Searching the Heavens for Answers
Dr. Mark Olson Contributed by Jerry Whitehead III

Mar 09, 2007 at 04:29 PM

For as long as man has had a neck, he has looked to the stars for answers to questions that he could not answer himself. Where did we come from? Why are we here? What else is out there? Why is bologna round if sliced bread is square?

If you look toward the night skies long and regularly enough, you stand a good chance of joining the thousands of people who have seen a UFO first-hand. Ever since the Roswell UFO incident in July of 1947, there are a growing number of people who scan the skies, looking for evidence to confirm the existence of UFOs and the beings that pilot them.

Sonora resident Mark Olson (known by friends and family by his nickname of “Markos”) is one of those people.

“I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I’ve been fascinated with the subject most of my life,” Olson said of his UFO interest. “I’ve seen objects all my life basically.”

Olson grew up in El Paso, Texas, where he said his home was surrounded by Air Force bases. The oldest of four children, Olson eventually moved to the Bay Area in 1988 and worked as an interpreter for the deaf at a university before moving to the Mother Lode in 2000 to be closer to his parents. Olson, who is a few months shy of his 41st birthday, said he began to experience regular “UAP” sightings (he prefers the term “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena”) at his home near Lyons Bald Mountain beginning in April of 2004.

“Since then we’ve been seeing these things almost every day,” Olson said. “We saw so many of them that I decided to get a camcorder back in May. I was practicing how to use it, and I was videotaping the sky and I saw a jet and started to record it. But then I saw an object rotating around the jet. I was like, ‘Holy mackerel.’”

He has seen “literally hundreds” of UAPs and has videotaped nearly all of them. He began documenting so many instances that he started a website to post the videos in hopes that somebody would be able to analyze the videos and possibly shed light on the objects they contained.

“I had no idea what they could be because they were nothing like I had ever seen,” he said. “I’d say some of them might be military. Others, I have no idea. They could be anything. That’s the problem when you try to investigate this stuff – it’s what are they and how do you find out?”

The website,, was moderately popular, generating over 130,000 hits during its time on the Internet. Markos has since had to take the website offline due to health problems, but many of the videos are still available to see elsewhere on the web (at by searching for “sonora sightings,” or by going to and clicking on the “Sonora Sightings” link).

As a result of his videos, Olson was contacted by famous UFOlogist (one invovled in the study of UFOs) David Sereda, who put Olson and a smattering of his camcorder clips in his films, “Visitors: California UFO Wave” and “Dan Aykroyd Unplugged on UFOs.” While Olson isn’t sure what any of his UAPs are or where they come from, he does believe in life on other planets.

“I believe that there’s empirical evidence from over the last thousands of years that these things have been visiting us,” Olson said. “I have a personal theory that civilizations have risen and fallen on this planet, and some have probably made it out to space and maybe their descendants are coming back to visit.

“Back in the olden days people thought the world was flat, and they didn’t believe anybody would ever fly, and then they didn’t believe that the sound barrier would ever be broken,” he continued. “It’s all a matter of how large your mind is.”

Perhaps the most interesting aspect about Mark Olson is that he is also an ordained priest with the Metropolitan Community Church, an international Christian congregation. Many practicing Christians feel that extra-terrestrial life and the Bible’s account of creation are mutually exclusive because the Bible makes no mention of other lifeforms other than those found on this planet. But Olson feels differently.

“The way I look at it is, the greater the universe, the greater the glory of the God that created it,” he said. “And I also think that it would be an awful waste of space. Here’s how I describe it when people ask me. You’re standing on a beach and you’re at the edge of the beach farthest from the ocean. Somebody comes up and points to a grain of sand and said to you, ‘See this little grain of sand at the edge of the beach? That is the only place on this beach that you will find life.’ “Would you believe them? How could there not be life on the rest of that beach, or what about the ocean? That’s the galaxy, and what about the rest of the universe?”

He also believes that UAPs were obliquely mentioned in the Good Book.

“I think the Bible has mentioned extra-terrestrials,” he said. “If you think about it, the people of the time were primitive. If you lived in mud huts or twig houses and didn’t have electricity or anything, and you saw a UFO, how would you describe it? ‘A ball of light,’ or ‘a wheel of fire’...there are several descriptions in the Bible that could be UFOs, just that they didn’t know how to describe them.”

Although is no longer active and his sky watching time has decreased due to health concerns, Mark Olson is still an avid observer of UAPs and encourages us all to look up from time to time.

“Anybody’s who’s interested only has to pay attention to the sky, just look up and watch,” he said. Turn off your radios, turn off your TVs, turn off your VHS and DVD players and just watch the sky. You’ll be amazed at what you see.”

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