SAUCER LANDS IN MALAYSIA
On Friday, October 2, 1998, at 2:15 a.m., night-shift nurse Jonis Juanin was making the rounds of the wards at the government hospital in Beluran, Sabah province, Malaysia when a curious glow caught her gaze.
"Three of us saw a round, bright orange-color light flashing with very small black dotted things at 2:15 a.m.," Ms. Juanin reported. "The UFO seemed to be landing. The distance was about two kilometers from our place of work, and we witnessed it for about five minutes until all its lights turned off. The sky that early morning was dark with no moon or stars visible."
"This is the first time in my life that I have been a witness to this kind of thing. Before this, I never even heard of things like UFOs before." (See Filer's Files #40 for 1998. Many thanks to George A. Filer of MUFON for letting us utilize this news item.)
On Monday, September 28, 1998, between 9 and 10 p.m., an unusual ring-shaped UFO was seen by throngs of people up and down the length of Chile.
Cities ranging from the Chilean Antarctic to the northern border with Peru reported sightings of the strange UFO. According to the newspaper La Tercera, the UFO was seen in Punta Arenas, Valdivia, Temuco, Pitruquen, Mulchen, Talca, Paine, San Felipe and La Serena, which was the site of a UFO flap earlier this year.
According to La Tercera, "An OVNI (Spanish acronym for UFO--J.T.) flew over our skies last night, causing much excitement among the people who saw this object. It was described as 'a ring of smoke.'"
"La Dirrecion de Aeronautica Civil (DCA) said they did not receive any reports and that their airport radars had not reported any strange objects in the sky."
Chilean ufologist Patricio Diaz interviewed many of the eyewitnesses in La Serena, a city 440 kilometers (275 miles) north of Santiago de Chile, the national capital. Diaz reported, "People all over La Serena saw this big, blue, gas-cloud-like ring-shaped object in the sky. It was the size of a full moon, moving north at a slow speed."
In Ovalle, 70 kilometers (42 miles) south of La Serena, "hundreds of people saw the object," Diaz reported, "Ovalle and the surrounding towns were having a fiesta, and many people were in the streets. Even local journalists saw the UFO. They were so startled that they forgot to take photos."
The incident is being investigated by Chile's new Comite de Estudio de Fenomenos Aereos Anomales (CEFAA), a coalition that includes Chile's armed forces, the DCA and Agrupacion de Investigaciones Ovniologicas (AION), the country's foremost UFO study group. (Muchas gracias a Luis Sanchez Perry para esas noticias.)
On Saturday evening, October 3, 1998, a 50-year-old policeman in Rieti, a city in Italy's Lazio province, spotted "a metallic discoidal object with a diameter of five meters (16 feet) flying at a low altitude over the valley of the river Tevere." Rieti is 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Rome.
The UFO descended to the river, "brushed the top of the water," and took off in a southwesterly direction. The object was later seen flying over the Ponte Marconi bridge in Rome. (See the newspaper Il Giornale for October 4, 1998. Grazie a Simone Luccarini, Massimiliano Teso e Edoardo Russo di Centro Italiano di Studi Ufologici per questo rapporto.)
UFO author/researcher Peter Hassall convinced the New Zealand Ministry of Defence to lift the Top Secret rating on documents dealing with the 1979 Kaikoura UFO case. NZMoD had originally sealed all of the documents until the year 2004.
The ministry also gave Hassall permission to reprint the original reports in their entirety in his new book, THE NZ FILES.
THE NZ FILES contains a comprehensive review of all the UFO cases in New Zealand dating back to the 1880s. Hassall, who lives in Upper Hutt on North Island about 75 kilometers (45 miles) northeast of Wellington, contacted the ministry and asked to review the Kaikoura file. The ministry gave him permission to "reprint it in its entirety in the book."
In late December 1978, air freight pilots reported seeing unusual bright lights hovering over Kaikoura, N.Z. Two weeks later, in January 1979, the mysterious lights returned and were videotaped by Australian and New Zealand TV news agencies.
Following the sightings, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RZNAF), the police and the Centre Observatory in Wellington cooperated in an investigation, the results of which were stamped Top Secret and lodged in the National Archives in Wellington.
Calling the report "a whitewash," Hassall was quoted by the New Zealand Press as saying, "They discussed how to deal with the problem of (UFO) reports and they all agreed to cooperate and investigate... but not tell the public they were exchanging information. Secretly they were trying to figure it out. No one wanted to deal with the problem of UFO reporting. They didn't know what to do about them, partly through a lack of resources to adequately investigate them."
The NZMoD report concluded that the Kaikoura UFOs were caused by Venus or reflections of light from a squid boat offshore or a train or a passing car.
"Venus had not risen over the horizon when most of the sightings were made," Hassall said "No one knows for sure what the Kaikoura sightings were. It could have been a natural phenomenon. They just made a complete shambles of the whole affair." (Many thanks to Errol Bruce-Knapp for forwarding the original news story.)
On Saturday, September 26, 1998, Tim Ford, 22, and James Harmon, 28, were camping out in the Trinity National Forest near Hayfork, California (population 2,605) when they spotted a Bigfoot 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall.
Ford, who lives in nearby Redding, Cal., "said he was on a camping and hunting trip near Mud Springs south of Hayfork...when his friend, 28-year-old James Harmon of Reno, Nev. (Nevada--J.T.) heard a loud screeching in the trees as they roasted marshmallows."
"While he got his flashlight (torch in UK--J.T.) to investigate the noise, Ford said he spotted an enormous, furry creature slinking about 50 yards (15 meters) on the other side of a creek."
The "elusive man-beast" was also described as being "a nine-foot-tall, yellow-eyed beast making bloodcurdling screams...They said the creature stayed a distance from the campground all night, but was near enough that they could hear its screams."
Ford talked about the encounter with officials of the California Department of Fish and Game on Thursday, October 1, and claims that the creature "left tracks 6 inches (15 centimeters) wide and 20 inches (50 centimeters) long" in the forest.
"Paul Wertz, a Fish and Game spokesman in Redding said that Bigfoot sightings are not unheard of in Trinity County but that the agency probably wouldn't investigate Saturday's sighting."
"'We don't have a management plan for Bigfoot,' Wertz said."
Hayfork is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of San Francisco. (See the Redding, Cal, Record-Searchlight for October 2, 1998. Many thanks to Bufo Calvin for this news story.)
The planet Jupiter set off a mild UFO scare in Melbourne, capital of Australia's Victoria state, on Sunday, October 4, 1998, at about 6:30 p.m.
At that hour, Jupiter, which resembled a bright yellowish-white star, "was within one lunar diameter of the full moon."
Phone calls flooded the newsroom of the Melbourne Herald-Sun from anxious residents who reported seeing "a yellow UFO orbiting the moon."
"James Cowland of the Australian UFO Reporting Centre said that because of the proximity of the planet to the moon, it could quite easily be taken for a UFO instead of a planet." (Many thanks to Alex McMurray of Encounters and Melbourne Community Radio for this report.)
The Tasmanian UFO Information Centre has investigated the recent sightings in Currie, a town on the west shore of King Island about 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of Melbourne, and concluded that the case is probably a hoax.
Between Thursday, September 24, and Monday, September 28, 1998, Currie residents saw "bright orange fireballs" floating in the sky from 6:30 to 7:30 each night.
According to Paul Jackson of TUFOIC, his group believes that the UFOs were the same "orange garbage-bag balloon" hoax seen in Hobart two years ago.
TUFOIC based its conclusions on the following facts:
(1) The UFOs "just floated gently along in the same direction as the prevailing wind."
(2) There are "around 50 children" in Currie "on school holidays from Victoria."
(3) "The events all took place after dark, yet not late at night" but early enough for children to still be up and around.
(4) "They were all seen in the same general area-- north and north-northeast of Currie, and probably originated somewhere between the Racecourse and the Airport."
TUFOIC investigators believe that the alleged UFOs were "plastic garbage bags being used as hot-air balloons with an attached box containing a flammable substance." (Many thanks to Paul Jackson of TUFOIC for this news story.)
On Sunday, October 4, 1998, at 4:30 p.m., an unidentified family was in their backyard in the Mojave Desert not far from Red Mountain, California, about 85 miles (136 kilometers) north of Los Angeles, when they saw a UFO.
"There was a lot of aircraft noise," the father reported. "This caused us to look up. We saw a silver object above us. Its brightness seemed to be pulsating (dim, bright and then dim again) At first we thought it might be something caught up in a dust devil (desert whirlwind--J.T.) It gradually began to ascend. There was no sound associated with this sighting."
"I returned with a pair of field glasses. I could see it was elliptical (in shape) and horizontally aligned. It was climbing pretty fast and then just vanished, the last I saw of it."
He added that this was the family's third sighting of a UFO in the area during 1998. The previous two sightings took place at night. (Email Interview)
On Thursday, October 1, 1998, at 10:02 p.m., ufologist Lynn Taylor was on the deck of his house in Bloomington, Indiana (population 60,633) when he heard nearby dogs barking excitedly.
As he looked to the east, "from nowhere, a fairly bright amber-colored object appeared just above the tree line. It moved slowly in a northward direction, speeding up, then slowing down and almost stopping at regular intervals."
"But as I continued to watch, referencing the object's position to the outlines of the trees on the ridge, I concluded that the object was clearly changing its airspeed. The intensity of the object remained the same as it passed through the area."
"Also saw a conventional aircraft with standard (FAA) lights that flew directly over my position in a northeasterly direction. It was flying at 2,000 feet, which was fairly low but considerably higher than the object. I don't see how the pilot would not be able to observe the object, as well."
Taylor went to bed afterward. "But at 12:15 a.m. I woke up and went outside just in time to see a similar or the same object pass behind the trees and out of sight as the dogs barked excitedly." (Copyright 1998 by Lynn Taylor. Many thanks, Lynn, for letting UFO Roundup quote from your report.)
On Sunday, October 4, 1998, three male college students were driving back to campus on Highway 77 in Spartanburg, Pennsylvania, about 32 miles (59 kilometers) southeast of Erie when they spotted a UFO.
"As we were near the little town of Spartanburg, at about 7:45 p.m., we saw on the horizon an object with a few blinking red lights that did not look like a plane. As it got closer, we grew more curious, and we pulled off the road, only to watch it suddenly speed up and disappear over a hilltop."
"However, ten minutes later, we encountered something of the same brightness. It was first approaching down the passenger side where i was sitting. We pulled off the road again to watch, and the object actually slowed down and hovered above us. It had a definite triangular shape, with steady pale blue lights on the bottom and red blinking lights on the sides."
"My friend Randy stepped out of the truck to look, and my friend Aubrey and I rolled down the window and could hear a whirring sound as the object suddenly picked up speed and began moving through the sky."
The witnesses also saw another car pull over 30 feet behind them to watch the UFO. (Many thanks to Stig Agermose for forwarding this news story.)
Speaking at the Space Coast UFO Conference at the Hilton Hotel in Cocoa Beach, Florida on Friday, October 9, 1998, Vincent DiPietro, who worked for NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center for 23 years, claimed recent photographs taken by the Mars Global Surveyor were being withheld from the scientific community.
DiPietro, a scientist who was first to evaluate photos of the surface of Mars taken by the Viking landers in 1976, cited "a September Space News report on the growing number of planetary scientists disgruntled over the slow release of photographic data from the Mars Global Surveyor" and "suggested that new images were being consciously withheld."
Images are radioed to Earth and downloaded by Malin Space Systems, Inc. of San Diego, California, NASA's contractor.
"DiPietro criticized MGS camera operator Michael Malin, whose (NASA) contract gives him a six-month proprietary embargo on the images. He and other scientists reported Malin had taken numerous photos of the so-called Face on Mars, other than the single one released by NASA in April, that appeared to reflect natural terrain rather than artificial features."
"'This leads me to believe that we are not getting all the facts from Malin Enterprises,' DiPietro said." (See the newspaper Florida Today for October 10, 1998, "NASA, news media rapped at UFO conference," by Billy Cox. Many thanks to Steve Wilson Sr. for forwarding the newspaper article.)
"The faintest and most distant objects ever sighted-- galaxies of stars more than 12 billion light-years away-- have been detected by an infrared camera on the Hubble Space Telescope."
"The sighting penetrates for the first time to within about one billion light-years of the very beginning of the universe, astronomers said, and shows that at even that very early time there already were galaxies with huge families of stars."
"'This is new territory,' said Lisa Storrie-Lombardi, an astronomer with Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena (California) 'We really didn't know what we would see.'"
"We are seeing farther than ever before,' said Rodger I Thompson, a University of Arizona astronomer and the principle researcher in the study. 'We have not reached the edge (of the universe), but we have made a step into a new area.'"
"Thompson and his team focused an infrared instrument on the Hubble on a narrow patch of sky that had previously been photographed in visible light. The intrument detected about 100 galaxies that were not seen in the visible light and 10 of these were at an extreme distance."
"He said the galaxies are seen as they were when the universe was only about 5 percent of its current age. Astronomers generally believe the universe began with a massive explosion, called the "Big Bang," which occurred about 13 billion years ago." (See the Providence, R.I. Journal for October 9, 1998, page 2.)
Astrophysicist Chryssa Kouveliotou of Universities Space Research Association and her team have been scanning the skies for more magnetars, i.e. unusual neutron stars with super-strong magnetic fields, like the one that blasted Earth on August 27, 1998.
According to the November 1998 issue of Sky & Telescope, team members "have pinpointed the strongest magnetic fields known to science."
"SGR1806-20 is a neutron star in (the constellation) Sagittarius that occasionally gives off brief bursts of gamma rays, making it a member of a rare class of objects known as soft gamma- ray repeaters, or SGRs."
The magnetar that sent its blast wave to Earth was SGR1900+14, which is 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Aquila.
"During one active phase in November 1996, Kouveliotou and her colleagues tracked SGR1806-20 with the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer and found that the object is also an X-ray pulsar, a rapidly spinning neutron star that showers Earth with X-rays every 7.47 seconds."
"SGR1806-20's spin rate is dropping but not rapidly enough to account for the star's luminosity. In Nature for May 21st, scientists say that a strong but decaying magnetic field is a likelier power source. The inferred magnetic field strength, 10,000,000,000,000 Gauss, is roughly one hundred trillion times that of Earth, and it outranks by a factor of 10 or so the magnetic fields attributed to other pulsars." (See Sky & Telescope for November 1998, "Magnetic Field Records," page 23.)
1973: CHARLIE AND CALVIN
October 11 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the abduction of two Mississippi fishermen, the event that touched off "The UFO Siege of '73," the biggest UFO flap since Roswell in 1947.
On October 11, 1973, at 9 p.m., Charles Hickson, 42, and Calvin Parker, 19, were fishing on a pier in Pascagoula, Mississippi near the Shaupeter Shipyard.
"They heard a buzzing behind them, turned around and were terrified to see a 10-foot-wide, 8-foot-high, glowing egg-shaped object with blue lights hovering above the ground about 40 feet away."
"As they watched, a door appeared at the bottom of the object and three gray-skinned creatures floated out."
"The aliens were about five feet tall, had bullet-shaped heads without necks, slits for mouths and conical structures (like carrots from a snowman's head) sticking out where their noses and ears would be. They also had rounded feet, clawed hands and no eyes."
"Two of the beings grabbed Hickson, while the third grabbed Parker. The 19-year-old immediately fainted with fright. Hickson, who remained conscious, claimed that the creatures floated them into a brightly lit room aboard the UFO. The two men were examined with some sort of electronic eye that Hickson reported 'hung in mid-air with no visible connection to any other part of the compartment.'"
"Twenty minutes after the incredible events began, Hickson and Parker were returned to the riverside. The UFO rose straight into the air and shot out of sight."
"They said that none of the creatures communicated with them; the only sound coming from the aliens was buzzing. To this day, Hickson believes that the mechanical-like movements and buzzing indicates the abductors were robots."
Parker, now 44, lives in Texas. Hickson is 67 and currently resides in Gautier, Mississippi. In 1983, he wrote a book about his encounter entitled UFO Contact at Pascagoula. (See the Alexandria, Virginia Journal for May 23, 1998. See also the Biloxi, Mississippi Sun-Herald for October 12 through October 17, 1973. Many thanks to Lou Farrish of UFO Newsclipping Service for this feature story.)
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Hurled into orbit by the new Soviet A-2 booster rocket, Voshkod reached an apogee of 400 kilometers (250 miles) and made 18 trips around the Earth before its reentry the following day. This flight also marked the first time a Russian spacecraft transmitted a TV image from orbit.
We'll be back next week with more saucer news from around the planet, brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you then.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1998 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 in which the item first appeared.