Tuesday April 18, 2006-The truth is up there-by NICK RITCHICK
One April night, the Socorro, N.M., police department received a radio call from Sgt. Lonnie Zamora. Zamora said that while investigating a loud roar at a dynamite storage shack, he encountered a strange scene.
What he first thought to be an overturned car with an exploded gas tank turned out to be an oval-shaped object about the size of a car, with legs that extended to the ground.
According to UFO Casebook magazine's Web site (ufocasebook.com), Zamora reported the object had no windows or doors and had a red insignia on the side. Two child-sized people in white coveralls stood nearby.
Zamora told his dispatcher he was going to go closer to investigate. But he heard a loud roar and saw a blue-orange flame at the bottom of the object. Then the object rose into the air and flew away.
Air Force and FBI investigators arrived on the scene within a few days, gathered evidence and spoke to witnesses. After two years, Air Force investigator Hector Quintanilla, Jr., released his surprising conclusion.
"There is ... no question about Zamora's reliability," Quintanilla reported. "... we have been unable, in spite of thorough investigation, to find the vehicle or other stimulus that scared Zamora to the point of panic."
According to the National UFO Reporting Center (www.nuforc.org), there were 3,999 unidentified flying object (UFO) reports in the year 2005. Some of these reports, according to Bruce Maccabee, former president of Mutual UFO Network, Maryland chapter, remain unexplained.
"Most cases - 70-80-90 percent - you can reasonably explain," said Maccabee, of Thurmont, Md., in a phone interview last week. "But maybe 5 percent do not fit."
Maccabee, a civilian physicist working with the U.S. Navy, said he has been investigating UFO reports since the 1970s. He said the U.S. government has investigated UFOs since the first sightings were reported in newspapers a few years after World War II.
"The government thought maybe the Russians had leapfrogged our technology. These craft were probably nuclear powered. The government was naturally worried, at the beginning of what is called the Cold War," Maccabee said. "Air Force pilots were also involved. FBI was involved to find out if there was any communist activity."
Government investigators discounted most UFO reports, but a few were truly strange. But they told the public differently, according to Maccabee.
Maccabee has been interested in these unidentified aircraft since he was a teenager in the 1950s. During this era, newspaper reports of the UFO appearances caught the interests of many people. He volunteered with the Washington, D.C., office of the National Investigating Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), and began investigating reported sightings.
"That's where the rubber hits the road - witnesses who are telling the truth as they know it, or just plain hoaxing," he said. "Where I investigated, they were telling the truth as they know it.
"But it's possible to misperceive. You know there are stars and planets up there - aircraft with lights on. If the light was traveling along and made a right-angle turn, it wasn't a star, wasn't a meteor. Sometimes it takes days or weeks or years. After you spend time and you have no other explanation that fits, you can say it might be unidentifiable. This is the scientific method."
Maccabee has published several books and reports on UFO investigations, including "UFO FBI Connection," which details early FBI investigations. To visit Maccabee's Web site, go to www.brumac.8k.com.
Read about thought-provoking UFO reports such as Lonnie Zamora's in "Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time: The Unexplained." And, for fun, find good UFO fiction in "Bruce Coville's Book of Aliens 1" and "Bruce Coville's Book of Aliens 2."
You can believe me or not, but there are reports of flying objects that cannot be explained. Next time you're outside at night and see stars, just think to yourself that maybe not all of those lights are stars.
source and references:
UFO Casebook Home Page