MUFON Opens New
Location In Denver
By Kieran Nicholson
Denver Post Staff Writer
The search for UFOs now leads to a strip mall in the Ken Caryl area. The Mutual UFO Network, which claims 4,000 members worldwide, is located between a liquor store and an optometrist, across the parking lot from a bar and grill.
John Schuessler, the international director of the network, which investigates reports of sightings or contacts with unidentified flying objects, says he feels right at home.
"I'm surprised at how cordial everyone is," said Schuessler. "I didn't expect this kind of reception."
1 'Book' closes, 1 opens
MUFON, a nonprofit corporation, moved into its new digs on Oct. 29, relocating from Seguin, Texas, a suburb of San Antonio. The office in the Market Place at Ken Caryl, which is just off Kipling Parkway and Chatfield Avenue, is filled with books, magazines and reports on UFOs and aliens.
Among Schuessler's collection are items sent to the network by people who claim to have seen or been contacted by aliens. A miniature flying saucer flashes red lights. Also on display is a small "alien" pickled in a jar filled with lime-green liquid.
"We enjoy it, too," Schuessler said. "You have to live in the real world, and the real world has fun as well as the serious side."
The network was formed in 1969 after the Air Force closed its project "Blue Book," which investigated UFO reports, said Schuessler, who was among MUFON's founding members.
"There was nowhere to report, and UFO sightings sure continued, so we filled the gap," said Schuessler.
The recent move, however, was not prompted by Colorado's status as a hotbed for sightings. The San Luis Valley generates a number of UFO reports, and a few decades ago, there were widely reported accounts of cattle mutilations by aliens on the state's Eastern Plains.
Worked at Space Center
Schuessler and his wife, Kathy, moved to the area to be near their daughter's family, including two new grandchildren, and the organization moved with them.
Denver's weather, of course, is a plus.
"We wanted to get out of Houston," said Schuessler with a smile. "We had enough of the heat, humidity and bugs." From 1962 until 1998, when he retired, Schuessler worked as an engineer with aerospace firms, including a stint at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston on the Mercury space program, he said.
Reports from all over
Schuessler said his organization regularly receives UFO reports from around the world, either by telephone, e-mail or on its Web site,
"If we get a report and someone says, "I saw something go across the sky, and it took 20 seconds,' we can't do anything about that. We don't know what it was," said Schuessler. But MUFON will record the information and file it, he said. Perhaps there will be similar reports from the same area, and patterns could begin to emerge. "We're in the business of collecting data," he said. But when the network, which has members and field offices in every state and several foreign countries, receives what it believes to be valid reports of UFO contacts or abductions, it sends investigators to the scene.
Bodies with evidence
Schuessler said some people who report "close encounters" - of which the network has investigated hundreds over the past three decades - bear physical abnormalities to support such claims, such as burned skin and injured eyes from exposure to the alleged UFO.
"It tells us there are things that are physically real that affect the environment and affect people that we can't explain," he said.
"I call them unconventional flying objects. They do exist. Not necessarily extraterrestrial, but I won't rule that out."
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