January 12, 1997
Editor: Joseph Trainor
At about 6:15 p.m. on Monday, January 6, 1997, a dazzling green fireball crossed Italy's Adriatic coast north of Foggia, heading west. The glowing object crossed the Appenine Mountains, passing north of Campobasso and Isernia, and flew over Rome at approximately 6:22 p.m.
The fireball lit up the sky. Thousands saw it, including the air traffic controllers at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci International Airport.
Captain Giovanni Fior del Mondo, pilot of the Alitalia flight from Madrid, Spain, was making his final approach into Da Vinci when he spotted the fireball. He described it as "a bright green light" which he kept in view for five seconds.
Italian radio station RAI-1 reported, "Several hundred witnesses saw a large, brightly-lit object over Rome which abruptly disappeared."
According to the Italian newsletter UFOTEL, people north of Rome saw "a luminous body...a green globe followed by a glowing trail."
According to the newspaper Il Messagero, a man driving on the highway to Civitavecchia saw the object pass overhead, as well.
Tour operators at Practica da Mare, north of Rome, said the fireball made a slight leftward turn before plunging into the sea near Fregene, a resort town.
The Carabineri (Italian police) reportedly sealed off a national forest near Fregene and began searching the woods for "a downed UFO."
An Italian astronomer in Bologna said the object was "a meteor" and claimed to have heard "loud rumbling noises." From the time delay, he estimated that the fireball was "tens of kilometers" overhead.
The RAI-1 announcer said, "But we prefer to think it was the Befana leaving after delivering her gifts."
In Italian folklore, Befana is a witch who brings gifts to children's homes on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany.
This was Italy's second UFO sighting in a week. The night of Wednesday, January 1, people in Cosenza reported a bright UFO hovering overhead.
(See the newspapers Il Messagero, Il Tempo, Il Resto del Carlino, Corriero della Sera and Corriero Adriatico for January 7, 1997. Also, a big "Grazie!" to Edoardo Russo and his fellow members of Centro Italiano Studi Ufologici (CISU), Renzo Cabassi, Angelo Ferlicca, Simone Grandicelli, Paolo Toselli and Ermenegildo Persone for this story.)
(Editor's Comment: Belfana got her start as a goddess in the religion of the lost empire of the Etruscans. By some strange coincidence, the fireball plunged into the sea not far from Tarquinia, the ancient capital of the Etruscans.)
For the past two weeks the Central American country of Costa Rica has been visited nightly by unidentified flying objects, usually described as grayish-white or silvery discs.
The flap began on Sunday night, December 22, 1996, with a report of UFOs over the cities of San Isidro, in the Cordillera de Talamanca, and Quepos, on the Pacific coast.
During succeeding nights, air traffic controllers in the tower at Jose Santamaria International Airport, located just outside San Jose, the nation's capital, reported radar contacts with "objects that cannot be identified."
The UFOs were tracked by radar over the cities of Ciudad Colon, Santiago de Puriscal, Parrita, Esterillos and, repeatedly, Quepos.
A radar operator told the newspaper La Nacion that "some of the objects move at an unimaginable velocity, others more slowly."
Thursday night, December 26, 1996, Jorge Arturo Melendez Mora, a pilot with 26 years' experience, was flying over the cordillera in his twin-engine Piper Aztec when he spotted "three OVNIs (Spanish acronym for UFO)" alongside his plane "reflecting the moonlight." Melendez Mora said the UFOs "were the size of a Boeing (jetliner), doing things the best of pilots could not do." He kept them in sight for 40 minutes.
Friday night, December 27, another pilot notified the tower at Jose Santamaria of "luminous lights" performing aerobatic maneuvers over Ciudad Colon.
On Sunday, January 5, 1997 at 3:15 p.m., people reported a "platillo volador" (flying plate) heading for San Isidro.
Guillermo Vega Gurzon of Costa Rica's Instituto Meteorologico Nacional dismissed the reports, adding that "electrical charges" might be responsible for the sightings on radar.
(See La Nacion of San Jose, Costa Rica for January 4, 1997. Muchas gracias to Enrique Mora for posting the original report in Spanish.)
Wednesday evening, January 1, 1997, twelve farm workers were stunned to see a very large UFO, which they described as "a cylinder shape of an orange color" hovering over a sugar cane field near San Cristobal, in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico.
The group watched the glowing UFO for several minutes before it zipped away to the east, heading for the Rio Usumacinta, the border with Guatemala.
(Muchas gracias to Sergio Sanchez Flores for this story.)
(Editor's Note: The Mayan ruins of Yaxchilan are on the Rio Usumacinta.)
Thousands of Israelis thronged the beaches of Tel Aviv on Monday, January 5, 1997, awaiting the promised arrival of three large circular UFOs. But the saucers failed to show.
The prediction was made the previous week during the nationwide controversy over the discovery of a supposed dead alien 5 centimeters long by Mrs. Zyona Damti at Kibbutz Achihod in northern Israel.
Israeli psychic Helinor Harrar said she had a vision in which three huge flying saucers approached Tel Aviv from the sea on January 5. She said, "Israel will be the site of UFO landings."
Many Israelis took the prediction seriously because in 1995 Ms. Harrar accurately predicted the upset election victory of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As a result, Israelis began arriving by the hundreds at the beach Monday morning. A holiday atmosphere prevailed as spectators wandered the beach and loudspeakers mounted on trucks played the theme from "The X-Files."
After sunset, there was some excitement when someone spotted a bright light in the western sky. But it turned out to be a jetliner making its final approach into Tel Aviv's David Ben-Gurion Airport. By midnight, the UFOs had not arrived, and the smaller beach crowd dispersed.
Unfazed by the no-show, Ms. Harrar told Israeli TV Channel One that the UFO occupants had changed their landing date to February 14. She also predicted, "Until they (the UFOs) fly over Hebron, there will be no (peace) agreement."
(Many thanks to Tom Morrison for this story.)
Saturday evening, January 4, 1997, at 7:25 p.m., Daniel J. Kerrigan and a friend were driving in Dan's pickup truck on Santiago Canyon Road in rural Orange County, California near the small town of Silverado Canyon when he spotted a strange light in the sky.
"Crossing the bridge over Santiago Wash (gully), I noticed a very strange dim bluish green light with purple overtones just crossing over Santiago Canyon Road heading south," Dan said. "At first I thought it was a very bright meteor traveling above the clouds, but then I saw that they were actually 'three' lights set in a triangular pattern (all were of the same color) at the corners of what appeared to be a triangular shaped object."
"Just after discerning the shape of the object, we noticed that there were three separate objects, and all three were traveling together. They all appeared to be the same size and shape with the same set of weird lights. We saw no other lights on the objects other than those strange alien blue-green-purple lights."
"We turned left onto Silverado Canyon Road to get out of the traffic and sat in the middle of the road near a K-railed turnoff, watching the objects rise and gain speed for a few seconds. Then (we) started to pull over to get a better look when we noticed another one coming towards us from straight ahead. It had the same strange dim blue-green-purple lights, but it was almost directly over us. It was in the clouds about 300 feet (90 meters) above us, so I did not see the triangular shape...but the color and intensity of the light was the same. The object appeared to be following Silverado Canyon Road."
Leaving work earlier, Dan had had "a really nasty headache," but, as he watched the strange lights, his headache suddenly dissipated.
As he pulled over to the side of the road, Dan and his friend were startled to see "two huge dual-rotor military choppers" rising from a nearby gulch. He said U.S. Marine Corps training flights are common in the Silverado Canyon area, but this pair looked a bit unusual. One chopper had the standard running lights while "the other one was totally blacked out, as far as we could tell. The first three objects continued to recede toward the south, with the fourth one right behind them. The two military choppers seemed to pursue them." (Unsolicited Email)
(Editor's Note: From Dan's description, the choppers sound like Boeing Vertol CH-46D Sea Knights.)
Saturday afternoon, January 4, 1996, Michael D. was at the general store in North Yarmouth, Maine (population 800) when an elderly man rushed in, very excited. He told Mike and the storekeeper that he had "just seen four white disks moving in and out of clouds" over nearby Bradbury Mountain.
The store clerk said he would call the Brunswick Naval Air Station in Bath, Maine and try to find out what was going on.
Five minutes later, as he was driving home on Maine Highway 202, Mike heard a UFO report on the radio. The announcer for station WBLM said four white discs had just been sighted over Reid State Park, across the bay near Phippsburg, Maine.
Phippsburg is on a small peninsula six miles (9 kilometers) south of Bath. North Yarmouth is 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Bath. (Email Interview)
On Monday, January 6, 1997, New Hampshire ended its two-week search for the Lear jet that vanished over the upper Connecticut River valley at 10 a.m. on December 24, 1996. James Rivers, a spokesman for the governor's office, told the AP, "No one likes to give up hope, but the likelihood of these men being alive is...not there."
Still missing are Johan Schwartz, 31, of Westport, Connecticut and Patrick Hayes, 30, of Clinton, Connecticut.
Schwartz and Hayes left Connecticut the morning of December 24 to fly to Lebanon, New Hampshire to pick up a family and take them to Long Island for Christmas. Rain and fog that morning hampered visibility, forcing the men to miss their first approach and to circle the small municipal airport.
According to Capt. Frank Leith, their Lear jet disappeared from Lebanon's radar screen at 10 a.m. when they were about 10 miles (16 kilometers) northeast of Lebanon's outer marker, getting ready to try another landing attempt.
"They were doing the approach properly at the correct altitude of 4,300 feet," Leith said.
At first searchers believed the plane had crashed on Moose Mountain, but a search of that area yielded no trace of the plane. Using three National Guard helicopters and radar-equipped search planes of the U.S. Air Force, the search extended to a radius of 30 miles from the Lebanon airport, encompassing the hills and valleys around Rumney, Warren, Lincoln and the Waterville Valley, plus the slopes of Mount Moosilauke.
There was no sign of either the two missing men or wreckage from the Lear jet. (See the Valley News of Lebanon, N.H. for January 8, 1997)
An equally puzzling disappearance occurred in the upper Midwest last week.
On Tuesday, January 7, 1997, a Minnesota Air National Guard F-16 took off from Duluth on a training flight along Lake Superior's north shore. Midway through the flight, the jet interceptor disappeared from radar screens at Duluth and at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
On Thursday, January 9, searchers found the wrecked F-16 on the eastern edge of Greenwood Lake, 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Two Harbors, Minnesota, in the wild Superior National Forest. There was no sign of the pilot anywhere near the crash site. (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for January 10, 1997)
(Editor's Note: The pilot's disappearance is truly odd. A cardinal rule of the U.S. Air Force is, stay near your downed aircraft.)
At 9:30 p.m., on Sunday, January 26, 1997, a new talk show devoted exclusively to UFOs premieres on radio station WPLR 99-FM ROCK in New Haven, Connecticut. The live talk show will be hosted by longtime UFO enthusiasts Kenneth Lloyd and Bob Tallard. Mr. Lloyd has produced many TV talk shows on the UFO phenomenon since 1991 and his guests include Dr. Stanton T. Friedman and Budd Hopkins.
The new talk show,"Cosmic Connection," will feature live chat and phone calls, in-depth interviews, the latest UFO news and music from alien and space-theme movies.
(Editor's Comment: Readers, call your local FM radio station and ask if they'd like to carry the "Cosmic Connection." If so, they can reach Kenneth Lloyd at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org)
UFO WEBSITES FOR YOU TO VISIT
Speaking of Dr. Friedman, the distinguished dean of UFO researchers and author of TOP SECRET/MAJIC and CRASH AT CORONA has a newly revamped Website. Check it out at http://www.ufori.com
Australian UFO Research (AUFOR) has a great site with some articles on recent UFO encounters in central Queensland. You can reach AUFOR's site at this address: http://www.networx.com.au/home/slider
For an update on UFOs in Britain, try Andrea J. Pickles's new Website at http://members.tripod.com/~andreajp/
David H. Norris has the UFO scene covered in North Carolina. Dave's Website can be found at http://www.concordnc.com/dnorris/
For an update on Comet Hale-Bopp, check out http://www.bulletin-ol.com/UFO
And, of course, not to be missed is our parent site, UFO INFO, which you can reach at this site-- http://ufoinfo.com/index.html.
You can reach UFO ROUNDUP at that site, or else read old issues of our newsletter at http://ufoinfo.com/roundup/index.shtml
That's it for this week. We'll be back next Sunday with more news from "the paper that covers the saucers--UFO ROUNDUP." See you then!
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1997 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post any items from UFO ROUNDUP on their websites provided that they credit the newsletter and editor by name and cite the date of the newsletter in which the item appeared.