National Geographic sends investigators out to probe sightings that defy conventional explanations on Earth.
Erin Ryder of 'Chasing UFOs' says she's part skeptic, part believer.
Erin Ryder, one of three trained investigators who seek answers in the new series “Chasing UFOs,” has a long history with the subject matter.
“I grew up in a family that was really open to all this stuff,” she tells the Daily News. “The UFO phenomenon was because I grew up in the Hudson Valley, just north of New York City, which was the site of one of the most widely witnessed episodes of UFO activity ever.
“Thousands of people observed this boomerang-shaped craft from 1982 all the way to 1995,” Ryder adds. “And some of those witnesses were my family members, one of my grandfathers. So it’s just been in my blood and my family line for a really long time. And I think there’s something about the mystery of it that really intrigues me.”
In the first episode, airing Friday at 9 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel, the investigators visit Stephenville, Tex. In January 2008, hundreds of the city’s residents reported seeing unidentified flying objects.
The investigators hold a town meeting, where witness after witness shares a story of what was seen. A pilot explains something he saw up close: “This was not a shooting star … My estimation is it was about a half a mile wide and a mile long.”
Ryder and a team of experts go into the field one night to make their own observations. She spots something that “looks like a flying saucer” in the sky, and cameras capture blinking lights that shoot around to form a circle.
The team determines the lights don’t belong to any terrestrial craft, and Ryder declares on the show, “For the first time in my life, I really, really am tempted to say that I believe UFOs exist.”
The 31-year-old labels herself a “skeliever,” however.
“It’s a way I’ve combined skeptic and believer, because until I have concrete evidence, I’m going to still kind of teeter in the middle,” Ryder says. The show’s other two investigators are Ben McGee, “the skeptic,” a space-minded geoscientist, and James Fox, billed as “the believer.” Fox is a UFOlogist who directed and produced three films on the subject.
“I am the tech supervisor, and I’ve always been real tech-minded,” Ryder explains. “I’m the one that garners all of our equipment in terms of the thermal cameras and the lenses, the metal detectors, everything. I’ve just been fascinated by that kind of stuff.
“So I put together this incredible package based upon what investigation we’re going to do,” she says. “At the same time, I also help with the reconnaissance work in terms of where we’re going to go, when we’re going to go, how we’re going to get there. A lot of the times, we’re on some federal property and we just have to be careful about things. So I’m the one who does the preplanning of that.”
In each episode the team visits a different location that’s been a hotspot for UFO sightings. At the end, the investigators give their verdict as to how credible the sightings were.
“We each individually state what our beliefs are, based on everything that we’ve seen, everyone we’ve talked to, all the evidence we’ve collected,” Ryder says. “We all have such different opinions.”
I was driving north on I-25, and noticed a very bright, silver light in the sky to my left. I watched it thinking it was a plane as we have had a big fire and a lot of air traffic lately.
The aircraft seemed to be hovering in one place just below the clouds and smoke from the fire, and not moving.
I was watching it for a good ten minutes and it would disappear behind nothing, then reappear.
I was at my exit in Carr, Colorado and pulled off of the road on the off-ramp. The shape of it almost looked rectangle, but I really couldn't tell. It then made a falling move with a tail; kind of like a shooting star and then it split into two and formed balls of light.
One of the lights was directly above the other. It was not a plane, and it was not dark, so I knew it was not a star. I took a picture and you can barely see it, and I also filmed it, but you couldn't see it then either really. I was just too far away.
The top ball of light eventually disappeared, and the bottom seemed to take off going west and and got really small as I went west to get closer and a better picture, but it got really small like it was traveling west so I figured it was gone.
As I was driving back east towards my work I noticed 3 people were looking at the sky where I had been so I slowed down and asked them if they had seen it. They said they see weird stuff in the sky all of the time.
I started driving again and got onto highway 85 and looked back over where I had seen it, and it was there again.
It was the same size and same position. This might have been the weirdest thing I have ever seen. I cannot explain it. It changed shapes a few times by size. I would love to know if anyone else saw this.
I don't think it was a plane because there were several more and they did not look like this. I was trying to debunk what it could be; like the bright light was from the angle of the plane and windows from the sun, but no way was it a plane.
I don't know if there is a way to download this picture or video on here from my phone, but if someone wants to see it, I will have it on my phone.
Maybe there is some kind of software to zoom and enhance it. Thank you for your time!
Americans Say Obama Better Suited to Handle Alien Invasion than Romney
Published: 9:40 AM 6/28/2012
By Eric Pfeiffer, Yahoo! News
Would President Obama handle an alien invasion better than Romney? (Eric Pfeiffer/Yahoo! News/AP)
In the event that Bill Pullman isn't available, two-thirds of respondents to a new survey say that President Barack Obama would be better suited to handle an alien invasion than presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
"We wanted the pulse on people's opinions," said Brad Dancer, senior vice president of research and digital media for National Geographic, who conducted the survey for the new series "Chasing UFOs." "We wanted to get a sense of how Americans view UFOs, what people believe and how mainstream pop culture may or may not be playing into their opinions on it."
Nearly 65 percent of respondents said Obama would be better suited to handle a theoretical alien invasion than Romney.
In fact, Obama trumped Romney across the board, winning a majority of support from women (68 percent), men (61 percent) and those aged 18 to 64 (68 percent).
Romney's strongest bracket was with senior citizens, where he split the vote with Obama at 50 percent each.
During a May visit to the White House by the actor Will Smith and his family, Obama was quizzed by Smith's 13-year-old son, Jaden, about the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
In an interview with the BBC, Smith recounted Obama's reaction to his son:
"OK, I can neither confirm or deny the existence of extraterrestrials," Obama reportedly said from the White House Situation Room. "But I can tell you if there had been a top secret meeting, and if there would have been a discussion about it, it would have taken place in this room."
A July 5, 1947 story about a UFO in Lake City. (seattlepi.com file)
In the summer of 1947 – 65 years ago this week – Seattle had UFO fever, sparked in part by a headline on the front page of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Stories that started that summer have been told and retold, even here by the P-I staff. Several people are sure the sightings were nothing extraterrestrial. Some conspiracy theorists think there was a cover-up.
Either way, the tales are tailor made for Coast to Coast AM – and listeners to the late-night radio show covering UFOs are familiar with it.
On June 26, 1941, the P-I ran an Associated Press story from Pendleton, Ore., telling the story of pilot Kenneth Arnold seeing "nine bright, saucer-like objects flying at ‘incredible’ speed at 10,000 feet altitude."
Arnold, a U.S. Forest Service employee, reported seeing the discs weaving in and out of formation between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams. If one dipped, Arnold said, the others did, too.
"It seems impossible," he told a reporter, "but there it is."His account generated worldwide publicity and launched the flying-saucer frenzy – helped by the P-I headline, "Mystery Discs Hurtling in Sky." Rewards were offered for evidence. A pastor said "flying saucers" signaled the end of the world. A man found bleeding from the head claimed he was hit by a flying disk.
That summer, a group of "witnesses" in Seattle met with P-I editors to argue that they could not all be crazy. The paper’s files filled with the names of hundreds of citizens reporting saucer incidents. Within two months, the P-I ran at least 50 separate stories on flying disks.
On July 4, 1947, a Lake City man claimed to have caught a photo of one.
Yeoman Frank Ryman, off duty from his job with Coast Guard public relations, said he saw a shiny disc flying across the Seattle skies. Ryman rushed into his home in Lake City, at that time outside the Seattle city limits in King County.
"I grabbed my Speed Graphic (press camera) and field glasses and ran back outside," the 26-year-old told the P-I. "The disc came over about 9,000 or 10,000 feet. It was flashing brilliant silver in the sun.
The picture, he said, was taken while the disc was directly overhead. He used Super-XX film, a 1/50 shutter speed with a f 22 lens opening.
"There was no noise," he said, adding he watched it with binoculars. "No sound of engines. And I am positive there were no wings or fins in sight. It definitely was not a plane."
After spotting the object and talking with neighbors, Ryman called the Post-Intelligencer and rushed to the newspaper’s darkroom at Sixth Avenue and Wall Street.
"Enlarged many times the disc showed up clearly as a slightly blurred whitish object," the newspaper’s account read.
That day, the P-I ran several reports of flying objects. In Twin Falls, Idaho, 35 flying discs were reported in a 20-minute period. A United Airlines pilot, Capt. E. Smith, also reported seeing three to five discs at 7,500 feet over Ontario, Ore., the night of July 4. A deputy sheriff also told the P-I he saw a flying disc that day on his trip north from the Clark County Courthouse.
"Yesterday alone, hundreds of people between San Diego and Seattle reported seeing the plate-like gleaming objects winging northward high in the sky at near supersonic speeds," the P-I’s front page story read.
On June 21, 1947 – about two weeks before the Lake City incident – Harold Dahl was salvaging logs near the shore of Maury Island. Dahl said that at 2 p.m. he saw six doughnut-shaped aircraft, about 100 feet in diameter.
He said five of the metallic aircraft, which didn’t appear to have signs of propulsion, circled above one, which dropped to about 500 feet and spewed what he thought was 20 tons of metal and molten rock. Dahl reported to co-worker Fred Crisman that the falling debris injured his 15-year-old son, killed their dog and damaged the boat’s wheelhouse.
It was three days later when Arnold reported seeing the flying saucers.
The day after Dahl’s sighting, a man in a black suit arrived at his Tacoma home in a black 1947 Buick, Dahl said later. Books by UFO historians say the man in black threatened Dahl, saying that if he cared about his family, he’d never speak of the incident again.
He spoke of it at least one more time in July 1947, when he met with Arnold in a secret meeting in room 502 of Tacoma’s Winthrop Hotel. Arnold wrote about the meeting in his 1952 book, and said they were also joined by Smith, the United Airlines pilot, as well as Air Force Lt. Frank M. Brown and Capt. William L. Davidson.
Smith told The Idaho Statesman that Brown and Davidson were given six pieces of "metal or lava." The chunks were loaded onto a B-25 bomber at McChord Field to be shipped to a California military base, according to the now-defunct Tacoma Times.
It was still dark in the early morning of Aug. 1, 1947, when a fire erupted in the left engine of the B-25. Longview police officers reported watching the B-25 circle over Longview and Kelso, leaving a streak of smoke behind the burning motor.
When attempts to extinguish the fire failed, two other crewmembers – Sgt. Elmer L. Taft and Tech. Sgt. Woodrow D. Matthews – parachuted to safety. Brown and Davidson, who some believe knew there were UFO parts on the plane, stayed with the bomber.
The B-25 crashed into the base of three alder trees. One initial newspaper report said Brown and Davidson’s mangled bodies were thrown clear.
On Aug. 3, 1947, an Associated Press report said the men died investigating flying saucers.
Some people who believe in UFOs are sure there was something suspicious about the crash. Many others say it was a simple tragedy, and newspapers at the time were caught up in the flying disc rumors.
Nearly 60 years later, in April 2007, a Kelso resident went to the crash site. In the north fork of Globe Creek a friend of the Kelso man found a black chunk slightly larger than a softball.
Later that month, University of Washington research engineer Bill Beaty analyzed the black fragment and said it was probably a meteor chunk or old lava "because it’s all full of little gas pockets, and gas pockets have crystals coating the inner walls."
Beaty said he thought Dahl’s Maury Island UFO incident was just an exploding stony meteor, which would have explained what Dahl saw.
In 2007, Dahl’s daughter Louise Bakotich of Aberdeen told the P-I she didn’t know anything about her father’s UFO claim until 2003 when a man from Sacramento sent her research about it. Her brother, Charles Dahl, who was supposedly injured by the falling debris, didn’t confirm the injuries before his death.
The Army and Air Force have repeatedly denied that UFO fragments were on the B-25 flight, and the multiple flying saucer claims have been dismissed.
Maury Island Incident Historical Society - New Theory on UFO Incident
Published: 4:49 AM 6/27/2012
Story and Photos by Scott Schaefer
At a gathering on a Woodmont beach in Des Moines late last week, members of the ‘Maury Island Incident Historical Society™’ (MIIHS), claim that the world’s most famous UFO event – the alleged 1947 crash of an alien ship near Roswell, New Mexico – may have been a US government disinformation campaign to distract attention from two Washington UFO sightings.
Vowing to “always remembering never to forget,” MIIHS Organizer Steve Edmiston spoke to the group of around 30 people on the 65th anniversary of the crash (June 21), and explained his theory in the manner only an experienced lawyer-turned-filmmaker could.
If you’re not familiar with it, the ‘Maury Island Incident’ occurred on June 21, 1947. It is alleged that six flying saucers were sighted off the East Bay of Maury Island by a man named Harold Dahl, who also had what’s considered to be history’s first ‘Man in Black’ experience, complete with threats to safety, on the very next day.
Then, just three days later – on June 24, 1947 – pilot Kenneth Arnold spotted nine UFOs near Mt. Rainier.
Both of these sightings were followed by tragedy – the fatal crash of a B-25 piloted by the two military intelligence officers who had just investigated the incidents, and were carrying secret cargo – a box of the evidence dropped from one of the Maury Island UFOs.
MIIHS contends that after the Washington sightings, the US government was faced with one of two alternatives:
One or both of the Washington sightings were hoaxes.
One or both of the Washington sightings were real.
"We believe the US government chose to eclipse attention from and to discredit the Maury Island Incident by employing a brilliantly conceived disinformation campaign that re-focused the country’s attention from Washington State to the desert Southwest," Edmiston said.
"This was accomplished through the government’s own actions, including press releases, press leaks, denials, and ultimately, operations at the top secret base at Area 51 in Nevada."
Edmiston adds that the campaign began less than three weeks after Maury Island, on July 8, 1947, when the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) public information officer issued a press release stating that personnel from the 509th Bomb Group had recovered a crashed 'flying disk' from a ranch near Roswell, sparking intense media interest and launching the legend of the Roswell aliens.
"We have no official position on whether the Maury Island UFO sightings were real,” Edmiston emphasized. “However, the group views attempts to relegate the events to an historical footnote are an injustice to the tragic circumstances surrounding the sighting and the investigation."
The Maury Island Incident Historical Society is a neighborhood association in Des Moines, Washington, dedicated to always remembering never to forget the Maury Island Incident by holding a community bonfire on the anniversary of Harold Dahl’s famous UFO sighting.
IT WAS July 17, 1955 when Margaret Fry spotted the object as she was making her way to her GP's surgery in King Harold's Way from her home in Hythe Avenue.
Both she and her doctor Dr Thukarta, and around a dozen children playing in the street, saw the strange craft.
Mrs Fry described it as saucer shaped with a "blue/silver/grey/pewter texture, yet none of those colours."
She said it had three spheres set into its base, one of which "flopped out", landing on the ground at the junction of nearby Ashbourne and Whitfield roads.
The children went over for a closer look before it rose into the sky and disappeared from view after a few minutes.
News Shopper ran an appeal in 2002 for any of the children to come forward.
Rodney Maynard, who was in his 60s and living in Belvedere, remembered the incident vividly.
He was 15 at the time and working as a labourer on the building site in nearby Streamway.
Mr Maynard said: "We were on our lunch break when we heard something was happening in King Harold's Way. So we went up there to have a look.
"This thing had landed in the road." He added: "It took up the whole width of the road and overlapped onto the pavements. It wasn't on the ground. It had about eight massive suckers.The centre was still, but the outer rim was spinning slowly and it had white lights flashing, like a camera flash."
He said there were about 30 people watching it and they could hear it humming.
Mr Maynard recalled: "It had what looked like windows, but the glass was concave and moulded together so you could not see in.
"A couple of us went forward to try and touch it, and it began to spin faster."
He said the craft then lifted slowly, tilting lightly and hovered above their heads.
Then it moved slowly until it was over Bedonwell Primary School, where it hovered again for about a minute.
Mr Maynard said: "It shot up into the sky and disappeared."
He says his brother, who was 16 at the time, also saw it.
Mr Maynard says the craft was "black, sleek and streamlined, with a surface like polished metal."
He added: "It was very fine and beautiful. It wasn't a prank."
Mr Maynard said he had never forgotten the experience but did not talk about it because "people would think you were barmy".
He said he and his friends used to talk about it among themselves, "but our mums kept telling us we had not seen anything".
Mrs Fry, now in her late 70s, now lives in Abergele in north Wales.
She relives the experience in her book entitled Who Are They? and gives details of other UFO sightings in the Bexley and Kent areas.
Mrs Fry has also been helping UFO enthusiast and retired policeman John Hanson with his books on the subject.
He has been trying to track down other witnesses to the July 1955 incident, some of whom were named by Mr Maynard as Ron Deadman, Tony Savin, Vic Clarke and Tommy Staggs.