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A Non-Comprehensive Report On The MUFON July 2000 Symposium

Copyright 2000, by Bob Soetebier


The July 14-16, 2000, MUFON(   or ) Symposium was held at the West Port Plaza Sheraton Chalet in Maryland Heights in St. Louis County, Missouri. As we had never before attended one of the annual MUFON symposiums, my wife, Dawn, and I bit the bullet and swallowed the symposium’s admission co$t. (We’ve obviously been spoiled by Lou Farish’s excellent, and bargain priced, Ozark UFO Conference  which is held annually in April at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks in Eureka Springs, Arkansas!)

 We also attended the (extra-co$t) Friday evening buffet dinner at the Sheraton Chalet.  Our good friend Beverly Trout, Iowa MUFON ( ) State Director, joined us at our chosen table.  Bev showed us a recent issue of a Des Moines weekly newspaper – with a full-page photo of her on it’s cover – that contained an excellent article about recent UFO sightings and her Iowa MUFON investigative efforts.

 Michael Bryan (sp?) – who, in addition to being the honorary MUFON International “Ambassador-at-Large”, has self-published a series of travel books – along with his friends Andy Abercrombie and Joe Juliano (sp?), a blind physician and author of books on diabetes, also asked to join us at our Friday evening dinner table. All three are fun guys. (Even though I have seen Michael – almost always in the company of his good friend, George Wingfield – every year since our first 1994 attendance at the Ozark UFO Conference, I had never had the chance to really talk with him.)

 Missouri MUFON (  or ) Assistant State Director Dave Rapp was in charge of the audio-visual setup.  Before the symposium started, Dave told me that the Sheraton staff had not set up the symposium room as he had requested.  Instead they set it up seating catty-corner, instead of dead-on.  This put the single slide-viewing screen in the far-left corner, with screen right under a bright light!  (The Sheraton staff told Dave they could not turn off that particular overhead light because of the “fire code” as that light was in the immediate vicinity of a Fire Exit, which the screen was blocking!)  Dave was able to get them to move the screen out a few feet from the light -- but still blocking the Fire Exit -- during the Sat. lunch break. Additionally, when slides were being displayed on the one-and-only screen, the general room lighting had to be turned down in such a manner that there was almost no light upon the speaker at all.

 Because of the catty-corner seating, and the relatively low ceiling, a LOT of symposium attendees could not see the screen well, if at all!  However, thanks to our front-row seats, my wife and I had a good view of the screen.

 Before the start of the symposium, the Sheraton staff had also gone ahead and already set up the long, raised speakers’ panel table platform, which they were not supposed to do until later Sunday afternoon.  This apparently prevented elevating the individual speaker’s podium. Also a couple of wide, mid-room pillars also completely blocked the views of not too few of those seated beyond half-way back, too!   

 Because of the resultant room set-up limitations, the maximum-capacity seating ended up being 400 instead of the 500 that Dave Rapp had told me was in the original plan.  My guess is that symposium’s total attendance was around 350 people.

 One of the people in the audience was none other than late-night radio “Coast-to-Coast” talk-show host, Mike Siegel.  (Retiring Art Bell had recently chosen Siegel as his replacement.)  I had a chance to briefly (not on-air!) talk with Siegel who seemed like a very nice, personable fellow.  Siegel did do some interviews with some of the symposium’s featured speakers.  He has placed about a 30-minute “MUFON 2000” audio clip on his web site, )

 After Missouri MUFON State Director Bruce Widaman’s short welcome-to-the-symposium intro, out-going MUFON International Director Walter H. Andrus, Jr., gave a brief address in which noted his pending semi-retirement due to his need to attend to his wife Jean’s failing health. Andrus praised his wife’s long-standing help in his UFO-related efforts.  He then turned the podium over to John F. Schuessler, M.S., who was to assume the MUFON International Directorship on the Sunday afternoon of the symposium.

John Schuessler noted that Andrus had literally spent the last 30 years spending all his “free” time (including his and Jean’s yearly vacations) promoting UFOlogy and MUFON. Schuessler noted MUFON’s beginnings – at first as an adjunct to APRO, then about a year later as a separate entity -- via Walt Andrus’ efforts, for which Andrus enlisted Schuessler’s additional assistance.

After more praise for Andrus, Schuessler moved on to publicly laud Las Vegas-based billionaire real estate magnate Robert T. Bigelow’s, National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS).  Schuessler said he hoped to promote “sharing” info/efforts with NIDS and the possibility of some sort of UFOlogical coalition with NIDS and other UFO organizations.  (From a few comments I heard from other MUFONites, apparently not all share Schuessler’s enthusiasm for NIDS.)  He went on to note that in the next year or two MUFON hopes to have its entire case database on-line via its web site.  (Apparently only general case synopses will be available on-line for access by the general public; specific case details will be accessible only to registered MUFON members.)

 Linda G. Corley, Ph.D., of Houma, Louisiana, recounted her one-day interview with Jesse Marcel, Sr, and his wife, at Marcel’s Louisiana home in her hometown at that time. Marcel originally had apparently had no qualms of “going on the record” for Corley about his having handled the Roswell crash material for the audio-taped interview (which Corley was only intending for a college project/report.)  But, only a couple days after he did the interview with her, Corley said Marcel frantically called her and said he had told her all lies and demanded that she not reveal the interview info to anyone! (Now that both Marcel and his wife have passed on, Corely said she felt it was time to completely bring forth what Marcel had told her in the audio-taped interview.)

 After the lunch break, the first Saturday afternoon speaker was a NIDS ( ) representative, Colm A. Kelleher, Ph.D. As was anticipated, Kelleher’s talk was mostly a gloss-over promo for NIDS. (Kelleher was conspicuously absent from the late Sunday afternoon symposium Speakers’ Panel “Q&A” session.)

 Springfield, Missouri, abduction researcher John S. Carpenter, MSW, touted a video (previously shown on the now-defunct “Paranormal Borderline” TV show) showing an anonymous security guard “missing-time” incident.  Another (also anonymous) security guard was supposed to be the one who originally sent the security camera video to the P.B. TV show.  Apparently he claimed to have witnessed (while monitoring the camera video) the other guard’s over-one-hour disappearance after a bright flash of light, and his subsequent tossing-his-cookies “return” after another flash of light. (Exactly why the video-monitoring security guard did not go and close the left-open gate, that the other over-an-hour “missing” security guard had opened, remains a question to me.  Such laxity sure would seem like an obvious breach of security!)

 Louisiana MUFON State Director Gregory J. Avery, a practicing lawyer, showed some video clips that he had taken outside his office, his home and a home of a friend in Metairie, LA.  Who knows about the “chemtrails”…BUT, he DID have some VERY interesting UFO video (taken with his $3500.00 3CCD digital video camera) that showed up on more than one occasion in the immediate vicinity of the “chemtrails.”  One of the UFOs which looked like a revolving black trash can came right out of a small cloud and then made an abrupt turn and followed the “chemtrail” edge.  He also showed some “swarms” of black, gnat-like UFOs that went in and out of the nearby clouds.  (Avery noted that video “pixel drop-out” could be eliminated by the smooth, continuous movements exhibited by the numerous objects.)  For more info (according to Avery’s business card), check out: (or via the general MUFON web site, at: )

 California Physicist Robert M. Wood, Ph.D., literally sped through his slide presentation of the update on “new” purported “MJ-12” documents. Moot point, though, as you really couldn’t read them on the screen!  That’s too bad because if they had been readable, at least there might have been the option of getting a copy of the video of his talk to review them.  The saving grace is the fact that there is plenty of “MJ-12” material on his related web site at:

Bev Trout again joined us, and about a dozen of our other friends, for Saturday evening dinner.  We did so much talking that I didn’t even have time to finish my food during the two-hour break!

Beginning the Saturday evening symposium session was book author, and Maryland MUFON ( State Director, Dr. Bruce S. Maccabee. In addition to his being an optical physicist, and a consultant for the U.S. Navy, Maccabee has authored such books as, UFOs Are Real: Here’s The Proof, and, The UFO-FBI Connection.  He did a very good job of debunking the debunkers. He started off by exposing Dr. Robert L. Park, author of the recent book, Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud. Maccabee’s enumeration of Park’s numerous misrepresentations of the Roswell case alone made it crystal clear that it is Dr. Park himself who is both the fool and fraud! (Maccabee’s detailed comments about Park’s Voodoo Science and be found at:

Another UFO-book author (Crash At Corona, and, TOP SECRET/MAJIC), and nuclear physicist, Stanton T. Friedman was rehashing (again) the Roswell case, my wife and I bugged-out after we sat through about half of his talk.  Friedman is a very good, and entertaining, speaker. But, we’d already heard his Roswell talk twice before in our area in 1996 and 1998.  (Oh well, at least that gave us a chance to get home early that night.) 

Ted R. Phillips, a long-time physical-trace-case investigator, mentioned in his Sunday morning talk that he had finally finished his report on the Delphos (Ron Johnson) Kansas case. (Unfortunately, Ted had to leave for California that afternoon, so he was absent from the Speakers’ Panel Q&A later that afternoon.)  For more info, you can check out Ted Phillips’ “Center for Physical Trace Research” web site at:

 A 19-year-old Californian, John Greenewald, Jr., is an obviously an up-and-coming “star” whose 5-year FOIA-investigative effort has definitely shined a LOT of light for others to follow!  John has garnered thousands of UFO-related official government documents via the Freedom of Information Act. He utilized his laptop’s presentation software to illuminate some of the results. John noted that he has posted approximately 80,000 pages of those FOIA documents at his web site: The Black Vault ( ). He also announced that he will soon be starting another FOIA-docs web site ( ) that will deal with the conspiracy issues surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

 During the lunch break I got to spend a bit of time talking with our friend, “MUFON Journal” ( ) editor, Dwight Connelly. We first met Dwight a few years ago when my wife and I joined Dwight, Lou Farish and “FATE” magazine UFO columnist Antonio Huneeus for breakfast at the Ozark UFO Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Dwight and his very nice wife, Carolyn (along with others), were spending much of their time helping out at the symposium.

 Having previously heard his excellent talk, I skipped Stan Gordon’s reprise of the Kecksburg, PA, UFO crash. He really does a very good/thorough job in his presentation. Stan did tell me on the Saturday of the symposium that he was excited because he had located a new Kecksburg witness with whom he would be meeting in the next few months.  Stay tuned!  In the meantime, for more info about the Kecksburg UFO incident, be sure to check out Stan’s UFO Anomalies Zone web site at:

 Having previously heard his discussion of the Aviano, Italy, UFO case (which has also been published in a past issue of the “MUFON Journal”), I also passed on Washington State MUFON( Director Gerald E. Rolwes’ presentation.  (By the way, from scuttlebutt heard at the symposium, Rolwes also is a strong NIDS proponent.)

 I better spent the hour-plus talking to Dr. Roger K. Leir while he had a late lunch at the hotel dining room. Dr. Leir is a California-based podiatric physician and surgeon, and the author of the 1998 book, the Aliens and the Scapel – Scientific Proof of Extraterrestrial Implants in Humans. (It notes in Dr. Leir’s book that it was sponsored by Bigelow’s NIDS.  However, Dr. Leir made it a point to tell me right up front that he insisted on being free to publish his material.)  We covered a lot of interesting bases (both above and below ground) during that interlude.

 An author, and recent Ph.D., from Iowa, Kevin D. Randle was the last featured speaker.  His talk was about an 1962 Las Vegas purported UFO crash.  His on-screen slides were a faded brownish color and were extremely hard to see. (Thankfully, Randle mostly stuck to discussing that old case, and generally refrained from taunting the audience with his most recent extremely controversial abduction hypothesis!)

 After the symposium was over, Bruce Widaman asked my wife and I to join him and Dave Rapp, and about 20 others, for a limited (invitation-only) and in-the-round, brainstorming session with Greg Avery and Dr. Roger Leir.  No definitive conclusions were arrived upon, but many helpful suggestions for further consideration were well aired during the 2-hour session.

I had already invited a few folks to join us for dinner Sunday evening after the symposium. After the “brainstorming” session, Roger Leir, Greg Avery, John Greenewald, Linda Corley, Bev Trout and a couple others joined us after 9:00 p.m. for Mexican food at a favorite West Port Plaza restaurant. Greg Avery had his digital video camera with him and spent about 5 minutes filming outside the restaurant. He came back in and sat back down next to me at the dinner table and said, “Wait until you see what I think I may have just now captured on video!”

 Greg sat the video camera (with its short tripod) on the table and flipped out the digital screen. While filming, he had aimed the camera at an area of nearby roof and sky. I watched the (infrared) video as a white, narrow, “rod-like” streamer (an estimated one-foot to 18-inches long) shot by…doing a fast mid-streamer double ninety-degree angle bend!  All at the table (including our amazed waitress!) got a chance to see what he had captured moments before just outside the clear-glass restaurant atrium where we were seated. To say the least, that was a very interesting way to top off the weekend!

 As an added note: I did manage to put a bug (not literally, nor electronically!) in John Greenewald’s ear in regards to California-based Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).  SAIC is headed by none other than Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, who is the former director of the NSA, Deputy Director of the CIA, Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and former Director of Naval Intelligence. Some contend that SAIC may very well be the repository of anti-gravity research!  (Others, apparently, even speculate that there may even possibly be some sort of connection between SAIC and NIDS.)  Keep watching Greenewald’s web site for possible further developments.

 A final note: Be sure to read the April 4, 2000, “Who's Really Running NASA ..?” article by Richard C. Hoagland.  The article contains direct quotes from NASA-head Dan Goldin’s public statement regarding Admiral Bobby Ray Inman as the head of the JPL Oversight Committee at Cal Tech.  (Sounds like the possibility may exist that if Bobby Ray says “No!”…It don’t go!  Or, maybe, “I spy, or it don’t fly!”) You can check out the article at this URL: