May 3 2016

You may have heard that next week, we launch into orbit the 17th Annual UFO Festival in downtown McMinnville. If you haven't yet made it to this colorful, mind-expanding festival, you should make it happen. It has become a Pacific Northwest "bucket list" item for many, attracting guests from around the nation.

Not only is it a ton of fun (parade! beer! live music! etc.) with fantastic photo ops and the best people-watching, you get to hear from regular, down-to-earth human beings who truly believe in the existence of UFOs and aliens. (Because really, what's more frightening - the possibility that aliens are out there, or the possibility that we are the only ones in the entire universe?)

This year's festival will feature eyewitnesses, experts and investigators of one specific UFO incident: The Phoenix Lights. On March 13, 1997, thousands of people in the downtown and greater Phoenix area all saw the same phenomenon in the sky. Made up of huge, glowing amber lights, a massive "craft" moved slowly and completely silently over the city as people watched in amazement, wonder and disbelief. It was estimated to be more than a mile wide and blocked out the night sky.

Flares? A military experiment? Skydivers with spotlights? All theories were studied and disproved. It is a truly fascinating case, one that has yet to be explained. Come to the festival and hear directly from the people who were there, who have studied the case and who have, in some instances, made it their life's work.

Our Thursday, May 12, we are pleased to host Navajo Federal Rangers Stanley Milford, Jr., and Jonathan Dover, who will present a different look at the age-old phenomena of "otherworldly beings." As rangers of the Navajo Nation, Dover and Milford together were assigned to officially investigate and document significant cases involving the paranormal. (Pretty cool job.) Not only are Milford and Dover eyewitnesses to UFO activity, but at our festival they will present the Native American perspective on the Phoenix Lights, Bigfoot, skinwalkers, hauntings and more from Navajo tradition.

Here's an article about their work, originally published on

UFO sightings routinely result in torrents of phone calls to newsrooms and police stations. And while some police stations find UFO reports to be an unwanted nuisance, a law enforcement agency in Arizona welcomes reports of UFOs and other paranormal phenomena.

Ten years ago, according to KPHO, the CBS affiliate in Phoenix, "officials on the Navajo Reservation decided to stop the snickering, to treat these witnesses with respect and thoroughly investigate." This agency, known as the Navajo Nation Rangers, is a federal law enforcement resource, according to retired Lieutenant Jon Dover, and the management of national parks, fish and wildlife services, and archaeological sites are a few of the agency's responsibilities.

Dover's investigations have revealed a "wealth of information," and KPHO reports that the Rangers recently shared with them photos and documents from dozens of paranormal investigations. In one of the most solid cases, a mother and daughter describe a mass of lights floating over uninhabited reservation land in January 2012. As they watched, the lights blinked out after a few seconds, followed by a sonic boom, a black domed craft and the entire town of Chinle losing power. Their drawings are strikingly vivid - blue, orange and white colors stand out against a dark landscape.

Dover told KPHO, "Maybe we don't believe it . . . . Maybe we don't hold every belief that you do, but we're going to investigate it rather meticulously and professionally. We'll report it and let the chips fall where they will." It is this willingness to take reports of paranormal activity, and the promise to be thorough and discreet during the investigation process, that make witnesses feel comfortable dealing with these officers.

About Our May 12 Festival Speakers
Jonathan Dover spent 31 years as a law enforcement officer. He worked in the Arizona Police Department, the National Park Service, Navajo Historic Preservation Department, and the Navajo Nation Rangers. He was trained in criminal investigations and was an Archaeological Resource Crimes Investigator.

Stanley Milford, Jr. currently serves as a Ranger Sergeant with the Navajo Nation Rangers in Window Rock, Arizona. He's a graduate of the United States Indian Police Academy, and has worked as a law enforcement Ranger for 18 years.

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