BACK FROM THE DEAD...WELL, ALMOST!Nice to be back. And it's hard to believe that three months and three weeks have passed since the "Millenium Bugout,' also known as your editor's move to the Midwest put a dent in this year's edition of UFO Roundup.
For the time being, until I can find a reliable server, the newsletter is going to resemble the Fortean Times of the late 70s and early 80s. It's liable to be more of a "sporadical" than a "weekly." But I will try to have the newsletter back on track with a regular schedule in the near future.
MYSTERIOUS VAN SIGHTED IN WARSAW, INDIANAOn Sunday, August 1, 1999, at 9 a.m., B. White and D. Jagger were having breakfast at the American Table restaurant in Warsaw, Indiana (population 10,968), a small city 85 miles (136 kilometers) southeast of Chicago, when they spotted an unusual white van parked in the lot of the Days Inn next door.
White described the vehicle as "all white with UFO INTERCEPT on the back window. Under that it had the web address www.ufoinfo.com."
Although this is the web address of UFOINFO, the parent site of UFO Roundup, neither site webmaster John Hayes nor newsletter editor Joseph Trainor owns such a van or has any knowledge of a group calling itself UFO INTERCEPT.
Deepening the mystery were the van's out-of-state license plates and its puzzling array of high-tech communications equipment and antennae.
White described it as "a full-size newer van" with "Georgia plates. He was unable to recall the numerals on the Georgia license plate.
The two men saw "lots of antennas and the rotating dish of a radar," White reported, "It was white like on a ship," and the dish "spun around."
White saw a male Caucasian approach the mysterious van. He described the man as "late fifties, early sixties. He had medium-length white/ gray hair. He was around 5 feet, 9 inches (tall). 190 to 200 pounds and stocky...He had on jeans and a sky-blue, button-up shirt that was not tucked in."
"The man walked to the van and opened the driver door and peered around, leaning in the van," he added, "He then walked to the passenger door and did the same. He closed the door and then walked up some (motel) stairs."
Their curiosity aroused by the website addressm White and Jagger logged onto the UFO INFO website. Afterwards, they sent an email to webmaster John Hayes, who lives in Edmonton, London, UK and was intrigued by the web address on the van.
The investigation continues.
(Editor's Comment: John and I have separate opinions on this case. He thinks it might be a high-tech-oriented Roundup fan. I think it's a surveillance van of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) in UFO drag. Although what it's doing in Warsaw, Indiana is anybody's guess.)
BLACK HELICOPTER CRASHES DULUTH'S JULY FOURTH CELEBRATIONOn Sunday, July 4, 1999, your editor left his apartment at 8:30 p.m. to watch the big Fourth of July fireworks celebration in Duluth, Minnesota (population 85,414), a port city on Lake Superior approximately 156 miles (249 kilometers) north of Minneapolis.
At first I planned to watch the fireworks show from Skyline Parkway, up on Hawk Ridge, which has a panoramic view of St. Louis Bay, Duluth and the neighboring city of Superior, Wisconsin. But a thunderstorm was moving in, and the cloud mists were so thick up on the ridge that I could barely see twenty feet (6 meters) ahead of me.
So Instead, I drove halfway down Duluth's Central Hillsie to Observation Community Park, one of the 32 municipal parks in the city. The park is located on Third Street near Tenth Avenue West and has a breathtaking view of the downtown area, the city's waterfront, Park Point and Bayfront Park, the site of the Fourth of July celebration.
About 35 people from the neighborhood were with me at 9 p.m., waiting for the show to begin in one hour. Mindful of the "tornado alert" I'd seen on KDLH-TV Channel 3 earlier in the evening, I kept one eye on the threatening clouds. We heard several booms of thunder and saw lightning flashes, mostly within the thunderclouds. Although an occasional lightning bolt touched down across St. Louis Bay in Superior, Wisconsin and west of our city near Thompson Hill and Spirit Mountain.
At 9:05 p.m. I saw the black helicopter. It came in fast from the west, over the Enger Tower, and made a slight turn to the left, flying right past Observation Park at an estimated altitude of 4,000 feet.
I couldn't believe my eyes. No pilot in his right mind would be flying in weather like this. I saw lightning flashing white and pale green just above the chopper's rotor blades. But the pilot flew on as if it were a clear and sunny day.
The helicopter was a pitch-black turbojet chopper with four rotor blades, a Polaroid windshield, two side windows, a shrouded tail rotor and no visible landing gear, neither wheels nor skids. The helicopter had no insignia of any kind visible. It was operating without red or green navigation lights.
I kept this helicopter in view as it flew past the park in a northeasterly direction, over the midtown area, until it disappeared over the hily horizon north and east of Mount Royal and Woodland Avenue. I had the helicopter in view for about three minutes.
At 9:10 p.m., Observation Park was hit by a sudden, violent downpour. The rain lasted for only five minutes, however. Afterwards, the onlookers and I stepped out from under the eaves of the Clubhouse building and resumed our viewing spots in the park's tennis courts, still waiting for the fireworks show.
At 9:40 p.m., the black helicopter returned. This time it came from the Spirit Mountain area, a little to the south of its previous point of origin, and flew the same west-to-east course over the central city. Again the pilot seemed oblivious to the high winds and lightning flashes among the clouds. This time, however, the chopper did have two lights on. Both of them were bright yellowish-white lights, mounted in the center of the botom of the fuselage and aiming fore and aft. Even at an estimated altitude of 2,500 feet, the lights' glow was strong enough for me to make out details of the chopper's fuselage in the growing darkness.
After the fireworks show, I returned home and dug out my aircraft recognition handbook. I looked for a match with the helicopter I'd seen. And I found one.
I believe it was a Eurocopter AS 565 Panther, a light attack and utility chopper unveiled in 1984 and used by NATO.
The thunderstorm turned out to be one of the most destructive in the Northland in recent years, affecting an area stretching from International Falls, Minnesota to Rhinelander, Wisconsin. The storm did $14 million worth of damage to the region, although most of the lightning damage was in northern Wisconsin.
I have no idea why that NATO chopper was flying in so violent a thunderstorm or what it was doing in Duluth, Minnesota. (For more on the storm, see the Duluth News-Tribune for July 5, July 6 and July 22, 1999.)
(Editor's Comment: During the past month, I've wondered if the black chopper was out searching for Benjamin Smith. the gunman who killed basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong and a Korean grad student in Illinois and Indiana over the Fourth of July weekend. But if it was hunting for Smith, it was in the wrong state. Smith died in a police shootout in southern Illinois earlier that Sunday evening.)
MAN DISAPPEARS IN LAKE MICHIGAN TRIANGLEOn Friday, June 26, 1999, a 37-foot Sea Ray Sundancer powerboat ran over a fishing boat and capsized it. The accident took place on Lake Michigan just east of Two Rivers, Wisconsin (population 13,030) a town located 91 miles (145 kilometers) north of Milwaukee.
Missing and presumed dead is Mark Rickert of Appleton, Wisconsin.
"Chief Petty Officer Mark Barker, in charge of the U.S. Coast Guard station in Two Rivers and Sheboygan said the agency searched 100 square miles in calm seas 'with fantastic visibility,' Saturday," June 27, 1999.
"'We turned up nothing,' he said."
"The Coast Guard called off its search for the 46-year-old man Saturday...The missing man and three others on the 19-foot fishing boat when a 37-foot Sea Ray Sundancer 'ran over' their vessel, Barker said."
"Barker said there were no plans to resume the search for Mark Rickert...unless some development warranted that move." (See the Milwaukee Sentinel for June 27, 1999.)
(Editor's Note: Two Rivers is 7 miles north of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Like its sister city across the lake--Ludington, Michigan--Manitowoc is alleged to be a nexus of the Lake Michigan Triangle. Manitowoc is also the locale of the sighting of the "weird white creature" in April 1998.)
UFO VIDEOTAPED IN NORTHERN BRAZILOn Sunday, July 4, 1999, a UFO hovered in the morning sky over Jardim das Piranhas, a town in the state of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil and was videotaped by a local photographer.
Promtly at 8 a.m., Ricardo Rilley Cavalcantede Oliveira, 32, left his home on the Rua Pedro Araujo with his camcorder. Rilley Cavalcantede makes his living as a videographer specializing in shooting footage of weddings, and he was on his way to a local church.
Ricardo told the Brazilian newspapers that the UFO "was just a glow, like a flourescent light. It was blue at that time and became reddish."
That evening, he showed the video in public in Jardim das Piranhas central plaza. As the crowd watched, the UFO appeared again at 8 p.m., hovering over the plaza.
He described the glowing UFO as being "like a plate."
Ricardo immediately grabbed his camcorder and began shooting. He shot ten minutes of video, and then his battery began wearing down. He went to fetch a fresh battery for the camcorder. When he returned, the hovering object was gone.
"The thing was a white orb and then became red," Ricardo reported, "with a green aura around the edge." (See the Brazilian newspaper Diario de Natal for July 6, 1999. Muito obrigado a Thiago Luiz Ticchetti por eso caso.)
Join us again for more UFO and paranormal news from around the world. The email address is still the same. Have a great week!