|UFO art on display at the annual Mutual UFO Network Symposium|
By Riley Snyder
It's easy to stereotype the sort of people who attended the annual Mutual UFO Network Symposium in Las Vegas this weekend.
After all, it takes a special kind of person to travel to Las Vegas, fork over close to $250 and sit through dozens of speeches about faster-than-light travel, alien DNA analysis and 'new' information about 70-year-old alleged alien encounters.
But even though the topic matter seems a bit fantastical, and despite a handful of alien-encounter zealots, a large number of conference attendees were not the type of tinfoil-hat wearing crackpot conspiracy theorists that are often associated with the field of ufology, the study of unidentified flying objects.
In fact, many attendees, such as retired military medic Marc Johns, said the reason for attending the conference and studying ufology stems from a desire to use scientific methods and research to tie the subject to respected fields such as astronomy and physics.
"There's an awful lot of people out there who aren't kooks who are interested in this topic," Johns said.
Johns, who traveled from Chester, England, to attend the conference, said he was more attracted to the open-mindedness of the symposium, and strongly disagreed with the sort of blind faith found in straight-up alien believers and deniers. . . .
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