Stephenville Lights - Today's News

The triumph of ostriches

Published: Friday, October 31, 2008 at 12:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 31, 2008 at 1:04 p.m.

What a difference 55 years makes, ay?

UFOs evidently continue to troll the skies near Stephenville, Tex., people on the ground continue to see them and even take photos, and jet fighters continue to keep a wary tab on events (see http://www.empiretribune.com/articles/2008/10/26/news/doc4904c9d94bd6a785478381.txt).

And the military continues to maintain its rigid silence because to do otherwise would be an admission that we’ve blown hundreds of billions of dollars on a leaky roof.

But once upon a time, back before the Pentagon knew how hopeless its situation really was, the Air Force actually encouraged Americans to help collect UFO data. Check out David Duncan’s little gem at http://www.thekeyhoereport.com/uncategorized/retro-ufology-from-1953/.

It’s a 1953 Popular Science article detailing how the USAF distributed 35mm cameras to “detectives on the trail of the flying saucers.” If that seems a little exotic, remember that in 1952, UFOs weren’t just buzzing the capitol, the Pentagon was holding press conferences about it and telling Americans not to freak.

Anyhow, fitted with special diffraction grating plates, these Videon Stereo cameras were designed to bend light in a way that would identify their source as a solid or a gas. But writer Ralph Steiner assured readers who wanted to photograph UFOs that custom cameras weren’t necessary.

“Any stereo camera will do,” he wrote. “In fact, when I phoned the Pentagon to inquire whether the Air Force would be interested in photos taken with single-lens cameras, I was assured that any shot of a flying saucer made through a diffraction grating — even with a box Brownie — would be more than welcome.”

Steiner included beaucoup photo tips and a USAF address for sending undeveloped film. Can you imagine the military soliciting the public for that sort of evidence today?

“Uh, folks, we’re really having trouble keeping UFOs out of restricted airspace over President Bush’s ranch in Crawford lately, so we’d like you to try to photograph the suckers with these special cameras so we can take the evidence to Congress and lobby for countermeasure funding in a more open and accountable fashion.”

The same month the Popular Science piece ran, the CIA secretly convened a panel of scientists — later known as the Robertson Committee — to figure out how to manage the UFO problem. The consensus was to sweep the subject off the front pages by debunking the phenomenon (see http://www.cufos.org/IUR_article3.html).

It’s one of the Agency’s few legacies where the cliche successfully applies today: Mission Accomplished.


UFO sightings reported in Texas

STEPHENVILLE, Texas, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Residents of North Central Texas have reported a fresh wave of UFO sightings in the wake of a string of January sightings that made national headlines.

The Stephenville Empire-Tribune said dozens of residents in and near Erath County reported strange lights in the sky Oct. 23, the same night the U.S. military confirmed F-16s flying in the area, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported.

"I think more people are willing to come forward now that more people are talking about this," said Whitney White-Ashley, a reporter with the Empire-Tribune.

Alejandro Rojas with the Mutual UFO Network, a nationwide organization dedicated to scientific study of UFO sightings, said most of the reports were of an oval shape with lights around the outside. He said the group has requested radar data from the F-16s and has been interviewing witnesses.

"These are descriptions that were sent into our Web site the night of the sighting, so they could not have been something just copied from media coverage," Rojas said.

The sightings come after a flurry of reports Jan. 8 of an object above the Texas cities of Dublin and Stephenville that did not behave like a conventional aircraft.

No comments: