Friday, January 12, 2007


Earlier Chicago UFO (2005) with similar description to 11/2006 sighting

About Those Chicago UFO Sightings
Written by Glen Boyd
Published January 05, 2007

When it comes to coverage by the national media, UFOs (or Unidentified Flying

Objects), generally speaking at least, are not a story topping the agenda of

your more credible news organizations. In fact, when it comes to such stories,

the unwritten rule has always seemed to be that such reporting is best left to

the supermarket tabloids.

This week however, was one where the mainstream media apparently never got that

memo. Unless I've missed something, three stories topped the mainstream news

this week:

Gerald Ford's funeral.

Saddam Hussein's execution.

And the UFO sighted by numerous eyewitnesses at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

According to the reports, several eyewitnesses (including pilots and other

credible personnel) watched a classic disc-shaped UFO hover over the airport

before it shot straight up into the air at a very high rate of speed and

disappeared into the clouds. If you missed it, you can view an interview with

the Chicago Tribune reporter who broke the story here:

So here's a confession.

I've actually followed the subject of UFOs most of my life. I first got

interested when, as a pre-teen boy, I saw something strange myself. Without

going into all of the details, I saw what I would call a grey, football-shaped

object up in the sky while peering out the back window of my parents car during

an afternoon drive in the country.

In the years since, I've read most of the literature dealing with UFOs out

there. I even briefly wrote the "Webwatch" column for UFO Magazine, recommending

the best UFO websites to readers during the nineties, the UFO "boom years."

Like the roughly one half (or better) of all Americans who believe there

actually may be something to all this flying saucer stuff, I've come to a few

conclusions. Now before you reach over to cue the X-Files music, please note my

hesitance to state what that "something" may actually be.

I do believe "something" that is not birds or conventional aircraft is flying

around out there and has been for sometime. I also believe that most people

probably don't give it a second thought - at least if you believe the surveys

concluding that more than half of the population shares the view that UFOs are


This is why I find many of the circumstances surrounding the Chicago UFO

sighting reported this week so inexplicable. According to the Chicago Tribune

report, both the airline and the FAA initially denied anybody saw anything. When

further digging by the reporter — armed with a Freedom Of Information Act

request no less — revealed otherwise, the FAA admitted they had been contacted

about the sighting, which they now dismiss as being due to odd weather

conditions at the time.

Perhaps those "conditions" include the perfect "hole in the sky" that some

witnesses described the object left after it tore through the cloud cover at

O'Hare, and off into space that day.

Speaking of that day, the sighting occurred on November 7th. So why did the

national news media wait until this week to report the story en masse?

Incidentally, that kind of lag time is not a first when it comes to the media's

timetable in reporting a mass UFO sighting over a major American city.

As I mentioned above, the nineties were kind of a "boom time" for UFOs. Between

things like the X-Files on TV, and movies like Independence Day and Men In

Black, UFOs and aliens became as much a part of American Pop Culture in the

nineties as Gangsta Rap and Monday Night Wrestling. The most popular national

late night radio show of the time, hosted by Art Bell, was itself devoted almost

entirely to the subject of UFOs. Just between you and me — from lunchboxes to TV

car ads — those little grey guys seemed to be just about everywhere.

On March 13, 1997, a spectacular mass UFO sighting took place in the American

Southwest. Though it has since come to be known as the "Phoenix Lights"

sighting, the strange V-shaped formation of unidentified lights — which

stretched across the entire night sky — was seen by hundreds of witnesses across

the entire state of Arizona. It was also videotaped by dozens of them.

The videos can still be easily found with a Google search. To save you the

trouble, you can check it out here:

The original "Phoenix Lights" event quickly became the buzz of UFOlogy through

the Internet and shows like Art Bell's. Still, as was the case with the Chicago

sighting reported this week, it would not be covered by the mainstream media

until several weeks later. The "Phoenix Lights" story eventually devolved into a

media circus with city politicians donning alien costumes for the cameras, even

as one (now former) councilwoman named Frances Barwood urged officials to

conduct a serious investigation into the mass sighting.

The question now, as then, is simply this:

If there really isn't anything to all of this crazy UFO stuff, just why is it

that so many folks in powerful positions act so crazy when it comes to the

subject? You'd almost swear they were actually hiding something. At the very

least, it would seem they'd prefer you and I didn't know about it.

Now you can go ahead and cue that X-Files music.

Mystery Lingers Over Chicago UFO Claims
The head of the National UFO Reporting Center gives his theories about the
strange sighting over Chicago’s main airport.

By Jessica Bennett
Updated: 3:33 p.m. ET Jan 4, 2007

Jan. 4, 2007 - The Federal Aviation Administration says it must have been a

weird weather phenomenon, and United Airlines denies any knowledge of the case.

But though it has been two months since what appeared to be an unidentified

flying object (UFO) was spotted over Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the

incident is still raising questions about what exactly was seen and whether the

authorities are trying to downplay it.

As many as a dozen United Airlines employees swear the mysterious object they

saw on Nov. 7 was real—hovering for several minutes above the United Airlines

terminal and then shooting up through the clouds so powerfully that it left an

eerie hole in overcast skies. "At first we laughed to each other" when the

report came over the radio, a witness told the National UFO Reporting Center, a

Seattle-based nonprofit that maintains a UFO hotline and is listed as a resource

in the FAA's official Aeronautical Information Manual. But then I saw the "dark

gray, hazy, round object" and seconds later "there was an almost perfect circle

in the cloud layer where the craft had been." His statement is published on the

Web site of the National UFO Reporting Center, which says its policy is to

protect the anonymity of its witnesses.

So was it a UFO? A secret military aircraft? And why did it take two months for

the details to come out? It may sound like the oldest hoax in the book, but the

United workers—including several pilots—who say they saw the object are

reportedly upset their claims have been ignored. The FAA has said it won't be

investigating the incident further, and it wasn't until this week that The

Chicago Tribune broke the story, speaking to several unnamed witnesses after a

tip-off from the head of the National UFO Reporting Center. Peter Davenport

heads that organization, and has a lot to say about the way the incident has

been handled. A self-described UFOologist, Davenport spoke with NEWSWEEK's

Jessica Bennett. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: Your Web site has documented more than 3,000 UFO sightings just in the

last year. Is that normal?
Peter Davenport: We get reports that number certainly into the thousands, and

sometimes into the tens of thousands.

How many of these do you believe are real, and how do you determine whether they

are real?
The overwhelming majority of [reports we get] are not UFOs. Many people report

stars and planets and aircraft and humming birds and pelicans and Frisbees and

hubcaps—there are thousands of things people can look at and not be able to

identify. We rely on our experience to try to quickly identify those cases that

are probably not genuine UFOs.

How long have you known about this particular incident in Chicago?
I found out about this on the day of the event. We got multiple communications.

We released the information about the 12th or 13th of November, put it on our

homepage, and, frankly, I was flabbergasted that nobody was paying attention.

Do you think there has been an effort to downplay it?
My strong suspicion is that this case showed up on the 8th of November—the day

after it happened—in the intelligence briefing document that the president

apparently reads every morning. Are we to believe that a UFO can appear over a

major U.S. airport and the American intelligence community is not informed of

it? That proposition is absurd.

If that's the case, why would the federal government keep those findings from

the public?
You've got to go directly to the government or to United Airlines [for the

answer to that question]. I'm shocked by their response to this, except for the

fact that we've seen this kind of response—certainly on behalf of the

government—for the past 59 and a half years.

What happened 59 years ago?
That takes us back to the first formal sighting that caused a ripple in the

press, which was June 24, 1947, here in the state of Washington. That was Mr.

[Kenneth] Arnold, who saw a string of [disc]-shaped objects streaking down the

Cascade Mountains [near Mount Rainier]. That was the event that gave us the term

"flying saucer."

Still, there are a lot of UFO skeptics out there. What do you say to them?
I've been asked that question about half a dozen times before. Skeptics are free

to think whatever they wish. All I do is release the information—hopefully,

accurate information—and people may read it or consume it anyway they wish. But

many of these hard-boiled skeptics simply do not look at the data. They have a

preconceived notion of how the universe works—what is possible, what is not

possible—to the extent that they no longer have to look at data.

What is that data?

The data are the cases that come in, the information that we're receiving on a

steady basis—over the telephone, over the Internet, photographs and so on.

Probably the most reliable source of data that we receive is eyewitness accounts

from responsible witnesses who seem to be independent of one another. That's not

true of all the people who contact us, of course. We get calls of many, many

stripes. But we focus on the cases that are very well documented—as in the case

of the O'Hare sighting.

So you've spoken to the witnesses in this case.
Yes, that's how we got the information.

And you think they're credible?
The witnesses [in this case] are not only responsible but they're qualified by

virtue of the fact that they've worked in the aviation industry for decades—each

one of them. They're familiar with aircraft, they're familiar with weather

phenomena. United Airlines and the FAA have apparently taken the position that

it either didn't happen, or if it did happen it was a weather aberration. Well,

the written communications that I have in my possession clearly belie that


So you obviously believe that UFOs do exist.
My objective is to give the American people the information that they need to

have, in my opinion, in order to make a rational decision with regard to the UFO

phenomenon. In a sense, I guess I'm an advocate for the notion that our planet

is visited on a frequent basis by these things we call UFOs. If my theory and

the theory of many other UFO investigators is correct, then the U.S. government

certainly knows about this [phenomenon], and has known about it for at least six

decades and is not sharing that with the American people. I believe that is


How do you define a UFO, and what elements of that definition were visible in

what was seen at O'Hare?
From my standpoint, [UFOs] are those objects that exhibit characteristics that

strongly suggest that they, almost without a doubt, are not of man's

manufacture. That statement I think is supported by the fact that these UFO

sightings appear to go back hundreds or thousands of years. We have reports on

our Web site from the 1930s, from the 1890s, from 1860, and I have two written

reports on file—one from China in the 12th century A.D. and a report from

ancient Egypt from 1770 B.C. So could that be the U.S. Air Force experimenting

with aircraft? Clearly not. In the case of this object at O'Hare, [the object

sighted] seemed to accelerate so fast and disappear so fast that people's eyes

were unable to follow it, and they didn't know which way it had gone. Now, could

that be of man's manufacture? I doubt it.

Why is there so little debate on this subject?
People think that UFOs are strange. But in my opinion, the reaction of the

American press to the UFO phenomenon is stranger still. They're not interested

in what I consider to be the greatest scientific question of man's existence of

all times: are we alone in this galaxy or are we not? From my vantage point, the

clear answer to that is that we're not. And it appears that these objects visit

our planet on a regular basis.

© 2007