Tuesday, August 14, 2018

UFOs in the heartland: New movie, ‘Blue Book’ TV series set in southwestern Ohio

By Steve Hammons

Tucked into the southwestern corner of Ohio, along the borders with Indiana and Kentucky, is a region that is the setting for two new and significant media projects on the subject of UFOs. 

History Channel recently released a trailer on their new drama series “Project Blue Book” about the U.S. Air Force program based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, from 1952 to 1970. 

And Sony Pictures Entertainment has also recently posted a trailer for the new movie “UFO,” also set in southwestern Ohio, this time in the Cincinnati area just south of Dayton. Gillian Anderson of the “X-Files” TV series and movies plays a math professor at the University of Cincinnati helping in an investigation of UFOs. 

Movies and TV shows aside, what about the real Project Blue Book? 

Shortly after the project began in 1952 a major UFO incident occurred that July in Washington D.C. Multiple UFOs were tracked by radar and witnessed by reliable people on the ground. 

Military aircraft were scrambled to intercept the unknown objects, but were unable to do so. Newspapers carried the dramatic story: "'Saucer' Outran Jet, Pilot Reveals," said the Washington Post front-page headline for July 28, 1952. 

Interestingly, a Project Blue Book team member was in Washington at the time. 


The new History Channel series and the Sony Pictures “UFO” movie are not the first time that Project Blue Book, Wright-Patterson AFB and southwestern Ohio have been the subject of movies and TV shows. 

For example, in 1978 and ’79, the TV series “Project U.F.O.” reportedly used real cases from Project Blue Book as a basis for episode plots. Jack Webb (of the original “Dragnet” TV series) created “Project U.F.O.” which told the story of two Air Force investigators from Project Blue Book as they follow up on a variety of UFO reports. 

Again in 1996 and '97, Wright-Patterson AFB’s Project Blue Book was a focus of the TV series “Dark Skies.” Series creators Bryce Zabel and Brent Friedman told the story of a young congressional aide visiting Project Blue Book on a routine task for the congressman he worked for. He soon finds himself entangled with a separate top secret government UFO project. 

But these are not the only connections between Ohio and the UFO phenomena. 

One of the most significant real-life cases occurred in 1973, after Project Blue Book officially ended. It became known as the “Coyne Incident.” On Oct. 18, 1973, four members of the U.S. Army Reserve were in their military chopper flying from Columbus in central Ohio to Cleveland up on Lake Erie. 

The crew included pilot and aircraft commander Capt. Lawrence J. Coyne (a 19-year Army Reserve veteran), co-pilot Lt. Arrigo Jezzi, flight medic Sgt. John Healey and crew chief Specialist 5 Robert Yanacek. 

While en route, a UFO suddenly came into view and flew dangerously close to the helicopter. Coyne, fearing a collision, quickly put the chopper’s controls in the position for a descent. However, the helicopter’s altimeter indicated that it was rising and gaining altitude during this part of the encounter.  

Crew members had close-up eyewitness views of the unusual craft. This well-documented case included a formal report from the crew members for the Army Reserve.  


Even Steven Spieliberg’s classic 1977 blockbuster “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” brought us to Ohio in hot pursuit of UFOs. 

In opening scenes, Indiana police officers from the Muncie area near the border with Ohio are Code 3 lights-and-sirens chasing multiple UFOs. Power company tech Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) is close behind in his power company truck as UFOs, police and Neary blow through a toll booth on the Ohio state line. 

This scene reportedly may be based on an April 17, 1966, incident in Portage County, Ohio, when Ohio officers from several public safety agencies pursued a UFO into Pennsylvania. 

Yet another case involving Ohio public safety officers took place on Dec. 14, 1994. The so-called "Trumbull County incident" involved officers from multiple regional public safety agencies who chased a large object that reportedly emitted bright lights of various colors intermittently.

Police radio transmissions of the incident have provided good documentation of this remarkable case. The Trumbull County incident was subsequently well-portrayed in a TV documentary segment. 

Even though several unusual UFO incidents have taken place in Ohio over the years, and Wright-Patterson AFB has been the focus of much research on this topic, it gets even more interesting. 

According to rumors, reports and tales from people who have researched the UFO phenomena, after the alleged July 1947 crash of an unusual craft near Roswell, New Mexico, the remains of the craft were promptly transported to Wright-Patterson AFB. 

This makes sense because Wright-Patterson was then and is now home to the Air Force’s center for analysis of foreign aircraft – aircraft of adversaries, “frenemies” and even allies. It would be the logical place to have experts thoroughly examine an unusual craft. 

As the new History Channel series on Project Blue Book and “UFO” movie with Gillian Anderson roll out, more viewers will become somewhat familiar with the region around southwestern Ohio where these stories take place. 

By viewing the UFO phenomena through the lens of southwestern Ohio, we might encounter several mysteries to explore and insights to discover. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Telling the story of UFOs: Journalists face many responsibilities

By Steve Hammons

The recent and ongoing controversy about releases of sensitive information on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), also known as unidentified flying objects (UFOs), seems to raise both new and longstanding fundamental points about freedom of the press and the role of journalism in society.

This UAP/UFO topic might serve as a unique example about the way we look at the roles of journalism, government and citizens on an issue that could be both important to know about and also require discretion and sensitivity.

Today’s journalists and many other segments of society face continual changes in the evolving economy, technological development, scientific updates and the many other aspects of everyday life. 

Journalism in particular is dealing with longstanding ethical and professional guidelines about freedom of the press and responsible reporting. 

These are combined with a changing landscape of Internet technology and certain characteristics of major media companies.


The touchstone of the U.S. Constitution and its provisions outlining freedom of speech and freedom of the press continue to be fundamental reference points. Many of the U.S. Constitution’s other attempts to strengthen human liberty are equally valuable and often equally controversial.

The task of balancing these freedoms with responsible behavior and common-sense discretion is now front and center in discussions about various current events. 

And, odd as it may seem, the UAP/UFO subject is one of these current challenges.

Just like other sensitive subjects involving national security, some people who have researched the UAP/UFO situation claim that a high level of restriction by governments on information about this topic is interfering with the right of citizens to know what their governments are doing.

And, the argument extends to the view that human beings at the grassroots of society have a need to know about certain subjects that could affect them, including unusual and unconventional discoveries and developments.

The counterpoint to this view is that some subjects must be kept secret for the sake of the greater good of maintaining national defense. And, in many cases, international alliances and friendships among nations and societies are also at stake. 

How should the profession and craft of journalism handle these factors? 

When the additional challenges of certain perspectives by media bosses in a time of changing economic dynamics come into play, journalists are now, as they often have been, faced with soul-searching dilemmas.


In the case of unusual and unconventional scientific subjects, additional obstacles for journalism include self-censorship by media management and often by certain elements of scientific communities. These factors may also dovetail with defense-related information restriction for reasons of strategic national and global safety as well as tactical operational security.

Despite statements from people with various viewpoints that decisions about balance between security and freedom of the press are easy, this is probably not always the case.

As we know, sometimes a “top secret” classification is used to cover up wrongdoing and inappropriate conduct. 

At the same time, other classified situations, including highly compartmented and need-to-know circumstances, might truly require robust information security for a number of legitimate reasons.

According to some researchers, the UAP/UFO situation falls into a complex category of emerging scientific developments that could significantly change our views of Earth, the Universe, life and the human race. It may be quite complex because the various kinds of unusual flying objects seen over the decades and centuries are probably associated with even more surprising mysteries.

Extraterrestrial visitors, multiple dimensions, space-time anomalies, forgotten histories of human civilization, undiscovered aspects of human DNA, extrasensory perception and other edge-science subjects have all been linked to the UAP/UFO phenomena, both directly and indirectly.

Some researchers indicate this may only be the tip of the iceberg.

Responsible journalism on these kinds of subjects seems to have been somewhat limited to date. But that does not mean today’s journalists are incapable of handling the situation responsibly and professionally.

Understanding various security implications of unconventional situations that could affect the safety of American and global society must be part of journalistic considerations and judgment.

Important foundational elements of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights are also factors that are key parts of responsible journalism in days past, now and in the future. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

‘Close Encounters’ Wyoming landing zone may hold lessons for us today

By Steve Hammons

In the 1977 movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," with its amazing ending at Devils Tower, Wyoming, there were references to real situations.

For example, the police chase across the Ohio-Indiana state line early in the film resembled actual incidents in that region. 

And interestingly, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is also located near the Ohio-Indiana border in southwestern Ohio. That base is home to an Air Force foreign technology research center and closely associated with the alleged "Roswell incident" and subsequent research. 

In "Close Encounters" the clandestine logistics and security operation at Devils Tower was facilitated by U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets). In real life, some of their specialties are covert and unconventional operations. Army Special Forces also works in roles to establish rapport with indigenous populations and provide training. 

But is there more about Devils Tower that we can learn? 


Native American Indians had a very different name for the unusual geological formation known as Devils Tower.

To the Lakota and Cheyenne, it was called “Bear Lodge,” “Grizzly Bear Lodge,” or “Bear Lodge Butte.” The Cheyenne and Crow also referred to it as “Bear’s House” or “Bear’s Lair.” It was also called “Bear’s Tipi” by the Cheyenne and Arapaho. To the Kiowa, it was “Tree Rock.” 

How did Native American names associated with a bear lodge become “Devils Tower?” It is believed that an interpreter in an 1875 expedition in the area misunderstood the Indian words and translated them as “Bad God’s Tower” which was later changed to “Devil’s Tower,” and eventually to “Devils Tower” (no apostrophe). 

President Theodore Roosevelt declared the huge rock formation a U.S. National Monument in 1906. Today, the entire monument area includes 1,347 acres. 

Interesting legends and folklore about the site may also hold clues about more subtle connections at Devils Tower or Bear Lodge. 

A Lakota tale reportedly describes six Lakota girls picking flowers there when they were chased by bears. The Great Spirit helped the girls by raising the ground under them. The distinctive vertical striations of the rock were made when the bears tried to climb it but slid down, leaving huge scratch marks, according to this legend. 

A Kiowa story is similar. Seven girls playing were chased by large bears. To escape, the girls climbed a rock and prayed to the Great Spirit for help. Answering the girls’ prayers, the Great Spirit caused the rock to rise to the heavens, saving the girls as the bears tried to climb the rock, leaving their claw marks. 

As the girls reached the uppermost realms of the sky, they became the star constellation the Pleiades. This star system is sometimes associated with extraterrestrial visitors in more modern cases. 

There is another legend about several boys escaping a bear, praying to the Creator for help, being raised up on the rock and escaping back to their village with the help of an eagle.


When Army Special Forces, scientists, technicians, defense and intelligence officials, and the mysterious 12-person team infiltrate the Devils Tower or Bear Lodge region in "Close Encounters," can we make any connections to this Native American Indian lore? 

Many Indian tribes have oral histories about unusual visitors or beings of many kinds. In some legends, the visitors come from far away in the skies. In others, certain beings are native to Earth, or live nearby, and are part of the mysteries of Nature and reality. 

Even now, there are many reports of mysterious phenomena in Indian Country. And, Native American perspectives can be helpful to learn about. 

As we know, there is a troubling history of conflicts with Native American tribes over centuries as Europeans landed, conquered, took land, enslaved and destroyed or nearly destroyed native societies and cultures. 

When the United States was formed and European colonists became "Americans," regional militias and federal army troops often did the same. 

For example, in the case of the Cherokee, their ancient homeland in the Appalachian Mountain region stretched from Tennessee and North Carolina to Georgia and Alabama. Starting in the 1700s, there was a large degree of intermarriage with Scottish, Scots-Irish and English explorers and settlers, resulting in the millions of Americans today who have Cherokee DNA within them. 

But this did not help the Cherokee when in 1838 men, women, children and the elderly were forced at gunpoint and bayonet point from their homes and farms into prison camps, their land stolen, and marched to Oklahoma on the terrible and deadly “Trail of Tears.” Many mixed-ethnicity Cherokee were reportedly able to avoid this removal by self-identifying as white. 

Their experience parallels the history of many other tribes in some ways, yet is quite different in other ways. 

Today, some researchers advise us to consider the experience of Native Americans who faced a visitation or invasion of technologically superior “aliens” from England, France, Spain and elsewhere in Europe.

Could humans dealing with advanced beings from elsewhere experience a fate similar to that of Native American tribes? 

Maybe we can take another look at "Close Encounters" in light of the history of Bear Lodge or Devils Tower. That location may serve as a way to explore the many lessons about connections between American history, humanity and Nature. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Readers review metaphysical-military-intelligence adventure novel ‘Mission Into Light’

By Steve Hammons

The reader reviews below were very gratifying for me as a writer, and I felt it might be a good idea to share them.

In their comments on the Amazon.com page for my first novel "Mission Into Light," these readers seem to have identified some of the storytelling elements I was trying to use and achieve in both this book and the sequel "Light's Hand."

Reader reviews on Amazon ...

Excellent story from a gifted writer! The book was difficult to put down. I recommend it highly and am buying a second copy for a gift. It was fast-moving with lots of action. The short chapters made it easy to read and a lot of fun. The book ties many relevant and cutting edge topics into an incredibly interesting story. I particularly liked the scientific and government intelligence issues. Don't miss this one!  
–Franklin J. Fields, Jr. 

Very interesting story. I enjoyed it, but I have to say that if any part or parts of the story had a basis in what might have actually happened, that would make it a fascinating read that I would not soon forget and certainly desire more of!!!!!!!! The fact that one of the characters has a similar background to the author's causes me to suspect that this story does have its roots in fact but can’t be presented in that way for reasons only known to the author. Is he framing true information within a false story because it's the only way acceptable to those who govern the truth?? I will continue to search for clues to confirm my theory of its fact based core. His second book is soon to be delivered and I'm very much looking forward to it.  –Ralph 

As [Franklin D. Fields, Jr., Esq.] Esquire said so much better than I could, this was a great read! I couldn't put it down. And now I've ordered the next one. And I'm going to see what else Hammons has to offer. I'm glad I got this book.  –CB 

Very well written. Always something happening. The story flows well and ties in very well with the [sequel] … Light's Hand. The ending will bring tears of happiness to your eyes. Don 

This is pretty spot on to reality and keeps ones interest. I highly recommend it.  –Jeanette Z. Phillips


The novels are available worldwide in 6"x9" paperback and e-book from most online booksellers. For more information, visit the books' Amazon site here.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now

By Steve Hammons

(This article was posted on the CultureReady blog of the U.S. Defense Language and National Security Education Office dated 8/5/15.)

On Sept. 21, 1987, then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan gave an address to the United Nations General Assembly. In an often-quoted section of his speech, Reagan asked rhetorical questions and commented about the nations and cultures of the world uniting in common efforts to live in peace and avoid wars and bloodshed.

Cannot swords be turned to plowshares? Can we and all nations not live in peace? In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity,” Reagan said.

“Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond,” Reagan continued.

“I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and the threat of war?

In these statements, Reagan seems to be noting that in addition to the diverse cultures and societies around the world, we should also keep in mind the larger human culture. And despite conflicts and wars throughout human history to the present day, this larger human culture has many unifying elements.


Among these are the major accomplishments of humanity, including the survival of our human species on this planet over hundreds of thousands of years. The development of agriculture, language, education, art, music and technology are common to most human cultures.

Reagan urged us to see the big picture – “how much unites all the members of humanity.” He warned us to take the long view instead of “our obsession with antagonisms of the moment.”

Of course, the nations of the world already engage in significant cooperation on many levels. These include efforts to improve trade and economic prosperity, share cultural resources and viewpoints, protect global public heath, and respond to disasters and humanitarian challenges.

Yet, there is room for significant improvement in how nations and cultures interact, and how individual humans treat one another.

These conflicts, of course, are not just between countries and cultures. Within the many nations and cultures on Earth, we often see internal conflict and strife when people within a society are divided and angry about real or perceived injustice, oppression, ethnic and religious differences or some other cause.

In his address, Reagan theorized that these many sources of discord and conflict around the world “would [quickly] vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.” And, he put forth the idea that, “Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond.”

Was Reagan correct? Would certain adverse developments help bring the human race together? Would the human race unify in the face of a devastating impending meteor strike, severe global disease pandemic, worldwide natural disaster or other threat?


Reagan appeared to hold an optimistic view of humanity. He seemed to indicate that he felt the human race would pull together in greater unity in the face of a larger danger. As a result, a greater awareness about what we have in common as humans would help us overcome the perpetual wars, death and destruction that have been a large part of the experience of the human race on Earth.

Implicit in his speech, the former president told us that we have the potential to transcend these destructive behaviors and seize opportunities to focus on unifying instincts, developments and events.

Would it really require “an alien threat from outside this world” for the people of Earth to make significant progress toward peace and prosperity instead of perpetual conflict?

Or, might we stumble on this truth without an impending disaster? Can we reach a tipping point when it becomes evident and obvious that our “universal aspirations” are more important and fundamental than war and destructive competition?

Instead of “an alien threat,” what if a positive kind of development emerged? Such a development could include scientific discovery of a remarkable nature or a change in global human psychology and consciousness.

Instead of Reagan’s concept of an “outside, universal threat,” what might happen if there was an inside, universal breakthrough that takes the human race on to the next levels of our development? 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Japanese-American U.S. Army intelligence unit helped win WWII

By Steve Hammons

(This article was 
posted 4/22/15 on the CultureReady blog of the U.S. Defense Language and National Security Education Office

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California, traces its roots to the secret World War II U.S. Army intelligence unit comprised of Japanese-Americans – the Military Intelligence Service (MIS).

Then, as now, we needed to succeed militarily and also communicate with other cultures and nations.

The MIS was started in late 1941 as a unit to train Japanese-Americans (Nisei) to conduct translation and interrogation activities. MIS men came mostly from Hawaii and the West Coast.

The missions of the MIS were highly classified and still are not widely known. Much information about MIS activities remained classified until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed Executive Order 11652 making certain WWII intelligence documents eligible for declassification. 

After the Pearl Harbor attack, the people of the United States found themselves in a war with the military of a culture quite different from our own: Japan. The Japanese military and Japanese society had, in many ways, a different social fabric, a different psychology, different spiritual traditions and was a different ethnic group in significant ways.


After Pearl Harbor, first- and second-generation Japanese-Americans in Hawaii and California faced tough scrutiny by our defense and national security community. Were there spies and saboteurs among them? Were they loyal to America or Japan, or torn between the two? 

In California, in part due to racial prejudice and hate-mongering, patriotic Japanese-American farmers, merchants, professionals and their families were forced into harsh detention camps in remote regions of the West for the duration of the war. 

In Hawaii, where Japanese-Americans were well-integrated into the community, there reportedly were fewer attempts to randomly suspect or imprison them. Nisei living in Hawaii generally did not experience the extreme measures faced by those on the West Coast.

Meanwhile, many young men from these families and communities joined the U.S. military, in part to prove their patriotism. Many ended up in the MIS as well as the famed and highly-decorated U.S. Army 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion, fighting in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. 

They did all this while many of their family members were behind barbed-wire fences in detention camps back in the U.S. 

Young Japanese-American men joined the military for many reasons including proving their loyalty to the United States and proving that they were good Americans. Many had been raised as somewhat typical American kids.


The MIS organization included an administrative group, an intelligence group, a counterintelligence group and an operations group. The MIS performed a very wide range of important and often dangerous activities.  

As American and allied forces move into the Pacific theater to engage the Japanese navy and army,  MIS men were on the tip of the spear, attached to U.S. Navy, Army and Marine units as well as the joint Australian-American "Allied Translator and Interpreter Service." MIS members served with "Merrill's Marauders," the famous Army Ranger unit that conducted operations in Burma against the Imperial Japanese Army. 

MIS personnel were active in nearly all major campaigns and battles in the Pacific as well as in Burma and China. 

According to some assessments, MIS missions may have shortened the Pacific war by up to two years.

They performed intelligence and counterintelligence tasks such as intercepting radio messages, interrogating prisoners, translating captured maps and documents, helping in psychological and information operations efforts, infiltrating enemy lines and flushing caves  convincing civilians and Japanese soldiers to leave caves on remote islands, and persuading many Japanese troops to surrender. 

MIS interrogators reportedly used psychological and cultural understanding to obtain valuable intelligence. Interestingly, MIS men reportedly provided decent treatment for Japanese prisoners and obtained information by building rapport with captured Japanese troops.

After the war, more than 5,000 MIS personnel worked in Japan during the occupation by the U.S. from 1945 to 1952. They were assigned to the occupation military government in disarmament, intelligence, civil affairs, finance, education and land reform. The MIS also helped develop the Japanese constitution.


The United States fought a long military struggle in the Pacific. Then, we occupied Japan with the goal of rebuilding and rehabilitating that society by implementing a peaceful democracy. Both of these efforts were successful. 

Men of the MIS also demonstrated intelligence and compassion both during the war and in the occupation. They helped win a military victory, then helped make peace and win friends for the United States. 

They were key in rebuilding the nation of Japan and helping that society recover from devastating social, psychological and physical damage. 

In examining the MIS, we must also ask why did these Japanese-American young men, mostly from the west coast and Hawaii, join the MIS (and the 442nd RCT and 100th Infantry Battalion)? Why did they side with America against the military of the land of their parents, grandparents and ancestors?

Although most were raised as American kids, they experienced significant racial prejudice and discriminatory laws. After Pearl Harbor, Japanese American families had been stripped of property and businesses and forced into the infamous relocation camps. MIS men emerged out of this environment. 

Now may be the time to review the activities of the MIS and apply lessons learned. These WWII veterans are now up in years and many have passed on. 

Our special operations forces and intelligence personnel would be wise to consult these MIS vets whose language and human skills were so crucial in WWII. How did the MIS conduct their intelligence and rapport-building operations? What can MIS vets teach us? 

As we deal with global issues today, information about the MIS may provide useful perspectives.


For more information:

Review of a book about the MIS available on the Central Intelligence Agency website: “Nisei Linguists: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service During World War II.”

Go For Broke National Education Center website.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Phoenix conference on UFOs reveals new insights

By Steve Hammons

(As a freelance, independent journalist, I was issued media/press credentials by Open Minds Production of Tempe, Arizona, to cover this fascinating conference. My thanks to Open Minds Production and Maureen Elsberry.) 

The audience at the 24th annual International UFO Congress Convention & Film Festival near Scottsdale, Arizona, heard some fascinating presentations that were at times both hopeful and frightening.

From ancient accounts in Native American lore to ongoing scientific developments, speakers explored many aspects of research about UFOs.

Sensitive U.S. military bases like Wright-Patterson Air Force base in southwestern Ohio and Area 51 in southern Nevada have played key roles associated with this challenging situation, according to presentations at the conference.

The Rendlesham Forest incident at a U.S. air base in the UK and UFO crashes around the U.S.-Mexican border were also discussed. Cattle mutilations and human abductions, including group abductions, were examined as well.

While some speakers perceived alleged visitors as hostile and dangerous, others put forth accounts of advanced and benevolent beings who want to help the human race survive and develop.

In fact, we may be facing several kinds of visitors that will require intelligence on our part to understand and deal with, the audience was told.

The conference was sponsored by Open Minds Production of Tempe, Arizona. Open Minds covers the UFO topic through its investigators and journalists, website, and online radio and TV programs. Additional Open Minds activities include networking with other U.S. and international researchers and sponsoring the annual UFO conference.

The five-day conference, film festival and related activities took place Feb. 18 – 22 at the Wa-Ko-Pa resort, east of Fountain Hills and Scottsdale, in the northeast metro Phoenix region.


Several speakers addressed the national security and global security issues involved in this alleged situation. Due to the nature of what has been discovered about UFOs and visitors, operational security and secrecy of U.S. and international activities have been very robust, according to some of the speakers.

No one knows this better than conference guest Bob Lazar. The live, in-person interview of Lazar by award-winning investigative TV journalist George Knapp of KLAS-TV in Las Vegas was one of the many highlights of the conference. 

Back in November 1989, after a number of unique circumstances, Knapp interviewed Lazar for a news segment on KLAS-TV. That is when the nation and the world began to learn about secret facilities in a remote desert location known as Area 51.

Lazar stated in that interview that he had been working on a project involving saucer-shaped craft that did not originate in the U.S. or any other nation on Earth.

At last week’s conference, Knapp again questioned Lazar about his claims of working at a compartmented secure site in 1988-89 that was within Area 51 but separate from the main air base at Groom Lake.

Called S4, this facility included multiple hangars carved into the side of a rocky desert hill and expertly camouflaged, Lazar said. Inside the hangar bays were several craft, some disc-shaped. Lazar was assigned to help analyze and back-engineer components and systems of one of the saucers, he stated.

Lazar said he first thought these were U.S.-made craft that explained the many UFO sightings over past decades. However, upon examination of the craft and other information that came to his attention, it became clear that the craft was not ours and was tremendously far in advance of our technology at that time.

From the background information provided by both Knapp and Lazar, and the straightforward way they presented their stories to the audience, many in attendance seemed increasingly convinced that Lazar’s accounts were true.


Former U.S. Air Force military police officer John Burroughs spoke about the December 1980 incident in Rendlesham Forest, UK. While on-duty at a U.S. air base nearby, he and other USAF personnel (including the deputy base commander) encountered very unusual unknown objects in the sky and on the ground.

Historian Richard Dolan told conference attendees that advanced technologies and knowledge related to UFOs have been obtained, but are closely held by a relatively small number of people.

Dolan advocated for the release of more information about this situation. Though recognizing the need for security and safety, he said he feels it is potentially dangerous for our society and our democracy to keep such important information and technology secret.

He said he feels it is just a matter of time until more information is put forward about the reality of visitors from elsewhere and the situation is acknowledged and accepted more widely.

James Clarkson explored the story of June Crain, who reportedly worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the 1940s and was exposed to information about UFO research being done at the base.

Wright-Patterson in Dayton, Ohio, has long been a center for aircraft research over the decades, particularly the engineering and capabilities of the aircraft of our adversaries.

Mark Pilkington’s research has included a close look at how elements of our defense and intelligence community have dealt with the UFO phenomena, and how they may have leveraged it for certain purposes. He told the audience there is much more than meets the eye regarding the UFO situation. It may be much more complex than many of us realize, he said.

Speaker Ruben Uriarte talked about UFO incidents in regions along the U.S.-Mexico border. Both U.S. and Mexican militaries have been involved, he said. Though less well-known than the Roswell case, he reviewed other incidents that are similarly compelling.


In separate presentations about their different cases, Thomas Reed and Charles Foltz recounted the strange circumstances of their abductions by non-humans decades ago.

Reed and family members were allegedly taken aboard a craft and examined by very strange-looking beings.

Foltz was one of four young men on a canoe and fishing trip in a remote wilderness area in Maine when they, too, were taken aboard a craft and examined. This case is known as the Allagash incident, named after the Maine wilderness area.

Both men, and their families and friends, learned more details only later with the help of researchers and investigators, and other methods to help them recall the traumatic events, they said.

Cattle mutilations remain a mystery, said speaker Christopher O’Brien. Some may be conducted by U.S. personnel monitoring the beef supply for various kinds of contamination, such as mad cow disease or other threats to human health, he stated. Yet, that scenario may not seem to fit each and every case of cattle mutilation, he indicated.

Investigator Derrel Sims expressed serious concerns about the intentions of at least some of these visitors from elsewhere. He views them (at least the type he has encountered) as adversaries to be exposed and resisted. Abductions of humans are real, he said, and implants are often placed in abductees' bodies.

Mexico TV host Jaime Maussan showed video of many UFOs over Mexico City and other areas of his country and the U.S. Maussan seemed hopeful that these visitors are here to help us, and may even be signs of an upcoming positive spiritual development for humankind.

James Gilliland appeared to be on the same page with Maussan in some ways. He told the audience about frequent UFO sightings above his ranch near Mt. Adams in Trout Lake, Washington. Gilliland indicated there are both enlightened and unsavory beings of several kinds and we need to be able to deal with several aspects and scenarios.


Linda Zimmerman spoke about the UFO sightings in the Hudson Valley area of New York state. She said the wave of sightings in the Hudson Valley in the 1980s dovetails with other reports of UFOs there in the early 1900s.

Cheryl Costa also shared stories of close encounters in New York state. She noted that the state has been the site of odd UFO incidents possibly going back centuries. 

That matches the information from Clifford Mahooty, an elder of the Zuni tribe of Native Americans in New Mexico. Mahooty said ancient oral histories of his tribe and other Native peoples make repeated mention of non-human visitors from elsewhere. 

Extraterrestrial artifacts on Earth were a focus of the presentation by Frank Kimbler. The study of such artifacts is known as xenoarcheology, he said. As an assistant professor of earth sciences at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico, he has had the opportunity to extensively research the alleged 1947 crash in the Roswell region, Kimbler explained.

Montana was the focus of Joan Bird’s presentation. Leveraging her background in zoology and psychology, she examined several aspects of the UFO phenomena and how society is moving forward to acknowledge the situation at hand.

The Asheville, North Carolina, region was the subject of Joshua P. Warren’s talk. The “Brown Mountain lights” have been seen for more than 100 years he said. Odd, large glowing balls of light periodically appear and dance around that area in the Appalachian Mountain region.

Warren’s extensive scientific research leads him to suspect they are balls of plasma energy that are generated by unusual but natural factors in the environment there. However, some of those factors may also be involved in creating electromagnetic effects that could alter gravity. This, in turn, can result in strange changes in the environment, he indicated.


Documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell shared his research into the mysteries of the UFO situation and his contacts with people who helped him understand and document, via film, various elements of the topic. He said he plans to continue to make films on the UFO subject and get them distributed for larger audiences.

Video crews from the Discovery Science channel were on hand to cover parts of the conference. Exclusive previews of upcoming Science Channel UFO-related shows were shown, promoting “Are We Alone?” week starting March 2.  Science Channel will present a week of UFO and alien programs including the shows “NASA’s Unexplained Files,” “Close Encounters,” “What on Earth” and “UFO Conspiracies.”

Several excellent independent films related to UFOs were screened at the film festival. When the winner was announced, makers of the documentary “Travis” were overjoyed with their win of the EBE Award, and then with the People’s Choice Award based on the votes of the audience.

The title refers to Travis Walton who was present during the conference. He joined the filmmakers and other researchers featured in the film on stage for the award.

The film chronicles the case of Walton and his forest-clearing crew from the Snowflake, Arizona, area. After a day of work in a nearby national forest, the young men saw a saucer-shaped craft. Walton got close … too close, and was reportedly abducted and taken on board the craft, only to reappear several days later.

The case was the subject of the partly sensationalized, and not entirely accurate, 1993 Hollywood movie “Fire in the Sky.”

The late surgeon Roger Leir, MD, was posthumously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from Open Minds Production. Leir is well-known for surgically removing highly-unusual implants embedded in the bodies of suspected abductees. He passed on just last year, March 14, 2014.

For those who were unable to attend the conference, DVDs of the speakers’ presentations are available from Open Minds Production. DVDs of presentations from past conferences are also available.

For more on the conference: http://ufocongress.com/

For more on Open Minds Production: http://www.openminds.tv/