Thursday, October 11, 2007

Expert Discusses UFOs, Students Still Skeptical

Robert Hastings (C)
By Eric Nigosanti
The Daily Campus

     Ever see a strange light move mysteriously across the sky? Think it might just be an atmospheric disturbance, swamp gas or a weather balloon? Well if that is case, it will be surprising to learn that it might be something else entirely.

For the past 40 years, Robert Hastings has been uncovering the secrets of these unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and he presented his extensive findings to a crowd of truth-seeking students Tuesday evening in the Student Union Theater.

A UFO is an aircraft of unknown origin and is usually depicted as a flying disk with a bulge in the center and a light underneath, which gave way to the nickname "Flying Saucers." In his lecture, Hastings noted that sightings of these Flying Saucers are not isolated incidents, but that reports of sightings have occurred throughout the past several decades all around the world.

Yet with all these sightings of UFOs, there seems to be very little panic about their intentions. The probable reason is that the testimonies of eyewitnesses offer no hard evidence. Even the photos of these supposed objects are often distorted and, at best, a light can be seen amidst a darker background. Also, according to Hastings, the U.S. government may have played a part in concealing circumstantial evidence that UFOs exist.

Since the 1940s there has been a government conspiracy, according to Hastings, conducted largely by the CIA and U.S. Air Force. of secretly hoarding all information concerning UFOs and then denying any evidence to their existence. Fortunately for all sky-watchers, through the Freedom of Information Act, the government has turned over thousands of pages of documents concerning UFOs to the public. The most revealing was a FBI memo to then-director J. Edgar Hoover which described the recovery of a crashed UFO in New Mexico, including descriptions of the passengers of the craft. Who exactly are these passengers? The general consensus, which includes the opinions of high-ranking military personnel whom Hastings has personally interviewed, is that the passengers and their ships are extraterrestrial in origin.

This is also the agreement amongst a group of people who have generated a ton of controversy on their own: the abductees. While most testimonies by abductees have been proven false, some have been given credit by the toughest of critics. Common themes in abduction stories are the landing of the UFO followed by a brief interaction with the UFO's occupants on their ship and then the abductees are returned without their memory of the incident. These stories are told later if the abductee decides to undertake a hypnosis memory retrieval technique, but most decidedly all the details point to an extraterrestrial experience.

Throughout the lecture Hastings recited everything with a very serious tone. For him, this has been a life-long quest for answers which began with his own personal experience as a teenager. On an Air Force base in New Mexico, a 16-year-old Hastings was with a group of officers in a control tower when several unidentified blips appeared on the radar. For the next 30 minutes, those blips performed maneuvers that no human- built aircraft could perform, and then they were gone, but Hastings' curiosity remained.

Hastings' lecture presented a lot of evidence in the UFOs existence, but the audience still was skeptical.

"I thought it was interesting, but nothing presented had me entirely convinced," said Justin Waters, a 5th-semester foreign language major.

Laura Sharpe, a 7th-semester political science and psychology major, agreed. "There was a lot of good info, but I am not totally convinced but also not not convinced."

Commenting on the interest in UFOs, Sharpe also said "People are interested because UFOs are something they do not have all the answers to."

In the lecture Hastings said that nobody today has all the answers, but by the time of our grandchildren we'll have what we're looking for.

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