Wednesday, July 13, 2005
MUFON's 'John Schuessler' To Speak at Aurora History Museum
Often, that's when John Schuessler's group gets a call.
Schuessler, a retired Boeing engineer who moved to Jefferson County, is the international director of the Mutual UFO Network, a 3,000-member nonprofit group that investigates UFO sightings and promotes research on the phenomenon.
His group runs a website on which people can report their experiences and sends investigators to interview people who spy something strange.
"We're not a lot of starry-eyed believers," Schuessler said. "We're a fairly skeptical group. There's no doubt in my mind about UFOs. We have firm evidence of it. We have videotapes. And the testimony by credible people is beyond question. ... Some of the most definitive documentation is by the government - 300,000 documents that all attest to the reality of UFOs."
Schuessler will speak Sunday at the Aurora History Museum, which through Sept. 18 is featuring an exhibit celebrating a century of science fiction.
He will talk about UFO sightings across Colorado - from the storm chaser in Jefferson County who reported a bowling-ball-like object flying out of clouds to a park packed with people who saw a strange craft 500 feet above Lakewood that zoomed straight up.
There seems to be an unending number of sightings in the San Luis Valley.
"They call that the 'mysterious valley,' and I can see why," Schuessler said.
He will explain how his group, in cataloging and investigating UFO sightings around the world, is building a body of evidence that "there is something real (in the skies)."
He added: "It's unusual, it's not ours, and it's something worth looking at."
Perhaps that won't be much of a surprise to the visitors to the museum's popular "Science Fiction Century" exhibit, which opened July 4.
Curator Matt Chasansky worked through various science-fiction groups in the Denver area to build the display, which includes everything from Star Wars costumes to first-edition books by H.G. Wells.
The experience has been an eye- opener for Chasansky, who was never really a sci-fi buff until the exhibit.
"At first I thought (science fiction) was escapism," he said. "People want somewhere that is totally invented that they can separate themselves from."
But he realized it was more reality- based than other pop-culture genres such as horror or fantasy. Science fiction extrapolates actual scientific discovery. For example, Jules Verne's 19th-century stories about moonshots became reality by the 1960s.
Schuessler doesn't see a conflict in talking factually about UFOs at an exhibition of science fiction.
"We are living a real science- fiction situation that most people want to just read about," he said. "It is futuristic stuff. The characteristics of the UFO sightings are beyond our technological capabilities."
Schuessler leaves conjecture - "Who is flying these vehicles?" "Why they are here?" - to the sci-fi buffs.
"They come up with ideas based on reality but beyond reality," he said. "It's where the two merge - reality merges with science fiction."
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