THOUSANDS WITNESS UFO OVERFLIGHT IN MEXICO
On Saturday, December 5, 1998, between 7 and 7:30 p.m., thousands of people in the states of Jalisco and Aguascaliente in Mexico watched a UFO described as "a very bright white light" fly over the Sierra Madre mountains.
The UFO was seen in the cities of Chapala, Ocotlan, Tototlan, Yahualica, Teocaltiche, Villa Hidalgo and Tepatitlan in Jalisco state and in Calvillo and Ciudad Aguascaliente in Aguascaliente state.
Many sightings were reported around Lago (Lake) de Chapala, located in Jalisco state about 440 kilometers (275 miles) west of Mexico City.
According to eyewitness Karen H., who watched the UFO from her mountainside home near Lago de Chapala, "The sky was clear, nothing but stars. Apparently the light was seen from all over the state of Jalisco, leading me to believe it was very high up and very bright. Because we are in the Sierra Madre mountains, at approximately 5,200 feet (1,635 meters), to me it appeared to be just a few kilometers away, over the south side of Lake Chapala."
"It had to have been very high, and I thought it was maybe 1,000 to 2,000 meters (3,300 to 6,600 feet) high. But if it was seen from Aguascaliente, the state north of us, then it would have had to have been very high, maybe many kilometers up in the sky."
"The light was traveling west to northeast. They were saying it then changed direction from west to southeast. There was no color, just bright light like a large spotlight. At first my husband thought it was a helicopter with a spotlight, but there was no noise. It seemed to move in a slow, steady direction. From my perspective it changed direction at the last moment." (Email Interview)
(For more on the Jalisco mass sightings, see the English-language newspaper Guadalajara Colony Reporter for December 7, 1998.)
(Editor's Note: This type of "bright light" UFO was first reported in the annals of Ixcoatl, the Aztec king who built Tenochtitlan--now Mexico City-- back in 1431, the same year Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Aztec legends tell of a mysterious race called the Ixal (Nahuatl for "Dark Ones"--J.T.), who are described as a "three-feet-tall (0.9 meters) hairy black humanoid" who "flies through the air and steals women." A similar "bright light" UFO was seen over Tenejapa, in Chiapas state, on November 24, 1967 by California anthropologist Brian Stoss.)
On Thursday, December 24, 1998, at approximately 5 a.m., Luis Diaz heard a strange noise coming from the poultry yard behind his house. But it wasn't Santa Claus--it was the Chupacabra!
Diaz resides in the Colinas Verdes section of barrio Beatriz in Cayey, a small city at the intersection of Highways 1 and 167 about 33 miles (52 kilometers) south of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Hearing the odd sound, Diaz "upon opening his window to investigate, was startled to see a strange animal over his birds."
"According to Diaz, the alleged Chupacabra killed 15 hens, two ducks and a variety of smaller poultry." The dead birds showed "perforations in the neck and near the abdomen where the Chupacabra supposedly sucked their blood."
"'This animal either flies or is capable of extremely high jumps,' Diaz said, noting that the strange animal "'attacked them from above. It did not stop its attack for any given moment.'"
Strangely, "there were nine dogs at the Diaz residence which did not bark at any time during the attack."
"Diaz described the creature as having copper- colored fur, very long hind legs, short front legs and a broad body."
"'I didn't believe in the Chupacabra. I thought it was something else.'" But he quickly changed his mind when he saw "'the creature attacking (his) chickens the same day and killing them,'" Diaz said, adding that he would "stand watch against the Chupacabra" to "protect the rest of his birds." (See the newspaper El Vocero of San Juan, P.R. for December 24, 1998, "Chupacabras Reappears in Cayey,' by Ivonne Y. Rosario. Many thanks to Scott Corrales, author of CHUPACABRAS AND OTHER MYSTERIES, for forwarding the newspaper article.)
On Friday, December 11, 1998, the group Red Argentina de Ovniologia (Argentinian Net of Ufology) held a press conference, revealing that they have compiled a total of 40 UFO sightings in their South American country during 1998.
RAO coordinator Carlos Ferguson said his group is investigating two intriguing cases of UFOs filmed hovering over the South Atlantic seaport city of Mar del Plata, located 385 kilometers (241 miles) south of Buenos Aires, the national capital.
According to the Argentinian news agency TELAM, "On August 27, 1998, an OVNI (Spanish acronym for UFO--J.T.) was seen by witnesses near the harbor area of Puerto Marplatense at 7:07 p.m.--a nocturnal hour in this part of the world--and was captured on film during the 51-second encounter."
"On September 12, 1998, at 7:30 p.m., witnesses who were in the harborside zone of Mar del Plata saw a UFO and filmed it for 89 seconds."
"'In both cases, they saw luminous discs with certain circular or ovoidal forms, with secondary lights, and traveling through a fringe of airspace,' said Ferguson, who added that 'at the time, climactic conditions were good.'" (Muchas gracias a Jesus Millan para esas noticias de TELAM.)
(Editor's Note: UFOs have been seen many times near the harbors of Argentina. In June 1959, the Argentinian Navy chased an unidentified submerged object (USO) in the Rio de la Plata south of Bueno Aires. And on September 30, 1964, a man saw luminous discs emerge from the sea and take off near Comodoro Rivadavia.)
On Thursday night, December 24, 1998, at 10:40 p.m., Darren B. was at his home in Sunshine, Melbourne, Victoria state, Australia when his sister and her friend suddenly rushed outside.
"My sister and her friend rushed out of the house into the backyard," he reported, "It took me about a minute to get dressed and into the backyard where I found my sister and her friend really shaken."
"They described seeing a bright orange ball of light in the sky at about the height of an aircraft and as big as the moon, if it was full. It approached from the northwest and travelled in a south-southeast direction before vanishing behind the treeline. I didn't get out of the house in time to witness the object, although I wish I had."
"They saw it for about a minute and said it was travelling in a straight line a bit faster than an aircraft. There was no sound heard from it. They said it was definitely not an aircraft or a meteor. The witnesses did not believe in UFOs prior to their experience." (Email Interview)
On Wednesday, December 23, 1998, at 9:15 p.m., Manuel F., his wife and a couple of other witnesses watched three UFOs fly over the Wasatch mountain range in Park City, Utah (population 4,468).
"Tonight...my wife and I saw three bright white lights in a triangular formation silently streak across the sky at a tremendous speed, at first in a straight line and then make a left turn and recede until they disappeared, over the space of about five seconds. Did anyone else see this?"
Park City is a popular ski resort on the eastern slope of the Wasatch range, located about 32 miles (51 kilometers) east of Salt Lake City, the state capital. (Many thanks to Stig Agermose for forwarding this item.)
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft photographed its target--the asteroid Eros--as it began its close approach on Wednesday, December 23, 1998.
NEAR shot 28 images of Eros between 10:44 a.m. and 12:44 p.m. During this period, the asteroid completed 50 percent of a rotation. (Eros takes four hours to complete a rotation on its axis. So one Earth day is equal to six Erosian days--J.T.)
As the spacecraft's camera clicked away, NEAR traveled four thousand miles closer to Eros, going from a point 7,300 miles (11,100 kilometers) to 3,300 miles (5,300 kilometers) from the asteroid.
NEAR's Multispectral Imager recorded 1,100 images of the asteroid, "to determine the size, shape, morphology, rotational status and color properties of Eros and to search for small moons."
The Infrared Spectrometer searched the asteroid for minerals, while the onboard Magnetometer studied its magnetic field.
The last lap of NEAR's flight to Eros was not without mishap, however.
On Sunday evening, December 20, 1998, the mission team at Johns Hopkins University began "a series of rocket firings" to "send the small spacecraft into an orbit of Eros to complete a journey of almost three years."
"Contact was lost about 5 p.m. Sunday as the spacecraft was being accelerated to catch the asteroid Eros at about 240 million miles from Earth."
NEAR suddenly "shut itself down and began running in a so-called 'safe mode' just as its speed was being boosted by a series of rocket engine firings."
For the next 27 hours, there was no contact with the robot spacecraft.
"At about 8 p.m. ET Monday," December 21, 1998, NASA's Deep Space Network "located the craft's signal."
"'I think we're pretty much convinced the signal was there all along,' said Helen Worth, a spokeswoman for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, which build the craft."
"But even a small deviation in the position of the spacecraft could have caused scientists to lose the signal, she said."
"NEAR is to spend almost a year orbiting within nine miles of the surface of Eros, a brick-shaped object 25 miles by 9 miles in size. Using six instruments, the robot will probe the asteroid and determine its chemistry, mineral content, mass and density." (See USA Today for December 23, 1998, "Spacecraft back in contact but orbit of asteroid delayed," and the Boston, Mass. Herald of December 22, 1998, "Spacecraft found after going MIA.")
(Editor's Comment: Here we go again. Another Earth spacecraft that rotated out of position, just like the Galaxy IV back in May. Why did NEAR suddenly go into "safe mode" defensive position? Did its onboard radar pick up something making an approach? Questions, questions...)
The Y2K computer crisis has spurred a number of people to set up their own survival enclaves to ride out the Millenium. Three were featured in newspapers over the weekend.
According to the New York Times Magazine, one such place is High 54 Ranch, located near Concho, Arizona (population 400), about 141 miles (225 kilometers) southeast of Flagstaff.
"High 54 is an in-the-works survivalism community. The rural retreat is still under construction, but soon hopes to offer amenities like underground living quarters, 24-hour armed security, perimeter guards, wind-and-solar power sources and a barter economy."
"Potential members are required to arrive with at least a one-year supply of food and at least one rifle and one handgun per family, preferably with 1,000 rounds of ammo per weapon. Gas masks, though not required, are highly recommended."
(Editor's Note: Interestingly, Concho was the site of a cattle mutilation back in September.)
Another one is Prayer Lake, located near Kingston, Arkansas (population 130), a town about 165 miles (264 kilometers) north of Little Rock, the state capital.
"Bob Rutz, 67, an engineer and entrepreneur, is another 'builder' on the Y2K survivalism scene. Rutz and his wife, Joan, are constructing Prayer Lake, a 700-acre Christian community in the hills of northwest Arkansas. Rutz hopes 100 families buy three-acre plots and get back to simple ways of living; plowing with mules, reading by kerosene lamps, drinking from springs and wells."
"'I look at this as Judgement Day,' he says."
Finally, there is God's Wilderness in Finland, Minnesota (population 80), on Highway 1 and County Road 7, located 65 miles (104 kilometers) northeast of Duluth. This enclave "bills itself as a relocation site for Christians, offering land complete with cabin, well pump, stove, greenhouse, shed and outhouse."
"David and Johanna Hecker, who own the site say on their Web page that they knew nothing about Y2K worries until they tried to sell some land and got inquiries from people looking for a place to escape." (See the New York Times Magazine for December 27, 1998, "Apocalypse Now. No, Really. Now!" pages 40 to 43. Also the Providence, R.I. Sunday Journal, page A18.)
"Clay tablets uncovered in southern Egypt from the tomb of a king named Scorpion might represent the earliest known writing by humankind, an archaeologist said Tuesday."
"Gunter Dreyer, head of the German Archaeological Institute, said the tablets record linen and oil deliveries made about 5,300 years ago as tithe (taxes) to King Scorpion the First."
(Editor's Note: Or about 500 years before Menes united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt and crowned himself Pharoah.)
"He said the tablets have been carbon-dated with certainty to between 3300 and 3200 B.C."
"The Egyptian writings, in the form of line drawings of animals, plants and mountains, are the first evidence that hieroglyphics used by latter-day Pharoanic dynasties did not 'rise as Phoenix from the ashes' but developed gradually, Dreyer said."
"'Linguists now have a larger history (of writing) to regard,' he said."
"The bulk of Dreyer's discovery is from Scorpion's tomb in a cemetery in the Suhag province, 300 miles south of Cairo." (See USA Today for December 16, 1998, "Ancient writings, a timeless subject." page 3A.)
(Editor's Comment: Among the pictographs found by Dreyer is the "warrior-with-shield" motif. Curiously, this same figure is found on the seals of the Harappan civilization at Mohenjo-Daro, Pakistan, on the rongorongo boards of Rapanui (better known as Easter Island), on the rock art of southern Algeria. And now, here it is on the clay tablets of pre-Pharaonic Upper Egypt.. Wonder what it means...)
1909: DUFFY'S ENCOUNTER
Wrapping up this year's look back at the December 1909 "airship" flap in New England, UFO Roundup presents this incident, which took place in Lynn, Massachusetts, near Boston, on December 23, 1909, the night thousands of Christmas shoppers watched a mysterious object hover over Boston.
At 7 p.m., James Duffy of Silsbee Street, Lynn, was walking down Union Street in that community "when his attention was attracted by a swishing sound similar to that made by a flock of wild geese directly over his head."
"Gazing upward, he said he saw four bright lights and a big black object which was travelling at such a high rate of speed that he was able to obtain only a fleeting glimpse of it." (See the Lynn, Mass. Evening News for December 24, 1909. See also Fortean Studies, volume 1, "The New England Airship Invastion of 1909" by Joseph Trainor, page 67.)
For an update on the NEAR spacecraft, check out the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab site at this URL: http://near.jhuapl.edu
Joel Henry informs me that Minnesota MUFON has an updated website. Try it out at http://www.visi.com/~jhenry/index.html
Alfredo Lissoni of CUN says the New Italian X-Files are up and running. Drop in at http://members.tripod.com/~ufocun/index0a.html
Start the New Year off right. Check out what's new at our parent site, UFOINFO. For the best in features, news, photos and links, log in at http://ufoinfo.com
Back issues of UFO Roundup can be accessed, read and downloaded from our webpage at http://ufoinfo.com/roundup
Well, believe it or not, this wraps up Volume 3 of UFO Roundup. Once again, your editor would like to take this opportunity to thank the many readers who contributed news items and news stories to UFO Roundup. Thanks, people. Without you, I never could have gotten the job done.
As the year closes, let me welcome aboard our new readers from Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Austria, Sweden, Ecuador, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Stick with us, gang, as we plunge headlong into Nostradamus's big year---1999.
UFO Roundup will continue to provide attribution whever possible for each item that appears in the newsletter.
UFO Roundup will also diligently protect the confidentiality of UFO witnesses who are interviewed by our newsletter. No witness's full name or address will be published unless that witness gives UFO Roundup specific and explicit permission to do so in writing.
Once again, I'd like to reiterate the UFO Roundup Pledge--to bring you complete and comprehensive coverage of the continuing drama of the unidentified flying object.
Here's wishing you all a "Happy New Year!" from "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup."
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.