Monday, January 22, 2007

UFO Institute International Seeking Members

UFO Congress
Group welcomes all UFO enthusiasts


     Steven Alexander believes the truth is still out there — and he’s back looking for it.

In the early 1990s, TV’s “The X-Files” rekindled Alexander’s long-held interest in UFOs. He founded the UFO Institute in Colorado Springs, a group devoted to investigating and documenting UFO sightings, in 1993.

“We’re out to find answers,” he told The Gazette then.

The group sought those answers for years, but faded away at the end of the decade. Now Alexander, 53, is forming another group — a Springs chapter of the newly formed UFO Institute International. He met with fellow UFO enthusiasts recently in Las Vegas to help set up the organization.

“I think in six months we’ll have up to eight active chapters, from New Orleans to Amarillo to Albuquerque,” he says.

Monthly meetings will provide local members the chance to share their experiences and sightings, and special presentations will cover topics such as alien abductions and the 1947 Roswell incident. The group, as before, also will investigate sightings.

The club is for anyone interested in UFOs, Alexander says, from scientific types to believers in the more metaphysical. “We just ask that they come in with an open mind.”

Members will adhere to a code of etiquette, he said, and be respectful even if they find someone’s tale outlandish. That understanding attitude was sometimes stretched to the limit with the old club.

“We would get offers like, ‘I can make the aliens come and meet me at the Wal-Mart parking lot on Platte Avenue at 10 o’clock.’ A couple of us would show up out there and the person was like, ‘Can you see them?’ Well, no.”

Alexander knows some people might regard the group as “those UFO nuts,” but he said that attitude is becoming less prevalent.

A 2005 survey commissioned by the National Geographic Channel found 60 percent of Americans believe life exists on other planets. Alexander, of course, is among those believers.

“I look out at space and can’t imagine God would build such a universe and put all of his eggs in this one little basket called Earth.”

He doesn’t claim to have encountered a visitor from another planet, but he has seen something he can’t explain.

In 1977, while driving from Leadville to Colorado Springs, he saw “a peculiar-looking light.”

“It was just green and it was moving this way and that way, and a little bit up and down, not like a steady airplane thing.”

He assumed it was an Army helicopter.

But 30 years later and with experience in the military — he’s a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve — he’s confident it was no helicopter.

“What it might have been, I’m not sure.”

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