Friday, November 25, 2005

Robert Pratt, Newspaperman, Author of UFO Books, Articles, Dies at 79

Bob Pratt Casual
By Michael Browning
The Palm Beach Post

     Earth and outer space, home and visitors from afar, are bound to come up when friends and relatives of Robert V. Pratt come to the Dorsey-E. Earl Smith Funeral Home this afternoon from 4-6 p.m. to meet his widow, Faith, and discuss his passing.

     Mr. Pratt was an evangelist for UFOs. The Lake Worth resident wrote about them in manifold articles for The National Enquirer. He published two books about them, UFO Danger Zone: Terror and Death in Brazil - Where Next? in 1996 and Night Siege: The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings, in 1987.

     He traveled the world, often at his own expense, interviewing eyewitnesses to extraterrestrial objects that he described as often behaving cruelly and capriciously, dropping globes of fire, he said, on innocent farmers in Brazil.

     He never saw one single solitary UFO in his entire life, but he came to believe in them passionately. It was a belief even his own wife did not share, though she stayed married to him for 50 years.

     "The first 30 years you squabble. The 20 years after that are wonderful," Faith Pratt said Thursday, shedding tears on Thanksgiving Day. "He would leave me notes, saying things like "You are my love." '

     Mr. Pratt was a very curious man. His own self-written obituary, edited by his wife, says he died Monday, November 21, 2005, at a local hospital following a brief illness. He was 79. He worked for many newspapers for 48 years.

     But the last eight years of his professional career were the strangest. After decades in mainstream journalism, he switched to tabloid journalism and became convinced that UFOs were real.

     Interest turned to belief. Belief became obsession. Mr. Pratt ultimately claimed to have talked to more than 2,000 people who had had UFO experiences.

     During the six years he worked as a UFO reporter for the Enquirer, he traveled to Brazil four times.

     In recognition of his research in Brazil, on May 3, 2003, at a conference in the city of Curitiba in southern Brazil, he was given a diploma naming him an Ufólogo Brasileiro Honorário or Honorary Brazilian Ufologist. Seventy-eight Brazilian ufologists signed the diploma, his wife said.

     She never went with him to Brazil, and she never shared his belief in UFOs.

     "No," she declared. "I didn't care about them. I cared about him."

     In addition to his wife, Mr. Pratt is survived by his son, Alan Collins Pratt of New York. Another son, Robert Scott Pratt, died in 1975 at 17. A cousin, Richard Taylor of Boca Raton, and numerous nieces and nephews in California also survive him.

     The Dorsey-E. Earl Smith Funeral Home is at 3041 Kirk Road in Lake Worth.

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