UFO report leaves questions unanswered

Posted Sunday, May. 18, 2008  comments  Print Reprints
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VALLEY RANCH -- Despite many eyewitnesses that can be regarded as credible, investigators from the Mutual UFO Network's state chapter were unable to conclusively confirm that what people in the Stephenville area saw in January was a bona fide UFO.

In addition, what is considered to be the most provocative piece of evidence about the event -- a 12-minute video by David Caron that seems to show a moving object writing "glyphs" against the night sky -- was in actuality a very zoomed-in video of a star.

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

The group heard what may well be their investigators' final report on the matter Sunday afternoon at the Valley Ranch Public Library - and Cherry says he expects when the full report gets out to the public the prevailing sentiment may very well be frustration.

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

The report's contents were delivered by Cherry and MUFON's chief Texas investigator, Steve Hudgeons, in PowerPoint fashion. It is expected to be published in the group's upcoming journal.

The findings include:
■ Most of the significant sightings were in the Dublin area, not in Stephenville. Of the 19 reports from the January 8 event, 55 percent were in the Dublin area.
■ Credible witnesses included a pilot, law enforcement, city officials, business owners, clergy and teachers "and a full conglomerate of others," Hudgeons said.
■ About 95 percent of the reports described bright lights -- red, blue, orange, white and yellow.
■ The object investigators concentrated on was described as being 1 mile long and a half-mile wide.
■ The January sightings came at a time of heightened UFO sightings in Texas. From 1969 through September 2007 there were 496 Texas cases. In the last six months alone, there have been 240 reports in Texas. Also, the increase began in December, before a media frenzy took hold of the area.
■ Other explanations for what people saw were: a military target sleeve, sensitivity of cameras, lights from other sources, sun dogs, lens flares and bad film.

What did the UFOs look like?
Descriptions vary. Some said the unidentified flying object was up to a mile long and hundreds of yards high. Others described seeing two to eight lights that flew in formation, changed color and shined with intensity greater than a welding flame.

What is MUFON and what have they been doing?
The Mutual UFO Network is a nationwide organization dedicated to studying unidentified flying objects. Its Texas chapter took statements from about 50 witnesses Jan. 19 and interviewed at least 70 more off and on from the area, gathering descriptions, sketches and a few pictures and videos. A full report is scheduled in this month's issue of the network's publication. For more information, go to www.mufon.com.

What's all this about a UFO invasion?
Dozens of people around Dublin and Stephenville -- about 70 miles southwest of Fort Worth -- say they saw flying objects on or around Jan. 8 that they could not identify and did not move like conventional aircraft. Some said the objects were being accompanied or followed by military aircraft. News of the sighting captured interest across the world.

Are these people crackpots, attention seekers or ignorant of aircraft and simple astronomical phenomenon, like bright planets or meteors?
Besides the sheer number of witnesses, this sighting gained national and international attention because of the quality of witnesses, including a county constable and a pilot. Many also are very familiar with aircraft because the military has a flight practice zone that ends just south of the sighting area.

Why didn't one of these witnesses take a picture or video of these objects on their cellphones?
Taking pictures of UFOs is not easy, say some of the witnesses. A few supposed UFO pictures and videos have surfaced. While some can be explained away, some can't, including a video captured on a camera attached to the county constable's car.

Was there a military conspiracy?
Maj. Karl Lewis, a spokesman for the 301st Fighter Wing at Naval Air Station Fort Worth, initially said they had nothing flying in the area. Two weeks later, Lewis said that there had been "an internal error in communication" and that 10 F-16s from the 457th Fighter Squadron was training between 6 and 8 p.m. Jan. 8. Witnesses said the admission adds credibility to their stories.

BRYON OKADA, 817-390-7752, MATT FRAZIER, 817-390-7957

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