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Volume 5
Number 52
December 28, 2000

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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"The eruption of Mount Popocatepetl (Nahuatl or Aztec for smoking mountain--J.T.) that took place on Monday, December 18, 2000brought to light an unexplained event."

Two Mexican newspapers "published photographs of an unidentified luminous flying object near the erupting volcano Popocatepetl," located 64 kilometers (40 miles) from Mexico City, and Puebla.

"The spectacular photograph taken by reporter Alfonso Reyes last Tuesday," December 19, 2000, "taken at 5:10 a.m. while covering the gigantic volcanic eruption, presented a bright luminous object that contrasted well with the black clouds emanating from the volcano's crater. The photo was taken in a 20-second exposure with a 24-millimeter angular lens by Reyes. However, he did not actually see the flying object and it was not until the development of the photo that he discovered what the camera had captured."

"Due to the long exposure time, the camera also captured the luminous descending trajectory of the object, which seems to make a quick turn into the crater. The possibility of a meteor was discarded, as well as the possibilities of (the object being) an airplane or a helicopter."

"This is not the first time that a strange luminous object has been spotted flying over the volcano. On June 29, 1999, a surveillance camera operated by CENAPRED (Mexico's national emergency agency, similar to the USA's FEMA--J.T.) was monitoring Mount Popcatepetl, taking pictures at time intervals, and at 1:20 p.m., the camera captured a strange disc-shaped dark object seen near the volcano's crater and emerging among the smoke clouds. No explanation was given by the agency (CENAPRED_ at the time, but researchers continued snapping photographs of the disc before it flew away to the northeast."

"Also on Tuesday, December 19, 2000, several CENAPRED white vans entered :towns at the base of Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano, fearing that its rumblings are a sign that a strong eruption is brewing," Local residents "packed up their belongings. Officials urged 30,000 people living within" 10 kilometers (6 miles) :of the volcano, located 40 miles southwest of Mexico City, to leave."

"'They already told us to leave, but we didn't believe them-- until last night,' said Javier Hernandez, 71. Scientists warn that a dome of lava at the base of the 17,886-foot Popocatepetl os causing pressure to build that could trigger a strong eruption." See the Mexican newspapers Milenio and Extremex for December 21, 2000; also USA Today for December 19, 2000, "Residents flee as Mexican volcano rumbles," page 12A.)

(Editor's Comment: Hundreds of UFOs have been sighted over Mount Popcatepetl since 1947. This has led some ufologists to wonder if there might be an underground alien base somewhere inside the volcano, perhaps in some large, long-dead "lava tubes" or circular caverns.)


"A giant rectangular luminous objects was observed last Monday," December 10, 2000 at about 10"30 p.m. in the night in the barrio (neighborhood) called Ojo de Apache, located 2 kilometers (one mile) from the center of Calama. Information about the sighting was gathered by local ufologist Jaime Ferrer, who obtained testimony from a woman who saw the strange object hovering near her house."

"'What called my attention to it was when it beamed a very strong light towards the ground,' the witness told Ferrer. 'It was of a form quadrangular, almost a rhomboid. and the brilliant light intensified and diminished at intervals.'"

Ferrer reported, "The woman said the object was white and of rhomboidal form, and she had it in view for three minutes as it hovered over the road. It left the area very quickly."

Located in northern Chile, the city of Calama has been the site of many UFO incidents in the year 2000, including a spectacular abduction last month that was witnessed by over 35 people. (See UFO Roundup, volume 5, number 44 for November 2, 2000, "Giant UFO abducts two people in northern Chile," page 1.)
(Muito obrigado a Adelmar J. Gevaerd do Brasil por esos informacoes.)


For the past three months, UFOs have been seen repeatedly in the Derbyshire Dales area of the East Midlands in the United Kingdom, particularly in and around the towns of Matlock and Rowsley.

The flap began in September when "65-year-old grandma Josie Stirland 9 large piles of vertical cloud descending from the sky in Carsington."

"Jo Buckley, 68, saw a long streak of light and a circular rainbow covering the area."

"On September 28, 2000, in Garner, a similar sighting of a bright light hovering over the valley was accompanied by a 'strange mist.'"

On October 1, 2000, "in Matlock, 8-year-old Emma Weeldon saw six flashing lights, one larger and five smaller, blinking red, yellow and blue."

"This was followed on the (October) 5th by a man in Birchover who spotted a bright, unidentified light, stationary and soundless, over the Bakewell to Ashbourne Road.. It changed from white to multi-coloured while he was viewing it."

"That same day, (October 5, 2000) around 9:10 p.m., a Bonsall woman, who does not wish to be identified, saw what appeared to be a flying saucer hovering over Middleton Wood. Using a camcorder, she recorded six-and-a-half minutes of footage before it disappeared."

"'I've watched the UFO programmes (on TV) and if there is such a thing, this is as good a photo as you're going to get,' she said, 'I was a complete and utter disbeliever but seeing this has made me think twice.'"

"The Matlock Mercury decided that the object on the video 'as resembling a giant disk craft with a bite taken out of the bottom,' adding that it 'had yellow, orange and blue lights along with intricate markings and a dark circle in the centre. And as it hovered over the woods, it seemed to expand and get smaller again.'"

"Janice Bateman, 52, told how she saw white lights shining through clouds over Stanton and Rowsley on Saturday, November 11, 2000.."

"'It definitely was not lightning,' she said, There were no storm clouds or anything.'"

"Mrs. Bateman stopped her car at around 6:30 p.m. and watched the display for around three minutes."

"'They were flashing at the back of the clouds,' she remarked, 'It was like that for two minutes, then stopped as though somebody had switched a light off. It's hard to explain. It was very strange.'"

"The latest sightings were over Matlock on the evening of Monday, November 13, 2000, at 6:10 p.m. A 44-year-old Matlock man, who does not wish to be identified, sighted a bright white light over the Hurst Farm Estate."

"He described it as much brighter than any star with no navigation lights. After watching for five seconds, the man said it seemed to diminish and then disappeared."

"'It was suspicious,' he remarked, 'There's no reasonable explanation for what I saw, so it must be a UFO. I do believe in UFOs, and Matlock seems to be very popular at the moment. I'm looking at it very seriously but I don't think we are in any danger.'"

"And mom of two Jacky Swirt, 32, from Mornington Rise, Matlock, said she had a close encounter on October 21, 2000."

"Shortly after 7:15 p.m., she was travelling along the Ashbourne Road close to Tissington when she saw a light show in the sky. She described a series of white beams which filled the skies for 20 minutes."

"'They were behind the clouds,' she remarked, 'It wasn't lightning although there were sporadic bursts of light.'" (See the Matlock Mercury for October 10, November 15 and November 22, 2000. Many thanks to Gerry Lovell for forwarding these newspaper articles.)


On Tuesday, November 29, 2000, a group of people witnessed a UFO flyover in Pondachello, a small town in Italy's Catania province. "Condelo and several friends were at a bar when they saw the mysterious light. They described it as 'a luminous object traveling at a high velocity over the mountain pass, followed by a trail of bright sparks. The OVNI (Italian acronym for UFO--J.T.) was heading from Catania to Taormina.'"

On Sunday, December 3, 2000, "at 10:30 p.m., ,several people on a balcony at their house in Misilmeri saw five or six intense white lights moving slowly in a formation that was definitely 'triangular.' After a short period of time, another object with an intermittent red light flew past in the same direction. After three minutes, the second object passed out of view."
(Grazie a Davide Ferrare di Centro Ufologico Nazionale d'Italia per questi rapporti.)


A second "ice circle," similar to a crop circle has been found in a small frozen lake in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, Canada.

The unusual formation was found on November 19, 2000 on Lac Pelletier, a small lake in northern Quebec. The discovery was made by property owner Normand Pelletier and his family.

"According to Paul Anderson of Circles Phenomenon Research-Canada, "It was found November 19 The formation is a circle very much like the one found in Delta, Ontario on December 2, 2000. Whether these ice formations which have been reported infrequently are part of the same phenomena as the crop circles is unknown at this point. But perhaps we should be keeping a more watchful eye on our frozen ponds and lakes during the winter." (Many thanks to Paul Anderson of CPR-Canada for this report.)


On Tuesday, December 19, 2000, "between 9 and 10 p.m., I was watching TV," reported the witness, "Sitting on the couch (and) looking out ,y living room window, which faces north. I stood up to get something. Through my window, I saw an object streaking from the southeast to the northwest. I had time to say, 'Oh, my God! Oh, my God!' and it was gone. Seemed to be going in a slight arc seemed to be heading in the direction of Terrace, B.C." in Canada. "towards the airport."

"I would say I saw it for about three to five seconds, and it disappeared. I opened my window, expecting a crash or something, but there was no noise. It had a triangular shape approximately 6 inches (15 centimeters) at the base, which was my first look, and 2 inches (5 centimeters)" along the sides of the triangle. (Many thanks to Stefan Duncan of AUFON for this report.)


On Sunday, December 17, 2000, at 9:30 a.m., the witness was birdwatching at the Whittier Narrows Sanctuary in Whittier, California (population 70,000), a city 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, when he spotted a UFO traveling from the north to the south.

"I first thought, It's got to be a balloon! It approached me at the usual constant speed and altitude of a helicopter. It had a plastic sheen to it and a silver-grey color to it. I saw it for approximately 30 to 40 seconds before it disappeared."

"I saw something bright flash on the right (west) side three times; (the flashes) appeared about 10 seconds apart. No sound or any trailings to it. A perfect 'B-line' (beeline). No way to estimate diameter, maybe 30 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters). Conditions--blue skies, no clouds and a breeze, with temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit." (Email Form Report)

On Friday, December 22, 2000, at 6"10 p.m., the witness was driving his 4X4 pickup truck in the desert north of Bakersfield, California (population 200,000), just south of Pine Mountain, when he spotted a strange flash in the sky.

The witness "said he was seeing three lights flying in repeated circles. They flew in formation for a while, then flew apart. (The witness was) North of Bakersfield, between Highways 193 and 36. He was on a dirt road just four-by-fouring (driving--J.T.) His daughter is a student in Santa Cruz. He also called her" on his cell phone "and she said she could see it from her dorm room window. He just wants to know what it is he was seeing."

Bakersfield is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) east of Los Angeles. (Many thanks to Dave M. for this report.)


On Thursday, November 30, 2000, between 9:30 and 10 p.m., Patricia Carter, her husband Bob and her sister-in-law, Judy, "were returning from Chadburn," North Carolina. "The night was clear and there were no electrical disturbances of any kind."

"Judy and I both saw an object moving slowly across the sky," Patricia reported, "We told Bob, who saw the same object. He thought it was a blimp. But I said, 'No way!' We saw red lights in an elongated pattern, on or around the perimeter of an oblong object. The object appeared to move at the speed a blimp would move, but I think it was too elongated to be a blimp. There didn't appear to be any other lights visible at all."

"Then Bob stopped to speak with a man at Gray's Creek," near Fayetteville, N.C. (population 76,000) while Judy and I waited in the car. We were quite curious and persuaded Bob to turn the car around and follow the lights. By the time the object was nearly out of sight and traveling, according to Bob, who knows the area well, along north of the river. We were never afraid, just curious. We lost sight of the object at this time because of a line of trees that obscured our vision."

Fayetteville is on Interstate Highway I-95 approximately 65 miles (108 kilometers) south of Raleigh, the state capital. (See the Fayetteville, N.C. Observer for December 2, 2000. Many thanks to Stefan Duncan of AUFON for this report.)


"Russian ground controllers lost contact with the Mir space station for nearly 20 hours before re-establishing communication Tuesday," December 26, 2000, "allaying fears that the accident-prone vessel might have spun dangerously out of control."

"It was the latest mishap for the nearly 15-year-old space station. Last month Moscow reluctantly decided to bring the station down in a controlled descent in late February," 2001.

"Mission Control's last contact with Mir had been at 5:40 a.m. UDT on Monday," December 25, 2000, "Valery Lyndin, a spokesman for Mission Control. Several attempts to restore the link later Monday failed. But on Tuesday, ground controllers made contact with Mir three times."

"Lyndin said the information received from Mir during those links showed that the station had not lost pressure. The data calmed fears that the loss of communications could signal that the station was spinning out of control and could crash to Earth."

"'The Mir will not fall on your head on New Year's Eve,' Mission Control chief Vladimir Sovolyov said, 'The latest communications showed that we are controlling events, not the other way around.'"

"Sovolyov said the station's batteries had lost power, leaving little energy for Mir to communicate. Controllers then switched off energy-consuming systems so more power could be directed toward communication with the ground."

"Recharging the batteries through the station's solar panels should be done" on Wednesday, December 27, 2000.

"It remained unclear what caused the power shortage."

"Observers have worried about Mir's safety for a long time. However, after a fire and near-disastrous collision with an unmanned cargo ship in 1997, followed by a series of computer glitches, Mir had been running relatively smoothly." (See USA Today for December 27, 2000, "Mir falls out of touch--but not out of the sky," page 7A.)

from the UFO Files...


"At 3 a.m. on December 20, 1951, a Curtis C-46E airliner (civilian version of the World War II transport plane--J.T.) took off from Chicago and ascended into the clouds. Aboard were two pilots, one stewardess (today they're called flight attendants--J.T.), 42 adult passengers and two infants. They were planning to fly direct to Newark, New Jersey. The planned course would have taken them across the southern tip of Lake Michigan and along the southern shoreline of western Lake Erie."

But a strange event altered their intended course.

"Climbing out of Chicago," the C-46, identification number N59487, "quickly reached its assigned altitude, 9,000 feet (2,700 meters) and Captain B.E. Smelser leveled off on his planned route eastward."

Its two propellor engines humming, the C-46 made its way eastward through the dark pre-dawn sky. The airliner flew over South Bend, Indiana, reporting in to their tower. Then they checked in at Goshen. Finally, they made contact with the tower at their next checkpoint--Toledo, Ohio.

The passengers were in good hands. As an Army Air Corps (now the U.S. Air Force--J.T.) pilot, Captain Smelser had logged more than 10,000 flight hours on combat missions, including 3,000 hours as a C-46 pilot for the Air Transport Command.

"Co-pilot E.T. O'Leary had almost as much experience. Also he had shown particular attention to planning this flight. It was to be his eastern route check."

"After Toledo," the airliner's "next checkpoint would be Cleveland, Ohio. The airliner was skirting the southern edge of Lake Erie when something peculiar happened to the avionics aboard..."

Touching his earphone, O'Leary turned in the cockpit's right seat. "Skipper?"

Smelser kept his gaze straight ahead. "What is it, Ed?"

"I just lost Cleveland." The co-pilot's face showed mild bafflement. "I had them for a second; then I lost them."

"You must have brushed the dial. Try that frequency again."

But O'Leary could not raise Cleveland Center. Smelser noticed something else, as well. The avionics were no longer registering VOR navigational radio signals.

"For that matter, they did not receive navigational signals from anywhere. Try as they did, their communications transmissions went unanswered."

"The pilots tried to tune in continuous weather broadcasts. Nothing."

The C-46's "radios provided no evidence that anyone else in the world existed."

On the ground, controllers in both Toledo and Cleveland were startled when the C-46's blip suddenly vanished from the radar screens. Immediately an alert went out.

"Alone, speeding through the high, misty overcast, the 47 souls inside N59487 were as alone that dawn as anyone could be. No one on the ground or in the air knew it, but the C-46E was not traveling southeastward," as planned. "Those aboard the airliner were being carried northeastward over Lake Erie toward Lake Ontario."

"Whether it was a strange and powerful steady wind carrying them northeastward or whether something altered the compasses in the cockpit, the two pilots had no way of knowing."

"As the clock ticked on, Cleveland's mysterious absence became more and more disturbing. Finally, the pilots knew that they must be near Cleveland, so they began flying different courses, trying to receive Cleveland. The radios were useless."

"This isn't helping," Smelser said, leveling off on their original heading. "All we're doing is burning up fuel. How much do we have left?"

O'Leary did his fuel-exhaustion calculations and then checked them again. "Forty-five minutes, Skipper. After that...good night, ladies!"

Captain Smelser frowned. He knew that "if they waited until the engines ran dry while they were still in the clouds, they would probably kill everyone aboard, including themselves. If they began a descent through the clouds, they ran a risk of flying blind into a mountain. In addition, the lower altitudes would burn up their fuel more quickly."

Smelser exhaled heavily. "Okay, Ed. We got one chance. We stay upstairs until the last possible minute. Then I'm taking her down, leaving just enough fuel to line us up for an emergency landing."

The cockpit clock ticked on. At the predetermined moment, Smelser eased back on the throttles and pushed the yoke downward. The airliner dipped into the sea of clouds.

Turbulence buffeted the C-46 during its descent. Smelser's grim gaze found the altimeter. Eight thousand...seven thousand...six thousand. He licked dry lips. The danger of hitting a mountain increased with every foot they dropped below the flight level of six thousand feet.

"Though fuel was almost gone, they could take a deep breath when they broke out of the clouds. They could see for miles. What they saw was not reassuring--an expanse of open water."

"Where the hell are we?" O'Leary asked.

"One of the Great Lakes," Smelser replied, "But which one? It looks like the Atlantic Ocean down there."

Just then, all of the C-46's radios began operating normally once again. "The silent radios began reporting from Rochester, New York.. Rochester had the flight on radar," and the airliner "was on the Canadian (north) side of Lake Ontario. Smelser explained what had happened thus far."

The flight controller said, "We thought you went down east of Toledo. We're bringing you straight in. Heading one-four-zero (degrees) magnetic."

"One-four-zero, roger," the captain said, stepping down on the right pedal and turning the yoke slightly in that direction. In the right seat, O'Leary hurriedly did the navigational math.

Suddenly, the left wing's Wright-Cyclone engine began to sputter and cough.

"Number One engine!" O'Leary shouted.

"Number One feathered." Smelser switched off the engine, letting its propellor spin idly in the slipstream. He knew he didn't have much time left. They had to get to shore and land before the Number Two engine's fuel ran out.

Smelser turned the airliner northward, heading straight for the north shore beaches of Lake Ontario. Silently he beseeched the droning right-side engine. Come on, baby, just a little more. Just a few miles more...

The snow-covered shoreline appeared on the horizon. Slowly, agonizingly slowly, it filled the cockpit windshield. The engine on the right let out a prolonged wheezy sputter.

"There goes Number Two," O'Leary said, "This is now a very heavy glider."

Smelser could see Lake Ontario's waves breaking on the rocky beach. Just inland lay a belt of wind-stunted maples and open fields covered with snow. He glanced at the altimeter. The needle kept dropping. Three thousand...two thousand...one thousand. The beach seemed impossibly far away.

Only one chance, Smelser thought. We're going to need more airspeed to make it ashore. But to get it, I'm going to trade altitude for it. And once that altitude's gone, I can't get it back. I can't climb, not without those engines.

Smelser eased the yoke forward, and C-46 descended more quickly. Grabbing his microphone, the captain told the stewardess and the passengers to get ready for an emergency crash-landing.

Six hundred...five hundred...four hundred--the altimeter continued its relentless drop. Whitecapped waves flashed beneath the airliner's wings. Both propellors fluttering uselessly, the C-46 headed for the line of trees.

Smelser's grip tightened on the yoke. One more hurdle, baby!

The airliner cleared it but just barely. Bare tree limbs raked the C-46's aluminum underbelly. Ahead lay a rolling snowfield. Fighting the keep the artificial horizon steady the captain said, "Extend flaps."

O'Leary tugged the lever, triggering a mechanical whine. "Flaps down, skipper."

For the first time, Smelser raised his voice. "Hang on!"

"Captain Smelser left the landing gear up in the retracted position," fearing that the wheels might sink into the snow, causing the aircraft to flip over. He drew the yoke back gently, letting the plane's nose rise and the tail slide onto the powdery snow.

And they were down! The C-46 skied downfield like a runaway toboggan, stirring up vast clouds of snow. The fuselage shuddered. Passengers screamed in the cabin. The pilots watched a barbed-wire fence appear and seemingly rush toward them.

And then the C-46 halted, just short of the wire. Behind them a flattened path of snow stretched for nearly a mile. The plane's belly and the engine nacelles were chewed up, and the propellors bent beyond repair. But other than that, the airliner was intact.

Laughing in relief, O'Leary said, "Thank you for flying our airline."

Smelser grinned. "I'm just glad this is your check ride and not mine."

"No one was injured."

"The official probable cause of the accident was fuel exhaustion."

"Whatever happened to the radios aboard N59487 could not be explained by experts at the time. It has not been explained since." (See the book The Great Lakes Triangle by Jay Gourley, Fawcett Publications Inc., Greenwich, Connecticut 1977, pages 82 through 85.)

Well, here we are at the end of another year of UFO Roundup. And what a year Y2K has been. We started off with ice bombs falling on Europe and finished with weird ice circles appearing in Canada. In between we had hundreds of UFO sightings, some dramatic abductions, multiple apparitions of the Virgin Mary, the Chupacabra, a new monster, El Lobizon in Argentina, weird animals sighted or shot, and... hey, Hillary even made it into the USA Senate.

The big story of 2000, though, can be summed up in one word--Calama. Since the start of the ongoing UFO flap in this city in northern Chile, there have been two astounding incidents that just might be a turning point in ufology--the reported discovery of alien eggs last spring and the very public abduction of two humans there in late October.

An ominous turning point? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Twenty-first Century, which starts next Monday. Be sure to buckle your seatbelt. We're in for a wild ride!

Join us next week for more UFO and paranormal news from around the planet Earth, brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you then.

UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2000 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO ROUNDUP on their websites or in newgroups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.


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