News Column

UFO Researchers Land in South Texas

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Lights twinkling in the South Texas sky may be more than simply a galaxy of stars, at least according to those who believe some of the inexplicable moving objects and events are actually from another world.

In the everlasting quest to find the truth, UFO researchers, alien authors and enthusiasts of the other-worldly topic gather at conventions and conferences to share their findings and opinions.

In the first "Out of This World" conference and festival, which takes place today at 9 a.m. and continues through Saturday, March 16, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance and Edinburg City Hall Courtyard, nuclear physicist, UFO researcher and lecturer Stanton Friedman will be one of the speakers.

Noe Torres, a local author, worked as a coordinator of the event, which is the first for Edinburg, Texas.

"To my knowledge, it is the first full-scale UFO conference that features well-known speakers and that runs the whole spectrum of what a UFO conference should be," Torres said.

Also speaking at the event will be Travis Walton, whose account of his abduction in 1975 inspired the movie Fire in the Sky; Ismael Cuellar, who runs a paranormal research group in Laredo; Torres, who has written numerous books about UFOs, including Aliens in the Forest: The Cisco Grove UFO Encounter.

A town hall meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Edinburg City Auditorium. It will be an open forum for locals who want to share their stories of UFO sightings and other personal extraterrestrial experiences.

Following the meeting will be the festival, which starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Edinburg City Hall Courtyard.

"There will be food vendors and artists who will bring in work on the 'Out of This World' theme," said Edward Vidaurre, the arts event coordinator for Edinburg.

The city is also asking attendees to come in their best "Out of This World" costume for the evening's contest -- trophies will be awarded for two categories: most creative and TV/movie personalities.

For more information on the conference and festival, visit www.edinburgufo.com.

Edinburg 'Out of This World' Conference and Festival

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today

WHERE: Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, 118 Paseo del Prado

COST: $15, general admission; $30, reserved seating

BUY TICKETS: Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, 602 W. University Drive, Dustin M. Sekula Memorial Library, 1906 S. Closner Blvd. or call (956) 383-4974 or (800) 800-7214

CONFERENCE AND FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

FRIDAY, MARCH 15

9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Dr. Robert Gross, "Science and the Paranormal"

9:50 a.m. to 10:25 a.m. Stephen Andrasko, "The South Texas X-Files"

10:30 a.m. to12 p.m. Stanton Friedman, "Flying Saucers and Science"

1 p.m.-1:55 p.m. Ismael Cuellar, "UFOs Over South Texas"

2 p.m. to 2:55 p.m. Noe Torres, "Aliens in the Forest"

3 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. Stanton Friedman, "A New View of the Cosmos"

4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Showing of the movie, "Fire in the Sky" (Courtesy of the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library).

7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Keynote: Travis Walton, "Fire in the Sky"

SATURDAY, MARCH 16

5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Town Hall Meeting (Edinburg City Auditorium, 415 W. McIntyre)

7 p.m. to 10 p.m. "Out of This World" Festival (Edinburg City Hall Courtyard, 415 W. University Drive)

A SCIENTIST'S STUDY

The Valley will be treated to a lecture from perhaps the most recognizable UFO researcher to date: Stanton Friedman. The nuclear physicist, who has earned bachelor and master degrees in physics from the University of Chicago, first began his study of flying saucers in the late '50s when he happened upon the book The Report on UFOs. He's been hooked ever since.

Friedman has written several books and articles on the famous Roswell, New Mexico incident, alleged abductions and alien spacecraft. He took a few minutes to speak with Festiva about the six reasons he believes the government wouldn't be exactly forthcoming about alien visitation.

FESTIVA: So let's say the government gives in and says, "OK, humans, these UFOs are alien technology. Life exists outside of Earth." What would we gain from that knowledge, in your opinion?

FRIEDMAN: There are several reasons why they haven't and I think we need to look at those real quickly.

I think there's six reasons. One, they want to figure out how the darn things work. They make wonderful weapons delivery and defense systems. Rule number one for secret programs is you can't tell your friends without telling your enemies. They read the newspapers, too.

Second problem is the other side of the same coin -- what if they other guy figures out how they work before you do? How do you defend against him? You don't want him to know you know he knows. Warfare has a long history of weapons, counter-weapons, counter-counter-weapons.

The third problem is different. If there were to be a big announcement tomorrow ... what would happen? Stock market would go down, church attendance would go up, mental hospital admissions would go up, and one of the biggest things that would happen, I believe, is that the younger generation, which unlike me, was not alive ever when there wasn't a space program, (would have) a new view of ourselves -- instead of Americans, Canadians, Greek, Peruvians, whatever -- as Earthlings. Obviously, from an alien viewpoint, we are all Earthlings. We don't seem to like that very much. Nationalism is the only game in town -- you may have noticed that. No government wants its citizens to owe their allegiance to the planet instead of that government.

The fourth reason is that people like Pat Robertson have very loudly proclaimed that all the intelligent life in the universe is right here on the planet Earth. ... And Pat says all this UFO stuff is the work of the devil -- and also the world was created in 4004 B.C. -- he left out about six zeroes in there.

The fifth reason is different. People say to me, "Stan, look, if aliens are coming here and we're not going there, then they're more advanced than we are. That means that soon there will be new methods of energy production -- there goes the oil industry. New methods of ground and air transport -- there goes the car and the plane people. New methods of electronics and so forth -- economic chaos." And I say, "You know, we don't make many buggy whips anymore. We seem to have survived the changes. There's been an enormous change in our technological capabilities -- just look at the computer on your desk. ... They may have lost some pencil sales because of that.

And finally, I have, on seven different occasions (because I travel a lot ...), been told of cases in which military planes chased UFOs and never came back. And if you check rather carefully, you'll find that in 1952, orders were issued: Shoot them down if they don't land when instructed to do so.

... Incidentally, there were over 200 military pilots lost in accidents between '51 and '56, according to The New York Times. And they used words like "on occasion" and "disappeared" and "disintegrated." And five of those 200 pilots were guys who had over 100 missions in Korea where the Russian MiGs were trying to shoot them down. When they came back to the United States, they crashed. It seems a little strange. You've got to be a pretty good pilot to survive 100 missions when somebody's trying to kill you. It's a strange world out there.

So what difference would it make? It affects our view of ourselves, it affects religion, it affects -- you know, there will be guys like, "OK, what can I sell them?" Why not? They may have been stealing goodies from us all along and not paying anybody for it. The Earth is the densest planet in the solar system -- I don't mean the people, although that's probably true, too -- a cubic foot of Earth weighs more than a cubic foot of any other planet in our solar system. That means more heavy metals. And some heavy metals like uranium and gold and osmium and platinum, some of which people have never heard of, have very special properties like high melting points and stuff like that. Maybe they've been stealing all those diamonds that washed off the African rivers right into the ocean. Who knows?

... So I can imagine it would put governments at risk. Nobody in power wants to give up power. You may have noticed that.

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