May 3, 1998
Editor: Joseph Trainor
The London newspapers Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail reported this week that jet interceptors of the Royal Air Force and the Netherlands Air Force had pursued a giant triangular UFO over the North Sea.
According to the Daily Mail, the phased-array radar network at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire picked up an "unusual craft (that was) tracked flying in a zigzag pattern at 17,000 miles per hour (27,200 kilometers per hour) over the North Sea."
An RAF fighter squadron was sent to intercept the object. The Netherlands Air Force "also tracked the UFO but the two (Dutch) F-16 fighters scrambled to intercept the object were unable to keep up" with it.
The UFO dodged the Dutch fighters, increasing its speed to 24,000 miles per hour (38,400 kilometers per hour), and shot away to the northeast, heading for the Atlantic Ocean.
"RAF officials were said to be baffled by the object... 'It was definitely under control, judging by the various manoeuvres executed,' said a spokesman. 'It appeared to be triangular and was around the size of a battleship (about 900 feet long) (273 meters--J.T.).'"
According to the Daily Telegraph, "Tapes to be shown to British and American experts are said to show objects that change shape and in mid-air and a battleship-sized aircraft traveling at 33 times the speed of sound."
The presentation of the radar tapes will be made in June at the Space Symposium to be held at the Air Warfare Center at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire.
The newspaper articles appeared on Monday, April 27, 1998. The RAF Press Office denied that a joint air operation against a giant UFO had taken place, adding, "Yes, there is a conference at the Air Warfare Center at RAF Cranwell in June, but this is to discuss military strategies in outer space--not UFOs."
The Daily Telegraph said Wednesday, April 29, that it stands by its story and its "RAF source."
According to Graham W. Birdsall, editor of the UK's UFO Magazine, the "RAF source" is Philip Burden, a former Ministry of Defence employee who served as editor of the in-house RAF publication RAF News ten years ago. (See the Daily Telegraph for April 27, 1998, "RAF Spots Speeding UFOs with New Radar," and the Daily Mail for April 27, 1998, "24,000 MPH UFO Buzzes Britain." Many thanks to Errol Bruce-Knapp, Graham W. Birdsall and Dave Clarke of BUFORA for making the newspaper articles available.)
French ufologists are studying a UFO encounter four men had back in January in a rural area about 72 kilometers (45 miles) northwest of Paris.
The incident took place near Grisy-les-Platres on January 10, 1998. The town is in the department Val d'Oise, near Genicourt and Pontoise.
D. Bruno, 62, a retired aviation technician for Air France, went on a hunting trip that day with three companions. In two cars, the men drove north on Chaussee (local road) D27.
As they approached Grisy-les-Platres, Bruno reported, "I noticed before me a series of lights as bright as the moon. This was very intriguing as the disposition of the lights in the sky was very strange. As we approached the object, we wondered what it could be. It resembled nothing within the scope of our knowledge."
"The lights consisted of linear luminous portholes from (measuring) 5 by 3 meters spaced on an enormous black mass that was an estimated 45 meters (139 feet) wide, according to my professional experience. The object was at the treetops at a height of 20 meters (67 feet) and hovering over the road. It must have weighed thousands of tons."
"I opened my (side) window in order to hear the sound. I leaned forward the looked underneath the object. The object was truly enormous and blocked my view of the sky. There was a central part of the vast construction that was a lighter shade of gray than the rest, and I thought that it might be a sort of tire--it was clearly octagonal. I could plainly see more of the enormous lights beneath it. From that moment on, however, I remember no more of what happened."
The next thing Bruno knew, he was driving on D27 four kilometers (two miles) past Grisy-les-Platres. "I stopped the car and was startled to find that I was three kilometers past our rendezvous point. My colleagues were also in the same bizarre state."
On January 23, 1998, thirteen days after the UFO encounter, Bruno added, "I consulted a doctor when traces of burns suddenly appeared on the left side of my face and following an eye infection." (Merci beaucoup a Franck Marie et Banque OVNI pour cette histoire.)
Multiple UFOs have been seen repeatedly over and near Grafton, New South Wales, Australia, since the beginning of April.
On Monday, April 6, 1998, ufologist Barry Taylor reported that "while skywatching I observed a group of eight 'star' like objects moving in formation...All eight objects would drop back, move across and then forward within the formation, weaving around each other."
The UFO formation was seen just west of Grafton at 8 p.m., and the objects were heading south at an estimated altitude of 4,000 to 5,000 feet.
On Saturday, April 18, 1998, at 7:10 p.m., Taylor spotted another formation, "same size group...at about 1,000 feet or less" heading south. The object traveled at one kilometer per second, or 3,600 kilometers per hour (2,160 miles per hour).
On Sunday, April 19, 1998, at 6:35 p.m., Taylor reported, "I decided to begin skywatching early and I am glad that I did. Directly overhead at an altitude of about 4,000 feet, a large V formation of about 30 objects was moving south. Each object was holding its position... but 'buffeting' a little in perpendicular. Their colour was a moderately bright yellowish-white. The formation's size was about 15 centimeters (8 inches) at arm's length. I took five photos during the 10-second sighting."
On Monday, April 20, 1998, at 6:50 p.m., Taylor was ready for another photo shoot. Pictures of the big formation taken with 400 ASA Fuji film hadn't come out, so he switched to 800 ASA for his Canon 55mm camera with its f2 lens.
That night, he spied "a group of seven or eight UFOs. They came from the north, turned west just before the Grafton city limits and headed north again. They were moving very fast, and the formation shifted from horizontal to vertical...I took about a dozen photos of the first pass, and the shutter speed was 1/15 second to 1/8 second."
On Tuesday, April 21, 1998, Taylor spied a group of UFOs at 9:20 p.m. "at approximately 6,000 to 8,000 feet, heading south in V formation. Speed was about 5,000 kilometers per hour (3,000 miles per hour) and a second group passed by 20 seconds later."
Plotting their course on a map, Taylor calculated that an unchanged course would take the UFOs to Sydney or Katoomba, N.S.W. Grafton is located 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Sydney. (See the newsletter Australian UFO Reports and Experiences #2 for May, 1998. Many thanks to editor Robert Frola for letting UFO ROUNDUP quote from his newsletter.)
(Editor's Note: Katoomba has been the Number One site for UFO encounters in Australia for the past fifty years.)
The night of Sunday, April 5, 1998, a 1,100-lb. cow was stabbed to death and mutilated in a pasture near Boyce, Louisiana (population 1,361).
According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, the perpetrator "removed its genitals and udder, but there were only a few drops of blood where a pool might have been expected."
"Whoever killed the cow Sunday may have drained the blood from knife wound in its neck, or may have mutilated it after it died, investigators said..."
"'I would tend to believe that it could be some kind of religious cult. I can't say that for sure. But I would think it has something to do with it,' Rapides Parish sheriff's detective Buddy Willis said Tuesday," April 7, 1998.
"Gary Dunn, an investigator for the Louisiana Livestock Brand Commission, said he thinks the cow was tranquilized and killed, then the blood was drained and taken away."
"'That's strictly a presumption,' he said."
"The cow was three to four years old and reportedly healthy."
"The pasture gate was locked, so whoever killed the cow had to jump the gate, Dunn said."
"Another odd feature: There were no signs of a struggle, and tiny yellow flowers around the body stood straight, indicating that the cow had not been dragged anywhere."
Boyce is on Interstate Highway 49 approximately 227 miles (361 kilometers) north of New Orleans. (See the Baton Rouge Advocate for April 9, 1998. Many thanks to Lou Farrish of UFO NEWSCLIPPING SERVICE for this story.)
On Wednesday, April 22, 1998, at 9:15 p.m., a gigantic octagonal-shaped UFO was seen hovering over Albertson's Grocery Store in Rosamond, California (population 7,430).
"The description was of a large object, not quite octagonal in shape, between 100 yards to 200 yards (90 to 180 meters) with bright orange and yellow lights around" its outer edge.
As the object hovered, "it made no sound and its lights caused motorists to park and gawk, and some to call the newspaper."
According to copy chief Jane Treece of the Antelope Valley Press, calls began coming in at about 9 p.m. "After the first couple of calls, we said, 'Yeah, OK, sure,' Treece said, 'But between 9:15 and 11 (p.m.) we received a dozen calls from people who were setting on their way to Albertson's to do some shopping or who were eating at the Taco Bell.'"
On Friday, the Kerns County Sheriff's Department office in Rosamond "said they had no reports of such a sighting."
U.S. Air Force spokesperson "Lorraine Sanders said she, too, had no information on the event."
"Edwards Air Force Base public information officer Gary Hatch said base operators reported no flights scheduled in that area for that time of night." (See the Antelope Valley Press for April 23, 1998, "Residents Report Flying Craft." Many thanks to Bill Hamilton for the newspaper article.)
On Saturday, April 25, 1998, at 11:50 p.m., Kevin M. and his brother were at home in Comer, Georgia (population 939) when they "observed a reddish light zigzagging at his speed, moving across the sky at approximately 40 degrees above the southern horizon. Viewed by the naked eye and with 7X35 binoculars, the stars appeared as faint images compared to the object."
Kevin, an astronomy major in college, said, "I know the difference between a planet, heavenly body, and a flying object," adding that the "light remained horizontal relationship to the Earth's surface the entire time and disappeared at 12:30 a.m. in the southern sky at around 20 to 30 degrees above the horizon."
Comer is located at the junction of Highways 22 and 72, about 85 miles (136 kilometers) east of Atlanta. (Many thanks to Tim Hagemeister of NACOMM for this report.)
On April 1, 1998, at 10 p.m., a UFO "described as looking like a huge flying dinner plate was reported 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of LaGrange, Georgia (population 23,547)."
About an hour later, the female witness saw "mysterious bright lights" to the north-northeast. "The large non-blinking light sat low on the horizon for several minutes Grabbing a pair of binoculars, the woman watched the light" which she described as "about the size of Venus" for "over a minute," after which "it 'zipped' away to the east."
Two days earlier, on March 31, 1998, at 8:30 p.m., a saucer-shaped UFO was "seen hovering over a clover field near a stock pond" near Stovall, Ga., 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of LaGrange.
"'It was a round thing that had a light going round and round,' the witness reported, having observed it from his car. 'Even though it took less than a minute to turn the car around, the UFO was gone.'"
Georgia ufologist John Thompson said, "This is the exact same spot where a daylight Valley-type (i.e. a thimble-shaped object similar to the one photographed in Valley, Alabama--J.T.) UFO was seen by a man and his son in April of 1996."
LaGrange is located 64 miles (102 kilometers) southwest of Atlanta. (See Filer's Files #17 for 1998. Many thanks to George A. Filer of MUFON and John Thompson for these reports.)
On Wednesday, April 29, 1998, at 12:15 a.m., Stefan Duncan, editor of American UFO Newsletter, stopped his truck near the intersection of Mack Road and Bringle Ferry Road in Salisbury, North Carolina (population 23,087) when he spied a mysterious light in the sky.
"I was on my way to High Rock Lake," the site of many UFO sightings since December 1997, Duncan reported, "This craft was sitting stationary when I first viewed it...I jumped out of my truck and I grabbed my videocamera...The craft was moving at 30 miles per hour (48 kilometers per four)--that's a wild estimate. It moved to the right of me and began to approach."
By the time it reached Duncan's location, the UFO resembled an object with this configuration: o 0
"Both lights were white," he added, "The first light was much brighter. At the front tip of the craft was a red, diffused blinking light."
At first Duncan thought it was a slow-flying airplane or a helicopter. "But then, to my amazement, the craft began to roll over and revealed it was a triangular shape. At each corner of the craft was a single white light that appeared to be right at the tip. The triangular-shaped craft turned completely over and began flying upside down. It continued in this position until it faded from my sight..The rollover came in very clear on the videotape."
High Rock Lake is about 10 miles east of Salisbury, a small city on Highway 29 about 115 miles (184 kilometers) west of Raleigh. (See American UFO Newsletter #8 for 1998. Many thanks to Stefan Duncan for this report.)
Early in April, a 39-year-old man was driving east on Route 147 from Meriden to Middletown, Conn. (population 42,762) at 9 p.m. when he spotted an unusual object hovering over the Mount Higby Reservoir.
"He saw an object hovering over the water and its reflection was observed in the water. There were three lights in triangular formation, which were very bright."
According to Mark Cashman and Bruce Tilden, who are investigating the case for Connecticut MUFON, the UFO "was about 50 feet above the reservoir. Object was approximately 100 feet (30 meters) across. It is estimated that the pine trees around the reservoir are between 30 and 40 feet high. The witness said the lights on the object were slightly bluish-white, closer to flourescent light than halogen."
The witness observed the UFO from the car's driver-side window. The object turned off its lights as his car drove past.
The Mount Higby reservoir is approximately four miles west of Middletown, a small city about 17 miles (27 kilometers) south of Hartford, the state capital. (See American UFO Newsletter #8 for 1998. Many thanks to Stefan Duncan for this report.)
(Editor's Note: A "mysterious explosion" rocked Middletown on April 1, 1907, shaking buildings and shattering glass, long before the era of supersonic flight. See Middletown's Penny Press for April 2, 1907, page one.)
(Also see updated info from UFO UpDates Mailing List)
The Mars Global Surveyor snapped its third picture of the enigmatic Cydonia region on April 24, 1998. The new photo shows "The City" and was shot from an altitude of 244 miles (392 kilometers).
However, cloud cover in the Martian skies foiled Surveyor's attempts to find and photograph the marooned Pathfinder lander and the Viking 1 and Viking 2 landers.
According to the NASA press release, "Raw data indicated that the (Pathfinder) lander was not visible due to a thick haze" although land features close to the site, such as Twin Peaks, were visible.
"Viking 1 lander in Chryse Planitia was not identified in images of the site, probably due to imprecise coordinates used to locate the landing site."
"Winter weather in the northern hemisphere and heavy cloud cover prevented a view of the Viking 2 lander in Utopia Planitia."
"Further imaging of the Cydonia region and the Pathfinder/Viking landing sites will not be feasible" for a while, as Mars will soon be passing behind the sun. Solar flares will probably hinder the radio communications between Earth and the Mars Global Surveyor. (Many thanks to Errol Bruce-Knapp for the NASA news release.)
The space shuttle Columbia's Neurolab mission got a new lease on life last weekend as Commander Richard Searloss patched up a malfunctioning air cleansing system.
"A leaky valve caused the shuttle's carbon dioxide removal unit to shut down late Friday, threatening to cut short the two-week research mission explaining how the nervous system develops and functions in space."
"But shuttle Commander Richard Searloss patched up the unit Saturday afternoon."
"Using a screwdriver and tape, he removed one end of a small hose, blocked it with tape to bypass the leaky valve, and reinstalled it."
"He told flight controllers that the system was 'cool and copacetic,' and compared his handiwork to auto repair."
(Editor's Comment: Were I aboard that shuttle, I'd be awfully glad that Mr. and Mrs. Searloss let Richard take auto shop in high school.)
On Tuesday, April 28, 1998, NASA reported that "about half of the baby rats aboard the space shuttle Columbia have died unexpectedly...The rats, which were 9 days old, when Columbia blasted off April 17, were test subjects for experiments to learn about how the absence of gravity affects the development of the human brain and nervous system."
"NASA officials said more than 40 of the baby rats have died, apparently because their mothers were unable or unwilling to nurse them. Scientists had expected 11 to 14 deaths through natural causes during the mission."
On Wednesday, April 29, 1998, NASA's chief veterinarian, Dr. Joseph Bielitzki, "said 50 of the 96 baby rats have died aboard Columbia since the launch April 17," adding that "Columbia's crew is doing everything possible to prevent more deaths."
The crew attempted to keep the baby rats alive by feeding them a blend of milk extract and Gatorade.
"Mary Beth Sweetland, research director with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), accused NASA of being unable 'to keep animals alive on the ground or in space.'" (See USA Today for April 27, 1998, "Astronaut's handiwork preserves mission;" and April 28, 1998, "Rats Die in Space;" and April 29, 1998, "NASA Criticized.")
On Sunday, April 26, 1998, the Cassini spacecraft zoomed past the planet Venus, adding another 16,300 miles per hour (21,080 kilometers per hour) to its speed and shortening its flight time to Saturn.
Cassini was launched in October 1997 for a seven-year, 2.2 billion-mile journey. "The plutonium- powered spacecraft will spend four years exploring Saturn, its rings and frozen moons. It's carrying the European Space Agency's Huygens probe, which will land on Titan, the largest of those moons."
Cassini passed within 176 miles (281 kilometers) of Venus and used the planet's gravity to achieve a higher flight speed.
"'All indications are that the spacecraft did exactly what we expected,' said Ronald Draper, Deputy Program Manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory" in Pasadena, California.
"A second Venus 'gravity assist' is set for June 24, 1999, followed by a close pass of the Earth in August 1999 and another past Jupiter in 2000. Each will add speed to allow Cassini's arrival at Saturn on July 1, 2004." (See the New York Daily News for April 27, 1998.)
(Editor's Comment: Cassini is now traveling at a flight speed of 87,000 miles per hour (139,000 kilometers per hour). In the past seven days, the spacecraft has gone 2,088,000 miles (3,340,800 kilometers) beyond Venus. Now that it's well away from Venus's shine, it might be visible by telescope. Venus can best be seen at 4 a.m. in the eastern sky, about 10 degrees above the horizon. Just above it and to the right is Jupiter. Amateur astronomers, let us know if you spot it.)
"On May 30, 1937, during a part of the interval between 4h 35m and 6h 0m G.C.T., while Mars was being observed through a 12-inch aluminized reflector, 250 magnification, with unusually good seeing, what appeared to be a series of bright flashes was seen, extending across the south polar cap about one degree north of the southern rim of the disk."
"They were irregularly intermittent and were estimated to be about one magnitude brighter than the rest of the (polar) cap. They were entirely unexpected, but once they had been seen became the chief concern of the observation period."
"Measured from the drawings and the photographs the thickness of the south polar cap on the central meridian was about one degree, 87. The flashes extended almost midway between the northern edge of the cap and the southern rim of the disk. A line of tiny white spots seemed to extend across the cap, some of the spots coalescing to swell into a brilliant white spot which quickly became yellow, then red-yellow, the phenomenon passing from left to right across the polar cap." (See Popular Astronomy volume 40, page 430 for 1937, "Apparent Flashes Seen on Mars" by Latimer J. Wilson. Reprinted in THE MOON AND THE PLANETS: A CATALOGUE OF ASTRONOMICAL ODDITIES, compiled by William R. Corliss, The Sourcebook Project, Glen Arm, Md., 1985, page 221.)
Dr. Timothy Parker of JPL offers a website with a new view of the Pathfinder site on Mars. It's in 3-D! Check out Big Crater and Twin Peaks with your 3-D glasses. Even an old red-and-green pair from the 1950s will do. It's at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/parker/analglyph.html
Also you can try http://www.msss.com/mars/global_surveyor/camera/images/4_25_98_pathfinder_release/index.html
Angel Gutierrez has his UFO site open at http://www.ciberia.net/~nonsia/index.htm
For more on the current flap in New South Wales, Australia, check out http://www.nor.com.au/users/stingray/latesite.htm
Was the Cydonia region on Mars hit by a NATO nuclear bomb in 1993? Kent Steadman explores this theory at http://eagle-net.org/phikent/orbit/april/mystery.html
Don't miss our parent site, UFOINFO, which now has direct links to Australian UFO Reports and Experiences. Access the site at this URL: http://www.ufoinfo.com
Back issues of UFO ROUNDUP can be read and downloaded at http://www.ufoinfo.com/roundup
On this date, May 3, 1765, Pennsylvania physician Dr. John Morgan opened the first medical school in the USA at the College of Philadelphia.
That's it for this week. We'll be back next weekend 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.