April 19, 1998
Editor: Joseph Trainor
Eyewitnesses spotted four UFOs over Bariloche, a city in southern Argentina, immediately prior and during two citywide electrical blackouts.
Bariloche is a popular ski resort in the Andes, on the south shore of Lago (Lake) Nahuel Huapi, located 1,040 kilometers (650 miles) southwest of Buenos Aires.
The first blackout took place at 7:45 p.m. on Sunday, April 12, 1998 and lasted until 10:11 p.m. "Spokesmen for Cooperativa Electricidade Bariloche (CEB) said the origin of the electrical blackout that darkened a great part of the city has no explanation. No cause exists to explain the occurrence."
CEB linemen traced the source of the power shutdown to transmission lines leading to the Cipresales transformer substation.
Power was briefly restored for four minutes. But at 10:15 p.m., Bariloche's lights went off again, and the city remained without power until 1:30 a.m. Monday, April 13.
According to the newspaper Diario Rio Negro, "Gustavo and Beatriz Riveros saw strange lights hovering above Cerro Carbon (hill) in the eastern section of the city Beatriz saw two of the lights 'fuse together' over the Lions (a land feature on the hillside--J.T.) just as the lights went out. Other witnesses reported strange illuminations over Lago Nahuel Huapi."
"In the barrio San Francisco, a woman saw 'a ball of red light' descending in a zigzag pattern toward the large pedestrian stairway at Tiscornia."
A "luminous disc" was also seen near the intersection of Calle Fernando Beschtete and Calle La Paz.
In the barrio Nicolas Lavalle, eyewitnesses saw four luminous UFOs hovering overhead. One witness, Sara Salizar, said, "They are a large spacecraft and three smaller ones that attached themselves to the larger one over and over again."
Andrea Capararo told the Argentine news agency TOLAM that she and her sisters, Natalia and Carolina, "at 11:30 (p.m.) we observed in the sky a kind of large plate with twinkling red, yellow, green and blue lights, and another object a little bit longer with red and yellow lights. The luminous objects seemed permanently supported in the air for several minutes, then moved away towards the lake."
Natalia and Carolina Capararo described the saucer as resembling "a tomato bigger than an airplane" and flying toward Cerro Carbon, east of the barrio.
"Various inhabitants of the upper (highland) region of the city, for their part, told radio and TV reporters that they had first seen a formation of stars moving across the sky with twinkling lights colored red, yellow and green and with a brilliant white radiance, between 10:30 and 11:45 p.m. Sunday night."
"The moving lights appeared to be attached to an elongated form and another form resembling a small bottle, the inhabitants said. The union of the two objects produced 'a great star,' like a great electrical discharge, and the lights of the city went out."
Bariloche is the site of two of Argentina's most famous incidents, the Dr. Tarda case in December 1968 and the jetliner pilot case in June 1995.
(See the Argentinian newspapers Diario Popular of Buenos Aires and Diario Rio Negro for April 14, 1998. Muchas gracias a Carlos Iurchuk, Luis Pacheco y ALFANET para esas noticias.)
On Friday, April 3, 1998, at 6:30 p.m., a UFO described as "a small, neon green, egg-shaped object" flew over downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia (population 19,027).
Several local residents, plus four officers of the Fredericksburg police, witnessed the UFO's overflight.
Eyewitness Robert Tolen of Spotsylvania County spotted the UFO while he was at a pay phone at Eubank's Amoco station on Princess Anne Street. "I believe it was a UFO," Tolen was quoted as saying in the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, "I don't care what anyone says."
Michael Todaro of Stafford County "was at a baseball field at Falmouth Elementary School" when he spied the UFO, saying, "It was one of the weirdest things I've ever seen."
"If someone else hadn't seen it, I never would have told anyone about it. Never. Never," Todaro told the Free-Lance Star.
According to the newspaper, the four officers "were in the parking lot behind police headquarters" when they sighted the object.
The newspaper checked with the Wallops Island missile test range near Chincoteague to determine if the witnesses had actually witnesses a rocket test. But a spokesman for Wallops Island told them that there "were no tests on Friday."
Fredericksburg is just south of Route 3, about 57 miles (91 kilometers) north of Richmond, the state capital.
The Free-Lance Star also reported a UFO incident near the Patuxent Naval Air Test Center in Lexington Park, Maryland (population 9,743). "Witnesses saw a blue UFO that same evening" near the center on Highway 235, and "It hovered for a few minutes, then sped away." (See the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star for April 7, 1998. Many thanks to Kenneth Young, public relations director for Tri-States Advocates for Scientific Knowledge, T.A.S.K., for forwarding the article.)
On Sunday, April 12, 1998, at 11 a.m., a U.S. Air Force veteran, Mike H., and his family were driving north on Interstate Highway 35 northwest of Dallas, Texas.
As he drove through the suburb of Farmers Branch (population 24,250), Mike reported, "I spotted a black round-shaped UFO flying very fast and just below the clouds. The object looked quite small to me, less than the size of a pencil held at arm's length. But due to the height, even a large object would look small."
At first Mike said nothing to his family, wondering if the object might be a bird, but then he realized that "it was flying much too fast" to be a bird.
The motorists kept the UFO in view as they drove past Royal Lane and L.B. Houston Park, heading for Interstate Highway 635, aka the Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway.
"The object was moving faster than we were," Mike reported. "Our vehicle was moving approximately 65 miles per hour, and the object moved past us in the same direction and within ten seconds was out of sight." (Email Interview)
(Editor's Comment: Ten seconds to the horizon would mean an estimated speed of 1,440 miles per hour.)
The March 24, 1997 UFO incident in the Peak District west of Sheffield is now the subject of an investigation by the newspaper Sheffield Star, the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA) and the Hon. Helen Jackson, Member of Parliament for Sheffield/Hillsborough.
In early April, the Sheffield Star revealed that the RAF had conducted a low-altitude training exercise that night and had participated in a massive air-and-ground search for a purported missing aircraft.
Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Jackson submitted a list of questions about the Sheffield case to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).
On April 7, 1998, John Spellar, Under-Secretary of Defense sent Mrs. Jackson this response: "It is not possible 12 months after the date in question to state precisely where military activities were being carried out. Records kept show only that aircraft were tasked to carry out low flying over the Peak District between 2030 and 2107 (8:30 to 9:07 p.m.) local time on the evening of 24 March 1997. No low-level flying is permitted over the Sheffield urban area or any other major conurbation."
The night of March 24, 1997, instruments at the University of Edinburgh recorded two mysterious sonic booms in the Sheffield area. Eyewitnesses on the ground reported seeing a triangular UFO and up to six RAF Tornado fighters flying overhead.
According to the May/June 1997 issue of UFO Magazine (page 9), the witnesses described the object as "a huge triangular-shaped UFO (that) passed directly overhead at 300 feet at 9:30 p.m. The craft had pinkish-colored lights around its curved edges and a blinking blue light on its underside and 'lit up the street as bright as day.'"
Since March 24, 1997, rumors of a UFO air battle and a Tornado crash have circulated in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. According to the story, the triangular UFO appeared over Dronfield, Derbyshire. Six RAF Tornado interceptors engaged in an air attack on the craft. The UFO supposedly shot down a Tornado, which crashed in a reservoir near the Howden Moors in Derbyshire. The UFO then fled into space.
Following the exchange of letters between Under-Secretary Spellar and Mrs. Jackson, BUFORA press officer Dave Clarke inteviewed Alan Pattison of MoD's "UFO desk" and his deputy, Squadron Leader Tom Manning of the RAF.
According to Clarke, the men "confirmed the planes involved in the incident were two Tornado GR1 Strike aircraft which were operating from the base at RAF Marham on a pre-booked and pre-planned low-level training exercise over the Peak District. These Tornados were the type used on bombing missions in the (Persian) Gulf War and are not fighters that would be scrambled for an intercept."
"They also admitted that other Tornados and indeed Jaguar fighters from other NATO bases took part in the night-time sortie, which included night-time flying at a minimum 250 feet altitude over the mountains west of Sheffield."
UFO researcher Max Burns has claimed that the triangular mystery object was tracked on radar at 9:55 p.m. that night by the Royal Signals unit at the RAF Linton-upon-Ouse base, near the city of York.
Clarke stated, "The MoD/RAF current position is that the two sonic booms recorded at 2132 and 2206 (9:32 and 10:06 p.m. by Edinburgh) that night remain 'unexplained.' They claim the low-flying exercise was over fifty minutes before these sonic events were recorded and say that they have no record of them at the time of the exercise."
Pattison and Manning stated, "We did not chase a UFO, and there has been no cover-up. We responded to a request by the police to help to search for a crashed aircraft and sent a helicopter from RAF Leconfield. We don't know what caused the sonic events, and the whole thing is a mystery to us, too."
Clarke revealed that the air-and-ground search involved 200 police, fire and military reserve personnel, who covered an area of 40 square miles around Bolsterstone, South Yorkshire. The helicopter from RAF Leconfield was a Westland Sea King HAS Mk 6, which assisted the West Yorkshire police helicopter in the search. (See the Sheffield Star for April 4, 1998. Also UFO Roundup, volume 2, number 12 for March 30, 1997. Many thanks to Dave Clarke of BUFORA and John Hayes for this story.)
The Mars Global Surveyor snapped a second high-resolution photo of the Cydonia region on Mars this week, this time encompassing an area known as "The City."
On its 239th orbit, Surveyor once again aimed its Mars Orbiting Camera (MOC) at the desert lowlands at latitude 40.8 degrees north and longitude 9.6 degrees west. And, just like last week, the photo's appearance on the Internet raised a ruckus.
On Thursday, April 16, 1998, a memo from a person identifying himself as "Fred Kurros" appeared on a website, alleging that Surveyor's images showed artificial structures.
"Apparently, yesterday (Wednesday, April 15) at the Denver Lockheed-Martin location was really a party-like atmosphere, people running around and saying, 'There was life on Mars half a billion years ago!'" Kurros wrote, "...and NASA is prepared to announce it in the next three days."
"The new image that clearly (shows) at least one pyramid structure...with right angles on at least three of the sides...and it is a perfect right angle. Plus, many of us have been comparing it to photos of the Giza pyramid, and the likeness is stunning."
At 2:54 p.m. on Thursday, in an interview with Rob McConnell, spokesperson Frank O'Donnell, Manager of Media Services for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, denied the "Kurros" story.
O'Donnell stated that "stories being circulated on the Internet pertaining to an alleged statement that NASA will be releasing as to alleged 'artificial structures' on Mars as captured by MGS (Mars Global Surveyor) are unfounded--and were denied."
O'Donnell added that "the (second Cydonia) photo received at JPL, after careful examination, shows no proof of any artificial structure(s)," and pointed out to McConnell that "people will see in them what they want to see."
The new Cydonia photo has also stirred renewed debate among professional geologists.
In a new paper entitled "A Geological and Geomorphic Investigative Approach to Some of the Enigmatic Cydonia Landforms," geologist James L. Erjavel disputed NASA's conclusion that the Face and other landforms in Cydonia were caused by "differential erosion."
NASA's 1989 McGill survey concluded that Cydonia was once covered by one kilometer (1,000 meters) of "erodible sediment" that was blown away by strong Martian winds "leaving a knobby terrain that is a combination of exhumed remnants of cratered terrain, igneous intrusives and cratered plateau material."
Erjavel pointed out that the Cydonia photos show only a "slight modest erosion" of the region. Erodible material was present to a depth of only 200 meters in prehistoric times, not 1,000 meters.
As proof of his assertion, Erjavel offered a comparison of Cydonia with the cratered area immediately to the east. Both regions show clearly-defined impact craters of a diameter of one kilometer or greater. However, while the eastern region has "a significantly greater number of smaller craters less than one kilometer" in diameter, Cydonia has none.
"On the most basic level," Erjavel wrote, "this dimophism suggests there is a distinct difference between the cratered and knobby terrains that cannot be accounted for if exhumation by erosive forces has been the primary factor in the area's morphological development." (Many thanks to Steve Wilson Sr. for these news stories.)
(Editor's Comment: Seeing the second new Cydonia photo, I was excited to find the remnants of an 'igneous intrusive,' aka a volcanic dike, in the lower portion of the picture. The dike is similar to the one at Shiprock, New Mexico and is proof that a stratovolcano like California's Mount Shasta or Washington state's Mount Rainier existed in Cydonia about ten to fifteen million years ago. Interestingly, these dikes, which are caused by molten magma seeping up into cracks in the existing bedrock, are usually found in sedimentary rocks. I still say the underlying formation that created Cydonia's plain is sandstone, not basalt.)
On Friday, April 17, 1998, the space shuttle Columbia took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on its twenty-fifth mission--a two-week Neurolab experiment designed to study the effects of space travel on the brains of living creatures.
The launch had been scheduled for Thursday, April 16, but a malfuntion in the main comlink data processor ended the countdowm. "But tens of thousands of spectators packed around the Kennedy Space Center yesterday to watch the ship soar into a clear afternoon sky and glitter for five minutes before vanishing from sight.
The shuttle could easily be called Altman's Ark because, riding along with pilot Scott Altman, mission commander Rick Searloss and crew, are 1,514 crickets in the larval stage, 18 pregnant mice, 152 rats, 60 snails, 75 snail eggs and 233 swordtail fish.
"Scientists know from 37 years of human space flight what happens to the body during weightlessness. The goal of the current mission, called Neurolab, is to understand why."
"By knowing how the nervous system adjusts to the lack of gravity, the space agency will be in a better position to send astronauts to Mars and establish moon colonies."
On Saturday, April 19, Columbia's doctors, Dave Williams and Jay Buckey Jr. conducted complex animal dissections, "removing the brains of four rats so scientists can see how the nervous system changes in weightlessness. Scientists say the only way to know precisely how the nervous system adapts and develops without gravity is to remove and preserve body parts in orbit." (See the New York Post for April 18, 1998, "Shuttle roars off into space with a cast of thousands" and for April 19, 1998, "Shuttle crew looks to brainless rats for help.")
(Editor's Comment: One can only hope that some star- hopping species unfamiliar with Earth does not select the next 15 days to visit our solar system. Their curiosity piqued by that strange vehicle orbiting the blue planet, they might focus the old tractor beam, reel in Columbia and schedule everything aboard for what the Post euphemistically calls "post-landing dissection.")
A strange case of apparent teleportation took place in Poona, India back in April 1928. A nine- year-old boy, Damodar Ketkar, had been plagued by a type of teleportation phenomena since the previous year. Coins, toys and other small objects miraculously popped into view above his bed--inside a mosquito net--and dropped onto the sheet. The phenomena were meticulously recorded by Miss Kohn, his British governess.
But, seventy years ago, on April 23, 1928, Damodar made the jump into hyperspace himself.
Miss Kohn writes, "At 9:45 a.m. on April 23rd, the elder boy (Damodar) suddenly materialized in front of me in your doorway like a rubber ball. He looked bright but amazed, and said, 'I have just come from Karjat.' He didn't come through any door."
"My sister describes the posture of the boy as having been most remarkable. When she looked up from her letter-writing, she saw him bending downward: both his hands were hanging away from his sides, and the hands hanging limp--his feet were not touching the floor, as she saw a distinct space between his feet and the threshold. It was precisely the posture of a person who has been gripped around the waist and carried, and therefore makes no effort but is gently dropped at his location."
Suddenly, as if released by an invisible agency, Damodar tumbled to the carpet, shaken but unhurt.
The phenomenal manifestations in the Ketkar household at Poona, 200 kilometers (120 miles) southeast of Bombay, continued until 1930 and then mysteriously ended. (See POLTERGEISTS by Alan Gauld and A.C. Cornell, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1979, page 114)
The second Cydonia photo is available at this site: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/target/CYD2/index.html.
I'd like to take time to correct two URLs from last week's issue, both on the first Cydonia photo:
Try the Malin site at this URL: http://www.msss.com/mars/global_surveyor/camera/images/4_6_face_release/index.html
Also, try the JPL Surveyor site at this URL: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/target/CYD1/index.html
Brazil's Sociedade de Estudos Extraterrestres (SOCEX) has a new site up and running. They are at http://www.tabajara.com/socex/
Don't miss our parent site, UFOINFO, with its vast array of stories, features, photos and links. Drop in at http://www.ufoinfo.com
For back issues of UFO ROUNDUP, try our website at http://www.ufoinfo.com/roundup/
To our readers in Venezuela, Feliz Dia de Independencia! We'll be back next week with more saucer news from "the paper that goes home--UFO ROUNDUP." See you then.
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 item first appeared.