LARGE UFOs SEEN BY HUNDREDS IN CHILE
Chile experienced another week-long wave of UFO visitations, and witnesses to these events numbered in the hundreds.
On Wednesday, August 19, 1998, at 7:30 p.m., witnesses in La Serena, a city in Coquimbo province 440 kilometers (275 miles) north of the capital, Santiago de Chile, spotted "a tall object the size of a building suspended over the (Atacama) desert. The witnesses said it had two rows of green lights from top to bottom."
In Ovalle, another city of Coquimbo province 288 kilometers (180 miles) north of Santiago, residents saw "a bright light in the sky." They described the UFO as "long structure like a cigar." The object remained in view for 30 minutes.
In Santiago de Chile itself, residents of barrio La Florida reported seeing "a disc" in the night sky.
In the nearby city of Pudahuel, three luminous UFOs were seen.
By 11 p.m. that night, reports of UFOs came flooding in from other cities in Chile. These included Concepcion and Talcahuano, seaport cities on the Golfo de Arauco 465 kilometers (290 miles) south of Santiago, and Puerto Montt, a port on the Golfo de Ancud 1,224 kilometers (765 miles) south of Santiago.
Soldiers on night maneuvers at the Chilean Army base at Coyahique "saw a strange cloud going against the wind, and it had internal lights blinking and flickering."
On Friday night, August 21, 1998, another platoon of Chilean soldiers "doing night training" at Coyahique saw "a big ball of light bobbing around them." One soldier quickly snapped two photos of the UFO before it flew away.
In Cochrane, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Coyahique, "residents saw a 400-meter-wide triangular UFO. Local police saw the object and have opened an official investigation." (Muchas gracias a Luis Sanchez Perry para esas noticias)
Galaxy 10 joined the list of satellites that have met with disaster this summer when its rocket exploded 55 seconds after launch.
The ill-fated launch took place at Cape Canaveral, Florida at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26, 1998. Galaxy 10 was scheduled to be carried into space by Boeing's new Delta III rocket on its maiden flight. The $225 million communications satellite, owned by PanAmSat Corp., was designed to replace the Galaxy 4, which mysterious rotated out of orbital position back in May, disrupting pager service and TV channels worldwide.
The 12-story Delta III rocket got away from the launch pad all right. But NASA's long-range cameras saw the rocket "tipping over before erupting" into a bright orange fireball explosion approximately 55 seconds into the flight.
According to the Nando Times, "a large piece of the ill-fated rocket plunged into the Atlantic Ocean" about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of the Florida shoreline "and exploded with a fiery mushroom cloud" that was seen for miles along the coast.
"'At this time, we have no idea what happened to the rocket,' Boeing's launch commentator reported calmly."
"It's a little like being punched in the belly,' said Brig. Gen. Randy Starbuck" of the U.S. Air Force, commander of the Cape Canaveral launch site.
On Thursday, August 27, 1998, Boeing aerospace engineer Clarence Quan announced that a board of inquiry had been formed to investigate the disastrous launch.
Galaxy 10 was the second satellite to be lost in a liftoff explosion this month. On August 12, the top-secret $1 billion Vortex satellite was destroyed when its Titan 4 rocket exploded 40 seconds after liftoff.
Galaxy 10 is also the fourth Earth satellite to experience disaster this summer. Others include its sister satellite Galaxy 4, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and the Vortex. (See USA Today for August 27, 1998, "Rocket blows up," and the Providence, R.I. Journal for August 27, 1998, "Another rocket explodes on liftoff," page 2.)
On Thursday, August 20, 1998, at 10 p.m., the Bowman family of Ripley, Illinois (population 112) "were working late outside and talking with some neighbors when, all of a sudden, a strange light appeared in the sky."
"'I saw two lights in the sky, quite a way apart,' said Patrick Bowman. 'They went out and moved over behind the trees, no more than a second or two. They went on again, then dropped again to the right behind another tree. When they were back on, they were three-dimensional, like a three-winged craft with lights at the bottom. The lights went on in sequence, then they went back off in sequence, then they shot up through the top wing. That's all I saw. It wasn't anything from here. It made me nervous.'"
Ripley residents saw the UFO "just after ten o'clock." The object was also sighted in Rushville, Pittsford and Mount Sterling (population 1,922), on Illinois Highway 24 seven miles west of Ripley.
"An Illinois State Trooper, who did not wish to be identified, also saw the strange lights west of Mount Sterling. He declined to comment other than to say he saw them."
Ripley is on Highway 24 approximately 246 miles (393 kilometers) southwest of Chicago.
A UFO was sighted 45 minutes earlier by a woman in Champaign, Illinois (population 63,502), a city on Interstate Highway I-72 137 miles (219 kilometers) south of Chicago. Mrs. J.C. reported, "I had left my house around 9:15 p.m. Thursday. My daughter lives only three blocks from me and called on the phone and told me to look at the light in the sky." Mrs. C. did so and saw a strange white light "to the west and a little to the north," in the direction of Ripley. (Many thanks to Gerry Lovell and Errol Bruce-Knapp for the Illinois reports.)
On Monday, August 24, 1998, at 10:15 p.m., the witness, a Mr. Stephenson, was driving north on Indiana Highway 29 about three miles north of Michigantown, Indiana (population 472) when he saw "a most peculiar circle of yellow lights descend vertically from the sky."
Stephenson and his nephew, who occupied the passenger seat, "watched these lights drop out of the sky--very, very close to us and around 25 to 30 yards" away. At first he thought it was just a helicopter, then the ring of yellow lights "rotated and it looked like a solid line of light. It rotated and tilted vertically and then it went up and disappeared."
Stephenson's nephew "said the object appeared to be of circular shape," adding that "he also thought the yellow lights had a blue tint."
Michigantown is located 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Indianapolis. (Many thanks to Kenneth Young, public relations director of Tri-States Advocates for Scientific Knowledge, T.A.S.K., for this report.)
On Sunday, August 23, 1998, a family was entertaining two friends at their home in Ramsey, Minnesota (population 12,408) when something unusual happened.
"Our three children were outside playing 'flashlight tag' when they became very excited and requested that I come out and see the 'strange red lights' passing over our house," the mother, who declined to be identified, reported.
"I proceeded to grab my camcorder and rushed outside into a very clear and dark night. My 10-year-old son, Ariel, pointed out the light, which was approximately one mile away and moving slowly in a northwesterly direction toward Elk River. My first impression was how large the lights were at the estimated distance. Their size can be compared to a standard commercial-radio tower beacon when viewed from a distance of a half-mile."
"There appeared to be two flashing red lights, which were spread apart from each other at an estimated distance of 100 yards and at an altitude of 500 feet with a white light directly above. Their speed was unusually slow--100 miles per hour--and about it the horizontal lights blinking erratically approximately ever two to three seconds while the light above blinked each five to seven seconds."
"According to our 9-year-old daughter, Tanya, before we came out of the house, the two red lights did a complete 180-degree rotation around their horizontal axis."
The woman captured 10 seconds of video before the UFO passed out of view.
Ramsey is on Highways 10 and 169 approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis. (Many thanks to Tim Hagemeister of NACOMM for this report.)
A possible USO (Unidentified Submerged Object) was seen by four ufologists in Gulf Breeze, Florida (population 5,530) on Saturday night, August 22, 1998.
At 11 p.m., researchers Ray and Elise Pollock, Beverly Pilcher and Gelena Salyars were skywatching at the pier in Shoreline Park South. According to Ray Pollock, what drew their attention was "the odd behavior of sound and light reflections" offshore "to the right of the pier heading south" towards the Bob Sikes Bridge.
"Beverly Pilcher was standing just under the covered picnic table area to the right of the pier when she experienced a powerful wave of ringing in her ears," Ray reported, "She described it as being so strong that her ears hurt--like being poked with a stick or something."
The others joined her under the awning "but they could not hear it."
Just then, a black helicopter "came in low over Deer Point" and flew a short distance out to sea. "It was fairly well lit with a steady white light and a blinking red light. It was also projecting a steady searchlight-type beam on the water as if searching for something. It moved slowly down" the shore "until it reached the new condominium towers and then made a circle around the area. Then it returned to the island and flew towards Fort Pickens. At no time was any sound heard from this craft."
Then the quartet noticed "a dense black area in the water that did not reflect the lights from the beach" even though the sea's surface was smooth.
Beverly Pilcher and Gelena Salyars walked out to the end of the pier to investigate, while Ray and Elise Pollock remained on the beach. All four reported strange audio phenomena associated with the "black water area."
Although nearly a quarter of a mile away, the Pollocks reported that they "could clearly hear both women. They could also hear conversations coming from (more distant) boats coming up the waterway from Pensacola Bay."
By 2 a.m., the "black water" area "slowly began to show (light) reflections again," and the unusual audio clarity abruptly ended. The investigators left the beach at 2:15 a.m. (Many thanks to Ray Pollock for this news story.)
On Friday, July 31, 1998, at 6:30 p.m., the witness, D.M.K., was driving on U.S. Highway 13 near Eldridge, Alabama, approximately 93 miles (148 kilometers) northwest of Birmingham, when he spotted "a bright metallic colored light in the sky."
"The light was moving in what I believe was a westerly direction," he reported. "Also, for an instant, it became brighter and then dimmed into invisibility. This happened so quickly that I couldn't point it out to my cousin who was sitting in the passenger seat."
D.M.K. described the UFO as "circular" in shape and "the size of a nickel at arm's length." "I had it in view five seconds," and it was "at about a 70 degree angle" up from the horizon. No blinking lights were visible on the object. (Email Interview)
On Monday, August 24, 1998, at 1:25 p.m., Texas ufologist Mike Harman "had just gone to the break room on the second floor of the Fort Worth office where I work when I spotted a daylight disk or diamond-shaped object. I was looking out a window looking due west. The object was very dark in color and moving very fast. It seemed to sway back and forth, and rapidly gained speed and (then) slowed. Otherwise, it was smooth flying."
"The shape of the object looked like a diamond or disk and appeared small, one-quarter the size of a pencil's diameter at arm's length. It was just under a thunder cloud, and, as I watched for about three minutes, it moved into another area of the sky that was full of white fluffy clouds...It made some turns as I watched. It would turn in one direction and then turn back in, as if correcting and aligning with its original direction. I observed it until I was no longer able to see or make it out in the sky."
Fort Worth (population 447,619) is one of the largest cities in Texas, located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of Dallas. (Many thanks to Mike Harman for this report.)
On Tuesday, August 25, 1998, at 9 p.m., Ken H., his wife and his children were at a roadside park in Palmetto, Georgia (population 2,612) when they saw "a star-like object" suddenly appear.
"I watched a 'star-like' object moving in a north to south direction at a steady speed and at what appeared to be a very high altitude," Ken reported.
"I got my wife's attention and said to her, 'Hey, look! There's a satellite.'"
"As we watched for a few seconds, it started to slow down. It was almost directly overhead--so high that the Hartsfield air traffic was following their usual pattern well below the object."
"As the object slowed, it made movements that resembled the movements of a waterbug (zigzagging from side to side--J.T.) I thought to myself my eyes must be bleary or something, so I fixed my gaze on a nearby star and, sure enough, the object was indeed moving."
"When we got to the car, I told my wife, 'I gotta take another look.' My wife did, as well. There it was, still stationary and looking like a star. Then my wife and I said simultaneously, 'There it goes again!' It was moving sharply back in the same direction it came with that same 'waterbug' sliding movement. It then stopped."
After buckling his small children into their seat harnesses, Ken looked for a third time, but the UFO was gone.
Palmetto is on Highway 29 about 26 miles (41 kilometers) south of Atlanta. (Email Interview)
On Monday, August 3, 1998, at 9:30 p.m., a witness named Gene spotted "a star-like object" over his home in Walton, Kentucky (population 2,034).
"While looking straight into the sky," Gene "beheld a 'star-like object' in the sky which moved back and forth in all directions--north, south, east and west." He watched the UFO "for ten minutes before it 'took off' to the east in the blink of an eye."
"Shortly afterward, the object returned, accompanied by four or five other objects...all objects were seen at a high altitude." Gene and his wife "watched the objects for over an hour."
At 10:30 p.m., Gene's wife, complaining of a sore neck, went in the house. Gene reported that "one object with 'blue and green-colored lights' hovered about 200 feet above a treeline and then flew across (Interstate Highway) I-75, which is visible from their back porch area."
When another object "crossed the surface of the moon," Gene "could discern a cigar-shaped outline of the object."
Rejoined by his wife and a neighbor, Gene watched as "eight or ten more UFOs joined together in a triangle, and a brilliant light was seen to the south of the triangle. This was 'the Big One'...and its outline clearly seen with a telescope and binoculars. 'It was the whitest light you ever saw,' Gene said."
"Gene said that the big object resembled a red disk, resembling two 1948 Chevy hubcaps placed together and beveled at each end." All of the UFOs left the area at 3:30 a.m.
Walton is on Kentucky Highway 25 approximately 58 miles (93 kilometers) north of Lexington. (Many thanks to Kenneth Young, public relations director of T.A.S.K. for this news story.)
On Monday, August 24, 1998, at 10:24 p.m., an 11-year-old boy spotted a large triangular UFO hovering over his neighborhood in Elizabeth, Colorado (population 818), a small town on Highway 86 about 41 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of Denver.
The boy "had seen a 'triangle' floating about during the night from his window. Colorado ufologist Bob Hetsko interviewed the boy and asked how large the "triangle" was compared to an object at arm's length, "and he said it was about two to three inches. I asked him to estimate a distance, and he pointed to a tower about two miles away. This would have to be a large craft" to be visible at that distance. (Many thanks to Bob Hetsko and Tim Edwards for this report.)
On Monday, August 24, 1998, at 10:35 p.m., ufologist Jeffrey S. Westover spotted "a dazzling display of three orange balls of light" descending "from a single point in the sky at approximately 35 degrees to the north-northeast of my position, five miles (7 kilometers) north of Marlette, Michigan. (population 1,924). "They appeared in rapid succession, one after the other in one point of the sky and disappeared within a few seconds. They were much brighter than an aircraft's landing light."
At 10:40 p.m., Jeff witnessed "a single brilliant orange light appear in the north at 30 degrees inclination. It was stationary and disappeared within five seconds."
At 11 p.m., "my mother and I both witnessed a vivid display of orange lights appear in a group north of Marlette. It was at an elevation of 15 to 20 degrees. There were at least three orange lights sitting in the sky before they disappeared suddenly. I had them in sight for approximately three seconds."
Elsewhere in Marlette, another witness, Norma W. age 63, reported seeing "orange lights" in the sky.
Marlette is on Michigan Highway 53 approximately 67 miles (107 kilometers) north of Detroit. (Many thanks to Jeff Westover for this report.)
Jeff Westover is a commercial artist who has done sketches for Michigan MUFON based on the testimony of UFO eyewitnesses. He is not a member of Michigan MUFON per se. UFO Roundup regrets the misidentification in last week's issue.
Residents of Deception Bay, Queensland, Australia spotted a bright orange fireball in the night sky last week.
According to Australian ufologist Ross Dowe, the residents "said at first there was a single bright orange fireball slowly passing high up in the sky, travelling north to south, then disappearing."
"About 30 to 35 seconds after the first (UFO) illumination event, a second illumination appeared, and it repeated the first event. A pair of orange fireball illuminations passed overhead side by side, and yes, 30 to 35 seconds later, another illumination went over and duplicated the activities of all the others."
The UFO display lasted for about 15 minutes. (Many thanks to Ross Dowe of Australia/New Zealand 24-Hour UFO Hotline for this report.)
A strange orange "plasma-like" UFO appeared twice over the town of Earby, Lancashire, UK, first on Saturday, August 15, 1998, and again one week later on Saturday, August 22, 1998.
The "most peculiar plasma-like orange light was seen by a number of witnesses" in Earby. "The object is said to be 30 feet in length and appeared to have an 'undulating' or 'skipping' motion. They appeared to perform sharp turns and eventually disappeared into a valley."
"This area is known for the sighting of so-called 'Earth Lights,'" said Tim Matthews of the Lancashire UFO Society. "There is a possibility--we may be on the verge of an earthquake." (Many thanks to Lisa Matthews of LUFOS for this news story.)
Dozens of witnesses in small towns around Modesto, California (population 164,730) were startled by the sight of a huge blazing blue fireball crossing the sky at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 27, 1998.
The phenomenon was seen in Modesto, a city on Highway 132 approximately 115 miles (184 kilometers) east of San Francisco, and in Oakdale (population 11,961) and Waterford (population 4,771), 15 miles (25 kilometers) east of Modesto.
"The Stanislaw County Communications Center received a number of calls after the meteor made its brief, but brilliant, appearance."
"Among the callers was a woman from Oakdale, who thought the celebrated light might be someone shooting off an emergency flare, a Waterford police officer" and county supervisor Joseph Eulate, age 64.
"'I'm just glad someone else saw it,' said Joe Eulate, 'People were asking what I put in my coffee this morning.'"
"Eulate's close encounter came as he was driving along Scenic Drive in Modesto. 'It looked like a big ball, like a light bulb. It was coming down real fast. I saw something like sparks coming from the back of it. It was going west to east, above Claus Road. I never saw it hit. There was no sound." (See the Modesto, Cal. Bee for August 28, 1998, "Burning ball in heavens lights up valley imaginations." Many thanks to Gerry Lovell of Far Shores for forwarding this newspaper article.)
On Saturday, August 22, 1998, at 4 p.m., David M. was approached by his son and another boy, who informed him that they had just found a formation in a field near their home in Rothwell, Leeds, UK.
"Upon getting to the field--videocamera in hand-- I was very impressed with the sight I was pointed out. At least five shapes were visible, including two double circles. I shot at least five minutes of video (footage), while a friend of mine shot more stills."
Rothwell is about 130 miles (208 kilometers) north of London.
Elsewhere in the world, a crop circle discovered in Oakbank, Manitoba, Canada last week turned out to be a playful hoax.
The formation, consisting of circles and unusual pathways, was found in an oat field in the farm community. The site was investigated by Chris Rutkowski of UFOROM, who surveyed the site and tracked down the culprit.
Rutkowski noticed that "four paths spelled out the word 'Mark.'...Looking from the south edge of the field, two more showed letters created in the oats," which spelled the phrase Mark was here.
Interviewing local farmers, Rutkowski learned that an 11-year-old boy, Mark W., lived near the "crop circle" field. He then interviewed the lad.
"'Do you know anything about the tracks in the field behind your house?' asked Rutkowski."
"'They're really neat, aren't they?' Mark replied." "'But did you make them?' persisted Rutkowski." "'Oh, yeah, sure I did,' Mark admitted. 'I made them a few weeks ago. I wondered when somebody would notice.'"
Mark told Rutkowski that he had decided to make one after seeing a TV documentary on crop circles. (Many thanks to Chris Rutkowski for letting UFO Roundup quote from his report.)
1944: THE MAD GASSER OF MATTOON, ILLINOIS
This week's UFO flap in Illinois comes just in time for the anniversary of one of the strangest incidents of the pre-Roswell era. It happened fifty-four years ago in Mattoon, a small city in Illinois 181 miles (289 kilometers) south of Chicago.
"During the early morning hours of August 31st (1944), a resident of the city woke up feeling ill. He tottered out of bed, stumbled into the bathroom and vomited. Then he roused his wife to ask her if she had left on the gas."
"'I don't think so,' she said, 'but I'll check.' When she tried to get up, she discovered that she was paralyzed."
"Shortly after this incident, a housewife in another part of town awike when she heard her daughter coughing. She got up to find that she could barely walk."
"The next evening (September 1, 1944), Mrs. Bert Kearney, asleep in a bedroom shared with her three-year-old daughter Dorothy, was stirred from slumber at the sudden appearance of a peculiar smell."
"'I first noticed a sickening sweet odor in the bedroom,' she later told a reporter for the local newspaper, 'but at the time I thought it might be from flowers outside the window. But the odor grew stronger, and I began to feel a paralysis of my legs and lower body. I got frightened and screamed.'
Mrs. Kearney's neighbor searched the yard and the rest of the neighborhood without finding any clues to the origin of the mysterious gas. Police investigation proved similarly unproductive."
"But at 12:30 a.m., as he arrived home from work, Mr. Kearney caught a glimpse of someone who matched the later description of 'the mad gasser of Mattoon,' as the newspapers would call him. The stranger, who was in Kearney's words, 'tall, dressed in dark clothing and wearing a tight-fitting cap' was standing at the window. When he saw Kearney approaching, he fled. Kearney pursued him but could not catch him."
"By September 5th, police had received four more calls of 'gas attacks.' Each time the individuals concerned said they had first smelled a 'sickly sweet odor,' then became nauseated and partially paralyzed for thirty to ninety minutes."
"On Wednesday night, the (September) sixth, the gasser struck three times. At 10:00 (p.m.) Mrs. Ardell Spangler smelled a sickly sweet odor, felt a peculiar dryness in her throat and lips and suffered from nausea."
"Mrs. Laura Junken reported a similar experience shortly after midnight, and Fred Goble told of one at 1:00 a.m. Robert Daniels, a neighbor of Goble, saw 'a tall man' fleeing the house."
"'This is the one of the strangest cases I have ever encountered in many years of police work,' Richard T. Piper, a crime specialist with the State Department of Public Safety told reporters."
And the case got even stranger. The final gas attack took place at the home of Miss Frances Smith, principal of the Columbian Grade School, on September 7, 1944. "Just before the gas with its flower-like odor came pouring into the room, they heard a strange buzzing sound outside the house and expressed their belief that the sound was made by 'the madman's spraying apparatus in operation.'"
The Mad Gasser vanished that night, and, in the intervening 54 years, he has not been heard from since. (See MYSTERIOUS AMERICA by Loren Coleman, Faber & Faber Inc., Winchester, Mass. 1983, pages 192 to 200. See also the Mattoon, Ill. Journal-Gazette for September 2, 1944 and also the Decatur, Ill. Herald for September 8, 1944.)
To keep up with the new UFO flap in western Canada, drop in at Bill Oliver's UFO*BC website. It's at http://www.ufobc.org
Crop circles and UFOs are the main topics at David Kingston's website. Log in at this URL: http://freespace.virgin.net/david.kingston/index.html
Before heading back to school, drop in at our parent site, UFOINFO, for the latest news, photos and features. Go to http://ufoinfo.com
If your English teacher is looking for an essay your first week back to school, go ahead and help yourself to one of the feature stories in a back issue of UFO Roundup. The footnotes alone must be good for at least a B. You can access the back issues at http://ufoinfo.com/roundup
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the birth of that prolific science fiction writer, Edgar Rice Burroughs. Yes, the creater of Tarzan, Pellucidar and John Carter of Mars was born in Chicago on September 1, 1875. You know, it's amazing how many of Burroughs's descriptions of Barsoom, his name for Mars, actually match the photos radioed back by the Mars Global Surveyor. Must be another case of "life following art."
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 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.