By Frank WarrenThis weekend (28th-30th) will mark the 11th anniversary of the Aztec UFO Symposium. The event was borne as and continues to be a fund-raiser for the “Aztec Public Library,” sponsored by the “Friends of The Aztec Public Library.”
The quaint town of Aztec, New Mexico is located in the scenic Four Corners Area, where New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona meet; given its small size, and “out of the way” local, some might have reservations about the caliber of an event being held there, in contrast to larger cities e.g., Las Vegas or the San Francisco Bay Area etc.; however, Aztec doesn’t disappoint, and never has since it’s inception—it (the symposium) is grandiose by merit!
The premiere Symposium featured speakers such as, “Dr. Roy Craig,” chief field investigator for the "Condon Report," The Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects; best-selling author, and UFO investigator, “Jim Marrs” shared the mic, along with former State Representative, “Andrew (Andy) Kissner (to name a few).
Over the years Aztec has seen the likes of such keynote speakers as: Edgar Mitchell, Jan Aldrich, Peter Gersten, Peter Davenport, John Schuessler, Dr. Bruce Maccabee, Wendy Connors, and Karl Pflock for example; additionally, renowned Ufologists, Stanton Friedman and Dennis Balthaser have called Aztec a second home in regards to speaking engagements, the latter often times MCing the event, as is the case this year.
Although this article’s focus is of the speakers, and the event that has precipitated the symposium, there is a host of other activities that compliment the occasion, for full details visit the official “Aztec UFO 2008 Web-site.”
As mentioned previously, the Aztec Symposium has built a reputation for attracting keynote speakers; this year’s line-up maintains that tradition:
Returning as Master of Ceremonies is respected researcher, “Dennis Balthaser”; his work regarding the “Roswell Incident” is heralded among veteran Ufologists and abecedarians alike. The repercussions of said efforts encouraged an invitation to join the advisory board for the “Great Pyramid of Giza Research Association,” another area of research he thoroughly enjoys.
Given Dennis’ vast knowledge of the “Roswell Incident” he has become the “go to guy” by the media on the subject having done over 350 TV, radio and other media interviews related to the event, most recently appearing on the “The Today Show” (weekend edition) hosted by, “Lester Holt.”
Early on, the “Friends of The Aztec Library” were quick to realize the great asset they had in Dennis Balthaser as an emcee; he is a great facilitator and keeps the conference running like a fine tuned engine; his laid back and charismatic style offer a perfect transition between speakers.
Another long time friend to the Aztec Symposium is none other then renowned Ufologist, “Stanton T. Friedman”; in order to do justice to his long list of accolades another article would be obliged; however, for me given his long time service in the field, as well as his many accomplishments, I have nicknamed him the “Godfather of Ufology!
There is a bit of irony with Ufology in general, and the union between the subject matter and Stan himself; that is to say, most folks don’t give it much thought, but there are a good many well known researchers that may have been content to never ask, or inquire about UFOs if not for Stan; people forget he was the one who broke the Roswell Incident wide-open!
Had it not been for his research, the definition of “Roswell” would have remained “a little town in New Mexico” opposed to the notion of disc-shaped craft and extraterrestrial beings it conjures today; there wouldn’t have been any TV shows, movies, books or probably the very symposium I’m addressing now, as well as many others that have followed suit.
Although Stan’s name will forever be melded with UFOs in general and Roswell in particular, his work and background as a nuclear physicist has certainly lent credence to the field of research, and definitely been an asset in his approach to the UFO enigma.
Stan took an interest in UFOs in 1958, to date he has lectured at over 600 colleges he’s addressed 100 professional groups in 50 states, 9 provinces, and 16 other countries. He has published more than 80 UFO papers and appeared on hundreds of radio and TV programs; he has been tasked to present written testimony to Congressional Hearings; his expertise was requested twice during “UN proceedings” regarding the UFO phenomenon.
His pioneering efforts have adorned not only Roswell, but other categories of UFO related research such as “MJ-12, the Barney and Betty Hill abduction case, and the Marjorie Fish Star Map in the aftermath to name a few.
His books include:
"Crash at Corona: The Definitive Study of the Roswell Incident."
"Captured: The Betty and Barney
Hill UFO Experience"
Later this year, we’ll see his latest contribution: "Flying Saucers and Science,” what Stan deems his Magnum Opus.
Staying in a Roswell vein, “Dr. Jesse Marcel” will make his first appearance at this year’s symposium. Jesse Jr., “just like his father” is a true patriot; having joined the Navy in 1962, he was at the front door so to speak when the world held its breath during the “Cuban Missile Crisis.”
In 1973 he joined the Montana Army National Guard, went through helicopter flight training as a flight surgeon at Ft. Rucker, Alabama and earned his wings in 1981.
In that capacity, he was eligible to be called for duty in Iraq, which took place in 2004 at the age of 68! He flew 225 hours of combat missions while “in country” as a flight surgeon for the 189th Attack Helicopter Battalion; eventually being discharged at the end of 2005. He’s currently in the “Ready Reserve.” “Honor and duty” flow heavily in the Marcel bloodline!
Of course both Jesse and his father are “icons” in Ufology, but for those turning the first page, as a young boy Jesse was awoken by his father late one night in the summer of ’47 to share in something that would change his life forever; the story his father would tell, and the exotic material that lay before him would be the formation of a legacy that he would inherit decades later.
That “legacy” has culminated in a book of a similar name, i.e., “The Roswell Legacy.” Jesse’s oratory will explore parts of the book, but having read it (in one sitting) I can say with great fervor it is a “must read” for the UFO maven and enthusiast alike.
Choosing Aztec to make his “speaking debut,” producer, writer and editor “Duane Tudahl” will offer his perspective from a filmmaker’s point of view regarding the UFO phenomenon.
Duane, most recently identified with the “UFO Files” shows on the “History Channel” will discuss what happens on the “other side of the camera” while making a UFO documentary. He’ll share his “inside information” concerning the politics of programming directly relating to UFO shows.
Duane’s work is an asset to Ufology; with so much “noise” out there on the subject, he’s a breath of fresh air! Recently branching out on his own, he founded “Mariner Point Productions” and we look forward to his upcoming endeavors.
From across the pond, a rare treat will be bestowed upon attendees at this year’s symposium; best selling author, accomplished musician and long time Ufologist, “Timothy Good” will grace the stage. His groundbreaking work in Ufology is praised by all, and his books have become mandatory works in one’s UFO library.
No stranger to dissertation, Timothy has addressed audiences in a myriad of venues such as: the Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences, the Royal Canadian Military Institute, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Naval Air Reserve Branch, the House of Lords All-Party UFO Study Group, and the Oxford and Cambridge Union societies.
His presence has been requested at the Pentagon as well as the headquarters of the French Air Force; his expertise was employed in several U.S. Congressional investigations.
He has been interviewed by media from various countries including Russia, and has been involved on the “other side” of the camera as well, having co-produced several documentaries on the UfO subject.
His best-selling books have included:
Above Top Secret: The Worldwide UFO Cover-up
Beyond Top Secret: The Worldwide UFO Security Threat
Alien Liaison: The Ultimate Secret
Alien Base: Earth's Encounters with Extraterrestrials
Following in those same standards is his latest penscript entitled, NEED TO KNOW - UFOs, Military and Intelligence; this book as is its predecessors is simply superb! His upcoming oratory will summarize this latest work, but again having had the luxury of getting an “early copy” (British version) I cannot overstate my enthusiasm for Timothy’s latest efforts!
For many of the uninformed, and or pyrrhonistic minded folk, “evidence” is always on the forefront; the ignorant assume the UFO phenomenon is about distant lights and blurry pictures; the pyrrhonist says, “show me the evidence” then ignores it! This is where another “UFO luminary” comes in:
Ted Phillips, aside from being an engineer, professional photographer, and musician, is also the director of the “Center for Physical Trace Research,” which was borne in 1998.
Although CPTR was established in ’98, the body of evidence that it holds spans 38 years, and was culled from more then 90 countries; the files encompass almost 3200 trace/landing cases (physical evidence).
Ted began his UFO trek in the early 60’s, and that venture would connect him with Allen Hynek before the end of the decade; he would remain a close friend and colleague until Hynek’s death.
It was Hynek himself who prompted Ted to focus on “physical trace evidence” associated with UFO sightings. Under that advice, Ted has personally investigated more then 600 UFO cases, and become the largest repository for physical trace evidence in support of the UFO phenomenon on the planet.
Much like Friedman his accolades are numerous; he has made presentations to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aerospace Sciences Meetings, the United Nations Secretary-General at the UN in New York, the First International UFO Congress to name a few . . ..
He’s no stranger to the media either, having been on a host of television shows, documentaries and radio interviews; additionally, he has authored two books: Physical Traces Associated with UFO Sightings - A Preliminary Catalog and Delphos: A Close Encounter of the Second Kind, while having his work employed and or cited in dozens more. When Ted takes his turn at the podium you’ll notice the other speakers sitting in the front row!
Another newcomer this weekend will be police office and UFO investigator, “Ken Storch”; a veteran of the force for over 25 years, currently residing/working in Aurora Colorado, Ken became interested in UFOs in the late 60’s after having had a mind-numbing experience! While assigned to the Strategic Air Command in the Air Force, 5 UFOs were being tracked, and it was feared they might be “Russian ICBM’s”; the realization that this was not the case came shortly after the objects changed course in unison. According to Ken this caused such a commotion, a “DEFCON-4 status” was put into effect!
These objects were directly over U.S. airspace heading north into Canada; our pursuit aircraft were scrambled, and offensive and defensive measures were initiated. The objects were never engaged, and were soon lost and curiously the incident was never publicized.
No surprise that Ken has been involved in the investigation and research of the UFO phenomenon ever since. Ken applies his investigative skills garnered from his years on the force to Ufology; this pragmatic approach will be explained in his oratory, as well as his views on the government’s refusal to disclose information pertaining to UFOs.
The UFO personage mentioned thus far would make any promoter of like conferences more then a little giddy; however it doesn’t end there; MUFON International Director, “James P. Carrion” will be addressing this weekend’s audience as well.
James’ interest in Ufology began at the tender age of 11 while living in Puerto Rico; during that time the island was experiencing a UFO flap.” Young James began clipping newspaper articles on the events, and it’s been in his blood ever since.
Moving to Colorado in ‘96, James joined the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and worked as the state section director for both North Eastern and North Western Colorado. Having a “computer background,” James proposed an idea to electronically archive all MUFON’s UFO case files; consequently, the “Pandora Project” was borne.
James methodically moved up the ranks in MUFON, first serving on the International Business Board for three years before being elected as the MUFON International Director in 2006.
In his allocution, he will cover the new challenges of the UFO researcher, particularly the benefits and pitfalls of the Internet in regards to UFO research and will offer some recent cases as examples.
Bringing up the rear this year is husband and wife team, “Scott & Suzanne Ramsey”; the Aztec UFO Symposium is a special event for them in more then one way as it was the common denominator that precipitated their marriage.
Moreover, it’s a safe bet to say that without Scott Ramsey the “Aztec Symposium” probably wouldn’t exist today, or at least in the measure that we know it.
The distinguished speakers that participate year after year are there in no small part due to the efforts of Scott; the dedication he has to the event is admired by all, which coincides with the respect he has earned amongst other researchers.
Additionally, his investigation into "The Aztec UFO Crash of 1948" is the essence of the symposium itself; picking up where researcher, “Bill Steinman” had left off, Scott has uncovered new witnesses, documents etc., in support of the notion that a “flying disc of extraterrestrial origin” crashed at Hart Canyon just outside of town.
Suzanne, who before moving to North Carolina with her husband hosted her own local radio show, she will revive that roll as the Ramsey’s make their presentation in a “Q & A” fashion.
The summation of the Ramsey’s work, including, but not limited to, 18 years of research, traveling to 29 states, interviewing 60 + 1st and 2nd hand witnesses will be realized in a book coming out later this year.
Their oration will be an overview of the Aztec crash and surrounding events, as well as some exciting new developments.
On a final note a great debt of gratitude must be paid to event planner “Katee McClure”; without her efforts the Aztec UFO Symposium would not be possible—thanks Katee girl!