June 28, 1998
Editor: Joseph Trainor
On Wednesday, June 24, 1998, at 7:16 p.m., flight controllers at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland lost contact with the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite.
Launched on December 2, 1995, SOHO is an orbiting satellite of the "Great Observatories" program and is jointly operated by NASA and the European Space Agency.
According to the NASA press release of June 26, 1998, "SOHO went into emergency sun reacquisition mode, and ground controllers lost contact with the spacecraft at 7:16 p.m....This mode is activated when an anomaly occurs and the spacecraft loses its orientation towards the Sun. When this happens, the spacecraft automatically tries to point itself toward the Sun again by firing its attitude control thrusters under the guidance of an onboard Sun sensor."
The NASA press release did not describe the nature of the "anomaly."
"Efforts to re-establish contact with SOHO did not succeed, and telemetry was lost. Subsequent attempts using the full NASA Deep Space Network capabilities have so far also not been successful."
"Engineers at NASA and ESA are attempting to re-establish contact with the spacecraft."
(Many thanks to Kent Steadman of the CyberSpace Orbit for forwarding the NASA news release.)
(Editor's Note: SOHO is the second major satellite to go haywire in orbit recently. Last month, the communications satellite Galaxy IV rotated out of position and lost contact with Earth. Also, on January 10, 1997, SOHO photographed a mysterious object between Earth and the Sun, which NASA subsequently identified as a sun-grazing "proto-comet." See UFO Roundup, Volume 2, Number 3 (Issue 6 - John) for more details.)
Early Sunday morning, June 14, 1998, at 4:30 a.m., two men were driving a truck from the Andes west to La Serena, a city in northern Chile, when "a huge explosion of light" lit up the sky.
The two drivers were employed by the copper mine in the Valle del Elqui, near Vicuna, 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of La Serena. Both communities are in the province of Coquimbo about 380 kilometers (240 miles) north of the national capital, Santiago de Chile.
According to ufologist Luis Sanchez Perry, the explosion was heard within a radius of 200 kilometers (120 miles).
The truck was "near a place called Chapilco, when he was blinded by the brilliant white light. He couldn't see anything for a few seconds."
"He was with his partner" at the time, and "everything lighted up like it was a summer day (11 a.m.)."
(Editor's Note: Late June is a winter month in Chile and the other countries of the southern hemisphere.)
"The white burst of light had a duration of eight seconds approximately."
The case is being investigated by ufologist Patricio Diaz of La Serena. (Muchas gracias a Luis Sanchez Perry para esas noticias.)
A very large, dark, disc-shaped UFO visited the huge hydroelectric dam at Lago (Lake) de Colbun in southern Chile on May 16, 1998.
The UFO was witnessed by over 30 people, who described it as a a gigantic disc, "dark (not black), with a big orange light on the bottom (middle) and small lights that moved around on the outer part (rim) of the object."
Lago de Colbun is Chile's biggest hydroelectric dam and one of the largest in South America. It's located 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of Santiago de Chile.
The UFO hovered at 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above the ground and remained in view for 20 minutes before flying across the lake and into the Andes. Witnesses described the object as "so big that it seemed to cover the whole valley."
According to ufologist Luis Sanchez Perry, Lago de Colbun has seen many UFO visitations in recent months.
"They call the UFOs robones (thieves) because that they say they steal electricity," Luis reported. "Before they had the high-tech plant, they didn't have many blackouts (one or two in a month), but now they have three in a week."
"UFOs have been seen coming out of Lake Colbun near the high tension wires, absorbing electricity, absorbing water, and some of them have gone at high speed through the valley towards the hydroelectric plant," coming within a few hundred meters of the dam before disappearing. (Otra vez, muchas gracias a Luis Sanchez Perry para esa historia.)
A blindingly-bright blue fireball shot across the sky south of Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday afternoon, June 18, 1998, and was seen by hundreds of amazed onlookers.
Witnesses from the Phoenix suburbs of Chandler and Ahwatukee south to Tucson reported seeing the object pass over, heading west. Some witnesses reported seeing "a blue fireball," others "a reddish or orange streak."
According to the Arizona Star, the event "followed a much-publicized exploding meteor seen by hundreds of Arizonans June 7 and news accounts of meteorites that hit a New Mexico barn and a Tennessee home on June 13."
"'I was sitting on the back porch, and I saw the long, red streak coming down from the sky,' said John Botimer of Ahwatukee."
"Carleton Moore, director of Arizona State University's Center for Meteorite Study, said his office received more than 90 calls Thursday and Friday about the daytime fireball seen south of the Phoenix area."
"Astronomers say an asteroid named Oljato may be responsible."
"Swarms of asteroid chunks strung along the orbit of a large asteroid could theoretically cause a rush of bright meteors when Earth crosses the orbit, says UA (University of Arizona) astronomer Dan Durda."
"Earth was crossing one of the orbits of the asteroid Oljato on June 8, he said."
"'It's just conceivably possible that the June 7 fireball may have been associated with Oljato,' he said, 'But it's more likely just a statistical fluke."
(Editor's Comment: There have been a lot of "statistical flukes" during the month of June, and not just in Arizona. See UFO Roundup, Volume 3, Numbers 24 and 25 for details on recent sightings in Italy and Argentina.)
Elsewhere in Arizona, a skywatch group led by Rob Meyer encountered a "a large multi-colored light object" Friday night, June 19, 1998, in the red rock canyons near Sedona (population 7,920).
When one of the party spotted a strange glow in the canyon, Meyer "picked up the night vision equipment and asked everyone to observe the phenomenon." He then began "pulsing his flashlight in the direction the light was coming from."
"As he kept flashing, another light appeared and flashed back in response...Two in the group saw several Orbs pass by which they could see with through the night vision equipment."
Minutes passed and more bright spherical UFOs appeared. "As the evening ended," the group all "faced the area where the lights were coming from and observed another sequence of pulsed flashes."
Meyer then "asked the group to send Love telepathically to where the light was, and all of a sudden, the most spectacular flashing of multi-colored lights appeared in the same sequence Rob had flashed with his flashlight." (See the Arizona Star for June 21, 1998. Many thanks to Errol Bruce-Knapp for forwarding the Sedona story.)
Late Saturday evening, June 20, 1998, "a strong white light" moved into position above Monte Morello, a peak south of Firenze (Florence), Italy "and remained visible for more than half an hour."
The UFO was first reported near the city's international airport in nearby Peretola, where it "was observed by dozens of eyewitnesses and by airport personnel." The object was described as having "a dull white glow."
Firenze is 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Rome. (See the Italian newspaper La Nazione for June 21, 1998. Grazie a Renzo Cabassi, Nico Montigiani e Edoardo Russo di CISU per questo rapporto.)
Late Saturday night, June 20, 1998, Kayla S. and her husband "were sitting in our backyard and watching the stars because it was unusually clear and the visibility was great. I was 'hoping' to see a UFO but did not really expect it."
The couple, who live in a suburban neighborhood between Dorval and Lachine, just south of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, watched the sky for a while. "Then, at around midnight," Kayla reported, "I screamed, 'UFO, UFO! It looks like something weird, honey.'"
"My husband was also watching the strange sight. We both saw an L-shaped formation that seemed to be made up of about five different V-shaped objects. It could have been a flock of birds except for the fact of the speed they were going at. It traversed the sky in about four seconds."
(Editor's Note: Four seconds from horizon to horizon equals 3,600 miles per hour.)
"We lost sight of it because of the trees and the houses and the speed of it. The color of each of the separate V-shaped objects was a kind of opaque grey, translucent almost. If it hadn't been so crystal clear that night, then there was no way we would have ever been able to see this." She added that the UFO formation was "traveling due south" towards the Adirondack Mountains of the USA's northern New York state. (Email Interview)
On Wednesday, June 17, 1998, at 9:30 p.m., a waitress, her son and her boyfriend were driving on California Highway 330 from the city of San Bernardino (population 164,164) to the ridgeline town of Running Springs (population 4,195) when a strange green glow illuminated the sky.
"She stated, 'The sky literally lit up,' and about 5,000 feet (1,515 meters) above the mountain road, and 200 yards to the right of her car and over a building with a flagpole hovered a huge 'fireball.'"
According to Jerry Glass of Southern California MUFON, subsequent investigation by members of his group determined that the building was the Running Springs Fresh Water Plant.
The waitress stated, "The fireball was green, luminescent," describing the glow as "forty times brighter than the brightest flashlight I've ever seen, with rays of light shooting out."
According to Jerry Glass, "Her boyfriend was in the passenger seat and he saw the object for 30 seconds while the car continued to drive."
The woman's attention returned to the road as their vehicle rounded a sharp turn and nearly "rushed off a cliff. She said two other cars were following closely. One was a California Highway Patrol vehicle, which after the curve raced by her car."
The woman reported her encounter to the local sheriff's department, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National UFO Hotline.
Running Springs is eight miles (11 kilometers) northeast of San Bernardino, a city approximately 63 miles (102 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
Earlier that afternoon, on June 17, 1998, a woman psychologist from Running Springs was returning home from her office in Redlands when "she observed black military helicopters taking off from Norton Air Force Base at the junction of Highways 30 and 330, traveling up Highway 330 and flying over her jeep."
According to Glass, Norton Air Force Base was reportedly closed during a recent Defense Department phaseout of military bases.
The following day, Thursday, June 18, 1998, at about 3 p.m., the same woman passed "a convoy of six military vehicles carrying troops" on the same road. SoCal MUFON continues to investigate these reports. (Many thanks to Jerry Glass of MUFON for this news story.)
On Wednesday, June 17, 1998, at 11 p.m., Michigan ufologist Jeff Westover spotted "five star-like objects in the sky moving very fast, three moving due north and two to the south- southeast. One of the southerly-moving objects intersected with a westbound jet. This particular object had a veering movement to it. The other four seemed to go very fast on a straight path."
On Saturday, June 20, 1998, at 11 p.m., Westover was driving into Marlette (population 1924) when he spied "a brilliant reddish-orange light" just above the southern horizon.
"I hurriedly made it through town, past the bright street lights and through heavy cruising traffic, and out into the south end of town," Jeff reported. "It was still there, 20 degrees above the horizon, almost directly in front of me and bobbing like a boat on choppy seas. The single light was jumping around slightly. Then it happened. I pulled off onto a side road on a slight hill and parked the car, waiting to see if the light would reappear...binoculars ready."
"Sure enough, it reappeared within two minutes and was flying bright, although not giving off any glow or halo. It seemed to be like a ball of fire, concentrated and bright. Through the binoculars it was a bright ball of reddish orange light, brighter than any star in the sky, and seemed to have a bobbing motion to it. And then it simply vanished before my eyes...It suddenly reappeared at 20 degrees and then dropped to the ground. I lost sight of it at that point." (Many thanks to Jeff Westover of MUFON for this news story.)
On Saturday, June 20, 1998, just after midnight, two junior high school girls, aged 12 and 13, "observed two UFOs" in the sky over their hometown of Valparaiso, Indiana (population 24,414), a city located 45 miles (72 kilometers) southeast of Chicago, Illinois.
The girls described the UFO as "a 'star-like' object without running lights." The UFO "was moving gradually in a southerly direction before making an abrupt turn upward and to the north."
At 12:10 a.m., the girls saw a second object that "appeared to consist of three star-like lights flying line-abreast. The speed of the second object was said to be much faster than the first, and it was moving west and rising in an abrupt turn towards the south, finally disappearing from sight."
According to Mike Caldwell, father of the 12-year-old girl, his daughter is a National Junior Honor Society student and "knows quite clearly what an airplane looks like, both in daytime and night conditions. She has stated emphatically that this was not an airplane." (Many thanks to Kenneth Young of Tri-States Advocates for Scientific Knowledge, T.A.S.K., for this report.)
Astronomers this week found a large planet similar to Jupiter in a neighboring solar system.
The yet-unnamed gas giant is "three times closer" to Earth "than any of the 11 other 'extrasolar' planets that have been found in the past two years," according to the report in USA Today.
"'This has astronomers bristling and squirming in their seats,' says astronomer Geoffrey Marcy of San Francisco State University, whose team has found seven of the twelve known planets beyond Pluto."
"Marcy's team used telescopes last week to detect a telltale wobble in the parent star, called Gliese 876, that was caused by the gravitational tug of a planet."
"Two teams of Europeans independently confirmed the find," according to the June 27, 1998 edition of Science News.
"The newly found planet is nearly twice the mass of Jupiter and the first extrasolar planet that orbits its star in an elongated loop rather than a circle. It takes 61 days to orbit the star at an average distance of about 18.5 million miles, one fifth the distance between the sun and Earth."
"'We don;t know what it's made of, but we'd guess it's like our own Jupiter, a big ball of hydrogen and helium gas with some methane and ammonia thrown in,' Marcy says."
"Gliese 876, in the constellation Aquarius, is about 15 light years or 87 trillion miles (139 trillion kilometers) away. With a weight of just a third of the sun, it is the smallest and lightest star known to have a star around it. The star has just one percent of the sun's brightness."
"Since most stars in our 100-billion-star Milky Way galaxy belong to this lighter class, astronomers suspect there may be many more planets awaiting discovery."
"'We're seeing these Jupiters in 10 to 15 percent of the stars we're studying. We'll eventually get to the point where maybe we can find Earthlike planets around other stars,' says Charles Beichmann of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif." (See USA Today for June 25, 1998, "Scientists find closest-yet new planet," by Paul Hoversten.)
(Editor's Comment: Twice the mass of Jupiter, eh? I've got an idea. Why don't we call this newfound gas giant Krypton?)
A team of three investigators, including Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince and Simon Cox, infiltrated Egypt's Great Pyramid on March 31, 1998 and found evidence of a secret archeological project underway, according to their report in the July 1998 issue of Fortean Times.
Picknett and Prince wrote, "There is secret tunnelling in the Great Pyramid. We should know. We found evidence for it--and secretly captured it on camera and video."
Just before the Pyramid closed April 1 for renovations, Picknett, Prince and Cox entered the Pyramid and "were about to duck down the small entrance into the King's Chamber, Simon (Cox) pointed out an anomalous feature. There in the wall was an old, padlocked metal grille where-- just a few months before--there was a solid stone block."
The trio found "fresh cement" around the grille, proving that it had been installed recently.
"Shining a torch (flashlight) through the grille, we could see the electric cable installed by (German archeologist) Rudolf Gantenbrink in the early 1990s, and we could hear the noise of a nearby generator or possibly drill."
"Simon says that this tunnel connects up with the northern 'air shaft' that comes out of the King's Chamber. And up the shaft there's a heap of rubbish--including plastic water bottles--that's too far up to have come from tourists in the King's Chamber, but which has obviously been dropped from the other side by workers in the new tunnel."
"They're also doing other things in the Great Pyramid. A month before (February 28), Simon had managed to get down to the pit in the Subterranean Chamber beneath the pyramid and found that there was a false floor covered with sand and debris to conceal the evidence of recent digging."
"Interestingly, the gaffir (attendant) of the Second Pyramid, after finding out that Simon had already spotted the cover-up, told us that three new chambers had been discovered behind and above the walls of the King's Chamber, which is obviously where the tunnel now leads." (See Fortean Times #112 for July 1998, "Flex, Lies and Videotape" by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, page 37.)
(Editor's Comment: Ever since the Great Pyramid closed for renovations back on April 1, rumors have been flying of new chambers discovered, secret UNESCO digs, and a convoy of military vehicles loaded with soldiers in "desert cookie" camoflauge uniforms with no national or unit insignia. My favorite is the story of the life-sized statue supposedly discovered in one of the alleged new chambers--a statue of a man with unmistakably African features sitting in the lotus position and gazing up an 'air shaft' at the star Sirius.)
Nearly all ufologists are aware of the fact that pilot Kenneth Arnold was out searching for a missing U.S. Marine Corps transport plane on June 24, 1947 when he spotted his "flying saucers."
But few remember the other plane that went missing the same week a UFO crashed at Roswell.
On Thursday morning, July 3, 1947, a C-54 cargo plane with four propellor engines took off from Kindley Field on Bermuda--destination Florida.
Aboard was a U.S. Army Air Corps crew consisting of six men. Pilot: Major Ralph B. Ward of Concord, North Carolina. Co-Pilot: Major Clyde R. Inman of Boise, Idaho. Navigator: Major John R. Sands Jr.of Jacksonville, Florida. Radio Operator: S/Sgt. Ernest D. Fey of New Orleans, Louisiana. Plus S/Sgt. Andrew S. Bagacus of Townsend, Wisconsin and Sgt. Fred E. Fricks of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The C-54 was scheduled to touch down on the runway at Morrison Army Air Field in Palm Beach, Florida at around 2:30 p.m. By 6 p.m., Ward's plane was listed as "overdue."
"Ships and planes raced out to play their role in the by now all-too-familiar search pattern extending from the coast of Florida to Bermuda. Hunters scanned the seas all night for a glimpse of light. By dawn the air-sea rescue operation was in full swing, with hopes high of finding the fliers alive."
"Early Friday morning, July 4 (1947), a large Army transport C-74 reported sighting wreckage on the sea 300 miles northeast of West Palm Beach, Florida."
The USS Orion was sent to investigate. Hours later, Major L.R. Humphreys, commanding the 5th Air Rescue Squadron, told newsmen that the Orion "found an oxygen bottle, two yellow seat cushions and some aircraft plywood--all believed to be Army aircraft equipment, but none of it identified as belonging to the plane."
"Air Transport Command (ATC) headquarters announced that the search for the C-54 and its crew was officially abandoned as of Tuesday, July 8, 1947. According to the statement, the only wreckage found in the course of the 100,000-square-mile search by Army,. Navy and Coast Guard planes and surface vessels was that picked up by the Orion. No other debris, bodies, oil slick or clues turned up. The ATC alone flew 52 sorties involving 422 hours of flight."
The C-54 disappeared fifty-one years ago, the day before the UFO crash at Roswell. Major Ward and his crew are still missing. (See LIMBO OF THE LOST by John Wallace Spencer, Bantam Books, New York, N.Y., 1973, pages 20-22.)
Daev Walsh of Blather informs me that the country's proper name is Republic of Ireland, not "Eire" as reported in last week's issue. I stand corrected, Daev. Thanks for writing.
For more on the Sedona UFO encounter, drop in at Rob Meyer's website. It's at http://www.sedonavortexconnection.com/robmeyer
You'll find the Running Springs, California UFO sightings discussed in depth at this site. Log in at http://www.neptune.net/mufon/wwwboard/wwwboard.html
Follow Jeff Westover's UFO adventures at this site...http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Quad/1365/ufo.html
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Tomorrow, June 29, is the anniversary of the Council of Pisa in 1408. At the time, the Roman Catholic Church had two rival popes, Gregory XII in Rome and Benedict XII in Avignon, France. Each one claimed to be the real McCoy. The Council of Pisa came up with an interesting solution to this dilemna. The council impeached both of them and elected a new guy, Peter Philarges, as Pope Alexander V. Talk about a new broom and a clean sweep!
Barring impeachment, 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.