Monday, December 19, 2005

Was it a UFO or not?

It was 40 years ago this month when Kecksburg became the center of national attention. Forty years ago, some people say a UFO landed in the small Westmoreland County community.
Saturday, hundreds gathered at the Kecksburg Fire Hall to hear of the events which allegedly occurred there and of any new news which was available after years of study.
From a group of local researchers to UFO enthusiasts, people came from as far away as Boston. They heard historical accounts and the current status of information of the event.
Bill Weaver, of Norvelt, was not only at the 40th anniversary event, he was also an eyewitness to the event when it happened Dec. 9, 1965, at the tender age of 19.
"I was driving down the road and heard on the radio that something had happened," Weaver said. "I was in the area and saw people standing along the road, so I stopped and asked what was going on."
That's when Weaver was told that something landed in the patch of woods jut beyond the road.
After traveling down a farm lane, Weaver pulled his car behind a line of cars that formed there.
"From that vantage point I could look down in and see something partially buried that had come in at an angle," Weaver said. It was beginning to get dark, Weaver said. He said the object was emitting a blue light -- almost like the light from a welder's torch.
"In the meantime, a big white furniture moving truck (arrived) and people got out in what we would call moon suits," Weaver said. "They were carrying a box on a stretcher down to the object."
State police and military personnel showed up and sent the observers away.
"They told me they would confiscate my car if I didn't move it," Weaver said. Those few minutes have led to a lifetime of interest for Weaver into the event that causes disagreement between locals and public officials alike as to what really happened. Some are sure that the acorn-shaped object that appeared to have some type of Egyptian hyroglyphics written on it was in fact a UFO, while others take the more explainable path of the object being a Russian satellite that got off course.
Bill Steiner, a Mt. Pleasant resident, has done considerable research on the event. He attended Saturday's anniversary. He believes the object was a Russian satellite.
"At the time, we were in a big space race with the Russians and I think the best explanation is that it was a Russian satellite that went off course," Steiner said. "People saw it change directions when it came down, and if it were a meteor, it would have come on a straight path with much more force."
He said the acorn shape described is consistent with the heat shield which would have been on the bottom of a satellite at the time, although the one modeled in the Kecksburg incident is much smaller. In addition, Steiner said the writing that a lot of people have mistook for Egyptian hyroglyphics or some alien writing, could in fact have been a type of alphabet known as Russian Cyrilic, which looks much like Egyptian hyroglyphics. He said there also is several explanations as to the secrecy of government officials and the precautions taken at the time.
"It's very possible that they might have been concerned about a plutonium leak, which is one of the deadliest substances known to man," Steiner said. Steiner said if it were a Russian satellite, the military would want the chance to look inside without the Russians finding out that they were in possession of the object.
But Weaver is still open to all possibilities.
"I don't know for certain that it wasn't a UFO," Weaver said. "All I can surmise is that it could have been a Russian rocket or satellite."
Saturday was filled with a variety of other speakers who have researched the event or were a part of the event 40 years ago. Stan Gordon, a local researcher, has conducted an investigation on the incident for the past 40 years. Robert Gatty, a reporter for the Tribune-Review in 1965, described his assignment that night and how he was prevented from approaching the object by numerous Army personnel on the scene. Larry Landsman, director of special projects for the Sci-Fi Channel, discussed the channel's UFO Advocacy Initiative that supported a recent investigation of the Kecksburg case by the Coalition for Freedom of Information. The cable channel also produced two TV documentaries on Kecksburg that aired in 2003.
Leslie Kean, a journalist, spoke on the forensic evidence recently discovered at the crash site and on her interviews with Air Force personnel involved in the search of the alleged UFO. Lee E. Helfrich, an attorney, spoke about the current status of the lawsuit filed against NASA in 2003 to gain access information about the Kecksburg incident.
Former Mt. Pleasant Township supervisor Duane Hutter said he is hoping that one day, everyone will really know what happened.

Did ET stay home, then?

While the low red lights that illuminated the pathway between the lecture hall and the observatory may have seemed like an impromptu landing strip for a UFO, there was no sign of an imminent arrival of little green men at Seething over the weekend.The debate over whether there are other life forms in the solar system and the greater universe was the subject of lectures at Seething Observatory.Organised by Norwich Astronomical Society, more than 50 people turned up on both Friday and Saturday nights to hear a lecture by society chairman Mark Lawrik-Thompson called "Life on Earth and beyond" and posing the question: "UFOs and aliens - real or not?"Mr Lawrik-Thompson explained there was every probability that other life forms exist in the universe, given the size and scale of space and the fact there may be other planets similar to Earth circling stars in distant galaxies.He explored the possibility of there being life on Mars and on moons that orbit the great planets of Saturn and Jupiter."Given the scale of the universe, the chances are that there is life out there.
Whether it is intelligent or not is a different matter," he said.The universe is 13 billion years old and infinite in size, so is it really too much to imagine that we are not the only civilisation that has evolved? he asked.He said that for the past few years Norfolk had been at the centre of a number of UFO sightings. After investigation however, it turned out that 95pc of these sightings could be explained quite rationally, often as common phenomena in the sky.And he added: "I do not know many astronomers who have seen UFOs, because they know what they are looking at in the sky."As evidence that primitive life may exist elsewhere, Mr Lawrik-Thompson pointed to examples on Earth of life forms existing in difficult conditions, such as thousands of feet below the surface of the oceans.He said the lecture, attended by regular club supporters and visitors, was meant to be a look at the science and the search for life in the solar system and the universe.It also looked at probes being sent into space and a new generation of space telescopes.Visitors to the event also had the chance to look through the society's telescopes for views of Mars, the Moon and Saturn.Mr Lawrik-Thompson concluded: "If there is life out there, it is going to be very, very primitive."So, it seems, the UFO landing strip at Seething Observatory is not likely to be called into operation in the near future.

UFO sighting claim - watch the video!

A CROSLAND Moor woman has captured images of a strange object in the skies above Huddersfield. Now she is hoping someone can identify the object, which she saw on Monday afternoon. Teresa Millward, 28, of Crosland Moor, said: "It was very strange and slow-moving. It was shaped a bit like a triangle.
"I watched it travelling into the distance over the town, then it returned and seemed to move sideways."
She added: "I thought it was a hang glider or a balloon, but when it came closer I could see it was neither of those things." Teresa photographed the UFO using a digital camera and recorded its movements on video. Teresa, who is in a wheelchair while recovering from an accident on holiday in New Zealand, described the sighting as "very unnerving".
She said: "I am not a believer in UFOs, but I have no idea what this was.
"I thought I must be hallucinating, until I saw some people outside stopping and pointing at it."
Several Examiner readers reported UFO sightings over Christmas last year.
Click here to watch the video

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mystery of UFO research puzzles scientists

Authorities in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province, announced yesterday that they had received 160 million yuan (US$20 million) from a Taiwan-based company to construct a UFO research base. Some people in the city's Baiyun District believe they were visited by aliens in 1994, and with this new research base, they hope to reproduce the mysterious moment, through photos and historical documentation.
On November 30, 1994, more than 27 hectares of masson pines in a forest farm in the district mysteriously fell down. However, nearby plastic shelters stood intact.
An adjacent truck factory reported similar enigmas: steel pipes were strangely broken; a huge truck was found more than 20 metres away from its original place; an employee on the night shift said he had been pulled up in the air by an "unknown" force.
While some thought it was UFOs that did all these strange things, scientists said after a field trip that thunder, lightning and tornados were the probable causes. Wang Fangchen, a biologist who visited the site right after the event, said the city's plan to build a UFO research base is "ridiculous."
"Where do they recruit scientists for the research?" he asked, before adding: "I won't oppose it if they just want to promote local tourism through the programme."
Li Jing, a senior astronomer with the National Astronomical Observatories, echoed the view.
Li said China does not have an official UFO research institute because "it needs scientists of various disciplines."
"It can be an atmospheric phenomenon, or a biological issue, or a physical reaction," Li said.
"People often mistake planes, clouds and insects, as well as strange shadows on photographs, as being UFOs," said Zhou Xiaoqiang, secretary-general with the Beijing UFO Research Association.
"If aliens really came, they would more likely appear before our eyes politely than hide themselves."