Published: 1:25 PM 7/12/2014
By Kelly Rocheleau
Bill Kingsley believes there is something beyond our world, in machines that would be miracles to men, above the night skies.
“I think with the infinity of space that there has to be more advanced civilizations in the universe. We don’t know how old the universe is,” Kingsley said.
Kingsley, a Winn resident, said his fascination with the idea of life that didn’t originate on Earth started in his teenage years in the 1960s, when reports of mysterious floating objects would appear in newspapers.
“I’ve had a long term interest in these things, and I was always interested in the paranormal and the unexplained,” he said.
In 1985, that passion drove the now-retired Mt. Pleasant Regional Center psychiatric attendant to join the Michigan chapter of the Mutual Unidentified Flying Object Network, a civilian-run group dedicated to research UFO sightings.
While Kingsley isn’t an investigator, he is a member of MUFON. He said he tries to attend the MUFON meetings when he can. The meetings happen five times a year in Burton, often with guest speakers.
Kingsley said that while he’s never seen a UFO before, his sister has.
“She said she was walking out her front door and saw a shining disk-shaped object hovering over her,” Kingsley said. “That was in daylight.”
Kingsley said that in April he heard the paranormal radio program “Coast to Coast AM” mention an UFO sighting in Mt. Pleasant on April 18. It was originally reported to the National UFO Reporting Center.
The brief account of the incident on the NUFORC website vaguely mentions that the object in question was egg-shaped and bright lights were involved.
The report also said that power was siphoned from the witness’ car. The description states the encounter lasted for 10 minutes. The witness that claimed to see the event is not named.
Reports like that are not uncommon for MUFON.
As an organization dedicated to investigating UFO sightings across the country, MUFON has branches in all 50 states. Michigan MUFON received 315 sightings about UFOs last year, according to their website.
Michigan MUFON has about 100 members, with over 3,000 members in the overall organization.
“Where there are people, there are UFOs,” said William Konkolesky, Michigan MUFON’s state director.
He has served as the Michigan MUFON director for a little over 10 years.
Author of the book “Experiencer: Raised in Two Worlds,” about his childhood experiences with the paranormal, Konkolesky has given lectures related to UFOs in Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
‘I’ve had unusual experiences in my life,” Konkolesky said. “This (book) is my childhood account of them.”
Konkolesky, who lives in Clawson, said that a friend gave him MUFON’s contact information in 1993. Konkolesky wanted someone to investigate a UFO encounter that he said he experienced in 1989.
Konkolesky said he was sitting in a car with two friends about 9:30 at night when a light arced across the sky about the height of two telephone poles.
“A white light then appeared and zig-zagged across the entire expanse of the sky,” he said. “Then a red light appeared in the center of the sky and then disappeared. I would say everything happened within about 15 seconds.”
Konkolesky said the sight fascinated him.
“It was beautiful. I was really intrigued,” he said.
Konkolesky said sightings should be reported by phone or e-mailing the Michigan MUFON website. Investigators will then contact the witness.
“We will try to identify what it is that they’ve seen, and if we can’t identify it we simply label it as ‘unidentified.’ If there is a physical or recurring aspect to (the event), we will dispatch an investigator to the site.”
Konkolesky elaborated on what a MUFON investigator does at a site and what they look for.
“We can take soil samples; we have labs that can identify anomalous readings in the soil. One of the things we would be looking for is unusual chemicals in the soil,” he said.
Konkolesky said that although the reported UFOs are often things like “airplanes and Chinese lanterns,” some investigations aren’t that simple.
“More than 80 percent of the reports we get a year (turn out to be) identifiable objects and the rest are things that you can’t easily explain.”
Konkolesky said those interested in being MUFON investigators have to apply online, buy the training materials necessary to become an investigator, and pass a certification test.
“Some of the things (investigators are taught) are basic things like how to identify an airplane, data collection, and how to interview a witness, just to name a few,” Konkolesky said.
Konkolesky said he understands why some may be skeptical about the existence of fully-functional life on other planets.
“If you haven’t encountered the UFO phenomenon yourself, it obviously takes a lot for somebody to feel the need to take it to heart,” Konkolesky said.
Despite this, he said he hasn’t experienced any intense opposition.
“I’ve been blessed to have not seen a lot of resistance to the concept or the evidence, but I know historically that it has been a very rough subject for people.”
Kingsley believes public perception has become more open over the years, however.
“When we (the public) realized that space travel was possible, the paradigm shifted,” Kingsley said.
Konkolesky believes UFOs are not far-fetched.
“With the many planets that are being identified as earth-like, the odds are clearly shrinking that we’re the only things going on in the universe,” he said.
“When you read anything about nature, you will come across a lot of strange phenomena. If you think about it, life is a strange phenomenon,” Kingsley said.