Published: 11:12 AM 12/15/2013
Blog on New York state sightings gains popularity.
Corning native Cheryl Costa writes a weekly column for the Syracuse New Times about UFO sightings in New York state.
Written by Jeff Murray
Cheryl Costa wants people to know she’s not a crackpot and she doesn’t wear a tinfoil hat.
The Corning native has been fascinated for years with unidentified flying objects, and she recently found out many other people are interested in UFOs as well.
Costa recently started writing an online column about UFO sightings in New York state for the Syracuse New Times, an alternative weekly, and people are flocking to the website to read it.
Whether or not you believe in aliens, there are plenty of unexplained sightings every year, Costa said, and she is simply trying to chronicle them.
“I went to a couple of (editors) and said ‘What would you say if I told you there were 17 UFO sightings within eight blocks of Syracuse City Hall?’ Three of them wrinkled their nose,” she said. “I had one editor say they’re all hoaxes and atmospheric anomalies. Right now around the world there are about 4,000 sightings a year. New York state has 8 percent of the world’s sightings, and this is a best kept secret.”
Some of the documented sightings Costa has come across go back 200 years or more.
Costa grew up in Corning and graduated from East High School. She did two stints in the military, with the U.S. Air Force and the Navy. She learned electronics in the Navy and spent several years working with IBM in Owego and as a contractor in Washington, D.C., for Lockheed Martin.
But Costa’s interest in UFOs predates all of that.
“When I was 12 or 13, we were in Savona visiting relatives and coming down a hill in that area and it was a bright August afternoon,” she recalled. “I was looking to the west and there was a bright ball in the sky, and it wasn’t the evening star at 3 p.m. It sat and hovered for 20 minutes. And that’s when my mother explained what UFOs were and that it might be something else, but it might be folks from another planet and I was fascinated with the idea.”
Costa got several rejections after she conceived the idea of an online UFO column or blog. Then Syracuse New Times Editor-in-Chief Larry Dietrich decided to give her idea a shot.
“We’re an alternative weekly, so we can get away with stuff regular papers may not be able to,” Dietrich said. “One thing I was looking for was fresh content for our website. We developed a number of blogs on different topics. Cheryl’s stuff is a little different. I recognized it was little atypical but I figured what the heck. Her stuff has been getting page views at the top end of and often far exceeding views for some of our other content. I knew there would be interest in UFO stuff. It’s very good at bringing people to our site.”
Now that she’s established, Costa hopes her blog will be picked up by other newspapers.
“I tell people I’m not a UFO nut,” she said. “I’m reporting news that hasn’t been reported and doing an objective analysis over what seems to be going on over New York skies.”