Published: 3:09 PM 4/2/2013
By Jason Johnston
About 20 people — a few with close encounters of their own to share — came to the William Allen White Library, on the Emporia State University campus, Friday evening to learn about investigating UFO sightings.
“We are not alone, and we never have been,” said Steve Winans, the Kansas director and field investigator of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), during Friday’s presentation.
“That’s what I hope people realize that there is something really big going on out there. Someone is intervening in our affairs either for good or for bad, depends on your opinion, and that our officials know it and don’t want to tell the people for a variety of reasons.”
People can apply for annual membership, which costs between $30 and $55 a year, to MUFON at www.mufon.com, and they can pay another $55 to be a field investigator.
Winans said each field investigator applicant receives a kit and must pass a test with at least a score of 80 percent.
Tools for investigation include a camera, a compass, Google Sky or Google Earth, a laser pointer or a rangefinder, black light, metering equipment, sampling swabs and bags, and good common sense, he said.
According to MUFON documents, there were 68 sightings in 2012 and 14 sightings, so far, in 2013 — which include two identified flying objects, two insufficient-data reports, six unknown and four still under investigation.
At about 8:45 p.m. Aug. 21, 2009, witnesses spotted a UFO in Shawnee, Winans said. It appeared to be six white, circular lights aligned in the shape of a triangle, and it was the size of a small house. The UFO moved silently above a local pond at tree level and disappeared in the blink of an eye.
“That was one of my first cases,” he said. “It was a very hot case.”
Morgan Ottesen, an ESU freshman from Shawnee, was one of the witnesses, and she attended Friday’s presentation.
“My mom’s gas gauge and the RPMs and the speedometer (in her mom’s van) started going crazy even though we were at a complete stop,” Ottesen said. “And the lights started flashing, and she was having all kinds of electrical problems.”
The van just stalled, she said.
“Eventually we got started again, and we got to the top of the hill and circled around, and we were coming back down,” Ottesen said. “As soon as we passed that place again, it did the same thing. It stalled out, and then we got it to work and then took it to one of our neighbors who was a mechanic, and he couldn’t find anything wrong with the (van).”
Appliances at her home also had electrical problems, the stove started a small fire, and her cat became agitated, Ottesen said.
“My cat loves me like I am its mother, and it was so standoffish and ran away,” she said. “I was trying to be comforting, and it did not want to be in the same room as me.”
Kenzie Templeton, a senior English major who attended the presentation, said she saw a UFO near her hometown of New Strawn, which is next to Wolf Creek Generating Station.
“It is kind of notorious for strange sightings,” Templeton said. “(It was) a very, very bright light in the sky that was very close me, and then it just vanished. It was white. It was really strange, and it was not a plane.”
To report a UFO sighting or for more information about UFOs and field investigations, contact Kansas MUFON at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit MUFON’s website.