Monday, August 08, 2005

Area native tries his hand with UFO fiction

LORAIN -- When he was growing up, former Vermilion and Lorain resident Robert Farrell always had a dream of becoming a ''space cadet.'' Although he made a career out of being a mechanical engineer in the plastics industry, physics always stayed close to his heart. ''I was sure I would be one (an astronaut), but somehow I didn't,'' Farrell said.
Now, the 65-year-old Farrell is the author of ''Alien Log'' a novel that explores the possibility of alien life forms. ''It occurred to me years ago that we are not alone in this universe,'' he said. ''I want to educate people about the fact that UFOs are possible.After 17 years in the plastics industry, Farrell became a professor at Pennsylvania State University, where he helped start a successful plastics engineering technology program. He retired as a professor emeritus in 2003.But science, and the possibilities of another life form, were always on his mind. ''Buried in the story-- a fun story, you step back and say, Ôwell maybe this is true,''' he said.Farrell started researching physics, cosmology, astronomy, and ancient beliefs about 10 years ago.''If you come to the conclusion that there is alien life it changes your life,'' he said of why he decided to write the book. ''The more you get involved the deeper you dig.''The book is aimed at ''non-believers and those on the fringe,'' he said.Although Farrell started ''Alien Log'' as a non-fiction book, he decided to change it to a fiction novel. The story contains three main characters: Dr. Corey Newton, an astrophysicist, Dr. Wendy Ahearn, a world renowned linguist and Col. Mitchell, the man who holds the clue to extraterrestrial life. ''The story revolves around an alien artifact discovered at a UFO crash site in Arizona in 1953 where a captain finds an artifact, like a Palm Pilot today, that has the ship's log,'' he said of the story's plot.Years later, the retired captain gives up the device to the president after hearing of UFO sightings and abductions. ''He finds out there is a threat to not only the United States, but to all of humanity.''Farrell said his goal was to bring facts out through natural dialogue. The novel includes 72 references in the back of the book. It offers explanations to crop circles and how to tell a real one versus a fake, UFOs, alien behaviors, abductions and gravity drive.''There's a wealth of sightings over the years by credible witnesses,'' Farrell said. ''You have to take the evidence and lay it out and like in engineering the evidence points to a cause and a cure.''Farrell has taken his facts and findings on the road at part of a book tour. Last week he made multiple appearances in the Lorain County area giving lectures on his research.Farrell's family lived in Vermilion until he graduated high school. They moved to Lorain while he was in college and in the service.''It's been nice,'' he said of his return. ''I got the chance to meet up with some old friends.''Farrell said although Vermilion has changed over the years it still remains a beautiful place.Aaron Clark, member and spokesman for the Cleveland UFOlogy Project attended Farrell's lecture. Although Clark has not read his book, he said he knows what to expect after hearing his presentation.''It's a fictional story, but he has all the components of the study of UFOs in the book,'' Clark said. ''If you read the book you'll have a good understanding on how things operate in terms of UFOs.''Farrell, his wife Linda, and their daughter Wendy Colleen Gastl, left residence in Peoria, Ariz., in March, traveling in a mobile home adorned with a sign ''Science Fiction or Fact?'' next to a picture of Farrell's novel.It's not surprising that the former resident of Lorain County would become involved in alien research since the county was once thought to become the UFO capital of the world, according to past Morning Journal articles.Sightings in the Lorain County date back as far as 1958. A wave of UFO sightings swept through the Lorain area and around the world in the 70s and 80s, according to multiple stories in past issues of The Morning Journal.The tour has given Farrell the opportunity to meet more witnesses of close encounters and abductions. ''The tour has allowed me to meet very interesting people,'' he said.Farrell's initial retirement plan involved more research into gravity drive, not writing books about aliens. ''I didn't plan on doing this when I retired,'' Farrell said. ''I have always been heavily interested in gravity drive. I wanted to develop it and I still do. But, I was compelled to write this book.''Farrell plans to keep chipping away at the mystery of extraterrestrial life. He is currently writing the sequel to ''Alien Log'' that has a title yet to be determined. Farrell is also looking into the possibility of his novel being turned into a movie

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