Saturday, July 15, 2006

UFO Enthusiasts Touch Down at Tech Center

By Julie Poppen
Rocky Mountain News

     Ted Phillips has devoted 38 years to the study of 3,162 reported UFO landing sites in 91 countries.

As such, the chatty 64-year-old retired engineer from Missouri is a hot speaker pick for the 37th Mutual UFO Network International Symposium, which kicked off Friday at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. The symposium wraps up Sunday.

Even now, Phillips says to himself, 'This can't be,' when he approaches a UFO landing site. He doesn't believe aliens are behind crop circles (too Disney-esque), and he's on the fence about the role of aliens in animal mutilations. But he most certainly believes the world is being visited by alien beings in impressive spacecraft.

"I believe what we're dealing with is a device under intelligent control that generates physical effects," he said.

For UFOlogists who are "out of the closet," this is the place to be. More than 300 people registered to attend the symposium, which has become an annual fixture in Denver.

The only conference attendee who might offend is Bob Girard, a conference vendor and owner of Arcturus Books, which specializes in unexplained phenomena. Girard described many of the people at the conference as "fanatics."

"There's no captured spacecraft, no alien, nothing to show for the last 50 years," Girard said, as he sought to sell books to these same people.

Still, it's clear Girard is enamored with a leather-bound book dated 1557 that explores bizarre happenings.

He's trying to sell the book for $10,000.

Those attending the conference are quite serious about their chosen passion.

John Greenewald is producing a show on physical traces allegedly left by UFOs for The History Channel scheduled to air this fall.

His Web site, The Black Vault, features 441,000 government documents he has attained by filing open-records requests. A good number of them deal with UFOs.

Greenewald started the site a decade ago, when he was 15.

"They publicly say (UFOs) don't exist, but the documents say something different," Greenewald said. "Obviously, there's a cover-up."

Still, Greenewald says he can't conclusively say there are extraterrestrials.

"I'm 99.9 percent sure there is life out there, and they're visiting us," he said.

"But I'm never sure until something smacks me on the head."

Aurora police officer and UFO hunter Ken Storch planned to speak about the role police play in UFO reports. UFOs became his raison d'etre in 1974 when he claims to have gleaned firsthand knowledge of five UFOs flying in formation that nearly triggered World War III.

Storch, now 55, was working in communications at the Offutt Air Force Base at the time. He says he was required not to speak of the incident for 30 years. He and fellow UFO hunter L.J. Dalicandro, wearing the teeth of an alligator and great white shark around his neck, shared a disturbing array of mutilated cattle photos.

"I know we're not alone," Storch said.

Storch said he's comforted but also bothered by his belief in aliens.

"I don't have a clue what the agenda is," Storch said.

More . . .

See Also: 37th Annual International MUFON Symposium


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