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Close Encounters of the Strangest Kind: Group Seeks to Raise Awareness
Stewart Hill state director Mutual UFO Network Indiana gives an overview UFOs during state meeting Saturday Valparaiso Public Library.
Published: 3:19 AM 9/23/2013

By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent

VALPARAISO — Stewart Hill has looked into some mighty strange things, like the South Bend man who, at age 12, was abducted by aliens while he was taking out the trash.

“They treated him quite well,” Hill said of the “gray aliens” who took and returned the boy, adding aliens treat children better than adults. The boy’s souvenir of sorts for his journey was an object in his ear, which eventually disappeared.

Hill, state director of the Mutual UFO Network of Indiana, was one of the presenters Saturday during a state meeting at the Valparaiso Public Library, which drew more than 30 people.

The network started having similar awareness events last year, though this was the first one in Northwest Indiana.

“We want to get greater interest in this area and recruit more field investigators for Northwest Indiana. We have a lot of sightings, but not a lot of field investigators,” said David Henninger, a state section director from Greenfield.

Indiana has averaged more than 200 UFO cases a year for the past few years, Hill said, and there are between one dozen and two dozen here each year.

The meeting drew Timothy Wagner of Columbia City, a MUFON field investigator since 2008.

“Mostly it’s lights in the sky, forms, that sort of thing. Sometimes it’s close encounters, but they’re usually not so close,” he said, adding he hasn’t investigated any cases involving entities — or beings — so far.

Hill, who lives in Elkhart, said he got involved in UFO investigations because he got tired of hearing about them.

“I wanted to see one of these incidents myself, and that’s what we do,” he said, adding the goal of the field investigator is to collect raw data.

He went through the categories of UFO contact, using a familiar cultural touchstone.

“Remember that movie, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’? We get landings very rarely, but we have had a number of Category 2s, where someone sees an object that’s pretty close to them,” around 500 feet away, he said, adding most sightings are Category 1, orange balls of light, or OBOLs, and objects spotted in the sky.

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