows" fly overhead. (Many thanks to Ross Dowe and the Australia/New Zealand National UFO Hotline for these reports.)
Following a two-month hiatus, UFOs returned to Central America on February 25, 1998, turning up in the nation of Panama.
On Wednesday, February 25, at 2:39 a.m., police in the small city of Santiago de Veraguas received calls from residents claiming to have seen an OVNI (Spanish acronym for UFO) in the night sky.
By morning, city authorities were checking out rumors of "a possible UFO landing."
Santiago is on the Pan-American Highway 240 kilometers (150 miles) west of Balboa.
That evening, at 9:15 p.m., a mysterious explosion rocked the Barriada Florestal section of Santiago. Investigating police and firefighters found a perfectly circular hole in the roof of one of the houses. The cause of the hole remains unexplained.
The following day, Thursday, February 26, 1998, at 11:23 p.m., a triangular UFO was seen hovering above Cerro Gordo hill on the outskirts of Santiago. Fifteen people witnessed the object and described it as "another UFO...with three lights of different colors, shaped like a boomerang or a triangle. There was no U.S. Air Force or Panamanian air traffic in the area" at the time.
MUFON investigator John Thompson contacted NORAD and spoke to "Scott Johnson, a public relations officer for NORAD, about" Panama, and Johnson "said a careful check was made of the area around Santiago" that night "but NORAD found no 'space junk' reentering" Earth's atmosphere at that location. (See Filer's Files #12 for 1998. Many thanks to George A. Filer and John Thompson for this report.)
(Editor's Note: Santiago is 200 miles (320 kilometers) east of Golfito and Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica, where disc-shaped UFOs appeared during the last week of December 1997.)
After a few quiet months, the tiny town of Cannonville, Georgia (population 400) is again the focus of UFO activity.
Cannonville is on Highway 29 just east of West Point Lake, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Atlanta.
On Saturday, February 21, at 10 p.m., a few Cannonville residents spotted "a UFO with three lights on it...flashing and blinking in the Hogg Mountain area. Witnesses were close enough to have heard any sound, but there was none."
On Sunday, March 22, 1998, at 4 p.m., a 57-year- old Cannonville woman "was driving east on Long Cane Road and saw two bright 'silver balls' hanging in the air, just west of Hogg Mountain. The silver balls were about one mile (1.6 kilometers) away from her on the horizon at approximately 60 degrees height. The silver balls each had an apparent size several times bigger than Venus and a real size larger than a four-room house. The southern-most UFO 'disappeared' straight-up in a streaking fashion. The second UFO did the same a few seconds later."
When she arrived in Cannonville, the woman rushed into her house and told her family what she had just seen. "Her sister went outside to look up and saw a yellow prop (propellor-engine) plane." She then spotted a hovering "silver ball" and "yelled for everyone to come outside. As the family ran out, the UFO disappeared." (See Filer's Files #12 for 1998. Many thanks To George A. Filer and John Thompson of MUFON for this report.)
An unusual wall painting discovered in Rome by Italian archeologists has raised eyebrows in the Fortean community. The fresco shows an ancient Italian city...from the air!
According to the Reuters report, "An Italian archeologist has stumbled on a richly colored wall fresco, thought to be about 2,000 years old, showing a detailed cityscape that experts say could be a bird's-eye view of ancient Rome."
"The depiction of a walled city measuring about 12 feet wide by eight feet wide, was discovered during an excavation of a dank passageway at the Trajan Baths near Rome's Colosseum."
"A pale bridge resembling Florence's Ponte Vecchio arches over an azure river in one corner of the fresco. Elsewhere is a bright red theater with a white roof and a cluster of houses."
"On the painting's right flank is a large city square of tomato-red buildings, built around a set of ocher daubs that archeologists said represented bronze statues."
"The city wall is broken at one point by a gateway topped with cream bell-like towers."
"'It's impressionistic,' said Rita Volpe, Rome City Council archeologist. 'The period is certainly the second half of the first century after Christ."
"Nero, emperor from A.D. 54 to 68, committed suicide shortly after his sumptuous palace was finished. A later emperor, Vespasian, tore it down and built the Colosseum on one of its lakes."
"Trajan,who ruled Rome from 98 to 117, later built the baths on top of the rest of the (Nero's) complex. Archeologists said the fresco almost certainly predated Trajan, because when his baths were constructed, the walls were bricked up, covering the painting."
"Volpe said it was unclear whether the artist had depicted Rome or whether the cityscape was imaginary."
"'It's certainly a city, but I can't say which city it is. It could be an ideal city,' she said." (See the New York Daily News for March 8, 1998, page 52.)
(Editor's Comment: I think the fresco is 1,200 years older than Nero's palace. Here's why:
(1) Roman civilization lasted only 800 years. Not long enough to produce "impressionist" art. Roman painting and sculpture, like the Etruscans before them, was painstakingly realistic.
(2) Ponte Vecchio-type bridges and "cream bell-like towers" are not features of Roman architecture.
(3) "Bright red" multi-story buildings are not mentioned in either Roman or Etruscan literature.
(4) Rome was built on the ruins of an earlier city, Saturnia, just as today's Mexico City was built on the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan.
(5) Saturnia was overrun by northern barbarians, the Rasenna, who later became the Etruscans, about the time of the Trojan War in 1,200 B.C. Just as the Vandals overran and sacked Rome itself in 410 A.D.
My theory: The fresco is a remnant of that lost Italian civilization of Saturnia. Remember the strange "Cicero's Daughter" case, that weird catacomb found under Rome's Capitoline Hill back in the Middle Ages?)
In a recent story on the UFO sightings in Toms River, New Jersey, your editor cited Ellis Smith's sighting as taking place at 4:30 p.m. on February 19, 1998. In actuality, the Smith family's sighting took place five days earlier, on Saturday, February 14, 1998.
Ellis Smith writes, "I can also readily ascertain the day it took place, and I believe the event actually began when my family and I were in the theater watching the first showing" of the movie Sphere "which began at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, February 14."
"At 4:30 p.m. (that day), my son age 9, my daughter age 5 and myself were driving home from the theater in Toms River when I noticed about 20 miles to the southwest, 40 to 45 degrees up from the horizon, what appeared to be an 'instant' contrail descending from a very bright white object."
"I informed Starfriends and IUFO almost immediately upon arriving home from where the sighting took place," he added, "and so have the original submissions complete with time stamp."
Mr. Smith has made the original emails and time stamps available to your editor for review. I am satisfied that his family's sighting took place on Saturday, February 14, 1998. UFO ROUNDUP regrets the error. Thank you, Mr. Smith, for helping to set the record straight.
In a story on the 1965 Everglades UFO case, your editor mistakenly identified an airboat as a "swamp buggy." Florida reader Courtland Lewis wrote, "A swamp buggy is an automobile or truck chassis (no body panels) mounted on four oversized, deep-tread mud tires." I stand corrected, Court. Thanks for writing.)
On March 28, 1867, gigantic hailstones pounded the villages north of Adoni, a city in Andhra Pradesh state 424 kilometers (265 miles) northwest of Madras. Here's the original report:
"In Adoni to the north of the talook, at Nakkulmittah and other villages, the hail is described as being the size of cocoa nuts (coconuts) to woodapples, and lying to one foot (25 centimeters) in depth; in some places destroying the wet and dry (season) crops."
"In Gooti, at eight p.m. on the (March) 28th, the hail was described as ranging from the size of bullets to limes..."
"In Anantapur talook the size of the hailstones is apparently incredible. I give, however, the local report, that in a field in the village of Bondalavada, some of the (hail)stones were two-thirds of a cubic yard (576 square inches or 1,152 square centimeters--J.T.) in size."
"In the village of Chadula a cubic span, and in other villages of six seers, or three pounds in weight; this last was verified by the Tahsildar (local official--J.T.). Two men 2,470 sheep and eight cattle were killed, and some thatched houses were destroyed." (See Symon's Monthly Meteorological Magazine, volume 2, number 53 for 1867, "Severe Hailstorm in India." Reprinted in TORNADOS, DARK DAYS, ANOMALOUS PRECIPITATION, AND WEATHER-RELATED PHENOMENA, compiled by William A. Corliss, Sourcebook Project, April 1983, page 100.)
The website for NICAP, also known as the National Investigating Committee for Aerial Phenomena, is up and online. UFO news is available at the NICAP site at this URL: http://www.evansville.net/~slk/ufoi.html.
Columnist Carole Baker of the Pensacola Beach Islander just opened her website, which lists the latest UFO news from Gulf Breeze, Fla. Carole's "Skywatch Diary" can be found at this URL: http://www.deleree.com/skywatch-diary/index.html.
Don't miss our parent site, UFOINFO. Check out the news, photos, features and links at this URL: http://www.ufoinfo.com
Back issues of UFO ROUNDUP can be read at our webpage. Drop in at http://www.ufoinfo.com/roundup/
Today is the birthday of another great-grandad of the Internet. On March 29, 1853, American inventor Elihu Thomson, discoverer of alternating current (AC), was born. Thomson died on March 13, 1937 at age 83, having lived long enough to witness the advent of radio and black-and-white television.
Join us next weekend for more saucer news from "the paper that goes home--UFO ROUNDUP." Have a great week!
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1998 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 news item first appeared.