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Friday, December 10, 2010

Enlightened Contact with Extra Terrestrial Intelligence

The Pacific Northwest has long been a place of extraterrestrial interest and has been the locale for some seminal events in UFO history. One of the first and (allegedly) most authentic UFO photos was taken by a farmer in McMinnville. In the 1970s, Marshall Applewhite, the future leader of "Heaven's Gate," passed through Waldport, Oregon and convinced 20 people to sell all their possessions and follow him into space. They went to Colorado instead. But the most famous of these events took place on June 24, 1947, when Pilot Kenneth Arnold was flying over the Cascades and saw a chain of nine "peculiar looking aircraft" flying "like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water."
He timed them going between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams in 102 seconds--more than twice the speed of sound and faster than any known aircraft. That same day there were a rash of sightings over Oregon and Washington. And just 10 days earlier, a man in New Mexico had stumbled across some odd wreckage on his ranch outside Roswell. Arnold's sighting inaugurated the era of the flying saucer and, since then, UFOs have sunk deep roots into our culture. Despite the best scientific efforts to dismiss them as swamp gas, ball lightning, mass hallucinations, or wishful thinking, the idea is too powerful. According to the Mutual UFO Network, over 70,000 sightings are reported worldwide every year. (China alone has 400,000 subscribers to the Journal of UFO Research.) What's more interesting is that not all those interested in alien crafts are flaming nutcases.
In 1998, Peter Sturrock, a professor of space science and astrophysics at Stanford University, led a panel of international scientists that concluded UFOs needed further official study. In 1999, the French Government commissioned a study called "UFOs and Defense: What must we be prepared for?" which said the physical reality of unknown aircraft under the control of intelligent beings is "quasi-certain."
And most recently, a group led by ufologist Steven Greer (called "The Disclosure Project") claimed to have 450 ex-military and industrial officials hankering to tell Congress about their covert dealings with UFOs and the little gray men who drive them.