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Our fascination with UFOs

An interesting news story among the flurry of reports about the COVID-19 pandemic was largely overlooked, but to those of us who remain fascinated with UFO sightings it was quite a revelation.

The Pentagon officially released three short videos showing unidentified aerial phenomena that had previously been released by a private company.

The videos showed what appeared to be UFOs rapidly moving while being recorded by infrared cameras. Two of the videos feature military pilots reacting incredulously at how fast these objects were moving. The U.S. Navy released the videos officially in March after previously acknowledging them last September.

The Navy said it was releasing them “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether there is more to the videos,” according to Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gough.

“As I got close to it, it rapidly accelerated to the south, and disappeared in less than two seconds,” retired U.S. Navy pilot David Fravor told CNN. “This was extremely abrupt, like a ping-pong ball, bouncing off a wall. It would hit and go the other way.”

Like many Americans, President Donald Trump is skeptical of UFOs. After seeing the videos, Trump said, “I wonder if it’s real. That’s a hell of a video.” Trump said people say they see UFOs all the time. “Do I believe it? Not particularly,” he said.

The government has been studying UFOs for decades. One high profile program initiated through the efforts of former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada was scrapped in 2012 five years after the Pentagon said they had higher priorities for funding.

A former Pentagon official, who led the government program to research UFOs, said he believes there is evidence of alien life reaching Earth. “My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone,” Luis Elizondo told CNN.

I have had two unexplained UFO experiences in my lifetime. The earlier one was in my hometown, Summit Hill, when I was 14 years old. I remember waking up during the night and seemingly being compelled to walk about six blocks from my Market Street home to an area across from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on West Ludlow Street.

I was telepathically instructed to board a cylindrical craft which had landed there. My next recollection was my mother’s voice waking me up several hours later. I was in my bed.

My mother was angry. She wanted to know why I tracked coal soot through the house. She looked at the bottom of my feet and found her proof. Where were you without shoes? She demanded to know. I could provide no answers.

I didn’t tell her about my experience because I wasn’t sure I believed it. Was I sleepwalking? I had never walked in my sleep before this, nor have I ever walked in my sleep since then. Was this a dream? If so, why were my feet so dirty?

I didn’t even tell my best friends, because I thought they would laugh at me and figure that I made the whole thing up. After all, they knew the impact the motion picture “War of the Worlds” had on me. We had seen it just a few weeks earlier in 1953. It was the scariest movie I had ever seen to that point.

The second experience was about 20 years later. I had fallen asleep on our living room floor in our Stroud Township, Monroe County, home one evening after playing indoor football with my three young sons.

Suddenly, I was jolted awake. Still trying to get my bearings after having been awakened from my deep sleep, I felt this compulsion to go outside. I put on my coat. “Where are you going at this hour?” my wife asked. “I don’t exactly know,” I replied.

When I stepped into our front yard, I was compelled to look up into the star-filled night sky. I saw this cylindrical object seemingly hovering above me just above rooftops on our street. “What the heck?” I muttered. I stared at it for about five minutes. Then, it moved straight up, made a right-angled turn and was gone in an instant.

The following day, I learned of numerous other reports of sightings throughout the Poconos and, especially, around the Saylors Lake area.

I wrote a first-person account of my experience for the Easton newspaper for which I worked, and the episode was recounted in the book “UFO Exist” by Paris Flammonde of East Stroudsburg.

According to the National UFO Reporting Center, there have been more than 350 sightings in Pennsylvania during the first six months of 2020, including in Lehighton, Girardville, Frackville, Snydersville, Scotrun, Bushkill, Northampton, Bethlehem, Bath, Hellertown, Emmaus and Allentown.

By Bruce Frassinelli | tneditor@tnonline.com