UFOs may be fodder for comedians but there was no joking Monday when a group of former pilots recounted seeing strange phenomena in the sky and demanded the US government reopen an investigation into unidentified flying objects.
Several pilots offered dramatic accounts of witnessing UFOs -- including a transparent flying disc and a triangular craft with mysterious markings -- as they insisted their questions needed to be taken seriously more than 30 years after the US file was closed.
"We want the US government to stop perpetuating the myth that all UFOs can be explained away in down-to-earth, conventional terms," said Fife Symington, former governor of Arizona and air force pilot who says he saw a UFO in 1997.
"Instead our country needs to reopen its official investigation that it shut down in 1969," Symington told a news conference.
"We believe that for reasons of both national security and flight safety, every country should make an effort to identify any object in its airspace," said a statement from the 19 former pilots and government officials from around the world.
Santa Rosa County Commissioner John Broxson was always a skeptical person.
He never believed the stories of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster or unidentified flying objects.
But something happened nearly 20 years ago to make him change his mind on at least one of those phenomena.
"Frankly, I saw something that blew my mind," Broxson said. "It's a mystery to me. It just looked like something I wasn't expecting to see.
| Ed Walters took this photograph of a purported UFO hovering over County Road 191-B east of Gulf Breeze in January 1988. Walters provided the photo to the Daily News in 1990 to coincide with the publication of his first book, "The Gulf Breeze Sightings."
Washington - Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich may have been ridiculed for saying he had seen a UFO, but for some former military pilots and other observers, unidentified flying objects are no laughing matter.
An international panel of two dozen former pilots and government officials called on the U.S. government on Monday to reopen its generation-old UFO investigation as a matter of safety and security given continuing reports about flying discs, glowing spheres and other strange sightings.
"Especially after the attacks of 9/11, it is no longer satisfactory to ignore radar returns ... which cannot be associated with performances of existing aircraft and helicopters," they said in a statement released at a news conference.
The panelists from seven countries, including former senior military officers, said they had each seen a UFO or conducted an official investigation into UFO phenomena.
Episodes of high comedy in the history of science are rare, but here is one: the investigation of Eusapia Palladino, a tempestuous and erotically charged medium from the slums of Naples, by a sober Cambridge don and his friends in 1895.
The Cambridge group was from Britain's Society for Psychical Research, and they trained themselves hard for the task. Their leader, Henry Sidgwick, was a prominent moral philosopher; his wife, Nora (the sister of a future British prime minister), was a mathematician and the principal of one of Cambridge's first colleges for women. Together the couple practiced how they would hold Eusapia down during seances. As Deborah Blum writes in her fascinating new book, Ghost Hunters, Sidgwick developed an impressive skill for "dropping to the floor, his white beard trailing over the carpet, while he anchored Nora's feet in place."
Eusapia's apparent ability to levitate heavy tables, make mysterious winds blow and produce a substance known as "ectoplasm" - a sort of afterbirth of the netherworld - had already convinced some scientists in Europe that paranormal powers were real. But she had been married to a traveling conjuror and would be caught in trickery countless times. Members of the Society for Psychical Research wanted to be sure. But above all, they wanted to believe. If Eusapia was exposed, they would find someone with more impressive powers. Blum's strange tale shows how and why many British and American intellectuals (including some prominent scientists) ended up on a fruitless but determined hunt for ghosts.
Claims a young New Zealand mother-of-two died as relatives tried to remove a Maori curse from her are being investigated by police.
A homicide investigation is under way into the death of Janet Moses, 22, at a house at Wainuiomata near Wellington on October 12 as relatives looked on.
Police said it appeared she had drowned. She was found with grazes to her upper arms, forearms and torso.
The Dominion Post reported on Monday that at the time of Ms Moses' death family members had been trying to drive out a makutu (curse).
It quoted a relative as saying that the family believed a curse was put on Ms Moses after a relative stole a taonga (treasure).
For four decades, residents of the tiny Pennsylvania town of Kecksburg have told their story of strange blue lights in the sky one winter's evening and a fireball crashing into woods.
On 9 December, 1965, they say, they saw armed soldiers cordoning off the area and a large metallic acorn-shaped object bearing strange hieroglyphics driven off at speed on the back of a lorry. They talk of menacing plain-clothes officials visiting homes and warning local people not to tell anyone of what they saw.
Until now the US government has denied that anything sinister took place. It has maintained that a thorough search of the woods by the air force, the only federal agency to have acknowledged it was there, found nothing. But now Nasa has been ordered to examine its X-Files to solve the mystery.
Six unidentified flying objects (UFOs) were sighted and photographed on Tuesday night (November 6) around 11pm by a local resident in Carvoeiro.
Robert Wilkinson, owner of a bar in Carvoeiro, told The Resident
: "There were six orange glowing orbs in the sky at around 11pm. These were moving horizontally across the sky in the same direction, when suddenly one changed direction and the other five followed it before disappearing somewhere above the sea".
The community of Mapuve, outside Giyani in Limpopo, is living in fear after mysterious fires burnt 14 houses in the past few days.
The fires destroyed properties and left many villagers homeless. The mystery fires started last week. When they initially started, the villagers did not take them seriously. But when more houses were burnt down, they began suspecting that someone was responsible.
It is not yet known who or what caused the fires. At least 14 thatched-roof houses have burnt down so far. All attempts by villagers to extinguish the fires had allegedly failed.
Now the community wants a solution to "this frightening problem".
"Community structures, including police, met in the village yesterday to try and establish the cause of the fires, but the meeting yielded nothing," said community spokesman Steven Maswanganyi.
Sutton's experts on the unexplained, the Ashfield Paranormal Investigation Team (TAPIT), are looking into reports of strange objects in the night sky on Saturday.
|The UFO sighting in Sutton that got you all talking earlier this year.
Members of the team say calls have been flooding in from locals claiming to have seen a number of large orange balls in the air.
Says Lee Roberts, team leader for TAPIT: "We have had three reports from people at a restaurant in South Normanton describing the object as like a flame going across the sky which was not a plane or a firework."
On a desert highway in Australia's flat, dry centre is a petrol station by a watering hole where extraterrestrials have been stopping off for millennia, or so "witnesses" say.
If truck drivers or passing tourists find themselves nodding off on the long drive between Alice Springs and Darwin, a pitstop at Australia's self-proclaimed UFO capital might just revive them.
|Wycliffe Well and the Stuart Highway, linking Alice Springs and Darwin