The Carolinas Remain
A Hot Spot For Flying Saucers
The Augusta Chronicle
From Stig Agermose <>
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Startled by the cry of his chickens and ducks and the neigh of his father's mule, Horry County resident Lloyd Booth grabbed his .22-caliber pistol at midnight, Jan. 29, 1953, and went outside to investigate.
Mr. Booth spotted a gray saucer hovering 10-feet over a row of pine trees, emitting a low hum and moving slowly across his property.
Scared for his life, Mr. Booth fired five shots, each ricocheting off the metallic surface. Unharmed, the saucer disappeared.
This is a well-documented case that grabbed headlines and can be found on most UFO Web sites. UFO investigator George Fawcett, who has been researching sightings for 54 years, still gets excited about the case.
Of the 1,200 cases Mr. Fawcett has explored -- including 200 in South Carolina -- it's the only one that involved a shooting.
Mr. Fawcett said the Navy claimed it was a blimp.
"Booth knew better than that," he said. "He was an ex-military man."
Mr. Fawcett recently donated his life's work -- more than 40,000 books, articles, journals, documents and photographs -- to the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, N.M.
He is keeping 600 items for a book he is writing about UFO encounters in the Carolinas. In a time when people are eager to gobble up as much UFO information as possible, Mr. Fawcett thinks it will do well.
He calls the Carolinas a hotbed of UFO activity. North Carolina ranks fourth in the number of sightings, and South Carolina ranks 14th.
There are several reasons. For one, the Carolinas have so many UFO investigators -- 161 at last count, Mr. Fawcett said.
Also, large bodies of water, military bases and power plants are key areas for sightings, he said.
"(UFOs) may need water for their cooling systems and for samples, and they could possibly be surveying our military installations for our response technology potential," he said.
The large amount of UFO activity in South Carolina prompted Jody Pendarvis of Bowman to build a UFO Welcome Center. The 42-foot-wide wood creation was built to model a saucer and has flashing lights.
"Sometimes when planes fly overhead I flash in Morse code, `UFO Welcome Center," he said. "When I first started doing it, planes would circle the area trying to figure out what was going on."
Mr. Pendarvis has never had a sighting and takes a light approach to UFOs, calling himself a fun-loving guy. But he said he is counting on UFOs visiting him one day.
"I want to be an ambassador to the aliens," he said. "When they arrive, I'll probably ask them how they are doing and then tell them to leave before F-14s come and blow them away."
Cheryl Gilmore, Mutual UFO Network director for South Carolina, said the number of area sightings has decreased.
"When they do report, it isn't official," she said. "People don't want to give their name. People are scared of what might happen to them."
Ms. Gilmore, who had a sighting at age 14 in Ohio, recalled one case in which Bill Herrmann of Charleston said he was abducted four times from 1978 to 1983.
"We haven't heard anything about him in awhile," she said. "I heard he was kicked out of his church and someone tried to burn his house down."
Police in Andrews reported two cases in July 1994. A person who identified himself as a University of Georgia student reported seeing a UFO hovering over Litchfield Beach. Another witness claimed to see two at about the same time.
Myrtle Beach Air Traffic Control said it may have been a large formation of C-41 cargo planes flying in the area.
A lot of the sightings can be explained, Mr. Fawcett said.
"I have found 78 percent of sightings to have a perfectly logical explanation, but the other 22 percent do not have an explanation," he said.