May 17, 1998
Editor: Joseph Trainor
On Wednesday, April 22, 1998, at 4:30 a.m., G. Betrand, a night watchman from Bapaume, was making his rounds at a store on the Rue du College in Arras. "The night was beautiful," he reported, "No wind, no clouds."
"During my walk around the outside of the building, I noticed in the sky a luminous point which moved about. I kept my eyes on it for a dozen seconds. At first I thought it was an airplane, but there were no bright lights along the wings, nor directional lights."
"This (object) was like a great whitish 'star,' much quicker than an airplane, but very much slower than a meteorite. It was bizarre. I believe that the luminous mass was a little bigger than a millimeter at arm's length. It seemed to me that the luminous mass was moving from Dainville toward Ste. Catherine (i.e. from southwest to northeast--J.T.) over the suburbs of Arras, but this cannot be verified. All at once, it disappeared, and I saw nothing more."
Arras is a city in the department Pas de Calais 182 kilometers (95 miles) north of Paris.
Six hours earlier, on Tuesday, April 21, 1998, at 10:02 p.m., a mysterious blackout shut off all the electricity in the city of Aix-en-Provence.
Mme. G. Lydie, who lives in Digne-les-Bains, said she had just begun to watch a movie on Canal France 2 when the TV and all the lights in the house went out.
Ironically, the movie was I Married an Alien.
"Researching information in the local press during the days following, I found no mention of the incident," Mme. Lydie reported. "Finding that astonishing, I contacted a number of French journalists. They confirmed that nothing had happened. I then called several of my relatives, and they told me that there had indeed been a blackout, and it was confined only to Aix-en-Provence."
Aix-en-Provence is near France's Mediterranean coast, located in the department Bouches-du-Rhone about 48 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Marseilles.
On Tuesday, March 10, 1998, at 7:35 p.m., G. Thierry was on his way to work in Marcq-en-Baroeul, a city on the border with Belgium, when he spied an unusual sight in the sky.
"As I was going down the Rue de la Briquetterie," he reported, "there appeared two luminous spheres of a very yellow color, which came towards me from the east. The phenomenon flew over me, followed by a third ball of light identical to the other two. The three spheres then formed a perfect equilateral triangle in front of me."
"The phenomenon followed a perfect rectilinear trajectory in an easterly direction and repeated the appearance of two luminous balls followed by a third."
Thierry was adamant that "the phenomenon" was not caused by an airplane. Marcq-en-Baroeul is in the department Nord about 210 kilometers (125 miles) north of Paris. (Merci beaucoup a Franck Marie et Jocelyn Morel de Banque Ovni pour ces nouvelles.)
On Saturday, May 9, 1998, Lawrence B. was at his home in Tervuren, Belgium when he looked up and spotted a bright gleam in the sky.
"I was outside when I saw a very small object in the sky at 2 p.m.," he reported. "It looked like a star--looked metallic. I estimated its height (altitude) at a possible 40,000 feet (12,121 meters). It stayed stationary for about ten minutes."
"When I went to get my telescope, I lost visual confirmation. I looked for another 20 minutes but found nothing. It couldn't have been a weather balloon because they do not stay geo-stationary at such a high altitude." (Email Interview)
On Friday, April 24, 1998, M.W. and her two sons were delivering newspapers in their hometown of Port Talbot, West Glamorgan, Wales when they had an unusual encounter.
"It was approximately eight o'clock, just before dark and the sky was clear," she reported. "We saw in the sky, not very high, lots of separate spiral shapes moving in a circular motion. It was as if there was a spaceship of some sort that was invisible, and we could only see the movement of some sort of energy underneath it. The spirals were positioned apart in a circular movement, and they all moved across the sky together, staying in a circle."
When the family first saw the phenomenon, it was hovering over an abandoned gas works. M.W. pointed out that this is a residential area close to a British Petroleum refinery and a British Steel Works plant. "We watched this (UFO) move for about two minutes" before it flew away over the seaport city.
Port Talbot is 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of Cardiff. (Email Interview)
Ufologists in Northern Ireland are investigating a mysterious crater found on a farm near Belleek, in County Fermanagh last January.
The site was first investigated by the Armagh Planetarium. The farmer had found a circular crater six feet in diameter filled with water. "The crater was drained, but nothing was found except a badly-damaged milk churn."
In April, "investigators found a 1.5 millimeter bead of glass," thought to be a remnant of a fallen meteor.
On December 13, 1997, the night the "mystery meteor" struck the ice cap in Greenland, people in Northern Ireland reported seeing "a bright flash" in County Fermanagh.
"The site is very muddy, and it is suggested that the" object that made the crater "may have sunk out of reach...Planetarium officials say the object struck at about 90 degrees and might be part of the meteor that struck Greenland. Had the Greenland meteor hit Northern Ireland, it would have levelled the whole town of Belleek." (See UK UFO Network newsletter number 92, part 2. Many thanks to the gang at UK UFO Network for this news story.)
On Sunday, May 10, 1998, at 2:15 a.m., Andrew D. and his wife were on their way home, driving through Bonita, California (population 12,542) when they spied a UFO in the night sky.
"We stopped and watched for about five seconds," Andrew reported, "Very cool."
He estimated that the UFO "was 45 degrees off the horizon. It popped through the clouds from an unknown direction, but I was facing north. It was only the row of lights--nothing more. There was no glow or aura."
"My wife says she heard what sounded like a huge jet, though I remember no sounds."
Bonita is a suburb of San Diego, located on highway S17 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Sea World. (Email Interview)
On Thursday, May 7, 1998, a 10-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother spotted a large UFO hovering above their house in Mullica Hill, New Jersey (population 270).
The children "described the craft as being larger than their house and hovering above their home, where their mother was sleeping. The boy claims to have observed craft previously and is always watching for them."
"Just before he entered the house, he looked up and was pointing at the craft. The sister had always thought that her brother was making up stories. She looked up and saw what he was seeing and exclaimed, 'Oh, my God!'"
The children said they saw "an alien" floating in the air alongside the hovering UFO. "They saw both the UFO and an alien hovering above the house. The alien stared back at them, scaring them, and they ran into the house, yelling for their dad. They (then) went back out and, although the alien was no longer discernible, there was a UFO still hovering over the house."
"The mother tried to get up but was very sleepy and had difficulty waking, so she did not see the craft. When she completely awakened, the mother listened to her children's story, and then asked each to go to their own room and draw exactly what they had observed. Both children draw a picture of the alien and the UFO. The drawings by the two children matched in most details."
Mullica Hill, N.J. is on Route 322 about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Philadelphia. (See Filer's Files #19 for 1998. Many thanks to George A. Filer, Eastern Director of MUFON, for this news story.)
(Editor's Note: A similar "floating alien" was seen by a farm couple in Rho, Lombardia province, Italy two months ago.)
On Tuesday, May 12, 1998, at 8:52 p.m., Judy Francoeur and Pat Gerbig were at Shoreline Park South in Gulf Breeze, Florida (population 5,530) when they spotted a UFO low on the horizon near the Comfort Inn.
"The object was a little bigger than the street lights on the toll bridge," Pat reported, adding that the UFO went "from the southeast moving to the north. It was orangeish-red amber in color."
"First time the object popped in was between the Holiday Inn on the Beach and and Comfort Inn. Elevation was between 10 and 15 degrees."
"The light went out and returned three times to the right of the Comfort Inn and then to the left of the Comfort Inn. The object was visible for one to three seconds during each period of visibility. Total time of the multiple sightings was less than two minutes. No sound was heard during the sightings."
Three other people witnessed the UFO in addition to Pat and Judy. Gulf Breeze, a UFO hotspot for the past ten years, is on the Gulf of Mexico about 7 miles (11 kilometers) south of Pensacola, Florida. (See Filer's Files #19 for 1998. Many thanks to George A. Filer for this news story.)
Astronomers searching the sky for supernovae-- bright light burst caused by exploding stars--have detected two recently. But the explosions took place in regions of outer space where there are no stars.
On April 17, 1998, astronomers W.D. Li, M. Medjaz, R.R. Treffers and A.N. Filippenko of the University of California at Berkeley "report the discovery of an apparent supernova during the course of the Lick Observatory Supernovae Search." The team used a 0.5-meter Katzmann Automatic Imaging Telescope to find the explosion, which was designated as Supernova 1998bn.
The explosion was spotted near galaxy NGC4462. "New object appeared on April 17 and brightened about 3.7 mag (magnitude) in 10 days. The Digital Sky Survey does not show any star at the position of SN1998bn."
On May 9, 1998, astronomer Nirko Villi of Furli, Italy spotted "an apparent supernova" in an image obtained on his CCD telescope." The explosion, designated Supernova1998bu, was spotted 60 minutes west of the center of galaxy NGC3368. A previous CCD image "taken on April 21 shows no object at this location. Neither is anything listed in" a star atlas "of galaxy images." (See International Astronomers Union Circulars Number 6886 and 6894 for 1998.)
"Whether carved by aliens or sculpted by nature, the famous 'face' on Mars continues to stir up a cosmic controversy."
"'This is ancient ruined architecture we're seeing,' insists Richard Hoagland, author of THE MONUMENTS OF MARS and the loudest voice for the theory that aliens built the face."
"NASA says Surveyor's pictures provide ample evidence that the mile-long mesa on the Martian plain Cydonia is just a naturally occurring pile of rocks. (The Mars Global) Surveyor's camera is 10 times more powerful than the one aboard the Viking probe, which in 1976 first sent back pictures of the mesa and other strange rock formations."
"Hoagland says NASA has photographs confirming his theory but won't release them because they could so shock Earth that civilization might collapse."
"'They are seeing things they did not expect. That's why they're not showing all the data,' Hoagland says."
"NASA says it has released everything it has on Cydonia and, for that matter, everywhere else on Mars. Officially the agency declines to take a position on the origin of Cydonia. But some scientists privately accuse Hoagland of keeping the controversy alive to push his book, videotapes, posters and speeches."
"Scientists on the Surveyor mission say there's a simple explanation for why Cydonia's features appear the way they do. The same natural forces that shaped the rocks there can be found on Earth."
"'The area is geologically very interesting,' says Arden Albee, project scientist at the California Institute of Technology. 'It looks like there were a number of layers of material laid down in the planet's formation with different hardnesses. These layers then eroded, so you get craters which are perched up in the air sort of like on a pedestal. We've seen these elsewhere on Mars.'"
(Editor's Comment: That buzzsaw sound you hear is Hal Mazursky, the father of Martian geology, spinning in his grave.)
"But that assessment is not enough to keep others from joining the fray. Geologists, photography experts and architects are downloading Surveyor's pictures from the Internet and analyzing them."
"'Those of us who have studied it are unanimous that it's artificial,' says Tom Van Flandern, an astronomer and former head of celestial mechanics at the U.S. Naval Observatory."
"Van Flandern, who runs a Washington, D.C.- based group called Meta Research that investigates celestial anomalies doesn't buy into the theory of a government cover-up or that 'UFO pilots' built monuments on Mars."
"But because the Martian region has so many odd patterns and shapes, he puts the odds at a billion to 1 that all of them occurred naturally."
"Van Flandern says he hopes NASA can be persuaded to take more photographs of the formation while it can."
"NASA would have to race against time. On Sept. 11, Surveyor's orbit will be adjusted so it won't pass over Cydonia every nine days, as it does now. The maneuvers are necessary to lower the spacecraft into a tight circular orbit so it can begin its primary mission of mapping the planet in March 1999."
"No more pictures are coming anytime soon. Mars now is in solar conjunction, which means that it is behind the sun as seen from Earth. That makes it hard for controllers to exchange (radio) transmissions with Surveyor. The cameras have been turned off, and they won't be back on until May 26, when the conunction period ends." (Till Mars comes out from behind the sun--J.T.)
"At this point the (MOC) camera will take pictures as the science warrants, says Mike Ravine, advanced projects manager at Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, which built the camera. 'We're not going to be targeting specific things. We already took the picture of the face, and I don't care what Hoagland says, it's a good picture.'"
"As Ravine sees it, even if Surveyor takes photos only of Cydonia, it will not be enough to satisfy believers. 'I don't believe these people are going to be happy no matter what we do. The idea that I would play some willing role to suppress information that some alien civilization exists is just ridiculous. There is no conspiracy.'"
"To Hoagland, the controversy will be settled only with more data."
"'If we don't get it, all we'll have for the next 20 years to argue about are just these three images. That would be a tragedy.'" (See USA Today for May 11, 1998, "Mars' 'face' a pile or rocks? Many insist it doesn't wash" by Paul Hoversten, page 4A)
"Archaeologists have made an astonishing discovery at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site: what appears to be a large stone structure beneath the site's biggest earthen mound."
"The stone was discovered accidentally Jan. 24 during drilling to construct a water-drainage system within Monks Mound, the largest Indian mound north of Mexico and the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the New World."
"'This is astounding,' said William Woods, an archaeologist with Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, who is leading the investigation of the mystery structure. 'It's so unexpected that it would never have entered your mind before.''"
"The stone is at least 32 feet (10 meters) long in one of its dimensions. It is buried about 40 feet below the surface of a terrace on the western side of Monks Mound and well above the mound's bottom. Researchers believe it may be made of cobbles or slabs of limestone or sandstone."
"Even if the apparent structure turns out to be no larger than this, it would be a dramatic find. Stone does not occur naturally at Cahokia (which is in the Mississippi River valley about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of St. Louis, Missouri--J.T.) so any stone would have had to be brought by humans. Stone is uncommon at excavations there."
"'There's no question this is a unique discovery,' said Melvin Fowler, an archaeologist at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. 'It's totally unexpected.'"
"Fowler, reached by telephone in his office Friday, is widely considered the godfather of Cahokia archaeology."
"Cahokia Mounds is the largest archaeological site in the United States and has the biggest mounds and the greatest number of mounds anywhere. The site is named for a sub-tribe of Illini Indians who lived there when the French arrived in the 1600s. At its peak around 1100 A.D., the area was covered with a community of 20,000 people."
"The mystery was discovered about 10 o'clock on a cold, windy Saturday morning amid snow flurries as workers drilled into the western side of the mound."
"Andy Martignoni Jr. and Steve Fulton, both SIUE archaeologists, were on duty at the site when the drill operator reported hitting a rock about 140 feet into the side of the hill. He drilled on, but the drill bit broke after cutting through about 32 feet of rock."
"Martignoni and Fulton talked the situation over for a few minutes."
"'We talked about a possible drain, a tomb, all kinds of wild stuff,' Martignoni said. Comparing the 'feel' of the drill with countless other operations, the drill operator told them the structure seemed to be made of large stones apparently placed together. That gave the archaeologists more reason to think it might be something other than just a large rock."
"Martignoni called Woods, who had just gone to bed after staying up all night writing a report."
"'You won't believe this,' Martignoni told him. 'We hit some stone at Monks Mound.'"
"Woods and his colleages plan to investigate the finding this summer without harming the mound." Investigative techniques to be used will include seismic waves, drilling and testing for electromagnetic impulses. (See the St. Louis Post-Distpatch for March 9, 1998, "Cahokia mounds finding stuns archeologists--A large stone under the site's biggest mound may be a man-made structure," by William Allen, Post-Dispatch Science Writer. Many thanks to Lou Farrish of UFO NEWSCLIPPING SERVICE for forwarding the news article.)
(Editor's Comment: Funny how this story didn't make the wire services. I guess the presence of a stone structure at Cahokia, which knocks North American archaeology for a loop, is only considered "local news" by the media barons.)
On May 26, 1952, a U.S. Air Force F-94C Starfire fighter jet encountered a UFO over North Korea and gave chase. The event was written up by both the pilot and his radar observer (R/O) in Air Intelligence Information Report No. 52-85 and subsequently appeared in Project Blue Book.
Here is the first-hand report of Lt. Martin (last name deleted by the USAF), the Starfire's pilot:
"While on CAP (combat air patrol--J.T.) sortie from K-13, Bromide informed us of an unknown located at (coordinates) CT 4856 and told us to investigate."
At 3:20 a.m., "after descending to 2,500 feet, we saw in the glare of the front line searchlights, a small plane beneath, but were unable to descend due to terrain to determine type."
"Bromide told us to drop it and take up a southerly heading. When we turned to this heading, we saw a brilliant object above and in front of us and asked Bromide if we could investigate. With his permission, we made our first pass from north to south within 600 feet, then a succession of passes from cardinal compass points, ranging to within 50 feet, but, because of the brilliancy of the light, we could discern no outline."
"On our last pass my Radar Observer looked back and said he thought he saw an object on our tail. I then requested Bromide to vector me for an interception on this new unknown. At this time, the object was still in sight."
"When I received my first vector, I was south of the brilliant object and started a starboard (rightward) turn to the intercept vector for the new unidentified. On a northeasterly heading my R/O gave me a (radar) lock-on, overtaking 50 knots, range 7,000 yards, nearly dead ahead and slightly above."
"When I closed to 6,000 yards, the object started to pull away, and I threw the afterburner in (airspeed at this time was 250 knots). In a gradual climb, and still with the object nearly centered on the scope, the range increased at a steady rate from 6,000 yards to 26,000 yards in 12 to 15 seconds. At that range we broke lock. No evasive action was observed and no exhaust patterns as might be expected." (See ADVANCED AERIAL DEVICES REPORTED DURING THE KOREAN WAR by Richard F. Haines, LDA Press, Los Altos, California , 1990, pages 40-41.)
(Editor's Note: Covering 20,000 yards in 15 seconds means the object was travelling at 1,920 miles per hour. According to Haines, the object "was classified as a possible balloon on the record card" by the U.S. Air Force.)
Readers from the Wolverine State will definitely want to check out the Michigan UFO Experience website at http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Quad/1365/
There's a new UFO page devoted to Kansas at http://members.tripod.com/~o_l/main.htm
For the latest on crop circles, drop in at Paul Vigay's Independent Research Centre for Unexplained Phenomena (IRCUP). Just go to this URL: http://www.interalpha.net/customer/pvigay/CCDataBase.html
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Today is St. Madron's Day, and his church in Cornwall, built in the Sixth Century A.D., features its very own on-site Fortean phenomenon. A spring seeps out of the wall, and its waters are reputed to cure skin diseases.
That's it for this week. Join us next Sunday for 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 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.