Originally published 2/24/15 at Joint Recon Study Group
The audience at the 24th annual International UFO Congress Convention & Film Festival last week near Scottsdale, Arizona, heard some fascinating presentations that were at times both hopeful and frightening.
From ancient accounts in Native American lore to ongoing scientific developments, speakers explored many aspects of research about UFOs.
Sensitive U.S. military bases like Wright-Patterson Air Force base in southwestern Ohio and Area 51 in southern Nevada have played key roles associated with this challenging situation, according to presentations at the conference.
The Rendlesham Forest incident at a U.S. air base in the UK and UFO crashes around the U.S.-Mexican border were also discussed. Cattle mutilations and human abductions, including group abductions, were examined as well.
While some speakers perceived alleged visitors as hostile and dangerous, others put forth accounts of advanced and benevolent beings who want to help the human race survive and develop.
In fact, we may be facing several kinds of visitors that will require intelligence on our part to understand and deal with, the audience was told.
The conference was sponsored by Open Minds Production of Tempe, Arizona. Open Minds covers the UFO topic through its investigators and journalists, website, and online radio and TV programs. Additional Open Minds activities include networking with other U.S. and international researchers and sponsoring the annual UFO conference.
The five-day conference, film festival and related activities took place Feb. 18 – 22 at the Wa-Ko-Pa resort, east of Fountain Hills and Scottsdale, in the northeast metro Phoenix region.
Several speakers addressed the national security and global security issues involved in this alleged situation. Due to the nature of what has been discovered about UFOs and visitors, operational security and secrecy of U.S. and international activities have been very robust, according to some of the speakers.
No one knows this better than conference guest Bob Lazar. The live, in-person interview of Lazar by award-winning investigative TV journalist George Knapp of KLAS-TV in Las Vegas was one of the many highlights of the conference.
Back in November 1989, after a number of unique circumstances, Knapp interviewed Lazar for a news segment on KLAS-TV. That is when the nation and the world began to learn about secret facilities in a remote desert location known as Area 51.
Lazar stated in that interview that he had been working on a project involving saucer-shaped craft that did not originate in the U.S. or any other nation on Earth.
At last week’s conference, Knapp again questioned Lazar about his claims of working at a compartmented secure site in 1988-89 that was within Area 51 but separate from the main air base at Groom Lake.
Called S4, this facility included multiple hangars carved into the side of a rocky desert hill and expertly camouflaged, Lazar said. Inside the hangar bays were several craft, some disc-shaped. Lazar was assigned to help analyze and back-engineer components and systems of one of the saucers, he stated.
Lazar said he first thought these were U.S.-made craft that explained the many UFO sightings over past decades. However, upon examination of the craft and other information that came to his attention, it became clear that the craft was not ours and was tremendously far in advance of our technology at that time.
From the background information provided by both Knapp and Lazar, and the straightforward way they presented their stories to the audience, many in attendance seemed increasingly convinced that Lazar’s accounts were true.
DEFENSE AND SECURITY
Former U.S. Air Force military police officer John Burroughs spoke about the December 1980 incident in Rendlesham Forest, UK. While on-duty at a U.S. air base nearby, he and other USAF personnel (including the deputy base commander) encountered very unusual unknown objects in the sky and on the ground.
Historian Richard Dolan told conference attendees that advanced technologies and knowledge related to UFOs have been obtained, but are closely held by a relatively small number of people.
Dolan advocated for the release of more information about this situation. Though recognizing the need for security and safety, he said he feels it is potentially dangerous for our society and our democracy to keep such important information and technology secret.
He said he feels it is just a matter of time until more information is put forward about the reality of visitors from elsewhere and the situation is acknowledged and accepted more widely.
James Clarkson explored the story of June Crain, who reportedly worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the 1940s and was exposed to information about UFO research being done at the base.
Wright-Patterson in Dayton, Ohio, has long been a center for aircraft research over the decades, particularly the engineering and capabilities of the aircraft of our adversaries.
Mark Pilkington’s research has included a close look at how elements of our defense and intelligence community have dealt with the UFO phenomena, and how they may have leveraged it for certain purposes. He told the audience there is much more than meets the eye regarding the UFO situation. It may be much more complex than many of us realize, he said.
Speaker Ruben Uriarte talked about UFO incidents in regions along the U.S.-Mexico border. Both U.S. and Mexican militaries have been involved, he said. Though less well-known than the Roswell case, he reviewed other incidents that are similarly compelling.
FRIEND OR FOE
In separate presentations about their different cases, Thomas Reed and Charles Foltz recounted the strange circumstances of their abductions by non-humans decades ago.
Reed and family members were allegedly taken aboard a craft and examined by very strange-looking beings.
Foltz was one of four young men on a canoe and fishing trip in a remote wilderness area in Maine when they, too, were taken aboard a craft and examined. This case is known as the Allagash incident, named after the Maine wilderness area.
Both men, and their families and friends, learned more details only later with the help of researchers and investigators, and other methods to help them recall the traumatic events, they said.
Cattle mutilations remain a mystery, said speaker Christopher O’Brien. Some may be conducted by U.S. personnel monitoring the beef supply for various kinds of contamination, such as mad cow disease or other threats to human health, he stated. Yet, that scenario may not seem to fit each and every case of cattle mutilation, he indicated.
Investigator Derrel Sims expressed serious concerns about the intentions of at least some of these visitors from elsewhere. He views them (at least the type he has encountered) as adversaries to be exposed and resisted. Abductions of humans are real, he said, and implants are often placed in abductees bodies.
Mexico TV host Jaime Maussan showed video of many UFOs over Mexico City and other areas of his country and the U.S. Maussan seemed hopeful that these visitors are here to help us, and may even be signs of an upcoming positive spiritual development for humankind.
James Gilliland appeared to be on the same page with Maussan in some ways. He told the audience about frequent UFO sightings above his ranch near Mt. Adams in Trout Lake, Washington. Gilliland indicated there are both enlightened and unsavory beings of several kinds and we need to be able to deal with several aspects and scenarios.
TIME AND PLACE
Linda Zimmerman spoke about the UFO sightings in the Hudson Valley area of New York state. She said the wave of sightings in the Hudson Valley in the 1980s dovetails with other reports of UFOs there in the early 1900s.
Cheryl Costa also shared stories of close encounters in New York state. She noted that the state has been the site of odd UFO incidents possibly going back centuries.
That matches the information from Clifford Mahooty, an elder of the Zuni tribe of Native Americans in New Mexico. Mahooty said ancient oral histories of his tribe and other Native peoples make repeated mention of non-human visitors from elsewhere.
Extraterrestrial artifacts on Earth were a focus of the presentation by Frank Kimbler. The study of such artifacts as known as xenoarcheology, he said. As an assistant professor of earth sciences at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico, he has had the opportunity to extensively research the alleged 1947 crash in the Roswell region, Kimbler explained.
Montana was the focus of Joan Bird’s presentation. Leveraging her background in zoology and psychology, she examined several aspects of the UFO phenomena and how society is moving forward to acknowledge the situation at hand.
The Asheville, North Carolina, region was the subject of Joshua P. Warren’s talk. The “Brown Mountain lights” have been seen for more than 100 years he said. Odd, large glowing balls of light periodically appear and dance around that area in the Appalachian Mountain region.
Warren’s extensive scientific research leads him to suspect they are balls of plasma energy that are generated by unusual but natural factors in the environment there. However, some of those factors may also be involved in creating electromagnetic effects that could alter gravity. This, in turn, can result in strange changes in the environment, he indicated.
FILMMAKING, TV, AWARDS
Documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell shared his research into the mysteries of the UFO situation and his contacts with people who helped him understand and document via film various elements of the topic. He said he plans to continue to make films on the UFO subject and get them distributed for larger audiences.
Video crews from the Discovery Science channel were on hand to cover parts of the conference. Exclusive previews of upcoming Sci Channel UFO-related shows were shown, promoting “Are We Alone?” week starting March 2. Sci Channel will present a week of UFO and alien programs including the shows “NASA’s Unexplained Files,” “Close Encounters,” “What on Earth” and “UFO Conspiracies.”
Several excellent independent films related to UFOs were screened at the film festival. When the winner was announced, makers of the documentary “Travis” were overjoyed with their win of the EBE Award, and then with the People’s Choice Award based on the votes of the audience.
The title refers to Travis Walton who was present during the conference. He joined the filmmakers and other researchers featured in the film on stage for the award.
The film chronicles the case of Walton and his logging crew from the Snowflake, Arizona, area. After a day of work in a nearby national forest, the young men saw a saucer-shaped craft. Walton got close … too close, and was reportedly abducted and taken on board the craft, only to reappear several days later.
The case was the subject of the sensationalized and not entirely accurate 1993 Hollywood movie “Fire in the Sky.”
The late Roger Leir, MD, was posthumously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from Open Minds Production. Leir is well-known for surgically removing highly-unusual implants embedded in the bodies of suspected abductees. He passed on just last year, March 14, 2014.
For those who were unable to attend the conference, DVDs of the speakers’ presentations are available from Open Minds Production. DVDs of presentation from past conferences are also available.
For more on the conference: http://ufocongress.com/
For more on Open Minds Production: http://www.openminds.tv/
About the Author
Steve Hammons is the author of two novels about a U.S. Government and military joint-service research team investigating unusual phenomena. MISSION INTO LIGHT and the sequel LIGHT’S HAND introduce readers to the ten women and men of the “Joint Reconnaissance Study Group” and their exciting adventures exploring the unknown.