Hello from the History Department.
On May 12-15, we'll hold the 17th Annual UFO Festival at Hotel Oregon in McMinnville. The city's parade, live music and tin-foil-covered-people-watching are undeniably exceptional. But it's the presentations by leading scientists, investigators and experiencers from around the world that have garnered great respect and praise, resulting in a growing reputation for the overall event as one of the most well-balanced, open-minded UFO conferences in the nation.
This year, we're trying something different. All of our visiting speakers will address a singular UFO phenomenon that literally thousands of people witnessed 19 years ago on March 13, 1997 - a mass sighting known as The Phoenix Lights.
On that warm spring evening in 1997, a massive boomerang-shaped object that was "several football-fields-sized" moved ever-so-slowly across the sky, over parts of Arizona as well as Mexico. There were five spherical lights visible on the craft, possibly energy-emitting orbs of some sort. There was no noise. Many veteran pilots, air traffic controllers and astronauts concurred that no man-made aircraft with such attributes is known to exist.
Here's what Dr. Edgar Mitchell (American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer and Apollo 14 Astronaut) unequivocally said about the 1997 case: "The Phoenix Lights is a compelling and thoroughly documented account of the most bizarre and widely observed UFO event in modern times."
Even the Arizona governor at the time, Fife Symington III, witnessed this strange occurrence. While he initially ridiculed the event at a press conference in the weeks that followed (one of his staffers came out dressed as an alien), Symington went on record several years later as admitting that he believed the thing he saw had been "otherworldly."
Sightings were reported for 106 minutes that evening - so it was no shooting star or weather balloon or dust on the camera lens. There was a massive craft in the air, moving slowly and without discretion across the skies. There is even video of it, which will be shown at the festival.
Pretty weird and scary, right? Maybe even panic-inducing?
You'd think so - except many of the witnesses reported that they didn't feel any sense of fear or dread. It was more a sense that they were experiencing something extraordinary that defied explanation. One witness said, "I'll never be the same. Before this, if anybody had told me they saw a UFO, I would've said, ‘Yeah and I believe in the Tooth Fairy.' Now I've got a whole new view and I may be just a dumb truck driver, but I've seen something that don't belong here."
Our panel of festival presenters covers the spectrum - from Phoenix Lights eyewitnesses who know what they saw was phenomenal, to investigators who believe that further research is needed. While the military "debunked" the sighting as being nothing more than flares, the sightings have incredibly continued into this decade! Reports were made in 2007, 2008 and most reBUBUcently in 2015.
Join us at the festival to learn more about this incredible series of events. We hope to see you there. Tickets are now on sale at ufofest.com.
Jonathan Dover & Stanley Milford, Jr. - eyewitnesses and Navajo Federal Rangers who were assigned to officially investigate and document significant cases involving UFOs, along with Bigfoot, the Paranormal, Navajo witchcraft and beyond.
Sue Watson - eyewitness and Phoenix school administrator who, along with her children, watched the massive unidentified object she describes as a "floating city" pass slowly and silently over their home.
Francis Barwood - a Phoenix City Council Member and the only elected city official to call for and follow through with a formal investigation of the case.
Dr. Lynne Kitei -- an eyewitness and successful physician and health educator who set aside her medical career to pursue her own investigation into the sighting; today considered one of the leading experts of the Phoenix Lights, having written a comprehensive book and produced an award-winning documentary film on the subject.
Peter Davenport - the director of the National UFO Reporting Center who documented hundreds of eyewitness testimonies from that night and the days following.
James Clarkson - a former investigative police sergeant and current director of the Washington State Mutual UFO Network.