Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 16, 2011

UFO sightings abundant in eastern Kentucky; MUFON investigating

ASHLAND — Eastern Kentucky has become a “hotbed” for UFO sightings and reports, according to the state director for the Mutual UFO Network, otherwise known as MUFON.

“That whole neck of the woods, all along the Big Sandy River, is a hot area and so is Bowling Green. Just crazy stuff is going on,” said David MacDonald, state director for MUFON Kentucky and assistant director of investigations for the volunteer agency dedicated to documenting and investigating UFO reports.

MacDonald, who is a commercial airline pilot, said a recent UFO sighting in Greenup County is under investigation by trained MUFON agents, who are also looking into UFO reports from Carter County.

Most UFO reports are relatively easy to explain, he said.

“Probably 90 to 92 percent of all the sightings are explainable,” he said, citing UFO reports that ultimately turned out to be aircraft, satellites and even stars. Recalling a report from a man in Great Britain who reported a large silvery disk in the sky above his home, MacDonald said investigators determined the mystery object was the moon, and alcohol was suspected as a factor in the case.

“That other 10 percent will rock you to the core,” he said.

MacDonald said Kentucky is the state with the first verified case of an aircraft being downed by a UFO, as well as being the place where the phrase “little green men” was originally coined.

“I’m not at all surprised when I see these reports come in from the eastern end of the state. This stuff is all over the place,” MacDonald said as he reviewed the limited details available after last week’s UFO sighting in Greenup County involving a hovering craft with pulsating red and green lights.

“I doubt this was an aircraft even with the red and green lights,” he said, citing the description of the unidentified object seen hovering before rapidly accelerating toward the west last week.

As indicated by the MUFON spokesman, local reports of UFO sightings are abundant.

Linda Sargent said she was walking her dog, Jack, through Green Hill Subdivision last month over a fresh snow under a clear sky shortly before 3 a.m. when she noticed “a real bright star.”

“It looked bigger and it had an odd shape,” Sargent said, noting she commented about the sight to her dog and continued to look at the curious object above her. “Then, all at once it just took off. Just whoom ... and it was gone.”

Sargent said the object in the sky seemed to travel straight up at an extremely high rate of speed and she is certain it could not have been any type of conventional aircraft. Sargent said she’s certain she saw a UFO.

“There is no question in my mind at all,” she said. “It couldn’t have been any kind of aircraft because it couldn’t move like that.”

Sargent said she did not notice any red and green lights on the flying object, which she said did not fit the typical “cigar shape” description.

“It wasn’t star shaped. It was not round. It was shaped odd ... like an oval. It was not long or round,” she said.

Rachel Shelton said she was driving her husband to work at a restaurant in Cannonsburg when her son, Jeffrey Wheeler, insisted he was seeing something bright in the dark clouds above them.

“He kept saying he saw lights in the sky like lightning,” she said, adding she advised him to use his new iPod to get some pictures.

Wheeler, 14, used the latest version of the iPod to snap several images of the sky. He reviewed the photos before saying, “Mom, I caught something! I caught something!” The photo was taken near Town Square Bank, she said, and appears to be a UFO.

“But we did not know what it was. We just thought it was interesting,” Shelton said, adding she would not be shocked to learn the image was created by a smudge on the car window or the lens of her son’s iPod, although she has been encouraging him to take more pictures. Shelton said her family has no prior experience with UFOs, but do enjoy watching television shows about unexplained sightings.

“I kind-of believe we’re not the only ones” Shelton commented.

Geoff Burke, a pilot in Portland, Ore. read the recent story about a UFO sighting in Greenup County and also recognized the descriptions based on personal observations, although he is sure there is a simple explanation for what people are seeing.

“In  aviation it is common knowledge  that a ‘pulsating red light’ and  a combination of ‘red and green light’ is an airworthy aircraft displaying visual lighting as required for night flight. The ‘UFO’ is only unidentified because the indigenous people were not able to associate and categorize the object properly,” Burke wrote.

“I am a pilot and I see what has been described on every late evening, or early morning flight where other aircraft are present. My sightings do not get reported in the newspaper. If I reported everything I see in the sky, some good folks in Ky. might conclude an alien invasion was taking place.”

MacDonald said anyone who sees something in the sky that defies explanation is encouraged to contact MUFON to share the information.

“We strongly beg people to turn these reports in,” he said, advising people to contact the organization at either mufon.com or kymufon.org.

The MUFON website also allows users to find information about specific areas to learn more about reported sightings in any county or state, along with an abundance of additional resource materials.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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