December 14, 1997
Editor: Joseph Trainor
On Tuesday, December 9, 1997, at 5:15 p.m., a red UFO five times the size of a star appeared over the city of Reno, Nevada (population 133,850).
One witness described the object as "a bright red strobing light."
The UFO remained over the city for one hour, moving erratically across the sky, occasionally halting and hovering for several minutes at a time. The last reported sighting of the UFO was at 6:15 p.m.
Local TV station KRNV Channel 4 videotaped the object and aired the video on its late evening broadcast.
Radio station KKOH (780 AM) received "plenty of phone calls about the object."
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ground crew at the Reno-Tahoe Municipal Airport off Greg Street reported that they did not spot the UFO on radar. However, several FAA workers reportedly observed the object with binoculars from the airport runway.
The Reno Gazette-Journal checked with Desert Research Institute, which launches upper atmosphere research balloons, but the institute said the UFO was not a "runaway balloon" of theirs.
A check of local helicopter companies revealed that no helicopters were aloft at the time.
The Lake Tahoe Naval Air Station told the Gazette-Journal that they "had not seen the object and had no flights up at that time."
Reno is located on Interstate Highway 80 in western Nevada, approximately 32 miles (51 kilometers) northwest of Carson City, the state capital.
(See the Reno, Nev. Gazette-Journal for December 10, 1993, page B-2)
Airline pilot Bob Durant, a MUFON member who lives in New Jersey, says the recent report of an encounter November 17 between UFOs and two jetliners over Morristown, N.J. is most likely a hoax.
The evening of November 17, a ham radio operator overheard a conversation on frequency 118.300 MHz, purportedly between the Newark Tower and a Flight 262.
After looking into the matter on behalf of MUFON, Durant reported that the conversation "sounds like script written by someone who has seen the movies but never flew the planes."
Durant cited several "procedurally incorrect" statements in the conversation as proof of his assertion.
"For example, air traffic controllers never use the term 'Flight So-and-So,'" he said, "They always precede the flight number with the name of the airline, as in United 262 or Delta 1003 and so forth."
Durant added that he was also suspicious "why this conversation could be taking place on 118.3, which is the Newark Tower frequency," pointing out that commercial aircraft are not handed over to the tower "until they are within five miles of the airport, typically descending through 1,500 feet."
The presence of three "planes" on the frequency was also a gaffe. "Normally, there are only two airplanes on Tower frequency during landing approach, plus one which just landed."
Durant pointed out that Morristown, N.J. is 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Newark airport and not on "any approach path" to the airport.
"Also, procedurally, the alleged Tower instruction, 'Flight 262, go to the emergency frequency. We will meet you there,' is all wrong." (Many thanks to George A. Filer and Bob Durant of MUFON for this report.)
On Wednesday, November 26, 1997, at 11:34 p.m., Pilar Olazabal was driving home with her friends, Juana Villalobos Moreno and Carlos Iturbide Masana, in Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in Chile, when the two women spied something strange in the road just ahead of them.
"About 300 meters (1,000 yards) before reaching the house, in front of the car, was an oval shape that looked like it was on fire. It illuminated the road in front of them. The strangest part is that it was seen only by the two women and not by the man." The apparition lasted for several seconds.
After they reached home, the trio talked about their encounter. Then Juana got in her car and drove back to her own apartment.
Ten minutes later, "on one of the main streets of Punta Arenas, she saw a bright object behind her car," in the rear-view mirror. "It was closing in very fast, at about 50 meters (165 feet) behind her and 20 meters (66 feet) off the ground. The UFO was oval in shape with red, yellow, blue and green lights that rotated very fast. She stopped her car, and the object flew over her car at 20 meters above, and she got a good look at the UFO. It then accelerated at very high speed, heading for the Estrecho de Magallanes (Strait of Magellan)."
The sighting was investigated by Bertran Cardenas of Agrupacion de Investigaciones Ovniologicas (AION), Chile's foremost UFO study group.
On Tuesday, December 9, 1997, a friend of Cardenas's telephoned "to tell him that he was watching a UFO over his house. Bertran grabbed his videocamera and his binoculars and went there as fast as he could. The object was too high to capture on video, so he observed it with his binoculars."
Cardenas reported, "The UFO had the shape of a ring of smoke with a ball in the middle. The object started moving at 80 to 100 kilometers per hour (48 to 60 miles per hour-J.T.). Then it changed shape into a sphere of smoke and then into a solid metallic sphere. At that point, the UFO began to reflect the sunlight so I turned on my videocamera."
Cardenas added that the UFO "looked just like the one filmed in Mexico during a lunar eclipse" a few years ago. (Muchas gracias a Luis Sanchez Perry para esas historias.)
A UFO hovered briefly last week over the town of Kilanas in Brunei Darussalam, an Islamic country on the northern coast of Borneo.
Several residents claimed to have seen bright UFOs cavorting in the night sky. "Among them are Cham Rajuto and a colleague, who saw mysterious lights" in the sky above Jalan Tutong Tham street in Kilanas.
"The lights," Cham said, "are moving in a clockwise direction, coming together and then separating out, circling over and over, covering 30 to 45 degrees left and right of the vertical in a large area of the sky." (See the Toronto Globe and Mail for December 8, 1997, page D-4. Many thanks to Drew Williamson and Errol Bruce- Knapp for this report.)
On November 15, 1997, at about 4 p.m., two teenaged boys spotted a UFO over their hometown of Siracusa, a port city in Sicily on the Golfo di Augusta, 224 kilometers (140 miles) southeast of Palermo.
Grabbing a 35mm camera, the boys shot several photos "of an object of discoidal form" as it "moved about in an erratic manner through the skies above Siracusa." The UFO also "periodically halted in mid-air" from time to time. They described the object as having the shiny reflective surface "of the glass of a window."
(See the Italian newspaper Giornale di Sicilia for November 30, 1997. Grazie a Edoardo Russo e Antonio Rapulla per questo rapporto.)
On November 9, 1997, at 10:10 p.m., "a strange phenomenon" appeared in the sky over Sfax, a port city on the south central coast of Tunisia.
The UFO was described as "bright orange" and "was a sort of great luminous mass with a dense center but very clear toward the exterior." The object "glowed like fire and even more so like a plasma effect. It was not a reflection of a possible flare."
Crowds of onlookers in Sfax watched the UFO for about four minutes. "A strange odor permeated the air, a blend of the smell of sulfuric acid and of dead fish."
One witness estimated the size of the UFO as "eight centimeters (four inches) if held at the end of an outstretched hand, and perhaps six kilometers (four miles) away."
The orange glow then began to flutter "like a light in another room, when the door begins to close."
The UFO zipped away to the southwest, heading for the Chott Fejaj salt desert. Sfax is 320 kilometers (200 miles) south of Tunis.
(Merci beaucoup aux Mahmoud el-Mejdoub et Banque OVNI-Tunisie pour ces nouvelles.)
On November 10, 1997, at about 2 a.m., the Chupacabra or "goatsucker" attacked a livestock pen at Granja Marina farm in the Barrio San Isidro section of Loiza Aldea, Puerto Rico (P.R.) 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of San Juan.
According to police reports, two goats were killed, four others "were bled dry" and a baby goat was stolen.
Farm worker Jess Betato, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, "heard what he described as 'a flutter of wings' at that time of night" and "he claims he saw three horses and 58 cows, who were in a fenced area, 'run as if the Devil were in pursuit.' It was then that the cries of the goats could be heard in the tropical darkness."
Betato started towards the goat pen with his dog, a Dalmatian, at his side. Suddenly, his dog "made a sudden 'about face' and broke into a furious run in the opposite direction, tail between its legs. Taking a cue from the animal's behavior, Betato retreated to the farmhouse and waited for daybreak before returning to the site."
When he examined the dead goats, Betato noticed that "the animals had deep 'puncture marks' on the right side of their throats."
Carlos Ortiz, owner of Granja Marina farm, asked Puerto Rican police to "redouble their efforts" to find the slayer. He reportedly lost 30 goats to Chupacabra attacks back in 1995.
One week later, on November 17, 1997, Chupacabra struck again, this time at the Sabana Hoyos prison camp 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of San Juan.
"According to a report by Colonel Mariano Aponte, police chief of the Arecibo (P.R.) area, 34 hogs were found dead with strange puncture marks on their necks through which blood was extracted."
"Jesus Rodriguez Rosario, an officer with the Department of Corrections, reported to work at 7 a.m., as was his custom, and came across the 34 slain animals."
News of the incident at Sabana Hoyos "spread like wildfire across the island" of Puerto Rico.
One farmer, Roberto Rivera Garcia, told the newspaper El Vocero, "Those of us who believed the murderer of our animals--the Chupacabra--had disappeared for good and were therefore more at ease, have been fooled. He only took a protracted vacation." (Many thanks to Scott Corrales, author of CHUPACABRAS AND OTHER MYSTERIES, Greenleaf Publications, 1997, for these news stories.)
On Saturday afternoon, December 6, 1997, an Aeroflot Antonov 124 jet transport took off from Irkutsk, the largest city in Siberia, for the second lap of its Moscow-to-Hanoi flight.
Nearly seventy people were killed in the catastrophic crash, including all 23 crew members.
All four jet engines of the Antonov 124 suddenly failed as the 120-ton transport began its climbout. The plane then nosedived into a residental district.
"Residents reported hearing a powerful explosion that shook their homes and blew open windows. People ran into the street in panic and looked up to see the 11-year-old cargo plane fall almost without sound from the sky, crashing into a four-story building."
"The tail of the AN-124 protruded from the side of an apartment building demolished by the crash and the fire."
"Three hundred firefighters battled flames that consumed a 1,000-yard (330-meter) area; as the smoke and fire subsided, the water froze, gilding the rubble with a thick layer of ice. About 1,400 rescue workers hunted through debris at the crash site searching for victims."
Investigators pursued leads as to the cause of the crash, including contaminated fuel or inadequate de-icing in the 5 degree (Fahrenheit) weather, "but had few leads as to what actually happened, said Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu."
"'We're not trying to hide. We're just trying to get you the truth,' Shoigu said."
Irkutsk in on the Angara River east of Lake Baikal, about 3,520 kilometers (2,200 miles) southeast of Moscow.
(See USA Today for December 8, 1997, page A-3. Also the Boston, Mass. Herald for December 8, 1997, page 2)
Editor's Comment: The Antonov 124 crash in Irkutsk is a virtual repeat of the jetliner crash in Sao Paulo, Brazil a year ago.)
This week we continue our look back at the 1909 UFO flap in the USA's New England states.
When the conductor of the Evening Limited pulled out his pocket watch and bellowed, "All aboooooard!" at Boston's North Station the evening of December 23, 1909, he had no idea his train was about to make UFO history.
Belching black smoke, the big Baldwin steam locomotive rumbled out of the station, heading north on the Boston and Maine Railroad tracks.
Meanwhile, 55 miles up the line, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, "soon after 6 o'clock, like fire the word went around that the mysterious airship that startled Worcester the night before was hovering over the city. Over the peak of Rollstone Hill a wonderfully bright light glowed, and hundreds watched it with wonder, not unmixed with awe."
(See the Fitchburg, Mass. Sentinel for December 24, 1909, page 1.)
As the Evening Limited approached the town of Ayer, 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of Boston, a cigar-shaped UFO came down from the sky and hovered above the train.
"A messenger on a train westbound out of Boston first saw the airship at Ayer, when it came down from the west to meet the train. The messenger is a violent convert to the airship theory. He says the powerful light of the ship was played upon the cars of the train, and it followed along until this city (Fitchburg--J.T.) was reached. Then it temporarily disappeared and was not picked up again until the train got up the line, and for some time the light played over and around the cars." (See the Fitchburg, Mass. Sentinel for December 24, 1909.)
"Inspector Frank Metcalf of the (Springfield, Mass.) police claims to have seen the mysterious airship last evening. He was coming from Boston on the Fitchburg division of the Boston & Maine Railroad and said that after leaving Athol his attention was called to the airship, although all he could see of it was the searchlight. The machine kept ahead of the train from Athol until near Miller's Falls when it shot off to the side and went away. The machine was driven ahead of the train and then would wait until the train caught up and would go ahead again. It seemed to be a good height in the air and kept about at the same height during all the time it was following the train. Considerable interest was manifested among the passengers, and a closer view of the flyer would have been welcome. Some of the passengers saw the light when the train was as far east as Ayer Junction." (See the Springfield, Mass. Union-News for December 25, 1909.)
(Editor's Comment: Fitchburg is definitely the UFOs' "home port" in Massachusetts. The city, located in north central Massachusetts, has had UFO sightings in 1909, 1921, 1937, 1947, 1950, 1955, 1957, 1967, 1973, 1975, 1979, and most recently in April 1996.)
Parallel Universe, a "one-stop-shopping UFO store," will soon have a physical site to go along with its website. Owned and operated by Christy Castleton-Graf and James D. (Dog House) Graf of Alamo, Nevada, the store offers a wide array of UFO, Area 51 and Alien-related merchandise, including hats, books, videos, bumper stickers, artwork, bags and statuary. You can order by phone by calling 1-800-484-2635--enter 1614 after the tone. Or drop in at their website at this URL: http://www.ufo-hyway.com
Don't neglect our parent site during this holiday season. UFOINFO has the latest in photos and features. You'll find us at this site: http://www.ufoinfo.com/
Back issues of UFO ROUNDUP are always available at our site, too. Check them out at http://www.ufoinfo.com/roundup/
You'll never guess what today is. Does "quatrains" give you a clue? Yes, December 14 is the birthday of Nostradamus. That "Prince of Prognosticators" was born on December 14, 1503. Born Michel de Notredame, he grew up to become a famous astrologer and wrote in predictions in the form of poetry. Many of the prophecies have proven uncannily accurate, providing detailed predictions of future events such as the French Revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon, the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler, the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, the Gulf War and Saddam Hussein, and the death of Princess Diana earlier this year. Michel, better known by his Latin name of "Nostradamus," died on July 2, 1566.
Here's my stab at prediction--we'll be back in seven days with more saucer news from "the paper that goes home--UFO ROUNDUP." See you then!
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1997 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO ROUNDUP on their websites or in newsgroups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue the item first appeared.