Here are a number of stories about
the three different types of UFOS: UAPs, IFOs, and TRUFOs. Don't know your UFO
alphabet? Keep reading to find out what these acronyms mean.
atmospheric phenomena (UAPs) are UFOs that are produced by natural
causes. Rather than being actual objects, some UFOs are simply strange lights,
called "earth lights" by UFOlogists. These UAPs include earthquake
lights (lights that appear before, during, and after earthquakes) and
will-o'-the-wisps (fiery lights seen in marshy areas). According to author Paul
Devereux, other earth lights are still unidentified but seem to be related to
bodies of water, sources of power, and openings in the earth.
One somewhat common UAP has
been identified as ball lightning.
This phenomenon occurs very rarely, but it has been reported often enough
that it now has a label. It looks like a round, glowing red-orange or blue ball
and usually occurs when thunderstorms are near, though this is not always the
case. It may make an unusual noise and be responsible for strange electrical
happenings. In fact, it seems to form near electrical wires. In the air it may
move quite rapidly, but near the ground it travels more slowly. It may explode,
although it usually just disappears without a sound. Whatever it does, ball
lightning is dangerous.
One case reported by astronomer
and UFO investigator Walter Webb occurred on July 4, 1986, in Winchester,
Massachusetts. It had rained lightly throughout that day, but then the sky
turned darker and looked more threatening. At 2:20 P.m., Mrs. Domenica
Falcione happened to glance out her kitchen window and spot a strange, red,
glowing object hovering above some evergreen trees in her back yard. She was
amazed at the sight and watched as the sphere remained perfectly still for
perhaps thirty seconds. To make sure that her eyes weren't playing tricks on
her, she turned away for a moment. When she looked back, the red ball was
still hanging in the air.
Suddenly Mrs. Faicione heard an
explosion, and her house shook. The burglar alarm and the automatic lawn
sprinklers,began to work. She ran to the garage to check the meter box for the
lawn sprinkler system; it was black and smoking, and the wall it was mounted
on had been damaged.
In fact, the explosion had done
a great deal of damage. A neighbor's tree had been blown apart. A foot-deep
hole had been gouged below Mrs. Falcione's back fence. Her furnace and
television set had burned out, and half of the fuses in the main fuse box were
damaged. Altogether, Mrs. Falcione had to pay almost $2,000 to repair the
An encounter with an alien UFO? Not
quite. Astronomer Webb concluded that the culprit was ball lightning.
Another recurring UAP in recent
years has been referred to by UFOlogists as mystery
circles. These circles have appeared in fields, mainly since
1981, and although they have been observed in many countries, including the
United States, they have been seen most often in England, usually between May
The circles have been photographed
for a recent book, entitled Circular Evidence, by UFOlogists Pat Delgado
and Colin Andrews. The circles have many different formations. Most common are
single circles, but sets of five are also found. None, however, are ever exactly
alike. The only common denominator is that the corn or wheat crop is flattened
but never damaged. Rather, the crop is swirled down to the ground.
What are these mystery circles?
Some people think that tricksters
have selected isolated fields and mashed down the crop. As Delgado and Andrews
have shown, however, the circles are flattened in a swirl and have different
layers within the overall pattern. No footsteps are found.
A more plausible theory is that the
circles are caused by a natural phenomenon known as a vortex, or whirlwind.
Others believe that strong electromagnetic fields, deep in the earth may account
for them. Either theory would help to explain why no two circles are the same,
since wind currents and electromagnetic fields vary.
Still another theory is that the
circles are created by spaceships. If UFOs are responsible for them, however,
then each circle has been created by a different UFO quite unlikely, considering
that thousands of circles have been found. Unless there are an equal number of
different UFOs, at least some circle patterns would be repeated.
No one has been able to prove any of
these theories, because no one has seen a mystery circle appear; they always
seem to develop overnight. To make matters even more confusing, some strange
events have been associated with them. People have had nocturnal encounters with
UFOs only to discover the next day that a mystery circle has formed near the
spot of the incident. And in at least one case, a configuration of circles was
said to be related to a plane wreck.
On August 22, 1987, a set of four
mystery circles was found in a cornfield near Winterbourne Stoke, England.
Eight weeks later, on October 22, a British fighter jet flown by Pilot
Humphrey Taylor Scott left Dunsfold Airfield on a solo test flight. Six
minutes after takeoff, air traffic controllers lost contact with Pilot Scott
and alerted other aircraft in the vicinity. The crew of an American military
transport observed the fighter a short time later. What they saw stunned them:
the cockpit canopy--and the pilot--were missing! The American plane followed
the jet for about four hundred miles, until it crashed into the Atlantic
What happened to the pilot? A
day later his body was found in a field not far from Winterbourne Stoke.
According to UFOlogist Colin Andrews, something had happened to Scott above
the field with the four mystery circles. The jet apparently changed its course
by a few degrees over the circles, a fact reportedly confirmed by the British
Ministry of Defence. That's when the pilot left the aircraft, but the ejection
seat was not found on the ground.
Although the Royal Air Force
believes that Pilot Scott was manually ejected in a freak accident, Andrews is
not so certain that the force that created the mystery circles could not also
have removed the canopy from the jet, causing the pilot's death. Even though
the circles were made two months before the incident, Andrews believes that
the coincidence of the circles and the ejection of Pilot Scott is too great to
be ignored. What do you think?
A final example of a UAP comes from
UFOlogist Jennie Zeidman, who reported a strange experience involving a nightlightthat a young doctor saw in Youngstown, Ohio, in June 1979.
Dr. Lynn Moorman was spending
Saturday night at her parents' house. Whenever she stayed with them, she slept
on the couch in the family room. The couch was set against a wall under a
large picture window.
Around three o'clock that
morning, Dr. Moorman opened her eyes and noticed a flashing light outside the
house. She immediately thought that it was a firefly. A moment later, as the
light continued to flash, she realized that it was too bright to be a firefly.
Then the light moved toward the
window and-- unbelievably--through the windowpane into the room. It passed in
front of her, perhaps as close as three feet. The light seemed as bright as a
sixty-watt bulb. Then Dr. Moorman noticed that it appeared to have two sets of
wires coming from the top and bottom.
Suddenly the family dog, who
had been sleeping beside the couch, woke up and noticed the flashing light.
Each time the object flashed, Dr. Moorman saw it clearly; but when the light
turned off, the object was no longer visible.
Dr. Moorman was quite scared by
now, even though the flashing light seemed to be unaware of her and the dog.
She thought about screaming, but couldn't open her mouth. When the light moved
into the kitchen, she ran to her sister's bedroom. "Move over," she
said. "I saw something that scared me and I'm coming into bed with
you." The next morning at breakfast she told her family what had
happened, but no one else had noticed anything. Her experience remains a
Did Dr. Moorman encounter a new
type of UAP? Did she imagine the object? Or did she witness a tiny UFO that
had come visiting that night?
flying objects (IFOs) are normal objects that people mistake for
something very strange. Many people have gazed at the night sky and sworn that
they saw a brightly lit UFO, only to discover that it was actually the planet
Venus. In one mass sighting, on New Year's Eve 1978, hundreds of people saw an
object in the skies over Western Europe. Some said they saw a long tube like a
railroad car; others described a glowing ball of light streaking across the sky.
Many believed the object was a solid metallic shape with windows. Despite what
people thought, what they actually saw was the re-entry of a booster rocket from
a Russian satellite that had been launched a few days earlier. An interesting
feature of this IFO sighting, according to UFOlogist Jenny Randles, was that
many of the observers refused to believe the official explanation. They believed
that they had seen a UFO, no matter what the facts were.
Writer Allen Hendry, who has studied
many UFO sightings, discovered that most UFOs turn into IFOs when investigated.
One of the cases Hendry investigated occurred in Chicago, Illinois. About 2:30
one night, a man watched through his apartment window as a UFO landed on a
grassy area next to Lake Shore Drive (a major highway). The UFO then sat there
next to two Chicago Police Department squad cars for two and one-half hours
before departing. Hendry doubted that the object was a UFO, and telephoned the
Chicago police to ask a few questions. He quickly learned that the place where
the UFO had landed also happened to be the landing site for the helicopter used
by the police in the 18th District.
In another case, William Athol was
driving home about five o'clock one morning near Phillipstown, Massachusetts,
when he was blinded by an intense white light in the sky, as if a bomb had
exploded. Immediately, his car lost power for a few minutes. Then he saw an
object shaped like an orange quarter-moon in the sky.
"So that's the UFO that caused
all this!" he concluded. When investigator Hendry checked the story, he
discovered that a power transmitter had exploded that night, causing both the
blinding flash and the power loss. And the UFO shaped like a quarter-moon was
... simply the moon.
Real unidentified flying
objects are sometimes called TRUFOs (as in True
UFOs). These cannot be explained away as atmospheric phenomena or IFOs.
They are what most people think of when they hear the term "UFO":
flying saucers and aliens. However, there can be other explanations for TRUFOs,
as you will see.
One of the most interesting and
well-studied encounters took place over Mansfield, Ohio, Captain Lawrence J.
Coyne was the pilot of the crew of an Army Reserve helicopter that left Columbus
on evening of October 18 on a flight to the home bas Cleveland. The sky was
clear but moonless that night and visibility was approximately fifteen miles.
Near Mansfield the crew
noticed a strange red light, Sergeant John Healy saw it first, to the
west, but it seemed tobe moving away, so he said nothing. About three
minutes later, Sergeant Robert Yanacsek saw a small red light to the east, where
it appeared to be moving along with the helicopter. Then the light began to move
toward the copter.
Fearing that they were about to
collide, Captain Coyne thrust the control stick down, and the helicopter began a
quick descent. At the same time he requested information from the Mansfield
control tower on jet aircraft in the vicinity. However, radio contact was lost,
and the helicopter's compass began to spin out of control.
The red light continued toclose
in, even though the helicopter was in a rapid descent. Suddenly the light began
to hover in front of and slightly above it. Coyne, 14ealy, and Yanacsek each
later reported that he saw a cigar-shaped gray metallic object, which filled the
entire front windscreen of the helicopter. This object had a red light in front
and a white light at the tail. But its most interesting feature was the green
beam that came from its lower portion. Without warning, the beam rose up and
flooded the helicopter's cockpit with green light.
After a few seconds, the object sped
away to the we As the crew watched the white taillight recede, each man noted
that the object made a sharp forty-five degree course change, something
impossible in present-day aircraft.
Most amazingof all,
even though the helicopter h been in a steep descent, Captain Coyne noticed that
was now higher than its original altitude and still climbing. He tried to regain
control of it. In a moment he felt a bump, and he began a slow descent to the
cruising altitude of 2,500 feet. Coyne was convinced that something had caused
the helicopter to rise quickly, even though the control stick was thrust down.
That something, he was certain, was a TRUFO.
When UFOlogist Jennie Zeidman became
involved in the case, she spent many hours interviewing the helicopter crew and
also tried to find witnesses to the sighting on the round. Her persistence paid
off when, fifteen years later, she located a family who claimed to have personal
knowledge of Captain Coyne's experience.
The Elias family lived below the
general flight path to the Mansfield airport and directly beneath the route of
the helicopter's flight that night. Although they did not actually see the UFO,
Mrs. Jeanne Elias and her fourteen-year-old son John did hear the helicopter.
The sound was so loud that Mrs. Elias, who had just gone to bed, thought the
craft was going to crash and instinctively stuck her head under the pillow.
Later, she laughed with embarrassment as she told Zeidman how foolishly she had
The sound wakened John, but his
reaction was different. He thought, "Wow, a helicopter is hovering over the
house." Then he watched as a mysterious green light illuminated his bedroom
momentarily. John told Zeidman that the green light shone long enough "to
make me realize that there was something above the house ... shining a light
down on the ground, or around the house, because it was coming in so heavy in my
Some skeptics thought that a
meteor caused the helicopter's strange encounter. But asUFOlogist
Zeidman concluded, the fact that the incident lasted for a long time and
involved a green beam of light proved that a meteor was not its cause.