Saturday, August 18, 2007

UFO ENTHUSIASTS GATHER IN CHILE’S REGION VII

A National Ufology Conference is set to take place this weekend near the Region VII mountain town of San Clemente. Ufology – sometimes spelled UFOlogy – is the study of all phenomena related to Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs).The convention begins Friday, Aug. 17 and is organized by San Clemente’s City Hall and Tourism Chamber. It also enjoys backing from the Chilean government’s National Tourism Service (SERNATUR).
“It’s great for us if the UFO phenomenon can serve also as a tourist attraction, encouraging visitors to get to know Region VII’s mountain zone, which has such a tremendous biological value,” said SERNATUR head Oscar Santelices.The gathering will take place in the Refugio Nacional Biota Maule, located in Vilches near the entrance of the Altos de Lircay National Reserve. Chilean ufologists say the Reserve is a common place for UFO sightings.“This is an emblematic place in Chile where UFOs have appeared regularly. It’s a hot spot, a window for observing UFOs in Chile,” Rodrigo Fuenzalida, director of Chile’s Ufology Investigation Group (AION), told the Santiago Times. “The idea behind the gathering is to forge an alliance between researchers and the Chilean government in order to promote the San Clemente area as a center for a different kind of tourism.”A similar gathering took place this past February in Viña del Mar, Region V (ST, Feb. 8). The highlight of that meeting was a display of photographs taken by members of Chile’s Armed Forces. Captured on one of those photographs was an image of a spherical metallic object flying over Antarctica. Also presented during the conference was a video recorded in 2000 of Navy ships being pursued by a luminous object.A more recent UFO sighting took place in May – near the Collahuasi mine in Region I. On that occasion, a very large, spherical object hovered in the sky for a full 24 hours.
“It’s an emblematic case because people were able to video record it. It had a very large structure and was seen by a lot of people… It was enormous, with shiny metal, and the whole time it was just stationary,” said Fuenzalida. As part of the upcoming event, Fuenzalida will deliver a presentation entitled “UFOS, The Best Images in Chile.” Other speakers will include psychiatrist Mario Dussuel, journalist Enrique Silva, and Marcelo Moya, a researcher.According to Fuenzalida and his colleagues, Chile has a number of particularly good UFO viewing sites, among them Huara, in Region I’s Atacama Desert; Region V’s Laguna Verde area; and Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales in Region XII.“Chile is a place that has recurring sightings,” the AION director said. “Keep in mind that of all the cases that occur in Chile, only 5 percent are reported in the press.”By Benjamin Witte (benwitte@santiagotimes.cl)

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