A Report (Highlights) On The 1998 Show-Me UFO Conference
Copyright 1998, by Bob Soetebier
The one-day Show-Me UFO Conference, presented by MUFON St. Louis,
took place on Saturday, October 17, 1998. It was held in the spacious
conference room at the Comfort Inn near West Port Plaza in Maryland
Heights in St. Louis County, Missouri. For their efforts in organizing
the conference, kudos are due for Bruce Widaman, Missouri MUFON State
Director, and Dave Rapp, MO MUFON Director of Field Investigations.
My wife and I were the first folks to arrive at the conference room
that morning, as we had volunteered to help (if needed) with setup, etc.
We were shortly joined by a some of our friends, and by a couple of other
early birds: Chris O'Brien and Stanton Friedman; who were both, in
order, the first and last scheduled speakers for the conference.
The conference started on time, and first up to speak was Chris
O'Brien. His talk was entitled, "The Mysterious Valley" (which also
happens to be the title of his excellent 1996 non-fiction St. Martin's
Paperbacks book) about the San Luis Valley in south central Colorado.
(Good news: Chris O'Brien's next San Luis Valley update book, Enter The
Valley, will be out before the end of this year.)
Some of what Chris mentioned in his talk was a reprise of material
covered in his 1996 book, and some from his coming 1998 book. So as not
to spoil you reading experiences of either of those books, I won't go
into detail here, other than to note that the suspicious animal
mutilation cases in the Valley apparently continue, along with occasional
UFO sightings...albeit, on a lessened frequency than previously reported.
I will whet your appetite for intrigue, and mention that Chris
confirmed that there are at least 2 or 3 -- and possibly 2 or 3 more
nearby -- suspected underground facilities within the San Luis Valley.
He did publicly state that he did not want to cite their probable
locations during his talk.
However, Chris did mention that there definitely is a U.S.
government/military presence, or interest, in the San Luis Valley. In
this regard, he referred to the government's attempt (opposed by the
sparsely populated Valley residents) to expand the nearby MOA [Military
Operations Area] westward into the valley. O'Brien is firmly convinced
that many, if not most, of the previously reported "UFO" sightings in the
Valley are actually sightings of test flights of exotic military aircraft
and/or misidentification of more mundane air craft. He does stress,
though, that such does not explain all UFO sightings.
The next conference speaker was Lt. Col. Gerald Rowles, U.S.A.F.
(Ret.), who is currently the Washington state Assistant State Director
for MUFON. His talk was entitled, "The Aviano Incident."
Rowles made it clear that he takes exception to some of the details
-- such as the duration and characteristics of the reported sighting --
included in a couple of UFO-related books written separately by both
Timothy Good an Jenny Randles. Rowles bases his updated information upon
a personal interview he conducted with a very reliable and credible eye
witness who was approximate to the July, 1, 1997, Aviano incident. [For
those who are interested in the details of Aviano U.S.A.F. Base (in
Italy) "UFO" case, be sure to check out Rowles' "The Mystery of Aviano"
on pages 3 thru 6 in the February, 1996, issue of the "MUFON UFO Journal."]
I did have the opportunity (during "Q&A") to ask Rowles if he had
any information regarding Internet rumors of an "underground base" in the
Dolomite Mountains at Aviano. He replied that, although he did not know
for a fact that such a facility was there, he suspected that, since the
Aviano Air Base would most certainly be a nuclear target, there most
probably was a hardened underground facility *behind* the front range
(not in within the facing hills) of the Dolomites.
After the lunch break, the next speaker was physicist Rob Swiatek of
FUFOR [Fund for UFO Research]. The title of his talk was "UFOs Exist and
That's Final! 50 Years of Government Documents Prove It!"
Swiatek presented a historical and chronological overview of the
U.S. government's involvement in monitoring UFO sightings. He noted that
the government's interest began back in the 1940s, if not before, with
such widely reported incidents as the Kenneth Arnold UFOs sightings, the
"Roswell" UFO incident, and the New Mexico and Desert Southwest "Green
Fireballs" wave (investigated for the government by Dr. Lincoln LaPaz of
He also mentioned the government's Projects "Sign," "Grudge,"
"Twinkle" and "Blue Book." (All of which were essentially public
relations cover efforts -- which very effectively "pulled the wool over
the eyes" of the reporting media and the general public -- on the part of
the government.) However, he did highlight many unexplained excellent
cases from "Blue Book Special Report 14."
Swiatek also exhibited a slide photo which he took of the Air
Force's Capt. James McAndrew (who would not allow himself to be
photographed above the shoulders) holding a purported example of one of
the infamous "Mogul" balloons' radar reflector assemblies. It was
obviously nothing more than an about waist-high assemblage of silverish
reflective foil taped to lightweight sticks, which were tied together
with a twine-like material, to form a four-sided pyramid-like
assemblage. (And, that is exactly how the Mogul balloon reflectors were
put together.) There is absolutely NO way Jesse Marcel, Sr., -- who was
a military intelligence officer when he went to site of the Roswell UFO
crash and saw and picked up and gathered together the debris -- could, or
would, have mistaken such a flimsy device for what he actually originally
reported and showed to his son, Jesse Marcel, Jr.!
No doubt about it: There definitely are such things as UFOs. The
evidence IS out there...somewhere!
Next up was Major George Filer, U.S.A.F, (Ret.), of New Jersey, who
is the Eastern States Regional Director for MUFON. He based much of his
talk on more current/recent cases taken from his on-going compilation of
"Filer's Files" UFO sightings reports.
Filer also noted that he had talked to someone who claimed to know
the location of the famous (or, depending how you look at: infamous)
"Hanger 18" where some crashed or captured UFOs supposedly had been
kept. The information given to Filer indicated that this facility was
supposed to be located within a building on a hilltop on Air Force Base
near Dayton, Ohio.
He showed slides of recent pictures he took of the "Rotor Test
Facility" and of the nearby "Building 18F" located on just such a hilltop
at Wright-Patterson. He also had pictures that he took inside Building
18F. (He said that he was readily given entrance to the building when he
asked to enter.) The pictures did not show anything unusual.
However, when I asked Filer (during "Q&A") what he made of Robert
Collins' contention (upon the Internet) that there are extensive
underground facilities located at Wright-Patterson, Filer indicated that
he thought that it was quite likely that such underground facilities are
there. He also seemed to indicate that he wouldn't be surprised if the
"Foreign Technology Division" located there might really be such a
For more information on how to receive, free, his weekly updated
"Filer's Files" reports on-line, he noted that those interested could
contact him via the Internet at Majorstar@aol.com
The last, but not least, speaker was nuclear physicist Stanton T.
Friedman. He gave a somewhat familiar (but always worth hearing again,)
yet revamped, talk entitled, "The Cosmic Cover-Up."
Friedman made it quite clear during his talk that people who report,
and/or "believe" in, UFO sightings are not of low intelligence. On the
contrary -- to what skeptics, the media, and the public in general
believe -- he noted that as the level of education increases, so does the
percentage of those who are convinced that there really is something to
the UFO phenomenon. As a matter fact, Friedman reported that statistics
indicate that 63% of those with a college education are in the "pro-UFO"
Friedman also exhibited the now-famous (or, again, depending on how
you view it: infamous) UFO-related documents finally released to him by
the U.S. government in response to his Freedom of Information Act
requests. The vast majority of the documents he exhibited were
censored-out by the government.
During the Speakers Panel Discussion "Q&A" following his final
presentation of the evening, I had a chance to publicly ask Friedman if
he would respond to "FATE" magazine columnist Antonio Huneeus' recent
contention that Friedman is being "disingenuous" by continuing to exhibit
these previously "censored-out" documents now that government has
supposedly rereleased them in a less-censored condition. Friedman
readily responded that Huneeus was apparently not aware that while these
recently re-released documents might "appear" "less censored" in that
they have much less "blacked-out" areas upon them, they now have quite a
bit of material that has been censored via "white-out"; which, when
photocopied, does not show up as anything more than blank white paper!
As Friedman also noted, these recently released documents are still now
"only" 75% censored, as opposed to their previous 90% censored state!
Additional Notes: One of the added pluses of attending such
conferences is the possibility of also getting to spend some "off time"
with those in attendance. Among the folks who graciously accepted my
invitation to join us for the evening meal that Saturday were: Chris
O'Brien, Stanton Friedman, Rob Swiatek, Ted Phillips (UFO physical-trace
case expert, and MO MUFON Co-Assistant State Director) and his wife,
Dwight Connelly (Editor of the "MUFON UFO Journal") and his wife, Beverly
Trout (Iowa MUFON State Director) and Ellen Stuart (Texas MUFON State
(For all but a couple of these folks, I had had the pleasure of
meeting, and becoming friends with, them at previous conferences.
If/when you have the chance to attend such a conference, do not be
shy...go up to others and introduce yourself.)
On the Sunday following the conference, Beverly Trout, Ellen Stuart
and Stanton Friedman joined my wife and me for our planned morning
excursion to Cahokia Mounds, on the other side of the Mississippi River
from St. Louis, in Illinois. In addition to the famous Monk's Mound
(largest earthen mound in N. America) and the many other mounds scattered
about the large site, there is not-to-be-missed, world-class museum (free
admission) there, too. For more info, check out the Internet web site: