MUFON and the Stephenville Sightings

Mixed results for MUFON

Published Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 4:20 p.m.
Last updated Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 4:26 p.m.

There’s probably a story on human psychology to be written about January’s UFO furor over Stephenville, Tex. But Ken Cherry won’t touch it with a 10-foot cliche.

As director of the Texas Mutual UFO Network, Cherry spearheaded the investigation of the incident that lured media hordes into north Texas cow town. On May 19, the Associated Press reported how MUFON didn’t find a smoking gun. But a week later, Cherry says MUFON’s critics are slamming the results.

“There are people out there who have a vested interest in keeping this story alive,” Cherry says from his home in Keller, Tex. “But I’m not going to waste my time and energy trying to defend our report. The results speak for themselves."

Among MUFON’s most contentious findings: video footage of a nighttime UFO was simply a star being jiggled by an unsteady hand working the viewfinder. That sequence made the YouTube rounds and was being seriously analyzed as evidence of symbolic alien communication.

“We went to the exact location where the guy shot it, and since it had the date and the time on the bottom, it was pretty easy to determine it was a star,” Cherry says. “It was something a kid with a star map could do.”

Then there was the real-time manifestation of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, the idea that observing an event alters the event:

Cherry says the media circus that swamped Stephenville impeded MUFON’s efforts. MUFON began receiving UFO reports from the region in December, but the network coverage immediately created what Cherry charitably describes as a collective “heightened state of awareness.” Not to mention mercenary incentives.

“There are still videos and photos out there we continue to hear about, but some owners expect to be paid,” Cherry says. “This place was descended upon by production companies looking for footage. The asking price would start at $5,000 and it went up from there.”

The MUFON report’s closest approximation of a smoking gun was buried in the tenth graph of the AP piece. MUFON’s Freedom of Information Act queries produced Federal Aviation Administration documents indicating its radar tracked a large object zipping along at 700 mph at 6:35 p.m. on January 8. More ominously in this post-9/11 era, the blip had no transponder.

“Apparently, there was a phenomenon of some sort going on,” says Cherry. “There have always been significant military bases in this area, so the folks who live out there are used to seeing military aircraft. They’re not suddently going to start misidentifying military jets as UFOs.

“The timing (of the radar hit) is important because it comes within 10 minutes of when (freight company operator/pilot Steve Allen) said he first saw it,” Cherry says. Allen described an object of nearly mile long and half a mile wide.

Finally, as Cherry learned from old-timers, that rural tract of Texas has been the scene of UFO events going back decades. Meaning that theories concerning the object’s 60-mile proximity to the Bush ranch in Crawford are irrelevant.

Cherry says the real lesson behind the Stephenville Incident is for the Air Force, which initially denied it had planes in the air that night, only to reverse itself a week or so later.

“If you don’t know the answer to something,” Cherry says, “then just say you don’t know the answer.”

Last modified: May 28, 2008 4:26pm


MUFON Investagation: Stephenville

"Momma's in the basement mixing up some medicine, I'm
on the pavement thinking about the govenement" Bob Dylan

MUFON’s Journal published results of the organization’s findings on the detailed reports from 70 witnesses in Texas in its April 2008 issue. Bottom line: the vast majority of witnesses who reported to MUFON were regular people just wanting to get answers about what they saw. Of the many people who reported UFOs, 2 were found to be hoaxers. Amazing! You’d think with all the screams out there on You-Tube and debunker land, it’d be closer to 70.

There were almost as many UFO reports from the two Texas counties --Stephenville and Dublin-- in January and February in 2008 as in all of 2007, according to the only ones who are doing any data collection…our own good UFO organizations.

Notably, MUFON’s investigation found there were two “official” daylight sightings reporting a “large craft gray in color”, silent and moving at a high rate of speed. Many Texas reports were similar to those logged around the world, featuring large sequential blinking lights in the sky. Also notable about the Stephenville sightings is how many witnesses came forward with old reports. I guess they felt it was finally safe to do so. This factor of multiple, belated UFO reports --indicating many pre-existing UFO sightings from the region-- is in itself important, no matter how you slice it.

MUFON was not able to get written reports from the local Police Officers, just verbal descriptions. So what did these trained observers report? Three officers who gave accounts describe a large “craft”, gray in color with red strobe lights on the top. The two officers who were outside at the time reported the craft they observed was silent.

Of this investigation, 18 reports are unknown, with five still under investigation. They still have 100 continuing UFO sighting reports around the Dublin area. So the Great Stephenville UFO Incident of 2008 is not over because the press calls it over.

Not all the UFOs were of the same type. I like this one:
“At 6:50 AM on January 11, James Beatty had a close encounter…he saw bright white lights coming over a hill, on the opposite side of the dam…hugging the shore line…it was delta shaped…black and gray in color…approached to about 30 to 50 yards away… no bigger then a 1978 Thunderbird…rear was rectangle with three large round openings in its side. No apparent thrust nor fire…extended canopy running three quarters of the way down the fuselage. It was metallic as well. The bottom looked like it had panel lines, it had three non-blinking white lights under it. It made no sound at all.”

Just a reminder to the “ well… it’s only lights in the sky” bunch, CRAFT is the term three trained observers used to describe their daylight sighting.

For all you secret government test flight fanatics: why would the government be flying a huge, top-secret craft, near paranoid George’s ranch, in daylight?

And finally for all of you “why in the world would aliens fly a trillion miles to go to Texas?” theoreticians: it’s called bases. Try to think ahead!

David Coram Video. Seen on “Alien Hunters” episode Diagrams In The Sky, this one’s still an enigma. MUFON Journal reported Dr. Bruce Maccabee and others wanted to find the light source but “time restraints” kept them from going to the original spot. So until that is done, I can’t go with Maccabee’s conclusion, that what was captured was just a camera effect combined with atmospheric conditions and an out-of-focus star. David Coram’s grandchild, who was first to point out this strange light source, was drawn to it and asked his grandfather about the “lightening” in the sky. He saw that movement with the unaided eye.

So a follow up is what they deserve. I think “Alien Hunter” should do a follow up on Texas, too. After all, Stephenville was the biggest UFO phenomenon of the year, and there are more than 100 UFO sightings still being reported there. Also, it’s important to not let it the case get too cold. While the Alien Hunter crew is there, they could also do a follow-up, confirming, if that be the case, Maccabee’s conclusion by simply filming a star from the same place David Coram’s daughter pointed out what she was seeing.

Since the US Government’s not exactly forthcoming these days, CITIZEN INITIATIVE AND CAN DO is still looking like the smartest and most civilized response. Wouldn’t it be great if some other optics and video experts would join MUFON and volunteer some time? So…what are you doing next weekend?

MUFON needs people of all expertise levels to help analyze the enormous quantities of video and photos now being submitted. I heard it from good sources that MUFON is backed up for two years on the normal processing of multimedia submitted for examination. MUFON is a great organization and doing a fine job. Those hundred Texas witness reports are still waiting to be gathered and investigated. MUFON needs more skilled volunteers. How many will step forward?

Alien Hunters complements citizen organization efforts.
I’m happy “Alien Hunters” is on the air. The show allows access to scientific equipment that is many times beyond the frugal expense accounts of many of our citizen organizations.

Of course presenting the proper evidence is crucial in getting to the answers. But actually being there in the midst of a flap and catching something with the best equipment would be highly desirable. The next best thing is sending investigators quickly to do a thorough job. “Alien Hunters” gets a B+; with some work it can be a great show and help the larger effort validating the witnesses to these phenomenon and according witnesses their much deserved…and overdue respect. I don’t like the idea of offering money to witnesses for UFO video. The practice opens up a can of worms and does nothing to help the credibility of sightings or witnesses.

I still wonder how many people never reported what they saw.

Joseph Capp
UFO Media Matters


Stephenville UFO incidents explored in detail

Steve Hammons
According to a May 19 Associated Press article by Angela K. Brown, an investigation of the Stephenville and Erath County, Texas, UFO sightings has concluded that "most of the 300 reported sightings ... earlier this year were probably planets, cloud formations or stars."

The investigation the AP article referred to was that of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).

Kenneth Cherry, MUFON'S Texas director, told the AP that although his investigators concluded that many witnesses saw planets and cloud formations, other reports by very credible observers were more difficult to explain.

"Hard-core" evidence included nearly identical descriptions by three area peace officers.

Cherry said, "The bottom line is: We really do believe something did occur down there. That doesn't mean we know what it was, who it belongs to or where it came from."

Now that MUFON has issued a report, it may be appropriate to review some of the key timelines and events of the Stephenville and Erath County sightings.


In January 2008, residents in the towns of Stephenville, Dublin and other areas of Erath County reported seeing unusual lights and/or what seemed to be solid objects in the skies there.

The local newspaper, the Stephenville Empire-Tribune, carried articles about these citizen reports written by reporter Angelia Joiner.

In a Jan. 14 article, the AP's Brown wrote the first story on the incident for the national and international news media.

According to the AP article, "several dozen" local residents observed "a large silent object with bright lights flying low and fast."

These witnesses included "a pilot, county constable and business owners," the AP reported.

When I covered the initial AP report in a Jan. 15 article, the sightings seemed like another of several, including the 2006 Chicago O'Hare airport incident and others.

What was particularly interesting was the account of one local citizen: "Local resident Ricky Sorrells said he spotted a flat, metallic object hovering approximately 300 feet above a pasture near his home. Sorrells said he used the telescopic sight on his rifle to view the object."

By Jan. 17, the story of the Stephenville UFOs had spread around the country and the world. CNN and other major media had picked up the AP report and, surprisingly to some people, covered the case with objectivity and intelligence.

Soon, researchers and news media were heading for Erath County. Maybe even some government spooks were looking around too.

In a Jan. 17 article on these developments, I included additional background on the UFO phenomena, as I understood it, because many Texans and others were apparently curious about any background on the subject.

In the article, I also touched on the idea of "acclimation" of the public about the UFO situation.


As CNN's Larry King, the NBC Today show's Matt Lauer and other media continued to cover the Stephenville sightings, it seemed that some deeper background and context would be helpful.

So, in a Jan. 22 article I took a look at other emerging phenomena and the way things like social psychology, religion and human consciousness might be part of a larger picture.

I touched on the issue of "remote viewing," ESP techniques developed by U.S. military and intelligence communities, because this is another unusual and somewhat unexplained situation too, like UFOs. In addition, the topic of remote viewing helps get to the heart of research about human consciousness and what it is connected to.

By late January, as the Air Force changed its story about F-16s being in the air over Stephenville the night of some of the sightings, the public was getting more curious about the case. More witness accounts and rumors were surfacing. Many people thought the Air Force reversal about military aircraft activity in the area was interesting.

My Jan. 25 article provided some updates and reminded readers that public information officers and public affairs officers are sometimes put in difficult positions.

Related to this, issues of distribution of "intelligence" have both secret and open aspects. I touched on "open source intelligence" or OSINT. Human intelligence (HUMINT) was obviously another kind of intel playing a big part in the Stephenville incidents.

As Texans and people around the U.S. and the world pondered the Stephenville case, more natural questions emerged: What if we are being "visited?" If so, who are they? And how long have they been visiting and what are they doing?

Of course, many people interested in this field have wondered about and researched these questions. So, in my Jan. 26 report I tried to give a reasonable overview of what some of the views and theories were.

From the basics such as the so-called "Roswell incident" to reports of different kinds of ETs, the article kicked around concepts and rumors to get people thinking "outside the box" a bit.


Then things got a big scary back in Erath County. One of the main witnesses who had appeared on TV news shows, Ricky Sorrells, reported he had been threatened on the phone by a person identifying himself as an Air Force colonel. Then, a menacing stranger appeared at his rural home in the middle of the night.

Sorrells' story was covered in the Stephenville Empire-Tribune newspaper by reporter Angelia Joiner, who had been swamped with calls and e-mails over past weeks from local residents, researchers and other news media representatives.

The details of Sorrells' 2:30 a.m. encounter with an intruder was frightening to many and injected a more serious factor into the UFO sightings.

My Feb. 7 piece detailed this troubling incident and pointed out that, according to some researchers, witnesses to UFO sightings have frequently been subjects of interest for apparent government operatives or others, both in the U.S. and other countries.

Then another strange development took place in Stephenville. The reporter, who had been covering the reports from residents from the beginning, Angelia Joiner, suddenly left the Empire-Tribune in an apparent falling-out with newspaper managers.

Joiner had apparently done an admirable job in covering the story and fielding inquiries and tips. Her solid reporting had caught the attention of the national media and the tone of her articles seemed to contribute to the serious and professional news coverage that followed.

Local residents who stepped forward were treated with respect by Joiner and others in the media.

Shortly after Joiner's article on the apparent threats to Sorrells, which appeared to be a law enforcement and public safety story as much as a UFO topic, Joiner left the paper.

As a former community newspaper reporter myself, this development seemed particularly interesting and I took a look at it in a Feb. 9 report.

The fact that the roles of the news media and the dissemination of information about the UFO situation are such important and apparently complex elements made Joiner's separation from the Empire-Tribune all the more interesting.

The issue of censorship and the manipulation of the news media have long been and are now very crucial topics of public discussion about everything from unusual phenomena to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.


Although it turned out that Joiner's decision to leave the newspaper was somewhat of a mutual decision or sorts, many interested people wanted to contact the owners of the Empire-Tribune, apparently a Texas-based media company.

However, as people looked deeper into this matter, it turned out that the paper, and dozens of other community papers in Texas and around the U.S. had been purchased by a huge foreign financial conglomerate in Australia called Macquarie.

Macquarie also had a road construction division that was pushing a huge toll-road project in Texas – a project that many Texans apparently opposed.

This, of course, was an element of the possible manipulation of the press not by shadowy government intelligence agents covering up UFOs, but by a foreign company with business interests and a reputation of very friendly relations with government officials, including high-paying positions with the company.

This was a slight detour from the main UFO subject, but one that was interesting to Texans and others interested in the integrity of the U.S. news media and the journalism profession.

In my Feb. 13 article I covered this angle as well as other even more shocking news emerging from sources in Stephenville: A UFO had been caught on police car videotape.

Erath County Constable Lee Roy Gaitan, who had been an original witness to unusual lights in the area and had been interviewed by media representatives, revealed that local peace officers had caught the UFO on a "dash cam" mounted on patrol cars.

It was also made clear that several local law enforcement officers had witnessed highly unusual lights and/or solid objects and had compared notes and drawn sketches. These officers were reluctant to come forward publicly, Gaitan said.

As an elected official, Gaitan indicated he did not have concerns about being fired for treating the situation honestly and as openly as possible, though other officers did have these concerns.

Around this time frame, things started breaking fairly fast on this story. In a second Feb. 13 piece I reported on more details of accounts by local public safety officers about what was on the police video.

Gaitan himself watched the video and provided a detailed description to researcher and Emmy Award-winning journalist Linda Moulton Howe.

The fact that the police dash cam had a zoom feature allowed officers to see a more detailed view of a very unusual object.

It also became clear that local officers were in a delicate position of knowing more than was reaching the public and they were coordinating among themselves about how to handle these surprising developments.

They didn't learn how to handle a situation like this in law enforcement training.

But, for those who have looked into how public safety personnel handle UFO matters, there is the well-known 1992 firefighter training manual A FIRE OFFICER'S GUIDE TO DISASTER CONTROL published by Fire Engineering Books & Videos.

Authors and experienced firefighting experts William M. Kramer and Charles W. Bahme cover many aspects of this important public safety profession. Along with conventional firefighter training, there is an interesting chapter titled "Disaster Control and UFOs."

I included that chapter verbatim in my article. This was intended to provide information and support for peace officers, firefighters and citizens about research, planning and procedures.


By Feb. 24, one officer involved was identified as Erath County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Jim Clifton. Reporter Angelia Joiner, now writing for the new Web site StephenvilleLights.com, provided continuing coverage from sources in the Stephenville area, including the law enforcement community.

Clifton and Constable Lee Roy Gaitan were responding to an alarm at a local restaurant on Feb. 2 when they saw something unusual in the sky, Joiner had reported. The object was picked up and taped by a patrol car dash cam.

In my Feb. 24 report, I provided an overview and details of this encounter as reported by Gaitan, Joiner and researcher Howe.

The account of the two officers observing the object was fascinating.

Then, on Feb. 28, Joiner reported on StephenvilleLights.com that a third respected officer had come forward.

In a March 1 article, based on Joiner's reporting, I wrote, "Mike Zimmerman saw something in the sky that he cannot explain. Zimmerman, 62, is a veteran officer of 25 years with the Texas Department of Public Safety. He served on the protective detail for five Texas governors over a period of 19 years, including former governor George W. Bush."

Joiner's relationships and mutual respect and trust with local people had once again led to amazing information.

On Jan. 31, Zimmerman saw something from the window of his home that was not quite like other witnesses, but was very out of the ordinary.

He showed Joiner a sketch and notes he had made. In her article, Joiner wrote that "the two white lights were shooting out beams of white light in a pulsating strobe light effect. The reddish orange light closer to the horizon did not have beams shooting from it."

Joiner also quoted Zimmerman as saying, "At first I thought it might be three helicopters with really bright search lights until I noticed the beams of white lights shooting out to the side of the bright lights."

By late March, local officers who had witnessed something created a sketch and it was released to the public via StephenvilleLights.com.

In a March 25 article I included descriptions by officers Joiner's quotes of the officers of an incident that occurred Jan. 8, 2008, between 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. The officer´s name was not released.

The diagram of the object described it as being somewhat flat and octagon-shaped with raised portions on the top and bottom. Views from the side, top and bottom are illustrated in the diagram.

The object was described by witnessing officers as 400 feet long and 35 feet from bottom to top. Officers reported that it was a dull green in color, with lights in various configurations.

The verbatim narrative of the officer, referencing the diagram, as reported by Joiner, is below:

"This is what I and several other officers saw. I did not see the back, only the frontal view."

"The two large lights were bright like landing lights, but solid light blue in color similar to LED. The wing tip lights remained steady. The top and bottom tower lights strobed sporadically."

"It had three towers on the bottom and two on top. It was bigger than a B1 Bomber."

"It lumbered around town then headed off towards Mineral Wells."

"It did not leave fast like some are saying. It left slowly. I saw it make a turn. It turned slightly at a 30 degree angle and stayed there for a moment with no movement. It then went to 90 degrees, added a large light in the middle, and moved off at 27 mph and accelerating."


When it seemed like the Stephenville UFO incidents could not get any more interesting, something even more surprising was revealed.

The officer who said the object was traveling "at 27 mph" apparently either had a good eye for measuring speed or some other information.

Sure enough, Joiner once again broke the story in a March 30 article on StephenvilleLights.com that the officer had tracked the object with his police radar gun and measured the speed precisely as the UFO departed.

This development was too good for me to not write a piece about it so I made it the focal point of a March 31 article.

Joiner did not identify this officer and referred to him as "Officer X" in her reports.

"I want people to know that the citizens are telling the truth," Officer X told Joiner.

"They're not lying," he said. "They are telling the truth. There was something there. I think it's stealthy. It has a stealth capability. I think it can change colors with the sky. It was as dark as the sky until it lit up."

He also confirmed that several other local officers also witnessed the craft.

When he first observed the craft, it was hovering in a horizontal position. It was approximately 100 to 500 feet off the ground, based on reports of other officers.

Officer X told Joiner, "My estimate is the object was about a half mile away at the most. At first, I thought it was a big aircraft, but then I realized it was hovering. I then thought, 'An aircraft that size doesn't hover.'"

Joiner quoted him as stating that, "It started out horizontal, went up to the left at 30 to 40 degrees, and stopped for about five seconds. Then it went slowly vertical. It took about another five seconds to do this; then it slowly moved away to the northwest. It was one big craft."

The object eventually slowly moved away from him, still at a low altitude. Then he could no longer observe it as it went behind trees. He was also called to respond to an unrelated official police situation.


Just last week, the government of the United Kingdom released previously classified files on UFO sightings and investigations.

The chief astronomer at the Vatican Observatory said in published reports that extraterrestrial visitors are possible and tried to integrate this possibility or probability with Christian beliefs.

CNN's Larry King and NBC's Dateline shows both recently covered the ongoing topic of UFOs and the idea of extraterrestrial and/or extra-dimensional visitation.

We are sure to hear more about this topic in the coming days.

Whether we like it or not, we are becoming used to sightings, reports and theories about what these objects in the sky and close encounters might mean. We are becoming acclimated to these incidents and to a possible unusual situation.

The Stephenville incidents helped put the issue in the media spotlight and the brave and down-to-Earth people of Erath County helped all of us deal with these reports in a straightforward and responsible way.

There are sure to be more such incidents in the future and hopefully we will handle them with intelligence, safety, compassion, strength common sense and open minds.

NOTE TO READERS: Those who enjoyed this article may also want to read the piece "UFO acclimation now underway?" For more information and resources about these and other topics, please visit the Joint Recon Study Group and have a look around.


Stephenville UFO traveling at 27 mph apparently broke no speed limits

... and thus was not cited by police.

By Pegasus News wire

Ken Cherry, state director of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) for Texas, stated on Sunday (May 18) that the numerous sightings of unidentified flying objects reported over Stephenville and Dublin back in January have yielded no definite evidence as to their - um - true nature.

The MUFON members and others gathered at an Irving public library heard Mr. Cherry and investigator Steve Hudgeons state that the findings of their investigation into the sightings are inconclusive - even though one of the witnesses was able to shoot some dark video of the lights in the nighttime sky with his or her cellphone.

A police officer was actually able to clock the movements of one of the objects with his radar gun, but it was only traveling at 27 mph - presumably not enough for him to pull it over on a speeding charge, more's the pity.

Investigators: Most Texas UFO reports can be explained

This year's sightings in Stephenville and Dublin likely planets or clouds, but some remain a mystery

FORT WORTH — Most of the 300 reported UFO sightings in Texas dairy country earlier this year were probably planets, cloud formations or stars, according to a group that investigates unidentified flying objects.

But some cases still remain a mystery, said Kenneth Cherry, Texas director of the Mutual UFO Network, which examined the January and February phenomenon in Stephenville and Dublin, about 75 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

"The bottom line is: We really do believe something did occur down there," Cherry said Monday. "That doesn't mean we know what it was, who it belongs to or where it came from. But the large number of witnesses in a small populated area is significant in and of itself."

Still, many Erath County residents are unfazed by the group's logical explanations for many sightings.

"We all know what we saw," said Steve Allen, a pilot and freight company owner. "It had so much technology and was just so far advanced. I know I keep saying it, but I just don't think it was from around these parts."

Although some details differed, many folks reported seeing a large silent object with bright lights flying low and fast. Some said its lights changed configuration, disputing suggestions that it was an airplane or secret, experimental military aircraft. They also said it was larger, quieter, faster and lower to the ground than an airplane.

Some reported seeing something unusual in the sky as early as November, but most came forward in January after the local media covered a sighting by at least 10 people, including Allen. He and a few others said they saw fighter jets chasing it Jan. 8.

Although Air Force Reserve officials in Fort Worth initially said none of their planes were in the area Jan. 8, they later said they were mistaken and that 10 F-16 fighter jets were training that night in the Stephenville area.

The Mutual UFO Network's Texas officials then began investigating. They took statements, cell phone photographs and even drawings from witnesses including a county constable, preacher, college professor, teacher, truck driver and business owners in four counties — mostly Erath, the state's top dairy county.

The group also obtained, under the Freedom of Information Act, a Jan. 8 radar image from the Federal Aviation Administration. It showed an object — not a passenger plane but possibly a military jet or unknown object — moving at 700 mph about 6:35 p.m. with no transponder, according to a report in the copyrighted May issue of the MUFON UFO Journal to be released this week. Allen's reported sighting was about 6:15 p.m.

Other "hard-core" evidence was the nearly identical accounts by three law enforcement officers in different locations, Cherry said.

Erath County Constable Lee Roy Gaitan said he saw red glowing lights and then white flashing lights moving rapidly across the sky one night in January. But on two nights in February, he said he saw a different object: a large orb with a triangle shape inside it, with white and multicolored lights, moving across the sky.

Gaitan still isn't sure about the existence of UFOs but said the objects were not a plane, weather balloon, planet or star.

"I wasn't as surprised as the first time I saw something, even though it was different," Gaitan said Monday. "To this day I don't know what it was. I just try not to look up in the sky now."

Cherry said that although the witnesses were credible, some of their descriptions varied widely. He said his investigators were able to determine that many people saw planets, cloud formations or a piece of material from a military jet.

"They're not trained observers, and with all the media attention, they reported it — which we want them to do," Cherry said.

He also said his investigators determined that a 12-minute videotape depicted close-up footage of a star rather than a multicolored UFO zigzagging across the sky.

But Allen, who says he was among the first to see the original video while Cherry's group may have received a copy, said it clearly shows the object moving while trees and houses in the background do not. He said he will "absolutely not" change his mind.

"People continue to see things out here, so whatever it is, it must like us," Allen said.

NBC's Dateline Airs Misleading UFO Footage

Posted by Tony Ortega at 12:30 PM, May 19, 2008

Here we go again.

UFOs are easy ratings, so I guess it isn’t surprising that Dateline aired something last night called “10 Close Encounters Caught on Tape.”. To its credit, the NBC program at least made an attempt to provide prosaic explanations for each of the events it presented. In most cases, those explanations were actually pretty good, and the “UFO experts” came off as yahoos.

But when I realized that they were saving for last—the #1 event!—the lame Phoenix Lights, the 1997 event that I helped debunk years ago as a reporter in Arizona, I prepared myself for yet another time that so-called journalists wouldn’t get even the most basic facts right.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

Hey, NBC, try to pay attention: there were TWO separate events on the night of March 13, 1997 over the skies of Arizona. The mysterious “vee” that so many people across the state witnessed was seen over Prescott at about 8:15 p.m. and traveled south over Phoenix at about 8:30 andpassed over Tucson at 8:45. That’s 200 miles in thirty minutes which—check with your calculator if you’d like—means the vee was moving at about 400 miles per hour. Some early eyewitnesses perceived that the vee was high in the sky, others swore it was low and moving very slowly. (And I mention “early” purposely. As the months passed, more and more elaborate—and ridiculous—claims were made by eyewitnesses who were clearly trying to one-up each other.) But as I’ve pointed out many times, the eyeball is a lousy instrument for judging the altitude of point sources of light in a night sky. Simple physics, however, suggests the vee was high in the sky and moving very fast.

As I first revealed in the Phoenix New Times in 1998 on the event’s first anniversary, a young man with a Dobsonian telescope spotted the vee from his backyard, and saw that it was a formation of airplanes. When the young man, Mitch Stanley, tried to contact a city councilwoman making noise about the event, as well as a couple of UFO flim-flam men working the local scene, he was rebuffed. I was the first reporter to talk to him, and, as a telescope builder myself, I made a thorough examination of his instrument and his knowledge of it. (For the inexperienced: a Dobsonian telescope is much easier to move than the crappy department store scope in your garage; it’s child’s play for an experienced observer, like Stanley, to get a good look at passing planes at altitude.) And he had a witness: he had told his mother, who was standing nearby, that the lights were planes. After my story, the Arizona Republic also wrote about Stanley, and also found him impressive. Didn’t you check that out, Dateline?

Back to the night of March 13. News of the 8:30 pm sighting traveled fast, so a large number of people were outside with videocameras when the second and unrelated event, at about 10 pm, happened in the sky southwest of Phoenix. A string of lights appeared in the sky, and slowly sank until they disappeared behind the nearby Estrella Mountain range. This was later shown to be a string of flares dropped by the Maryland Air National Guard over the North Tac military range. Dr. Lynne Kitei can tell NBC that these lights were magical and “intelligent” and later showed up just outside her living room window all she wants, but the videotapes taken that night by many people show without a doubt that this was a string of mundane lights that fell and disappeared behind the range, exactly as a string of flares dropped by the military planes would.

Now, the problem developed when the “flare” explanation emerged first, and took root hard, explaining away the 10 pm sighting. But for the many people who had seen the earlier vee pass directly over their heads, flares made no sense whatsoever. And news organizations never bother to differentiate between the two events or report on the Stanley identification—even the Arizona Republic (a truly pathetic example of a daily newspaper) stopped referring to its earlier solid reporting on the Lights and began promoting it as “unexplained.”

To this day, programs like Dateline invariably question people who saw the earlier “vee” event, and quote them saying that flares couldn’t possibly explain what they saw. They are right. They didn’t see flares, they saw a formation of planes.

In last night’s program, Dateline repeatedly showed people talking about their memories of the 8:30 vee while showing video of the 10 pm flares. Talk about misleading.

By the way, NBC: There was a single camerman who caught the 8:30 vee and the later event. I saw his tape myself. It clearly showed the five lights of the 8:30 vee moving in relation to each other, exactly as you’d expect in a formation of airplanes. Couldn’t get that tape for your program?

As for the people who swore they saw a black triangular shape joining the five lights of the vee, that’s a classic contrast effect of the human eye. In another very telling case, a man who swore he saw a black shape joining the lights of the vee saw it pass directly in front of the moon. At that point, he saw not a black shape but wavy lines pass over the undimmed moon. But rather than conclude that he’d seen the contrails of planes, the man, who had already been worked hard by the flim-flam artists, concluded instead that the pilot of the alien craft had turned his spaceship transparent right at that moment so the man could see the moon through it. How thoughtful!

Perhaps it’s a good thing that NBC has now declared this the number 1 UFO sighting of all time. It’s one of the very few so well checked-out by reporters, and one of the few that has been so thoroughly debunked. But you won’t hear that from the networks, who can’t get enough of the ratings that come with “the unexplained.”

UFO network cannot confirm Texas incident

STEPHENVILLE, Texas, May 20 (UPI) -- The Texas chapter of the Mutual UFO Network says it has been unable to confirm sightings around the town of Stephenville, despite multiple witnesses.

Ken Cherry, director of the Texas chapter of the group that tracks unidentified flying objects, said what was thought to be the strongest piece of evidence for a UFO visitation above Stephenville in January, a 12-minute video, has been revealed as a zoomed-in video of a star, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported.

"We're probably going to get a lot of flak for that," Cherry said.

Steve Hudgeons, the head Texas investigator for the network, said there were a number of credible witnesses to the Jan. 8 event, including a pilot, a county constable, city officials, business owners, clergy and teachers "and a full conglomerate of others."

However, Cherry said the group's final full report on the incident is not likely to bring any closure to interested parties.

"It will not satisfy the believers or the debunkers," Cherry said.

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be reproduced, redistributed, or manipulated in any form.

UFO group explains Texas sightings

UFO group explains Texas sightings

UFO Graphic

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (AP) -- A group that investigates UFO's says most of the 300 reported sightings in Texas dairy country this year -- were probably planets, cloud formations or stars.

But Kenneth Cherry with the Mutual UFO Network says some cases still remain a mystery.

His group examined the January and February phenomenon in Stephenville and Dublin.

Many Erath County residents are unfazed by the group's logical explanations for many sightings.

Pilot and freight company owner Steve Allen says, quote: "We all know what we saw."

Although some details differed, many folks reported seeing a large silent object with bright lights flying low and fast.

Air Force Reserve officials in Fort Worth initially said none of their planes were in the area.

Military authorities later said they were mistaken and that ten F-16 fighter jets were training in the Stephenville area.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


The Stephenville Sightings on MSNBC

The Stephenville Sightings
In the winter of 2008, hundreds of witnesses in and around Stephenville, Texas, came forward claiming to have seen strange lights in the sky. Some reported also seeing an actual craft. The Air Force says it was F-16 jets. UFO investigators say no way. After viewing the video, what do you believe?

Lack of evidence stalls investigation of UFO sightings, MUFON

By TAWNELL D. HOBBS / The Dallas Morning News

Whether a UFO visited two Central Texas towns will remain a mystery – at least for now.

"All the video that we've analyzed hasn't provided substantial proof," Ken Cherry, Texas state director of the Mutual UFO Network, said Sunday. "Without definite evidence, we're left with the word of our witnesses."

The Erath County towns of Stephenville and Dublin were thrust into the national spotlight in January after dozens of people – including a pilot and business owners – said they saw a large, silent object with bright lights flying low on Jan. 8. Two military jets were in hot pursuit, the witnesses said.

Mr. Cherry and the UFO network's chief investigator, Steve Hudgeons, delivered their findings at an Irving public library. Mr. Cherry said the case is at a standstill unless someone produces better evidence.

Several dozen people who attended the meeting Sunday are convinced that Texas was visited by something not from this world.

"I think that 200 people didn't make something up," said Dallas resident Jackie Schroller, a new member of the network, which has chapters all over the U.S.

The investigation looked at various pieces of evidence, including a cellphone video that was too dark to be conclusive. Mr. Hudgeons said most of what witnesses saw could be explained, such as a light display being caused by an unsteady camera focused on a bright star.

Mr. Cherry said the findings "will not satisfy the believers or the debunkers."

Some at the meeting said they believe the U.S. government wants to keep secret about what was in the sky.

The military initially denied having any planes in the area on Jan. 8. About two weeks later, it said some F-16 fighters had been flying near Stephenville that night.

The flip-flop was blamed on "an internal communications error."

Mr. Cherry said the witnesses are very credible and difficult to ignore. He said three police officers, who do not want to come forward publicly, also reported seeing light patterns in the sky.

"One was close enough to it to use his radar gun to track the thing," he said. "It moved away at 27 miles per hour and then vanished."


NBC and MSN want your UFO Footage!

UFO acclimation now underway?

Steve Hammons

The NBC show "Dateline" and msnbc.com have put out a request to the public to submit photos and videos of UFOs.

According to the msnbc.com Web site, a show is planned this Sunday, May 18, using photos and videos of UFOs they receive.

On the msnbc.com site, the public is asked, "Do you think you have seen a UFO? Tell us about it and you may be featured in a future episode of Dateline NBC or on msnbc.com."

"On Sunday, May 18, Dateline plans to count down '10 Close Encounters Caught on Tape,'" according to msnbc.com.

"If you think you've had your own close encounter, submit it here with any photos or videos, and you could be featured on Dateline or on msnbc.com. Videos and stories should be authentic and not staged. Material may appear on NBC's Dateline broadcast and/or Web site. Tell us your story ..."

This Dateline and msnbc.com call for submission of photos and videos for a show is just another development that has raised national and international public awareness about the UFO situation.

The recent news that the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense (MoD) is releasing more previously secret documents about UFOs, with some of the information apparently quite compelling, has been viewed as a positive step by those interested in further disclosure about this subject.

In an article in the Vatican newspaper, the pope's chief astronomer, Father Gabriel Funes, has written an article about intelligent extraterrestrial beings titled "Aliens Are My Brother." Funes is director of the Vatican Observatory and is respected as a scientist who works with other international astronomers, according to published reports.

These developments further acclimate the public to theories, reports, questions and perspectives about the possible visitation to Earth of intelligent extraterrestrial and/or extra-dimensional beings, as well as other possible emerging phenomena.


Orienting and informing the public about possible developments in the area of extraterrestrial visitation to Earth has been a subject of much speculation and concern in the decades since the end of World War II.

Journalists and writers, TV and film project producers, government military and intelligence personnel, as well as interested people in the U.S. and around the world have been exposed to more ideas, theories and rumors about UFOs and ETs over the years.

We have been acclimated to the idea that it is possible for our planet to have been visited by intelligent beings from elsewhere in space, time and/or other dimensions.

There may even be indications that disclosure of real information about the UFO situation has been subtly released to the public to further orient, acclimate and prepare Americans and people internationally.

Recent UFO reports such as those in Stephenville, Texas, and Chicago's O'Hare airport were reported in responsible and serious ways by many in the news media.

The most recent incident in Phoenix, reported to be road flares tied to helium balloons and launched by a local resident, does little to cast doubt on the 1997 incident in Phoenix when a massive object cruised at low altitude over that city's metropolitan "Valley of the Sun" early one evening.

It was reportedly witnessed by hundreds or thousands of Phoenix residents, including the governor at the time, Fife Symington, a former Air Force officer.

All of these cases, as well as many others, help acclimate not only the general public, but also journalists and those in the media.

When some people interested in this field seek significant disclosure of information possibly held by governmental military and intelligence groups, they have had mixed success.

Interesting documents and "off the record" information can provide a partial picture of what might be going on. At the same time, it could be that significant sensitive and classified reports are "not ready for prime time" and release to the public.

Accounts of formal and even official acclimation efforts and programs indicate that a gradual and safe orientation for the public about a possibly significant UFO and ET situation may be a wise course of action.


Adjustment to developments such as confirmation that UFOs are related to visitation to Earth by intelligent civilizations might be difficult for some people. This would disrupt their world view, possibly causing anxiety. For some people, their spiritual beliefs might be impacted in some way.

In addition, many kinds of natural concerns would arise: Are these visitors friend or foe? Are they here to help us or hurt us? What is the role of our governmental and defense organizations? Will human society and civilization change in good ways or bad ways?

This is where safe and intelligent acclimation may be a wiser approach than simply disclosure of too much information. Of course, in actuality, these two ideas work hand-in-hand. Acclimation is disclosure and disclosure is acclimation.

Yet, the subtle interactions and distinctions between these two concepts may be worth considering.

Another element rumored to be in play is the possibility that humans are facing multiple kinds of emerging developments.

Different kinds of visitors may be near, including some who are friendly, some hostile and some neutral. In cases like this, various intelligence-gathering, liaison and rapport-building, dialogue, negotiation and defensive activities could be in play.

Have humans been visited in the ancient past? Were Native American Indians and other cultures exposed to anomalous phenomena that may be of interest to us now?

Are there aspects of our genetics and DNA that may in some ways connect with other unconventional questions?

What are the concepts involved in scientific research into a "unified field" or "zero-point field" that may be an underlying layer or force of Nature and the Universe?

What are the sources of crop circles and what are the messages they seem to contain?

Additional metaphysical phenomena such as connections with other dimensions, including the afterlife or "Heaven" and even beliefs about activities of "angels" could be factors to consider.

All of these ideas and scenarios pose interesting and fundamental questions about where we have been, where we are now and where we are going.

Being prepared for various kinds of developments or contingencies is usually constructive. Reading between the lines of information we come across can also be useful.

Our roles in any acclimation or disclosure processes underway would seem to include improving our "intelligence" in the many meanings of that word – gathering information, interpreting it, sharing it and using it to enhance our personal and collective situational awareness.

NOTE TO READERS: Those who enjoyed this article may also want to read the piece "Human consciousness, intelligence may suddenly shift." For more information and resources about these and other topics, please visit the Joint Recon Study Group and have a look around.


X-Conference 2008 - Angelia Joiner on Stephenville, Texas, UFO Sightings

Angelia Joiner's Interview with Robert Emenegger at the 2008 X-Conference

Special Correspondent
The Jerry Pippin Show

Angelia - I'm here with Robert Emenegger and actually we're still in the ballroom. We just finished a marathon speakers panel, didn't we Bob?

Bob - It was horrendous.

Angelia - It was at least two hours and we did get some interesting questions but we're glad that's over, right?

Bob - Yes, it's all behind us for now.

Angelia - I first met Bob at the Ozark Conference last week and we've already become great friends and we're having so much fun that we really haven't talked that much about the whole UFO phenomena, right?

Bob - That's true.

Angelia - Okay, so tell me how you got involved in this.


Sparky's Nightcam Demonstration

JVC Camcorder at first with max exposure, then in the second half of the clip a nightscope is held in front of the camcorder's lens.