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Volume 4
Number 13
March 29, 1999

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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CROP CIRCLE APPEARS IN ISRAEL

On Saturday, March 20, 1999, a "significant crop formation" was discovered in Betlekhem Hagalili, a village in the Jezreel Valley about 65 kilometers (32 miles) north of Jerusalem.

According to Israeli ufologist Barry Chamish, "The formation was dumbbell-shaped with two circles of nine meters diameter, joined by a straight line also nine meters long and 90 centimeters wide. Eight hundred meters away, an 11-meter diameter circle was found. The formation was made in a large wheat field, and the circles were spun counterclockwise."

"In classic crop formation fashion, the nodes of the wheat were bent, but the stems were not broken. Over 70 photos of the crop formation were taken by (Israeli ufologists) Gil Bar and Shaul Burgman."

Chamish reported that three crop circles have been found in the Jezreel Valley during the past year.

The first was found in Bet Zarzir, a town "barely a mile" from Betlekhem Hagalili, on April 12, 1998.

The second was found at Tel Adashim, located 12 kilometers (8 miles) from Bet Zarzir, on October 20, 1998.

"The circles were found in approximate six-month cycles," Chamish stated, "The first circle was found on Passover evening last year, and the latest was left a week before the beginning of this year's Passover festival." (Many thanks to Barry Chamish for this report.)

(Editor's Comment: The Jezreel Valley has long been a mystical hotspot in Israel. King Saul watched as the Witch of Endor conjured up the ghost of Samuel there. Bet Zarzir was also the birthplace of Ahinoam, one of King David's wives, also known as the Cindy Crawford of the Tenth Century B.C. It's in the Bible, notably First Samuel 25:43; 27:3 and 30:5.)

UFOs SIGHTED IN RURAL NORTHERN PENNSYLVANIA

On Monday night, March 15, 1999, several glowing UFOs were sighted in northern Pennsylvania, mostly around Smethport (population 1,734) a small town on Highway 59 about 123 miles (197 kilometers) southeast of Erie.

"A woman driving home to Bradford (Pa.) from Olean, N.Y. looked up to see a blue streak racing across the sky."

"Confirmation has come from Doris Ladlee, who was sitting at Gallico Crossing in Smethport, Mercedes Schwartz, who lives at the top of Champlin Hill, and Sandy Bennett of Smethport."

"Doris tells us she was sitting at the crossroads at 11:31 p.m. when, all of a sudden, 'the car lit up like broad daylight, and I saw a great big ball of fire.' A dazzling array of sparks followed as the object dropped. She said she was looking eastward at the time, and the object had a head and a tail like a comet. There was no noise. It appeared to be heading (northeast) towards Port Allegany (population 2,391) and Eldred (population 869)."

"'I thought that maybe a plane blew up,'" she added.

"Her son also saw it a couple of miles to the south. To him, it looked like a blue streak across the sky--not a fireball like she had seen."

"'It looked kind of like a big bright firework, only it was too high up in the sky to have been that,' Doris reported. 'Everything runs through your mind. I though, God, I wonder if someone shot off a missile! Or maybe two stars hit together."

"Mercedes tells us she had just gone to bed and her room was dark. ''I saw the large flash. I thought it might be helicopters but there was no noise.'"

"Sandy Bennett said she was driving into Wilcox (population 1,000) when she saw 'a big round ball. I think it had a blue fire thing after it, and then there were sparkles. It went up real fast, and it wasn't lighting.'"

Wilcox is on Highway 219 located about 29 miles (46 kilometers) south of Smethport. (See the Bradford, Pa. Era for March 23, 1999. Many thanks to Scott Corrales, author of Chupacabras and Other Mysteries, for forwarding this newspaper report.)

LARGE UFO HOVERS OVER PAIUTE INDIAN RESERVATION

On Thursday, March 4, 1999, at night, a motorist traveling north on Highway 95 near Las Vegas, Nevada spotted a strange array of lights hovering over the Paiute Indian Reservation.

As the car reached a point a quarter-mile (0.5 kilometers) south of the Ann Road overpass, the driver "spotted eight very bright lights, 'like the lights of a stadium,' stationary above the overpass directly ahead. As the vehicle continued heading toward the northwest, the driver realized that the lights were much further away (than the overpass--J.T.)"

"They appeared to be hovering 200 to 250 feet above a low rise in the valley near the Paiute Indian Reservation, about five to seven miles north of the Ann Road overpass."

"The lights were reported to be white in color, without definition, and in a pattern of four above and four below, and parallel to the ground. There were no navigation lights or movement noted."

"The observer made a right-hand turn onto Centennial Parkway, then a left-hand turn onto the service road which runs alongside Highway 95. The observer again noted the position of the lights directly in front of him, but also noticed that the top row of lights was beginning to become obscure. Suddenly, the top row blinked out. About ten seconds later, the bottom row disappeared, 'like the lights had been turned off.'"

"The observer also noticed that several other motorists had pulled off the road, gotten out and were also looking at the lights." (Many thanks to Stig Agermose for this report.)

CYLINDRICAL UFO HOVERS NEAR A MALL IN GEORGIA

On Monday, March 22, 1999, at 7:05 p.m., salesman Robert H., age 40, and his wife and daughter were driving "just outside the city limits" of Macon (population 106,612), a large city on Interstate Highway I-75 approximately 81 miles (129 kilometers) south of Atlanta, when the daughter spied a strange gleam in the sky.

"It appeared in the northwest sky above a shopping center," Robert reported. "My daughter spoke of a light in the west-northwestern sky. I first thought she was looking at a vapor trail in the northern sky. She said that she saw that, but what she was talking about was off to the left. My wife saw it, too."

Looking in that direction, he added, "What I saw appeared to be a cylinder in shape positioned up/down like the letter I. It was in the west-northwestern sky brightly lit with the setting sun behind and below it. There did not appear to be any aircraft, stars or birds in that area. We watched it for approximately five to eight minutes and lost complete sight of it once we exited the interstate (highway)." (Many thanks to Ben Field of BUFOD for forwarding this report.)

TWO UFOs HURTLE OVER BATESVILLE, MISSISSIPPI

On Wednesday, March 3, 1999, at 8:45 p.m., a resident of Batesville, Miss. spotted two UFOs "very bright objects about as large as an airplane," heading north.

"The witness first thought they were airplanes," reported MUFON Mississippi director J.R. Gillis, "But as they got closer, he knew they were not planes. No sound was heard. The unidentified objects stopped and hovered for 15 seconds and then took off really fast. Total duration of the sighting was one minute, thirty seconds."

Batesville (population 6,403) is at the junction of Mississippi Highways 6 and 51 approxmately 58 miles (93 kilometers) south of Memphis, Tennessee.

The case is being investigated by Wayne Morgan, MUFON assistant state director. (See Filer's Files #12 for 1999. Many thanks to J.R. Gillis and George A. Filer, Eastern director of MUFON, for this report.)

GLOWING UFO SEEN ALONG NORTH CAROLINA SHORE

On Tuesday, March 23, 1999, at 7:30 p.m., Jared R. spotted something strange hurtling across the night sky in his hometown of Camden, North Carolina (population 95), a small town on Highway 343 approximately 165 miles (264 kilometers) east of Raleigh, the state capital.

"A bright object, traveling left to right across our field of view, at a descending angle, appeared to be glowing from friction like an object reentering Earth's atmosphere," Jared reported. "Had a vapor trail and a fire trail, much like a shooting star. Object moved much slower than a shooting star and although it seemed to be burning from friction with the atmosphere, it never got smaller or burned out."

"The color was blue-white. The speed was comparable to a jet aircraft that might have been making a low pass. As it got lower and to our right, the view was blocked by trees. It gave the appearance that it would have been about five to ten miles from our position, somewhere over Elizabeth City (N.C.)." (Many thanks to Jim Hickman of Skywatch for sending in this report.)

UFO SEEN HOVERING OVER DOWNTOWN TORONTO

The elusive "downtown Toronto" UFO is back, and this time it was seen in the early morning hours, hovering over Dundas Street in Canada's largest city.

Graham S.D. of Mississauga, Ontario, who spotted a UFO three weeks earlier, reported that, on Tuesday, March 23, 1999, at 3:30 a.m., "I had just finished writing the weekly newsletter for my company. I went out on the balcony (The upper-floor apartment overlooks Toronto harbor--J.T.) to finish a smoke and to watch a freight train go by. As I turned and looked back at the city (Toronto) before I called it quits for the night, there was the same light as before--orange-white, seeming like it was spitting out bits of light. It was, I estimate, 15 degrees above the horizon, and for the life of me it looked like it was following Dundas Street in a westwardly direction."

"It then moved back along Dundas whilst climbing to about 50 degrees from the horizon. It then (and this sounds loopy--Graham) started to elongate. It instantly reminded me of something from Star Trek."

"At this point, the light dulled and seemed to stop spitting, still in its elongated shape. It was very bright going but with no spitting, and literally went straight up through the cloud layer, and gone."

Graham reports that this round of multiple UFO sightings "continues to be an unsettling experience" for himself and his family. (Email Interview)

MORE UFO SIGHTINGS REPORTED IN BRAZIL

On Saturday, March 6, 1999, at 12:15 a.m., a brightly luminous UFO appeared over the large seaport city of Recife, in Pernambuco state, about 1,200 kilometers (720 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro.

Witnesses described the object as "a large object made up of an opaque blue light, so that it resembled an object of light. It made a zigzag at a tremendous speed, first to the right, then to the left, and then took off, diminishing in brightness as it approached the (western) horizon."

On Saturday night, March 20, 1999, another UFO overflew Recife, this one described as "a white glowing object." Other witnesses, however, reported seeing "two parallel white lines or streaks" flying over the city.

In Londrina, the capital of Parana state, located 250 kilometers (150 miles) west of Sao Paulo, an eyewitness claims to have seen black helicopters in pursuit of a UFO at 10:30 p.m. on March 11, 1999, the date of Brazil's recent big electrical blackout.

As Londrina went dark, Alexandre Novais "stayed watching the sky from the window of his apartment. He wanted to see the extent of the blackout."

He saw strange lights among Londrina's skyscrapers, but his mother told him they were only helicopters. Alexandre reported, "I told her that I would go to get my binoculars, and, at this time, I saw an unusually large light swiftly cross the sky at a stunning velocity. But instead of falling to the ground, it ascended into the sky."

The UFO, he stated, was "a strange light that crossed the sky with a velocity as fast as a shooting star. It was very rapid and very strange."

"Other lights were seen over the city's international airport," he added, "They were over Brea, a suburb about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the airport." (Muito obrigado ao Euclides da Faria e Thiago Ticchetti por esos casos.)

UFOs SIGHTED IN ITALY AND NEARBY SARDINIA

Italy recorded three UFO sightings in various regions of the country last week.

On Sunday, March 14, 1999, from 6:30 to 7 p.m., witnesses in Iglesias, a city on the west coast of Sardinia, spotted "two luminescent elongated forms that remained motionless in the sky for nearly half and hour."

The two UFOs came together once, "forming an inverted U and disappeared on the horizon seconds later."

Iglesias is in Sardinia's Cagliari province about 140 kilometers (84 miles) south of Sassari, the capital. (See the newspaper La Nuova Sardegna for March 16, 1999. Grazie a Antonio Cuccu di CISU per questo rapporto.)

On Saturday, March 20, 1999, at 8:30 p.m., eyewitness Ozzano Emilia "was driving into Castel San Pietro Termi when he saw a strange glow in the woods. He then watched a large light rise into the sky." He described the UFO as "a dark yellow color."

On Sunday, March 21, 1999, in the city of Milano (Milan), "a strange light was seen in the sky by two people over the suburb of Ripamonti. The light was definitely much larger and brighter than a star, giving off flashes of red, green and yellow light as it rose into the sky. It stayed at one point for several minutes, then (quickly) crossed the sky." (Grazie a Massimo Marasi e Alfredo Lissoni di Centro Ufologici Nazionale per questi rapporti.)

DOD SAYS LASER CUP JUST ARMY TRAINING MANEUVERS

On Thursday, March 18, 1999, around 3 a.m., three squadrons of black helicopters held night training maneuvers in the mountains just west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Code-named Exercise Laser Cup, the simulated combat flight ended with the landing of troops from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) in Aliquippa, Pa. (population 13,374) and Moon, Pa. (population 1,000), towns on the west bank of the Ohio River about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Pittsburgh.

"According to the Army, the choppers were taking part in a joint Army and Air Force training maneuver called Exercise Laser Cup. The name doesn't mean anything--it's just a random monicker chosen by computer."

"Twelve (UH-60) Blackhawk, PAVE LOW and MH-6 helicopters flew from Youngstown, Ohio to Lake Lynn, Fayette County (Pennsylvania) where Special Forces were to practice finding hidden items near an old mine. After that, they all flew back to Youngstown. Yesterday (March 18) they returned to their home base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and other installations."

"Walt Sokalski, a civilian spokesman for the Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, said the helicopters flew between 500 and 1,000 feet and were supposed to avoid the most heavily populated areas."

But the overflight really frightened the residents of Beaver and Westmoreland counties, west of Pittsburgh. Beaver County 911 received 40 telephone calls from area residents, while Westmoreland County 911 received about a dozen calls.

"In the black of a peaceful winter night in the Beaver County countryside, the first mean machines came chop-chop-chopping low and loud over Don and Phyllis Wilfong's house at 3:27 a.m....rattling the windows and obliterating any hope of sleep."

"'It sounded like they were landing on the house,' said Phyllis, 57, of New Sewickley, who bolted up in bed with Don and the couple's suddenly very alert Chihuahua. 'It shook everything. Our house was shaking. Our bed was shaking. I don't know how anyone couldn't hear that. I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on.'"

As for Beth Nicholson and her husband, Shawn, "at 3:30 a.m., a group of choppers churned over their house on Steifel Avenue in Franklin (population 7,329) Fifty minutes later, another group blasted by. And 25 minutes after that, another.."

"'The whole house was vibrating,' said Beth, 'My husband didn't hear them at first, but I'm a lighter sleeper than he is. I said, 'Oh, my goodness!' I went over to my spare bedroom and stuck my head out... That wasn't anything like LifeFlight (a helicopter ambulance service in Pittsburgh--J.T.). Their helicopters fly over here all the time. This was nothing like that. I said to Shawn, 'It's like having a war outside.'"

"'We've been taking calls all morning,' said Capt. Michael Mastroianni of Penn Township police in Westmoreland County. 'We don't know who they were. Needless to say, the military doesn't check in with us.'"

"Patrolman Corey Ceccarolli was sitting in his parked cruiser in a Dairy Queen parking lot when the choppers rumbled overhead at 2:50 a.m. Shortly after, residents in Hempfield and Penn called 911."

Police also received a report of "a low-flying plane" over Hempfield.

"'If you're not used to helicopters flying over your house, it can sound like they're right on top of you. We apologize for that,' Sokalski said, 'We hadn't realized the overflight would cause such a reaction.'"

In the days following Exercise Laser Cup, more reports of black helicopters came to the fore.

On Friday, March 26, 1999, Dean Y. reported, "I live in Holly, Michigan (population 5,595). Black helicopters are a common event around here. Today I saw one in the Fenton area south of Bishop International Airport. It came up from the south along U.S. Route 23, then turned and headed south again over Lake Fenton between 11:30 a.m. and noon."

Holly is 47 miles (75 kilometers) northwest of Detroit. (Editor's Comment: If the Night Stalkers have been back at Fort Bragg since March 19, who was flying over Holly on March 26?)

On Saturday, March 27, 1999, Scott P. reported that he had heard stories of two underground NATO bases in Ohio. One, a subterranean five-acre complex near Ravenna (population 12,069), a small city on Route 59 about 16 miles (25 kilometers) east of Akron. The other, an underground base with a brand-new airstrip near Portersville (population 60) about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Zanesville.

Also on Saturday, Newswatch magazine posted six color photographs of white UN military vehicles loaded on a flatbed truck in Port Beaumont, Texas. The photos, however, are undated. The closeups show a typical Humvee painted white with the black letters UN behind the left front wheel well and the words Military Police over and behind the rear side window. (See the Pittsburgh, Pa. Post-Gazette for March 19, 1999, "Not ready for rumble--Sleepers alarmed by helicopter-borne commandos," by Torsten Ove. See also the Lisbon, Ohio Morning Journal for March 19, 1999 and the Trumbull County Vindicator for March 19, 1999. The Newswatch photos can be seen at http://www.newswatchmagazine.org/unvehpict/home.htm.)


from the UFO Files...

1904: UNFORGETTABLE WHIPPLE V. PHILLIPS

Normally this is the kind of article you'd see in Reader's Digest. But I doubt the Digest will ever run an article on a notorious fellow like Whipple Van Buren Phillips.

Ol' Whip Phillips died in Providence, Rhode Island ninety-five years ago, on March 28, 1904. He's probably best known as "a prominent Mason" and as the father of artist Sarah Susan Phillips (1857-1921) and the grandfather of cosmic horror writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937). But if anyone ever writes the Magickal History of New England, Whipple Van Buren Phillips will certainly get his very own chapter.

Whip was born in 1833 in Foster, R.I., a small town about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Providence,. and attended the East Greenwich Academy. In 1852, at age 19, Whip traveled to Delavan, Illinois, a town founded by one of his uncles, James Phillips (1794-1878). But the upper Midwest wasn't for him, and in 1853, he returned to Rhode Island, taking the scenic route. Among the places he visited were the extensive mound complex in Cahokia, Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, and Mammoth Cave in southern Kentucky.

It's no coincidence that H.P. Lovecraft's very first story, which he wrote as a nine-year-old boy, was set in Mammoth Cave. Grandpa Whip told him all about it.

In 1853, Whip bought a house in the aptly-named Coffin's Corner section (now Greene village--J.T.) of Coventry, R.I. On January 27, 1856, he married a local girl, Robie Alzada Place (1827-1896) and took a number of jobs, including teaching elementary school and managing the local general store.

In 1876, he moved to Providence, purchased a house at 276 Broadway and went into the real estate business. He made and lost three fortunes, and whenever he had the cash, he indulged his esoteric tastes by collecting strange old manuscripts and visiting prehistoric ruins.

L. Sprague de Camp wrote, "Whipple Phillips was a hearty, energetic, enterprising, extroverted man who had a long and checkered, but on the whole, successful business career...Whipple Phillips also picked up a fair degree of culture. He twice visited Italy and acquired a taste for Italian art."

In addition to visiting several Etruscan and Saturnian sites in Italy, Whip made a side trip to Egypt on his way home. And thereby hangs the mystery.

In the 1920s, H.P. Lovecraft agreed to write a story entitled "Under the Pyramids" for Farnsworth Wright, the editor of Weird Tales, the story to be printed under the byline of the famous escape artist Harry Houdini.

It's not one of Lovecraft's better tales (my favorite is Pickman's Model--J.T.), but it does contain some startling references to a network of tunnels beneath the Giza plateau. Most readers dismissed the tunnel story as folklore, but then in November 1998, Dr. Zahi Hawass discovered the vertical shafts leading to the Tomb of Osiris.

The unanswered questions: did Whipple Van Buren Phillips visit the tunnel complex under Giza? Did he tell his grandson about it before his death in 1904? And did Lovecraft incorporate some of this inside information into the story?

On a snowy night in February 1904, about a month before his death, the family heard a queer hissing and thumping noise coming from the attic of Whip's opulent home on Benefit Street in Providence. Thirteen-year-old Howard asked, "Hey! What's that?"

"Nothing! Pay it no mind, lad, hear?"

But Lovecraft was startled by the expression on his grandfather's face--an expression of stark terror.

Of course, he wasn't half as startled as the Providence undertaker who worked on Whip's body just after his death...a stroke, they say...on March 28, 1904. The undertaker reported, "I found the grotesque, twisted expression on the decedent's face to be quite disconcerting."

Indeed! (See H.P. Lovecraft: A Life by S.T. Joshi, Necronomicon Press, 1996, pages 3 to 6, and Lovecraft: A Biography by L. Sprague de Camp, Doubleday and Co., 1975, page 11.)

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