TEXAS SKYWATCHER SPOTS TWO UFOs NEAR THE SPACE SHUTTLE
On Saturday evening, December 9, 2000, Michael Hunted drove out into the rangeland about 26 miles (42 kilometers) southwest of Sonora, Texas (population 2,800) to observe the space shuttle Endeavour as it crossed the sky.
With its newly-installed 240-foot (73-meter) solar wings and the space shuttle Endeavour attached, the space station would be one of the brightest objects in the clear night sky.
At precisely 7:10 p.m., Hunter reported, while watching the space shuttle, which started in the west and moved to the east, , which took about three to four minutes, I noticed two objects moving at a high rate of speed, which took about two minutes to go from the southwest to the northeast. They looked like two very bright stars."
"They were only bright white lights. There was no flashing (navigation) lights like on airplanes. I also noticed that they did not have a white trail behind them like the shuttle. I do not know the height (altitude) but I do know that they were much higher than the shuttle because they passed over the white trail that the shuttle left behind."
Sonora is on Highway 277 about 90 miles (146 kilometers) north of Del Rio, Texas. (Email Form Report)
(Editor's Note: For more on Saturday's doings aboard Station Alpha, see the Endeavour story in this issue.)
MYSTERIOUS FIREBALL CRASHES IN SALISBURY, NEW HAMPSHIRE
"Scientists from around the world are weighing in on the mysterious fireball that landed in a Salisbury backyard this week."
"Local neighbors say a softball-sized glowing object landed in the woods behind the house Monday night," December 4, 2000, "starting a small fire. The only proof that anything happened was two small piles of burned leaves."
"Since then, the story has spread via the Internet around the globe. But the far-flung scientists agree with the local experts 'it was probably' a meteorite."
"Russian scientist Andrei Olkhobatov says it may have been what he describes as high-speed ball lightning, a rare electric atmospheric discharge."
"An engineer at a U.S. Department of Energy lab in New Mexico said he had heard of similar events caused by electrical flickering."
"'This particular article is reminiscent of quite a number of events I've looked into in which people claim they've seen a fireball come all the way to the ground,' said Richard Spaulding, 'I think they are electrical manifestations akin to lightning but have nothing to do with thunderstorms.'" (See the newspaper Foster's Democrat of Dover, N.H. for December 7, 2000. Many thanks to Gerry Lovell for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: This incident is almost a replay of the fireball crash in Guyra, New South Wales, Australia one year ago. For more on the Guyra case, see UFO Roundup, volume 4, number 34, "UFO crashes into dam in New South Wales," page 1.)
MIDWEST UFO FLAP SPILLS INTO MINNESOTA
On Tuesday, November 21, 2000, at 5:30 p.m., Tim D. saw a UFO flying from south to north in Chatfield, Minnesota (population 900), a town on Highway 62 about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Rochester, Minn.
"It was a very large square-shaped, sharp 'craft' with two red lights and two white lights," he reported, " "One on each side, alternating in red, white, red, white, in this sequence."
"It flew from behind my car and around us as we sat on a ridge viewing the stars. We could not hear any sound, and could not see any definition towards the center of the object."
"It appeared VERY LARGE and SQUARE, and it was approximately 500 feet (165 meters) off the ground. The temperature that evening was about, say, 15 to 20 degrees (Fahrenheit). We had it in sight for nearly one minute." (Email Form Report)
On Sunday, December 10, 2000, at 5:20 p.m., UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor spotted a dark hovering delta-shaped UFO in Duluth, Minnesota (population 85,000), a port city at the western end of Lake Superior, which is located approximately 156 miles (249 kilometers) north of Minneapolis.
"I had attended a meeting of the Lake Superior Writers at the DeWitt-Seitz building in Canal Park that afternoon," Trainor reported, "I took the Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) bus home and got off at the corner of Piedmont Avenue and West Seventh Street at 5:20 p.m. It was dark but there was still a glimmer of blue dusk at the summit of Spirit Mountain, on the western edge of the city. As O crossed Piedmont Avenue, I looked downhill to my left and saw that the full moon had just risen. It was about 10 degrees above the eastern horizon, over Lake Superior and Park Point. It was very cold, about zero degrees Fahrenheit, and the sky was completely clear."
"As I passed the Lakeside Ice Co. building, I saw what I thought was a Christmas decoration through the pine trees, an arch of multicolored lights. After walking about 100 feet (30 meters) west on West Seventh, I saw the object more clearly."
"It was a black triangle, with its apex pointed upward at a one o'clock angle, and the 'base' at the bottom. The object was in mid-air, an estimated 35 degrees above the southwestern horizon. It was the size of my thumbnail at arm's length. The color was matte black, a shade darker than the surrounding night sky. The object had no discernible motion and hovered silently. There was no sound."
"The sides of the triangle were slightly rounded, a bit concave, giving the object the look of a bulky arrowhead. Also there were three sets or arrays of four lights each on either side of the triangle. There were no lights at the bottom. Twelve lights in all on either side. In descending order, the lights in each array were red, green, gold and white."
"I halted at the corner of West Seventh and 22nd Avenue West and observed the object for five minutes. It was hard to judge distance, but my guess is that the object was a few miles away, possibly over the Spirit Valley area in the West Duluth section of the city. I was alone on the street. There was intermittent traffic on Piedmont Avenue a block behind me. I walked on to my home, went inside and grabbed a small camera. I wasn't sure the object itself would show, but I knew the steady multicolored lights would. However, when I reached the front porch again, the object was gone."
Trainor added that this is the third UFO he's seen in his life. The first was in Seekonk, Massachusetts in August 1963 and the second was near Kingston, Ontario, Canada in August 1995. "This is the first triangular UFO I've ever seen."
THREE BLUE UFOs SIGHTED IN SOUTHERN PENNSYLVANIA
On Sunday, December 3, 2000, at 5 p.m., Stephen C. Dorshimer and his grandfather were having supper at the Effort Diner in the west end of Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania. After paying for the meal, they got into the grandfather's car and began driving east on Route 115.
"I was the passenger," Steve reported, "We drove east-southeast on Route 115. After a few minutes of driving," at about 5:30 p.m., "I looked out the (passenger) side window and saw three bluish lights in a row straight across, coming from the south. They caught my attention because the were so bright and were only 100 to 150 feet (30 to 45 meters) above the treeline on the mountain, a rather dangerous height for a plane to be flying at, especially at night."
"After looking at them for awhile and turning my head to tell my grandfather and then turning back, they seemed to change formation (position) and form an upright triangle."
"Two (lights) were on the bottom, and one was still pointing towards the sky. The triangle then started to move eastward. As the triangle moved eastward, the three lights started to get together and merge together to form one light, and it descended downwards, still moving east."
"I saw it go down through the treeline on the top of the mountain until it was below the treeline at ground level., almost as if somebody was using a very bright flashlight while walking in the woods. I would say it moved at the speed of a small plane on landing or approach."
Brodheadsville is located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Harrisburg, the state capital. (Email Form Report)
Y-SHAPED UFOs SEEN IN NORWALK, CALIFORNIA
On Sunday, November 19, 2000, Paul B. "was walking home from the Norwalk, Cal. Greenline station after 10:30 p.m. I was walking down Studebaker Road. I was just listening to music and keeping an eye on anything or anyone that might get too close to me. At this point, I noticed small lights low on the horizon. It looked line an airport approach pattern in the way they were spaced out in the distance."
At first, Paul dismissed them as approaching jetliners. But then, "I forgot about them for a period of--I would say-- five minutes. The next time I saw them was when I got concerned and paid attention. The lights made like a Y pattern with the two arms of the Y closest to me. I wish I had paid some more attention, but I think there were six of these lights. I walked under some trees, losing sight of them, and when they came back into view, one of the lights was gone. I removed my ear buds and focused on the sky. I tried to rationalise what I was seeing. They were moving too slowly to be airplanes. The light source was too steady to be commercial aircraft, as their (navigation) lights blink. I was in shock, and I was getting chills all over my body."
"The last three or four lights were still clear,. Their shining became stronger, and I am getting chills just typing this. Two lights closed in on one in the center and they rotated around it...then settled in a horizontal plane position. Then three lights suddenly vanished after that, leaving one remaining light. I stopped walking. I watched and tried to focus on it. I tried to follow where it was going but it blinked for a moment or so and then vanished."
Norwalk (population 160,000) is in southern California, northeast of Los Angeles. (Email Form Report)
WEIRD "ICE CIRCLE" FOUND IN DELTA, ONTARIO
A strange "ice ring" was found on a pond near the village of Delta in eastern Ontario province, Canada. The weird formation apparently was created during the night o Saturday, December 2, 2000.
According to Paul Anderson of Circles Phenomenon Research-Canada, the "ice ring" was investigated by the group's Ontario director, Drew Cauley.
"The ring is in pond ice about 15 feet (4.5 meters) in diameter and three inches (7.5 centimeters) wide. The ice is very thin and cannot support (the weight of) anyone walking upon it. The surrounding area has a light covering of snow, and no footprints were seen anywhere," Cauley and Anderson reported.
"Although not a 'crop circle,' this is the tenth report of circle-type phenomena received this year," Anderson added, "I have received three such reports of ice formations in Ontario and Quebec since 1999." (Many thanks to Paul Anderson of CPR-Canada for this report.)
ENDEAVOUR COMPLETES ITS FLIGHT TO STATION ALPHA
""Using a hook and their gloved hands, two spacewalking astronauts an overly slack solar wing on the International Space Station," also known as Station Alpha, on Thursday, December 7, 2000 "with surprising ease."
"'All finished!' exclaimed spacewalker Carlos Noriega, adding that both tension cables were back on their pulleys and reels within a matter of minutes."
Earlier in the week, the space station's right solar wing "was extended in one fast release, causing its tension cables to pop off their pulleys and reels. The left wing was unfolded more slowly and was properly taut."
On Friday, December 8, 2000, "hatches separating the International Space Station from the shuttle Endeavour flew open and for the first time in the two-year history of the space station, crewmen were waiting on either side to greet one another."
The American station commander, Bill Shepherd, and his two Russian shipmates, Yuri Gidzhenko and Sergei Krikalyov have been living aboard the station for five weeks.
"The five-man Endeavour crew, led by shuttle commander Brent Jett Jr., had been docked to the station for six days, but the hatches remained closed for safety while Endeavour astronauts Carlos Noriega and Joe Tanner made three spacewalks to install massive new solar-power wings to the station."
"Shepherd and Jett are U.S. Navy officers and observed some Navy formalities not often used in space."
"'The crew requests permission to come aboard,' Jett said."
"'Permission granted,' Shepherd replied."
(Editor's Comment: That's it, gentlemen. Show these landlubbers the proper way to board a vessel.)
As the first station commander, "Shepherd has hoped to institute some of the traditions he has brought with him from the Navy where he is a captain and worked as a Navy SEAL before joining the astronaut corps."
"As the two crews greeted one another at 8:36 a.m., the station's Unity module was awash in smiles, hugs and handshakes."
"Shepherd congratulated the Endeavour's crew for installing the solar array, which when unfurled spans 240 feet (73 meters) from tip to tip, longer than the rest of the 13-story station."
"After that, the Alpha crew made its way to the shuttle flight deck for a better view of the enormous wings, the largest ever in space."
"With Canadian Space Agency astronaut Marc Garneau on the Endeavour's crew, three of the five partners in the $60-billion venture were represented for the first time" on a mission, the partners being the USA, Canada and Russia.
"Astronauts on the space shuttle Endeavour" disengaged from Station Alpha on Saturday, December 9, 2000 and continued their trip home Sunday," December 10, 2000, " after completing the intricate installation of the International Space Station's electricity-producing solar wings."
"'It's probably the most difficult, most complicated integrated job to date, relative to what we do in human spaceflight operations,' said Milt Heflin, NASA's deputy chief flight director."
"The Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew of five returned to Earth on Monday," December 11, 2000, " ending what NASA called its most difficult space station construction mission."
"'Outstanding job. Welcome back,' Mission Control told Endeavour's commander, Brent Jett Jr., after the shuttle landed at Florida's Kennedy Space Center." (See the Chicago Tribune for December 8, 2000, "Loose solar wing on station repaired by two spacewalkers," and December 9, 2000, "Endeavour, space station crews unite," page 3, and USA Today for December 11, 2000, "Endeavour heads for home," page 24A and December 12, 2000, "Shuttle back home from space station," page 13A.)
WEEPING VIRGIN MARY STATUE DRAWS HUNDREDS IN URUGUAY
"A tear crosses the features of the Virgin Mary, running from her right eye down to her chin, is causing a commotion in the city of Rosario," in the department (state) of Colonia in Uruguay, "where the phenomenon occurred and which many have not hesitated to classify as 'a miracle.'"
"The discovery took place on Friday, December 8, 2000, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (a feast day or "holy day of obligation" in the Roman Catholic Church--J.T.) on a painted image of the Virgin Mary located within a grotto and inside a glass box on the edge of a stream in the department of Colonia in southwestern Uruguay."
"The news spread rapidly among the residents of the city of Rosario, on a fiercely hot day. (Right now, it's summer in Uruguay and the other countries of the southern hemisphere--J.T.) They began rushing by the hundreds to the grotto to witness the phenomenon."
The Roman Catholic bishop of Rosario, Monsignor Carlos Collazi, "who also presides over the Uruguayan Episcopal Conference, visited the location and cautiously that 'the Church is always very prudent in such matters.'"
"The sculpture of the Virgin (formerly known as Miriam bat-Joachim--J.T.) holding the baby Jesus in her left hand--is made of wood, but the figures' faces are coated with a paste similar to porcelain."
"Omar Graso, who recently restored the image, said that his work consisted mostly of paint and at no time did he touch the face. He did not hesitate to reject the notion that the weeping was caused by 'water coming out from within (the statue)...but I can't find any rational explanation.'" (See the newspaper La Cuarta of Chile for December 10, 2000, "Miracle! Weeping Virgin brings worshippers to their knees." Muchas gracias a Gloria Coluchi y Scott Corrales, autor de los libros Chupacabras and Other Mysteries y Forbidden Mexico para eso articulo de diario.)
THE KEY LARGO MYSTERY
A curious phenomenon that has come out of the USA's convoluted year 2000 presidential election has to do with a black-and-white movie filmed over half a century ago.
The movie is Key Largo, which stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. In the film, Bogart plays a World War II veteran who reluctantly comes into conflict with a Chicago gangster, Johnny Rocco, portrayed by Edward G. Robinson.
Aficionados of "the Key Largo mystery have pointed out several curious linkages of the current election controversy. They include:
(1) The film is set in Florida, the site of the disputed vote count between Vice President Al Gore and his Republican opponent, Gov. George W. Bush of Texas.
(2) Pre-production of the film began in April 1947, the month Vice President Gore was born.
(3) In a scene explaining how he rigged an election in Chicago, Edward G. Robinson says, "So if he doesn't win, we count the votes again. And we count them again. And we keep on counting until it comes out right."
(4) In another scene, a character says, "Let him be the president."
(5) The film's title, Key Largo, is an anagram for the vice president's name. If you scramble the letters KEY LARGO, you get the name AL GORE with the letters K and Y left over.
Some have wondered if this is a kind of portent. If the remaining letters are YK, this could refer to "Al Gore in 2000."
On the other hand, KY is the U.S. Postal Service code designation for the state of Kentucky. Mr. Gore is from the neighboring state of Tennessee. They wonder if AL GORE - KY means that something will happen to Mr. Gore in Kentucky.
"I think the hand of the Lord was on this movie," a Christian evangelist told radio talk show host Marlin Maddox on Monday, December 11, 2000. (See Point of View for December 11, 2000.)
from the UFO Files...
1944: THE THREE NEPHITES...MINUS TWO
"To appreciate the stories of the Three Nephites, it is necessary to know that the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (also known as the Mormons--J.T.) holds that" after Jesus ascended into heaven, "he appeared in South America to a people known as the Nephites. Jesus taught them that they had been chosen by God to know the true gospel and to teach it to the unbelievers...Jesus appointed twelve new apostles from among the Nephites, and then asked them what they desired. Nine asked to be raised up when their earthly work was finished, and three asked to remain on Earth forever, doing his work."
So was born the legend of the Three Nephites. Every community in the USA's state of Utah has a "Nephite encounter" story in its local history book. And one of the strangest took place in the Escalante Valley back in December of 1944.
Sam and Ella Mortensen were driving north on Highway 130, heading home after a Christmas shopping trip to Cedar City. With everybody using gasoline ration stamps during World War II, such trips were a rarity, and the Mortensons had to buy food and other necessities along with toys for their grandchildren.
As their black 1940 Ford pickup truck rumbled along, Sam spotted a figure standing on the roadside. An old man with lengthy white hair and a long white beard and wearing a work fleece-lined denim jacket, patched corduroy pants and a battered broad-brimmed felt hat.
"Who do you suppose that is?" his wife asked.
"Some old prospector, probably," Sam said, slowing the truck. "There's a whole passel of 'em up there in the Mineral range."
As the truck rolled to a stop, Ella slid over on the seat and pushed open the passenger-side door. The old man climbed in and offered a thankful smile. "Appreciate it."
"Where you headed, mister?" Sam asked.
"Oh, just up the road a piece."
He was, Ella thought, "somewhat vague about his destination" but "he was most knowledgeable about current events. He knew a lot about the ongoing World War II."
Fascinated, Sam and Ella listened to his stories.
"You're worried about your boy," the old man said, "Don't be. He'll be fine. The Germans are going to send their Panzers into the Ardennes next week, but it's Hitler's last gasp. German will surrender next May. The war with Japan will be over in August."
This really startled the Mortensens because they hadn't even mentioned their son, who was serving in the U.S. Army overseas.
"The war will end in August!?" Sam echoed.
The old man nodded. "Right now there's a bunch of scientists down in New Mexico working on a top-secret project. A kind of bomb. They're going to test it down in the Jornada del Muerto next July. Then they're going drop two of them on Japan." All at once, his expression turned somber. "That Oppenheimer's a damned fool. He's toying with forces he only barely understands."
"Two bombs...,: murmured Ella, "And the war's over. Just like that?"
"Just like that," he echoed.
Sam added, "I guess President Roosevelt will be glad to see that."
"He won't be here to see it. He'll die in Warm Springs, Georgia on April 12. He has a cancer, but he'll die of...something else." The old man sat up sharply. "Well, I do believe that's my stop up yonder. Thank you kindly."
Looking out the windshield, Sam saw a desolate stretch of desert dotted with sagebrush and ocotillo sweeping toward the far-off Sevier Mountains.
"'Surely not here,' the driver said, 'Why, there's no house or building in sight.' "The wind was picking up and blowing sand and tumbleweeds across the hood of the truck."
"'This is the place,' insisted the odd passenger."
(Editor's Comment: Curious. Brigham Young used the exact same words when the first Mormon wagon train arrived in Emigration Canyon, just east of Salt Lake City, in 1847.)
"Since he couldn't be persuaded to ride on to the next town, the driver let him out."
"The old man thanked the couple, then wagged a finger at them."
"'On your way back, you'll be hauling a dead man. And the war will end in August,' he prophesied before disappearing from sight."
"The couple soon came upon an automobile accident in which a young man was killed. They hauled the body back to the nearest town."
"Even though World War II did not end until August of 1945, the man and his wife said the rider had been a Nephite." (See the book Haunted America by Michael Norman and Beth Scott, Tor Books, New York, N.Y. 10010, page 371.)
That's it for this week. We'll be back in seven days with more UFO and paranormal news from around the planet Earth, brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you then.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2000 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.