The Kecksburg, PA UFO Festival, an event commemorating the reported landing of an unidentified flying object (UFO) in a farmer's field near this tiny southwestern Pennsylvania town, will take place once again July 26-28 on the grounds of the Kecksburg Volunteer Fire Department.
I'm telling you this because I covered that UFO's "landing" the evening of Dec. 9, 1965, when I was a cub reporter for the Greensburg, PA Tribune-Review. You can learn more about that here. I was also a speaker at last year's Festival, given the honor of telling the fire hall's packed auditorium what it was like working what my editor promised would be "the story of the century."
The Kecksburg event, however, was brought to mind today when a Not Fake News subscriber sent me this news article from The Washington Post about two guys who were actually abducted by aliens while they were fishing near the little Mississippi town of Pascagoula.
Turns out the authorities' efforts to poke holes in their stories were unsuccessful and finally, local officials decided what they said must have been true. The fishermen even showed marks on their arms where they said the aliens from the spacecraft that landed had grabbed them.
All of that happened on Oct. 11, 1973 and now the town has installed a historical marker commemorating the event. One of the fishermen, Charles Hickson, died 2011, but his friend, Calvin Parker, Jr., and members of his family posed for this pic with the new marker.
The event caused quite a sensation, and "believers flooded into Pascagoula by the thousands, wrapped in aluminum foil and sitting all night on the hoods of their cars, waiting for visitors from another world," the Post article says.
In Kecksburg, there is something of a historical marker, too. It's a giant brown acorn shaped statue with weird writing around it, per the description of eyewitnesses who said they saw the thing being hauled away by military personnel on a flatbed truck.
That's the pic at the top of this blog, and that's me, of course, posing with it, reliving that "story of the century" that I was sent to cover that night.
But these aren't the only stories about aliens and UFOs in the news these days.
Earlier this year the U.S. Navy distributed new classified guidance to pilots on how to report what the military calls unexplained aerial phenomena, or unidentified flying objects.
The New York Times reported that Joseph Gradisher, a Navy spokesman, said the new guidance was an update of instructions sent to the fleet in 2015.
“There were a number of different reports,” he said. Some cases could have been commercial drones, he said. As for others? “We don’t know who’s doing this, we don’t have enough data to track this. So the intent of the message to the fleet is to provide updated guidance on reporting procedures for suspected intrusions into our airspace.”
Congress apparently is taking this stuff -- at least the Navy reports -- seriously.
“There are people coming out of the woodwork,” a government official told Politico. Three senators, including Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence committee, have been briefed about encounters members of the Navy have described with unidentified aircraft.
“If naval pilots are running into unexplained interference in the air,” Warner’s spokesperson said, “that’s a safety concern Senator Warner believes we need to get to the bottom of.” Other lawmakers apparently agree: “More requests for briefings are coming in,” an intelligence official told Politico.
This stuff is getting serious.