By Khristopher BrooksOne August evening in 2003, Kim Shaffer saw something that piqued his curiosity.
The Bristol Herald Courier
The Bristol Herald Courier
"Through the tree branches, it was a copper-colored round disk," he said. "It had no features. It was perfect."
Shaffer and his family spent 15 minutes videotaping the craft. It amazed them, he said. Ever since that day, Shaffer, 50, has devoted most of his free time to researching Unidentified Flying Objects.
He doesn’t necessarily believe the UFOs are alien space crafts, but doesn’t know what they are, Shaffer says.
"I don’t believe in little gray men or little green men, but I have seen things I can’t explain," he said. "And I got videos of it."
Shaffer started his research by joining the Mutual UFO Network, a national nonprofit research organization based in Bellvue, Colo.
In May 2004, Shaffer became the East Tennessee state director. In that role, he has collected hundreds, maybe even thousands, of possible UFO pictures and videos from Tennessee residents.
"Wouldn’t we all like to know what those things are?" the Bristol native said. "It just does something to you when you’ve seen one."
One of Shaffer’s strangest stories is of Sidney Daugherty.
The 43-year-old Kingsport resident said a silverish, triangle-shaped object flew over him in October 2004. It roared loudly and made him retreat. He tried to videotape it, but his body started radiating.
"And I felt that all through me," Daugherty said. "I felt like I was hot and cold at the same time, and my hair stood up on me."
Shaffer begged Daugherty to go to the hospital because the Kingsport man had severe burns on his shoulders, and his hair started falling out, Shaffer said.
"My hair was falling out," Daugherty confirmed. "When I got up that Sunday, I remember seeing a handful of hair on my pillow."
Since that sighting, Daugherty said he sees UFOs all the time. His last sighting was little more than a week ago, he said. Not only is he seeing more UFOs, he says they’re affecting his health.
"My health is going downhill bad," he said.
Every time Daugherty sees something, he notifies Shaffer, who said he realizes people think he’s crazy for talking about UFOs. People have even asked if he’s been abducted or probed.
He has not.
"Most people say, ‘Well, why haven’t I seen a UFO?" Shaffer said. "And I say, ‘If you look up long enough, you’re gonna see something you can’t explain.’ "
Shaffer left MUFON in January and decided to start his own group – the Appalachian UFO Research Center.
AUFORC consists of 20 members who, like Shaffer, solicit footage and reports from Tennessee residents about UFOs. The organization posts most of its reports on its Web site, www.auforc.com
Shaffer has bought three video cameras and three digital cameras to capture UFOs.
He doesn’t want to be caught off guard like in 2003.
"I’m doing this as a hobby because, frankly, I’d like to know what they are," he said.